Friday, November 13, 2009
Oasis of the Seas, Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate.
This morning we saw pictures of Oasis of the Seas, the world's biggest cruise ship, entering harbour in Port Everglades, Florida. What a monster. If you could stand her on one end she would be as high as the Empire State building. There are lots of statistics and other information about her and some pictures, but seeing her actually coming into port was quite something. I don't think I would ever want to cruise on her though, she takes over 3,000 passengers, that's way too many in my book. There are videos and all kinds of information at this site. The captain said on GMA this morning that the ship handled really well and had great power and manoeuvrability. By the way, the yellow strip along the side of the ship is lifeboats. I didn't mention, there is a park on board with real trees growing and you can sit under the open sky. Also an author this morning, Frank Beddor who has been writing stories about The Looking Glass Wars, which he says are the truth about Alice (Alyss) in Wonderland and how she got to be in England. They sounded fascinating so I have put an order in for the first of the trilogy which is called exactly that. His latest book is called The Arch Enemy. When I start reading the trilogy I will let you know whether I enjoy it. We are bowling, as usual, this afternoon, tomorrow we are going to a Pigtail or Schnitzel dinner at the Legion in Hespeler, Cambridge (last year I had both) Sunday we have a bowling tournament at 10 in the morning and then I am meeting friends for lunch, one of the friends I have never met f2f before, she is from Texas, so I am really looking forward to that. Then of course we bowl again Monday. Oy vey. Why is it these things all come at once? We are going to a new restaurant on Sunday called the My Thai - I have been wanting to go there for a while so this will be my opportunity. Eating Well come up with some delicious recipes, this one is a recommendation for Thanksgiving but... you know me and chocolate. That reminds me, I forgot to mention I finally got hold of the right Lindt chocolates yesterday. (I got the wrong make last week if you recall). We bought a bar of dark chocolate and another of milk. They are delectable, I could have eaten both bars instantly without a scrap of trouble. Lindt chocolate is some of the best in the world and if you haven't tried these, you really must. An ecstatic experience I can assure you. Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut Shortbread Crust From EatingWell: November/December 2008 A sublime silky chocolate custard fills this simple hazelnut shortbread crust. Serve garnished with whipped cream and toasted hazelnuts for a special touch. 10 servings Ingredients Crust * 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour * 1/4 cup all-purpose flour * 1/2 cup hazelnuts * 1/4 cup sugar * 1/2 teaspoon salt * 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces * 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil, or canola oil * 1 tablespoon ice water Filling * 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin * 1 tablespoon water * 3/4 cup low-fat milk * 2 large egg yolks * 2 1/2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided * 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour * 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped * 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua (optional) * 4 dried egg whites (see Ingredient Note), reconstituted according to package directions (equivalent to 2 egg whites) * 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. 2. To prepare crust: Coat a 9-inch tart pan with cooking spray. Combine whole-wheat pastry flour, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, hazelnuts, 1/4 cup sugar and salt in a food processor; process until the nuts are finely ground. Add butter one piece at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until incorporated. Add oil and ice water and pulse just until incorporated. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan (it will be crumbly), spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and all the way up the sides to form a crust. 3. Bake the crust until set and the edges are beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. 4. To prepare filling: Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; let stand, stirring once or twice, while you prepare the rest of the filling. 5. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until steaming (but not boiling); remove from the heat to cool slightly. 6. Whisk egg yolks, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon flour in a medium bowl until combined. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot milk. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining hot milk. Return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (do not boil), about 1 minute. Remove from the heat; whisk in chocolate until completely melted. Whisk in the softened gelatin and coffee liqueur (if using) until smooth. 7. Beat reconstituted egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until frothy. Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Gently fold the chocolate custard into the egg whites until blended. Spoon the filling into the crust; smooth the top with the back of a spoon and chill, uncovered, until set, about 1 hour. Tips & Notes * Make Ahead Tip: Loosely cover and refrigerate the tart for up to 1 day. | Equipment: 9-inch tart pan (with or without removable bottom) * Ingredient Note: Dried egg whites are pasteurized—a wise choice when making uncooked fillings. You'll find them in the baking or natural-foods section of most supermarkets. Reconstitute according to package directions. Have a great day.