zondag 29 april 2012

Mexican Horchata: Almond-rice cooler

This week at I Heart cooking clubs we are cooking with the theme earth day. Any recipe with use of products grown from the earth is allowed. Should i make something with fruit or root vegetables, No rice is grown from the earth too.We eat a lot of rice but i never had it as a drink. So i decided on this Recipe for Horchata; Almond-Rice cooler. It made me curious, how would it taste?

Rick Bayless says" This has the simplest and most familair flavors of the three most common aguas frescas: a slightly chalky, thirst-quenching refreshment with a flavor reminiscent of rice pudding. This drink is light and rich - exceptionally good hot-weather party fare, poured over ice."

Almond rice cooler
Rick Bayless, authentic mexican

Yield: about 1½ quarts, 6 to 7 servings

6 tablespoons rice
6 ounces blanched almonds
1 inch cinnamon stick
3 2-inch strips of lime zest(colored rind only)
about 1 cup of sugar - sugar syrup

1. Soaking the rice and the almonds.
Thorougly pulverize the rice in a blender or spice grinder. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the almonds, cinnamon stick and lime zest. Stir in 2¼ cups of hot tap water, cover and let stand at least 6 hours or preferably, overnight.
2. Blending and straining.
Scoop the mixture into the blender jar and blend for 3 or 4 minutes, until it no longer feels very gritty. Add 2 cups of water, then blend for a few second more. Set a large sieve over a mixing bowl and line 3 layers of damp cheesecloth. Pour in the almond-rice mixture a little at a time, gently stirring to help the liquid pass trough. When all has been strained, gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and twist them together to trap the dregs inside. Squeeze the package firmly to expell all remaining liquid.
3. Finishing the Horchata.
Add 2 cups of water and stir in enough sugar to sweeten the drink to your taste. If the consistency is too thick, add additional water. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Stir before pouring.

Notes/ findings:
- The drink keeps for 5 days or more, covered and refrigerated.
- At the last moment i put in some more cinnamon, because i really like cinnamon.
- I used sugar syrup instead of sugar.
- And ofcourse i really liked this drink and Rick was wright it does taste like rice pudding!

Admitting this to:
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dinsdag 24 april 2012

Apricot-Pistachio-Lemon coffee cake - THB

The past three weeks went very fast, so its time for our second baking job with The Home Bakers. The Home bakers are a new baking group that will bake from just one book only untill it's finished. Whe started out three weeks ago with the first recipe from Coffee cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas. Feel free to join in....

So this time Chris fom Yummy bakes got to pick a recipe; Apricot-pistachio-Lemon coffee cake.

I didn't feel like baking a hole cake for just the two of us so i made only a quart of the original recipe, that you can find here. I didn't have a small bund pan so i chose to pour the batter in to six smal souflle dishes/ ramekins that are about 2 inch wide and baked them for 20 minutes at 175C. 

My small individual cakes came out perfectly and tasted very nice. I think i really like apricot and pistachio together! Because it already are small round cakes i didn't need to cut the cake and that is where i got lucky with my choice of small cake pans.  The others baking this cake along with me had some difficulty with cutting the cake, because it gets crumbly because of all the apricot and pistachios in it.

There is a variation on this cake in the book: Cherry - hazelnut cake;
Follow the original recipe, substituting 1¼ cups dried cherries for the dried apricots and ¾ cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts, whole or chopped, for the pistachios.

I really liked to made the variation to but i could't find any dried cherries:-(

Come back here on the 18th of may then where baking a Blueberry streusel coffee cake.

zondag 15 april 2012

Grilled bananas with cajeta and cream

This weeks cooking theme at the I Heart Cooking Club is sweet tooth!
Searching true the recipes of Rick Bayless i got curious about cajeta at first because i didn't know what it was but now after tasting it, i do! A very nice cinnamon flavoured caramel sauce that is verry popular in mexico i understand.
But Cajeta is better known as dulce de leche in other parts of the world.

Making the cajeta was another daring experiment for me. Again because i tried to make caramel before and i always failed in attempt. It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to finish the cajeta because i was afraid it would burn or boil over(don't like all the sticky stuff on my stove top). Like Rick said it would, it turned golden but only after 1 hour and 30 minutes. And i was stirring a lot tho prevent it to stick to the bottom of he pot.

I served the cajeta with this grilled banana recipe from rick and it was lovely. substituded the dulce the leche flavoured ice for cinnamon flavoured ice cream. and sprinkled some halved pecans on top.

Grilled bananas with cajeta and cream
Serves 4
Recipe by Rick Bayless

4 firm, but ripe, bananas with attractive stems
Vegetable oil for brushing or spritzing
8 small scoops best-quality ice cream, preferably dulce de leche flavor
1/2 cup Mexican cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)

1. Heat a gas grill to medium or prepare a charcoal fire, letting the coals burn until they are covered with a gray ash and are medium hot. Cut the bananas through the stems lengthwise in half. Brush or spritz the cut sides with oil.
2. Place the bananas on the grill cut side down directly over the heat. Cover and grill until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Turn skin side down and continue grilling until tender and bananas have pulled away from their skins, 2 to 4 minutes more.
3. Arrange 2 banana halves on each serving plate. Top each serving with 2 scoops of ice cream. Drizzle each with about 2 tablespoons of the cajeta. Serve immediately.

