Monday, June 27, 2011

Baked Camembert with Thyme and Garlic

With both Mrs. BA and I working all week, we tend to do our grocery store shopping on the weekends. I have never gotten into the whole grocery delivery thing - I like going to the grocery store. Sometimes, evening runs to the grocery store are what happens. Mrs. BA stays home with the boys and gets them ready and off to bed and I come home with dinner. For her (and if I have gone to Wegmans) that may mean some Brie and a baguette for dinner. So here's a recipe just for her, but feel free to use it yourself.

Baked Camembert with Thyme and Garlic
[from Epicurious]

[from the author] This recipe is a favorite of mine on a cold winter's night as it always reminds me of times with friends when we would ski and snowboard all day then sit by a log fire and eat and drink all night. If you don't have maple syrup on hand, use a spoonful of honey instead.
Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 x 9oz camembert in its wooden box
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 small baguette, cut into 1/2 in slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • crushed sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the camembert from the box and discard any wax paper packaging. Take a 10-inch square of foil and place in the box. Place the camembert inside.

Pierce the top of the camembert with the tip of a knife and push in the slices of garlic. Sprinkle the thyme leaves over the top and drizzle with the maple syrup. Loosely scrunch the foil up over the cheese. Set aside.

Brush two 12-inch square sheets (the size of your baking sheet) of parchment paper with oil. Line a baking sheet with one of the oiled parchment sheets, oil-side up. Spread the slices of baguette over the sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with crushed sea salt. Place the remaining sheet of parchment, oil-side down, over the bread.

Place in the oven with the camembert and cook both for 10 to 12 minutes until the cheese has risen and the bread is crisp. Open up the foil and dip in the hot baguette for a simple snack. Delicious!

Source Information
From Take 5 Ingredients: 95 Delicious Dishes Using Just 5 Ingredients by James Tanner.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Malt Shoppe Memories Ice Cream Cookie Cake

Yesterday was Father's Day, and there was no Carvel Ice Cream Cake to celebrate. I was however working at the United States Open (golf) at Congressional Country Club. This cake however would appear to likely rival the Carvel cake, right down to the chocolate crunchies. I don't normally like to post recipes that use pre-mixed stuff, but I'm making an exception here. It was a 2010 Prize Winning Recipe from Betty Crocker!

  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® double chocolate chunk cookie mix
  • 2/3 cup chocolate-flavor malted milk powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup hot fudge topping
  • 1 cup crushed chocolate-covered malted milk balls
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 2 cups chocolate ice cream, softened
  • 1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Or line 9-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving about 2 inches of the foil overhanging sides of pan; lightly spray with cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, 1/3 cup of the malted milk powder, oil, water and egg until soft dough forms. Press 1/2 of dough into bottom of pan. Bake 12 to 13 minutes or until set. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, press remaining 1/2 of the dough into 10-inch circle on large ungreased cookie sheet. After removing cookie crust in springform or 9-inch pan from oven, bake dough on cookie sheet 12 to 13 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool 15 minutes.
  4. Spread hot fudge topping over crust in springform or 9-inch pan. In medium bowl, break apart large cookie until crumbly. Stir in crushed malted milk balls. Sprinkle 1/2 of the crumbled cookie mixture over hot fudge; press lightly.
  5. In large bowl, combine both softened ice creams and remaining 1/3 cup malted milk powder until well blended. Spread ice cream mixture over crumbs in pan. Gently spread whipped topping over ice cream. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Cover with foil. Freeze at least 5 hours or until firm. To serve, remove sides of springform pan or lift dessert using foil out of 9-inch pan. Let stand 5 minutes. Use hot wet knife to cut into wedges or squares. Store covered in freezer.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dining in DC - Escargots

Pretty much if escargot are on a menu, I'm going to order them. I love them. I am probably one of the only people you know who owns sets of snail shells, escargot trays, plates and forks. Back in the beginning of May, the [poor excuse of a] Sunday magazine in the Washington Post published a list about the best places to get escargot in the DC area. I have eaten at three of the five on the list. See? I told you. Now escargot are not for everyone. But that's fine, more for me. Do you think they are serving them in the hospitality tent at the US Open?
  1. Bistro D'Oc - it's across the street from Ford's Theatre and it was the location of a celebratory dinner for the Brave Astronauts and the OSGs a few years back.
  2. Bistro du Coin - also the scene of a Brave Astronaut celebration (I think it was an anniversary dinner) again with the OSGs.
  3. Le Refuge - haven't been here, yet. But flambeed escargot might just get me there.
  4. Le Vieux Logis - I used to walk past this restaurant on my way home from the Metro when I lived in Bethesda. While I haven't had their escargot, I had them at La Miche, up the street, where in fact Mrs. BA and I held our rehearsal dinner the night before we got married, which has unfortunately since closed.
  5. Mannequin Pis - this great restaurant was the stop for a few years after Christmas tree shopping. It's very unassuming but the food (the mussels are the standout) is outstanding.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Are You There Readers? It's Me, Brave Astronaut

