Chocolate Strawberry Tart with Macaroon Crust

tart slice tart

I made this rich tart for Passover, but it’s delicious all year long. If you make the pastry cream with the potato starch it is also gluten free. The coconut macaroon crust is covered with chocolate ganache, and then topped with pastry cream. I decorated the pastry cream with chocolate swirls and fresh strawberries. It’s something you’ll want to make the day before the feast, and then pop the strawberries on just before serving. It’s actually not too sweet, but it is rich! macaroom crust

Macaroon crust:

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

4 egg whites

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp vanilla

½ tsp almond extract

Coconut oil spray

Preheat oven to 300◦ Mix all ingredients well. Spray a tart pan well with the coconut oil, paying attention that the fluted edges get covered. (Alternatively, you can spread a thin layer of coconut oil on the pan),  Spread coconut mixture evenly on bottom and sides of tart pan. Cover edges with foil or a pie protector. Place in middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes until it begins to lightly brown. Edges will brown more. Cool completely on a rack while you make the ganache.

Ganache:

1 cup full-fat coconut milk

½ cup each good quality semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips

1 tsp coconut oil 1 tsp vanilla

1 Tb brandy

Heat cream in a saucepan until simmers but is not bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and coconut oil until they are completely melted. Stir in vanilla and brandy. Once ganache is completely smooth, let it cool until it’s warm. When crust has cooled to room temperature, use a spatula to smooth the ganache over it. Reserve a few tablespoons of the ganache for decorating the top of the tart. Let the tart cool on the counter, and then put in the refrigerator to harden. Meanwhile, make the pastry cream.

Pastry Cream: This is basically the same recipe I used for Valentine’s Tart, except it’s Kosher for passover using potato starch. (If you prefer to make it with flour and cornstarch, I put the equivalents here)

1/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar

1 1/2 Tb potato starch (OR use 2 Tb each flour and cornstarch)

4 large egg yolks

1 1/3 cup light coconut milk OR 1% milk

1 tsp vanilla

Whip sugar and egg yolks on high speed until light yellow. Add potato starch (or flour and cornstarch) and whip again. Heat milk in a medium saucepan until it just begins to simmer. With mixer on medium-low, slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture until it is well combined, and then put mixer on high speed. Pour it  back into the pot and cook over low-medium heat, whisking constantly while the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Strain the pastry cream into a clean glass or metal container Place parchment paper directly on the hot pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Let it cool on the counter.

When pastry cream is cool and the ganache has hardened, cover the ganache with the pastry cream, using a spatula. Place in the refrigerator to harden a bit.

Then heat the ganache again, adding a bit of cream to make it more liquid. Spoon designs onto the pastry cream, I attempted to make a swirl. Sprinkle with a little bit of the sweetened coconut. Refrigerate until solid. Cut strawberries in half and decorate the top.

Yams on the barbie

grilling yams

My friend Randi introduced me to grilled yams and they were delicious! I tossed mine with butter and cinnamon for a sweet fragrant richness and and they were a hit! Easy to make and a healthy side dish for your next barbecue party.

For each large red garnet yam, use 1 Tb melted butter and several shakes of cinnamon.

Select oval red garnet yams. Slice them about 1/2 inch crosswise (discard ends) and place in a bowl large enough to toss with the butter. Melt the butter and pour over yams. Sprinkle in cinnamon and toss until each yam is coated with butter and cinnamon.

Roast over a medium flame until soft. grill marks will show. Serve warm. I kept them in my oven in a metal bowl under low heat until the rest of the barbecue dishes were ready. They filled the kitchen with a delicious fragrance.

serving yams

 

Gluten-free Cornbread

???????????????????????????????To make gluten-free cornbread, I substituted masa harina, the corn flour used to make tortillas or tamales, for wheat flour in my cornbread recipe. The result was a fluffy textured cornbread which had a taste of tortillas. I added a bit more salt. You can put rosemary in it if you like.

Ingredients:

masa harinamasa harina

1 cup 1% milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup masa harina

¼ cup ground flax-seed

1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (about a one-inch sprig) optional

3/4  tsp salt

1 Tb sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup olive oil

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 425’

Add vinegar to milk and let it curdle while you mix the other ingredients.

Sift baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients and rosemary if using, and mix well.

Mix eggs with milk in a separate bowl, then stir in applesauce and oil until well mixed. Pour into dry ingredients. Mix with a large spoon only until ingredients are combined.

Spray an 8 inch square pan with olive oil spray. Pour in batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Delicious out of the pan, or use for making Low-fat cornbread sage stuffing with chestnuts and apples.

