Monday, August 28, 2006

Cheese Straws

This is a spicy and savory cheddar pastry based cookie.
It's a staple when people come over and stays quite nicely in an airtight container.

Combine the dry ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 cups grated cheddar
1/2 tsp salt
1 or 2 ground up scotch bonnet peppers (optional...but certainly gives these the kick they need)
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup of butter (2 sticks)

Cut butter into dry mixture, until it's the consistency of large peas.

In a separate bowl, combine the following:

3 egg yolks
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp of cold water

Add the wet to the dry mixture, and gently mix.
Don't handle the dough too much, and don't kneed it.
Mix just until combined sprinking more water until the dough holds together.

Form a ball, and wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 375F.
Roll dough out into neat square, and cut into strips. I use a pizza cutter, but a knife works just as well. You can also cut into cookie shapes, but sometimes I just find that too tedious...and it requires handling the dough too much which makes it less flaky.

Place strips on ungreased cookie sheets or save yourself some washing and use parchment paper.
Bake at 375F for about 10 minutes or until the butter starts bubbing from the straws.
Turn the oven off, but leave the cheese straws in for another 10 minutes.
Cool on rack and store in airtight container.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Curried Goat

Take 3 or 4lbs goat, cut into cubes, and cover with curry powder.
Cut one and a half medium sized onions into nice medium sized chunks.
Add some corn oil to a skillet or dutch pot, and brown the meat with with some garlic and onions.

When the meat is browned and the onions are soft, add just enough water to cover the meat, and bring to a boil. Add fresh thyme,vegeta (my addition), some garam masala, ground cumin, some more curry, and some dried tamarind.
Stir, and lower heat to medium low.

Partially cover and forget about it for a couple of hours, only stirring occasionally as it simmers.

After a couple of hours, add chopped potatoes, and let it continue to simmer. check to make sure there's enough salt. Add more salt or vegeta. If it gets too dry looking, add some water and stir, bringing it to a boil, and then lowering the heat again.
Cook until meat is tender, and falls off the bone.
Serve with white rice and salad or roti

Strawberry Tarts

It's really not all that's just the pastry that most people have trouble with. It took me a long time to get pastry right. The key is to not handle it too much. This pastry recipe is the best I've found so far. It's adapted and changed just a little from a recipe that I found at LCBO Food & Drink.

First cut your fruit, and add some sugar, corn starch, a tiny bit of vanilla and cinnamon to the cut fruit. It should create a nice thick syrup with the fruits natural juices. I don't measure the amounts...sorry..

In a bowl combine: 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 3 tbsp sugar, about a tsp of baking power and mix well. Then add one cup of butter and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry mixture. When it's well mixed, meaning the butter is no longer in big chunks....

In a small bowl, beat 1 tsp of vanilla with one egg. Make a little well in the flour mixture adding sprinkles of water just until the dough holds together.

Roll out the dough on a well floured surface and use a medium sized round cutter. Or as my mama and Tetka do...use a big mouthed glass. That would be the Eastern European pastry cutter. Shot glasses for cookies, y'all.

Roll cut pieces out a little so that they fit into the tart tins. I saved mine from all the times I was too lazy to make the pastry myself. However, I ran out and had to improvise, by folding the fruit into little triangles. While you're doing this, preheat the oven to 350F.

Brush the triangles with beaten egg...and do it to the tarts too with the fruit in them, just brushing the edges. Nobody likes pasty pastry...right?

Bake until the edges are toasty brown.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


In the spirit of Candygenius, I'm posting the recipe for Homemade Marshmellows, that I got here.

Powdered sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Line the bottom and sides of a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with plastic wrap; oil and then generously dust bottom and sides with some powdered sugar (I added coconut to the bottom as well).

In large bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over the 1/2 cup cold water; let stand to soften.
In a large, heavy saucepan, cook sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and boil mixture approximately 4 to 5 minutes, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F or syrup reaches the firm-ball stage (when a small amount of syrup is dropped into very cold water, it forms a ball that holds its shape when pressed); immediately remove from heat.

Pour hot sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Beat mixture on high speed approximately 5 to 6 minutes or until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume.