Goat's Milk Caramel Sauce
Recipe by Rick Bayless

Makes about 3 cups

2 quarts goat's milk or a combination of goat’s milk and cow’s milk—or even with all cow’s milk (use whole milk in all cases)
2 cups sugar
A  2-inch piece of cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican canela
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

1.  Simmer the cajeta.   In a medium-large (6-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican copper cazo), combine the milk, sugar and cinnamon stick and set over medium heat.  Stir regularly until the milk comes to a simmer (all the sugar should have dissolved by this point). Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the dissolved baking soda—it’ll foam up if the goat’s milk is acidic. When the bubbles subside, return the pot to the heat.   Adjust the heat to maintain the mixture at a brisk simmer (too high and the mixture will boil over; too low and the cooking time will seem interminable). Cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture turns pale golden, more or less one hour.   Now, begin stirring frequently as the mixture colors to caramel-brown and thickens to the consistency of maple syrup (you’ll notice the bubbles becoming larger and glassier).  Stir regularly so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Test a couple of drops on a cold plate: When cool, the cajeta should be the consistency of a medium-thick caramel sauce.  If the cooled cajeta is thicker (almost like caramel candy), stir in a tablespoon or so of water and remove from the heat; if too runny, keep cooking.

2.  Finish the cajeta.   Pour the cajeta through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl or a wide-mouth storage jar.  When cool, cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.  Warming the cajeta before serving (a microwave oven is efficient here) makes it extra delicious. Working Ahead:  Cajeta keeps for a month or more in the refrigerator.  Keep it tightly covered to keep it from absorbing other flavors.

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zondag 8 april 2012

Flour Tortillas a Mexican Basic

A new cook has arrived at I heart cooking clubs. After spending a lovely six months cooking With Tessa Kiros we are welcoming Rick Bayless as our next cook. His comfort zone in Cooking is believe it or not MEXICAN food, And mine definately isn't. I had my fare share of mexican food but mostly in restaurants and the only mexican meal i can prepare is from a manufactured mealkit. So The next six months will be fun or they won't but the main reason i started this blog 2 years ago was to learn better cooking and for that you can't stay in your comfort zone!

So for this first week the theme is ¡Bienvenido Rick! To welcome him at our cooking club and we can choos any recipe we want. So because i don't know anything from mexican cooking i thought it would be nice to start with some basic recipe and that is flour tortillas.

When i was reading some recipe from Rick Bayles i noticed another difficulty for me. He/mexican kitchen uses a lot of ingredient that aren't common in the netherlands. Such as Chipotle, Tomatillos, vegetable shortening or lard and more. So i have to find some creative solutions for that in the next six months.

Starting today with the flour tortillas, there was the first problem of the use of lard or vegetable shortening. I managed to get a jar of vegetable shortening but it cost me 6 euros(1 Euro = 1.3094 U.S. dollars at this moment). I think thats a little bit expensive so i want to find a substitute for it and i don't wan't to use butter.

So i divided the flour in two and made half the recipe with the vegetable shortening and the other half i used sunflower oil. The rolling of the tortillas was a little bit difficult but after a few they turn out almost round. The baking wend well too, both tortillas grilled niceley in the griddle and you can't see any visual differences between te two. The only thing is that the taste is miltlydifferent and the sunflower oil tortillas seemed a little softer then the ones made with the vegetable shortening. So now i know that the sunflower oil works well in this recipe.

Flour Tortillas
Tortillas de Harina
Makes 12 tortillas
Recipe from the Authentic Mexican Cookbook by Rick Bayless


3/4 pound (2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling the tortillas
5 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, or a mixture of the two, or 5 tblsp of sunflower oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
about 3/4 cup very warm tap water


1. Make the dough. Combine the flour and fat in a large mixing bowl, working in the fat with your fingers, until completely incorporated. Dissolve the salt in the water, pour about 2/3 cup of it over the dry ingredients and immediately work it in with a fork; the dough will be in large clumps rather than a homogeneous mass. If all the dry ingredients haven't been dampened, add the rest of the liquid (plus a little more, if necessary). Scoop the dough onto your work surface and knead until smooth. It should be medium-stiff consistency -- definitely not firm, but not quite as soft as most bread dough either.

2. Rest the dough. Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes (to make the dough less springy, easier to roll).

3. Roll and griddle-bake the tortillas. Heat an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough into an even 7-inch circle: Flatten a ball of dough, flour it, then roll forward and back across it; rotate a sixth of a turn and roll forward and back again; continue rotating and rolling until you reach a 7-inch circle, lightly flouring the tortilla and work surface from time to time.

Lay the tortilla on the hot griddle (you should hear a faint sizzle and see an almost immediate bubbling across the surface). After 30 to 45 seconds, when there are browned splotches underneath, flip it over. Bake 30 to 45 seconds more, until the other side is browned; don't overbake the tortilla or it will become crisp. Remove and wrap in a cloth napkin placed in a tortilla warmer. Roll and griddle-bake the remaining tortillas in the same manner and stacking them one on top of the other.

