Krispy Kale

May 23rd, 2012 :: 4 comments :: permalink

Crispy kale is so easy to make and it provides that salty fix I so often need. Kale was only introduced to my diet a few years ago, most likely because I was such a picky eater growing up. I was always a bit underweight as a child, so if my mom found a veggie or food that I actually liked, she never forgot about it. I remember her once bribing me to eat a cookie before I could go out to play. Pure desperation!

In the last 10 years, my taste buds have changed significantly. I can’t name one vegetable that I dislike and since I wasn’t force fed veggies when I was younger, I don’t have traumatic stories about soggy brussel sprouts or stinky asparagus. All of my memories of veggies are fairly pleasant.

My co-worker, a mom of two, told me that kale chips are one of her kids’ favorite snacks, so I thought I’d give it a try. Now I’ve had one more pleasant veggie experience.

Cook books and word-of-mouth used to be the only way to learn about new foods, but it’s great to be able to share a discovery like this so easily on a blog. Here’s hoping easier communication will open the doors to young people eating a variety of foods much sooner in life and creating happy memories of the veggie world.
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Raw Spaghetti Recipe

May 2nd, 2012 :: 2 comments :: permalink

I first learned about raw foods from Stacy Stowers, a traveling chef that teaches the health benefits of eating raw and proves, through her dishes, that it can be just as delicious as cooked. Everything she said made sense. The more raw veggies you can get in your diet the better and heat can degrade or destroy some of the health benefits in vegetables. She cooked for me and my co-workers and I was honestly a little skeptical when I heard “completely raw” in her description. My first thought was that I would be hungry in an hour and my second was that it would taste like eating raw carrots. I was amazed at how flavorful everything was. Her raw spaghetti dish was one my favorites. I could enjoy pasta textures without eating pasta…amazing. I built my recipe off of hers.

I love mushrooms (the vegetable), but don’t necessarily like them completely untouched. I soaked the mushrooms in olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little Balsamic vinegar for 6 hours. The longer the soak, the more flavorful the mushrooms. I then took out all my veggies: tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, celery, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, basil, arugula, pine nuts, onions and half a lemon. For a simplified version you really only need sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes, basil and zucchini, but I wanted a little more zing.

Start the sauce by blending or food processing the peppers, pine nuts, celery, onion, pepper and salt until blended. Don’t overdo it, because there is still one more step.

I then added fresh tomatoes, lemon juice, and sun-dried tomatoes to my food processor. I find it better to go in this order otherwise things can get really mushy.

Making the noodles is easy. I don’t own a spiral slicer, which makes noodles that are extremely convincing, so I made linguine style pasta  then topped everything with my marinated mushrooms and arugula. Raw spaghetti prepared this way tastes very fresh and has so much flavor. There is also no guilt if you get a second helping!

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Guilt-Free Lentil Burger

April 13th, 2012 :: 4 comments :: permalink

Continuing on, “Operation: get myself into swimsuit shape” is in full effect. It was Saturday afternoon and I was having huge cravings for something greasy. French fries are delicious, but quickly disappear in my presence, so I brainstormed ways to get rid of my craving. Dustin and I went to a restaurant the week before called, “Topolobampo” by Rick Bayless and they served us raw jicama slices instead of chips with our guacamole. That got me thinking, “Maybe I can use the jicama root instead of fries…and…what goes better with fries than a burger?

I’m trying to be more organized as I cook these days, so I  separated and chopped all my ingredients before hand. I used precooked lentils, which will save you some cooking time if you want to try this one, and used my food processor to chop the garlic, onions, and carrots. I wanted my burger to have a nice texture and taste, so I sauteed the veggies until they were soft and slightly brown.

I then combined the sauteed veggies with eggs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and soy sauce in a bowl. I wanted to mix everything up by hand since I knew I was going to have to get my hands dirty a step or two later anyway. After it was all mixed together I started to form my patties. Around that same time, I put a little olive oil in a pan and and let it warm up. I fried the patties on both sides until they were brown. I’ve had veggie burgers that just crumble as you eat them, which I really don’t like, but these guys stuck together really well.

