Thursday, December 19, 2013

Butter Dipped Radishes with Sea Salt


Right now, I'm finding the radishes at the farmers markets irresistible.  Back in October, I dinned at Daniel Humm's NoMad in New York City.  The star on the menu were these butter-dipped radishes with fleur del sel.  Since then, they've been in the back of my head.... "I'm going to try making these one day!"  That day has come.  It took a lot of playing with the butter, getting the consistency just right for dipping.  You know I like to play with my food.  This is such a simple, indulgent, festive treat for the holidays.  And it holds pretty well in the fridge.  It would pair well with my long-standing Christmas tradition morning treat of smoked oysters and cream cheese on crackers with mimosas.  These flavors are simple and clean with the crisp spiciness of the radishes with the creaminess of the butter and the salt to bring it to life.  Make sure to use very good quality unsalted butter.  I used Irish butter.  For salt, use whatever floats your boat.  I just had fun with different varieties I had on hand.  Note on radishes - I thought the fingerling ones would look nice, but now I know the regular ones would actually be easier to dip. I'll have to make another batch for Christmas morning.

Butter-Dipped Radishes with Sea Salt
Ingredients:
 - radishes, 1 bunch
 - unsalted butter, 1-2 sticks, room temperature
 - sea salt

Directions:
Clean and dry the rashes well, leaving a tiny decorative top to make it easy to dip. Keep cold in fridge until butter is ready for dipping.

In a really tiny sauce pan, overly extremely low heat, slowly melt a half stick of butter with stirring.  Remove from heat once almost melted.  Slowly add in pat by pat of the non-melted butter into the melted butter.  This takes some time and patience.  This is called tempering the butter; getting it into an amorphous state of where it's somewhere in between being a liquid and a solid.  It's pretty cool.  This is the state in which the radish is dipped, actually hangs onto in a nice, substantial thickness.  The trick in tempering the butter is to have plenty on-hand at room temp, not melted. Add that in pat by pat with stirring after each addition until melted. You want to butter almost like a hollandaise sauce.  That's when it's perfect for dipping.  You have to work this fairly quickly, so pretend you're a dipping and salting manufacturing line.  Have a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment for the butter-dipped radishes and a little dish of salt to sprinkle on immediately after each radish has been coated.  Another option is to put a little pile of salt on the platter to dip as needed while eating - this is probably the better option.  Either way don't worry, they don't have to be perfect.  Sometimes there is more beauty in the imperfect.  Besides, these get eaten so quickly, no one will care too much about the aesthetics.  Happy holidays!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  This week we're focusing on produce inspired holiday side dishes.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest.  Here are other awesome holiday side dishes to try out:   

Feed Me Phoebe: Stir-Fried Collard Greens with Ginger and Jalapeno
The Heritage Cook: 
Sweet & Lightly Spicy Corn Pudding
The Lemon Bowl: 
Sweet Potato and Corn Hash
Jeanette's Healthy Living: 
Clean Eating Holiday Side Dish Recipes
Weelicious: 
Cranberry Apple Chutney
Dishing: 
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Spices
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Cranberry-Pistachio Pilaf
Taste with the Eyes: 
Fresh Green Beans, Mexican-Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes and Pesto
Red or Green? 
Green Chile Pork Stew (v2) and Tamales 
Virtually Homemade: 
Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate
Domesticate Me: 
Farro Risotto with Prosciutto, Parmesan and Brussels Sprouts
The Sensitive Epicure: 
Butter Dipped Radishes with Sea Salt
Daily*Dishin: 
Best Holiday Dressing
FN Dish: 
No-Brainer Holiday Sides

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pureed Broccoli with Garlic

I heard that broccoli will replace kale and Brussels sprouts as the hot vegetable of choice among healthy hipsters.  Admitting, I myself have not had broccoli for quite some time.... So I was thankful that broccoli is the focused produce this week.  The first thing that came to my mind was pureed broccoli.  It's super easy, fast, comforting, great color, and flavorful.  I used a bag of broccoli florets.  However, a head of broccoli would even work better, and including the peeled stems - such great flavor there.  I microwaved the broccoli with a few skinned cloves of garlic.  Then pureed it in a food processor with butter (olive oil would work too), salt, and pepper.  Microwaving keeps all of the nutrients intact without diluting them as cooking it in water would. No extra liquid is needed.  There is a small amount of liquid after cooking the broccoli in the microwave, which turned out to be the perfect amount needed for pureeing to the perfect consistency.  I tried adding half and half, but I found it muddled the clean broccoli and garlic flavor.  You know my motto, keep it simple and flavorful.

