Monday, April 30, 2012

Fruit tart

This is a confession: fruit tarts or tarts of any kind, really(!) are my favorite dessert. And so, I made this wonderfully tasty fruit tart in celebration of Wanda's birthday (but it wasn't a completely altruistic gift). It tasted as amazing as it looks! It is quite easy to make--tarts are one of those delicate-looking desserts that appear at once intricate and impressive. In other words, if you want to impress make a tart!

Ingredients (for topping) Original recipe comes from
1 c. strawberries
1/2 c. blueberries
1 c. kiwi fruit
1/2 c. apricot jam or preserves
1 tblspn water 

for pastry cream
1 1/4 c. milk
1 tspn vanilla extract
3 large egg yolk
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 tblspn all-purpose flour
2 tblspn cornstarch
1/2 tblspn liqueur (Brandy, Grand Marnier, I used Barrilito
for crust 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/2 large egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour (toast almonds & ground)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
(original recipe can be found here). 
What to do?
First I made the crustBeat butter and sugar, add vanilla extract, and egg, then combine flour -- put dough in fridge for at least 4 hours. For best results, bake in a tart pan with a removable bottom. Spread the dough thinly on tart pan. 

Then make the pastry cream. In a heatproof bowl, mix the sugar and the egg yolk together. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste. 

In a saucepan bring milk and vanilla to a boil, when milk foams remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisk vigorously to prevent curdling. Cook mixture over medium heat until it boils (continue to whisk), until it becomes thick, Add liqueur, brandy or rum. Cool to room temperature--when ready to use beat mixture to get rid of clumps or crust that may have formed. 

Apricot glaze: Heat apricot jam or preserves and water over medium heat until liquid or melted. If there are large pieces of apricots from jam, remove them. 

Assemblage: First, spread half of the apricot glaze over tart crust, let it cool for at least 20 minutes. Add pastry cream to the glazed crust. Place fruit onto cream randomly or in concentric circles beginning from the outside and working your way inside. Once the fruit is arranged, pour the remaining glaze onto the fruit. Refrigerate tart. Bring it to room temperature before serving. You can cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
Enjoy! This makes an amazing dessert and breakfast too!




Friday, April 27, 2012

Soothing carrot soup

Not surprisingly this spring has been totally schizophrenic. One day it's hot, the next day is cold. We had one 80 degree week in late March and in late April (right now), we are having a rainy week in the 50s (feels like fall). And so, naturally a soothing soup is in order!

8 to 10 c. water
3 veggie bullion cubes
7 carrots
2 c. baby spinach
1 c. green beans
5 garlic cloves
2 tomatoes
garlic powder and s & to taste 

What to do?
Add water to pot and let it boil. Add veggie cubes let them dissolve. Add carrots, garlic cloves,garlic powder, salt and pepper. Let it cook for 20 minutes (or until carrots are tender), add green beans and tomatoes let cook an additional 4 minutes. Turn off soup, add spinach and cover for an additional 5 minutes. Serve.

This soup is sure to take away those (annoying) spring time chills!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wanda's Roasted Veggie Eggrolls

The other day, my good friend and neighbor Wanda brought us these delicious egg rolls! We wasted no time "wolfing" them down because they were amazingly light and delicious! She also brought us green salsa for dipping the rolls. But said that you can eat these with whichever salsa you like or even a soy sauce, scallion sauce.

-egg roll skins
-kale stems
-black beans
-Fresh, dried rosemary
-1/4 cup olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
-Garam Marsala (what gives it amazing flavor!)

What to do?
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Cut the veggies into small cubes, put in large baking pan, add rosemary and garam marsala, salt and pepper, and drizzle generously with olive oil. Put in the oven uncovered for 25 minutes. 

Take 2 tablespoons of veggie filling and add it to the egg roll skin, roll, and put in baking sheet (put olive oil on baking sheet) when you fill up the tray, add olive oil to each egg roll and bake for 10 minutes or until they turn golden brow at 350 degrees. 

The garam marsala gives these egg rolls an amazing sweetness and the rosemary brings out the flavor. Thanks Wanda for sharing this tasty recipe!! And also "happy birthday"! (p.s. today's is Ms. Wanda's birthday)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Breakfast Veggie Burrito

I like the idea of breakfast in a wrap! So with that in mind, I cooked up this veggie breakfast burrito. It is a simple and delicious alternative to the omelet and toast breakfast classic.

1 tblspn olive oil
1 c. spinach (fresh or frozen)
6 baby bellas
4 red pepper strips (optional)
1 egg
1 tspn cheddar cheese (grated)
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
hot sauce to taste, optional
1 tortilla wrap

What to do?
Heat the olive oil in medium heat, add the spinach and vegetables let it cook together for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the egg and gently scramble into the veggies let it cook for about 2 minutes--add the salt, pepper and garlic. Remove from pan and place on the warm tortilla, add cheddar and hot sauce and fold.

I learned to fold burritos from Carlos, who is a "master burrito folder" (LOL!). At our house he is the designated folder, he advises not to fill the burrito (with too much filling) because it will make folding (and thus eating) a messy business. (Of course, you can always use a fork!) This healthy, delicious burrito makes a nice meal to start your day! Buen provecho!



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Green on green

This savory green salad is light and refreshing! It is a perfect side dish for hot days when you need cooling off.

