Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jammin' to the break of day!

I recently discovered a new jam. I love playing with new flavors every season. I found this recipe for Strawberry Margarita Preserves. Since I am the Margarita Queen, I saw it as only fitting that I should whip some of this up! Its boozey flavors on top of strawberries make it so intricate and amazing. My Mom suggested some biscuits for a backdrop. I am thinking this is a good idea!

Strawberry Margarita Preserves
adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

6 cups strawberries cut in half, if they are large quartered
2 cups tart apple like a Granny Smith, chopped
4 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup Tequila
1/2 cup Grand Marnier or Curacao
7 - 8 oz. jars with bands and lids

Combine strawberries, apples, lemon jice and sugar in a large pot. Start to heat on low until sugar and fruits begin to melt. Once there is enough liquid in the pot, turn up the heat and begin to simmer. Cook for 30 to an hour, depending on how high your heat is. Since you are not adding pectin, you really want it to cook down so it sets well. (The apples and the lemon help the process along). Once it is to a gel stage, add the liquor. Simmer for five more minutes. Remove from heat and ladle into jars. Place lids on and screw the bands down fairly tight. Process in boiling water for ten minutes. Turn off heat, let sit for five minutes. Remove from heat.

When lids are sucked down, they are sealed. If for some reason one does not go down after about an hour, invert the jar and wait ten minutes and place upright again. This should do the trick. If it doesn't. Place in refrigerator to use instead of storing it.

It's nice to have some gifts ready to go when you need one!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chocolate Mousse and Coconut Dacquoise with Raspberries

Mousse is my latest obsession. I go through phases of discovery with all these new things. The first obsession was French macarons- I made quite a few of those. Then it was buttercream- especially Dorie's recipe. Now it's mousse. I was never really into mousse before because the amount of fat in it. But now I am finding, just a little bit of mousse can hit the spot. Especially with some fresh fruit. Besides there are mousses made with other things besides heavy cream which I am sure you will be seeing here on my blog soon.

I made this cake for my Dad and my husband for Father's Day. It was so wonderful after the entree we had... you will see that in a few days. It was deceptively light.

I started out with Dorie's coconut dacquoise:

1 cup (65g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup (60g) slivered almonds
1/2 cup (75g) plus 1 1/2 cups (175g) confectioners (icing) sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
8 large egg whites (240g) at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Put the coconut, almonds, 2/3 cups of the confectioners’ sugar and the cornstarch in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, then beat until the meringue is thick and glossy and holds firm peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, very gently fold in the coconut mixture. Spoon one third of the meringue (about 2 1/2) onto each outlined rectangle. Using a long metal icing spatula, spread the meringue into the meringue into smooth, even layers.

Bake the meringues for 3 hours, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 1 1/2 hours. The meringues should be golden and crisp to the touch. Let cool completely on the baking sheets on racks.

Then I made a mousse (Tartelette's recipe) to go between the layers with the raspberries:

6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (62.5ml) whole milk
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 stick (55gr) butter
1 egg yolk
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream, cold

In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or a bain marie, melt together the chocolate, milk, espresso powder and butter. Remove from the heat and let cool to lukewarm. Whisk in the egg yolk. In a mixer, whip the cream to medium peaks and fold it into the chocolate mixture.
*you can put the mixer bowl in the fridge to cool it down as well, so that when you add the cream it will help the whipping process.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Bakewell Tart

Outside.
Inside.

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.
My shining star. Nutella.

"This tart, like many of the world's great foods has its own mythic beginnings…or several mythic beginnings. Legend has it in 1820 (or was it in the 1860s?) Mrs. Greaves, landlady of The White Horse Inn in Bakewell, Derbyshire (England), asked her cook to produce a pudding for her guests. Either her instructions could have been clearer or he should have paid better attention to what she said because what he made was not what she asked for. The cook spread the jam on top of the frangipane mixture rather than the other way around. Or maybe instead of a sweet rich shortcrust pastry case to hold the jam for a strawberry tart, he made a regular pastry and mixed the eggs and sugar separately and poured that over the jam—it depends upon which legend you follow... Bakewell tarts are a classic English dessert, abounding in supermarket baking sections and in ready-made, mass-produced forms, some sporting a thick sugary icing and glazed cherry on top for decorative effect." Daring Bakers Cardamom Addict and Ambrosia and Nectar.

