Category: food

New Year, New menu challenges.

The Jewish Holidays are approaching here. Each year I am faced with the challenge of the menu. Of course there are traditional foods that if they weren’t on the menu my friends and family would think I had lost my mind. But as a woman that reads cookbooks like they are novels, I always strive to keep it fresh.

You will always find brisket on my holiday table. It’s a standard and everyone seems to have their own great recipe.It took me quite a while to perfect my brisket and I finally love it.  I also have a chicken dish for those that prefer to not eat red meat. The past few years my chicken dish has been either a citrus honey roasted whole chicken or lemon chicken thighs with a really crispy skin. I love the idea of incorporating traditions into recipes so for Rosh Hashanah I try to work in apples and honey. These recipes always seem to spill over nicely into break fast too.

I came across a recipe for chicken encrusted in horseradish that was really interesting and thought I could make it my own and serve for the New Year. The combination of horseradish, honey and apples is great. Be sure to let the chicken get really dry and to room temperature so that you get that nice crispy skin too.

I also tried a new cake and am passing on my adjusted recipe. Carrot Cake is always a good thing and so is the sweet potato pie my family has been making for years. Since these two ingredients are also traditional fall fare let’s put them together in a new modern Carrot/Sweet Potato Cake. I promise both recipes will be great on your table.

I am actually making these recipes for Rosh Hashanah so no pics yet. I promise to post pics on Sunday. Better yet, send me pictures of your versions.

I wish you and your family a sweet, happy and healthy New Year!

Horseradish Honey Encrusted Chicken
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Servings
4-6 people
Servings
4-6 people
Horseradish Honey Encrusted Chicken
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Servings
4-6 people
Servings
4-6 people
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse chicken and make sure giblets are removed. Dry thoroughly and let it sit at room temperature. The drier it is the crispier the skin. Place on rack in a roasting pan.
  2. Stuff the chicken with lemon, garlic, shallots, dill, parsley, celery and apples. It will be full but shouldn't be tight. You can adjust the amounts evenly to make sure they all fit.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together, the horseradish, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread all over chicken top and bottom. Make sure you get under skin, too.
  4. Tie legs together, to keep everything in. Tuck wings under the body, for more even cooking. Cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Then turn oven up to 450° to crisp skin. Internal temperature should be between 160° and 165° and juices should run clear at the thigh. Remove from oven and tent with foil to rest. The chicken will continue to cook just a little .
  5. Let chicken rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve. Garnish platter with more dill, parsley and lemons.
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Carrot/Sweet Potato Cake
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Servings
16 slices
Servings
16 slices
Carrot/Sweet Potato Cake
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Servings
16 slices
Servings
16 slices
Ingredients
Cake
Glaze
Servings: slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter or oil a large bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand up mixer, cream together, both sugars,, sour cream, oil, orange juice, and vanilla, until fluffy. Mix in sweet potato, then eggs, one at a time. Try to get it as smooth as possible. Fold in carrots.
  4. Gradually add flour until just combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack and cool completely.
  6. While the cake is cooling mix the glaze. Gradually blend confectioners sugar into cream cheese. Add vanilla and then working slowly add milk, until desired consistency.
  7. Pour glaze all over cake and garnish with nuts (if used) or carrot curls.
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Try Something New -Marshmallows!

Ever since I wrote about S’mores, a few weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about marshmallows.

We seem to have them in the house all the time. My younger daughter likes to freeze them and change the texture. I’ve been known to walk by the pantry and pop one in my mouth. And of course, they are standard fare for hot cocoa. We accept any excuse to put them into a recipe. I mean what would Thanksgiving be without sweet potatoes topped with marshmallow.

I was curious where these delicious little puffs come from. They were actually plant-based and used as medicine, by Egyptian royalty, to help with coughs, sore throats and wounds. If children these days knew that, can you imagine the illnesses they could come up with. In the 1800’s they discovered they could use gelatin to get the same fluffy gesture and it would cost less and use less manpower.

