Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gluten-Free British Christmas Fruit Cake

My attempt to bake this gluten-free fruit cake; was amazingly successful!  It was pleasing to the eye, smelled sweet with all the scents of Christmas (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg), it is light, very tasty  and I can hear myself oooing and aahhhing with delight.  Definitely five senses engaged!

The recipe was very easy to create gluten-free from the original recipe; most recipes can be adapted gluten-free, just give it a try.  There is a gluten-free mix that I suggest; at the bottom of this recipe, so you can have a gluten-free mix on-hand for other recipes or to bake this one again.  

I decided to use miniature bundt pans/tins (8oz), that I purchased for $1.49 each, at World Market.  I've had a lot of use for these miniature bundt tins, so it was worth purchasing a couple dozen to keep for other recipes.

Happy Baking and Happy Christmas as they say in England!


Makes 8 miniature bundt cake pans or 1 regular bundt cake

Step 1
3 oz sultanas
3 oz raisins
3 oz currants
1/4 cup Whisky 
zest of 1 orange and juice

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl and soak for 4-8 hours or overnight.

Step 2
2 tablespoons of butter, to prepare pan
5 oz unsalted butter, softened
5 oz dark brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp honey

Step 3
5 oz of cake flour (Gluten-Free flour mix, see below)
1 tsp Gluten-Free baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
dash of nutmeg
1/2 tsp all spice
(Sift all ingredients and set aside)

Prepare cake pans with butter.
Preheat oven 350*degrees

In a mixing bowl with paddle; add butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time.
Add milk and honey.
Add flour mixture a little at a time. Once flour mixture is combined; Add soaked fruit with juices and stir a few times.

Spoon mixture into prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes in miniature tins. 
For regular size bundt cake pan; bake for 1 1/2 hours until center of cake comes out clean when inserted with a skewer.

Cool cakes in tin.
Step 4
6 tbsp apricot jam, warmed
4 oz mixed dry fruit (cherries, apricot, fig, oranges)
2 oz nuts (either almonds, hazelnut, walnuts or pecan)


On medium-low heat, heat jam and dried fruit and nuts for a few minutes until glazed. 
To decorate the top of your cake, drizzle the warmed jam with fruit and nuts over the top.

Chef Notes:
In Step 1 -  If you do not want to use a liquor, you can use apple cider juice in place of the whisky.
In Step 3 -  If you do not want to bake this gluten-free, use cake flour, regular baking powder and omit the xantham gum.
In Step 4 -  Topping is optional.  You do not have to use dried fruit or nuts, but the presentation is beautiful when you do decorate this cake.

This cake can be stored undecorated for up to a month in an airtight container.  You can also freeze this cake when it is undecorated for up to 6 months (if properly stored in freezer).  To defrost, leave in refrigerator or counter at room temperature and decorate.

Gluten-Free Mixture
10 ounces - fine corn/polenta flour
1 pound plus 2 oz - brown rice flour
8 ounces - garbanzo and fava bean flour
Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container.  Can be used for cakes, cookies and banana bread.

                 Buon      Appetito  !!           

Monday, December 6, 2010

Beef Wellington with Prosciutto and Cheese

If you want to woo your guests or make a romantic dinner for that special person in your life; this is a delicious recipe filled with flavors that will have them eating each bite with umms, oooh and ahhs!  In Italy, it is not very customary to make the sounds of umms, oooh and ahhs when you take a bite of your meal at the table, but here in America, it is acceptable, so go for it! 

This recipe can be prepared the night before your meal. It does take some time to prepare; if you are preparing a meal for 8.   I've added some photos to assist you with the process.  My photos show 6oz, 8oz servings of filet mignon, so you can see the difference in size. It is preferrable to serve the 6oz filet mignon as a single serving.

I have made this recipe with different types of cheeses from the N.W. ; since this is where I live and I try to buy locally.  However, I originally made this with a Blue Stilton and it is absolutely delicious.  The Blue Stilton just adds a milder taste that enhances the flavors of the prosciutto, filet mignon and the hint of truffle if you choose to add the truffle paste to this recipe (I highly recommend it).  Since Blue Stilton is a favorite in England during the holidays, this recipe will definitely be a favorite with your guests.

