Ruby Red Macerated Mulberries

I looove mulberries! No thorns at all! So easy to pick… I only had to scare the squirrels away from our tree and the rest… piece of cake. Plus you also get lovely shades of purple and red all over your hands and lips… XD

Mulberry pickingThese were so sweet and delicious… And my lovely neighbor had just given me a bunch of  ruby red grapefruits so I thought of putting them together with a little bit of cane sugar and they were so refreshing and sweet, tangy… Nom, nom!

Macerated mulberries

My mom used to macerate fresh red strawberries from our garden in orange juice and sugar, and back then also we used to eat berries macerated in red wine and sugar…! Oh my!

Macerated mulberries

This simple dessert, snack, breakfast… can be put together in a few seconds… the berries were sooo ripe and ready that we didn’t have to wait at all for juice to get infused with them. They were gone in no time! Give this idea a try, with really any kind of berries, you’ll love them! Guaranteed!

Macerated mulberries

 Enjoy!

 

Fake-no-Bake Mango Creme Brulee

Here it is… another mango recipe. Mango is one of my favorite fruits. When a mango is good… Oh man! IT IS GOOD!

Also, Creme Brulee has to be one of my favorite desserts, so decadent, rich, silky, sweet, crunchy on top… DELICIOUS!

But this time of the year, who wants to turn on the oven to make it? Really?

Well, this recipe comes to the rescue, it’s not the real deal… but it surely hits the spot. Plus with the addition of fruit (mango in this case, but feel free to substitute with whatever rocks your boat: berries, pineapple, etc…) it lightens it up and makes it more summery and juicy!

Basically you put chopped fruit on the bottom of a small container, make a simple custard and spread it on top of it. And finally with a kitchen torch burn some brown sugar until crunchy. Pretty easy right?

mango creme brulee

Here is what you’ll need to make this delicious, super easy custard:

(makes 4-6 servings depending on container size)

4 egg yolks

4-5 tablespoons sugar (depending how sweet you like it)

1 piece french vanilla bean

1 piece lemon peel

2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon corn starch

In a saucepan place the milk,  the lemon peel and vanilla bean,  heat until it begins to boil, turn off and let cool so the flavors infuse the milk.

Meanwhile in a bowl mix the sugar with the egg yolks and cornstarch. Slowly incorporate the cooled milk mixture (lemon peel and vanilla bean removed) until well combined. Then slowly bring this mixture to a boil stirring constantly until it thickens and it’s totally cooked.

mango creme brulee

Divide chopped fruit among glass containers or ramekins, and do the same with the custard. Refrigerate and when ready to serve, sprinkle dark brown sugar and caramelize with a torch.

Enjoy this summery Creme Brulee!

Thai Inspired-Non-Traditional Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

Summer is here, so whenever I do grocery shopping I go like a maniac buying fruits, and the other day I happened to find delicious Ataulfo mangoes, they are skinnier, yellow and sweeter than the traditional mango. My husband calls them sucking mangoes, cause he makes a little cut on its top with a sharp knife and by squeezing all the pulp inside he basically liquifies it and then sucks it all up through that little slit. Delicious!!!

ataulfo mango

So with these beauties I decided to make a non traditional sticky rice, cause… really… who has a thai rice steamer? Not me! and let me tell you I’m known for having a LOT of kitchen/cooking related stuff! So I simply used sushi rice, once again not sticky rice but a very close relative and a lot more common at your grocery store.

Here it is…

Coconut sticky rice with mango

You’ll only need a handful of ingredients:

7 oz (200 grams) sushi rice (glutinous rice or if you have sticky rice, go for it!!!)

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of water

1 1/3 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mangoes

sticky rice arriba trio

Place rice and water in a small pot, bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes with a lid. Then remove from heat and cover with a kitchen towel for another 15 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, stir the coconut milk, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan over low heat until sugar and salt have dissolved. As soon as the rice is cooked, using a wooden spoon, gently mix it with the coconut milk and set aside for another 15 minutes so it thickens a little more.

Meanwhile, peel the mangoes and slice off the two outside cheeks of each, removing as much flesh as you can in large pieces, but don’t get to close to the stone cause the flesh there is fibrous. Cut in desired shapes… lengthwise, or cubed like I did.

Ladle creamy coconut sticky rice on serving dishes and top with diced mango. Stupendous!

coconut sticky rice with mango

Serves about 8 small portions, 6 more generous ones.