Finally, I dressed my lentil burger with sliced onions, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. I served Dustin’s burger with the traditional wheat bun, but decided to be more of health nut and eat my lentil burger with lettuce in place of the bun. I think it was just as good that way, but I did cheat a little and use ketchup. It’s the Nebraskan in me. The final touch to the dish was what actually gave me the idea to make lentil burgers in the first place, raw jicama slices that I topped with guacamole.

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Banh mi meets the cabbage wrap

March 30th, 2012 :: 6 comments :: permalink

I’ve only had a Bánh Mi on a few occasions and every time it was from Whole Foods. They are pretty good, depending on who is behind the counter that day, but I wanted to see if I could make one more to my liking. I’m all about flavor and heat, so I wanted to add more of a kick than I’ve tasted in one of these before. I considered many sandwich vessels, mostly different breads, but once I spotted bright purple cabbage in the store, I wanted to figure out a way to use it.

Most vegetarian Bánh Mi’s are served with tofu. I eat tofu every once in a while, but I’m not a huge fan of the texture. I decided to make mine with paneer (a firm type of cheese used in many Indian recipes). It doesn’t have a strong flavor to me, but has a nice crispy texture if you stir fry it.

I mixed lemongrass, cilantro, garlic, salt, and ginger in a food processor, which made a bright green paste. It smelled awesome. I’ve never used fresh lemongrass before, so there was bit of a learning curve there. I had to experiment and make a couple of guesses about which part of the stalk would be the most useful, but figured it out in the end. Once the paste was made, I separated it into two bowls. In one I added my paneer and in the other I tossed some chicken for Dustin. Both bowls went into the refrigerator for a bit to soak up all the flavors.

While I waited, I cut tons of peppers for that heat and carrots for a crunch. In another bowl, I mixed vinegar, salt, and sugar, then dropped in my veggies and let everything sit for about 30 minutes.

I quickly pan fried the paneer and the chicken in separate pans. Who knew that being a vegetarian would double the cooking and clean up time? I toasted some regular Italian loaf, spread on some lemonaise, then topped it with the paneer (or chicken) and my spicy peppers and carrots.

Although I didn’t try the chicken Báhn Mi, it had an awesome smell. I’m sure chicken does a great job at soaking up all the flavors. Finally, I used the beautiful bright cabbage with my paneer and few edible flowers to make a dramatically more colorful Bahn Mi wrap. The cabbage gave a nice crunch and balanced out all the flavors in the toppings. I’d say this was a successful experiment and though I can’t decide which version tasted the best, the cabbage wrap was clearly the most eye appealing.

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Pate Brisée Fruit Crisp

March 16th, 2012 :: 6 comments :: permalink

This winter we were all about comfort food, which worked out great for baking, keeping the house nice and toasty, and making the apartment smell awesome. Now that the weather is quickly shifting to spring like, our appetites and eating habits are in need of change. This brisée fruit crisp isn’t super sweet, but light and crispy and exactly what I had been craving.

Well, maybe “light” is a relative term–look at all of that butter! Making the dough is really easy if you have a food processor, much messier if you make it by hand. The final product isn’t super sweet, but a great balance between the richness of the butter and the tart flavors of the raspberries.

I made the dough in the evening and refrigerated it overnight. The next morning I was ready to continue so I began by rolling out the dough with a rolling pin. As an added bonus, you can freeze extra dough for later. I had a few pears handy, so I decided they should join the raspberries at the bottom of my pastry.

Wrapping the dough around the fruit may seem like a complex task, but there is really is no rhyme or reason to how you do it. Dab it with a little egg wash and it comes out of the oven looking like something from a bakery.

 

 

Not So Vegetarian – Short Rib Caldo

March 8th, 2012 :: 4 comments :: permalink

As Chicago residents of several years now, Dustin and I have become bigger and bigger fans of Rick Bayless‘s local restaurants. We’ve been to Frontera Grill, have plans for Topolobampo, and have had more than one O’hare travel experience saved by Tortas Frontera. A month rarely goes by, however, without us visiting Xoco, his casual but classy take on Mexican street food. We typically go for their amazing sandwiches, but on a recent visit Dustin decided to try one of their soups. The Short Rib Caldo caught his eye and it’s been a favorite of his ever since. A couple of weeks ago, while looking for projects to include here on Chickypea, he said we should try one of the vegetarian soup recipes on Bayless’s site, but I suggested he do something heavier. As luck would have it, he found a short rib soup recipe based on the Xoco dish. He takes it from here…

