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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Ganache

This Ganache has become quite special to me when baking for the ones I love. Besides the fact that any ganache saves one from having to skillfully frost a cake in order to achieve something that is aesthetically pleasing, this one has the advantage of being made from rich, yet also wholesome ingredients. Organic Earth Balance, vanilla soy milk, and dark vegan chocolate come together to create an extremely delicious and also cholesterol & trans fat free ganache.

One might ask why even bother with trying to avoid these types of fats in an undeniably decadent food like frosting or ganache. And, at some point in my life, I might have agreed with such a statement. But, as the years pass, I find myself understanding sustenance in reference to health more & more. I want the food I eat and that I feed my lovelies to be pure and wholesome, and I know many of you feel this way too. Plus, this ganache is delicious and allows us to indulge (there's still plenty of saturated fat) while feeling just a bit less guilty!

Vegan Chocolate Ganache
1 Cup Dark Vegan Chocolate
2 Tbsp. Organic Earth Balance
1/3 Cup Vanilla Soy Milk
1 Tbsp. Strong Coffee
A pinch of Cinnamon (Optional)

In the top of a double boiler, place the Earth Balance and soy milk. Bring the water below to a very low simmer and whisk. Mix in the coffee and cinnamon. Add the chocolate. Once it looks like it is beginning to melt, whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat immediately. This should all happen quite quickly, as chocolate can burn.

This is enough ganache to place about 1/3 between two layer cakes and the rest on top.

What is Earth Balance? See here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Enchanting Dough (Update)

I'm calling this post an 'Update', as there is something I just have to tell all of my Dearies about the Pineapple and Guava Turnover post with an easy pastry dough recipe. This is simply that the dough is outstandingly delicious after being in the fridge for a week. I knew it would most likely set up well in the fridge, but I never could have imagined the enchanting delight I was about to experience.

For this recipe, I simply rolled out the other half of the dough and filled it with an organic cabbage and carrot filling. The shapes are off a bit, as I just tried to stuff as much filling into each little pastry as I could. Then I pressed the edges with a fork, brushed with egg, and baked for about 26 minutes. The result was something one can't imagine without just actually having one of these on a plate in front of you with a vinegary salad and a glass of wine. So all I can do is hope you will try this Easy Pastry Dough, and make sure to double wrap up half for a later date.

Oh, and this pastry would be just beautiful for brunch creations!

Savory Cabbage Filling
1 1/2 Cups Cabbage-chopped
1 Organic Carrot-shredded
1-2 Garlic Cloves-chopped
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Onion Powder
Black Pepper to your liking
1 Cup Low Sodium Vegetable/Chicken Broth

Bring a half tbsp. of oil to medium low heat in a sauté pan. Add the cabbage, garlic, salt, pepper, and onion powder and sauté for 4 mins stirring intermittently. Add the broth & carrot and bring to a low simmer. Allow to simmer on low for at least 5-6 min. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
Once cooled, place drained cabbage inside pastry (pastry should already be on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper). Fold pastry to desired shape and use a fork to press sides together. Brush with egg wash. Bake as instructed here...

*To my Vegan Lovelies-now that this batch is gone, I will be trying a vegan version of this enchanting pastry dough soon!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sesame Carrot Patties & Sriracha Aioli

These little carrot patties are probably one of the most delicious things I've eaten for a month at least. I know this may sound odd being that they are simple and almost too full of healthy stuff to sit here and try to explain how delicious they are, but I speak the truth, my Dearies. The Sriracha Aioli also helps the situation by bringing these patties from very good to excellent.

This recipe is a modified version of the wonderful Zlamushka's Vegetable Patty recipe. I just add my own spices as well as a little protein (nuts) to the mix. This produces a wonderful patty that is delicious with mashed potatoes and salad. The only downfall is that the patties can be a little crumbly depending on the juiciness of the carrots used. For example, my patties hold together much better when I can get my hands on a bag of Earthbound Organic carrots than the brand I used today. *Zlamushka uses a bigger cut on the carrot, and hers look structurally sound. Either way, just be gentle while sauteing and you will end up with an excellent meal you can feel good about...

