good food + awesome travel & occasional odd bits

Month: December 2013

Cookies: Butter Sable

Cookies: Butter Sable

Given all of the hustle and bustle likely going on at the mall and shopping areas all over, not to mention the horrendous parking lots, it was nice not to be participating in the madness. Instead, my plan was to take it easy and enjoy […]

Marshmallows: Mexican Chocolate Dipped and Spiced

Marshmallows: Mexican Chocolate Dipped and Spiced

In the spirit of the holidays and churning out endless sweets and treats, I decided to switch it up a bit and try something I’ve never done before… make marshmallows. I always knew they were doable in the home kitchen, but I was never a […]

Sweet Potato and Garlicky Kale Cakes

Sweet Potato and Garlicky Kale Cakes

I’m not much or a planner as far as weeknight meals are concerned. Mostly, we just clean out the fridge and throw together random stuff. All in all, our cobbled together meals turn out pretty good and every once in a while, we strike gold. These sweet potato patties turned out really well and I am happy to say, they will be part of a planned meal in the future. Super easy and healthy, not to mention quick to prepare, these guys are ideal for a nutritious weekday meal when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen.

Sweet Potato Cakes:

yield: approximately 10 patties

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced in 4 medallions

1 bunch kale

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 T olive oil plus more for sauteing the patties

1 cup cooked barley

salt and pepper

1 cup all purpose flour

Place sweet potatoes in cold water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, simmer and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork or knife. Drain and mash, set aside.

Cook barley according to package directions, set aside to cool.

Slice the kale into 1/2″ strips and saute with garlic and olive oil until kale is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the kale and barley to the sweet potato mash and add salt if necessary. Form into patties and coat lightly in flour. Saute immediately in olive oil until slightly golden brown in color and remove to a parchment lined plate.

Serve as a side dish or main course. We enjoyed ours with refried beans and spicy salsa. Delicious.

Macadamia and Coconut Chocolate Tea cake

Macadamia and Coconut Chocolate Tea cake

Tis the season for chocolate and all things sweet. Just when folks are busting out tins of cookies and platters of desserts, I’m going to add to that and bring you this light-as-air chocolate cake studded with macadamia nuts topped with a coconut icing. Both […]

Baked Acorn Squash

Baked Acorn Squash

These days we are all busy with the holidays, life, work, etc… When it comes to cooking, I look for quick and easy ways to prepare healthy meals with some variety. I had an acorn squash hanging around for a while that needed to be […]

Macarons: Meyer Lemon and Mixed Berry

Macarons: Meyer Lemon and Mixed Berry

Around the holiday time it’s always nice to have some miniature sweets on hand and at the ready. Macarons hold very well in the freezer for a short period of time and are almost always a crowd pleaser. Since we have some meyer lemons from the tree, I’ve been enjoying their fragrant juice and using it in everything possible. Last week I made a lemon tart with meyer lemon curd and it turned out really well so I decided to make another batch and incorporate it into the buttercream for a creamy and decadent filling.

Try this recipe for a similar batch.

For the lemon macarons:

1. Add 1/4 tsp powder yellow food coloring to the almond and powder sugar mixture

2. Add zest of 1 meyer lemon to the batter before piping

3. Mix 1/4 cup lemon curd with 1 cup buttercream

For the mixed berry macarons:

1. Add a scant 1/4 tsp of powdered red food coloring to almond and powdered sugar mixture

2. Defrost 2 cups frozen mixed berries

3. Cook with 1/4 cup sugar and reduce until most of the liquid is evaporated and mixture is reduced by 1/2.

4. Mix 1 cup buttercream with 1/4 cup room temperature berry preserves

Buttercream:

adapted from The Whimsical Bakehouse

1/2 c water

2 1/4 c sugar

1 c egg whites, place in mixing bowl fitted with a whip attachment

1 1/2 pounds (6 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine sugar and water in a non-reactive saucepan and wash down the sides so that it is free of any sugar crystals. Using a candy thermometer, cook until sugar reaches 248 degrees. *When mixture reaches 235 degrees, begin whipping egg whites at high speed to medium peak. Whites should reach medium peak at the same time the sugar reaches 248 degrees. At this time, slowly pour the hot sugar into the whipped whites, leaving the mixer on high speed . Be careful to avoid pouring sugar on the whip, keep the stream of sugar closer to, but not touching the edge of the mixing bowl.

Beat until the mixture is cool to the touch, approximately 10 minutes.

Slowly add the butter pieces with the mixer on high speed.

When all butter is added, pour in the vanilla extract and beat until fluffy.

At this point, you can portion out the buttercream, I separate the batch into 2 cup portions and freeze in individually wrapped ziploc bags for later use.

Yield: 8 cups

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