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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

10 second rule

Click on the image for a larger, more readable version.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Social Media Galore

Sweet & Saucy now has a Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sweet-Saucy/42011589978

And Twitter, which has been up for awhile:
http://twitter.com/SaucyandSweet

Add away! :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dragon Fruit Cookies

Trader Joe's is a dangerous place for a girl like me. While shopping there recently, I happened upon some dried pitaya, also known as dragon fruit. I’d never tried that before, either, so I had to give it a go. I decided to use it to make cookies.

Dragon Fruit Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried fruit (in this case dragon fruit)

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients. Add to butter mixture and stir until well blended. Add dried fruit. Drop by teaspoonful onto parchment covered baking sheet. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool.

The dragon fruit is fun, but because it is very leathery and thin, it was a bit tedious trying to prepare for the cookies – I couldn’t just chop it up with a knife; I had to tear it with my fingers. I only managed to get a half-cup of fruit before I was bored with ripping it up. So I searched through my cupboards for something else to add bulk, and settled on a ½ cup of shredded coconut. It turned out awesome. The dragon fruit has a very tart flavor, and the seeds add a nuttiness similar to poppy seeds. It’s kind of reminiscent of kiwi fruit, though I’ve never had dried kiwis before. The coconut adds a sweetness to balance the tart flavor, and I really like the cardamom in there, too. Yum.



Orange-Jamaica (hibiscus flower) Scones

While shopping at Trader Joe’s one day, I noticed a package of dried hibiscus calyces, known in Mexico as jamaica. I love hibiscus herbal tea, and the package was pretty cheap, so I couldn’t resist.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised! The flowers have a sweet flavor – almost like a cross between strawberries and cranberries without the tartness. Very tasty. I decided they’d be good in scones. A quick internet search yielded 0 hibiscus scone recipes (go figure), so I modified a cranberry scone recipe instead.

Orange-Jamaica (hibiscus flower) Scones

4 & 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries*
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn't stick. Cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners' sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.

*Of course, I used the dried hibiscus flowers in place of cranberries for this recipe.

I didn’t use unsalted butter, and I should have. Or less salt. The scones turned out a bit too salty for my liking. Otherwise, they’re pretty good.

I still have a few flowers left, but I may have to buy more, because I found an awesome hibiscus flower agua fresca recipe that I am dying to try.





Cookies 'n' Cream Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Cookies ‘n’ Cream is one of my favorite ice cream flavors. It’s my standard fall-back choice if I can’t decide or am unsure I’ll like everything else on the menu. Since I love it so much, I figured why not make Cookies ‘n’ Cream cupcakes?

The directions are pretty simple: Make a basic white cake, crush up some Oreo cookies and add ‘em to the batter, and plunk half an Oreo wafer in the bottom of each cupcake tin before the batter is spooned in.

Top the finished cakes with a buttercream frosting (3 cups powdered sugar, 1 stick of butter, a couple tablespoons of milk, and a teaspoon of vanilla), and sprinkle even more crushed Oreos over the top. Mmmm!

Oreo wafers waiting for batter.



Cookies ‘n’ Cream batter.



Out of the oven.



Finished cakes.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sweet Potato Pappardelle con Salsa di Noci

I love Pike Place Market here in Seattle. One of my favorite Saturday activities is to go browse the market for an afternoon, listening to buskers play, watching the fish throwers at Pike Place Fish, inhaling the essence of lavender at the All Things Lavender shop, browsing to my heart's content, and finishing off the afternoon by picking up fresh ingredients for dinner.

Here's the result of one such afternoon. Grabbed some asparagus from a produce stand, prosciutto from DeLaurenti’s (my favorite Italian shop in the market), and Sweet Potato Pasta from Pappardelle’s Pasta. Yup. It'll leave ya lickin' yer chops!


Sweet Potato Pappardelle con Salsa di Noci

1 lb. Pappardelle’s Sweet Potato Pappardelle Pasta
1 clove garlic, minced
7 oz. shelled walnuts, finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
7 oz. marscapone or cream cheese
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Dry pasta:





1. Melt butter in skillet and sauté garlic until it is golden brown. Add walnuts, stir for 3 minutes and remove entire contents from heat.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in 6-8 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente (about 8-10 minutes).

3. While pasta is cooking, add the marscapone or cream cheese to the walnut mixture and heat gently throughout.

4. Drain the pasta (do not rinse), toss in the grated Parmesan and transfer to a heated serving dish. Stir in the sauce and serve at once.

Serves 6

Prosciutto-wrapped Asparagus

Before:






Wrap 2-3 stalks asparagus in 2 slices of prosciutto. Roast in a 400°ish oven for 10 minutes or so, turning once. Enjoy. Note: This is the best way on Earth to make asparagus. Hands down. You don’t need to brush the asparagus with olive oil or anything else – the prosciutto yields just enough juice to give it the moisture it needs. And it is SO GOOD.

After:




Complete meal:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One-Eyed Sailors

Nestled in a valley, just off the highway in Mt. Vernon, Washington lies a quaint restaurant called Calico Cupboard. Impeccable service, charming ambience, and they sell cinnamon rolls as big as your head. What’s not to love?

On their breakfast menu, they have an item called the “One-Eyed Sailor”. You might be unfamiliar with the term. This dish is known by many names, including, but not limited to: Eggs in a Basket, Rocky Mountain Toast, Egg in a Boat, Bird's Nest, Pharaoh’s Eye, Egg in the Window, Eggs in a Bucket, Egg Toast, Moon Egg, One-Eyed Jack, Egg in the Hole, Hen in a Nest, One-Eyed Monster Breakfast, Cowboy Egg, Egg in a Frame, Frog in a Hole and/or Toad in a Hole.

Regardless, the concept is simple: get a slice of bread. Punch a hole in it. Fry an egg in the hole. Profit!

Whenever I’m passing through Mt. Vernon with friends (most likely on our way to beautiful Bellingham, WA), I stop in at Calico Cupboard for a late breakfast and order me up a One-Eyed Sailor. It’s just the right size for a late-morning breakfast – not too filling, but not miniscule. Plus, it’s fun to order! "Bring me a one-eyed sailor, mate!"

The other day I got to thinking, “Why not make my own One-Eyed Sailors at home??” So I did. And this is the result.

One-Eyed Sailors

1 slice of thick bread
1 egg
Grated cheese
Non-stick cooking spray (if you’re health conscious) or Butter (if you’re a purist)

Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or any other relatively round utensil, cut a hole in the center of your bread. Reserve the cut-out for later use.

Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray OR melt butter in your pan over medium-high heat. Slop your holey bread in the butter juice. Crack your egg in the center of the hole. Let it sit a bit until the egg firms up. Gently turn the bread over, being careful not to puncture the yolk of the egg, OR stick it under the broiler for a few minutes so the top gets cooked. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Stick your little bread cut-out on top of the egg as a "hat". Serve and devour.

Notes:
+ I used Panera’s tomato-basil bread, sliced thick, and sharp Tillamook Cheddar cheese.

+ Provolone, Mozzarella, Aged White Cheddar, Asiago or Parmigiano-Reggiano would also work well.

+ So would different kinds of bread. You can make this dish whatever you want it to be!

+ I also used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make the hole in my bread. Because I’m schmoopy like that.







Yum! One-Eyed Sailors on the high seas! What d’ya call this dish in YOUR house, me hearties?