Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mediterranean Mac & Cheese w/ Shrimp, Lemon & Feta

Ingredients: 
  • 13.25 oz rotini
  • 1 lb frozen large shrimp, 31-40 size
  • 2/3 lb feta, crumbled, divided
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • Zest of 2 large lemons, divided
  • 4 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 4 cups milk (whole or 2%)
  • 1/2 lb gruyere or fontiago or Danish fontina, grated (or chopped in a food processor)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill weed
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp fresh black pepper
Directions:
    1. Bring a large stockpot of water to the boil, and add the pasta. Cook for 8 minutes; the pasta should be a bit underdone. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Add the pasta to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
    2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
    3. Remove shrimp from the freezer, and set in a bowl of cold water.
    4. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup of the feta, half of the lemon zest, all of the panko and 2 Tbsp parsley. Mix well and set aside.
    5. Peel and devein the shrimp as soon as they are defrosted enough to handle (but not fully defrosted) and add to the pasta.
    6. Make the sauce: In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the flour and stir until the flour is absorbed by the butter to form a paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the milk, and, with a wire whisk, stir vigorously to remove any lumps. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently with the whisk, for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
    7. Remove pot from heat, and whisk into the sauce the gruyere and the remaining feta. Whisk until the sauce is smooth; the gruyere will melt completely, and the feta will be well incorporated. Add the remaining lemon zest, the remaining parsley, dill weed, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce on top of the pasta, and stir to combine.
    8. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish (approximately 9x13 inches). Sprinkle the panko mixture on top. Place in the middle of the oven and bake at 400°F for 25 minutes, until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbling a bit along the edges. Remove from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes, and serve hot.
    Recipe from:  http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2010/01/lemons-recipe-shrimp-lemon-herb-and-feta-macaroni-and-cheese.html

      Hummingbird Cupcakes

      Ingredients
      • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
      • 1 tsp baking soda
      • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
      • 1/2 tspsalt
      • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
      • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
      • 2 cups sugar
      • 3 large eggs
      • 2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
      • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
      • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
      • 1 cup coconut flakes
      • Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe below
      • Dried Pineapple Flowers, recipe below
      Directions
      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Line cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside.
      2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
      3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, vanilla, and sugar until combined, about 2 minutes.
      4. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next. Beat at medium speed until mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
      5. In a medium bowl, stir together banana, pineapple, walnuts, and coconut. Add to egg mixture, mixing until combined. Stir in flour mixture.
      6. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes.
      7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with dried pineapple flowers, if desired. Serve at room temperature.
      Makes 24 cupcakes.


      Cream Cheese Frosting
      8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
      1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
      1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
      1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and vanilla until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
      2. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add butter, beating until incorporated.
      3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add sugar, beating until incorporated. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
      Makes 3 cups.


      Dried Pineapple Flowers
      2 large or 4 small pineapples, peeled
      1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line two baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper.
      2. Using a small melon baller, remove and discard all pineapple skin.
      3. Using a sharp knife, cut pineapple crosswise into very thin slices. Transfer slices to baking sheets.
      4. Bake until tops look dried, about 30 minutes. Flip slices; bake until completely dried, 25 to 30 minutes more. Pinch center of each pineapple slice to shape into a cone, and let cool in a clean egg carton to form flowers. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days.
      Makes about 2 dozen.

      Recipe from:  http://www.yumsugar.com/Hummingbird-Cupcake-Recipe-4415567

      Fudgy Earl Grey Chocolate Cake w/ Lavendar Gnache & Cream Cheese Frosting

      Fudgy Earl Grey Chocolate Cake
      • Tea leaves from 6 bags of Earl Grey tea, ground into a fine powder using a spice mill/coffee grinder
      • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
      • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
      • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
      • 1 1/2 cups (packed) brown sugar
      • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
      • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 3 eggs
      • 2 cups buttermilk
      • Lavender Ganache (recipe follows)
      • Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
      Directions:
      1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with butter then line the bottoms of each pan with a circle of parchment paper. Set aside.
      2. Place butter and tea powder into a small sauce pan over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes until the butter has melted and the tea flavors have infused into the butter, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
      3. While the butter is cooling, place the cake flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine evenly.
      4. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and buttermilk. Add buttermilk mixture and the cooled tea-infused butter to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk or beat until just combined. The batter will be slightly lump and that is okay. Do not over work the batter or the cake will be tough and dense rather than light and fluffy.
      5. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
      6. Bake cakes at 325 degrees for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean with only a few crumbs but no batter.
      7. Cool on a rack for at least one hour. To remove cakes from pans, run a knife around the edges of the pans to loosen then place a plate over each cake pan and invert onto the plate. Peel off parchment paper and discard.
      8. Place one cake onto serving dish. Tuck strips of parchment paper under bottom edges of the cake to protect the serving dish from getting messy while frosting.
      9. Evenly spread the ganache over top of the first cake. Place the second cake over the ganache bottom layer. Evenly spread cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of the cake. For best results, use an offset spatula. You may not use all of the frosting. Once frosted, carefully remove and discard the parchment paper lining the bottom of the cake.
      10. The cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 12 hours before serving or refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.

      Lavender Ganache
      • 4 oz heavy cream
      • 6 oz good semi-sweet chocolate, chopped in chunks (or chips)
      • 1 tbsp sugar
      • 1/4 tsp lavender extract
      1.   Place chocolate and sugar in a heat proof bowl and set aside.
      2.   Heat cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour simmering cream over chocolate-sugar mixture. Let sit for 60 seconds then whisk until all chocolate is melted and the ganache is shiny and smooth. Add lavender extract and stir until incorporated.
      3.  Let chill for 20 minutes, until thickened slightly, before using as a filling for cake.

      Basic Cream Cheese Frosting
      • 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
      • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
      • 16 oz powdered sugar, sifted
      • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      To Make:  Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at medium speed until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  *dye purple for fun!!!


      Recipe(s) from:  http://www.whatwereeating.com/recipes/fudgy-earl-grey-chocolate-cake/

      Citrus-Glazed Salmon w/ Avocado-Orange Salsa


      "Impress someone with very little effort with this gorgeousness!  Fast and easy this dish has the lightest flavors, but they all work to make it spicy-sweet and the salmon buttery-smooth.  If you can, using fresh salmon with this is the best."
      ~~~~
      Four 6-ounce fresh salmon filets
      • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
      • 4 Tbsp orange juice
      • 1 tsp salt
      • 1 tsp onion powder
      • 1 tsp paprika
      • 1/2 tsp black pepper
      • 1/8 tsp allspice
      • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
      Salsa:
      • 1 large avocado, diced
      • 1/2 cup diced red onion
      • 1 orange, diced
      • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, ribs removed, and diced OR 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
      • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
      • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
      • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
      • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
      .
      In a baking dish combine the olive oil and the orange juice.  Lay salmon in it and turn to coat.  In a small bowl combine the salt, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, allspice, and cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle over each side of salmon filets.  Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
      In a small bowl combine the avocado, red onion, orange, jalapeno, and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and chill.
      Heat a large skillet over medium-high and lightly coat with olive oil or vegetable cooking spray.  Add the salmon and cook for 4-5 minutes; turn and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes or until fish flakes easily.  Serve with chilled avocado salsa.  Makes 4 regular or 8 WLS servings.

