Tag: honey

What’s been cooking– recent weeks at Gradissima’s house (honey sweet and sour ; Tibetan flatbread)


Spring makes me love the world again. Strike that. SUN makes me love the world again. We haven’t had too many days with glorious sun and good weather in the past weeks, but we’ve had enough to jumpstart my biological clock into “I love Portugal and farmer’s markets and flowers and the organic farm and fresh food and produce and making EVERYTHING in my kitchen” mode.

After such a long, gloomy winter, my sunshine standards have lowered quite a bit.

It also helps that Grandissimo, coming out of a few baby illnesses, teething periods, phases of velcro napping (ie, sleeping only when firmly attached to Mommy), etc. has gotten back into an easier routine. (I write this with great optimism, as the ‘routine’ has really only been a sporadic sequence of happy events… I think the real routine is rough, and the successes are little Easter eggs along the trail….)

Anyway.

A few weeks ago, while Grandissimo was sleeping and latched onto el boob, I watched a rerun of Jaime At Home (Love you, Jaime Oliver! Don’t you wish you could work with him? Anywhere?) and he was having fun with rhubarb. I loved what he did with pork (more or less THIS recipe). In reality, I just liked the garam masala and honey idea in a sweet and sour dish.

I recreated it, sans rhubarb and pork, with TVP nuggets. It was delicious. The oven time was ideal (like a fast marination) and let me do baby stuff in between prepping dinner in stages. I added extra carmelized onions. Greatness.

Then, this weekend, I did more or less the same with some shiny, happy eggplants from our local organic farm. Awesome. I’ve been eating my veggies….ahhhhhh. Responsibility tastes good 🙂 And, of course, I’ve been feeding My Man healthy food, too! (Grandissimo is still a bit young for the kind of spice I throw into these things, but he likes the noodles!)

Another recipe I’ve developed a serious crush on is this Tibetan Flatbread recipe. La Fuji Mama adapted it from Jacques Pépin. It probably has a very marginal affiliation with anything Tibetan, but it works, and it lends itself to adaptation.

I have a love affair with this bread for the following reasons:

1. I was already in the habit of making pancakes in the afternoons for snack time with Grandissimo.

2. La Fuji Mama’s directions are crystal clear. With photos for each step. And it worked for me the first time.

3. It is a great, great recipe to have if you live in Southeast Asia or anywhere conventional ovens are hard to find…if you like fresh bread.

As you might know, I spent some years in Timor, and I have beloveds still living there. Fresh bread on demand was hard to come by (though you could get awesome rolls in the mornings, if you caught the pão guy and his cart, or got to Tiger Fuel in time), and even folks with toaster ovens were bread-challenged. I wish I’d had this recipe back then, and I think my Timor pals will get a lot of use out of it now.

Last-minute, home-made, cheap bread. What’s not to like?

I have some Pro Tips for you before you get started.

1. Follow La Fuji Mama’s directions. They are clear. Yes, the bread will be very plain… but doing a trial run without variations is cheap and it will help you get an idea of what you need to tweak in terms of temperature, or baking powder, or flour or oil or water or pan… Have patience. Do the trial run.

2. If it sticks when you try to flip it, let it cook longer.

3. If it starts to break apart when turning, let it cook longer.

4. Now that’s out of the way, here are some variations I’ve tried and loved:

  • Mix dried herbs into the dough. Put half the batter into the pan, then layer cheese and tomatoes (seeded) and basil in the middle. Put the rest of the batter on top. PIZZA BREAD!
  • Mix about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast and a couple teaspoons (or more!) black pepper into the dough. Instead of one big blob in the pan, make several “biscuits”.
  • If you want to use a bigger pan, increase the recipe by 50%.
  • Sautee some mushrooms or onions or garlic (or all of these) and throw them into the mix…

5. I know La Fuji Mama says (in the comments section) that a pan without non-stick coating should work, but I’ve had the best luck with the non-stick pan. I know…it’s bad for you, and the kids, and the air, and the world…but it works. I do think an uncoated pan would work, but sometimes things stick. And burn. I have little patience for anything BUT my child. Stick ‘n’ burn = no.

Give it a whirl, and let me know what you think!

-Gradissima

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Toasted Almond Honey Cream Cheese Puffs with Jam


Who needs a creative title when the ingredient list looks this tasty? This, friends, was what came of a post-wedding cake craving for sweet, cheesecakey goodness.

It did not taste like cheese cake. It was delicious. It was easy. I will be making these again.

