Rhubarb and Coconut Chia Pudding

Chia seeds and coconut make a perfect combination for a pudding. The fresh rhubarb we found at the Green City Market inspired this not too sweet dessert.

Very easy to make. Simply plan ahead as it needs resting time.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened organic coconut flakes “Let’s do…Organics”
  • 7oz unsweetened organic creamed coconut “Let’s do…Organics”
  • 3 stalks rhubarb
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Zest of 1/2 organic lemon
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Pinch of salt


Wash and trim the rhubarb stalks so there’s no green leaves. Discard the leaves it any. Cut the stalks in small even sized pieces. 


Cut the vanilla bean in half, and split each half so you can scrape the seeds. 


Place the rhubarb, honey and half a vanilla bean in a heavy saucepan on low heat and cover for about 10 minutes. 


Meanwhile place the creamed coconut in a large bowl. 


Add the hot water and the other half of the vanilla bean.


Whisk thoroughly to combine. 


Add the coconut flakes, salt and chia seeds. Mix well, cover and refrigerate about one hour or so.


Uncover the saucepan with the rhubarb and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Cover and continue to cook on low heat for another ten minutes. 


Transfer to a bowl, add the lemon zest, mix well, cover and refrigerate. 


Remove the bowls from the refrigerator when the chia seeds have set in the coconut mixture. 


Fill small jars by alternating chia/coconut preparation with the cooled rhubarb/honey/lemon mixture.  Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later tasting. 

Note: the longer you refrigerate the pudding, the  more set it will become. 

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Honey Crisp Tarte Tatin

This autumn the honey crisp apples from Michigan have been particular delicious. With their distinctive refreshing crisp and juicy texture and the perfect balance of sweet and tart taste, they are one of our favorite treats of the season.

IMG_2357.JPGAfter enjoying biting many of them for breakfast and afternoon snack, I had to test them for a traditional French dessert: la tarte Tatin. They turned out to be a perfect match. Hoping you enjoy trying them in the recipe below.

IMG_2210.JPGIngredients:
1-1,3 Kg or 2-2.5 lbs organic honey crisp apples
100g or 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
60 g or 4 Tbsp unsalted European butter
1 sheet of Dufour puff pastry (found in the frozen section at Wholefoods)
Extra flour for dusting.

Preheat oven to 425F

IMG_2237.JPGStart by prepping the apples. Cut them in quarters, core them and peel them.

IMG_2240.JPGThen cut each quarter in half and set aside.

IMG_2212.JPGMeanwhile place the butter, cut in small pieces, in a heavy 10″ cast iron pan.

IMG_2215.JPGMelt the butter on medium heat.

IMG_2217.JPGAdd the sugar at once to the melted butter.

IMG_2219.JPGMix gently with a wooden spatula.

IMG_2235.JPGThe butter and sugar will start caramelizing. Lower the heat to medium-low.

IMG_2241.JPGContinue cooking until the caramel turns a nice hazelnut brown color.

IMG_2242.JPGCarefully place the apple slices, inner side up, on top of the caramel. Be sure to keep your fingertips well above the burning hot caramel.

IMG_2245.JPGContinue arranging the slices nicely until the bottom of the pan is completely covered.

IMG_2248.JPGThen fit the remaining slices on top, in between the bottom slices, inner side facing down.

IMG_2261.JPGKeep cooking about 20 minutes, until the apples soften gently and the caramel bubbles through the apples. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

IMG_2266.JPGRemove the frozen puff pastry from the refrigerator (I defrost it overnight in the refrigerator)

IMG_2267.JPGPlace it on a flour dusted surface.

IMG_2269.JPGUnfold gently and discard paper, while dusting with flour to prevent stickiness.

IMG_2272.JPGUsing light strokes, brush off the excess flour.

IMG_2273.JPGRoll out the dough into a larger rectangle.

IMG_2274.JPGPlace a 10″-plate in the center to use as a pattern and cut around.

IMG_2275.JPGUsing a knife, cut 1 to 2 cm around the plate.