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Bright and Crunchy Kale/Broccoli/Carrot Salad

DSC03091I combined 3 popular salads: kale, broccoli and carrot, into one delicious and nutritious salad. Carrot and jicama add natural sweetness and a bit of crunch, Meyer lemon juice and cilantro brighten the flavor; and almonds give an added crunch.

Kale is quite tough and bitter, but a good massage will break down its cell walls. This cell damage frees the enzymes which break apart the bitter chemical compounds. You can even light candles and put on soothing music to relax the kale.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Broccoli Broccoli stems are very tender once you peel off the tough outer layer. Broccoli salads are made from grating these stems.

I made this with only one bunch of kale, which created a balance between the kale and the other vegetables. If you like your salad with more kale, add another bunch.

Serves 4

ingredients1 bunch Dinosaur kale (also known as Tuscan or Lacinato ), or curly kale ,stems discarded

3 large carrots, peeled

3 or 4 broccoli stems, peeled (use crowns for another purpose)

1 small jicama, peeled

2 Tb cilantro leaves, stems discarded

1/4 cup sliced raw almonds

Dressing:

2 Tb garlic-infused olive oil (or 2 Tb olive oil and 1 clove garlic)

¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)

¼  tsp salt to taste

2 Tb lemon juice (Meyer lemon is best)

If you don’t have garlic-infused olive oil, pour extra virgin olive oil into a teacup or ramekin with 1 clove garlic and microwave for 1 ½ minutes. Pour into a food processor with blade and run on high until garlic is minced.

Add tahini and salt to garlic olive oil. Run processor on high until dressing is emulsified. It will be  thick.

chop kaleStrip the leaves from kale and discard the stems. Chop leaves, rinse well in salad spinner and spin dry. Put in a medium bowl.

DSC03087Roughly squeeze and massage dressing into kale leaves with your hands for several minutes until kale shrinks to half its volume and becomes darker and silky.

Peel carrots, broccoli stems and jicama, then shred using the grater attachment to the food processor.

Add these vegetables and the lemon juice to the kale. Toss salad until the dressing coats it.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with almonds and cilantro leaves. Throw on some pomegranate seeds if they are in season.

Summer Rolls Gỏi Cuốn

 

Now that summer is officially here and we finally had a nice hot summer’s day, it’s time to make Vietamese style Summer Rolls. They are sometimes called Spring Rolls, although the Spring Rolls are often fried. Summer rolls are made with fresh, raw vegetables, with or without boiled shrimp. Gỏi Cuốn translates literally as salad rolls, which is pretty much what they are: a shrimp salad in a roll. I’ve always loved these for their burst of flavor from the fresh herbs inside heightened by the sweet spiciness of Hoisin (WHO-zjen) sauce and sweet chili sauce.

Cindy with shrimp rollMany thanks to chefs Cindy Hay (pictured above), Wyn Ha and Jenny Inpraseuth; my Southeast Asian colleagues who cheerfully and patiently taught me to make these.

Ingredients:

Asian ingredients are available at most Asian markets and Berkeley Bowl

You can make these Vegetarian/ Vegan with just salad ingredients or add fried tofu. 

Shrimp:

DSC00905About 2 cups of medium shrimp. If you buy shrimp in their shells, they make a lovely broth.

3 cups water

1 slice of fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic (use two when making tofu rolls)

1 tsp salt

Firm Tofu:

A slice about a quarter of the tofu in the container

Peanut-Hoisin dipping Sauce

Cindy told me that the sauce needs to have sweet, sour and salty flavors:

1/3 cup reduced shrimp broth. If making vegetarian, boil water with sliced garlic and ginger and 1/4 tsp salt

2 Tablespoons bottled Hoisin sauce (tương ăn phở)

2 Tb plus 1 tsp salted peanut butter (either smooth or crunchy)

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

1/4 tsp Siracha sauce or chili garlic paste (add more if you like it spicier)

juice from 1/2 lime

1 Tb chopped peanuts

Wrap:

1 package rice paper rounds (bánh tráng)

1 round cake pan or pie pan with warm water

Filling:

You can vary the salad ingredients, but always include mint, cilantro and basil leaves and rice noodles.

Rice vermicelli noodles (rice sticks)  size medium Bún Giang Tây.

1/3 cup cilantro leaves

1/3 cup mint leaves

1/3 cup Thai basil (you can substitute regular basil if you can’t find the more aromatic Thai basil)

4 – 6 green leaf leaves lettuce. Use the upper part of the leaves.

1/2 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and cut in thirds

1 large peeled carrot

2 Persian cucumbers (no need to peel) or 1 peeled pickling cucumber

1/4 peeled small jicama

1/4 red bell pepper

about 6 smap peas, julieened 

6 chives, chopped in thirds or 1 scallion, green parts only, sliced thinly and chopped 4 inches long.