Once Joann suggested something heavy, I didn’t look back. Recipe in hand, I dragged her to a local butcher, confessed my ignorance to the staff, and said I was looking for short ribs and oxtail. A quick conversation followed, something about flanken cuts, then what looked like a huge piece of meat was carried to a nearby bandsaw, cut, and wrapped in white butcher paper. Oxtail came next. I guess it never occurred to me that oxtail was a literal name for something, but I immediately understood once I saw an 18 inch long intact cow tail go onto the counter scale. Oxtail…now I know.

Further research revealed that oxtail, when simmered for hours, was especially good at releasing gelatin into broths to thicken soups. Seems a likely reason for its inclusion here considering how little meat came from it compared to the short ribs. Step 1 of the recipe called for all of the meat to be simmered for hours after a quick sear in a hot pan. Short ribs, oxtail, and a sliced white onion joined several cups of water in a large pan for about 5 hours. At the end of that time, it was allowed to cool. I lifted out some of the onions and refrigerated the broth so it its fat would separate by morning. The meat was also removed from the broth and shredded by hand before a night’s rest in the fridge.

The next morning was veggie time. Zucchini, fingerling potatoes, cilantro, arugula, guajillo chiles, ancho chiles, and a couple of limes were all appropriately cleaned, cut, and prepped to join the meatfest in time for lunch.

Preparing the chiles was especially fun as neither Joann nor I had done anything quite like it before. Both types of required chiles were sold dried and the recipe called for them to be toasted in a hot dry pan. Our arm-breakingly heavy cast iron Lodge skillet came in handy here and provided a great visual background to the reds and dark scorch marks of the chiles. Pretty stuff. After toasting, the peppers were soaked in water to rehydrate, then joined a couple of other ingredients in the food processor to yield a paste. This then went into a smaller pan to be cooked and reduced slightly.

The next morning, the broth that had been refrigerated the night before had separated as planned, making the fat easy to skim off the top. It was very clear at this point that the long simmer the night before had done its job and the broth itself was thick and gelatinous, exactly as refrigerated leftovers of Xoco’s soup appear before reheating. I was on the right track. The broth and shredded meat were placed in our largest pan along with several cups of chicken broth and brought up to a simmer.

While the meat and broth were heating, the potatoes and zucchini that had been washed and cut earlier went into the oven for roasting. The chile paste was added to the quickly heating broth and meat mixture, immediately creating the soup’s trademark red color. Once the veggies were done roasting, they were added to everything else and the nearly complete soup was simmered for about a half hour.

I have to confess some surprise at how complex this recipe was, but looking back I think I understand why nearly every step was necessary. Much respect to those who understand details like these well enough to recommend them in the first place. While the final product wasn’t Xoco quality, it tasted fantastic. One thing that I’ve always enjoyed about this soup is how the arugula’s strong flavor balances the meaty and peppery flavors of the soup perfectly. A squeeze of lime also adds a bit of lightness to what is really a hearty dish and the veggies provide a much welcome texture variation from everything else. Really fantastic to eat and a pride-inducing dish to make.

The full recipe can be found at Rick Bayless’s site, which also has a number of other interesting recipes to try.

 

Baked Egg Medley

March 1st, 2012 :: 2 comments :: permalink

I woke up bright and early at 6am, on a Saturday of all days. Instead of tossing and turning for two more hours, I got in full Type A mode. I originally wanted to make a simple omelet, but like anything I do, it evolved.

I started by scavenging through the fridge for any left behind morsels. It was definitely time to make my way to the grocery store. Luckily I had garlic and green peppers, which are my go-to veggies for just about any dish. I also found a bit of spinach, one Thai chili, tomatoes, and sliced roast beef. I would usually prefer Chorizo sausage over sliced sandwich meat for what I had in mind, but I had heard sandwich meat was tasty as well, so I went with it. And so began my early morning baked egg experiment (haha… “eggsperiment”).

