Wednesday, April 30, 2008

CHILE RELLENO for CINCO de MAYO

Pretty peppers... did someone say chili relleno. Now I know these are not pablano peppers but my husband is really sensitive to hot stuff and these looked so nice for stuffing.

I have always wanted to make chili relleno but never really had the guts. I thought it was a pretty complicated process better left for restaurant chefs who do it all the time. Well I must say that I am glad I embarked on the little Mexican journey. I tell you that it was so worth it. So much less grease.
I think that part that I was most concerned about was the roasting and the batter. The roasting was incredibly easy and quick. I have always roasted my red peppers in the oven but I think I might switch to this way as it went so quickly.

Aren't they beautiful? I love roasted anything.














Here is the filling stuffed in the pepper. I made a T-type cut, chopped out the seed portion and rubbed out any remaining seeds. I then scooped the filling in very carefully. This part was the most difficult because the peppers are so delicate, taring very easily.








Insert a toothpick in to hold them together while going through the following steps. Make sure you remember to take them out when they are finished.










The batter is very easy. Whip 6 eggs until soft peaks form. Fold in the six egg yolks utnil combined.

Dredge the stuffed chiles in flour and then dip into egg mixture. Carefully. place in frying pan. They fry up very quickly and do not seem to absorb that much grease. The egg cooks so quickly and forms a crust. I used tongs to turn very gently. The turning is not easy just be gentle and patient.



Prepare a baking sheet with some red tomato sauce. You could use enchilada sauce or just a tomato sauce with garlic.

At this point you could place some cheese over them and bake them in the oven for about twenty minutes. I wanted to keep them on the light side so I served them just like that.











Everyone really enjoyed these and we were amazed about how light they were. Definitely a make again type recipe. One of the most helpful sites I found for chile relleno was the Wiki How To that had pictures of the process. Of course she seems to make it look super simple.

This is definitely a great dish to make for Cinco de Mayo. If you are entertaining that day a lot of the steps can be prepared in advance. You can have it in the oven when the guests arrive.

So enjoy your margarita or cerveza and Mexican food this Cinco de Mayo!

Stuffing recipe

1 ripe plantain
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper. minced
1 red pepper, minced
6 oz mozzarella, chopped

Saute onions, peppers and plantain. Cook until transluscent. Add garlic. Remove from heat and let cool. Add chopped mozzarella.

You can really put anything you want in the chiles. I added mostly vegetables to keep them pretty light.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake with Figs

It's Tuesday again with Dorie Greenspan. This week is a recipe that I probably would not have tried due to the ingredient list but low and behold it was an amazing cake that I thoroughly enjoyed. And would make again.

I divided my cake between a tartelette pan that I got in the mail the day before I made this. How's that for good timing? I also used a little spring form pan that I had.


The house was filled with an amazing aroma from the lemon zest as it was baking. I could hardly wait to try it. After it was done I could hardly resist one of the tartelettes. Oh my I loved it. It is sensational. I love the fact that it has nutritive value. This way I can rationalize it much easier. Okay so a Zumba class afterward was definitely called for.

Here is the recipe and I highly recommend it. I do not recommend the five inch springform. It browned too quickly and the center was not cooked. It was too thick, filled too much.

Now go and check out all the other blogs from Tuesday with Dorie.

Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

About 16 moist, plump dried Mission or Kadota figs, stemmed

1 c. medium-grain polenta or yellow cornmeal

½ c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 c. ricotta

1/3 c. tepid water

¾ c. sugar

¾ c. honey (if you’re a real honey lover, use a full-flavored honey such as chestnut, pine, or buckwheat)

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 large eggs

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10 ½-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Check that the figs are, indeed, moist and plump. If they are the least bit hard, toss them into a small pan of boiling water and steep for a minute, then drain and pat dry. If the figs are large (bigger than a bite), snip them in half.

Whisk the polenta, flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the ricotta and water together on low speed until very smooth. With the mixer at medium speed, add the sugar, honey, and lemon zest and beat until light. Beat in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are fully incorporated. You’ll have a sleek, smooth, pourable batter.