Pureed Broccoli with Garlic
Ingredients:
  • fresh broccoli, 12 oz florets or 1 head of broccoli including the peeled stems
  • garlic, 3 cloves, skinned
  • butter or olive oil, 2 tablespoons
  • salt and white pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Place the chopped up broccoli and garlic cloves in a large microwave safe bowl, and cover.  Microwave on full power from 4 to 6 minutes until steamed and bright green.
  2. Dump entire contents into a processor.  Run and add in the butter/olive oil and salt and pepper.  Wipe down sides and taste for seasoning.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
This is a great side to compliment any meal.  I recommend it with roasted root vegetables of your choice or even a baked potato or potatoes Anna.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  This week we're focusing on broccoli.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest.  Here are other awesome chopping broccoli recipes to try out:   

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cranberry Almond Pancakes with Maple Bourbon Cranberry Syrup (gluten-free)


There's never a shortage of what to do with leftover Thanksgiving turkey.  The list seems endless.  But what about the often overlooked leftover cranberry sauce?  Besides using as it a condiment for turkey sandwiches?  I've got it!  Cranberry pancakes made with almond flour and add the cranberry to the maple syrup.  How to make the syrup better?  Add bourbon.  Or whiskey.  It makes everything better.  You know, I thought adding cranberry sauce to the pancake batter would make the pancakes pink.  Surprisingly, it did not.  I using whole cranberry sauce because that's what I had.  I like the rustic texture and the whole fruit it gave the pancakes and syrup.  But alas, plain cranberry sauce will work fine.  These are so easy to make up with only a few ingredients including the butter to cook them in.  So worth it.  And much needed the morning after Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Almond Pancakes with Maple Bourbon Cranberry Syrup
Syrup Ingredients:
  • cranberry sauce, 1/2 cup
  • bourbon or whiskey, 1/4 cup
  • maple syrup, 1/4 cup - use the real stuff
Pancake Ingredients:
  • eggs, 2 large, room temperature, separated
  • cranberry sauce, 1/4 cup
  • sugar, 1/4 cup
  • cornstarch, 1/2 cup
  • almond flour, 1/2 cup packed, blanched
  • vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon
  • salt, pinch
  • butter to cook in, about 2 tablespoons
Syrup Directions:
  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, stir the cranberry sauce with the whiskey.  With constant stirring, allow the alcohol to cook off.  You'll see this with the bubbles getting larger and slower.  Turn down the heat to simmer.
  2.  Add in the maple syrup and stir.  Turn off the heat.  Make the pancakes below.  Reheat as needed for serving.

Pancake Directions:
  1. Separate the eggs - yolks in a medium bowl and the whites in a small bowl.  To the yolks, add in the cranberry sauce and mix well with a spatula.  Then add in the sugar, and immediately stir in to prevent yolk-sugar "burn" followed by the cornstarch, almond flour, and vanilla extract.  Stir well until everything is incorporated.
  2. Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites.  Whisk until the peaks are firm.  In small portions, gently fold into the pancake mixture.  Should be light and fluffy.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  3. Turn pancakes when the first bubbles appear in the center. Cook for about the same time on the other side. Serve immediately with warm syrup.  Makes about 10-12 pancakes.
Happy Thanksgiving!

