Sunday, May 10, 2009
We made these on Easter. They actually even tasted pretty good! Quality chocolate helps.
bunny peeps (I suppose you could do it with chicks, but IMHO they would not be as cute)
sprinkles or cookie decorations of choice (chopped nuts, coconut, etc.)
wax paper or parchment
Small flat tray or plate
Push the skewers into the peeps bunnies, then place them onto parchment or wax paper, on the tray or plate. Have your sprinkles/decorations at the ready.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler:
Bring a small amount of water to a boil in the bottom the double boiler.
Turn off the water and place a bowl or the top of the double boiler over the hot water. Let it stand until mostly melted. Stir very gently to complete the melting.
OR, melt chocolate in plastic bag:
place chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in one corner of zip bag.
Close the bag securely. Place the corner of the bag into a cup of hot water (near-boiling). Do not let any water or steam make contact with the chocolate. When chocoalte is melted, snip off the corner of the bag, and pipe out the chocolate. It will be quite runny and you will need to put your finger over the opening to prevent the chocolate from leaking out.
You can apply the chocolate to the peeps either by dipping, spreading with a small spatula, or piping the chocolate. You decide which method(s) you want to do. Do one side, sprinkle the decorations onto the wet chocolate. Put the peeps into the freezer for a few minutes to firm up the chocolate. Then take them out, turn them over, and apply chocolate and decorations to other side. Place in freezer. Once the chocolate is set, you can take them out and serve, or wrap in plastic wrap and return to the freezer.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Millet is the world's most nutritious grain, rich in vitamin A, lutein, minerals, fiber and essential fatty acids.
Millet sustains a third of the world's population! It is used widely in Africa, India, and Western Asia. One of its advantages is that it can be grown in poor soil and in arid conditions. It is one of the oldest foods that humans have cultivated.
Millet is delicious! Millet is a perfect stand-in for cous-cous, rice, grits, or bulghur. I like to cook it and serve it like pasta, with fresh tomato sauce, or a little olive oil, garlic and grated cheese. Millet is gluten-free and a good alternative to wheat. Millet porridge is lovely for breakfast.
You can learn more about millet here:
This recipe is very healthy!
1 cup millet
1 & 1/2 cups broth (I used water plus 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon)
1/2 t. salt (omit if using bouillon or salted broth)
teeny pinch of turmeric
1 T. olive oil
Bring to boil, turn down heat to simmer, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed (20 minutes?). I like to turn it off just before it is done, cover and let stand 10 minutes. I cook it on the stove or I use a rice cooker.
I used fresh herbs from the garden. Garden celery has a much stronger flavor than store bought. Feel free to adjust the amounts to your own tastes.
1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup minced parsley
1/2 cup minced celery
2 green onions, sliced
zest of 1 orange (1 T.)
1 apple, 1/2" dice mixed with juice of 1/2 an orange
1/4 cup vinaigrette (I used Pear and Gorgonzola dressing from TJ's)
Stir the herbs and fruit and vinaigrette together, then stir in the millet.
This is the way I made it. I like it on the drier side rather than the soupy side - add more of anything if you wish! Enjoy!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Making Yogurt in a Rice Cooker
A pint size container with lid
(I use a wide mouth canning jar or a plastic yogurt / cottage cheese tub)
(I have a small Rival rice cooker from Target, it's red like most everything else in my kitchen)
(I have a small one with a stem)
3 T plain yogurt (be sure the package says "live cultures")
I like to use Nancy's Organic NonFat Plain
1 & 3/4 cups milk (I use non-fat or 1%)
First, you need to test your rice cooker's temperature. Put some warm water in the rice cooker, put the lid on and set it at the "Warm" setting and leave it for an hour. Come back and take its temperature. If the water is over 120° you aren't going to be able to make yogurt with your rice cooker. Sorry. But if it is 120° or less, you're in business. My little thermometer's stem fits nicely into the hole in the lid of my rice cooker, which makes it easier to monitor the temp. as I make the yogurt.
