Easy Focaccia

by Anna on February 19, 2011

in Breads

Wow…. a month since I posted anything here. What can I say? Things are pretty hectic around me. And trying to get in shape for summer is proving to be a nightmare. Sooooooo difficult, last week my husband and I decided to cut bread from our diet. Ha! How about that? If you know me a bit you probably know that I’m a bread addict and without bread I turn into Godzilla. So needless to say this past week was a tad too tough for my hubby. I almost bit his head of …lol And today I finally drew the line, and made this petit focaccia…. what??  It’s very small…and with healthy tomatoes…. almost diet, non? I know…I’m shameless. But trust me it was delightful. So if you are shameless like me here is the recipe. Have a great weekend guys, enjoy some yummy food, diet or not.

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1-tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1-tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil to drizzle on top
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Sea salt flakes

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast Mix in the vegetable oil and water. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle, Press the grape tomatoes and drizzle the top with olive oil. Sprinkle the sea salt flakes and basil. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

{ 20 comments }

Sticky Coconut Rice

by Anna on January 18, 2011

in Desserts

This sticky rice was kind of a revelation for me the other day at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.There was this Thai stand and all around it this people holding this banana leaf thing, I couldn’t resist checking it out, so I went there to ask the lady what it was, and she told me that usually they have that for breakfast in Thailand.

Okay do you love Thai people even more right now or what? Rice pudding for breakfast? With juicy sweet mango all wrapped in a cool boat made of banana leaves.  Oh Boy! It was so good. So this weekend I was having this insane craves for Thai food and the best Thai restaurant here in LA is probably couple hours driving in traffic. So I thought screw that…I’ll try to make my own, I got my trusty Thai books and started my cooking. The house smelled fantastic and we had a yummy Thai night, sans traffic or lines, sipping delicious wine while cooking my dinner. It was fun. And for dessert I made the sticky coconut rice. I couldn’t find the banana leaves. Oh well…still tasted good.

Sticky Coconut Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Arborio or short grain rice
  • 2 cups of coconut milk
  • 1-cup sugar
  • 1-2 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1-½ cups of water

Directions:

Rinse the rice once or twice, cover with water 2-3 inches above the rice line and allow soaking for ½ hour in a pan adding the water and sugar and cooking for few minutes then drain the rice and add to the coconut milk mixture. Let it simmer until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.

{ 16 comments }

Cranberries and Apples Polenta Cake

by Anna on January 7, 2011

in Cakes

It’s being ages since I baked anything…everything just went down hill since we came up with this brilliant idea to all of a sudden start a diet. Boy…. diets and food blogging don’t go hand in hand at all, as a matter of fact it became rather impossible. Maybe it’s me…. But I can’t take sugar, flour, butter, and still produce something great or blog brag worthy. So my poor dessert site was completely abandoned. I lost some pounds, which is good but how boring was that? Pretty, pretty, pretty boring… So here I am with something to make life sweeter. Because we don’t want the rest of the year to be bitter don’t we? This cake got the yummy award from my hubby (a well renowned sugar addict). Next time I think I’ll use a finer corn meal though. The coarse flour made the cake a bit heavy. The apples, I just put them raw and it was a great surprise because they were still a bit crunchy. Enjoy. If you are feeling a bit chilly check this out.

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Apple and Cranberry Polenta Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2-cup cornmeal/polenta
(not coarse)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4-cup sugar
(plus 1 tablespoon for the cranberries)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-cup milk (low fat is ok)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 4 little lady apples cut in chunk pieces
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a saucepan add the cranberries and 1 tablespoon of sugar and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to caramelize the cranberries turn the stove off and add the apple chunks.  Mix it to combine, let it cool down.  Lightly grease a 9-inch round spring form pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of flour remain visible in the batter. Stir in the cranberries and apples mix. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even lay with a spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool cake for at least an hour before removing from pan and serving.

