Thursday, December 29, 2011

Banana Tart with Warm Caramel Sauce

















This dessert is much more decadent than most we feature, which makes it ideal for special occasions this holiday season! While there are several different components, they are all quite easy to prepare. We hope you and yours enjoy it as much as our friends did! We also wish you a New Year as sweet and rich as this tart!

Note: Alfred went absolutely ga-ga over the caramel sauce – if you have any left over it is great drizzled over just about any loaf or bundt cake in place of a glaze, and it is also perfect for spreading on apple slices.

Banana Tart
1 Sheet of Puff Pastry, thawed
2 Tablespoons Butter
4-5 Ripe Bananas, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, unfold the thawed puff pastry. Use a sharp knife to score a 1-inch border along the perimeter of the puff pastry – do not cut all the way through the dough (the 1-inch border with be the crusty edge of the tart – the bananas will go inside the 1-inch perimeter). Use a fork to prick the dough inside the 1 inch perimeter.Place the dough on the baking sheet in the freezer.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and place each of the banana halves, cut-side down, in the hot skillet. Cook until lightly browned.

Remove the prepared puff pastry from the freezer, and arrange the banana slices cut-side up in the middle of the tart. Sprinkle the bananas evenly with the cinnamon and brown sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

Caramel Sauce
2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Heavy/Whipping Cream, warm (if you add in in cold the caramelized sugar may solidify)
1 Tablespoon Butter
Pinch Salt (omit if using salted butter)

Place the sugar in a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over low heat. Once the sugar starts to melt, stir it with fork until it is completed melted and golden brown. Slowly pour in the warm cream. Once the cream is fully incorporated add the butter and salt, and stir until the butter is incorporated. Remove from heat, serve sauce warm. *If necessary reheat over a double boiler or in the microwave for a few seconds.

Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 Cup Very Cold Heavy/Whipping Cream
2 Tablespoons Confectioner Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Using a hand mixer, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form – 2-3 minutes. *Do this as close to when you will serve the dessert as possible, and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve:
Slice the tart as desired. Drizzle with warm caramel sauce, and top with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Maple Pecan Tart

















We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was just the two of us this year, so we we kept our dinner pretty simple. Roasted butternut squash, brussel sprouts with caramelized onions and for dessert this simple pecan tart. It is basically a healthier version of pecan pie. Sweetened only with pure maple syrup, it is not tooth-achingly sweet like the traditional dessert, and the maple syrup adds a nice fall flavor. You undoubtedly have your Thanksgiving Day desserts prepared, but this tart is a delicious and easy treat to take along to any holiday parties. You can also mix things up by substituting other nuts, such as chopped hazelnuts or walnuts for the pecans, and honey for the maple syrup. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Maple Pecan Tart (Note: this makes 1, 6-inch tart, double the filling recipe for a deep dish 9-inch pie)
¾ Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 Egg, plus 1 Egg yolk
½ teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Pecans, chopped
1 Pie Crust (I used this recipe, but substituted coconut oil for the canola oil)

Directions:
1)Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2)Line your tart or pie pan with pie crust.
3)Thoroughly combine the maple syrup, egg, egg yolk, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the nuts, and pour the filling into the crust lined pan.
4)Bake 40-45 minutes until the crust is lightly golden brown and the filling is set.
5)Cool completely before serving.

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Slightly Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash

















Apologies for the lengthy lapse in postings, life has been crazy busy. We hope everyone’s autumn is off to a great start. For the last few weeks, we have been enjoying the bounty of fall produce – apples, pears, kale, brussel sprouts, turnips, and parsnips. One of our absolute favorites is butternut squash. We love it in everything from soups to baked goods. But nothing beats simply roasting this flavorful vegetable. In the recipe below, a blend of Latin American spices and a long roasting in the oven really bring out the natural sweetness of the squash. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Slightly Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash
1 Large Butternut Squash (3-4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into large pieces
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon of Sea Salt + more to taste

1)Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2)Coat the squash pieces with the oil, garlic, and spices.
3)Spread the squash in an even layer on a cookie sheet – use two cookie sheets if necessary to ensure you have a single layer.
4)Roast the squash for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until the squash is tender and beginning to caramelize.
5) Enjoy nice and hot.
*Refrigerate leftovers - they are a great addition to salads.


As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Roasted Banana Crumb Muffins

















One item always in-stock at our house is bananas. Ashlie eats one just about every day with almond butter as an afternoon snack. Alfred loves to use them to make smoothies. And when we end up with too many ripe bananas they make their way into baked goods. These muffins are a yummy twist on the traditional banana nut bread/muffin. The “secret” is to roast the bananas before adding them to the batter, which concentrates their sweet fruity flavor. This step also means you can get away with using less sugar, yielding a healthier treat!

