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Mini Spiced Apple Tarts with Chocolate

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...

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It’s that time of the year where Christmas lights start going up and families plan their Thanksgiving feasts. A big part of the holidays are apples, more specifically apple pie.. YUM. There’s nothing that can be wrong with a hot, fresh, flaky and juicy apple pie. And what’s better than just a slice- a tart! Just as flaky and yummy but smaller and with CHOCOLATE. Plus at the Thanksgiving table theres GOING to be that family member(s) that doesn’t want to eat too much dessert, or a big slice or they’re watching their weight. So this is the PERFECT addition to your dessert spread!

Petite decadent pastry shells filled with moist apples, brown sugar, spices and zest topped with lucisious chocolate and the only things left to complete the deal is your hand and mouth! I swear by Williams & Sonoma Basic Pastry Dough recipe because it’s easy, fast and super tasty. I just tweek it a bit of course!

OF COURSE I used my AMAZING Babycakes Machine and the tarts  they came out so cute and petite! However, these can be done in regular mini-muffin tin pans.

Basic Pastry Dough:

Spiced Apple Filling:

  • 4 green apples– peeled and cubed small
  • 2/3 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (fresh is so much better!)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange zest
  • pinch clove powder
  • PAM Baking Flavor

Chocolate Drizzle:

  • 3-4 bittersweet chocolate squares (I used Ghiradelli)
  • 2-3 tbsp half & half (I used fatfree Land-o-Lakes)
  • 2-3 tbsp warm water

Before Chocolate..

For the Pie Dough:

1. In a food processor add the flour, salt and sugar and pulse until blended. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the butter chunks are small pea sized. While pulsing, slowly dribble in the cold water. Add enough water until the dough has turned into a rough mass.

2. Place dough mixture on a floured counter and form into a 1-2 inch thick disk. Wrap with plastic and place in the fridge for AT LEAST 2 hours.

For the Apple Mixture:

1. In a bowl mixture together all the ingredients listed above. Place aside.

Putting it together..

**If using a conventional oven, preheat to about 375. Spray the muffin tins.

1. After 2+ hours, remove the dough from the fridge onto a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out into a thin pastry sheet (just before its thin enough to see through! Using a round 3 inch cookie cutter or a knife, cut out circles. Regardless of whether you’re using the babycakes machine or regular muffin tins, make sure to SPRAY them. Line each cup with the circles of dough pressing lightly into the cup to create a tart shell. If using babycakes machine, use the pie tart tool to press into the cups. Bake for about 5 minutes or until the shells are slightly cooked and slightly golden.

2. Remove the tins from the oven/ open the babycakes machine lid. Add enough apple filling to come over the top of the tin a little. Bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until apples are soft and crust is golden brown and crispy. Remove each tart from the tin/babycakes machine and let cool on a rack.

Pouring the Drizzle..

1. Heat chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for about 45 second. Pour in milk and 1 tbsp of water. Heat for another 30-40 second. Stir and if not melted, add another tbsp hot water and heat for another 30 second. Stir until smooth and glistening. You want the consistency to be a bit thin so you can drizzle the tarts.

2. Using a small whisk or spoon (I used a spoon) drizzle the tarts in a fast back and forth motion until tops are covered. Cool until chocolate is hardened.

Makes about 20 tarts

Serving Suggestions:

Hot with fresh whip cream and chocolate curls

Hot with fresh vanilla or dulce de leche ice cream

Hot with a nice cup of coffee

Wanna See More Recipes Using the Babycakes Machine?

 

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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Baking, Chef Priyanka, Fruit, Sweets

 

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Homemade Dulce de Leche Ice Cream with Fresh Dulce de Leche

Merengue dulce de leche

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I don’t know how else to describe this ice cream, but other than decadent goodness (with not as much fat as you might think!) Also it’s not that difficult to make and its definitely a crowd pleaser. I made it for Thanksgiving to accompany our Pecan and Pumpkin pies and it was heavenly.

Creamy dulce de leche flavored ice creamed dripping with thick, caramel colored fresh dulce de leche- what could be better! Plus, you can make a huge batch and store it in the freezer! Yummy! I eat mine topped with raspberries, blackberries or strawberries. Also a scoop of this decadence tastes delicious in some homemade Iced Coffee Frappacino!