Whew! what history and what delicious history at that. This was such a versatile dessert with so much room to play with. It is pretty easy and very elegant looking. I went crazy with all the choices. And it seems like there are so many more I want to try.

I did a pecan with honey pecan jam, a pecan with apricot jam; an almond with nutella, an almond with lemon curd and an almond with some of my peach jam with amaretto. I liked them all but honestly the star was the Nutella one. How can you beat the hazelnut and chocolate combination?


Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Frangipane

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

I put a medjool date in this one. Why? Cause I am goofy like that.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Finnish Cauliflower Rye casserole

I have made this dish a couple times. Each time I learn something new. The two things that are very important are, use a good tasting cheese- sharp or gruyere and use a GOOD rye for this. The last time I made it I used regular bread figuring it would be okay. A little flat. Really use a good rye- it makes a huge difference. I would also like to say that the beer makes a big difference as well but I havent really played around with that. The nice thing about this recipe is that it is a great way to eat cauliflower.

Kukkakaalialaatikko (Finnish Cauliflower Rye casserole)
Say that five times fast but not if your Finnish- it would just be too easy!
recipe from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

1   Cup    beer
3 Cups rye bread cubes (the darker the better)
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp caraway seeds
4 eggs
3 Cups sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp dry mustard (or 2 tsp Dijon style prepared)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper to taste

At least an hour before cooking, pour the beer into a shallow bowl to
sit until it becomes flat. Dry the bread cubes on a baking
sheet in a 300 degree F oven until crisp but not browned
(probably 15 minutes).

Lightly coat a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large non-stick skillet, saute cualiflower with the caraway seeds
until just barely tender. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, cheese
and cauliflower. Spread in the prepared casserole dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, mustard, coriander, pepper,
and flat beer. Pour the liquid over the bread and cauliflower in
the casserole dish. Bake at 350F for 30 to 45 minutes, until puffed
and golden.

Serves four.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Flatbread with Cheesy Filling

Lucy from Sweets, Savories, etc. and made this incredible looking flatbread. I knew I had to make it. As I have mentioned before, sometimes, I mix up two batches of a recipe that I know I will make very soon. I had this Rosemary flatbread that I made and I knew I would make it again, very soon, wrong, so I had all the dry ingredients in a bag. I saw Lucy's post and I knew I was finally going to use that bag of dry ingredients. All I had to get was the zucchini.

I had some Swiss cheese in my freezer so that is what I used. This whipped up quick as she said, nevermind that I already had the dry ingredients ready to go. It was a pretty presentation and it was something different.

I know that flabread usually does not have yeast in it but I wanted this to be somewhat pliable.

And the Rosemary, if you don't know Rosemary, you should. She's the kinda girl who grows on you. The more you have her around the more you will want her around.

Rosemary Flatbread
adapted from King Arthur's, Whole Grain baking: Rosemary Flatbread
(have I mentioned that I LOVE this book?)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups durum flour
1 1/3 cup ap flour
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (or two packets)
1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cups of shredded cheese
2-3 cups zucchini thinly sliced
1 cup minced red onion

Combine all the dry ingredients and mix in the water and olive oil. Knead in bowl until dough comes together. Place on floured countertop and continue to knead adding flour as you go. You do not want a sticky dough but it should be a little on the sticky side so that it stays moist when it bakes. Let rise until doubled about and hour to an hour and a half.

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out half the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle about two cups of cheese down the center. Fold over sides, like a business letter. Transfer to a baking sheet. Push down on dough and then cut slits on top. Lay zucchini slices and chopped red onion over top.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

French Onion Soup

This is one of my all time favorite soups. Just a few ingredients can make this soup spectacular. My friend and I use to oreder it all the time when we went to TGIFridays. It was one of four things; French Onion soup, Cobb salad, potstickers or wings. All healthy, I know. Yeah, right. That was when I was single and could go to restaurants on a regular basis. We of course had cocktails to go with our ultra-healthy entrees!