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  This week we're focusing on Thanksgiving leftovers.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest.  Here are other awesome Thanksgiving leftovers recipes to try out:  

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Layered Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole {30+ Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes}
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Smashed Potato Tacos with Guacamole & Pico di Gallo
Red or Green: Spiced Winter Squash Muffins 
Virtually Homemade: Mashed Potato Pancakes with Homemade Applesauce
Feed Me Phoebe: Turkey Noodle Soup with Ginger and Cilantro
Weelicious: Turkey Shepherd's Pot Pie
Elephants and the Coconut Trees:Cabbage Roll Stuffed Cabbage with Turkey
Domesticate Me: Mashed Potato Pancakes with Goat Cheese and Chives
The Sensitive Epicure: Cranberry Almond Pancakes with Maple Bourbon Cranberry Syrup (Gluten-Free)
Dishin & Dishes: Turkey Quesadillas with Spicy Cranberry Cream 
FN Dish: 10 Ways to Reinvent Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Thyme and Rosemary


What's a good, simple, and seasonal side for Thanksgiving?  My vote (besides Brussels sprouts) is for sweet potatoes.  Right now, the local farmers have amazing sweet potatoes with different color skins.  Remember, most of the nutrients are in the skin.  The skin also adds more texture and dimension than peeling it.  Peeling requires unnecessary work, and ends in a  lot of food waste.  So keeping the skin on the sweet potatoes is a win-win.  Keep it simple.  There's no reason to over complicate, especially when roasting a turkey is involved.  I prefer to roast sweet potatoes with fresh herbs, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Here I used thyme rosemary.  Sage would work wonderfully, too.  Either way, this side compliments the rest of the turkey day spread well, especially the turkey and cranberry sauce.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Thyme and Rosemary
Ingredients:
  • sweet potatoes, aka yams, 4 large, cut into large dice
  • olive oil, 2 tablespoons
  • fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon chopped
  • fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a large roasting or jelly roll (non-stick) pan, toss the diced sweet potatoes with the olive oil and salt.  Place into oven.  Check after 15-20 minutes and give them a good toss using a spatula.  Should be done and nicely roasted after 40-45 minutes.  Toss in the herbs and pepper.  Taste to see if they need more salt and pepper.  Makes about 4-6 servings.
That easy.  Remember, throwing in some sage I think would be a perfect flavor pairing, too.  Happy Thanksgiving!

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The autumnal produce we're focusing on here is a seasonal Thanksgiving side.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other ideas for Thanksgiving sides recipes to try out:  



Here’s the link to our Pinterest board:  http://pinterest.com/foodnetwork/lets-pull-up-a-chair/

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cauliflower Flat Bread (Gluten-Free)



For the past few months on the interwebs, I've been hearing a lot of cauliflower crust pizza from the paleo contingency.  I finally decided to try it out for myself, but keep it simple and focus on the crust only.  Pretty easy conceptually with only riced cauliflower, cheese, egg, and seasoning, this base is perfect for a flat bread.  The most difficult part of this recipe is removing the excess water after microwaving/cooking the cauliflower, which is best done by wringing out with a clean dish towel.]

Cauliflower Flat Bread
Ingredients:
  • cauliflower, 1 head
  • shredded mozzarella cheese, 2 cups (or any Italian cheese mix)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • granulated garlic, 1/4 teaspoon
  • oregano, 1/2 teaspoon
  • egg, 1 large, lightly scrambled
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450F. For best results, use a pizza stone.
  2. Clean and dry the cauliflower, removing the stem and any leaves.  Using a grater, grate the cauliflower into "rice."  Transfer into a large microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave for 4 minutes.  Dump the cauliflower in the center of a clean dish towel, and spread out evenly.  Allow to cool just enough to handle it, and wring it out over the sink.
  3. Transfer cauliflower into a large mixing bowl. Toss in the cheese and seasonings.  Mix and taste.  Adjust seasonings as needed and mix well.  Lastly, add in the egg and mix.  Using your hands, bring together the "dough" and place on an oiled sheet of parchment paper on a flat (no-lip) cookie sheet or large cutting board.  Flatten out into a thin round/oval shape, about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack before cutting.
-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here is cauliflower.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other cauliflower recipes to try out:  


Here’s the link to our Pinterest board:  http://pinterest.com/foodnetwork/lets-pull-up-a-chair/

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat, Spaghetti or Squash? Both



