Thursday, June 28, 2012

"deliciousness" perfected

my children call the peanut butter/raisin dessert "deliciousness". if i was honest, i would have to call it "obsession" because it is my complete snack obsession. today, instead of keeping it grain-free i grabbed the oatmeal and decided it was even better. i <3 oatmeal. here's the revised recipe:

peanut butter "deliciousness"

put 1 C raw almonds into the food processor and process until fine. add 2 C raisins and process again, 3-5 minutes until raisins are very small. pour in 1 - 16oz jar of creamy natural peanut butter (no need to stir), 1-2 t vanilla, 1 C quick oats, and 1/2 C raw cacao nibs. process until everything is well combined, another couple minutes. shape into balls or just transfer to a container and store in the refrigerator. try not to eat it all by yourself. ;)

tortilla soup

i make a lot of soup. no joke. like, three to six nights a week. tortilla soup is a family favorite. my kids eat whatever i put on the table, which is quite a variety of things (as mentioned before, usually in broth). some of the soups i make are not their first choice, but they never groan when i serve this.

tortilla soup

1 medium yellow onion, diced
3-5 garlic cloves, pressed

saute in cold-pressed canola oil. add 1-2 T cumin, stir and allow cumin to toast. pour in:

48-64 oz chicken broth (depending on how many people you are serving and how soupy you like your soup)
16oz jar of your favorite salsa (i use trader joe's chunky salsa)
2-3 C black beans
2-4 C chopped chicken (cooked or raw), optional (i don't normally use chicken)
salt and pepper to taste

bring to a boil, then turn off heat and add:

16 oz bag frozen corn
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 bunch cilantro, finely minced, or 3-5 frozen cilantro cubes (dorot)
2-3 limes, juiced

ladle into bowls and serve with:

shredded colby/jack or monetery jack cheese
crunched tortilla chips (the broken pieces at the bottom of the bag work great)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

boccone dolce

dessert was so wonderful that i thought i would share the love by sharing the recipe. fortunately the pastry chef at papa haydn's had their recipe online here. i altered it a bit to account for having more egg whites and wanting to use less sugar. i'm not sure if meringues can be made successfully with the use of agave, but will have to try that some time. be sure to leave plenty of time...the egg whites whip better if they are at room temperature and the meringues take two hours to bake. my recipe is based on the 16 egg whites i had left from making lemon curd, so feel free to divide. if you want a crispier meringue, you will have to use more sugar. here's the deliciousness:

boccone dolce

16 egg whites (2 C)
1 C evaporated cane juice  **EDIT: 10.29.14...i successfully sweetened with 3 T of maple sugar. the meringues start out crisp and wonderful, but end up a little chewier after storing**

begin by whisking the egg whites in your stand mixer. once stiff peaks have formed, mix the sugar in 1-2 T at a time, allowing to whisk 2-3 minutes between additions so the sugar dissolves completely. once everything is thoroughly whipped, line your baking sheets with parchment paper. the traditional shape for boccone dolce is a circle. you can draw your shape on the back of the parchment paper for accuracy or you can just eyeball it. i had a LOT of meringue and didn't want to cook them in two batches, so i went with rectangles because i could cook all four at the same time. bake for 2 hours at 200-225 (depending on your oven), switching the pans half way through (or more frequently if your oven is finicky). **EDIT: 10.29.14...i have begun whipping the meringues in the evening (around 8-10pm), baking them for two hours, switching the pans from the top rack to the bottom and vice versa before i go to bed, and then leaving them in the oven until morning. perfectly dry meringues every time! i also just spread the entire sheet of meringue on my 11"x16" silicone baking mats and cut the meringue in half when i remove them from the oven instead of trying to make four individual rectangles. the extra bonus is these tweaks make it easier for me to produce this dessert so i do it more often, which is a win for us all. ;) **

while your meringues are baking, prepare your fruit. papa haydn's normally uses raspberries and blackberries, but it is also delicious with strawberries. i had leftover lemon curd, so to use that i took half a bag of frozen wild blueberries out to thaw.

closer to the end of baking time, you will need to make whipped cream. you can either whip it on your own, with a stand mixer, or with my favorite kitchen accessory...the whipped cream maker. andy bought this lovely gadget for my birthday five years ago. we have *loved* it. i can even make dairy-free coconut whipped cream with no problem. mine is an iSi and cost around $50. worth. every. cent.

whipped cream

1 pint whipping cream
1 T agave
1-2 t vanilla

open the whipping cream carton and pour in the agave and vanilla. hold the carton's spout closed tightly and shake to incorporate. pour everything into the whipped cream maker, screw on lid/etc, charge with N2O, and shake. refrigerate if you're not ready to use your whipped cream.

you also have to choose your chocolate. the subrosa recipe calls for melted bittersweet chocolate. with the lemon curd and blueberries, white chocolate would have been delicious, but i decided to use my favorite hot fudge. it solidifies when exposed to cold (whipped cream, partially frozen blueberries) like magic shell. plus, it's sweetened with honey.

hot fudge

3 T butter
3 T honey
3 T coconut oil
2 T cocoa powder

melt the above ingredients in a saucepan, stirring or whisking to incorporate. remove from heat and add:

1/4 t cinnamon (optional)
2 t vanilla
1/4t himalayan salt (plain kosher will work fine. use a small pinch if your butter is salted)

this fudge solidifies when drizzled on icecream, but remains chewy and wonderful. it takes on more of a soft-solid fudge state when chilled. (can you say, "eat with a spoon directly from the container."?!)

okay, now your meringues are done baking, your fruit, whipped cream, and chocolate/hot fudge are all ready, and you can assemble your dessert. find as serving dish and put down one meringue. drizzle on chocolate/hot fudge, top with whipped cream, sprinkle on fruit. smash down the next meringue. repeat the fillings. smash down another meringue. this is where i put the lemon curd. i topped the curd with whipped cream and put on the last meringue (because i had four, instead of the normal three) and drizzle more chocolate/hot fudge on top. cut and serve. try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting. mmmmmm…

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

bacon walnut spinach salad

tonight i decided to use all the egg whites leftover from lemon curd. there were 16...that's two cups of egg whites. my youngest daughter had been begging to buy the meringues at trader joe's for quite some time now, so i decided to go one step up and try to replicate the incredible boccone dolce from papa haydn's. lucky for me, subrosa had the actual recipe from papa haydn's pastry chef. what?! nice. this post is not about boccone dolce, though so i have gotten very distracted.

in anticipation of dessert and waiting for meringues to bake (two hours? really?!) i had lost motivation for dinner. my family had to eat something, so after staring at the refrigerator and pantry and storage room i decided a big salad would be the responsible thing to serve when dessert would be the star of the evening. we had a pound of uncured bacon ends and pieces in the fridge, plenty of spinach, throw in some walnuts, dried cherries, red onions, and feta and i could have an easy (and very tasty) meal. i had a vague memory of seeing a similar recipe in a cookbook or magazine and had been drooling over the idea ever since. i have no idea where that recipe is, so i figured it out as i went along. here's what i did:

bacon walnut spinach salad

start by finely chopping half of a red onion. put the onion in a glass bowl/dish and cover with about two tablespoons of red wine vinegar. this is a quick pickle for the onions, mellowing their flavor. they are wonderful after 10-15 minutes.

once your onions are soaking, chop 1 lb. of bacon. heat a stockpot (that way the grease doesn't spit out, no need for a splatter screen) and add the bacon. stir occasionally until bacon is cooked. remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate. add 1 C of raw chopped walnuts to the bacon grease and cook until golden, about 3-5 minutes. remove the walnuts and put them to drain with the bacon.

while the walnuts are cooling, chop 1 C of unsweetened dried bing cherries. in a large bowl, put 3/4 lb - 1 lb of baby spinach, the cherries, onions, nuts and bacon, and crumble about 2-3 oz of feta cheese. spoon about 2 T of the bacon grease and sprinkle with salt and pepper. toss everything and serve immediately.

mediterranean chili

while i'm on a roll, i guess i'll just photograph and post everything we're eating. this trend will last probably one or two days longer and then i'll drop off the face of the blogging world again for many months. ;)

a few years ago andy and i went to a greek restaurant in sellwood for my birthday. eleni's served me a wonderful meal that i immediately tried to replicate at home. originally, the dish was served with pasta. at one point i was serving the sauce over polenta and now i'm adding chicken broth to use it as a soup.

mediterranean chili

1 red onion, diced
3-5 garlic cloves, pressed or 3 frozen dorot garlic cubes or 2 t preminced garlic
2 T extra virgin olive oil

in a large stockpot over medium high heat, saute onion and garlic in oil, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes. add:

4 C chicken broth (1 qt)
1 - 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 - 16 oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained
1 t dried oregano
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

using an immersion blender, puree everything in the stockpot. alternatively, if you don't have an immersion blender, put the broth, tomatoes, and peppers into your blender before adding them to the pot. post pureeing add:

1/2 16 oz jar of pitted kalamata olives, chopped
16 oz garbanzo beans (i cook my own beans and store them in 16 oz ball freezer jars)
8 oz feta, crumbled

bring to a boil. serve.

by skipping the chicken broth and garbanzo beans, this is a great pasta/polenta sauce. you can add chopped chicken to the soup, if desired, or ground turkey to the pasta sauce. for the sauce, i usually add a little water as i rinse out the can.


Monday, June 18, 2012

crisp topping...for fresh peach crisp

one wonderful thing about oregon is that the peaches are good for a very long time. there are two or three peaks for peaches instead of one three-week spell in colorado. our favorite way to enjoy these summer treasures is fresh, with a buttery granola-like topping and fresh whipped cream.

crisp topping

5 C quick oats
2 C unsweetened, shredded coconut
3/4 C brown sugar (one of the few recipes where i will not substitute)
3/4 C butter, melted
2 t cinnamon

mix everything in a large bowl. spread on one large cookie sheet or split between two 9x13 pans. bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. stir and continue to bake 10 minutes more. stir and bake 5-10 minutes more, checking on the color of the topping to be sure it doesn't brown too much. let cool 20 minutes. serve over fresh sliced or diced peaches with fresh whipped cream or ice cream. bag the extra for later use. lasts for 2-3 weeks in the pantry or 2-3 months in the refrigerator. allow to come to room temperature before using chilled crisp topping. if necessary, recrisp in the oven.

you can also use this recipe to top an oven baked peach crisp. peaches should be chopped and tossed with about 2 T sugar or agave and a little flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot. dot with butter, if desired. top with uncooked crisp topping and bake for 30-35 minutes at 350.

paleo banana bread muffins

a pile of spotty bananas sat on the counter. a loan fruit fly silently danced in the air, alerting me of the need to use them quickly. if you know me at all, you know that i like to eat my bananas on the green side. once they spot they are suitable only for baking at my house. i already had eggs in the oven so banana-something was going to be added to our dinner. banana-what, though? a quick pinterest search yielded a few interesting recipes. after looking at each one i landed on this one. the original recipe made seven muffins. seven. are you kidding me? it's not even worth getting the mixer bowl dirty for that. much less the fact that there would be no leftovers for sunday morning breakfast. after enlarging and tweaking, the recipe looked like this:

paleo banana bread muffins

6 bananas
6 eggs

in your stand mixer, thoroughly beat bananas and eggs. then add:

4 1/2 C almond flour
1/3 C flaxseed meal
1 1/2 T baking soda
1 1/2 T baking powder
1 t - 1 T cinnamon, depending on how cinnamony you like things
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t kosher salt
3 T honey
3 T butter, melted
2 T vanilla
1 C chopped walnuts

mix everything until well incorporated. divide batter between 18-24 muffin pans. you will need to grease...even with silicone bakeware. i have individual silicone baking cups from ikea and normally do not have to grease. these muffins stuck...worse the first day when they were still warm (hey, we were impatient!) than the next day. bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before eating.

