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Showing posts from February, 2011

Eggs Benedict

With a few molasses rye rolls leftover from last night's dinner, I thought I would make eggs benedict for breakfast, well, my version of eggs benedict anyway. Here's the benedict formula: bread base + protein/flavor layer (sometime I skip the ham and use sauteed spinach and mushrooms) + poached egg + hollandaise sauce. Today I did two of the boys and one for me. molasses rye roll + Canadian bacon + poached egg + hollandaise sauce molasses rye roll + smoked salmon + poached egg + hollandaise sauce + capers

Balsamic Hollandaise Sauce

I am certain that I must block out how much butter is in this sauce every time I make it, which - probably because of the amount of butter - is not very frequently.  But it is so delicious and a must when  you make eggs benedict! 4 egg yolks 4 T lemon juice 1/2 t pomegranate balsamic vinegar 1 T water 1 C butter, melted 1/4 t pink Himalaya salt In the top of the double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, pomegranate balsamic, and water. Add the melted butter to egg yolk mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time while whisking yolks constantly. If hollandaise begins to get too thick, add a teaspoon or two of hot water. Continue whisking until all the butter is incorporated. Whisk in salt, then remove from heat. Place a lid on pan to keep sauce warm until ready to serve. Here's my version of eggs benedict...

Beet-Cardamom Marshmallows

Being a permanent resident of Testosterone Land, I occasionally find myself wanting to use tulle and make things that are pink!  Last night I was feeling outnumbered by the Mann boys and decided to retreat to my kitchen and whip up some pink marshmallows.  I used some organic beet juice for the girly hue.  Thankfully the bright magenta beet juice lightenedd to a soft pink when the marshmallows were whipped. canola oil powdered sugar 1 C cold water, divided 2 t organic beet juice 3, 1/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin 2 C organic raw sugar 2/3 C blue agave nectar 1/4 t pink Himalaya salt 1/2 t ground cardamom dash of ground ancho chili Prepare a 9×13 inch pan by oiling it with canola oil. Dust powdered sugar over the oiled sides of the pan.  Place 1/2 C of water and 1 t of beet juice in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water-juice mixture and allow to soften, 5 minutes. Place remaining water, beet juice, sugar, blue agave nectar, and salt into a large saucep

Molasses Rye Bread

This is a moist, hearty roll.  I served them last night with piping hot bowls of yellow mung bean-pancetta soup.  Riley really wanted split pea-ham soup, but I went with what I had. 2 T dry, active yeast 2 C sour cream 4 eggs 1/4 C unsulphered molasses 2 T raw sugar 2 T melted butter 2 t ground ginger 2 t pink Himalaya salt 1/2 t baking soda 1/2 C warm water 4 C white whole wheat flour 1 C dark rye flour Dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg and sour cream until smooth. Add sugar, melted butter, molasses and yeast mixture. Add flour mixture slowly, beating vigorously after each addition till a stiff dough is formed. Cover dough with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for an hour or until dough is almost doubled in size. Punch down, knead for a minute, and roll into mini boules. Place on a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with sea salt. Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Spiced Chocolate Risotto

When Fudge Ripple's recipe for " Chocolate Malted Risotto " popped up on my blog reading list this morning, I was instantly roped in.  Risotto is a household staple, but it's always savory, usually with mushroom and kale, sometimes with sausage.  I have never made - or even envisioned - a sweet risotto!  But, as always, not having some of Christy's ingredients, I used her recipe as an inspiration and used my own cooking experience for this culinary adventure. I began by toasting the arborio rice* with a pat of butter in one pan and simmering milk - generously spiced with ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and ground cardamom and lightly sweetened with raw sugar - in another pan.  Ladle by ladle, I spooned the hot milk into the risotto pan, stirring until the milk was absorbed.  While the rice was still firm, I added of unsweetened cocoa to the pan and continued adding milk and stirring till absorbed.  Once the rice was soft, but still with a bite, I removed the p

