i have to make these soon…(a few recipes from the interwebs)

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Beer Cupcakes!

Despite the addition of Guinness, these cakes are not at all bitter; instead, the beer adds richness and moisture, and balances the sweetness of the sugar. Working from another Nigella recipe, this one the Guinness Cake from Feast, I substituted brown sugar for white to add depth of flavor, and made tiny cakes instead of a large one in a springform. Topped with a cream cheese glaze, these are a crowd-pleasing, not-too-sweet dessert. They’re also super-easy.
Cake

  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 1 stick, plus 1 tb, unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tb vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda

Glaze*

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350; butter a muffin tin.

Combine the Guinness and the butter, chopped into 1-inch chunks, in a large sauce pan, and heat to melt the butter. Remove from heat, and whisk in the cocoa and sugar. In a bowl, whisk the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then add to the beer mixture. Sift together the flour and baking soda, and fold into the batter. Pour into muffin molds and bake for 25 minutes, or until inserted cake tester comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes, remove from muffin tin, and cool completely on a rack.

Using a mixer, whip cream cheese until smooth, sift in sugar, and beat. Add milk, and beat until smooth. Spread glaze over cooled cupcakes.

*To create a thinner glaze, use a tablespoon or two more milk; for a topping more akin to icing, use less milk, and perhaps more sugar. In either case, add a little sugar or milk at a time, mix, and check for desired consistency.

original recipe from here

Nutella-Swirl Cheesecake

nutella_cheesecake_03.jpg
Nutella Cheesecake

  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup nutella

Chocolate-Hazelnut Crumb Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups ground vanilla wafer cookies (about 1/2 box)
  • 1/4 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1 tb cocoa powder
  • 4 tb (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

To make crust: whisk together cookie crumbs, ground hazelnuts, and cocoa powder in a bowl. Pour in melted butter, and stir to combine, creating a texture like wet sand. Press into bottom of pan, and up the sides about 1/2 inch. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack. Do not turn off oven.

While crust is cooling, make the cheesecake batter: in the bowl of a standing mixer, beat cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar until well-combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing well between each. Beat in vanilla. In a separate bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat egg whites until they hold medium-soft peaks, then fold into cheese mixture.

Reserve one cup of the cheesecake batter in a bowl; pour the rest into the cooled crust. Mix the Nutella into the reserved batter, then drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the surface of the batter in the filled pan. Holding a knife upright, insert it about 1/2 inch into the surface of the batter, then draw the knife back and forth across the pan, creating a marbled appearance on the cake’s surface.

Create a water-bath in which to cook the cheesecake: bring a kettle of water to a boil. Wrap the springform pan in foil (to prevent water from the water-bath seeping in); place the springform pan in a roasting pan, and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, surrounding the cake. Carefully place in oven and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until edges begin to pull away from pan, but center is still jiggly. Remove from water-bath and cool completely on a rack. Chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours, but ideally overnight. When serving, you might garnish with a drizzle of Nutella or a dollop of creme fraiche.

original recipe from here

Carrot Cake a la Rose Bakery

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Cake:

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 9 carrots, grated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Frosting:

  • 8 tb (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9″ springform pan.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix the eggs, sugar, and oil on medium speed, until well-combined. Mix in grated carrots. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With mixer running on low, gradually add dry ingredients to the carrot mixture; mix just until combined. Fold in walnuts. Pour into prepared pan, and bake 50 minutes, or until middle is set and edges are beginning to pull away from pan. Cool completely in pan, then remove to cake stand or serving platter.

Meanwhile, beat softened cream cheese and butter on medium, gradually adding confectioner’s sugar. When cake is completely cooled, apply a thick later of frosting to its top using an offset spatula; run spatula around edge of cake to ensure frosting is smooth and flush with cake’s edge. Serve with tea or a big glass of milk if you are so inclined.

original recipe from here

Nutella Cakehazelnut_choc_cake.jpg

Cake:

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 13-ounce container Nutellla
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Ganache:

  • 4 ounces whole hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter a 9-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl (preferably metal), whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff. In another bowl, cream the butter and Nutella, then add the rum, egg yolks, and ground hazelnuts. Fold in melted chocolate.

Add a blob of beaten egg whites to the chocolate batter, and mix gently until well-combined. Fold in the remaining whites, one-third at a time, very gently but thorougly. Pour into springform and bake for 40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting tester, which should come out mostly clean; lightly pressing finger into top to check for a slight bouncing-back; and observing edges beginning to separate from pan. Let cool completely, in pan, on a rack.

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet, shaking them around frequently. Do it for about 5 minutes, or until they are lightly browned, then let cool completely. If hazelnuts came with skins on, put them in a towel after toasting and rub around; this will remove most of the skins, if you are diligent. I got a little lazy; hence the partially-dark hazelnuts crowning my cake above.

Chop chocolate, and add to sauce pan with cream and rum over medium-low heat. Once chocolate is melted and components are combined, whisk until mixture reaches desired thickness, then cool. Remove rim of cake pan and pour cooled ganache over, spreading lightly to create a smooth, shiny surface, and apply hazelnuts all over. I like to let the ganache settle and meld with the top of the cake (resting at least an hour), then enjoy a big wedge with coffee.

original recipe from here

Family Recipe: Maple-White Chocolate Fudge

It’s so basic that you can easily accessorize with different kinds of chocolate, nuts, flavorings/extracts, or dried fruit. I particularly like dark chocolate flavored with rum and studded with pecans, gianduja with hazelnuts, and the featured recipe, white chocolate-maple. White chocolate with dried apricots and pistachios would pass muster as well.White Chocolate-Maple Fudge

  • 14 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp maple extract (can be found at Dean & Deluca)

Butter an 8″x8″ pan.

Empty can of milk into a heavy-bottomed sauce pan; add chocolate. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until melted and thickened, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in extract until well-combined. Pour into buttered pan. Allow to cool at least 2 hours, then slice into 1-inch cubes (I like to use a dough scraper to slice and remove).

You could ramp up this recipe by reducing a bit of maple syrup and drizzling it over the still-warm fudge, allowing it to cool before slicing and serving.

original recipe from here

Alex’s Chicken and Mushroom Marsalaalex's chicken marsala

This is as good time as any for me to sing the praises of the humble white button mushroom, which get upstaged a lot these days by fancier heirloom and wild varieties. And although I have room in my funky (er, funghi?) heart for each and all types, I maintain that you can extract every bit of complex flavor from a white button mushroom as you can from a crimini or shiitake–it is all about know how to cook them, and this, my friends, is an excellent place to start. Gourmet, June 1995

Serves 6

3 whole boneless chicken breasts with skin (about 2 1/2 pounds),
halved
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, sliced thin
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 cup Marsala
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large heavy skillet heat oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown chicken in 2 batches, transferring with tongs to a large plate as browned.

Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and sauté onion and mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Marsala and cook mixture, stirring, until Marsala is almost evaporated. Add broth and chicken with any juices that have accumulated on plate and simmer, turning chicken once, until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a platter.

Simmer mushroom sauce until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove skillet from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and salt and pepper to taste, stirring until butter is just incorporated. Spoon mushroom sauce around chicken and sprinkle with parsley.

original recipe from here

Almond Biscotti

This biscotti is what I like to think of as a Hole in One Recipe. And I know what you’re thinking, “Deb, golf? You never seemed the type.” And you’d be exactly correct; willingly standing outside in the heat and humidity for hours at a time wearing funny shoes is an enigma to me. But a hole in one? This I can compute.

biscotti batteregg white washafter first baking

You see, sometimes it takes several tries to come up with the recipe you’d hope for to make the thing you crave exactly as you are sure it should be–for example, I have not yet found the perfect yellow layer cake and I’m still remiss over my two recent butterscotch pudding disasters. But biscotti? I got what I wanted on the very first try.

after first bakingcooled and slicedhalf flipped, mid-second bake
Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 1999

They’re supposed to make 3 dozen, but my batch yielded at least 45

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or orange liqueur
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped or sliced almonds

1 large egg white

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Mix sugar, melted butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract, orange liquer and zest in large bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir with wooden spoon until well blended. Mix in almonds.

Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each dough half into 13 1/2-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer both logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing apart. Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush over top and sides of each dough log.

Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 30 minutes. Cool logs completely on sheet on rack, about 25 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Transfer logs to work surface; discard parchment paper. Using serrated knife, cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until just beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.

Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

recipe from here

The Accidental Soup Recipe: Chick Peas, Ginger, and Coriander, Oh my!
Garbanzo Bean Soup

Although it started as an accident, this Chick Pea Soup with Ginger and Coriander has turned into a favorite in my kitchen. It’s simple, healthy and satisfying and can be on the table in about 10 minutes (ok, maybe 15).

Ingredients for Garbanzo Bean Soup

These are the ingredients I used: extra virgin olive oil, organic canned garbanzo beans (chick peas), ground cumin, ground coriander, half a seeded serrano chili, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, juice from a lime, and cilantro for the garnish.
Step One: Pour one can of organic garbanzo beans, liquid and all, into a food processor or blender.

Step 2: Blend the garbanzo beans into a smooth puree. As you can see, my mini food processor leaks a bit during this process but that doesn’t really matter -)

Blended Garbanzo Beans in Processor

This is what the puree will look like. It will be fairly smooth but still a bit grainy in consistency, that’s fine.

Step 3: Get your ingredients ready. Mince or press a couple cloves of garlic, grate a one-inch cube of fresh ginger, mince a chili if you want some heat (I used half a seeded serrano chili), measure out a teaspoon or two of ground coriander and half a teaspoon or so of ground cumin (the amounts are entirely up to you).

Step 4: Heat a medium saucepan and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil

Garlic and Serrano Chili

Step 5: Add the garlic and chili and cook for a minute or so.

Step 6: Throw in the grated ginger and cook for a minute or so longer.

