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Monday, November 28, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

I don’t know about you but when a recipe calls for a cup of pumpkin puree I think who are they fooling since it is impossible to measure out the correct amount of the slurry stuff.  I look at the can and it reads serving size ½ cup – contains 3.5 servings.  I fill my measuring cup and almost all of the can is gone.  So this time the light went on….hmmm what if I use my kitchen scale.  Bravo, shouts the crowd of four very happy mouths with squeals of make more now!  Since it was gone in less then 12 hours.

15 oz. can
425 grams
 1 ¾ cup // 122 grams
since I hate converting oz, cups, pounds etc and they always told in school the US was to going metric.  I opt for the easy conversion
1 cup = 244 grams

Pumpkin Bread
from  Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson
Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook

Makes 1 (9-inch) loaf

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t sea salt
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t ground allspice
1/4 t ground cloves
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Scant 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
2/3 cup water

~ preheat the oven to 350°F
~ butter a 9-inch loaf pan
~ whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in a small bowl
~ beat the butter, sugar, and oil on high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times, until light and fluffy, about 1 minute
~ add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined
~ add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated
~ mixing on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and 2/3 cup water and mix until just combined
~ spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes
~ let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes
~ remove from the pan and let cool completely

Onion Rosemary Rolls

Awe, the calm before the storm and time to breath again for a couple of days – three to be exact! 
A new favorite in our house, onion rosemary rolls.  These wonderful bites remind us of our most favorite bread in the world – Morton’s onion bread.  A recipe that has alluded me, although I search and search ((let me know if you have it! Please)) In the meantime, try your bread making skills with this recipe.  I am sure you will be pleased with the results.  Best of all only one rise!

Caramelizing the onions
Both plain yellow onions and sweet onions work

Bubbles happen or throw it out
Always check the temperature of your water


Onion and Rosemary Loaves
From Cathy Thomas
Mellssa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce

4 T unsalted butter
3 cups chopped yellow onions
2 ¼ t active dry yeast
2 t sugar
1 cup warm water, not over 95 degrees
5 cups all- purpose flour, divided use
1 ½ t sea salt
1 ½ T or more chopped fresh rosemary leaves
olive oil spray
2 T unsalted butter melted and mixed with ¼ t garlic salt

~ medium high heat melt butter in large cast iron skillet
~ add onions and stir occasionally until caramelized about 30 minutes, reduce heat if necessary to prevent burning
~ set aside and cool completely
~ in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle add yeast, sugar and water
~ allow yeast to bubble about 15 to 20 minutes
~ add half of the flour, salt and rosemary
~ mix on low
~ add caramelized onions with juices from skillet and a bit of the remaining flour
~ switch to dough hook and knead until smooth with a tiny bit of stickiness
~ add more flour as needed in small amounts
~ dough is ready when it springs back, is still a bit sticky and can form a window pane in the stretch test
~ ((my lazy ways)) tired of cleaning so many bowls I now just pull the dough out of the mixing bowl and spray the bowl with olive oil spray
~ I then form the dough into a large ball and put it back in the bowl rolling around to coat
~ cover with a clean damp cotton dish towel
~ allow to rise 1 hour or until double in size
~ preheat oven 400 with baking stone
~ punch dough down and cut into equal portions and flatten
~ allow to rest 10 minutes
~ shape into little balls
~ put corn meal onto baking stone to prevent sticking
~ place dough balls onto baking stone 2 inches apart
~ bake until golden brown 15 to 25 minutes
~ remove from oven and immediately brush with garlic butter mixture or omit they taste great either way

Friday, November 11, 2011

Orzo with Garbanzo Beans, Red Onion, Basil and Mint

A perfect recipe for having the girls over for a casual lunch or dinner.  Rather then opening a can of garbanzo beans, I opted to pressure cook dried beans.  The difference is amazing – give it a try.

