Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Feliz Navidad!

This past weekend I was the ultimate procrastinator in getting my Christmas treats and coquito done for the holiday season! I remember celebrating solstice and making happy brew and loads of cookies.....I mean, I think I gave everyone in my family a LARGE tray of cookies that could feed at least 50 people! Those were the wonderful holiday seasons when my Mother and Grandmother were still around, they were Christmas Fanatics! My grandmother would re-decorate the whole house from top to bottom, she even put out Christmas plates, soaps, and pillow cases!
My mother always went overboard with the lights, her whole house had twinkling lights (that she managed to keep up for at least 3 months after Christmas) from top to bottom it seemed. My dad on the other hand played the role of scrooge and bah humbugged his way through December only to become a kid at a candy store on Christmas Day! I don't know whose face lit up more when I opened my gifts...his or mine....probably his!
Being so far away from home this holiday season perhaps put a slow motion clock on my baking mood, but I did manage to make some yummy treats none the less.


Here is the recipe for my Chocolate Lovers Delight Coquito that I mention on my Being Latino Blog Post on holiday drinks.


1 can Coco Lopez
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
5 scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
1 Pkt. Nestle Cafecito instant coffee, or the new Viva from Starbucks
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped, seeds placed in blender, or you can just use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 round bars Nestle Abuelita drinking chocolate
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
1 cup Rum (or more to taste) (add last)

1) heat up coconut milk and Abuelita chocolate bars until it is completely melted and is the consistency of choclate syrup, set to the side and cook off for 20 mins
2) Add coco lopez, evaporated and condensed milks and remaining ingredients to your blender.
3) Add 1 cup cooled Abuelita Syrup to the blender and mix for about 1 minute, until the color is consistent.
4) Add Rum
5) Have a glass and enjoy!

Stay tuned for my Rum Bundt Cake Recipe!!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 27, 2009

My First Daring Bakers Challenge

I hate to say it, but I am addict.
I am addicted to online food challenges, I don't know why, but I am.
It's not like people can actually taste my food, they have to go by what I write and the pictures I post. I'm not a professional writer or Photographer, and unfortunately they are not hobbies of mine either, so why do I subject myself to the torture of having your pictures judged? I guess I am just a masochistic chef, because once again, I have decided to do a challenge.

I am not just doing any ol' challenge either, I am doing THE DARING BAKERS CHALLENGE, people from all over the world log on once a month ( you must be a member to participate) and happily accept the challenge that is thrown at them.

I guess I couldn't have picked a better time to actually do the Challenge ( i missed last months deadline), than this one. It is one of my FAVORITES. It was of course, Cannoli's. Not only were we making Cannoli's, we were making them from scratch!!!

I've eaten dozens of Cannoli's in my lifetime, but not once have I actually thought of making them at home. It's one of those desserts that just seemed like they just needed to be bought and enjoyed at your favorite Italian Bakery, mine of course being Venieros in NYC.

I was soo excited, I thought for sure I had this one down. I was going to make the best cannoli's my eyes have ever seen...haha...yea right! The Cannoli Gods had another thought in mind for me.

Cannoli dough could possibly be the dough from hell, leaving my other arch nemesis, phyllo, light years behind. Not only is the dough a pain in the butt to mix, and figure out if you even got it right, it is even more of a pain to roll it out and get the right thickness. Some people on the website chose to use a Pasta Machine to thin out the dough, that would have been my option as well....but...I don't have a pasta machine.

After about 5 minutes of trying to beat the crap out of the dough and roll it until it was the thickness of a dollar bill, I decided to cut 3" rounds, and then thin that out by rolling it out some more.

The other part of the challenge was to make the filling. I don't use Ricotta too much, so I thought about using Marscapone or even cream cheese, but then I figured I wanted to stay as close to traditional as possible. I contemplated making my own Ricotta, but I had second thoughts and just went with the store bought stuff.

I had 2 ideas for my fillings, I definitely wanted to make a holiday inspired one, but I also wanted to make the traditional one with the chocolate chips and the candied orange pieces.

Again, the Cannoli gods failed to smile upon me.
Why could I not get the filling to a consistency that is what I remember eating at my beloved Venieros?!