There are so many ways we use marshmallows all the time; s’mores, rice crisp treats, fluffernutter sandwiches, toppings for ice cream and yogurt and lots of holiday treats. A couple of years ago I shared with you how to make your own graham crackers and that was a big success. So today I thought we’d make our own marshmallows! I love that you can make a good old-fashioned white (vanilla) marshmallow or with a little creativity you can flavor them with so many fun flavors. I love chocolate or coffee flavoring but you can go to town with whatever your treat calls for or wherever your mind go.

They are actually very easy to make, but because of the setting time, you have to plan ahead. You need at least 8 hours for them to set, and you really need a good candy thermometer. The recipe given is for vanilla marshmallows, and I used two tablespoons of vanilla. If you want a different flavor I would still start with vanilla and add. There is something about the back flavor of vanilla with the gelatin that you need. Instead of 2 tablespoons of vanilla, start with 2 teaspoons and then add your other flavor. I also used honey instead of the tradition al corn syrup.  I love the flavor and feel good about not using corn syrup. You could use maple syrup too, but adjust your flavoring accordingly.

If you want to make these vegetarian or vegan you can sub out the gelatin for agar agar. You can find agar agar powder in the Asian food section of most markets, specialty baking stores or online If you can only find the flakes not the powder that’s okay. Agar agar powder measures exactly the same as gelatin. Agar agar flakes – 1 Tablespoon flakes equals 1 teaspoon powder.

The best part is you can use a kitchen torch and make these toasty just on top or you can skewer them and make traditional scores. Just remember because they are coated in powdered sugar they will caramelize really fat and there is really no way of avoiding the almost burnt marshmallow look.

Homemade Marshmallows
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Servings
20 pieces
Servings
20 pieces
Homemade Marshmallows
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Servings
20 pieces
Servings
20 pieces
Ingredients
Servings: pieces
Instructions
  1. Spray a 9x13 pan, lightly, with nonstick spray. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of that then spray again.
  2. Have all your ingredients measured and ready to go. Pour the 1/4 cup of water in a shallow dish and sprinkle gelatin over stand set aside for 10 minutes. Do not touch it.
  3. Put the sugar, 1/2 cup water and honey in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved and starts to simmer. Using a candy thermometer, cook until 240° F. Keep an eye on it. Meanwhile put the, now dissolved, gelatin in a stand up mixer. Once your sugar mixture reaches temperature, pour it, carefully, over the gelatin in mixer. Beat on low until well combined and not lumpy. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy and tripled in volume (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add the vanilla (and whatever flavoring you are using).Spray a spatula with a little nonstick spray and pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth top with spatula and set aside to set, at least 8 hours. Make sure it is in a cool place, but not refrigerated.
  5. Whisk together confectioners sugar and cornstarch and sift onto a baking sheet of shallow dish. Using a sharp knife cut marshmallows into 1" or 2" cubes. You can also use cookie cutters for different shapes. I would spray a little nonstick spray on them before I start. Lightly dust marshmallows, on all sides, with the confectioners sugar mix.
Recipe Notes

Store marshmallows, divided by parchment paper, in an airtight container. They should keep for about 4 days.

Use a kitchen torch to "toast" marshmallows.

If you want a different flavor I would still start with vanilla and add. There is something about the back flavor of vanilla with the gelatin that you need. Instead of 2 tablespoons of vanilla, start with 2 teaspoons and then add your other flavor. I also used honey instead of the tradition al corn syrup.  I love the flavor and feel good about not using corn syrup. You could use maple syrup too, but adjust your flavoring accordingly.

If you want to make these vegetarian or vegan you can sub out the gelatin for agar agar. You can find agar agar powder in the Asian food section of most markets, specialty baking stores or online If you can only find the flakes not the powder that's okay. Agar agar powder measures exactly the same as gelatin. Agar agar flakes - 1 Tablespoon flakes equals 1 teaspoon powder.

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National Waffle Day!

Friday was National Waffle Day. For me waffles always seem to evoke an occasion. Most of us don’t make them at home because you need special equipment. At most restaurants waffles are “dressed up”. They are decorated in layers of whipped cream and strawberries. There are drizzles of caramel or chocolate sauce. My personal favorite is chocolate chips and whipped cream.

My family loves waffles so I did buy a waffle maker and away we went. The batter is slightly different from pancake batter because it has a little more fat in it. Think about those fluffy yet crispy waffles, that’s because of the fat. When we first got it I made waffles often. That waned not too long later because it does take some extra effort to clean. Remember, waffles mean celebration.