      Recipe from:  http://eatingwelllivingthin.wordpress.com/

      Gnocchi Mac n Cheese

      1 pound purchased or homemade gnocchi
      2 Tablespoons butter
      2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
      1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
      3/4 cup milk
      1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
      1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
      1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
      Salt and white pepper to taste
      1/3 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
      Basil leaves for garnish, optional

      Preheat oven to 375o F. Prepare gnocchi according to package directions.  Drain and place gnocchi in a single-layer in a 1-1/2 quart shallow baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

      Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Whisk in flour until it thickens and bubbles, then whisk in milk and Dijon.  Continue to whisk mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

      Combine Gruyere and fontina, then add by the handful to milk mixture, stirring until melted before adding the next handful.  Once all cheese is melted, season sauce with salt and pepper.

      Pour sauce over gnocchi and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano over top.  Bake gnocchi until they puff and cheese is golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let gnocchi rest for 5 minutes before serving.

      Recipe from:  http://noblepig.com/2010/08/28/gnocchi-mac-n-cheese.aspx

      Potatoes a la Boulangère (sliced baked potatoes and onions)

      "This is a classic and simple French potato dish that stole my heart the moment I took my very first bite. It was probably the pure flavors that did me in—I’ve always been a sucker for that—because it sure is no fancy cooking. Basically they’re stock-infused, alternating potato and onion layers. So simple, but oh so good when served with a nice juicy steak and some greens on the side. You just can’t go wrong with this recipe!  "

       Ingredients:
      1 1/2 pounds potatoes
      2 small onions
      1/3 cup vegetable broth
      1/3 cup milk
      1 or 2 oz butter
      pepper
      salt
      Optional: garlic powder & dried parsley

      Directions:
      Peel and thinly slice 1 1/2 pounds potatoes. Feel free to use a mandolin. Rinse the potato slices to remove the surface starch and dab them dry with a tea towel.

      Thinly slice 2 smaller or 1 fairly large onion.

      Start layering. Make as many layers as you like and season each layer with a generous amount of salt and black pepper. I opted for 2 layers of each. Traditionally you’re supposed to end with potatoes so they’ll get all crunchy, but I prefer ending with onions.

      Combine 1/3 cup steaming hot vegetable (or chicken) broth with 1/3 cup of milk. I‘ve added some garlic powder and a touch of dried parsley for extra flavor and color. In stead of adding garlic powder, you can also rub the oven tray with a large garlic clove you cut in half.

      Pour the hot broth mix over the potatoes and top the casserole with tiny pieces of butter. Not too much, about 1 oz or maybe 2 if you like your potatoes buttery. Cover the baking tray with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven at 350F (180C) for 40 minutes.

      Remove the foil after 40 minutes and put them back in the oven (uncovered) for another 35 to 40 minutes, give or take a few minutes. Until the top layer is slightly golden brown and crispy. Check the potatoes for readiness.

      Variation: for a little extra flavor, add a few hands full of cheese during the last 15 minutes baking time.

      This is no fancy or gourmet cooking. But that really doesn’t matter as long as it makes my guys happy. And that it does.

      Recipe from:  http://www.kayotic.nl/blog/potatoes-a-la-boulangre

      Caramelized Apple Danish Braid

      Caramelized Apple Danish Braid
      The Secrets of Baking

      Danish Dough

      Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

      For the dough (Detrempe)
      • 1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
      • 1/2 cup whole milk
      • 1/3 cup sugar
      • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
      • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
      • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
      • 2 large eggs, chilled
      • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
      • 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      For the butter block (Beurrage)
      • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
      • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

      DOUGH

      With a Mixer: 
      1. Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. 
      2. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. 
      3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

      Without a standing mixer: 
      1.   Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well.
      2. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. 
      3. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

      BUTTER BLOCK
      1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
      2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
      3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
      4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

      Apple FillingMakes enough for two braids

      • 4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
      • 1/2 cup sugar
      • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
      • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
      • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
      • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

      1. Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. 
      2. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. 
      3. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. 
      4. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

      Danish Braid (putting it all together)
      Makes enough for 2 large braids


      • 1 recipe Danish Dough (see above)
      • 2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see above) 
      • 1 large egg1 la, plus one large egg yolk

      1.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
      2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
      3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.
      4. For egg wash, whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.
      5. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
      6. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
      7. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. 
      8. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

      White Chocolate Lemon Truffles


      • 1 cup white chocolate
      • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
      • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
      • pinch salt
      • 1 tsp. lemon extract
      • icing sugar, for dusting
      1. Melt chocolate, butter and cream over a double boiler or in a microwave. Stir until smooth.
      2. Stir in salt and extract. Allow to cool slightly before covering with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.
      3. With a melon baller or small spoon scoop out mixture and form into 1 inch balls. Toss with icing sugar to coat.
      4. Store covered in the fridge for up to one week. Freeze for longer storage.
      Recipe from:  http://kitchensimplicity.com/three-no-bake-easter-treats/

      Wednesday, September 29, 2010

      Spiced Apple Carrot Cake w/ Chevre Frosting

      Triple-Layered Spiced Apple Carrot Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting
      Recipe from:  http://noblepig.com/2008/12/27/the-wild-boars-favorite-cake.aspxAdapted from Sunset


      2 cups all-purpose flour
      1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
      2-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
      1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
      1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
      1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
      1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
      1/8 teaspoon black pepper
      1/4 teaspoon table salt
      1 cup vegetable oil
      4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
      1-1/2 cups packed coarsely grated carrots (about 3)
      1-1/2 cups packed coarsely grated Granny Smith apples (about 4)
      1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, more for garnish
      11 oz. fresh, mild chevre (goat cheese), room temperature
      8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
      2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
      1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      2 cups powdered sugar

      In a large bowl, sift together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, unsweetened cocoa powder, black pepper and salt.  Whisk to combine.

      Stir in vegetable oil, lighly beaten eggs and 1 egg yolk until combined.  Stir in carrots, apples and walnuts.

