02 September 2009

back to school muffins •

I was roused from my bed this morning with the sweet sounds of intense bickering emerging from the main bath. Yes, it’s that wonderful time of year. The days become cooler, the notebooks are new, the backpack is packed, sitting at attention by the front door. The mornings become...well, hell. One of my indulgences of motherhood is to let my girls have a pretty laid back summer holiday. This tends to come back and bite me when school starts. I cringe listening to the shrieks of indignation coming from one daughter about the wearing of her clothes without permission. The other brings up the usage of her personal hair gel or mascara. My husband sheepishly ducks and quickly scoots out the house, avoiding the whole scene. The last thing I want to hear from them in the morning is the lack of food for breakfast. I spent last weekend filling the freezer with waffles and other quick-to-grab goodies. If you, unlike me, are feeling energetic at that time of day, a little icing made with cream cheese would be a perfect topping for these muffins. Or you can just do what I do, put out a plate of cream cheese with a knife.

Back to School Muffins •

Whisk together in a medium mixing bowl:

1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okarastraight from your machine, not drained or dried)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1-1/2 cup grated carrots

Sift together in a large mixing bowl:

1-1/4 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Toss in:

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped raisins

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX. Fill your muffin tins with enough paper liners for 16 muffins, or generously grease and flour your tins. Spoon the batter into the liners about two-thirds full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly brown. You can test them with a wooden toothpick; if it comes out clean take them out. Depending on the wetness of your okara, the baking times might be slightly different. Cool for 10 minutes, take muffins out of tins and place on wire racks to cool completely. If you use paper liners, you must cool the muffins completely or the muffins will stick to the liner. Makes one and a half dozen.

26 August 2009

english muffin bread •

I really should call this “It Makes Great Toast” bread, because that remark is what I hear the most when I make this for the family. Besides that great feature, it goes together quickly, making it possible to have bread on the table in a little over an hour.

English Muffin Bread •

2 cups milk (dairy or soy, or a combination)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup wet okara (straight from your machine)
4 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
4-1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Yellow cornmeal for dusting pans and bread

In a small saucepan:
Combine milk, water and okara. Heat until very warm (120 - 130 degrees).

In a large mixing bowl:
Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add warmed liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, beat well. Stir in rest of flour to make a stiff batter. Dust two (8-1/2 x 4-1/2) loaf pans with yellow cornmeal. Spoon in batter, and sprinkle tops with cornmeal. Cover with a lightweight towel and let rise in a warm area for 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

23 August 2009

chocolate banana muffins •

I’m tired, I’m lazy...so here’s the recipe.

Okara Chocolate Banana Muffins •

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together in a large mixing bowl:

1 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okara straight from your machine)
1/4 cup vanilla soy milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 small bananas (peeled, of course)

Sift together in a large mixing bowl:

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa

1 cup chocolate chips

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX. Fold in one cup of chocolate chips. Line your muffin tins with paper liners. Fill the liners 2/3 of the way with batter. Bake muffins 20 to 25 minutes. Makes approximately 18 muffins.

30 April 2009

cheesecake in a jar •

Another month, another Joust over at The Leftover Queen’s forum! It is always a great event. Peter and his wife Christey at Fotocuisine won last month’s Joust and so they had the honor of picking this month’s ingredients. Instead of the usual food ingredients, they chose the colors red, green and white. I had something entirely different in mind until I saw Helen’s post. Now, my attempts will never come close to her creations, but who can resist the idea of Cheesecake in a jar?

Strawberry Kiwi Coconut Cheesecake •

I used the same cheesecake recipe as my previous post with the substitutions/additions in red. This recipe comes from Jenny over at Jenny Bakes.

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup of sweetened flaked coconut

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream (I used 1/2 cup heavy cream)
1 tbsp. lemon juice (I used 1 tablespoon lime juice)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake (I added 1 tablespoon of light rum)

Strawberry Layer:
2 cups fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
Cook down until reduced by half. Cool.

Kiwi Layer:
1 cup sliced kiwi
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 c. sugar
Cook down until reduced by half. Cool.

I had enough filling for approximately 7 jars. I had enough batter and crust for a total of 10 jars. I made a mango/strawberry layer for the remaining jars. I baked the jars for 30 minutes at 275 degrees in a water bath, then let them cool down in the oven for an hour.