Searing and cooled

Plastic food wrap layered with prosciutto, mushroom mixture, cheese and filet mignon

Wrap tightly and refrigerate 1-2 hours or it can be refrigerated the day before your dinner.
Day of dinner; unwrap and place on puff pastry sheet, brush with egg wash and enclose puff pastry over filet. 
*Chef note: I made my own puff pastry; so this one may look different from the store purchased puff pastry.
8 oz and 6 oz Beef Wellington

Baked to medium rare.  Delicious!

Sadie's RECIPE:

Beef Wellington with Prosciutto and Cheese

Serves 8

1 package dry porcini mushrooms (*about ½ pound)
8 – 1 ½ inch thick, 6 - 8 oz) center cut Filet Mignon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
½ cup *Beecher’s Flagship or *Cougar Gold cheese  or a Blue Stilton cheese (my original recipe)
1 tsp truffle paste (optional)
8-10 slices of prosciutto
2 large eggs, beaten
2 (17.5 oz package) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
Flour for dusting

Preheat oven to 450* degrees F

Place porcini mushrooms in a large bowl filled with water and rehydrate (about 15 -20 minutes).

Remove Filet Mignon from refrigerator about 30 minutes before preparing. Pat filet mignons dry and season with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. In a large skillet (cast iron works best) on high heat, sear filets on both sides. Note: allow filet to sear well on each side, turning over once (about 2 – 3 minutes each side). Set aside.

Remove mushrooms from water, pat dry with paper towel and chop. Discard water.

In heavy skillet, on medium heat, add butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sautĂ© porcini and shallots until tender. Place mushrooms and shallots in a bowl; add truffle paste (optional) and stir together, let cool.

Crumble cheese in a bowl and set aside.

For each preparation; cut a sheet of plastic food wrap and place on counter. On top of the plastic food wrap, place the following in order: one slice of prosciutto, mushroom mixture, 2 tablespoons of crumbled cheese and Filet Mignon. Take plastic wrap to fold prosciutto and toppings over filet mignon. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 – 2 hours before next step or you can prepare the day before your dinner.

In a small bowl beat together eggs for an egg wash and set aside.

Roll out puff pastry dough; place on a lightly coated counter with flour; cut puff pastry into squares to fit around your Filet Mignon (around 6- 7 inch squares).

For each square: Unwrap Filet Mignon carefully and place on puff pastry square (discard plastic wrap). Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash on side of pastry and fold opposite corners to enclose completely. Place seam side down on baking pan and brush with egg wash on top and on sides. Score the top of puff pastry with a sharp knife a couple of times. Bake for 10 minutes at 450*F and then reduce heat to 425*F and bake for 10-15 minutes, until pastry is a golden brown.

*Beecher's and Cougar Gold Cheese are from the N.W. You can find Cougar Gold cheese through W.S.U. web site and Beecher’s cheese directly through Beecher’s ( or on These are both rich white cheddar cheeses that are absolutely delicious with this recipe. The original recipe I created was with the Blue Stilton and it is quite delicious as well. 
*Porcini is usually difficult to find as a fresh item; some specialty food stores will carry fresh porcini, but most of the time it is dried.  The packages will usually tell you the equivalent weight to fresh porcini. 

Suggestions: Serve Beef Wellington with Demi-Glace and roasted potatoes (fingerling potatoes) and with a green vegetable

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Apple Butter Cake

Sadie's Apple Butter Cake

After 12 hours of cooking the Apples for Apple Butter (recipe on previous BLOG); you end up with the most delicious Apple Butter that is tasty and ready to eat.  You can make so many things with Apple Butter; such as, cookies, breads, cakes, use as a spread and much more.  I decided to test a cake with a standard cake recipe and it turned out absolutely delicious, it was moist and the texture was just perfect.  It made a great dessert cake served with some creme fraiche and/or a very nice cake in the morning with tea or coffee.