I sauteed my veggies and roast beef with some salt and pepper in an oven safe pan, until the veggies were golden brown. At the same time, I preheated the oven to 350°. Cooking usually helps to wake Dustin up on weekend mornings,  so I thought the smell of something in the oven would be especially tempting. In the same pan, I cracked four eggs on top of the sauteed veggies and roast beef, then put everything in the oven. It took about 30 minutes to bake before the top just started to brown.

This is probably one of the heartiest but easiest breakfasts I’ve made lately. Its flexibility makes it particularly great. All you need are eggs, salt and pepper, and what ever else happens to be in your fridge. I served it with a side of buttered toast and a hot cocoa. The house smelled lovely all morning and I got “awesome girlfriend” compliments at the same time.

4 Courses for Valentines

February 21st, 2012 :: 8 comments :: permalink

Every year on February 14th, people frantically run around trying to find the perfect gift to tell someone how much they love them. There was a time that I was turned off by the commercialism of Valentine’s, and with good reason. Come February, we are bombarded with advertising telling us to buy flowers, cards and trinkets. I started to change my tune in the last few years and decided to take the day as an extra opportunity to show someone that I care. Instead of buying something though, I try to do or make something. My first Valentine’s Day with Dustin was 8 years ago. I cooked him spaghetti and veal meat balls. Although the meal was delicious, that was also the day I learned what veal actually was. This year, I decided to bring the cooking tradition back and made a 4 course meal. I started by dressing up the coffee table as our faux dining area and decorating the room with pink accents. Making the pom poms that I hung over the table was probably the most time consuming thing I did all day, but it really added that last little Valentine’s touch.

After decorating, I finally started cooking. My menu was on the heavier side, so I started with a salad. I am a huge fan of adding warm elements to a salad. Otherwise it can be pretty boring. This is a simple recipe which calls for toasting almonds and cranberries in a dab of butter. Served right after cooking, these warm additions completely change the dish.

I always try to know what is in the food I’m buying, so one day while grocery shopping I took out my iPhone and started looking up the ingredients in a bottle of salad dressing. After a while, I was grossed out and I’ve been making my own salad dressing ever since. Can’t say I miss the bottled stuff at all.

My next course was pasta. I gathered my ingredients: Pine nuts, Parmesan and Pecorino Romano Cheese, garlic, and a lot of basil. This is a really quick sauce recipe that you can store in the the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 6 months. I grated the cheese then wilted the basil in boiling water for a few seconds. I boiled garlic in a separate pan for 2-3 minutes to soften it and reduce the intensity of its flavor so it didn’t dominate the sauce.

While I used a food processor, I think a blender would also work if one has some extra patience to make sure the contents circulate properly and don’t over-blend at the bottom. The original recipe technically called for an immersion style hand blender so that is clearly an option as well. I topped off the pasta with extra Parmesan. I love Italian food because if done well and with fresh ingredients, a few simple steps can yield a huge punch of flavor.

The meat course was next. This was my first time cooking quail. I found the uncooked miniature stature of the bird to be somewhat alarming. I had seen pictures of it cooked though, so I hoped for the best. I chopped mint leaves, added them atop the pint sized birds, drizzled on some honey and added salt and pepper. I broiled the quail until golden brown, which turned out to be about 5 minutes on each side.

Dustin said that the couscous, combined with the sweetness of the raisins and crunch of the pine nuts, was the perfect balance to the quail. Although I’ve been a vegetarian for a while, I still remember which flavors work with certain meats. I’ve never eaten quail before, (which has a slight gamey smell to it, much like venison) so this was a bit of a shot in the dark. I’m glad all the flavors worked well together.

Siting at our coffee table was surprisingly comfortable. I made fresh mojitos, which turned out to be more rum than anything. That probably added to our relaxing dining atmosphere.  I think our dog (Mia) enjoyed viewing everything in such close proximity too.

