May 6, 2013 in Desserts
Were I forced, for some cruel reason, to choose only one dessert as my absolute favorite, ice cream and caramel would battle it out Thunderdome-style, with ice cream just barely emerging the victor. It’s my go-to for any celebration, but especially for birthdays, which I celebrated just this past weekend. I would much rather have ice cream than cake – and “ice cream cake” while great in theory, has always been kind of a bummer in reality. (A cake made entirely of ice cream, though, I could get behind that.)
Now that I live in Portland, I have the joy of access to Salt & Straw, which is hands-down the greatest ice cream I have ever consumed. Sometimes referred to as “boutique” ice cream, they specialize in daring flavors like arbequina olive oil, pear with bleu cheese and even bone marrow, as well as more conventional (but still bold) flavor combinations like coffee and bourbon or sea salt with caramel ribbon (the last of which is, of course the ultimate experience for me). Naturally, this was my birthday dessert destination. Along with the usual single or double scoop, cup, cone or sundae options, one can also order a flight of four flavors. I chose sea salt & caramel (as per every single time), cinnamon snickerdoodle, almond brittle with salted ganache, and another favorite, the strawberry, balsamic vinegar, honey, and cracked pepper.
[I'm suddenly realizing all this effusively descriptive drooling is coming off like an ad for Salt & Straw. This is actually not a sponsored post, believe it or not.]
Anyway, here I am with my goofy five-year-old and my flight (note that the sea salt and caramel is already GONE):
As the reunion with my beloved Stuff continues, the next big project was going to have to be an attempt to approximate the glory that is the strawberry, honey, balsamic and cracked pepper ice cream – only in coconut milk form, and without refined cane sugar. I busted out the Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment, and whipped up my variation on this theme. I decided to omit the cracked pepper, much as I enjoy it in the original source material, since adding coconut into the mix is already changing the flavor harmonies up quite a bit.
Result? Pretty amazing, if I daresay. If you’re an ice cream lover with a ken for the bold, yet you prefer to avoid or reduce your dairy, give this a whirl.
April 15, 2013 in Desserts
You just need to know one thing to know how truly delicious this quick bread is: My husband ate THE ENTIRE LOAF in one day. Yes, all by himself. He just kept eating a slice here and a slice there and, well . . . it was gone.
I wanted to make him a treat and he requested banana bread. I refused. B-O-R-I-N-G, said I. “Ok, then make a tastier bread,” he responded. So what I had in my pantry was dried cherries and almonds. And an orange that was getting hard.
So. Why make plain old boring banana bread, when you can make this bread with flavors that dance in your mouth? And cherry and almond are a match made in heaven. This is a moist, delicious one million per cent improvement on banana bread.
Never go back to boring, I say.
– posted by Donna
So, turns out that pilaf is not the only thing that you can be done with quinoa. You can make a delicious, nutty flavored flour that is uber healthy and gluten free. I paired the quinoa flour with almonds in three forms – chopped, butter and extract.
I first learned about quinoa from one of my culinary heros – Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen. She has inspired me many times on low-glycemic goodness, like this Southwest Quinoa Salad. Thanks partly to Kalyn, I love quinoa and have tried several of her recipes. But. I wondered if I could turn it into flour and use it in baking.
You can buy quinoa flour – Bob’s Red Mill makes a wonderful product. Also, quinoa is easy to turn into a flour if you have a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Quinoa seeds buzz up nicely into flour – and actually make more volume – 1/4 cup of seeds turns into 1/3 cup flour.
The almond bars have a nice, light and yet interesting texture, similar to what you would get by using whole wheat flour. And, the almond flavor is delicious. So refreshing if you ever need a new take on brownies.
Low-glycemic, gluten free and heart-healthy. Quinoa is a home run on so many levels!
– posted by Donna
In a few days, the Kelly family will observe St Patrick’s Day, which for us involves dressing up in crazy green clothes, inviting strangers to kiss us because of our heritage and – this is my favorite part – eating green food. Ok, in honor of tradition we also make Irish stew, colcannon and soda bread rolls.
As a young bride, my guinea pig for my self tutorial in the kitchen was The Hubs. All I can say is that it is a good thing he loves me, because otherwise my cooking would have driven him screaming into the street. Case in point: Corned Beef. In a microwave oven.