Orzo with Garbanzo Beans, Red Onion, Basil and Mint
from Giada's Family Dinners
by Giada De Laurentiis

4  cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
1½  cups orzo
1  (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed or see below for pressure recipe
1½  cups organic grape tomatoes, halved
¾  cup finely chopped red onion
½  cup chopped fresh basil
¼  cup chopped fresh mint
¾  cup red wine vinaigrette
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

~ bring the broth to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan over high heat
~ stir in the orzo
~ cover partially and cook, stirring frequently, until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, about 7 minutes
~ drain the orzo through a strainer
~ transfer the orzo to a large, wide bowl and toss until the orzo cools slightly
~ set aside to cool completely
~ toss the orzo with the beans, tomatoes, onion, basil, mint, and enough vinaigrette to coat; you may not need all ¾ cup
~ season the salad to taste with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature

Pressure Cooked Garbanzo Beans

1 cup dried garbanzo beans
4 cups water
1t vegetable oil

~ add all ingredients to pressure cooker
~ secure lid and bring to high pressure
~ cook 30 to 40 minutes
~ quick release by putting cooker into sink and cool with cold water

Yes Christie, the pressure cooked garbanzo beans have a totally different flavor and texture.  They are firm and have more of a crunch but not really a crunch - they are not mushy and the flavor is not obstructed with the can salted preservative sauce.  I now try to pressure cook all of my beans.  Little time and amazing results in fact if you are a fan of Top Chef you are familiar with Michael Voltaggio, he is recently said, “I’m obsessed. I’m cooking all my sauces in it, I’m cooking seeds and nuts, pretty much anything I can put in there. You get such clean flavor so fast.”  Try it you'll like it...

I ammmmmmmmmmm back

crud crud crud...

way too much going on
as well as pure laziness
life is too short to pass up the chocolate.....or in my case bread

so much to do plant seeds for winter garden
...replace melted plastic covering on green house - darn 100 degree temps

Start cooking again!  so I have made a list and I will try to keep to it

from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

from Earth to Table by Jeff Crumb & Bettina Schormann
French Onion Soup

from Hudson Valley Mediterranean by Laura Pensiero
Hudson Valley Salad with Horseradish Dressing

from Whole Grains for Busy People by Lorne Sass
Farro Risotto with Winter Squash and Sage

from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber & Julie Richardson
Cranberry Buckle with Vanilla Crumb

from Bobby Flay's Burgers Fries and Shakes by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas & Sally Jackson
Salmon Burger with Hoisin Barbecue Sauce

from Seven Fires by Franxis Mallmann and Peter Kaminsky
Burnt Carrots with Goat Cheese & Arugula

from Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking by Eileen Yin-fei Lo
A Simple Fried Rice

vStir by Barbara Lynch with Joanne Smart
Orecchiette with Cauliflower
Lamb Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Barley

from Mellssa's Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas
Mediterranean Chopped
Onion and Rosemary Rolls
Rustic Mashed Potatoes
Jerked Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

from Harvey Steinman's California Kitchen
Spinach Pear Salad

from Giada's Family Dinners by Giada De Laurentiis
Orzo with Garbanzo Beans, Red Onion, Basil and Mint

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oatmeal Snicker-doodle

Part two of our the treats we shared with our firehouse.  My favorite cookies! Snicker-doodles with the addition of another grain oatmeal.  Yum!!! Soft and crunchy cinnamon and oatmeal perfection!

 Oatmeal Snicker-doodles
from Maida Heatter
Book of Great Cookies
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1t baking soda
1/2t sea salt
2t cinnamon
2 sticks of unsalted butter room temperature
1 1/2t vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs room temperature
1 ½ cups old fashioned or quick-cooking oatmeal
~ sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon set aside
~ in your mixer cream butter and add vanilla and both sugars beat the heck out of it
~ add eggs one at a time to the butter mixture and beat well
~ on low speed gradually add the sifted dry ingredients
~ scrap down sides and mix until just mixed
~ stir in oatmeal
~ put in refrigerator for half an hour
~ preheat oven 375 degrees
~ make topping (2T granulated sugar and 2t cinnamon)
~ line baking sheet with parchment paper
~ scoop out cookie dough using a small scooper
~ either press and sprinkle with topping or roll in topping and press
~ bake until browned all over 7 to 12 minutes
~ cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes and then on wire rack

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Butterscotch Molasses Cookies

Three kids - three different schools - dance - band- piano- first lego league - youth and government - youth counsel  - and one husband out of town mmmm lazy cooking days.  I fell back to our old regulars since we had only about a half an hour between breathing and running out of the house to our next activity.  The one-day of exception, September 11th, we made some cookies and brought them to our local firehouse.

