Tuesday, September 30, 2008

LAY OUT THE RED VELVET CAKE, the Daring Baker Overachievers are at it again!

When I worked as a Nephrology Social Worker (Dialysis) I was recruited to Abbeville, SC. Northern girl relocated to a very small Southern town. Oh what a culture shock! But I love to learn about other cultures. And there was things for this Yankee girl to learn. Oh but thats subject for a whole other blog! (Don't get me wrong I absolutely love Southerners. My brother and his wife live in Knoxville.)
One thing I did learn about was Red Velvet Cake. One of the girls I worked with made a good Red Velvet Cake. She gave me her recipe. I never had a chance to make it when I lived down there but when I returned to NY I decided to give it a go. I looked down the list of ingredients and there was what I assume to be a typo. The recipe called for two cups of oil. I'm thinking this has got to be a mistake. I made the recipe, and changed up the fat content and ended up with a really good cake. I liked it. Was it worth a whole bottle of red food coloring? Eh, not really. I would have preferred it au naturale, but hey you have to do it at least once. Steel Magnolia, Armadillo style.

So here is the recipe I used for these cupcakes. I liked the flavor but was not thrilled with the texture or the "crumb".

Next time I will stick with this recipe. MUCH BETTA!

Here it is:

SOUTHERN RED VELVET CAKE
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz red food coloring
2 1/2 cups ap flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two nine inch baking pans. Cream shortening and then add sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beat well. Make a paste out of the cocoa and red food coloring; add to creamed mixture. In one small bowl combine salt and flour. In another small bowl combine buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture. Beating well after each addition. In another small bowl sprinkle baking powder over vinegar. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Divide among pans. Bake for about 30 minutes until cake tester comes clean.


Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

DARING BAKER LAVASH

The Daring Bakers strike again. This time with a savory Vegan dish. Now how cool is that? It was a nice break from buttercream, although I really can't complain about buttercream. And you know something? Lavash has been on my to do list for quite sometime. Why did I wait so long? Put forth a little effort and you are rewarded with some fresh crunchiness! At a low price, I might add. The red in the picture is Mark Bittman's Tomato Jam. Click here for the recipe. It was fabulous. It was a hit at the picnic that I took it to!
The lavash was amazing. It is a versatil creature! So many things you can do to it. Here I sprinkled on za'tar. Za'tar is a spice blend. There are many variations out there but this particular one has Mediterranean thyme, sumac (a lemony taste) and sesame seeds. I have seen ones with hazelnuts in them too. THe recipe for the lavash is below.

And finally the skordalia. Skordalia is a Greek dip. It is very tastey. I made a few changes to the recipe and would make a few more the next time.

Thank you to Shelly from Musings from the Fishbowl. This was a fabulous pick! Many of the DB's also did a gluten free variety of these crackers. So go and check them out.

Skordalia

Lipsmacking Goodness's Interpretation
The Orginal recipe

24 ounces potatoes
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and peeled
5 garlic cloves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
s and p to taste

Peel and cut potatoes. Place in sauce pan with about a teaspoon salt and boil until tender.

In a processor, blend garlic until minced, add walnuts and blend until fine. Add potatoes and pulse. You will notice that the potatoes become very glutious as you process them, thats how you want it. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper. While processor runs add olive oil in a stream.


LAVASH
Recipe Reference: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart

The key to a crisp lavash,...is to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature


1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, sugar, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firm, satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of za'tar. Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I know, I know, I am on an Eggplant Kick!


I love roasted eggplant. I guess there are a lot of people out there who do not dig eggplant. I hope it is not because of one bad experience. I know eggplant has its days when it can be bitter but all in all it can be fabulous. I personally like it roasted in the oven in strips and then used for a variety of dishes. My friend K, who did not like it, seemed to have changed her mind when it was roasted and then sprinkled with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar, garlic and s and p.

The recipe can be made with zucchini as well. Roast 1/4 inch thick slices of it in the oven until lightly golden and use in place of eggplant.