Pour about one third of the batter into the pan and scatter over the figs. Pour in the rest of the batter, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if necessary, and dot the batter evenly with the chilled bits of butter.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake should be honey brown and pulling away just a little from the sides of the panm, and the butter will have left light-colored circles in the top. Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the sides of the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

PINK MACARONS FOR A FRIEND


A friend of mine was just diagnosed with breast cancer. In a few days she will be having a mastectomy. This is the fourth woman I have known that has had breast cancer. WAY, WAY, WAY too many people. The great news is that two of the people I know have survived. They kicked cancer's butt. My Mother in law, who had a very fast moving type of breast cancer, fought hard for three years. I am crying as I write this as she was one of the most loving people I have ever known. It is just recently the anniversary of her death.

I know that my friend will kick this cancer. I decided to give her a treat before all of the chaos begins. I give her these pink macarons as it is the "color" for breast cancer. I give her macarons because they are a special treat and she is a special treat.

PINK MACARONS with WHITE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY GANACHE
(the macaron recipe is from Veronica's Test Kitchen)

  • 125 grams almond flour
  • 225 grams powdered sugar
  • 100 grams egg whites
  • 25 grams sugar

Preheat oven to 300 °F (I used 310°F to compensate for opening and closing the oven door). Run the almond flour and powdered sugar through a food processor and sift twice. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat at medium speed. Slowly add the granulated sugar and continue beating until the whites attain medium-peaks and are glossy.

Add your dry ingredients slowly to the meringue taking about six additions all in all.Pipe the batter to a diameter of an inch. And let rest for 30 minutes before baking.Bake for about 11 minutes or until done, turning the sheets halfway through.

(In her recipe she calls for cream of tartar, I missed that and did not use it.)

WHITE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY GANACHE (adapted from rasberry ganache at Tartelette's site)

8 oz white chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cranberry puree

To make cranberry puree: Boil cranberry's until soft. Run through the blender and pour through sieve afterward.
In a heavy bottom saucepan, heat the cream to boiling, remove from heat and stir in the white chocolate. Whisk until completly combined, add the cranberry puree. Refrigerate until ready to fill the macarons.

Friday, April 25, 2008

DAILY BREAD... NOT SO DAILY


I was able to get a big bag of flour before the price really skyrocketed. How upsetting to see the price of flour and rice start to soar. Well I wont focus on that because I find that too depressing. I will just live in a lovely state of denial. Okay I know it is not reality but it does help to keep a smile on my face. So what the hay?

I have always enjoyed making bread, particularly when I got over my fear of yeast and all. I use to think that after I mixed everything and kneaded that if I did not tuck it into the bowl with a cover that it would surely fail. Silly me. Now, after making countless loaves I am so very nonchalant about the whole process. I even recently started making my own recipes. Never thought that would happen.

This here is a recipe from Bernard Clayton's book, New Complete Book of Breads. The recipe is on page 39, Sister Virginia's Daily Loaf. I must say Sister Virginia, you make a good loaf of bread! Seems Sister Virginia was part of the Shakers. "Sster Virginia, who created this loaf, was one of Kentucky's community's members. As that was a celibate order, all members were gone by the mid 1920's but Sister Virginia earned herself a certain immortality for creating this fine loaf." (Bernard Clayton, New Complete Book of Breads).
What more could we hope for then some immortality and happiness. Believe me, this bread will make you happy.

SISTER VIRGINIA'S DAILY LOAF (yield 2 loaves)
(I did not write the instructions verbatim as there are lots of different directions for food processors, etc. Please refer to the book for specifics. What is written here are the essential instructions to form your loaf.)

1 pkg dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water, plus 1 cup water (105-115 F)
1 cup milk
2 T sugar
2 t salt
4 T vegetable shortening or lard
7 cups bread flour or ap flour. approx.
1/2 T butter, melted

Prepare two medium loaf pans (8 1/2 x 4 1/2) with grease.
In a small bowl or cup dissolve yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water. Stir to dissolve and set aside. Warm the milk in a large saucepan and the sugar, salt and lard. The lard need only soften, not melt. Add the 1 cup water. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir together with a large wooden spoon.

