Monday, November 15, 2010

Vocab Quiz

Cheesy Pennies Vocab Quiz #1


Two of the words on the list are homophones* of each other.   The other words are homographs**, with both negative and positive connotations.   Use each word in a sentence to demonstrate these characteristics.

Extra credit:
Illustrate your work.

Dessert and desert are homophones.  Example sentence:   Four friends decided to take a holiday dessert course together, but three of the four friends deserted me, so the last friend went by herself.

The rest of the words are homographs.  Example sentences:

The instructor, noted pastry chef Robert Wemischner, had just begun showing the class how to properly laminate puff pastry, when Pam, who had risen from her sick bed so as not to abandon me***, walked in the door.
Pam is a class act!

When done right, homemade puff pastry is wonderfully light and flaky.
In the kitchen rolling out dough, we agreed that our flaky friends really missed out.

We learned an easy, foolproof formula for a great short crust. 
Napoleon was a short French megalomaniac.

Our friendly classmate, Lowell, kindly allowed me to poach some of his wine****.
It is sheer genius to poach pears (or any kind of fruit!) directly in rich, buttery caramel sauce.

The devil is said to have cloven hooves.
If you steep a dozen whole cloves and a vanilla bean with the liquid in your custard base, your ice cream can be cloven*****.

Next week's quiz:  Elegant synonyms for "super fattening."  Credit will be given for having edible examples for the instructor.

Robert's Cranberry Nut Tart
My favorite recipe of the night.  The crust is buttery, with a slight tang from the citrus, and is perfectly matched with the sharp flavors of cranberry and the crunchy, nutty caramel topping.  I will happily be making this again.

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. grated orange or tangerine zest
1 1/2 c.  of flour
pinch of salt

In a mixer or food processor, cream butter and sugar until light and smooth.   Add egg, vanilla, and zest, and continue to blend until combined.  Add flour and salt, and mix or pulse just until the flour disappears, about 30 seconds.   Scrape the bottom and sides to make sure you got all the flour.   Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, compressing to remove excess air.   Divide dough into two parts, cover each in plastic wrap, and flatten slightly and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.    Roll out to about 1/3 of an inch thickness, then line your tart pans, pressing the dough into the pans so it is evenly thick all around.   Prick the dough with a fork, then chill while you make the filling.

NOTES:  The recipe makes enough for two normal sized tarts, so you will have one extra wrapped disk of dough to use for something else.   You can keep it in the fridge for several days, or freeze for later.  You can also freeze the dough in the molds, tightly wrapped, for several weeks.   In case you didn't notice, the recipe uses a ratio of 1, 2, 3, 4.   The sugar is 1 part.  The butter is 2 parts.  The flour is 3 parts.  And the egg is one egg for every 4 oz of sugar.  

Cranberry Nut Filling
1 c. lightly toasted pecans, walnuts, and/or pistachios, chopped.
1 bag fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained.  For more textural contrast, use a combination of fresh and dried berries here.  We did!
1 stick butter
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla
Generous pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Place the toasted nuts and cranberries into a heatproof (stainless steel) mixing bowl.  In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and cream, and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat, add the vanilla and the salt, and pour over the cranberry nut mixture, stirring quickly but thoroughly to blend the mixture evenly.  Immediately pour the mixture into prepared tart pan and bake, on a baking sheet placed on the lowest rack of the oven, until the filling is boiling.    Remove from oven and cool to room temperature before serving.

I happen to love the cloven ice cream with this one.   But it also went very nicely with the chocolate semolina pudding, too.

* Words that sound the same, but are spelled differently.
** Words that are spelled the same, but mean entirely different things.
*** That, and she really wanted to find out about these caramel poached pears.   And she swore up and down that this idea alone was worth all the effort that it took to get out of her jammies and get into her car. 
**** I think he felt sorry for me because I had no friends at the beginning.
***** This may not be an actual word, but it is an outstanding idea, particularly when paired with the pear dessert.  Hey, look at that!  A bonus homophone!

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