Dark Chocolate Salted Truffle Cookies

January 31, 2014

  • 6 oz by weight unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 ¼ C semi-sweet or dark chocolate (I used semi-sweet)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅓ C lard, butter or palm shortening, softened but not liquid (I used butter)
  • ¾ C maple, date, palm or other granulated sugar (I used coconut)
  • 1 T vanilla
  • ¾ - 1 C almond flour
  • ¼ C dark chocolate/dutch process cocoa powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¼ t baking powder
  • coarse sea salt or pink salt for sprinkling
  1. Melt chocolate together into a smooth consistency, stirring constantly to prevent overcooking
  2. Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Note: if you'd like a more under-cooked brownie-like cookie, use ¾ C almond flour; if you prefer a thicker cake-like cookie, use 1 C. (I used a scant 1 C)
  3. Combine wet ingredients, except chocolate, by whisking until combined.
  4. Temper in melted chocolate by adding in about ¼ C and whisking.  Add another ¼ C of the warm chocolate and whisk again.  Then add the remaining melted chocolate.
  5. Slowly add in the dry ingredients, stirring on low until just incorporated -- final batter will be smooth and pliable.
  6. You may need to set your dough aside to chill for about 10 minutes in order to be able to shape into balls.
  7. Form tablespoon (or smaller) sized balls, sprinkle with salt then press semi-flat onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes, or until the center of the cookie begins to firm--will further harden as it rests.  Enjoy!

Turmeric Paste.

January 30, 2014

There are so many ways to use your turmeric paste. Too many to list. Remember that it has already been gently heated so you can use it cold straight out of the refrigerator in things that won't be heated. It's also nice to have it for hot meals.

On my blog I have the recipe for the turmeric paste, turmeric elixir, and golden milk.

Peppery Chicken Curry from my all time favorite indian cookbook (savoring the spice coast of india)

Ground Masala
  • 2 t coriander
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1¼ t black peppercorns
¾ t sea salt
¾ t turmeric paste
1½ pounds boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 T coconut oil
2 cups of thinly sliced onions
2 t minced garlic
2 t minced ginger
1 t minced serrano or Thai chili (I leave the seeds, but it's up to you)
¾ cup coconut milk
1 T Ghee
½ halved or broken cashews
½ a lemon
  1. Mix together and grind with a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle the masala. Add ¼ teaspoon of the salt and the turmeric paste. Rub the chicken pieces with this mixture and refrigerate for 1 hour ( you can skip the refrigeration step, but the extra flavor is worth the wait ).
  2. In a deep sauté pan ( I use a cast iron ) heat oil over med-high heat and sauté onions until they are medium brown. Add the garlic, ginger, and chilli and fry for 1 minute. Put in the chicken and remaining salt stirring frequently until the chicken loses it's pink. Stir in ¼ cup of water and ¼ coconut milk, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or so over low heat.
  3. Heat the ghee, sauté the cashews until golden brown. Set aside.
  4. When the chicken is cooked add the remaining coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Stir in the juice from the lemon half. Check seasoning. Garnish with cashews and serve over rice or veggies.

Backyard Lemons - Quick Preserved with Sea Salt

January 27, 2014

I've been looking forward to seeing all of you, and the pantry party is such an added bonus!  It always gives a boost to my daily cooking.  All those tasty little sauces, jams, spice mixes, and treats you provide add just the right zip and zing to anything we already have on the regular menu.  Those little extras take time and planning, so I rarely have anything like them on hand, but your gifts are typically the star of the show, adding so much interest.

A week or so ago, in my ongoing "lack of imagination for what to cook" doldrum, I was wondering what I could possibly conjure for the pantry party that would be up to par for such a lovely, talented group.  I'm not really ever hoping to impress, just send a little kitchen love to some of my favorite people!  My lingering question to the kitchen elves was answered one morning at school drop-off when my friend flagged me down in the parking lot, opened my car door, and put an overflowing crate of her lemons in my back seat.  I love lemons.  I hate expensive, wax-laden, store bought lemons.  A crate full of basically organic, juicy, seedless, thin-pithed, wax-free, backyard lemons...that's a whole lotta' kitchen love right there without doing anything to them (except providing a thorough scrub!)

  ​I've never preserved lemons before, but I wanted a quick method so you do not have to wait long to enjoy them.  I saw a Mark Bittman recipe in which he slices them, but he used sugar. Instead, I sliced, sea salted, covered them in their juice, and vacuum packed for 24 hours, then put them in your jars to sit out.  They should be ready to use.  Leave them on the counter if you want them softer/mellower as this variety is a bit bitter.  Store in the fridge to keep for a while.
They are very very very very very salty!  Use them to season foods and hold the salt otherwise.  You can rinse them if you want.
- Any of these recipes - citrus chicken and lemon basil semifreddo...http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2009/04/the-secret-ingredient-preserved-lemons-moroccan-recipes.html
- Cook with your grains or lentils to scent them with lemon.
 - Chop and add to -
Salad or salad dressing...try them in a Caesar dressing or an herbed vinaigrette...which would also be good over some crispy roasted potatoes
Grain salads...such as Quinoa Tabbouleh
Lentil and bean salads...try chickpeas or fava beans with onion, parsley, tomato
Veggies...grilled, steamed, or quick sauteed...maybe asparagus, broccoli, or green beans
Pasta....simple with olive oil, roasted garlic and maybe some grilled shrimp or chicken
Poached or grilled fish....wild salmon with capers
Dips and spreads...guacamole, hummus, salsas

Fingers crossed they came out right for you!
xoxo, Paula

Tonic Concentrate

January 2, 2014

The articles I read on Tonic said that Cinchona Bark was hard to find, but I found a good source that had it already ground and a reasonable price, Herbal Advantage. I also purchased the citric acid from here.

Before making this I didn't know that quinine was a muscle relaxer and fever reducer. I also had no idea that gin and tonics were used to prevent malaria.

I really love being able to control the amount of sweetness I add to a drink.

Tonic Concentrate (via Lottie and Doof via Tony Cecchini and the NYTimes )

4 cups water
1/4 cup (1 ounce/20 grams) cinchona bark, powdered (you can use a coffee grinder)
1/4 cup citric acid, also known as lemon salt
3 limes, only the peeled zests
3 lemons, only the peeled zests
1 grapefruit, only the peeled zests
1 cup chopped lemongrass (3-4 stalks)
9 whole allspice berries
6 whole cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lavender
3-4 cups rich simple syrup (I made mine from coconut sugar, but you can use turbinado sugar. by volume, two parts sugar to one of boiling water, stirred to dissolve)

In a covered saucepan, bring all ingredients except the simple syrup to a boil and reduce heat immediately; simmer on low for a half hour, then remove from heat and allow to cool fully. Transfer to a carafe or jar and chill for two days. Strain through a superfine chinois or cheesecloth, or by using a plunger press coffee maker. Return to the carafe and refrigerate for a day or two, allowing sediment to accumulate on bottom. When the layer of sediment seems stable, gently decant off the clearer liquid without disturbing the sediment “mud.” It should be about 3 cups at this point (I was closer to 2 1/2); add to this liquid an equal measure of simple syrup, mixing well. Funnel into a clean, capable bottle and refrigerate. Makes roughly 6 cups or 1.5 liters.