Happy Halloween!  Trick or treating is really the best part of Halloween.  However, as adults we find other means besides candy to indulge.  Well, at least we have the best intentions.  Looking at the seasonal produce, I saw so much squash.  And spaghetti squash has a special quality about it.  Once it's cooked, it breaks down into a spaghetti-like texture.  I know it's an old trick, but it doesn't get old.  It's easy, nutritious, takes on whatever flavor you give it, and everyone can enjoy it.  I am partial to spaghetti, with lots of oregano.  And spaghetti squash goes even better than pasta with oregano.  Please take a look at an old blog post of mine about the chemistry of oregano and another great recipe: Spaghetti. With Lots of Oregano.  Use a strong oregano that you can smell - the stronger, the better.  I kept it really simple: roasted the spaghetti squash for best flavor and to ensure even cooking; tossed it with really good extra virgin olive oil, salt, white pepper, and  strong oregano.  To add a little Halloween flavor to it, sprinkle some black salt on top.  Yes, this is a luxurious option.  But why not?

Halloween Spaghetti Squash
Ingredients:
  • spaghetti squash, 1 large
  • olive oil, 1/4 cup total at most
  • salt, garlic salt or powder, and white pepper to taste
  • oregano to taste, about 1 teaspoon
  • black salt for garnish
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Cut squash in half length-wise (the most difficult - be careful!) and scoop out the seeds and center goop with a large metal spoon.  Drizzle olive oil and generously salt the cut side/inside part of the squash.  Place face side down onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan.  Cook at 425F for about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. 
  3. Now the fun part: using a fork, grate and fluff up the spaghetti squash.  Place the grated squash into a large mixing bowl.  Toss it with salt, garlic (salt, powder, or granulated), and white pepper to taste.  Add in the oregano and toss until uniformly mixed.  Split into 4 servings and sprinkle black salt on top.
Enjoy and may your day be not too frightening.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here is Halloween related product.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other Halloween inspired recipes to try out:  

Here’s the link to our Pinterest board:  http://pinterest.com/foodnetwork/lets-pull-up-a-chair/

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Spanakopita Minus The -Opita


What the what?!  You know, the Greek spinach pie with the phyllo - spanakopita without the phyllo.  "Pita" means pie in Greek....  So I guess it's really more like Greek spinach casserole, but spanakopita minus the -opita sounds like more fun to me.  My ex-Greek-mother-in-law would make a small dish of this for me during the holidays.  Personally, I make this for just about every holiday and party that I'm asked to bring food throughout the whole year.  This is super easy to make and everyone loves it.  Better still, it is gluten-free, lactose-free, and can be served at any temperature.  Since this recipe uses such few ingredients, the quality is paramount.  Use fresh baby spinach, nice and tender green onions/scallions, and the best sheep's milk (naturally lactose-free) feta you can find.  Please, for the love of god, don't ever buy the pre-crumbled feta.  My favorite feta is the French sheep's milk feta cheese at Costco, which is super-affordable.  Costco is a great place to buy the spinach, too.

My last spinach recipe I posted was Catalan Spinach with Raisins, Pinenuts & Bacon (Espinacas a la Catalana).  Hands down, this is my favorite way to saute spinach. Check it out: recipe link here.

Spanakopita Minus The -Opita
Ingredients:
  • olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • spinach, fresh, 1 pound
  • salt, 1 teaspoon
  • pepper, black &/or white, 1/2 teaspoon
  • dill, 1/2 teaspoon dry or 1 teaspoon fresh
  • oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dry (optional)
  • green onions/scallions, 1 bunch
  • sheep's milk feta, 1/2 pound / 8 ounces
  • eggs, 4 large, lightly scrambled
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Lightly spray a brownie pan (8x8).  I used my work-horse toaster oven.
  2. Heat up a large wok over medium heat, or a large skillet will work.  A wok works best, because it's kind of a bowl and reduces the need to get out a large mixing bowl.  Put in the olive oil.  Grab a large handful of the spinach, chop up the spinach into thick strips and immediately add into the wok.  Saute with a spatula, and repeat this process handful by handful until gone.  This way the moisture has time and space to cook off before adding in more spinach and you aren't overwhelmed with too much on the cutting board.  Chop and cook as you go is the way to go.  Add in the salt, pepper, dill, oregano and mix well.  Chop up the scallions, white end first, add into the wok.  Follow with the green part of the scallions, chopped.  Turn off the heat.  Allow to cool, stirring occasionally.
  3. Make sure the spinach mixture is not hot.  Crumble up the feta coarsely and far from perfect and add into the spinach mixture and gently fold in.  This is the time to add in taste, before adding in the eggs!  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Add in the eggs and carefully fold in mixture until somewhat homogeneous.
  4. Turn into the lightly oiled pan, smooth top with silicone spatula/spoon, and cook in a preheated (toaster) oven at 375F degrees for about 30 minutes.  The top will turn a nice brown color.  Allow to cool before cutting and serving.  Makes about 9-12 portions, depending how you cut it.
-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here is spinach.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other delicious spinach recipes to try out:  