When I started writing Cake for Breakfast, I knew I had to honor waffles somehow. Introducing Waffle Cake with Maple Syrup Glaze.  This cake is all the things you love in a waffle and is a stacked cake which means you get more waffle and maple glaze for your fork. My secret flavor is Malted Milk Powder. Its one of those flavors that people can’t pinpoint but makes it tastes sooo good.

I made this cake in my standard waffle maker. It is really better made in a Belgian waffle or larger thicker waffle maker. My layers were a little too thin for a dramatic effect. The flavor and crispy fluffiness is all there, I just think it looks prettier with thick layers and sitting taller. The maple syrup glaze is out of this world! Have you ever had that whipped honey? Well that’s kind of what this is like. I like to make extra and keep the rest to schmear on toast or pound cake.

If you don’t have a large waffle maker, you can make this in cake pans. Use 9″ round pans and be sure line them with parchment and prepare with butter and flour. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek from my book.

Waffle Cake with Maple Syrup Glaze
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Waffle Cake with Maple Syrup Glaze
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Ingredients
Waffles (Cake)
Maple Syrup Glaze
Servings:
Instructions
Waffles
  1. Heat waffle iron. Whisk together flour, milk powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of stand-up mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. On a slow speed add eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla.
  3. Stir together milk and cream. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating with milks. Start and finish with flour.
  4. Scoop batter into waffle maker in batches. Stack cakes as they are done.*
Maple Syrup Glaze
  1. Bring syrup, butter and milk to a boil, over a medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar with a handheld mixer, until smooth (No lumps).
  2. When the glaze has all come together, hand stir in 1-2 Tbs. of additional maple syrup. Pour glaze between layers* of waffles and over top, generously. Drizzle a small amount of maple syrup over top of whole cake.
Recipe Notes

You can make this cake in 2- 9" cake round pans. You will need to line them with parchment paper and then butter and flour them as well.

Make syrup first so that you can drizzle it between layers as you make "waffles".

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The Sweet Smell of Success (roses)

I have always wanted to cook with roses. For me, it started with the book “Like Water for Chocolate”, by Lara Esquivel.  Definitely the book, not the movie. The part in the book when the main character is making the Quail in Rose Sauce, in my mind, I could taste every salty tear. I could smell the roses as she plucked the petals. The fragrance getting stronger with each touch of human hands. I imagined the slightly bitter taste that each diner experienced as they bit into their meal.

Ever since, I’ve tried to work with roses. I’ve tried rose-water, rose jelly and even real rose petals. I always seemed to be heavy-handed and believe m, you can have too many roses!

Whenever I have the chance I try rose flavored foods. The flavor, when done right, is so delicate. I love just the hint of floral sweetness. Too much and it can be bitter, or taste like someones perfume. Yuck! Too little and you don’t know it’s there.

I have friends that learned to cook, growing up in Iran. Their ability to balance flavors, seems to be in their DNA. When I studied writing and cooking, in France; I could sense that years of study and apprentice were responsible for their balance.

Recently, while purging my pantry, I came across rose-water and rose jelly. I remembered enthusiastically purchasing them and I was going to use them right then. Ha! The other day I was t my local farmer’s market and overheard a woman buying rose petals to decorate a cake. These all conspired to make me want to try to cook with roses, again. So today I present to you a rose scented Pavlova!

Pavlovas are relatively easy to prepare and I like the wow factor the serving. Because of the color of this recipe it is ideal for Christmas or Valentines Day. It is so good, though, you should serve it today!

