Recipe 9: Baked Apple Chips


Cinnamon & Sugar Topping

Twice a week I work the farmers market selling organic fruit. We happen to have some terrific fuji apples in season right now, and I can’t help but try this recipe with them. It’s incredibly simple and healthy, and it’s an easy way to get your apple a day.

Recipe 9: Baked Apple Chips

Notes: A mandoline slicer set to the thinnest slice possible is your best bet with these. If you don’t have one, you can also use a vegetable peeler to make thin slices. Peel on or off is fine, but I find the peel adds a nice chewiness to the edges.

Ingredients:

  • Apples (as many as you feel like, but each apple yields about 15-20 chips, depending on how you slice it.)
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar (optional)

 

Process:

You want to preheat your oven to a balmy 200F. This low temperature will act as a way to dry your fruit without a dehydrator, and allow for a crisp, not burned product.

Slice your apples as thin as you want, the thinner, the quicker they’ll cook. You want to work quickly so they don’t have too much air exposure before putting them in the oven. You could avoid the natural browning that occurs with a little lemon juice, but if that’s not the flavor you want, work a bit faster and you can beat that process.

Layed out on the parchment paper.

Lay your slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Try to make sure they are not overlapping, and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. (If you like, and sugar as well)

"Secret Ingredient"

Bake until the edges start to brown. When they are pulled out of the oven, they’ll be a bit soft, then as they cool, they’ll harden into chips. If you leave them out too long, they’ll hydrate from the humidity in the air, so keep them in an airtight container unless you want soft chips.

Fuji Apples work well but pretty much any apple should hold up. Experiment with different kinds!

Enjoy!!

7 Kinds of Homemade Sushi


Inside Out Spicy Tuna

This isn’t a recipe article as much as an idea article. I’ve been making sushi at home for years now, and even though I go out for it occasionally, nothing beats the creativity of homemade. Here are some of the types of sushi we have made over the year.

Roll #1: Spicy Tuna Roll

Spicy Tuna and Pea Sprouts

This is a recap from the previous article that gives a crude “how to”. These remain my favorite.

Filling: Chopped sashimi grade ahi tuna, mayo, Sriracha, pea sprouts. I also make varieties that include cucumber or avocado.

Roll#2: Cucumber & Avocado Roll (vegan/vegetarian)

Cucumber & Avocado

This roll is great for vegetarian plates. Just thinly slice and peel the cucumber and pair it with slices of avocado. A little wasabi on the inside is always a plus.

Filling: Avocado and cucumber spears.

Roll #3 Enoki Mushroom, Spicy Tuna, & Avocado Roll

Spicy Tuna with Enoki Mushrooms

This roll is to try out some new textures. Enoki mushrooms are not only pretty, but their flavor is mild and the texture gives a nice density to the roll.

Filling: Spicy tuna, avocado, & enoki mushrooms.

Roll #4: California Roll

California Roll

This is a standard in a lot of restaurants. The basics include a mixture of imitation crab, chopped, maybe some mayo as a binder, and avocado with cucumber (occasionally). If you add a little Sriracha to the crab mixture, you can increase the heat a little.

Filling: Imitation crab (Krab), mayo, (Sriracha), avocado, (cucumber).

Roll #5 Caterpillar Roll

Caterpillar Roll with Eel

This one is an augmentation on the traditional caterpillar roll. Inside of the roll we put charbroiled eel, which comes with its own eel sauce (easy to make: http://japanesefood.about.com/od/saucecondiment/r/kabayakisauce.htm) and is topped with thinly sliced avocado. This is really pretty and makes for a striking presentation. Plastic wrap is very helpful in forming the avocado over the top of the roll as well as cutting the roll without disturbing the rice.

Filling: Eel (broiled), eel sauce (see link), avocado, & cucumber.

Roll #7: Carrot, Avocado, & Cucumber Roll (vegan/vegetarian)

Vegan Roll with Carrots, Cucumber, & Avocado

This was made at one of the sushi parties we hosted by our friend Summer Fitzgerald who happened to be vegan at the time. She came up with the idea of slicing carrots into long, skinny sticks and built her roll up from there. Because this roll has no meat, it’s stable to eat the next day as well.

Filling: Carrots, thinly sliced into sticks, cucumber, & avocado.

These are just some ideas, but they’re worth shot! I’ve included some other types of sushi that were made at parties we’ve had and the images from above in the following gallery. If it has raw fish in it, eating it the next day is not an option. Sushi is best fresh, but if you want some to take to lunch the next day, stick with vegetarian rolls. Enjoy!

**UPDATE** I finally have a video to show how to roll a basic “seaweed on the outside” sushi roll. The filling in this one is the California Roll (cucumber, avo, and imitation fish). For this and other videos on sushi check out the Techniques page.