Step 7: Add the coriander and cumin and stir for about half a minute until the spices are fragrant.

Pouring in Bean Puree

Step 8: Stir in the chick pea puree. If you want, you can thin the soup with a little chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water. If you are in a hurry, just cook the soup until it’s heated through then taste and season with a bit of salt and pepper. If you have the time, cook the soup for a bit longer on medium-low heat to let the flavors intensify. If you decide to cook the soup longer, it’s best to thin it with the broth or water first because it will thicken again as it cooks and the liquid evaporates.

Garbanzo Bean Soup

Step 9: Garnish the soup with fresh chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice (lemon would be fine if that’s what you have on hand).

Step 10: Eat.

So that’s it! Simple.

Recipe Notes: If you prefer not to use the liquid from the canned beans, you can drain and rinse them and then puree the beans with some chicken or vegetable broth or water. I’ve done it both ways and I actually liked the original version the best. I’ve been using the organic canned chick peas from Trader Joe’s that are just packed in water and sea salt. Another of my favorite brands of canned beans is Goya. But, use whatever you happen to like!

Beware of adding too much salt if you are using the bean liquid from the can. The beans are packed in salted water so you may not need to add any salt at all. Taste first, then season if necessary!

If you don’t have any fresh chilies but want to add a little heat to the soup, stir in a little crushed red chili. If you really want it spicy, try using both. If you prefer no heat, don’t add either. Feel free to use more garlic and/or ginger if those are flavors that you really like.

The soup is really great with a dollop of plain yogurt on top. Sour cream would also work.

This recipe makes two small servings of soup or one large serving.

original recipe from here

Amazing Black Bean Brownies Recipe
Amazing Black Bean Brownies

It kills me that I can’t take credit for today’s black bean brownie recipe. As strange as it sounds (we’re talking about brownies packed with pureed black beans), this recipe from a new book by Ania Catalano delivers deliciously dense, bite-sized squares of melt-in-your-mouth fudge-textured brownies. Keep in mind I’m someone who comes across hundreds of brownie recipes a year, it wasn’t high on my to-do list to feature yet another brownie recipe. But the quirky ingredient list piqued my curiosity, and in the end the proof was in the pan. Ania mentions that this flourless brownie was the most sought-after recipe at her restaurant and bakery.

Amazing Black Bean Brownies Recipe

For those of you who have a hard time tracking down agave nectar (which is becoming much more readily available) substitute honey 1:1 for the agave nectar. Ania’s head notes encourage you to keep these brownies in the refrigerator, they will slice much better if refrigerated several hours or preferably overnight. I used instant coffee this time around, but you can find natural coffee substitute at many natural food stores.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (hs: canned is fine)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (granulated) natural coffee substitute (or instant coffee, for gluten-sensitive)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
1½ cups light agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 11- by 18-inch (rimmed) baking pan (hs note: or jellyroll pan) with parchment paper and lightly oil with canola oil spray.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee substitute, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the agave nectar and beat well. Set aside.

Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.

Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)

Makes 45 (2-inch) brownies.

original recipe from here

A Twist on Guacamole RecipeA Twist on Guacamole

I’m particular about how I like my guacamole. Restaurants are typically too cheap to do it right – adding all sorts of ingredients to stretch the green gold. Pre-made guacamole products? Well, they run the spectrum from not-very-good to outright inedible. I hate to say it, but it’s a rare thing to come across the perfect guacamole specimen – or guacamole recipe for that matter.

Great guacamole starts with perfectly ripe avocados (I always have to remind myself to plan ahead a day or two) – you’ll know they are ready by cradling each candidate in your palm and pressing confidently against the the pebbled skin with the pads of your fingertips. If the flesh feels as if you might leave a faint mark, you likely have a good one. If the flesh feels as if it might collapse beneath your grip, move to the next – over ripe. Some people prefer the button test – you’ll know an avocado is under ripe if you attempt to jostle the little stem button around a bit and it won’t budge. Falls right out? It might be too ripe.

Other things to consider:

Resist the urge to over mix guacamole, it should have lots of big chunks – unruly texture bound together loosely with vibrant green avocado flesh. It is not a puree.

Tomatoes or no tomatoes? For the record, I’m against them. But more people than not use chopped tomatoes in their guacamole. They might actually work nicely in this variation I’m exploring today, but when I’m playing it straight – it’s simply avocado, onions, garlic, lime and salt.

White onions, not yellow. White onions deliver a clean, sharp onion flavor that is less sweet and soft than your standard yellow onion. White onions cut through the richness of the avocado nicely.

Feel free to add a chopped tomato if you like, a bit of cilantro might be tasty as well. Many stores now sell reheatable naan bread – Whole Foods, etc. Totally fine for this recipe. Or, even better, stop into your favorite local Indian restaurant and pick up a stack to use for dipping.

1 small white onion
1 clove garlic, minced
4 avocados
1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
a few big pinches of cumin powder
a few big pinches of Indian curry powder

Garlic or plain naan bread, cut into wedges (not gluten free)

Heat oven to 350 and bake the naan wedges for 10 minutes or so – just enough for them to crisp up a bit.

In a small bowl combine the onion, garlic, and avocado flesh. Take the lime and give a generous squeeze or two. Add the salt, cumin and curry powder. Give everything a good stir, but don’t overdo it. Taste. Now start adjusting. Do you need a bit more lime? A bit more salt? Want a stronger curry flavor? Go for it.

Serve in a bowl with a big pile of the naan wedges on the side and a sprinkling of curry powder on top (a bit of chopped cilantro would look nice as well). original recipe from here

Skinny Omelette RecipeSkinny Omelette

In my mind an omelette is a beaten egg (or eggs) cooked in a pan and stuffed with good stuff. As I started rethinking the way I wanted to approach omelette-making, I opted to keep the beating and cooking and stuffing intact. I played with a few other variables instead. I decided to cook the eggs extra thin – almost crepe thin, and opted for rolling instead of folding. I ended up very happy with the stuff-and-roll decision because the omelette then lends itself to a lovely (and functional) diagonal cut, you can see a cross-section of the ingredients. Lastly, I avoided over-stuffing them.

I used my favorite pesto, a small handful of greens, and crumbled cheese in addition to the omelette-egg base. That being said, there are a million ways you could remix this omelette recipe. You can add spices, seasonings, tiny grains, herbs, curry pastes, and infusions to the eggs before cooking. You can play around with different spreads, cheeses, mashed beans, tangy yogurt, salsa and/or avocados as filling. If you like Thai flavors, use Thai ingredients. If you like Japanese flavors, integrate those ingredients. The potential combinations are endless. Many of the fantastic ideas and flavor combinations you all volunteered for the baked eggs recipe would transfer over to this recipe remarkably well.

I didn’t mention it up above, but ricotta spiked with lemon zest and some herbs would be a perfect, easily spreadable slather for this recipe as well.

2 large (preferably organic) eggs
a tiny pinch of fine grain sea salt
a few tablespoons of chopped chives
a dollop of pesto
a bit of goat cheese or feta
a small handful of mixed salad greens

Use a fork to beat the eggs and salt in a small bowl. Beat well, until the eggs are mostly uniform in color – they seem to run around the pan more evenly when there aren’t huge patches of yolk vs. whites.

In your largest non-stick skillet over medium heat (this is one of the few occasions I actually use non-stick) pour the egg mixture and give it a good swirl so that they spread out thinly across the entire pan. Alternately, you can use a crepe pan or crepe maker – this works beautifully as well. Sprinkle the eggs with some of the chives and let them set, this happens quickly depending on the heat of your pan – 15 seconds to one minute. Run a spatula underneath the omelette and slide it out of the pan (flat) onto a countertop, large cutting board or Silpat-line cookie sheet. Do this with confidence (or practice). Spread the pesto across the surface of the omelette (if you have a thick pesto, thin it a bit with water to make it easily spreadable), and then sprinkle with the cheese and salad greens. Starting with one end, roll the omelette away from you. Cut in half on a deep diagonal. Season with a bit more salt if needed and serve garnished with a few chopped chives.

Serves one or two. original recipe from here

Thousand Layer Lasagne RecipeThousand Layer Lasagne

This isn’t a lasagna path for the faint-hearted. Making a dish of this magnitude takes commitment and patience – and time. Plenty of it. Although, not as much time as if you asked me about it last week. It dawned on me over the weekend, standing in front of the the fresh pasta vendor at the market, that I could shave a few hours off the production of it. That’s right. Hours. This thing is a weekend project if there ever was one. The good news is that it makes a lot, and there’s no chance you’ll go hungry throughout the week.

Fresh pasta straight from the Pasta Shop

A while back some of you were asking me about this recipe. I posted a picture of a pesto/ricotta version of it here (although, now that I’m looking at it – definitely not deep-dish enough)…I promised a proper write-up. So here it is. I do a bunch of variations it. Today I’ll show you the tomato-based starter version, but feel free to experiment through the seasons. I’ve done roasted butternut squash + brown butter, or pesto and ricotta – play around, but keep the sauces + fillings simple and not too chunky. Part of the magic comes from the baklava-like layering of the pasta one on top of the next – just enough going on between each layer to keep it all moist, flavorful, and feathery-light. Well, as feathery-light as lasagna gets. Here’s how it works…

Headnotes: I used to make this from scratch. The pasta all the way through…This time around I got a jump start by paying $3 for a pound of fresh egg pasta sheets at the farmers’ market. Fantastic return on $3. You still need to run those sheets through a pasta machine a few times to achieve the most thin and delicate sheets of pasta possible – but starting from pre-bought was a bit of a revelation for me, and a big timesaver. If you don’t have a pasta machine (they are actually quite affordable!), try a rolling pin – not quite the same, but will help thin out the sheets….It also dawned on me that I might be able to get away with skipping the pre-boil step in this recipe altogether and dial up the amount of sauce a bit (though I’ve never tried it this way) – I suspect you might be sacrificing some of the tenderness of the noodles to save the time it takes to boil and drain…just a thought. Make sure the pasta sheets you buy are fresh and moist. Proper seasoning is important throughout this recipe, if you undersalt it is going to taste flat and the flavors won’t pop – the right amount of salt brings the pasta forward and focuses the tomato and lemon flavors in the sauce.

