Friday, January 28, 2011

Before the Sounds of Chirping Crickets Drives You Crazy...

I'm sorry that I have gone silent. I haven't been reading your blogs much or posting any of my own. I actually had a blog prepared over the weekend, but fate intervened.

After ruining having fun with a blogger recipe and making a delicious chocolate hazelnut tart between Thursday and Friday last week, I was intendding to finish writing and posting photos the blog entry and post it over the weekend.

Sunday afternoon fate intervened in the form of a slightly nervous pony. I was riding my young pony Riddle in a crowded indoor ring, trying to help her remember the concept of a canter (she's young and she forgets).

Just as she was picking it up, she passed by the entrance of the ring where she glimpsed the movement of someone coming in out of the corner of her eye. For a brief moment she thought it was a monster, as young horses often do, and ducked out of the way. Ducking sideways while suspended in an initial canter stride is not good for a horse's balance - or a rider's. I was unceremoniously flung to the ground, wrenching my back in the process. Riddle, never having had a rider fall off of her before, was pretty terrified and attempted to get herself out of the way. She tried to jump over my crumpled heap of a body, but there was some hoof contact.

I preach a lot on my blogs about the importance of helmet use and make a fuss when FN personalities show up on horseback bareheaded. Well, this was one of those times when I can really say I'm right to be so crazy. There was a very distinct hoofprint on the back of my helmet. Had I not been wearing it, I'm sure I would not be sitting her typing this blog two days later. What happened to me (a horse spooking) could happen to anyone regardless of age, experience or riding discipline, so please accept this public service announcement to always wear your protective headgear when on a horse.

I was, however, crumpled up with a nasty pain in my back and hips. Although I swore I'd be fine and begged everyone to just let me stand up, they insisted on calling an ambulence and shuttling me off to the ER. Really all I wanted were some pain meds. I suppose it wasn't a bad idea for me to be in a place where my vital signs could be monitored. I remember being freezing for my first couple of hours in the hospital. They must have given me four blankets and even then I was constantly trying to warm my feet. I suppose I was probably at risk for shock. Other than that, there was nothing wrong with me. X-rays and CAT scans showed no broken bones. I was just badly bruised and I was going to have to put up with pain for a while. Just before I left I finally got the drugs I had been begging for. I was grateful for the constant presence of my mother, husband, and good friend Lynne.

So this week isn't one for cooking. I'm not too comfortable hobbling around the kitchen. Percoset and icy roads don't make for ideal conditions to drive to the store to buy ingredients either. Thank goodness my wonderful husband is so good at fetching takeout. I do at least have my unposted blog below for your enjoyment. Hope to get myself at least reading your blogs again and maybe next week I can go back to doing my own cooking.

I love it when I stumble on new blogs. Sometimes I find them when someone new comes here to visit TERP. Sometimes I will randomly click on the blog of someone posting comments on blogs I already read. Every once in a while a random Google search will help me find a new blog.

That happened to me this week. I was looking for a recipe when I came across My NYC Food blog. Although the blog didn't have the exact recipe I was looking for, it had enough interesting stuff on it for me to keep reading anyway. It's always nice to find another local* blogger too. It was filled with simple, nutritious recipes with an Asian flare. I can't even hate Nika for being such a gorgeous skinny model.

I didn't find the recipe I was looking for, but I did find a great idea for a weeknight meal.

Sweet soy pork chops with ginger scallion noodles and pickled daikon sounded great to me.

I had to make some adjustments though.

First I had to use chicken rather than pork chops if I didn't want to have to make my husband a separate dinner. I wanted to use thighs, but the horrible local A&P where I was forced to shop didn't have them. I settled for the breastacles. The marinade contained 2 spoonfuls of agave nectar instead of sugar.

I also skipped the pickled daikon. Just a little too risky to try to serve that to the husband.

Instead of cabbage (which he doesn't like) and shitakes (which I don't like) I used bok choy.

The noodle recipe I pretty much followed to the letter. The ingredient list doesn't include shallots, but the instructions did, so I used 3 of them. I also separated the white parts of the scallions from the green and cooked the white parts with the shallots and and tossed the greens with the ginger and cooked noodles.

The plateful. Yum. Husband just loved this. Chicken was tender and flavorful and husband wants me to make this again soon. The flavors in the marinade were so simple, but they hit all the right notes.

I also made a chocolate tart to soothe my soul after seeing all of the snow this week. It was made with a basic tart crust and then some basic ganache went inside.

I doctored the ganache a bit. I made hazelnut praline by melting 1 cup of sugar and mixing it with 1 cup of chopped, toasted hazelnuts. Then I pulverized it in the food processor and mixed it with the ganache along with a touch of Frangelico.

Good stuff!

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart


1 Rich Tart Pastry Shell, partially baked
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken in small pieces
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbl Frangelico

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your toasted nuts in a single layer on the sheet.

In a small saucepan, cook sugar over medium high heat, swirling occasionally for even melting and also occasionally washing any crystals off the side of the pot with a brush dipped in cold water. Take the sugar to a deep amber. Pour sugar over nuts and let cool till set.

When the praline is set, whirl into a fine powder in a food processor. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chocolate pieces in a large bowl and bring cream to a boil. Pour over chocolate. Allow to stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile beat eggs and vanilla in a small bowl.

Stir the melted chocolate and cream together to combine. Carefully mix in eggs and praline powder. Pour into tart shell.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until edges are set. Allow to cool for an hour.

*I consider that a local blogger. I have to wonder if the city folk would consider us suburbanite bumpkins as local though. :-D


Sue said...

OMG!!! How do you feel now? That's soooo scary. I hope you're well on the mend...and that tart looks amazing.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Thanks for the compliment on the tart. I'm making a decent recovery. Two days later and I'm off the Percoset and surviving on good old fashioned Advil. I suspect it will be another week before I'm back in the gym, but I just baked a batch of brownies.

Sue said...

I think the brownies probably help as much as the Advil.

Susan @ SGCC said...

Wow! I'm so sorry about your accident! That must have been so scary. I hope you're back to your old self soon!

P.S. That tart should help ease the pain a little. It looks fantastic!