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Lighten Up! Apple-Cranberry Crostata

15 Nov

by Green Gourmet L

The holidays are coming faster than most of us can even imagine. My Thanksgiving countdown says 10 days…can that be right? And everyone knows what comes along with the holidays- sweets, treats, and more eats! I love to indulge in desserts (chocolate, caramel, toffee, anything creamy). I have yet to meet a dessert that I didn’t like. But you can stay within your budget (and your skinny jeans) with this super easy recipe for Apple-Cranberry Crostata. A crostata is just a free form pie, filled with fruit/nuts, and the edges are folded over the filling to create a rustic look. Serve this with some vanilla gelato or frozen yogurt and you’ve got yourself the perfect lighter holiday indulgence!

Apple-Cranberry Crostata

Crust

  • 1 1/2 unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tp salt
  • 1 stick chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup chilled sour cream

Filling

  • 3 TB unsalted butter
  • 8 small Granny Smith apples (about 3 lbs), peeled, cored, and each cut into 12 wedges
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tp ground cardamom
  • 1 tp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions

Crust: Combine flour, powdered sugar, and salt in food processor.

Add butter and using pulse button, process until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Add sour cream and process until a moist clump forms.

Gather dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. *Note: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep dough chilled. Then let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to soften slightly before rolling out.

Filling: Melt butter in heavy, large skillet over medium high heat. Add apples and sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar.

Cook until apples are tender and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Sprinkle with cardamom and cinnamon. Mix in cranberries and set aside to cool.

*Note: the filling can also be made 1 day in advance. Just refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out dough between two layers of parchment paper sprinkled lightly with flour until dough is a 13 inch round.

 Slide dough (with bottom parchment) onto rimless cookie sheet. Spoon filling into center of dough, spreading toward edges but leaving 2 inch border. Using parchment as aid, fold border over filling. Brush crust border with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake until crust begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and continue baking until crust is browned and filling is cooked through, about 20 more minutes. Cool until warm. Using parchment paper, slide tart onto pie plate or cutting board. Serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream, gelato, or frozen yogurt.

Enjoy your lightened up dessert and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Ginger-Lime Baked Pineapple

20 Apr

by Green Gourmet K

I had a craving for some fruit when I was at the grocery store and pineapple was on sale for $1.99 so I snatched that up thinking I’d eat it fresh or throw some in a stir fry.  Then I promptly forgot about it until I realized I needed to cook it up ASAP!  I have never broiled or baked pineapple but it seemed like it was worth a shot.  Turns out this was the best decision I have made in a long time.

This dessert is my new favorite – because it is incredibly fresh tasting and has a nice balance of hot and cold, sweet and sour, fruity and creamy.  To get the hot and cold and sweet and sour part I used greek yogurt.  The naturally sweet pineapple  is almost caramelized by the buttery ginger-lime syrup and the unsweetened yogurt is a great complement.  Ice cream or a lightly sweetened cake would be good with the pineapple too but the plain yogurt does a nice job of balancing out the sweetness.

The baked pineapple could be made ahead and then heated and served later.

Ginger-Lime Baked Pineapple Dessert

Ingredients

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1 whole pineapple, cored and sliced

2 teaspoons of sliced fresh ginger

plain Greek yogurt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Core and slice one pineapple.  Arrange slices in a baking dish.

Peel and slice ginger, set aside.

Melt butter in saucepan with brown sugar, once melted, add the ginger, lime juice and water.

Let simmer on low until the mixture is syrup-like in consistency.

Pour over the pineapple, holding out the ginger slivers.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350, then broil or turn your oven up to 400 degrees and bake for 5 more minutes.  Let the pineapple cool for a few minutes before serving.  Spoon pineapple and sauce over greek yogurt and garnish with a small sliver of lime.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Mr. Almond Obsession

5 Apr

by Green Gourmet L

Someone I know has an almond obsession. And a sweet tooth. I’m not complaining, but it’s hard to come up with new and exciting ideas for incorporating almonds into desserts. Of course, Bon Appetit to the rescue. Apparently someone had written in to talk about an amazing little restaurant in NYC called Locanda Verde (hey I know about that one! Click here!) and wanted their recipe for almond cake. I knew I had to jump all over this one since Mr. Green Gourmet would be more than pleasantly surprised to come home to an almond dessert. In our rental apartment, we don’t have things like spring form pans, so I had to improvise with the baking equipment I do have (a 9X9 in flimsy baking pan from Safeway). I also realized that I don’t have cakeflour (and neither does Whole Foods), so I substituted regular white flour and cornstarch. I kid you not, this dessert (which is meant to serve 10) was gone in a day and a half. I’m just sayin, it’s that good!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1TB almond paste
  • 1 cup cake flour (or place 2 TB cornstarch in a 1 cup measure, fill the rest with all-purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 tp baking powder
  • 1/2 tp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tp vanilla
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • garnish: blackberry jam and lightly sweetened whipped cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9X9 baking pan. Blend sugar and almond paste in a food processor until finely ground.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

Using a hand mixer, beat almond mixture, softened butter, and vanilla in a large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time until incorporated.

