Healing Food / Oatmeal Arugula Biscuits / Chocolate Chili Cake

March 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

 

Sometimes, a Biscuit Cures All.

These past few weeks have been brutal with the change of seasons, the yearning for warmth, and the congestion of faces.  All of these things have left me incapable of exerting any extra effort outside of my daily routine.  Luckily, my routine involves sifting flour, roasting garlic, and supremeing oranges.  Unfortunately, my energy levels have been so low that writing about any recent adventures would have been overkill.   So now that spring has sprung, the temperatures have risen, and everything surrounding my sinuses has cleared I can share what I have been eating.

Blood Oranges are good for the Immune System

Orange Zest

Before I got sick, my body knew I needed an extra boost of vitamin C.  Therefore my mind decided to make a blood orange olive oil cake which Deb from Smitten Kitchen just so happened to post around the same time.  It was fate.  I really wanted to make the flaky blood orange tart but had neither the 10 blood oranges accessible nor the energy to acquire them.

Even a Gorgeous Cake Could not Save Me.

But Four Cloves of Garlic Could.

In retrospect I should have gotten the additional oranges for the tart because the cake, even with though it was packed with 4 nourishing oranges, did not prevent my body from aching and my face from congesting.  When preventative baking doesn’t work, its time for a healing soup.  And I can not think of anything better to ward off illness than garlic.  So I concocted a roasted garlic, teff, and lentil soup.  Unfortunately I can not report back about the actual taste, but here I am finally healed, so something must have worked.

Warding off Vampires and Congestion.

Now that I have been able to breathe, smell, taste, and move without cringing I have been craving some thing really decadent to make up for all of the meals lost to lack of taste and/or appetite.  Namely, a chocolate chili cake.  I wanted to experience something rich, yet not too sweet, and bursting with flavor.  So after a good amount of chocolate cake research Scharffen Berger’s chocolate chili cake  won my heart.  Although I did make quite a few tweaks to suit my liking.

The Chili Powder is Tasty, not Scary.

Chili Paste Complements Chocolate Beautifully

Thankfully, I could taste this cake in all of its glory.  And it may just be my new favorite way to get my chocolate fix.  Once it is baked it is moist, and stays moist for a couple of days.  It has the texture of an airy fudge brownie thanks to the buttermilk and leaves a striking remnant of spice on your palate without needing a fire extinguisher.

Chocolate Chili Cake
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup +  2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/3 cups turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder +1 cup water
1 additional cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts- optional
2 tablespoons cocoa powder + 1/2 cup confectioners sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the dry ingredients into a stand mixer.
3. Make a chili paste by heating the chili and water just to a simmer.  Then remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
4. Add the softened butter to the dry ingredients and stir on a slow speed until it looks sandy.  Now raise the speed and add the additional water and buttermilk once the mixture is uniformly wet add the eggs one at a time.
5. Pour the batter into a thoroughly buttered cake pan and place in the center of the oven.  It will take about 50 minutes to bake through.  After 20 minutes sprinkle the walnuts onto the top of the cake- this will create a nice nutty layer.
6. When a toothpick or knife inserted in the center come out clean the cake is ready.
7. Let it cool for 15 minutes.  Remove the sides if you used a spring foam pan or simply turn the cake out onto a plate to allow to cool completely.
8. Dust with cocoa sugar.

Making up for Lost Meals

After an indulgence, one should do something healthy like adding extra greens onto the plate.  In my case these greens made their way into a tender biscuit founded by homemade oat flour mixed with a nutty white whole wheat flour.  I discovered how easy it is to make oat flour thanks to Heidi Swanson’s oat soda bread which, slathered with a generous coat of Baily’s butter, comforted me during the height of my illness.

DIY Oat Flour

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread: Grated Butter

The way to a Flaky Biscuit/ My Heart

 

 

Oatmeal Arugula Biscuits
Eat these when they come out of the oven.  Their succulence decreases with time.  I froze half of them after they were shaped and on the cookie sheet then threw them into a plastic bag for an easy warm breakfast in 12 minutes.

1 cup rolled oats or oat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled or frozen unsalted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey
1 packed cup arugula

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Add the rolled oats to a food processor and whirl them around for about 3 minutes until the oats look like flour, similarly, just get your oat flour out.
3. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
4. Chop the arugula by hand or in a food processor and incorporate into the dry mixture.
5. Use a cheese grater to grate the butter into the dry ingredients and gently stir.  If the butter is not frozen, chill the mixture for 10 minutes.
6. Stir together the honey and buttermilk and slowly add to the oat and butter mixture.
7.  Turn out onto a floured surface and gently knead a couple of times.  Using as much flour as necessary.
8.  Roll the dough into a 9 x 5 rectangle, which should be about 1/2 inch thick.
9.  Fold the short sides of the rectangle in thirds like a letter and re-roll the dough into another 9 x 5 rectangle.  Repeat this two more times.
10.  Roll or pat the dough into a 3/4 inch rectangle and use biscuit cutters to shape the biscuits.
11.  Place the biscuits on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is golden.
12. Consume with butter and honey.