1 pound fresh egg pasta sheets (or make some from scratch)
butter to prep baking dish

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed organic tomatoes
zest of one lemon

3 4-ounce balls of fresh mozzarella, torn up into little pieces
a handful of slivered basil (optional)
freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375. Start by clearing off every flat space in your kitchen, you are going to need and use all of it.

Make your sauce: Place the olive oil, salt, pepper flakes, and garlic in a pan. Dial the heat up and saute for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes and slowly bring to a simmer as well. Remove from heat, stir in the lemon zest and taste for seasoning. Add more salt if needed. Set aside.

Fill your biggest pot full of water and bring to a boil.
Lavishly butter a deep, square baking dish. The one I use is 9×9 and 2 1/2-inches deep.

Thin out your pasta using a pasta machine. Start by cutting the big sheets into 2-inch(ish) wide ribbons. This means making 2 cuts along the sheets. This should yield you about 12 2-foot strips. Run them through the pasta machine. I go to the 8 setting, one shy of the very thinnest setting. The sheets should almost be translucent. Cut the strips into manageable rectangles roughly 4-inches in length.

Pre-cook the pasta: Fill a large bowl with cold water and a few glugs of olive oil. Place a large flour sack or cotton dish towel across one of your counters. Salt your pot of boiling water generously. Ok, now you are ready to boil off your pasta. Believe it or not, you are on the home stretch. Place a handful of the pasta rectangles into the boiling water to cook (I’ve found I can get away with about 20 at a time), fish them out (I use a pasta claw) after just 15-20 seconds, don’t over cook. Transfer them immediately to the cold olive-oil water for a quick swim and cool-off. Remove from the cold water bath and place flat and neat on the cotton towel. It is ok for them to overlap, I don’t have a problem with the sheets sticking typically. Repeat until all your pasta is boiled.

Pull it all together. Ladle a bit of the sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Cover the bottom with a layer of pasta sheets. Now a thin layer of sauce, and a bit of cheese. Go for another layer of pasta, then sauce, then pasta again, then sauce and cheese. Keep going until you’ve used up all the sauce and pasta. You want to finish with a layer of pasta. Top with the last of the sauce and the very last of the cheese so you have a nice cheesy top.

Bake until everything is melted and fragrant, 35 minutes or so. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving, so everything has a chance to set up a bit. Dust with parmesan and a bit of slivered basil.

Serves many. original recipe from here

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream RecipeLiquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

A friend of a friend showed up at a recent cooking night with a hardcore, four foot tank of liquid nitrogen. What might one do with a giant tank of liquid nitrogen? LN2, for those in the know, btw. Make liquid nitrogen ice cream, of course.

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream – creamy!

I needed a play-by-play explanation. Apparently many school-aged kids make liquid nitrogen ice cream as part of elementary-school science lessons. My school however, never made it beyond shaking cream in a jar with a marble to make butter – the year after that we sprouted lima beans.

To make liquid nitrogen ice cream you start with an ice cream base in a metal mixing bowl. Fire up the mixer (Kitchen-Aid was in use here) at low-med speed. Pour the liquid nitrogen into the bowl a bit at a time as the mixer is running. It freezes up ever so creamy and beautifully.

Will I die if I eat it? I asked that. I also asked a host of other questions. Are those plumes of Halloween-looking smoke coming off the bowl going to gobble up all the oxygen in the room? Are we all going to go to sleep and never wake up? You really, really, need to be careful with this stuff – do your homework and really get up to speed on the proper way to handle it (some starter links below). You need to treat it as seriously as you would a deep fryer filled with hot oil and the like. You like your fingers, right? LN2 can cause them to shatter. Imagine what it could go if you got it in your eyes. Survival instincts aside, I savored every bite of the ice cream.

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Recipe

There are lots of chefs playing around with LN2 in the kitchen. If jumping into the molecular gastronomy pond is something that piques your interest, liquid nitrogen ice cream seems like a good gateway recipe. Not sure if I see myself going down to the local welding supply shop to stock up on it, but I understand the allure.

There is an great eGullet thread on cooking with liquid nitrogen. It covers safety considerations, LN2 experiences, and input from people using it in their own kitchens. Also, be sure to read this materials sheet on liquid nitrogen.

One of the things I’m curious about and don’t have a good (or well-founded) sense of, is how these “extreme” culinary techniques impact the nutritional or beneficial properties found in food. When I say extreme I mean the extreme fast freeze brought on by liquid nitrogen, or the chefs using lasers – that sort of thing. My sense is that these types of techniques are tough on (natural) ingredients. I have a good sense of what high temps can do to beneficial essential fatty acids (like those found in nuts or unrefined nut oils), or to the phyto-nutrients in fruits and vegetables – and it’s not always pretty. I’d love to open this up for discussion.

I’ll include the base recipe for my favorite vanilla bean gelato below, I suspect it would pair quite nicely with a tank of the cold stuff. Let me know.

Need more? Here are some links:

Material Safety Data Sheet for Liquid Nitrogen

heidi notes: This is a nice, creamy gelato-type base. Infuse it, add stuff, get creative. I wrote this recipe a few years back – I tend to use arrowroot instead of cornstarch as a thickener in recipes that need it (it is usually less-processed than cornstarch). But because I haven’t tested arrowroot in this base, I’ll give you the cornstarch version. If you use this as a base for liquid nitrogen ice cream, please read up on the safety precautions that must be observed when handling LN2.

4 cups whole organic milk
1 vanilla bean, split
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place three cups of the milk in a saucepan with the vanilla bean over medium-low heat.

Meanwhile, pour the remaining 1 cup milk into a large glass measuring cup. Add the sugar and the cornstarch. Mix well.

When the milk starts to simmer, remove it from the heat and pour in the cornstarch mixture, stirring the whole time. Return the saucepan to medium-low and stir, stir, stir, until things start thickening up, 10 to 12 minutes. It should end up thicker than, say, a runny milkshake, but thinner than a frosty one.

Pour the mixture through a strainer into a mixing bowl, whisk in the vanilla extract, and let it cool on the counter for 20 minutes or so. I like to then chill it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight until it is completely chilled.

Now you are ready to place this mixture in a metal-bowl mixer and do the liquid nitrogen thing (see above links and do your safety reading and research first), or you can just freeze this using the manufacturer’s instructions on a standard ice-cream maker.

Serves 6. original recipe from here

Tired of Banana Bread? Try this Recipe!
Banana Roll with Cream Cheese

Well, I don’t think I could ever get tired of banana bread. But if you’re looking to try something a little different with those overripe bananas sitting in your fruit basket, how about a banana roll? Banana sponge cake spread with a thick cream cheese filling rolled up into one yummy package — what’s not to love?

Banana Roll

Cake:
Powdered sugar
3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3 eggs
1 C sugar
2/3 C. mashed banana (2 medium bananas)

Filling:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar, sifted
6 T. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 C. powdered sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 15×10 inch jelly-roll pan (also known as half sheet pan); line with parchment or waxed paper. Grease and flour paper; set aside. Spread out a clean, thin dish towel on the counter (make sure the towel is larger than your jelly roll pan); sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar (this can be done using a mesh strainer).

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda.

3. In a large bowl combine eggs and sugar; beat until thickened. Add banana; beat until well mixed.

4. Stir in flour mixture into egg mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, easing it carefully to the corners with a spatula.

5. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched.

6. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert cake onto the prepared towel. Remove pan; carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake in towel while hot, starting with 10-inch side. Cool completely on wire rack (will take at least an hour).

7. When cake is almost completely cooled, make the filling: beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth.

8. When cake has cooled completely, unroll and spread with filling (or your favorite cream cheese frosting) then re-roll cake. Wrap rolled cake in plastic wrap then refrigerate at least one hour (overnight is best).

9. When ready to serve, unwrap cake and place on a platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired (sift the sugar through a small mesh strainer for a nice presentation). Cut into slices.

original recipe from here


Whipped Chickpea Hummus Recipe

Judith purees chickpeas with a cooked new potato, a bit of red onion, olive oil, and seasonings. Think of it as Italian-style hummus. Sounds good, right?I made her version and decided to build on it for my second batch. I added lemon zest, a spike of lemon juice, and a generous dose of one of my favorite power greens, Spinach. I also kissed the crostini with a bit of garlic. The green chives got a bit lost on top of the spinach chickpea whip. Next time I’ll go back to garnishing with pretty slivers of red onions.If you can make hummus, you can make these. Give them a shot at your next party.

Crostini:
1 sweet baguette, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
a couple pinches of salt
1 large garlic clove, peeled.

Chickpea spread:
1 cup dried chickpeas, rinsed and picked over
1 small new potato (Yukon Gold, Yellow Fin, etc), peeled and quartered
5-6 handfuls of spinach, washed well

1 small red onion, chopped
zest of one lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon, approx.
salt and pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
warm water
chives for garnish (opt)

Prepare beans and potato:
Soak the garbanzos overnight. Drain soaking liquid, and refill with enough water to cover the beans by about an inch. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat, and allow to simmer until beans are tender. Add the potato to the pot (or cook it in another water-filled) until tender, another 10 minutes or so. Drain any extra water at this point and set beans/potato aside.

Make crostini:
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl toss the baguette slices with the olive oil and salt. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for a couple minutes and rub each crostini with the clove of garlic – don’t go overbboard, raw garlic is strong!

Add a splash of olive oil to a hot skillet, and throw in the spinach. It should collapse within 10 or 20 seconds. Immediately remove from heat and salt to taste.