cookies or a practical joke
Butterscotch Molasses Cookies
From Maida Heatter’s
Book of Great Cookies
1 1/4 (5oz) butter room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar firmly packed
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour
1t baking soda
1/4t mace
1/8 t sea salt
1 egg room temperature
1/2t pure vanilla extract

~ melt the butter in a heavy 3 quart sauce pan over moderate heat
~ add the sugar and molasses and stir until the sugar is medlted
~ bring the mixture to a rolling boil and then remove it from the heat
~ cool to room temperature about 20 minutes
~ sift together the flour, baking soda, mace and salt - set aside
~ add the egg and vanilla to the cooled butter mixture and beat with a wooden spatula until smooth
~ gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and beat with the wooden spatula until smooth
~ using a small cookie scoop create small balls
~ refrigerate balls for an hour or so
~ preheat oven 375
~ roll the ball in sugar
~ smash down on cookie sheet 1 to 1 1/2" apart
~ bake 7-10 minutes
~ the cookies will be slightly soft and as they cool will crisp up
~ cool on cookie try 4 minutes
~ transfer to wire rack

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Puerto Rican Chicken in Green Sauce Pressure Cooker one of the essence of our being.  One of the simplest pleasures in our lives, we associate memories good and bad with the tastes and smells food brings to us.  We give thanks for food.  

Ten years ago one of the most tragic days struck our country and all of our lives changed.  I taught second grade at the time.  I remember getting up that morning and going thru the normal motions of getting everyone ready to begin the day.  A friend of ours knocked on our window and said, "Did you see what is happening in New York?"  We immediately turned on the TV.  It was surreal.  When I arrived at school, I picked up my class from the playground, took roll with the TV on in the background.  We all watched and discussed what was happening.  One little boy came up to my desk and said, "Today is my birthday and my birthday will never be the same again."  The next day we wrote letters and the following week we made the most beautiful tribute wall at the entrance to our school filled with huge paper yellow ribbons, pictures, names and the children's writings.  That year we learned about giving, sharing, and heroes. So on this the ten year anniversary of September 11th, pay it forward - bring food, cookies or brownies, perhaps dinner to someone in need, a public worker - police, fire ...because food is the universal language.

Puerto Rican Chicken in Green Sauce Pressure Cooker
from Marcia Kiesel

1 skinless chicken cut into pieces (bone-in)
6 skinless chicken thighs (bone-in)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1t ground cumin
4 cups packed cilantro leaves
6 garlic cloves, halved
2 large jalapeños, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
2T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 pound medium red skinned potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Steamed rice and lime wedges, for serving

 ~ season the chicken with salt, pepper and the cumin
~ let stand for 10 minutes
~ meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the cilantro, garlic, jalapeños, onion, red bell peppers, wine and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and puree
~ transfer the puree to pressure cooker and stir in the chicken stock
~ add the chicken and potatoes
~ lock lid and over high heat bring to high pressure
~ adjust the heat to maintain high pressure and cook for 13 minutes
~ allow pressure to release naturally
over and cook on high for 2 hours, shifting the chicken a few times, until the chicken is cooked through.
~ season the stew with salt and pepper.
~ serve with rice and lime wedges.


Pizza, pizza, pizza...we do have our favorite recipes; however, we always like to experiment.  In this case, I learned something new.  Let your dough rise in an humid area.  Hmmmm...desert dry heat - what to do?  Hello swamp cooler!  And I have to say, what a beautiful rise

the sweet smell of blooming yeast

dough the texture of play-dough

dough ball

our favorite fake pepperoni
all the flavor without all of the grease

From Anna Martini
Pasta and Pizza

1 ½ cup room temperature water
2T yeast
6 cups all purpose flour
10T milk

~ dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup water
~ mix flour and salt in a mixer with flat beater
~ add the yeast mixer and milk
~ slowly add remaining water with the mixer running
~ add more flour or water till the dough pulls away from the bowl
~ switch over to a dough hook   
~ kneed until dough is smooth like play dough
~ ready to rise – ideal temperature 86 degrees with high humidity
~ put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel
~ let rise until 2 to 3 hours until doubled in bulk
~ divide and knead into 4 or more equal balls
~preheat oven or barbeque 500 degrees
~ press down on the ball with your fingers to make a flat pancake not thicker then 3/8 inch and edges higher
~ top with toppings
~ bake until crust is browned and cheese melted and bubbled

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Candy Coated Licorice from Trader Joe's

Childhood memories always are bigger and better.  Case in point Disneyland, as a child the place was huge and as an adult one wonders, "Did it shrink?  Wasn't the drop on the Pirates of the Caribbean enormous?"  Good N Plenty fall into the same category.  I loved them.  The crunchy outer layer and the soft glorious licorice interior.  Which color to eat first?  We loved to shake the box and make train sounds like the old commercials.  I decided to indulge a few months ago, unfortunately.   Bleech, they must have reformulated my favorite candy.  Sadness filled my heart and mouth.