This cake reminded me of the British version of the Malt Loaf; very similar flavors and texture.  Enjoy!

Moist, sweet and Delicious!

Sadie's Apple Butter Cake Recipe


2 tablespoon unsalted sweet butter
1 1/4 cup Apple Butter
3/4 cup organic brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 egg (gently beaten)
1/2 cup heavy cream (you can substitute for milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup of sultanas or raisins


Preheat oven to 350*F.
Prepare a round cake pan (I used a 10 x 3 round cake) with a light coat of butter or cooking spray and a light coat of flour (shake off excess flour).

Sift all dry ingredients together: Flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and sultanas and set aside.

Melt butter on low heat until it becomes golden brown (do not overcook butter).  Add butter into a mixing bowl with Apple Butter, brown sugar, olive oil and mix until all ingredients are combined to a smooth consistency.  To the Apple Butter mixture, add beaten egg, cream or milk, vanilla and mix just until combined.  Add dry ingredients to mixture a little at a time until well combined.

Pour cake mixture into round baking pan and bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until pierced with a toothpick and it comes out clean.  

Cool cake for about 10 minutes and then remove from pan to cool completely or serve warm.

Serve this cake with a dollop of creme fraiche or whipped cream and/or even with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Chef Notes:

I use all organic ingredients when available.  I used a homemade Apple Butter, but you can buy Apple Butter at any grocery store in your area.  Also, you can substitute the Apple Butter for a Pear Butter or even a Pumpkin Butter for the holidays!

Buon Appetito!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Apple Butter

It is that time of the season where the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg come to play in Autumn and Winter cuisine.  It is my favorite time of the year! 

Making Apple Butter in the slow cooker brings a delightful aroma to your kitchen and it is such a great way to accompany some of your desserts and entrees.  I use it in my special "Bran Muffin Top" recipe, cookies, cakes, fish (especially on cedar planked salmon), chicken and even on pork chops. I make plenty of it to keep on hand through the winter (if it lasts that long).  You can freeze the apple butter (I usually portion out 1 cup at a time and freeze in individual bags) or if you know how to preserve your food by "Canning", it is best to preserve in this method.  Here is a link to the "Ball Company" on how to preserve foods and they also give you "step by step" for freezing and preserving. 

This recipe can be adjusted to your liking; I have found that using less sugar is best, depending on the apples that you use.  I prefer sweeter crisp apples such as Honeycrisp, Gala and Jonagold apples that are available in Washington during September and October season.  I do add a Granny or two to this recipe, for the tart flavor, but you can use any apple of your choice.  Also, just remember that the sweeter apples that you may choose for this recipe, do not need as much sugar.

Happy Autumn Season! This photo is from our yard and our neighbors tree; what a lovely site to see nature in the works, during Autumn.

in a Slow Cooker

6 pounds of apples -approximately 20- 25 apples (choose different apples such as Honeycrisp and Gala)
2 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup apple juice (use organic) - I use Washington's Gala Apple Juice
1 1/2 cups organic brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons ground cinnamon (I add 2 tablespoons as I love the cinnamon taste)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Peel, core and slice apples. 
2.  Place apples in slow cooker with apple juice (I own a 7 Quart slow cooker and it is a little large, but it works well). 
3.  Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt  
4.  Add dry mixture to apples and juice and mix well.
5.  Cover slow cooker and cook for 10-12 hours on low setting.
6.  Stir occasionally (I never have to until the end)
7. Taste for sweetness.  If you need more sweetness (to your taste) you can add more brown sugar 1/4 cup at a time during cook time.  Again, depending on the sweetness of your apples, you may not need to add more sugar.
8.  Cool and place in sterile containers to preserve (if there are a lot of juices in your slow cooker, place in a colander until most of the juices drain and then add to containers. You can use the juice for other recipes).

Apple Butter on Fruit and Nut Crostini

Note: Anjou Bakery in Cashmere, WA makes the most delicious Fruit and Nut Crostini.  Sold in many local grocery stores and at Whole Foods.

