Category: Food

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Mmmmm – I made an avocado chocolate mousse that a friend of a friend sent out. I modified the original recipe significantly: used a lot of carob in place of the cocoa, used maple syrup in place of honey, and used coconut milk in place of almond milk.聽

Ingredients:

2 avocados (room temperature)
6 Tbsp coconut milk
5 Tbsp carob powder
1 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used KAF’s triple cocoa powder)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Method:

Dice up the avocado into large chunks. Combine everything in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Eat 馃檪

Fish And Chips

We had watched one of Gordon Ramsey’s cooking challenge shows where contestants made fish and chips using his technique/recipe. Aside: If you grow fresh English peas, you don’t need to add butter to your mushy peas. If you are adding butter, get a new variety of peas!

When we made the grocery list yesterday, Anya volunteered us to make fish and chips too. Interesting idea, it didn’t seem too difficult watching him do it 馃檪 So we picked up some cod, potatoes, and yams (I聽love yam chips, especially dusted with a little cinnamon … doesn’t go well with fish, but if I’m boiling a big pot of oil, figured I’d make some of these too).

Ingredients, per Ramsey’s web site:

  • 4 175g thick cod fillets
  • 120g plain flour
  • 100g rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 130ml soda water
  • 170ml lager
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • vegetable oil for deep fryer

Dredge the fish in flour, then coat in the batter and fry at about 350 degrees F. I was worried that they wouldn’t be crispy and puffy like they are meant to be, but WOW. The batter was super puffy. Spewed oil all over the place too.

We made the fries using a method from Cooks Illustrated that starts with cold oil. I used carola potatoes. Wash potatoes, dry them, and cut them into batons (nice if they are close to the same size. I got some smaller super crunchy ones, medium sized ones cooked perfectly, and larger ones that didn’t crisp as much). Place in a dutch oven & fill with oil to just cover. Turn burner on high and bring to a boil (~5 mins) and then leave ’em alone for fifteen or twenty minutes to cook. When they start to get browned, scrape anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. When they reach the desired color, net them out with a slotted spoon or scoop. Salt immediately and eat.

fish and chips

Cannoli Recipe

We watched people making cannoli on MasterChef tonight, and Anya wants to make some now. I am trying to sort a good recipe.

Shells:

  • 7ozall-purpose flour
  • 1ozcocoa powder
  • 1ozsugar
  • 2eggs
  • ozbutter
  • saltto taste
  • 1tablespoon聽Marsala wine

Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, melted butter and eggs in a bowl. Then add the Marsala. The dough will start out quite sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, about 15 minutes. Form into a flattened disk and wrap in plastic wrap. 聽and let it rest for half an hour.

Roll out the cannoli dough to about the thickness of a penny. Cut it into circles with diameter of about 2.5″ for smaller ~1/2″ diameter forms, 3.5″ diameter circles for larger ~7/8″ diameter forms. Wrap the circles around the metal tubes to shape the cannoli and seal with a little dab of egg white. Heat a pot of oil to 375 degrees F. Fry the dough, still wrapped around the tubes, for about one minute. Use a skewer to remove the form from the hot oil. Let the cannoli cool on paper towels. Once cool, slide out the metal tubes. Fill shells immediately before serving – pipe filling into center and top with chopped pistachios, hazelnuts, or chocolate.

Honey Ricotta Filling:

  • 15 ounce whole milk ricotta, drained and squeezed dry
  • 录 cup honey
  • 录 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 陆 cups heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer to stiff peaks and then set aside in the refrigerator.

Combine the ricotta cheese, honey, powdered sugar, and the scraped seeds of the vanilla bean.聽 Fold in the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Chocolate Mascarpone Filling:

  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta, drained and squeezed dry
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for decoration

Beat ricotta, mascarpone, confectioners sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together until smooth. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Corn Bread

Finally stashing my cornbread recipe somewhere because I can never find it. Scott wanted to make corn dogs this week – which is essentially coating sausage / veggie sausage and then dropping it in hot oil.