Recipe 8: Quick Sushi (spicy tuna rolls)


Spicy tuna roll.

On those nights where you could REALLY go for some sushi but are either broke or just too tired to go out, this recipe is tops. The longest part is the soak for the rice to hydrate before it’s cooked (it allows the sushi rice to hold up better through manipulations) and then it’s all easy from there. You can multitask this point by cutting up all your vegetables and preparing your wasabi, so that once the rice is done, you can vinegar it all up and roll your sushi.

In this prep, I made my favorite roll, the spicy tuna. I have some sashimi grade (VERY IMPORTANT) tuna that I chop up roughly and mix with a little mayo and some sriracha (“rooster sauce”) to the consistency I like. I usually put avocado and cucumber in these, but all I had on hand was some pea sprouts, so yeah.

At a later date, I’ll put up a more detailed post on the art of sushi making as this one is just a “quick fix” when I’m hungry and don’t want to spend any extra money. We buy sashimi grade fish in bulk when it’s on sale, so we usually have a small piece in the freezer. That being said, I’m hungry, lets get rollin’.

Recipe 8: Quick Sushi (spicy tuna rolls)

Notes: It is REALLY important that you only buy fish that is labeled sashimi grade. These are treated so that they have a much smaller chance of bacterial contamination or other microorganisms present. For more info on the treatment of sushi fish, check this website out: http://www.sushifaq.com/sushi-grade-fish.htm

Because you’re still dealing with raw meat, make sure you work quickly and cleanly. Keep your tools as clean as possible and your workspace clear.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups medium or short grain rice. The better the quality, the better the results.
  • 4 cups water (or less depending on your rice cooker)
  • wasabi (to taste)
  • pickled ginger (to taste)
  • toasted nori sheets (they come in packs of 10)
  • sashimi grade tuna
  • mayonnaise
  • sriracha hot chili sauce (“rooster sauce”)
  • pea sprouts
  • rice wine vinegar (sushi vinegar)
  • soy sauce for dipping

Process:

Right off the bat, rinse your rice with cool water until the water runs clear. Then put your rice into a bowl and cover the rice with cool water and soak 1 hr. In the meantime, gently thaw your fish, or if it’s already thawed, firm it up a bit by placing it in the freezer for 10 minutes or so. Take it out and chop it up roughly, putting it into a bowl and adding a teaspoon of mayo at a time until it’s evenly distributed to your liking. Add your sriracha, and start with 1/2 teaspoon. Too much spice is hard to undo. Once it’s the perfect consistency for you, cover it with plastic wrap and place into the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Prepare your wasabi if it’s in powder form and make your paste. Invert the bowl (it should be thick enough to stick to the bowl if you flip it over) and allow it to “mature” until you’re ready to use it. This brings out the HEAT.

Get your sushi rolling mat and cover it in plastic wrap. We’re making “inside out rolls”, with the rice on the outside and the nori on the inside enveloping the filling.

Once your rice is hydrated, pop it into the rice cooker with the appropriate amount of water and turn it on. Now that your ingredients are almost all prepared, get a large, shallow bowl and when the rice is done, scoop it out to the bowl and use a wooden spoon to carefully spread it out to cool it only until you can just barely handle it without burning your hands. Hold the spoon out flat over the rice and grab your vinegar. Carefully pour the vinegar onto the spoon to sprinkle it over the rice in small increments, pausing to fold the vinegar in. You want the rice just moistened with the vinegar, any excess could cause soggy seaweed.

Rolling your sushi can be pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I’m no professional, but I find that taking a small amount of rice and then putting it on the seaweed (on the rolling mat) can go a long way. With these inside out rolls, you can coat the whole length with rice, using careful fingers to not smash the grains. Then grab the edges with a light touch and flip it over. Keep a damp rag handy to wipe your hands, or work near the sink to rinse them occasionally. Add your filling at one end, and use the mat to help seal it in. A bead of wasabi across can help increase the heat. Use your mat to roll the sushi like a burrito and carefully pull the roll away from the mat onto a cutting board. Cut in half, then put those halves side by side to cut the rest of the slices easier. Arrange and enjoy, that is, if you haven’t already eaten them all.

These rolls can also be fantastically augmented to fit your cravings. If you’re a vegetarian, your options are also pretty much limitless here. Make it interesting!  I’ve included a gallery to show the process a bit better.

Recipe 7: Baileys & Dark Chocolate Truffles


The finished product.

This recipe reminds me of my favorite type of brownie, if you took it and compacted it into a sphere. Dense, moist, and surprisingly rich, these truffles will satisfy any chocolate emergency. A hint of Baileys Irish Cream (what we had on hand in the pantry) mixes really well with the melted chocolate mixture because it has fat in it. In chemistry lab, one thing we learn early on is that “like dissolves like”, so if both things have fat, they’ll mix together better. This allows them to be perfectly combined together without any separation. The alcohol eventually evaporates off, allowing the mixture to solidify easier. Made for small Christmas gifts, these turned out quite tasty.