Fold in dry ingredients.

Transfer to pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and top is brown.

To serve, top with a few spoonfuls of your favorite jam (we use Bonne Maman blackberry preserves) and some lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Enjoy your almond obsession and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Sweets for Your Sweet- Salted Caramel Brownies

14 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Whether you are celebrating with friends, family, or your significant other, these brownies are just the thing to satisfy your craving for salty, sweet, and chocolate. Whip up a batch today and show someone how much you love them!

Ingredients

**Slightly Adapted From An Amelie’s-provided Recipes In Charlotte Magazine

FOR THE BROWNIES:

  • 6 ounces, weight Unsweetened Chocolate, Chopped
  • ¾ cups Unsalted Butter, Cut Into Pieces
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 3 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour

FOR THE CARAMEL GLAZE:

  • ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • ½ cup Water
  • ¼ cups Unsalted Butter, Cut Into Pieces
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt ( I used fleur de sel)

Directions

FOR THE BROWNIES:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with butter or baking spray.

In the top of a double boiler over medium heat, melt chocolate and butter, stirring until melted.

Add sugar and stir gently until combined. Remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, gently whisk the eggs. Add a small splash of eggs to chocolate mixture, stirring immediately (but still gently). Drizzle in the rest of the eggs, stirring constantly.

Add flour and stir until combined. Pour batter into greased baking pan and spread to even out the surface.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, then remove from oven to cool completely in the pan.

FOR THE CARAMEL GLAZE:

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm heavy cream. Do not boil.

In a separate tall saucepan, combine sugar and water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil but do not stir.

Cook until the mixture turns an amber color—not too dark, but definitely amber. Remove pan from stove.

Add butter and stir. Then add cream and step back, since it might sputter.

Stir in salt and continue to gently stir until mixture is smooth and well combined.

TO FINISH:

Pour caramel glaze all over completely cooled brownies. Sprinkle with a little additional salt and allow to set completely. Cut into small rectangles and serve.

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day indulgence and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets! To print this recipe, click here.

Clementine Cupcakes

11 Jan

By Green Gourmet L

“They were on sale!” says Mr. Green Gourmet as he pulls out 6 pounds of clementines from our canvas shopping bag. Oh boy- considering I can eat about 1-2 clementines a day, that still leaves me with… 5 pounds of clementines!

As the oranges started to go bad in the bottom of the fridge, I realized there had to be a way to put them to good use. Nigella Lawson came to my rescue with her recipe for Clementine Cake. This is a very strange way to use these oranges because you actually use the whole orange. Yes the WHOLE orange, peel, pith, all of it. But when I started to think about it, a lot of the nutrients of fruits are in the skin, so as long as it’s not inedible, it might actually be good for you.

As an added bonus, this recipe is also gluten and casein free. For those of you not familiar with allergy lingo, this means without wheat and dairy. I feel like many more people are realizing that they have sensitivities or even intolerances to gluten, which is in just about everything. I work with many children with autism who are on this GF/CF (Gluten Free/Casein Free) diet. Eliminating gluten and casein really limits what they can eat, and it’s especially hard to find treats to give them for special occasions. This recipe is perfect for that person in your life.

Instead of making this into a whole cake, I decided to make cupcakes so that I could freeze some for later (and give some away). Not only are these cupcakes edible, Mr. Green Gourmet went back for seconds. It’s a keeper!

Clementine Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 5 clementines
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tp vanilla
  • 2 1/3 cups almonds
  • 1 heaping tp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the clementines in a pot with cold water to cover, bring to a boil and cook for 2 hours.

Check the water levels occasionally to make sure the oranges are continuously covered. In the meantime, place the almonds in a food processor and grind to a fine powder.

You want to make sure there are no large chunks of almond remaining.

Once the clementines have cooked, drain, cool, and cut each one in half to remove any seeds (note: mine didn’t have seeds).

Place in a food processor and grind completely until you have a light orange pulp.

Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well. Using a hand mixer or whisk, beat eggs into mixture on at a time. Add dry ingredients (ground almonds, baking powder, and salt) and fold into mixture.

The batter will look a bit wet, but this is the consistency that you want.

Using a lined muffin tin, fill your muffin cups about 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and then cool completely. This makes about 15-18 cupcakes. Note: the texture is different than what you would expect from a flour/butter cake. But I have tried some of the gluten/casein free cupcakes before, and these are far better.