Roasted Banana Crumb Muffins
2 Very Ripe, Medium-Large Bananas
2 Cups Flour (I use 1 Cup All-Purpose, 1 Cup Whole Wheat, a Gluten-free All-Purpose Blend works well too)
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar (I used coconut palm sugar because it is low glycemic)
2 Eggs
1/4 Cup Oil (I use melted coconut oil)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Crumb Topping:
1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup chopped Walnuts
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Oil

1)Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the bananas (whole and unpeeled) on a baking sheet. Let the bananas cook until the skin is completely blackened and the fruit is very soft.
2)Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking soda, and sea salt. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla. In another bowl, combine all of the crumb topping ingredients and set aside.
3)When the bananas are done roasting, peel them and mash them thoroughly, then add them to the egg mixture. Gently stir in the flour mixture.
4)Evenly distribute the batter between the muffin cups. Top each muffin with a tablespoon of the crumb topping.
5)Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one comes out clean.
6)Pour yourself a cup of tea, coffee, or milk and enjoy one (or two) while they're still warm!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon

















Salmon is one of our absolute favorites. We eat it a couple of times a week, often seasoned with just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. We make this dish when we want to jazz it up a bit. The honey mustard glaze adds an element of heat and sweet, but it doesn't overpower the natural flavor of the fish. One of the best aspects of this recipe is it requires minimal preparation, and it cooks in only 10 minutes!

Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon
2 6oz. Salmon Filets
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Tablespoons Coarse Ground Spicy Mustard
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.Mix together the honey, mustard, and spices.
3.Spread the mixture evenly over the salmon.
4.Bake for 10 minutes.
5.Enjoy!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mediterranean Tuna Salad















Sandwiches are one of Alfred’s favorite foods. He loves all varieties from hot and toasty paninis to cold and creamy egg salad. This tuna is one of his latest favorites. Unlike traditional tuna salad, this one is free of mayo and relish. Instead, it is made moist by olive oil and flavored with olives, capers and basil. In addition to being great on sandwiches, this Mediterranean- inspired tuna salad makes a great topping for salads or a filling for veggies such as celery sticks, and hollowed out zucchini, tomatoes, or cucumbers. With back to school time just around the corner, it is a easy, healthy, and portable lunch option to add to your repertoire.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad
1 Can Tuna packed in Olive Oil
1 Garlic clove, finely minced or pressed
1/4 Cup Red Onion, finely chopped
1/4 Cup Olives, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Capers, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Basil, finely minced
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Simply combine all the ingredients and enjoy!



As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Zucchini Muffins



It is certainly the season for zucchini, and we have been eating more than our fair share! We love it in savory applications raw, roasted, sautéed, in soups and stews... but zucchini is also great as a moister booster in baked goods. The neutral flavor also creates a wonderful palate for any flavors you enjoy most in your baked goods to shine through. These muffins are subtly sweet and spicy, perfectly moist on the inside with a nice crunchy topping. All in all, they yet another wonderful way to enjoy the bounty of summer!

Zucchini Muffins
1 1/2 C. Flour (I used half whole wheat, half all-purpose, a gluten free blend would work well too)
2 T. Ground Flax Seed (optional)
1 t. Cinnamon
1/2 t. Nutmeg
1/4 t. Salt
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 egg, beaten
2/3 C. Sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
2 T. Molasses
1 t. Vanilla Extract
1 t. Orange Zest
1/3 C. Oil
1 1/2 C. Zucchini, Shredded
1/2 C. Dates, pitted and chopped (optional – you can also substitute other dried fruits)
1/4 C. Chopped Pecans (optional)

1)Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners or lightly oil the pan.
2)Combine the flour, flax seed, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.
3)In a separate bowl, combine the egg, sugar, molasses, vanilla, zest, and oil. Stir in the zucchini. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; stir until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined. Stir in the dates.
4)Spoon the batter into the muffin tin. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with some pecans.
5)Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

We hope you enjoy these muffins and the rest of your summer!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Basil Vinaigrette






















One of our favorite summer flavors is basil. We buy a huge bunch each week at the farmers market, using as much of it as we can and drying the rest for winter time. This simple vinaigrette - sure to enliven your taste buds - is a fabulous way to take advantage of this aromatic herb. We like it best on fresh green salads, but it also works well drizzled over sliced tomatoes or cucumbers, and pasta. Enjoy!

Basil Vinaigrette
1/2 Cup Fresh Basil
2 Garlic Cloves
1/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Honey
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until the garlic and basil are very finely minced. Voila!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Honey Nut Phyllo Triangles


This recipe - phyllo dough enclosing a honey sweetened mixture of chopped nuts and spices - might also be called baklava bites. Truth be told we are gearing up for a big move and trying with all our might to use up the contents of our freezer. And I’ve had half a box (a box comes with 2 sleeves) of phyllo dough in our freezer since I made apple turnovers a while back. As with all recipes involving phyllo, it takes a bit of time and patience to make the triangles, but the process is actually really simple and the result is delish. Also, because the triangles aren’t soaked in a syrup like traditional baklava they are not as tooth-achingly sweet, which I think is a plus.

