Saturday, January 5, 2013

Vanessa's Gingerbread "People"

This was a favorite family recipe in New Zealand.  This recipe makes about ten 10cm "people".  I've copied it exactly as we used it in New Zealand (except for changing "men" to "people").

1/2 cup (100ml) golden syrup
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
3 T butter
1 T milk
2 cups (280 g) flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground ginger

1.  Preheat oven to 180C and butter some pans

2.  Heat the golden syrup to boiling point and then add sugar, butter, and milk

3.  Mix the flour with the baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.   Add to the first mixture and blend well.  Add a few tablespoons of water, enough so that the dough holds together and handles easily.

4.  Roll or pat out the dough about 0.5cm thick.

5.  Cut into gingerbread "people" using special cookie cutters or a very sharp knife.'

6.  Bake for 5-7 minutes.

I couldn't find any photos of our gingerbread "people, 
so here is a photo of our 3 New Zealand real "people".

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

The first time I made this was December 2012 at our family reunion at the NC beach.  I found the recipe in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. My wonderful daughter typed up the recipe to include here.

1 1/2 cups flour
2 T freshly grated grapefruit zest (from 1-2 large grapefruits)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 T freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice - preferably from ruby red grapefruits
1/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt

2 T sugar
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 T freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
Pinch of salt

1. Heat the over to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

2. MAKE THE CAKE: In a large bowl, rub the grapefruit zest into the sugars with your fingertips. This will bruise it and help release as much grapefruit essence as possible. Whisk in the oil until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and whisk until combined. Scrape down the bowl.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a second bowl. In a liquid measuring cup, combine 2 T grapefruit juice and buttermilk. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures, alternating between them, to the oil-and-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

4. Spread the batter in the pan, smooth the top, and rap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

5. MAKE THE SYRUP: Combine 2 T sugar with 1/3 cup grapefruit juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

6. When the cake is finished, let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then invert it onto a rack set over a tray. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or toothpick, then spoon or brush the grapefruit syrup over the cake. Let the cake cool completely while it absorbs the syrup.

7. MAKE THE GLAZE: Combine the confectioners' sugar, grapefruit juice, and salt in a bowl, whisking until smooth. Pour the glaze over the top of cooled cake, and allow glaze to drizzle decoratively down the sides.

    Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas

    I love chickpeas but sometimes I get bored with hummus. This delicious recipe is from Ina Garten's newest cookbook, Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. It's very easy and delicious. It has a bit more texture than hummus and cooking the chickpeas briefly makes them meld together with the other ingredients really nicely.

    2 (15.5 ounces) cans chickpeas
    1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you want to make it vegetarian)
    3 T olive oil, plus extra for serving
    2 ripe medium size tomatoes, diced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (preferably freshly grated)
    3 T minced flat-leaf parsley
    2 T lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
    Grilled country bread for serving

    1. Pour the chickpeas into a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Drain well. Place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the chicken stock and pulse until chickpeas are coarsely chopped but not pureed.

    2. In a medium-sized saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and saute for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the chickpeas, stirring to combine with the tomatoes and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

    3. Take off the heat and stir in the parmesan, parsley, lemon juice and 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pile in a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve warm or at room temperature with shards of grilled country bread.

    NOTE: The flavors definitely develop if you make it in advance!