Sunday, February 23, 2014

King Cake

Mardi Gras season begins on January 6, of each year and ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent. One of the wonderful traditions of Mardi Gras, and probably the most delicious, is the King Cake.

On the Christian calendar, the 12th day after Christmas is celebrated as the date that the gift-bearing Magi visited the baby Jesus. This day, January 6, is known by several names, including "Epiphany", "Twelfth Night", or "Kings Day". The celebration of this event has evolved over the centuries, with each culture adding its own unique rituals. The New Orleans tradition, borrowing heavily from European influences, is believed to have begun in the 1870's. As part of this celebration, it is now traditional to bake a cake in honor of the three kings - the King Cake. King Cakes are oval-shaped to symbolize the unity of faiths. Each cake is decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors - purple representing justice, green representing faith, and gold representing power. A small baby, symbolizing the baby Jesus, is traditionally hidden inside each King Cake.

In New Orleans, King Cake parties are held throughout the Mardi Gras season. In offices, classrooms, and homes throughout the city, King Cakes are sliced and enjoyed by all. Like the Biblical story, the "search for the baby" adds excitement, as each person waits to see in which slice of cake the baby will be discovered. While custom holds that the person who "finds" the baby will be rewarded with "good luck", that person is also traditionally responsible for bringing the King Cake to the next party or gathering.

 Recipe from :

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. dry milk

1 package rapid rise yeast

I also add 2 TBS dry pudding mix (Optional)

Add: 1 cup hot water & stir

Add: 1 cup flour
1 egg
1/4 c. oil

Add: 1 to 1 1/4 cup flour. Knead until spongy. Let rise 25 minutes.

Separate the dough into two and roll them out until they're long and about 4 inches wide
Spread: ½ stick melted butter
1 cup brown sugar 
1 tsp cinnamon 
Roll up – pinch – seal well
Braid the two rolls together
Let rise for about 30 -45 mins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the cake generously with the egg wash and bake for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned; set aside to cool. Tuck the baby into a spot on the bottom of the cake once cooled.

To add the glaze and tinted sugars:

For the Tinted Sugars

  • 3 small lidded jars
  • 1-1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • Green, yellow, red and blue food coloring
Sugar Glaze
  • 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice -OR-
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Almond extract is extra yummy on the cream cheese one)

Here are ideas for filled king cakes:

For the Praline Filling

  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
Cream Cheese filling
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lemon Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 C lemon juice, freshly squeezed
(t tsp lemon zest.. optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.
4. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will firm up as they cool. For a festive tray, make another pan using limes instead of lemons and adding a drop of green food coloring to give a very pale green. After both pans have cooled, cut into uniform 2 inch squares and arrange in a checker board fashion.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup (tortilla's optoinal)

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more sprigs for garnish
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Chile pequins, other dried hot peppers, or cayenne pepper to taste*
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
5 cups unsalted chicken stock (homemade is best)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups cooked chicken
6 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil for deep-frying (I just use corn chips)
1-2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cubed

Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and , stirring frequently, until onion is soft.
Add cumin and crushed peppers or cayenne and sauté for another minute.
Add pumpkin, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for one hour. (or even better for 4+ hours in crock pot)
(or make life easier by using premade tortilla chips... although this does taste better)
While the soup is simmering, cut the  6 tortillas in half and then into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Fry tortilla strips in two batches until crisp and light golden (about a minute). Using a slotted spoon, transfer tortilla strips to towels to drain.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, and cilantro.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Socca "bread"

Socca, if you haven’t yet had one, will definitely become a new obsession after you make your first one. Socca, also known as farinata or cecina, is a sort of thin, unleavened pancake or crêpe of chickpea flour. Served hot and crispy, this chickpea pancake is a quintessential street food found in Nice, France. Many times it is browned or even blackened around the edges, and it has an almost custard like, tender inside. From what I have read, traditionally it is made in a cast iron pan over hot coals or a fire, but it can certainly be made at home in a hot oven, either in a cast iron pan, cake pans or a pizza pan.