Enjoy!

Licorice Tea

Simple and comforting post for today, even though we are well into spring today it feels like fall… dark, drizzly, humid… Not fun basically since today is my first day off in a looooong time. Bummer!

Two weeks ago we went to Queens to spend the day and I finally got to go to one of my favorite places: A Korean market. I was soooo excited, like my mother used to say: “happier than a kid with new shoes”. I couldn’t get enough, my eyes didn’t know where to look, there were new, unknown and exciting things everywhere!!!

So this is one of the many things I bought: Licorice!!! I love it! Always had.

Licorice root

I always had it in the shape of a stick. We used to chew it and suck all the juice out of it. We even played a trick on the nuns in school, we used to sharpen it like it was a pencil and that way we got away with having it in the middle of our class!!! Pretty neat right?

licorice root

Licorice has been used in food and as medicine for thousands of years. Also known as “sweet root,” licorice root contains a compound that is about 50 times sweeter than sugar. Licorice root has been used in both Eastern and Western medicine to treat a variety of illnesses, ranging from the common cold to liver disease. It acts as a demulcent, a soothing, coating agent, and as an expectorant. It is still used today for several conditions, although not all its uses are supported by scientific evidence.

Licorice Tea

First I rinsed the pieces of root under cold running water and then I boiled them for about 20 minutes. The results: sweet, deep licorice flavor, and since right now I have a bad cold, it was just perfection.

If you ever run into licorice tea or licorice root (even better) give it a try. You’ll love it!

licorice tea

Enjoy!

Creme Fraise Gluten Free Corn Muffins

Here I go again with one of my lazy recipes. I had regular flour, but I keep it in my commercial kitchen and I didn’t want to go there first thing in the morning with my pj’s still on, so I made them GF since I keep all that stuff at home. I also had some creme fraise so I decided to use it to make these babies, but if you don’t have any at home feel free to substitute with greek yogurt or sour cream, something thick ;)

GF creme fraise corn muffins

I prefer my popover tin cause I like my corn muffins nice and tall!

I used my favorite GF mix, here is what goes into my mix:

2 cups super fine brown rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon xantham gum to help it stay together. Mix it all good and keep it in an air tight container.

Here is what you’ll need to make these muffins (yields about 9 regular muffins, i got 6 popover ones):

1 cup GF flour mix

2/3 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2  cup creme fraise

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 cup softened butter

GF creme fraise corn miffins

Heat oven to 400 F

Cream sugar and butter in a bowl until nice and fluffy. Stir in the eggs and mix until combined and then add the cream fraise, incorporate, and lastly add all the dry ingredients, mixing well until thoroughly combined. I also added a touch of freshly ground black pepper.

Pour even amounts of batter into prepared pan and bake for 18-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm.

GF creme fraise corn muffins

I drizzle mine as you can see with honey! Delicious flowery lavender honey from the french Provence! To die for!

I devoured it with a nice hot cup of tea.

GF creme fraise corn muffins lavender honey drizzle

Enjoy,

Weight your eggs cake

Last December my sister came to visit and she brought me a family heirloom recipe book (what’s left of it, that is…) that belonged to my Great Aunt Margarita. It doesn’t have a cover and some of the pages are missing, some are torn… but it really has lots of charm, I think, for an almost 100 year old book.

Great Aunt recipe book

It’s a little tricky though, I guess back then, cooking was more intuitive than what it is right now… we look for exact measurements, and temperatures and cooking times… this baby leaves a lot of that out, so I’m afraid I’m going to do a lot of experimenting… for example one recipe says: bake a cake anyway you want, (I go like… WHAT!!???) and substitute the flour for potato starch… Yezz!

image
Add a little bit of sugar here, a little bit of Jerez there… we are not that intuitive when it comes to cooking anymore I think… The temperature thing I can understand, cause back them probably the common oven was not electric and there was no temperature nob. Some other recipes say: melt 3 pieces of chocolate… what size? how much do they weight? Hello!!! So for my first try at this book I picked a pretty normal recipe although I was intrigued by what the results where going to be. It’s pretty simple but interesting. It asks you get three or four eggs, so when I first read that I went: here we goooo again… but to my liking it said to weigh them, yeap, weigh them with shell and everything, and whatever number you get, use the same of the rest of the ingredients. Intriguing right?

blueberry pound cake

I used grams to be more exact. This is what I used:

232 grams of eggs (4 of my hen’s eggs, 8.18 0z.)

