Sunday, August 31, 2008

Basil and Blueberry Cornbread

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Susan from FoodBlogga
had posted this quick bread recipe a short time ago. I love anything corn, and cornbread is definitely on my favourites list. I found myself with some blueberries and basil seating in my fridge for a while. I never seem to use my basil fast enough, it gets dark so quickly...
Anyway, I thought it would be a perfect time to try Susan's cornbread recipe. I normally bake some sort of bread (quick or yeast ones) or some kind of muffin every other week (I would like to do it every week, but my jeans wouldn't like that so much....)

This recipe is very easy, and you know that's my kind of cooking. I never thought of mixing blueberries with basil, but the result was great, and the basil was very subtle.
I didn't change a lot of things from the original recipe, but I didn't have all the ingredients on the list. The main thing I made different on my bread was probably not using lemon extract and using some lime juice instead. I suppose if you used extract you would get a lot more of the lemony taste.

Also, Susan suggested a basil butter to go with it. As much as I like compound butters (or just butter in general), my jeans again reminded me that perhaps I could skip that... The recipe for the basil butter as well as the original cornbread recipe post from Susan and can be found here.

This was a great bread to have around the house and snack on it in the afternoon, eat it for breakfast or serve with coffee to a friend. Thanks Susan!

Basil and Blueberry Cornbread Recipe:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup medium coarse stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk **
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
2/3 cup fresh blueberries (dusted with some of the flour mixture)
1/3 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Combine all dry ingredients together in a bowl and whisk it.

In a separate bowl, whisk oil, butter, buttermilk, eggs, lime juice and zest. Add wet ingredients to dry mixture in batches, combining well before each addition. Don't over mix it. Fold in blueberries.
Pour batter into buttered and floured loaf pan and bake it at 375' for about 35 minutes, until cake tester comes out clear.
Let cook 5 minutes and invert it into a cooling rack.

** I don't normally have buttermilk at home, and I don't like buy something just for one recipe, specially if it is an item I know I won't use it again so soon. Because of that, often times I use the "dry buttermilk" (which I keep in the fridge) and follow the instructions on the package when needed in a recipe.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Breakfast Quinoa Meal

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Quinoa is a source of complete protein, making it a staple in many vegetarian pantries, like mine. I normally cook a batch and use it in many different ways. Sometimes I have it like a couscous, mixed with vegetables, other times I'll have it instead of rice. It's great for stuffing vegetables too. I even made muffins and breads with it.

I don't put much effort on cooking breakfast, normally I eat a banana, or a fruit smoothie. And lots of good coffee, please... But I often have cooked quinoa in the fridge and so I make this when I want to have something warm and hearty. Another option would be the good old oatmeal, but I find this quinoa version easier (if you have the grains cooked already) and lighter than a bowl of oats. The good news is that is just as healthy, if not healthier.

The toppings I use depend on what I have in my pantry and fridge. I used blueberries and hazelnuts for the one pictured here. Sometimes I use walnuts, dried fruits, sliced bananas, Brazil nuts, pretty much anything goes.

Quinoa Meal Recipe:

To cook the quinoa, bring 1 cup of water plus 1 cup of quinoa to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cooked until all the liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes.

To make the breakfast quinoa-meal, put together some of the cooked quinoa (about 1/4 cup per portion), milk, a pinch of salt bring it to a simmer. Cook until desired consistency, just as you would with oatmeal. To sweeten it, you can use maple syrup (my choice), honey, brown sugar, agave nectar....

Top with your choice of fruits and nuts. If I am using dry fruits, I cook it together so they can soak up the liquid.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Green Tea Poached Pears with Pistachio Brittle. A celebration of 100 years of friendship

Pin It One hundred years ago, 781 Japanese immigrants arrived at the Brazilian port of Santos on the steamship Kasato Maru. They were the first of many more to come and try life in the warm, rich Brazilian lands. They were hired mainly to work on the coffee plantations. Today Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan (1.5 million). As is a full circle of life, since the 80s, over 300 000 Brazilians emigrated back to Japan to work on factories, mainly.

Brazil and Japan share a long relationship, and the Japanese influence can be noticed anywhere in Brazil, but it is more evident in the states of Sao Paulo and Parana, where the first immigrants arrived, and where I come from.

This post contributes to an event created by Akemi, a Brazilian blogging from Japan. The idea of this event is to showcase dishes that use Japanese ingredients.

I chose those pears that are poached in green tea. The Japanese have been drinking green tea for centuries. Here in the Western world, we just recently discovered the wonders of this tea.