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{ 10 comments }

Persimmons and Blueberries Breakfast

by Anna on November 4, 2010

in Breakfast

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Hi guys I’m back…this poor site was completely abandoned for a while. The problem is…. that inside my head I think I’m actually ‘wonder woman’, I think I can handle 2 sites, my regular work, my house work, everything at once and still find time to look pretty. Hahahahaha! My mind must be ape crazy. Because the truth is I’m so overwhelmed with stuff that sometimes I feel I want to scream. Have you felt that way? I guess you did. I’m not alone in this am I? I created this site because I wanted to learn about baking and desserts, by learn I mean professionally.

I have looked to culinary schools but the price was unbelievably high.  And trusts me I didn’t even want to start thinking about student loans or any sort of loans right now or ever. Then I found some little schools that teach you and they call themselves culinary school but I wasn’t impressed. So I decided to learn on my own. Got all the baking books from “The culinary institute of America” and The Cordon Bleu. And I’m going through it all. God help me… and my thighs. Lol

If you read my other site Chefwanabe you know I started a battle against the blob. So this morning I made this instant oatmeal and giiiiirl I almost cry, that sad little thing. Then I started to look around my kitchen to find something to make that little bowl of mushy look appealing. Don’t get me wrong I loooove oatmeal, but served alone is kinda sad isn’t it? Thankfully I had some blueberries and persimmons to dress it up a little and a handful of almonds for some crunch. Yummm…that was delicious.

Persimmons and Blueberries Breakfast

  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 cups of Quaker oats
  • 1-cup blueberries
  • 2 or 3 persimmons
  • 1 cup of almonds for topping

Cook the oats until creamy, serve with blueberries, persimmons, and almonds. Drizzled with some honey. Enjoy your morning.

{ 18 comments }

Peach Tart Tatin

by Anna on October 12, 2010

in Desserts,Tart

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My poor dessert site has been completely neglected…but for a good reason, you are probably following me on my adventure in the Foodbuzz 2010 competition with my other site Chefwanabe. I hope you are, it’s been a lot of fun and I have made through the first 3 challenges (feeeeew). I have met great foodies along the process, really interesting people. And just for that I think it’s already a bonus. This peach tart was supposed to be my forth post for the challenge “Picture perfect” but somehow I thought it wasn’t good enough. But I loved the recipe and I thought I should share that with you. I hope you enjoy and give me some love here

Recipe based on Gourmet Traveller.

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Peach Tart Tatin

  • 120 grams caster sugar
  • 20 grams butter
  • 2 Rosemary springs
  • 1 puff pastry sheet
  • 5 peaches halved

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 F. Heat sugar in a 9-inch ovenproof frying pan and swirl occasionally until melted and caramelized (3-5 minutes). Add butter and rosemary and swirl to combine, and then add peaches, skin-side down, and remove from heat. Cut pastry to a round slightly larger than top of pan, place over peaches, tuck in edges carefully and quickly, and then bake until puffed and golden (15-20 minutes). Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate (be careful as caramel will be very hot).

{ 35 comments }

Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

by Anna on September 6, 2010

in Cakes,Desserts

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Long weekends…. don’t you think every weekend should be like that? It would be awesome. Lot’s of BBQ, and cookouts, lazy days on the beach, watching the sunset with your loved one, sipping some yummy wine or a cocktail with colorful umbrellas… I wouldn’t mind that, at all. This weekend was lovely, the city was quiet, and the weather was…. well…California weather. Even if the day starts slightly gray and chilly, at lunchtime it’s sunny and gorgeous. Today we decided to stay at home and chill. My hubby was trying to teach me about light, aperture and shutter speed. He studied Cinema in Australia, so he knows a lot about light, and photography. He bought me few books about the subject but they really make me sleep. I prefer to learn practicing. So to compensate him for the hard work, I made him this flourless chocolate cake. I was looking for a long time for a recipe like that, something that was more like a soufflé than a cake, and finally I got it. This recipe is from Tyler Florence (Food Network). And it’s a keeper. Enjoy.

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Gluten Free Flourless chocolate cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 9 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 4 soufflé ramekins. Put the chocolate and butter into a double boiler and heat over (but not touching) about 1 inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs – this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate – then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared ramekins and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, and then remove.