A week or so ago I had a bunch of onions in my pantry that were starting to go bad. I pulled the basket out and went through them. Some were mush but some were salvageable. I used those plus a few nice ones. I sauteed them in butter and then added water. I let that cook for an hour or so. I drained and discarded the onion. I kept the broth, knowing that it was destined for French Onion Soup. It was a just a little to warm at that point to make it. The weather turned rainy and a little chilly so I pulled out my broth and made my soup.

French Onion Soup

8 cups broth (I had an onion broth but beef works real well)
4 large onions, sliced thinly then cut in half
1 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons beef boullion (if you dont use beef broth)
1/2 cup Sherry
2 oz to 4 tablespoons butter (you really need this, it gives it such great flavor)
toast
mozzarella or swiss, grated

Saute the onions in butter until carmelized. Add broth and seasonings along with the sherry. Let it simmer for about a half of an hour. Pour into oven safe bowls. Place a piece of toast on top and a piece of cheese, shredded works better. Place it under the broiler until the cheese browns a little.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pastina: Comfort in a Bowl

This is a "souped" up version of an Italian comfort soup. When you are sick it is the most comforting. We had it quite a bit growing up. When we were sick and when we were not. It was always a welcome food. When I made this, my husband came home and saw it on the table. He said, "that's not what I think it is, is it?" It had been way too long since I made it. Usually it does not have carrots or green onions but I wanted a little color.

Ancini de Pepe Soup or Pastina

1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup ancini de pepe
1 carrot shredded
2 green onions sliced
2 eggs, beaten

Saute garlic in oil in a soup pot. Add broth when garlic softens. Bring to a boil. Add ancini de pepe. Boil until the pasta is tender. Add carrots, cook a couple minutes more. When it is boiling again use a fork, stir the soup, adding the egg in a steady, thin stream. The egg will form ribbons. Serve with pecorino romano or parmesan cheese grated over top and if you so desire a sprinkling of green onions or chives.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

We have been eating way too many goodies. Or should I say I have been eating way too many goodies. Celebrating stuff for my daughters school and birthdays, etc. I need to apply the three bite rule!

This is one superb ice cream cookie but it tastes great with peanut butter frosting too. Hmmm. Unfortunately, its way to easy to eat more than one.

Not just for -Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup confectioners powder
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and add in yolks. Mix until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and salt. Add confectioners sugar and then cocoa. Finally add the flour. It may be difficult to mix but be patient it comes together eventually. Chill for 1/2 hour and then roll out and cut into desired shapes and sizes. Prick the cookies to keep them from rising. Bake for 8 mintues to 12 minutes depending on desired crispiness.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners sugar

Cream butter and peanut butter together. Add in vanilla. Mix in confectioners sugar to desired thickness.

YOU WILL LOVE THIS FROSTING!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rhubarb Strawberry Sauce over Frozen Yogurt

Yesterday we had a glorious day for picking strawberries. The skies were overcast and it was about 72 degrees. And the strawberry plants were loaded. Strawberries, red and plump pulling down the branches with their juicy weight. Honestly, I don't think I had to move for than ten feet to pick a flat of strawberries (9 quarts). How nice is that? It took all of a half of an hour.

As we were walking out I spied a huge clump of chamomille. You know I have been looking for chamomille for two years now. Chamomille likes rocky areas and it always seems to be around farms. For some reason I just never found it. Until yesterday that is, I hit the jackpot. I filled a grocery bag with the weed. After plucking all the heads off I ended up with two cups of buds!

I love ice cream. If there were only two foods in the world- ice cream and popcorn I would be completely satisfied.

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup of Lyles Golden Syrup (could use corn syrup instead)
32 oz Greek style yogurt
1 1/2 cups sugar
the seeds of one vanilla bean

Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate for four plus hours. I did overnight. Pour ingredients into you ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers instructions.

Strawberry Rhubarb Vanilla Sauce

4 cups strawberries
4 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 cup sugar
juice of one lemon
Vanilla pod

In a large pot combine rhubarb, strawberries, lemon and sugar. Cook until rhubarb is tender. Add vanilla pod and let cool. Remove pod and blend mixture into a puree.