Yes, I'm still here. The highly anticipated Rapture came . . . and went. It would seem most of us are still here. Evidently it's been rescheduled. Since I last posted (a recipe on April 25) a lot has happened and I have been trying to keep my head above water with all the things going on. I apologize for my absence and hope that you have been standing by waiting for my return. I will try and be better going forward. Let's say that here on the night of the first official (?) / unofficial (?) Republican Presidential Debate - I'm tan, rested, and ready [to continue].

So, what have you people all been up to? I have seen that some of my online blogging friends have also been contemplating their blogworthiness (keep it going, Stinkypaw - we love you!), others have been busy taking photographs of most of the residents of SW Scotland (and he does a fine, fine job), while still others have been out and about on vacation (from the pictures it looks like all had a great time).

Now, you people must all be starving, as I haven't posted a recipe here in three weeks now. Usually there has been enough "in the larder" so that I can have a couple of recipes ready to auto-post. I actually do have several in my Google Reader, which I just need to create into posts, which should have you all in new (and old) things to cook and eat throughout the summer.

So what have I been up to? Well first there was this. I spent the better part of this spring campaigning for a seat on my local Town Council. Intrepid readers will remember I ran for this seat two years ago, losing to the incumbent. This year the incumbent stepped aside and four of us stepped up to run. While I managed to double the number of votes I received two years ago, I still fell short. I will continue to be involved with the Town and be sure to keep my opponent - the newly elected Council Member on her toes.

After that I was the co-chair for this meeting. Working as a co-chair for a Local Arrangements Committee is sort of like being both the tortoise and the hare from their race. You plod along as the meeting date gets closer, breaking into a run here and there, sitting back while others complete their work, make a mad dLinkash at the end and then just let the ending play out as the conference gets underway. We had a really great meeting and managed to have the most attendees for a MARAC meeting ever.

At work, things continue - as my employer undergoes a major transformation. Divisions are being realigned and renamed and my colleagues and I await the word on what will come of us. In the professional organization to which I belong, I did manage to win an election (the secret is evidently to run unopposed) - I was elected Vice President / President-elect of the organization.

Then I served as an usher for this (as I have done in the past). It was a great evening and I had the opportunity to meet and shake hands with Scott Bakula. Later this week I will begin my volunteering position at the United States Open (golf) at Congressional Country Club. I will be working on the scoreboards, so if you watch, you might see me, although I'm not allowed to peek.

Of course we are moving into the summer months so the pool is up and running - and we are looking to spend as much time as possible there. It would appear that I am the father of a "rising" first grader, which I can't spend a lot of time thinking about. But LBA will be starting camp soon and SoBA will finish another year of daycare (and might actually be potty trained before long).

Then in August, I will travel to Chicago for the Annual Meeting of my national professional organization. Among the regular professional obligations, I will be helping about 100 of my closest colleagues head out to a baseball game at Wrigley. Want to come?

Well, I am sure there is more to tell and I will try and fill some of the gaps over the next few weeks, but to get back on track, here's a recipe and please accept my thanks for coming back or staying with me during my prolonged absence.

Now I know that Easter has passed, but one of my weaknesses are those Reeses Peanut Butter eggs. And Mrs. BA's (who prefers these Easter treats, which she is welcome to) best pal sent me a link for a recipe for homemade peanut butter eggs. So here it is.

Homemade Peanut Butter Easter Eggs

  • 2 packages (18 sheets) graham crackers, crushed very finely
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 Tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Chocolate candy melts or almond bark
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar. Mix on medium low until fully combined. You may have to use your hands to make sure it's completely blended.

Shape the mixture into eggs. I rolled it into golf ball sized balls, then formed the egg shape from there. Place on a wax paper lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for one hour.

Once the eggs are frozen firm, melt your chocolate according to package directions. Place the eggs in the chocolate one at a time, and slide a fork under each egg to remove. Place back on wax paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sprinkles and refrigerate eggs until chocolate is set.

This will make about 24 Reese's egg-sized eggs.