Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crustless Apple Pie

I saw this recipe for crustless pie in Honest Fare's blog and simply had to have it! It is amazing! Genius! And deceptively simple to make it. Yummy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Apple Tart or Welcome Autumn

It all began with these honeysuckle apples. I bought them from a local farm stand and then started thinking about what to make with them. Even though I am a self-professed "frutarian," meaning that I LOVE fruit, I am not one to eat raw apples very often. I do like apples, but for some reason I like them better cooked. I decided to make an apple tart combining two different recipes I found on-line some time ago. For the tart it self, I used this very simple tart recipe, which I originally found here. For the filling, I used this amazing recipe (which I will of course make at some point soon).

First the crust. I took one stick of butter out of the fridge and toasted the almonds. I also ground the almonds into a powder.   

Ingredients
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 large egg
2 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour (or freshly toasted and ground almond powder)

What to do?
Beat together butter and sugar until well combined then add egg. Mix flours separately, then add them to the mix and combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Butter your tart pan well before working the dough into the pan. Set aside and work on the filling.

Ingredients (filling)
Apples
Lemon juice
Cinnamon
Nutemg
Brown Sugar or honey
Corn Starch
Pinch of salt

What to do?
Peel apples and cut them into round pieces (so they look like round sheets), cut down to the core on all sides (save the core for later use). Toss the apples in lemon juice, add cinnamon, nutmeg and sweetener gently combine. 
Put aside. In a small sauce pan, put your apple cores plus any pieces of apples you might have left over, add a splash of water, and sweetener and heat well together. In a small cup, put about 1 tablespoon corn starch add 2 tablespoons of water and mix together well. When your apple core are boiling add the liquid cornstarch and gently mix together, this will form into a sauce. Take this sauce and blend it, this is your apple sauce (aka apple binding). 
First, place the apple sauce on the uncooked tart crust, then begin piling your apples on the tart crust, every time you add a layer of apples, add apple sauce to that layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. In the last five minutes, I added (freshly toasted) walnuts to the tart and continued baking (the walnuts should be added at the very end, otherwise they will burn).
This tastes so good I can't even begin to describe it. The best part is that it is both nutty and apple-y and made from pure goodness!
 
 




Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wellbeing

This is a topic I reflect on quite a bit. One of my aspirations in life is to lead a healthy, happy, balanced, meaningful, and peaceful life! I know, a tall order for sure. But I think one to strive for anyway. I feel striving for wellness and balance and peace, is all the more urgent in our current historical moment. A moment that I think will be defined by future historians as chaotic, fragmentary, narcissistic, where the lack of human to human connectivity rules, and the resulting mental and physical ailments stemming from these are at epidemic proportions. Yet, I am encouraged everyday by the glimmers of hope and examples of how others have managed to lead long, healthy and happy lives. I found one such example in this beautiful video entitled "My friend Maia." I hope this video goes viral! Enjoy!

 

 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Maizena

I have always thought of maizena as the secret domain of older women. As a child, I remember always wanting my mother to make maizena and feeling exceedingly happy whenever she did. It felt like a special treat! I have always thought of it as the "queen" of the breakfast harinas. It is certainly a gendered food, for I hardly ever hear men (certainly not in my house), craving the sweet gentleness a spoon of maizena releases on the taste buds. I have often eaten maizena at grandmother and great-grandmother's house and I think of it as sacred food made by women who have fed children and who pass down a taste of something essentially safe and warming about being human. There is something soothing and uniquely motherly about maizena. And so it comes as no surprise that I finally learned to make maizena (approved and remarked upon as excellent from my female kin: mom & Carlos' great-granny), after giving birth to Khalil. Maizena requires a little patience, but it is truly simple to make. Here is my full-proof recipe (no need to give birth to make it, I promise!) 

Ingredients
-Corn Starch (Maizena)
-Milk (almond, soy, or coconut)
-Sugar & salt
-Vanilla extract
-Cinnamon


What to do?
Place 1 cup of milk (i like almond milk) in a saucepan in medium heat, add vanilla (1 teaspoon), cinnamon (1 teaspoon), a pinch of salt, sugar (1 tablespoon). Let it all heat up together until it boils gently, then set it to low. In a separate bowl or cup, add 1/4 cup of milk, then add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, mix together well until the powder dissolves into the milk (for best results use a fork to mix and break up any clumps of powder). When powder has dissolved into milk, add the milk powder to the hot milk in saucepan, mix vigorously together until it thickens. 

Serve warm. You can add a spoon of butter to it or eat as is. Either way it is delicious!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Grilled Warm Berries & Dumplings

Yum! This might very well be the best dessert ever! I'm so serious! If you are a fruit lover like me and you happen to love warm fruit served with decadent cakey-dumplings with a side of vanilla ice cream, then this is the dessert for you! I just can't say enough about it. You will have to try it for yourself. I made it in the grill, but you can also make it on your stove top. 

I first spotted this recipe sometime ago here and now that the weather is turning cool, I thought it would make the perfect warm dessert for a breezy Sunday afternoon. It truly was all that I was craving and more!

Ingredients
1 pound frozen mixed berries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted, melted butter
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (my addition)

*If you don't have buttermilk, you can substitute by measuring almost 1/2 cup milk (leave some space) and fill the rest with lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then add to the mixture. 

What to do?
In a medium skillet, cook berries, lemon juice, 4 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 cup water over medium until slightly thickened (10-14 minutes).
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg,and 2 tablespoons sugar, add melted butter and buttermilk and stir until a moist dough forms. Spoon 5 to 6 dollops of dough a place over fruit. Sprinkle additional sugar over dough. 
Cover pan tightly with foil and cook over medium-low until dumplings are set and tops ae dry to the touch, about 18-20 minutes. Serve warm.

 
 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Vegetable Fried Rice

 
The other day when I opened our fridge to survey its contents in order to figure out what to make for dinner, I noticed that we had a 2-day old pot of white rice
and a bunch of veggies. I closed the fridge a little lost about what to make with such limited resources. Then a thought flashed across my brain: "I bet I can make delicious fried rice!" (Luckily, my husband eats everything I make--both when my food turns out great and when my culinary experiments turn out just plain bad...LOL). 

Luckily, this fried rice turned out on the right side of awesome! Try it, I bet you will love it too (and it is super easy)! It helps if you own a wok - I own a nice, but inexpensive wok from Ikea that works just fine for my needs.

Ingredients (adjust according to your needs)
Cooked rice (white or brown) (2 cups)
Broccoli (1 cup)
Green Peas (1/3 cup)
Chives (1/3 cup)
Mushrooms (1/3 cup)
Olive Oil (1/4 cup)
Soy Sauce (1/2 cup)
2 eggs

What to do? 
Heat the olive oil in the wok and add your veggies. Let veggies cook for about 2 minutes, gently move them around then add the rice combining gently all together (let all cook for 3-4 minutes on high-medium heat). Then add the soy sauce combine all ingredients together (cook for about 2 more minutes), finally pour the eggs evenly over rice (they should be beaten) and gently combine all ingredients together. The trick here is to use medium to high heat, letting the rice become "fried" or slightly browned (without burning it).  Add soy as needed to achieve the flavor you like. I find that adding a generous amount of chives really kicks up the flavor. Do not remove from heat until egg is cooked.
This meal will surely become a regular at our dinner table!