I ended up making a white chocolate peppermint filling, but it was a little runny, probably from the melted white chocolate. I refrigerated the filling and filled the shells the next day.


The Shells, as much of a pain as they were, came out of the fryer beautifully. The first was by far the best, but beggars can't be choosy!


Here are some pictures of the finished product!

CIMG8769

CIMG8767

CIMG8766

CIMG8764

Monday, November 16, 2009

Foodie Fights -- Battle 16 -- Chestnuts & Kumquats (continued)

Crisp Seasonal Pork Dumplings w/ Kumquat infused Dipping Sauce



Don't forget to check out all of the contestants and vote for your favorite!!!




So,
it seems that unless I am signed up for a challenge where I must post my entries onto my blog, the poor thing gets ignored, its like the red headed step child of my cooking world :(

So this month I am of course doing the Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks challenges, but I also signed up for this one called Foodie Fights, you basically send an email saying that you would like to participate in their upcoming battle and they will send you an email telling you if you have been accepted? or I guess if you signed up in time. They then let you know the ingredients you are going to be using. I had the fortunate luck of being involved in Battle 16, Kumquats and Chestnuts.

What is a Kumquat you ask?

any of several trees or shrubs of the genus Fortunella bearing small orange-colored edible fruits with thick sweet-flavored skin and sour pulp
small oval citrus fruit with thin sweet rind and very acid pulp , according to Google and Princeton


Ahh...and Chestnuts, was that your next question?

chestnut - This nut of the chestnut tree was once abundant in America, but most were killed by a fungus at the turn of the century. The many varieties of chestnuts can be boiled, candied, dried, preserved, pureed, roasted, or ground into flour.
According to Google

So here I was extra excited...and then it hit me! I live in PHOENIX ARIZONA....there are no Chestnuts that I have recalled seeing over the last few weeks..and honestly, whens the last time I saw a Kumquat...I went into Mary-mode and started calling every market I could think of...no Kumquats, haven't seen them since spring or summer, sure we'll have chestnuts, they're seasonal, they should be in within the next few weeks.

AWESOME!!! What was I going to do? I figured some place some where is this City would have to have something related to those items...I thought chestnut paste? I could make a pastry! Kumquat Jam, awesome filling....great ideas, but nothing to make these things come to life. Then it came to me, THE ASIAN MARKETS!! I am sure I could substitute water chestnuts for chestnuts, I mean...it does have chestnuts in its name, and I was for sure, totally 100% positive that I had seen Kumquat juice...I think?

As I anticipated going to the market after work I had visions of rolled chicken breasts with a cheese, mushroom and chestnut filling glazed with beautiful Kumquat reduction.

Going to the market was a blast, I zig-zagged my way straight to the Produce section....and as if the gods shone a golden light upon them, there were the beautiful chestnuts in all of their bagged glory...I think I may have jumped up and down as I reached out to touch the golden nuggets of things I can never recall ever really tasting or eating.

As I paced back and forth waiting to see if an attendant would be able to give me a smaller portion, I mean, what was I really going to do with 2 pounds of chestnuts....my eyes fell upon these round bulbous beauties....could it be...FRESH WATER CHESTNUTS....again, I think I jumped up and down...on wednesday I thought I was down and out...and here it is Friday and I am right back in the game! Woo-Hoo!

I was focused on Kumquats...none in the fresh fruit section, no Kumquat juice as I had previously imagined...although, all of the fruit on the juice bottles look the same, unfortunately I can't read Chinese, Korean, Japanese or Thai, so I really don't know what the bottles said, but I know it did not say kumquat outright. My brain was thinking fast and furious...I did not want to substititute kumquats with another citrus fruit unless it was one million percent impossible for me to find anything that contained kumquat....and then, like a bat out of hell, the idea hit me so fast I could barely get to the aisle fast enough...DRIED KUMQUAT....I had been in that aisle a million and one times hoping that by some miracle of sweet baby tasty jesus they would have Hi-Chew imported Japanese yogurt candy, I remember passing jars and bags of fruit that just looked at me and said....grab me, buy me, taste me, and I would not even give them a second glance, and here I was at their mercy!
I crossed my fingers and hoped that I would recognize the Kumquat. Have you ever noticed how many varieties of dried plum there are?
Neither did I! It seemed to be that every dried, preserved and pickled fruit was a plum, I was losing faith.
And then she found it...the freckeled one, with her eagle eyed vision spotted the word Kumquat on a lone package towards the bottom of the rack....my heart fluttered with adoration...and then.....there was a second package of Kumquats...once again I was down and out, and out of nowhere, as if they knew I were coming, there were 2 varieties of Kumquats!