Pour in 3 cups flour and beat 100 strong strokes by hand or for 3 minutes with a mixer. COntinue adding flour 1/2 cup at a time. Knead for about 8 minutes by hand or with mixer. The dough should be smooth and not sticky.

Place in bowl with a plastic cover and rise 1 hour.

Fold loaf over itself to deflate, a few turns. Cut into two pieces for two loaves. Fold/roll with the outside of your palm, then pinch together. Raise in loaf pans for about another hour.

Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes. Loaves really should sit for an hour uncut, if you can do this.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

CARROT CAKE A LA DORIE

This is a very nice carrot cake recipe. I sure liked all the cinnamon. I also like how the oil gave it kind of a "crusty" appearance on the outside. Great taste. I did tweak the frosting a little. I usually have a ton of lemons in the refrigerator but unfortunately did not have any this time. I did however have oranges and I thought well hey carrots and orange juice go together, why not use an orange. It was definitely a twist on carrot cake!



Well it was a lot of fun making those cute marzipan carrots. I have never done anything like that before. I have seen so many pics of cute marzipan charactors and flowers, etc., I just had to try it!


This cake was just begging for color.


Bill's Big Carrot Cake

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Yields 10 servings

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted w/ a shredding a blade or use a box grater)

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries

2 cups sugar

1 cup canola oil

4 large eggs

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

½ cup shredded coconut (optional)

Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)


Getting ready:

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.


To make the cake:

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.


Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.


The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.


To make the frosting:

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.

If you'd like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.


To assemble the cake:

Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.


Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.

Serving:


This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it's good plain, it's even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.


Storing:

The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it's firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.

Monday, April 21, 2008

DAIKON CAKE AND COURAGE


I don't know if this ever happened to any of you but it sure happened to me. I saw this wonderful recipe at Nook and Pantry and being the lover of Asian food that I am I decided to try it. My pantry is full of Asian stock (Thai, Japanese and Chinese stuff). Some of which I have wanted to try but did not have the courage. I am embarassed to say that some of the stuff has been there about two years. So of course when I see a recipe that uses one of these "I don't have the courage" to make, then I have to try it. Besides I have this rice flour that I have been wanting to use up so this was an ideal recipe for me to try. Thank you Nook and Pantry.

So here I am making it and after I added the dried shrimp I thought I would gag. I love shrimp but it was just the idea of trying this new way of eating it. (How lame is that?). I am happy to say that I forged on. I was richly rewarded with the yummiest dish. My husband and I had them two nights in a row until they were all gone! We did fight over the last couple of pieces. I ended up giving them to him because honestly I stole a couple while I was making them.
(I dont want you to think I lack all the food courage in the world as I have eaten Rocky Mountain Oysters and some other things, he he and I loved the Rocky Mountain Oysters).

I served them with soy sauce mixed with a little water, sesame oil, a teaspoon or so of brown sugar, ginger and garlic. I did modify the recipe a little.

Next time I make these I am going to make them like shrimp toast as the texture really reminded me of that.

Chinese Daikon Cake
(Luo Buo Gao) from Nook and Pantry

3 C coarsely shredded daikon (around 1 1/2 to 2 lbs)
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, finely diced
3 Tbsp small dried shrimp, finely diced
4 green onion stalks, thinly sliced
2 C rice flour (do not use glutinous rice flour)
1 3/4 C water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and white pepper
oil for frying ( you do not need very much)
sesame seeds for sprinkling on them when they are finished

Soak dried mushrooms and dried shrimp in hot water. You can do this in the same bowl or seperate bowls. Peel and shred daikon. Lightly pack into measuring cups for the most accurate measurement. Mix rice flour with remaining cup of water.

In a skillet with a teaspoon of oil saute rehydrated shitakes, shrimp, and green onion for 2 to 3 minutes. Add daikon, 3/4 C water, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp white pepper. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Meanwhile, grease a square cake pan or loaf pan and start the steamer. ( I used a 9 inch cake pan. In a very large saute pan I put a round cookie rack and placed the water inn the pan. I carefully dropped the 9 inch cake pan round into the saute pan and placed the cover on it.)

Stir in the rice flour water mixture then spread into the greased pan. Steam for 50 minutes.