Ingredients (for salad)                                     
Romaine lettuce (red or green)                        
Manzanilla Olives 

Maple syrup (1 to 2 tblspns)
Balsamic Vinegar  (1 tblspn)
Juice from olives (2 tspn)
What to do?
Cut your lettuce, chives, and cilantro then halve the olives, add dressing and gently combine.  

This flavorful combination is guaranteed to satisfy! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pecan Tart

This tart is so extraordinary, that it is hard to find words to describe it. It is rich, satisfying, (and pecans are cholesterol free). I made it to celebrate Khalil's grandmother's and great-grandmother's visit. They spent a glorious two-weeks at our house, and we hope and wish they come back often!! They left this morning and we are already missing them!

Ingredients - Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/2 large egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour (toast almonds & ground)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
(original recipe can be found here). 

What to do?
Beat butter and sugar, add vanilla extract, and egg, then combine flour -- put dough in fridge for at least 4 hours.
Once your dough is cold (at least 4 hours in fridge or overnight), you can work on the filling.
For best results, bake in a tart pan with a removable bottom. Spread the dough thinly on tart pan. 

1 stick unsalted butter
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 1/2 pecan pieces (halves)
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
1/8 cup heavy cream
(The original recipe can be found here).
What to do? 
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  
To make caramel, combine butter, honey, and sugars in a saucepan. Let it boil for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add heavy cream, orange zest, then combine pecan pieces. 
Put tart in oven and bake for 40 minutes. Let it cook completely before removing from tart pan and serving.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Classic Apple Cobbler

This apple cobbler was delicious! I made it for our Easter brunch along with hard boiled eggs, fruit salad and yogurt. Certainly, this cobbler won everyone's heart (and tummy)!

8 to 10 apples (your choice of apples)
3/4 c. sugar (for apples)
1/4 cup lime juice
3/4 tspn cinnamon
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar (for batter)
2 eggs
2 tspn baking powder
3/4 tspn salt
2/3 c. butter melted
1/4 cup toasted walnuts

What to do?
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees 
Peel and cut the apples
Add the lime juice to the apples, as well as the 3/4 cup sugar and cinnamon--mix gently together. Set aside in baking dish.
Add the dry ingredients together and the eggs (beat eggs before adding them to the mix)--beat everything together at medium speed. The mixture should be crumbly; place the mixture over the apples--when the apples are covered in the batter, add the butter over the entire mixture and then the walnuts. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until it is golden brown and apples are tender.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Carlos' Brew: Homebrewing IPA

It all started with Christmas and a gift! An "everyday IPA" brewing kit. The outcome was an awesome, thick, and tasty IPA. It took Carlos about 6 hours on a Sunday afternoon, working like a mad chemist in our kitchen (boiling the grains, mashing, pitching the yeast in the wort, and adding hops), then about 1 month of fermenting in our dark, cool basement. Then the bottling, and finally about 2 more weeks of waiting (for the bottled beer to carbonate) before we could savor the IPA. It was a sure winner, but it seems we drank them too quickly and now we are craving a fresh, new batch! We found a wonderful brew shop near our house and now have "brewing fever." Already we have the raw materials for the next tasty batch!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Sunday: Angel Food Cake

We had a wonderful Easter Sunday! We hosted lunch for family and friends: mashed potatoes, veggie gnocchis, steamed green beans in soy sauce, soft rolls, and of course, dessert. I made a angel food cake, with fresh strawberries, and whipped cream!
It was awesome! The angel food cake was just the perfect amount of sweetness and the perfect ending to a wonderful meal. It is simple to make and the best part: this light cake is a crowd pleaser! Tastes great with coffee the next morning too!

-12 eggs (only the whites)
-1 1/4 c. confectioners sugar (or substitute for splenda)
-1 c. all-purpose flour
-1 1/2 tspn cream of tartar
-1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
-1/4 tspn salt
-1 c. sugar

What to do?
  1. Separate eggs; discard yolks or refrigerate for another use. Measure egg whites, adding or removing whites as needed to equal 1-1/2 cups. Place in a mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, sift confectioners' sugar and flour together three times; set aside. Add cream of tartar, extracts and salt to egg whites; beat on high speed. Gradually add sugar, beating until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Fold in flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time. Gently spoon into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert pan; cool completely before removing cake from pan. (Original recipe can be found here: 

Simple 1.2.3 (home-made) whip cream!
-heavy cream
-confectioners sugar (or splenda) to taste
-vanilla extract 

What to do?
-Mix your ingredients in a bowl, and mix at whipping speed with mixer. 
-It will take between 2 and 4 minutes for whip cream consistency to emerge.  



Friday, April 6, 2012

Oatmeal-walnut-cranberry cookies

I made these as welcome cookies for our family who arrived this week to spend Easter weekend at our house! They arrived from the airport late and jetlagged, so I had a nice squash soup and these comforting cookies. They are easy, tasty, and wonderfully wholesome treats!

1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup (toasted and ground) walnuts
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn baking soda
1 tspn cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries

What to do?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Combine dry ingredients. Add to butter mixture and stir until blended. Add dried cranberries (I soak the cranberries for about 30 minutes to plump them). Drop by teaspoon onto parchment covered baking sheet. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool. 
(The original recipe, which I tweaked, came from