Yesterday as I enjoyed my child free shopping at Trader Joe's, I spied this colorful box on the "what's new" shelf.  I had to have them and to my utter delight they are perfection in a box.  Buy them, enjoy them and let's hope they don't discontinue them.

My youngest, "Ewww, licorice!  I hate licorice", but could not resist the temptation of candy and she too fell in love with the perfect crunch and soft sweet center.

Can you eat just one?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Korean Sizzling Beef

Obsessed, I have been obsessed.  Like millions of others who learned of the huge price drop on the HP Touchpad.  I want one! I am hoping to have one in my hot little hands soon.  A great affordable option to keep me busy while waiting at a bevy of kid activities.  I am tired of drooling at those around me with an IPad., so cool yet so expensive.  In our house we laugh and refer to Lord of the Rings – precious…my precious because someone is always obsessed with something.

Well back to the food because we love good food and this recipe is so wonderful I made it twice already.

 A cast iron griddle an indispensable kitchen gadget - just look at those grill marks on the beef -beautiful!  Our garden fresh chives pictured above.

Korean Sizzling Beef
from Marcia Kiesel
Food and Wine

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
One 2 1/2-pound beef flank steak, cut across the grain into twenty 1/4-inch-thick slices
16 scallions
Vegetable oil, for rubbing
Steamed rice, for serving

~ in a large, shallow dish, combine the soy sauce with the sugar, white wine, chopped garlic, toasted sesame oil and crushed red pepper, stirring to dissolve the sugar
~  add the sliced flank steak and coat thoroughly in the marinade
~ cover and refrigerate the steak for at least 4 hours or overnight
~ light a grill or heat a griddle
~ rub the scallions all over with vegetable oil and grill them over high heat, turning once, until the scallions are just softened, about 2 minutes
~ season with salt
~ working in batches, grill the steak over high heat until the slices are richly browned and medium-rare, about 30 seconds per side
~ transfer the steak to a serving platter and serve with the grilled scallions and steamed rice

 from our garden: chives

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The other night we decided to stay up late and watch Duff Goldman's new show on Food TV, Sugar High featuring Los Angeles eateries, yum!  We could not wait to make the chocolate chip cookies from Auntie Em's Kitchen after all Terri Wahl said it too some time to perfect the recipe and the description sounded like cookie heaven.  Three and a half cubes of butter put me off a bit but I forged ahead.

The critics:
The biggest finicky eater, “too much sugar”

The oldest of the youngsters “ I liked how thin the cookies was and the cookie taste”

The middle finicky eater, “ yummmmy, I loved them!”

And the pickiest finickiest wee finicky eater, “they were good.  I am just use to your normal cookies…can you make them today?”

Me, I am not thrilled with all of the butter and sugar; although, cookies, desserts and so on are an indulgents so… Also for some reason they taste a bit eggy to me and you know I hate eggs. 

Update 24 hours later…

Yesterday, I only made about 12 cookies and left the rest in the freezer wrapped in wax paper.  Today the cookies I baked had a more defined caramel flavor (not over sugar taste of yesterday) and more chew, much better to me.