      Divide the batter among three, greased,  9-inch, round baking pans.  (To make sure my layers are even, I weigh my pans with the batter to make sure I have equal amounts in each one.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until cakes pull away from pan sides and a cake tester inserted in each center comes out clean.  Transfer cakes to cooling racks and let cool 10 minutes.  Turn out onto racks and let cool completely.

      For the frosting...

      Beat chevre (goat cheese), cream cheese, vanilla extract and butter until smooth and fluffy; about 3 minutes.  Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until combined.

      Once cakes are cool, arrange first layer on a large platter.  Spread some frosting over it, then top with the second layer and top with the third.  Generously frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.  Press walnuts lightly into the sides of the cake.  Chill before serving; about 3 hours.

      Tahini Lime Cookies


      Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, by Isa Chanda Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero
      Makes about 2 dozen cookies

      • 1/2c non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
      • 1/2c sugar
      • 1/4c honey
      • 1/2c tahini, at room temperature
      • 2-4 tablespoons of non-dairy milk
      • Grated zest from 2 limes (~ 1 tablespoon)
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 2/3c all-purpose flour
      • 2/3c whole wheat flour
      • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4c of black sesame seeds (white work as well, but aren't as pretty)

      Preheat oven to 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

      In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat together shortening, sugar, and honey at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the tahini, 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk, lime zest, and vanilla.  Then mix in 1/2 the flour, all the baking powder, baking soda, and salt until just incorporated. Mix in remaining flour. Dough should hold together at this point, but if not, add up to 2 additional tablespoons of the remaining non-dairy milk.

      Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and flatten slightly. Place on cookie sheets and flatten a bit more. Sprinkle and lightly press sesame seeds into top.

      Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. It took my oven less than 10 minutes to finish these little guys, but it had fluctuated between 325F and 400F in the 8 or so minutes the cookies were in there. Gotta love apartment living! As you can see, these cookies turn out beautifully, even with an oven that wants to burn them.

      Recipe from:  http://anxiouspastry.blogspot.com/2010/02/tahini-lime-cookies.html

      Bacon/Pear Grilled Cheese

      Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Bacon and Pear


      Ingredients

      French or Italian loaf bread, sliced
      Bacon, cooked
      Bartlett pear
      Sharp white cheddar cheese (high quality)
      Butter, softened and spreadable

      Recipe from:  http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/grilled_cheese_sandwich_with_bacon_and_pear-print-photo/

      Teriyaki Wings

      • 4 pounds chicken wings, tips removed and split
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 2 fluid ounces Mirin
      • 2 fluid ounces Sweet Soy Sauce
      • 2 fluid ounces Sake
      • 1 tablespoon sugar
      • 2 green onions, sliced
      • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

      1. To make the glaze:  Mix the soy, sake, mirin and the sugar in a bowl and set aside.
      2. Preheat the broiler. 
      3. Cut off the wing tip and separate the wings at the joint. Place the wing pieces on a baking sheet  lined with aluminum foil and season the wings with salt. Place the wings in the oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes on each side.
      4. Once the wings are baked, place the wings in a skillet over medium heat and add the teriyaki sauce into the skillet and toss to coat. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until the glaze beings to bubble, remove from heat and let sit for 2 minutes.
      5. Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

      Salted Chocolate-Dipped Caramels

      Ingredients:

      • Vegetable oil
      • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
      • 2 cups sugar
      • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
      • 1/3 cup honey
      • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
      • 3 teaspoons fleur de sel or sea salt
      • 1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped.
      Directions :
        1.  Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil that extends over the sides. Grease the foil with vegetable oil. In a heavy 4-quart saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Add the sugar, corn syrup and honey and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 257 degrees on a candy thermometer, 15 to 30 minutes.
        2. Remove the pan from the heat and, with oven mitts on, stir in the butter, vanilla and 2 teaspoons salt. Pour into the prepared pan and let cool. (If you are not coating them in chocolate, let cool slightly and sprinkle with the remaining salt.) When completely cool, coat a cutting board and the blade of a large chef’s knife with vegetable oil. Invert the caramel onto the cutting board; peel off the foil and invert again. Cut the caramel into 8 1-inch-wide strips; then cut each strip into 1/2-inch pieces.
        3. To coat with chocolate, melt the chocolate in a double boiler set over simmering water (temper it if you want the coating to have polish). Using a fork to hold the caramel pieces, dip them one at a time into the chocolate and set them on a rack to cool. After dipping 4 caramels, sprinkle each with a little of the remaining sea salt. Transfer to parchment paper to set up and cool.  

        Makes 128 caramels. 

        Recipe from:  http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/t-recipe-salted-chocolate-dipped-caramels/

        First Time Pita Bread

        I'm in Oahu and the grocery store doesn't have pita, and it's rare enough to find hummus sometimes.  So, time to cook.  After much researching online recipes, I combined a few ingredients and techniques from various blogs (most prominent listed after recipe), and came up with a combo of what makes sense to me - so here is my First Time Pita Bread:

        Ingredients:

        •  1/4 c. + 3/4 cups warm water (divided)
        • 1 package active dry yeast
        • 1/4 tsp sugar
        • 3 cups flour + more for kneading
        • 1/4 cup  olive oil for oiling bowl + more for oiling bowl (apx 1 tbsp)
        • 1 tsp salt

          Preparation:

          1. In a small bowl mix together the 1/4 cup of warm water, yeast and sugar. Set aside until yeast is proofed and foamy, about 10 minutes.
          2. Sift 2-1/2 cups flour and salt into a warm bowl.  form a well in the center, and pour in yeast mixture and remaining water.  Begin to mix with hand or wooden spoon, adding remaining flour as kneeded.smooth and no longer sticky.
          3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10-15 minutes.
          4. Oil a large bowl and place dough in the bowl, turning to coat with oil.  Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to let rise for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours until the dough had doubled in size
          5. Punch down the dough with your fist and knead it briefly into a large ball/circle.  Divide round of dough into 8-10 equal wedges and roll each wedge into a separate ball about 2-1/2" in diameter.  Keep the rest of the dough damp with a cloth while working on each round.
          6. Flatten each dough ball with a rolling pin or palm of your hand to be about 1/4" in thickness and about 6-7" in diameter.
          7. Cover rounds with a damp tea towel & let rise 20-30 minutes. 
          8. Preheat oven to 475.
          9. To bake:  Place each round on a baking stone/cookie sheet/aluminum foil. Brush each generously w/ the 1/4 c. olive oil, and bake for about 5-8 minutes or until tops begin to brown and pita puffs up, turning over after 4 minutes to coat both sides.  To fry:  Oil a griddle or cast iron pan, cooking each pita individually.  Cook for 20 seconds on the first side, flip and cook 1 minute until large bubbles begin. Turn again until dough balloons - each pita should take aprox 3 minutes.  Reduce heat if pitas begin to brown too quickly.
          10. To store, wrap in aluminum foil.  You can fridge or freeze these.  To reheat, heat for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees.

