Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pumpkin-Vanilla Bean Madeleines for #PumpkinWeek



Hi and welcome to day 3 of #PumpkinWeek hosted by Terri of Love and Confections. We are celebrating our love of the season with a whole week of pumpkin goodies, leading up to National Pumpkin Day. 17 Food Bloggers have come together to share over 65 recipes with you. In addition to homemade pumpkin puree, pie, and cookies, we are also sharing savory pumpkin dishes like hummus, chili and pumpkin corn chowder.

Come back every day for #PumpkinWeek recipes. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections' #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!


On this, the third day, of #PumpkinWeek I decided to whip up a pumpkinized (yes, I'm coining that phrase this week) version of a madeleine.

I had never had a madeleine, much less baked one, before I did a cookbook review for  Quirk Books of Madeleines: Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake and Share by Barbara Feldman Morse. Click to read those thoughts: here. But now that they are solidly in my baking repertoire, I had to make a pumpkinized (there's that word again) version. Enjoy.

Ingredients
  • 3/4 C organic butter plus some for greasing pan
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • caviar from 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • 2 T pumpkin puree (here's how to make your own)
  • 1 C flour (I used a bread flour)
  • 1/2 C roasted, unsalted hazelnuts, chopped

Procedure
Before you start, chop your hazelnuts. While you might be tempted to use pre-chopped nuts - I have done it many times myself - the aroma of the freshly chopped nuts is extraordinary and well worth the effort. I promise!


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease, or butter, your madeleine pan and set aside.

Place your butter, sugar, vanilla caviar, and vanilla pod in a saucepan and heat, over medium heat, until the butter is melted and the sugar is blended into the butter.


Remove the vanilla pod and let the mixture cool for a few minutes, then spoon it into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, extract, and pumpkin puree. Beat for a full three minutes to incorporate lots of air bubbles into your batter.


Fold in the flour and 1/2 C hazelnuts with a spatula, taking care not to deflate the batter too much. Using a truffle scoop, or teaspoon, fill the shell molds with batter until almost full.


Bake till the madeleines puff up and the edges are golden, mine took approximately 17 to 18 minutes.

Remove the pans from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 3 to 5 minutes. Unmold. You may be able to tap them out; I used a small spatula to ease them out of the molds onto the cooling racks.


Check out all the Day 3 #PumpkinWeek recipes


If you are interested in purchasing a madeleine pan for yourself, I have included an affiliate link on amazon for your convenience (below). If you are uncomfortable using the affiliate link, feel free to visit amazon on your own and search for "madeleine pan."

  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pairing Soup with Wine




It's almost soup season! We're still having warm days, but it has me thinking about how to pair soup with wine. Soon...I love to end my autumn and winter days with a steaming bowl of deliciousness.


Are soup and wine considered difficult to pair?
I've read that some people consider it difficult to pair soup with wine since both are liquids. People, for some reason, don't consider that appealing. Maybe it's my love of both wine and soup, but I don't think it's difficult at all. Here are a few tips for you...

Tips 
Take into consideration the weight of the soup. for instance, heavier chowders and hearty stews pair well with robust wines while more delicate broths are better suited for lighter wines. 


Tomatoes and tannins are not good bedfellows. If your soup is tomato-based, avoid tannic reds. I lean more towards fruity reds to complement the flavors of tomatoes.


Remember that cream soups like acidity. My favorite is a homemade cream of mushroom with an unoaked chardonnay. 


My favorite tip of all: Experiment. Be creative. Be fearless. Just like all food+wine pairings, there is no 'one' perfect wine for any 'one' dish. So your pairing will rely on your personal preferences, the occasion and - naturally - your budget.

Lastly: try not to panic. If your choice doesn't fit well, try again. And serve lots of bread and crackers! It's not the end of the world.

Spiced Kabocha Pie with a Frangelico-Scented Crust for Nonna



Today is my mom's birthday. Happy birthday, Nonna! So, last night I asked the boys if we should bake her a cake. They both shook their heads. Pie, they decided. Okay. Pumpkin pie. Okay. And you have to roast some pumpkins while we do our homework. Oh, okay.



The boys delivered her pie this morning on their way to school.


I didn't have any pumpkins, but I had two kabocha squash from our High Ground Organics CSA. So, while they boys finished up homework, I made some kabocha puree. I've always called it a Japanese pumpkin. Close enough.

Ingredients for one 11" pie
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour
  • 1 C butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • dash of ground cinnamon
  • 3 to 4 T ice water
  • 3 to 4 T Frangelico
  • 4 C kabocha puree (make a puree like this: click here)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • spices to taste (D used some ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground cardamom. When I asked him how much, he answered "10 pinches")

Procedure
I don't have a food processor, so I use a pastry blender and do it all by hand. Place the flour, ground almonds, ground cinnamon, and cold butter in a large bowl. Use the pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter.


Alternate ice water and Frangelico 1 T at a time, until mixture just begins to clump together. If you squeeze some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and cut again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough. Once the dough comes together into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

Roll out the Pâte Brisée between two pieces of parchment paper and place the crust in your baking dish. Place the crust in the freezer while the oven heats and you make the filling. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.