Cool or chill overnight. After cooling, cut the cake into 1/4 in slices and pan fry until both sides are golden brown.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

LIVESTRONG EVENT




I found out about the Livestrong event on Tartlette's site. I jumped at the chance to participate. I recently lost my Aunt to cancer. About three years ago I also lost my Mother In Law to cancer. Both of these women were so sweet and beautiful. They are so missed. I think of them often. Unfortunately so many of us have been touched by cancer in our lives. I did this to honor my loved ones and all of those who have fought cancer!


MINI PASSION FRUIT CHEESECAKE WITH PASSIONFRUIT CURD
recipe adapted from epicurean

8oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
1/4 cup passionfruit puree
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar

Cream the cheese with the sugar. Combine thoroughly. Add egg. Combine thoroughly. Periodically scrape bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are in the mix. Add vanilla and sour cream. Swirl in passion fruit. Bake at 300 F for about 45 minutes.

Crust for Cheesecake:

Combine 1/2 cup crushed vanilla wafer cookies and 1 tablespoon butter. Press in cheesecake pan on bottome and 1/2 inch up the sides.

Passion Fruit Curd

3 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup passion fruit puree
1 1/2 sticks butter, unsalted

Combine eggs and yolks, sugar and passionfruit in a double boiler. Whisk over boiling water for about ten minutes. Once it is thickened remove double boiler from heat and stir in butter one tablespoon at a time. Cover and refrigerate.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

FIRST DAY WITH DORIE

I joined Tuesdays with Dorie and this is my first try. Matter of fact it's my first Dorie Greenspan recipe ever. Since I have come to the blogging world I have learned many things. I have learned a lot about different pastry chefs, including Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Herme. I have been inspired by the French. Renowned pastry chefs, blogger pastry chefs, amateurs. All have really inspired me and have me dreaming of French confections.



Most recently I visited Chocolate and Zucchini and saw her post about Rose flavored marshmallows. I have had Rose Water in my pantry for a couple years now, unopened. I seem to do this a lot with new thigs. I buy them because I am going to make something and there it sits because... well I dont exactly know why. I used Rose Extract years ago for some shortbread I had made from Victoria's Magazine. They were great but I never used that bottle again. I ended up throwing it away. So I guess that was the insiration for buying this particular bottle a couple years ago. Ah, the best laid plans...



Anyway, thank you to all of you at Tuesday with Dorie. I am so glad to be baking with such a nice group of people! It's fun. For this stay at home mom, it's nice to have other adults to relate to!


Marshmallows

Makes about 1 pound marshmallows

About 1 cup potato starch (found in the kosher foods section of supermarkets) or cornstarch

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 1/4-ounce packets unflavored gelatin

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

3/4 cup cold water

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

GETTING READY: Line a rimmed baking sheet — choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high — with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup — without stirring — until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquefy it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)

Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy — don’t overbeat them and have them go dull.

As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won’t fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).

Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They’ll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.

Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you’ll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you’d like — into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they’re cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you’ve got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.


Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

MATCHA CAKE with COCONUT BUTTERCREAM


I have been dreaming of food concoctions and pairings for almost a week now. I guess you can say I am truly a food blogger! Here is one of my combos thought of in the middle of the night.

MATCHA CAKE (adapted from Classic White Cake, America's Test Kitchen, 2006)

2 1/4 cups cake flour (9oz)
1 cup milk, room temperature
6 egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 oz)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool

Preheat oven to 350. Spray jelly roll pan with cooking spray.

Pour milk, egg whites,green tea and Vanilla into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup and mix with a fork until blended.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of mixer and turn on low speed.

Add butter; continue beating at low speed until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.

Add all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture to the crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 min.

Add remaining 1/2 cup milk mixture and beat 30 sec. more. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides. Return the mixer to medium high speed and beat 20 sec. longer.

Pour into jelly roll pan and bake for about 25 min.

Let the cake rest in the pan for 3 min. Loosen the sides. Let cool for another ten minutes and cut out rectangular shapes to layer.