           Here's hoping it works!

            Referenced Recipes:
            1. Smitten Kitchen - http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/03/pita-bread/
            2. Whats 4 Eats - http://www.whats4eats.com/breads/pita-recipe
            3. Farmgirl Fare - http://www.farmgirlfare.com/2005/09/pita-pita-i-too-much-eata.html

            Chocolate (Jam, or fruit) Croissant to Share

             Make a simple mix of 3 oz chocolate and 1/2 oz butter.  Melt and stir together for filling.  Score pastry dough of apx 14x12" into thirds lightly, then use pizza wheel to cut in diagonally on the end thirds  Remove the topmoast pieces of dough so you have a tab in the center section., do the same with the bottom pieces.    Spread melted chocolate to cover center section.    Fold up center tab and fold tabs inward alternating left to right.
             When finished overlapping, transfer pastry to parchment-lined baking sheet.  Apply a light egg wash, and let the pastry proof - about 45 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 400.  When slightly puffy, apply another wash of egg, and put into the oven.
            Immediately reduce the heat to 375 and bake for 1/2 hr until deep golden brown.

            Berry Crossover Danish

            Berry Crossover Recipe
            Inspired by Bo Friberg’s Cherry Crossover in The Professional Pastry Chef. Makes about 6-8 pastries.
            1 lb (455 g) Puff Pastry, if dough is frozen allow to thaw to a workable
            1 lb (455 g) Fresh Berries, cut into 1/2″ pieces
            1 c Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
            Egg Wash (1 egg white mixed w/ 1 tbsp. water)
            Powdered Sugar (optional)
            3/4″ dowel needed for cutting strips for crossovers 



            preheat oven to 375°F
            1. Keeping the puff pastry dough lightly dusted with flour, roll out to 1/8″ thick,  a bit over 7″ wide and how ever long you have room to roll (roll separate chunks of dough if needed, keeping the second dough in the fridge until ready to roll). Trim the edges of the dough to form straight edges.
            2. Cut the dough into  approx. 4″ lengths.  Fold a piece of dough around the dowel so that the 4″ length runs down the dowel and the 7″ width wraps around it. Make sure top flap of dough tucks in close to the dowel and is laying flat on top of the bottom section of dough.
            3. Cut strips 1/4 – 1/2″ wide along the length of the dough. Wider strips are easier to handle, but the strip width is mostly a visual choice. Be sure to slice all the way through the bottom layer.
            4. Using the dowel, transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Lay out flat and continue slicing strips for the rest of the pastry sections.
            5. Put pastry cream in a pastry bag with a 1/2″ plain tip, or put pastry cream in a plastic sandwich bag and cut one corner to pipe out of. Pipe a line of pastry cream down the center, the length of each section of dough. Spread it a little to flatten the pastry cream. Place a hearty layer of berries on top of pastry cream.
            6. With the right hand, bring the right strip closest to you across the berries.  With the left hand cross the left-hand strip across the first strip.  Continue this alternating left and right, making sure each strip is overlapping the previous opposite side to help lock it in. Do this down the length of each pastry and for all of the pastries.
            7. With the dowel, press down a little going the length of each pastry to help seal and lock the strips together. Brush with egg wash.
            8. Double pan your baking pan then bake for 35 min. or until golden.  If necessary a sheet of parchment paper can be draped over the top of the crossovers if the tops are cooking faster than the rest of pastry.
            9. Allow to cool, dust with powdered sugar if desired and enjoy.


            Pastry Cream Recipe


            1c (240 ml) Milk
            2 T (15 g) Cornstarch
            4 T (60 g) Granulated Sugar
            pinch of Sea Salt
            1 lrg Egg
            1/4 t (1 ml) Vanilla Extract


            1. Put milk in a thick bottomed saucepan. Bring up to a boil, stirring frequently to keep the milk from burning to the bottom of the pan.
            2. While the milk heats, combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a bowl.  Whisk together then add egg and mix until smooth.
            3. Add about 1/3 of the hot milk to the egg mix, whisking rapidly, then pour the tempered mix back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
            4. Return to the stovetop and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil and thickens.  Stir in vanilla extract.

            5. Pour and work the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve and into a bowl to catch any lumps.  Cover with a piece of wax or baking paper to keep a skin from forming. Store in the refrigerator until needed. Can be kept in fridge for 3-4 days when used for baking.

            Recipe from http://whiteonricecouple.com/recipes/fruit-recipes-2/berry-puff-pastry/

            Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce

            Serves 2

            Adapted from Cooking Light

            3/4 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
            1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
            2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
            1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
            1 Tbsp. honey
            1/2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
            1 Tbsp. chili paste, such as sambal oelek
            1 Tbsp. canola oil
            1/2 Tbsp. minced ginger
            2 garlic cloves, minced
            1/4 cup cashews
            3 Tbsp. chopped green onions


            Toss shrimp and cornstarch together in a medium bowl.
            Whisk together the juice, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, and chili paste.
            Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat and add the oil.  Stir-fry the ginger and garlic in the pan about15-30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the shrimp and stir-fry for 3 minutes.  Add the sauce, onions, and cashews, and stir-fry until shrimp is cooked through and sauce has thickened, about 2 more minutes.

            Recipe from:  http://ellysaysopa.com/2010/02/15/stir-fried-shrimp-with-spicy-orange-sauce

            Coconut Shortbread Cookies

            Ingredients:


            • 1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions) 
            • 3/4 cup sugar
            • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
            • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
            • 1 cup flaked coconut plus some for rolling
            First: Mix butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla. Gradually add in flour, then coconut and mix well.
            Second: Form dough into 12 x 3 x 1-inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper. I like to form log into shape that will result in rectangle cookies when sliced. Either freeze at least 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.
            Optional: Cover log with flaked coconut, pressing into dough. I do this after refrigeration.
            Third: Slice dough into 1/4-inch slices and arrange 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. I use parchment paper or silicone baking mat on sheets. Bake in 300 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Edges should begin to turn golden. Can be frozen up to 2 weeks if wrapped well. Makes about 40 cookies.

            Baked Sweet Potato Fries w/ Honey Lime Dip

            Ingredients:

            1 lb peeled sweet potatoes cut into 1/4" match-sticks
            2 T extra virgin olive oil
            1/2 t cumin
            1/2 t oregano
            1/2 t coriander
            1 t kosher salt
            1 t parsley
            1/8 tsp black pepper

            *you want 1lb sweet potatoes after they are peeled, sliced, etc. If you weigh them at the store make sure you have a little more than a pound to allow for the peeling, and tossing of small pieces.

            Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small bowl combine cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, parsley, and pepper. 

            Place sweet potatoes in a pile directly on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Use hands to toss until all pieces are well coated.  Sprinkle seasoning mixture on top and toss again with hands to coat. 

            Arrange sweet potatoes in a single layer so that pieces are not touching each other.  Place pan in oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Use a metal spatula to gently flip fries and then return pan to oven. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until fries are starting to lightly brown and crisp.  Remove pan from oven and cool 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.
             
            Honey-Lime Dip

            6oz container plain, low-fat yogurt
            1 T mayo (low cal is fine)
            1/2 T honey
            1 Tbs fresh lime juice
            1/4 t cumin
            1/8 t oregano
            1 t parsley
            1/2 t onion powder
            1/2 t kosher salt

            Mix all ingredients until combined.  Chill until ready to use. 
             

            Bourbon Pumpkin Cheese Cake w/ Sugared Cranberries

            Batter:
            1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
            1/2 cup brown sugar
            1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin or canned

            6 large eggs
            2 tablespoons sour cream
            1 teaspoon pure vanilla
            1 tablespoon bourbon
            1/2 cup sugar
            1 tablespoon (corn or potato starch)
            1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
            1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
            1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
            1/2 teaspoon salt

            Cheesecake topping:
            1 cup sour cream
            2 tablespoons sugar
            1 teaspoon pure vanilla
            1 recipe génoise (cut to 1/4″ thick) or graham cracker crust

            1. preheat oven to 325° and prepare an 8 by 3-Inch Round cake pan with parchment and either the layer of génoise (as I used here) or graham cracker crust. Set aside.
            2. To prepare cheese cake batter: In a previous post on Key Lime cheesecake I show step by step how to mix and bake the cheesecake.  Mix together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment the soft cream cheese and brown sugar, until smooth.
            3. In a separate bowl combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and bourbon. Slowly add to the cream cheese mixture, scraping down the sides often.
            4. In another bowl whisk together the sugar, starch, spices and salt. Add this to the cream cheese and pumpkin mixture. Beat on medium/low speed until well combined, scraping down the sides often.
            5. Pour into prepared pan. Gently tap the cake pan several times on the counter to bring any air bubbles to the surface.
            6. Bake in a water bath and with a foil tent as shown in previous post on Key Lime Cheesecake, for about 45-60 minutes or until set, slightly puffy and no longer wet looking.
            7. While the cake is baking mix together all the ingredients for the topping, set aside.
            8. Once the cake is fully cooked remove the foil and very gently spread the on the sour cream topping with an Offset Spatula . Bake uncovered with the topping for an additional 5 minutes.
            9. Remove the cake and allow to cool slowly still in the water bath. Carefully run a thin blade knife around the edge of the warm cake so that it won’t crack. Put in the refrigerate to cool for at least a couple of hours!
            Meanwhile make the sugared cranberries:
            • 1 cup fresh and firm cranberries
            • 1 egg white (use pasteurized if you are uncomfortable eating raw egg)
            • 1 cup sugar

             Mix the cranberries with the egg white. Drain off the excess egg white between your fingers and then dip the cranberries in the sugar. Roll them around until they are evenly coated. Remove to dry on a cookie sheet.

            I garnished the cake with the sugared cranberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and dried sweetened hibiscus flowers that I found at Trader Joe’s. The hibiscus tastes like floral cranberry fruit leather.

            Recipe from:  http://zoebakes.com/?p=1217

            Sweet Potato Fries and a Spicy Tomato-Garlic Aioli

            WHAT YOU NEED:

            for the fries:

            2 to 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, cut into fries
            ~ 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
            Garlic salt (or minced garlic and salt)
            Black pepper
            Paprika
            Cumin

            for the aioli:

            1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
            3 to 4 tablespoons of your favorite tomato sauce (I used a roasted garlic tomato sauce from Whole Foods)
            1 to 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
            Ground mustard
            Cumin
            2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced

            WHAT TO DO:

            I like to give the tomato sauce a day or so to steep with the chili flakes, so perhaps make this ahead of time.  Otherwise, no big deal.  So first, combine the tomato sauce and the chili flakes.  After letting it steep, go ahead and stir in the remaining ingredients to taste.  That is so important -- you should always taste as you go. And add spices in gradually; once they're in, they don't come out.

            Peel your sweet potatoes and then chop them into french fry shapes -- I prefer thinner, shoe-stringy type french fries, especially since these will be baked and not actually fried.  Heat your oven to 375 degrees as you cut the potatoes.  Then, toss the fries in olive oil, garlic salt, and black pepper.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and then lay out the fries.  I like making them even and aligned, which isn't surprising if you know me.  Sprinkle with paprika and cumin and then bake for about 25 minutes, until the edges of the fries are browning.  Then flip them over, and bake for another 20 minutes.

            Recipe from:   http://www.sweetsonian.com/2010/05/sweet-potato-fries-and-spicy-tomato.htmlhttp://www.sweetsonian.com/2010/05/sweet-potato-fries-and-spicy-tomato.html

            Easy Red Wine Chocolate Ganache

            Red Wine Chocolate Ganache Recipe

            To make this red wine chocolate ganache, I used the basic proportions that I found on an eGullet forum.  This recipe should make enough to easily frost 12 cupcakes.

            • 2 oz dark chocolate, chopped into a few pieces
            • 1/2 C unsalted butter
            • 2 oz red wine (I used a Shiraz)
            1. Place the chocolate and the butter in a microwave-safe bowl.
            2. Microwave for 10 seconds and then remove and stir.  
            3. Repeat step 2 until the chocolate is all melted.
            4. Slowly pour in the wine and mix thoroughly.
            5. Place in the refrigerator until it hardens enough to easily spread (about 10 minutes).
            6. Spread on cupcakes, use as a dip, or eat by the spoonful.
            "I thought a red wine chocolate ganache could be good, but I had no idea just how good it would be.  After tasting my red wine chocolate ganache, I wanted to give myself a standing ovation.  This may be the best ganache that I have ever made.  It's intensely chocolaty and buttery smooth with a robust sweetness from the wine.