Cherry Cheesecake with a Hazelnut Oil Crust

My little seven-year-old is a great graham cracker-pulverizer! CRUST 2-1/2 C finely ground graham crackers 1/2 C yellow cornmeal 2 T raw sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 C (1 stick) butter, melted 1 T hazelnut oil Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Wrap outside of pan with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. Crush crackers, cornmeal, sugar and cinnamon together. Add butter and hazelnut oil; blend until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of pan. Chill crust while preparing filling. FILLING 3 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature 1 C raw sugar 4 large eggs 2 C sour cream 1 T pure vanilla extract COMPOTE 2 C fresh or frozen cherries 2/3 C raw sugar 1/3 C tangerine juice 2 T grated lemon peel 1/2 t ground cinnamon 1/4 t ground nutmeg 4 t vanilla extract Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in sugar. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in sour cream and va

Cherry-Caper Compote

Though fruit compotes are usually served as desserts, lacking a true sweet tooth, I lean towards the savory uses for my compotes.  The canonical compote is water plus sugar plus lemon juice plus liqueur cooked to a thick syrup, then fruit is simmered in the syrup to a desired consistency. Because I was using frozen cherries, I figured that the water content in them was high enough and didn't add any more water.  I placed the frozen cherries in a sauce pan with some raw sugar and a splash of red wine.  And instead of lemon juice, I used some capers and their brine.  I brought all of that to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered till it was a syrup. I spooned my cherry-caper compote over mahi-mahi filets that were panfried quickly in butter and lemon juice...cherries in honor of George Washington's birthday and his inability to tell a lie.

Truth and Cherries

Image from Dylan was telling us all that he had learned about George Washington this weekend.  He was especially detailed about how many teeth George Washington had or, rather, how many he didn't have; Dylan told us that George Washington had carved fake teeth out of hippopotamus teeth.  I haven't determined the veracity of those claims, but when he started talking about George Washington copping to cutting down his dad's cherry tree, that rang some bells.  Dylan said, "George told the truth about cutting down the tree, so he didn't get in trouble."  I decided that anything to reinforce the important of telling the truth was a good thing.  So we talked about that more in detail and I found this children's poem by Paul Perro: Little George Washington was a good boy So his mummy gave him a brand new toy. It was a little axe, a real sharp one, And George thought that it would be lots of fun. He took the little hatchet out into

Piña Colada MOwinkie

"A what?!?" you might ask.  Well, I couldn't come up with a name for this tasty treat, so this is what came about from my three boys:  Pineapple + Coconut + Mochi* + Twinkie-shaped = Piña Colada MOwinkie. *Mochi is rice flour. A huge number of my culinary adventures come about because I do not have the ingredients listed and I refuse to go to the grocery store before six in the morning.  So, I make adjustments, usually, to great success.  For this, I started with my ChocoCoco MOffins ...but didn't have any milk.  What I did have was some leftover crème fraîche and pineapple juice. 3 eggs 1/2 C canola oil 1 C crème fraîche 1 C pineapple juice 1/2 C organic raw sugar 1 T baking powder 2 T shredded coconut 1 box of rice flour young coconut in a jar** **You should be able to find this young coconut in a jar in any Asian market, or maybe even the ethnic food section of a regular grocery store. Mix the eggs and oil. Then mix everything else except for young coc

The BEET Goes On...

With my amuse-bouche dinner behind me, I am looking forward to my next big culinary adventure: I'm hosting a birthday dinner for a friend in March, and it is all about beets. 'The Beet Goes On' as we march steadily to the big 4-0; we have a couple more years to go, but just a couple. Bright magenta beets, comically-stripped chioggia beets, golden beets. You name it, I'm going to cook it.  I even found a recipe for a Beet-Nyk, a beet-infused martini. I know the dessert will be some configuration of chocolate and beet. I might make a chocolate-beet cake , but I might mix it up and do a chocolate-beet mousse. I might make beet-asiago gnocchi . Who knows? I have a month to concoct some tasty treats. Just giving you fair warning...get ready for beet-mania.  And for those who claim "I DON'T eat beets," give some of my recipes a try, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Beef-Chestnut Stuffed Mushrooms

One of the best compliments I've had about my cooking this week was at my amuse-bouche party.  A friend of mine does not eat mushrooms; you have to hear her tell the story about having to pluck them out of the woods when she was a child, then you would understand.  But when she saw me pull my beef-chestnut stuffed mushrooms out of the oven, she gave one a try.  I was flattered.  I don't think I converted her to a mushroom-lover, but I was pleased that they were intriguing enough for her to taste. This is a quick, easy appetizer.  Or stuff larger mushrooms and serve them for dinner. ground beef egg chestnut flour minced garlic pink Himalaya salt fresh ground pepper shaved asiago cheese Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all of the ingredients together.  It should be moist enough to form a ball.  Add chestnut flour if it's too soft.  Wash, dry, and destem your mushrooms.  And in the hollow where the stem was, press your beef-chestnut mixture.  Drizzle the mushr