Recipe 7: Baileys & Dark Chocolate Truffles

Adapted from The Ghiradelli Chocolate Cookbook (2007)

Note: We scaled the original recipe up to 1.75 times the original values, which made the measurements are a little…weird. I’ve included the original recipe here to avoid things like 0.58 cups, etc. Yield is about 30 truffles.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups 60% cacao chocolate chips (we used the Ghiradelli ones because they were on sale!), chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream (I’m sure you could use another type of flavoring, but the fat content of this made it way easier to combine)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting (dutch-processed)

Process:

You want to take your cream and measure it out into a heavy-bottomed non-stick saucepan. Then, in your metal mixing bowl (metal keeps the heat better if you need to heat the mixture further above a steam bath) add the chocolate chips. Heat the cream on low until it starts to steam a little, then add the butter in small pieces and stir to melt. Bring that mixture up to a simmer and then remove from heat, pouring into the chocolate chips. The smaller you chopped the chips, the easier it will be to melt them, but keep stirring until smooth. I used my stand mixer and it worked nicely. Add your Irish cream and stir to combine. Once smooth, pour into a glass dish that will allow the mixture to be about 1 inch deep. Cover with plastic wrap and press it to the surface of the truffle mixture to keep a film from forming. Put into the fridge until solid.

Now, to assemble your truffle army. Remove your dish from the fridge and allow it to reach room temperature. (This could take a while, depending on how warm your house is). Get your teaspoon measuring spoon and if it’s on a ring with other measuring spoons, detach it if you can. You could also use a melon baller. Sift your cocoa powder into a bowl and get a cookie sheet out. Put your paper cups onto the cookie sheet (they’re the small version of cupcake cups) until you have 30.

Drag the teaspoon across the surface of your truffle mix until you have a rounded spoon. Roll the truffle in your hands to form into a ball and then drop it into the cocoa powder, using a light touch to coat the whole thing. Carefully lift it out of the cocoa powder and place it into the confection cup.

Try one just to make sure they’re good. Trust me. :)

Recipe 6: Homemade Pork Sausage (Patties)


Crispy, salty, and spiced.

This recipe requires a little equipment. I’m lucky enough to have a stand mixer and the food grinder attachment, so that’s what I used. I can’t make any guarantees on the efficacy of the equipment, but one thing’s for sure: Once you go homemade, you never go back.

I’m a fan of peppery, spicy sausage patties with breakfast. Because they tend to be on the unhealthy side, I don’t make a habit of it, but MAN, these were good. (They freeze well too!) The taste was good, but I’m also happy that they only have a few ingredients and no preservatives or other crap. Just real food.

Recipe 6: Homemade Pork Sausage (Patties)

Ingredients:

  • Pork shoulder, rinsed, patted dry with paper towels, and cut into 1-inch cubes. (keep this cold)
  • Garlic (to taste)
  • Fennel seed (to taste)
  • Coarse salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Ground mustard (to taste)
  • Other spices. This is your recipe!!

Note: it’s better to start with less spice and make a test patty than to over-spice. You can’t really undo that unless you grind more pork.

Pork shoulder, rinsed and patted dry.

Process:

First, assemble your equipment and gather your ingredients. You want to work quickly to keep the meat cool and avoid bacterial growth. Attach your grinder and make sure everything is CLEAN. Raw meat is dangerous if you don’t handle it properly.

Into the mixing bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

Grind your pieces, making sure that you use a large enough grate at the bottom of the grinder. Smaller holes will catch some of the fat and block the protein from exiting. Carefully move all of the cubed pork through and catch the ground meat in the mixing bowl.

 

 

Once finished, add your spices and remove the grinder attachment from the top and set it in the sink. Attach the dough-hook (or grab a spatula) and fold the spices into the ground meat until just combined and evenly distributed.

Attach dough-hook and add spices.

Once combined, form into a ball and pull off pieces to form patties.

Form your patties.

Cook on medium heat in non-stick skillet until no pink remains on the inside. Once done, remove to some paper towels on a plate to drain and catch excess fat.

Good morning! :)

Enjoy! :D

Recipe 5: Brussels Sprouts


I can't relate over the computer how good these things are. *pelvic thrust*

If there is ever a food that has a bad rep, it’s the Brussels sprout. I was fortunate enough to never be exposed to them growing up, and such, I was not aware of the bland possibilities that so many sprouts had amounted to.

Then, one night I was enjoying dinner with some long-time friends (Kristin, John, and Patty) and Kristin showed me a method to cooking these sprouts that made me a changed woman. I’ve been hooked since, and have converted many haters along the way.

