Posts made in January, 2014

Conflicted…The Year of the Bronco?

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Asian and Vegetarian | 1 comment

The calendar tells me that today, January 31, 2014 is the spring Chinese Lunar New Year of the Horse.  It is a grand and festive occasion for families to celebrate rich traditions.

Western style, football fans are turning their attention to Super Bowl XLVIII kick-off (Sunday) and pigskin platters of fried cheesy snacks, spicy wings, skins, sliders, and sips.

I have mixed feelings.

I do not have a Chinese family and I have no interest in football.  I have tried, really.

In another post I shared a soft summer roll.

We are happy to dip these Lunar New Year rolls tonight and during the football game too!

Soft Summer Rolls with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce --Ellie Krieger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you line up your ingredients it becomes a cooking craft.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rice papers soak for a few seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you pile up the elements--have another paper resting in the water.   A thin cotton towel is an ideal rolling station.

The fresh basil leaves will be the  top of the roll.  Place them so the top of the leaf will show through the translucent summer roll.  Noodles and a split shrimp are layered on the basil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shredded carrots and a slice of avocado are added before  lettuce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I chose fleshy lettuces from MP's winter garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carefully roll the fragile paper around the filling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Store the rolls in a dish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

layered between lightly dampened paper towels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before loading the rolls into the boat, slice them in half at an angle.  Serve with the sweet and spicy dipping sauce.
The best of both worlds-- Happy New Year-- and enjoy the commercials!

 

 

 

 

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Say Cruciferous

Posted by on Jan 29, 2014 in Soup | 1 comment

 

Say, Cruciferous ten times.

Specifically including cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are lovelier when they are as striking as chartreuse Romanesco.  Our beloved has arrived earlier than normal during the ‘skinny’ season (winter) at the Farmers’ Market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ate it once a week last year in a half warm salad with avocado and black-eyed peas—and eagerly grabbed a few crowns last week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leek, White Bean and Romanesco Soup topped with the tender leaves finely minced, crumbled roasted chestnuts, Parmesan, and goat cheese toasts made a mellow and cozy way end Tuesday…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saute the seasoned leek and garlic before adding the florets, stock and bundle of thyme to simmer until soft and tender.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discard the thyme and move the soup to a blender; puree until it is chunky smooth (even easier is an immersion blender). Stir in a can of white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained.  Heat the soup through ...

Adjust the seasonings; pick up a deep soup spoon and slide to a soft seat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you think the soup would be green?

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Mindful of Chocolate

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Desserts | 1 comment

Some people must have a box of chocolates at their fingertips—

Coincidently, this decadent display of rich bittersweet chocolate is one rather large 'truffle' served up as a chocolate tart topped with crunchy toasted hazelnuts and a silky puddle of raspberry sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  crust is a simple paste of flour, butter, sugar, and cocoa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dough fits into a 9-inch tart pan (I chose a square one for this tart).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bittersweet filling is a showy ganache smoothed out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by a bit of strong coffee and hazelnut liqueur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how luxury pours...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems as though we have bypassed winter in California this year.  The birds are singing and cooing as if it was springtime.

Pass the raspberries.  It is almost Valentine's Day!

Bittersweet Chocolate & Hazelnut Truffle Tart

Ingredients

  • Tart:
  • 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Filling:
  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons strong coffee
  • 1 ounce (about ¼ cup) toasted hazelnuts chopped

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt, process until creamy. Add the vanilla. Process until mixture forms a paste. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a solid piece. Unwrap and fit the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork. Preheat the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry feels dry to the touch. Let cool on a rack.
  2. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for a minute. Stir the chocolate until melted and smooth. Pour in the liqueur, coffee and combine. Pour the chocolate into the cooled tart shell top with chopped nuts and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  3. Remove the tart from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
  4. Remove the tart from the pan; serve with fresh raspberry sauce.
  5. Serves 8-10
  6. © Copyright 2014 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  7. All Rights Reserved
  8. http://cococooks.net/
http://cococooks.net/mindful-of-chocolate/

 

 

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Oh Those Cupcakes!

Posted by on Jan 24, 2014 in Desserts | 5 comments

I am doing a happy, happy dance this morning.

