Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes

April 11, 2014

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Chocolate cupcakes made with quinoa? Yes. They are really good: moist, fluffy and intensely chocolate.

This is an adaption of a recipe from a 2009 cookbook called Quinoa 365, by Patrica Green and Carolyn Hemming. It also appears on the authors’ website, Patricia & Carolyn. This recipe has been making the rounds on the internet, appearing on quite a number of food blogs, all with rave reviews.

Cake on the Brain had the idea of making the batter into cupcakes to make the cake more sturdy and less squidgy. I thought this was an excellent idea and copied it. I don’t have the jumbo muffin pan that Cake on the Brain apparently possesses, so instead of getting 12 large cupcakes, I got 15 normal cupcakes.

I made very few changes to the original recipe. To make the recipe pareve, I replaced the butter with oil and the milk with coffee.

The recipe calls for either 2 cups of cooked quinoa or 2/3 cup dry quinoa cooked with 1 1/3 cups water. If you are making quinoa pilaf or salad, just make extra quinoa. I made a whole 12 ounce bag of quinoa (2 cups dried), which, when cooked, was enough for a quinoa salad plus this recipe.

Bonus: Patricia & Carolyn also have a recipe for Quinoa Lasagna that looks fantastic and would be great for Pesach.

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Coconut Macaroon Tuiles

April 10, 2014

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Imagine a cookie with the flavor of a coconut macaroon, with a undertone of salted caramel. Sort of like the flavor of Girl Scout Samoa/Caramel deLite cookies. Now imagine that this cookie has the crisp texture of a potato chip. That is what these tuiles taste like.

The original recipe comes from a Seattle-based pastry chef, Laurie Pfalzer. When she baked for the bistro at the Salish Lodge and Spa, she used the tuiles as a garnish for creme brulee and layered them with strawberries and whipped mascarpone.

I haven’t decided what to do with these cookies yet. Layer them with lemon curd/whipped cream/strawberries? Drizzle them with chocolate or sandwich them with chocolate (like Brussels cookies or lace cookies)?

The batter is extremely easy to mix up. The tricky part is shaping. The sticky batter must be patted out into thin rounds. This is fiddly work.

The original recipe called for baking the tuiles at 350 for 8-10 minutes, but my tuiles did not bake evenly that way. I had better luck baking them at 250 for a half hour.

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Prune Danish Braid (use up your leftover lekvar)

March 26, 2014

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I had leftover lekvar and I mulled over all these creative options for using it up in a dessert. When I presented these options to my husband, along with the option of a simple prune danish, my husband voted for the danish.

The filling for this danish can be straight-up lekvar spooned out from the jar, but I decided to make it a little more interesting. Walnuts, mini mocha chips and an orange-vanilla glaze add extra texture and flavor.

As far as the dough is concerned, I use a few tricks to make and bake the dough extra quickly: (1) putting the dough in a warm oven to push it to rise faster; (2) folding the dough at intervals to strengthen it instead of kneading; and (3) putting the shaped dough in the oven after a very short (15 minute) rising period. With these tricks, the recipe will take about 1 3/4 hours from assembling your ingredients to pulling the danish out of the oven. If you take things a little slower or allow for a slightly longer rising time, it will take closer to 2 hours from assembling your ingredients to pulling the finished danish from the oven.

If you double the dough, you can make two small challahs plus the danish.

 

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Paula Wolfert’s Pan Roasted Cauliflower

March 19, 2014

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I love Paula Wolfert and I love cauliflower. Here is a recipe from Paula for cauliflower. What could be better?

As a cookbook writer, Paula has been a visionary, an innovator who was exploring and writing about authentic Mediterranean cuisine long before it was trendy. Her classic book on Moroccan food was published in 1973, and she has promoted the food of the region ever since with a series of acclaimed books such as The Cooking of Southwest France, The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Mediterranean Grains and Greens, The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen, Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking and, most recently, The Cooking of Morocco (2012 James Beard Award winner for best international cookbook).

Recently, Wolfert was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Well, actually, to be precise, she was diagnosed by two different neurologists with either early-stage Alzheimer’s disease or “mild cognitive impairment, a form of dementia that can progress to Alzheimer’s.” In addition to changing her diet by adding in more super foods, she has become an Alzheimer’s activist. This April, she is behind a fundraiser dinner for the cause. The Mediterranean Feast menu will include her pan roasted cauliflower.

As she explained in a PBS segment with Judy Woodruff, Wolfert learned this cauliflower recipe from a well-known chef and cookbook author, Arto der Haroutunian (born in Syria to Armenian parents and then transplanted to England). She likes it because “it is so simple to make.”

This is the basic idea: cook cauliflower in oil in a pot until it gets soft and caramelized. Then add garlic, tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts. After that, put in in the oven in an oven-proof casserole. Finally, sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley. It is a nice change of pace from the usual oven-roasted cauliflower and the texture is superior, I think.

Bonus: Here is my version of Wolfert’s recipe for Morshan, chickpeas and greens.