I made this for dinner tonight... WOW! It is so yummy. I added 1/2 tsp rosemary. I let the dough sit for 24 hours to help aid in digestion and release any phytates from the beans. Soaking any of your grains, nuts or beans is the best way to eat, but really as Sweet Brown says "Aint nobody got time for dat!" .. I just do it when I can. I also made my kids some soaked Kamut wheat Pumkin muffins.. .they LOVED them. The hardest thing is remembering to soak something every night. I am going to post some Soaked Grain recipes on my blog when I get some time. Here is the recipe for the Socca.. it cooks up like flat bread and I will use it to dip in my Tomato Coconut Soup. People also dip it in tzatziki sauce. I bet that would be super good.

Makes about three seven-inch soccas.
1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Ghee or coconut oil, for pan

1. In a large bowl, sift chickpea flour, salt, and pepper. Whisk in warm water and olive oil. Let sit, covered, for as many hours as possible (making this before you leave the house in the morning is perfect for making socca for dinner), but at least 30 minutes.

2. Place heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet in oven and preheat to 450 F.

3. Remove skillet from oven. Add a knob of ghee or coconut oil to the hot pan, and pour batter in a steady stream until it reaches the edges of the pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the pancake is firm and the edges are set.

4. At this point, you can flip the socca, or set it a few inches below your broiler for a couple minutes, just long enough for it to brown. Cut into wedges and serve hot, with toppings of your choice.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

No Wheat Wheat thin

 I made these tonight and I love them. I overcooked them.. next time 13-14 mins. I combined a few recipes and here is what I came up with.

Taste like Wheat thins (Gluten Free)

Makes approximately 50 crackers
1/2 c. Sorghum flour
3/4 c. Brown Rice flour
1/4 C arrowroot powder
1 tbs organic sugar 
3/4 tsp baking powder
 1/4 tsp salt
4 tbs Butter, chilled and diced
1/4 c. water, ice cold
coarser salt for topping (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine flours, starches, sugar, and salt together. Add butter until small crumb grains form.
  • Add water and blend until a smooth dough ball forms.
  • Divide into 2 balls. Roll 1 ball between 2 pieces of wax paper; the thinner the dough rolls out, the better (but also note the more delicate the dough becomes).
  •  CUT WITH A PIZZA CUTTER AND LEAVE AS IS–THIS WILL BE EASIER... just transfer to cookie sheat as is and
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes (or until browned along the edges).


Soaked Pumkin Muffins

Soaked Famous Pumpkin Muffins

Recipe Type: Quick Breads
Author: Katie Kimball
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 45 mins
  • 1 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. pureed pumpkin
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 2 Tbs buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c. melted butter or refined coconut oil
  • 1 c. sugar or sucanat
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  1. Soak white whole wheat flour, pureed pumpkin (optional), water, buttermilk/yogurt, and butter/coconut oil together overnight or for 12-24 hours on the countertop.
  2. When ready to bake, add the sweetener, eggs, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 3 spices. Mix well – be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl a few times and beat hard to get everything fully incorporated.
  3. Pour into muffin cups and bake 40-45 minutes at 325 degrees F (35-40 with honey). They’ll be a bit more moist than you’re used to with the “toothpick test”.
  4. Do not overbake!
  5. Allow to rest 5 minutes in the tins, then tip out to cool on racks.

Cheesecake Cookies

I can't wait to try these on a free meal. Found this on:

How to make Cheesecake Cookies:
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons lemon peel, shredded
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup crushed graham crackers
In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese. Add sugar, lemon peel, lemon juice, and vanilla; beat again.

Mix in flour with a spoon. (This is such an easy recipe!) Refrigerate cookie dough for 30 minutes to make it easier to work with.
Prepare pecans and graham crackers. I like to crush stuff with my pretty hammer inside a plastic baggie.

Spread half of the pecan/graham cracker mixture on a piece of wax paper. Lay out half the chilled dough on top of it.

Shape and roll cookie log, coating in crushed nut-crumb mixture.

Repeat with second half of dough. Transfer rolled, coated logs to fresh sheets of waxed paper and wrap.

I use extra-long pieces of waxed paper and just twist the ends to seal.

Chill for about two hours in the fridge, or about 30 minutes in the freezer then slice into lovely little cheesecake rounds.

(You can eat one now if you want.)
Place cookies on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375-degrees for 8-10 minutes. You only want to barely brown the bottoms. Don’t overbake.

Now you can eat them all.
*Makes about 4 dozen.