MINI-FRITTATAS WITH BROCCOLI AND CHEESE

Another great recipe from Kalyn, who knows her way around a low-carb way of life. If you feel like taking a step back from the excesses of Thanksgiving, this is a very nice option for breakfast, brunch, or a light lunch.  I used my beloved tart pan, but  you can  make it in muffin tins, or even go for a single, larger pie type pan, increasing baking time a little bit.

MINI-FRITTATAS WITH BROCCOLI AND CHEESE
(slightly modified from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

2 1/2 cups broccoli flowerets (cut into small, bite-sized pieces)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
6 T coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
8 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

 Heat oven to 375F/190C.   Spray tart pan or muffin cups with non-stick spray.
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Place the broccoli pieces into a bowl, cover with cling wrap, and microwave on high for about 1-2 minutes, or until broccoli just starts to cook. Divide broccoli among the tart wells. Put a generous pinch of cheddar cheese on top of the broccoli, then add coarsely grated Parmesan on top of the cheddar.
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Put the cottage cheese into a fine-mesh colander, rinse with cold water, and let drain. Break eggs into a glass measuring cup with a pour spout, and beat with a fork until egg yolks and whites are combined. Add drained cottage cheese, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour egg mixture over broccoli and cheese, dividing the eggs evenly among the tart wells.  Stir gently with the fork so ingredients are evenly distributed.
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Bake for about 30 minutes, or until eggs are firm and frittatas are starting to get slightly browned on top. Frittatas can be kept in the fridge for several days and microwaved to reheat.  Don’t microwave for more than about a minute or the eggs will get rubbery.
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ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

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Comments: I absolutely love this type of recipe that I can  make in the weekend and then enjoy for lunch the following week. I prefer to warm them up in my little electric oven, because it gives much better texture than the microwave, but if you follow Kalyn’s advice and keep the microwave time short, it will still prevent the dreadful rubbery-egg-syndrome.
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Cottage cheese was – for me – an acquired taste. When I first moved to the US, I did not like it at all.  But for one reason or another I kept trying it and started to enjoy its unique texture and mild taste. Nowadays I can even eat it straight from a spoon, as long as it is crowned with a little shower of salt and coarsely ground black pepper. A little za’atar would not hurt either.  In this preparation, it offers a perfect creamy texture to the frittata.
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I love to pair these babies with some juicy tomatoes, but the time for that is unfortunately over…. Must wait for Spring, which obviously cannot come quickly enough for me (sigh).
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FOUR YEARS AGO:
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FIVE YEARS AGO: Chicken Parmigiana, the Thriller

SIX YEARS AGO: Wild Mushroom Risotto

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Tartine Bread:  Basic Country Loaf 

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Pugliese Bread

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YOU SAY EBELSKIVER, I SAY FALAFEL


Have you heard of ebelskivers? With a fun name that twists the tongue around, ebelskivers are creatures conceived in Denmark, designed to make your mouth water and your waistline expand. Think pancakes in round shape, served as a bite-size delicacy. To properly make them, you need a pan like this one.

With that pan calling the Bewitching Kitchen home, I was eager to make my first batch of ebelskivers. The perfect opportunity shaped up: a bunch of golfing friends came to stay with us and play in a tournament with Phil. My plan was to offer them a special breakfast on Sunday morning before they headed to the golf course. But, I kept that plan well hidden. It would be a surprise. Guess who was really surprised? Yours truly. Their performance on the golf course on Saturday made them all want to get up at the crack of dawn and go practice for a couple of hours before the final outing. Breakfast? Who needs breakfast when there’s golf? They grabbed a bunch of cereal bars and off they went. Oh, well. So much for a carefully planned ebelskiver extravaganza…

So I was left with a virgin ebelskiver pan. Then serendipity hit. I was talking to my friend Elaine and she mentioned making falafel in her “special pan.”  She had no idea I had the same type of pan! You can check her recent blog post about it with a jump here. It turns out hers is a slightly different version, with a larger number os smaller cavities. Falafel… We both love falafel. My pan would no longer be a virgin.

