Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pan Fried Trout Filet, Apples and Pears, Lingonberry-Glazed

My favorite way to eat fish
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Source: Improvised

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

Ingredients
- 2 8-pz pieces red trout fillet with skin
- 1 large apple, cored, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 large pear, cored, cut into 8 wedges
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp Lingonberry syrup from Ikea, or other berry syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
Total: 2 servings

Directions
1. In a large skillet heat the butter on medium heat, until it melts. If using unsalted butter sprinkle the melted butter with salt once it melts.
2. Spread the apple and pear wedges evenly on the skillet and cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat on one side.
3. After 10 minutes flip the fruit wedges to cook on the other side.
4. At this point, season the trout with salt and pepper and add it to the same pan, skin side down first. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
5. Turn the trout fillets skin side up and cook for another 4 minutes.
6. When the trout is ready, pour the lingonberry syrup onto the fish and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove the fish and the fruit from the pan, pour the juices from the pan over the fish and serve.

Afterthoughts
- A really simple, no-fuss recipe, but the fish turns out very moist, salty and sweet, and a bit tart from the syrup. And the pan fried apples and pears keep the dish light and healthy, but add a little twist, that makes this meal feel special. At least that’s what I think :-)
- You can also add grapes to the pears and the apples.
- If you prefer, use red wine, or red wine reduction instead of the syrup, or together with it.
- Tip: to core apples and pears cut them in half and remove the core with a melon baller.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Low-Fat Brioche

Rich and delicious, and you choose to knead or not to knead
Source: Inspired by Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

Ingredients
- 1 ½ tbsp active dry or instant yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water (between 100-110F)
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup honey
- 8 egg yolks / about half cup liquid yolks
- ½ cup canola oil
- 7 - 8 cups flour (more for dusting while shaping the bread)
- 1 tbsp salt
Total: 2 large (2 lb) loaves

Directions
  1. In a large bowl mix the water and the yeast with 1 tbsp of honey, and let stand for 5 minutes, until the yeast dissolves and looks bubbly.
  2. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix. Then add 3 cups of the flour, the salt, then another 4 cups of the flour.
  3. If you are not using a mixer it’s better to stay with a wetter dough, so just mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon and once everything is incorporated. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth, a wet paper towel, plastic wrap or a lid, and let it rise on the counter for 2 hours.
  4. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook (like my beloved KitchenAid), knead the dough with the mixer for 10 minutes. After about 5 minutes start adding the flour gradually. Eventually the dough should not stick much to the sides of the bowl, when kneaded. I ended up using 7.5 cups of flour. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth, a wet paper towel, plastic wrap or a lid, and let it rise on the counter for 2 hours.
  5. By the end of 2 hours the dough should have doubled in volume. Now you are ready to shape it. If you have kneaded the dough, it will be easier to shape, so you can flour a working surface and braid your loaf (like Challah), or roll small balls and place them next to each other in a pan to make small buns. If you are using wet dough, it might be too sticky to shape, so it’s best to make 2 loaves in 2 9x5 loaf pans.
  6. Once you’ve shaped the dough, let it rise for another hour, again covering the bread with wet cloth. After about 40 minutes, turn on the oven to preheat it to 350F. It should be hot enough for the bread just in time.
  7. Before baking, brush the top of the bread with egg wash (egg white, mixed with 1-2 tbsp water and optionally 1 tsp sugar).
  8. Bake the bread for 45-50 minutes. I baked both loaves together for 50 minutes.
  9. After removing the loaves from the oven, wrap the bread in a kitchen towel, to keep the crust soft. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Afterthoughts

This bread turned out to be great - moist and soft and rich. I would not suspect it of being low fat if I did not know better :-). I will be making much more of it.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bannock - skillet-fried Native American bread

Delicious, quick, no-yeast bread

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Source Adopted from “A Feast for All Seasons: Traditional Native Peoples' Cuisine” by Chef Andrew George Jr.

Taste 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty 1 (out of 5)

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
½ cup water or whey
½ egg
½ tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp vegetable or bacon fat for the skillet
Total: 8 servings

Directions

1. Mix all the ingredients and let rise for 5 minutes.
2. In a large skillet heat the bacon or the cooking oil on medium-high heat.
3. Grease your hands with a little oil to prevent dough from sticking. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and flatten them with your palms.
4. Before placing the bread onto the skillet reduce the heat to a little below medium and fry for about 5 minutes on each side or until the bread is golden brown and puffed.

Afterthoughts

Wonderful bread, pretty similar to scones, but much quicker - no need to preheat the oven! Love it!

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Buttermilk Pancakes

Fluffy and rich pancakes - a perfect Sunday brunch
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Source: Mrs Happy Homemaker blog

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

Ingredients
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp / 60 g butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Total 12 small pancakes

Directions
1. Beat the egg lightly. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well (I used a hand held electric mixer).
2. Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
3. Place a griddle or a large frying pan over medium heat, and when it’s warm, melt a little more butter on it.
4. Using an ice-cream scoop or a ladle pour the batter onto the griddle. Cook over low-medium heat for several minutes until bubbles appear on the pancake. Flip and cook several more minutes.
5. Keep the pancakes in an oven preheated to 200F until ready to serve.