Here's a list of the ways I have used the mixture:

  • Over cottage cheese
  • in my tea, both hot and iced
  • over pancakes or waffles
  • drizzled over crepes that have cottage cheese in them
  • as a base for a sherbet


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

CRUNCH ON

Recently I found these great nut snacks at our local health food store. They are crunchy bars of nuts coated in sugar. My daughter and I love them but the pocketbook not so much. So with all kinds of nuts in my freezer (they keep better there), I decided to try my hand at making these. Next time I think I will add a pinch of cinnamon and some honey. They came out great though. They are such a treat.

Nut Crunch


1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pepita
1/4 cup Brazil nuts, chopped
1/2 cup cashews, chopped

Butter a standard size cookie sheet and set aside. In a large sauce pan add nuts and toast nuts, being careful not to scorch the nuts. Remove from heat and set aside. In the same pan, place 1 1/2 cups sugar, heat over med high heat. Try not to stir. Heat until sugar melts. Add nuts and stir to combine. Pour into prepared baking sheet. Quickly smooth mixture out to desired thickness. Score the mixture in the size pieces that you would like. Store in an air tight container at room temperature.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wheat Berry Salad


Wheat berries are tastey and toothsome. They give you something to bite into and chew on for a while. That's a good thing when you are trying to eat less and want something to last. It not only lasts in your mouth but it lasts in your digestive track. Which means it will help you feel full for a longer time. Another good thing when you are trying to eat less.

Wheatberry's star quality doen't end there. One cup of cooked wheatberries will give you over 8 grams of fiber, essential minerals and vitamins. All for the price of 151 calories. How can you go wrong. That's a lot of bang for your calories.

Add in what you like, anything goes. I made this salad kind of simple because it was my first time using wheat berries. Oh and it won't be the last time.

Wheatberry Salad

1 1/2 cups wheatberries
8 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped Vidalia or red onion
1/2 cup chopped radish
avocado slices
radish slices

Bring salted water to a boil and add wheat erries. Let cook at a simmer for about 45 minutes. You want the wheat berry to be tender. Drain and set aside.

Stir together the sauce ingredients, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, dijon, s and p and any spices you desire. Stir in the wheatberries. Eat at room temperature or cold.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cheery Cherry Coconut Cupcakes

You know how it is when you are looking for a certain type of recipe with certain kinds of flavors. I just picked up some cherries at the market and I wanted a cake with cherries and coconut. Alas, I could not find what I was looking for. So I winged it and put together this recipe. It came out pretty good. It has a very tender crumb. I added red food coloring, figuring that would be a hit with the kids.

The top of cake turned a bit brown and tasted like toasted coconut.

Cherry Coconut Cupcakes
my original recipe

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
11/2 cups flour
½ teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
1/2 cup flaked baby coconut
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with liners. Makes 25 cupcakes. Or you can do 12 muffins and a nine inch cake. Butter and line with parchment a 9 inch round. Cream the butter, coconut oil and the sugar, beat for about five minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add vanilla extract and red food coloring. Combine dry ingredients and add the dry mixture into the butter mixture very slowly (otherwise you will get a face full of flour). Add cherries and coconut, just mix until combined.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Daring Cooks: Potstickers or Chinese Dumplings

Jenyu of Use Real Butter picked out this months challenge, "Potstickers". I visit Use Real Butter daily as I always love to read Jen's posts and gawk at her amazingly beautiful photography. It's an eye candy excursion for me.

As you may already know, Daring Bakers started a new chapter, called the Daring Cooks. I gladly jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this group. While I have made "potstcikers" before, I always welcome the opportunity to make them again. I decided to give myself an added challenge of trying to make shu mai. I buy these delicate little shrimp shu mai's at this Korean restaurant near our house. They are very expensive. So I thought I would try my hand at it. I did okay but it is one of those things where practice makes you so much better. Notice I did not say perfect.

Here is my try at Shu Mai. What a poet.