They may not be plump and juicy and fresh, but they are Kumquats!








So as I was saying my brain was in overdrive, I had dreamed of the rolled chicken but thought it would probably be too much of a "safe" entry. I figured why not honor the place where I actually found the ingredients...I would make dumplings....or wontons...or potstickers with a kumquat dipping sauce.

The base for my dumplings would be traditional, ground pork, soy sauce, green onion and corn starch, I would add roasted chestnuts, water chestnuts, cilantro, brown onion, green onion, shitake mushroom, shredded carrot and cabbage. I also figured I would add some apple and kumquat just to give it a hit of sweetness and hopefully the apple would enhance the flavor of the chestnut...which I must say taste very...I guess the best word would be Earthy, I can't say that I have ever tasted a nut with that flavor profile...have you ever opened an avocado seed and smelled/tasted it? Thats sort of what Chestnuts reminded me of.

Anyways, I was extra excited about the Pacquaio/Cotto Fight on saturday night so I decided why not take the time I would use being bored watching the undercard fights and just get my idea rolling. In retrospect, if I had made a "Puerto Rican" style dish I wonder if Cotto would have pulled out a vicotry? I am Puerto Rican (and 1/2 dominican) so maybe I jinxed him by making an asian inspired dish....

So I started out by roasting my chestnuts and water chestnuts, I must admit I kept singing to my self ♪♫♪ chestnuts roasting on an open fire ♪♫♪...I cut cross sections on the chestnuts (to release pressure so they wouldn't explode), and I cut the tops off of the water chestnuts, and off they went into a 350 degree oven for 20 mins.




I was pretty impressed with the way they came out, they looked like perfect little chestnut blooms...until I started to peel the little bundles of joy



It seriously took me 45 mins to get them out of the shell, and their wonderful skin off.



The water chestnuts on the other hand were a breeze, probably about 2 mins to peel.



I then gathered my mise en place:

½ gala apple
waterchestnuts
chestnuts
1/3 medium brown onion

and also:

1 green onion stalk (scallion)
a small handful of cilantro

Into the the food processor it went, I actually passed it thru 2 seperate times because I wanted a smaller chop. I added 1 tablespoon of canola oil to the mix to loosen it up




I then added some chopped kumquats...remember, these are preserved kumquats that I found at the asian market:





The other ingredients were:

1/4 chopped small cabbage
1/3 shredded large carrot
2 chopped shitake mushrooms


1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon chinese 5 spice

2 tablespoons white wine (i used chardonnay)
1 teaspoon sesame oil(for flavor)

I also added:

1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons of granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon of salt (for flavor enhancement)




All of my ingredients went into 1 1/4 pound of ground pork, 1/2 of the chestnut mixture was used:









I used pre-made dumpling skins....I bet I could have made my own, but why risk it :)





KUMQUAT DIPPING SAUCE:

sliced sweet presevered kumquat
sliced green onion
dash of sesame oil
soysauce to taste


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Daring Cooks Challenge

This is my first Daring Cooks Challenge. The lucky item this month was Sushi, unfortunately I have never been a fan of it, but I decided to give it a try anyway since the freckled one loves it. I opted to just do 2 of the 4 types of rolls because it would definitely be wayyyy too much for just the 2 of us, so here are my final results.



Foodie Fights -- Battle 16 -- Chestnuts & Kumquats

So,
it seems that unless I am signed up for a challenge where I must post my entries onto my blog, the poor thing gets ignored, its like the red headed step child of my cooking world :(

So this month I am of course doing the Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks challenges, but I also signed up for this one called Foodie Fights, you basically send an email saying that you would like to participate in their upcoming battle and they will send you an email telling you if you have been accepted? or I guess if you signed up in time. They then let you know the ingredients you are going to be using. I had the fortunate luck of being involved in Battle 16, Kumquats and Chestnuts.

