Friday, February 22, 2008

Biscotti di Prato

I am addicted to these biscotti di prato Elaine and Cath. Thank you for sharing this recipe. So easy to make. I had never made biscotti before as I always assumed it was much more work (not sure why I thought it was a meringue type of base). I loved the ease of it all and how the batch makes enough to last for weeks! I've been enjoying a few almost every day with my morning coffee or my afternoon tea. Thanks again for sharing!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Recipe 19: Afghan Kadu

Since Kate is away for a couple weeks, I thought I'd post the next recipe. From Kabul Restaurant which Cath introduced us to in Philly to Kabul House in Skokie, IL, I've developed a love and craving for Kadu Chalau which is sauteed pumpkin/squash, yogurt sauce with basmati rice with carrots and raisins. I am going to try butternut squash or if they do have some pumpkins, I might have to try making it with those. These were the only recipes I could find. Really looking forward to making Kadu at home. Hope you fall in love with this dish as Cath and I have, if not with this recipe then find this dish at your nearest Afghan restaurant.

Results: I let the Kadu rest overnight. I made the rice the next day. I used cumin instead of the masala. I think I "parboiled" the rice too long because my rice was more soggy than fluffy. I've never been good with making rice unless its cooked in a rice cooker. So I'm definitely going to make this again. Just need to work on trying not to overcook it. This method of cooking the rice in a Le Creuset in the oven was a new way of cooking rice for me.
But the kids loved it because it was sweet. Mike and I loved it. A little sprinkle of sumac on the yogurt sauce. Mmmm. Totally like the Kadu from the restaurants. Hope you guys have better luck with the consistency of the rice. I'm looking forward to hearing tips.

Afghan Kadu
Serves 4-6

4 lb fresh pumpkin or squash
1/2 cup of Corn oil

Sweet Tomato Sauce:

2 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 cup of water
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup of sugar (I used 3/4 c.)
8 oz tomato puree
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated (using microplane)
2 tablespoons freshly ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups Plain yogurt
Garnish: dry mint leaves, crushed

Peel the pumpkin and cut into 2-3" cubes; set aside. Heat oil in a large frying pan that has a lid. Fry the pumpkins on both sides for a couple of minutes until lightly browned.

Mix together ingredients for Sweet Tomato Sauce in a bowl then add to pumpkin mixture in fry pan. Cook uncovered 20-25 minutes over low heat until the pumpkin is cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated. Mix together the ingredients for the yogurt sauce.

To serve: Spread half the yogurt sauce on a plate and lay the pumpkin on top. Top with remaining yogurt and any cooking juices left over. Sprinkle with dry mint. May be served with basmati rice and naan or pita bread.

Afghan Rice
1 lb (2 ½ cups) long grain rice, preferably basmati
6 T. vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
3/4 c. chicken broth
salt and pepper
2 large carrots, julienned
4 oz raisins
2 t. char masala or cumin
1/4 t. saffron

Rinse the rice several times in cold water until it remains clear. Add fresh water and leave the rice to soak for at least half an hour.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large pan and add the chopped onions. Stir and fry them until brown. Remove from the oil and. Grind the onions to a pulp. Add chicken broth.Wash and peel the carrots and cut into pieces the size of a matchstick. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a small pan and add the carrots. Cook the carrots gently until they are lightly browned and tender. If they are tough it may be necessary to add a little water and simmer until tender. All the water should evaporate. Remove the carrots from the oil, add the raisins, and cook these gently until they begin to swell up. Remove the oil and set aside the carrots. Save any remaining oil for the rice.

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil and add about 1 teaspoon of salt. Drain the rice and add to the boiling water. Parbroil for 2 to 3 minutes before draining the rice in a large sieve. Put the rice in a large casserole and sprinkle with char masala and saffron. Pour chicken broth over the rice and stir very gently once. Place the carrots and raisins on one side of the casserole. Add any oil left over from cooking the carrots. Cover with a tightly fitted lid and place in a preheated oven at 300 degrees F for about 45 minutes or leave it in a tightly covered pan on top of the stove over a very low heat for the same length of time. To serve, garnish the top of the rice with the carrots and raisins.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I HEART Biscotti

Time to make Valentine treats. I bumped into these adorable very thin biscotti in Nick Malgieri's Cookies Unlimited cookbook. I loved how simple and clean the cookies looked. I also had all the ingredients in the pantry. Kate can also vouch for whether these are really found everywhere Down Under made with all different types of nuts. Cath introduced me to my first biscotti recipe, Biscotti di Prato, and walked me through it during our stint in Philly. This is still my favorite. My family always hopes to find two of their favorites in my cookie jar during their visits, Biscotti di Prato and my Chocolate Toffee cookies. Hope you have a very sweet V Day.

Australian Almond Toasts
Makes about 60 very thin biscotti
1 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
6 oz (about 1 1/2 c.) blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
3 large egg whites (little less than 1/2 c.)
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
Preheat 350. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. mix in almonds. In separate bowl, whip egg whites until the hold their shape (2-3 min). 1 T. at a time, beat in the sugar until the egg whites hold a firm peak. Beat in vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture. Scrape dough into a loaf pan, buttered and bottom lined with parchment. Smooth the top. Bake for 35-40 min. Cool to room temp. Slice about every 1/8 inch. Prehead to 275 and rebake slices for about 15 min until light golden and dry.

Biscotti di Prato
¾ cup whole almonds
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 cups unbleached or all-purpose flour
7/8 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt

Place nuts in a shallow pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool.
In a small bowl beat eggs, vanilla, and almond extract with a wire whisk.
In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
Add egg mixture and mix until blended, about 1 minute.
Cut nuts into halves or thirds and mix in.
Divide dough in half.
On a greased and floured baking sheet, pat out dough into two logs about ½ inch thick, 1.5 inches wide, and 12 inches long, spacing them at least 2 inches apart.
Bake in the middle of a preheated 300 degree oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown.
Transfer from the baking sheet to a rack. Let cool 5 minutes.
Place on a cutting board. With a serrated knife slice diagonally at a 45 degree angle and ½ inch thick.
Lay the slices flat on the baking sheet and return to a 275 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until toasted, turning them over once to dry the other side.
Store in a tightly covered container.

Chocolate Toffee Cookies
Makes about 18
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

5 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath or Skor), coarsely chopped

1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped 

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls with an ice cream scoop onto sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.) 

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Green Tea Azuki Bean Muffins

These beauties are my latest obsession. Maybe it's just a winter fad, but I can't get enough of them. They are so moist and just the perfect combination of flavors and textures. They sell them at our neighborhood coffee shop but they are made by a bakery called "Fresh Flours" here in Seattle. I'm dying to stop by the bakery that makes them.

I'd love ideas on how to recreate them from my foodie friends. I'll let you know if I have any success!