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

pork filling:
1 lb (450g) ground pork
4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried - rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
1/2 cup (75g) bamboo shoots, minced
1/4 (55g) cup ginger root, minced
3 tbsp (40g) soy sauce
2 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

OR

shrimp filling:
1/2 lb (225g) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb (225g) ground pork
3 stalks green onions, minced
1/4 cup (55g) ginger root, minced
1 cup (142g) water chestnuts, minced
1 tsp (5g) salt
3 tbsp (40g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

dough: (double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches - or just halve the filling recipe)
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113g) warm water
flour for worksurface

dipping sauce:
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)
sugar (optional)

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

Make the dough, Method 1: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).

Make the dough, Method 2 (Jen's mom’s instructions): In a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.

Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking - about 1/16th inch. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side. Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes.

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.





Saturday, June 13, 2009

Peach Amaretto Jam


I know, you want to lick that spoon... I know you do. Who would blame you? It's a very tasty combination Peach and Ameretto.

So this is from last year when peaches were in season. I had to post this because time will hurry by and I want you to have the recipe so that when stone fruits are in season you will have it. I had just recently got some up from the cellar to give to my neighbor as a thank you. I realized I did not have it on my blog. So I did not have the recipe. I turned my papers upside down looking for the recipe. Then I remembered it was from the internet. I had to put it on my blog so I can find the recipe for myself as well. A bit selfish I know.

Warning:
This is the Feast Within's recipe. It's a very good one. But I do not do the cold packing thing with jams and jellies. If you are afraid of the canning process you should probably do it her way. If you have canned jams and jellies and feel that cold packing is not needed here, then do what I did. Your choice. Generally, sugar acts as a natural preservative and jam has a distinct way of letting you know it is bad- MOLD. In the old days they use to use just wax. Other countries are quite a bit more loose for processes. But again I defer you to your own comfort level.

Peach Amaretto Jam
based on this recipe from The Feast Within

4 cups fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped small
8 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon butter
1 packet of liquid pectin
1/3 cup Amaretto liqueur

equipment needed:

funnel
7+ - eight ounce glass canning jars, screw bands and inner lids
large pot
Sterilize your equipment

In a large non-reactive pot mix the peaches, lemon juice and sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved add the butter which will reduce foaming. Heat over med-high to high heat stirring constantly until it reaches a boil that doesn’t stop when you stir. Stir in the pectin and boil one minute. Add the Amaretto and stir in. Remove from the heat and skim any foam off with a metal spoon.

Spoon jam into jars, making sure to wipe the lids clean. Any jam on the rim of the jar will prevent a good seal. Once filled and lids with screw bands are tightened on, flip jar over for ten minutes. Flip back over. Leave for 12-24 hours for the jam to gel and the lids to seal. You should hear a soft “plonk” when each seals. Label (cause you always think you will remember cause you're so excited, but you will forget) and store. Refrigerate and use immediately any that do not seal.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pork with Filipino Barbeque Sauce

Last night we enjoyed watching our daughter in her first school play. How fun is that? It's one of the pleasures of parenting, watching your child up on the stage, having a blast and getting lots of attention. My daughter was so excited that she willed the stomach flu away in 12 hours so she could be in school for the day of the play. Now that's amazing. The power of the mind people.

There are two ways I really enjoy meat- on a stick and in a dumpling. Everyone else seems to as well as it disappears REAL fast. Why is that?

Filipino Barbecue Skewers
recipe from Serious Eats

marinade:

1 cup Coke
1 cup brown sugar
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup ketchup
1/8 cup lemon juice
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 lbs of pork shoulder or chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
Metal skewers or wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before use.

Place all marinade ingredients in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Marinate in the regrigerator, preferably over night. Broil or grill, turning as it browns. Baste as desired.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rhubarb Bandwagon

Sometimes you just gotta jump on the wagon and make what everyone else is making. Why? Because there is a reason everyone is making it! I seen it first on A Good Appetite, then Two Peas in Their Pod... then some other places. Since I already had Rhubarb Compote in my fridge, I knew this ice cream was destined for our menu.

This was one lovely tasting, low fat, frozen confection.

Rhubarb facts:

The leaves of the rhubarb plant are poisonous.
Rhubarb is a vegetable
Remember to cook only in non-aluminum pots only due to the acidic nature of rhubarb.

