Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mexican Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm up north (Toronto-speak for 2 hours outside the city in any direction) on Georgina Island in a beautiful sunlight- and art-filled home with an incredible view of Lake Simcoe. My host just made these cookies from "Bake Fest" magazine. They have cayenne! Just like the spicy hot chocolate from Au Festin de Babette.

350 g semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (I would probably use a bit less)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne (use more if you can handle it!!)

Preheat oven to 350F. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in a baño maría (double boiler). Beat butter and sugars until fluffly. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir coffee with vanilla and beat into butter mixture. Blend in melted chocolate. In a separate bowl mix flour, cinammon, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper. Add to butter mixture, mix on low until combined. Stir in remaining chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 1 inch. Bake for 10 minutes or until set but still soft.

The magazine claims they freeze well but this might be because it's sponsored by a freezable tupperware company. Freeze at your own risk!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

...and raise you an asparagus

Here is my second summer salad recipe. I have made it four times in two weeks because asparagus is finally here, and it is SO GOOD. Obviously the proportions of this salad are flexible! I start with about the same volume of potatoes and asparagus, and then make sure there are plenty of red elements. Oh, and also you can substitute string beans for asparagus if you want.. just blanch or steam them instead of roasting.

Asparagus Salad

250 g. Asparagus, approximately chopped into thirds
3 Large potatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces
Olive oil
Garlic (2 cloves? 3 cloves? pressed)
Large handful cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 Roasted red pepper, sliced into strips (I buy these in a jar, obviously you could roast your own)
Goat's cheese, as much or little as you want, in chunks / half-moons / whatever
Toasted pine nuts
Plenty of fresh basil leaves, whole or torn in two

Balsamic vinaigrette, or use whatever proportions you like:
1 t. Honey
1 t. Mustard
3 T. Balsamic vinaigre
2 T. Olive oil

1. Toss the asparagus and potatoes in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, and roast them in a 200˚C oven until they are through. Broiler is optional. Since they might take different amounts of time, it is easiest to roast them on two separate pans. Potatoes maybe 18 minutes, asparagus should be done in about 12.. but just check on them often. Careful not to over-roast!

2. Let the potatoes and asparagus cool a bit so that the goat's cheese does not melt away when it gets tossed into the salad.

3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (scrape in any stray garlic bits from the pan, they are delicious), mix with dressing, and EAT!

I'll see your quinoa...

Hey guys,

So this is my first post, but after spending a fabulous and exhausting day with Jess making ca$h at the Neukölln flea market I realized that I will lose her soon to Canada, so I'd better start strengthening those digital bonds. And also, I cannot count the number of times that I have enjoyed said SUPER INCA recipe, so I owe the blog one (in this case, two). Here is the first.

Quinoa Salad à la Moa (Swedish friend, genius)

1 c. Quinoa
2 - 2.5 c. Water / vegetable broth to boil the quinoa
Salt for the water
125g Arugula, washed (in Germany this is one normal package)
Large handful of cherry tomatoes
Large handful of almonds
1/2 Block of hallumi (or more if you feel like it)

Balsamic vinaigrette (these are the proportions I use):
1 t. Honey
1 t. Mustard
3 T. Balsamic vinaigre
2 T. Olive oil

1. Boil quinoa in water / vegetable broth until it is cooked and dry (should not be soupy). When it is finished, remove from heat and spread out the quinoa on a large plate so that it can cool. This is important!

2. While the quinoa is cooking / cooling, do the following things:
- Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters.
- Toast the almonds in a pan with a tiny bit of oil over high heat until brown. Chop coarsely.
- Slice the hallumi (1/4 inch or so) and brown the slices in a non-stick pan until they are golden on both sides. No oil necessary. Afterwards cut them in halves or thirds.
- Prepare vinaigrette.

3. When quinoa has cooled down and the grains are a bit less sticky, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and enjoy! Yum!