Spiced Carrot Hummus

Steamed carrots lightly spiced with rosemary, garlic and paprika elevate traditional hummus to new heights. Healthy and delicious!

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Recipe adapted from Taste magazine
1 lb. carrots, peeled
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
4 T. oil
2 t. paprika
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic
3 T. sherry vinegar or to taste
salt-pepper
fresh mint
Steam carrots until tender, reserving the cooking water. Heat olive oil, paprika, rosemary, and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Remove rosemary sprig and discard.
Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. If too thick, add a little of the reserved cooking water to the food processor until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning and garnish with chopped mint.
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How to Make Perfect Hummus

Creamy, smooth, perfect hummus, the kind you get at your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, bears little resemblance to the tubs you buy at the grocery store, or even make at home using canned chickpeas. With a little planning ahead, it’s easy to make perfect hummus at home.
1 lb.( 2-1/4 cups) dried garbanzo beans
 
The secret to making the best tasting hummus is to start with dried, not canned garbanzo beans, which require soaking.
 
In a large bowl, add enough cold water to cover the beans by 2″. Set aside overnight, or for at least 6-8 hours.
 
Drain water and rinse beans. They are now ready to cook.
 
 
Fill a pot with 6 cups cold water and add beans. Simmer gently covered with lid ajar for about 45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours until beans are very tender, almost mushy. Add additional water as needed to cover.
 
Drain, reserving about 2 cups of the cooking water and set aside to cool.
 
Makes 5 cups Hummus
 
4 cups cooked garbanzo beans
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 4 lemons, or to taste
3/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup olive oil
1-1/2 t. kosher salt
pinch of cayenne pepper, (optional) if you like a little heat
reserved cooking liquid
 
Purée beans in the bowl of a food processor, adding a little of the reserved water if necessary. Then add tahini, garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice. Process for about a minute, then with machine still running, add olive oil in a stream. Add the reserved cooking liquid a little at a time until you’ve reached the desired consistency.
Serve with carrot and celery sticks, olives, and pita chips.
 
 
 
 
 

Black & White Chambord Truffles

Bittersweet chocolate infused with Chambord, a black raspberry liqueur produced in the Loire Valley of France, coated in velvety white chocolate and sprinkled with colored sugar crystals. Need I say more?
Happy Valentine’s Day!
 
For the dark chocolate ganache center, you will need:
 
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate (use high quality chocolate, not chocolate chips)
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. light corn syrup
2 T. unsalted butter, softened
2 T. Chambord liqueur
 
Makes about 50 truffles
 
Chop bittersweet chocolate and place in a shallow bowl with the softened butter.
 
In a saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to the boiling point, but do not boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate and butter.

Allow to sit for a minute, then stir gently to melt without incorporating too much air. Cool slightly before adding the Chambord.
Allow to firm up covered in the refridgerator for about 2 hours. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and using a small ice cream scoop or melon ball slicer, scoop the ganache onto the cookie sheet.

Coating for ganache-
1lb. tempered white chocolate
Tempering is necessary for the chocolate to harden at room temperature and maintain it’s luster. It will give your coating that snap.If you prefer to skip this process, simply roll the ganache in sweetened cocoa powder and store the truffles in the refridgerator.
 
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Dip truffles in tempered white chocolate and place on the lined cookie sheet.
 
Sprinkle with colored sugar and set aside. Tempered chocolate sets up quickly.
Store covered at room temperature.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fruity Marshmallows

 
If you can boil water, beat egg whites or read a thermometer, you can make marshmallows. Soft, fluffy pillows that melt in your mouth, they taste nothing like their commercial counterparts. Be creative by infusing flavor, or keep it simple with classic vanilla. Once you’ve tasted a homemade marshmallow, they’ll be no going back to the ones on your grocers’ shelf.
 
Recipe for Raspberry and Passionfruit Marshmallows
3 T. unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold fruit purée, strained if there are seeds
1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
pinch salt
confectioners’ sugar
 
Makes about 40 marshmallows
 
Spray a 9″ square pan with Pam. With a paper towel, wipe off excess and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
 
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the fruit purée and gelatin. Set aside for 10 minutes.
 
