Posts Tagged ‘Food Art’

Peppermint Patties

From Dish Paige!:

I’ve been on a real sweets kick lately. For the Super Bowl, I decided to forego the traditional savory, cheese-covered snack and made Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip (do it for your next party, you will not regret it!) but that wasn’t enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, so I kept searching recipes for something else. Using Tastespotting, FoodGawker, and the food board on Pinterest, I peered into the deepest depths of the internet, looking for inspiration (then I got really hungry and had to stop for a sandwich). Finally, I found my recipe. Cornsyrup? YUP! Powdered sugar? YUP! Chocolate! YESSSSSSSSSS! Homemade peppermint patties? OH YEAH!


2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine 2 1/4 cups of the powdered sugar with corn syrup, water, peppermint extract, shortening and a pinch of salt and mix until just combined. Sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and knead the mixture in the bowl until the mixture is smooth.

Roll out the dough between sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap sprinkled with powdered sugar until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Freeze for about 15 minutes, or until firm.
Remove the top sheet of paper, sprinkle with a little more powdered sugar and then cut the dough into 1-inch circles. Lay the circles out on a cookie sheet and freeze one more time for about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 3/4 of the chocolate over a double boiler, and then stir in the final 1/4 off the heat.
Dip the frozen rounds, one at a time, in the melted chocolate, transfer back to the parchment/plastic lined cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm.

(original recipe here)

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From Dish Jodi:

Despite the 100 degree days last week, it’s the end of summer here in LA, and the farmer’s market stands are piled high with stone fruit. The bag of plums and peaches were burning a hole in my fruit bowl…I had to get rid of them somehow.

I decided on one of my favorite desserts, Plum Tarte Tatin…super easy, but super impressive when your guests see that shiny jeweled top. Here’s my favorite recipe, with a hat tip to The Greatest of All Time: Ina Garten.

6 T of butter, plus some to grease the pan
8-10 plums – depending on size, halved.
1 3/4 C sugar
2 Extra Large Eggs
1/3 C greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 tsp Lemon zest
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 and butter a 9-inch glass pie dish or equivalent. Arrange the plums cut side down in a pretty pattern.

In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of water over high heat until it turns a warm amber color. Don’t stir the pan, only swirl if you can’t help yourself. This will probably take about 10 minutes but don’t leave it unwatched. Burnt sugar can creep up on you. Pour the caramel over the plums in the dish.

Meanwhile, cream the butter and remaining sugar in a mixer, until light and fluffy. Then add eggs, one at a time, then yogurt, zest and vanilla. Soft together flour, baking powder and salt and add to mixture, mix gently just until combined. Spread this batter over the plums and bake for about 40 minutes. You might want to put a sheet pan underneath in your oven to catch any gooey plummy drips.

Bake til a cake tester comes out clean, then let cool for 10 minute or so. Invert the cake onto a platter and plop in any plums that come dislodged.

Best served warm or at room temp, the day you make it.

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From Dish Amelia:

Last week I got a voicemail from my dad, who was visiting family in North Carolina, “Hey, Mee-Mah, I need your mailing address again, I’m gonna mail you a small box though the U.S. Post…The uh…American Postal Service. K? Thanks.” What arrived was a seasonal treasure from the south, three perfect peaches and two bags of an Item I had to google. Turns out they were green and black Muscadine grapes, a gigantic and extremely flavorful grape with a thick skin. Thanks Dad – good timing!

I am fully aware that I made Concord grape sorbet in my last post but I have recently committed to an intensive grape immersion program, so this is what you get. These are not your average grapes so I wanted to make unconventional grape things, and I wanted more practice with yeast and gelatin, the original shape-shifters.

The panna cotta is elegant and interesting, fruity and creamy, both refreshing and satisfying at the same time. The focaccia is familiar but different: a sweet and savory snack.

Grape Prep Meditation: If you didn’t do this, you would just eat them and ignore all the following business.

Wash them. They are effing huge. Remove the skins. This is pretty easily done by squeezing them. They just slip out. Set skins aside. I divided them by color, but without skins I couldn’t discern a difference in flavor. Remove and discard the seeds – this is best done with more squeezing. Do all this over a bowl or container so you retain the juice. Chop up some of the skins and put in a saucepan with a little sugar. Cook a bit until they are more tender and fragrant.