Combine the chickpeas, potato, spinach, 1/4 cup red onions, lemon zest and juice, and a few big pinches of salt in a food processor. With the machine running drizzle in the olive oil. Chances are your mixture is on the dry side at this point and you may need to add warm water a few tablespoons at a time until the spread is a rich, creamy consistency. Season carefully, if you under salt the flavor will be flat. If you need more acidity, and a bit more lemon juice.

Put a spoonful of the spread on each crostini. Finish with a drizzle of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, and a sprinkling of the red onions.

Serves many. original recipe from here

How to Make Pesto like an Italian GrandmotherHow to Make Pesto like an Italian Grandmother

If you’ve ever tasted pesto in Italy you know that the pesto here in the United States just isn’t the same. I received a lesson in how to make pesto from a real Italian grandmother last week and now I understand the difference and what makes it so.My friend Francesca makes the trip from her small town near the pesto-epicenter of Genoa, Italy to San Francisco once or twice a year – this time (lucky for us) she brought her mom and two-year old son Mattia. Her mom makes a beautiful pesto (and perfectly light, potato gnocchi to go along with it) and offered to show me and my friend Jen how it is done. I have to say, I’ll never look back, and will never make pesto any other way. If you love pesto, you really have to try this.Most of the pesto you encounter here in the U.S. is different for a few reasons. First off, most of what you see here is made by machine, usually a food processor or hand blender. This holds true even if it is homemade. Don’t get me wrong, it usually tastes good, but because the ingredients aren’t hand chopped you end up with an texture that is more like like a moist paste and there little to no definition between ingredients.During my lesson I quickly began to realize chopping all the ingredients by hand and not blending them is key because this prevents the ingredients from becoming a completely homogenized emulsion or paste. When you dress a pasta with a pesto that has been hand chopped the miniscule flecks of basil will separate from the olive oil in places, you get definition between ingredients, and bright flavors pop in a way they don’t when they’ve been blended into one .Another thing, Genovese pesto is famous in part because it is often made with young, small basil leaves. For us non-Italians it is easy to find Genovese basil in stores and at farmer’s markets particularly in the summer, but chances are it wasn’t picked young. I wouldn’t worry about it too much, simply by hand chopping all your ingredients, you will see a major shift in personality of your pesto. If you grow your own basil, I’m envious.Best Pesto RecipeSo, if you are serious about making good pesto, get a good, sharp (preferably large, single blade) mezzaluna, you’ll need it. Chopping the ingredients will take twenty or thirty minutes. Whatever you use to chop, make sure it has a sharp blade or the basil will turn dark. Let me know if you try this and what you think, I promise to share her potato gnocchi technique in a future post, they were unbelievable. Also, note to self: do a remix of the thousand-layer lasagne with this.

One key to perfect pesto is chopping all the ingredients by hand, preferably with a sharp mezzaluna or knife. I gave my double-bladed mezzaluna to a friend last year because it was collecting dust (I also didn’t like how ingredients would get stuck between the blades), but have a large half-moon shaped pizza cutter that works like a dream. Francesca’s mom even approved and said it cut her chopping time in half. This pesto will keep a bit in the refrigerator, but it really hits its peak when served soon after it is made.

The technique here is: chop a bit, add some ingredients, chop some more. I think part of the reason she does it this way (instead of chopping everything all at once) is because some things get chopped into oblivion, while some not as much – it encourages specturm of cut sizes throughout the pesto contributing to the overall texture. All told, the chopping took me a leisurely twenty to thirty minutes, I wasn’t in any particular rush.

You’ll notice this recipe doesn’t have any added salt (just the saltiness from the cheese), make sure your pasta water is well salted if you are going to use this pesto on pasta or the overall flavor profile will fall flat. Also, be sure to adjust for seasoning before serving. With food this simple, you need to get the seasoning right.

1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
3 medium cloves of garlic
one small handful of raw pine nuts
roughly 3/4 cup Parmesan, loosely packed and FRESHLY GRATED
A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Special equipment: large mezzaluna for chopping

Start chopping the garlic along with about 1/3 of the basil leaves. Once this is loosely chopped add more basil, chop some more, add the rest of the basil, chop some more. I scrape and chop, gather and chop. At this point the basil and garlic should be a very fine mince. Add about half the pine nuts, chop. Add the rest of the pine nuts, chop. Add half of the Parmesan, chop. Add the rest of the Parmesan, and chop. In the end you want a chop so fine that you can press all the ingredients into a basil “cake” – see the photo up above. Transfer the pesto “cake” to a small bowl (not much bigger than the cake). Cover with a bit of olive oil, it doesn’t take much, just a few tablespoons.

You can set this aside or place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Just before serving give the pesto a quick stir to incorporate some of the oil into the basil. She occasionally thins the pesto with a splash of pasta water for more coverage, but for our gnocchi this wasn’t necessary.

Makes about 1 cup. original recipe from here

Cheesy Potato Spoon Bread

Cheesy Potato Spoon Bread

This recipe is outrageously good. Warm, tasty, cheesy, crusty, cayenne-kissed, oven-baked goodness. If you are a fan of comfort food – look no further.It all comes together really easily, not necessarily a quick recipe, per se….but really basic and straight forward (and no tin-lined copper molds to wrestle with!). You could conceivably make it ahead of time, and bake it off whenever convenient – when you get home from work, or when you have people over for dinner.I’m not recommending that you eat a plateful of this for lunch everyday – but if you are going to take a stroll down the cheese + starch sidewalk, this is the direction you want to head.Be sure to season well (salt) along the way or it will end up tasting blah.

4 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
3T soy margarine (I used butter)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 large eggs, beaten, or 1 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup minced parsley
6 oz. Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded (I used a sharp white cheddar)
10 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Generously butter 6 1-cup ramekins or 2-qt. souffle dish or casserole.

2. If using cold mashed potatoes, warm in large nonstick skillet or saucepan over medium heat until very hot, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.

3. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Put flour, margarine, onion powder, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper in mixing bowl, and pour boiling water over mixture. Using electric mixer on low, beat for 1 minute, and add very hot mashed potatoes. Beat again well. Add eggs, and beat again, until thoroughly combined. Set aside to cool slightly.

4. Mix parsley, shredded cheese and cream cheese in mixing bowl. Scoop 1/2 cup potato mixture into each ramekin, or put 4 cups into prepared casserole. Make a well in center, and spoon in 2 heaping tablespoons of parsley-cheese filling. Cover filling with 4 tablespoons potato mixture. If using casserole, top with remaining potato mixture. Place ramekins or casserole on baking sheet.

5. Bake 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with sprigs of parsley if desired.

Serves 6.

Recipe by Joyce Piotrowksi From: Vegetarian Times (March, 2005) original recipe from here

Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potato RecipeVanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes

The recipe comes from a new cookbook – Artisanal Cooking by Terrance Brennan. There are a couple other recipes from his book that I look forward to trying – Chestnut Spaetzle, Apple Tarte Tatin with Cheddar Cheese Crust, and also a Cauliflower Soup with Cheddar Croutons.I topped the sweet potatoes with the Autumn Spice Oil (also in the book). A bunch of spices including juniper berries, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, cloves – toasted, freshly ground, and bathed in warm oil. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we have!

(heidi notes: I used sea salt, and regular pepper)

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cleaned and left a bit damp
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
kosher salt
white pepper in a mill

Preheat the oven to 350F. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender to a fork tip, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cook until warm enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel and discard the skin. Put the potatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Meanwhile, pour the cream into a 2-quart pot, add the vanilla bean and orange zest, if using, and set it over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Use tongs to fish out and discard the vanilla bean. Pour the mixture over the potatoes in the processor and add the butter.

Puree the potato mixture until smooth. Season with salt and 4 grinds of pepper, or to taste. Keep covered and warm until ready to serve.

(heidi note: I think there is an ingredient omission in this recipe. The ingredient list leaves out the amount of oil to use. So, based on the other infused oils in this book I used the same amount, 1 cup.)

4 star anise
1/2 tablespoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon allspice
1 medium cinnamon stick, crushed, or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
2 pieces dried orange peel, optional
1 cup oil (heidi note: I used olive oil – a mild tasting one) – He uses canola in some of his other recipes.

Put the star anise, juniper berries, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves in an 8-inch saute pan and toast overmedium heat, shaking constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

Transfer the spices to a spice or coffee grinder and pulse for a few seconds.

Transfer the spices to a bowl, add the vanilla bean and orange peel, if using, and set aside.

Pour the oil into a small pot and heat it over medium-low heat until warm. Pour the oil over the spices and vanilla. Cover and let infuse at room temperature for 24 hours, periodically mixing the bowl. (heidi note: terrance says not to strain, but i strained anyways at this point – I think my spices were a bit on the chunky side of a fine grind).

Cover and keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Makes 1 cup. original recipe from here

How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

Gnocchi recipes aren’t for the faint of heart. Many, many things can go awry. I’m not trying to scare you off or dissuade you, I just want you to know what you are in for. Gnocchi-making takes practice, patience, and persistance. At their best potato gnocchi can be light and delicate. At their worst, dense, rubbery, and/or soggy. The very worst are the gnocchi that come apart in the boiling water before they even reach your plate.The platter of petite, potato pillows coated with glistening flecks of basil pesto that Francesca’s mother made was beautiful. The gnocchi recipe she taught us had just three ingredients – boiled, starchy russet potatoes combined with a minimal amount of flour (too much flour and your gnocchi are going to be heavy), and a bit of salt – no eggs. I’ve tweaked her version to be a little more user-friendly here, because to be honest, eggless gnocchi are very tricky to get the hang of, very delicate to handle. I speak from experience at this point. I’m afraid if I post the eggless version here, there will be a number of you who will try it, get frustrated, and curse me.So in the version below, I incorporate just enough egg to act as a bit of a binder. We still aren’t using an excessive amount of flour, and the resulting gnocchi are deliciously light. They can also stand up to a toss with your favorite sauce.If you are committed to trying the eggless version, try this version first. the next time around use half the egg, and the time after that go for no egg. By that time, you should have all the other steps figured out and you’ll have a better vantage point and level of experience from which to work You’ll also have a better sense of how to handle and work with the dough.gnocchi recipe

Francesca’s mom seemed disappointed we didn’t have a potato ricer or potato mill on hand, but said that mashing the potatoes by hand would be fine. I’ve done it many times by hand now, and it is fine. For those of you wanting to do some of the preparation in advance, in one test I cooked and mashed a batch of potatoes a day ahead of time, put them in a covered bowl overnight, and incorporated the egg and flour the next day when I was ready to cook the gnocchi – no problems.