Here’s the link to our Pinterest board:  http://pinterest.com/foodnetwork/lets-pull-up-a-chair/

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chimichurri Carrots


Carrots are such the staple, that we almost consider them neutral.  Carrots are in the same plant class with celery, parsley, and cilantro.  I think all of them have strong flavors, in a good way.  The carrot can hold its own in so many things, even in cake.  Think about that... weird, right?  Lately I've been loving chimichurri sauce, an Argentine "salsa," if you will, made with olive oil, parsley and/or cilantro, garlic, acid (in form of vinegar or lemon, and optional chili, coriander, red bell pepper, tomato, etc....  Traditionally, it's used as a marinade for meat.  It's so good.  I figured why not toss some hot carrots with chimichurri to brighten up and compliment the carrots.  I wanted to cook the carrots very simply, cutting into rondelles and microwaving for a few minutes.  Microwaving?  Yes!  The microwave works with the water content and will not dilute the nutritional content of the vegetables.  And it's so easy and fast.  This dish is best served at room temperature and with toothpicks to share, or as a side dish with some good charred steak.

Chimichurri Carrots
Ingredients:
  • Carrots, 4-6 large, peeled and cut into rounds/rondelles
  • Olive oil, 1/4 cup extra virgin/first press
  • Parsley and/or cilantro, 1/2 bunch wash, dried, leaves only
  • Garlic,4 cloves, optional: boil first for 1 minute to remove "the burn"
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Chili flake,1/4 teaspoon, optional
  • Vinegar or lemon juice, 2 tablespoons

Directions:
  1. Prepare the chimichurri sauce first.  This way the sauce will be ready to toss on the hot carrots fresh out of the microwave to infuse as much flavor possible into the carrots and remove some of that fresh garlic heat.  In a food processor, pulse together the oil and garlic first to get the garlic as small as possible.  Add in the parsley/cilantro, salt, other seasonings if applicable, and the acid.  Pulse for a few moments until it resembles a pesto texture.
  2. Place the cut/prepared carrots into a medium micorwave safe bowl, preferably glass.  Cover tight with plastic wrap.  Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, removing once to stir and check on done-ness.  The target should be al dente, a little crisp, yet tender.  Drain any residual water and toss in the chimichurri sauce and coat until evenly distributed.  Serves 4-6 people.  Keeps well in the fridge, covered.  Enjoy!
-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure


This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here are carrots.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other delicious carrot recipes to try out:  


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mashed Turnips with Celery Root


Turnips.  The enigmatic root vegetable.  Deceivingly peppery with a pretty fuchsia exterior and a perfectly white interior.  Typically for root vegetables, I either roast them or mash them.  Look at this picture, root vegetables appear imperfectly beautiful.  Last year, I wrote a recipe for roasted turnips with rosemary.  This time, I thought celery root would make for a good flavor pairing with the turnips, given its intense celeriac character.  Keeping it simple with rustic, with a dash of nutmeg, garlic, and white pepper for a hint of fall.  Here's the final product which I find rustic and comforting.