For the raspberry sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 1-pint raspberries
  • 1/4-cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon zest

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a saucepan. Cook and mash with a spoon until the mixture is soft and just begins to boil. Press through a fine sieve or cheesecloth-lined strainer. Makes about 1 cup.

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{ 18 comments }

Kale and Bacon Muffins

by Anna on August 30, 2010

in Savory Muffins

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Oh Boy! It’s been a while, I know. But all this baking made my mid section get out of control. So before I had to change my pants size I gave it a rest. It’s easy for me to get exited with new recipes and challenges. Baking is a relatively new thing for me and I’m quite obsessed with it. I’m reading some technique books and trying to understand as much as I can about the process. It’s much more complicated then cooking. But I like a challenge. I loved this muffin recipe the options are endless. Maybe next time I will add some chopped sun dried tomatoes or chopped olives. It tasted very yummy, and somehow the kale in it made me feel like I was being good, LOL. I had mine with a roasted zucchini soup. Here’s the Recipe. Enjoy.

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Kale and Bacon Muffins

  • 6 leaves of fresh Kale cut very thinly
  • 5 oz bacon or Pancetta cut in small pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 ml Low fat milk
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups of all- purpose flour
  • 1¼ cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a medium 12 muffins tray. Cut the Kale thinly and the bacon and small peaces. Sautee the bacon until crispy, spoon the bacon out and reserve. Sautee lightly the kale in the bacon fat, season with salt and pepper. Reserve and let it cool.

Meanwhile combine the eggs, milk and oil in a large mixing bowl and beat together. Add the flour, cheeses, kale, and bacon, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine (don’t over mix it) Gently fold the baking powder. Transfer to the muffin tray with an ice cream scoop. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden.

{ 14 comments }

Blackberry Coconut Cake

by Anna on August 14, 2010

in Cakes

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Hi guys, get your fat pants out you might need them, forget about diet because this cake is worth even losing a limb with diabetes. I keed. I keed…. Please don’t lose your limbs. But if everything is fine with your blood sugar levels consider baking this cake for your sweet weekend. It was such a pleasant surprise how yummy it turned out. I say surprise because you wouldn’t believe the amount of crappie baking stuff I have done lately. Most of the time misguided by some not so reliable magazines, but eventually persistence paid off. Yesterday I spent the day baking and everything I did worked. Of course there was some lessons learned…as you can see I covered the cake pan with parchment paper…don’t do that! Because when I tried to take my cake out of the paper it fell apart, because the cake is so incredibly moist. So trust me… Just use the spring form pan and you will be fine.

A Marie Claire Book inspired this recipe, but I changed few things on the way. Like they ask for All Purpose flour, but I used pastry flour (cake flour) the difference is the amount of protein. Cake flour usually has 7.5 to 9% protein and all Purpose about 12%. Low protein cake flour will give cakes a soft tender crumb. And I used the rose water just because I’m addicted to those waters (rose water / orange blossom water). I think they make the cake smell and taste fantastic. If you never tried them, please do. I’m sure you will become addicted too, have a nice weekend y’all. (sudden ‘Southern’ accent) LOL.

Blackberry Coconut Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 1 stick of butter + 2 tablespoons (4 ½ oz), softened
  • 1-¼ cups of sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of rose water
  • 1-½ cups of cake flour
  • 2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1-¼ cups of shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup of blackberry

For the topping:

  • ½ can condensed milk
  • 1 cup of blackberry
  • ¼ cup of shredded coconut

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch spring form cake pan. Beat the butter and sugar using an electric mix until pale and creamy. Then add the eggs, milk, and 1 teaspoon of rose water. Fold with a spatula the flour and baking powder, coconut and 1cup of blackberry through the cake batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 ½ hours or until skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Meanwhile add the other cup of blackberries, ½ can of condensed milk, and ¼ cup of shredded coconut to a saucepan and let it cook a bit. Mixing the berries to break them apart. When the cake is done spoon the topping over the cake and let it cool down.

{ 40 comments }