Scant 2 pounds of starchy potatoes (2 large russets)
1/4 cup egg, lightly beaten
scant 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
fine grain sea salt

Fill a large pot with cold water. Salt the water, then cut potatoes in half and place them in the pot. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender throughout, this takes roughly 40-50 minutes.

Remove the potatoes from the water one at a time with a slotted spoon. Place each potato piece on a large cutting board and peel it before moving on to the next potato. Also, peel each potato as soon as possible after removing from the water (without burning yourself) – I’ve found a paring knife comes in handy here. Be mindful that you want to work relatively quickly so you can mash the potatoes when they are hot. To do this you can either push the potatoes through a ricer, or do what I do, deconstruct them one at a time on the cutting board using the tines of a fork – mash isn’t quite the right term here. I run the fork down the sides of the peeled potato creating a nice, fluffy potato base to work with (see photo). Don’t over-mash – you are simply after an even consistency with no noticable lumps.

Save the potato water.

Let the potatoes cool spread out across the cutting board – ten or fifteen minutes. Long enough that the egg won’t cook when it is incorporated into the potatoes. When you are ready, pull the potatoes into a soft mound – drizzle with the beaten egg and sprinkle 3/4 cup of the flour across the top. I’ve found that a metal spatula or large pastry scraper are both great utensils to use to incorporate the flour and eggs into the potatoes with the egg incorporated throughout – you can see the hint of yellow from the yolk. Scrape underneath and fold, scrape and fold until the mixture is a light crumble. Very gently, with a feathery touch knead the dough. This is also the point you can add more flour (a sprinkle at a time) if the dough is too tacky. I usually end up using most of the remaining 1/4 cup flour, but it all depends on the potatoes, the flour, the time of year, the weather, and whether the gnocchi gods are smiling on you. The dough should be moist but not sticky. It should feel almost billowy. Cut it into 8 pieces. Now gently roll each 1/8th of dough into a snake-shaped log, roughly the thickness of your thumb. Use a knife to cut pieces every 3/4-inch (see photo). Dust with a bit more flour.

To shape the gnocchi hold a fork in one hand (see photo) and place a gnocchi pillow against the tines of the fork, cut ends out. With confidence and an assertive (but light) touch, use your thumb and press in and down the length of the fork. The gnocchi should curl into a slight “C” shape, their backs will capture the impression of the tines as tiny ridges (good for catching sauce later). Set each gnocchi aside, dust with a bit more flour if needed, until you are ready to boil them. This step takes some practice, don’t get discouraged, once you get the hang of it it’s easy.

Now that you are on the final stretch, either reheat your potato water or start with a fresh pot (salted), and bring to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in batches by dropping them into the boiling water roughly twenty at a time. They will let you know when they are cooked because they will pop back up to the top. Fish them out of the water a few at a time with a slotted spoon ten seconds or so after they’ve surfaced. Have a large platter ready with a generous swirl of whatever sauce or favorite pesto you’ll be serving on the gnocchi. Place the gnocchi on the platter. Continue cooking in batches until all the gnocchi are done. Gently toss with more sauce or pesto (don’t overdo it, it should be a light dressing), and serve immediately, family-style with a drizzle of good olive oil on top.

Serves six. original recipe from here

White Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (with herbs).White Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

I though it would be nice to have a whole wheat pizza dough that wasn’t bready, chewy, soft, and unstructured. The good news is that I got very close. The only real changes I made to Peter’s original master formula was to swap in King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour. I also thought a few tablespoons of chopped thyme and rosemary would add flavor and fragrance.So what happened? These changes yielded a heavier dough – delicious and rustic-looking, but definitely more wheaty in character than a refined white flour. The dough was a soft buff color – if you can imagine what a dough made from half APF and half whole wheat might create, you can imagine the realm these pizzas fell into.Be sure to pull this dough out nice and thin. Extra thin. You won’t be sorry.

This is a very adapted version of Peter Reinhart’s dough using white whole wheat flour. There are a few corners that I’m in the habit of cutting with this dough, all reflected in the following recipe instructions.

4 1/2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold
a few tablespoons chopped herbs (optional)
Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting

Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. By hand stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed. Add the herbs. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl (to me it looks like a tornado). Add a touch of water or flour to reach the desired effect. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky.

Transfer the dough to a floured countertop. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces and mold each into a ball. Rub each ball with olive oil and slip into plastic sandwich bags. Refrigerator overnight.

When you are ready to make pizza (anytime in the next few days), remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before making the pizza. Keep them covered so they don’t dry out.

At the same time place a baking stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (you can go hotter, but I like the results I get at 450). If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan.

Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal and get ready to shape your pizza dough. Uncover or unwrap the dough balls and dust them with flour. Working one at a time, gently press a dough round into a disk wide enough that you can bring it up onto your knuckles to thin out – you should be able to pull each round out to 12-inches or so. If the dough is being fussy and keeps springing back, let it rest for another 15-20 minutes. Place the pulled-out dough on the prepared sheet pan, and jerk the pan to make sure the dough will move around on the cornmeal ball-bearings (you don’t want it to stick to the pan).

Add your toppings (less is more!) and slide the topped pizza onto the baking stone. Bake until the crust is crisp and nicely colored. Remove from the oven. I always finish with more freshly grate parmesan and a small drizzle of good quality extra-virgin olive oil.

Makes six 6-ounce pizza crusts. original recipe from here


Sweet Crepes Recipe

Sweet Crepes

At the end of it all we seem to have the standard, non-buckwheat crepes down pretty well. We’ve had some good, solid buckwheat batters – but when I discover or create ‘the one’ – I’ll write it up here.Favorite crepes we’ve made so far:

-Sweet Crepes with Forest Berry Fruit Conserve (classic + delicious)

-Sweet crepes with David Lebovitz’s Tupelo Honey Chocolate Sauce with Brandy (completely indulgent). The recipe for the sauce is in his Chocolate book.

-Sweet crepes with June Taylor’s Meyer Lemon + Rose Geranium Jelly (deliciously sophisticated and tart)

-Sweet Crepes with bittersweet Scharffen Berger shavings (perfectly simple)

-Buckwheat crepes with Bellwether Crescenza, sauteed paper-thin new potato slices (drizzled with lemon olive oil), and chopped chives (my very favorite savory crepe so far)

-Buckwheat crepes with sauteed mushrooms and Gruyere

-Buckwheat crepes with Gruyere and diced tomatoes (organic canned) that I drained, squeezed (to get rid of the extra liquid), then sauteed down a bit with some extra-virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, and salt. I sprinkled with slivered basil before folding crepe.

Crepe tips that most recipes leave out:

-Put a layer of aluminum foil under your crepemaker for quick and easy cleanup.

-Always strain any lumps out of the batter before attempting to make crepes. I thought straining might be an unnecessary step – but the little rake tool you use to spread the crepe batter around snags on the lumps and will tear the crepe.

-Go about making your crepes confidently. Use a light but determined touch if you are using the rake tool to spread batter across a flat crepe maker or pan. Or a smooth swirl of the wrist to send batter evenly across a standard pan. Quick and confident, and don’t be afraid to make a bit of a mess.

-I fill a big measuring cup (the kind with the little easy-pour lip) full of the crepe batter. It makes pouring the batter onto the crepe maker tidy and easy.

-If you don’t have an electric crepe maker, you can also make crepes in a slick, smooth, non-stick pan – like an omelet pan. It’s not as fun as using the Tibos, and the crepes aren’t going to be as pretty or perfect – but they still taste good. I tried a few this way – just to see how the other half live.

-I slightly undercook the first side of the crepe – until it is just golden. I flip, cook the second side, then flip back to the first side and fill. I let the ingredients come up to temperature (let the cheese melt a bit, etc), then fold and eat. By undercooking the first side a bit you buy yourself some time later as you are waiting for your filling to heat up a bit.

-Make your crepes to order whenever possible.

I found quite a bit of crepe inspiration while browsing through my copy of Larousse Gastronomique. It has three full pages of ideas, suggestions and recipes. So, while it may take some time for me to graduate from simple filled + folded crepes – I look forward to diving a little deeper in the future with endless variations on the broiled, baked, and glazed crepes described in this classic. The following is a great standard crepe recipe – the batter is easy to make, keeps in the refrigerator, is unfussy, and can be filled with just about anything you can dream up, including your favorite preserves.

Make some sweet crepes and keep them hot (see below). Sieve some apricot, plum, or peach jam and heat it, possibly adding some rum or a fruit liqueur. Spread the crepes with jam, roll them up, sprinkle them with caster (superfine) sugar and serve immediately. the crepes may also be placed for a few moments under the grill (broiler) to caramelize the sugar.