26 April 2009

Daring Bakers - April •

Abbey‘s Infamous Cheesecake •

I was very pleased to see what the Daring Baker’s challenge was this month, something I have always wanted to bake and have never attempted, for one reason or another. This is just one of the many wonderful perks by being a member of the Daring Bakers. It gives me the incentive I need to push past my insecurities, excuses and laziness. If I have any difficulties, there is always a member willing to help with advice or encouragement. Now if I can only manage to stop procrastinating until the day before the challenge is due!

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. It is a versatile recipe, allowing for many tasty and creative ideas. The recipe itself is very easy to follow and execute. Even though I wrapped my pan with foil, the water seeped in anyway. And I should have listened to that little voice inside my head nudging me to add cornstarch to the syrup on top. Shall we just say that the cheesecake was nice and moist after everything was said and done? It might not look so pretty - but it made up for it in taste. It is a recipe that I will try again (and listen to that pesky voice this time).

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake: (My additions and/or substitutions are highlighted in red)

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted

2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
(I added the zest of one orange with the sugar)
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
(Heat the heavy cream in the microwave, then add 3 bags of Celestial Seasonings Tangerine Orange Zinger Herbal Tea. Let steep for 10-15 minutes.) Drain and discard teabags.)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
(I used 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
(I used 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 tablespoon orange extract)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
(I added 1 tablespoon of light rum)

My topping:

1 (15 oz.) can of mandarin oranges in light syrup. Drain oranges and reserve syrup. Place oranges on the plate lined with paper toweling and let set while your cheesecake is cooling. In a small saucepan, heat reserved syrup until very hot. Add 2 bags of the Tangerine Orange Zinger tea. Let steep for five minutes. Squeeze excess liquid out of tea bags and discard. Add 1 tablespoon of frozen orange concentrate, and stir until thawed. Pour into a measuring cup and add enough water to make one cup. Boil over low heat until mixture is reduced by half and is thickened. Cool completely, and spoon over cooled cheesecake.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!

Some variations from the recipe creator:

** Lavender-scented cheesecake w/ blueberries - heat the cup of heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add 2 tbsp of lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Add strained cream to cheesecake batter as normal. Top with fresh blueberries, or make a quick stovetop blueberry sauce (splash of orange juice, blueberries, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of cinnamon - cook until berries burst, then cool)

** Cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel - take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat it in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream and use as normal. Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce (I usually find one on the food network website - just make sure it has heavy cream in it. You can use store-bought in a pinch, but the flavor is just not the same since its usually just sugar and corn syrup with no dairy).

** Tropical – add about a half cup of chopped macadamias to the crust, then top the cake with a mango-raspberry-mandarin orange puree.

** Mexican Turtle - add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.

** Honey-cinnamon with port-pomegranate poached pears – replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon. Take 2 pears (any variety you like or whatever is in season), peeled and cored, and poach them in a boiling poaching liquid of port wine, pomegranate juice/seeds, a couple of "coins" of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Poach them until tender, then let cool. Strain the poaching liquid and simmer until reduced to a syrupy-glaze consistency, then cool. Thinly slice the cooled pears and fan them out atop the cooled cheesecake. Pour the cooled poaching syrup over the pears, then sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.

Some variations from Jenny (from JennyBakes):

**Key lime - add zest from one lime to sugar before mixing with cream cheese. Substitute lemon juice, alcohol, and vanilla with key lime juice.

**Cheesecakelets - put in muffin tins, ramekins, or custard cups. Try baking 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cool as before.

28 February 2009

Daring Bakers - February •

I am right under the wire this month with the Daring Bakers challenge. If one of your resolutions this year was to diet - stop reading right now! This challenge would definitely break that resolution. The flourless cake is very manageable and delicious. I made cherry vanilla ice cream with cherry sauce to accompany my very rich chocolate cake.

Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino •

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.

We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Cherry-Vanilla Ice Cream •

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 - 3 drops almond extract
1/4 cup tart cherry juice
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup chopped tart cherries

Mix all ingredients except cherries together. Make ice-cream following instructions of your ice-cream maker. In the last minute of churning, add cherries. Place in freezer until solid.