Linguiça Torta, Revamped

Because I usually have leftovers and because my boys are notorious food-snobs - I don't know where they get that? (wink, wink) - I revamp my leftovers so that they look a little bit different than when they were served the first time around.  Otherwise, my little one will usually make some comment along the lines of "Mom, didn't we already eat this?!?" I had some leftover Linguiça Torta from my amuse-bouche party.  For my revamp, I sliced the torta into larger squares then topped them with fresh avocado, sour cream, and fresh salsa.  And just like that, I have a totally different dish...sort of!

Hazelnut Syrup-Star Anise Marshmallow

Just as different salts create distinct flavors, I was curious about using different kinds of syrup in my marshmallow-mania. While these were cooking, the hazelnut scent was unmistakable. But, in the end, I think that the star anise overpowered the hazelnut. So, for the next batch, I'll skip the infused water and see if I can't bring out the hazelnut flavor! canola oil powdered sugar unsweetened cocoa 1 C star anise-infused cold water, divided 3, 1/4-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin 2 C organic raw sugar 1/3 C organic maple syrup 1/3 C hazelnut syrup 1/4 t pink Himalaya salt 1 t ground ginger Prepare a 9×13 inch pan by oiling it with canola oil. Dust powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa over the oiled sides of the pan. Place 1/2 C of water in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water and allow to soften, 5 minutes. Place remaining water, sugar, syrups, and salt into a large saucepan. Melt all of the ingredients together, without stirring, and bring to

Fennel Pollen Honey Butter

This is the honey butter I concocted to serve with our Presidents' Day Hoecakes , but I would use this in place of plain honey butter any ol' day! 1/2 C softened butter 3 T wildflower honey a pinch of fennel pollen Mix in a bowl till well combined.  Place in serving dish and sprinkle a few more pieces of pollen on top.

Happy Presidents' Day Hoecakes

When I read the blogpost that creative maven Jenn Erickson, of Rook No. 17 , penned about George Washington - last year - I knew that I had to shamelessly steal her idea.  I love tying in food and history for the boys; they eat it up (pun fully intended)!  Then I saw Jenn's post again a couple of weeks ago, revisiting her family's tradition of celebrating Presidents' Day with a hoecake breakfast, and I hopped on online to order the book: George Washington's Breakfast by Jean Fritz.*  The book came and the very same day D came home with the very same book.  He had picked it out of the school store; they earn "dollars" for good behavior and are able to use those dollars in the classroom store to purchase books.  So we actually now own two of those books.  However that didn't help me one bit when, in a cleaning frenzy this weekend, I stashed both copies somewhere.  Late last night I scoured my cookbook shelf and their bookshelves, but the books were nowhe

Twinkie Fail II

For those of you who have followed my Twinkie saga , I had grand plans for my attempt this year - I purchased a cream canoe baking pan with filling injector; I thought about doing a trio of Twinkies with various cakes and fillings; I even toyed with the idea of making a DIY Twinkie dessert table for some added fun.  All of that went by the wayside as my afternoon waned and the guests were arriving shortly.  Oh, and I still didn't have cake flour.  So, I bit the bullet and made a chestnut flour sponge cake.  First Kevin unsuccessfully attempted to inject the chestnut Twinkie with whipped cream.  Then he took a bite and chewed and chewed and chewed...and asked for a glass of milk.  Okay, maybe the raw sugar and chestnut flour made it a wee-bit heartier than a real Twinkie.  Maybe more than a wee-bit.  So we sliced the Twinkie into thick coins and topped them with a dollop of whipped cream.  As an amuse-bouche , it worked well, but it definitely wasn't a Twinki

Spicy Langostino Cocktail in a Cucumber Cup

This is simultaneously spicy and refreshing - all in one bite.  Perfect for an amuse-bouche menu.  Langostino is a crustacean, like a shrimp or a lobster, but is actually neither.  Even more confusing, the word langostino refers to different animals in different parts of the world.  Here in the US, it usually refers to the squat lobster while in Spain it is a species of prawn; in Cuba, it refers to a crayfish and in South America it's a kind of red prawn.  In any case, I picked up a bag of peeled, cooked langostino at Trader Joe's. I minced the meat, added some mayonaise, a dash of Worcestershire Sauce, a dash of spicy chili sauce, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some pink Himalaya salt.  Then I cut an English cucumber into thick slices and scooped out a hollow with a melon baller.  Place the langostino cocktail in to the hollow and serve. Easy!