This recipe is easy and you are likely to have most ingredients at home. I just had to get pears. The green tea syrup is really nice, very sweet and the good news is that there is about a cup of if left over, so you can use it later over ice cream, fruits, etc....
The pistachio brittle is optional, but it makes a nice presentation and add a new level of texture to the dish.

Green Tea Poached Pears Recipe:
adapted from here

12 tea bags of Green Tea
1 cup sugar
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 3-inch-by-1/2-inch strips orange peel
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
4 firm but ripe Bosc pears

Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Cut out a parchment-paper circle the diameter of your saucepan; set aside. Add tea bags to boiling water, remove saucepan from heat, and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing excess liquid into the saucepan, and discard. Add sugar, ginger, orange peel, vanilla pod and seeds to the tea; stir to dissolve sugar. Bring tea mixture to a simmer over medium high heat; cook 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel pears, leaving stems intact. Using a melon baller, scoop out the seeds and core from the bottom of each pear. Add pears to saucepan; reduce heat maintaining a gentle simmer. Cover pears with the parchment-paper circle to keep them submerged. Cook until just tender, about 20 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove pears. Strain cooking liquid; discard solids. Return cooking liquid to saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 30 minutes.

Pistachio Brittle Recipe:
  • Nonstick vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped, raw, shelled pistachios
Spray a small rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside.

Combine sugar, honey, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
Bring to a boil without stirring, and cook until deep golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour onto prepared baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle evenly with pistachios and salt. Let cool completely.

Break into pieces as desired.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stuffed Baked Eggplant, or Eggplant Canoes (Barquinhos de Berinjela)

Pin It Eggplant is such a versatile vegetable, however, I don't think it gets all the credits it deserves here in the States. In Brazil, eggplant dishes are a lot more popular. These "eggplant canoes", named after the final shape of the dish, are how it was often cooked at home. My mom loves it.
You can stuff the eggplant with pretty much anything you want. Being vegetarians, mom and I like to use tomatoes, herbs, cheese along with the eggplant body. But I've seen it stuffed with ground meat (turkey and beef). Another way of making it vegetarian and hearty is to use ground Textured Vegetable Protein (you can find it in bulk at natural food stores or some supermarkets).

Stuffed Baked Eggplant Recipe:

1 eggplant, halved
olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
a handful of sliced white mushrooms
fresh parsley and basil
panko or breadcrumbs
shredded Parmesan
salt and pepper

Scoop out most of the inside of the eggplant and roughly chop it. Be sure to leave a shell that will be strong enough to hold the filling. Cook onions in oil until translucent, add garlic and cook a minute more. Add the eggplant and mushrooms, cook for about 5 minutes, add tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Add fresh herbs, season with salt and pepper.

Fill the eggplant shells with vegetable mixture, top with breadcrumbs and cheese. Drizzle with olive oil (or top with pieces of butter if you prefer).
Bake it at 350 degrees F until eggplant is cooked, but still holds its shape.
Enjoy it!

This is my entry to Weekend Wokking event, hosted this month by Palachinka. This month's secret ingredient is...of course, eggplant, but who knows what it will be next month? Check out the event's page to find out more about it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Caprese Salad and it's many derivations

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This is a simple salad, making most of this year's ending tomato season :(....
Just tomatoes, basil and mozzarella di buffalo. There are endless variations to this Italian classic, this is the original version, if you will. Just assembled and seasoned with good olive oil, salt and pepper.
Here are some other salad versions I made inspired by the Caprese:

1- adding finely sliced red onions
2 - adding a splash of balsamic vinegar (or reduction)
3 - using smoked mozzarella
4 - adding sun-dried-tomatoes
5 - skip the fresh basil and drizzle with pesto instead
6 - marinate tomatoes first in chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper
7 - top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese
8 - use spinach or arugula instead of basil
9 - mix red and yellow tomatoes
10 - add crumbled feta

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Skillet-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie

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If you like cookies and milk, then imagine a "cookie slice" with ice cream. That is what you get from this recipe, a huge skillet-size cookie that is sliced and served warm with some vanilla ice cream.
The recipe is as easy as a regular chocolate chip cookie, with the advantage that you don't need to make individual ones. Instead, the entire dough is spread onto a skillet.