 

Eat Happily.

Advertisements

Love is a Hazelnut Butter Scone

February 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

Happy Valentine's Day

It seems that I am baking through Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain in a similar manner to which Julie Powell cooked through Julia Child’s Master the Art of French Cooking.  In the past month I have looked to Kim’s book on a daily basis for baking inspiration.  So while, my venture requires no guidelines, time tables, or boeuf bourguignon to stress me out all I need to worry about is browning loads of butter, stocking up on exciting flours, and whipping out heart shaped cookie cutters.

 

Scone Batter

Most recent attack on Kim’s book was a combination of two recipes using teff flour.  As I found out yesterday, teff is a deep, rich, and dark flour which makes a beautiful match for two of my favorite ingredients:  hazelnuts and brown butter.  The outcome of toasting the hazelnuts in the butter as it begins to brown is quite intoxicating, and leaves the entire kitchen smelling of sultry golden love perfect for Valentine’s Day.

 

 

Baily's Dairy Unsalted Butter Ready to be Browned

Hazelnuts to be Toasted

Browning the Hazelnut Butter

Hazelnut Butter Scone
Love child of Kim Boyce’s Hazelnut Muffins and Brown Butter Scone from Good to the Grain.

4 oz unsalted butter
1/2 cup hazelnuts chopped in half

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup oats or a mix of rolled grains
1/2 cup teff flour
1/2 cup palm sugar or 1/4 c white and 1/4 c brown *next time I want to use honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt

1/2 cup cream
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Hazelnut Butter
Over medium heat, begin to melt the best butter you can get your hands on. Once the butter has turned into liquid and starts to bubble add the chopped hazelnuts.  Let the butter foam.  The hazelnuts will become a lovely golden color.  Once there are brown bits forming on the bottom of the pan, remove the butter and hazelnuts from the pan and pour into a shallow freezable container.  This should take about 7 minutes.  Let the hazelnut butter freeze.   Do this a day before or wait impatiently while preparing everything else.

Frozen Hazelnut Butter

Scones
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all of the dry ingredients together in a food processor.  Chop the frozen butter into pieces and add to the dry ingredients.  Pulse the flours and butter until the mix is a sandy texture.  Whisk the cream, egg, and vanilla together in a separate bowl.  When both the wet and dry ingredients are both individually combined, pour the cream and egg mixture into the sandy flour and stir to combine.

Flour a work surface and dump the batter out.  Use your hands to press the batter into a circle.  Now either slice the circle into 8 slices like a pizza, or use your seasonal cookie cutters and give the scones some character and transfer the scones to a prepared baking sheet.

Brush the uncooked scones with a nice blanket of cream and sprinkle with some sugar; the coarser the better.  These babys will be nice and bronzed after about 22 minutes if they are small cookie cutter types, or 26 minutes if they are large slices.

 

Eat Happily.

Snow Day Crêpe Day: Buckwheat Galettes, Fig Butter, Onion Jam.

February 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Snow Day Crepe

There are some things in life which never change.  Like snow days. Who doesn’t get a cozy nostalgic feeling with the thought of a day off from the real world?  As a kid, this meant an escape from sitting at a desk all day listening to someone talk to at you from the front of a packed room (for many adults this may still be the case).  For me, a snow day means that my kitchen gets my full attention.

Onion Jam Crepe

These past few weeks I have been slightly obsessed with the mere thought of a delicate crêpe wrapped pleasantly around a oozy gooey filling of nirvana.  Oddly, in these past weeks I have had more opportunities to indulge in a simple fruit filled crêpe since living in France.  But I found myself resisting, unconsiously holding out for what would be the perfect crêpe day.

Crepes, Fig Butter, Onion Jam

By noon on this exceptionally wintery day I had a table full of steaming buckwheat crêpes, warm fig butter, lustrous onion jam and a perfect way to spend my snow day.  I made two batches of batter, one made from solely buckwheat flour, which is completely nontraditional.  But I had no warning, and authentic batter should really rest over night and I unwilling to compromise.  I want to have my crêpes and eat them too.  Consequentially we will be finding all sorts of fillers for the endless stacks of toasty savory galettes which will be gracing our plates for the next couple of days as I could not resist the urge to mix up some more traditional batter, courtesy of David Lebovitz and fry them up tomorrow for dinner.