What is a Kumquat you ask?

any of several trees or shrubs of the genus Fortunella bearing small orange-colored edible fruits with thick sweet-flavored skin and sour pulp
small oval citrus fruit with thin sweet rind and very acid pulp , according to Google and Princeton


Ahh...and Chestnuts, was that your next question?

chestnut - This nut of the chestnut tree was once abundant in America, but most were killed by a fungus at the turn of the century. The many varieties of chestnuts can be boiled, candied, dried, preserved, pureed, roasted, or ground into flour.
According to Google

So here I was extra excited...and then it hit me! I live in PHOENIX ARIZONA....there are no Chestnuts that I have recalled seeing over the last few weeks..and honestly, whens the last time I saw a Kumquat...I went into Mary-mode and started calling every market I could think of...no Kumquats, haven't seen them since spring or summer, sure we'll have chestnuts, they're seasonal, they should be in within the next few weeks.

AWESOME!!! What was I going to do? I figured some place some where is this City would have to have something related to those items...I thought chestnut paste? I could make a pastry! Kumquat Jam, awesome filling....great ideas, but nothing to make these things come to life. Then it came to me, THE ASIAN MARKETS!! I am sure I could substitute water chestnuts for chestnuts, I mean...it does have chestnuts in its name, and I was for sure, totally 100% positive that I had seen Kumquat juice...I think?

As I anticipated going to the market after work I had visions of rolled chicken breasts with a cheese, mushroom and chestnut filling glazed with beautiful Kumquat reduction.

Going to the market was a blast, I zig-zagged my way straight to the Produce section....and as if the gods shone a golden light upon them, there were the beautiful chestnuts in all of their bagged glory...I think I may have jumped up and down as I reached out to touch the golden nuggets of things I can never recall ever really tasting or eating.

As I paced back and forth waiting to see if an attendant would be able to give me a smaller portion, I mean, what was I really going to do with 2 pounds of chestnuts....my eyes fell upon these round bulbous beauties....could it be...FRESH WATER CHESTNUTS....again, I think I jumped up and down...on wednesday I thought I was down and out...and here it is Friday and I am right back in the game! Woo-Hoo!

I was focused on Kumquats...none in the fresh fruit section, no Kumquat juice as I had previously imagined...although, all of the fruit on the juice bottles look the same, unfortunately I can't read Chinese, Korean, Japanese or Thai, so I really don't know what the bottles said, but I know it did not say kumquat outright. My brain was thinking fast and furious...I did not want to substititute kumquats with another citrus fruit unless it was one million percent impossible for me to find anything that contained kumquat....and then, like a bat out of hell, the idea hit me so fast I could barely get to the aisle fast enough...DRIED KUMQUAT....I had been in that aisle a million and one times hoping that by some miracle of sweet baby tasty jesus they would have Hi-Chew imported Japanese yogurt candy, I remember passing jars and bags of fruit that just looked at me and said....grab me, buy me, taste me, and I would not even give them a second glance, and here I was at their mercy!
I crossed my fingers and hoped that I would recognize the Kumquat. Have you ever noticed how many varieties of dried plum there are?
Neither did I! It seemed to be that every dried, preserved and pickled fruit was a plum, I was losing faith.
And then she found it...the freckeled one, with her eagle eyed vision spotted the word Kumquat on a lone package towards the bottom of the rack....my heart fluttered with adoration...and then.....there was a second package of Kumquats...once again I was down and out, and out of nowhere, as if they knew I were coming, there were 2 varieties of Kumquats!

They may not be plump and juicy and fresh, but they are Kumquats!




Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I gave in...