Mashed Turnips with Celery Root

Ingredients:
  • turnips: 2, peeled and cut into uniform medium cubes
  • celery root: 1, peeled and cut into uniform small cubes
  • butter: 4 tablespoons
  • salt, white pepper, nutmeg, granulated garlic to taste
  • milk or half and half: about 1/2 cup
Directions:
  1. In a large pan, bring salted water to a boil.  Add in the celery root first (takes longer to cook, and that's why we want to cut it smaller), followed by the turnips.  Cook until fork tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Drain well.  In a bowl, or return to pan, mash with masher.  Add in the butter, and seasonings.  Taste while mashing more.  (Alternately, for a smoother texture, make this in the food processor.)  Once the desired texture is achieved, add in the milk or half and half.   Again, taste for seasonings and adjust.
  3. Makes about 4-6 servings.
-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure


This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here are turnips.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other delicious turnip recipes to try out:  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Seed Brittle


Pumpkin is such a quintessential autumn ingredient.  At first, I wanted to make pumpkin whoopie pies and realized I posted those last year.  Here's the link: http://thesensitiveepicure.blogspot.com/2011/10/pumpkin-whoopie-pies-with-molasses.html  The only difference is that I would make maple marshmallows using maple syrup instead of molasses.  Much better flavor pairing.  Maybe I will make those for the weekend.  Then I remembered another favorite of mine I have not made since probably two years ago: pumpkin panna cotta with a pepitas (pumpkin seed) brittle.  Panna cotta is Italian for cooked cream and it is generally a simmered cream, sugar, and gelatin mixture that is eaten once cold and set up.  It is one of my favorite desserts.  I took the standard recipe and replaced half the cream with pumpkin pulp, used brown sugar instead of white sugar, and added in traditional spices.  I thought a brittle would compliment the texture well, and using raw pumpkin seeds/pepitas works perfectly.  Yes, the brittle is a "technical" component, meaning that for best results, use precision: weighing the ingredients, monitoring temperature, and working fast.  Just read through the ingredients and instructions twice before trying it.  You can do it, I have confidence in you.  Notes: glucose can be found at any baking/candy supply store and most craft stores; allow 4 hours to set; makes 6 servings.

Ingredients:
Pumpkin Panna Cotta
  • gelatin: 2 teaspoons (6.5g)
  • cold water: 2 tablespoons (30g)
  • heavy cream: 1 1/2 cups (345g)
  • pumpkin, canned: 1 1/2 cups (370g)
  • brown sugar: 3/4 cup (150g)
  • vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon (7g)
  • cinnamon: 1 teaspoon (3g)
  • salt: 3/4 teaspoon (3g)
  • nutmeg, ginger, allspice: 1/4 teaspoon (0.5g) each
  • sour cream: 8 ounces (220g)

Pepitas (Pumpkin Seed) Brittle
  • sugar: 90g
  • glucose/corn syrup: 60g
  • water: 38g
  • pepitas, raw: 70g
  • butter: 6g
  • vanilla: 3g
  • salt: 0.6g
  • baking soda: 1.0g

Directions:
Pumpkin Panna Cotta
  1. In a small bowl, put in the gelatin and add the cold water on top of it, covering it completely.  Allow to bloom for 10-15 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spices (but not the vanilla yet since it's more heat sensitive).  Whisk over medium-low heat with constant stirring.  Once warm, add in the hydrated gelatin and whisk with constant stirring until dissolved.  Heat until not even simmering, about 10-15 minutes total time, 2-3 minutes once the gelatin has been added.  Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a large bowl, add in the sour cream at once.  To that, slowly whisk in the pumpkin/cream mixture.  Constantly whisk until completely mixed.  Evenly divide into 6 ramekins/custard cups.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to set up in fridge for at least 4 hours.
Pepitas (Pumpkin Seed) Brittle
  1. Lightly oil a marble slab or silpat or parchment on a cookie sheet.
  2. Combine the sugar, glucose, and water in a small, heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar and make a syrup.  Boil the syrup until the temperature reaches 250F.
  3. Add in the raw pepitas and butter.  Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 312F.  Stir constantly and gently to prevent burning on the bottom.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in the vanilla, salt, and baking soda.  Use cation, as the hot syrup will foam up for a moment.
  5. Pour the mixture onto the slab you prepared.  Using an oiled spatula, gently and very quickly spread out the mixture as evenly as possible.  Immediately, lightly salt the top. 
  6. Using a large, strong knife or cleaver, carefully cut the brittle into strips, squares, whatever shape you would like.
  7. Cool completely and store in airtight containers.
-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here are pumpkins.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other delicious pumpkin recipes to try out: 
 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Toaster Oven Cinnamon Apple and Walnut Muffins with Almond Flour and Maple Syrup



