Thursday, December 30, 2010

Parsnip Puffs....

Reprisal of an old post for Terra who was wondering on her blog what to do with parsnips... 


I had no idea how these would turn out... but.....they have been declared "a keeper" by Mr. BumbleVee...
Without further ado... may I present these tasty little parsnip puffs from the April issue of Recipes Only Magazine.... oh, and I guess I better admit.... it was April 1988 .... told ya I saved things...especially old recipes and mags with recipes in them. Every so often I drag out a handful and peruse...admire the beautiful food photography...and purge ...or not... this one gets to stay. It's a tiny little thing... 5 X 7.. more like a brochure..won't take up any space at all tucked in with my cookbooks.

This is the recipe straight from the book...but, don't forget... all recipes are meant to be toyed with.... I used Apple Jelly as I had some home made from a friend on hand... and I halved the recipe as I only had a pound of parsnips... ...

Parsnip Currant Puffs

2 lbs. parsnips
2 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
salt and pepper
3 TBSP red curant jelly

Peel parsnips, cut into about 6 pieces each and cook, covered, in a small amount of boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain well in a sieve. Place in food processor (in batches if necessary) and puree.
Add egg yolks, ginger and salt and pepper to taste. Process until light and fluffy. (Recipe can be prepared ahead to this point, covered and refrigerated up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
In medium bowl, whip egg whites until stiff but still moist. Fold into parsnip mixture.
Divide most of the mixture amongst 8 buttered (6oz./175ml) custard cups or individual souffle dishes.
Make well in each, spoon in one eighth of the jelly and cover with remaining parsnip mixture, smoothing the top. Place filled dishes in shallow pan with boiling water halfway up sides of dishes.
Bake in preheated 325 F (160) oven about 20 minutes or until slightly puffed and set on top. Serve immediately.

I didn't bother with a food processor... I cut them in small pieces.. boiled them.. they mashed up nicely ... I even saved the lovely parsnip-y water with all the nutrients in it.   I freeze all water I ever boil a veggie in.. and save it for soups.... you can't believe how much flavour it adds..not to mention nutrition.

I just filled each ramekin half full.. placed a big flat dollop of the Apple Jelly .. and then filled the ramekin with more parsnip mixture.

I served the ramekin right on the plate... it was still pretty hot... but, we were careful... peas, couscous and leftover chicken got a new lease on life with this interesting and pretty little side ....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cookies from a Christmas past....

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies  

These intrigued me a few years ago and now have become a tradition at our house.  Absolutely perfect for Valentine's Day too.
They are simple, if a little fiddly, and look pretty darn amazing if I do say so myself...and I do.  

Thank goodness I had an extra set of hands to help with them ... it is killer on the shoulder blades to sit and put the little bit of chocolate dough around 51 cherries!

... and .... he does such a great job too!

Even the smallest foil cups still seem a bit large to me ... I suppose I could put a bit more dough around each one... making them fill it. Or... squeeze it onto the dough a bit before baking. 

but.... they still look pretty special.

Wonder if it might help to leave a few out for Santa?

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

2 10 oz. jars maraschino cherries with stems
2 tbsp. cherry brandy or maraschino cherry juice
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Drain cherries, reserving juice. Lightly toss cherries with brandy if using...and drain. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Beat butter or margarine in a large mixing bowl with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder; beat til combined. Beat in egg and 1 teaspoon of the reserved liquid. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon.
Shape a scant 1 teaspoon of dough around each cherry. Place each ball in a 1 inch foil or paper bake cup. Place cups 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in 350F oven for 10 minutes or til tops look dry. Transfer cookies to wire racks. Frost warm cookies with about 1/2 tsp frosting. (I waited til they were very cool... not enough energy... they worked very well cooled.) Makes 48 (I ended up with 51)

Chocolate Cherry Frosting
Stir together 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces and 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk in a small heavy saucepan. (I had a bowl in water in the pan..worked perfectly) Cook over low heat just til chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally. Sir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of reserved cherry liquid to make of spreading consistency. Makes plenty.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nuts !!!

Literally... and figuratively .....

When a recipe says roast nuts in a 350F oven for 15 minutes...and alarm bells go off??.... listen to your alarms!

This is where the first batch ended up...

If it looks like a garbage can... that's because it is.
Walnut halves are like gold.  A big bag was $14.99....on sale.  Oooooooooohhh.... that burns me almost as much as it did the darn nuts.