CHEF NOTE: You can use this same recipe to make Pear Butter. Yes, it is absolutely delicious and again, it can be used in many of your recipes as well.  If you decide to make Pear Butter, omit the juice in the recipe; all else is the same.  Pear Butter tastes great on Swordfish, Halibut and Chicken.

                                              Buon Appetito

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sformata di Pollo

Sformata di Pollo
Chicken Flan

Wondering at times what to do with leftover baked chicken from the night before?  Chicken salad, chicken sandwiches, chicken enchiladas or tacos?  You can make lots of dishes with leftover chicken, but tonight, I revisited Italy again by creating a simple dinner with leftover baked chicken and some Italian fresh herbs.

Sformata is the feminine spelling of Sformato; which is similar to a soufflĂ© without the fluffy/airy texture.  The word Sformato derives from the word Sformare which means to unmold.  Sformata is made with eggs and usually baked in Ramekins in a Bain Marie.  Try this recipe for a light lunch or dinner, I assure you, it is easy and quite delicious!

1/2 Walla Walla sweet onion, diced small
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy creampinch of nutmeg

Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup balsamic
Basil for garnish

Equipment:Prepare 6 Ramekins and spray with oil and dust lightly with Parmesan cheese.
Prepare a deep baking pan for Bain Marie (water bath)
Preheat oven to 400*F

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil and cook onions over medium heat until translucent.  Add minced garlic, thyme and rosemary to skillet and cook for about 30 seconds; add cooked chicken and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

Whisk the eggs, heavy cream and nutmeg.  Add the chicken mixture to the eggs and mix well.  Spoon mixture into prepared Ramekins until 3/4 full.

Fill the 12 inch baking pan filled with 1/4 hot water (Bain Marie).  Place Ramekins in baking pan and bake  uncovered for 30 - 35 minutes until lightly browned on top and test with toothpick comes out clean.  Remove Ramekins from baking pan and cool for about 5 minutes.    Take a sharp knife around the mold and gently unmold Sformata onto a serving dish.  Garnish with basil and drizzle with some reduced balsamic.

***Prepare reduced Balsamic while Sformata is cooling.   Place Balsamic in a pan on medium-low heat, whisk frequently until consistency has reached desired thickness.

Buon Appetito

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Heirloom Tomato Bundt Cake and Brown Butter Icing

Heirloom Tomatoes are sweet and delicious
Heirloom Tomato Bundt Cake with Browned-Butter Icing
Heirloom Tomato Cake recipe dedicated to my friend Krista "June"


14 oz. (2 cups) sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
16 oz. (3 cups) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
2 large diced heirloom tomatoes
6 oz. (1 cup) sultana raisins

Preparation Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350*F
Prepare Bundt pan by coating it lightly with butter (you can use Pam as well) and flour dust the pan lightly.

Combine all dry ingredients and set aside.

Combine butter and sugar in Kitchen Aid with paddle and beat until creamy. Add one egg at a time (use rubber spatula if needed to scrape sides) until well incorporated (2 minutes).

Add dry ingredients slowly to creamed mixture. Mix well. Using rubber spatula, add tomatoes and sultanas to cake batter and stir gently until well incorporated. Spoon batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 70 minutes to 80 minutes, until wooden tester comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes in Bundt pan and then remove from pan after 10 minutes onto a cake plate. Let cool completely.

Brown Butter Icing:

1 stick of butter
4 oz (1 cup) confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter on low heat, in a sauce pan. Cook butter until it starts to lightly brown (smells like popcorn). Whisk in sugar and vanilla until smooth. Frost cake on top and let the sides drip.

Chef Notes:
I prefer measuring all my ingredients by weighing them as I feel it is more consistent and accurate when baking.  This recipe is converted from ounces to cups for the American cook.