Ricotta Eggplant Mini Wraps

1 cup part skim ricotta
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons basil chiffonade
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 cup peccorino romano or parmesan
2-3 eggplants cut in strips and roasted
salt and pepper to taste


Roast eggplant strips in a 450 degree oven until lightly golden. Let cool.

Prepare filling. Combine ricotta and parmesan in bowl, mix. Add in basil, garlic and roasted red peppers.

Place a tablespoon or so of the filling and roll up in eggplant strips that are about 3 inches wide. Slice in half with a serrated knife. Decorate with basil leaves.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

CHIMICHURRI: PUMP UP THE FLAVOR


We dont have steak very much so this is something I have wanted to try for a while and it just seems to go so good with beef. It's chimichurri. It's an Argentina creation. And wow is it ever fabulous. After tasting it, it really has so many applications. So dont be like me and think of only beef. I did use it for my Argentina flat bread, here. Goes so well with beans!

The beans above are Italian flatbeans from my garden. They are hard to find but they seem to be making there way back to the market. I boil them and drain them. Then I saute them with olive oil and minced garlic.

There are so many different ideas for chimichurii out there so use what you want.

Chimichurri
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

5 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno
s and p to taste
1 cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of oregano, fresh
2 limes juiced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Use fresh herbs for this lovely sauce. Place jalapeno and garlic in processor or blender until finely minced. Add remainder of ingredients except for olive oil. Drizzle in olive oil once other ingredients have been processed thoroughly.

The nice thing about this sauce is that it freezes very well.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Vegetable Terrine: Crafted Summers Harvest

Is that eggplant or octopus tentacles. Kinda looks like the tentacles doesnt it?
This is the beauty when it is cut. Kind of like a cake. Pick out any size that you want. I went with a nine inch spring form pan but next time I would like to try a loaf pan.
The first thing you do is lay plastic wrap down so that you can easily remove it later on. Lay your raosted eggplant on next, overlapping so that your filling will not seep out. I didnt use salt here because I was afraid it would pull moisture from the eggplant and make it all drippy.
I layed on my filling next and then cheese. I placed the peppers over that.
After the peppers I put more filling on followed by green onions and more cheese.
Next the final layer of eggplant.
I layed the plate over and gently pressed down to compact the layers. I chilled it for about an hour and then brought it out of the frig for about 20 minutes, to take the chill out. On a hot day it probably would be great to leave the chill in.

All of the hard work for this terrine is in the roasting of the vegetables. Once you have all the components, its a snap to assemble. Dont worry if there are leftovers as there are so many things to do with them. You can marinate the peppers or even freeze them for another time.


VEGETABLE TERRINE
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness Orginal

4-5 eggplants depending on size
5 bell peppers (I used red, yellow and purple) the purple turned green when roasted, lesson learned.
1 1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup fresh sauce with herbs
1/4 cup basil chiffonade
2-3 oz sharp cheddar cheese
4 green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of peccorino romano cheese or parmesan

Turn oven on to 425 F. Skin and slice (1/4 inch thick) eggplant. Place eggplant slices on cookie sheet prepared with nonstick cooking spray. Roast in middle of the oven for about 20 minutes and then spray the eggplant again and turn over.
Eggplant should be a golden color. Lay on dish when done and repeat process until the eggplant is all roasted.

Slice from top of the pepper to bottom to have nice flat sheets to lay on a cookie sheet. Place about 4 inches away fromt he broiler and roast until the skin is mostly charred. Lay peppers in a pot with a lid or a brown paper bag. The steam will help the pper release the skin. Keep roasting until all the peppers are done. You can let the peppers cool off and peel the skin later. Peel skin off pepper. When skin sticks to your fingers just wipe with a damp cloth.

Make your filling.
Combine cottage cheese, sauce, and basil. Season with salt and pepper.

In a 9 inch springform pan. layer eggplant, then filling, sprinkle with cheese. Next layer peppers, then filling sprinkle with green onions and cheese, then eggplant again. Lay a plate inside pan and press gently to compact the layers. Chill for about an hour to set.

Sprinkle peccorino romano cheese over top. Serve chilled or bring to room temperature.