You can make the shrimp and Hoisin dipping sauce ahead of time.

Shrimp filling:

Defrost shrimp overnight, or in a colander under cold running water for 7 minutes. While shrimp is defrosting, fill a small pot with 2 cups water and add 1 tsp of salt, ginger and garlic, and bring to a boil. Bring shrimp to boil, then boil over medium high heat for 3 minutes. Drain shrimp in a sieve over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Cool shrimp until you are able to handle them. Peel the shrimp and cut in half crosswise (so that each half has the shrimp shape).

Pour the liquid back into the pot. Return the shells, garlic and ginger into the reserved liquid. Boil uncovered for about 10 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup. Pour over a sieve into a bowl and set aside to cool.

Tofu filling:

tofu rolls and peanut sauce

Use firm or extra firm tofu. Cut about a slice about a quarter of the tofu in the container. Wrap it in a clean dish towel.

tofu-dishtowel-1

Place it on a cutting board, then place another cutting board on top. Weigh the top board down with a heavy frying pan with several bags of rice inside.

weighing tofu

After about 10 minutes, remove the tofu and unwrap it. Cut it into slabs, then halve them crosswise.

Heat a teaspoon or so of oil in a small frying pan and fry tofu. Use tongs to flip them. 

frying tofu

Let fried tofu drain on paper towels. Paint on one side with the peanut sauce:

painting tofu

Hoisin peanut dipping sauce:

peanut sauce

Stir 1/3 cup reduced shrimp broth with Hoisin sauce, coconut milk, peanut butter, and siracha in a small pot and heat over medium heat. Stir in lime juice. Pour into a ramiken or small serving bowl. Top with crushed peanuts.

If making vegetarian rolls, use water boiled for 15 minutes with 1/4 tsp salt, a slice of ginger and 2 cloves garlic instead of shrimp broth.

Prepare the noodles:

Boil 12 cups water in a a saucepan. Use about 31/2 oz  rice vermicelli noodles, also called rice sticks Bún Giang Tây (about 1/4 of a 14 oz package). Be sure they are size medium, not the very thin vermicelli.

rice sticks bun giang tay

Cook the noodles, uncovered, for 5 minutes in boiling water, stirring occasionally.

DSC00596Cool them by rinsing them in a sieve under cold water for 2 minutes. Stir and separate the noodles with a fork or chopstick so that they don’t clump up. Let them drain over a bowl.

Salad Filling:

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I use a special Asian vegetable shaver with a zigzag blade called a Kiwi Pro Slice Peeler to shave thin slices of carrots, cucumber and jicama. Rotate the vegetable as you shave it. Discard (or snack on) the cucumber core that has the seeds.

DSC00894Cut the vegetables very thin and small, Cut the bean sprouts in thirds so they don’t poke through the thin rice wrapper.

Assembly:

3 ladies rice paperSummer rolls are not too hard to make, but the trick is in rolling the sticky rice paper. It comes in a hard, almost plastic-like wafer.

I couldn’t believe it was the same thing as the soft wrapper. Magically it transforms when dipped in warm water. It softens and becomes thinner and pliable. If you dip it flat, it wants to curl up.

The trick is to hold it by the edges and rotate it through the water, then give it a quick dip in the water to wet the middle.  The whole process should take about 5 seconds. If it stays too long in the water it will become too thin and tear easily, and stick to itself. If it’s too stiff the wrapper will be too chewy. It will soften on the plate as you add the veggies so that it will be thin and flexible.dipping rice paper

Place the rice paper on a damp plate. It will soften within seconds.DSC00601Put a lettuce leaf and a tablespoon of noodles first to add a cushion for the vegetables.

DSC00625Then add a few vegetables, and a few mint, basil and cilantro leaves. Avoid over-stuffing the roll. I got excited by all the wonderful ingredients and wanted to add it all in as much as possible. My rolls became bulky and torn. Moderation in all things I remind myself.

rollingRoll wrapper halfway, and then fold left and right sides over the filling. Lay 3 shrimp halves, cut side up, with a few basil, cilantro and mint leaves along the edge of the cylinder.

If using tofu, place three pieces, sauce side down with the herbs

Finish rolling up the summer roll. Cut it in half crosswise to look prettier.

shirmp on roll

Dip your summer roll in Hoisin Peanut Sauce or sweet chili sauce.

 

 

 

Low-fat cornbread and chestnut stuffing

This fragrant stuffing uses less bread than traditional stuffing, and uses only  2 Tb olive oil and 1/2 cube butter.

