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Posts from the ‘Baking’ Category

The Rugelach That Won Over France – Tuesdays with Dorie

 

This was Eva and my first time making rugelach so of course, I searched google images to get a better idea of what we were setting out to create.
The images were enticing and we both were excited to make a new sweet treat. Once our eyes curiosity had been met, of course we then wondered where, in history, did rugelach originate? Yes, I’m one of those people who own books like A History of Food and The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion  and those books have been known to take up residence on my nightstand. Silly, I know, but I have found myself laughing out loud to some of past superstitions.  So, of course, I am going to research the roots and cultures who brought this treat to us and to top it off, it’s a great teaching moment for homeschool.

My highlight from the research is learning that rugelach can be spelled so many ways. Sweet news to me so I can stop, rechecking how to spell this word once and for all!  Karen Hochman shares that it’s known to be spelled any number of ways; rugelah, rugalah, rugelach, rugalach, rugulah, ruggelach, and ruggalach. She also gives the best historical view into the land of the European Jewish pastries that I could find. If your interest is peeked even a little you should check it out here .

At first read, I noticed Dorie wrote of peanuts being part of her rugelach, that won over the Air France attendants so I set out peanuts, only later to frantically re-read again and again the ingredient list looking for the peanuts we missed. There are none in this recipe, instead Dorie calls for pecans. Since pecans are not my or any of my family’s favorite nut I swapped them for almonds.

RKW_0605 RKW_0613 Dough at "curd" stage. BCM 12-9-14

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I measured all ingredients meticulously but in the end, I was left with over a cup of unused filling.  I think we may not have rolled the dough thin enough. This was apparent because we only had one revolution making a circle and not multiple spiraling layers as we had seen on google images. We did find, using the Wilson pie mat, like a sushi mat, made the dough easier to roll allowing us to keep pressure on the nut mixture and prevent the dough from cracking. Now all we need to do is make more! Which we’ve already started and there’s another batch chilling in the fridge for later.

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The finished product!

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The texture combination of gooey interior, flakey exterior and crunch made these taste pretty good and yes, even this non-coconut lover had seconds!

If you would like to make these royal treats just like Dorie does you can find the recipe over at Leite’s Culinaria. If you would like to read about how this recipe worked for Dorie’s group Baking Chez Moi here’s the link, maybe you’ll want to join us? Before I finished making my rugelach, I found myself reading the groups posts and found Mardi’s experience to be super helpful thanks Mardi!

Happy Baking!

Next up for Tuesdays with Dorie is a Gingerbread Bûche de Noël.

Rachelle and Eva

p.s. This is unrelated to the post other than I would really like to figure out how to get my smaller photos to line up horizontally rather than vertically. On my edit page they show up beautifully sequentially left to right  If anyone has any info on how to do this I would love to know!  Merci.

Cranberry Crackle Tart- Tuesdays with Dorie

Cranberries come twice a year and in my mind are associated with turkey and all the fixin’s. Would I have picked this recipe and said “that’s what I want to make!”? Probably not. This is why I am enjoying the Tuesdays with Dorie group right from the start. In life, it’s great to try new things. Eating my own words as a parent “try it, you won’t know you don’t like it until you try it.” Eva asked me if I like meringue; yes I do. Then, if I liked sweetened cranberries; yes, I do. So she said “Why not put them together and try it?”

The timing was apropos for cranberries, it is Thanksgiving in the US, one of the two times a year I think about these little red bursts of flavor. And we did need to bring a special dessert to our gathering, so this is it.

Winter storm arrives

Eva and I set about pulling our ingredients from the pantry and preparing our crust.  Little did we know (or even our National Weather Service let on they knew) but winter decided to arrive all at once. Heavy, wet snow sticking to itself like packing peanuts to a fleece shirt. As those fat wet flakes congregated on wispy willow branches and fruit trees we paused our work in the kitchen. We donned our hats and rain coats and headed out to save our favorite trees from the weight of the new fallen snow. Like bears looking for honey, we shook the base of the trees as best we could to relive the branches of their heavy load. Sometimes one of us would shake it just right to get the other full of snow. That, Eva thought was the best! However, we paid careful attention to not be in their path as the branches sprung back up as though they were happy to be free.