So, if you’re down for a quick, healthy, and knee-weakening snack, enjoy.

Recipe 5: Brussels Sprouts

Courtesy of Kristin Balogh.

Ingredients:

  • Brussels spouts, halved vertically along the stem, and soak in cool water (5 minutes)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt

Process:

The first thing you want to do is get your sprouts and halve them. Put these halves into cool water to hydrate a little. Pull off any “floppy” leaves that aren’t intact. Once you see how many you have to fit, get your largest skillet and put a some olive oil in it (enough to barely coat the bottom). Turn on the heat to medium-high and add the sprouts cut-side down when the oil starts to shimmer. Be careful, the water on the sprouts could cause the oil to pop upwards. Take the lid to your skillet and flip it over (so it’s like a wide bowl) and put a small amount of tap water in it. When the sprouts start to get golden on the underside, flip the lid over the skillet, dumping the water into the hot oil and quickly cover it with the lid. Let the steam work its magic on softening the sprouts, and check the underside of them when the boiling dies down. You want them almost a dark brown but not black. Remove them from the pan, set into a bowl and grind a little sea salt on top.

Enjoy, but be careful, they’re hot!

Recipe 4: Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Focaccia Bread (Pizza)


The finished product. *Omnomnom*

This is essentially the product of wanting to order a pizza but not having the money to “pony up” for the exact one that I wanted. Also, the chewiness of foccacia has always been an enticing prospect. So, to the store for some fancy ingredients (prosciutto and goat cheese) and then POW, something truly delicious, handmade, and only slightly healthy. Plus, it’s pretty beautiful, so if you’re planning a dish to impress a loved one or friend, this is a legit show-stopper.

Recipe 4: Caramelized Onion & Prosciutto Foccacia Bread (Pizza)

Adapted from Rustico Cooking recipe: http://rusticocooking.com/bread.htm#mascarponefocaccia

Ingredients:

Pizza dough:

  • 3 and ½ cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 and ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups warm (100 degree) water, plus extra as needed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for greasing the bowl, dough, and parchment paper

Toppings:

  • Butter (about 3 tablespoons)
  • Prosciutto, chopped roughly (it’s prettier this way)
  • Goat cheese, “flaked” with a fork into crumbs (to taste)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced in half-coins, thinly
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • shredded parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • Fresh basil, chiffonade (roll up some leaves together and slice into coins, it makes long ribbons)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (or to taste. I add more because I <3 garlic)

Process:

So the first thing you want to prepare is your dough. Because yeast is involved, you want to first create your “sponge”, which is basically your yeast dissolved in warm water with some sugar and a bit of flour and left alone until it starts to look foamy. This takes 5-15 minutes, depending on where you live and how warm/humid it is. Don’t add the salt until you already have it into the dough, as salt can kill the yeast when it’s beginning to activate (during the sponge). Add your flour, salt, and olive oil to a bowl and pour your yeast into the mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a rough, shaggy mass forms. Then turn it out to knead a bit until mostly smooth. Put it back into the bowl and cover with a tea/kitchen towel to rise for 30 minutes or until doubled. Once the time is up, you’ll punch it down and knead it, then you’ll grease a cookie sheet and use your fingertips to press it out onto the sheet, leaving those hallmark “potholes” in the dough that so many foccacias have.

While your dough is rising, you want to preheat your oven to 550F and prep your toppings.

Basil, soaking in cool water.

This means that you want to soak your basil in cold water (to “fluff” it up a bit and make it more robust for cutting), and prep your onions, prosciutto, and tomato. Slice your onion and turn on your skillet, putting the butter in the pan. Once it’s melted, reduce the heat to low and add your onions, turning to coat them with butter. Leave them to brown on one side for about 5 minutes (don’t turn them before that) and keep an eye on them. Once they’re turning a bit golden, give them a toss to flip them over and repeat on this side. You can continue this process until they are cooked to your liking. At this point, I add my chopped prosciutto and the garlic to crisp everything together. Your kitchen will smell like heaven at this point. Seriously.

Onions and prosciutto caramelizing.

Once everything is crisped and golden and emanating deliciousness, roll out your focaccia dough on a cookie sheet to the best of your ability, and use your fingertips to make impressions into it. Then add what is left of your toppings (I know I ate like half of my onion and prosciutto mixture before it cooled) to the pizza, flaking on your goat cheese, and sprinkling on your parmesan. Finally, sprinkle on the basil and pop it into the oven until the edges are golden brown.

**If you want it to look extra fancy, you can mix an egg with a little water and brush that mixture along the exposed crust. It will make it shiny when it bakes and give it an extra “pop” when you bite into it.

The finished product. *Omnomnom*

 

Enjoy, and don’t feel bad if you eat the whole pizza.