Both recipes adapted from Gourmet Magazine. (January 2001 & September 2006).

For Panna Cotta:

1 tsp unflavored gelatin (powder)
1 cup reserved grape juice
1 T lemon juice
1 cup of grape globs, sliced
1 T Calvados
8 oiled ramekins

In a saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup juice. Let soften and then bring to a simmer. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from head and add rest of juice, Calvados, lemon juice, grapes and a few chopped purple skins. Pour into bottoms of ramenkins and place in freezer 40 minutes to set.

Panna Cotta:
2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp molasses
2 cups lowfat greek yogurt
1 T Calvados
pinch salt

Stir together gelatin and 1/4 cup half and half in a clean saucepan to soften. Bring to a simmer and stir until gelatin is dissolved and add remaining half and half, brown sugar, and molasses and stir until sugar is dissolved. Whisk together yogurt, Calvados and salt and whisk into sugar mixture. Pour gently into ramekins (with set gelee) and cover. Chill in fridge 8 hours. To unmold, run a knife around the edge, dip bottom of ramekin in hot water for 6 seconds, and either invert plate over ramekin and turn rightside up, or stick a small spoon or knife along side, aim, and pull just a bit to release the vacuum, without damaging the form. Plop. Or use more oil on ramekins next time, darn it.

For Focaccia:

1 packet active dry yeast, (or .6 oz fresh yeast – which is what I used)
2 T dry sherry
1 T honey
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/2- 3 cups AP flour
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups drained grape globs and some skins
1/2 cup sugar
Kosher salt and pepper
a handful of chopped rosemary
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

Make starter:
Stir together yeast, sherry, honey, and warm water in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes until yeast is bubbly. Stir in 1 cup flour and cover with kitchen towel until doubled in bulk (40 min.).

Make Dough:
In mixer with dough hook, add starter, 1 1/2 cups flour, oil, and some salt and pepper. Knead on machine until sticky dough forms, adding about a 1/4 cup more flour until dough is more smooth and elastic. (5 min.) Place dough ball into large oiled bowl, turning to coat, with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel over it and set it near the stove to rise about an hour.

Make Focaccia:
Oil a half sheet tray. Turn out dough onto floured surface and divide in half. Roll out one ball into a rectangle that would cover the tray.

Stretch dough onto tray and scatter with half the grapes, skins, rosemary, onions, 1/4 cup sugar and liberal pinch of salt and grind of pepper. Roll out second dough ball and lay on top of first. Create Jackson Pollock #II. Make sure doughs are pinched together, cover and let rise a bit more. (1 Hour).

Preheat oven to 400 and bake focaccia on middle rack for about 45 minutes until golden all over and firm in center. You can lift up the whole thing out of the tray and transfer to a different tray to cool. I sprayed it with olive oil and sprinkled a bit more salt and sugar over the top, and cut it with kitchen shears.

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From Dish Danielle:

It’s summer in New York and the greenmarket is brimming with bright poppy produce: scapes, snap peas, squash blossoms, strawberries, edible flowers, and bushels of zesty herbs like whoa. Each seasonal item has a bold personality all its own– so bring them home and into your kitchen and let the fun begin. It’s time to start PLAYING with your food.

A dozen squash blossoms, rinsed clean
1 c ricotta cheese
2 tbsp grated parm
1 scape, diced fine
2 poblano chili’s
1 tsp lemon zest
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
½ c flour
¾ seltzer

Squash blossoms are just beautiful. They’re hearty and structured yet soft & delicate. I wanted to wear them in my hair. I wanted to wear them as earrings. They didn’t seem to mind my attempts to create wacky accessories rather than fabulous hors d’oeuvres, but once I started to get hungry, I refocused and created some delicious dinner party snacks:

Start by roasting the heck out of the poblanos. Literally place them over a flame on your stovetop and let them blacken. Using tongs, turn them every 90 seconds or so until their completely charred. Place them into a bowl with a cover to allow their skin to ‘sweat’ off. Once they’ve cooled, rinse their skin off by placing them under the faucet and using your hands to remove the stubborn pieces of skin. Dice them fine and set aside.

Now take your scapes and saute them off briefly in some olive oil. Their flavor is super strong so this will mellow their bite just a touch.

Now compose the filling: In a bowl, mix the ricotta, parm, saute’d scapes, ¾ of the poblano’s, lemon juice, lemon zest, and s&p. Taste. Add the remaining poblano’s if needed, and balance with add’l s&p and/or lemon juice.