After we were satisfied that the tree branches would make it we returned to our baking task but quickly noticed our power was out.

BCW Galette Dough

 We set aside our dry ingredients and went about lighting candles and finding headlamps.

Galette Dough Ingredients

Funny things happen when distractions changed our direction. We had put our “ice water” in the freezer to chill however, when the power went out…

Ice water/ Frozen water BCM

 Now that we have “frozen water” we prepped the dish for the crust.

Thankful -buttered dish

 I couldn’t help myself.

Galette Crust

Still thankful under the dough.

Beans for weight!

 Our first time using beans as weights for galette crust under candlelight.

Cranberry Crackle Tart

I have to agree with Dorie in her opening description about Americans in Paris, Thanksgiving, and finding all the ingredients that confirm our nostalgic senses that it is this time of year.

It reminds me of a wonderful Thanksgiving we spent in Paris. Our French hostess, married to an American, set out to make a traditional American Thanksgiving meal for her international guests. She had emailed her Mother in-law for all the family recipes and without knowing what the dishes were supposed to look or taste like she busied herself to tracking down the exotic ingredients. Our gracious hosts went so far as to borrow a friend’s flat that was large enough so they could accommodate our three families. She made many trips bringing all the provisions from it seemed, almost every arrodissement of Paris, which I thought was a feat in itself, let alone preparing the whole meal singlehandedly. Of course I am not surprised, Pascale is a Superwoman. As I write this post, I just found out that she has written and published a cookbook!

Cranberry Crackle Ingredients

The ingredients are straight forward and few.

Cranberry Crackle Tart

The finished Tart!

Cranberry Crackle Tart

This Cranberry Crackle Tart traveled well and was devoured by a large group of ski racers during our Thanksgiving Ski Camp held in Canada this year.

New traditions, trying new things and being thankful no matter where we are this time of year.

~In gratitud Rachelle and Eva @ Caramelize Life

Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

Palets de Dames- Tuesdays with Dorie

What fun we had making these little treats.
I have a new baking and blogging partner this year and she writes about her experience over at Jumpin Bean.

We just joined the Baking Chez Moi, Tuesdays with Dorie Group  as part of her homeschooling adventures and a fun way to spend some quality family time together. We are looking forward to sharing our new experiences with you and baking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook Baking Chez Moi as well as learning from our new blogging community!

 

Little Treats

We have cooked with Dorie’s recipes before and have always found her recipes to be clear and concise, so Eva took the lead both in baking and with the camera. I fell to as the prep chef and camera help for this recipe.

Flour starting out

 

We used King Arthur flour this time but next go we decided we would play around with Bluebird Grain Farms Einka Flour and see how it turns out. Eva wanted to do this because she knows Einka flour is packed with nutrients and that could potentially sway me when she asks “just one more, please?”

 

All lined upI am doing my job here as prep chef.

Mix it up

This is Eva’s favorite part, mixing it up and adding the ingredients.

Palet de Dames

The Palets de Dames are ready for the oven. Sadly we don’t have a photo of the finished product, not one. They were eaten so fast and shared with friends that we forgot to snap the shot. We will leave you to your imagination or if you just can’t handle not knowing you can peek at our new blogging communities posts and I am sure you’ll see a final photo there!

happy baking,

 

Head Shot RachelleRachelle and Eva @ Caramelize Life
Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Thank you to all the wonderful Mothers in the world who make life sweeter for everyone.

Lilac Sugar

To keep the sweet aroma of lilacs after their bloom is done, and around our house that happens quickly, gather some lilac flowers now and layer them in a jar with sugar alternating sugar and flowers. Set the Lilac Sugar in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks and then you will have a lovely scented sugar to use in tea, baking or sauces! I think using the sugar to make cupcakes with candied lilac flowers would be superb!