Carrot Patties
6 Medium Carrots (peeled)
2-3 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 Tsp. Paprika
1/2 Tsp. Cumin
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 1/2 Tsp. Olive Oil
1 Tsp. Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Organic Oats
Just under 1/2 Cup Seeds/Nuts (sunflower, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, etc)
Sesame Seeds for topping (optional)

Sriracha Aioli
4 Tbsp. Mayo or Vegenaise
1 1/2-2 Tsp. Sriracha
4-6 Drops Toasted Sesame Oil

In a food processor, place the carrots, garlic, oats and nuts. Process to a fine meal (not to course meal or to a mush-in between!). Remove from the processor to a bowl and add the oil, soy, and spices-mix. Take a handful of the mix and form into a ball and then flatten into a patty. Place the patty on a clean plate. Continue until the mix is gone, loosely cover the patties and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to 'set' the patties. Sautee in a touch of olive oil on medium low heat until both sides are golden and the patties are heated through. Dollop with Sriracha Aioli and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Guava & Pineapple Turnovers

This is a tropical delight for my dearies, as there aren't many things better than a sweet, fragrant guava jelly combined with tart pineapple. Included is a pastry or croissant dough recipe that's faster and easier than almost anything you'll find in this realm. Yes, look up a typical croissant dough, and you will become privy to a more than 24 hour process that requires quite a bit of work.

Be sure to use a nice guava jelly like this

Quick Pastry Dough

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Cold Water

In a bowl, stir together flour and salt. Using a pasty blender or your hands, cut cold butter into flour until your mixture looks like a course meal with some pea sized pieces of butter. Mix the water into the yogurt and add to the flour mixture. Mix till you get a nice dough.

Form the dough into a ball. On a floury surface, roll into an 18 by 9 inch rectangle. Take the ends and fold the dough crosswise into thirds forming a 6 by 9 inch rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds again from the other side (to your right, so that you have a small square or even ball like shape). Wrap dough and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
*Folding dough into thirds means simply pulling one end towards the center and then pulling the other end's two corners towards the center and on top of the first fold. This creates layers, which in turn creates flakiness...

For guava and pineapple turnovers, cut the dough in half after chilling. Roll each half on a floured surface into a 12 inch square. Cut into 6 squares and put about 3/4 tbsp. of guava jelly in the center of each square along with a few pieces of pineapple (canned or fresh). Pull the ends toward each other to form whatever shape you like. Crimp the edges together with the end of a fork and brush with egg (egg whipped with 1 tbsp. water).

Bake at 395 for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 385 and bake for 12-15 more minutes or until golden.


Pineapple Goodness!

Guava Bite!

To my vegan lovelies, I will be trying this dough with Earth Balance and O'Soy Yogurt as soon as possible. If it works, I will update this post!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sunshiny Day!

I awoke yesterday morning a bit more groggy eyed than usual. See, I've been a bit stressed lately, Dearies, due to a very mean witch (a family member) who has cast an ominous spell over my being as of late. She doesn't like my sorcery and has been giving me quite a time lately.

So just as I was about to incite a grand spell from the underworld to finally remedy this nonsense once and for all, I decided to open my laptop first just to give myself some time to, you know, make sure I should do such a thing. And what do you know, some sunshine was brought my way by a very sweet lady called 'The Kitchen Masochist' here in the blogosphere! Yes, she has bestowed The Sunshine Award upon me and my witchy realm! Please check her blog out, as it is full of great recipes inspired by her life as an American living in the Philippines along with impressive writing I might add.

So thank you, Kitchen Masochist, for bringing me some sunshine and easing my ire just a bit-at least for today...

