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Archive for November 20, 2016

RECIPE: Frozen Pumpkin Tiramisu

Given the popularity of tiramisu in the U.S., we’re surprised we haven’t come across a frozen pumpkin tiramisu before this one.

Instead of layering the ingredients in a bowl or pan, this recipe takes the extra step of building it in a springform pan, so it emerges looking like a frozen soufflé.

The recipe is courtesy Pumpkin It Up, a book with scores of delicious pumpkin recipes.

RECIPE: FROZEN PUMPKIN TIRAMISU

Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1 can (15 ounces or 1-7/8 cups) pumpkin purée
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) ladyfingers, halved
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider, divided
  • 4 gingersnap cookies, finely crushed
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BEAT the cream and sugar in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Add the mascarpone, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Beat just until the filling is smooth.

    2. LINE the bottom of a 9 x 2-3/4″ springform pan with 1 package of ladyfingers, breaking and overlapping them to fit. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of apple cider.

    4. SPREAD half the pumpkin filling over the ladyfingers. Repeat a second layer with the remaining package of ladyfingers, 2 tablespoons of apple cider and the remaining filling. Smooth the top of the tiramisu, cover amnd freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

    5. UNMOLD: Run a knife around the inside of the pan. Release the pan sides and sprinkle the top with crushed gingersnaps.

    THE HISTORY OF TIRAMISU

    Tiramisu means “pick me up,” a reference to the caffeine from the espresso liqueur and the energy from the eggs and sugar.

    While there are many variations of the recipe, tiramisu is typically composed of layers of sponge cake or ladyfingers, soaked in espresso liqueur, coffee syrup or marsala, and layered with a mascarpone cheese and custard mixture. It is dusted with cocoa or shaved chocolate.

    For what is a classic Italian dessert, tiramisu is a relatively recent creation. The origins of the dessert are highly contested, but a strong claim has been made that the recipe was invented in the 1960s at the restaurant, Alle Beccherie in Treviso, Italy by pastry chef Loly Linguanotto.

     

    Frozen Pumpkin TIramisu

    Pumpkin It Up Pumpkin Cookbook

    Pumpkin Tiramisu

    [1] Frozen pumpkin tiramisu recipe from [2] the Pumpkin It Up! cookbook (photos #1 and #2 courtesy Gibbs Smith). [3] A conventional pumpkin tiramisu mixes pumpkin into the mascarpone. Here’s the recipe from Chef Chloe.

     
    The restaurant’s matriarch, Alba Campeol, got the idea for the dessert after the birth of one of her children. Weak in bed, she was brought a zabaglione spiked with coffee, to give her energy. When she returned to work, she and her pastry chef worked on the “pick me up” layered dessert.

    The original Becchiere recipe did not contain alcohol because it was served to children as well as adults. Today, a good tiramisu is redolent of liqueur or marsala. You can read the full story, plus competing claims to the invention by another Treviso restaurateur, Carminantonio Iannaccone, in this Washington Post article.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Garlic Crostini, Better Than Garlic Bread

    Garlic Bread Crostini

    Fresh Spinach

    Avocado Halves

    [1] Garlic bread as a first course—or maybe, as the salad course (photo courtesy California Avocado Commission). [2] Sneak spinach onto your “garlic bread” (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF). [3] The spinach gets camouflaged with diced avocado (photo courtesy Tio Gazpacho).

      What’s better than garlic bread? Garlic bread crostini!

    This appetizer, first course or snack elevates the humble garlic bread we know and love into a fancy (and nutritious) affair.

    Garlic bread is toasted and topped with garlic butter or garlic-infused oil. Crostini are toasts topped with any variety of spreads, vegetables and proteins.

    The California Avocado Commission fused the two concepts to create garlic bread loaded with avocado, spinach and tomatoes.

    It has so many veggies, you can even serve it as the “salad course.”

    You can adjust the toppings as you wish: Use different greens, add bacon and/or green onion, etc.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes. It is very easy to make the balsamic glaze rather than buy it: Just reduce a bottle of balsamic vinegar (not the top stuff) into a syrup.

    For a wine pairing, California Avocado suggests Petite Sirah.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/2 large loaf whole wheat or regular ciabatta, sliced lengthwise from the full loaf
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil, divided
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow pepper (substitute orange or red), stem, seeds and membrane removed, sliced into strips
  • 1 ripe avocado*, seeded and peeled
  • Optional: cayenne or red chile flakes
  • Balsamic reduction (also called glaze), purchased or homemade (see Step 2 below)
  •  
    Ingredients For The Balsamic Reduction

  • 16-ounce bottle of balsamic vinegar (least expensive)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Melt the butter, add in 2/3 of the garlic, season with salt and pepper. Place the bread on a baking sheet and liberally brush it with the garlic butter.

