Gifts From My Kitchen – Smoky Ketchup

I bake about 4-5 loafs of bread every week. You are probably thinking, “How does she still fit in those jeans?”  Well, she doesn’t!

The truth of the matter is – my family barely finishes one loaf.  The rest goes to our friends and neighbors. I love offering gifts from my kitchen.

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Today’s gift is a collaboration project with the awesomest neighbor and his lovely wife.  They own a smoker, which is responsible for the exceptional flavor of our ketchup.

 

/The recipe was adopted from one of my absolute favorites, “Gifts Cooks Love” by Diane Morgan/

Smoky Ketchup

From While Chasing Kids | Condiments and Sauces | American

Say goodbye to Heinz! This homemade ketchup is a parade of flavors and is a great present for any kitchen: carnivore or vegetarian.
It could be stored in a fridge for up to 1 month.
Yields: 3 8-oz bottles

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Low cal Calories 42kcal

fat Free Total Fat 0g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

sodium Sodium 419mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 11g

Serving size 64g Calories from fat 0kcal Fiber 1g Protein 0g Sugar 9g
16 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, smoked
  • 2 x 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbs capers, drained
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 orange, strained
  • Juice of 1/2 grapefruit, strained
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground paprika

Directions

  1. Process tomatoes in a blender on high speed for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour processed tomatoes into a dutch oven.
  2. Process onion, garlic and capers in a blender until smooth for about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar, and process to incorporate for about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients, and process one more time for about 30 seconds.
  3. Pour the onion blend over the tomatoes and mix with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to boil on medium heat. Lower, the heat, and let steam for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until it reaches ketchup consistency; stirring occasionally.
  4. In the meantime, sterilize the bottles or let them go through a full dishwasher cycle.
  5. Using a funnel, ladle the ketchup into the bottles, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe the rims and secure the lids. Label, and refrigerate.

Tips

  • Could be refrigerated for up to 2 months.

For free canning labels and gift notes go here.

Special tools:

Quinoa salad

In Russia we say that the way to man’s heart goes through his stomach.  If that is true, the road to my husband’s heart is paved with vegetarian burritos, pizza, and this quinoa salad.

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It’s perfect for winters when all you see at the farmers markets are chard and kale.  It’s so hearty, it could be served as your main dish.  We use whatever there is in the fridge – I chop up fresh vegetables that we like to eat raw and top them with cooked ones (doesn’t matter hot or cold). Voilà!

If only I had Dave’s taste buds and didn’t crave a dessert after this….

A very healthy dinner or lunch idea – this salad is a meal on its own

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cal Calories 276kcal

High fat Total Fat 14g

Low sat-fat Saturated Fat 2g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

Low sodium Sodium 54mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 34g

Serving size 362g Calories from fat 126kcal Fiber 5g Protein 7g Sugar 7g
6 servings

Ingredients

  • salad
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rainbow quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 2 strings green onion
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 handful bean sprouts
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus
  • 2 tbs pine seeds
  • dressing
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Wash brown rice and quinoa. Place the grains in the rice cooker, cover with water, and cook until done.
  2. Chop all the vegetables and cilantro.
  3. Saute or steam the vegetables you want cooked until tender
  4. Once the rice-quinoa mixture is ready, open the lid of the rice cooker and let it cool for just about 5 minutes.
  5. Make the dressing. Whisk all the ingredients together.
  6. Combine all salad ingredients and toss with the dressing.

Tips

  • This salad has no limits! Don’t waste anything in your fridge. You can use your favorite veggies and fruit, sprinkle nuts or seeds over it, and dress with your favorite salad dressing!

Happy Holidays with Bûche de Noël

Happy New Year!!! С Новым Годом!!!

Even though NyQuil was my drink of choice (paired with some other less fortunate selections), the holiday celebrations still brought so much of that child-like excitement! Well, it helped having two little ones running around, going crazy about Santa, reindeer and Christmas lights!

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In December we baked so much, we probably went through a ton of butter… what wouldn’t one do to spread the holiday cheer? I decided to end the madness with this beautiful Bûche de Noël.  It’s so rich and creamy that after indulging in just one slice you would feel like you are ready to kick start those New Year resolutions and quit desserts for ever and ever (or at least a few weeks), as it’s hard to beat this amazingness.

/The recipe is adopted from Lisabeth Prueitt’s Tartine/

Print this recipe

BÛCHE DE NOËL

INGREDIENTS:

Sponge cake:

  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup cake flour, sifted twice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar

Buttercream:

  • 1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tbs granulated sugar
  • ½ cup egg whites
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup coffee, brewed at double strength

Meringue mushrooms:

  • ¼ cup + 1 tbs confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 pinch of cream of tartar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Coffee syrup:

  • ½ cup coffee, brewed at double strength
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Almond “Bark”

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 6 oz (170 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

Pistachio “Moss”

  • ¼ cup Pistachio nuts

DIRECTIONS:

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Preheat the oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C. Spray baking pan with borders with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.  Spray the paper with cooking spray.