FALAFEL
(adapted from Elaine’s foodbod)

250g dried chickpeas, placed in a large bowl of water and soaked overnight
1 medium shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cayenne pepper (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
chickpea flour, about 1/4 cup (depending on moisture of your mixture)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Wash and drain the chickpeas.

Put everything except the flour in a food processor and chop to a chunky crumb, then put it all into a large bowl. Add the baking powder and enough flour to bring the mixture together in your hands, then create small balls of the mix and flatten them slightly to make the falafel shape.

Put your ebelskiver pan over a low/medium heat and place a small amount of oil in each dip and allow it to heat up briefly. Place a falafel in each dip and cook until done, moving the pan around to make sure it heats evenly.  Turn the falafels gently with a fork when the underside is golden brown, to brown the other side. Remove them to a low oven while you prepare the rest of the meal, or serve right away.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

Comments: These turned out delicious! At first I thought that it would make too much filling and I would have a bunch of falafel mixture leftover. Not the case. For my size pan, with the seven medium-sized cavities, it was almost the exact amount. Because my falafels were bigger than Elaine’s, I decided to add a little baking powder  to help lift them a little more. After I “fried” them on both sides, I placed them in our small toaster oven just to keep warm while I finished the rest of the meal. Great to have an additional use for this pan, in fact I have a few savory recipes that might cook very well in it. A fun toy to play with, that’s for sure….

I served ours drizzled with a mixture of yogurt and tahini, seasoned with a touch of salt and lemon juice. It was quite tasty,  but unfortunately the photo did not do it justice, so I skipped sharing it. Elaine served hers over hummus, her picture is worthy of a cooking magazine. Go check it out…

😉

Sharing is caring… while you’re here, grab a pin!

ONE YEAR AGO: Happy Thanksgiving!

TWO YEARS AGO: Two Takes on Raspberries

THREE YEARS AGO: Spice Cake with Blackberry Puree & The Global Pastry Review

FOUR YEARS AGO: Own Your Kitchen with Cappuccino Panna Cotta

FIVE YEARS AGO: Chicken Parmigiana, the Thriller

SIX YEARS AGO: Wild Mushroom Risotto

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Tartine Bread:  Basic Country Loaf 

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Pugliese Bread

 

 

 

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TIRAMISU MACARONS


I cannot say I’ve been in macaron withdrawal syndrome, because I’ve been baking them quite regularly. But the blog has not featured a mac post in a while, so here I am to fix the problem with a batch of my obsession in almond form. Let’s suppose you love coffee, and maybe tiramisu is one of your favorite desserts. It’s settled then, you need these in your life. However, if you’re afraid of baking such temperamental creatures, please consider at least making the roasted coffee butter.  Please.  You can thank Philip later. He came up not only with the filling but the whole design of these lovely cookies.

TIRAMISU MACARONS
(from Baking Fanatic)

for the shells:
125g ground almonds
125g icing sugar
100g granulated, superfine sugar
100g egg whites at room temperature
about 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder

for the filling:
60g mascarpone cheese
70g roasted coffee butter, softened (or use unsalted butter with coffee extract to taste)
50g icing sugar
2 tablespoons Marsala wine (optional)

for the roasted coffee butter:
250g unsalted butter
50g roasted coffee beans, ground to a coarse texture

Make the shells: Put the confectioner sugar, almonds and instant coffee into a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds until perfectly uniform. Sift into a large bowl. If only a few large bits remain in the sieve you can discard them, or you can add them back to the processor and grind them again.

In a clean, dry bowl whisk the egg whites and the superfine sugar until you get a thick, glossy meringue. With an electric hand whisk this usually takes about 3 minutes. The meringue should have soft peaks so when you lift the whisk out of it, the peaks just holds their shape. Avoid stiff peaks or you’ll get hollow shells later.