You can eat them plain, but it would also be nice to shave some dark chocolate on top or do a light glaze. You can make an easy glaze with 1 cup of powdered sugar and 2 TB of clementine juice. Just whisk it together in a bowl and then pour over the top of your cooled cupcakes.

Good luck using up your clemetines and don’t forget you read it on Green Gourmets!

To print this recipe, click here.

Coconut Black Rice Pudding

10 Jan

by Green Gourmet K

One of the best gifts I received over the holidays was black rice, all neatly enclosed in a reusable glass jar, and a handmade recipe book with 3 recipes for black rice.  I had never heard of black rice but apparently there is not only white rice and brown rice but also black and red varieties.  In fact, there are over 7,000 varieties of rice.  And the interesting thing is that the black and red varieties are better for you.  You might know that our usual white rice has had the husk, bran and germ removed, while brown rice is the entire grain, with only the husk removed.  The rice bran is high in soluble fiber and is effective at lowering cholesterol.  The advantage to white rice though is that it can be stored indefinitely while brown rice will go bad after about 6 months.

Black rice and black rice bran is unique because it is rich in anthocyanin antioxidants, which are shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and help fight heart disease.   These are the same antioxidants found in blueberries, acai berries and grapes.  A spoonful of black rice has more anthocyanin antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries and with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants.

Where can you find black rice or red rice?  Try your local Asian market.  It is likely to be there and to be pretty inexpensive.  It may also be at your local health food store.

For my first black rice experience I decided to use the black rice pudding recipe.  It was not too sweet and the nutty flavor of the rice paired well with the coconut milk.  I loved the purplish hue the pudding had.  I will definitely make this again.

Below is the recipe from the book I was given, it is originally from Gourmet magazine.

Black Rice Pudding

Commonly served for breakfast in parts of Southeast Asia, this dish also makes a great dessert.  Chines black rice, sometimes called forbidden rice, works well, but if you live near a Southeast Asian Market you can use this same method with more traditional Thai sticky black rice.

Makes 8 servings.

Ingredients:

1 cup of black rice

1/2 cup suar

1 (13.5 – 15 oz.) can unsweetend coconut milk, stirred well

3 cups of water

1/4 tsp salt

Bring rice, 3 cups of water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 3-4 qt heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered with a tight-fitting lid, 45 minutes (rice will be cooked but still wet).  Stir in sugar, s scant 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1.5 cups coconut milk and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and rice is tender but still slightly chewy, about 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool to warm or room temperature, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes.  Just before serving, stir pudding and divide among 8 bowls.  Stir remaining coconut milk and drizzle over pudding.

Rice pudding keeps, covered and chilled, for 5 days.

Everyone Loves Leftovers: Christmas Cookies

28 Dec

We have some leftovers here, leftover holiday food and holiday food posts too.  My dear friend, A, of the Holiday Party, will be guest posting from time to time.  She has a great recipe for candy cane cookies that are very cute and would probably be a kid-friendly activity.  If you’re still in the holiday spirit you may enjoy making these, or just store this recipe away for next year.  They just might become your classic holiday cookie recipe.

CHRISTMAS Candy Cane COOKIES!

by A

Nothing says Christmas to me quite like Christmas cookies. I love to make them, decorate them, eat them, make them again, eat them again…I could go on forever. But there’s one particular cookie that has always stood out to me as THE symbol that Christmas is here – the Candy Cane Cookie. I remember when I was little and my mom would start making these about a week before Christmas. I was fascinated by them – how did she make these cookies that looked like candy canes, two dough colors all baked together into a candy cane shape? It seemed like magic to me, and I was sure they were Santa’s favorite (he always cleaned his plate when we left them out for him on Christmas Eve).

I now know the secret to these, and they’re actually pretty easy to make. The flavor is delicate, almond-y, almost shortbread-like. They’re not as flashy as the decorated sugar cookies or gingerbread men, no sprinkles or icing or colored sugar. But they’re still my favorite, and I can’t imagine Christmas without them.

Candy Cane Cookies

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. shortening

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

1 ½ tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla

2 ½ c. flour

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. red food coloring

Mix the butter, shortening, confectioner’s sugar, egg, and almond and vanilla extracts well. Mix the flour and salt in a separate bowl. Blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture. (This will create a very firm dough, so unless you have arms like Serena Williams, you may want to use a stand mixer if you have one. Or you could just incorporate this into your Christmas workout.) Divide the dough, and add red food coloring to one half.

To shape the cookies, grab a small handful of each color of dough and roll each handful between your hands until you have about a 4-inch rope of each color. Press the ropes together and twist, then form into a candy cane shape. Put the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 9 minutes. This recipe makes about 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make them. Enjoy!