******************* UPDATE ******************
The cookies held up wonderfully in the freezer.  For weeks, I took out a few and baked them.  The kids loved hot fresh cookies.

lots and lots of butter - not to mention tons of sugar

water and vanilla

equals a very loose dough

after and hour in the refrigerator I was able to form balls

all wrapped up and ready for the freezer

as one ages their eyes go and the little print on my toaster oven doesn't help so broil looked like bake... oh my Mickey burnt to a crisp

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Terri Wahl, Auntie Em's Kitchen
Duff Goldman - Sugar High

2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1/3 cup water room temperature
2 1/4 cups white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 pound dark chocolate or chocolate chips

~ in a stand mixer, cream the brown sugar, butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes
~ add the eggs one at a time until well incorporated
~ mix in 1/3 cup of water and the vanilla
~  in a separate bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking soda and add to the butter mixture. ~ mix on low until the flour mixture is incorporated, and then mix in the chocolate pieces
~ put dough into refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours
~ scoop out the dough and either onto the parchment lined cookie sheet or put each scoop onto a strip of wax paper and roll to cover and freeze for an hour-(24 hours for better cookies – you can transfer the cookie dough balls to a freezer zip lock bag and use as needed)
~ preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with paper
~  the cookies will spread, so limit 4 cookies on you first sheet to see just how many will fit and adjust other sheets (I baked 4 cookies per sheet in my toaster oven)
~ smush/flatten cookie onto cookie sheet
~ bake until golden brown, mine took 7 minutes the original recipe calls for 15 to 20 minutes and  rotating the trays halfway through
~ remove from the oven and cool
~ remove the cookies with a flat spatula to prevent breaking
~ place on a paper towel (removes a bit of oil)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

roasted marshmallow ice cream - s'more ice cream sandwich

Summer is coming to a close...eighteen days till school starts, hee hee hee!  Ah, the sweet smell of backpacks, freshly sharpened pencils and new tennis shoes.  
They cry, "I want s'more summer vacation".  I reply, "s'mores you want s'mores?"  I just happen to see a fabulous s'more pop on the blog 52 Kitchen Adventures but, for you I will concoct an ice cream sandwich with roasted marshmallow ice cream and chocolate covered graham crackers. 

The smell wafting through the house wakes them up.  “mmmm smells like cotton candy.”

The youngest taste tester comments, “yum I want more.  I taste the marshmallow and a bit of caramel in the burned pieces”.

As we are spreading the chocolate on the graham crackers my youngest says to me, “you know I don’t like graham crackers”.

My gelato maker some how blending all of the burned bits into the ice cream so it is smooth with tiny flavor bursts of toasted marshmallow.

S’more Ice Cream Sandwich

Ice Cream
10 ounces marshmallow fluff more or less depending on your preference
1 cup whole milk
1 cup 1% milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
1t vanilla

~ spread marshmallow fluff on foil covered baking sheet and toast until brown
~ in a heavy bottom sauce pan combine milks, cream and toasted marshmallow fluff
~ place over medium-low heat
~ stir occasionally until temperature reaches 170 degrees  and tiny bubbles start to form
~ meanwhile put egg yolks in a round medium size pyrex and whisk until smooth
~ add sugar to yolks and whisk until thick and pale
~ temper your egg yolks by taking about 1/2 cup of hot milk/cream mixture and slowly pour into yolks while whisking yolks...keep it moving or you will end up with scrambled eggs
~ continue adding about 1/2 cup at a time slowly until you have added about 1 1/2 to 2 cups
~ pour egg mixture into remaining milk/cream mixture in pan
~ cook over low heat stirring frequently until mixture reaches 185 degrees (do not boil)
~ remove from heat and add vanillia
~ cool and place in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight
~ pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to ice cream makers instructions

Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers
from Paula Deen

4 ounces white chocolate chips
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3T heavy cream
1T 1% milk
graham crackers

~ place chips and cream in a microwave safe bowl
~ heat in microwave at 50% power for 20 seconds
~ stir and heat again at 50% power another 20 seconds
~  my microwave is a wimp so I had to repeat another 20 seconds at 50% power followed by 10 seconds.  Microwave will vary.
~ remove from microwave stir and add milk
~ break graham cracker in half and dip one side of half in chocolate
~ take the other half and sandwich the chocolate side and slide to coat other half
~ set on baking sheet
~ repeat until you have desired amount
~ place in freeze until ready to use

~ remove graham crackers from freeze
~ place a good size dollop of ice cream on one side and top with other side
~ eat and enjoy

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cookie Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies

Maybe it is because I am always listening to the radio in the kitchen (and sing aloud) or perhaps it is the barrage of questions thrown at me (my head spins), but once again I read the recipe wrong.  My bad…that ended up as my good – well the original recipe calls for only1/2 cup of chips to be processed with the oats.  I saw half of the chips, oops!  My error caused the cookies to be chocolate chocolate chip cookies…yum…happy tummies all around.