I decided to do the PaperChef challenge at the last minute.
I entered last month, and had lots of fun making my cookie, I figured why not give it another go....unfortunately I decided pretty much at the last minute so I am scrambling to get everything typed up and posted before midnight. As my items are in the oven, I will take advantage and type the recipe, I don't know what I am calling it yet though, so I guess I will type it out, and then edit to add a name. I definitely decided to go with a pastry style dish, I didn't want lentil soup, or lentils as a side in general, so i decided to incorporate somehow. I thought of mashing it with the Yams, but I didn't want to take anything away from the beautiful sweetness that is a yam...i ended up cooking them down and then sauteing them with the chicken and some shredded carrot. I definitely wanted to embrace the sweetness of the Yam, so it will be a sweeter dish rather than ultra savory....ahhh, let me stop rambling away and get to the recipe


Unnamed Dish





Ingredients needed

lentils
Yam
Chicken
Green Tea


Added by me

pastry dough
carrot, shredded
cinnamon, to taste
nutmeg, to taste
lavender 1/4 teaspoon for the chicken and 1/4 teaspoon for the lentils, a pinch for the yams
butter
white wine
sugar
egg (for eggwash)


Sauce (optional)
vanilla yogurt
orange zest
orange juice
vanilla extract


The first thing I did was roughly chop my yams, add some cinnamon, nutmeg, lavender and jasmine green tea leaves to it, and dry roasted for about 30mins, once they came out of the oven, I mashed them, and added a little bit of freshly brewed green tea to the mix


While my potatoes were roasting, I poached the chicken, about 3/4 of the way through I added a mint green tea bag, and about 1/4 teaspoon lavender to the mix, once it was cooked, I took it out and let it cool down before pulling it into shreds.

I let my lentils boil, about 1/2 way through I added about 1/4 teaspoon of jasmine green tea leaves, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, salt and white pepper for to taste, just to give the lentils some flavor

I also brewed a very strong cup of jasmine green tea to use as a flavor infuser

Once the potatoes were done roasting, I mashed them, adding a little bit of the strong brewed tea for flavor.

I sauteed the carrot in butter, added the chicken, lentils, white wine, and some of the brewed tea, and I let that simmer down for abot 3 mins, I added sugar and butter to finish the sauce.

I will be posting the video once I am done editing so you can see everything I did !









Here is Video # 1

Here is Video #2, still editing #'s 3 & 4


Please check my Facebook Page for other Videos, my Constant Craver Competition, and Step by Step Photo Albums! Happy Cooking!!!!

where to start...what to do

As I sit here contemplating what I am going to do on my day off tomorrow, I have realized that I have A-LOT of cooking to do. Of the 10 countries/10 dishes challenge that I issued to myself for Hispanic Heritage month on my face book page, I have completed 5. That leaves me 2 days until the 15th to complete the challenge. I also have a daring cook challenge due, as well as a daring baker challenge. There is also a paperchef challenge lingering on the back of my mind, although it is due today, so I may not have time to even participate, I am thinking of a dish, but I am just not sure if I have time. There are times when I wish I didn't procrastinate sooo much, but then I think to myself, hey you work better under pressure! Why do I insist on lying to myself, lol.

I have 2 dishes in mind for the Hispanic Heritage Month, which still leaves me with 3.....

I also have the daring cooks challenge, which I am not allowed to blog about until the release day....as I said....A-LOT of cooking to do...


I'm off to look in the cabinets and see what I can invent :)


Don't forget to check out my facebook page, its's where I post all of my videos and pictures :)


Happy Cooking everyone!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The joys of the Dessert Challenge!

If you have never been to my facebook page....WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Seriously though, we have cooking competitions, 3 so far, and I thought it would be a good idea to let the winner of the previous challenge pick the the ingredients...hmmmm...last challenge winner, Ms. Simone Mims, a darling friend of mine and fellow foodie won and she chose...
Phyllo (filo) Dough, Ice Cream, Nutella, Nuts and BALSAMIC VINEGAR.
I've worked with every single one of these ingredients...but never together...and some, not in years.
The last time I worked with Phyllo Dough, I worked at an outdoor restaurant named Luna Park, in New York City, it was a seasonal gig...steps away from the Union Square Farmer's Market, the focus of the cuisine was contemporary American...we would make roasted golden and red beet stack with goat cheese, and wrap it in phyllo , then bake it off...ughh.... I HATED making these things, now that I think about it, the phyllo dough never seemed to want to cooperate with me!
We also made a balsamic reduction, for what, I can't remember...all I can recall was a kitchen that was the size of a broom closet, it being an average of 125 degrees at any time, and the scent of vinegar burning my nose hairs away!

