Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Rosie Makes Hummus.

Between my three little Hawthornelets,
I have a vegan, a vegetarian, and a pescatarian.
Don't ask me where I went wrong,
but there you have it.
So, when we're all together,
food service can be ... complicated.
Enter the sesame seed and the garbanzo bean.
They all love hummus.

Hummus is a creamy dip consisting of tahini (sesame seed paste),
garbanzo beans (chick peas), olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
And some other stuff.

I have a basic recipe for hummus
which can serve as a starting point for your take
on this Middle Eastern staple.
Other flavorful additions to hummus could include:
roasted red peppers
Kalamata olives 
jalapeno peppers
caramelized onions
pine nuts
sundried tomatoes and basil
cayenne peppers
roasted garlic

It's like a smorgasbord!
Pick and choose your flavors.

Here's my basic hummus recipe:


For tahini paste:
2 - 1.5 oz. packets sesame seeds (1/4 cup)
4 TB olive oil
kosher salt to taste
 Lightly toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet or spread out evenly on baking sheet in oven.  Watch carefully.
Let cool, then process with olive oil.  Add a pinch or two of kosher salt, to taste.
I used Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil because of its neutral flavor.  I didn't want the oil to overpower the flavor of the sesame seeds.
Yield:  1/3 cup tahini


1/2 cup dried garbanza beans
Boil garbanzas in salted water, adding water as needed, until tender.  About 2 hours.  Drain.  Cool.  And PEEL!  Yes.  I said to peel them.  Use a paper towel and squish the buggers out of their skin.
Yield: 1 1/4 cups cooked garbanza beans

Combine in processor:
1/3 cup prepared tahini
1 1/4 cups cooked garbanza beans
juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Bertolli extra light olive oil
kosher salt, to taste

Process all until nice and smooth.
add a few shakes of cumin, some cayenne pepper flakes, and a nice flavorful, fruity extra virgin olive oil in a pool in the middle.

Actually, I shouldn't call this a "paste."
I like my tahini pourable.

Gotta peel those beans!

Pour in the tahini.

Lemon juice, garlic, water, olive oil.

Sprinkle with cumin and cayenne.
Maybe some paprika.
Make a hole in the middle
and pour in some really good, flavorful extra virgin olive oil.

I served this with tortilla chips to scoop it.
But you could use pita bread or naan.
Or vegetable slices - like peppers and carrots and celery.

Dip, scoop, and enjoy!
And all three Hawthornelets are happy!
Which makes for a happy Rosie!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Rosie Makes Apple Pastries.


It was a lazy Sunday morning.
And I decided to get lazy with some pastry.

I love a whole morning laid out with laziness.

I was wondering whether I wanted to make a copy cat recipe for Crispy Cream Doughnuts (I refuse to spell that with Ks.) or just wing it.  I decided to wing it.

So... I'm sorta making doughnuts, but without the holes.
And I'm slathering on some homemade applesauce and gathering the dough up in balls, letting them rise, then frying in Crisco.

Isn't that a pretty dough?

Apple-Filled Fried Pastries
1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 can evaporated milk (5 oz.)
6 TB sugar
1/4 cup Crisco
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup homemade applesauce

3 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup water
pinch kosher salt
1 TB sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Prepare the apples and place slices in lemon juice in a small saucepan.  Toss slices in the juice to keep from browning.
Add the water, salt, sugar, and cinnamon and cook over low heat until water evaporates and apples get saucy.  I like a few chunks in there too.  Stir occasionally.

Fried Apple Pastries
Pour yeast into water and sprinkle a little sugar over top to give the yeast something to snack on.  Yeast is hungry!

In a mixer, cream the Crisco, adding the sugar gradually.  Add in the egg, vanilla, evaporated milk, and yeast mixture.  Switch to a dough hook attachment and add in flour, salt, and nutmeg, beating for about 6 minutes.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and finish kneading by hand, sprinkling more flour if needed.  Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until double.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out about 1/2 inch thick.  Chop dough into small  squares or rectangles.  Spread applesauce on top of each piece.  Fold pieces and seal edges.  Place filled pastries on a large baking sheet, cover, and let rise until doubled in size.

In a deep frying pan, heat Crisco to 350°.  Carefully slide risen dough pieces into hot oil and cook about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.   Drain on rack.

  Mix 2 cups powdered sugar with 3 TB milk and whisk until smooth. Add a little vanilla, to taste. Drizzle over pastries.

Yes.  I like to poke my dough.

Roll out to 1/2 inch thick.

I like a chunky applesauce.

Moisten edges with a little water and crimp to seal.

I made all different shapes.
Squares, rectangles, and ...
I squished some into little balls.

Let rise.