Honey Nut Phyllo Triangles
1/2 Box (1 Sleeve, about 14 sheets) of Phyllo Dough, thawed
1/2 Cup Melted Coconut Oil (or Butter if that’s what floats your boat)
1 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Nuts (I used 1/2 Cup each of Almonds, Walnuts, and Pecans)
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon (plus extra for sprinkling on top if desired)
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
Pinch Salt
1/2 Cup Honey

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
2) Unfold the thawed phyllo dough, keeping the sheets stacked neatly. Slice the stacked sheets of dough into four strips lengthwise. Then stack the 4 sets of strips and cover with a wet paper towel to keep the phyllo dough from drying out.
3) To make the filling: mix together the nuts, spices, and honey.
4) To assemble: place one strip of phyllo dough on a clean dry surface, brush the dough lightly with oil/butter, and then place another strip of phyllo dough on top of it. Next, place 1 teaspoon of the nut mixture at one end of the 2 stacked phyllo strips. Fold one corner of the dough over the nuts to form a triangle, fold the triangle over again, repeat as if you were folding a flag until you reach the end of the strip. Place the triangle on the parchment lined sheets. Repeat with the remaining phyllo strips (you will likely have more dough than you need, so if a few strips tear, just toss them and don’t sweat it!). Brush the tops of the triangles with a bit more oil.
5) Bake the triangles for 8 minutes, rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees, and bake another 8 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown.
6) Let cool, then dust lightly with cinnamon (optional).



Enjoy!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Raspberry Almond Crumb Cake



Alfred really enjoyed this simple cake. It is not too heavy and not too sweet, a nice treat for warm summer days. It is also a breeze to make, and it really needs no accoutrement, the fruit peaking through the crumb topping makes for a very pretty presentation. Feel free to substitute the raspberries with another berry or diced stone fruit such as peaches or cherries. It’s always best to go with whatever fruit is the freshest and ripest.

Raspberry Almond Crumb Cake
Cake:
2 Cups Flour (I used 1 Cup Whole Wheat, 1 Cup All Purpose – a Gluten Free All Purpose Blend should also work well)
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
3/4 Cup Sugar (I used Coconut Palm Sugar because it is less processed and lower glycemic)
1/4 Cup Oil (I used melted Virgin Coconut Oil)
1 egg, beaten (for a Vegan alternative substitute 1 Tablespoon Flax Seed mixed with 3 Tablespoons Water)
1/2 Cup Milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/2 Pint Raspberries, rinsed and dried
Topping:
1/4 Cup Sugar (Again, I used Coconut Palm Sugar)
1/4 Cup Flour
2 Tablespoons Oil (Again, I used melted Virgin Coconut Oil)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds

1)Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 8x8inch pan.

2)Using a whisk, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, oil, egg, milk, and extract. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

3)Spread the batter evenly in the oiled pan and evenly distribute the raspberries over the batter, pressing them into the batter gently.

4)For the topping, thoroughly combine the sugar, flour, oil and cinnamon, stir in the almonds. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the raspberries.

5)Bake the cake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean!

Enjoy!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grilled Radicchio


During the spring and summer months we are grilling feigns – and year round we are veggie feigns. Until recently, one of the few veggies we had never grilled was salad greens. We aren’t big fans of wilted lettuce, so recipes using romaine and other more delicate greens weren’t very appealing to us. So, we decided to try out radicchio, which has a sturdy almost cabbage-like texture capable of withstanding the heat. I’m happy to report that it worked wonderfully. We also quickly discovered that a drizzle of sweet and tart balsamic vinaigrette was the perfect complement to the slightly bitter flavor characteristic of radicchio. This simple grilled salad has become a regular feature on our summer dinner table; we hope you enjoy it too!

Grilled Radicchio
1/2 head of Radicchio per person
Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinaigrette
2/3 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, finely minced
1 teaspoon Sea Salt, plus more to taste

Preparation

Vinaigrette: Place all dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake until well combined.

Radicchio: Cut each head of radicchio in half, and brush both sides lightly with olive oil. Grill the radicchio over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side, until lightly charred. Remove to a serving platter and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Serve warm or at room temperature.

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lemon Basil Squash Ribbons


Summer squash is a wonderful veggie - it is an incredibly versatile crowd pleaser - great on the grill, and equally tasty raw, sautéed, or roasted. One of my favorite ways to prepare squash is to slice into thin, pasta like ribbons and sauté it lightly with some aromatics and herbs. A mandolin or vegetable slicing tool is useful in achieving thin and uniform slices, but you can also perform the task by hand with a sharp knife and a bit of patience. It is a great way to add some variety and panache to your side dish repertoire.

