Month: March 2012

1st Blogiverary Give-Away

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So here it is!  The moment for which you’ve all been waiting.  To get everyone up to speed, to celebrate my 1 year blogiversary (which was yesterday) I decided to have a give-away.  Nothing celebrates my anniversary more than giving away presents!  And the winner will get not just one, but TWO items!!!

If you are a regular reader, you know that I am here in the great state of Michigan.  So I wanted my give-away to focus on items that are local goods or Michiganian in nature.  Plus, since this is a food blog, it has to be food-related, but not necessarily a food item.  To be honest, sending a food item seemed a little weird.  But enough talk; let’s get to the prizes!!!

First of all, there’s this beautiful Michigan oven mitt.  It shows the Mitten State in all its mitten-shaped glory (and if you’re from Wisconsin, there’s no way that Wisconsin looks like a mitten. . . maybe a boxing glove if you squint a lot).  One side has a map of the lower peninsula and when you turn it over you get the upper peninsula!  It also has a list of the state symbols on the bottom.  Fabulous!

It's a map that's shaped like Michigan!
It's another map that's the shape of Michigan! So it's like you're really getting THREE things!

Second is a cookbook that can put the spotlight on one of our locals.  It was difficult to pick one since we do have a number of great restaurants in town that have their own cookbooks, including several Zagat rated establishments.  Also, there are books from the always spectacular Zingerman’s, which is definitely one of the places to visit if you are in the area for the day.

The book that I chose is eve:  Contemporary Cuisine, Méthode Traditionnelle by Chef Eve Aronoff.  You Top Chef viewers may remember her as a Season 6 alum.  She has worked in the industry for over 20 years, starting from prep cook eventually working her way up to executive chef / owner.  With several years of culinary experience behind her, she attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris where she received degrees in French Cuisine and Wine and Spirits.  Using her background in classical French cooking as a foundation, she draws on African, Cuban, and Vietnamese cultural influences to shape her own unique style.  She has been a champion of the Slow Foods Movement which focuses on a commitment to the environment and also stresses the importance of working with locally sourced artisans and farmers.  In addition to all that,  she was even invited to prepare a meal for the James Beard Foundation where she was able to highlight her cooking philosophy which features bold flavors, contrasts, and textures.

Luckily I had the chance to go to her restaurant eve before it closed (too soon, if you ask me!).  I witnessed first hand her wonderful mien of cooking, while at the same time celebrating the union of two of my best friends (shout out to Cari and Jeremy-with-a-Y).  By the way, her Ginger Lime Martinis are top-notch!  Her current venture is Frita Batidos, which features Cuban-inspired creations that harken back to times she spent growing up in Miami while visiting her grandmother.  Her food is amazing and her passion definitely becomes apparent in how she writes about food and how she connects with food.  And if that quick bio doesn’t make you want to add this book to your culinary library, I don’t know what will!

There's Cooper wondering why I'm not looking at squirrels with him.

Alright, here’s how you enter:

  1. Commenting on this post gets you one entry
  2. If you post in the comments, AND subscribe to my blog you get one
  3. Liking my Jereme’s Kitchen Facebook page gets you one
  4. Liking my Daisy Cakes Facebook page gets you one

So that’s four chances for you.  You can let me know on your comments if you already subscribe, but I will probably check anyway.  I will have to go ahead and say that any member of my family will have to be excluded from this give-away, but they probably won’t read this anyway.  Plus anyone who is affiliated with Jereme’s Kitchen or Daisy Cakes (thinking about changing the name) will also have to be excluded.  But since that involves just me, I can police that fairly easily 🙂

Y’all have until Friday, April 6 to enter, but maybe I could extend it a day.  The winner will be chosen at random and I will make the announcement (or contact the winner) the Monday after Easter (April 9).  Although I may be distracted because I am planning on winning that 1/2 a billion dollar Mega Millions jackpot 🙂  I know I’m going to win — I can feel it!!!

Good luck everyone!

Here's a preview of the book.

Happy 1st Blogiversary Jereme’s Kitchen

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Just a quick post / announcement — today is my Blogiversary!!! I can’t really believe it’s been one year already.  Hope that I can still try to keep things going!  I will probably make some changes to some things, like adding more things to the blog roll or, adding more links, or adding a resource page or two.

And great news — I’ve finally figured out what to do for my anniversary give-away.  You’ll have to stay tuned tomorrow when I post what it is (I have to actually go out and pick it up).  And it will probably involve Facebook!

And Happy Black Forest Cake Day!