Ingredients:

路 1 cup all-purpose flour
路 1 cup cornmeal
路 2-3 tablespoons honey
路 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
路 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
路 1/2 teaspoon salt
路 1 egg, lightly beaten
路 1 cup sour cream
路 1/3 cup milk
路 1/4 cup butter, melted

Method:

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine the egg, sour cream, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

2. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Stromboli Recipe

I made, well not聽quite a stromboli (as I understand it, stromboli have tomato sauce inside, and this was completely without tomato sauce). The bread part is easy enough — you can use whatever pizza dough recipe you fancy. I had purchased KAF’s Artisan Bread Flour when it was on sale a few months ago. Or their French style flour and used a traditional baguette recipe (3c flour, 1t salt, 1c or so water, and 2 1/4t yeast kneaded for a long time to make a chewy bread. Normal bread process – mix/knead, sit until doubled in bulk). For additional flavour, I added 1T of Italian spices to the flour. Once the dough has finished rising, preheat the oven to 550 F.

Take a chunk (I used about a quarter of the dough) and roll it out onto a silicone baking mat. The dough shouldn’t be too thick – somewhere around an eighth of an inch. I made very large stromboli to be cut when served, so the rectangle of dough was about 12″ x 9″. Brush the dough with roasted garlic butter (1T melted salted butter, 1-2 cloves roasted garlic)

Spread filling in the rectangle – leaving some dough on either side to fold in, some dough on the bottom to seal the thing, and a lot of dough on the top to fold over.

Fold the sides along the line shown below — this will seal the ends.

Fold the large piece of dough down to cover the filling. Then stretch the small piece of dough up over stromboli and seal it to the other piece of dough.

Place on a half sheet pan seam side down. If a glossy, crunchy crust is desired, brush with egg wash (mix an egg with a splash of water), let sit for a minute, and then brush again with egg wash. For a softer crust, brush with roasted garlic butter or butter.

Using a sharp knife or bread lame, slice five diagonal lines along the stromboli. I sliced almost completely through the dough and allowed it to split open as it baked.聽Bake for 10-15 minutes.

What can you put in a stromboli? Traditionally, you cover the dough with tomato sauce, sprinkle on cheese, add Italian meats, then sprinkle more cheese. I wasn’t in the mood for tomato sauce. I made two fillings – 1c ricotta cheese, 1/2c shredded sharp cheddar, and 1c shredded broccoli (this is a great way to use up broccoli stems if you have some left over from another recipe). The other filling was 1c ricotta, 1/2c shredded sharp cheddar, 1c shredded chicken, and 2 diced peaches.

Curried Egg Salad

I had planned to make a curried egg salad (shredded carrots, diced onions, diced hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, and Penzey’s sweet curry powder) so we could use up the Easter eggs. Got the flatbread聽cooked.聽Everything was聽diced up & ready to go in a bowl. Got another bowl for the聽yogurt (when you use curry POWDER, mixing it into the yogurt first to make sure it’s all smooth & hydrated makes a really nice sauce. For some reason stirring in yogurt and then adding curry powder makes a mess. I think it’s because powder bits cling to the chunks of food & never get hydrated). Grabbed the yogurt container from the fridge … and it’s almost empty. Umm … hungry people, food ready for the curry sauce. So I decided to try making mayo again (that’s what the recipe calls for anyway). I’ve tried a few times, and never gotten anything vaguely useful.

So I searched for a never breaking mayo recipe and got something that actually worked for me:

http://www.inspiredtaste.net/25943/homemade-mayonnaise-recipe/

They add some Dijon mustard to the egg/vinegar mixture & uses the whole egg instead of just the yolk. Which means you don’t end up with spare egg whites that you’ve got to use somewhere (although they聽do freeze just fine). There’s聽certainly some flavour from the Dijon (and colour – it’s not a pure white cream), but it’s tasty.

Sauteed Hop Shoots

Our salad course for Easter was a sauteed hop salad.聽We have both cascade and centennial hops, and the ones that are in the ground have grown incredibly in the past week or so. Before the snow, we had little sprouts barely nudging through soil. Now some of our vines are two feet long!

So I missed the really tender early sprouts. I sauteed the thicker stems in a little olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Then garnished with fresh hop leaves. It was really good –聽and I only used about half of the trimmings.

Homemade Ice Cream Take 1

During the Christmas-time sales, I bought an ice cream attachment for our Kitchenaid mixer. The bowl has been stashed in the freezer portion of a refrigerator/freezer for several months. I decided to make a maple ice cream for our first batch. I combined the maple syrup, cream, and egg yolks in a large metal bowl. That bowl was used as the top of a double-boiler. Whisked it constantly over a medium low heat until it congealed into聽custard.聽Placed my custard in a glass container and stored it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, I set up our ice cream attachment. Slowly poured the custard into the container … the instructions say ice cream should be formed in 10-15 minutes. It didn’t. Let it run a little over twenty minutes and … nothing even close to ice cream. I put my custard back into its container in the refrigerator, washed the bowl, and asked Google what I’ve done wrong. Turns out the ice cream bowl needs to be frozen absolutely solid –聽shake it as you remove it from the freezer, it shouldn’t be even a little bit sloshy. Oops. Mine was mostly聽frozen, but that’s not good enough. So I put the bowl into a dedicated freezer and left it there for 12 hours.聽Completely solid. I put the bowl back into the freezer and moved the custard into the freezer for an hour too – the colder the custard is, the less it will heat the bowl materials.

So, do this all over again. Get custard and bowl, set up mixer, mix … and it started to harden. I could see the liquid along the side of the bowl freeze and get scraped off. Twelve minutes later, we had a fairly thick frozen base. I transferred the proto-ice cream into a low pyrex bowl, closed it up, and put the bowl into our freezer. About eight hours later, it was Survivor premier / ice cream time. First bite and … what’s that strange grainy texture? Looked it up and everyone is talking about ice crystals. These aren’t ice crystals … it’s just an odd little hard lump.

We were about halfway through the bowl when Scott got a聽big odd hard lump. It was BUTTER. Frozen butter, but still butter.聽I’m guessing you cannot re-use custard. If your first attempt at making ice cream doesn’t work …聽maybe you could re-strain it to remove any little butter bits. Or if it isn’t starting to freeze after five minutes, you know something isn’t right and don’t let it mix long enough to turn into butter. But, this wasn’t the stunning success for which I was hoping.

Next up is a coconut milk / coconut cream / mango ice cream. Hopefully that will turn out better.

Spent Grain Banana Muffins

We made the Medusa Cream Ale last night, and it聽seems so wasteful to throw out the steeping grains (a.k.a. ‘spent grains’). I’ve added a cup to a 4c flour pizza dough recipe before – it makes a nice whole grainy crust. Anya has taken the ‘self service’ approach to bananas, but she leaves somewhere between an empty peel and 7/8th of a banana sitting on the kitchen counter. I’ve been collecting her banana bits in the refrigerator … so I wanted to make something with bananas.

Banana Muffins With Spent Beer Grains

5 T butter, melted
3.5 bananas
1/3 c dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 t salt
2 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
2 t Penzey’s apple pie spices
2 cups spent beer grains — this batch was from a light cream ale, you’ll get a different taste using grains from a darker beer
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Melt the butter in a large bowl
  3. Mash the bananas into the butter
  4. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved
  5. Stir in the egg, salt, vanilla, baking soda, and spices
  6. Add the spent grains and mix well
  7. Add the flour, half a cup at a time, and stir until no streaks of flour are seen
  8. Scoop batter into muffin tin (I use a non-stick tin from Williams Sonoma聽and filled each one about 90%)
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out without raw batter (a little moist is OK, uncooked batter聽not OK)

Healthy Preschool Valentines Party Snack

I made the heart cut-out PBJ sandwiches – with no peanut butter. Or jelly. But the same idea — you need two heart-shaped cookie cutters. The pair I have leaves about 1/2″ between the two cutters.

We made our own strawberry compote – a pound of strawberries sprinkled with one tablespoon of tapioca powder (to thicken the sauce). This was heated on low until the strawberries got mushy and the tapioca started to thicken. I used an immersion blender to create a smooth sauce, then refrigerated it for a few hours to allow the tapioca to set.

We used two different loaves of bread — a white bread and a whole wheat with sunflower seeds. Use the large cookie cutter and cut out 2 hearts for each sandwich you are making (e.g. we have eighteen people in the class so cut thirty six large hearts). In half of the hearts, center the smaller cookie cutter and punch out the center.

To assemble, take an uncut heart. Spread with ‘butter’ of your choice — we used sunflower butter because the school forbids nuts of any sort. Then spread with strawberry compote. Top with a cut-out heart.

Instead of pre-staging all of the components, Anya helped me make them. She cut one large heart, and while she cut a second heart, I got it spread with butter and聽compote. As she cut another heart (the back of the next sandwich), I took the one she just made, stamped out the centre, and put it on top. Anya removed the small heart from the cookie cutter, then got her big cookie cutter and started all over again.

You now have a little heart shaped sandwich with a red heart in the middle.