Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sweet and Simple Bakes: St Clement's Drizzle Muffins

I'm a bit ashamed of showing you the disaster muffins I made for Sweet and Simple Bakes this month but I intended to make them again but time was gone.... They tasted very good and I'm sure will taste even better with the new oranges, so please don't look at my monsters and go visit the blog for the real one !
Here you will find the recipe.

I Heart Cooking Clubs : Mini Pavlovas

This week for I Heart Cooking Clubs the theme is Baker's Delight and I chose these Mini Pavlovas which I knew would please everybody ! I found the recipe in How to be a Domestic Goddess and used pomegranate seeds and strawberries for the toppings.

Mini Pavlovas
(Makes 18)

8 egg whites

a pinch of salt
500g caster sugar
4 tsp corn flour
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Beat the egg whites and salt until the miixture form satiny peaks. Keep beating the egg whites while adding sugar little at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the corn flour, vinegar and vanilla extract. Fold in gently.

Form round meringues on the trays lined with baking paper, around 10 cm a cross and 1.5 cm high. Make an indentation in the middle of every pavlova with the back of a spoon. Put in the trays in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 150°C. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the Pavlovas inside for 1.5-2 hours.

Serve the Pavlovas with whipped cream, fresh fruit .

(Makes 18)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

TWD Chocolate Crunched Caramel Tart

Well my dear friends I must admit Dorie did it again ! I was not too conviced by this tart ( also because I didn't want to over eat it ) because of the peanuts but now I'm deeply in love with it ! I confess I used some leftovers of 'my' puff pastry as base and (thanks God) halved the recipe, but for the rest I was faithful to the recipe. This tarte could be the last wish of a prisoner !
Thanks to Carla of Chocolate Moosey who chose the recipe and don't forget to visit the others TWDers !

Monday, September 28, 2009

BBA Slow and Steady: Cornbread

I apologize for being particularly Slow this time !! We baked the Cornbread and I really have no clue about the whole point here ! I'm not aware of how cornbread usually tastes in the North or in the South so I'll judge it simply on my taste : I liked it even if I wouldn't know what to pair it with( mostly I ate it plain for breakfast). How do you usually eat it ? is it traditionally baked for Thanks Giving ?
Please visit the BBA to know more about this group baking through the Bread Bakers' Apprentice.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daring Baker's Challenge : Puff Pastry

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

This month we were challenged in making Puff Pastry and for me it was the first time making it so it was a real challenge !! Obviously I made many mistakes (like rolling the pastry too thin, not cooking the layers together,not having the oven hot enough and so on) but certainly got over the puff pastry terror and will make it again !
The savory vol au vent were filled with shrimps and salsa rosa (simply mayo and ketchup)

The sweet ones were filled with zabaione and a simple raspberries' compote on a raspberries' coulis

And with the shrimps' leftovers ?? Shrimp Bisque ! With the vol au vent flowers as croutons !

Thank you very much Steph !!

I Heart Cooking Clubs : Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon

The theme of the new group I heart cooking clubs for this week is Family Favourites and I can't really say I have made these Potato Cakes many many times before, but Anita loves very peculiar and special eating (sushi or smoked salmon, for instance) which compared to Carlo's taste (white pasta and frittata) sounds more challenging for a cooking freak. So, looking for something that would surprise her in these sad first days of the real school, I found this very fast and easy recipe (you can find it here) . I must say it will become a family favorite: plain for Carlo and with loads of salmon for Anita.
The salmon I used was smoked in a thick slice, different but very good !

Thursday, September 24, 2009

TFF Teriyaki_Glazed Pork Spare Ribs

Another week and another great 'supper saver' by our friend Tyler !!
As you have noticed all my Tyler's horrible photos are made in the kitchen at dinner time just before the dishes are assaulted by my beloved family ! Sorry !
I loved the recipe and it was faster than the one you find here because I used already divided ribs (here it is very uncommon to find a whole piece) .
Please check the blog !

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TWD Cottage Cheese Pufflets

I confess I was late again (I've just finished baking the pufflets) and this morning as I was reading the posts about them I thought maybe not to try them because there were more than one baker who didn't enjoy the little things... But I did ! And even the nauseated (pregnant) Cristina did ! It was not easy to roll the dough but when it was cold it was much easier. I filled them with rasperries preserve and some with nutella.
Thanks to Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes for choosing such a nice recipe and don't forget to visit the others !!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Cake Slice : Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake

This is my first time baking with The Cake Slice group and I got to try the last recipe from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes, next month we'll move on to a new book but I got a sample of the spectacular cakes the others bakers created in the past year.
This chocolate cake is peculiar because it uses mayonaise instead of butter and the resulta are a wonder, I halved the recipe and made two minicakes and some hearts out of the scraps (the one I didn't eat !). The only change I made was using less sugar but for the rest I 'obeyed' to the recipe with great results ! (not in looks I know....)