Here are Daisy and Cooper wishing me a Happy Anniversary. As you can tell, they are clearly excited.

Quick cocktail party appetizers #3 — Gluten-Free Black Forest Cakelets

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The layers are kinda hard to distinguish, but there are four layers of cake and three of filling.

Yes, yes — this isn’t an appetizer; that’s confession #1.  But this is Part 3 of my “series” about a not-so-recent bourbon tasting / cocktail party.  This was my dessert offering and it’s gluten-free!  Confession #2 — this really isn’t a Black Forest Cake.  Actually this is a version of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Chocolate Feather Bed, which is the background image of my blog.  One variation is that I have a middle layer of cherry preserves — so not a real Black Forest cake.  I do make a mean Black Forest Cake though!  And Black Forest Cake Day is on March 28th (which is my blogiversary in case I didn’t mention it before 🙂  And I think I’ve figured out my blogiversary give-away, but more on that later).  Confession #3 — it’s not exactly quick.  The cake itself bakes in 16 minutes, so that part is quick, but there is a lot of chilling involved, which takes time.

In my opinion, this cake is definitely better presented pre-sliced, as opposed to whole.  If it was whole, it would look like a giant chocolate slab covered with chocolate curls.  Which might not be too bad, if that’s what you’re going for.  But again — just my opinion.  It might be nice to have a giant chocolate block on your table; it could be reminiscent of the monolith in Kubrick’s 2001:  A Space Odyssey.  What a great theme party!!!  Everyone could wear space suits or ape suits, you could use one of those pod things as an entry portal, or maybe make one of those warp-light-tube thingies, and just play the Blue Danube on a loop.  But I digress, here’s what you need:

My ganache was a little bit grainy here. If that happens to you and you want to fix it, just re-melt the ganache and re-chill and re-whip. It's very forgiving. This is from a cake I made a while ago, but it stays truer to the original recipe (sans cherries).

For the cake:  (you will need 2 batches)

  • 4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 c. sugar, plus 2 T.
  • 3/4 t. cream of tartar
  • chocolate curls (for garnish — I used dark, milk, and white chocolate just to add some visual interest)
  • Cherry preserves

1.  Coat a half sheet pan (17 1/4″ x 12 1/4″ x 1″) with shortening and line with parchment with a 2″ overhang.  Spray parchment with baking spray with flour (like Baker’s Joy or something like that).

2.  Preheat the over to 350 degrees F.  Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and allow to heat for about 20 minutes, which should be more than enough time to put together the batter.

3.  Melt the chocolate in a bowl (either in the microwave or over a double boiler).  Allow to cool until still fluid but no longer warm to the touch.

4.  Beat the yolks and 1/4 c. sugar in the bowl of a mixer on high for 5 minutes, until ribbon stage.  Scrape the chocolate into the bowl and mix on medium until fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl as needed.  Transfer to another bowl.

5.  In a very clean bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  With the beater off, add the cream of tartar; beat on medium until soft peak stage.  Raise the speed to medium high and gradually add the 2 T. sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.

6.  Mix in about 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten.  Gently fold in the rest of the meringue and when incorporated, scrape into prepared pan.  Level off with an off-set spatula.

7.  Bake for 16 minutes; until .  In the meantime, prepare the batter for the next cake so it is ready to go when the other cake comes out of the oven.  Cover with a dry towel and allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

8.  Gently remove cakes from the pans using the overhang to lift.  Stack the parchment-lined cakes one on top of the other and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.  This makes the cakes easier to work with.

It's a sea of cake!

For the chocolate whipped ganache:

  • 8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped fine
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 t. vanilla

1.  In the bowl of a food processor, chop chocolate until very fine.

2.  Scald the cream and with the motor running, gradually add the cream to the chocolate.  Process until smooth, just a couple of seconds.  Chill until cold, either in the fridge or in an ice bath.  Stir while chilling, about every 30 minutes; if using an ice bath you need to stir frequently.  Ideal temp is around 65 degrees F / 20 degrees C.  If it is too cold, it will not aerate well; if it is too warm it will not stiffen.

3.  In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer, add the vanilla to the cream and beat on low for about 30 seconds, being careful not to overbeat.

Assemble the cake:

There are a couple of ways that you can do this depending on what you want to do.  You could assemble this on a serving plate and treat it as a regular cake (hold it in place with some frosting and then assemble).  I just kept the bottom section on the parchment, trimmed it after I assembled it, cut it into slices, and then served it.  Rose trims the cakes before assembly; I do it after because I wanted that very very clean edge.  Again, all depends on what you want.