Lemon Basil Squash Ribbons (serves 4 as a side dish)
Olive Oil for pan
1 Large Yellow Onion sliced into half-moons
4 Large Garlic Cloves thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons White Wine (approximately, I just put in a good splash or two)
3 Medium Yellow Squash thinly sliced lengthwise (about 5 cups sliced)
¼ Cup Basil leaves thinly sliced
Juice from ½ a large Lemon
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with a little olive oil, add the onions and sauté until they are translucent (about 5 minutes), then add the garlic and sauté until the onions are beginning to brown slightly (about another 2-3 minutes). Add the white wine to deglaze the pan, and use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the squash to the pan, tossing to combine with the onions (keep in mind that because the squash is very thin it cooks very quickly). Add the basil and lemon juice, toss well to combine. Remove from heat, and add salt and pepper to taste. Voila!



As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nutty Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


These cookies are super quick, super easy, and super tasty! What could be better? They are also pretty healthy when it comes to cookies - they provide a good dose of protein from the almond butter, plus heart healthy fiber from the oats, and they contain no refined sugar. They also happen to be gluten-free if you use gluten free oats. So, snack away!

Nutty Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 Cup Almond Butter (you can substitute any nut butter of your choice)
2/3 Cup Honey
1 Egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (omit if your nut butter contains salt)
1 1/2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 Cup Raisins
1/2 Cup Walnuts, toasted and chopped

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2) Thoroughly combine the almond butter, honey, egg, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt (if using). Stir in the oats, raisins, and nuts.

3) Drop rounded tablespoon fulls of dough onto the parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden brown, rotating the pans halfway through baking.

Grab a glass of ice cold milk (almond milk for me) and enjoy!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Muffin Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Honey Whole Grain Muffins


These naturally-sweetened, fiber-rich muffins make for a great healthy breakfast, but they are also a nice treat at tea time or a light dessert (according to Alfred, our resident muffin monster, these are good anywhere, anytime)! The recipe is also very simple and customizable - you can use any whole grain flour (gluten-free or gluten-full) you like and you can use different fruits and spices to keep things interesting. So far, I have made them with cinnamon and diced apples and with lemon zest and blueberries - neither lasted very long in our kitchen.

Honey Whole Grain Muffins Makes 1 dozen
2 Cups Whole Grain Flour (whole wheat, spelt, buckwheat, etc.)
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon flavoring (cinnamon, vanilla, lemon zest, etc.)
1 Egg, beaten
3/4 Cup Milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1/2 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Cup Fruit (fresh, frozen, or dried)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees, line a muffin pan with paper liners or lightly grease and flour it.

2) Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the egg, milk, honey, oil, and flavoring (if using).

3) Stir the wet and dry ingredients until just combined, fold in the fruit.

4) Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

5) Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they pass the toothpick test.

Serve warm or at room temperature with extra honey for drizzling on top!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Muffin Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Citrus Honey Vinaigrette


We can't get enough salads lately - lunch, dinner, and even snacks - salads and warm weather just compliment each other perfectly. We keep things interesting by using a variety of homemade salad dressings. This simple vinagrette is one of our favorites. It is incredibly refreshing and works equally well tossed with fresh greens or cucumber and radish slices.

Citrus Honey Vinagrette
1/4 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon or Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 Tablespoons Honey (depending on how sweet/tart you like it)
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt, plus more to taste

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, shake well. Enjoy.



Here we've tossed some cucumber, radish, green onions, and cilantro in a bit of the vinaigrette - diced avocado is also a nice addition.

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and Inspiration Board.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Raisin Pecan No-Knead Bread (and a blog name change)


Alfred is a huge fan of bread, so (being the loving wife that I am) I bake him a loaf once a week. His favorite bread is a wheat loaf based on Jim Lahey's famous no-knead recipe. It happens to be the easiest bread recipe imaginable. The dough's long rise yields a slightly sourdough like flavor with an airy, chewy crumb. He loves this bread plain, with jam or honey, and he uses it to make sandwiches. Recently I tinkered with it by adding some raisins, cinnamon, and toasted pecans to the dough. He enjoyed it for breakfast and dessert everyday until it was gone - it seems this new version was pretty tasty. So, whether you are new to baking or an old pro, I encourage you to give this simple bread a try (with or without the raisins and nuts), I think you will really enjoy it.

I also want to share a great quote I recently came across in the revised edition of Amy's Bread Cookbook:
Bread goes to the very roots of life, and its ingredients are the most elemental. Rain, sunshine, and healthy soil to grow the wheat; human hands to harvest, mill, and turn the grain to flour; water captured in reservoirs, which moistens the flour; yeast, which occurs naturally around us fermenting fruits and starches; and salt from the earth and the sea are the basic ingredients. These along with the warmth of the bakers hands, his or her strength, skill, and passion, and a fiery hearth, are all that are needed to make this simple yet incredible food. (From the Preface)

Raisin Pecan Bread
2 Cups Unbleached Bread Flour (you can also use all-purpose, but it won't be quite as chewy)
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 teaspoon active dry Yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt
2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
1 1/2 Cups of Water
1 Cup of Raisins
1/2 Cup Pecans, chopped and toasted

Oil and wheat bran or cornmeal for coating the pan.