The cake recipe is dedicated to my dearest friend Krista "June";  We both took a trip to Italy together and we were both in awe with the beautiful Heriloom tomatoes at the market. Krista always talked about a Tomato Cake that she bakes every year for her family on their birthdays.  Krista always mentioned how delicious it was, but I just cringed at the thought of having a tomato cake, hmm? that just did not sound delicious at all.  Well, I never got Krista's Tomato Cake recipe, but yesterday, I created one after being inspired by my Heirloom tomatoes blooming and a recipe that I came across for a green tomato cake.  Personally, this cake is absolutely delicious and definitely a favorite at home now!  So, Krista "June", here is my recipe dedicated to you, in memory of our oustanding trip together in Tuscany!

Buon Appetito Bella!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sadie's Meatball Stew

Meatball Stew

What to cook for dinner?  I had fresh Roma tomatoes, onions and my favorite organic grass-fed ground beef and my garden vegetables that I can, I decided on meatballs for dinner.  I was thinking of making meatballs and spaghetti, but it turned out that the sauce was so delicious, that I skipped on the pasta this time around and made a stew out of it instead.  This is the life of a chef, create as you cook!  FUN!

Meatball Recipe

1 pound organic grass-fed ground beef (I buy my beef locally at Bill the Butcher in Redmond; see web site below)
1/2 red onion, chopped (reserve second half for tomato sauce)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 egg
1 teaspoon thyme (if you have some in the garden, fresh is best)
1 teaspoon sage (if you have fresh sage, take 2 leaves and chop)
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
sea salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients gently (do not overwork the ground beef.  You want to keep the consistency of the ground beef and not turn it into mush).  If you want to weigh each meatball, I usually weigh 3 oz each, which makes a good portion size.   Place the meatballs on a sheet pan (use a sheet pan with a lip on all four sides).  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.


1/2 red onion sliced
6 Roma tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped and reserve juices (you can buy organic whole Roma tomatoes in a 1 lb can)
4 organic Kale leaves, chopped
4 organic Chard leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
dash of nutmeg
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
sea salt and pepper to taste

Caramelize onions on medium-low heat *see notes for caramelizing onions.  When onions are caramelized, add 1/4 cup of red wine to deglaze, cook for a few minutes and add Roma tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes on low heat.

Remove meatballs from oven and place in tomato sauce and cook for another 10 minutes on low heat until meatballs are well coated.

Serve with pasta or eat alone as a stew.

*Caramelizing Onions
Place onions in a pan on medium-low heat, when onions become a little dry and start browning, add some water to the pan and stir the onions (about 2-4 tablespoons of water at a time).  When onions dry and they start turning brown again, add more water and repeat this process at least 6 times until onions are golden brown and well caramelized.

Bill the Butcher Organic Meats

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sadie's Apricot Granola Bars

Sadie's Apricot Granola Bars

I love oats and making this British version of granola bars was quite fun, easy and they are delicious.  They are great alone, with yogurt or soaked in warm milk.  I have made several versions of this granola bar with dried fruit.  All organic fruit of course, either store bought or dried in the oven at home.  I prefer the Snoqualmie Falls Oats, which is one of my favorites.  A friend of mine got me hooked on this oat over 10 years ago and it is definitely my favorite.  If you cannot find it at your local store, you can use your favorite oats. 

I used small bread pans that I found at Sur La Table which are measured 3 inches by 2 inches and they work excellent for making individual granola bars, rather than baking it in a baking pan and then slicing it.

Enjoy this simple and tasty recipe!


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced
1/4 cup (packed) *golden brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup (this is the British version; which is delicious) or you can use honey instead
2 1/3 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant or old-fashioned)
1/4 cup of dried chopped fruit of your choice (apricots, mango, blueberries, raspberries, etc)
Pinch of salt

* A type of syrup popular in Great Britain; available at some supermarkets, specialty foods stores, and British import shops.


Preheat oven to 350°F. 
Combine first 3 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until butter melts, sugar dissolves, and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Add oats, dried fruit and salt; stir until coated. Transfer mixture to pan 9X9, or if you have the 3X2 bread pans, (use 12 small pans) and spread out in even layer.