Be sure to read all the tips up above as well, they will help you with many of the little things I had to learn the hard wayMix 500g (18oz, 4 1/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour with 1 tablespoon vanilla-flavoured sugar (or a few drops of vanilla extract), 5-6 beaten eggs and a small pinch of salt. Gradually stir in 750 ml (1 1/4 pints, 3 1/4 cups) milk and 250 ml (8 fl oz, 1 cup) water. Flavour with a small glass of rum, Cognac, Calvados or Grand Marnier, depending on the recipe. Finally, add 40 g (1 1/2 oz, 3 tablespoons) melted butter or a mixture of 25 g (1 oz, 2 tablespoons) melted butter and 2 tablespoons oil. Leave the batter to stand for 2 hours. Just before making the crepes, dilute the batter with a little water or milk – 100-200 ml (4-7 fl oz, 1/2-3/4 cup).It was formerly the custom to add 2-3 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar to the batter, in addition to the vanilla-flavoured sugar. Today the crepes are usually sprinkled with sugar when cooked, according to individual tastes.A more basic (but very similar) version of this recipe that also worked great was this one – but again, I would go through the extra step of straining the batter before cooking.From: Larousse Gastronomique (Clarkson Potter, revised edition 2001) original recipe from here
Whole Grain Pumpkin PancakesWho says a pancake breakfast can’t be tasty and healthy? Whip up a batch of these Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes and indulge your fall cravings for foods that are warm, spicy and sweet. Your house will smell like pumpkin pie, your taste buds will think you’re eating something sinful, and your body will thank you for filling it with a wholesome meal!I had been planning on making french toast for our Sunday morning breakfast. I had baked some really good buttermilk bread the other day and the last half a loaf is at that ‘too stale for cold sandwiches but perfect for french toast’ stage.So what is that photo of whole wheat pumpkin pancakes doing up there? Well, this morning I did what I do best. I changed my mind. Just as I was pulling out the milk and eggs for french toast, I had a vision of pumpkin pancakes. This was odd because I’ve never even tasted pumpkin pancakes, much less made them!
Pumpkin Pancake BatterBut once the idea was in my head, I couldn’t let it go. I announced to my husband that breakfast plans had changed and that he would be eating pumpkin pancakes as soon as I figured out a recipe. He gave me an uncertain look that said he was hungry and worried that my ‘pancake experiment’ would delay breakfast for quite some time. But he knew it was useless to protest and muttered something like, “That sounds good” and went back to playing his latest PS3 game.I was hungry too, but confident enough in my pancake-making ability to take the chance. I had a feeling I could throw something together pretty quick and on the off chance it turned out to be a disaster, french toast was still an option!Ladleful of BatterWhen I was a kid, I hated whole wheat pancakes. I thought it was bad enough that we were only allowed to eat whole wheat bread when all the other ‘lucky kids’ at school got to eat sandwiches made with Wonder bread. I didn’t think the dreaded whole wheat flour had any place in my breakfast pancakes!Pancakes and waffles were one thing that my parents made with white flour and therefore they were just like the pancakes my friends ate and just like the pancakes I could order at a restaurant. And that’s the way I liked it. We didn’t eat pancakes at home very often but they were (and are) a breakfast staple up at the cabin. Plain pancakes, banana pancakes, blueberry pancakes, gooseberry pancakes, and even corn pancakes. But never whole wheat!Uncooked Pumpkin PancakesThe few times I had to eat whole wheat pancakes growing up, I thought they were absolutely terrible! Maybe they were, they certainly can be if you use the wrong recipe. But I think it was probably all in my head.My views on whole wheat bread changed over the years as did my views on whole wheat pancakes. I’ve learned that many types of whole wheat pancakes actually taste much better than regular ones. So, even though I’ll always love a stack of good ol’ white flour buttermilk pancakes, I find myself experimenting more often with different types of whole grain pancakes.Cooked Pumpkin PancakesPumpkin pancakes seemed like the perfect vehicle for whole grain flour so that’s what I used in this recipe. I added a little bit of cake flour to lighten them up a bit but feel free to try the recipe with 100% whole wheat flour if that’s what you prefer.

This recipe will use about half a can of pumpkin puree. If you have a large family, double the recipe and use the entire can. One can is just under two cups of pumpkin but don’t worry too much about not having enough pumpkin. Just use one can and add a bit more buttermilk if the batter is too thick. If you aren’t going to make a double batch, use that extra half can of pumpkin to whip up some pumpkin muffins!

Pumpkin Pancakes on Plate

Enjoy!

  • Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
  • 1 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C. cake flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1 C. buttermilk
  • 1 C. canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. oil
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 T. dark brown sugar
  • 1. In a large bowl, whisk together the first eight ingredients (whole wheat flour through nutmeg). In a separate bowl, whisk together the last six ingredients (buttermilk through brown sugar).
  • 2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and blend together with a wooden spoon until just combined. Lumps are ok, just make sure all the flour on the bottom of the bowl is mixed in. If batter seems too thick to pour, you can gently stir in a little more buttermilk.
  • 3. Drop pancakes by ladleful onto a medium-hot griddle. Pancakes are ready to turn when the edges start to look a little dry and you can see small bubbles forming on the surface.
  • Notes: You may substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour if that’s all you have on hand. You may also use only whole wheat flour, just increase whole wheat to 1 1/2 cups and omit cake flour; pancakes will be just a bit heavier. Light brown sugar or white sugar may be substituted for dark brown sugar. If you have it on hand, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice can be used in place of the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. original recipe from here

Maison du Miel’s Heather Honey Ice Cream Recipe

Maison du Miel's Heather Honey Ice CreamThis honey ice cream tastes as good as it looks. Four ingredients; plump vanilla beans, heavy cream, whole milk, and honey. That’s it.I am always looking for excuses to try recipes from Patricia Well’s cookbooks. I’ve cooked many recipes from them over the years — always pleased by their reliability, simplicity of ingredients, and overall deliciousness. She also hosts many cooking classes in France which have been tempting me from afar (start saving your pennies!).I’m going to take this Honey Ice Cream to our friends tonight (with some crisp ginger cookies) packed in ice so that it doesn’t melt on its journey across the Bay Bridge towards Berkeley. Hopefully it will taste as good a few hours from now as it did straight out of the ice cream maker.Patricia uses a deep, rust-toned Heather Honey from La Maison du Miel for this recipe. I had a hard time finding any Heather honey yesterday, but actually had a nice, amber desert mesquite honey in the cupboard (I might actually opt for a bit lighter honey next time around). The recipe couldn’t be simpler. Heat all your ingredients and let them steep for an hour. Chill the mixture, and then pour it into your ice cream maker and let it run until your ice cream is the consistency of the above picture. I use a little Krups ice cream maker and absolutely love it.This ice cream is rich and sweet — just how rich or how sweet will depend in part on the type of honey you end up using. This isn’t the sort of ice-cream you are going to turn into a double-scoop cone. A tiny scoop or two with a crispy cookie is a nice way to end a meal.You can make this ice cream. It is one of the simplest ice cream/gelato recipes I’ve ever come across. No eggs, no cornstarch, no thickening custards….A great recipe to try if you want an easy way to break in that new ice cream maker you got over the holidays.

2 plump, moist vanilla beans
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heather honey (or substitute another aromatic honey such as chestnut or eucalyptus)

Flatten the vanilla beans and cut them in half lengthwise. With a small spoon, scrape out the seeds. Place the seeds and pods in a large saucepan. Add the cream, milk, and honey. Stir to dissolve the honey. Heat over moderate heat, stirring from time to time, just until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let steep, covered, for 1 hour.

Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (hs note: v. important)

Remove the vanilla pods, and stir the mixture again to blend. transfer it to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions

original recipe from here

Herbed Cheese BiscuitsI started thinking about the Sour Cream, Cheddar and Chive Biscuit recipe that I had been planning on revamping for quite some time. Next thing I knew, the five ingredients had turned into ten, the cheese drop biscuits were now sour cream, herb and and cheese rolled biscuits, and my kitchen smelled so good I’m surprised the neighbors weren’t knocking on my door.A new Pinch My Salt recipe was born!Even though the ingredient list doubled in size, these still go together in minutes. In fact, if you aren’t careful, the biscuits will be ready to go before your oven is even finished preheating!I decided to add a combination of herbs to my biscuits rather than sticking with just chives and this turned out to be a very good idea! Any combination of herbs would work great, I just happened to grab some dried basil and marjoram this time around.These are some of the most tender and flavorful biscuits I’ve ever tasted. The best part was that they tasted even better the next day! I never like to eat leftover biscuits so this was a wonderful discovery for me. Granted, these are not the healthiest things I’ve ever made–there’s a reason they taste so good! But it’s ok to splurge sometimes, right? You only live once!

  • Herbed Cheese Biscuits
  • 2 C. flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. mustard powder
  • 1 T. chopped fresh herbs or 1 t. dried*
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1 C. shredded cheese (whatever kind you prefer)
  • 3/4 C. sour cream
  • 1/4 C. milk
  • 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, mustard powder and herbs.
  • 3. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs and the pieces of butter are the size of peas. Stir in shredded cheese.
  • 4. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together sour cream and milk. Add sour cream mixture to the dry mixture. Stir until just combined.
  • 5. Turn dough out onto a well-floured counter and knead a few times with floured hands. Pat dough out with your hands to about one-inch thickness. Cut biscuits using a biscuit cutter or cut into desired shapes with a knife.
  • 6. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
  • *You may use any combination of herbs you want. I like to use 1/2 T. fresh chives along with some dried herbs like 1/2 t. basil and 1/2 t. marjoram. The amounts listed are just guidelines. Experiment and have fun!

I still haven’t tried the original recipe from the Wisconsin cookbook but here it is in case you’re curious:

Cheese Drop Biscuits

2 C. flour
2 t. baking powder
4 T. butter
1 C. grated cheese
1 C. milk

Sift flour and baking powder; cut in remaining ingredients. Mix and drop by teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes.

Source: Best of the Best from Wisconsin Cookbook original recipe from here

Bacon, Tomato and Blue Cheese on Focaccia
Focaccia Sandwich

Besides grilled cheese, my favorite sandwich is a BLT. It’s been my favorite sandwich for as long as I can remember and I’m pretty sure it will always be my favorite sandwich. Bacon, lettuce and tomatoes…how can you ever go wrong with that combination?