1.  Using a sharp knife, cut the cakes into equal rectangles so that you have four equal layers.  Dislodge the cakes using a long metal spatula.

2.  Spread a layer of the ganache about the same thickness of the cake on top of the first layer.  Top with a second layer of cake.  Spread with a layer of the cherry preserves.  Top with another layer of cake, followed by the ganache, and the final cake layer.

3.  Spread a layer of the ganache on the top of the cake.  I sliced it into servings / cakelets at this point and then covered the tops with the curls.  You could just keep it whole and cover everything with the curls.  Serve!

Be sure to visit my page on Facebook!  You get access to exclusive content!  Jeez, I can’t say that without laughing.  But I do some quick posts, share some links and resources, and share some local events / retailers that may be of some interest to folks.  My bakery has a page as well; stop by there for a quick visit too!

Bungled Breakfast

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Mental note — do not make pancakes while Hot Fuzz is on the tele.  The concept itself wasn’t bad, and I am referring to the breakfast, not the movie, although I love the movie.  Anyhoo. . . I wanted to make a nice anniversary breakfast and came up with some Apple-Pecan pancakes (since I had to use up an apple and had some pecans in the freezer).  Plus I had an apple syrup / extract that was leftover from a pie that was made a couple of weeks ago.

Tasty! Actually they tasted good. It's the newest thing -- blackened pancakes! And since it is the month of March, a college basketball bracket is always nearby.

Although a little charred, they didn’t taste bad.  They just needed a little bit of extra syrup 🙂  At least these pancakes are great makeshift doggie treats.

Quick cocktail party appetizers #2 — Cheese and Endive

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This is round #2 of my cocktail party appetizers.  Now I don’t necessarily recommend making all of these at once, especially if it’s just you hosting because there is a lot of assembly involved with everything I made (check out my last post for the full listing).  Even if all the prep work is done, getting things to look right takes time.  But taking these in small steps and you should be alright.  Or you could be better at planning than me even though timing really was a non-issue since everyone was at least an hour late!

Anyhoo, the  quick recipes in this post revolve around goat cheese.  One is a double cheese Napoleon and the other is Endive with Herbed Goat Cheese.  What makes this easy is that the goat cheese filling is the same for both!  So I don’t know if this then actually qualifies for 2 recipes, but I’m going with it.

Endive with goat cheese.

This serving tray seemed like it was designed especially with this dish in mind.

The big step here is making the herbed goat cheese.  Which, again, is also a step for the napoleons, so essentially one step = 2 appetizers.  And it’s not even a big step — you just mix everything in a bowl.  This one I adapted from Martha (again!  but that’s a good thing!).  Here’s what you need:

  • 1 11-oz. pkg. goat cheese
  • 1/2 c. cream
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 T. chopped herbs (I used oregano and tarragon)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 heads endive, washed and separated into leaves

1.  In a medium bowl, mix together the cheese, cream, and oil until smooth.  You can use a food processor if you like or even a hand mixer, but I didn’t want to have to wash extra things afterwards.

2.  Gently mix in the herbs, salt, & pepper.  Place a teaspoon on the individual endive spears and serve.

Double Cheese Napoleons.

These definitely look pretty. Tasted pretty good, too!

The two cheeses here are parmesan and goat cheese.  You make tuiles of parmesan and have some herbed goat cheese in between the layers.  I am not really sure how I came up with this one, but i really wanted something with some height.  These look a little rough, but again, I felt pressed for time since I had several things to assemble.  No real specifics here; I just grated some parmesan and kept on making crisps until I ran out.  You can use any extra ones as croutons on salads or in soups.  Or just eat them as is.  Here’s what you need:

  • herbed goat cheese (see above)
  • grated parmesan

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Drop 1 t. grated parmesan onto Silpat lined baking sheets.  Slightly flatten the cheese and bake for about 5 minutes or until nice and golden.

3.  Allow to cool for about a minute and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

4.  Assemble napoleons starting with a parmesan crisp.  Place a small amount of the goat cheese, about 1/2 teaspoon.  Gently press another crisp on top and repeat until you have three layers of each.  You can put a garnish of herbs on top, but I just served them as they are.  If you want to be extra fancy, you can use a pastry bag with a star tip to place the goat cheese.