I rely mostly on my toaster oven for convenience, speed, energy efficiency, and most importantly - it makes me feel like I'm a kid using my Easy-Bake Oven.  Another benefit for making baked goods in the toaster oven is having a small batch without the temptation of compulsively pigging out.  I wanted to make some apple-jam-packed muffins with toasted walnuts, lots of cinnamon, a touch of maple syrup, almond flour, and a touch of flaxmeal.  These muffins turned out moist, flavorful, not too sweet, and apple-y as all get out.  Any apple will work.  Use your favorite.  I recommend using cupcake papers.  I thought I was being wise by not using them, and it was a mess to get them out of the tiny toaster oven pan.  Cupcake papers also help providing the best shape and rise for the muffins while baking.  Next time....

Ingredients:
walnuts, chopped - 1/2 cup (65g)
almond flour - 1/2 cup (70g)
flaxmeal - 1/4 cup (30g) (I used golden)
maple syrup - 1/4 cup (83g)
apple sauce, natural - 1/4 cup (64g)
coconut oil, melted - 1/4 cup (45g)
egg, large (50g)
cinnamon - 1 tablespoon (5g)
salt - 1 teaspoon (5g)
baking soda - 1 tablespoon (5g)
apple, small, chopped small

Directions:
Have all ingredients at room temperature.  Toast the chopped walnuts in the toaster over for about 4 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.  In a medium bowl, weigh out the almond flour and flaxmeal into the bowl - stir until combined.  Add in the maple syrup, apple sauce, coconut oil, egg, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.  Mix until homogeneous.  Lastly, add in the chopped walnuts and apples.

Now, preheat the toaster oven to 350F.  Place 6 cupcake papers into the muffin tin.  Fill the paper cups almost to full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until when a toothpick is inserted, comes out clean.  Remove from oven.  Allow to cool slightly, remove muffins and place on cooling rack.  Allow to cool and enjoy.  These muffins are also great right out of the fridge for breakfast, as I did this morning.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here are apples.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other delicious apple recipes to try out: 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Salt Encrusted New Potatoes with Mustard-Mayo Dip


Have I told you how incredible of a cook my step-father was?  He took me to farmer's markets long before it was cool.  We would usually spend the day preparing what had bought.  His style of cooking was one with simplicity and robust flavors.  One of my favorite simple dishes he made was this dish.  Red potatoes work the best with their natural sweetness.  He would boil the potatoes whole in a saturated solution of salt water, so much salt in the water that would did not dissolve.  Then upon draining them, sprinkle some more salt on them while still hot; this crystallized the salt crust on the outside.  Then allow them to cool.  He would accompany these little gems with a creamy mayonnaise dip with mustard flour in it for a kick.  If you want the dip a little more cream, try using a bit of Greek yogurt in place of the mayo - say one-quarter substitution.  This is perfect snacking food.

Ingredients:
small red potatoes
salt, lots of it, maybe 1 cup
1 teaspoon Colman's mustard flour/powder (yes, it's GF)
1/2 cup of mayonnaise (& Greek yogurt, optional)

Directions:
Wash the potatoes without affecting the skins.  In a medium/large sauce pan, combine water and salt.  Stir, if all the salt dissolves - add more.  Add in the potatoes.  Boil over medium heat until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes depending on size.  Drain into a spacious colander.  Immediately sprinkle more salt on potatoes while tossing to dry and coat the potatoes evenly with salt.  Allow to dry and cool.

In a small bowl, place the mustard.  Add in only about 1 tablespoon of the mayo and mix well.  This ensures the mustard flour/powder gets evenly distributed and does not clump up with unfortunate (for someone) "hot spots" of mustard.  All the remaining mayo and/or yogurt to taste.  As you can see, this recipe to perfect for small or large crowds.  Scale accordingly and enjoy!

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Summer Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The summer produce we're focusing on here are potatoes.  On twitter, we're tagging #SummerFest. Here are other delicious potato recipes to try out: