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Monday, August 31, 2009

Fresh Peaches Poached in Spiced Coconut Milk Topped with Granola

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poached peach 1

 

I am a big fruit person, but I normally eat them fresh without any cooking involved.  Peaches are especially nice fresh, when they are juicy and have a wonderful aroma. Sometimes though, I like to try something different. This time I decided to poach the peaches, and as I was opening the can of coconut milk I thought about how nice it would be to add some spices to it, like cinnamon and cloves. These spices are normally used during cold month desserts, but they worked very nicely here. The granola on top is optional, but I like the crunch. Fresh whipped cream or ice cream would work well too, specially if you are a fan of cold and hot contrast on a dish.

 

poached peach 3

 

Peaches Poached in Spiced Coconut Milk Recipe:

serves 4

You will need:

 

2 fresh peaches, ripe but still firm

1 can of coconut milk

1 cinnamon stick

10 whole cloves

1 -2 tablespoons of sugar (depending on how sweet you want it to be)

Granola (optional)

 

Peel the peaches, cut them in half and remove pit. Place peaches in a small sauce pan and cover with the coconut milk. Add the spices and sugar. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, without boiling.

Pour each half peach in individual bowls and top it with some of the coconut milk. Top it with granola, if using. Serve immediately.

 

 

poached peach 4

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dobos Torte - Daring Bakers

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The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of

A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

dobos 1

This was the first time since join the Daring Bakers that I was not completely  pleased with the results. The Dobos Torte tasted very good, which was not a surprise. White sponge and lots of chocolate ganache, how bad can that taste? My problem was with the presentation, and it probably had a lot to do with my decision to cut the recipe in half (lesson learned).

Since it's only the 2 of us, and I was  recently told by my doctor to decrease my sugar intake , I thought  I would make just a small cake for us to share. The problem of making small amounts is that if something goes wrong, you don't have much back up, and that is what happen to my sponge cake. It all went well for the first batch, but the second one stuck to the baking paper and I couldn't remove it. So I ended up with 1/4 of the sponge cake from the recipe. That is the reason you only see a small slice of my "torta"....

The chocolate buttercream was easy to make and tasted great, the only thing is that it melts pretty fast so it has be kept in the fridge. Even after the layers were assembled, I had to keep it refrigerated or the layers would slide off and melt.

A typical Dobos Torte is topped with  a caramel-covered sponge layer, normally sliced into wedges. Since I was already running short of cake layers, I decided to skip the caramel altogether.

I ended up with a multi layered mini torta that tasted great (just like store bought actually), but didn't exactly look that attractive., specially if you think of Dobos Torte as a beautiful, tall cake with a crunchy and shinny caramel topping.... Mine wasn't any of that.... 

Although Dobos is a wonderful dessert, certainly elegant (when made properly), I don't think I will be making this again anytime soon. Perhaps it is a little too rich for my taste, but as a true Daring Baker, I am happy that I tried it.

 

For more beautiful photos of Dobos Torte (and too see how they are really suppose to look like), head over to the Daring Kitchen. And for the complete recipe for this particular Dobos, click here or here.

dobos

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Warm Peas

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 grilled lettuce

 

On my last post I declared my love for all things grilled, so here it another grilled recipe. This time it's romaine lettuce that takes a trip to the barbeque.  Don't be so surprised, grilled lettuce is really good. I love how charred they get, a little burnt on the edges, warm but still crunchy in the middle. The trick is to brush it well with oil and cook for a very short time. You can use grilled lettuce in salads, with some grilled cherry tomatoes and red onions. It's delicious and unexpected. This recipe is for grilled romaine hearts that are topped with a warm peas and shallots mix.  I like the combination of peas and lettuce a lot. This makes  a perfect side dish for a barbeque party.

 

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Warm Peas Recipe:

 serves 2 as a side dish

 

You will need:

1 tablespoon of olive oil *

1 tablespoon of chopped shallots (use red onions if you don't have shallots on hand)

1/2 cup of peas, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup of either water, chicken or vegetable broth

salt and pepper

1 lettuce head, preferably romaine hearts

Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)

 

 

First make the warm peas mix. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan or skillet, add the shallots and cook until translucent. Add the peas, your liquid of choice and cook until warmed up, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cut the lettuce in half lengthwise leaving the root still attached ( it holds the leaves together). Rinse with cold water and let it dry. Brush cut sides with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Grill the lettuces cut side down over a medium hot grill for about 5 minutes (start checking after 3 minutes as grill temperatures vary). Remove from the heat.

Plate lettuce halves cut side up and spoon the warm pea mix on top (reheat it if necessary). Top everything with shaved Parmesan, if using and serve immediately.

 

* If you like butter (who doesn't?), go ahead and use it instead of the olive oil for a richer dish.

 

Enjoy it!

grilled lettuce 1

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Potato and Olive Pockets in the Barbeque

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bbq potatoes 1

We bought our BBQ about 5 years ago in Canada. It was the simplest and cheapest gas model in the store (in the two digits category...). Since then, it has traveled to Seattle, endured a couple of really bad winters (specially last year) and the constant, terrible wind that hits our balcony all the time. The metal plate inside of it is broken, as is the lid. It's a very small grill and I do my best to keep one side of it vegetarian, although that is not always possible.  Nevertheless, I love our barbeque. I can't imagine my life without it. Sometimes I fantasize about buying one of those super grills, with a rotisserie motor (for making gyros), and it almost feels like I am cheating on our my loyal companion, our cheap BBQ grill. I use it pretty much everyday, all year around.  During the cold months (in our case, that's 9-10 months), I roll it close to the  balcony door so that I don't have to step outside, but can still grill on it from the inside of the apartment. I use our old, broken BBQ to cook just about anything I feel like. 

This time it was potatoes. I like to grill potatoes but I don't like to have to boil them first (too much work, too much clean up). So I bought some very tiny ones (from Trader Joe's), that could go straight into the grill. The foil keeps the moisture in and lets the potatoes cook nicely. The olives give a nice saltiness and a touch of  Mediterranean flavour. Sometimes I use green onions (scallions), sometimes it's chives, whatever I have in the fridge. Next time I make these potatoes, I am thinking sun-dried-tomatoes might be good addition to them.

 

bbq potatoes

Potato and Olive Pockets in the Barbeque Recipe:

serves 4 as a side dish

You will need:

 

1 lb of very small potatoes such as Trader Joe's Tiny Teeny Potatoes**

16 mixed olives

4 teaspoons of olive oil

4 teaspoons of butter

4 tablespoons of fresh chives or green onions, chopped

salt and pepper

 

Wash and rinse the potatoes, scrubbing the skins to remove any dirt.

Cut 8 squares of foil paper (about 10x10 inches each) to make 4 double-lined pockets.  In each pocket, put 1/4 of the potatoes, 4 olives, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of chives or green onions). Season with salt and pepper (keep in mind olives are very salty ) and close tightly. Place pockets in a hot barbeque grill, cover and let it cook for about 20 minutes.

Be careful when opening the pockets, they will be hot and the potatoes steamy. Serve immediately.

Enjoy it!

 

** If you can't find tiny potatoes, use small new potatoes cut in half.

 

bbq potatoes 2