You can make a gluten-free stuffing using my recipe for gluten-free cornbread. You can also make this a vegetarian recipe by using vegetable broth or mushroom broth and either skip the turkey sausage or use a vegetarian sausage.

Stuff your turkey, then bake the rest in a casserole dish. Because I brine my turkey, I only add salt to the stuffing that I bake separately.

produce for stuffing

Ingredients

Half of an  8 × 8 pan of Rosemary-scented cornbread or gluten-free cornbread, cut into cubes to make about 4 cups. (This way you get to nosh on the cornbread before making the stuffing!) cube the cornbread 2 Tb olive oil, divided

½ pound turkey sausage without casings

½ cube (1/4 cup) butter (use only 2 Tb if adding sausage)

2 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)

2 cups chopped celery (use the inside stalks, reserving the outside ones to surround the roasting turkey)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, chopped (remove seeds and ribs)

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 Granny Smith apples, chopped

2 tsp rubbed sage

1 tsp minced fresh sage

3 Tb fresh thyme OR 2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp minced fresh rosemary

½ tsp (several grinds) black pepper

1 cup roasted chestnuts (shelled), sliced or crumbled (about 10 large chestnuts)

½  cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup pecan pieces

2 Tb dried cranberries

2 eggs

1 ½ cup turkey or chicken broth

½ to 1 tsp salt to taste (unless used for stuffing a brined turkey)

Make Turkey broth:

1 ½  cups water

turkey neck and giblets

1 onion, finely chopped

several stalks celery with leaves, cut up

1 clove garlic, minced

On Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving, boil turkey neck and giblets in water with celery and chopped onion and  garlic for an hour or more. Strain into a container and use to moisten this stuffing. (Reserve giblets if you like chopped giblets in your gravy.)

Briefly parboil, then roast chestnuts (be sure to cut them first so they don’t burst!) at 425′ for 15 minutes. Let cool, then shell them. I found it’s easier to scoop the meat out with a teaspoon.  (Or buy the precooked, shelled ones at Trader Joe’s if you don’t want to spend all that time peeling them.)

Make cornbread on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. You can also cube and roast the butternut squash on Wednesday:

If using turkey sausage, fry in a pan until browned and crumbly.

Heat another Tb oil and the butter in a large, heavy frying pan. Stir-fry onions, celery, bell pepper, mushrooms, apples, and garlic over medium heat until they soften. Add sausage if using, butternut squash, dried cranberries, pecans, chestnuts, parsley and herbs and heat a few minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the broth until warm. Beat the eggs and add  broth. Gently add to the cubed cornbread and other ingredients.

If not stuffing your turkey, bake in a  9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with olive oil at 350◦ for 45 minutes until the top is toasted. Alternatively, use the microwave since the oven’s got the turkey in it: 15 min should do it. You can finish it off in the oven for a crunchy top.

Hanukkah Latkes (potato pancakes)

On Hanukkah, Jews light a menorah for 8 nights and eat foods fried in oil to celebrate the miracle of the oil in the holy lamp lasting for 8 days. Some eat doughnuts, but I prefer latkes, fried potato pancakes. This is my mother’s recipe, but I added the onion on my friend Vivian’s suggestion.

Serves 4

4 cups raw grated Russet potatoes. Use 4 large or 5 medium

1 onion, grated

4 large eggs

2 Tb matzo meal

1 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups canola oil per frying pan

Peel potatoes and soak in water until ready to grate. Grate by hand or in a food processor. Place in a colander so that potatoes can drain their water, until rest of ingredients are mixed and oil is hot. Wrap the grated potatoes and onions in 3 layers of cheesecloth and tie the corners around a wooden spoon. Twist the bundle tightly to release the moisture.

Beat eggs well and add matzo meal and salt. Add drained potatoes and onions and stir well. You can add the potato starch at the bottom of the bowl of drained potato water.

Pour oil into a heavy frying pan, such as cast iron and put on medium high heat until it reaches 375′ (Keep oil between 365′ and 375′ during the frying process.)

Using a large slotted serving spoon and a large solid serving spoon, mold a spoonful of batter on the slotted spoon, squeezing down with the solid spoon. You will need to squeeze more water out of the potatoes toward the end of the frying. Gently place the latke in the hot oil.

Fry until golden brown, then flip over using the slotted spoon. Don’t crowd the pan, usually 3 or 4  latkes are good for a 9” pan. When latkes are golden brown on both sides, lift each one with the slotted spoon and let the oil drain back into the pan.

Place them on a rack over a cookie sheet. Put the rack in a low oven, about 275’. This will help the oil drain from the latkes and keep them warm and crispy until all the latkes are ready to serve.

Serve with applesauce. (Some people eat them with sour cream, but not in our family.)

Happy Hanukkah!