1) In a large glass bowl, combine the flours, yeast, salt, cinnamon, and water (a sturdy wooden spoon is good for this). Once the ingredients are thoroughly combined, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-18 hours - I mix it up the afternoon before I want to bake it and the dough is ready to go the next morning.

2) After the 12-18 hours has elapsed, uncover the dough and stir in the raisins and nuts (you make need to use your hands). Cover it again and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours.

3) 30 minutes before you are ready to bake the bread, place an 8-10 inch cast iron skillet in the middle of the oven (cast iron is best, but you can use a metal cake pan if you don't have cast iron), place a small baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven, and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

4) After 30 minutes, remove the hot skillet/pan from the oven, brush it with oil and coat it thoroughly with wheat bran or cornmeal. Pour the dough into the hot skillet/pan, if need be shake the skillet/pan a little so the dough is evenly distributed. Return the skillet/pan to the oven and pour 1 cup of hot water into the baking sheet at the bottom of the oven (be careful it will instantly produce very hot steam). Quickly close the oven and let the bread bake 30-35 minutes, until the loaf is lightly golden on the top.

5) Remove the bread from the skillet/pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. Enjoy!



*I also want to acknowledge that this is the blog formerly known as "The Delshad Duo." For a number of reasons we decided to change the title (and correspondingly the URL), but you can expect the recipes and style of the blog to remain the same. We hope you will continue to follow us, your support is a great encouragement to us!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Simple Formula for DIY Granola


Granola is one of my many foodie obsessions. I have a couple of recipes on the blog already. For years I've been tweaking my approach. I've tried many different ingredients and different proportions of oil, liquid sweeteners, fruit purees, oats, nuts, and seeds. I've finally settled on a formula that produces a granola that I absolutely adore. It's crisp, flavorful, and lightly sweet. It is great by the handful, on top of yogurt, or eaten as a breakfast cereal.

Granola 101:
6 Cups of Old Fashioned Oats
3 Cups of Nuts/Seeds (My favorite combination is 1 cup each of pepitas, sunflower seeds, and finely shredded unsweetened coconut)
1/4 Cup Oil, plus extra for pans(I use olive oil)
1/2 Cup Liquid Sweetener (My favorite is carob molasses,* but honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar all work well)**
2 Tablespoons of Spice - optional(I like 1 Tablespoon each of Cinnamon and Ginger)
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 Cups of Dried Fruit - optional

*Carob molasses imparts a wonderful, complex, slightly chocolately flavor to the granola. I think it makes the granola extra-special and and extra-cravable! You can find carob molasses at Middle Eastern markets or online.
**If you like a sweeter granola, add additional sweetener, up to another 1/2 cup

Preparation:
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat two large sheet pans lightly with oil.
2) In a large bowl, combine the oats and nuts/seeds.
3) In a small bowl or large measuring cup, combine the oil, sweetener, spices, and salt.
4) Add the wet mixture to the oat mixture and stir (or use your hands like me) until the oats are evenly coated - the oat mixture will only be slightly "wet"
5) Spread the granola evenly on the two baking sheets.
6) Bake the granola for 15 minutes, remove the sheets from the oven, stir the granola. Return the sheets to the oven, rotating them so the one previously on the upper shelf of the oven is now on the lower shelf and vice versa. Cook the granola another 15 minutes. Turn the oven off, leaving the door closed for 30 minutes.
7) Remove the sheets from the oven and allow to cool completely (if the granola is not crunchy bake another 15 minutes). After the granola is cooled you can add dried fruit if you like. I prefer to eat mine with fresh fruit, especially this time of year when berries are abundant!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

I am also including this as part of this month's SOS kitchen challenge - the secret ingredient is carob! I can't wait to see all the other entries, because I'm still a bit of a newbee when it comes to cooking with carob.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dessert From The Grill: Stuffed Bananas!


Today we'll be continuing with the theme of the last few posts - grilling! When the sun is shinning we just can't keep ourselves indoor, even to cook and bake. Stuffed bananas have become one of our favorite easy outdoor treats. The "recipe" is super easy and super tasty. It's especially great for cookouts, camping trips, and is certain to be loved by adults and children alike!

You will need:

1 banana per person
Assorted goodies for stuffing
*We like chopped dark chocolate and toasted sliced almonds. Other tasty options include: peanut butter (or other nut butters), marshmallows, cinnamon sugar, chips (chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter, cinnamon, butterscotch, etc.), nuts/seeds, and shredded coconut.