Skillet-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
from here

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (about 9 ounces) mixed milk- and semisweet chocolate chips

vanilla ice cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Cream butter and sugars until mixture is light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix until they are fully incorporated. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips

Transfer dough to a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, and press to flatten, covering bottom of pan. Bake until edges are brown and top is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Don't over bake; it will continue to cook a few minutes out of the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, 15 to 20 minutes. Slice and serve with ice cream.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Andrew's Banana Cake

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This is the first cake I ever made for Andrew, and it continues to be his favourite. It is my type of cake too, no frosting, layers, icing, etc... It's a cake we have with tea or coffee, as a dessert, or even for breakfast.
This is a Brazilian recipe and there are many similar ones with a few variations. 
Another thing I like about this cake is that it doesn't require any special kitchen gadget or equipment. Everything is done using a few bowls. For the best results, use bananas that are over ripe.

Banana Cake Recipe:
adapted from this Brazilian cooking site

2 cups all-purpose flour ( you can use half whole wheat flour, half white)
1 1/2 cup sugar ( mixing white and brown sugar will add extra flavour from the molasses)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare a cake pan with butter and flour.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bow and whisk it to combine. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix the bananas, eggs, oil and vanilla. Add the raisins.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in 3 parts, alternating with milk and making sure it's all incorporated before adding more.

Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake until done, about 45 minutes.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes before inverting to a wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Deviled Chicken Drumsticks

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These drumsticks are from Gourmet Magazine (August/08). They are very easy to make, with few ingredients that you are likely to have in your pantry anytime. Since I don't eat meat, I have to rely on Andrew's taste for the feedback on meat dishes. But don't worry, he is pretty picky. Here is his feedback: crispy outside, juice inside, and slightly spicy. Perfect! 

If you don't eat those drumsticks out of the oven, try to enjoy them at room temperature, or even cold. Just don't reheat them, or you'll loose the crispness from the crust.

Deviled Chicken Drumsticks Recipe
adapted from Gourmet Magazine (August/08)

makes 4 drumsticks

You will need:

4 chicken drumsticks 

4 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 450 F.

Brush chicken pieces with mustard. Set aside.

Stir together panko, cheese, paprika, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle with melted butter and toss.

Coat each drumstick in the crumb mixture and place them in a cooling rack set over a baking tray.

Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blackberry Smoothie (mom's favourite)

Pin It Sometimes it's hard to be so far away from your family. It's not like I can just hop on a plane and go to Brazil anytime I want to. But I phone a lot. Last time I was homesick I called my mom and she was reminding me about this restaurant on the countryside where we have this blackberry drink. It's made with blackberries, milk and sugar, pretty simple. But blackberries are not so common in Brazil, so this was always a treat for us. And my mom loves it. So I saw some blackberries at the market and decided I was going to make the same drink and pretend I am at the countryside looking at the beautiful landscape along the road with mommy.
This is a nice drink, a healthy snack and the colour is just beautiful.

Blackberry Smoothie:

Blend blackberries and cold milk (or soy milk) until smooth. If you are very picky about the seeds, strain it. Sweeten to taste. This is more of a juice consistency than a smoothie, I don't add any yogurt or ice to it.

Pasta with Sage and Almond Pesto

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This is a lovely dish I found at Ilva’s equally lovely blog. I really like cooking with sage, its aroma is so fragrant and fresh. Although very tasty, this pasta is a little bit strong in flavour, so I find it’s best served as a side dish. The dish comes together really quickly and I think leftovers are delicious eaten cold, straight out of the fridge.

Pasta with Sage and Almond Pesto Recipe

slightly adapted from here

makes 1 lb of pasta

You will need:

1 lb (500g) of pasta of your choice

20 small sage leaves

7 oz (200g) blanched almonds

Olive oil, as needed

salt to taste

2 tablespoons half-and-half or cream

1 large clove of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed

Parmesan cheese, to serve

Cook the past in plenty of well-salted water.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a food processor, blend the sage leaves with the almonds until all chopped. With the processor running, slowly add olive oil through the feeder until it comes to a pesto-like consistency. Season with salt to taste.

In a large pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Place the crushed garlic bulb and cook it until golden and fragrant, be careful not to burn it. Remove and discard garlic. This step will flavour the oil with garlic without making it overpowering.

Add sage mix to the pan and the cream, stir well. Add cooked pasta along with some of the pasta water. Stir to combine and serve hot with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chicken and Sausage Bake

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This is the type of dish you prepare the night before by marinating it overnight and finish it in the oven the following day. It makes it very easy to do during a busy work week.

This is a Nigella recipe that I found on a magazine.  The house smells really good while the dish is in the oven.
This is also one of those recipes where you can be really loose when it comes to the ingredient list. Use dry mustard if you don't have Dijon, whatever herbs you prefer or have in hand will do, add more onions if you like them, remove garlic if you don't like it, etc. I normally make it with oregano but sage, rosemary or parsley works well too.