Friday, September 19, 2008

CANNING TOMATOES: red gold I tell yah!

Turning tomatoes into red gold for the winter. It's so easy. All it takes is some stamina and muscle. Come on people, you can do it. In the winter you can be happy you had made this wonderful liquid to add to a gazzilion recipes. And you know there is no preservatives, other than a little salt. You know that there weren't rats or bugs walking around where it was being made. Not that there necessarily were but hey, you know that all you put into it was love and hard work!

So lets start!

First, wash all your tomatoes. I did a bushel here and ended up with eighteen quarts. With sauce, rather than stewed whole tomatoes, you will get a little less. Cut them in half, core them and put them in the biggest pot you have. Once their all halved and in the pot, place on low heat. Once the tomatoes have released some of their juices, you can turn the heat up a little. Don't go above medium high because you risk burning them. Keep stirring them especially in the beginning. They have a tendency to stick.
Once you have cooked them down until they are nice and tender, falling apart, remove them from the heat. Add a couple cups to the blender. Only fill the blender two thirds full. Place a towel over the top and blend. If you sill it too much it could come out the top or seep out and burn you. Remember 2/3 full and use the towel.
Once you have blended them pour them into a sieve over a pot. You will strain out 99 percent of the skins and seeds. This is a pain in the neck but then you do not have to worry about seeds and skin. Use a spoon to scrape, moving skins and allowing the sauce to filter through. Once you have done this as much as you can. Firmly clunk the seive down on the side of the pot. This will spray the thick part of the juice down into your collection pot. You have to do this, otherwise you will have very watery tomato juice. Once you have extricated as much of the juice as possible then plunk seeds out into a garbage bowl. Yes you will have a little splatter around but its easy to clean and that acid from the tomatoes will help clean your tile and counters (he he ).
This is my blended tomato pot awaiting the sieve. I do it all at once so I can get my two year old off to bed and not have to clunk the sieve while she is sleeping.
Once you ave collected a bunch of juice then you can pour it into your very clean jars. A lot of people boil their jars as this is what is recommended. I dont but I do wash them in the dishwasher or was them in really HOT water. I, my mother, my Grandmother have never had a problem. But please follow what you think is best. If you want to boil them to sterilize them, by all means do so.

Once you have filled the jars, place a teaspoon of kosher salt in each jar. You do not want iodized salt. Use the kosher! You may put a teaspoon of sugar in as well for a less acidic sauce. I dont. You want your jars to be filled up to a half inch from the top. These guidelines do change. If you dont have quite enough juice to fill a jar, say it comes p to about an inch from the top, just add water to make up the difference. Clean the rims with a wet paper towel. Place on lid and screw on band, finger tight. Give it a nice firm twist. Place in canner. If you do not have a canner but you have a nice deep pot you can use it to can as well. I place a round cake rack at the bottom to cushion the jars and then put them in their. Fill the pot with water. Use hot water as it will not be touching food and will heat up a lot quicker. You want the water to come over the jars. THis guideline changes as well.

The thing with tomatoes is that they are highly acidic so they keep very well. Unlike foods like beans, that are not pickled, they will not spoil because of the high acidity. (beans and the like are a whole different process).

So there you have it! I highly recommend Ball Canning Books and they do have a website to check out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Don't you love it when you can pull together a meal in like twenty minutes. I sure do. Sometimes I am so busy with the kids, canning, etc that I realize my husband is about to come home and I have done nothing with the meat I pulled out of the freezer that morning. YIKES. Be patient honey its almost done. Throw on the rice, hopefully it will cook quickly. Have I mentioned that my DH is a bear when he is hungry. A cute bear, but a bear nonetheless.

Whenever I make a recipe with sauce, I invariably double the sauce component. The following recipe will give you quite a bit of sauce. I know I filed this under Asian (it's not really Asian, I know) as it is kind of Americanized Chinese.