Rhubarb, Strawberry and Vanilla Compote

the seeds of one vanilla pod
15-20 stalks of rhubarb, cleaned and cut into one inch pieces
2 cups of strawberries
1/2 cup of water
1~ cup of sugar

In a large pot, place water, rhubarb and strawberries. Heat on low. Add sugar, give or take a cup depending on your taste. Continue to heat on low and stir frequnetly until the strawberries and rhubarb give up there juices. Once they do, turn up the heat to medium and let them stew until rhubarb is softened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla seeds. Reserve pod for vanilla sugar or other use. Let the rhubarb mixture cool.

*I love to eat the compote with cottage cheese- dahlicious!
To make the ice cream:

Blend about 4 cups of the mixture for the ice cream. Combine the rhubarb compote with a 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of corn syrup. Refrigerate overnight.

Place in ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturers instructions.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

KICK --- Chicken Salad

While I do not have a pretty picture like Kayotic Kitchen, I do have the recipe and of course the taste of this wonderful dish in my mouth. I have made it twice now. Does that say anything about it's taste? I used two different kinds of bean sprouts on two seperate occassions- I liked them both. If you make it and want to post it, my advice to you is take a picture before you add the sauce. The brownish, peanutish sauce washed all the colors of the salad away. Fear not though because it brings lots of flavor to make up for itself!

Indonesian Chicken Salad
Based on this recipe from Kayotic Kitchen

2 cups baby potatoes, fresh and unpeeled
1 cup cooked chicken
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
1 large carrot, shredded
3 green onions, sliced finely
1 English cucumber, 1/2 inch chunks
1 to 2 cups beansprouts
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, minced (to your taste)

the sauce:
5 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 to 1 tsp sesame oil
1/3 chili pepper
1 tsp ginger
4 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime

Whisk sauce together, set aside. Cook potatoes until just tender, drain and cool. Cook chicken if you don't already have chicken ready to use. Chop all ingredients and place in a large bowl. Take a picture now, before you add your sauce. Add sauce and taste and enjoy.

This is a great picnic salad. Has everything- protein, veggies and carbs- a versatile meal in one. Just bring a nice wine and dessert.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

SEEDED CIABATTA



Tell me if I sound like a Mom who is scared to death about the prospect of her kid being out of school, home with the other kid (terrible three-er), fighting, kicking punching, screaming, crying... Oh God. I am sorry I just passed out. Anyway. What to do? Schedule, schedule, schedule. I don't mean shove them away in camps all summer long. But schedule activites, make a focus. Give them something to correct their behavoir for. I am not an expert here just someone who is in the lake, searching for something buoyant to hold on to. Goodness gracious. Maybe it sounds a little OCD'ish but as much as I would love to wear the happy-free-lovin'-hippy-hat. It just ain't me. I need a lot more meditation for that. Really. That's like taking a Corvette and making it go at mo-ped speed. Mo-ped speed is good, it saves on heart attacks and strokes. I am workin' on it. Really.
My three year old, who was found napping at the top of a long staircase.

Anyway here's the gist.

I made a calendar on a big sheet of paper for July and August. Top part for them to color in.

I made an index card with a list of activities: craft day; library day; bake or make a meal day; away activity; and a clean and hang out day/aka free choice day.
I color coated these choices.

On index cards I wrote ideas for each of these activities, ie. Away Activities- beach, zoo, museum, train day.

On Sunday I drew big eyes looking over the week. Sunday will be the day we decide which activity we will do for what day.

Each day we'll have a word of the day, a letter and a number. My oldest will teach my youngest the letter and number. I will teach my oldest the word.

After lunch, there will be story time for a half an hour, followed by a rest period. Whew, Thank God- had to work that in somewhere.

And there will be the gym everyday of the week. Why? Because people I have to keep my sanity. The sauna can work wonders for my busy self.

What do yah think? Are those buoys or what?

SEEDED CIABATTA
Based on the original recipe which can be found here.