In another large bowl with clean beaters, beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks; beat egg whites and vanilla into sugar mixture until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan; sift 1/4 cup powdered sugar evenly over top. Refrigerate marshmallow, uncovered, until firm (at least 3 hours).

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board; remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle top with 1/4 cup powdered sugar. With a large knife, trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly 1-inch cubes. NOTE: To cut into even 1-inch squares, use and ruler and toothpicks to mark it every 1 inch. Lightly grease the blade of your knife with vegetable shortening. Cutting down firmly with the full length of the blade, cut the marshmallow into 1-inch strips. Sift additional powdered sugar over the tops if necessary.

Store either, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator, or in an airtight container.

NOTE: For a delicious treat, coat marshmallow squares with melted chocolate.

No. But for real. I'm not a sweets lover, but this is a FANTASTIC dessert, with lots of potential. White chocolate, dark chocolate with coconut, substituting vanilla for a liquor..Grand Marnier or Bailey's for example.
I'll be making this again. It's only 12 hours after I made them, and there isn't one left in the house.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Pecan Raisin Swirls

These are good cookies. They're just a pain in the ass to make.
The dough smells delicious while you're making them though.
By the time I was done, I thought: "Eh, big deal...these aren't anything special for the work that goes into them" But they disappeared pretty quickly.

In a mixer at low speed, cream 1/2 cup butter with 1/2 cup sugar until just blended. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to low and add 1 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 tsp vanilla, pinch of salt and one egg. Beat just until blended, scraping bowl.

If the dough is crumbly, add dashes of water until it holds together, and shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for an hour...or if you're impatient like I am, put it in the freezer or 30 minutes, or until the dough is firm enough to handle...Meanwhile, in a chopper or food processor finely chop 1/2 cup of pecans, and set aside in bowl.

Do the same with 1/2 cup of raisins. Mix together raisins, pecans, 1/4 cup of honey, 1 tsp orange peel, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of butter (softened).

If you're like me, you bother the dough in the freezer every two minutes, and then impatiently pull it out of the freezer within 15 minutes and roll HALF of it out on wax paper to about 1/4 inch thickness. Do this in as even a rectangle as you can. Spred Half of the pecan/honey/raisin goo as evenly as possible, and then use the wax paper to help you roll it up.
Again with the cling wrap, and again in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F...the recipe says 375F but I learned the last time with recipes from this book.
350F is always safe. Slice to about 1/4 inch thick, and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until just browned and watch the bottoms. Next time (if there is a next time) I'll drop the temp on my oven to 325F. I'm pretty sure that these cookies would be great with any filling, from Apricot Jam to Nutella...actually, I might try Nutella with extra real ground nuts so that it doesn't run when it's baked.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pineapple Cheesecake

It's another pain in the ass, but worth it recipe!
This is one of those thick cheesecakes with the pastry up the sides.

1 1/4 cups of flour, 3/4 cups of softened butter, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 large egg yolk, grated peel of one lemon. In a bowl with mixer at low speed, beat all ingredients until well mixed. Shape dough into ball; wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Press once third of dough into bottom of 10" springform pan; keep remaining dough refrigerated.
Bake the crust for 8 minutes or until golden; cool on wire rack. Turn oven up to 450F.

While crust is cooling, in a large bowl, using mixer, mix together 5 8oz pkgs of cream cheese, 1 3/4 cups of sugar, 5 large eggs, 1/4 cup of milk, 3 tbsp flour, 2 large egg yolks, grated peel of one lemon until smooth.

Press remaining dough around the sides of the pan (as best you's not as easy as it looks) and then pour the cream cheese mixure up to about a 1/2 inch below where the crust stops.
Here's the real pain in the ass part:
Bake cheesecake 12 minutes. Turn down oven to 275F and bake for another 35 minutes longer. Turn off oven; let cheescake remain in the oven for another 30 minutes.

Cool cake on wire rack.
While it's cooling, open a can of pineapple (yeah..I'm lazy..what of it?) and pour into saucepan, when the juice comes to a boil, stir in one package of gelatin until disolved. Put it in the fridge until it starts to set, and then pour it on top of the cake.