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dinsdag 3 april 2012

Cheese-swirled chocolate bundt cake - THB

A new baking challenge with The Home Bakers. Starting today with this delicious cheese-swirled chocolate bundt cake!

About The Home Bakers

We are a group of home bakers who share the same passion in baking and we love collecting cookbooks! Most of us would probably have tried out about 2 or 3 recipes from some of the books that we own and these books somehow got pushed back till later or kinda forgotten, as we collect more cookbooks along the way! So at THB, we will bake from one cookbook only, until every recipe has been baked. This will not only fully utilized your cookbook to the maximum, but it will widen your baking skills, and learn more about baking as we share our experiences together. Come join us as we venture into the exciting world of baking right in our own kitchen haven. The challenge of The Home Bakers is to complete every recipe from one chosen cookbook. This will be an easier challenge if we are baking and sharing our experiences together. There's always something new to learn about baking!

The Chosen Book
We are currently baking from "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas, who has written more than 50 cookbooks. "Coffee Cakes" is a beautiful cookbook with various bakes covering Sunday Brunch Cakes, Everyday Morning Cakes, Savory Picnic Cakes, Bundt Party Cakes and Delectable Dessert Cakes, a total of 60 wonderful recipes. Just by taking a peek at this book, would make you want to bake each and every recipes!

So a few weeks back i stumbled up on this site and as a cookbook addict it seemed nice to join in a club where whe would make every recipe from just one book(and didn't already started baking/cooking). So i ordered the book immediatly. I finally received my copy of coffecakes last week ans started baking last saturday. The recipe for this first time baking together was picked by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours who also is the creative mind behind The Home Bakers.
She chose to make this Cheese-swirled chocolate bundt cake and the recipe can be found at her blog, Right here.

The preparation of the cake wasn't very difficult to me, but i had some questions about how to put in the cheesecake filling? Because in the picture in the book the filling is actually INSIDE the cake and mine isn't(like you can see in my picture). In the recipe it is descriped as "Spoon half of the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan. Carefully spoon the cheesefilling over.Spoon the remaining chocolate mixture over and smooth the top." Naive as i am thinking the cheescake would end up nicely in the middle of the cake! Does anyone of you has any recommendations or tips how to get it in the middle of the cake the next time i would bake this cake?

Also i had to alternate two ingredients; The first one was the canola oil because its not a common product in this little corner of the world i substituded it for the exact amound of sunflower oil. The second where the walnuts i substituded them for pecans just because i had them in my pantry.

The baking time of 1 hour and 15 minutes my cake really needed that time to be ready, but after 45 minutes i coverded the cake pan with thin foil because the bottom was getting a litlle dry. Then when i removed the cak pan after 15 minutes waiting to cool down, i saw that the cheesecake filling didn't and up in the middle of the cake and i was a little bit dissapointed. But when i served this as a dessert that evening for my guests they loved it! and ofcourse i did too. The bottom became a little dry but the rest of the cake tasted even better the next day....

 Next time we will be baking a Apricot-Pistachio-Lemon Coffee Cake, so come bake here to see that on the 24th of April!

zondag 1 april 2012

Goodbye Tessa! Nutella Hazelnut chocolate balls

This is the week we say goodbye to Tessa Kiros who whe have been cooking with for the past six months over at I Heart Cooking Clubs. I have been enjoying this six months en fell in love with this cook, where again i'd never heard of before. I own copies of her books Twelve and Apples for Jam and i want to buy Food from many greek kitchens, because where fond on the greek food to.

For this last time a made a real treat Nutella hazelnut chocolate balls, its homemade Ferrero rocher but i liked it even better. Next week where start cooking with Rick Bayless, feel free to join in!

Nutella Hazelnut chocolate balls
adapted from Tessa Kiros, Apples for jam

Makes about 30

3 hazelnut wafer biscuits
250g (9oz) Roasted peeled hazelnuts, copped quite finely
about 165g (6½oz) Nutella/chocolate hazelnut spread
250g(9oz) milk chocolate

Crumble the biscuits into a bowl and add the hazelnuts and about two-thirds of the Nutella to start with. Mix together until it all looks a bit like a mud cake. Try rolling a small portion into a ball, if it breaks up, mix in more Nutella until it will hold shape. If the weather is hot, put the mixture into the fridge for a while before rolling.

Line a tray or a large flat plate with foil. Roll slightly heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture between your cool palms into compact little balls. Put them on the tray and into the fridge for an hour orso to firm up.

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, makins sure that the water doesn't touch the top bowl. Remove from the heat and let the chocolate cool for a few minutes. Drop the balls in one by one, turning them around so that they are completely covered. Return them to the tray, where they will flatten a bit on the bottom. Let them set completely, even in the fridge for the first half hour or so if the wheater's hot. Bring them out to room temperature and store in a tin in a cool dark place or the fridge. They will keep for a couple of weeks.

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