IMG_2279.JPGRoll the dough onto the rolling pin. Use a pastry scraper if the dough sticks to the surface.

IMG_2282.JPGRoll it out over the apples onto the pan. If the pan is too hot, set it aside until it is cool enough to handle.

IMG_2284-0.JPGThe puff pastry will overhang over the sides of the pan.

IMG_2288.JPGTuck in the dough between the apples and the sides of the pan by lifting it with one hand on one side….

IMG_2290.JPG…and tucking it with the other hand.

IMG_2293.JPGContinue all the way around until the apples are completely covered. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

IMG_2303.JPGWhen the top is golden brown, remove the pan from the oven and let it cool about 10 minutes.

IMG_2311.JPGPull a serving dish slightly larger than the 10″ pan.

IMG_2314.JPGPlace the pan on top of a folded kitchen towel so that both ends of the towel overextend on either side of the pan.

IMG_2315.JPGReverse the serving dish so it fits on top of the pan.

IMG_2317.JPGHold the towel around firmly with both hands.

IMG_2319.JPGWith a firm and rapid movement, flip the pan on top and the serving dish on bottom.

IMG_2326.JPGLift the pan away from the serving dish. Some of the apple pieces will have fallen out of place.

IMG_2338.JPGJust set them back where they belong. You can enjoy with ice cream, crème fraiche or whipped cream with a extra drizzle of salted caramel sauce (posted January 11 2014).

Sweet Potato Banana Muffins

Delicious, moist, tasty and healthy muffins that are gluten-free and dairy free. This recipe is adapted from mon amour’s sister, Catherine, who made these the last time she visited us. What a treat! Merci.
IMG_1570.JPGSharing this family recipe with all of you to enjoy.
IMG_1468.JPGIngredients:
2 cups almond flour
1 cup sweet potato, baked and mashed
2 bananas
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/2 cup honey
raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts as you wish

Preheat the oven at 350F.
IMG_1469.JPGPlace the dry ingredients in a bowl: almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix together thoroughly.

IMG_1472.JPGAdd the walnuts, dried fruits and chia seeds.

IMG_1475.JPGMix well together.

IMG_1479.JPGPeel the baked sweet potato and reserve the flesh.

IMG_1481.JPGPlace the bananas and sweet potato in a separate bowl and mash them with a fork.

IMG_1487.JPGAdd the mashed sweet potato and banana to the mixture.

IMG_1488.JPGMix thoroughly…

IMG_1492.JPG…until the ingredients are fully incorporated.

IMG_1496.JPGPlace the oil and honey together in another separate bowl.

IMG_1497.JPGWhisk until fully combined.  The mixture should be filled with little bubbles.

IMG_1508.JPGAdd the honey and oil to the previous mixture.

IMG_1512.JPGMix well until fully incorporated.

IMG_1513.JPGOil the bottom and sides of medium size muffin pans.

IMG_1517.JPGFill the muffin pans close to the top.

IMG_1531.JPGBake for about 25-30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Homemade Granola

As much as I grew up starting the day with a bowl of Chocolate Chaud and Tartines of French bread (not toasted) with butter and lavender honey or homemade jams, I love my American breakfast: granola.20140523-154704-56824770.jpgI particularly enjoy making it because I only include the ingredients I want, and none of the ones I do not want, such as considerable amounts of sugar and oil which are present in most store bought, packaged or bulk, granola. I typically make it with gluten free oats, gluten free old fashioned rolled oats from Bob’s Red Mill, but you can use regular rolled oats if gluten is not an issue for you.  Just be sure they are not instant or quick cooking oats. Finally, I serve mine with almond milk.  Be sure to select the unflavored, original kind that is unsweetened. Whenever ingredients include ‘natural flavor’ or ‘natural flavoring’, often to impart a vanilla flavor, that is synonymous of ‘castoreum’ (animal product), which is not one I want to be putting in my body.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup dried coconut
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 dates
  • 12 dried figs
  • 8 prunes
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F.

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Start by chopping the almonds and walnuts or pecans into smaller bites.20140523-160954-58194907.jpgCombine the oats, almonds, walnuts or pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl.