To make the filling whisk together the puree, cream, sugar, eggs, and spices together until well combined. Spoon the filling into the crust and bake till the filling is set. Mine took about an hour. Let cool before serving.

They did joke - yes, it's funny to see their senses of humor develop - that I should cover it in whipped cream and, then, top it with pumpkin madeleines and marzipan pumpkins. "Wait...you are joking, right?!?" Yes, Mom, we're joking. Phew.

How to: Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree for #PumpkinWeek




Hi and welcome to day 2 of #PumpkinWeek hosted by Terri of Love and Confections. We are celebrating our love of the season with a whole week of pumpkin goodies, leading up to National Pumpkin Day. 17 Food Bloggers have come together to share over 65 recipes with you. In addition to homemade pumpkin puree, pie, and cookies, we are also sharing savory pumpkin dishes like hummus, chili and pumpkin corn chowder.

Come back every day for #PumpkinWeek recipes. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections' #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!

On this, the second day, of #PumpkinWeek I'm sharing how to make your own pumpkin puree. Almost all of my pumpkin creations begin with pumpkin puree. Don’t buy it in a can, please. If you can wield a knife and turn on your oven, you can make your own pumpkin puree.

Here's what you have to do..,

Get a pumpkin. Any pumpkin. I've done this with thick-fleshed Cinderella pumpkins and, the most typical, sugar pie pumpkins. Whatever you use, it's the same process.

Ingredients
  • pumpkin
  • water

Procedure
Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds – just like you would start a jack o’lantern. 


Fill the pumpkin half-way with water; you can add in lemon wedges or orange wedge, if you like. 


Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. It’s finished when you can easily press your thumb into the pumpkin flesh; it might take longer – or shorter – depending on the size and variety of pumpkin. 

Let cool. Drain the liquid out of the pumpkin. Now the fun begins. Scrape the flesh out and make a puree, using a potato masher. Now you’re ready for creating some pumpkin goodness.

Check out all #PumpkinWeek recipes for Day 2

Here are today's #PumpkinWeek Bloggers and their recipes:



Monday, October 20, 2014

The Dining Room Table as a Nexus for Change #foodday2014



October 20, 2014 – this piece went live on the Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution website. Read it there...or here.

The Dining Room Table as a Nexus for Change
Story by Camilla M. Mann
One of my 'Eat a Rainbow' students making pumpkin-potato gnocchi

“Raise kids with fearless palates.” That is scribbled into a journal from before I was a mom.

Idealistic? Sure.

Achievable? Definitely.

At first, I just focused on my family. Then I expanded my goal to our small circle of friends. I put zucchini into chocolate cakes at birthday parties. I created a menu dedicated to the enigmatic and oft-hated eggplant. I pushed my friends’ palates and they still returned to my dining room table for more.

A good friend once asserted that he did not eat – and I quote – purple dirt circles. He meant beets. I accepted the challenge and cooked an entire dinner around those purple dirt circles, inviting him, his family, and a few other friends to my table. We ate roasted beet soup; I baked beetroot dinner rolls; we slathered beet-apple chutney on roasted leg of lamb; and ended with a spiced beet mousse for dessert.

Can you guess what happened next? He grudgingly admitted that he liked beets. He finally called them beets, too. And now, several years later, I have witnessed him spooning beets willingly onto his own salad on more than one occasion.

“More people would like vegetables if they ate them at your dining room table,” my husband Jake says. I realized that I could use the dining room table as a nexus for change: if you introduce kids to real foods and you invite them to cook it with you, they will eat it. And if you make the learning fun, they will love it.

October 24th is this year’s designated Food Day. Food Day and the FoodDay.org organization is all about inspiring both healthier diets for eaters and healthier food policies for our planet. It’s the culmination of a movement that aims to help people eat foods that are healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced. It’s also a time to focus on cutting back on processed, packaged foods every day of the year. It’s about awareness. It can be a celebration of accomplishments and a reassessment of what you can do to eat better.

This year Food Day falls in the middle of a six-week Friday afternoon elective class that I teach to a dozen 5th through 7th graders at a school on the Monterey Peninsula on California’s central coast. This session’s theme is ‘Eat a Rainbow.’ We have talked about the benefits of eating foods in every color of the rainbow. We’ve covered red, orange, yellow, and green so far. And we’ve made everything from pumpkin gnocchi to saffron-vanilla bean lemonade and from green beans with gremolata to roasted beets salad.

On Food Day, my students and I will be preparing two to three dishes that involve blue and purple foods. Think eggplant, blueberries, and purple yams!

My goal is not only to cook with my students, getting them to – perhaps – try foods that they haven’t eaten before, but to inspire them take our recipes home and cook for their own families. At the end of the session, they take home a book with all of the recipes we cooked during the six weeks. When I went to one of my student’s houses for dinner, he excitedly showed me the two recipe books from the two classes he’s taken with me. They had a prominent place in his mom’s kitchen along with her other cookbooks. I was surprised. She explained, “When he wants to share something from them, I know where they are.”