Chicken and Sausage Bake Recipe
 adapted from here


You will need:

1 small lemon, halved
2 small onions, peeled and quartered through the roots ends
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of died oregano

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound of chicken thighs and drumsticks 
3 garlic cloves
4 Italian sausages
2 tablespoons  fresh oregano 

Squeeze the lemon halves into a large resalable plastic bag and add lemons to it.
Add onions, olive oil, mustard, dry oreano and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well, add chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper. Marinate it overnight.

Remove from fridge about 30 minutes before you want to bake it.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Pour contents of bag in a baking dish, add sausages. Turn chicken skins side up and season again. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano.

Bake in  preheated oven until cooked trough and golden brown, about 1 hour, turning sausages halfway through.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash

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What a great vegetable dish. This could be served as a side dish or a main course. I found this recipe at Jen's beautiful blog and knew I was going to like it. Roasted garlic, goat cheese...what's not to like? Plus, it is one of those dishes you prepare in little time, than leave it to the oven to do its magic.

Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Recipe
original recipe

serves 2 as a side dish

You will need:

1 medium summer squash
1 goat cheese log
2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (I used parsley, oregano and sage)
1 garlic bulb
olive oil
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut top of garlic bulb and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in foil and roast the garlic in the oven  until tender, about 30-45 minutes. Let it cool slightly and smash the cloves.

Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees F.

Halve squash and scoop out the seeds making room for the filling.

Prepare the filling by mixing the herbs, goat cheese and mashed roasted garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fill squash with cheese mixture, top with bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a preheated oven until golden, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven, top with Parmesan and continue baking until cheese is melted and golden brown.

Enjoy it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Coffee and Banana Shake

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Coffee and banana make a really good (although unusual) combination. They are two of my favourite foods and I normally have both for breakfast. This is not a breakfast drink though, it’s more of a milkshake. It can be made with your leftover coffee from the morning. I prefer when I make it with ice cream but frozen yoghurt works as well. make sure the bananas are really ripe.

Coffee and Banana Shake Recipe

makes 1 large shake

You will need:

2 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup prepared strong coffee, cold
2 generous scoops of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Enjoy it!

Raw Beets and Carrot Sandwich

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This is a really simple and delicious sandwich idea, perfect to take to work. Sandwiches like this one are really common in Brazil but I find that most people here in Seattle prefer to use cooked beets and even then they are not very present in sandwiches.

For this recipe, two types of raw beets plus carrots are shredded and then combined with goat cheese and herbs. The mayonnaise is used here to moisten the sandwich. You can add sliced tomatoes if you like.

Raw Beets and Carrot Sandwich Recipe

makes one sandwich

You will need:

2 slices of whole wheat
1/4 cup shredded raw carrots

1/4 cup shredded raw, peeled purple beets

1/4 cup shredded raw, peeled golden beets

3 tablespoons goat cheese

1 tablespoon chopped chives or parsley or a combination of both
1 tablespoon eggless mayonnaise (vegennaise) or regular mayonnaise

Coat bread slices with mayonnaise and goat cheese, sprinkle the chives on top, top it with the vegetables and close. This sandwich can be made in advance, wrapped in plastic or foil and refrigerated.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Turkey Meatballs for the Freezer

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These meatballs are a freezer staple here at home (for Andrew's meals). I keep a bag of frozen ones for those days when you don't have time to cook something from scratch or just don't feel like doing much in the kitchen. It allows me to make a healthy and substantial meal in very little time. Having some marinara sauce ready in the refrigerator makes it even faster.

These meatballs are nicer than your regular old ones, for a couple of reasons:

The bread is whole wheat and the meat is turkey which makes this a healthy recipe.

Instead of using breadcrumbs, the fresh bread slices are processed and than soaked in milk, which makes the meatballs very moist (no one likes dry meatballs).

Turkey Meatballs Recipe:
slightly adapted from here

makes about 30 meatballs

You will need:

3 slices of whole wheat sandwhich bread (multigrain is fine)
1/4 cup 1% milk
3 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon choped chives
1 beaten egg
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tray of ground turkey meat, about 1 1/4 lb
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

In the food processor, chop the bread slices until crumbs form. Soak fresh bread crumbs in milk for about 10 minutes.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix it well. With damp hands, form balls of about 2 tablespoons large each.
Place meatballs in a baking tray lined with parchment paper and freeze until firm.

