Monday, June 14, 2010

Foodie Fights Battle 7 - Cherry and Rye - Rye Scones with Cherries, Goat Cheese and Thyme

I've been waiting for a battle like this.  I have sidelined myself on past Foodie Fights battles due to lack of quality ingredients or know how, but this battle had my name all over it.  I love to bake, it's my creative outlet and I could not pass up a chance to compete in a baking battle.  I put my name on that list so fast it didn't know what hit it.  I crossed my fingers for days and what do you know I got in. 

I threw quite a few ideas around in my head when I saw the ingredients, but I wanted to try something a little out of my comfort zone.  Scones were an obvious choice for me because one, I have never made them before, and two, being a cousin of a biscuit they would be a challenge for me because I can not make a biscuit to save my life.  Man, let me tell you.  These babies right here would make Paula Deen cry.  The flavor profile is beautiful.  At first bite you get the scent and creaminess of the goat cheese, then a back note of thyme and the cherries come forward with the sweetness.  It is just sublime.  The only thing that would make these better for me is if I could manage to eat more than one of them.  Here is how it's done.

You will need Rye Flour, All Purpose Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Goat Cheese, Heavy Cream, Cherries, Sugar and Thyme. 

I happened to forget to add the sugar to mine but in my opinion they do not need it whatsoever.  They are perfectly sweet with the cherries alone.  Speaking of cherries, a very simple way to pit them is to pull them apart from where the stem is, they will split and the pit comes right out.

Combine the flours, salt, baking powder and thyme and give it a good whisk.  Add in your cream and goat cheese and mix it just to where it comes together.  Dry your cherries with a paper towel and coat them with a small amount of flour.  Add these into the mix and gently incorporate them.  Do not over work the dough, that is the key.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and press it into a flat circle.

Cut into pie pieces and brush with cream.  I could (should) have made eight pieces, but oh well.  If you make six they will be very big. 

Bake for 20 minutes at 350F/175C.  Bake an additional 10 minutes at 400F/200C.  When they are done they will be golden brown on the bottom and light golden brown on the top. 
Cool on a wire rack.
If you choose to make your scones smaller, the additional ten minutes may not be necessary.

The results are light and airy savory scones.  Go make them and don't forget to vote for me on Foodie Fights!

Rye Scones with Cherries, Goat Cheese and Thyme recipe adapted from
1 1/4 Cups Rye Flour
3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
1 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream plus additional for brushing
125 Grams Creamed Goat Cheese
20-25 Cherries, Pitted and Quartered
Preheat oven to 350F/175C.

Combine flours, salt, baking powder and thyme.  Whisk.
Add cream and goat cheese to flour mixture.

Combine until dough is just together, do not over mix!  

Pit cherries, dry with paper towels and toss with flour.  Add cherries to flour mixture and gently combine without over mixing.

Turn dough onto floured board and press into a flattened circle, thickness is up to you.
Cut dough into desired amount of pie pieces and brush with heavy cream.

If cut into 6 pieces, bake twenty minutes at 350F/175C and then an additional ten minutes at 400F/200C until golden brown.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
Additional baking time may not be necessary for smaller scones, bake accordingly.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

I had no intention of posting these because they did not turn out at all as expected.  These were supposed to be mock oreos.  They are not nor do they at all resemble oreos.  What they are in fact is an awesome, fast and super yummy chocolate sugar cookie.   With a 5 minute prep and a 9 minute bake there is no excuse not to make these if you need a cookie fix.  I've been putting peanut butter, oreo pudding or ice cream in the middles and making sandwiches out of them.  Then I take a nap.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies recipe credit pending
1 1/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Butter (125 Grams)
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 375F/190C

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Beat in butter and egg.
Roll dough into balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet 2 inches apart.

Bake 9 minutes.  Transfer cookies on parchment to a cooling rack.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Garlic Fridge Pickles

I love pickles.  If I had to choose three things to eat for the rest of my life, pickles would be number two.  Chocolate would be number one.  Number three would be my Mom's Thanksgiving in a Pan cause that shit is bangin.  And by the way Mom, you did not make that for me while I was there last summer and I will never forgive you.  Unless you make it next time, then I'll think about it.