I was excited to be selected as a volunteer ambassador for Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Day. That extended the scope of my goal from simply raising my own kids to have fearless palates to helping push the palates of other people’s kids. While revamping the standard American diet is laudable, raising the next generation to make healthier food choices is a necessity – for their health and the health of our planet. It starts at the dining room table.

Lemongrass-Kissed Sankaya for #PumpkinWeek



Hello and welcome to #PumpkinWeek hosted by Terri of Love and Confections.

We are celebrating our love of the season with a whole week of pumpkin goodies, leading up to National Pumpkin Day. 17 Food Bloggers have come together to share over 65 recipes with you.

In addition to homemade pumpkin puree, pie, and cookies, we are also sharing savory pumpkin dishes like hummus, chili and pumpkin corn chowder. Come back every day for #PumpkinWeek recipes. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections' #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!


My first #PumpkinWeek offering: Sankaya. Sankaya is a Thai pumpkin custard. Think a coconut-y pumpkin pie without the crust...baked inside the pumpkin. I knew that was how I wanted to kick off this 6-day event. Enjoy. Mine is non-traditional for 2 reasons: I added in some lemongrass and I baked mine. Typically, it's steamed.

Ingredients
  • One small organic pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C organic coconut cream
  • 1/2 C organic blonde coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 t minced lemongrass
  • 1 t ground cinnamon

Procedure
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Wash and try your pumpkin. Cut a circular opening in the top just as you would start a jack-o-lantern. 


Scoop out all of the pumpkin insides with a spoon. Then rinse one more time - and dry - if you like.


Whisk together the coconut cream, eggs, sugar, lemongrass, salt and cinnamon. Place the pumpkin a rimmed baking dish; I usually use a pie pan. Pour the custard into your hollowed out pumpkin. 


Cover the pumpkin with foil and place in the oven for 90 minutes. Uncover and continue baking till the custard is puffed and firm to the touch. Mine took a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes.


Once it's done, allow your sankaya to cool a little bit before touching it. Slice into individual pieces and enjoy!

Check out all the kickoff #PumpkinWeek recipes!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Crabby Madeleines




My madeleine madness continues and I am finally venturing to the savory side. My favorite!! When I first whipped up the batter, I thought these would have the consistency of a crab cake. However, once they baked, they were simultaneously crabby and bready. More like a delicious, seafood-kissed biscuit. These were amazing if I might say so myself.

This is slightly adapted from Quirk Books' Madeleines: Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake and Share by Barbara Feldman Morse.

Ingredients

  • 10 T butter
  • 1 C flour (I used an organic pastry flour)
  • 1/2 C ground almond flour
  • 1-1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces crabmeat
  • 2 T finely chopped leeks
  • 1 T finely chopped corno di toro peppers
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese


Procedure
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter your madeleine pan* and set aside.

Place your butter in a saucepan and heat, over medium heat, until the butter is melted. Let the butter cool for a few minutes, then spoon it into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs and beat for a full three minutes to incorporate lots of air bubbles into your batter.

Fold in the flour, almond flour, and baking powder with a spatula, taking care not to deflate the batter too much. Add in the crab, leeks, and peppers. Using a truffle scoop, or teaspoon, fill the shell molds with batter until almost full.

Bake till the madeleines puff up and the edges are golden. Mine took between 17 and 19 minutes.

Remove the pans from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 3 to 5 minutes. Unmold. You may be able to tap them out; I used a small spatula to ease them out of the molds onto the cooling racks.

I served these with poached eggs and slices of smoked salmon for a great brunch dish.

*If you are interested in purchasing Madeleines for yourself, I have included an affiliate link for the book on amazon for your convenience (below). If you are uncomfortable using the affiliate link, feel free to visit amazon on your own and search for "madeleines by barbara feldman morse." I am also including a link for the pan that I have been using. I love it!

      

 Note: I received a complimentary copy of the cookbook from the publishers for the purpose of reviewing it. However, all opinions are 100% my own and 100% accurate.

Guava Mousse



When I walked into a local market with a friend of mine this afternoon, we both paused and inhaled deeply. She embarked on a search for that delicious scent and I went to grab a few of the things I needed to get.

"I found it!" she declared, coming to find me and gesturing towards a bin of guava. So, I walked over and plunked half a dozen of the fragrant fruit into my basket.

After my boys devoured half of the guavas, I decided to make an adaptation of this easy Banana Mousse. I'm going to head back to the market tomorrow to scoop up a few more. This was as delectable as it was easy.


Ingredients
  • 2 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 3 ripe guavas
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon

Procedure
Destem and chop your guava into cubes. Place the pieces in your blender along with the sugar. Puree until smooth. Press the guava pulp through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. I ended up with about 1 C smooth guava puree.

In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream and ground cinnamon until stiff peaks form. 

Fold the guava mixture into the whipped cream.

Spoon the mousse into serving glasses; I used small jars. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.