I think the best BLT is made at home with thick slices of garden fresh tomatoes, thick slices of smoky bacon, and crisp leaves of iceberg lettuce piled high on toasted whole wheat bread that has been slathered with mayo. But judging by the photo and title of this post, I obviously changed things up a bit this time around! I won’t say that this sandwich is better than my traditional BLT, but it was definitely one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in quite some time.

I used homemade focaccia for this sandwich but I’m assuming that you can easily buy the bread at most grocery store bakeries now.

tomato-sandwich-for-web.jpg

Bacon, Tomato and Blue Cheese on Focaccia

Focaccia, cut to sandwich size, sliced in half crosswise and toasted
Bacon, preferably thick sliced, cooked until crisp but not crunchy
Tomato, sliced
Fresh baby spinach
Blue Cheese spread (recipe below)

Directions: Spread both sides of toasted focaccia with blue cheese. Layer spinach, tomatoes and bacon on one half of the bread. Top with the other half. Enjoy!

Blue Cheese Spread

1 oz. crumbled blue cheese
1 T. mayonnaise
1 T. sour cream
quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice
pinch of onion powder
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions: Mash the blue cheese with a fork and then stir in all ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings.

original recipe from here

Modern Muffins from a Vintage Book
Peach Banana Bran Muffin with Butter

Then I started thinking about combining the flavors. Next thing I knew, I had a new recipe written out and I was making muffins rather than bread. Peachy Banana Bran Muffins were born! These muffins are terrific! And not only do they taste great, they’re good for you too!

The buttermilk, banana, and peaches keep the muffins moist even though they contain very little fat. Then the whole wheat flour, wheat bran and nuts pack in plenty of fiber and protein. These are great when you need a nutritious breakfast on the go!

Peachy Banana Bran Muffins

6 oz. dried peaches (about 1 cup)
boiling water
2 T. vegetable oil
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/4 C. buttermilk
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 C. brown sugar
1 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 C. wheat bran
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. mace (or substitute nutmeg)
1/2 C. chopped walnutsPreheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

Cover peaches with boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes; drain and cut into coarse pieces.

In a medium bowl, stir together oil, egg, buttermilk, bananas and brown sugar; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine both flours, wheat bran, baking powder, soda, salt and mace; whisk together well; stir in nuts.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Don’t overmix but make sure the flour on the bottom of the bowl has been stirred in.

Spoon the batter into 12 greased muffin cups, filling the cups to the top.

Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 20 – 22 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

original recipe from here

Herbed Buttermilk Popcorn Recipe

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/49105main_popcorn.jpg1 tablespoon powdered buttermilk

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon powdered chicken bouillon or kosher salt
1 tablespoon corn oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernals
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine the buttermilk, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon pepper, dill weed, and chicken bouillon in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the popcorn and cover with a lid (hs note: I leave a little crack in the lid to let a bit of hot air out and prevent condensation in the pot). Shake the pan frequently. Remove from the heat when the poppin subsides. Pour the popcorn into a bowl. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Melt the butter in the pan. Pour the butter over the popcorn, tossing to distribute evenly. Sprinkle with the flavoring mixture and toss to coat.

Makes 8 cups; serves 4.

From Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook (Chronicle Books, 2003) original recipe from here


Chocolate and Green Tea Pudding Recipe

Teany Book: Stories, Food, Romance, Cartoons and, of Course, Tea, Page 153

Not exactly a cookbook per se – I couldn’t help but pick up a copy of the new Teany book. New Yorkers know Teany as the vegan-friendly, hip, contemporary tea shop opened in the Lower East Side by Moby and partner Kelly Tisdale.

Chocolate and Green Tea PuddingThe Chocolate and Green Tea Pudding today is vegan. No dairy at all, yet look at the picture – can you believe how creamy it looks? The consistency is beautiful, quite light and mousse-like. It was very easy to make, and would make a nice, rich chocolate treat the next time you have a mixed-crowd of friends over. I used Nasoya brand tofu (a combination of silken and soft) in the recipe, and the flavor was pretty good. Tofu makes up the body of those pudding so it is important to get one with the right flavor or the pudding will taste a little weird. Also, be sure to use top notch chocolate chips. I liked the simplicity of this recipe, but might play around with a few different brands of tofu before I stick to one. Maybe someone with an inside track at Teany can tell me what brand they use and email me.The other idea that came to me as I was making this was to try it again in the future, swapping out the green tea and going for more of a Mexican chocolate base, maybe with a splash of Kahlua? Yum. Either way, make sure you serve the pudding well chilled. It really does make a difference in how the pudding tastes, the mouth feel and texture. It’s not like dairy based pudding which tastes so good warm.As far as the directions go, they are straight-forward. I took the liberty of straining the tea leaf infused chocolate soy milk into the food processor to get rid of the tea leaves after the milk had been infused. I think that might have been an oversight in the printed recipe but not positive. Enjoy!Also, thanks to everyone who sent in drinkable chocolate recommendations. I will post some of the responses later this week1 cup chocolate soy milk
1 tablespoon loose green tea leaves
10 ounces (one bag) semisweet vegan chocolate chips
12 ounces silken tofu
1/4 cup soft tofu
2 tablespoons matcha tea (green tea powder, available at any good tea shop), optional

Pour the chocolate milk and tea leaves into a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let the chocolate milk cool. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler (or you can do this in a small pot over low heat, stirring constantly).

Put the soy milk mixture (Heidi: this is where I strained it), melted chocolate, silken tofu, and soft tofu into a food processor. Blend until totally smooth. Put into individual cups or bowls, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Before serving, take a paper doily or any other design cutout and lay it over the pudding.

Generously powder the top of the doily or cutout with the matcha. Lift the doily or cutout, making sure not to disturb the design you just made. Serve immediately.

Makes 5 servings.

From Teany Book: Stories, Food, Romance, Cartoons and, of Course, Tea by Moby and Kelly Tisdale (Studio, 2005) original recipe from here


The Madame’s Souffle Recipe

La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange, Page 634

The Madame on Souffle Preparation as excerpted from La Bonne Cuisine“A souffle can be waited for, but it can never wait.” This is an absolute rule that has become an axiom with gourmets and professionals. All guests should conform to it, showing neither impatience nor surprise. This does not, of course, mean that The Madame's Soufflethe cook should not take care to arrange things so that guests wait for the souffle for as little time as possible, or even, if everything is well arranged, so that they do not wait at all. We shall see further on how to manage this.

Every souffle includes two elements that are equally important: first, the base composition, which flavors it; second, the whipped and beaten egg whites, which give the souffle its characteristic lightness and are the very essence of a souffle.The base composition varies with the type of souffle: a flavored floury mixture or a puree of fruits or vegetables; or a finely ground hash of fish meat, etc., bound with a thick bechamel sauce, which gives the souffle a moistness it would otherwise lack. Egg yolks are added for consistency, usually in a lesser amount than the whites. They can be totally left out of some souffles.Why is it that souffles fail in most home kitchens? So many people ask, “Why do restaurant souffles expand fully and have a consistency that is both light and solid, which souffles at home do not have?”There are several reasons for this:
First, most home kitchens do not have the right utensils to whisk the egg whites to the degree of firmness and resistance necessary. The more the whites are whisked into a snow, or neige, the greater will be the effect ( link ).Second, the egg whites were not mixed properly. Now, however well whisked egg whites are, maladroit mixing destroys all their effects ( link ).Third, the souffle was not cooked correctly. For a souffle, the heat of the oven plays a very important part. The souffle may have been well prepared up to that point, but if the cooking is faulty, all the trouble taken will have no effect.Fourth, the cooking time is not closely controlled. This means that the souffle is insufficiently cooked in the center, or collapses with the first touch of the cutting spoon, allowing a liquid mass to escape; or that it is overcooked and dried and flat.For any type of souffle, the way to prepare the egg whites and mix them in, then cook and serve the souffle is identical. So, for every recipe, refer to the same directions for these steps, except when glazing certain souffles.The utensil: For people who are totally ignorant of kitchen manners, let us specify that the souffle can ouly be served in the utensil in which it has been cooked.In well-equipped houses, there are metal molds for this that fit into a silver serving dish. Not only are they more convenient, but these dishes also have an infinite number of other uses. If you do not have a silver serving dish, a round dish in grooved porcelain, so often used today, works very well; and the souffles also rise in it perfectly, because the heat rapidly penetrates the sides, which are very thin.

Finally, if you do not have a special souffle dish in metal or a timbale or a porcelain dish, you can use a very deep bowl that can go into the oven. Whatever the utensil chosen, the inside must always be thoroughly buttered.

For small souffles, there are small utensils in sil-ver-plated metal or small round dishes in ribbed porcelain, both of which are very convenient; you can even use containers of ribbed paper. These containers cannot be too small: it is best to choose them with a diameter of 7 centimeters (2 3/4 inches) and a height of 3 1/2 centimeters (1 3/8 inch). They hold 1 deciliter (3 1/3 fluid ounces, scant 1/2 cup). You can arrange them on a baking sheet to put them in the oven.

To serve: Put the timbale, plate, or souffle dish on a serving plate, on top of a folded napkin or kitchen towel. Do the same for the small souffles, putting them together on 1 large plate.

For houses with long corridors to travel down to reach the dining room, there are large metal covers that you heat before covering the plate on which the souffles are standing.

To ensure that guests do not wait too long for the souffle: Calculate exactly the time needed for its preparation plus cooking, so that you know the precise moment for sending it to the table. Fillings, purees, etc. – in other words, the ingredients of the souffle base can always be prepared sufficiently in advance, because they only need to be lukewarm to mix them with the whites. This is why it is necessary to calculate exactly the time needed for the various steps: that is, 6-7 minutes to whisk the egg whites; 5-6 minutes to mix them and to dress the souffle; about 25 minutes for cooking, which gives a total of 40 minutes.