Furthermore, traditional Dulce De Leche ice cream is made with egg yolks for that custardy and creamy texture. However, I found my EGGLESS recipe to be just as good and creamy and HEALTHY (well healthier!). Anyways on to the scrumptious, creamy, amazing goodness of Homemade Dulce De Leche Ice Cream:

Ice Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream (yes I know, not healthy but this is the fattiest portion of the dish, and it makes about 3-4 cups of ice cream!)
  • 1 cup milk (I used skim plus)
  • 1 cup fatfree half & half (I used Land-o-Lakes Brand)
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup Homemade Dulce de Leche (Recipe BELOW)

1. In a heavy, large sauce pan heat together the heavy cream, milk and half & half over medium heat. Whisk int he sugar to dissolve. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat and stir in 3/4 of the Dulce de Leche.

2. Cool COMPLETELY in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Don’t make the mistake of cooling over an ice bath and popping it into the ice cream maker- it won’t churn properly! (Trust me I’ve done it before).

3. Once cooled, prepare in your ice cream maker as the instructions state in the manual.

Towards the end, right before the ice cream is thick enough to your desired texture, drizzle in remaining dulce de leche to create swirls-

yes I was drooling at this point. Transfer to an air tight container and chill in the freezer until ready to serve.

Makes about 4 cups

Homemade Dulce De Leche:

  • 2 cups milk (I used skim plus)
  • 2 cups fatfree half & half (I used Land-o-Lakes Brand)
  • 1 vanilla bean- split with the seeds scraped out.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

See all those specs of Vanilla Beans.. YUM..

1. In a large heavy pot pour the milk, half & half, sugar and vanilla bean & seeds and heat over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. You do NOT want to BOIL the mixture!

2. Once the sugar is dissolved add the baking soda and stir. Lower heat to LOW and cook stirring occasionally. You want the mixture to be BARELY simmering. This is a slow process, so some patience is required :) Cook for 1 HOUR.

3. After 1 hour, remove the vanilla bean and cook stirring occasionally for another 2 hours until you’ve achieved a medium-dark caramel color. It should reduce to about 1-1 1/2 cups.

4. Once you’ve achieve the color and thick texture (be careful it splatters a bit while you stir, and you don’t want to be burnt by HOT sugar!), remove the mixture from the stove. Over a heat proof bowl with a fine write mesh strainer, strain the dulce de leche. Cover with a lid/plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Makes about 1-1 1/2 cups

Like Eggless Desserts? Check out these!

Eggless Tiramisu infused with Amaretto

Chiroti- Indian Dessert sweetened with Cardamom & Saffron

Mini Apple Pie Tartlets with Chocolate

 
 

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Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary, Chili & Chives

Russet potato with sprouts. Sliced (left) and ...

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Here’s a great holiday side -dish for our next Christmas party! The title is self-explanatory, but this ain’t no typical Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes.

  • 4 medium Idaho potatoes– scrubbed
  • 2 heads of garlic– tops trimmed off
  • 4 dried cayenne chilies
  • 3-4 sprigs of rosemary– fresh
  • 1 cup fat free half&half (I use Land-o-Lakes Brand)
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 6-7 sprigs of chive- finely chopped
  • 1/3-1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese
  • salt
  • coarse black pepper
  • PAM olive oil flavor

1. Preheat oven 425 degrees. In a sheet of foil place both garlic heads, chilies, rosemary sprigs, salt and pepper. Spray liberally with PAM and fold foil to create a packet. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes until cloves are soft and rosemary and crispy. Remove and cool.

2. Meanwhile, cut potatoes in half and boil in salted water with peel on until fork tender. In a small bowl squeeze in garlic cloves, add rosemary, chilies, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined and garlic is mushed. Add this mixture to the potatoes and combine thoroughly. In a slow stream, add half&half and light cream. Mash together until smooth and well combined. More or less milk can be used to achieve desired consistency. Then stir in the grated parmigiano. I like smashed potatoes a little chunky and smooth. Taste for salt.

3. Place on a pretty serving platter top with a sprig of rosemary and chopped chives and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil (if you want!) Dig in!

Serves 6


Nutrition:

I cut the fat by a pretty substantial amount by using light cream instead of heavy cream and fat free half&half. If you want to keep it completely healthy, use only fat free half&half. The consistency will still come out yummy. I also didn’t put any butter, which traditional mashed potatoes have (it’s really not necessary, because the strong rosemary and garlic flavors keep it yummy)! Plus this dish serves 6, so a little light cream won’t kill you ;)

Like Potatoes? Try these!