Tart Cherry Sauce •

1/2 cup tart cherry juice
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 -3 drops almond extract

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook slowly with low heat until thick and sauce is clear. Serve warm over ice cream and cake.

Shallot Sugar Crisps & Tangerine Orange Zinger Ice Milk •

What a very challenging (at least for me) Joust this month over at The Left-Over Queen Forum. Angela of Spinach Tiger was the winner of last month’s Joust and so had the honor of choosing the ingredients for the games this month. Her pick: Satsuma (or any other orange citrus), Shallots, and Edible Flowers. Edible Flowers?! In February? In Wisconsin? Fat chance.

I checked three of the local grocery stores with no luck. I was in the tea aisle (yes, they have a whole aisle of teas, but no edible flowers in the produce section) when my eyes fell upon that lovely tea package ablaze with hibiscus flowers. I threw it in my cart, determined to use it in a recipe for the Joust. Day after day went by, and I was stumped. I thought of making a salad, then stir-fry. I finally decided I would go where I am sure not too many would venture - a dessert recipe. The verdict? There is a reason cookies usually do not have shallots in them. On the bright side, the ice milk was delicious!

Sugar Crisp Dough •

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Contents of one Celestial Seasonings Tangerine Orange Zinger tea bag (crushed finely)
2-1/2 cups white unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine cardamom, tea bag contents, flour, cream of tartar, and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for one hour. Roll into 3/4 inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Spread a scant 1/16th teaspoon of scallion topping on top of cookies. Sprinkle tops with a few grains of kosher salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand on cookie sheets for a few minutes before moving to wire racks to cool completely.

Shallot Topping for Cookies •

2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup finely minced shallots
7 teaspoons orange juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add the rest of ingredients and mix well. Cook slowly over low heat until thick and carmelized.

Tangerine Orange Zinger Ice Milk •

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 Celestial Seasonings Tangerine Orange Zinger tea bags
2/3 cup sugar
Juice of 2 oranges (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 tablespoon orange zest
1 Celestial Seasonings Tangerine Orange Zinger tea bag, opened

In a small saucepan, combine milk and heavy cream. Heat slowly over low heat until very hot. Add sugar and mix well. Drop in the 4 tea bags and let sit until cool. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate overnight (leave in the tea bags). Pick out the tea bags and add the juice, extract, cardamom and orange zest. Add the contents of the opened tea bag. Refrigerate until very cold. Make the ice milk according to the instructions of your ice cream maker.

25 February 2009

Bread Book Giveaway •

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day Giveaway •

Head on over to Jo’s blog to register to win this fantastic book! You all know you want one, now’s your chance to get an autographed copy.

17 February 2009

okara olympics •

Today I ran out of soy milk, and realized that I had a container of okara still in the refrigerator from my last batch of soy milk. Rather than chuck another container of okara in there, I took a deep breath and started a baking marathon. I put my KitchenAid mixer, my waffle iron, and bread maker  in service all at the same time. After making a big batch of Buttermilk Waffles, I left them to cool. I wrapped them individually in foil packages, and placed the waffles in freezer bags. The little darlings can now pull them out of the freezer and toast them up in a hurry. I used my KitchenAid to mix and knead dough for Quick Dinner Rolls. I had delicious, warm rolls to accompany our supper that evening, with leftovers for this week’s sandwiches. The bread maker was doing it’s thing with all the ingredients for Multigrain Bread, which we can use for sandwiches or toast. Now all I have left to do is figure out what to do with my new batch of okara. Definitely something chocolate.

Buttermilk Waffles •

Preheat waffle iron.

In a large mixing bowl combine:

4 eggs
2-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup oil
1 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okara straight from your machine, not drained)

In another mixing bowl sift together:

2 cups white unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Make waffles according to your waffle iron’s manual. I use a well-rounded 1/2 cup of batter. Bake until golden brown, about three to three and a half minutes. Makes approximately 14 (7") waffles.