Coconut Frosting (adapted from Userealbutter's recipe)

4 oz egg whites
8 oz sugar
2 sticks butter, room temperature
3 teaspoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk constantly in a double boiler until 140F is reached. Place on mixer with whisk and whip until stiff. Turn down whip speed to 3rd and whip until cool to the touch (this takes a while - should be cooler than your hand). Change to a paddle and gradually add softened butter by tablespoon pieces. Mix to emulsify. Once desired consistency has been reached, add vanilla and coconut oil.


It was a good cake that my friends enjoyed. For me I would have liked more matcha flavoring and less coconut flavoring.

The coconut really helped to solidify the frosting too. I think you could probably decrease the butter a little. I would liek to play around with this a little more until I get the best coconut frosting. Then I will post again.

Friday, April 11, 2008

CRAB RAGOON PIZZA

Does is look ooey, gooey, rich and chewy?


Yes, it sure is. A fabulous recipe that I adapted from one I saw on Pillsbury's site. This was a request from my husband and I would have to say that he made a great choice, This pizza was extra delicious and a change from the same old pizza that we always have.

My old stand by pizza dough recipe

3 1/2 cups ap flour or bread flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (or 2 packages)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

I find that I do not need to proof the yeast. I make it in a stand mixer. First add flour and salt. I start the mixer at this point at about 3 then add the yeast and then the water and olive oil. Depending on humidity you add more water or more flour. You want the dough to clean the sides of the mixer bowl and kind of climb up the dough mixing attachment. Slide dough off attachment and make sure it is uniformally mixed by just kneading it by hand a few times. Place in a bowl with a little olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot or if it is cool in your house I would use a "makeshift" proofer. Easy to do. Place a cup of water in your microwave and heat for about a minute and half. Move the cup over and place your dough bowl in the microwave. The remaining heat and moisture from the water lends a helping hand to the yeast. Let rise until double in size. Deflate by folding. Cut in half to make two pizzas. Work dough onto cooking sheet. You cna use just about anything. The most crispy crust come from stones. Heat the stone in the oven place dough on cornmeal on peel or baking sheet. Bake in a 425 degree oven.

Note: Dough freezes well. I freeze it after the rise.

CRAB RAGOON TOPPING

1 can of water chestnuts, chopped fine
1 can of lump crab meat
1 8oz. pkg of cream cheese ( I use 1/3 less fat), room temperature
1 cup of mozarella or provolone
1 can chopped pineapple, drained
1 teaspoon of chinese mustard or dark mustard
a pinch of cayenne or more to taste
1 tespoon garlic powder
4 green onions, chopped
1 recipe of pizza dough

Preheat oven to 425 F. Process cream cheese in processor, add all ingredients except pineapple, green onion and cheese. Place dough in oven and prebake until light golden. Remove from oven and spread cream cheese mixture on it. Sprinkle with cheese, onions and pineapple. Place in oven until a little browning occurs.

Bon appetito!

Monday, April 7, 2008

FINALLY HAD THE GUTS


Matcha Tea Macarons with Lemon Curd.

Yes, macarons. I have been researching, reading, saving recipes, buying ingredients and most of all drooling over all the macarons I see in blog land. I finally had the courage or maybe the foolishness to attempt to make them. They are not perfect but they have feet, they are nice shape and most of all they taste good.

I used Veronica's Test Kitchen recipe and just added some matcha to it. The lemon curd is as follows:

Lemon Curd

3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
zest of a lemon
1 stick of butter

Combine egg yolks and egg with 1 cup sugar. Add juice. Pour mixture into double boiler and place over a pot of simmering water. Whisk egg mixture for about 8 to 10 minutes. You will know it is done when it coats the whisk. You can also dip a spoon in, run your finger through the lemon curd. If it leaves a trail and the rest sticks, then it is done. Remove from heat at this point and add butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Whisk the butter in. Refrigerate up to two weeks. It freezes very well.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

DILL DAY

Dessert first, right? No, just kidding.



Today was a dilly of a day and I mean that in the most literal sense. I have a boat load of dill on hand just dying to be used in something. So today I made a Salmon and Dill Crustless Quiche with Zucchini Dill Muffins and even a salad with dill and buttermilk dressing. And guess what? I still have a ton of dill left. I guess I will dry it.