I Heart Cooking Clubs : Nigella's Supper Onion Pie

I guess you knew it already ! But I really love being part of a (or, better, many) cooking clubs ! It's part of my life but also most of the people I see every day don't even know I blog or what a cooking club is. It's like being a secret agent (I'm not drunk at all !). But let's move on to Nigella !
This week in 'I Heart Cooking Clubs' we are having a party and I though to bring a savory dish.
The recipe comes from 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' and it's very easy and fast.

Weekend Cat Blogging #224

This week Samantha, Mr Tigger and Maverick from Life from a Cat's Perspective are hosting the WCB. Please partecipate and visit !

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TFF Baked Rigatoni with Eggplant and Sausage

Each week I really try to make one of Tyler Florence's recipes (mostly with the ingredents I have on hand) because we always love them so much !!
This week's choice (due to the huge eggplant amount) was Baked Rigatoni with Eggplant and Sausage , here you will find the recipe, which was very easy and tasty, I had lot of goat ricotta too so I used it instead of the mozzarella.
Please visit the blog for a lot of interesting recipes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TWD Apple Flaky Turnovers

This week's recipe was chosen by Jules of Someone's in the kitchen and it really was delicious ! I halved the recipe and filled the turnovers with peaches and apples (I didn't use butter in the filling) and I must say we eat them while still warm and were really good !!!
Please visit others TWDers !

Monday, September 14, 2009

Daring Cook's Challenge : Indian Dosas

This month's challenge was chosen by Debyi and it's a very healthy and delicious indian vegan recipe ! The only dificult part for me was cooking the dosas without oil ..after some monsters I decided to use some olive oil and all was solved. I substituted peppers with zucchini and added some fresh tomatoes to the chickpeas filling.


Indian Dosas
This recipe comes in 3 parts, the dosas, the filling and the sauce. It does take awhile to make, but the filling and sauce can be made ahead and frozen if need be. You can serve them as a main course with rice and veggies, or as an appetizer. This does take a little planning ahead, so make sure you read the recipe through before starting (I forgot & didn't start making the rice until everything was ready, oops).

Serves 4

Equipment needed:
large bowl
griddle or skillet
ladle (or large spoon)
vegetable peeler &/or knife
large saucepan
food processor or bean masher

Dosa Pancakes
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed

Dosa Filling
1 batch Curried Garbanzo Filling (see below), heated

Dosa Toppings
1 batch Coconut Curry Sauce (see below), heated
¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut
¼ cucumber, sliced

Dosa Pancakes
1.Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.
2.Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.
3.Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.

Curried Garbanzo Filling
This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don't be afraid to make a full batch.

5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced
2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground
1 TBSP (8gm) oregano
1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste

1.Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.
2.Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

Coconut Curry Sauce
This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though. My picture of this sauce is one that I had made, had to freeze, then thaw to use. It tastes great, but the texture is a little runnier, not quite as thick as it was before freezing.

1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced

1.Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
2.Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
3.Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
4.Let it simmer for half an hour.
Happy eating!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

BBA Slow and Steady Cinnamon Raisins Hazelnuts Bread

This week's bread was a very very nice one: I'm already missing it ! I enjoied it toasted with some jam and it really made my day !
My cinnamon swirl doesn't show much maybe because I added cinnamon to the whole dough.
As usual I made this bread with my faithful 'Calcifer' the sourdough !
Please visit BBA for more informations about the group and here or here for the Slow and Steady group.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TWD Chocolate Soufflé

As Susan says most of us enjoy being part of this group also because we make things that would have never considered making like ... Soufflé. Maybe because I've seen so many times Sabrina's failures, soufflè always scared me to the point that I postponed it up to this morning ! I just made it (half recipe) and sent three of them downstairs for a special birthday breakfast for our young friend Arturo (AUGURI !) . Anita got the fouth one and I tasted it... delicious !
Please look for the recipe in She's becoming Doughmesstic or get yourself the Book !
Thank you Susan !!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bread Baking Buddies Russian Black Bread

I made it !! It's still not midnight and I'm actually eating this wonderful bread !!!
The Bread Baking Babe Gorel this month chose an amazing bread, with the strangest list of ingredients...and super yummy !!! I wish I had some nice cheese to taste it with but tomorrow I'll get some !

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

R2R Zucchini and Lemongrass Risotto

This month Debyi of The Healthy Vegan Kitchen challenged us with a vegan risotto with a side dish of marinated tofu. Originally it was an asparagus risotto but they are long gone from the markets and frozen ones aren't as tasty.
The risotto was really good !! The only hard part was finding lemongrass but I live near one of the two thai restaurant in Roma so I asked them one stalk and they told me they get it in Milano !!!
I'm so glad I made this rice and I'll certainly make it again with different vegetables ! The tofu was very flavourful too ! Thank you Debyi !
Please check the blogroll !


Asparagus & Lemongrass Risotto
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero from Veganomicon

Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish. It is also one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy. Its origins are in North Italy where rice paddies are abundant. While this is not a traditionally prepared risotto, it is pretty close. You really want to use Arborio rice, but you can substitute any short grain rice and get a similar dish.