The filling for my crêpes today are from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain, and are unbelievable delicious.  She has this ingenious section of her book dedicated to fruit and vegetable jams and spreads to accompany all of her treats.  My favorite: fig butter.  I was first introduced to the idea of her fig butter when Heidi Swanson unveiled Kim’s Figgy Buckwheat scones on 101cookbooks.  Since then have been looking for the perfect time to bring the heavenly butter into my life.  I must confess my disappointment; the time which I let pass without consuming this butter is completely unacceptable.  I could, no lie, eat this everyday.  Possibly at every meal.  It has a velvety, rich, deep flavor from the figs, wine, and butter but doesn’t leave a feeling of piggishness behind.  It requires little hands on work aside from chopping off stems, boiling sugar, and getting out the food processor, and yields a sufficient amount to last (an insatiable girl) just about two weeks.

Almost Fig Butter

Perfection.  The second filling was even more simple and just as ingenious.  Onion jam will be finding its way into nearly all of my sandwiches from here on out.  When onions cook down they turn into a heap of savory caramelized luxury ready to make any meal a feast.  There is a reason that they make you cry, and it is happiness for what is about to come.  It is as if they are forcing us to pay for the magnificence which if hidden behind their bite.

Slicing Onions

(Nontraditional) Buckwheat Crêpe
This recipe is actually gluten free as buckwheat has no relation to wheat.   It also requires only a 15 minute rest which was the appeal for me.  These are also a bit thicker than I am used to but delicious nonetheless.  I used a 7 inch cast iron pan for the crêpe cooking, if you desire larger crêpes simply use a larger pan.  I found the recipe here and followed it pretty precisely but I used salted (Baily’s Dairy!) butter  and less salt.

1 cup buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot (a thickening agent)
dash of salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 3/4 cups water

Almost Ready to Flip

To make the batter simply sift the dry ingredients together into a medium sized bowl.  Now whisk the eggs with the water and add the butter.  When the wet ingredients are well mixed pour half into the buckwheat flour and stir until incorporated and smooth.  Then pour the rest of the egg mixture and finish stirring.  The mixture will be a pretty dark purple color and quite runny.  Let it sit for 15 minutes.  Just enough time to prepare the pan and finish up the fillings.   Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat and coat it with butter.  Add just under 1/4 cup of the batter to the hot pan and swirl it around so that it fills the entire bottom.  When the crêpe batter has started to dry out on top, after 2 or 3 minutes, flip it over to briefly cook the other side.  I used my fingers to do this.  A spatula is safer but less effective.   The first crêpe is always, always, always, a disaster.  Keep the crêpes warm in a 200 degree oven.  This recipe will make 10-12 crêpes.  I am planning on freezing some leftovers by wrapping them individually in plastic wrap then sealing in a freezer bag.

A perfect day for crepes

Kim Boyce’s Fig Butter
These recipes are not published on the internet and I technically have no right to publish them. Consequentially I am going to HIGHLY recommend you make the decision to own your own copy of Good to the Grain if this looks good to you.  I will leave a basic description of the recipe.

A little bit of sugar and water are boiled with cloves and star anise for about 10 minutes.  Then lots of red wine and port and black mission figs and cinnamon are added to to the syrup.  This mixture simmers for about 3o minutes and becomes a beautiful viscous maroon liquid.  The concoction needs to come to room temperature for another 30 minutes or so before removing the cloves and star anise.  Then the figs and their syrup are pureed with some soft butter.  It is possibly the most indecent thing I have ever eaten.

Fig Butter

Almost Onion Jam

Kim Boyce’s Onion Jam
See the notes above regarding Kim’s book.  You can figure this one out on your own without a recipe.  This onion jam with some sauteed mushrooms, horseradish, and hearty slices of bread could hardly make me happier.  Although slathered inside a hot crêpe with butter I was quite delighted all day.

Slice a lot of onions.  I think I used about 10 yellow cooking onions from Barnard’s Orchards.  In a medium dutch oven heat some olive oil on medium high heat for a minute or two.  Add the sliced onions and salt and coat them in the oil.  Cook them on high until they just begin to brown.  Turn down the heat and cover until they get a nice consistent golden.  Remove the lid and let them look until they break down into a mass of jam like consistency.   This all take about two hours and makes about a cup of savory jam.