232 grams of sugar

232 grams of melted and cooled butter

232 grams of all purpose flour

2 handful dried blueberries. It called for candied fruits (desired amount) but I didn’t have any, plus I like  blueberries a lot better.

Beat the eggs well then add the sugar. Since it didn’t call for baking powder or baking soda, I thought of giving it a good beat to create more bubbles and help it rise. Then incorporate the flour and at the end mix in the cooled butter and the blueberries.

I lined a 9 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper and I baked it for almost an hour (55 min) in a 350F oven. Remove when toothpick comes out clean and cool in a cooling rack.

Blueberry pound cake

Pretty interesting right? I had the first piece with a lovely tropical fruity green tea.

Since to me it felt like a lot of sugar (in turned out just right, not overly sweet) I didn’t want to make the glaze recipe it called for, so I barely sprinkled it with powder sugar. Check it out ;)

Blueberry pound cake

Since my hens are laying eggs again (Yayyyy!) the cake turned out super yellow because of their corn diet. Pretty!

I was pleasantly surprised when I cut my first slice, this is what I got.

Blueberry pound cake

It came out very good, the minute I cut into it, I thought it would be perfect to cut in cubes (since it holds up its shape so well, very firm) and dip them in a chocolate fondue… Cake and chocolate… What’s not to like?

blueberry pound cake

It also reminded me of Nonni’s Addictables, have you seen them? they are these delicious crunchy thin crisps in a 100 calorie pack. I think that if I manage to cut it thin enough and bake it again I might get my own addictables… ;)

Give it a try.

Enjoy!

Lemon Zest Parsley Popovers (Gluten Free optional)

The other day my good friend Jeanette gave me a big bunch of fresh parsley, and after using it on everything from chicken with mushrooms to pasta with clams… I still had some left over so I decided to make these beauties! Light, airy, citrusy popovers. Although the list of ingredients is ridiculously simple, there’s a couple of things you must know to get them light and airy like these ones: very little mixing and a very hot popover pan and oven, the rest is as simple as it gets.

Lemon parsley popovers

Here is what you’ll need to make 6 big ones:

1 cup all purpose flour of gluten free flour mix (I used Trader Joe’s blend)

2 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup of milk also at room temperature

1 tablespoon melted butter (plus another tablespoon extra for brushing the pan)

1/2 teaspoon salt

black pepper to taste

lemon zest

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

lemon parsley popovers

Preheat oven and popover pan to 450 F. In a bowl, LIGHTLY whisk together the milk, eggs, melted butter, salt, black pepper, lemon zest and chopped parsley. Add flour and whist until just blended. Batter might be lumpy

lemon parsley popover

Carefully remove pan from the oven and quickly brush the cups with additional melted butter. Fill the cups 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR while they bake. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

lemon parsley popovers

If you want to make these ahead of time, they can be frozen in an airtight container and then warmed in a 325 F oven for 5-10 minutes. Delicious

Enjoy!

Wild Chives Picking Day

Simple and quick post on a rainy cloudy day… Drizzling here today in the Hudson Valley, so it’s a great day to go out there get a little wet and dirty too, the ground is soft so the first Allium Schoenoprasum of the season, wild chives that is…  are super easy to pull out of the ground.

wild chives

The whole thing is edible even their purple flowers, perfect for salads, (didn’t find any with flowers though… maybe next time) Very mild in flavor, delicious in soups…

wild chives

So go out there, get wet, get a little dirt under your nails, explore… Now, I cannot wait for the fiddle-head fern to come out… MMM delicious!

Wild chives

Enjoy!

Toasted Rolled Oats Almond Granola Bars (Vegan – Gluten Free)

Do you feel that no matter what kind of granola bar you buy is never the perfect one? They are either too sweet, or too high in fat, or not gluten free, or not vegan or not peanut free… Well these babies are just perfect, cause you can do so many with them, the sky is the limit! You can make them vegan, or not, use peanut butter, or sun flower butter, almond butter, substitute the almonds for pistachios or walnuts… Anything really! Whatever floats your boat :)

granola bars

The base to make them is four simple ingredients: rolled oats, nut butter of your choice, maple syrup (it can be substituted for honey or agave nectar) and  dates. Healthy, easy and delicious. Here is what I used to make these beauties:

oats cardamom almonds cinnamon

1 1/2 cups GF rolled oats (toasting them for 10 minutes optional)

