Sunday, December 23, 2007

Apple Galette et al

I had a couple of apples in the fridge and I've been thinking about making something a little different than the normal apple pie. I'd seen a couple of magazines and recipe books that had various galette recipes. A galette is a "round flat French cake, pastry, tart, or pancake" (Encarta Dictionary) which can have either a sweet of savory topping.

I found a recipe for an Apple Galette on I didn't take pictures of the process but I have a few of the end result. I won't post the recipe here, but I'll give you the link here.

I found this particular recipe to be easier to make than I thought it would be. The only thing is I apparently have a small problem with reading the recipe through prior to actually starting it. (This will be a New Year's Resolution!)

My cake doesn't look as pretty as the one on the website, but I'll bet it tastes just as good. I'll tell you my mistake in case you are as dim as I am.

The directions say to roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. That was no problem. I did have a problem getting it to roll out as large and thin as they said, so I didn't. Then it said to remove the top parchment and use the bottom parchment to help transfer the dough to your baking sheet. It didn't say to grease and flour the pan or anything like that. That wasn't a big concern because I know there are certain cookies where you don't do that. After I got the dough on my pan I read a little further and realized I made it really hard on myself. I was supposed to just slide the dough, parchment and all, onto the baking sheet, leaving the parchment underneath. Great! By that time I had already prepared the top. So now I attempted to lift the sticky dough off the baking pan and try to slide the parchment back underneath. I managed to do it with a little help, but it kind of messed up my apple design.

Well, messy top or not, it was still quite tasty. It would be a perfect for a Christmas brunch or any Kaffee Klatsch (do people still do that?) The nice thing is it's not too sweet so your taste buds won't get overwhelmed.

Trust me, this recipe is a keeper. It's easy and tasty!

Remember towards the beginning of this I said I had a problem reading through directions? Here's another example of that and apparently I'm not the only one afflicted with this problem.

Since I have a very prolific Meyer Lemon Tree I always look for ways to use the product. I've been seeing a lot of "Limoncello" on the cooking shows. And remember the Danny Devito fiasco earlier this year? He and George Clooney were drinking limoncello and Mr. Devito showed up still a little intoxicated at an interview.

I did a bit of research and it seems there are many different recipes for limoncello. The basics are the same: lots of lemons; sugar; water; and booze, most commonly vodka. The recipe I chose called for two 750 ml bottles of 100 proof vodka. Earlier I had bought a large bottle of Smirnoff. My husband suggested I buy a large container to put the concoction in while it was "cooking". This particular recipe also suggested the stuff needs to steep for 40 days for the first part, and 40 days for the second part. Although it's not required to go that long, the flavors would be more intense.

I went to Smart & Final to look for a large container. I found a 22 quart food grade bucket (like in restaurants) with a lid. The vodka I had bought earlier was only 80 proof so I looked for one that was 100 proof. I finally found some 100 proof at the third store I went to. Then I realized I had made a small error.

It seems I need to learn some math. 750 ml is about 3 cups. When I got home my husband admitted he read the recipe wrong too. He thought the lemons would be cut into slices and put into the alcohol. In truth you don't use any part of the lemon except the peel. After zesting 18 lemons, I got about 1 cup of peel. The first part of the recipe calls for steeping the zest in a container with the first bottle for 4o days. Then we need to make a simple syrup, add that and the second bottle to the zest mixture and steep for another 40 days. Then you strain it and it's ready to go!

So we certainly didn't need an 88 cup container for about 10 cups of stuff! I'll let you know if it was worth it in 80 days.

Yesterday we made tamales for the first time ever. I didn't document any of that either because I wasn't sure how they'd turn out. It's something that is traditional for Mexicans to make around Christmas. I don't know why that is, and obviously tamales are available year round. Carli came over to help me and we set to work. First my husband made the meat. We used pork and seasoned it three different ways. We had pork with garlic and onions, pork with chilies and cheese, and pork seasoned with mole sauce. For the masa we made one batch with plain masa and one batch lightly seasoned with chipotle chili powder.

Tamales are not hard to make, just a bit labor intensive. And I'm sure once we've made them a few times it will get easier and easier. I know we will make these again: they were delicious.

Two more days til Christmas!

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