Whistler me 2010  Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life
Making Life Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community

Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagne

We live the lives of busy Moms, friends, entrepreneurs, wives, community members…the list of hats grows long. So it is important that we use our time wisely while the kids are at school and the house is quiet by combining our get together time. Focusing on sharing and connecting, creating new recipes and learning from each other are all great ways to build lasting relationships.

We set up a plan to meet once a month and share new recipes, try each others favorite recipes and expand our regular “go to” menus for our families. Our goal is to prep and make a dinner for that night and then something to put away in the freezer or “put-up” in the pantry to be enjoyed in the future months as a tasty reminder of our day together in the kitchen.

We decide menus by what we have in our refrigerators. For me that is easy; a quick check, since I have just one. But Stew, she has four refrigerators I’m told so she always comes ready for a multitude of options. On our most recent get together, her car was packed and each time she pulled something from her bottomless box of goodies, like a magician, I was pleasantly surprised at what she emerged with: squash, spinach, fresh squeezed lemon juice, herbs picked that day a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I have to confess, Stew Dietz is not your ordinary super mom (a title I think all Moms carry in this day and age) like the rest of us but she is also a caterer extraordinaire so she has menu planning down to a science.

After taking stock of our potential ingredients, we decided the plan was to make a Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne, Potato Leek Soup, Parsley Pesto and Apple Butter. These days in the kitchen are very productive. For the Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne, Stew found inspiration from a Bon Appétit magazine but we didn’t have all the ingredients they called for and staying true to our creative spirit we improvised and tweaked their recipe to what worked for us:

Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna

10-12 Servings            9x13x3” pan

2#            Butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded & cut ¼ “slices
1#            Spinach
1               Large Yellow Onion,  diced small
1#            Fresh Mozzarella, grated or cut into small strips
16oz        Skim Ricotta
1c            Grated romano cheese
Zest from one lemon
4              Sage leaves, minced
1T            Fresh Rosemary leaves, minced
2T           Fresh Thyme leaves, minced
½ c         Fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Bechamel

¼ c            Unsalted butter
¼ c            Unbleached all-purpose flour
3c               Whole milk
2c              Half & half
¼ tsp       Fresh grated nutmeg
1                Bay leaf
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1#              Lasagna noodles
½ c            Parmesan

Toss sliced squash pieces with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake on sheet pans in preheated 400 oven until cooked, but not mushy, about 20 minutes.

In 10 qt stock pot heat water until boil and cook lasagna noodles until done.  Toss with a little extra virgin olive oil to keep from sticking and lay out on extra sheet pans, wax paper or parchment.

Heat 3T olive oil in 8 qt heavy bottom stock pot and saute onions until tender but not colored, about 8 minutes.  Add rosemary, fresh thyme & sage and cook adding salt & pepper to taste.  Add spinach in handfuls stirring it in until wilted.  Cook over high to finish wilting and help evaporate liquid (or drain in colander, reserving liquid for soup!)  Stir in lemon rind and fresh parsley.  Once cooled blend with ricotta & Romano set aside in a bowl for assembly.

In heavy bottomed 5qt pot melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook not letting it brown, about 2-3 minutes.  Slowly whisk in whole milk & half and half.  Add bay leaves & nutmeg. Slowly bring to boil and simmer stirring almost constantly until thickened, about 10-15 minutes depending on your heat. Season with salt and white pepper.  Pour through mesh strainer.

To Assemble:

In 9”x13” pan spread about 1/3c béchamel in the bottom of the pan.  Top with layer of lasagna noodles, butternut squash slices, Fresh mozzarella, spinach/ricotta mixture & ½ c béchamel.  Keep repeating for a total of 3 layers of “filling” ending with noodles/ last of béchamel and ½ c Parmesan.

Bake @ 375 for 45 minutes, turning to broil for additional 5 minutes.  Let rest before cutting and serving.

*Freezer Tip:

I usually cover the lasagne with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and write on the foil; What is inside, the date it was made, and date it should be eaten by as well as baking instructions, incase I am not the one making it for dinner. I also add a reminder to remove the plastic wrap beneath the foil.
Other ideas would be to add suggestions of what side dishes to pair with it.