The biggest challenge this month for some of you will be: Vegan & Gluten-Free
1.You must make the lemongrass broth from scratch, no meat broths allowed (including chicken, beef, fish, etc).
2.No cheese or milk of any kind is to be added to the risotto.

Why? Well, for one, it doesn't need it. I was watching an episode of No Reservations & he had some risotto that consisted of broth and rice, period. I have indicated the optional ingredients that you can add or leave out, or substitute, your choice. I have also included a side dish for you, but you can make whatever you want to go with it. I wanted to do a challenge that everyone would be able to eat. All of the soy in the recipe is easily omitted for those who are allergic.

Asparagus and Lemongrass Risotto
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes Serves 4-6
This one does have peanuts in it, so if you are allergic, just leave them out. Personally, I liked pine nuts in it best. Fresh lemongrass is available in most grocery stores, but if you can't find it, you can use dried. If using dried, you will want to use a cheese cloth or tea strainer. Place the dried lemongrass, ginger and garlic. Don't worry about the heat of the serrano pepper, it only adds a nice hint of flavor.

Lemongrass Broth:
3 cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
1” piece fresh ginger, sliced into ¼” slices
1 small stalk lemongrass, or 1 TBSP dried, chopped lemongrass
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
3 TBSP tamari (or soy sauce, or more broth)

½ cup cooking sherry or white wine (D'Aquino Pinot Grigio is a good choice, any dry white wine, or just water)
1 lb asparagus
2 TBSP vegetable broth
1 cup basil leaves (Thai, if you can find it), sliced into thin strips
2 TBSP chopped fresh mint
6 large shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano red chile, sliced very thinly (or ½ – 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
1 tsp sugar (optional)
2 TBSP lime juice
Chopped roasted peanuts and lime wedges, for garnish (you can use pine nuts or sliced almonds instead of the peanuts)

1.If using fresh lemongrass, peel away and discard any brown stems from the stalk. Slice the stalk in half lengthwise and cut into 3” to 4” lengths, then julienne.
2.Give the garlic and the ginger a could whack with the side of your knife, keeping them whole. Prepare your herb pouch, if using.
3.Place all of the broth ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the broth, discarding the vegetables and herbs. Pour the broth back into the pot, cover and simmer over as low a heat as possible to keep warm.
4.Slice the asparagus into ½” pieces, removing any tough parts from the bottom of the stem. Separate the tips from the stems and place each in separate bowls.
5.In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot, saute the asparagus in 1 TBSP vegetable broth over medium heat until bright and crisp tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the basil and mint, saute for 30 seconds, remove from heat and set aside.
6.Add the remaining tablespoon vegetable broth to the pan. Saute the shallots and garlic, stirring occasionally, until shallots are very soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the serrano and rice, saute for about 8 minutes, until the rice smells slightly toasted. Add the cooking sherry (or white wine) and stir constantly until the liquid is absorbed.
7.Now, time for relaxation and stirring. Get a glass of your favorite beverage, turn on some soothing music, or a good movie. Ladle about ½ cup of the broth at a time into the rice, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed. Stir and cook until the rice is creamy but still somewhat firm in the center.
8.When the broth is almost gone, stir the sugar and lime juice into the remaining broth before adding it to the risotto. You may add more water or vegetable broth in ¼ cup increments if needed. This will take about 35 minutes.
9.Stir the asparagus stems into the risotto and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the asparagus has reached desired tenderness.
10.Garnish each serving with the asparagus tips, chopped roasted peanuts, and lime wedges.

Tangerine Baked Tofu
Time: 1 hour Serves 4
You can sub orange juice, oranges, tangelos, or clementines for the tangerines.

1 lb extra-firm tofu, sliced width-wise into eighths.

1 tsp tangerine zest
1/3 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice (2-3 tangerines)
3 TBSP lime juice
2 TBSP tamari (or soy sauce)
1 TBSP agave nectar or pure maple syrup
¼ tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground allspice
Freshly ground pepper
2 TBSP dark rum (or 1 tsp rum extract)

1.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2.In a shallow 11” X 7” glass baking dish, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients. Place the sliced tofu in the marinade. Using a fork, poke a few holes into the cutlets, flip them over, and do the same on the other side.
3.Bake the tofu for 30 minutes, flipping several times, about every 15 minutes or so. The tofu is ready when the marinade is reduced. Spoon any remaining marinade over the tofu before serving.
I cooked mine for 45 minutes & my marinade was all gone. The tofu tasted great, even without the extra marinade.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sweet and Simple Bakes Jammy Doughnut Muffins

And here you go with another sure fast and good recipe from Rosie and Maria !!
I made the filling with cut apricots and a little blueberries jam and these muffins are so good I suggest you try them even without the topping !! Please visit the site tomorrow for the round up. Go here for the recipe and try it it is so quick you wouldn't believe it !!