I also worked part time at another restaurant here in Phoenix, where they make a PHENOMENAL balsamic reduction that they serve with apricot and cheese stuffed chicken breast..but OF COURSE...I never actually made that sauce...never even caught a glimpse...

So with my mind in full gear, and my Procrastination at its best...here I am blogging about the disasters that have occurred today!

Where shall I start?

Shall I go into detail on how I decided to make a balsamic reduction with orange peel, sugar and cinnamon...and how I burned it...along with my finger tip?

What about how I opened my phyllo dough, to find it all stuck together, and as I carefully tried to peel the layers away they shred into holey sheets of phyllo.

How about my bright idea to make Balsamic Nut Brittle...only to have it turn into a balsamic rock...

Ahh, I think I can go on and on and on, on how this competition just was working against me from the moment I said go.

One bright spot though, was making a fantastically delicious Nutella Swirl Banana Ice Cream....ahhh delicious goodness it was!

I cannot post my final product yet, because the contest does not end until midnight, but it's done...not the prettiest or the best work I've done, but the flavor is on point!




****UPDATE*****
So I ended up making "Banana Foster Split"
Check out my facebook page for the photos!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Making NY take out style Chicken and Broccoli

As I had promised Eva (thanks for reminding me!!!) Here is a recipe for Chicken and Broccoli, guaranteed to taste like the take out spot, or your money back, lol! Hope you enjoy!!


What you will need to do first:

Chicken breast, thinly sliced and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 egg white

1 tablespoon of corn starch





Once you have let it sit for half an hour you will need to assemble the following items:


A Wok, or large frying pan
2 cups of oil, hot, or if you have a deep fryer its the perfect thing to use







The next items you will need are :

1 tablespoon of oil
2 garlic cloves, minced


Broccoli, washed and cut up
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup of water









AND Finally

1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons of Oyster Sauce
2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce













Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Paper Cheffed it!!

OK, so I am in complete awww of Iron Chef's, Chopped contestants and Top Chef competitors...this was alot harder than it seemed....maybe I thought about it too much, maybe I was extra nervous because I have never ever submitted my recipes to be "judged", or maybe I just had too much time to work it out? Whatever it was...it was overall fun...fun because I had all of these ideas flowing, and I actually turned it into what I had imagined. Granted I am no kitchen novice, but, I am by far the furthest thing from a pastry chef...or a chef per se at this point in time. For those of you who know me, know it is by choice, I had given up cooking for a while because I had lost all passion. Can you imagine being an artist and not being able to stand looking at your favorite art supplies? That's what it was like for me, I needed time, I needed space and I needed to really feel that passion again. Am I head over heels in love with food again? No, but I am getting to know it again, taking it slow...one dish at a time :)



Please enjoy the recipe I am submitting to Paper Chef for this month's ingredient challenge. It is a little time consuming, but well worth the treat at the end :)


Candied Cookie Surprise

I chose this name because at first glance you can't tell the flavor of the cookie


Crystallized Candied Ginger

1/4 # ginger, peeled and sliced about 1/8th of an inch thick

2 cups water for boiling, 2 different times (so 4 cups)

1 and 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 and 1/2 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt


1) add ginger to a pot, add 2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 15 mins

2) drain ginger, reserve 1/3 cup of boiled ginger water for later use and repeat step 1

3) drain ginger and return to pot, add sugar, salt and water, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, simmer for about 45 mins, or until your syrup has reduced to about 1/3 of original amount

4)remove ginger from syrup immediately and set to dry on parchment paper for about an hour to an hour and a half. Remove remaining syrup from pot and place on a buttered pan, it will turn into a crystallized sugar candy that you can break apart and dip into chocolate.



