torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
Akien has a nice recipe for lamb dolmas, but many times I don't want to go through the hassle of cooking them... and I have a soft spot for the vegetarian dolmas common at Mediterranean restaurants. So I decided to look up a recipe for them.

Holy cow, said I, these recipes look like a skill test for prospective daughters-in-law (rolling raw rice into grape leaves so that they hold together *and* don't burst open when cooked?) The single time I tried it all I got was a royal mess. I thought, there has to be an easier way to make this tasty food... so I set out to find one. Borrowing heavily from my basic understanding of sushi, I found a method I'm happy with.

Here it is )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
None of the ones I've seen so far insist on soy milk, and almond milk has been doing pretty well for me (along with coconut milk) so far.

60 dairy-free ice cream recipes

Also, my version of [profile] catnip13's vegan mint ice cream:

Recipe! )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
I found myself with an extra quart of milk, and limes were on sale...

Pudding! )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
I'm not saying you're gonna go up in a puff of smoke if you touch this stuff, but it does appear to be a cross between pure evil and total crack. You have been warned.

Chocolate Evil )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
So if you're wondering what to do with sweet potatoes that doesn't involve marshmallows or the word "fries", here are a couple of ideas. They have no added sugar, and they're quick, easy, and healthy -- but don't let that count against them.

Sweet and simple )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
When you look up lemon shortbread recipes, you find cookies with butter, flour, sugar, perhaps a little vanilla, and a touch of lemon zest (or lemon extract, or waving a lemon over the dough three times and calling it good). These are polite lemon shortbreads, the ones meant to be baked until light golden and served with tea, and scones, and little cucumber sandwiches. "The perfect touch of lemon!" the reviews purr. "Just right!"

I didn't want tea cookies. I wanted lemon cookies. So these are up-front, aggressive, punch-you-in-the-mouth cookies. There is no hint here, no subtlety. They're what would happen if the filling mated with the crust in a lemon meringue pie. The dough is even more so. :)

The recipe is just Michael Ruhlman's shortbreads with lemon juice and a touch more flour, nothing complicated. So here you go:

4 ounces granulated sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) *fresh* butter (unsalted or salted, your choice)
12 ounces flour (about 2.5 cups rice flour, all-purpose will be a little less)
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 tsp lemon zest
the juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)

Use a mixer for this if you don't want tired wrists. Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla, salt, and lemon zest, then start adding the flour gradually. Stop when the dough refuses to form a ball, turning into a bunch of pea-sized lumps, and set aside any remaining flour; if using standard wheat flour, try not to mix it more than you have to, or it'll go tough. The dough should be firm but not crumbly when you shape it in your hands.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Roll portions of the dough out to your desired thickness (I usually like about 3/16" or 3mm) and cut into shapes. Don't re-roll more than once; I usually mix the scraps into a fresh ball of dough to recycle them. Place the cutouts close together on 2 baking sheets and bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they turn the lightest shade of gold and any corners are starting to brown. Allow them to cool fully before moving them to an airtight container for storage. This made about 55 2" hearts.


Yes, you can add more lemon, though if you add a lot more flour to keep things from getting too wet they might go sort of cardboard-like. Exercise restraint, and consider topping them with lemon curd or lemon frosting or this evil concoction if you really can't resist the one-two punch.

The key with any shortbread is really good butter. Buy it fresh for this, from a store that has high turnover. You really will notice a difference if it hasn't been sitting in your fridge consorting with the forgotten occupants of the crisper, believe me.
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
I was looking around for a fresh mint ice cream recipe, and all the recipes I came across talked about making mint simple syrup, or steeping the mint leaves in hot milk... Screw that. I don't want my mint cooked, I want it to taste like it's right off the plant. I also wanted a palate cleanser, not the heaviness of egg yolks. Thus:

1/4 cup peppermint leaves (take them off the stems)
1/3 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy cream

Chop the mint leaves as fine as possible. Combine them with up to half of the sugar and grind to a paste (you can use a food processor like a Baby Bullet; I used a mortar and pestle, and it went quickly). The texture doesn't have to be smooth. In a quart measure combine the mint paste, the rest of the sugar, the cream, and the half-and-half. Whisk very well and chill for an hour or more in the coldest part of the refrigerator, to allow the mint to steep. Process in an ice cream maker, then scoop into a container and chill until firm, 2-4 hours.