20140523-160955-58195263.jpgThe blackstrap molasses, honey, cinnamon and vanilla quantities are given as a guide.  Please adjust to your preference.
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Add the honey, blackstrap molasses, vanilla and cinnamon to the oat, nut and seed mixture.
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Mix thoroughly until well combined and not lumps remain.
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Spread on two cookie sheets so that the layer is not too thick, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
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Spread the sesame seeds and dried coconut on separate cookie sheets and bake the sesame seeds in the 350F oven for 3 to 4 minutes.
After the granola has been in the oven for 10 minutes, lower the oven to 225F, toss the granola on the cookie sheets and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Repeat tossing the granola every 10 minutes 4 or 5 times until the granola has reach your desired golden brown color.
Meanwhile, place the coconut in the 225F oven for 5 minutes, and toss every 5 minutes for a total of 15 minutes.
20140523-162356-59036046.jpg
Personally I like the sesame seeds and coconut lightly golden. You can keep baking them darker to exude a more intense flavor.
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You can use a bit more, or less ground flax seeds and chia seeds depending on your preference.
20140523-162355-59035683.jpg
Slice the dried figs, dates and prunes into small pieces.
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When the granola has baked to your desired golden color, set the cookie sheets on a cooling rack or trivet.
20140523-175903-64743447.jpg
Spread the dried fruits over the granola.
20140523-175903-64743858.jpgAdd the chia and ground flax seeds and mix to combine thoroughly.
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Place in a glass jar with a top and keep in a dark dry place (kitchen cupboard or pantry).
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Enjoy!

Parsley Root and Sweet Potato Chips

When I found parsley root at the Chicago Green City market I was very excited. It is rather uncommon and yet so simple to prepare and very delicious.

20140511-183236.jpgOne easy way to prepare and enjoy them is making root vegetable chips. Here, mixed with sweet potatoes. Each crispy, light, and tasty.

20140511-183632.jpgIngredients:
2 medium parsley roots
1 large sweet potato
Fresh dill (or other fresh herb such as parsley, chives…)
Olive oil to drizzle
Freshly ground sea salt
Preheat oven to 400F.

20140518-160335.jpg Peel each vegetable and clean thoroughly.

20140518-160420.jpgUsing a mandolin, a vegetable slicer, or a sharp chef knife, slice the parsley root evenly and paper thin.

20140518-160914.jpgIn the same way, slice the sweet potato.

20140518-160949.jpgPlace the parsley root slices in a bowl and drizzle a little olive oil. Toss thoroughly.

20140518-161023.jpgArrange on a cookie sheet in a single layer.

20140518-161056.jpgIn the same way, drizzle a little olive oil on the sweet potato slices.

20140518-161146.jpgArrange on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes on ‘convection bake’ setting depending on your oven.

20140518-161256.jpgRemove from the oven, sprinkle with freshly ground sea salt and freshly chopped herbs. Serve and enjoy!

Pampadelle from Ardèche

It has been a little while since my last post. I started a few other endeavors which have been absorbing a great part of my time. Luckily all in the culinary world. More on my developing ‘cuisine’ ventures soon.
This morning, while making breakfast, I decided to take the time to snap a few photos so I could share an old tradition my grandmother used to make for me: pampadelle.

20140320-220211.jpgI don’t believe anyone in France would know what Pampadelle is unless they are actually from Ardèche. It is simply a type of crêpe or flat pancake made with an egg, a little flour and some water or milk. Here’s the new version I prepared to rediscover my origins.

20140321-162817.jpg
Ingredients:
1 fresh farm egg
1 Tbsp amaranth flour (or all purpose)
1 Tbsp buckwheat flour (or all purpose)
2 Tbsp sliced almonds
3 Tbsp coconut milk
A few drops vanilla
A little maple syrup
A little grape seed oil

20140321-234521.jpgWhisk the egg with a few drops of vanilla until completely mixed.

20140321-234613.jpg
Add 3 tablespoons of coconut milk and thoroughly mix.