 
Meanwhile, make the sugar syrup. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 cup water and salt in a saucepan. Stir gently over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then raise the heat to medium high and attach a candy thermometer. Boil until the temperature reaches 240F, then remove from heat.
Attach the whisk to the mixer, and on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin. Increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture becomes very thick, about 8-10 minutes.
 
 
 
Using a rubber spatula, scrape the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. It will be sticky so work quickly. Smooth the top and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Allow to set uncovered overnight at room temperature.
TIP: Marshmallow making is sticky business, but cleanup is easy using hot
water.
 
Next day, release the marshmallow mixture from the pan by running a knife along the edges and then turning it out onto a cutting board dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
 
Using kitchen shears, cut into long strips. I found shears work much better than a knife or pastry cutter.
Cut the strips into squares. Dip the cut ends in confectioners’ sugar to keep them from sticking.
 
Or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes.
 
 
 
Store in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Parmesan

Recipe

2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1 Parmesan cheese rind
2 bay leaves
3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and
chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 T. Parmesan cheese, grated
3 fresh sage leaves, diced
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/8 t. cayenne
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
salt and pepper
Makes 10 cups

 

In a large stockpot, sauté onions and celery in the olive oil until tender.
Add the stock, Parmesan rind and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover partially, and simmer for 15 minutes.

 

Add the squash and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.

Remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaves.
Purée about half the soup in a food processor until smooth.
Return the purée to the pot and add the nutmeg, sage, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and cayenne.
Simmer for 2 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped parsley.

Falafel Burger

While on vacation recently, I had the most delicious and unusual burger. It was a falafel burger (genius!) topped with a yogurt sauce, hummus, lettuce and tomato. Love at first bite! I couldn’t wait to get home and try to make one. As it turns out, it couldn’t be easier. So move over veggie burger and make room for a new favorite!

Recipe adapted from Patricia Wells
1-1/4 cups dried chickpeas
1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup cilantro, minced
1/2 t. ground coriander
1 t. cumin

Makes 6 patties
 
Soak the dried chickpeas in cold water to cover by 2 inches and allow to soak for 12-24 hours at room temperature.

Drain the liquid and discard. Purée the chickpeas, garlic, onion, cilantro, and spices in a food processor until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Form the mixture into patties and set aside to dry slightly, about 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add burgers and cook over medium heat until nicely browned on both sides.

Serve with tahini lemon yogurt sauce, grilled onions, lettuce and tomato.

Delicious! You’ll never miss the beef.

Tahini Lemon Yogurt Sauce
1/4 c. tahini
1/2 c. plain yogurt
2 T. lemon juice
1 garlic clove

Purée all ingredients in a food processor.

Fennel, Celery, and Orange Salad

After 2 months of overindulging during the holidays, I’ve had my fill of butter and cream. What I’m craving now is fresh and light. In this simple yet delicious salad, color, texture, and flavor come together in perfect harmony. Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese adds a salty richness.

Recipe- adapted from Mark Bittman
Serves 4

2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 oranges, peel and pith removed, sliced
Parmesan cheese, shaved
Fennel fronds (the feathery greens on the fennel stalk)
Salt and pepper
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Olive oil

 
Use a mandoline to thinly slice the fennel

Remove the peel and pith (white part) of the orange. Slice into rounds, then in half.Using a vegetable peeler, shave Parmesan cheese.

Mix lemon juice with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with fennel, celery and orange slices. Garnish with Parmesan shavings and fennel fronds.

Serve chilled.

Happy New Year 2012!

For the past nine years it’s been a family tradition to spend the holidays between Christmas and New Years in Aspen, Colorado. Wintry Aspen is a jewel of a town. It’s majestic mountains are frosted in powdery white snow, transforming it into a skiers paradise. But this year has been unseasonably warm and sunny.There is snow in the mountains and a dusting in town, but conditions for skiing are less than stellar. Nevertheless, Aspen’s beauty still abounds.  