Eat Happily

Retox and Detox: 10 Favorite Holiday Indulgences

January 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Exhale.  Its all over.  The glorious gluttony.  The constant consumption.  The indulgent imbibing.  In place of the cream and sugar which has been dominating every nook and cranny of my kitchen I am happily welcoming my old friends, kale and quinoa back into my life.

Perhaps my  body may have an unnatural affection for greens and vegetables, but for the past six days I have been yearning for the super nutritious whole foods which usually grace my plate.  The future of my meals will look something like this: squash stuffed with quinoa and beans; kale and white bean casserole; sauteed greens loaded with nuts; garlic soup studded with brussel sprouts, onions and everything else cleansing.

Although, before I happily begin my post holiday purge, I would like to share some of my favorite indulgences of the past couple weeks.  After all, extravagance may be my favorite aspect of detoxification.

10. Biz’s Cookie Party.  Buckwheat and Quinoa Fig cookies, Mexican Wedding cookies, Peanut Butter chocolate chip, Basic Sugary bliss.  Need I say more?
9. Every Excuse for Champagne.  From Christmas morning mimosas, to raspberry champagne cocktails with dinner, to champagne shots at the stroke of midnight, this beverage has made an appearance too frequently in the past week.  My body always knows when I drank champagne the previous night.
8. Mallory’s Whiskey and Cider.  If there is anything better to warm you from the inside out than a piping hot thermos of Barnard’s apple cider mulled with cinnamon, cloves, a little vanilla, and a large glug of whiskey topped with some fresh whipped cream (spiked of course) please let me know.
7. Morning After Whiskey and Champagne Breakfasts.  Plates smothered with creamed chipped beef, cups filled with v-8 (and vodka?), ovens filled with stratta.  Any of the above are (almost) proven to expunge most nausea.
6.  Desert after every meal.  Leftover cookies, cakes, and meringues, make this mandatory.  Breakfast and that fourth meal between lunch and dinner included.
5.  Phyllo Dough.  What?  Yes.  Not the typical indulgence, phyllo dough has proven to be the perfect companion to everything oozy and gooy: baked brie au bleu, apple and brie quiche, feta and sundried tomato pizza, and endless cheese combinations (see below).
4.  Cheese.  Most of my cheese plates this year were compiled thanks to Talula’s Table.  Favorites included:  Sharp aged gouda, pungent and slaty shroppshire blue, lovely humboldt fog, smooth and delicate rosemary goat.  Similar h’ordeuvres were compiled from layers of phyllo dough brimming with  heavenly marriages of cream cheese and onion pepper jelly, brie with pears and brown sugar, fresh goat with cranberry and pistachio crumble, and gruyere with caramelized onions.
3.  Bacon.  It occurred to me that even as a see myself as a kind of closet vegetarian I somehow omit bacon from the realm of carnivorous consumption.  My new favorite party trick is to fabricate bite sized bowls from a slice of bacon and load them with everything good * instructions below.  Sliced mushrooms melted together with a gorgonzola cream somehow found their way into my cups of salted heaven.
2. My First Roast Duck + Duck Fat Fried Potatoes Everything. A Classic Christmas feast, duck is actually quite easy to make and produces a ungodly amount of animal fat suitable for making the ordinary roasted potatoes exceptional.  My duck was lucky enough to be smothered in honey and rubbed down with a blend of lavender and peppercorns leaving the skin insanely crisp and the meat dark and juicy.
1.  The people and parties which provide the opportunities for extravagance.  Maybe this is a cop-out or cliche but its true.  Eating bacon, cheese, and dessert three times a day may be enough to make one sick, but somehow the wonderful company of friends and family keeps me feeling healthy.  I supposed it could be the additional laughing and smiling around this time of year.  

Bacon Cups:

I used 2 packages of bacon but was not keeping track of how the yield or the actual number of slices needed.  The thinner, leaner cut bacon works best.  Fattier cuts will shrink more.  I also used a very small muffin tin which makes the cups bite sized as opposed to awkward two bite sized.

Cut a slice of bacon into 3 pieces:  first in half and then one of the halves in half.
Make a cross with the two quarters on the bottom of the muffin tin.
Use the long half piece of bacon to wrap around the circumference of  the muffin tin and secure by pressing the ends together.
Experiment with what you have.  This is simply what worked for me.
With all the cups wrapped, place the tin into a casserole dish and bake for 15 minutes or so at 500 degrees until the bacon is quite crispy but not burned.
Let the cups cool and then simply pop  them off, possibly with the assistance of  a spatula.
Load the cups with anything you heart desires.   

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Retox category at PepperAttacks.