Rose Water & Pomegranate Pavlova
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Rose Water & Pomegranate Pavlova
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace a 9" circle on the parchment paper, and turn over so pencil side is down.
  2. In a small bowl mix cornstarch and vinegar until smooth. This helps make the pavlova the perfect blend of crispy and creamy.
  3. Whisk eggs and salt in large CLEAN bowl (You can use a stand up mixer or handheld electric mixer), until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, alternating with vinegar mixture. "Meringue" should be thick, smooth and shiny. Fold in rose water and pomegranate seeds, if using
  4. Mound meringue mixture inside center of circle on parchment. You can do this in layers to get more height. I like to make a well in center and create swirls. This is pretty and will hold the whipped cream and decorations.
  5. Turn oven down to 200° and bake meringue for at least 2 hours. It should be crispy when tapped and have a firm bottom. The bottom should not feel damp or soggy. Turn oven off but leave meringue in, until cool.
  6. While meringue is cooling, make whipped cream. In a cool mixing bowl pour 1 pint heavy whipping cream. Use an electric mixer and start beating, when it starts to bubble and get a little thicker add 2 Tbs. confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  7. To assemble, mound whipped cream in well of meringue. Sprinkle with additional pomegranate seeds and drizzle with pomegranate molasses.
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National S’mores Day!

Chewy, creamy, crispy and sweet. Add the word chocolate and I’ve probably given away that I am talking about S’mores. These delectable treats evoke so many great memories. Whether you made s’mores at sleep away camp or even camping with your family, most of us have a story to tell about making s’mores. I’ve always been a traditional girl with Hershey’s, marshmallow and graham crackers. But I’ve heard tell of s’mores made with Reese’s and Rolos!

When my daughters were younger it was such a special treat to make s’mores at home. We even had a special s’mores making burner and dish. As they got older we would make them in the fire place and when it was too hot to have a fire, we’d make a “dip” in a cast iron skillet. I’d layer Hershey bars and marshmallows in my cast iron skillet and let it melt and brown in the oven. Then I’d serve it with graham crackers. Excellent!

So, when I heard that August 10th is S’mores Day, I was all in. The ideas were endless. How about a S’mores pizza with a chewy graham cracker crust, melted chocolate sauce and brûléed marshmallow topping? I thought about making popcorn and dusting it with graham cracker crumbs and tossing in mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. There were even a couple of cookie options, marshmallow stuffed chocolate chip cookies, anyone?

After looking at so many recipes, I decided on Molten S’mores Lava Cakes and Chocolate Kiss Cookies with Graham Flour and Marshmallows. When I was making the cookies, my thought had been to use my kitchen torch to “toast” the marshmallows and melt the Kiss. I ran out of butane, so, had to go to plan B. I turned on the broiler and put the cookies in for minute and a half, for the first batch. They are the nice golden-brown ones pictured. During the second batch, I got on the phone and, we’ll, I got distracted. I got the cookies out before they were totally burnt. But guess what, in, family we always let our marshmallows set on fire anyway. The second batch tasted just like that perfect burnt marshmallow flavor.

The lava cakes were fascinating to me.  When I started my research for recipes, I was surprised to find that it’s not a two-step process, it’s just ingredients. They are also pretty easy to make. There are always lessons to be learned. My ramekins were a little too big; so, the regular size marshmallow I used wasn’t fully covered. I would say to err on the side of too small and just make more. I also think I would use a handful of the mini marshmallows, rather than the regular size. I also cooked them for the full 12 minutes and then cooled for 1 minute. Everyone’s oven is different, but for mine I think I’d bake for 10 minutes then cool for 1 minutes.  You really want a good lava ooze.

Summer is, sadly, winding down. However, you decide to celebrate S’mores day, make a special  summer 2018 memory!

S'mores Cookies
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Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
S'mores Cookies
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Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° Cream together butter and both sugars. Add egg and vanilla until blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Mix dry mixture into butter mixture until a workable dough forms. Scoop 1 inch balls onto a lined cookie sheet and give them a soft pat down.
  3. Bake cookies for 7 minutes until top is golden brown, do not overcook here. Remove from oven and push a marshmallow, sticky side down, into each cookie. Return to oven and bake another minute or two. Remove from oven again and top each marshmallow with a Kiss.
  4. Here is where I would have liked to use my kitchen torch to brown the marshmallow and melt the chocolate. You can do this or put the cookies under the broiler for a moment or two. WATCH THEM, or they will burn.
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Molten S'mores Lava Cakes
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Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Molten S'mores Lava Cakes
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Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Ingredients
Servings: 6-oz. cakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Butter and lightly flour 4 6-ounce ramekins.
  2. Melt together butter and chocolate. You can do this in a microwave at 15 second intervals, until melted or over a double boiler. Let cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl beat together eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt, until thick and pale yellow.
  4. Temper the egg and chocolate mixtures by first stirring, quickly, a tablespoon or two or egg into chocolate mixture and then a tablespoon or two of chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Then quickly whisk remaining chocolate into egg mixture and add flour until combined.
  5. Place one tbs. of marshmallows in the bottom of each ramekin and then spoon batter, evenly into each dish. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The sides should be firm but the center should still shake a little.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for 1 minute. Carefully, they will be hot, cover each ramekin with a dessert plate and turn over to unfold the cake. Garnish each cake with a rim of graham cracker crumbs. Serve immediately!
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It’s Watermelon Time!