Whenever you fry, never crowd the pan.  It lowers the temperature of the oil, giving you soggy and greasy, not light and crisp.

And I always pour hot oil over the pastries while frying.

Drain on wire racks.

Then drizzle with icing.

My home smells like a bakery.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Rosie Makes Oven-Roasted Cauliflower.

I liked the cauliflower I made the other day so much
that I made it again, with a few tweaks this time.

 Here's today's luncheon.

Oh, what a lovely lunch this was.
Cauliflower florets tossed in a zesty, spicy concoction
with tahini, all roasted in a hot oven.
 (From the Spice and Tea Exchange in Duck)
with steamed spinach.
Peanuts sprinkled around.
Oven Roasted Cauliflower With Tahini

1 cup lightly toasted sesame seeds
4 TB Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil
a few pinches kosher salt, to taste

Lightly toast the sesame seeds, cool,
and place in processor.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil at a time, blending well,
until you get the consistency you desire.
Four tablespoons worked for me.
And I use Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil
because it doesn't impart a strong, olive oil taste.
This Bertolli is basically neutral,
so that's why I use it.
Add in kosher salt, to taste.

For the cauliflower:
1/2 head cauliflower, with florets sliced 1/4-inch thick

Seasoning for cauliflower:
2 TB lemon juice
zest of half a lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 TB extra light Bertolli olive oil
1/4 cup TB tahini
kosher salt to taste (1/8-1/4 tsp)

Whisk all ingredients together.
add cauliflower, and toss to coat well.

Heat oven and foil-lined baking pan to 450°.
Working quickly,
pour cauliflower onto hot baking pan in a single layer,
scraping all the tahini mixture onto the florets.
Roast about 15 - 20 minutes,
turning pan halfway through,
until the florets start to lightly brown.

Serve on a bed of pretty green rice.
Add some steamed spinach,
a plug of Plugra unsalted butter,
and sprinkle peanuts over top.

Mr. Hawthorne was kind enough to shell some peanuts for me.
Tahini/spice mixture on left.

Toss florets with tahini mixture to coat.

Roast in a hot pan in a hot 450° oven
until lightly browned.
Add the peanuts.

 I loved the flavors here.
I loved the textures.
I loved the colors.
 I like to play with my food.

 And then I ate it.
Went back for seconds.

Here's another way you might like to try it.
I had fresh corn,
so I just sliced off the kernels
and added them to the cauliflower mix.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Rosie Roasts Cauliflower.

 "Can I have some of your cauliflower?"

How often do you hear someone ask you that?
Never, right?

Well, you need to make this cauliflower and closely guard it.
That's how good it is.

 Here's how to make cauliflower like you've never had it before.

First, I made tahini, a sesame seed based paste, except I wanted more of a liquid consistency than a paste.  I lightly toasted 2 - 1.5 oz. packages of sesame seeds, then put them in my mini-processor with 2-3 tablespoons of Bertolli extra light olive oil.  I didn't want an extra virgin olive oil with a strong flavor to compete with the delicate flavor of sesame seeds, hence my choice of the extra light olive oil.  Happily process away until you have a pourable consistency.

I placed a metal, foil-lined, rimmed baking pan in my toaster oven and turned it up to 450°.
Leave the pan in the oven while you prepare the sauce for the cauliflower.  Let the pan heat for at least 20 minutes before using.

Cauliflower with Tahini
½ head of cauliflower, cut into 1 - 1½ inch florets
juice of 1 lime
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp paprika
½ cayenne flakes
¼ tsp Lawrys pepper
2 TB roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
1 garlic clove, minced
2 TB Bertolli extra light olive oil
3 TB tahini sauce
Toss all together, coating cauliflower well, coming back every few minutes to stir up.

When baking pan has heated, pour cauliflower and marinade into pan in a single layer.
Bake for 10 minutes, then toss cauliflower.  Rotate pan.  Bake for another 10 minutes, or until tips of cauliflower are lightly browned.  

 Sprinkle with more pumpkin seeds.


Friday, August 18, 2017

A Breath Of Fresh Éclair.


Ahhhh.  The éclair.  What a divine creation. 

This is the perfect culinary project for your weekend.

But first, a bit of culinary history.

 It is believed that Chef Marie-Antoine Carême, famous pastry chef for French royalty in the 19th century, is responsible for this culinary delight.  Possibly the first celebrity chef, Carême revolutionized French haute cuisine, the "rich, intricate, and elaborate cuisine of the aristocracy and upper classes."  It was Carême who conceived the four "mother sauces-" béchamel, velouté, espagnole, and allemande.  He systematized many basic gastronomic principles with both drawings and step-by-step directions.