Spicy Cumin Potatoes with Green Chili Tofu

Baked Sweet & Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

 

 

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Irish Lamb Stew and Soda Bread Recipe

The closest thing I have to having Irish in me is a tattoo on my left arm that is Celtic in origin but art nouveau in appearance. Yes, it’s an armband and yes I got in the early 90’s, who didn’t? I think the year was 1991 and the place was Seattle. My friend Non and I took the Green Tortoise, i.e. hippie bus, from Berkeley to Seattle and then a Greyhound from Seattle to Vancouver. We were 20 and adventurous.

We stayed in a couple of hostels (I think) and wandered aimlessly. One of the few things I recall is that we lived off of fast food fish and chips from some joint that was swarming with hungry seagulls and getting got lost in downtown Seattle. While trying to figure out where to go next on our map a little old lady walked up this pair of greasy haired, pierced, tattooed girls with army issue backpacks and offered her assistance. I’ll never forget how nice she was. That was my first real impression of Seattle.

I don’t know if I was set to get a tattoo in Seattle or not, but once we got there the urge was overwhelming and it HAD to be Celtic. Did you notice what year this was? But as we know, I don’t necessarily like to follow trends, so it also had to be unique. Non and I spent hours in the bookstore and then hours in the library looking for the perfect design. What I found is something I have yet to see in any other book. The design comes from an artifact. A Celtic carving found on a scabbard discovered I wish I knew exactly where and when. Non and I purchased the thousand page book, took it the tattoo artist, whose name was Hubba Hubba by the way, and then, of course, promptly returned the book.

Hubba Hubba was a, not surprisingly, chubby little man. He sweated profusely as he was tattooing my arm and charged me only fifty bucks. He said, “because your hot”. Uh, ok?

That tattoo is set a little lower on my left arm than your typical armband and is not as ornate as the original photograph (it would have bled into a big blob) and it is, by far, the tattoo I get the most compliments on. Especially from women, for some reason.

All I really remember about the Canada part of our trip are two things. Sitting in the queue on the Greyhound bus waiting to get into Canada and watching a man and a woman run for their dear lives from (or was it to?) the border, and being held at the border when returning to the States. I had a passport (and had no problems), but Non didn’t. We are both brown and I guess they thought she was trying to deport from Canada. Does that even happen?

In honor of the Irish in (or on) all of us I made Irish Lamb Stew and Irish Soda Bread for St. Patty’s Day, with a tiny bit of a Mediterranean twist.

Cheers!

Irish Lamb Stew

Adapted from Epicurious

I went a little heavy on the spices and condiments, but, as you’ll see from the measurements, I’ve given you the option of going a little lighter.

This was, by far, the best stew I’ve ever made.

What you’ll need~

A handful or two of flour to coat your lamb

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

1-1/2 – 2 lbs lamb from a leg cut into 1-inch pieces

3-4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled

4 cups beef stock

1/2 cup Guinness

1/2 cup red wine

2-4 tablespoons tomato paste

1-2 tablespoons dried sage

1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2-4 bay leaves

3-4 tablespoons Irish butter

6-7 cups russet potatoes, sliced and halved

1 shallot thinly sliced

1 large onion sliced and halved

2 cups carrots cut or chopped into chunks

Fresh parsley

Pat each chunk of lamb dry with a paper towel and then dredge through flour. Heat the olive oil in your largest pot over medium heat. Add lamb and shallots and sauté until brown on all sides. About 5 minutes. Stir in stock, beer, wine, tomato paste, dried sage, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Let cook for an hour stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, melt butter in your next largest pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onions and carrots. Sauté until veggies are softened and golden. About 20 minutes.
Add vegetables to stew and simmer uncovered for another 40 minutes. You want your lamb to melt like butter on your tongue.

Sprinkle with a handful of parsley and serve hot.

Irish Soda Bread

Adapted from Epicurious

This bread also turned out amazingly well. I used chopped dried figs instead of the traditional currants. Feel free to use whatever dried fruit that turns you on.

What you’ll need~

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups whole-wheat flour

1/2-cup raw honey

1-tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1-teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup or so Irish butter, cut into cubes

1 cup dried figs, chopped

2 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350 and butter a large loaf pan or two smaller loaf pans. You can also grease a baking sheet and form the dough into a boule.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add butter. Use your fingers to break the butter apart in the flour (one of my favorite things ever). Rub until the flour become coarse and crumby. Stir in dried fig pieces.