We are at the peak of watermelon season and I am loving it! My husband buys a large watermelon, almost, every week. Some slices end up in the freezer. They are way better than any sugar filled popsicle (with no yucky food coloring). It’s great because you can walk by and easily grab a few pieces. I also saw online that someone made melon balls and rolled them in red gelatin then froze them. I haven’t tried these but imagine they are similar to frozen grapes. Maybe instead of gelatin you can use a superfine or sanding sugar.

Occasionally, I do run into a too big watermelon and the waste kills me. So this year I have been working on ways to use up watermelon. Some of the great ways I’ve tried include:

Watermelon Bruschetta, I used the slices as my crostini and topped with burrata and whatever fresh herb I had available. The tarragon was a knockout with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and olive oil with a pinch of flaky sea salt.  I made a watermelon gazpacho, inspired by a Tyler Florence recipe, that you an find online. I went with sweeter undertones and used Vidalia onion and White Balsamic Vinegar. I also used tarragon again here instead of dill. I have a lot of tarragon in my garden this summer.

The two standouts for me I share below. One is a Watermelon Sangria and the other is Watermelon Guacamole. The Sangria is SO refreshing and the guacamole is surprising.  I love the texture that watermelon brings. It’s crispy like jicama and adds a sweetness too. The Cotija cheese sprinkles on top add the perfect saltiness, too.

Please let me know how you like, your successes and failures.  Enjoy!

Watermelon Sangria
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Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Watermelon Sangria
Print Recipe
Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Ingredients
Servings: 5 oz. glasses
Instructions
  1. Blend first watermelon until smooth and strain into a large pitcher.
  2. Pour in all alcohol and stir well. Add in all fruit and chill for at least 4 hours so all flavors meld. You can our a splash of sparkling water or wine over the of each glass when serving.
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Watermelon Guacamole
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Watermelon Guacamole
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Before I go to deep into this recipe, let me tell you I often use store bought Pico de Gallo in place of the cilantro & jalapeño and onion. It's up to you because of the tomato, but it works just fine. Then you can just adjust your salt & pepper.
  2. Cut avocado in half and remove seed. Scoop the flesh into medium bowl, Smash with a fork until desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky.
  3. Add the onion, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice and stir well. Fold in watermelon and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper. Garnish with feta. Serve with tortilla chips.
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Mexican Street Corn

My family goes crazy for Mexican Street Corn. It is served all over the Southwest, usually as a full cob of corn with a skewer tucked into one end. This makes it easier to eat while walking around. We will order it off the cob to ensure that every bit of flavor is devoured. We want each bite to have that tang of cotija cheese and sweetness of the corn. We love the acidity that the lime juice adds and that final hit of heat from the chile powder.

How do all those flavors come together? Well, the corn is grilled and then basted with a mixture of mayo and sour cream, while it is still hot and quickly rolled in copious amounts of cotija cheese. A quick squeeze of lime and sprinkle of chile powder and it is ready!

Is your mouth watering yet? In California, you can get this wonderful treat all year long, but it really is best in summer when corn is at its sweetest. I wanted to find a way to have that flavor on my dinner table all the time, without relying on fresh corn. Popcorn! Let’s put all those flavors together and encrust a piece of halibut. Yeah!  I love the crunch that comes with the popcorn and the subtle flavors of fresh halibut and its light taste with a bit of brininess.

See the notes below on how to get the flavor into popcorn if you aren’t interested in fish.