Candied Orange Peel

skin from 1 Valencia orange, with minimal pith, sliced into 1/4 inch slices

2 cups of water for boiling, 3 separate times (so 6 cups total)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar in a shallow dish


1) bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add orange peels, and blanch for 1 min, drain orange peels, run under cold water for 1 min, and repeat process 2 more times

2)bring 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil, add orange peels and reduce heat, simmer for about 15 to 20 mins, and remove orange peels, separate peels and place on parchment paper to cool/dry for about an hour and 15 mins. reserve orange syrup for later use

3) roll cooled orange peels in 1 cup sugar in shallow dish, once completely coated let sit in sugar for about an hour to help remove moisture



Cookie Dough

1 cup salted butter, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup skim milk ricotta, room temperature

2 tablespoons orange syrup (reserved from candying process)

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 teaspoon ginger paste, or 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 and 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour

1 and 1/2 cup quick cook oatmeal

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon chopped candied ginger

1 tablespoon chopped candied orange peel


(preheat oven to 375)


1) cream butter for 1 min, add brown sugar, cream for another minute, add granulated sugar, cream for about 30 seconds, add 1 egg, mix for 45 secs or until well incorporated, add the other egg and repeat process.

2) mix ricotta for about 45 secs, add orange syrup, zest and ginger, mix well, add pumpkin puree, mix, add cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, mix until well incorporated.

3)add cheese mixture to butter mixture and mix on medium speed for 1 min, turn to high for 15 secs.

4)remove mixing bowl from stand, add 1/2 the amount of flour and fold in, add the other half and fold in, return to stand mixer and mix on low for about 30 secs.

5)add oatmeal and mix for about 30 secs, and candied ginger and orange and mix for another 30 secs.

6)spoon dough onto non-stick cookie sheet and bake for 20 mins.

7)place cookies on cooling rack and cool completely (about 45 mins to an hour)



Orange-Ginger Glaze

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon orange syrup (reserved from candying process)

3 tablespoons ginger water (reserved from candying process)

1 teaspoon orange zest

1/4 teaspoon ginger paste


1) add ingredients in order, mixing in between each



Chocolate Drizzle

melt 1/2 cup semi sweet dark chocolate with 1/4 teaspoon shortening

chopped candied ginger

chopped candied orange peel


Final Step


Place cookies on a rack lined with parchment

drizzle chocolate in your favorite pattern

sprinkled chopped candied ginger and orange peel

drizzle glaze


place in refrigerator for 20 mins


cookies may be refrigerated for longer if needed, they are extremely soft and cake like :)





Click on the link above for step by step photos :)
HAPPY COOKING!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Paper Cheffin' It


The first time I saw the Paper Chef blog, around the time I started this one, I knew that I would enter the next contest. I waited and waited, and kept checking back, and FINALLY the day came when the new ingredients were posted. This month's ingredients are Ricotta, Ginger, Dark Chocolate with Fall...any fall ingredient of you choice. My first dilema, of course is what exactly is considered Dark Chocolate. The judge did not specify cocoa content, so I googled to make sure I would be within the rules. In the US semi-sweet chocolate is considered Dark Chocoloate, while in Europe Bittersweet Chocolate is what is used when you say "Dark Chocolate". The next dilema is of course what kind of item do I make. The first thing that came to mind was a cookie. The holidays are soon approaching, and EVERYone loves cookies around the holidays. Why not come up with something a little unconventional for this holiday season.
I decided to make a ricotta pumpin cookie, either with chocolate chips,or dipped in chocolate, or drizzled with chocolate, topped with candied ginger and orange peel. Wish me luck :)

Pictures coming soon :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Mad Dash to the Finish...

The Contest




How can I make up a contest and not enter? Is it fair that I expect people to use their valuable time to be as creative as possible, and I, the creator of this thing totally disregard it and say I didn't have enough time?! I had plenty of ideas...Chicken Pot Pie...Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken Wellington...but I had already waited until the final day to make something, so I had to KISS (keep it simple silly).


The freckled one and I had an idea from the beginning though, we would play on something most people just order @ a fast food restaurant rather than make it @ home. We would make Chicken Strips and French Fries. Simone beat us to the punch though...so time for idea # 2...Chicarron de Pollo, or extra crunchy chicken pieces. Since I was going to butcher a whole chicken I figured we could make it 2 ways, con hueso/sin hueso, or with and without bones. Since we were playing with the chicken, why not make Fries 2 ways...Sweet Potato and Cla

ssic. Oh yea...did I mention I waited until the last minute...we didn't start cooking until 8pm! Total Procrastination!











We blow dried the sweet potatoes!











We added a but of cornstarch to our fries!







Here is the final product!