How to check when the souffle is perfectly done: To know if the souffle is perfectly cooked inside, you stick a kitchen needle into the middle. It must come out totally clean. If, on the contrary, it comes out wet and covered with egg, prolong the cooking for 2-3 minutes.

The oven and cooking the souffle: The timbale or the plate containing a souffle must always be placed directly on the very bottom of the oven, or on the hearth, never on a shelf in the middle of the oven; indeed, remove every shelf from the oven.

The heat of the oven must be a medium heat (Madame notes in the front of the book that medium is considered 350-400). And, most important, it must come from the bottom of the oven, because it is the direction of the heat, of down to up, that causes the souffle to rise.

This condition is so essential that, in small stoves where the oven heats a lot less well from the bottom than from the top, this lack of heat from the bottom has to be countered using the following method: before putting the souffle in the oven, first place the utensil containing the souffle on top of the stove. Not over high heat, but a moderate one; put a heat diffuser between the recipient and the heat. On an electric stove, put the utensil on a moderately warm burner; leave it there for 2 minutes, giving it time to thoroughly heat the bottom. The souffle will subsequently rise much more easily in the oven.

The heat coming from the top of the oven will color the souffle, but this is often too strong in small ovens.

The right time to put the souffle into the oven is not when you have checked that the oven has reached the right temperature. In fact, the oven should have reached the right temperature before you began to whisk the egg whites.

If the heat is too strong at this point, leave the oven door open for a few minutes. If it is too weak, turn up the heat. Either extreme has disadvantages. When the heat is too strong, particularly the heat from above, a crust immediately forms on the souffle, creating a barrier that prevents the heat from penetrating the inside. This means that it will cook superficially and not rise well. When the heat is too weak, the souffle languishes and risks running over the sides of the dish when it rises, because the heat is not strong enough to solidify the ingredients as the souffle rises.

If you have taken all precautions and the heat of the oven is too strong and comes from the top, then it will be necessary, as soon as the surface of the souffle solidifies, to cover it with a sheet of paper: this must be a very pure paper, cut round and covered with melted butter using a brush or feather. Put the buttered side down on the souffle. Note that many papers available today contain certain materials that, when exposed to the heat, release an odor that would mar the souffle.

NOTES. Whatever the consistency of the souffle base and the method you use for dressing it, either in a dome or a pyramid, never let it run over the sides of the utensil. You must always leave at least 2 centimeters (3/4 inch) of space between it and the top of the utensil. If the utensil is filled more than this, the first effect of the heat will be that the base swells and runs over the sides, not having the time to set; and then the souffle will lean sideways as it rises. When the utensil is not completely filled, the base is already quite firm by the time it has reached the top due to the heat, so it continues to rise without run- ning over or leaning to the side.

Sometimes, the consistency of the base is not firm enough to let it be dressed in a pyramid, the ingredients being a little moist and spreading out in the utensil. This could mean that ingredients were not properly mixed. If so, it is even more important to ensure the proper cooking conditions and that you regulate the heat of the oven. If these are well controlled, the souffle will rise just the same.

A souffle prepared in a dish requires less time to cook than a souffle made in a timbale: it spreads out over a larger surface, thus becoming thinner and less resistant to the effect of the heat of the oven. Thus, allow 18-20 minutes of cooking for a souffle, which, when prepared in a timbale, would require almost 25 minutes.

Cooking small souffles in small dishes requires only 10-14 minutes.

Before attempting to make the following souffles, you should be aware of the principles on which their preparations are based (SEE ABOVE). Time: 45 minutes. Serves 6.

The simple but very delicate vanilla souffle is a warm family dessert par excellence. It can be made and appreciated at all times, particularly when we begin to run out of fruit.

4 deciliters (1 2/3 cups) of very good milk
100 grams (31/2 ounces) of sugar lumps
40 grams (1 3/8 ounces) of rice starch or 30 grams (1 ounce) of sifted fine wheat flour
a nice half vanilla bean
5 egg yolks
6 egg whites whisked Into a very firm snow
30 grams (1 ounce, 2 tablespoons) of fine butter
2 tablespoons of confectloners’ sugar or superfine sugar.

A timbale or a souffle dish about 20 centimeters (8-inches) In diameter and 7 centimeters (2 3/4 inches) deep.

PROCEDURE. The mash (bouillie): Reserve 3 tablespoons of cold milk, that is, 1/2 deciliter (1 2/3 fluid ounces, scant 1/4 cup), to dilute the starch or flour.

Use a pot large enough that you can work in it easily when mixing in the egg whites beaten into snow; as much as possible, use a pot with low, flared sides – a saute pan, in other words – one that is good and clean. Add the rest of the milk. Boil it; as soon as it rises, add the sugar and the vanilla and turn off the heat; cover the pot tightly. Let it infuse for a scant 15 minutes, being careful to mix it from time to time with a spoon to ensure the sugar completely dissolves.

Dilute the starch or flour in a bowl with the cold milk that you have reserved. At the beginning you must take great care not to make any lumps; add the cold milk only drop by drop, working it with a small wooden spoon. Pour this diluted flour or starch into the pot with the hot sugared milk, mixing with the spoon or with a small sauce whisk.

Place the pot on more or less gentle heat and bring it to a boil, stirring continuously with the whisk or spoon. When the bubbles appear on the surface of the bouillie, mix it on the heat for another 5-6 seconds only. Then turn the heat down far enough so that it cannot either boil or heat too much. Divide the butter into very small pieces and spread these on top of the bouillie.

This bouillie must be completely ready 15-20 minutes before you add the yolks and whites beaten into a snow; the butter melts and prevents a crust from forming.

NOTE. If you have some help to whisk the whites, you only have to add the butter and the yolks into the bouillie when it is taken off the heat, and to mix in the egg whites when it has cooled a bit. But we assume that in most cases there will be only one person, without help, to prepare the bouillie and then whisk the whites.

PREPARATIONS. So that you do not have to wait once the mixture is ready, make sure that before whisking the whites you prepare the utensil you are using for the souffle. Butter the inside with a piece of butter the size of a walnut, spreading it out with the tips of your fingers. Using a sugar shaker, sprinkle this buttered interior with sugar. Keep the egg yolks ready in a bowl.

Whisk the egg whites into a snow. As soon as they are well fluffed, mix them in.

The mixture: This must be done quite quickly, and the bouillie must be only lukewarm. If it were too warm, the whites would turn to liquid at the first touch of the spatula, and would thus lose their lightness. So make sure that neither the pot nor the bouillie has retained too much heat, because it is in the pot itself that you will mix the ingredients.

First add the yolks one by one to the bouillie. Stir with the wooden spoon to mix them and, at the same time, to mix in the butter that is spread on the surface. Take out the vanilla bean. Take about one-third of the whites on the wires of a whisk so that you do not crush the rest with a spoon, and put them in the pot. Using a spatula or a wooden spoon with a large head, mix these whites thoroughly into the bouillie: that is, until the bouillie and the whites are completely combined. This helps to mix in the rest of the whites and also softens the bouillie.

Then add the rest of the whites, as directed for mixing them (SEE ABOVE).

Finishing the souffle: As soon as you have finished adding the whites, the mixture must be cooked. Put it into the prepared utensil, either a timbale or a souffle dish, taking it out with a large metal spoon. Place the spoonfuls one on top of the other to make a little mountain, but do not allow it to remain in this form. With the blade of a large knife, carefully smooth out the surface, shaping it to form a sort of pyramid raised in the middle of the utensil, if you are using a timbale or a porcelain souffle dish. If using a bowl, smooth the top of the composition into a dome.

Then make 5 or 6 grooves aD around the surface of the composition. Do this with the point of the knife to a depth of about 1 1/2 centimeters (5/8 inch), going from the bottom to the top: that is, from the side of the utensil toward the top of the souffle. These grooves will allow the heat of the oven to penetrate the souffle, which will cook more easily.

Put it into the oven immediately.

To cook: If the oven does not heat well from the bottom, make sure you proceed as explained in the article on souffles (ABOVE), first putting the souffle on top of the stove.

If the heat of the oven is too strong, you must avoid seizing the surface of the souffle by keeping it close to the opening of the oven for the first 10 minutes of cooking. The rising and swelling need time to happen before the surface forms a crust.

As soon as the souffle is in the oven, close the door, even if it is a little too warm. Allow to cook for 20 minutes from the moment the souffle is in the oven.

During this time, check the progress of the cooking from time to time by opening the oven door a little bit, but make sure you leave it open only for the shortest time possible, particularly if the stove is near an open window. Any introduction of cold air prevents the souffle from rising properly.

If the souffle colors too strongly on the side nearest the heat source, turn it so that it gradually colors on all sides. But when you do this, move it very carefully, because shaking it will cause the souffle to fall.

After 18 minutes in the oven, sprinkle sugar on the surface of the souffle with the sugar shaker. From this point on, do not let it out of your sight until the sugar melts evenly to form a light caramelized layer on the souffie, or at least a shiny one. This is what is called “glazing.’

This glazing requires 2-3 minutes, and you should watch it carefully by looking into the oven, opening the door only slightly and closing it quickly.

To confirm whether the souffle is perfectly cooked on the inside, stick a cooking needle into the middle of it. It should come out nice and clean. If, on the contrary, it comes out covered with the mixture in a state like that which you have put it in, or near it, cook for another 2-3 minutes.

As soon as you finish the glazing, take the souffle from the oven and serve it immediately. It should rise above the sides by 6-7 centimeters (2 1/2 – 2 2/4. inches) – that is, it should have doubled in height – and when you cut into it, it should be light and firm throughout, without obviously sagging.

original recipe from here

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One Response to “i have to make these soon…(a few recipes from the interwebs)”


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