Pork Tenderloin with Pistachio Mousse

For another amuse-bouche offering, I made my Hot Cocoa Pork Tenderloin , sliced it into medallions, and topped it with a pistachio mousse, seasoned to match the pork. 1 C of ricotta cheese 1/2 C roasted pistachios, chopped a bunch of Italian Parsley, chopped pink Himalaya salt olive oil garlic, minced ancho chili powder I put all of the ingredients into a blender and processed till smooth.  Add more cheese or oil to create the texture you want.  Top each pork medallian with a spoonful of mousse and garnish with a pinch of ancho chili powder.

Dressing Up a Chocolate Mousse

I typically like my chocolate mousse naked.  Minds out of the gutter, please! I don't like to eat chocolate mousse while unclad, though I've never tried that.  I could like that, but what I meant to say is that I like to eat my chocolate mousse plain...with no toppings.  I have so many rich flavors at play in my mousse - with espresso and liqueur - that unadulterated seems best - just the mousse and a spoon.  But every now and then I come across something, a new flavor, that speaks to me.  And when I smelled fennel pollen, it said, "Sprinkle me on top of chocolate mousse!"  Just to be clear, food doesn't really speak to me.  I don't hear little voices in my head.  But I do have bursts of culinary inspiration and for my canister of fennel pollen, chocolate mousse was it. I topped my Strega Chocolate Mousse with a dollop of whipped cream and a pinch of fennel pollen.  Here's one of my friends' reactions when I put them out on the table.  Jaw-droppingl

(Nitrite-Free) Linguiça Torta

For my amuse-bouche party I wanted the flavors of the one-bite of egg torta to pop in your mouth.  So, I decided to use the mildly spicy, smoky linguiça, a classic Portuguese sausage.  But I didn't want one laden with sodium nitrites. I stood in the meat section of the Filipino-Indian market for a long time, flipping over package after package of linguiça.  Riley danced around me and the proprietor made his way to the back of the store, "Miss, do you need any help?" Riley stopped dancing and looked at the man, "My mom is looking for that sausage without any nitrites.  Do you have any?" No.  So, we walked out empty handed.  Pia finally located some for me at WholeFoods Market. I browned one large sweet Vidalia onion, chopped, in a splash of olive oil, then added chunks of the linguiça.  Then I spooned all of that into a buttered baking dish and topped it with eggs, beaten with a bit of organic heavy cream.  Topped it all with shavings of manchego cheese. 

Scallops with Pesto

When the weather decided not to cooperate, I had to do a quick change.  I had originally planned to wrap these scallops with prosciutto, skewer them, and have Jake do a quick grill job.  But since the rain was pouring down last night, and he objected to being out there in the deluge despite offers to hold an umbrella over his head, I ended up searing them in a pan with a sprinkling of pink Himalaya salt and serving them with a dollop of pesto.  This pesto came from Trader Joe's, but when basil abounds at the farmers' markets during the summer, I make batches of pesto at least every other week.  Pesto is just a mix of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil.  In a blender, I start with a bunch or two of fresh basil, washed and trimmed, 4 cloves of garlic, 1/2 C of grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 C of pine nuts.  I pulse the blender a few times, drizzle in olive oil, and resume pulsing.  Pulse. Oil. Pulse. Oil. If you want a smoother, sauce-like pesto,

Lavender Truffles

10 oz high-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces 1/2 C heavy whipping cream 1 t organic lavender florets, plus more for rolling unsweetened cocoa powder In a small, heavy saucepan bring the whipping cream and teaspoon of lavender to a simmer. Place the chocolate in a separate bowl. Pour the cream over the chococlate, straining out the lavender florets. Let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk till smooth. Allow the ganache to cool, then place in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Roll half-teaspoon sized balls in your hands as quickly as you can. Roll in unsweetened cocoa and a pinch more of lavender. Refrigerate overnight before serving.