Here's how you make them:

1) Use a sharp pairing knife to slice about halfway through each banana lengthwise, leaving the banana in the peel. Since you will be placing the bananas on the grill once you stuff them, it's best to slice them on the concave side so the cut/stuffed part will face directly up when place on the grill.

2) Stuff the banana with desired goodies. It's nice to set up a little buffet of options and let everyone create their own customized treat.

3) Place the bananas directly on the grates of a warm, but not hot grill. *We typically make these for dessert after we've cooked dinner on the grill, so the coals are still warm, but not blazing hot.

4) Place the lid on the grill and let the bananas cook until the filling is nice and melty (5-10 minutes). Use a spoon to eat the banana and the goodies straight out of the peel!

Warning - the melty chocolate can be a bit messy, but that's part of the joy of this simple dessert!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sweet and Savory Plantains


Plantains - those huge "bananas" often located near other tropical fruits such as mangoes and coconuts in the grocery store - are not only tasty, they are incredibly nutritious. They are high in fiber, potassium, and Vitamins A and C. Unlike bananas, plantains cannot be eaten raw, in other words they must be cooked. Green, unripe plantains are very starchy, much like a potato. As they ripen, the fruit becomes much sweeter, though it remains quite firm. The flavor of a cooked, ripe plantain tastes kind of like a banana, but it also has a special tropical taste, a hint of pineapple flavor perhaps. Our favorite way to cook plantains is to season them lightly with cinnamon and cumin and then saute or grill them - it is super easy! Their sweet and starchy qualities make them an excellent accompaniment to spicy Latino food. If you've never tried plantains - I strongly encourage you to add them to your repertoire!

Sweet and Savory Plantains (Serves 3-4 as a side):
2 Large Plantains (we prefer the sweeter ripe ones)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1) Remove the peel from the plantains - they don't peel as easily as bananas, you will need to cut a slit all the way down the length of the plantain to remove the peel. Cut the plantain on the diagonal into slices 1/2 inch thick for sauteing, 1 inch thick for grilling.

2) Coat the plantain slices in a olive oil. Sprinkle them evenly with the spices. For grilling, thread the slices onto bamboo skewers

3) For sauteing: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, coat the pan with a bit of oil. Cook the plantains 3-5 minutes per side until well browned.
For grilling: Cook the plantain skewers over medium-high (direct) heat 3-5 minutes per side until well browned. Serve warm.

*We served our plantains with a chunky avocado salsa - 1 large tomato diced, 1 avocado diced, 1/2 red onion diced, 1 jalapeno minced, a handful of cilantro minced, juice of 1 lime, and sea salt to taste.

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Grilled Spring Veggies


As soon as the weather starts to warm up Alfred goes grilling crazy. As long as it's not raining, most everything we cook from May to October we cook on the grill. Fish, chicken, lots and lots of veggies, even pizza, and fruit for dessert. Right now, spring veggies are ideal candidates for grilling, and recently we cooked two veggies on the grill that turned out particularly well: Artichokes and Vidallia Onions.



We had actually never cooked artichokes (either on or off the grill) - something about their spiny leaves always intimated us. Preparing them and eating them took a bit of effort, but it was well worth it, because they tasted great! We'll certainly be grilling them again soon.

On the other hand, onions are one of our favorite veggies - grilled, raw, sauteed, caramelized, pickled - we eat them with nearly every meal (we go through about 5 pounds of onions a week)! But, this week we grilled them in a slightly different way than we have in the past. Inspired by king of the grill Steven Raichlen, we made onion lollipops - we loved them so much we made them 3 times this week. They are also super easy to prepare!

Grilled Artichokes: (Serves 2 as an appetizer or side)
2 Large Artichokes
1 Lemon, zested and juices
1 Handful of Flat Leaf Parsley, minced
2 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Sea Salt

1) Fill a pot large enough to hold the artichokes half way full of water, add half of the lemon juice.

2) Cut the top third of the artichoke off, discard. Trim the pointy tips of the remaining outer leaves (scissors or kitchen shears are handy here), and use a vegetable peeler to peel the stems. Cut the artichokes in half, and remove the purple and fuzzy parts. Place them in the lemon water as soon as your done with each one to prevent them from browning.

3) Bring the artichokes and lemon water to a boil, cook for 10-15 minutes until the stem is tender - use the tip of a pairing knife to check. Drain.

4) Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the remaining lemon juice, the lemon zest, parsley, garlic, olive oil, and sea salt. Add the artichokes to the bowl and coat them thoroughly with the dressing. Let marinate at least 30 minutes.

5) Grill the artichokes over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side, until they are slightly charred.

*In case you are a newbie to eating whole artichokes: You can eat all of the stem, the meaty portion above it (the heart), and the inner leaves. The tougher outer leaves are a bit trickier - you will need use your bottom teeth to scrape out the layer of soft flesh in each one.