Plus, the puffs are super cute.

Like many great concoctions, this began with a store-bought roll of puff pastry. I buy these en masse when they go on sale, and I throw them into the freezer. When I want to use one for dinner, I take it out of the freezer in the morning. Easy peasey.

I used some cute silicone cupcake cups, cut squares of puff pastry dough into squares to fit the cups.

Filling:
-big handful of toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
-light cream cheese (maybe ¼ cup?)
-equal part local honey (1:1 ratio with the cream cheese)

Mix the cream cheese and honey until smooth. Add toasted chopped almonds.

Spoon into puff pastry cups– just a spoonful in each, to cover the base.

Top with a very small spoonful of jam (I used strawberry).

Put cups onto baking tray. Pop into preheated oven (I cooked mine at 160 C/ 320 Funtil the puff pastry turned lightly golden)

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Sneaky cookies…healthy-ish, high-fiber, and full of goodness


I just made these, and My Man and I enjoy them. 🙂 The cookie is sweet and light, despite the spread in the oven, and the hidden square of chocolate has just the right burst of naughtiness without overloading your blood sugar 🙂

Let me know what you think of the recipe format…I’m using my iPad so much these days, and writing is much easier than typing on the screen…

Anyway, here goes! Perhaps I’ll get more of my back -logged recipes up soon if Grandíssimo helps me out a little 😉

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First things first: Honey Oatmeal Scones!


I have a few other tidbits that I’ve been wanting to write about for the past couple of days, but let’s focus on the important stuff first.

Food.

Namely, honey oatmeal scones- perfect for this delicious autumn weather 🙂 Obviously, with the shift into fall, baking becomes mandatory for Gradissima ;p However, we just had a 4-day Halloween weekend, which means I’ve been on a stringent fat-bastard diet of sugar with a generous sprinkling of fats (and artificial colors, of course!).

I’m gradually weaning myself (gently…ever so gently) off the all-sugar diet, and today I managed a breakfast that seemed the perfect compromise: whole grain, seeded toast with chunky peanut butter…and a mug of hot chocolate. It was perfection.

Of course, I shoved four (packaged, store-bought) shortbread cookies down my throat with my mid-morning mug ‘o’ tea. Meh. It’s a give and take.

Anyway, baking for today needed to include oatmeal and some wholesome goodness… and to smell good…and to taste good (not too “health food”-y) so that my Man and his buddies at work will enjoy them when I send half the batch with my aforementioned Man tomorrow. (Fat-bastard detox baking rule #1 mandates that at least half the baked product leave the house as soon as possible to prevent self-loathing as a result of face-stuffing. But you all know this.)

Ok. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I googled and shopped around my favorite sites and compared ingredients and settled on THIS recipe for Gradissima-style bastardization.

Oh, Eggs on Sunday, thank you for this wholesome-y goodness 😉

Check this out:

Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Scones

MARCH 8, 2008
by eggsonsunday
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We love our scones on weekend mornings! Occasionally I like to mix it up a bit from the traditional white flour cream scones, though. You may know by now that I sometimes fiddle with substituting white whole wheat flour into baked goods; I try to do the substitutions only when the flavors seem like they can take it — i.e. I wouldn’t use whole grain flour in a delicate, light lemon cake. Maple and oatmeal, though? They’re made for whole grain flour!

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….

They look good, right? That’s an understatement. 🙂 Eggs on Sunday has lovely, 101 Cookbooks -style photography, so I’m not even bothering to get my camera to show you my scones. (They look pretty much the same as these, though my photography skills wouldn’t do them justice.)

So, I started with the Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Scones recipe, and then I tweaked it.  I’ll leave you to go to the original page for the recipe.

The substitutions and additions I made are these:

  • I replaced the maple syrup in the recipe with the same amount of honey.
  • I added about 1/3 c of ground hazelnuts and 1/3 c of wheat bran (farelo de trigo) to the dry ingredients (before adding the butter)
  • my yogurt and milk mixture was one 125g container of fat-free yogurt and a splash of milk (as opposed to 1/3c yogurt, 1/3c milk)
That’s it! Mine are golden, smell like honey-heaven, buttery-toasty on the outside, and impressively moist and light on the inside. You know you have a good base recipe when your tweaking works! And this one is also very easy to tweak if you’d like to make it vegan 🙂 (Soy-based cream would substitute well for the yogurt-milk mixture, or you could use soymilk and soy yogurt… and margarine works instead of butter… etc.)

Happy autumn, folks 🙂