Multigrain Bread for your Bread Maker •

Quick Dinner Rolls •

1 cup vanilla soy milk
1 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okara straight from your machine, not drained)
1/2 cup safflower oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 to 2-1/2 cups white unbleached flour
2 tablespoons yeast

In a large mixing bowl (your KitchenAid bowl if you are using it), stir together 2 cups of flour and the yeast. In a small saucepan, heat soy milk, okara, oil, honey and salt until very warm (125 degrees). Pour into flour/yeast mixture. Beat approximately 2 - 3 minutes with your KitchenAid (or by hand 300 strokes). Switch to the dough hook and add the rest of the flour to make a soft dough. Knead well for 10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Pinch off dough into golf-ball sized balls. Place on greased baking sheets and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven, until lightly browned. Makes approximately 12 - 15 rolls.

28 January 2009

a tuile i can live with •

They call it The Daring Bakers. Maybe they should have come up with different monikers. Number One: the Daring Baker, where the ingredients and photos seduce you, tempting your baking expertise. Second comes the Desperate Baker, when those same ingredients taunt you, and your photos don’t look like the cookbook’s. Next, comes the Dizzy Baker, when you are running out of time and that recipe maliciously giggles at you. Last: the Determined Baker — where you give that recipe one last try, I mean it! *Update - Four more; the Depressed Baker (courtesy of Aparna) and the Drained Baker (suggested by Jenny)  the Demented Baker (by Esther) and the Dreamer (Alana)!

Having made tuiles before and having no problems, I became the Determined Baker with this recipe. It was not a pretty sight. The first attempt there was a typo on the original recipe. The second attempt I made the tuiles bigger and did not bake them long enough. My husband told me to “Give it up!” “Excuse, me?” Them’s fightin’ words, bub! I persevered and finally got a tuile that I could live with. My husband is another matter. He looked at them and suggested I keep my day job. Not really...he knows that complimenting the cook is the way to keep getting fed around this house.

The Daring Bakers January Challenge •

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux. We were to pair them with something light; fruit, sorbet, mousse, etc. I decided to mix 4 ounces of cream cheese (softened) with 1/2 cup of lemon curd for a dip/spread. It was delicious!

Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch

65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract) I used orange extract
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.1/4 ounces sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet 

Oven: 180C / 350F

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.

Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….

25 January 2009

roasted vegetable lasagna •

I had something entirely different in mind when I set out to fulfill the requirements of the Joust; a dish incorporating mushrooms, cauliflower, and noodles. But in honor of The Leftover Queen herself, I decided to whip up a recipe using the pantry and food items that I already had on hand. It is amazing when you start poking around in the depths of the kitchen, the treasures you unearth. Farmers Cheese with Dill? Where did that come from? The parsley was purchased for another recipe that didn’t get made (do you ever do this?). I had a bit of parmesan cheese hanging out in a bag, begging to be used before it got lost in the black hole of the refrigerator. Organic carrots were purchased just because they looked so pretty and healthy (and orange is one of my favorite colors)...but 5 pounds??  It seems like every magazine I have opened lately has featured roasted vegetables of some sort, and I have wanted to give the procedure a whirl. Why not Roasted Vegetable Lasagna? 

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna •

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Roasted Vegetables •

1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerets, then sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into flowerets, then sliced
4 large carrots, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1 large onion, sliced
1 (16 ounce) package of button mushrooms, sliced
5 - 8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and cracked Pepper

I had enough vegetables to fill two 9 x 13 pans. Dribble vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and cracked pepper. Roast in oven for approximately 30 - 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly brown around edges. Scoop all vegetables into one of the 9 x 13 pans, set aside.

While the vegetables are roasting, boil one package of lasagna noodles according to directions (al dente) drain, and set aside. If using Okara Pasta, use it fresh and layer per instructions below.

Cheese Sauce •

8 tablespoons butter
8 tablespoons white unbleached flour
4 cups milk
2 cups cubed Farmers Cheese with Dill (Hennings)
1 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour until well blended. Add milk all at once, whisking over medium heat until thickened. Add farmers cheese, parsley, parmesan cheese and garlic. Stir until all cheese is melted. Add salt and/or pepper if desired.

1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese

Using the empty 9 x 13 pan, layer in this order:

1 cup cheese sauce, lasagna noodles, 3 cups vegetables, 2 cups sauce, one-third of the mozzarella cheese, lasagna noodles, 3 cups vegetables, 2 cups sauce, one-third mozzarella cheese, etc. End with noodles. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Let set for at least 10 minutes before cutting.