Add the meringue to the dry almond/icing sugar mixture. Stir together gently, patting down the meringue into the dry mixture against the side of the bowl as you go, stopping as soon as most of dry mixture is no longer visible. The mixture will feel a little stiff at this point. Continue to fold and pat the mixture together gently until the mixture starts to loosen up. This macaronage stage is a critical part of the process and you don’t want to over-loosen the mixture so that it feels too runny and at all liquid. To test it is ready, lift up the spatula and let some of the mixture on the spatula drops back into the bowl, leaving a trail or ribbon on the surface. This trail should gently merge back into the mixture, disappearing within about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into a piping back fitted with a round tip maximum 1/2 inch in diameter.

Pipe macarons onto Silpat or parchment paper, aiming at similar sizes. Lift each baking sheet a few inches off the work surface and drop this flat onto the work surface several times, keeping the tin as flat as possible as you drop it. Leave the macarons to rest at room temperature for about an hour or so, until a very thin skin forms on the surface and the surface does not stick to your finger. During this time preheat the oven to 300 F.

Bake the macarons for about 12-14 minutes, depending on the size, turning the trays around after 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes on the trays before carefully lifting them to a rack for matching and filling when completely cool.

Make the filling: To make the filling, start by making the roasted coffee butter (you can make it in advance). Put the butter and the coffee beans in a pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Bring to a simmer and let the mixture simmer very gently for about a minute. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 30 minutes. Strain it through a fine sieve into a bowl and press as much butter out of the sieve as you can. Refrigerate until set and use what you need in a recipe. You will have some of the grounds in the bottom of the coffee butter but keep them there. If you want to distribute them more evenly, give the butter a mix when it has started to set.

Finalize the filling by beating the mascarpone, roasted coffee butter and powdered sugar together to give a smooth mixture. Beat in the Marsala, a little at a time. Spoon or pipe it onto the macaron shells and dust with cocoa powder. Place in an airtight container in the fridge ideally at least overnight for them to “mature”: the filling.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I’ve been following food blogs for more than a decade, I subscribe to more feeds than I have time to read. So don’t take my next statement lightly: Philip’s site – Baking Fanatic – is THE best food blog for all things baking. Period. When I grow up, I want to be like him. Wait, I am old enough to be his Mom? Bummer. Still, the sentiment holds. Everything he bakes is picture-perfect, worthy of the window of the best patisseries in Paris. Or London, New York, Saint Petersburg, Vienna. But what’s even more amazing, he tells you exactly how to make every one of his delicacies, so once you visit his site you get this feeling of “maybe I can do that too.”  I know, who am I fooling? But still… his instructions make it all seem approachable. That is the mark of a great baking teacher. He will not scare you, he will tease you into baking along.  If you’ve never visited his blog, I urge you to do so.  For starters, take a look at his tutorial for making macarons with a click here. Then, just to be a bit more amazed, see how he tackled for the first time one very challenging recipe for an Italian classic, sfogliatelle. I was in complete awe! Have been dreaming about attempting those ever since that post was published. Did you know sfogliatelle was a technical challenge at the Great British Bake Off?  

Back to macarons. I would like to share with you a bit of meringue wisdom coming from my friend Gary, Pâtissier Extraordinaire.

Egg whites from a freshly laid egg are very difficult to whip into a foam – a problem if whipping by hand. As the egg white ages, it tends to thin out as the main protein, ovalbumin, is altered to S-ovalbumin (if interested in some heavy scientific info about it, click HERE) which makes the egg whites less viscous. This process is greatly accelerated at room temperature. As a result of these chemical changes, aged egg whites are easier to whip into a foam, however, the S-ovalbumin diminishes the foam stability.

Interestingly, the volume of egg white can be increased by adding up to 40% additional water before whipping without reducing the foam stability. So much for the old wives tale of aging egg whites to dehydrate them; it’s really for the chemical composition changes which makes them easier to whip by hand. In today’s world, the eggs you buy in a store have already aged enough to make it easy to whip the egg whites into a foam. Moreover, the use of an electric mixer makes this a moot point anyway.

So there you have a clear explanation why you can grab your eggs from the fridge, separate the whites, let them equilibrate to room temperature and go have fun making macarons. Not need for aging. No excuses. You can bake macarons on a whim! 