Moving on to the final course: Dessert. I made a chocolate mousse. I worried about using raw eggs, so I bought my usual organic free-range eggs, but made sure they were from a local farm in the hopes that they would be fresher and somehow safer. I added boiling cream to some chopped chocolate. After whisking for a few minutes, everything melted together and I let the mixture cool. I was on a tight deadline so I probably didn’t let it cool as much as I should before I added my egg whites. The main thing to avoid here is cooking the egg whites when they are added to the cream and chocolate. The recipe I was working from then called for a whipping cream siphon charged with a gas cartridge to fluff the mouse.  Since I don’t have one of those, I relied on our mixer’s whisk. As a result, we had more of a pudding than a mouse, but it tasted great.

 

Still on the dessert course, I was in the mood for something on the lighter side. Dustin had made waffles and poached pears the day before, which also yielded a large amount of sweet pear flavored syrup. To poach the pears, he combined Moscato wine, a simple syrup of sugar and water, cinnamon, honey, and a split vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan. He added whole peeled pears and simmered everything until the pears softened. I’m hungry just writing about it. Once the pears were completely cooked, they were removed from the syrup and everything was allowed to cool. The syrup left in the pan after this process was fantastic so we saved every drop of it. Fast forwarding back to Valentine’s Day night, I toasted our homemade waffle from the day before and topped it with fresh whipped cream (mixed with a bit of powdered sugar), the pear syrup, and almonds.

Cooking 4 courses was a lot to take on in one night, but they turned out great. Dustin appreciated the effort and returned the gesture with a cute handmade card and the gift of a nice clean kitchen.

The recipes I used this night were based on some I found in  “The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria”. I love the step by step imagery in this recipe book and it’s entirely likely that we’ll be purchasing our own copy soon. I’m a very visual person and this book’s style of presentation is extremely easy to follow even though many of the recipes are new to me.

The poached pear recipe is based on one by Giada DeLaurentiis, found here.

The waffle recipe Dustin used is different from the one we’ve previously mentioned on Chickypea and can be found here.

Salmon Eggs Benedict -vs.- The Tempeh Egg Muffin

February 8th, 2012 :: 11 comments :: permalink

Out of all the meals in the day, breakfast is possibly my favorite, though dessert at any meal is pretty high up there too. When we go out for breakfast, Dustin often gets an eggs benedict with either crab or salmon. I have fewer options. I’ve been a vegetarian off and on for 10 years and have slowly found ways to add protein to my diet without using faux meat, which is a good transitional product, but can have a lengthy ingredient list.

We decided to cook everything from scratch for this one, even the muffin.  If you want to save some time, buying muffins from the store will of course work too. Dustin is more of a planner than I am and likes to set all his ingredients out before we start cooking. I’m more of a spontaneous cook, but it does save time to organize all of one’s supplies. After getting some yeast started, flour, bread flour, salt and milk went into the food processor. After a few minutes in there, the dough stuck together as planned. So much easier than doing it by hand. I’ve tried.

Following a couple of rises, I cheated a little and used a cookie cutter to make semi-perfect circles. The dough continued to expand while I waited for my cast iron skillet to warm up. After several minutes on each side in the skillet, the muffins turned golden brown. I know it’s not polite to gloat but these were so much better than the muffins you get from the store! We ate the first one without any toppings while it was still warm from the stove.

Dustin poached the eggs for his benedict in lightly boiling water with a splash of vinegar. I’ve always been a little grossed out by eggs, but it was cool to watch them cook this way. It was super easy too. After watching the movie, “Julie & Julia“, I thought it would be more difficult.

Switching to my vegetarian option, I used my cookie cutter again to cut out my tempeh patties and to mold my egg whites into a circle while they were frying in their pan. Most people are not aware of tempeh unless they’ve been a vegetarian for a long period of time. It comes from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and, unlike tofu, it is very firm. A huge plus is it has a lot of protein and calcium and is low in fat and cholesterol. For my own peace of mind, I look for non-GMO tempeh and organic veggies to avoid any potential issues that have been raised lately regarding GMO products.

I loved the way both dishes came together. It was interesting to compare the presentation of the casual benedict to the perfect stack of bread, egg, and  tempeh in the sandwich. Both indeed have their place of course, so we’re hoping to experiment like this some more in the future.