Seed/Grain mixture
2 tablespoons sesame seed
2 tablespoons poppy seed
2 tablespoons flax seeds (ground)
2 tablespoons nigella seeds
2 tablespoons oat bran
2 tablespoons wheat bran
2 tablespoons wheat germ

500g bread flour
475g (~2 cups) water
2 tsp. yeast
15g salt

In a mixer combine all ingredients roughly till combined with paddle, let it rest for 10 minutes.
Add seed/grain mixture. With the paddle , beat the batter, 10 to 30 minutes it will set up and work like a very sticky dough. if it starts climbing too soon, then switch to the hook. You'll know it's done when it separates from the side of the bowl and starts to climb up your hook/paddle and just coming off the bottom of the bowl.
Place into a well oiled container and let it triple.
Empty on to a floured counter, cut into 3 or 4 pieces. Spray with oil and dust with flour. Let them proof for about 45 minutes, and turn the oven up to 500F.
After 45 minutes or so the loaves should be puffy. Pick up the dough and stretch into your final ciabatta shape (~10" oblong rectangle) and flip them upside down (this redistributes the bubbles, so you get even bubbles throughout), and onto parchment or a heavily floured peel. This is not easy but have faith, they will be just fine.
Bake at 500F until they are 205F in the center (about 15-20 minutes), rotating 180 degrees half way through.

Have you ever seen Vincent make ciabatta. I just love him. Check him out.

Monday, June 8, 2009

MIX SHAKE STIR

The following article I wrote for Daring Bakers. Click here to see the Daring Bakers site and article.

Mix Shake Stir: Recipes from Danny Meyer's Acclaimed New York City Restaurants is the perfect book for me. I have been wanting to try different drinks instead of the usual Margarita or Gin 'n' Tonic. Not that I would ever give those drinks up.

I guess because I am a foodie who is always curious about new foods, then it would only follow that I would be curious about new cocktails. I'm not a big drinker but a tasty little treat of a drink is just the thing I want to help me relax on a Saturday night. Mix Shake Stir has just the types of drinks I want to try.

The bartenders that whirl the drinks together in Mix Shake Stir use fresh ingredients that are in season and encourage local produce as well. “Our menus are seasonal so we use plenty of fresh fruits and herbs, like lavender, in our cocktails during the spring and summer. In the fall and winter we might incorporate pumpkin, quince, pear, and apple flavors.” Eleven Madison Park bartender. They combine flavors so that when you sip a drink you get layers of flavor, rather than just the taste of alcohol.

The first drink I tried was the Cucumber Caipiroska (see pic above). It's made with cucumbers, lemon and vodka. I would have never thought to put that in my drink or even think to order it at a bar. The flavor was amazingly refreshing. I can so see a tall one in my hand this summer.

The next drink I tried was a Jack Rose. A mixture of Applejack, grenadine and lime juice. A little strong for me but I did like the flavor quite a bit. I added a splash of club soda to lighten it up a bit. It will definitely warm you up on a cool autumn night.

For a large party I made Sangria. I doubled the recipe believing that it would be amazingly delicious and would disappear real fast. Indeed it did. Very tasty. I used fresh pineapple in mine as it calls for 3 1/2 cups of fresh fruit.

While the book had many good features to it, there was only one downfall for me. The book recommends different brands of liquors for different drinks. While I do not have that type of money to have three different types of gin or vodka, it is interesting to know that they lend themselves better to certain flavors.

The nice thing about having a lot of alcohol available for different drinks is that it can often be used in many food recipes: Vodka for Vodka Penne Sauce, Sweet liquors such as Grand Marnier for a whole host of desserts and Rum for Rum Cake, just to name a few.

If cocktails are calling you like they have been calling me then I highly recommend this book. It suggests unique flavors to make classic, casual and fancy drinks. There is also a section for bar snacks. This book is sure to please the typical foodie who is interested in venturing out into the mixed drinks arena.

Summer Sangria
Adapted from Mix Shake Stir, Little, Brown and Company

6 cups Merlot
2 cups simple syrup
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
3 oz rum
3 oz gin
1 oz triple sec
1 oz brandy
3 1/2 cups chopped pineapple
1 orange segmented

Mix and use lots of ice.

Now, excuse me while I go try a strawberry ginger mojito...

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