Quick cocktail party appetizers #1 — Tartlets and Bourbon

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So I’ve been a little preoccupied lately (and that’s why, but that’s because I’ve been busy planning a cocktail party).  But I’m back now and these are some of the things that I came up with.  I wasn’t sure what to serve even got some suggestions from other bloggers like The Breakfast Bachelor (I ran out of time to make his suggestion of Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries).  Since it was a cocktail party I wanted to do things that were easy to eat — finger foods, really.  Here’s what I had decided on serving (in addition to 2 big main course type things [pulled pork sandwiches and tater tot casserole] which I hope to discuss soon) — smoked salmon tartlets, leek and artichoke tartlets, double cheese napoleons, salami crisps, endive with herbed goat cheese, chocolate dream cake — black forest variation, Deviled Eggs, gougère, and Kale – radish – fennel salad.  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures for everything, but I do for most things.

Alright so it wasn't a cocktail party -- it was a bourbon tasting. This is what we had. And I am aware that Rye is not Bourbon.

Here, I’ll focus on the tartlets.  These are easy and quick to make.  If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll already know how to make the shells (so visit me on Facebook).  But since that includes only 13 of you, I will go over it here.  This idea I adapted from Martha, but she used mini cupcake pans and cut the wrappers into small circles.  I don’t bother with cutting and I use a standard cupcake / muffin pan.

Such a quick step. These can last on the counter in an airtight container for about 2 weeks or in the freezer for 2 months or so.

Here’s what you need:

  • one package wonton wrappers (square or round), mine had 4 dozen in it
  • vegetable oil

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Brush both sides of the wrapper with oil and stuff it into the cups of a muffin tin.

2.  Bake for between 8 – 10 minutes until golden.  If you use a darker pan, it will darken faster.  Allow to cool on a rack before filling.

Artichoke and Leek Tartlets.

For the artichoke and leek tartlets:

This is a quick and easy version of an artichoke and leek lasagna that I make.  Here’s what you need:

  • 4 leeks
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts; chopped, drained, and rinsed
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 – 3 T. olive oil

1.  Cut leeks in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/4 in slices.  Soak those in water to make sure that you clean out any sediment and then spin it dry.

2.  Heat the olive oil in the pan and add the dried leeks.  Stir to coat; add salt and pepper.

3.  Cover and cook for five minutes on medium heat.  Uncover and raise the heat to medium high and sauté for about 10 minutes or until tender.  Add the artichokes off the heat and allow mixture to cool.

4.  Spoon into prepared wonton cups.

Smoked Salmon Tartlets. I probably could've sliced to pickle thinner but they still tasted good.

For the smoked salmon tartlets:

No real recipe here.  I just made a batch of my smoked fish spread #1, but omitted the capers.  Instead I put slivers of pickle on top.  It would have been better if I used cornichons, but I don’t normally have those in my fridge.  Besides, those are just small pickles anyway.

The tartlets went quick. Good thing I had lots of extra shells.

March Foodie Holidays

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Here's Daisy and Cooper with this month's holiday announcements!

Happy March everybody!  It’s another big month for foodie holidays — including my 1st blogiversary (can’t believe that it’s been a year already, not that that’s a foodie holiday).  I was thinking about having an anniversary giveaway but I’m not sure yet.  Maybe I’ll post something on Facebook (11 likes so far!  check out the bottom of the side menu)!  More on that later, but check me out on Facebook anyway.  Anyhoo, here’s what we have in store for this month (check out some of these links):   Celery Month, Flour Month, Frozen Food Month, Noodle Month, Nutrition Month, Peanut Month, and Sauce Month.  Now here are some of the special days that we can celebrate in March:

Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, Fruit Compote Day

2  Banana Cream Pie Day

3  Cold Cuts Day, Mulled Wine Day

Poundcake Day

Cheese Doodle Day

6  Frozen Food Day, White Chocolate Cheesecake Day

Crown Roast of Pork Day, Cereal Day

8  Peanut Cluster Day, Agriculture Day

Crabmeat Day

10  Blueberry Popover Day

11  Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day

12  Baked Scallops Day

13  Coconut Torte Day

14  Potato Chip Day

15  Peanut Lovers’ Day, Pears Helene Day

16  Artichoke Heart Day

18  Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day

19  Poultry Day, Chocolate Caramel Day

20  Ravioli Day

21  French Bread Day

23  Chip and Dip Day, Melba Toast Day

24  Chocolate Covered Raisins Day

25  Lobster Newburg Day

26  Waffle Day (in Sweden), Nougat Day

27  Spanish Paella Day

28  Black Forest Cake Day1st Blogiversary!

29  Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

30  Turkey Neck Soup Day

31  Clams-on-the-Half-Shell Day

I have no idea how these two ended up hugging like this. I could just barf it's so cute.