Bring the milk to 190° (you can do this in a saucepan on the stove, or in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave). Scalding the milk like this denatures the protein and gives a smoother texture to your yogurt. This step is not absolutely necessary, but it really helps when you are a beginner yogurt-maker.
Cool the milk to 110° - 115°. You can do this by placing the saucepan or pyrex measuring cup, that contains the heated milk, into a sink filled with a few inches of cold water - stir the milk until it comes down to 120° - 110°, being careful not get any water in the milk.
In the jar or tub you will be using to incubate your yogurt, mix a tablespoonful of the warm milk with your 3 T. starter yogurt. Gradually add the rest of the milk, stirring to smooth the mixture as you go. Close the lid, and place the jar or tub in the rice cooker. Pour some hot tap water around the outside of the yogurt jar/tub. Be careful not to let any water get near or over the lid. You might want to measure the temperature of your tap water (my tap water is 120°). If your tap water is over 120° put some cooler water in it to bring it down to 110° to 120°. Put the lid on the rice cooker, set the the rice cooker to "warm" and let it stand, undisturbed, for 4-5 hours. If needed, check after 1-2 hours to see that the temperature has not risen above 120°. If the yogurt is thickened after 4-5 hours, remove jar (tub) and chill in fridge. If you prefer a more tart yogurt, you can let it incubate longer.
You can strain the yogurt, after it has been chilled, through a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth, to make a thick "yogurt cheese" or Greek-style yogurt. Just leave the yogurt overnight in the fridge in the strainer set over a container (I use a plastic yogurt tub). You can mix the thickened yogurt with chives, garlic, herbs, etc., for a spread.
You can add maple syrup, honey, or jam to the yogurt while it is incubating, or you can add them to the finished product.
This recipe may sound complicated, but making yogurt is really very simple!
Once you get the hang of it there are just a few rules you need to remember:
*Temperatures over 120° will kill yogurt.
*Temperatures under 110° will not let the yogurt grow and culture.
(Unless it is a special strain of yogurt such as viili)
*Using canned evaporated milk for part of the milk adds creaminess and smooth texture.
*Yogurt likes to be undisturbed during the "yogging" process.
Resist the urge to open, peek, stir, or move the jar until checking time (4 -5 hrs.)
*You can use some of your homemade yogurt to start new yogurt.
*Yogurt cultures get weaker over time, so buy some fresh starter after 4 or 5 times.
A little live yogurt every day is good for your guts!
Bee Boppa Loo Bop Rhubarb Pie!
(Adapted from James Beard's recipe in American Cookery)
1 stick of cold butter
1 & 1/3 cups flour
1/2 t salt
1/8 cup water
Buzz the flour and salt briefly in a small food processor. Cut the cold butter into 1/2" bits. Place these bits on top of the flour in the food processor, and buzz briefly on the pulse setting. Add the water slowly, and buzz in spurts, just until the mixture starts to come together. Remove onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to be 2" larger than your pie dish. Place the pastry in pie dish.
5 cups diced (1/2") rhubarb
4 T flour
1 & 1/4 cup sugar (This makes a tart pie. If you like it sweeter, add 1/4 cup more sugar)
1 T orange zest
Place in pastry lined pie dish, dot with 2 T butter.
Top with Crumb Topping:
Mix: 2 T butter, 2 T. flour, 2 T brown sugar - place the crumbs in the center of the pie.
Fold the overhanging pastry dough up and onto the top of the pie.
Place the pie on a baking pan with sides to catch any possible drips.
Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350° and bake for 30 - 35 more minutes.
Serve with Cream Cheese Ice Cream
(Be sure to place cannister of ice cream maker in freezer 24 hours before)
2 egg yolks (strained to remove the stringy parts)
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 pinch seasalt
4 ounces cream cheese (Nancy's Cultured Cream Cheese is good)
4 ounces heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
In a small saucepan, mix the yolks with a small amount of the milk, and gradually add the rest of the milk, the sugar, and the seasalt. Heat over low heat, to barely simmering, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, and stir in the cream cheese until it melts (it may not all melt, that is OK). Add the remaining ingredients (cream and vanilla). Chill in fridge for at least 8 hours. I used a small Donvier. This makes about 1 pint of ice cream.