Now if I was back home in the states, I would never bother making pickles.  But here in Norway, you have pretty much two choices.  Neither one of those choices are Claussen Halves so therefore I must make my own damn pickles.  Here is how it's done.

Cut up the cucumbers.  I used what in the states is called an 'English' cucumber.  The really long skinny ones.  If you want to use hothouse cucumbers for this by all means go for it.  You want to cut them about 1/4 inch thick, but you can go a bit thicker if you want them crunchier.  Using a mandolin is the easiest way to do this.  Once your cucumbers are sliced, smash up about 5 cloves (or more) of garlic and mix them together.  Set these aside.

Grab a saucepan and throw in your vinegar, water, sugar, salt, dill, red pepper, cilantro and peppercorns.  Heat this mixture until the sugar and salt dissolves and set it aside.

Grab two clean jars.  I just washed out two of the jars from the pickle museum in my fridge.  Divide the cucumbers and garlic between the two jars and then pour the vinegar mixture over them.  Close them up and pop them in the fridge for a minimum of two hours.  You will get the best results if they sit overnight.  Get creative with the spices and see what flavors you can come up with.  Go make pickles!

Garlic Fridge Pickles recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen
1 1/2 Cucumbers
5 Cloves of Garlic
1 Cup White Vinegar
1 Cup Water
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Dill
1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 Teaspoon Dried Cilantro
6 Whole Peppercorns

Slice the cucumbers 1/8 - 1/2 inch thick depending on how crunchy you want them.  Cut and smash the garlic and combine with the cucumbers.  Set aside.

Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, dill, red pepper flakes, cilantro and peppercorns in a saucepan.  Heat and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.  

Put cucumbers and garlic into two clean glass jars or whatever container you would like to use.  Pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers and put on the lids.  Refrigerate for at least two hours.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Falafel with Pita/Flat Bread

Falafel is becoming a staple at my house.  It's so easy to throw together, super healthy, full of protein and much cheaper than meat.   I like that it's so easily customizable and you can put almost anything into it.  Falafel can be eaten in lots of different ways as well.  Salads, pita, sandwiches, flat breads, it's really up to you.  You can even make burger night out of these things.  The kids won't notice and it's a good way to get veggies into them.  These are foolproof, so experiment and see what you can come up with.

Falafel adapted from Chow Vegan

1 Can Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 Red Onion, diced
2 Large Mushrooms, chopped
1/2 Red Pepper, chopped
5 Cloves of Garlic, minced or pressed
3 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
1 Tablespoon Dried Coriander
1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Juice of 1/2 Lemon

If you are going to bake the falafel, preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Oil a baking dish.   Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until crumbly and holds together when formed into a ball.  Lightly flatten and place in dish.  Bake 15 minutes, flip, bake 15 more minutes.

If frying, heat 3-4 Tablespoons of oil over medium high heat and fry 2 minutes per side.  Drain and cool.

Pita/Flat Bread recipe from Slashfood

1 Package Active Dry Yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 Cups Warm Water
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
3-4 Cups All Purpose Flour

Combine sugar, water, yeast.  Let it stand for 5 minutes or so until it's foamy.  Add in salt and 3 cups of flour.  Add in final cup of flour a bit at a time until the dough stays off the sides of the bowl and forms a ball.  Knead for 5 minutes.  Cover and rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 500F/250C or use your broiler.

Punch dough down and divide into equal pieces. Form pieces into balls. Cover and rest 15 minutes.  

To make pita bread:  Roll each dough ball 1/4 inch thick, place on rack in center of oven.  Bake 4-5 minutes until very puffy or broil 2 minutes on each side.  Place on rack to cool.

To make flatbread:  Press dough balls out into whatever shape, I don't bother rolling.  Put in a very hot pan (use cast iron if you have it!), cover cook 2 minutes per side.  Serve.

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