Mexican Street Corn
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Servings
4 6-oz pieces
Servings
4 6-oz pieces
Mexican Street Corn
Print Recipe
Servings
4 6-oz pieces
Servings
4 6-oz pieces
Ingredients
Servings: 6-oz pieces
Instructions
  1. Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, and 2/3 cup cotija cheese.
  2. Add chile powder, lime zest, coriander.
  3. Taste and add salt & pepper if needed, or additional chile powder.
  4. Slather mixture all over halibut. Coat halibut in fresh popped popcorn and sprinkle with remaining cotija cheese.
  5. Bake at 450° for 10-20 minutes. It depends on size of fish. A good rule is 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
  6. Fish is done if it flakes when a fork is twisted in it. Serve with lime wedges and a dollop of remaining sauce on side.
Recipe Notes

So if you don't want fish but would love this flavor on popcorn, mix all the ingredients together. You can leave thick or thin out, slightly, with beer.

Toss while popcorn is HOT and enjoy!

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Try Something New! DIY Protein Powder

Well, here we are a few days after New Year’s and, so far so good. I’ve been able to stay on track and feel great. One of the things I’ve been doing is having a homemade protein powder on the counter, at the ready. This makes it so easy to grab something healthy when cravings strike.  I also use it for a quick breakfast.

There are literally thousands of ready-made protein powders on the market so why do I feel compelled to make my own? I have never been able to find one that doesn’t taste, I’ll say it, GROSS, to me. I have very sensitive taste buds. That means that in some powders I will taste every vitamin. In others, I can taste the chemicals. Or worse, in the “natural” ones that it tastes like I’m drinking grass. The others I’ve tried and liked are not natural and so sweetened that I know they aren’t healthy.

So, I started my research and came up with my own recipe. It gave me a starting flavor I like and flexibility of adding chocolate, vanilla, berry, and others. This base is so great because you can get creative.  How about making the chocolate powder version and adding peanut butter and banana? I love to add frozen cherries to the vanilla and to the chocolate. Truly the possibilities are endless.

Enjoy and be sure to let me know what you try!

 

DIY Protein Powder

1/2 cup protein source like dry milk, whey, whole nuts, seeds or hemp hearts, choose one or mix it all up.                                                                                                                                                               1/2 cup rolled oats.                                                                                                                                        Optional-add fiber  – 1/3 cup of chia seeds, ground flax seed, wheat germ or hemp hearts.                   Add some Flavor:                                                                                                                                       2 T. cocoa powder or                                                                                                                                       1/4 of a vanilla bean, scraped or                                                                                                                  1 T. espresso powder or                                                                                                                             2 T. ground, freeze-dried berries

Grind your desired ingredients, in a food processor, until it is a fine powder. I make several different flavors at one time. Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator.

To make the smoothie, add 2 T. powder, 1 cup milk (regular, seed, nut or coconut), and 1/2 frozen banana. You can use other frozen fruit, but I start with bananas because of the thickness they give.

This morning I had chocolate powder and added 1 T. PB Fit powder. I used unsweetened vanilla coconut milk. YUM!!!

Mark’s Cookies from Spain!

This summer I had the greatest trip to Spain with my husband. I’ve written about many parts of the trip and shared many recipes. However, it has taken me months to duplicate a most important recipe. Double Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Principal hotel. You have to understand my husband is not much of a sweet eater and chocolate would never be his first choice. So, when he asked the maître d’ if he could have some cookies to take on the airplane home, I almost fell over.

When we did finally arrive at home I made it my quest to duplicate the recipe. I wrote to the chef. I explained how my husband coveted his cookies and asked if he would share the recipe with me. While I waited for his response I played around with some other recipes. I found a few online and even tried a couple of Dorie Greenspan’s. Each time he tried them and each time the verdict was, “Not the same.”.

I was delighted when I got an email from the chef with his recipe, but it was just chocolate chip cookies.  I wrote back and explained it was the dark chocolate chip cookies and he replied right away with the adjustments to make the recipe into the dark cookies. I will say that there were still adjustments to be made. For example, Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion wasn’t an exact science, nor were weight measurements versus cup and tablespoon measurements. So again, I made many versions and they were “Not the same”.

