Sunday, December 26, 2010

Back with a Bang

After the over-ambitious Thanksgiving gorge-fest, it took me a little while to get back to cooking.  Not only did the dishes take a while, but with the Christmas prep, getting ready for Trey to come back, and my general inability to stay inside when there are so many opportunities to drink Gluhwein.....  it took me a while to get back to cooking.  But now that I have, and now that Trey is back to help keep little helpful hands from smearing whatever I'm making all over the kitchen, cats, and herself.....  NOW I CAN COOK!

First up was the most complicated cake I've ever made.  Of course, in good over-ambitious and over-zealous baking ideas, I decided to make a traditional Lithuanian Torte Napoleon.  Yup, that's right, making a really hard torte, from a culture I don't belong to, and can't really find a reliable recipe in a language I read.....  All great ideas, right?  Well, I did about 100 hours of research, found several recipes that looked traditional (the ones that included instant pudding didn't seem to be traditional enough, and anyone who knows me know that I REFUSE to take shortcuts).  The cake turned out pretty well, maybe not completely traditional, but I did get the Lithuanian I made it for to verify the torte dough and one of the custards I used were in fact authentic.  The lemon butter cream I added wasn't in the least traditional or Lithuanian.  It was in fact Italian.  Made with egg whites, hot sugar syrup, and lots of whipping.  But I think it added to it.  Especially since the Lithuanian in question likes lemon, so the lemon Italian butter cream seemed to make sense.

Second big dish I cooked was Beef Bourguignon for Christmas dinner.  Served over puff pastry stars.  This one was also done the traditional way, with pork belly, onion, beef, and lots and lots and lots of wine.  It turned out very well.  Of course cook anything in wine for 3 hours and its going to taste great right?

And now, I'm off to make sugar cookies to sandwich with the rest of the lemon butter cream to take to our sledding party in the old castle.  I also have to finish the hot chocolate, by adding Baileys and rum, of course.  And looks like the sun is almost out, so I'll add the Torte Napoleon and Beef Bourguingnon recipes a little later.  After I've had my fill of hot chocolate, cookies, and sledding.