Afterthoughts
- Delicious pancakes! I served them with maple syrup, butter, fruit salad and whipped cream - yum!
- The original recipe calls for less sugar, but I like my pancakes sweet :-). Also, Crystal, the author of Mrs Happy Homemaker blog, recommends adding chocolate chips to the pancakes, so you might want to keep that in mind if you try this recipe.
- This recipe was my March assignment for SRC (Secret Recipe Club), a group of food bloggers who once a month are randomly assigned another member’s blog and are supposed to choose a recipe from it and post it on their own blog on the Reveal date. It’s a lot of fun, and I would like to thank Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin’ for coming up with this great idea. Also, thanks to Jane of the Heritage Cook, my group’s hostess, and Crystal of the Mrs Happy Homemaker, the author of my assigned blog :-)


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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nutella Buns

Soft, rich, Nutellish and very simple to make
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Source: Improvised

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5) - if you have the dough ready ;-)

Ingredients:
- 1 serving of Bullar Dough
- 1 cup of Nutella, or based on your own preference ;-)
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten + 1 tbsp water (for egg wash)
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios or hazelnuts mixed with 2 tbsp sugar (for sprinkling the tops)
Total: about 18 buns

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Divide the dough into 2 batches. Dust a work surface with flour and roll each half into a 1/4 inch thick square.
3. Spread Nutella over the dough. Roll the dough into a cylinder and cut into 9 pieces.
4. Line 3 silicone muffin pan with paper muffin cups (because Nutella will probably leak out a bit) and place the buns.
5. Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with the nut-sugar mixture.
6. Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven, until the buns are golden brown and the house smells like heaven.
7. Let cool slightly until you can wait no longer and enjoy :-).

Afterthoughts

- Wonderful buns, that's all I can say. Perfect for someone like me who is not a fan of cinnamon, and for anyone who is a fan of Nutella.
- I used the dough from the Swedish Bullar Buns by Delish, it has some cardamom in it, which rings "Eastern" to me, so I added Pistachios as a second "Eastern" flavor. If you are using dough without cardamom, I think hazelnuts would be a perfect accompaniment to Nutella. In any case, the crunch of the nuts compliments the softness of the buns extremely well.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pao de queijo - Brazilian cheese puffs / rolls

Gooey, chewy, soft, rich and gluten-free cheesy puffs
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Source: Sonia Portuguese

Taste 5 (out of 5)

Difficulty
2 (out of 5)

Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 225 g / 1/2 pack tapioca starch
- 1 egg
- 100 g grated Parmesan / cheddar or other cheese (I used Bergeron)
Total: 35 puffs

Directions:
1. Bring water, milk, oil and salt to boil.
2. Remove the pan from heat and add the tapioca starch. Mix well with a wooden spoon and let it cool down slightly.
3. Start preheating the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Add the egg to the dough and knead. I used a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for that. 2-3 minutes was enough.
5. Add the cheese and continue kneading until the dough is smooth. With a stand mixer it took another 5-7 minutes (love, love, love my KitchenAid, how could I live wihtout it?)

6. Grease your hands with oil so that the dough does not stick. Roll walnut-sized balls and place them on the baking sheet.
7. Bake the puffs for about 30-40 minutes until puffed and golden.
8. Serve warm.

Afterthoughts
- Wonderful puffs! A little crunchy on the outside, gooey and chewy inside. We ate them instead of bread with lunch, but they would make a perfect snack or appetizer.
- I saw many recipes with pao de queijo, and tried making them before, but they deflated and collapsed as soon as I took them out of the oven. I think the recipe I had followed did not require boiling the milk first before adding the flour. Probably it also used normal flour. In any case, this recipe worked much better for me. I got the link to it from a very nice Brazilian girl I recently met, and I am very grateful :-).
- The original recipe calls for baking the puffs for 20 minutes at 350F. That's what I did, but the puffs were completely row. I ended up baking them for about 50 minutes, increasing the temperature to 380F for the last 15 minutes. Maybe it's my oven, but next time I am going to bake them at 375 for 40 minutes. Maybe I'll reduce the temperature to 350F 20 minutes into baking.
- By the way, tapioca flour is gluten free, so this recipe is gluten-free (and fat-rich ;-) with all the cheese and oil).

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Pistachio Cookies

Chewy, soft, flourless and gluten-free.
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Source: Simply Gluten Free blog

Taste: 5 (out of 5)

Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

Ingredients
– 2 ¼ cups pistachios (salted or not)
– 1 cup sugar + more for sprinkling
– 2 large egg whites
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tbsp orange blossom water
– 3-4 drops green food coloring (optional)
Total: about 20 cookies, if using 1 tbsp ice-cream scoop

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Line two baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.
3. Roughly chop ¼ cup of the pistachios, mix with 1 tbsp of sugar and reserve for garnish.
4. Place the remaining 2 cups of pistachios in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process the pistachios for 2-3 minutes until they turn into a paste. You might need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times during the processing.
5. Add 1 cup sugar to the pistachio paste and process in long pulses until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until combined. You should have a thick batter.
6. Using a small ice cream scoop or two teaspoons, drop the cookies onto the prepared pans, spacing two inches apart. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with pistachio-sugar mix.
7. Gently press the pistachios into the cookies.
8. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes for chewy cookies, 15 – 17 minutes for crispy cookies. If using 2 sheets, rotate them half-way through the baking.
9. Let the cookies cool before removing them from the pans.

Afterthoughts
• I baked the cookies for 14 minutes, and they turned out very chewy and soft.
• The orange blossom water added a little Eastern flavor. You can also add rose water for similar effect.
• These cookies are perfect for cookie sandwiches. The original post suggested a chocolate filling. I used whipped cream, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and orange extracts for a whipped filling to sandwich between two cookies. It adds even more richness (and calories – yum!)

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