coconut pancakes

one main thing my family has been missing since dropping wheat is pancakes. i used to make them weekly. there was even a time where i made them a couple mornings a week so we always had leftovers for the off mornings. of all breakfast foods, my love affair has always been with the pancake. i digress...

the other day i had a rare occasion where there were 18 eggs sitting on the counter from our chickens. for some reason the craving for pancakes was overwhelming and i started searching online for a recipe that used either almond or coconut flour. i found two, mashed them together, enlarged them a lot and landed on a delightful grain-free pancake. after throwing together a maple/mango/blueberry syrup, we had a lovely dinner of pancakes, fruit syrup, and fresh blueberries. normally i would serve eggs (scrambled or baked) with pancakes, but this recipe used up ALL the eggs. other coconut pancake recipes i have seen turn out cakey and thick...not how i want my pancakes. these were thin, delicate, and wonderful. they are grain-free, sugar-free, and guilt-free. enjoy!

coconut pancakes

5-6 bananas
18 eggs
2/3 C coconut flour
1/2 C almond flour
1 - 6.8oz box of coconut cream (or 3/4 C coconut milk)
2 T vanilla

mix everything in a blender until completely incorporated (watch for banana chunks). i had to pour off some of the batter after a little bit because as the eggs fluffed it was too much for my blender. cook like normal pancakes (i use a 1/4 C measuring cup to ensure like-sized pancakes) and serve with your choice of toppings.

oat shortcakes...a gluten-free alternative for strawberry shortcake

a few years ago, we met neighbors who would become great friends. this was back in the day before our mostly grain-free adventure started and their son is a celiac, so as i prepared to have them over for dinners and impromptu desserts i had to expand my baking repertoire. i developed this recipe that first summer and it has become a staple, superceding my previously prized everyday food recipe.

oat shortcakes

5 C quick oats
2 T baking powder
1 t kosher salt
1 C butter, cut into pieces

pulse above ingredients until butter is incorporated and oats are fine.

1 C plain yogurt
1/2 C milk
2-4 T agave
1/2 t vanilla

mix in food processor until everything comes together. spray a 9x13 pan, and spread dough evenly. sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired. bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes. allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting. serve with ice cream or whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

the last time i made this i found that the berries macerated well in agave instead of the normal cane sugar. anytime the strawberries are just perfect i don't sweeten them at all and just serve them fresh/sliced.

lemon curd

a friend asked me for this recipe a while ago (okay, it was months and months ago) and after finally getting around to making it this weekend, decided i should post it quickly before i forgot...again. ;)

this is adapted from martha's lemon curd recipe. it is the easiest lemon curd recipe you will find, with much less sugar than the rest of them use and no cornstarch. it is also my favorite. we don't eat biscuits anymore (though i have an interesting recipe for coconut biscuits), so i will have to find another excuse -- er, recipe to eat this with often. below the main recipe is my favorite easy dessert recipe using the lemon curd. enjoy!

erin's lemon curd

15 lemons, zest of 7-8, juice of all (should end up to be 2 C of juice)
16 egg yolks
8 whole eggs
1 1/2 C sugar

whisk all ingredients together in a stockpot. begin to heat on stove over medium flame. whisk constantly...this is important. you don't want the eggs to curdle or for the curd to separate while cooking. continue stirring until the curd thickens, about 10-15 minutes. remove from heat and begin stirring in 1 C of butter, cut into pieces. you should only put in 4-5 pieces at a time and whisk until they are melted before adding more. transfer to containers to can or freeze or refrigerate. this recipe fills three 16oz ball freezer canning jars, with about 1 C extra. you can halve this recipe, but why would you want to? ;)

my favorite use for this lemon curd is a custard-like dessert. thaw 1- 16oz jar of lemon curd. add lemon curd, 8 oz cream cheese (i usually use neufchatel cheese), and about 8 oz of whipping cream (liquid) to the food processor and let blend for 5-7 minutes, until everything is incorporated and whipping cream has thickened. serve in bowls topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberries or blueberries. frozen, thawed raspberries or blueberries are also wonderful with this in the off-season.