Transfer to a resealable plastic freezer bag, it will keep for up to 3 months.
When ready to use, cook meatballs with marinara sauce in a covered saucepan until done.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hungarian Plum Dumplings

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Andrew's mom is Hungarian, and so was his grandmother as well. Hungarian foods are part of his childhood memories. He told me that his grandma used to make these dumplings that he really likes. This is a typical Hungarian recipe.

The recipe starts by making the dough, which is made with potatoes, flour, eggs and butter.
The plums are the red ones, also called black plums. Do not choose plums that are too soft or they will not hold their shape during cooking. It might take you a couple of dumplings to figure out just the right amount of dough for each one, so that the juices from the plum don't mess up the consistency and shape of the dough.

The rest is pretty easy. Just boil the little guys in salted water, pass them in some buttered bread crumbs and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar on top.
You can make the potato dough one day ahead of time and keep in the fridge.

Hungarian Plum Dumpling Recipe

makes 20 dumplings

1/2 lb floury potatoes

1 beaten egg

2 tabelspoons unsalted butter, melted

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
10 black plums, ripe but firm
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups breadcrumbs (brioche which is slightly sweet makes great breadcrumb for this recipe)
sugar-cinnamon mixture

Boil washed potatos with skins on in plenty of water. Put under running cold water for a minute, peel and puree. Mix potatos with the beaten egg, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and the flour until a smooth dough is obtained. Add more flour if it's too soft. Some people put a little sugar in the dough - I didn't, but would probably do next time.

Remove the pit from the fruits. During this process, I found it was better to split them in half and remove the pit with a small teaspoon. I used half a plum for each dumpling, but it is your choice, it can be a whole fruit, or just a few pieces. Spoon one tablespoon of cinnamon-sugar inside each half plum and set aside.

On a well floured surface, roll the dough until about 1/4 inch think. Cut it in squares that will wrap the fruit pieces. The best way to wrap them is to fold the edges of the dough around the fruit and them make a ball shape with your hands. Keep flouring your hands if it gets sticky.

Boil dumplings in a large pot of salted water. Dumplings will rise to the surface, once they do, wait about 5 minutes and remove them.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the remaining butter (1 stick) and add the breadcrumbs. Cook lightly, so the crumbs are buttered.

Carefully roll the dumplings in the breadcrumbs and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and enjoy!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Black Forest Cookies

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There is nothing nicer and more comforting than the smell of fresh cookies baking in the oven. This is the cookie version of the popular Black Forest cake. The dough has cocoa in it, which gives them the dark colour. To complete the black forest theme, dry cherries are added to the dough along with lots of chocolate chunks.

The trick for making these cookies successfully is not to over bake them. It did take more than the 11-13 minutes that the original recipe suggests to bake them but I was checking after each minute to make sure they didn't get too hard. Nothing is worse than an over baked cookie.

Black Forrest Cookie Recipe
adapted from here

makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 package (about 12 oz) semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
1 1/2 cups dried cherries

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, mix in sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and whisk until smooth.

Whisk in the flour mixture just until combined (do not over mix). Fold in chocolate chunks and dried cherries; press plastic wrap directly onto surface of dough, and refrigerate until firm, 30 to 45 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 or 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Drop mounds of dough (equal to 2 level tablespoons) about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. Bake just until edges are firm (but not darkening), 11 to 13 minutes or until set. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Roasted Beets and Raspberry Salad

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This salad is my own creation and it is inspired by a similar one I ordered at a waterfront restaurant here in Seattle. I really like the combination of the beets with the raspberries. At this time of the year (summer), the farmer markets have plenty of both kinds of beets, golden and purple. The golden one is my favourite.

Roasted Beets and Raspberry Salad Recipe
makes 2 small or 1 large salad

You will need:

3 beets (golden and purple), ends trimmed and washed
5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of vinegar or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup raspberries
1/4 cup walnuts
mixed greens

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place beets in a foil package, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Close package and roast beets at a 375 degrees F oven until tender, about 1 hour.
When beets are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut in 1 inch squares. Set aside.

For the dressing, make a simple vinaigrette:
In a jar add vinegar or lime juice, remaining 3 tablespoons of olive, Dijon mustard and a squirt of honey. Season with salt and pepper. Add a couple of raspberries and lightly crush them with a spoon. Close the lid and shake jar until dressing is all blended.

To assemble the salad, make a bed of greens, place beets on top and pour dressing. Top with walnuts and extra raspberries.

Enjoy it!