In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk and eggs. Briefly warm your honey on the stove or in the microwave until it is just softened. Whisk honey into buttermilk and eggs.

Stir wet mix into flour mixture until well blended.

Pour dough into bread pan(s) and use a small knife to cut and X or X’s into the top.

Bake bread for about an hour and 15 minutes rotating pan halfway through.

Serve with a generous smear of Irish butter.

 

Source: http://leeksoup.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/to-the-irish-in-on-all-of-us-irish-lamb-stew-and-soda-bread/

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Lamb, Meats, Stews

 

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Easy Mini Veggie Chili Pot Pies

I love veggie chili from scratch and I make it often.  It’s one of my few “savory” meals I can make without staring at a recipe, which means it’s always different, but always spicy and hearty.

But sometimes, my friends, I cheat a little and make it “the easy way”.

 

This involves:

I ate a few bowls of this straight up the last time I made it, but then I saw this post for Chili Pot Pies from Ellie at Vintage Victuals and was inspired to dress the next few bowls up a little.

All it took was some Pyrex refrigerator dishes and a tube (yes…tube) of reduced fat crescent roll dough.

Oh yeah, and a generous sprinkle of grated Kerrygold cheddar.

Heat up the chili first, then spoon it into the oven-proof bowl and add some delicious cheese.

Drape the crescent dough over the top, pinch to seal, and bake at 375 degrees for 15 or so minutes.

Then eat!  It feels so much fancier this way but still tastes great and warms you right up.

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Vegetables

 

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Pork Kakuni – Cooking With Dog

A dozen boiled eggs with lion marks visible in...

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Ingredients for Pork Kakuni
(serves 3~4)

500g Pork Belly (1.10 lb)
30g Ginger (1.06 oz)
A green part of Naganegi – Long Green Onion

– Simmering Stock –
100~150ml Sake (3.38~5.07 fl oz)
450ml Warm Water (1.90 us cup)
5x5cm Kombu Kelp (2×2 inch)
2 tbsp Raw Sugar
2 ½ tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Mirin

2 Soft Boiled Eggs
6 Boiled Green Bean Pods
Karashi – Japanese Mustard

Otoshi buta – Japanese-style drop-lid
(Round parchment paper with a half inch hole in the center can be substituted for otoshi buta.)

 

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Mango Pickle – Aavakai Recipe

Example of Mangoes, shoot in Taipei, Taiwan. T...

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A traditional Indian meal is incomplete without a pickle. There are so many different ways of making pickles – cooking, fermenting over days in the sun or fresh pickles. This Mango Pickle recipes takes a few days and may sound like a tedious and a long process but the end result is just amazing and you can enjoy the fruits of you labor by relishing it over months or years. Take a step back in time and enjoy this art that goes back centuries in time.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Pickling Time: 20 – 25 days

Ingredients:

Raw Green Mangoes – 2 large (1 lb)
Garbanzo Beans (Kabuli Chanas) – 1 cup
Salt – 2 tbsp or to taste
Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Mustard Seed Powder – 1 tbsp
Coriander Powder – ¼ cup
Red Chili Powder – 1/4 cup or to taste
Kashmiri Chili Powder – 1 tbsp
Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ tsp, powdered
Sesame Seed Oil – 1 ½ cups

Method:

1. Wash and dry Mangoes.
2. Remove seed and cube Mangoes with a shape knife.
3. Wash and completely dry Garbanzo Beans.
4. Spread Mangoes and Garbanzo Beans on a tray, cover with thin cloth and allow them to dry overnight.
5. Next day, mix dry spices in a bowl – Salt, Turmeric, Asafoetida, Mustard Seed Powder, Coriander Powder, Red Chili Powder, Kashmiri Chili Powder and Fenugreek Seed Powder.
6. Add Mangoes and Garbanzo Beans. Mix well.
7. Add Sesame Oil, mix, cover and set bowl out in the sun for about 20 days. Mix daily.
8. Transfer to clean, dry jar and store at room temperature or refrigerator.
9. Enjoy over the next few months.

Tips:

1. Use Kashmiri Chili Powder to make a mild pickle.
2. Skip the Garbanzo Beans and the pickle will be ready in 12 days.
3. Oil should be floating on top to prevent spoilage.

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 16, 2011 in Fruit, Pickles & Chutneys

 

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