   He was the Julia Child of his day, urging people to experiment. He's credited with being the first cookbook author to use the phrase, "you can try this for yourself at home."

He perfected the soufflé and he also introduced the standard chef's white uniform with toque, which conveyed an overall image of cleanliness, still worn by chefs today. Chef Carême was the chef célèbre who elevated dining into art.  His gastronomic displays were legendary.  Carême's creations, many of which were opulent edible architectural creations of famous buildings, captured the eye of French diplomat, Talleyrand, who challenged the young chef to produce a full menu for his personal château, instructing him to use only local, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and to not replicate any dish over the course of a year.   

  Carême focused not only on the flavor of his dishes, but also on the appearance of his table, writing, "I want order and taste.  A well displayed meal is enhanced one hundred per cent in my eyes." 


In his cookbooks, the chef would include a sketch of himself so everyone would know what he looked like and people on the street would be able to recognize him.



 The fact that Carême is responsible for the éclair is but icing on the cake.

The éclair is a pastry made with choux paste, or pâte à choux.  The dough is piped into an oblong shape on a baking pan, then baked until crisp on the outside and hollow inside.  In the oven, steam lifts the pastry, puffing it up into a thin, crisp shell with a hollow middle that simply begs to be filled. My filling of choice is pastry cream, or crème pâtissière, and then I topped my éclairs with a chocolate glaze.

By the way, the dough, pâte á choux, is the same dough used for cream puffs and profiteroles, all variations on a wonderfully delicious theme.

  Pâte à Choux

1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
5 eggs

Note:  It is important to use skim milk, not whole.  The first batch I made I used 1/2 skim and 1/2 heavy cream and the éclairs didn't puff nearly as much as using just skim.  The fat content makes a difference.  And I have seen recipes that used water instead of the milk.

Heat oven to 425°.
In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, water, salt, sugar, and butter.  Cook over medium heat until the butter melts and mixture comes to a full boil.  Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously.  Keep stirring for 3-4 minutes until the mixture forms a smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Transfer dough to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and add eggs, one at a time, incorporating each each before adding the next.

Transfer mixture to a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch tip.  I used a plastic storage bag with the corner cut off.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  For éclairs, pipe out log shapes 4-5 inches long and 1 inch wide, spacing 2 inches apart.  For the cream puffs and profiteroles, pipe out small circles, 2-3 inches in diameter.

Bake at 425° for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 375° and continue to bake about 12 minutes longer, until nicely browned all over.  Remove from oven and poke a small hole in the end of each shell to allow steam to escape, keeping the shells from collapsing.  Cool on wire racks.

Fill each éclair with pastry cream.  You can spoon the pastry cream in a pastry bag with a small opening and fill the éclairs through a small hole in each end of the shell, or you can split the éclairs in half and spoon on the filling.

If you don't have a pastry bag, use a zip-lock bag and make a small slice in the corner.

Top with chocolate glaze.

  Crème Pâtissière
2 cups whole milk
 OR 14 oz. skim milk and 2 oz. heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 TB cornstarch
1/2 cup + 1 TB sugar
2 eggs
4 TB unsalted butter, cut into 1 TB pieces

Rosie never has whole milk on hand, however, she always has skim milk and heavy cream. To approximate whole milk, for each cup I used 7 ounces skim and 1 ounce heavy cream.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the milk with the salt and split vanilla bean and scraped out seeds.  Bring to just under a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, making sure that the milk solids don't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the cornstarch and sugar.  Add eggs, whisking until smooth.

When the milk is ready, slowly ladle in about a third of the hot milk into the egg mixture to temper the eggs.  You don't want scrambled here.  Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the hot milk and continue whisking over medium heat until the custard thickens, 2-3 minutes.  Don't let it boil, or you will curdle the cream.  Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine sieve into another bowl, removing the vanilla bean pods.  Let cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to release heat.

When the pastry cream is about 140°, whisk the butter into the pastry cream, one tablespoon at a time, whisking until smooth before adding the next tablespoon. Cover with plastic wrap directly on top and refrigerate.  Pastry cream will keep, well covered, in the fridge for about five days.  Heh.  Not in this house!

Chocolate Glaze
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 TB light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
Combine chocolate and corn syrup in a heatproof bowl.  Bring cream to just under a boil in a small saucepan.  Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture, letting mixture sit a few minutes without stirring until the chocolate melts.  Gently stir until smooth and shiny.

   And the finished product!
I sliced these cream puffs in half, slathered on the Crème Pâtissière, and drizzled on the chocolate glaze.

For the éclairs, I filled a pastry bag with the Crème Pâtissière and piped it through a hole in each end of the shell, filling from both ends.  Pour chocolate glaze over top.

And enjoy!

This is heaven!