In the late 1970′s, microwave ovens were new fangled inventions. They were large and expensive and we got one as a wedding gift in 1977. No one knew how to cook with one. No one we knew even had one. I did my share of experimenting, and scraped exploded food off the roof of the oven almost daily. Do not ever, ever try cooking a “soft boiled egg” in the shell in a microwave. Trust me on this.
I did manage to figure out that the microwave oven took less time to cook food than a regular oven. So, My calculation in 1977 went like this: regular corned beef = 4 hours in the oven; so, hmmm . . . microwave oven will take less time, so microwaved corned beef = 2 hours.
I plopped the corned beef in a 9 by 13 and into the microwave and set it on HIGH for TWO HOURS. Looking back, it is amazing that we didn’t burn the house down. We left to go to see the newly released movie “Grease” and returned to thick smoke that billowed out of the house when we opened the door and a substance that was the exact size and texture of a red brick. Whenever my husband wants to keep me humble about my cooking, he asks with a twinkle in his eye “Remember the Red Brick Corned Beef?”
These days I cook all our beloved traditional foods and then make a dessert that is green. Hence, these little tarts. They are creamy and yet tart. And I’d like to thank Mother Nature for making kiwis green – perfect for St Patrick’s Day.
Irish Blessings to You All!
– posted by Donna
We have an exciting announcement: our SECOND cookbook is about to come out!
Yes, as we’ve been merrily posting away as per usual, we were also working on another collaboration behind the scenes. Because we both enjoy quite a bit of vegan cooking in the context of our non-vegan lives, we were selected by Gibbs Smith (publisher of “101 Things To Do With Tofu”) to contribute to their new Virgin Vegan series, designed for people new to vegan eating and cooking. Ours is titled “Virgin Vegan: Everyday Recipes for Satisfying Your Appetite”, and will be officially released on March 1st (though you can of course pre-order it now).
CHECK IT OUT:
So to celebrate, we’re going to share a different recipe from our new baby every day this week – and at the end of the week, we’ll give away FIVE COPIES. You can enter each and every day, and we’ll tally up ALL the entries from all 5 posts to select our five winners via Random.org. Like so:
1. Any single comment counts as an entry all on its own (one per post)
2. Share that day’s recipe post on Facebook
3. Pin it on Pinterest
4. And of course, Tweet it.
You know, the usual. When you post, please make sure you’re using a valid email address so we can get in touch with you for shipping info.
On to the sample recipe!
February 5, 2013 in Desserts
I remember the first time I tasted Nutella. That bite literally made me swoon. This is because Nutella has super powers. Really. And now, I use it in every single way possible. Just say, in brownies, or in any experiment I can!
One of the fun things I did with my kids when they were little was to make snowflakes out of tortillas. Edible works of art. What’s better than that? To turn them into crispy, ooey gooey Nutella treats is really a cinch. So, so easy.
Here are the 6 easy steps:
1) buy the thinnest flour tortillas you can find. 2) fold up a tortilla into six parts or eight parts, just like you would if you were making a round paper snowflake. 3) you cut little squares, triangles and circles around the folds to make a snowflake. 4) unfold and toast your snowflake in a large skillet over low heat – turning frequently until fully crisp, lightly browned and toasty. 5) brush on some heated Nutella with a pastry brush. 6) While still warm, sprinkle on some powdered sugar and – Voila! – edible art!
– posted by Donna
Do you have a beloved seasonal foodstuff you look forward to rediscovering every December? Some eagerly anticipate the return of Caramel Brulee Lattes and Cranberry Bliss Bars to Starbucks, others count the days until boxes of Candy Cane Joe Joes arrive at Trader Joe’s. A fabulous friend of mine looks forward to getting another item from Trader Joe’s: their Eggnog Almonds. Alas, she found them to be sold out on a recent visit. Being me, I thought I would see if I could surprise her with my own rough re-creation.
As it turns out, making smooth, uniform, individually coated almonds is way beyond my confectionery skill set, but I quickly figured out that the big blob of white chocolate and nuts would make a great bark instead. When I changed course, I roughly chopped THROUGH the blob (which I do not recommend, it was just my only option since it was already combined), spread it on a baking sheet and chilled it. Voila, eggnog bark. I do believe it will now be an annual Thing. Read the rest of this entry →