If you have a pastry bag, I recommend using one to pipe the filling into the flowers. If not, carefully spoon the filling into the blossoms and twist the ends of the flowers to seal them shut.

The batter: Mix the flour, seltzer and a pinch of salt. Heat a ½ inch of veggie oil in a skillet over med-high heat. While the oil is warming carefully dredge the blossoms through the batter. Place a paper towel covered plate beside the skillet so you can drain a bit of the oil off once they’ve been fried.

Once the oil is hot, fry your blossoms off in batches to finish. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice and a pinch of salt a top the hot fritters. Arrange on a pretty platter and serve immediately.

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From Dish Paige!:

One of the great things about living in my neighborhood is that if you want to make anything with a South or Central American flair, the ingredients are usually no further away than the nearest bodega. This weekend, I decided to take a lazy Sunday and turn it into Cooking Sunday!!!!


For the braised beef:
1 lb beef short ribs cut flanken-style
1 big hunk of beef chuck
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
tons of fresh ground black pepper
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 carton beef stock (or your own if you have)
olive oil

For the tamales
12 corn husks
1 1/2 cups masa harina aka “instant masa”
1 cup water
3/4 cup olive oil


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour some olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven and heat over medium-high on the stove. Add in the short ribs, and sear on both sides until brown then remove and set aside. Combine the paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, flour, salt and pepper and dredge the big hunk of beef in it (be sure to wash and then dry the meat before dredging it in the flour).

Add to the Dutch oven and again sear on all sides until brown and remove. Add in the onions, carrots and garlic to the pot and stir, cooking until the onions are soft. Add in the can of tomatoes and the beef stock and then add back in all of your meat. Put the cover on, and place in the oven and cook for about 3 hours or until the meat is able to be pulled apart with a fork.

Right after you put the beef in the oven, put the corn husks in a bowl and cover with warm water and let sit for the 3 or so hours the beef is braising – you might want to put a plate on top of them so they stay submerged.

Eat a snack. Watch a movie. Tackle a small organization project. Crochet a scarf for your pet. Anything that will take your mind off of the amazing smell that will begin to waft out of your kitchen.

After about 3 hours, take the beef out of the oven. Remove the short ribs and the beef chuck and pull the meat apart with 2 forks. Before I put the meat back into the sauce, I whirred the sauce with my immersion blender because I’ll take any excuse to use it, but I don’t think that part is necessarily necessary. Anyway, put the meat back into the sauce and simmer on low heat.

Next you’re going to get ready to assemble the tamales. Combine the masa, water, olive oil and a bit of salt and mix with your hands until it forms a dough. Take 1 corn husk out of the water and pat dry on paper towels. tear off a thin strip on one side and reserve – you will use this to tie up the tamale when you’re done stuffing it. Place about 2 tablespoons of the masa mixture in the center of the corn husk…

and then put a nice big heaping teaspoon of the braised beef/sauce on top.

Fold the sides of the corn husk over each other so they overlap a little bit. Then take both ends and fold them up on top of each other, and tie with the piece you tore off in the beginning.

Repeat! Repeat!

Place the tamales in whatever contraption you use to steam things on the stove top, and steam them for about 45 minutes.

Open a cerveza, eat the tamales and enjoy!

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From Dish Amelia:

Dish Danielle and I made these wonderful red chile pork tamales last month for our New Mexican dinner party. They are totally traditional, except perhaps for their petite size and dressy styling. New Mexican tamales are steamed in a corn husk, and are usually filled with some combination of the region’s very particular kind of red or green chile, and either meat (pork or chicken) or cheese. They are best for a party or to keep in the freezer; since you can’t really make one or two of them, you have to make a whole batch. It is also a wonderful excuse to use lard, which is one of my favorite ingredients, as it performs like nothing else.

For the Masa:

Masa is the dough that envelopes the filling, and is a made with fine cornmeal that has been treated with lime (calcium hydroxide, the mineral). The cornmeal/lime is called Nixtamal and is sold at Mexican grocery stores. The brand I used is Maseca, and I basically make the dough that is on the side of the bag. This recipe makes about 16 large tamales or 30 party size tamales.