            Try the red wine chocolate ganache on your cupcakes (any will do, but I'll tell you about my wine and cheese cupcakes in my next post) or make a big pot of red wine chocolate ganache to dip fruit or bread into at your next wine party.  Don't be surprised when people start bowing down to you and begging you to make it again. "

            Recipe, Comments & Photo from:  http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2010/09/red-wine-chocolate-ganache-this-may-be.html#more

            Roasted Potatoes w/ Cumin


            1 lb baby potatoes
            1/4 c olive oil
            1 1/2 T cumin seeds
            1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly
            juice of 1 large lemon
            small handful of parsley, chopped
            kosher salt & pepper

            Scrub and rinse potatoes, cutting any large ones in half or quarters. Boil in salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
            Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat olive oil until hot. Add in cumin seeds and red onion over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Pour oil mixture over drained potatoes, add lemon juice, sprinkle with a good amount of freshly ground pepper and kosher salt, throw in the parsley, and toss gently to coat. Serve warm or cold.

            Recipe from:  http://everybodylikessandwiches.com/2010/08/simple-potato-salad-with-lemon-cumin/

            Vodka Cream Pasta w/ Italian Sausage

            Ingredients
            • 5 links sweet Italian sausage, cut in bite size pieces
            • 1 32 oz can Italian tomatoes with basil (I like Cento)
            • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
            • 1/2 small onion, chopped
            • 1 cup vodka
            • 1 cup cream
            • a large bunch of basil, roughly chopped or torn
            • olive oil
            • kosher salt
            • penne pasta
            Method
            1. Preheat large skillet. Drizzle with olive oil and add sausage to pre-heated pan. Brown sausage. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Add tomatoes. Add vodka. Turn heat to a simmer. Break up tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher.
            2. In a separate saucepan, while sauce is simmering, bring water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions.
            3. When pasta is done, Add cream to sauce and bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Add basil and stir until just wilted. Serve over pasta, and don’t forget the garlic toast! 
            Recipe from:  http://eclecticrecipes.com/vodka-cream-pasta/

              Kitchen Cupboard Steak Marinade

              Ingredients

              • 1/3 cup soy sauce
              • 1/2 cup olive oil
              • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
              • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
              • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
              • 3 tablespoons dried basil
              • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
              • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
              • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
              • 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic (optional)

              Directions

              1. Place the soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, and pepper in a blender. Add hot pepper sauce and garlic, if desired. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds until thoroughly mixed.
              2. Pour marinade over desired type of meat. Cover, and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Cook meat as desired.
              3.  
              4. Recipe from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Best-Steak-Marinade-in-Existence/Detail.aspx?prop31=1

              Chocolate Hazelnut Spiced Cookies


              For cookies:
              • 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts (9 ounces), toasted , loose skins rubbed off in a kitchen towel while still warm, and nuts cooled completely
              • 3/4 cup sugar
              • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
              • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
              • 1 teaspoon baking soda
              • 3/4 teaspoon salt
              • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
              • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
              • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
              • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
              • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
              • 1 tablespoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur (preferably Frangelico)

              For icing:
              • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
              • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
              • 3 tablespoons water
              • 1 tablespoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur
              Make cookies:
              1. Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle. Butter a large baking sheet
              2. Pulse hazelnuts, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a food processor until nuts are finely chopped, then add butter and zest and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Add juice and liqueur and pulse until dough comes together into a ball but is still crumbly. Form level tablespoons of dough into balls and flatten to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, arranging 1 inch apart on baking sheet.
              3. Bake cookies until puffed and slightly cracked, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
              Make icing while cookies cool:
              1. Whisk together all icing ingredients until smooth.
              2. Dip tops of cooled cookies into icing and transfer to a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Let stand until icing is set, about 1 hour.
              3. Cooks' note: Cookies keep, layered between sheets of parchment paper, in an airtight container at room temperature 4 days. 
              yield: Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies
              active time: 45 min
              total time: 2 1/2 hr
              For the moistest, most intense mostaccioli imaginable, Miraglia Eriquez increased the cocoa, hazelnuts, and spices. And these little frosted cookies only get better with age, so feel free to bake them up to four days ahead of when you plan to serve them

              Tuesday, September 28, 2010

              Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli

              Spicy Lemon Pepper Pasta with Broccoli
              Serves one

              Dried Fettucini, enough for one
              2 tsp Olive Oil, to start
              1 1/2 Cups Fresh Broccoli Florets
              1/4 Cup Sliced Sundried Tomatoes (oil packed)
              1/2 tsp Hot Red Pepper Flakes
              1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice, or more to taste
              1-2 Pinches Kosher Salt, or to taste
              Black Pepper, to taste
              Lemon Zest, for garnish, optional

              1. While the pasta is cooking in well-salted water, chop the broccoli florets in to small pieces (about the size of a nickel). Slice the sundried tomatoes. When pasta is nearly finished cooking, heat a wok over medium-high heat until it’s quite hot. Add oil and broccoli and toss to coat, adding more oil a little at a time if needed. After 1-2 minutes, add tomatoes and pepper flakes.
              2. Let cook undisturbed for another two minutes, then toss. Repeat this process until broccoli and tomatoes have some color on them, and the broccoli is bright green and becoming tender. Drain pasta very well and add to the wok, adding just enough oil to coat the pasta (if needed). Add lemon juice and salt and taste, adjusting if necessary. Plate and grind fresh black pepper over the top, adding lemon zest if desired. Serve immediately.
              This also makes a nice room-temperature pasta salad, so it’d be great for picnics, work lunches, or potlucks.

              Coconut Blood Orange Mini-Bundt Cakes

              Mini Coconut Blood Orange Bundt Cakes
              Makes six mini (1 Cup) bundt cakes 


              1 1/2 Cups Flour
              3/4 Cups Sugar
              2 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
              1/4 tsp Salt
              1/3 Cup Coconut Cream*
              2 Tbs Blood Orange Juice (or regular orange)
              3/4 Cup Soy Milk
              2 Tbs Water
              1-2 tsp Vanilla Extract




              *In warm weather, refrigerate a can of coconut milk until the cream floats to the top and solidifies. In cold weather, I just take it out of my pantry and it’s ready to go. Here’s a photo.
              Preheat oven to 400º F. Grease a mini bundt cake pan.Whisk dry ingredients together. Whisk wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined. Fill each cup with 1/2 Cup of batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. See below for soaking the cakes in syrup. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Let cool under plastic wrap to keep the outsides nice and soft.
              So how about that blood orange syrup?

              Blood Orange Syrup
              Makes about 1 Cup
              1/2 Cup Sugar
              1/2 Cup Water
              1/4 Cup Blood Orange Juice, strained
              Combine sugar and water boil until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in juice. To make a thicker syrup, boil again until the sugar begins to expand greatly in volume (230º F, thread stage) then remove from heat.
              You can re-heat it if needed before decorating the plates or the cakes.
              You can soak the cakes in the thin version of the syrup for a moister cake. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, poke them with a fork and pour 1/2 of the syrup evenly over the tops. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before unmolding. You can then thicken the leftover syrup for decoration.