Bake until top is golden (edges will be darker), about 25 minutes in a 9X9 pan and 16 minutes in 3X2 pans. Cool in pan on rack 5 minutes. Cut (mixture will still be soft) if you baked it in a 9X9 pan. Cool completely in pan before serving.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Sliders with Marrakesh Carrot Salad

This recipe is a delightful combination of beef and lamb with chopped apricots, dates that gives it a Moroccan flare! 

This recipe calls for an ingredient called Harissa; which is most commonly used  in North African cuisines in countries such as Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Algeria.  It is a delicious sauce that adds a depth of flavor and the right amount of spice to your dish.  You can find a variety of Harissa recipes on-line; if you wish to make it homemade, but most specialty stores will carry prepared Harissa.

Sweet and Spicy Slider Burgers


1 ½ pounds ground beef
½ pound ground lamb
2 ounces dried apricots, diced
2 ounces pitted dried dates, diced
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground fennel
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 teaspoons harissa
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Wheat dinner buns for sliders or regular hamburger buns.
Green lettuce rinsed and dried

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Weigh 3oz of beef mixture to create sliders or 6oz to make a regular hamburger patty.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, about 5 minutes on each side for medium.

During the last few minutes of cooking, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

Marrakesh Carrot Salad

Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground paprika
¼ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and grated

Combine the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, chile flakes, and salt in a bowl. Mix well to combine. Add the honey, parsley, olive oil, and carrots and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until assembling the burgers.

To assemble the burgers, drain the carrot salad and squeeze out excess moisture with your hands.  On each roll bottom, place lettuce, a patty, and some carrot salad. Add the roll tops and serve. 


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Little Gem Cupcake Donuts by La Cucina Laurenti

Little Gem Cupcake Donuts

I was in my kitchen thinking about when I was younger with my Grandmother "Mimi" in the kitchen.  I remember how she always loved cakes, chocolate and vanilla glaze.  Indeed, Mimi was a great baker and a cook as well, but her love was chocolate, anything with chocolate!  She stayed fit all her life eating chocolate and cakes and walking several miles daily, even in the rain.  I remember spending summers and winters with her and after we would eat a slice of vanilla chocolate cake, we would put our coats on to walk for miles and chat away.  She had the most delicious Belgium chocolates and she always had a fresh baked cake ready for me to glaze when I walked in the door. Such great memories that I will cherish. She was always so sweet and loving; thanks for the great memories "Mimi". 

So, I decided to play in la cucina and I created these delicious and adorable cupcake donuts.  Not fried, but baked cupcake donuts with a simple cake batter.  I used different sprinkles; chocolate (of course), coconut and a red sugar sprinkle.  These Little Gems are just one bite deliciousness!

Sprinkles; chocolate, red sugar and coconut

Little Gem Cupcake Donuts

Little Gem Cupcake Donuts Recipe
1 cup              cake flour
1/2 cup          rice flour
1/2 cup          organic natural cane sugar
1/8  tsp          cinnamon
dash               nutmeg
1 Tblsp           baking powder
3/4 cup          organic soy milk (vanilla flavored)
1                      whole egg
2 Tblsp           unsalted butter (melted)
One large straw

Preheat oven to 425F
Butter the inside of a mini cupcake pan.

In a mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and mix well.  Add milk, egg and melted butter and mix until well blended.   Fill each cupcake cup 1/2 full.  Bake about 6-8 minutes.  To test touch the cake; if you lightly press on cake and if it springs back, it is done.  Do not brown tops.  Remove from oven and place on cookie cooling rack (keep the cupcakes in the pan for a few minutes before you remove them).  Take a large straw and poke through the center of the cupcake to create a whole in the middle. Remove from pan and add glaze, sprinkles or any topping you would like to your Cupcake Donuts.

2 Tablespoons of the following to create a different flavor:
Add Belgium Chocolate powder to make chocolate cupcake
Chai Tea instant powder
Green Tea instant powder
Instant Coffee (blend instant coffee in the soy milk)

Vanilla Glaze Frosting

This is the traditional vanila glaze that everyone knows how to make:

1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 1/2 cups    confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp          vanilla
2-4 tsp         hot water

Mix melted butter, sugar and vanilla and stir together.  Add hot water 1 tsp at a time until frosting consistency.  Stir until smooth and shiny.