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Molten Chocolate Chip Hamantaschen

March 16, 2014

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Ok, I guess this is a bit late in the day to post. But, better late than never!

Chocolate chip cookie dough filled with ganache, served warm so that the chocolate filling is all melted and runny. The hamantaschen will spread if they are not contained, so it is best to enclose the shaped cookies with foil to keep them from spreading.

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Hamantaschen Vols-au-vent with Wild Mushroom Ragout

March 13, 2014

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I suppose this is more properly described as creamed mushrooms over puff pastry, but the word ragout is not completely inappropriate.  Even though ragout is usually thought of as a meat stew, the term has also been applied to mushroom stews. Is it because mushrooms have a certain meatiness? I don’t know. In any event, ragout comes from the French word ragoûter, which means “to stimulate the appetite,” and this dish makes for a lovely appetizer.

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Fruit Tart Hamantaschen

March 10, 2014

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For this, take hamantaschen puff pastry shells, fill them with a spoonful of jam and then top with fresh fruit. Alternatively, you could fill them with vanilla pastry cream (or, more prosaically, vanilla pudding) and then top with fruit. Or you could put in a bit of jam, then vanilla pudding and then the fruit. Or you could fill them with lemon curd and then top with fruit. Or you could pipe in chocolate mousse . . . Well, you get the idea.

As in the above picture, you can dust the top of the tarts with powdered sugar. To make the fruit shiny, brush it with jam (raspberry for berries and apricot for other fruits). An easy trick for glazing the fruit is to put it in a bowl and toss it in a bit of corn syrup. This gives it a clear glaze and also makes the fruit a bit sticky, which helps bind the fruit pieces together.

Update: If you want to fill these with pareve (dairy-free) vanilla pudding, combine a box of Osem pudding mix with 3/4 cup of coconut milk.  Fill each hamantaschen with a small spoonful of pudding mix and top with half a strawberry.

Other Hamantaschen:

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Hamantaschen
Midnight Mint Hamantaschen
Basic Hamantaschen Recipe, plus tips
Darth Vader Hamantaschen
Angelina Ballerina Hamantaschen
Hamantaschen Apple Galette
Lemon Curd Hamantaschen
Hamantaschen Puff Pastry Shells
Hamantaschen French Toast Casserole

Hamantaschen Puff Pastry Shells

March 10, 2014

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This post is for those of you out there who want to make hamantaschen without mixing or rolling out dough, without worrying if the filling is bake-proof and without worrying about the hamantaschen exploding open in the oven.

Part of the answer is using puff pastry dough, and part of the answer is in the method of baking it.  If you have ever tried baking hamantaschen with puff pastry dough, you know that it can be frustrating. Shaped in the traditional manner, from a circle folded into a triangle, puff pastry hamantaschen have an infuriating tendency to explode open when they bake.

So frustrating, right? But a solution is at hand! Instead of working against the tendency of puff pastry to puff, this technique works with it.

Following the method for making puff pastry cases (bouchees and vols-a-vent), the puff pastry is cut into triangles, with a triangle cut out into the center. As the pastry bakes in the oven, the sides of the triangle rise straight up to form a rim around a hollow triangular center. The hollow center can then be filled with whatever you like.

Let me repeat and emphasize this point: the puff pastry hamantaschen are baked without filling. You add the filling later. Baking the shells before filling means that you can use fillings that can’t be baked,  like pastry cream with fresh fruit on top or chocolate mousse (to see how pretty puff pastry shells can look filled with mousse or topped with fruit, take a look at Pastry Pals post about vols-au-vent filled with chocolate chantilly  or passion fruit curd and pinepple).

You could also go with a savory filling. For example, for an appetizer, you could fill the cases with mushrooms in cream sauce.

There are two approaches to making the puff pastry cases. You can use one layer of puff pastry or, for a higher, more elegant case, you can use two layers of puff pastry. With the one layer approach, the center triangle is marked before baking and then, after the pastry case is baked, the triangle is cut out with a knife. With the two layer approach, the bottom triangle of puff pastry dough is the base, and the cut out triangle frame of dough on the top is the rim.

If you go with the single layer approach, you can get 2 1/2 dozen hamantaschen out of a box of puff pastry. You can fill the triangles with different flavors of jam for a very easy and quick batch of hamantaschen.

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Hamantaschen French Toast Casserole

March 5, 2014

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Imagine this: warm, buttery, vanilla and cinnamon scented French toast stuffed with whipped cream cheese and jam.  So good. Now picture that each piece of French toast is shaped and filled like a hamantaschen. Yummy and festive.

Another bonus: this is easily prepped the night before. All you need to do is pop this in the oven the day you want to serve it.

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Han Solo Cup and Chewie Wookie Cookie

February 27, 2014

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I was very amused by this t-shirt of Han Solo and Chewie as a Solo cup and cookie. So, I equipped a Solo cup with a cardboard Solo Blaster and made some Wookie Cookies. Actually, the cookies are just my favorite Pesach cookies with some white and dark chocolate chips used to make eyes, a nose and some teeth.

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