Oh and yes in a ll my haste I never sprinkled the green onions on top. Do it! It adds flavor and dresses it up!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

3 ribs celery
2 cups of chopped peppers
1/2 cup green onions
1 1/2 cups chopped meat (I used leftover turkey meatballs)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 jalapeno minced (if you like heat)
1/2 cup of pineapple, canned or fresh
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 cup chicken broth, divided

Saute celery, and chopped peppers (and jalapeno)in canola and sesame oil until slightly softened. Remove vegetables from pot and place in a bowl and set aside. Heat meat up in 1 cup of broth. While that is heating up combine the remainder of broth, brown sugar, vinegar and corn starch. Add the vinegar mixture to the meat and broth. Also add 1/2 cup of pineapple. Bring to a boil until sauce is thickened, add vegetables back to mixture. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Raspberry Hazelnut Torte for a Birthday Cake


Today I was driving in my car listening to some great songs on the radio. And that lovely feeling hit me. The feeling that you are one with everything around you. Total peace and tranquility overtakes your psyche and bathes you in this warmth. Of course, I did not have my children with me. (So much easier without the kids). One was at school and the other at my Mom's. These feelings, at least for me, are not possible with screaming children in the car. If the feeling does hit you are usually too busy listening to them sing or fight or something. What made it extra special today was that it was my birthday! How nice of a gift was that!

I even had a lovely treat of meeting my husband at his work and having a little picnic by the river and a nice leisurely stroll along the path. It was truly a beautiful day! A fantastic birthday.

And you know you are a foodie when... you make your own birthday cake. I thought and thought about this cake. Some components I borrowed from the DB July challenge with the praline paste. Other components I made myself. My piping wasn't perfect because my tip kept getting clogged with praline bits. Next time I will process it much longer.

So you know you made a good cake when your super picky brother says this tastes like it came from a bakery. This is the guy that drove to NYC last Thanksgiving for a Juniors Cheesecake (he use to live in NYC). How nice was that complement?

Swiss Buttercream4 lg. egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
2 tablespoons amaretto
2/3 cup praline paste

Place the egg whites in a large bowl of a electric mixer and whisk in the sugar. Place over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk and heat the egg white mixture until it is hot to the touch. Remove from pan and with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and sugar on med-high until its a thick, cool meringue – about 5-7 minutes. Drop in the butter a half of a stick at a time. It may seem curdled for a period of time when beating but keep beating and it will smooth out. Add the amaretto and the praline.

Praline Paste1 cup (4 ½ oz.) cashews, toasted/skinless
2/3 cup sugar

Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and lightly butter. Put the sugar in a heavy 10-inch skillet. Heat on low flame for about 10-20 min until the sugar melts around the edges. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan if necessary to prevent the melted sugar from burning. Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals. If the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly. When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in color, remove from heat. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and separate the clusters. Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides. Cook until the mixture starts to bubble. Then onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible. As it cools, it will harden into brittle. Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor. Pulse into a medium-fine crunch or process until the brittle turns into a powder. To make paste, process for several minutes. Store in an airtight container and store in a cool dry place. Do not refrigerate.


The cake was a recipe for dacquoise from Gourmet magazine, which was the whole inspiration for this cake in the first place.

1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 9-inch diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with parchment. Butter and flour parchment. Combine nuts, flour, 1/4 cup sugar, coffee crystals and salt in processor. Blend until nuts are finely ground.

Using electric mixer, beat yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl until very thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in water and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Fold into yolk mixture in 3 additions.

Transfer batter to prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks. Cut around pan sides to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out; peel off parchment.


Raspberry Mousse

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of raspberries, run through a sieve to remove the seeds
1/4 cup raspberry jelly (no seeds)

Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in jelly and strained raspberries.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

GREEN TOMATO JAM, Part II


So here is the second installment of green tomato jam experiments. I LOVE this jam! It has the viscosity of a really thick corn syrup or molasses in January. It has amazing flavor, different then the other one and well worth making. My husband was eating it by the spoon fulls. The inspiration for the recipe came from a book called, Mes Confitures by Ferber. Thank you Tartelette for the recommendation.

There is a different process for making this jam. It's not the usual American way for making jam. I hear by warn you that if you are not comfortable with experimenting with different jam processes than try this with the canning processes set forth by Ball or any source that you do feel comfortable with.

