Sunday, April 13, 2014

Passover Mandelbrot


Passover, like most holidays seems to creep up quietly and then all of a sudden it's busy kitchen to the power of 10.  I really love this holiday but honestly, it's alot of work.  Anyone who tells you differently isn't the one doing the cooking.  Thank goodness for my sister (aka Auntie Takeout) who's stepped forward and is taking on alot of the work.

We cook at our own homes and then do the schlep to baba's place.  It's actually easier to do it this way than try to bring my mom to one of our homes.  It also leaves baba with enough leftovers for a week's worth of meals.  This year I'm doing the sides and desserts.
One of the desserts this year is mandel brot.   This recipe is a first timer for me and until now I had no idea how simple it is to make and I know baba will love these cookies.  They're really like a smaller and softer version of biscotti.  You also don't need a mixer for these - easy to put together by hand.

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup cake meal
1/2 cup potato starch
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
Whisk eggs and add sugar, continue whisking until well blended
Slowly incorporate oil and then both cake meal and potato starch
Stir in chocolate chips
Let mixture sit for 15 minutes
With oiled hands form 3 long logs (the mix will be sticky)
Bake for 30 minutes.  Take out logs and cut into approximately 12 slices per log and return to oven for 5--10 minutes to dry.


Fantastic!



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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lemon Cranberry Muffins


Why am I craving lemons?  It was a total mystery to me but I went a couple of days wishing I had something with lemon in it. After doing some reading about lemon cravings and quickly ruled out pregnancy I read that it's not uncommon for people who have difficulty sleeping and/or not enough magnesium to have this craving.  Interesting, no?  I've always had to take magnesium supplements so maybe there's something to it.

I stood in front of the open fridge and just took a mental inventory of what was there and I had some lemons and also some fresh cranberries.  Hmmm... now what?  I found a recipe for Lemon Cranberry Muffins.

I can't believe this was the first time I'd ever made this variety of muffin.  It's easy (my favourite), you do it all by hand and it takes 5 minutes to put together.  That's a good recipe!



2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup (I used more) fresh cranberries
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 egg
1/4 cup oil

Preheat oven to 400 F
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together
In a separate bowl mix sugar with lemon zest mixing well to incorporate zest to sugar, add to flour mixture
In a measuring cup pour in milk and lemon juice; allow to sit for a few minutes (it'll look like buttermilk)
Add egg and oil and whisk all together  
Make a well in the dry ingredients, add liquid and stir only until blended, add cranberries

If you have large muffin tins, spray one tray of six with non stick and scoop even amount to each one. The smaller muffin tins (12/tray) will work also, just adjust baking time accordingly.
Bake large muffins for 23 minutes (depending on your oven); mine were done in 20 minutes 



NOTE:  These muffins are so good and I'd compare them to any good lemon cranberry muffins anywhere! They're not dry, cake like with a twist of tang.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Boston Baked Beans


Boston Baked Beans was always this mysterious food that I tried only once before and it was a dismal failure.  Maybe I didn't read the recipe properly but the end result was a fine dinner for the garbage. How could this happen?  It's not even a complicated recipe!  Baked beans is such a great warm with a little bit of tang type food that has game day written all over it.

I checked so many recipes and all of them seem to have their own little twist on what makes the perfect final product.  I found a recipe from Alton Brown that had really amazing reviews and decided that if this one doesn't work out I'll go down in the books as the blogger who couldn't prepare beans.  AND, in the spirit of sportsmanship, I decided that I'm dedicating this one to my SIL "R", a dyed in the cloth Ottawa Senator fan and always has something "not so pretty" to say about our own Toronto Maple Leafs.




Ingredients

1 pound dried Great Northern beans
1 pound bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
Vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt


Directions

Heat oven to 250 degrees F.

Soak beans in a plastic container overnight in just enough cold water to submerge them completely.

Place a cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat and stir in the bacon, onion, and jalapenos until enough fat has rendered from the bacon to soften the onions, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, dark brown sugar, and molasses.

Drain the beans and reserve the soaking liquid. Add the drained beans to the Dutch oven. Place the soaking liquid in a measuring cup and add enough vegetable broth to equal 4 cups of liquid. Add the liquid to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Add in cayenne, black pepper and salt. Give them a stir and cover with the lid. Place the Dutch oven in the oven for 6 to 8 hours, or until the beans are tender.

Notes

 I don't have an oven proof dutch oven so I did the original prep in a regular pot and then transferred it all to a large oven proof casserole dish 9x13 and deep.
The reviews on this one were very accurate - delicious, easy and were gone in no time.



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