Friday, April 29, 2011

What's On the Bottom?

Feeling in the mood for something sweet and……FOODGASMIC! Well I’ve got the treat that is just right for that.

This is by far one of my favorite cakes to make and it’s super sassy, kind of like me. It’s my sassy mango upside-down cake, a sassy new take on that old standard from the fifties, pineapple upside-down cake. It’s fun to take boring old recipes, add a dash of FOODGASM, and "voila,"a brand new and even better creation.

The mango upside-down cake is a great dish especially in the spring and summer months when fresh fruits are super abundant.  This is a cake that is always a crowd-pleaser and fairly easy to put together. No frosting necessary, just fresh fruit, whipped cream and lemon syrup for on top. Or you can have it naked……with just those sexy caramelized mangoes on top.  Mmm, caramelized fruit is seductive and mouth watering.

What recipes have you updated and put a new, sexy twist on? I’d love to hear all about it. Hope you enjoy my mango upside-down cake and your FOODGASM!



This episode of Foodgasm is sponsored by Tucker Company .


MANGO UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE


INGREDIENTS
For mango topping
2 (1-lb) firm-ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
For cake batter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, 2 of them separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup orange juice

DIRECTIONS
Make topping:
Slice around the pit of the peeled mango and cut into thick rectangular 3/8 inch slices. Be careful doing this, since peeled mango is very slippery. Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, and then stir in brown sugar. Simmer, stirring, until butter is incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread mixture in bottom of a buttered 9- by 2-inch round baking pan and arrange mango on top, overlapping slices. Making it into a pretty arrangement of your liking.

Make batter:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, powdered ginger and salt. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Add whole egg and yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add half of flour mixture and mix at low speed until just combined. Mix in orange juice, and then add remaining flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Beat egg whites in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold stiff peaks, and then fold into batter gently but thoroughly.
Gently spoon batter over mango topping and spread evenly. Bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around inside edge of pan, then invert a plate over pan and invert cake onto plate. Cool completely on plate on rack.

You can dress it up by topping it with bright and fun colored fresh fruits on top and fresh whipped cream. I also like to drizzle on top of all that with some simple lemon syrup.

Lemon Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, about 20 minutes. Use this to drizzle on top of the mango upside down cake.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Foodgasmic Feast

Guest blog by Etta Worthington, producer/director of FOODGASM


 It’s almost the weekend again. A good time for dinner and a movie. Or you could try movie in a movie.

My favorite movie which focuses on a wonderful meal is called Babette’s Feast.

If you didn't catch it on the big screen when it was released in 1987, or if you haven’t seen the DVD, this is a movie you’ll have to see. Or maybe you’ll want to watch it again.

A Danish film directed by Gabriel Axel, it has a dreariness and darkness one comes to expect from that part of the world. But it’s not all grey and cold, in this world created by author Isak Dinesen. (Yes, the same author whose book Out of Africa was adapted as a movie starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep.)

Martina and Philippa are two older spinsters, sisters who live and carry on the work of their deceased Father/preacher on the Jutland coast. They cart soup to the poor and try to keep the congregation of the faithful together.

Into that dreary grey world blows in a French woman, Babbette. She’s escaping Paris and the Revolution, and she bears a letter of reference from a former suitor of Philippa. The sisters take in Babette who cooks and cleans, in exchange for room and board.

They show her how to prepare the salted cod and the gruel made of dried bread and ale that they live on. She takes on the cooking and soon makes improvements.

Fourteen years pass. Babette is a fixture in the sisters’ home and in the congregation that seems to always be at odds. And then a letter arrives. Babette has won the lottery. And all she asks is that she be allowed to cook a French dinner for the 100th anniversary of the father’s birth.

Reluctantly the sisters agree but when the provisions that Babette procures from France arrive, they regret their decision.

What follows is an incredible feast in an austere dining room transformed into a fine restaurant. First there’s Soupe a la tortue a la Louisianne (turtle soup). This is followed by Blinis Demidof a l'Oobleck (small pancackes served with caviar and sour cream). And if you’re not hungry yet, there’s Cailles en sarcophages, or quail stuffed with black truffles and backed in puffed pastry. (And this wasn’t the frozen puffed pastry!)