              Recipe from:  http://veganyumyum.com/2008/02/mini-coconut-blood-orange-bundt-cakes/

              Passion Fruit and White Chocolate Muffins

              Servings: 12 Muffins

              2 cups self raising flour, sifted
              1/2 cup caster sugar
              100 g white chocolate, chopped
              125 g butter, melted, cooled
              1/3 cup milk
              2 eggs, lightly whisked
              1/4 cup passion fruit pulp
              1 tsp vanilla extract
              Passion Fruit Icing
              1 1/4 cups pure icing sugar
              2 tsp hot water
              1 1/2 tbsp passion fruit pulp

              1. Preheat oven to 392 °F (200 °C). Lightly grease a 12 hole 1/3 cup capacity muffin pan (I used paper liners to line the muffin pan).
              2. Combine flour, sugar and chocolate in a bowl.  Make a well in the center.
              3. Whisk butter, milk, egg, passion fruit and vanilla in a jug.  Pour into well.
              4. Gently fold until just combined. Three-quarter fill muffin holes with mixture.
              5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack.

              Martha's 7-minute Frosting

              • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
              • 2/3 cup water
              • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
              • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
              • COCONUT VARIATION
              • Add 1/2 teaspoon pure coconut extract at the end of step 3, whisking to combine.
              • COFFEE VARIATION
              • Add 2 tablespoons pure coffee extract at the end of step 3, whisking to combine.

              Directions

              1. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.
              2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
              3. As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.


              Read more at Marthastewart.com: Seven-Minute Frosting Recipe - MarthaStewart.com

              Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

              Makes 28
              • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
              • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
              • 1 tablespoon baking powder
              • 1/2 teaspoon salt
              • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
              • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
              • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
              • 4 large eggs, room temperature
              • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
              • 1 1/4 cups milk
              • Seven-Minute Frosting


            1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

            2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

            3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

            4. To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco No. 809 or Wilton No. 1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake: Hold bag over cupcake with tip just above top, and squeeze to create a dome of frosting, then release pressure and pull up to form a peak. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.



            5. Read more at Marthastewart.com: Snickerdoodle Cupcakes Recipe - MarthaStewart.com

              Spiced Cranberry Riasin Bundt cake

              Ingredients:
              Cake:
              1. 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
              2. 1/2 cup almond flour or almond meal
              3. 2  teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
              4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
              5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
              6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
              7. 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
              8. 2 teaspoon ground ginger
              9. 3/4 cup Oil
              10. 1/4 cup Honey
              11. 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
              12. 1.5 teaspoons ground flax seed
              13. 2 large eggs
              14. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
              15. 1/2 cup plain reduced-fat Greek-style yogurt
              16. 1 cup chopped toasted Walnuts (or Almonds)
              17. 1.5 cup halved fresh or frozen cranberries
              18. 1 cup raisins
              19. 2 Tablespoons Orange Peels chopped into small pieces
              Notes: * I dry grinded whole almonds since I  did not have almond meal handy.
              * I also strained regular low fat yogurt, discarded the liquid & used the liquid free thick yogurt.
              * The honey may be replaced with 1/2 cup of Brown Sugar, & the Maple syrup may be replaced with 1 Cup of White Sugar.
              To soak the Cranberries, Raisins & Peels:
              1. 1/4 Cup Port Wine
              2. 1/4 Cup Orange Juice
              For the Glaze:
              1. 4 Tablespoons of maple syrup
              2. 1 tablespoon Lime juice




              Preparation:
              Cut the cranberries in to halves. Combine wine & orange juice. Soak the cranberries, raisins and peels in the wine & juice overnight.
              Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan.
              Strain the cranberries, raisins & peels and set aside. Save the liquid.
              Sift the first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.
              Using electric mixer, beat oil, eggs, honey, flax seed, maple syrup, the saved mix of orange juice & wine & Vanilla extract. Beat the Greek-style yogurt. Add dry ingredients. Beat just until blended. Fold in nuts and all the cranberries, raisins and peels. Transfer batter to prepared Bundt pan.
              Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 60 minutes.
              Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely.
              To glaze:
              Mix the maple syrup & lime juice. Brush on the cake. Sprinkle the almond meal on the top.

              Cranberry Upside-Down Cake


              Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my Home to Yours
              Recipe from:  http://www.playinghouseblog.com/2009/11/cranberry-upside-down-cake.html

              1 cup all-purpose flour
              1 teaspoon baking powder
              1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
              1/4 teaspoon salt
              1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
              1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar
              1/4 cup chopped walnuts
              2 cups of cranberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not thaw)
              2 large eggs
              1 teaspoon vanilla extract
              1/3 cup whole milk
              1/3 cup red currant jelly, for glazing the cake

              1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350F. Put an 8x2-inch round cake pan on a baking sheet (Amy's note: I used a 9x2 inch and reduced the baking time by 5 minutes).

              2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

              3. Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan. Sprinkle in 6 tablespoons of the sugar and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Pour the mixture evenly over the bottom of the cake pan, then scatter the nuts over the mixture and top with the cranberries, smoothing the layer and pressing it down with a rubber spatula.

              4. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the remaining stick (8 tablespoons) of butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue to beat until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Pour in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Mix in the milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Spoon the batter over the cranberries and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

              5. Bake for 40-45 minutes (35-40 for a 9-inch pan), or until the cake is golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and run a blunt knife between the sides of the pan and the cake. Carefully turn the cake out onto a serving platter. If any of the berries stick to the pan, just scrape them off and return them to the cake.

              6. Warm the jelly in a small saucepan over low heat, or in the microwave. Gently brush the glaze over the hot cake.

              Plum Ginger Upside-Down Cake

              Serves 10

              For the topping

              3 T unsalted butter @ room temperature
              1/2 C light brown sugar
              1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
              4-5 medium to large ripe plums

              For the cake

              4 oz unsalted butter @ room temperature
              1/4 C + 2 T light brown sugar
              1 T peeled, grated ginger
              1 egg + 1 yolk
              1/3 C molasses
              1 1/2 C flour
              3/4 t baking powder
              3/4 t baking soda
              1/4 t salt
              3/4 C buttermilk

              Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil a 9" springform pan and line the bottom with a 10" circle of parchment paper. You want a bit of the paper to come up the side of the pan.

              Cut the plums into 1/2" slices. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and cinnamon over medium heat for about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan, completely coating the parchment paper. Place the sliced plums on top of the butter-sugar mixture in overlapping circles so that none of the bottom of the pan shows through.

              Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

              Cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and pale. Add the grated ginger and beat 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed and making sure that each egg is fully incorporated. Slowly pour in the molasses and mix thoroughly. The mixture will look like it’s breaking but it will come together when the dry ingredients are added.