1/4 cup plus one tablespoon organic peanut butter

1/4 cup plus one tablespoon Grade B (less precessed and better for you) maple syrup

1 cup plump organic deglet dates

1 cup raw almonds

a pinch or two cardamom

2 tablespoons chia seeds

a hand full of pepitas

a pinch of cinnamon

pepitas

Place the dates in a food processor until they reach a “dough” like consistency. Then, place the rolled oats, almonds, dates, pepitas and spices in a deep bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile warm over very low heat maple syrup and peanut butter in a small sauce pan, stir to mix and pour over rolled oat mixture breaking up the date paste so it’s well distributed.

dates

Once it’s mixed, line an 8 x 8 pyrex dish with a big enough piece of saran wrap, place the mixture and with the excess saran wrap cover the whole thing. This way you’ll be able to use a small glass, rolling it all over it to make it even in thickness. Place in refrigerator for about half hour to allow it to set.

rolled oats granola bars

Once cooled remove from dish and cut into even pieces (about 10). You can store them in airtight container at room temperature for a few days if you have the will power to eat all of them in one day… LOL! They also freeze wonderfully.

Enjoy!

Cabin Fever Brownies (Vegan and Gluten Free)

First, let me clarify that these brownies are vegan and gluten free not by choice, but due to necessity or maybe laziness I should say…

I’ll explain… I had made homemade almond milk since I recently bought a masticating juicer (which btw I adore) and I had done some research on how to make almond meal and flour with the leftover pulp, so I decided to make almond flour, pretty easy, and using the pulp of a cup an a half of raw almonds I had used to make the milk, I had just enough (one tablespoon left) almond flour to make these decadent brownies. It came out a little coarser that the store bought stuff, but it made them super nutty anyway.

almond flour

So here I go with my freshly made almond flour surfing the net to find a  nice recipe to use it all. And I happened to find these delicious sounding recipe by the wannabechef, but as it turned out, I didn’t have any butter, or enough chocolate chips (I only had a handful of those), I had no eggs… well I did, but everything was down in my shop, where I make all the baked goods and truffles for my etsy shop, buuuuut… with over a foot of snow already piled up outside and more coming down, I didn’t want to make the 20 step trip to go there… (talking about being lazy and not wanting to go outside). So I had to work with what I had in hand and let me tell you the results were simply out of this world besides making this recipe, gluten free and vegan also ;) what’s not to like uh?

I swapped the butter for coconut oil, some chocolate chips for cacao nibs and the egg for ground flax seeds and water. Here is what came out of my lazyness:

Cabin fever brownies (vegan and gluten free)g

Pretty good looking and great tasting brownies!!!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (Makes 1 8 x 8 pan):

3/4 cup almond flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (normally I would have used my lovely organic raw cacao powder but it was also in my shop so instead I used extra brut cacao Barry, super nice, rich and dark colored)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons ground flax seed added to 9 tablespoons of water (substitutes 3 large eggs) soaked for 5 minutes

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules (optional)

1/2 coconut oil (since I didn’t have any butter around)

4 oz 72% cocoa mass dark chocolate finely chopped (I used Trader Joe’s brand)  or a scant 1/2 cup chocolate chips

2 tablespoons cacao nibs (it added a crunchy, bitter, delicious chocolate flavor to them)

just a handful chocolate chips to sprinkle on top

cacao nibs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the almond flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder and set aside.

In a separate bowl, melt together 4 ounces of chocolate or a scant 1/2 cup chocolate chips with the coconut oil.

While the chocolate is melting, beat together the egg substitute, sugar, vanilla and coffee granules if using.

Slowly pour the melted chocolate and oil into the egg/sugar mixture while whisking until fully incorporated. If using eggs don’t go too fast so that the raw eggs don’t cook upon contact.

Add the chocolate mixture in with the dry ingredients and mix completely.

Pour the batter in an 8 x 8 pan.

Sprinkle the top with the handful of chocolate chocolate chips I had and gently press it into the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Let these cool completely before cutting in.

Gluten free Vegan almond flour brownies

 I have to confess I couldn’t wait, so I had a big piece with super cold milk…. Uuuuuuh! Cabin fever heaven on a plate! ;)

Also the coconut oil made them soooo yummy, you can really smell and taste a slight hint of coconut. Love it!

These really made this snowed in day a looooot better!

Almond flour brownies (vegan and gluten free)

Enjoy!