I am so JAM happy, I tell you! It's a winner and it will soon be dressed up for the Holidays in gift baskets with homemade crackers.

SPICED GREEN TOMATO JAM
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

1 1/2 pounds of green tomatoes that are chopped and seeded
2 3/4 cup granulated sugar
juice of one lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon all spice
2 inch piece of ginger, minced

Start with about two pounds or more of green tomatoes. Slice them and remove as many of the seeds as possible. Chop and set aside until you have about 1 1/2 pounds. Mince a two inch piece of ginger. Combine with green tomatoes in glass bowl. Add to this 2 3/4 cup sugar and juice of a lemon. Stir well. Cover bowl with parchment paper or a cutting board and leave overnight.

The next day, pour the mixture into a heavy bottomed sauce pan with the cinnamon stick and 1/2 teaspoon allspice. Bring to a boil and simmer lightly for about ten minutes. Pour the mixture back in a clean glass bowl. Refrigerate overnight. I let it sit out on the counter as it was cool enough.

The next day, bring mixture to a boil again. Boil for about fifteen minutes and place in canning jars (half pints). Clean rims, place lids on and screw bands on. Turn them upside down for fifteen minutes. Place them right side up, cover with towel and allow to sit for at least 12 hours to make sure they seal. Yield 4 half pints or 32 ounces.

*Note: you can strain the mixture to get the skins out but I like the little chewy pieces. Please refer to Ferber's book for details.

Friday, September 12, 2008

SCALLION PANCAKES: KING ARTHUR STYLE


I am not being paid to say this (although I would love it if I were) but King Arthur's Whole Wheat Baking Book is one of my absolute favorite cook books. There are so many amazing recipes in there. I have not had one turn out bad yet. They seem to be very accurate. The fact that they get more whole grain in without taking taste out is so awesome. If I were to pick only five cookbooks out of the 100 I have, I would pick this one for sure. Yeah the other four Joy of Baking, Gourmet's Cookbook, Dorie Greenspans Baking: From My Home To Yours, Ball Canning and Preserving. I think those are the ones I turn to constantly.

Tonight I made Scallion pancakes, whole wheat style. They were amazing. Very easy and extremely tastey. The dip was amazing as well.

SCALLION PANCAKES
Based on the recipe from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking

2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups water
1/2 cup peanut oil
pinch of salt
Kosher salt
2 cups green onions/scallions, sliced thinly

In a mixer combine flours and add water and pinch of salt. Continue mixing the dough on low for about six minutes. Remove dough and place on oiled surface. Coat hands with oil to keep this sticky dough from adhering to your hands. Cut dough into six parts. Roll each part into a ball. Flatten ball out to about 8 inches and rub about a teaspoon of oil on top. Sprinkle with scallions and a little kosher salt. Roll up the round in to a log. Turn log into a coil. Flatten to an eight inch round again. Carefully lift and place on hot skillet. Heat until lightly browned. Serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce
Based on King Arthur's recipe

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
1 garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Combine all and whisk.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

TRANSFORMATION September 11th


God Bless the people whose spirits flew away after the attacks on September 11th 2001. God Bless the families and loved ones who were left behind. My heart goes out to you today and the many days throughout the year that I think, and sometimes still cry about that terrible tragedy. I will always remember. I send my love to you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

PAPER CHEF CHALLENGE

I ran across this Paper Chef challenge at Scottish Cow. Whats really cool about these challenges is that they give you a list of ingredients and you have to produce a recipe. Like Iron Chef. This was my kind of challenge. I just read about it last night and just so happened to have all the ingredients.

The list of ingredients is as follows:
quinoa
rice wrapper
tomatoes
yogurt

Rice Wrapper Filling

eggplant, about two cups roasted
juice of one lemon
s and p
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
2 cups quinoa

Roast eggplant in a 450 degree oven. Peel and cut in strips and roast until softened. Place in a covered dish with a tablespoon of olive oil. The steam will soften them further.

Place garlic in processor, mince. Add eggplant and pulse. Dont puree. Remove and stir in remainder of ingredients.