And yes, I made this batch on a serious whim. Just 24 hours after I finalized a batch of these.  It turns out that Alex was with us and was supposed to fly to meet his brothers and respective wives in California a couple of days later. So I had this crazy idea of sending a box of macarons with him. And that’s what happened. I don’t know how the decoration held, it was probably not the best choice for macarons that were packed inside a suitcase. If you make them, sprinkle with the cocoa right before serving, just to be safe. The taste of the coffee buttercream is simply amazing. Obviously, both Phil and I tasted one before taking Alex to the airport. For quality control. There are no limits to the level of my self-sacrifice in the name of food blogging.

Philip, thanks for all your help, advice, and encouragement over the net… On a side note, I just got a certain square cake ring… See what you did?

😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Cider Mini-Cheesecakes with Caramel Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO: Rustic Ciabatta and Mini-Meatloaves

THREE YEARS AGO: Green Rice

FOUR YEARS AGO: Potato-Crusted Italian Mini-Quiches

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SIX YEARS AGO: Cod Filet with Mustard Tarragon Crust

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Soba Noodles: Light and Healthy

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Potato-Rosemary Bread

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SOUP SATURDAY: FRENCH SOUPS


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It’s the third Saturday of the month, and we have the soup event organized by Wendy!  Guess what? This month yours truly is hosting, and I chose as my theme French Soups… Why? Because we’ve had so many great soups while living in Paris. Yes, French Onion soup is a classic, and I am sure someone in our group will feature it in a blog post, but one very fond memory I have is a fennel soup I enjoyed very late at night in a bistrot near our apartment, Le Café du Marché. It was comforting, soothing, luscious, yet it seemed so simple. On a side note, the word for fennel in French is a tricky one for me to pronounce, so I would always get in to hyperventilation mode when ordering anything in a menu containing it. Once you get traumatized by a word, it’s pretty hard to overcome the anxiety to say it out loud. But, I digress. This (deep breath) fenouil soup is wonderful! If one day I materialize my desire of serving soup shots for guests as they enter our home for a dinner party, this will be in their little cups.
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FENNEL SOUP WITH ALMOND-MINT TOPPING

(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium size fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1 shallot, chopped cup chopped onion
1 celery stalk, chopped  
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
2 ½ to 3 cups water
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (about 7.5 ounces)
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons small fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh fennel tops, minced
lemon rind to taste 

 Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add fennel, shallots and celery, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, cook for a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and cook 6 minutes or until crisp-tender (do not brown), stirring occasionally.

Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, a little black pepper, 2 ½ cups water, white wine vinegar, and beans. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Transfer the contents to a blender and puree until smooth. If needed, do it in two batches. Taste and adjust seasoning. If soup seems too thick, add a little more water.

For the topping, combine almonds, mint, fennel tops, and lemon zest. Ladle soup in bowls, and top with the crunchy almond mixture.

ENJOY!

 to print the recipe, click here
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Comments
: The original recipe from Cooking Light used a full can of beans, but I held back a little, felt that it could overpower the delicate fennel taste. I really like the way my soup turned out, it was creamy, with just a subtle hint of the cannelini around, the main flavor of fennel definitely shinning through.  As to the topping, you can use a heavy hand as in the first photo, or add just a touch.  Whatever rocks your boat…
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Before I leave, let me invite you to see the collection of French Soups made by my virtual friends.
Click on the InLinkz below, and get ready to fly to France!
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 Sweet memories by the Seine….
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https://static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js

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ONE YEAR AGO: Eataly

TWO YEARS AGO: Spaghetti Squash Perfection

THREE YEARS AGO: Skinny Eggplant Parmigiana

FOUR YEARS AGO: Supernova Meets Wok

FIVE YEARS AGO500 Posts and The Best Thing I ever made

SIX YEARS AGO: Back in Los Angeles

SEVEN YEARS AGO: White House Macaroni and Cheese

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Korean-Style Pork with Asian Slaw

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CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY CURD TART


If you are tired of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, may I offer the perfect alternative? The color of the cranberry curd as you cut through the pie is enough to make your heart miss a beat. Plus, if you prefer a dessert that is not cloying sweet, look no further.  Tartness in the center, subtle chocolate sweetness on top and bottom. Oddly enough, I’ve had this recipe in my files to try soon ever since Helen published it in her blog. We are talking November 2014. I know, what’s wrong with me?  (Please, refrain from answering, it is a purely rhetorical question).

CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY CURD TART
(from Helen’s Pastries like a Pro)

Chocolate Press-in Shell
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 egg
1 egg yolk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of an 11”x1” quiche pan with removable sides in the center only. Set aside. Combine flours and cocoa in bowl of mixer. Mix briefly to combine. Add butter and cut in until very fine. Add sugar and baking powder. Mix to combine. Add egg and egg yolk; mix until it balls up and rides the blade. Remove from the processor and divide in half.

Divide one half into 2 pieces.  Roll one piece into a rope and press it in evenly along one side of the pan. Repeat with the second half of dough.  Overlap the seams and seal well so no seam shows. Press the remainder of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Seal the edges very well so no line shows. Prick the shell before baking.

Bake approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until completely baked. Cool completely.

Cranberry Curd
12 ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries picked over
1 cup sugar (7 ounces or 200 grams)
2 tablespoons water
5 egg yolks (3 ounces or 85 grams)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces (4 ounces or 114 grams)

Place the cranberries in a rimmed baking sheet and pick over.  Shake the tray to move the berries around.

Place the  cranberries in a saucepan with sugar and water over low heat until the cranberries are very soft and some of them have popped.   Stir frequently as this will be very thick and can scorch. Immediately, puree them in a food processor (by batches if necessary). Puree for several minutes to get the skins as fine as possible. There will be tiny specs of red which is as it should be. If you prefer to remove the skins, strain the puree before proceeding. Add the yolks and lemon juice to the processor and process briefly.

Place the cranberry mixture in the top of a double boiler and add the butter. Bring the water underneath to a boil.   Stir the curd constantly until an instant read thermometer reads 170 degrees. Immediately pour into the cooled crust. Smooth the top. Cover directly with film and refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.

Chocolate Cream Glaze
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

Bring the cream to a simmer. Submerge the chocolate. Allow to sit for 4 to 5 minutes then whisk gently to smooth the chocolate completely. Remove the film from on top of the cranberry curd. Pour the glaze in the center and move it out to the edge of the curd with an offset spatula.

Refrigerate if using within a day or two. Freeze for up to a month for longer storage.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: First of all, I urge you to visit Helen’s site because as is always the case for her blog posts, you will find a step by step tutorial that will guide you through the process. Even if you’ve never baked a tart in your life, her explanations will take you to a happy – and tasty – ending. This was my first time making this type of press-in crust. I normally delegate all things crust (pies and tarts) to Phil, but not this time. My pan was a little smaller than the one she used, so the crust turned out a bit thick at the bottom. With my inexperience, I was a bit insecure to use less crust, not knowing exactly what to expect.  Next time I’ll make sure it’s thinner. Anyway, if you have the right size pan, just follow the recipe exactly.

The color of the cranberry curd is something! I shared a few photos on my Facebook page, and some of my friends were wondering how to get the finalized tart to show the curd, maybe reducing the glaze to a zig-zag drizzle, or putting the glaze underneath the curd instead.  Having tasted it, I think the tartness of the curd really benefits from a nice layer of ganache on top. So the striking beauty of it will have to be appreciated only after slicing. Gastronomic compromise.

This is a perfect recipe for those who don’t like overly sweet desserts. The colors scream end of the year festivities, so I hope you consider making it if not for Thanksgiving, before 2017 says goodbye.

Helen, thanks once again for a fantastic recipe and tutorial…
I am a bit ashamed it took me so long to get to this tart, but better late than never!

ONE YEAR AGO: Slow-Cooker Pork Ragu with Fennel

TWO YEARS AGO: Pimp your Veg, a Guest Post

THREE YEARS AGO: Cooking Light Pan-Charred Veggies 

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pomegranate Chicken Thighs and Carrot Mash

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Many Faces of Kale

SIX YEARS AGO:  Short and Sweet 

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Ciabatta, a Classic Italian Bread

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Magical Lamb Stew

 

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