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
As 2011 comes to an end, I’d like to thank you for visiting. Your support and encouragement has warmed my heart.  
My sincere wishes to you all for a happy 2012, filled with good health, good friends, peace and joy!  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tiramisu

Sometimes the simplest desserts can be the most challenging to make. Take for instance, Tiramisu. It’s assembled rather than baked, and consists of only a few ingredients. Yet so much can go wrong. It can be soggy, dry, sweet, tasteless, dense or hot with alcohol. Getting it right is in the proportions and the technique. After much trial and error, this recipe suits my taste. And an added bonus is there are no raw eggs in this recipe to be concerned about.

Ingredients
1 package of 30 Savardi or ladyfingers
1-1/2 cups brewed espresso
1-1/2 cups marscapone cheese

8- egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sweet Marsala wine

1 cup heavy cream

2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

Equipment
9 x 12 serving dish
Small dish for dipping ladyfingers
Spatula
Stand mixer with beaters
Double boiler

Procedure
Make the cream- Fill the bottom of a double boiler with 1- 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, Marsala, and a pinch of salt. Set the bowl over the simmering water. It’s important that the bottom of the bowl not touch the water as it is easy to scramble the eggs. With a heatproof spatula, stir and scrape while cooking until mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl with electric beaters, whip the marscapone and cream together until the mixture holds a soft peak. Fold into the cooled egg yolk mixture.

Assembly
Pour espresso into small rectangular dish. Dip ladyfingers one at a time in espresso. Dip, do not submerge each side for no more than 2 seconds and place in a serving dish. They should be neither soggy nor dry. Continue until you have 1 layer. Spread with 1/3 of the mousse and grate chocolate on top.

Repeat with 2 more layers finishing with the cream as your top layer. Grate chocolate over the cream and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight to allow the ladyfingers time to soften and the flavors to meld.

Serves 10 happy people.

Layered Lemon Angel Food Cake

When you need a birthday cake that’s light and airy and not too sweet, Angel Food Cake comes to the rescue. It’s fat free, gluten free, but a bit plain for a birthday. So this spruced up version is cut into layers, spread with a lemony filling, and covered in whipped cream! Served with fresh raspberries or strawberries, it covers all the bases yet is fancy enough for a special occasion.

Start with an angel food cake, either homemade, or store-bought. In either case, you will need an angel food cake pan with a removable bottom.

If homemade, cool the cake upside down in the pan by resting it on the pan’s “feet”. Once cool, remove the cake from the pan by carefully running your knife between the side of the pan and the cake, and then around the tube. Push up from the removable bottom of the pan and release the cake.

Now run your knive along the bottom, cover with a plate or cutting board and release the cake.



Set the cake aside while you make the filling.

Lemon Curd
1 cup fresh lemon juice from 6-7 lemons
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 T. heavy cream
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla

In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the lemon juice, butter and cream. Place over medium high heat and bring to just under a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolks until blended, then slowly whisk in the sugar until combined. Remove the lemon juice mixture from the heat and gradually whisk a little of it into the sugar-egg mixture. Continue adding a little at a time until all of it has been incorporated.

Once incorporated, return the saucepan to medium heat. Cook stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan frequently to prevent the eggs from scrambling for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

In a mixing bowl with beaters, whip the cream and sugar until thickened. Fold into chilled lemon curd.

Brush the angel food cake pan with canola or salad oil. With a long serrated knife, cut the top fourth off the cake. Place it upside down in the oiled pan. Spread one third of the filling on the cake layer. Continue this process to make a four layer cake with three layers of filling. The top and bottom layers should be cake.

Top this final layer of filling with cake and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Remove the cake from the pan by once again cutting around the sides and tube with a long knive. Cover the cake with your serving dish. Turn them upside down. Lift and remove the sides of the pan and then the bottom. Refrigerate while you prepare the frosting.


Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 t. vanilla

In mixing bowl with beaters, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until the cream is stiff enough to hold a shape. Frost the top and sides of cake and serve with sliced strawberries or raspberries.
I hope they save a piece for me!