Place rice wrappers in hot water in bowl to soften, one at a time. Place filling in lower third of wrapper. Roll once, fold in sides and continue to roll.

Cover with a damp paper towel as your oll the remainder or cover in plastic wrap.

For the yogurt portion of this recipe you can follow my link to raita.

MACARONS ARE JUST PEACHY


Once you've tried macarons you have to eat them again and again. So if you do not want to be hooked on them, never, never try them. Having said that, you just have to try macarons. The real hook to these cookies is the intial crunch followed by the soft experience of the macaron itself, then the sweet, smooth rush of filling. In this case it was Peach Buttercream, (al la Dori Greenspan). Helen of Tartelette and Veronica of Veronica's Test Kitchen were truly my inspiration for these fine cookies. I usually use Veronica's recipe but this time I used Tartelette's. And if you dont already know Tartelette has a Tutorial in a magazine which you can find on her site. Veronica has the Macaroon Chronicles which have tons of worth while notes to help you along. If you dont have the courage and just "GOTTA" try them, then order some from Veronica's Petite Bouchees.

Here is the recipe for macarons. All I did was add orange color to my batter.

Monday, September 8, 2008

GREEN TOMATO JAM with vanilla and ginger

This stuff is so good. This has been the year for canning jams and such. I don't usually can so much jam but I am thinking with all the DB challenges and cool stuff out in the blogger world I will have a need for it.
This is not a recipe that I would normally do as the combination of flavors is not something I would pick. However I am so glad that I ventured out of my comfort zone and tried this awesome recipe. I found it at Rosa Jacksons blog, Edible Adventures Paris.Nice and Beyond.

I will love this during the Holidays with mascarpone on a cracker. I could also see it as a glaze for a roast. Tomorrow I am making another green tomato jam. Tune in to see this yummy flavor combination.

Green tomato jam with ginger and vanilla
original found here Edible Adventures
Makes about 4 11-oz (300 g) jars

4 1/2 lbs green tomatoes (2 kg)
1/2 the weight in sugar of the tomatoes, once the tomatoes have been deseeded and diced
2-inch chunk ginger, peeled (5 cm)
1 vanilla bean
Juice of 1 lemon

Chop the tomatoes and squeeze out as much of the seeds as you can. After chopping weith the tomatoes. Half the weight of the tomatoes should be the weight of your sugar. Slice the ginger against the grain and then chop it finely. Slit the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds with a knife, holding each half flat against the board as you scrape.

Place the tomatoes, sugar, ginger, vanilla bean with its seeds and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat and let the jam simmer and reduce until thickened. It should look like a thick, syrupy green tomato sauce, which can take up to 2 hours. To test for doneness, drip some of the liquid onto a cold plate. If it sets, the jam is done.

Meanwhile sterilize the jars, either by boiling them in a large pot of water for 10 minutes or washing them well and placing them in the oven at 375 F (180 C) to dry for 20 mins. Fill the pots with the jam while both are still very hot. Seal with very clean lids. Turn jars upside down for fifteen minutes. Then turn upright. When jars have "pinged" they are done. If a jar lid does not sink down wait 24 hours to see if it goes down. If not place in the refrigerator.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A SUMMERTIME CLASSIC: PEACH ICE CREAM

When I was getting my MSW (masters in Social Work) a professor had our class over for some homemade peach ice cream. It was so delicious! Prior to that I was never a "fruit-in-my-ice-cream" kind of person. That all changed that day. I had never had homemade ice cream either. I was hooked.

When my DH and I got married about five years ago I asked for an ice cream maker in my registry. And we received this lovely gift. So funny I forgot most of the gifts but I remember that and who gave it to me. Such a foodie I am. Anyway ever since then peach ice cream is made every summer.

This year I did a little experimentation and came up with something I really like! I found the original recipe in Bon Appetit! I made some changes and am happy with what came out of the machine!