In the end, everything came together and photographed well. Maybe too well…I was too hungry to experiment with angles and lighting when it came time to shoot the final photos. Deeelish.
Toppings
I topped my vegetarian muffin with a pan seared tempeh patty, salt, pepper, tomatoes, egg whites, and micro greens. I drizzled balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top. The eggs benedict was a muffin topped with wild salmon (supposedly caught the day prior), salt, pepper, sauteed garlic, a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. Dustin said he will use a blender instead of a mixer for the hollandaise next time as he felt it was under-whipped and separated too easily. I think there is a lot of room in both of these recipes to experiment with different flavors and taste. We just added what we like. Dustin thought dill might be a nice addition to the salmon benedict. I’m thinking Thai chilis and/or avocado might be a nice addition to the sandwich.

See full recipe.

 

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Devil Macarons

February 1st, 2012 :: 2 comments :: permalink

I consider the macaron to be the supermodel of cookies. The first time I had one was at Miette Pâtisserie, in San Francisco. We were staying right across the street and happened to discover Miette while walking through SF’s Ferry Building. I ended up eating an obscene amount of macarons on that trip. Although delightful to eat, these little devil cookies took a lot of effort to prepare at home. At one point we were ready to throw in the towel, thinking the cookies were going to be horribly disfigured. Luckily, it all seemed to work itself out through the baking process.

Making macarons seemed like a two person job. Dustin made the frosting while I worked on the cookies. This was our first time making frosting with raw eggs, so we really didn’t want to mess that up. Watching the eggs and sugar thicken in our mixer was amazing.  They changed from an odd light brown translucent color to a fluffy white bowl of delightfulness.

Everything is so precise with baking. I used the imprints of a miniature cup dipped in flour for a size reference when squeezing the batter out of a pastry bag.

We learned a lot about what not to do while making macarons, but even after our two mini-meltdowns, and almost starting over, they ultimately looked pretty good. The texture seems more fluffy than store bought macarons, and they just melt in your mouth. Next time we’ll be a little more generous with our all-natural food coloring in the hopes that we can get the cake and frosting colors to match. Even though the recipe isn’t easy, I think most people would have a good chance of coming out with a delicious product that doesn’t look half bad.

Ingredients

  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 sticks (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Macaroons
  • 1-3/4 cup confectioner
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • all-purpose flour, for dipping
  • 1-1/2 cups (4 ounces) sliced almonds, finely ground, or almond flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 recipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream (increase vanilla to 2-1/2 teaspoons)

 

Preparation

French Almond Macaroons
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Sift confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Whisk in ground almonds; set aside. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats (such as Silpats), and mark circles using a 1-1/2-inch cookie cutter dipped in flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy; add salt. Gradually add granulated sugar 1 teaspoon at a time, until the whites reach medium-soft peaks. Transfer to a large bowl.

Sprinkle half of the sugar-almond mixture over the egg-white mixture. Using a large rubber spatula fold until just incorporated. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and remaining sugar-almond mixture, folding until just incorporated. Firmly tap the bottom of the bowl on a counter or work surface to eliminate any air pockets.

Transfer mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as an Ateco #806). Pipe mixture into marked circles on prepared baking sheet.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until macaroons feel slightly firm to the touch and can be gently lifted off the parchment (the bottoms will be dry), 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer parchment and macaroons to a wire rack to cool completely. Using a small offset spatula, carefully remove macaroons from parchment. Spread 2 teaspoons buttercream on the flat sides of the half of macaroons; sandwich with the other halves, keeping flat sides down. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes, before serving. Filled cookies can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

 

Strawberry Macaroons Variation
Follow instructions for French Almond Macaroons, adding 4 drops of red food coloring to the egg whites just before you add the sugar-almond mixture (batter will be pink). For the filling, do not increase vanilla, and fold 1/3 cup strained strawberry preserves (3-1/2 ounces) into Swiss Meringue Buttercream after butter has been incorporated. Proceed with the recipe.

Chocolate Macaroons Variation
Follow instructions for French Almond Macaroons, sifting 2 tablespoons Dutch-process coca powder with the confectioners’ sugar. For the filling, place 5 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate in a bowl. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup heavy cream until it just starts to simmer; pour over chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute; stir until melted. Let ganache stand at room temperature until thick enough to spread. Proceed with the recipe.

 

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 160ºF).

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If the frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.

The Recipe is all Martha

 

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