20140321-234659.jpgAdd the Amaranth and Buckwheat flours. Continue to mix.

20140321-234806.jpgAdd a generous tablespoon of sliced almonds and mix together.

20140321-234924.jpg
Heat a little grapeseed oil in a heavy bottom pan and pour the mixture, swirling the pan to make sure the batter coats the entire bottom of the pan.

20140321-235018.jpgCook on medium heat until the sides lift, or detach from the pan.

20140321-235152.jpg
Flip it to cook the other side briefly.

20140321-235300.jpgServe and top with a few additional sliced almonds and a little maple syrup.

Enjoy!

Hazelnut Praline Chocolates

Hazelnut praline chocolates are heavenly. A great gift for Valentine’s Day! I had recently made some hazelnut praline flans and had extra caramelized hazelnut praline. So, I decided to simply add some chocolate to make hazelnut praline chocolates. This recipe only made about a dozen, and they were gone in the blink of an eye.  So you may double or even triple the recipe.  Besides, the larger quantity you make, the easier it is to dip/coat the chocolates. And every one will be thankful you made more rather than less.

20140127-172055.jpgTempering chocolate is a very precise technique and it is imperative to follow the instructions.  If the chocolate rises above or cools below the indicated temperatures, you will have to start the whole tempering procedure over from the beginning. The technique described below is for dark chocolate.  The temperatures vary for milk or white chocolate.20140127-172322.jpgIngredients:

2 1/3 oz Caramelized hazelnut praline (see 9/2/13 post: hazelnut praline flan for Leslie)
2/3 oz Dark chocolate (70% minimum)
1 3/4 oz Dark chocolate for coating
Toasted chopped almonds

Equipment: a chocolate thermometer for tempering the chocolate and a chocolate dipping fork.
20140127-172413.jpgMelt the 2/3 oz of dark chocolate gently in a double-boiler.

20140127-172505.jpgWhen the chocolate is completely smooth, remove from the heat and add the caramelized hazelnut praline.

20140127-173559.jpgMix well until fully incorporated.

20140127-173637.jpgShape into small balls with the palm of your hands.  Place on a plate and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to harden.

20140127-173720.jpgChop the 1 3/4 oz chocolate for tempering in preparation of coating/dipping.

20140127-173837.jpgPlace in a double boiler and slowly melt the chocolate for tempering. Tempering is an important step to ensure that the finished chocolates hold their shape, do not smudge, and have a shiny finish.

20140127-173925.jpgMeanwhile, toast the almond in a hot oven for a few minutes. They should be only slightly toasted, not burnt.

20140127-173959.jpgChop the toasted almonds finely and reserve.

20140127-174056.jpgMeanwhile the chocolate temperature should reach 128-130F.  Remove the chocolate from the heat source a degree or two below the desired temperature as the chocolate temperature will keep rising from the heat stored in the saucepan.

Once the chocolate has reach 128-130F, let it cool at ambient temperature (do not refrigerate) till it cools down to 81-82F by stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  To hasten the process, you may use a large piece of unmelted chocolate to stir instead of a wooden spoon, or slowly add grated chocolate.

Once the temperature reaches 81-82F, place the chocolate back on the double boiler and slowly raise the temperature to 88-89F.

Now your chocolate is tempered and ready for coating/dipping.

20140127-174158.jpgTake the pralines out of the refrigerator. Use the blade of a knife or small icing spatula to coat one layer of chocolate on the bottom (flat side) of the pralines.

20140127-174259.jpgAdd about a tablespoon-full of chopped toasted almonds to the tempered chocolate. Mix well. Keep the temperature at 88-89F by periodically placing the chocolate back on the double boiler.

20140127-174338.jpgUsing a chocolate dipping fork, place the chocolate-layer flat face of the praline on the fork.

20140128-121502.jpgDip in the tempered chocolate and remove excess from the bottom by sliding the blade of a knife underneath.

20140128-121607.jpgPlace on a plate to set, sprinkling a few extra toasted chopped almonds.

20140128-121931.jpgEnjoy!