PEACH CUSTARD ICE CREAM

2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
1 pound peaches, peeled and diced
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

In a heavy saucepan combine whipping cream, milk sugar and yolks. Whisk initially to combine and then switch to a wooden spoon. Do not let it come to a boil. Heat until a little thickened. Lift up the wooden spoon and turn it over to its backside. Run your finger down the spoon. If your finger leaves a trail on the spoon then it is ready. Pour into a glass bowl. Set aside. Wash out the saucepan. Place peaches, sugar and corn syrup in sauce pan and heat through until peaches become tender. Cool a little and then pour into milk mixture. Add almond extract and stir. Refrigerate until cool.

Use ice cream machine according to your manufacturers instructions.

Friday, September 5, 2008

PAPER, PENCIL and RULERS

Yesterday was my daughters first day of school, kindergarten. She was so excited. She loves being with the other kids! A relief for me, knowing she is okay on her own. I was able to can 21 quarts of pears while she was away. Not too much time to miss her. Later in the afternoon when the dust settled, I missed her.



For the frosting on the cake I used light butter. Land o Lakes makes a light butter that comes in sticks. It works pretty well in baked goods. I have used it in a number of recipes and it has worked pretty well. Most of the time I like Real Butter but if I want something a little lighter I will use this instead. My sister in law turned me onto it when she used in her Baked Grits.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup butter (light or regular)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup milk
4 cups of powdered sugar/confectioners

Cream butter then add peanut butter. Cream together. Add about half of the confectioners sugar. Slowly add the milk. Pour in the remainder of the confectioners and the vanilla. If it is too runny add more confectioners. If the consistency needs to be more spreadable. Add more milk, one tablespoon at a time.

CLASSIC WHITE CAKE

2 1/4 cups cake flour (9oz)
1 cup 1 percent milk, room temperature
6 egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 oz)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 unsalted butter, softened but a little firm

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a jelly roll pan and lay parchemnt paper down. Spray again.

Combine cake flour, sugar and baking powder. Set aside.

Combine egg whites, extracts and milk in another bowl.

Blend butter into the dry mixture until it is absorbed and dough is in little pea size pieces. Add three quarters of wet liquid to the dough. Beat one minute. Scrape down sides and add remaining liquid. Beat thrity seconds more.

Pour into the prepared jelly roll pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

FRUIT LEATHER

Can you guess what this is?

Well, I will give you a hint. It's a labor of love. It's fruit leather. Bonafide, homemade, lots of love poured in, fruit leather. This particular one is peach. I have been wanting to make it for quite some time. It is so good. My daughter just loves it. When we were packing her school lunch for today I asked her what she wanted to put in it and this was her choice. Oh, does a Mama proud.


I can now see why fruit leather is a bit expensive. It really is a labor of love. First skin, pitting, cooking, and pureeing. Then pouring it into a pan to cook in the oven for about ... oh... 10 or 12 hours. Not that I mind all that but wow so much fruit = so little leather. It's an experience to do it though and well worth it. I may try it again when apples are in season and I have a bushel of them sitting in my garage. Until then I will stick with the oraganic ones from the store. Oh how do you do it?

Follow this link for some guidelines. Or this link is also quite good. Also I wanted to point out that I did mine on parchment paper. After I peeled that away I rolled it up in cereal bags that I wash and save. These bags are the greatest cut up in little squares for in between burgers for freezing. It was also great for the roll ups. That sounds like a tip to me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A TOAST TO YOU SISTER!


Some fresh fruit in the house? Well by all means, mix up a cocktail. My Sister in Law was here this weekend. I had some fresh peach puree (no they were not white peaches) and decided to try the beloved Bellini. I used some champagne. A little improv here, I did not have Prosecco for this drink. But you know what, no Prosecco and no white peaches, didn't matter, they tasted great! At least to me. My husband had just enough of them that I actually beat him at cards. That never happens. My husband is one of those count all the cards, stare at your reactions and know what is going on at all times. Me, I am more of one of those fly by the seat of my pants and relax kind of card players. He wins, I dont. Now I know what to do next time. Bellini, Martini, Margarita, anything that will distract the man will work!

So puree your peaches and pour in your champagne. (They say Asti Spumante works as well.) Enjoy a glass or two!

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