One more try and I got it. Let me tell you that my husband really likes a crunchy cookie and it was hard to get that right without having either burnt or just dry cookies.  Remember every oven is different and every taste too.  Adjust for your oven and preference.

I hope you enjoy these as much as my husband did.  Please put your comments.  I love to hear from you.  Happy Holidays!

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with White Chocolate Chips
Print Recipe
Servings
3 dozen
Servings
3 dozen
Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with White Chocolate Chips
Print Recipe
Servings
3 dozen
Servings
3 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In an electric mixer, with paddle attachment, cream together butter and both sugars.
  4. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time.
  5. Beat until well mixed.
  6. Gradually add flour and mix util "dry".
  7. Stir in dark chocolate.
  8. Fold in white and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  9. Scoop onto ungreased baking sheet. Leave them kind of roundish for best texture.
  10. Bake at 350° for 13-16 minutes.
Recipe Notes

 

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DONUTS!!!!

Every year at Hanukkah we eat an abundance of fried foods.  We say we do this to commemorate the miracle of the oil.  Hmmm… I think it is a just a great excuse to eat all the yummy fried foods we try so hard to avoid throughout the year. I mean who wouldn’t want to eat fried latkes, fried doughnuts and anything else fried?

Having said that, the jelly donuts we usually get at our local shop are a little too big, too oily and too filled with artificial jelly. So, this year I am making a version of my own. My recipe will be based on an Italian donut called Zeppole. Since they are more donut hole sized, it’s easier to say yes to the kids and to my waistline.  Because we are making them at home, I can fill them with not only, better quality jam or jelly (think Bonne Marman), but I can also fill them with anything I want, like Nutella.  I can also dip them in chocolate or sprinkle them with sugar and/or cinnamon. They are super easy too!

The trick to making sure they are not doughy on the inside or overdone on the outside is your oil temperature.  You can use a candy thermometer for a little insurance. You want to keep the oil at 375°.  Be sure to check the temperature especially between batches and keep your batches small. After making these, I honestly recommend a deep fryer that you can set the temperature. It can be difficult to manage the temperature as you are trying to scoop dough and then fry, too. Sprinkle them with sugar or cinnamon when they first come out of the oil.  This way it sticks to the donuts.

I use a pastry bag to fill the donuts. The easiest way to do this is, once they are cool enough to handle, make an X in the top that goes almost all the way through. Then use a plain tip and pastry bag to squeeze in your desired filling, just don’t go crazy.

They look so pretty stacked on a festive plate and sprinkled with a fine dusting of powdered sugar.

Happy Hanukkah!

Zeppole
Print Recipe
Servings
3 3 donuts per person
Servings
3 3 donuts per person
Zeppole
Print Recipe
Servings
3 3 donuts per person
Servings
3 3 donuts per person
Ingredients
Servings: 3 donuts per person
Instructions
  1. In a heavy saucepan combine the sugar, butter, salt and water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Take pan off heat and gradually stir in flour.
  3. Put pan over a low heat and stir until it forms a ball. This really varies in time, but typically about 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer dough to a medium bowl and then using a hand mixer, beat in eggs one at a time. Be sure to completely incorporate each egg, before adding the next.
  5. Beat until batter it is thick and smooth.
  6. At this point you can fry immediately or cover and refrigerate, overnight.
  7. Pour enough oil into a large pan, I used a dutch oven, to give you a depth of about 2 inches. This is a lot of oil. You can save the oil for another cooking purpose. I'm going to use mine to fry latkes.
  8. Bring oil to a temp of 375°, using a candy or fry thermometer. It is REALLY important to maintain the 375° temperature. Your donuts will be brown on the outside and doughy on the inside if not.
  9. I use a small ice cream scoop but you can use tablespooons to form balls and then drop carefully into oil.
  10. Using a "spider" strainer, turn them once or twice so they cook evenly. They should cook in about 5 minutes.
  11. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with powdered sugar or a cinnamon/sugar mix, while they are still hot. This will make the sugar stick.
  12. You can serve as is or you serve with dipping sauces like chocolate or caramel.
  13. If you want to fill them, make an X with a small knife that goes almost all the way through. Using a round tip and pastry bag, slightly fill each donut, once they are cool. I used Nutella and strawberry jam.
Recipe Notes

 

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