Vidallia Onion Lollipops (Serves 2 as a side):
1 Large Vidallia Onion
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Fresh or Dried Herbs (Basil, Oregano, Marjoram, etc)
Bamboo Skewers

1) Peel the onion, and cut it into 1/2 inch thick slices - keep the layers together.

2) Insert the pointy end of a bamboo skewer into the side of each onion slice, work slowly and push the skewer through each layer stopping when you get to the last layer - so that you end up with what looks like a lollipop!

3) Brush each lollipop with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs.

4) Grill the onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side. It works best if you place the onions on the grill so that the end of the skewer is hanging in the air - that way the skewers won't burn, and you can use them to turn the onions over!

*These taste great on their own, or tossed with a bit balsamic vinaigrette post-grilling.

Happy Grilling Season Everyone!
P.S. Alfred is heading out to grill some asparagus and green onions as I type! My mouth is already watering :)

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Roasted Salmon


Without a doubt our favorite protein is salmon. We eat it as least once a week - usually on Friday nights for a special treat. In the past, we typically cooked it at a high temperature on the grill, stove top, or oven for just a few minutes to end up with fish cooked no more than medium. And, we always loved it.... that was until we tried roasting our salmon at a very low temperature for a substantially longer amount of time. All I can say is - it's like buttah (aka butter). It literally melts in your mouth, it is foodie heaven, if we could eat only one meal for the rest of our lives it would be this!

I first prepared salmon this way for Alfred's birthday dinner - we have since decided this is the only way we will cook our salmon. You can use any seasonings you like, we usually keep things simple to allow the flavor of the fish to shine through. Our typical seasoning consists of a bit of minced garlic and/or herbs, sea salt and pepper.

Slow Roasted Salmon:

Honestly, this isn't so much a "recipe" as a very simple cooking method.

Ingredients:
Thick Salmon Fillet - Really try to get the thickest one available, allow for 6-8oz per person
Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Pepper
Additional Herbs and Spices of your choice (e.g., garlic, basil, parsley, cilantro)

1) Cut the salmon into individual portions about 6-8oz each, leave the skin on.

2) Coat each portion in a bit of olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings You can let it marinate for a couple of hours if you like - but it isn't necessary.

3) Place the fillets in a baking dish that will allow a little space between each one. Let the fish sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.

4) 30 minutes prior to cooking, preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Prepare for extreme pleasure!


*In the picture above, our salmon is topped with a bit cucumber salad - diced seedless cucumber, red onion, tomato, lime juice, cilantro, and sea salt.

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Apple Turnovers


Alfred's all-time favorite pastry is apple turnovers. So, for his birthday I made him some - but, of course, I couldn't resist healthy-ing them up a bit. Rather than using puff pastry (which is mighty tasty, but full of butter) I used philo dough. And, rather than sweetening the filling with sugar, I used honey. The result was awfully pretty and he assures me they were very tasty! I think they would work equally well as part of a special breakfast/brunch or as a dessert (especially if served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream).

Apple Turnovers (Makes 8-10 Turnovers):

1 Package of Philo Dough, thawed (I only used half of the the box)
Olive, Grapeseed, or Melted Coconut Oil for brushing on the dough

Filling:
3 Large Firm Sweet Apples, such Fuji of Gala (peeled, cored and chopped)
1/2 Cup Raisins
1/4 Cup Honey (or Agave for a Vegan Substitute)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
Pinch of Cloves
1/2 Cup Water plus 2 Tablespoon
2 teaspoon Cornstarch

Optional Topping:
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon of Water
Cinnamon Sugar
Sliced Almonds

1) Prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, raisins, honey, spices, and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the apples are just tender (10-15 minutes). Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of water and the cornstarch. Add the cornstarch mixture to the apples, stirring just until the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

2) Assemble the turnovers:

***But, first a bit of advise. Philo dough is very thin - because of this it can be a bit of pain to work with. The secret is to work as quickly as possible so the dough doesn't dry out - keeping the dough covered while you work is helpful in this regard. Also, you have more dough than you need for this recipe so if a couple pieces tear, just throw them away and move on!

Okay now to the assembly. First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchement paper.

Next, on a clean, dry surface, stack two sheets of philo dough on top of one another, brush the top layer with just a bit of oil - you really just need to barely coat it, add two more layers of dough, brush the top one with oil, and then add one final piece of dough on top. So, you should have 5 layers of dough in the end. Use a very sharp knife to cut the stacked sheets lengthwise into two long strips. Place a heaping tablespoonful of the cooled apple filling in the corner of one end on each strip of dough. Fold the corner over like you would fold a flag, then fold it down, then over, then down, until you get to the end of the strip! Place the turnover, seem side down on the parchment lined baking sheet and repeat the process until you have used up all of your filling.

3) Topping (optional): Lightly brush the beaten egg mixture over each turnover, then sprinkle with almonds and cinnamon sugar.

4) Baking: Place the baking sheet in the over and let the turnover cook 15-20 minutes, until they are nicely browned and crispy!