    2. MAKE the glaze. Pour the vinegar into a pan, add the brown sugar and stir over medium heat, whisking constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and coats the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Cool. If not using that day, store in a jar in the fridge.

    3. SAUTÉ 2 teaspoons of oil and the remaining garlic for 1 minute, in a small skillet. Add the spinach and stir just until it begins to wilt. Remove from the heat, squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice, stir and spread the topping on the prepared bread. In the same pan…

    4. ADD the tomatoes and peppers; sauté for 2 minutes. Place atop the spinach; season with salt and pepper or for more heat, cayenne or chile flakes. Bake for 10-12 minutes. While the bread bakes…

    5. CUT the avocado into bite-sized chunks. Toss the avocado with 1 teaspoon oil, more salt and red pepper as desired and a small squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Top the baked garlic bread with avocado and drizzle with balsamic reduction/glaze. Serve warm.
     
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    *A large Hass avocado, about 8 ounces, is recommended for this recipe. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Beyond The Twist, Lemon & Lime Flowers & Art

    No doubt you’ve cut lemon and lime circles and twists for garnish, and wedges to squeeze over beverages, salads, seafoods, and so on.

    We have long used a channel zester to carve vertical lines in fruits and vegetables, creating a design in the fruit and strips of peel for garnish.
     
    THE GROOVY JOYS OF CHANNEL ZESTING

    James Beard said: “Two of of my best friends are a stripper and a zester.”

    When you use it to cut channels (grooves) into, you can create edible art—not to mention ingredients for recipes and garnishing.

  • If you want very fine pieces for garnish or grated peel for a recipe, run the row of sharp holes over the item.
  • The channel knife (the little blade in the larger opening) lets you create peel garnishes with little effort.
  • Someone with dexterity can carve the entire peel in one continuous strip, to decorate a punch bowl or a platter.
  • If you’re serving a grapefruit half and enjoy carving (we find it very therapeutic), carve horizontal grooves. You can do this the day before, and halve the grapefruit before serving.
  • Whatever you carve, save any leftover peel for garnish, salads, tea, etc.
  • When zesting citrus, avoid the bitter white pith under the peel.
  •  
    CITRUS TRIVIA

    Zest is the colored, outermost skin layer of citrus fruits; its volatile (essential) oils make it highly perfumed.

    Zest is rich in antioxidants: flavonoids, bioflavonoids and limonoids. It is used to flavor sweet and savory dishes; it can be candied for pastry use or as a sweetmeat (e.g., candied grapefruit peel—scroll down) for the recipe.

  • Citrus fruits are native to Southeast Asia where they have been cultivated for over 4,000 years.
  • In the U.S., Florida has the most acres of citrus trees (654,747). California is second with 303,101 acres.
  • Per capita consumption of citrus fruits in the U.S. was 21.7 pounds in 2005, down from 23.5 pounds in 2000.
  • Oranges and grapefruits do not ripen after they are picked, but lemons and limes do.
  • Citrus pith is the major source for commercial pectin manufacture, used to thicken jelly and other foods.
  •  

    Chanel Zester

    Carved Lemon Flower Slices

    Carved Lime

    [1] Grooves cut with a channel zester. [2] When sliced, the groves create flower-like slices (photos #1 and #2 courtesy IdTryThat | WordPress. [3] Elaborate channeling creates beautiful food art (photo courtesy The Eddy | NYC).

     
    STOCKING STUFFER IDEA: Give a channel groover to an arty cook. You can get it in any kitchen gadget department or online.

      

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    RECIPE: Peanut Butter Fudge

    Peanut Butter Fudge

    Three-ingredient peanut butter fudge (photo courtesy Justin’s).

     

    November 20th is National Peanut Butter Fudge Day.

    An American confection, fudge was a happy accent in the 1880s, created by a woman trying to make caramels.

    Read the history of fudge and you’ll see that it wasn’t so easy to re-create the accident.

    Over time, however, recipes and techniques were perfected. The original recipe(s) used cream and butter. Today, everything from sweetened condensed milk to non-dairy milks are used.

    You need just three ingredients to make this peanut butter fudge from Justin’s, the artisan specialist in nut butters.

    RECIPE: PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (substitute cream)
  • 3/4 cup honey peanut butter (substitute the PB you have)
  • Optional mix-ins: chocolate chips, honey-roasted peanuts
  • Preparation

    1. BRING the sugar and almond milk to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.

    2. MIX in the peanut butter. You can add the optional mix-ins and stir, or use them as a topping, pressing lightly. Spread into a greased 8″ x 8″ pan and refrigerate until set. Cut into squares.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF FUDGE

    THE HISTORY OF PEANUT BUTTER

     
      

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