              Alternately add a third of the flour mixture and half the buttermilk to the batter, starting and ending with the flour. Finish the mixing by folding with a rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are just absorbed. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the plum-lined pan and level the surface.

              Bake for about 1 hour - 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake and release the sides of the springform pan. Cover the cake with a serving platter and carefully invert. Lift the bottom of the pan off the cake and gently peel away the parchment paper.

              Bench notes:
              - I cut the cake portion of the recipe in half because I wanted a greater ratio of fruit to cake. Double it if you want more cake and use 3 whole eggs. The original recipe calls for pears but recommends the substitution of ripe plums, nectarines or apples. I also threw in a few fresh raspberries.
              - Putting a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan will help keep all the fruit in tact when you turn out the cake.
              - The cake bakes slowly at a low temperature to create a wonderful brown sugar caramelization with the fruit. Since ovens vary so broadly, check the cake at 1 hour.

              Recipe  & photo from:  http://pastrystudio.blogspot.com/2009/08/plum-ginger-upside-down-cake.html

              Coconut Passionfruit Slice

              Bill Granger's Coconut and Passionfruit Slice Recipe
              (Recipe adapted from Bill Granger's Sydney Food)

              Ingredients

              Pastry:
              125 g (4 oz) butter
              1/2 cup caster sugar
              1 egg
              1 tsp vanilla essence
              1 1/2 cup plain (all purpose) flour
              1/2 tsp baking powder
              A pinch of salt

              Filling:
              4 eggs
              1 cup sugar
              1 cup shredded coconut
              1/3 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
              1 1 /2 cup (12 fl oz) cream
              160 ml (5 1/2 fl oz) coconut milk
              juice and zest of 1 lemon
              1/2 cup (4 fl oz) passionfruit pulp (I used canned passionfruit because the fresh one is not in season)
              Method:
              1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). To make the pastry, place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and creamy. Add egg and vanilla essence and beat well.
              2. Add sifted flour, baking powder and salt, and stir until combined and the mixture forms a sticky dough.
              3. Flour hands and press pastry evenly into the base of a greased and baking paper-lined 23 x 23 cm (9 x 9 in) tin. Bake pastry base in the oven for 15 minutes.
              4. To make filling, place eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale. Add coconut, flour, cream, coconut milk, lemon juice, zest and passionfruit pulp, and stir to combine.
              5. Pour filling over pastry base in the tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.
              6. When cool, slice into squares. Makes 20 squares.
               Recipe and photo from:  http://almostbourdain.blogspot.com/2009/05/bill-grangers-coconut-and-passionfruit.htmlhttp://almostbourdain.blogspot.com/2009/05/bill-grangers-coconut-and-passionfruit.html

              Triple Citrus Cake

              Serves 8 to 10

              8 ounces lime yogurt
              4 eggs
              3/4 cup sugar
              1 teaspoon vanilla
              1/2 cup grapeseed oil
              Zest of 2 lemons, minced
              1 1/2 cups flour
              2 teaspoons baking powder
              1/2 teaspoon salt
              1 cup powdered sugar
              2 tablespoons orange juice


              1. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
              2. With an electric mixer, beat yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, zest and oil until combined.
              3. Switch to a spatula and fold in flour mixture until incorporated.
              4. Coat a 9 x 5 loaf pan with floured baking spray (or use parchment paper coated with baking spray as well) and pour in batter.  Smooth evenly.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
              5. Allow cake to cool at least an hour.  When cake is cool, move to a serving plate or cake platter. Mix powdered sugar with orange juice until smooth and drizzle the glaze over cake.

               Recipe from:  http://www.duodishes.com/2009/04/03/citrus-is-our-new-black/

              Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

              Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Seven Minute Frosting - Serves 12 to 14
              Cake (two 9-inch cakes)

              2 1/4 cups cake flour
              1 1/2 cups brown sugar
              3/4 cup sugar
              1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
              2 teaspoons baking soda
              1 teaspoon kosher salt
              1 cup buttermilk
              3 eggs, room temperature
              4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
              2 teaspoons vanilla
              1 cup boiling water
              2 tablespoons coffee

              Filling
              2 1/2 cups heavy cream
              2/3 cup sugar
              4 egg yolks
              1/4 cup flour
              1/4 cup cornstarch
              1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
              1/4 cup Frangelico liqueur
              1 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

              Frosting
              3 egg whites, room temperature
              1 3/4 cups sugar
              1  1/2 tablespoons golden syrup
              7 1/2 tablespoons water
              2 teaspoons vanilla
              1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

              1. Starting with cake, cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla.
              2. Pour into chocolate and mix well.
              3. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients alternately with buttermilk.
              4. Stir coffee into boiling water until combined, then pour into cake batter and stir until smooth.
              5. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with floured baking spray. Dust with cocoa. Evenly spread cake batter between both pans.  Bang lightly on the counter to settle batter.
              6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean, in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Let cakes cool on a rack for at least an hour.
              7. As cakes cool, move on to hazelnut pastry cream. Pour whipping cream in a sauce pan and scald (heat just before boiling).
              8. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar. Add flour and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth.
              9. Use a ladle to scoop about a cup of the hot cream into the eggy sugar. Whisk immediately and quickly to combine.
              10. Pour remaining cream in with eggs and keep stirring. Return warm mixture to sauce pan.
              11. Continue to cook, whisking all the while, until thick.
              12. Pour into a heat safe bowl and whisk in vanilla and Frangelico until smooth and creamy. Cover with plastic wrap directly touching the cream so a film will not form. Let the cream sit until it's reached room temperature. Cool completely in fridge.*  Stir hazelnuts into cream once cold.
              14. Level off both cooled cakes and slice each one in half, so there are four layers.
              15. Lay down one cake layer and smooth about a third of the hazelnut cream on top, spreading to about 1/2 inch from edge. Repeat with next two layers and top with last layer.  Place cake in fridge to set while you make the frosting.
              16.  For the frosting, whisk all of the ingredients in a medium sized heat resistant bowl. Place bowl on top of a slightly larger pot with 1-2 inches of hot, simmering water.  (Do not let water level reach the bottom part of the bowl.)
              17.  With an electric mixer, beat egg white mixture for six minutes.  Remove from heat and continue beating for another minute while adding the vanilla.
              18.  Allow frosting to cool slightly (we put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes) before frosting cake.  Top with extra hazelnuts.
              *You can make the pastry cream 1-2 days ahead of time, which is exactly what we did.  Do not stir in the hazelnuts until right before you plan to use it.

              Recipe from:  http://www.duodishes.com/2009/04/23/let-them-eat-cake/