Enjoy!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, and Nifty Thrifty Sunday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Magic Chocolate Mousse Tart















This is one of the most decadent desserts I have ever had the pleasure of consuming! It is also unbelievably simple to prepare - which brings us to the magic part! The magic ingredient is (drum roll)....water! Water? Yes, water! This rich, decadent, creamy, truffle-like mousse is a simple combination of chocolate and water. This video provides the best explanation of how it works, but trust me that it works - we've made this tart three times now, and it was perfecto every time!

***In this recipe it is especially important to use a very good quality dark chocolate - the flavor of the mousse is completely dependent on the flavor of the chocolate, so make sure you like the taste of your chocolate before proceeding with the recipe! We use Trader Joe's 73% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate, it is divine!

Note: You can actually serve the mousse as is, but we like it in a slightly salty almond crust - it provides the perfect balance to the bittersweet chocolate. You can also flavor the mousse in a countless number of ways by adding a bit of extract or liqueur - orange, mint, raspberry, coffee, etc.

Magic Chocolate Mousse Tart:

Salty Almond Crust
1 1/2 Cups Finely Ground Almonds (AKA Almond Meal or Almond Flour)
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract (optional)
2 Tablespoons of Honey or Agave Nectar
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all of the crust ingredients. Press the crust evenly into the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9 inch tart pan. Bake 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown, set aside to cool.

Magic Chocolate Mousse:
A large bowl, filled half way full of ice
1/2 Pound Finely Chopped Dark Chocolates
1 Cup Boiling Water
1/4 Cup Honey or Agave Nectar (optional - add more or less depending on the sweetness of your chocolate and your taste preferences)
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon (optional - we just love cinnamon!)
1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds, toasted (optional - for sprinkling on top of the tart)

1) Have your bowl of ice ready.

2) Place the chocolate, honey, and cinnamon and a glass or metal bowl that will easily fit within the the large bowl of ice. But don't put it in the ice yet - first melt the chocolate!

3) To melt the chocolate, pour the boiling water over the chocolate, honey, and cinnamon. Use a whisk to stir the mixture until it is completely melted - the finer the chocolate is chopped the easier and quicker this will be. *If your chocolate doesn't melt all the way, you can melt it in a pot, over a double boiler, or in the microwave, and then return it to the metal or glass bowl.

4) Once the chocolate is melted, nestle the bowl of chocolate in the bowl of ice and immediately start whipping it with your whisk - whisk vigorously like you would to make whipped cream or meringue. Your arm may get tired, switch hands if you need to or have a side kick take over (my preferred approach), but don't stop whipping until the mixture has lightened a bit in color and it has become slightly thicker than whipped cream - it should hold stiff peaks.

5) Immediately spread the chocolate mixture in the cooled tart shell, then sprinkle with toasted almonds (if using). ***If your chocolate becomes too thick and won't easily spread in the crust don't panic (this has happened to me) just do your best to press it into the tart evenly and then dip a spoon into hot water and use it to smooth out the top.

Another great part of this mousse is it is ready instantly - no refrigeration needed, so dig right in and prepare to swoon!



Best of all, you don't need to feel guilty about eating it: anti-oxidant rich dark chocolate, omega-3 filled almonds and no refined sweeteners or animal fat make for a pretty great nutritional profile!

P.S. You also can't go wrong adding fresh raspberries to the top!




As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Funky Fresh Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, and A Themed Baker's Sunday - This week's theme is Chocolate! Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Simple Tomato Soup


We love pretty much all soups, but we especially adore a nice tomato soup. For many years (back in Ashlie's dairy and wheat eating days), our favorite lunch was velvety tomato bisque served with plenty of fresh ciabatta bread to sop it up! We would drive about an hour to Central Market in Dallas to indulge in this delight. Recently we were are out of town and needed to grab lunch and we ended up trying Corner Bakery Cafe's tomato soup. It was very different from the tomato bisque of years past, so different it's not quite comparable. But, it was very tasty in its own right - it was chunky, sweet, and richly tomatoey with a nice herby aroma. In fact, we've been craving more tomato soup ever since! So, we set out to make some of our own. The soup we came up with is super simple and simply delicious! Because it relies on canned tomatoes you can make it year round.

Simple Tomato Soup
Olive oil for the pot
1 Medium Onion, diced
1 Large Celery Stalk, diced
1 Large Carrot, peeled and diced
4 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
2 14oz. Cans Diced Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 teaspoons dried Basil
Sea Salt to Taste

1) Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Coat the pot with a little olive oil, add the diced vegetables and saute until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

2) To the pot add: the tomatoes along with their juice, the tomato paste, honey, and basil. Fill up one of the empty tomato cans with water and add it to the pot too.

3) Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed.

Serve piping hot with a nice green salad for a lovely light lunch!

As usual, I've included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, and Foodie Friday.Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!