It will have flakes of mint leaf throughout, and has a light, refreshing coolness. Peppermint is the strongest, but you can use other types of mint as well.
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
As I was looking for ways to use our embarrassment of plums (this is what happens when you suddenly inherit a bunch of plum trees because your brother bought the house next door), I was reminded of the time I used dates and green apricot puree to make the sweet-sour base for vindaloo. I did it because someone was avoiding refined sugar, but it turned out stupendously well, and I keep meaning to do it again.

So it occurred to me that if I grab a bunch of the almost-overripe plums (for sweetness) and cook up a few of the underripe but injured plums (for tartness), I could probably do a decent vindaloo. It might be worth a shot.

Anyway, here's the normal recipe. If you want to experiment like me, eliminate the tamarind and brown sugar, add tart and sweet fruit purees to the sauce instead, and keep tasting it.

Chicken vindaloo recipe )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
Have I really not posted my green apricot recipes? I thought I had.

Well, in any case, early summer will soon be upon us, and if we have any luck with flowering right now the apricot trees will be full of little fuzzy green fruit. Blenheim apricots in particular are known for getting overloaded to the point where they look like clusters of grapes; those clusters have to be thinned to avoid damage to the tree, not to mention a harvest of small and poor-quality fruit.

When I thinned a friend's tree last year, I ended up with three or four gallons of little greenies. I thought that it would be a shame just to toss them, so I looked online. Sure enough, you can cook them in various ways -- and as I discovered, those ways are often tasty. I like apricots just fine, but green apricots are almost better.

Don't try to pit them before cooking; it's a nightmare. I find the best way to handle them (since my food mill has trouble with anything larger than a cherry pit) is to cook them, cool them, and take the pits out with my fingers. I sit and watch TV while my hand is immersed in fruit pulp, which is not the worst way to spend a Saturday night. The whole fruit or the pulp can be frozen with no ill effect. As for how to cook them:

Green Apricot Jam )

Green Apricot Chutney )

Either one will keep in the fridge for a while, if you don't feel like canning. The chutney obviously keeps longer, and it gets better with age, ending up beautifully balanced with a warmth that won't bite anyone but the most heat-averse. The jam has a wonderful balance of tart, sweet, fruitiness, and the strong almost-bitter flavor apricots sometimes get; the allspice shows it off to great effect. You could also do straight-up candied apricots in heavy syrup, I expect. And I once made an incredible vindaloo using unsweetened apricot pulp and dates for the sweet-and-sour flavors -- the pulp is a decent stand-in for tamarind.

Bottom line: don't toss these guys. They're worth the effort.
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
If you like garlic powder, don't buy the commercial stuff in jars. You're paying too much and (worse) it's weak. If you put in a little effort once or twice a year, you can have the really good stuff.

How to make the best garlic powder )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
I decided to make a variant on lemon bars the other day. I mean, you should be able to use any tart citrus, right? Limes were a possibility, though what I wanted was some good yellow grapefruit... but the produce market didn't have any grapefruit, oddly enough.

What they did have were Seville oranges.

And we embark on an adventure... )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
I'm back at the recipe-book again. This is one I made entirely from my working knowledge of Indian food; I could probably give it more of a South Indian/Malaysian flavor with the addition of some fennel or cardamom, but I like this the way it is. (Though it could probably take a bit more black pepper.)

I like this recipe because the only things discarded are the chicken bones, and they help make the broth first. It's also unusual because it contains no tomatoes.

Twice-Cooked Coconut Curry Chicken )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
This was my second run at pâte a choux, made with the additional knowledge of several years of experimental gluten-free baking. It doesn't require any real tricks, just a decent recipe and Asian rice flour (which is very finely ground). And, to be honest, it's not difficult, especially if you have any sort of electric mixer. I've made waffles that were more complicated. Grip your courage, pull out your baking pans, and give it a shot... it's just a little milk, eggs, butter, and flour, after all. :)

Recipe! )

To fill them, you can either split them open, or make a hole in the side to pipe things in. Traditional fillings are a ball of ice cream (profiteroles), whipped cream or custard (cream puffs or eclairs), lemon curd, chocolate mousse, cheese sauce, paté... they're pretty versatile, either sweet or savory. Dip the tops in chocolate if you like. Serve as close to immediately after filling as you can. Enjoy!
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
This was adapted from the Lemon Layer Cake recipe from Gourmet; you may recognize it as the same one that I used as a basis for my caramel buttercream cupcakes (which I know I posted a recipe for somewhere, but I can't find the post). No one would guess these are gluten-free. Not the finest texture, but if you don't mind a slight coarseness reminiscent of spice cake or carrot cake, these are really really good.

