Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Apple Rhubarb Galette

I can't resist buying the new fruits and veggies that are coming into their season even if I have no baking plans. Last night I remembered the rhubarb I bought on Saturday in my fridge and decided to see how quickly I could put something together with it. I went to my trusty Mark Bittman pie crust recipe (easy for me because it's basically one cup flour, one stick butter + ice water and a little seasoning, in this case some maple crystals and a pinch of salt), sautéed the rhubarb with some apples in a tablespoon of butter, added some more maple crystals and baked at 375 for about 35 minutes. Before I put it in I drizzled some olive oil over the edges because I just couldn't resist. What is wrong with me???  I might sauté the filling a little less or not at all next time and add a bit more sweetener, but I have to say, this was the perfect breakfast treat today. Serves 4 easy. 

St. Lucian Cocoa Tea

Cocoa tea is a rich breakfast drink (like European hot chocolate) from St. Lucia. I confirmed the recipe with a St. Lucian chef I met in my travels who added that small doughnut-like pieces called "hot bakes" are sometimes boiled in the cocoa tea, making the drink more of a porridge-style breakfast meal. This recipe is just for the tea.

Makes 2 servings
2 cups soy or light coconut milk (or your favorite kind of milk)
½ cup grated dark chocolate*
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon grated cinnamon
1 bay leaf
2-4 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 scraped vanilla pod or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white flour or cornstarch (optional)

Note: Works best with a double boiler.

  1. Bring the milk to a boil and quickly lower heat. If you are using a double boiler, make sure the milk is steamy hot. 
  2. Add the grated cocoa, nutmeg, cinnamon and bay leaf and let simmer gently for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in vanilla and if you want a thicker drink, add flour (or cornstarch) stirring continuously.
  4. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
*The Grenada Chocolate Company makes amazing Caribbean dark chocolate. Any 70%+ dark chocolate will work well.

Moroccan Kaab El Ghzal

Almond-Mango Crescent Cookies
A rich, mild almond cookie from Morocco with a zesty tang from baked-in dried mango.
Some varieties have pastry dough wrapped around the almond/fruit filling, but this one combines all ingredients into a biscuit. To see how to make the dough-filled version, watch Moroccan blogger Alia make her version on youtube.

Makes 15 - 20 cookies
1 cup raw almonds, finely ground
½ cup Wholesome Sweeteners powdered sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 Ener-G egg replacer (or 1 egg)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup earth balance (or butter), at room temperature
½ cup sesame seed
½ cup of minced dried fruit like mango or pineapple

  1. Take soy butter out of fridge & preheat oven to 350º
  2. Knead almonds, sugar, flour, almond extract, egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter in mixing bowl and mix well. A sticky dough will form. Add water a tablespoon at a time if a ball of the dough does not form, or add flour if dough is too sticky to pinch.
  3. Pour sesame seeds onto a plate or pie pan.
  4. Pinch off walnut-sized pieces of dough (keep them small, the cookies are rich).
  5. Flatten the dough in your palms and fold in 1 teaspoon of minced dried fruit. Form the dough into a cylinder and roll dough pieces in seeds to coat.
  6. Sculpt the cylinder into a crescent, thicker in the middle, tapering at the ends and curved.
  7. Place side by side onto lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in oven for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 26, 2010

April DOTMC coming soon!

April is almost May and I apologize for the late-coming recipe! I've been traveling for a few weeks.
Though my long-awaited (and saved-up-for) Moroccan adventure was diverted south but volcanic ash, I spent a while in the sun and underwater in the West Indies.
I'll be posting two recipes via US Post and blogger tomorrow, both in tribute to a place I visited, St. Lucian Cocoa Tea and where I hope to visit some day (soon!?), Moroccan Almond-Mango Crescent Cookies.
Talk to you soon!


For my wonderful friend Molly's 'lady party' in honor of her getting married, I made a simple and gorgeous vanilla rum cake. I served it with a mango puree and whipped cream and it was fantastic.
I had had a Tonka bean that I was going to use in lieu of vanilla in it but LIKE A FOOL, I lost it! Can you believe it! I almost cried. What a bummer. Tonka is like a leathery,tobacco-esque vanilla like bean from South America and you cannot get it in the U.S. as it is not approved by the FDA.
For favors I made these shortbread jam filled hearts, that have their own story.
It was a lovely time!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lavender Lace Cookies

Passover just passed and boxes of cookies and macaroons were flying around my office. In one of the boxes were some lace cookies and I realized that those are my favorite cookies since childhood but I forgot what they were called. I especially loved the ones with chocolate in the middle.  Well it turns out, these are probably among the easiest cookies to make and simply delicious. I happened to have some lavender handy so I ground it together with my sugar, added the other ingredients (including Lang's special vanilla!) and voila... my favorite cookies in my own hands.

Lavender Lace Cookies 

2/3 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp dried lavender
1 egg
2 tsp melted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened dessicated coconut
2/3 cup raw oats

Preheat the oven to 350. Blend the sugar and lavender in a mortar and pestle until the lavender is finely crushed throughout the sugar. Set aside (this can be done well in advance). In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg. Add the lavender sugar and mix well. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat and drop the dough by half-teaspoons about an inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden brown. Allow to cool fully before removing from sheet.