Like the Kitchen Masochist, I have chosen five bloggers that have particularly inspired me as of late or always. Here they are:

Zlamushka of Zlamushka's Spicy Kitchen- for her healthful and daring cuisine that I've always loved since before creating or even thinking about having a blog.

Kate of Serendipity-for her cooking style that is all her own and a personal depth that is almost palpable even from the computer!

Christine of Fresh, Local & Best-for her expertise in both cuisine and dining spanning from San Fransisco to New York and all the way to Europe as well as for her constant support of other bloggers.

Cristina of From Buenos Aires to Paris-for her constant sweetness and, of course, her drop dead beautiful photography. She is an example to those of us who are 'camera challenged'.

And to Dennis of More than a Mountful-because he is a very new blogger with a homegrown site that has solid recipes (I've tried a few) that are just what you'd expect from a chef!

I would have also passed on this award to Denise at Quickies on the dinner table for so many reasons, but she just got one...

Here are the rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog or just within your post.
2. Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within your post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

*To all of my Dearies not on this list, please don't fret. I am a new blogger, so I'm still getting to know so many of you.

I hope this brings some sunshine to all of you and Happy St. Patty's Day, Everyone!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Split Red Lentil Soup

This is a soup I've been making for Cauldron Boy for for a few years now. He loves this soup for its delicious flavor and the nostalgic comfort that it brings him to have a bowl with crackers and cheese. I love it because it is a simple soup that is fast, and it is super healthful as you may notice upon reading the ingredients below. I also like having a way to use leftover cooked rice, so that it does not go to waste!

Be sure to serve this soup with a drizzle of olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon or lime-these add so much to the flavor of the red lentils! Homemade crackers are nice with this too and will be coming soon to a blog near you!

Split Red Lentil Soup

1 3/4 Cups Organic Split Red Lentils
1 Onion (Minced)
1 1/2 Cups Cooked Rice
2 Hefty Pinches of Herbes de Provence (Optional)
1 Large Bay Leaf
1 1/2 Tsp. Cumin
1/4 Tsp. Black Pepper
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Bouillon Cube or 1 1/2 Tsp. Better Than Bouillon
8 1/2 Cups Water

Fill a soup pot with the water, onion, lentils, bouillon, salt, pepper, bay, & herbs. Bring to a high simmer, stir, and lower the heat. Put the lid on at an angle to allow some steam to exit. Let cook at a low simmer for 20 minutes stirring intermittently. Then add the rice and cumin and allow to cook at a low simmer for 10 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon-sliced scallions are also recommended. Enjoy, Dearies!

*P.S. Curry and red pepper would be great in here too. Oh, and, yes, the red lentils render a golden colored soup.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Witchy Fast Pizza Dough

My last post was buzzed to the #1 spot on The Top 9 at Foodbuzz this last Sunday thanks to all of you Dearies, elvin folk, vegan & vegetarian lovelies, and even trolls. I must admit though that I am now a bit nervous to post! I mean, how do I live up to Mango & Coconut cake ever again?

Luckily, I know that I am here to simply share my goodies with you all. And this next recipe is a winner all on its own due to simplicity, ease, and deliciousness. Yes, Witchy Fast Semolina Dough makes a beautiful pizza that is authentic and quick. You decide how thick or thin you want the crust-I suggest thin, so find a big round or square pan and smooth some olive oil over it!

Witchy Fast Dough

1 Pack of Yeast
1 Cup of Warm Water
2 Cups All Purpose Flour (King Arthur is excellent)
1/2 Cup of Semolina + some for smoothing sticky dough
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 1/4 Tsp. Salt
Dry Italian Herbs (Optional)

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water and let sit for 1 minute. Add to the dry ingredients-whirl your wand through for about 25 strokes. Knead for about 3 minutes adding a touch of flour if needed for sticky spots. Form into a round mass as pictured above. Cover with a kitchen towel & let sit for 10-15 min. Press into 2 large olive oil smeared pans for thin crust or one large pan for bulky crust. Sprinkle with a touch of semolina, and top with whatever you like! Bake at 420-25 degrees for 15-18 min.