Recipe )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
So last week's dinner was indeed successful. The chile rellenos were particularly good... I have to confess, I couldn't improve much on Dinner at Christina's version, so I just multiplied it by 1.5 and used Monterey Jack. 8 chiles took a medium-sized rectangular casserole, so keep that in mind when choosing your pan size.

I topped that with a tomato sauce that tasted very, very close to the enchilada sauce I've had in restaurants; I used glutinous rice flour to thicken it instead of making a roux, which made it much easier to reheat. Recipe below.

The pinto beans were kind of seat-of-the-pants, just 1.5 cups soaked, drained, and cooked up with 1/4 onion, 5 cloves of garlic, oregano, black pepper, and salt. It made a massive amount (I thought beans were supposed to double, not triple?) so I still have enough in the freezer for a second round. Good, though don't skimp on the garlic, oregano, and pepper; it could have used more than it had.

I made up about 3 cups of rice with a teaspoon of cumin seed to fill things out. The flan came out well, though I managed to burn the caramel a little (the dark flavor complemented the orange, so that was okay). Recipe also below.

Tasty! )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
I can't claim credit for this one; I copied it out of a vegan cookbook at the Davis Co-ops, because I was so impressed by it myself. I strongly suspect the author had adapted it from somewhere else, as it originally asked for egg substitute, soy milk, and "liquid sweetener" (this was a vegan cookbook, after all). I have neither the name nor author of the cookbook, so I can't attribute, sadly.

It's soft, moist, and holds together well, unlike many variants of cornbread; you can actually cut off and pick up a real loaf-sized slice. I've never known it to be dry or bland, ever. It gathers rave reviews any time I make it, so I thought I should pass it on.

The recipe )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
This is the first dish I've made where I tasted it and wondered out loud, "Didn't I have this in a restaurant?" It tastes exactly like something I must have had at a buffet lunch somewhere.

Recipe )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
For some reason, I avoided this dish for a long time; I think I was worried that it would be bland and/or dry, as ground meat can sometimes be. Far from it.

I think this would work well with veggie burger, crumbled firm tofu, or possibly even scrambled egg. I used ground turkey instead of the traditional beef or lamb, and it was fabulous.

Recipe )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
I promised a vegetarian recipe, didn't I? Have a vegan one.

This is a favorite of mine, as it has lots of flavor and a tangy bite which takes out the sometimes gamy flavor chickpeas get. You can use canned chickpeas, but I prefer to use dried, either made fresh (it takes about two hours) or previously cooked and frozen. The texture and flavor difference with canned is noticeable.

The dried mango powder and garam masala should be available at any south Asian grocery, or you can get it online. A classic garam masala contains widely-available spices such as cumin and cinnamon, so you may be able to make your own; you can use just lemon juice if you can't get the mango powder (though you'll lose out on some flavor).

Indian Spiced Chickpeas )
torquill: The dough has gone to war... (baking)
It's not that hard, really, especially if you're comfortable with rolling out pie crust. If you're not, you can press the pie dough into the pan, but it's best when rolled.

This is a DARK shoofly. Don't make it unless you like molasses a lot; even then you may want some ice cream, whipped cream, or cafe au lait with it. A lighter version can be made with light-colored molasses (or a mixture of molasses and corn syrup) and granulated sugar instead of dark brown, at which point it approaches the English treacle pie.

This is an amalgam of Alton Brown's recipe and the Traditional Shoofly Pie on Allrecipes; I don't agree with Alton on blind-baking the crust beforehand, as I think it just adds unnecessary hassle. I do like his addition of vanilla, though.

Gluten-free Shoofly Pie )


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