Recipe created and tested by Chef Sadie Laurenti Whitley in La Cucina Laurenti - recipe dedicated to my late Grandmother "Mimi".

Buon Appetito!

Little Gem Cupcake Donuts By La Cucina Laurenti on Foodista

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sea Bass in Cartoccio with Carmelized Apples and Cinzano

I love many types of fish, but one of my favorites is Sea Bass; if cooked well, you will end up with a moist delicious fish.  As with most "Lean" fish, you cannot overcook it as it will turn dry and rubbery.  I was inpired by Dave Pasternack's recipe from his book "The Young Man & The Sea", if you do not own this cook book, I suggest you order one through Amazon and have in your collection as an essential. 

There are many methods for cooking fish, I used a steaming technique with parchment paper.  In Italy, it is called Cartoccio and in France, it is Papillote.  You enclose the fish, seasoning and sauce in a paper parchment and tightly  fold the parchment so that the steam does not escape.  When baked (usually takes no more than 12 minutes), the paper puffs up and turns golden brown (when covered with an egg wash) and all the flavors, juices and aromas are held inside covering your fish.  The parchment is usually sliced on the top to serve to your guest.  Enjoy my version of this recipe that was altered from the original.  However, the original is just as delicious.

You can alter this recipe with other fruit such as pears and figs (I've done this as well and it is delicious). Enjoy!

Sea Bass In Cartoccio with Carmelized Apple and Cinzano

Serves 6

1 stick of unsalted butter
2 Gala apples, peeled and cut medium dice
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 oz of dried Porcini mushrooms (hydrated in water for 30 minutes), chop
1 tablespoons of tarragon
1 tablespoons of thyme
1 tablespoons of chives
1 garlic clove minced
1 large egg for egg wash
6 4-6 ounces (depending of size you wish to serve) of Sea Bass
Kosher salt
White pepper
6 Tablespoons Washington Gala Apple Juice (if available in your State) or any organic apple juice
3 Tablespoons of Cinzano or cooking vermouth
6 squares of parchment (20x15)

Preheat oven to 450F

Rehydrate Porcini (if you do not have fresh) in cold water just reaching above the top of the porcini. Leave in water for about 20 minutes until well hydrated. When hydrated, squeeze water from porcini mushrooms and chop.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over a medium heat; in a saute pan and add the diced apples. Using a spatula, toss apples lightly until they are carmelized. Careful not to mash the apples while carmelizing. Transfer apples to a sheet pan to cool.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pan and heat over a medium-high flame; add the porcini and saute, stirring frequently, until browned add garlic and stir just at the end. Transfer porcini to a sheet pan to cool.

Chop and mix tarragon, thyme and chives. Set aside.

Combine apple juice and Cinzano. Set aside.

Cut remaining butter in 1/2 tablespoon squares. Set aside.

After apples and porcini have cooled completely, combine and make six piles on the sheet pan; to begin building the fish in the parchment squares.

Fold the parchment squares in half to make a crease. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the center of each square with a pinch of salt and a pinch of white pepper and coat both sides of fish. Place fish on parchment and layer with apples and porcini, mixed herbs and place two 1/2 tablespoons on top of fish. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of apple juice and Cizano over each fish.

Fold corners of each parchment first and then twist edges all around to seal. Brush parchment with egg wash and place on sheet pan.

Bake packets for about 8 - 12 minutes. If you have opted to serve 4 ounces of fish, it will take about 8-9 minutes, for a 6 ounce fish, it will take about 12 minutes. Bake packets until the paper has puffed up and turned golden brown. Transfer packets to serving plates. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut the top of the packet in a cross, to open packet easily.

Preparing the Sea Bass on parchment with olive oil, salt and pepper

Placing the apples and porcini on the sea bass

I served the Sea Bass with a Black and Mohogany Rice Cake, which complimented the flavors of the fish very well.

You can also make this recipe with Halibut or Salmon!
Buon Appetito

Sea Bass on Foodista