Did you happen to catch the new show on Food TV, Sugar High with Duff Goldman?  Oh my, the thin crispy chocolate chip cookie from Terri Wahl -Auntie Em's Kitchen is next on my cookie baking adventure.  Tons of brown sugar and flat crisp and soft cookies – a dream come true!

Cookie Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Tish Boyle
The Good Cookie
adapted due to my brain

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¾ cup rolled oats
15 oz chocolate chips
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2  tsp vanilla
2 large eggs

~ sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
~ in the bowl of the food processor, combine the oats and 1 cup of chocolate and process until finely ground, about 45 seconds
~ stir the oat mixture into the flour mixture and set aside
~ in the bowl of an electric mixer using a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract at medium speed until fluffy and light about 2 minutes
~ beat in the eggs one at a time, scrapping down the sides of the bowl
~ mix in the dry ingredients with a spatula until just combined
~place dough in refrigerator for a few hours
~ position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375C
~ line baking sheets with parchment
~ with a mini ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of dough and arrange them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet
~ bake the cookies for 12 – 15 minutes until just golden brown, rotating half way through to ensure even browning
~ transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely
~ makes about 45.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lavash Crackers

FAIL is stamped on my forehead for most Peter Reinhart bread recipes and I don’t know why.  His recipes flummox me and I make grave errors some place along the line.  This most precious recipe however, causes me to salivate.  It is one of my favorites and I capture the trophy of success every time I make it.  Score one for me!

the dough

rolled out and sprinkled

yum...yum...yum...and so on

Lavash Crackers

From Peter Reinhart
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

1 1/2 cups  (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour
1/2 (.13 oz) teaspoon salt
1/2 ( .055 oz) teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon ( .75oz) honey
1 tablespoon (.5oz) vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings – I like to find and add other interesting seeds such as black caraway and nigella seeds

~ in a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, honey, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball
~ you may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed
~ sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter
~ knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed
~ the dough should register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit
~ the dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough, satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled
~ lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap
~ ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing)
~ mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter
~ press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour
~ roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax
~ at these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down
~ cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes
~ when it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes.
~ line a sheet pan with baking parchment or use a baking stone set it in the oven or bbq (what I like to use) just sprinkle stone with corn meal
~ carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. (omit if using a baking stone)
~ preheat the oven or bbq to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf
~ mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) be careful with spices and salt – a little goes a long way
~ if you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough ( I prefer this method because it gives each cracker a nice edge)
~ bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough)
~ when the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Coconut - Mango - Kiwi Popsicles

Coconut-Mango-Kiwi triopsicles delicious and so much fun to make.  We started with coconut juice and blended the mango and kiwi with lemon grass infused simple syrup.  The only change we would make would be to add some roasted coconut flakes to the coconut juice section.

Thanks goodness for Popsicle sticks since I continue to break the plastic pieces that came with the molds.  While slicing the strawberries I came up with the idea to put them on the ends of the Popsicle.  The kids loved that addition. 

 Coconut-Mango-Kiwi Triopsicles

1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
pinch kosher salt
1 stalk of lemon grass cut
½ cup coconut juice
1 medium mangos, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
½ cup sliced strawberries
4 kiwis peeled
~ combine the sugar, salt, lemon grass and cup water in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat
~ bring to a boil and make sure the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool completely
~ transfer the syrup to a 1-quart liquid measuring cup and refrigerate until cool
~ meanwhile pour the coconut juice into the molds 1/3 full and place in freezer  ( I added a fresh raspberry next time I will add toasted coconut flakes and bits of raspberry) – coconut juice should be frozen before continuing
~ puree mango in blender and add 1/3 of the simple syrup (remove lemongrass first) blend again
~ pour 1/3 into each mold and add raspberries
~ puree kiwi in blender and add remaining simple syrup
~ pour into mold and add strawberry slices
~ put slice of strawberry onto each Popsicle stick
~ place Popsicle into each mold
~ place in freezer
~ to unmold, dip the mold in a deep pan of hot water until the pops pull out easily, 30 to 40 seconds, or let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes
~ unmold and store the pops in individual resealable plastic bags; they are best eaten within 3 weeks

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