2 cups Nixtamal
some stock or water (have a cup on hand)
corn husks (for each tamale you are making) – they sell these also at Mexican groceries. Gently separate them and submerge in a casserole dish of warm water, and weigh it down with the lid of a pot. They are ready when they are translucent and pliable. I also cut skinny strips to use as ties.
a bowl of red chile pork (thank you Dish Danielle) or I also like to use grated gruyere with strips of roasted, seeded and peeled poblano or NM green chiles. Whatever the filling, it can’t be too soupy.
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup lard (or Crisco, if you must). Use the best you can find-refrigerated or frozen, I bought mine frozen at the fancy butcher. Don’t use the shelf stable variety, that is just frightening.

Mix dry together in a bowl. Add stock and use your hands to combine, until it forms a soft moist dough. It will smell amazing.

Beat lard in a mixer till fluffy, and add dough mixture until incorporated and has a spongy texture.

Using a spoon, put a lump of masa in a husk. With the back of the spoon smear the masa evenly, so it coats the husk. Be careful not to lay it on too thick, because you want these tamales to be delicate and a good proportion of meat to dough, not just thick steamed corncakes.

Once you tuck the meat inside, put a dab more dough and roll the tamale in your hand, all the dough will stick to itself. Really it doesn’t feel like anything else. Make sure it is neatly encased and either fold the husk over (for a large size tamale) or tie the ends (party size tamales).

When you have made them all, put them in the freezer for later use or layer them in a large pot with a steamer basket. They will need to steam for about an hour. Keep checking on the water to make sure there still is some. When they are done they should feel firm. When you serve them, discard all husk parts. Seriously, east coasters, do not eat this part! I feel like someone always tries to…

Wash down with New Mexican beer!

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Welcome Guest Dish Corey! She comes to us by way of Dish Jodi, who says:

LA and NY are covered, so today we have a guest post from the middle of the country. Saucy Dish Corey is from Chicagoland, and is an uber-mom to her little Teacups Dylan and Devyn. She keeps track of the meals she makes on her own blog – Family Fresh Meals – and today shares one of the insanely adorable Bento Boxes that Dylan and Devyn get to devour for lunch. Seriously guys, these boxes are so adorable, go check out more of them on her site.

Why I do what I do:
Jamie Oliver launched a show in 2010 called Food Revolution. Although my family usually ate healthy most days, I realized how much processed food we were eating out of convenience. After watching the show, I started looking at labels, and was horrified by how many “mystery” ingredients were in our convenient foods. The one that shocked me the most was our instant pancake mix…. the kind you add water to and shake. There were literally 30 ingredients. I couldn’t even pronounce 20 of them! Aren’t pancakes made from flour, eggs, baking powder and milk? Needless to say, the Food Revolution started a movement in my home to try some new Family Fresh meals every week. I call my meals “family fresh” because 90% of the meals are approved by my 2 children. We also try to make these meals together, to teach the whole family the importance of fresh cooking. I started my blog to share my love of cooking with fresh, fun ingredients, in hopes that others will try some family fresh meal cooking too. 🙂

What you will need:
– hard boiled egg
– black sesame seeds (just 2 for the eyes)
– broccoli slaw (make it from scratch or try Trader Joe’s bagged version)
– fruit leather
– apple
– orange
– colorful fruit snacks (I love Annie’s Homegrown bunnies)
– cookies (used Trader Joe Joe Joe’s for this bento)

1. I find it easiest to prep all your food before laying it into the bento box. Start by peeling the hard boiled egg. Carefully cut a zig-zag cap off of the top of the egg, leaving the yoke intact. Set your egg aside.

2. Next, lay out your fruit leather. I used a small flower shaped cookie cutter to cut the flowers. Any shape cutter you have will be fun. If you do not have any cutters, just cut out triangles or squares. The idea is to add color and sweetness to your bento.

3. Now lets make your fruit look pretty! Cut your apple in to slices. Remove any core. Then, with a knife, cut angles off the top of your apple. This will give it a tulip appearance.

4. Next, peel your orange and make angle cuts. This will make cute little orange triangles

5. Now its time to make the bento. First lay a bed of broccoli slaw in your main bento compartment. Place your hard boiled egg chick in the middle and add the sesame seed eyes and a piece of carrot from your broccoli slaw mix for the nose. Sprinkle your fruit leather cut-outs around the chick. Lastly, lay out your fruit, cookies and fruit snacks in your secondary compartments.


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