See how nice?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mango & Coconut Cake

This is a cake I like to make for my Dad. He's one of these folks that, believe it or not, doesn't like chocolate much at all. He does, however, love to stuff his pie hole with fruity cakes and pies. So I make this one a lot when I'm at my parent's house, because it is right up his alley and is a very easy cake to whip up for breakfast or tea time.

This cake is perfect with coffee, tea, or milk. And it is naturally delicious and vegan (not a modified recipe)!

1 1/4 Cups of All Purpose Flour
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger (optional)
1/2 Ripe Mango (dime size cubes or chunks)
3/4 Cup Soy Milk
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
3/4 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
Flaked Coconut for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees & grease a round baking pan.

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Mix thoroughly and create a well in the center. Place the milk, oil, mango, and vanilla in the well and mix gently till homogeneous. Pour into prepared baking pan and top with coconut. Bake for 27-30 min.

See how moist?

Pretty Cake!

Cauldron Beets

I have noticed quite a few recipes around the web involving roasted beets. Roasting beets is surely a delightful way to cook this earthy root vegetable. Being though that I am a witch spending much of my time next to a burning cauldron, I simply boil my beets for a specified amount of time depending on size. This technique produces a soft, delicious beet ready to be tossed in oil, vinegar, and herbs once cooled.

If you are one of these trolls that cringes at the thought of beets, consider that you are foregoing large quantities of minerals like potassium, magnesium, and copper as well as vitamins like Vitamin C, Folate, and other B Vitamins. Beets are also especially high in an amino acid called Betaine, which aggressively fights inflammation in the body!

Instructions: Wash beets thoroughly. If your beets are large, slice them in half. Drop beets into salted, boiling water. If you have small beets, check for tenderness with a fork after 20-25 minutes. If large, check within 30 minutes. Some like beets with a bit of bite while others want them tender, so end boiling as you see fit. Once done, use your hands to push off the peel-it comes off easily! Be sure not to over boil, as beets can get water logged.

Oh, and don't waste those beet greens. They are delicious sauteed in olive oil with garlic and red pepper!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beyond Easy Dinner Rolls

I just got home from visiting my mother in Atlanta where I also catered a small wedding. The menu was full of things like phyllo wrapped around organic mashed potatoes, fresh gulf shrimp, and cilantro pesto (coming soon to a blog near you!) as well as soy butter glazed carrots amongst other very nice gastronomically pleasing items.

One of these other items was not only something that the bride said was the best she ever had homemade or store bought, but also an item that everyone loves (so much so that I had to make them again for my mother's church group, which allowed me the time to get some photos). And that is a good dinner roll. This yeast roll is delicious, and, in the realm of yeast rolls and breads, it is very easy and I would say at least pretty quick.

Here is the recipe:

2 1/2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Tsp. Instant Yeast (or 1 package)
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Fresh Egg
3/4 Cup of Very Warm Water (Not Hot-about 110 degrees)
Poppy Seeds (Optional)
Butter or Margarine (Brushing)

Preheat oven to 415 degrees & butter a round baking dish.

First, put water and yeast together in a mixing bowl and allow to dissolve for about a minute. Then add the egg, oil, sugar, & salt and stir thoroughly. Gently stir in 1 cup of flour . Now is the time to cover this mixture with a towel and allow it to sit for 15 minutes in a very warm place (near a working stove, etc). The mixture should rise and form air bubbles.

After 15 minutes, stir the mixture & add the other 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix till you get a dough and then knead the dough for about 3 minutes adding flour as needed for sticky areas. Divide the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and line a round, greased baking sheet with the dough balls. Allow to rise in a warm place (near a hot stove or in a slightly warm oven) for 25 minutes.

Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 410-15 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Up close and golden!

And it's finished-delicious & beautiful for the ladies.