I was going along so well too.... this is how amazing they were just after I added a splash of my real Quebec Maple Syrup from a friend of a relative.... just brought all the way across the country.  Wasted Maple Syrup is an absolute crime!!  Anybody who has ever had the real thing will tell you that. Then...a generous grinding of lovely black pepper.  These are spicy glazed nuts. Mmmm... well, they would have been mmmm...

... but, then... the recipe called for putting them in the oven.  So.. I set my timer for 12 minutes..not even the required 15... but... too late..... they were already past tasting burned when I grabbed for the baking sheet.  There were some "french words" as somebody used to say..... who was that now?  I forget. was disheartening to say the least because it was just the beginning of my plan for an amazing salad for supper.

Onward.... second batch.  Never quit when you are behind.

You can bet your bottom hard earned dollar that I was watching like a hawk this time around..... my eyes were glued to that oven.  Don't even walk out of the kitchen.... cuz you know how fast nuts can be ruined!

Ahhhhhh.... that's more like it.  I had the oven at just over 300F this time...and it only took about 6 to 8 minutes really.... ....

Then....I poached my lovely pear.  In wine and cinnamon infused syrup....

It was a thing of beauty.... my eyes at least it was.  It stayed firm... soaked up the wonderful flavours...and was absolutely the nicest pear I have ever seen or eaten.  Including the creation by the chef at the restaurant where I first had this salad... and now... I've copied it to the best of my recollection.

Pear and Goat Cheese Salad with Glazed Walnuts......

I used some peppered goat cheese and instead of just crumbling on the bits...I wanted to figure out a way to cut the soft cheese into rounds.  Looked on Google...and found a few suggestions.  Love Google.

Dental floss.  Yep.  You can saw it across it if you in the video I saw... but, if you just lay it under the roll of cheese...then draw up each side of the floss and cross them over each slices straight through the cheese as easy as can be.   Even very thin slices come away so cleanly it is amazing. I did put the cheese roll in the freezer for just a few minutes (watch that too... you don't want to ruin a lovely little log of cheese) .. so that I could cut away the packaging without damaging the roll.  Why can't they make it easier to get the roll of cheese neatly out of the packaging material?

A vinaigrette with a few tablespoons of the poaching syrup finished it off. YUM....

Take that Chef Kevin....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chocolate Cake in a Ramekin

Yesterday Mr. BV was searching around the kitchen... hoping for some tasty morsel.  But...the eggnog cookies were all gone... no biscotti in the jar and even the freezer was bereft of muffins.  I felt sorry for while he watched a period of hockey I whipped up a little chocolate goody.  He was totally surprised and it was fun to see the smile....

Originally it was called 5 Minute Chocolate Cake. ...and, it's usually made in a mug in the microwave.  But, when another blogger made it she changed things a bit... using butter instead of oil and also, divvy-ed it up between 2 ramekins and baked in the oven instead of the microwave.  Much better.  It's just like real cake when baked...not the rubbery microwave version.

I'm giving you the original recipe......but you, too, can change it up anyway you like.  Next time I think I'll even add some toasted nuts.  A person could really go crazy and toss in a caramel chocolate and have some gooey goodness in the middle.  It's such a cute little taste of yummy cake ... and, who really needs a huge cake when just a few mouthfuls will do the trick when you just HAFTA have some chocolate?

These are a bit deeper ramekins that I needed...but, I just bought these new little chocolate coloured babies and wanted to use them.  I have a "thing" for ramekins....I have a drawer full of them.  All sizes, shapes and colours..... love the little guys!

5 Minute Chocolate Cake In A Mug

4  TBSP flour
4  TBSP sugar
2  TBSP cocoa
1  egg
3  TBSP milk
3  TBSP oil  (I used melted butter)
3  TBSP chocolate chips (optional..I used less)
small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (MICRO wave safe!)

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well.  Add the egg and mix thoroughly.  Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.  Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.  The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!  Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.  Makes 1-2 servings.

OPTION::  I smeared a bit of butter in two ramekins (they do tip out easier if you want to serve them on a plate... perhaps with a spoonful of ice cream?) and divided the mixture between the two of them.  I also substituted butter for the oil.  Bake in the oven at 350F (180C).. for about 20 to 25 minutes.  Watch them carefully... don't want to burn chocolate!  The tops will begin to crack when nearly done...and I just checked with a toothpick at about 18 minutes..... when it comes out clean...they are done.   Unless you happen to put the pick into a chocolate chip or morsel...then just check in another spot... and enjoy!