Enjoy!

making life sweeter…from Rachelle @ Caramelizelife

And the Winner for the Food with the Highest antioxidant content is…(drum roll please) Part Two

If you are just joining us check out part one of our chocolate tour.

part two…

We hit the prime time to view the cacao tree, because in early to mid June, the tree is in bloom with flowers, new leaves are emerging from the top, and the cacao pods are ripening.  Michelle cut open a cacao pod so we could see the white fibrous center and the seeds nested within.

Did you know that Hawaii is the only state in the USA where chocolate trees grow?

Next on our three hour tour we are happily seated under the big top, the Steelgrass’s newest addition. Here is where we trust Michelle and taste little bits of chocolate from numbered ramekins.

This blind test allows us to banish any preconceived ideas we bring and let our taste buds tell us  what we really like, rather than great marketing. This method draws out each of our inner wine enthusiast and we write down adjectives like smoky, pungent, fruity with a gritty mouth taste with an earthy flavor. These words are the ‘terre’ (french for place) that describe the chocolate and the flavors that swim in our mouths bumping into our sweet and salty taste buds.  The flavors pop in our mouths and our taste buds jobs are made easy purely responsible for sending messages to our vacation brain, so we may conjure up visuals of the tropical landscapes the samples of chocolate originate from.

Cacao bean and chocolate covered nibs

Of course, if you didn’t have the patience for all this nonsense and preferred to just eat your chocolate pieces and doodle on paper with crayons (like I said; no rock was left unturned) then Annabelle had a small following in another tent just for you nonconformists.

Meanwhile in the big top we traveled back in time and followed Michelle through chocolate’s historical journey from start to present day. Then we were given the secret DIY knowledge of transforming these cacao nibs into rich, creamy, melt in your mouth chocolate complete with kitchen appliance recommendations for the aficionados in our group.

The last bit of information we absorbed was what brought us here in the beginning; we now know which chocolate our taste buds have decided is the best from around the world.

For me it was the 70% Kallari “Red Leaf.” Forastero/Nacional, grown in Ecuador. I was happy to hear that it is also a very socially responsible production with a great story, another bonus to all the good news I am learning about chocolate!

Armed with facts and research to support their debate I believe our family favorite smoothie will be made more often this summer. Below is our combination of Ed’s Juice and Java’s; Funky Monkey and Molly of Glover St. Market’s; Energy Boost.

Cacao Nib Smoothie

2 Peeled Bananas

1/4 cup Cacao nibs

3 cups Almond milk

1/2 cup Almond Butter

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

liquid chocolate to taste (optional for sweetness)

Blend together adding more liquid depending on desired thickness

Enjoy!

Have it cold: if you make too much or have left overs simply pour into a Popsicle mold and pop it in the freezer for a healthy summer treat.

Fact: Cacao has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any food. Antioxidant levels are measured by Oxygen Radial Absorbance Capacity. Per 100 grams, cacao nibs have 95,000 compared to; broccoli 890, spinach 1,540, acai berries 5,500 and dark chocolate 13,120.

*source Steelgrass.org handout.

Aloha kakou!

Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

Plans for summer

Plans for summer.

via Plans for summer.

Love’s Apple Pie

A lovely poem written by a friend, a recipe for love and a must to be shared…enjoy!

Love’s Apple Pie

A dozen or so apples

in a wedding gown,

peeled, cored and pared down.

A cup and a half

of sugar in a tux.

Flour, fat and water,

don’t mix too much.

Chill the pastry and the

best man is done.

Bridesmaid…sprinkled cinnamon.

Into the church at 400 degrees,

ice cream waits to be

the justice of the peace.

This walk down the aisle

will take a little while.

When the aroma fills the room

then bride and groom

are now husband and wife

awaiting fork and knife.

A happy couple now golden brown.

Windowsill honeymoon

before we swallow them down.

                                                                                                                                   ~Simplyf Jones

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