The 2014 Fast has ended for us.

Emerging from a prayerful atmosphere of semi-seclusion does not literally mean dropping out altogether.

I see it as a temperate view from a lofty bridge where the murky water clears up if you stay put long enough; to see silt shift.  The early mornings radiate new-fangled light through a rough-hewn chink. Rich words of devotion and scripture bubble up from living waters flowing by and by.

We cannot stay there. We are designed to do a happy, happy dance on firm ground held upright by Grace.

Enter here, Carrot Cupcake Fairy Godmother.

Big ‘ol carrots became the darling of Betty Crocker’s24 Carat Cake’ along with pineapple, raisins, chopped nuts, and coconut in the ‘70’s.  Maybe you were a fan (or maybe you were not even born yet).

Ultimate 24-Carat Cake

--photo source Recipe.com ()

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was too, too sweet for me.  I abandoned it until last week when MP needed a portable treat for a mid morning meeting of collogues at his office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was up to my eyeballs in carrots.  Rather than that '70's show, I chose a simple cake-like cupcake, which could resemble a muffin before noon if you lick off the frosting.

The most complicated part of the procedure is grating carrots—otherwise it is a bowl and spatula recipe except for the icing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply combine the wet with the dry ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first go- around was simple and clean.  Reduced fat cream cheese completed the aura of a semi- cloaked muffin.

From another entrance, the Carrot Cake Fairy tinkered with a gluten-free moister motif; a golden brow topped with the same light cream cheese spin.

I added both variations here:

Don't be tempted to leave off the 'toasted' walnut.  It is the best bite!

Double Winners!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

  • Cupcakes
  • 1 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 pound (2 large) carrots peeled and grated
  • 12 toasted walnut haves for garnish
  • Icing
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sifted Confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. CUPCAKES
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  3. Whisk butter, sugars and eggs together in a large bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners. Bake 15-18 minutes until done.
  5. Cool in tin 5 minutes and remove to a rack to cool completely.
  6. ICING
  7. With an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sifted confectioners' sugar beating thoroughly. Add vanilla and mix until smooth.
  8. Frost each cupcake with an even layer of icing and garnish with walnut half. Refrigerate until serving.
  9. Makes 1 dozen
http://cococooks.net/oh-those-cupcakes/

The gluten-free variety has a softer more modern texture--

Gluten-free Carrot Cupcakes with Light Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

  • CUPCAKES
  • 3/4 cup Canola oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 pound (2 large) carrots, peeled and grated
  • 12 toasted walnut haves for garnish
  • ICING
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces (reduced fat) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sifted Confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Whisk oil, sugars, applesauce, and eggs together in a large bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners. Bake 15-18 minutes until done.
  4. Cool in tin 5 minutes and remove to a rack to cool completely.
  5. ICING
  6. With an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sifted confectioners' sugar beating thoroughly. Add vanilla and mix until smooth.
  7. Frost each cupcake with an even layer of icing and garnish with walnut half. Refrigerate until serving.
  8. Makes 1 dozen
  9. © Copyright 2014 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  10. All Rights Reserved
  11. http://cococooks.net/
http://cococooks.net/oh-those-cupcakes/

 

 

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Grace Notes

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in New | 2 comments

My Uncle Bill and I shared a birthday, January 22nd.  As a child, we celebrated that day with tongue-in-cheek novelty.

 

I grew up and he grew old.

On New Year’s morning, Uncle Bill joined saints and angels in Heaven.

His daughters’ are sifting through his carefully logged writings as we prepare to honor his life.  Among the archives of thoughts, poems and lifetime musings, a letter written to me rose to the surface.  My cousin, Kathie sent it to me.  It arrived moments after I climbed down from the 3rd floor open loft where MP and I shove stuff— stuff which requires a legion of angels to pry open—and one willing ‘mommy’ to enter, ask, and receive the footnote of Grace, as it is written.

Uncle Bill sent this grace-filled note of comfort shortly after my 45th birthday.

Letter to Peggy from Uncle Bill

Indeed, I have not grieved, wept, prayed, or suffered alone.

Hallowed be thy name.

Happy Birthday to us, Uncle Bill.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

 

 

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