A momentous thing occured yesterday, I figured out where my macro button was on my camera. Yeah! Voila, I now have clear close up shots. I might even get a beautiful shot here and there! All of the blogs I read have such great photography. I am still amazed how many talented people there are out there in blog land!

Port and Fig Tart with Creme Fraiche

Creme Fraiche

1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups heavy cream

Combine in a non reactive bowl, cover and let sit for 24 hours in a warm spot. It should caogulate or gel quite a bit. If it is runny continue to keep it out of the fridge for another 12 hours.

You can sweeten it or flavor or leave it as is.

Fig Spread

24 dried figs, chopped small
1/2 cup port wine
1 cup orange juice
pinch of cinnamon

Combine in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Process until relatively smooth.

Tart

I am sure you all have a good tart recipe or for sure can find one. I do not want to pass along this one as it came out kind of dry. I did a little experimentation with mine and used oats. I am not 100 percent happy with the results yet. I will keep you posted on an oat tart recipe when I find it!

Spread figs on tart. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Put a dollop of creme fraiche on top and drizzle with honey.

Dill Salmon Quiche

6 oz salmon, fillet or canned
1 cup cooked potatoes, cut up small
6 eggs
1 can evaporated milk, (I used fat free)
1/4 cup sour cream (I used 1/3 less fat)
3 tablespoons capers
1 small onion, diced and sauteed
1 cup peas (wouldnt put this in again, really did nothing for the dish)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
s and p
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Comine eggs and whisk. Add remaining ingredients and pour into sprayed pie pan. Fill 2/3 full. I made two from this recipe. Bake at 350 F.

Friday, April 4, 2008

HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE CAKE

It was the King's birthday today and I am happy to say he received the royal treatment. The cake is from Epicurious. I loved the cake but would skip the chocolate chips it called for the next time I make this recipe. I did not want to make the icing it called for. I really wanted to incorporate Hazelnuts into the cake. So off to food blog land for some inspiration. At userealbutter, I found this lovely Swiss Chocolate Buttercream recipe and am so glad I did. (I did halve the recipe in an effort to save some calories).

Here it is whipping away acting all chocolatey and happy. I did make one mistake though that I would like to pass along. At the end of the recipe you put in Nutella and Frangelico. I decided in an effort to be more efficient I'd put them in the same prep bowl. Somehow the alcohol set the Nutella. I do not know why but it solidified it immensely. So when I added it to the frosting there were tiny chocolate pieces of Nutella that just would not incorporate. But no one even noticed.


There is the mistake sitting in that clear little bowl. Anyway it was happily eaten up and the remains sent off with my husband to his work!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Minted Barley with Dukkha


I know the picture isn't exactly clear, I am trying to master my camera. Bear with me. My husband knew a Middle Eastern man a long time ago who taught him about dukkha. He fell in love with the spice and says I really should start incorporating it into my meals. I really havent so far but today I did, finally. I have to say that I love its flavor. I have had it on chicken before but it is especially yummy with beans and or this barley.

Today I made these rockin bean burgers with French Green Lentils and pearl barley. I had quite a bit of the barley left over so I made this salad. Its real simple but quite tastey.

Minted Barley with Dukkha

2 cups cooked pearl barley
1 red onion, minced
1/2 T of dukkha
20 mint leaves, chiffonade
1 T of canola oil
1 t kosher salt
1 clove garlic minced

Combine all ingredients and serve cold or at room temperature. (Incidentally dukkha sounds an awful lot like a not so nice polish word). My kids are giggling when I say it.

The bean burgers will be made some time later this week. I will post a picture then.

Mediterranean Bean Burgers

20 mint leaves, chiffonade
2 cups French Green Lentils
2 cups pearl barley
1 small onion
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 T dukkah
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs

You can cook the lentils and the barley together. Cook until tender and drain.
Saute onions in butter and olive oil until carmelized. Combine all ingredients together and let sit for about 30 minutes. Form into balls and flatten into hamburger shapes.

These freeze real well! It's such a handy "convenience" food. I serve mine on a bun with light ranch dressing, tomato, lettuce and avocado slices.

Enjoy!

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