December 8, 2011

Biscuits: Buttermilk vs. Cream

Buttermilk are light and fluffy warm from the oven, with lots of flaky layers due to all of that cold butter. I make my buttermilk biscuits with just a touch of sugar, they pair beautifully with berry preserves and dare-I-say more butter! Perfect as a sweet snack or in place of toast for breakfast.

November 12, 2011

Lebanese Sweets

I had the privilege of meeting my good friend M's mom last month when she was in town from Jordan. I spent a day in the kitchen with the two of them making traditional Lebanese sweets. We made Awameh, we like to call them Sweet Balloons as M's mom kept saying, "Make a balloon." It was important to have the little air bubble to create the correct texture.

These little sweeties are typically found piled high in Arabic Sweet Shops, you can purchase by the kilo. Not traditionally made at home, which reminds me a bit of France with their gorgeous boulangeries, why bother to make desserts at home? When you can just walk down the street and find a tasty sweet concoction ready-to-eat! I'm sure you're well aware by now, I could never imagine NOT making desserts at home!

August 2, 2011

Gelato al Cioccolato

As my my friends know, gelato is my all-time favorite dessert. During the summer of '99 while attending UW, I lived in Siena. My friend Whitney and I would walk up to our local gelateria nearly every night to get our coppa di gelato. Her favorite stracciatella and mine was typically bacio (hazelnut & chocolate) or a mixture of cioccolato (chocolate) and pistachio. We are both chocolate lovers. I created this recipe as an ode to our summer evenings spent walking and nibbling!

July 23, 2011

Pasta Workshop

Last night I taught at Dish it up! in Magnolia. My Italian Summer Supper class which will be coming up again in a few weeks at the Ballard location. A bit demonstration and lots of hands-on Pasta making during my Pasta Workshop.

A handful of my students last night had never made fresh pasta before so it was a blast to see their reaction to the process. We had a few veterans that of course made perfect dough and rolled out gorgeous sheets of pasta! Even the first-timers rolled out sheets of pasta like pros! The best part of the Pasta Workshop by far was witnessing what we ended up with..... adorable and uniquely organic shapes of Ravioli. Some tiny bursting with filling and others massively large with a tiny bit of filling. All different shapes and sizes, but we kneaded and worked the dough with love so every single ravioli was delicious!

July 7, 2011

4th of July Ice-Cream Sandwiches

My apologies to those of you that follow my blog. I realize I've been neglecting both of my blogs a bit, no posts at all through June. Well June was quite a crazy busy month. I was offered a position in pastry at a lovely new french restaurant in Seattle. Everything has moved so fast...out with the old and in with the new. So I have been working at the restaurant and teaching on my days off so it's left little time for blogging. But I'm here, baking & cooking away. Below is a melting version of the ice cream sandwiches I made for the 4th. We had a BBQ with our family and this was the sweet I served before the Fireworks started. Finally the sun has peaked out here in the PNW, just in time for BBQ's and sticky, messy and gooey desserts!

May 24, 2011

Fire Roasted Chile & Cheese Empanadas

Mexican Fiesta begins tonight! We'll start off with a favorite, Fire Roasted Chile & Queso Empanadas served with a sweet & spicy Mango Salsa.

May 22, 2011

Nothing But Oyster Shells Here....

Fresh Oysters in May? It's been a cold Spring here in the Pacific Northwest and there are still delicious oysters to be had.

Tossed on the grill, shucked, dipped in garlic butter & drizzled with fresh lemon juice. These delicate beauties were gone before I managed to get any photos.

May 16, 2011

Rhubarb Turnovers

My lovely friend M. gave me a few stalks of Rhubarb (Grazie M.!). So this afternoon I simmered 3 stalks of chopped Rhubarb with 4 tablespoons of sugar & a few tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice for approximately 20 minutes. Drizzle this warm compote over Vanilla Bean ice cream or let it cool to room temperature and make these adorable turnovers.

Using your favorite pie dough recipe, make sure your dough has properly chilled. Flour your work surface and roll the dough out to 1/8" thick. Cut into small circles with a cookie cutter or a drinking glass. Brush one half of the round with egg wash (1 beaten egg) and place a dollop of the chilled rhubarb compote on the other half. Fold in half, press to seal & crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Pop in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the turnovers lightly with the remaining egg wash and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Serve with Honey Kissed Creme Fraiche.

Other serving suggestions: Rose Pastry Cream, Vanilla Whipped Cream, Vanilla, Pistachio, Strawberry or Ginger Gelato.

May 1, 2011

Gelato vs Ice Cream

Bittersweet Chocolate Gelato is a delectable treat this time of year. The sun is finally peeking out through the clouds here in the Pacific Northwest although we are still at temperatures in the low 60's. Sunshine is always a welcoming nod toward my favorite summertime...really anytime treat! Creamy & decadently mousse-like; the mouthfeel of gelato is much silkier than ice cream.