Each course is accompanied by a tantalizing wine, which leaves the parishioners stunned and silent. But their pleasure then erupts into some significant reconciliation. And only the visiting General comments on the food, lauding "the ability to transform a dinner into a kind of love affair, a love affair that made no distinction between bodily appetite and spiritual appetite."

And if you’re really ambitious, you might want to recreate this experience some day. Really—recipes are available online.

But for now, rent the DVD and watch the movie (again). I recommend you cook something quite wonderful to go along with this. And uncork a lovely bottle of wine. And of course have someone to share it with.

Is this the best meal on film? Or is there a film you’ve seen with a meal in it that seems more foodgasmic than this one?  What's your favorite food movie?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Make it Yourself

You saw me make the Green Bean Cass-A-Rolls. Now here's the recipe so you can make them yourself.

GREEN BEAN CASS-A-ROLLS
Makes about 24 rolls

For the rolls:
1 lb. green beans with the top snipped off
1 sheet of thawed puff pastry
2 eggs whisked with 1 T water (for egg wash)
flour (for dusting)

For the mushroom sauce:
1 T butter
2 T finely chopped shallots
1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms (I used half crimini and half shitake)
2 t dry sherry
1 ½ c heavy whipping cream
1-2 t chopped fresh tarragon
salt/pepper to taste

For the crispy fried onions:
1 ½ c thinly sliced onions ( cut onion in half then thinly slice half moons)
1 T flour
oil for frying (use canola, corn, or vegetable oil and fill halfway up a medium saucepan)
salt



Directions:
Preheat oven to 400

Blanche the green beans in salted boiling water for three minutes then shock them in a bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry and set aside.

Roll out the thawed (make sure it is thawed in the fridge and doesn’t get to warm which makes it hard to work with) puff pastry on a lightly floured surface till it’s about 1/8 in. thick and larger in surface size.

Cut into four equal sections (4 rectangles. Separate the green beans into 4 equal parts and put each group lengthwise onto the top of each puff pastry and roll each one down very tightly like a sushi roll till the dough is completely covering and smooth all around. Pinch the middle seem of puff pastry to bond and seal the rolls. At this point they will have green bean ends sticking out of both ends.

Cut off ends just into the puff pastry. Then slice into five rolls about 1 in. thick. Carefully place flat onto flat sheet pans lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Do this for the rest of the rolls.

With a pastry brush, brush the egg wash heavily on the rolls. This helps to bind the delicate rolls so that the green beans don’t fall out.

Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes till they are puffed and golden brown.
While they are baking, you can make the mushroom sauce and fried onions.

In sauté pan, melt the 1 T butter and sauté the shallots over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and sauté till they are soft and slightly browned about 5 minutes.

Add in the sherry to deglaze the pan. Add in the heavy whipping cream and turn the heat up to medium high heat and let the cream come to a rolling boil. Let it cook down till it’s reduced by half and is thick.

Season with s/p to taste and add in chopped tarragon. Set aside. Fill medium saucepan halfway up with oil and set over medium high heat. Toss the onions with the flour till lightly coated. To test if oil is hot enough, throw in one piece and see if it sizzles. If ready, in batches fry the onions till dark golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt.

Assembly:

On top of the rolls, spoon a small bit of the mushrooms sauce and top with the crispy onions. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Green Bean Cass-A-Rolls

Welcome to the tasty and seductive world of FOODGASM, the new sensual web cooking series. FOODGASM is a little bit naughty, a little bit nice and has the feel of the 1940’s. I am Ashley Simone, the sassy and saucy host of FOODGASM. It’s all about the pleasure, love and enjoyment of food. I will cook up some fantastic treats that’ll be sure to wet your appetite. I like to focus my cooking on alternative diets like pescetarian (seafood and fish), vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and lactose free. But this food is made to be tasty to meat- eaters as well. Food should be enjoyed first with the eyes then with the tongue. I always say, “Food is love”.

For the first web episode of FOODGASM, I am making a fun dish that recreates that boring old green casserole into a sassy modern appetizer. I like to call them Green Bean Cass-A-Rolls. I love food that is fun to eat and feels sexy in your mouth. Mmmmmmmmm, I feel a FOODGASM coming on. So, I hope you enjoy this tasty appetizer that is both vegetarian and super fun to say. I hope you enjoy these Green Bean Cass-A-Rolls as much as I do. And remember, Food is Love!



This episode of Foodgasm is sponsored by David Strzepek of Total Promotions.