Saturday, February 25, 2012

An Upgraded Take

While my family was in town, we went to one of our restaurant mainstays - The Keg. Although I am an adventurous eater and come from a family that has roots in the restaurant industry, my parents are fairly conservative when it comes to food. My brother is game to try new things, but doesn't cook. When I go out to eat with my parents we go to one of four or five restaurants that have been tried, tested, and true. They know what to order and what to expect and don't really stray from the list. The Keg is the default "fancy" place of the list where they can get a good steak. Ironically a few years ago my dad wasn't eating beef, I was a vegetarian and my mom was on a big seafood kick - yet we still went to The Keg!

Anyway, they had a set menu special that my mom had which included the Billy Miner Pie. It's basically a 4" high mocha ice cream pie on a chocolate crumb crust, topped with caramel sauce and almonds. It's generally a crowd pleaser, and yes, it's good! A couple of friends of mine love this dessert and as I was going to see them, I decided to do my own take on the Billy Miner Pie.

Let's break it down by component:

  • Mocha ice cream
  • Chocolate crumb crust
  • Caramel sauce
  • Almonds

The ice cream
Their ice cream was veeeeery fluffy (almost whipped) with a mild taste. I did a normal churned ice cream amped with chocolate and espresso powder which yielded a rich, smooth, and dense product. As you can see from the picture, I didn't get quite the height as the original but I'd sacrifice a bit of size for quality.

The crust
As for the crust, it seemed that the original had chocolate crumb packed onto the bottom and side of the slice. It was powdery and didn't have any solid support structure at all. I stuck with a chocolate crust, mixing boxed crumb with ground up toasted hazelnuts with melted butter and sugar. I pressed it into a tart pan and baked it for about 15 minutes. It was definitely more like a tart crust, but the nuts in the crumb added a great dimension to the flavour.

The sauce
Their was a basic caramel sauce. Probably from a bottle. I made a fudge sauce of which the base was a salted caramel sauce to which I added a generous handful of dark chocolate. Yeah. It was awesome. Thick. Gloppy. Not too sweet.

The almonds
Same for both. I could've toasted mine I suppose....

All in all - I think my version was pretty darn good. But let's all admit, we have weaknesses for things that are not quite as fussed over (mine is McCain's Deep & Delicious Cake).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Sandwich of Dreams!

I hosted a dinner for a date recently. I slow cooked a beef shank and served it on polenta with sauteed mushrooms. One of the parts of the meal I was looking forward to was the juicy (and giant) marrow of the beef bone. Like a bulleye, it stared me down whenever I opened up the lid of the slow cooker. I couldn't wait to plunge a knife into the centre and scoop out that velvety marrow and spread it on a piece of toasted baguette. Hell, I would have passed on the rest of the dinner for 10 minutes alone with that marrow bone. Alas, I had to share, but I did get two generously slathered baguette slices along with the rest of my dinner.

A couple of days later, I got to revisit the the Sandwich of Dreams!

I took the leftover baguette and cut it in half and lightly toasted it. I heated up some of the beef, shredded it and put it on the bread. The cherry on top? Slices of brie. Oh yeah. And yes, I had a bowl of au jus for dipping as well. (oh, and a baked yam with a dollop of yogurt)