April 25, 2011

Spring & Summer Cooking Classes

Spring & Summer Classes are posted at PCC. I'll be teaching Mexican Fiesta this quarter.
Mexican Wedding Cookies are just a few of the hands-on recipes that I'll be sharing this season.

Unveiled for the summer these buttery cookies will be served with a scoop of my Mexican Hot Chocolate Gelato and juicy berries. A play off of a traditional wintry dessert cozied up next to a steaming mug of Mexican Hot Chocolate, the perfect treat after playing in the snow. The summer version is equally delicious after a day at the beach or a long day spent gardening in the sun.

Hope to see you all there!
Happy Cooking!

April 17, 2011

A Day of Dahlia Desserts

Dahlia Bakery
4th Avenue, Seattle
Fig Bars

April 10, 2011

Thai Noodle Palette

Tamarind is a must for Thai noodle dishes! That is the funky brown pulp in between the reddish orange chile paste and the garlic cloves. Starting at the Tamarind paste and traveling up garlic cloves, fresh lime, rice noodles, shallots, ginger or galangal and chile in some shape or form, whether fresh, paste or dried.

Palm sugar, Oyster Sauce & Fish Sauce are also traditional Thai ingredients.

February 20, 2011

Chocolate + Butter + Sugar = Buttercream

I whipped up this decadent buttercream for my nieces' 16th birthday! Her favorite cake combination this year is lemon & chocolate. So I made cupcakes using one of Martha Stewart's lemon cake recipes. I scooped out the center of each cupcake and filled with lemon curd then frosted with my Dark Chocolate Buttercream.

For the Dark Chocolate Buttercream, of course I happened to have two 3-ounce Rich 70% Theo Chocolate Bars lying around therefore I broke them into bits and melted in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. After the chocolate was melted I cooled to room temperature. Then creamed together 2 sticks of unsalted butter with a scant 2 cups of powdered sugar and a pinch of sea salt until light and fluffy. Finally, the addition of the cooled melted chocolate for flavoring. This recipe can be adapted to suit your frosting fancy. Leave out the chocolate and cut back on the powdered sugar a smidgen then add a tablespoon of vanilla extract and half of a pod of vanilla bean seeds for a basic Vanilla Buttercream or add a touch of pure maple syrup for a Maple Buttercream, lemon zest or orange zest for a hint of Citrus. This recipe creates enough buttercream to frost at least 18 cupcakes!

Buon Compleanno Miss N!
xoxo Auntie

January 16, 2011

My Gluten-Free Belly...The Tale of a New Blog

Come and check out my new blog, my gluten-free belly. A place where I'm sharing my gluten-free and mostly dairy-free recipes. I'll still be here at honey-dumplings; cooking, writing, snapping photos & eating, of course.

my gluten-free belly is for those of us that are curious about ancient grains, whole-grain cookery, allergy-free cookery & anyone who is up for an exploration of the gluten-free kitchen.

Hope to see you there!

January 9, 2011

Winter In Tuscany

This warming winter stew simmers up quickly for a delicious dish any day of the week. Dried herbs are always a quick way to perk up any winter meal. We are lucky here in the PNW as we have World Spice Merchants for our dried herbs, sea salt & chile needs.

This meatball stew was inspired from my winter spent in Tuscany almost a decade ago now. Best served with a few slices of rustic crunchy bread! For those gluten-free folks try this lovely loaf.
Top with a few shavings of Parmesan. For those dairy-free folks, I think it's best just to leave out the cheese as I don't believe that there is any substitute for REAL cheese, sorry. This dish is just as satiating without it.

January 8, 2011

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread That is Gluten Free!

A loaf of bread that looks as though it could pass for a French boule, albeit a bucolic boule. The Gluten-Free Girl & The Chef aka Shauna James Ahern & Daniel Ahern created a lovely collection of Gluten-Free recipes in their new cookbook.

January 2, 2011

Traveling Cookies

Biscotti or Italian twice-baked cookies were first baked to withstand long journeys. Created in Rome and perfected during the Renaissance in Tuscany these Italian cookies were a source of nourishment for travelers and the Roman Legion. This cookie ranges in consistency from hard & dry to slightly toasted & cakey. In Tuscany they are the perfect finish to a meal served with a glass of Vin Santo. They are often times eaten as an afternoon snack with a cappuccino. They are meant to be dunked into espresso or wine; not nibbled like chocolate chip cookies. Biscotti are dipping cookies which soften and absorb your liquid of choice.

This particular batch is a mix of my Italian & Mexican cultures. I've finely chopped the almonds rather than leaving them coarsely chopped, much like Mexican Wedding Cookies. I added warming spices and Theo's limited edition Gingerbread Spice Milk Chocolate Bar. The base of the recipe is from Martha Stewarts' current Holiday Cookies magazine.