Make the batter. Mix egg yolks and ½ cup of granulated sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on high speed until the foam is 3 times its original volume and falls in thick ribbons when the whisk is lifted.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

Place egg whites in a clean bowl and beat them with a clean whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy.  Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of granulated sugar and continue to whip until medium peaks form when the whisk is lifted.

Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture with a rubber spatula in 2 or 3 additions. Scatter all flour, vanilla, and salt over the batter and fold it just long enough to blend the flour evenly.

Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread gently with a spatula. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the top is golden brown and the edges star to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Make the roll. While the cake is baking, sift confectioners’ sugar over a clean flat-weave towel. When the cake is finished baking, insert it onto the sugar coated cloth.  Immediately remove the pan and parchment paper and, starting at a long edge, roll the cake into a log with the towel inside it.  Let cool completely.

Make the buttercream.

Cut the butter into 1 tbs chunks and set aside.

Combine the granulated sugar, egg whites, and salt in a small pan and cook on the lowest heat setting whisking constantly until the egg whites are hot to the touch (for about 4 minutes). Pour the mixture into a bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high speed until it becomes very stiff – for about 5 minutes.

Add butter 1 chunk at a time, beating on medium speed waiting for each piece to fully incorporate before adding another one. Add coffee and beat until all incorporated. Set aside.

Make ahead: you can make butter cream a few days before using.  Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature and beat with mixer till smooth before using.

Make meringue mushrooms. 

Preheat oven to 175°F (80°C).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift together confectioners’ sugar and flour, set aside. In a small bowl combine egg white and cream of tartar and beat with whisk attachment until the egg white holds soft peaks.  Slowly add granulated sugar and beat until very stiff.  Add flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula, working very quickly.  Place the mixture into a plastic bag, cut a little corner out and pipe out mushroom hats and legs to the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for at least 4 hours.

Make coffee syrup.

Combine coffee and sugar until sugar is dissolve.  Let cool before using.

Make “bark”.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Toast almonds in the oven for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple times with a wooden spoon. Place chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.  Heat up the cream to just before boiling and pour over the chocolate.  Wait a couple minutes before mixing everything until all chocolate is dissolved.  Mix in the almonds.  Refrigerate until the mixture thickens (for at least 15 minutes).

Make “moss”. 

Process pistachios in a coffee grinder until powdered.

Assemble the log.

Place the cake on a plastic wrap.  Apply the syrup with a brush.  Spread the butter cream over and gently roll into a log.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonally edges of the log.  Transfer it to the serving plate.  Add the edges to the sides of the log.  Apply the bark, and place mushrooms on top attaching the hats to the legs with a little bit of the “bark” cream.  Sift a little bit of “snow” confectioners’ sugar and chocolate powder on top.  Sprinkle moss over the log and around it.

Enjoy!

Salted Apple Pie

Why did this Russian mom, whose only thoughts about baseball are that the outfits could be a bit sexier and that Tim Lincecum is kind of cute…, why did this mom goto watch the World Series? Well, because her lovely neighbor Amie was bringing an apple pie.  Amie’s pie is to die for, and it has an ability to make any game a hundred times more exciting! Since I first tried one of her masterpieces, I was hooked!

My friend Kusum just brought beautiful red gold sea salt from Hawaii , and the idea of this slightly salted dessert was born.  Well, it wasn’t all that original – just google “salted apple pie” but I’m still very proud of the outcome!

So, our family drove to an apple orchard, picked some apples, and made this.

/Adopted from Martha Stewart Living and Cooking Channel

Print this recipe

SALTED APPLE PIE

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pea-size pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup ice water

FILLING

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • juice from 4 lemons
  • 6 medium to large sour apples
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar (castor, unrefined, large granule sugar)
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

TOPPING

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • raw sugar to sprinkle
  • sea salt flakes to sprinkle

DIRECTIONS:

Make the crust. Place 3/4 of the butter in the freezer for about 30 min, and keep the rest in the fridge. In a food processor combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add refrigerated butter, pulse about 10 times.  Add frozen butter, pulse again till the mixture resembles coarse meal, with some blueberry-size crumbs.

Add ice water, and immediately pulse until water is incorporated, about 10 more times. lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap, separate the dough in halves, and place each half on the plastic wraps.  Bring the edges of wraps together to gather dough.  Press into disks. Roll each disk (still in plastic) into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Refrigerate for at least 45 min.

Make the filling. In a medium sauce pan mix sugar and water and heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add butter and bring to a slow boil.  Continue cooking until the mixture turns golden brown.  Remove it from heat immediately and add cream, whisk the final mixture on low heat , sprinkle the sea salt, and let cool while preparing the apples.

Core, peel and cut apples using a mandoline.  Sprinkle with juice, sugar, and spices, and toss well. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

Assemble the pie. Roll each piece of the dough into a disk that can fit a 9-inch pie-pan.  Line the pan with the first disk.  Lay 1/3 of the apple mixture on the bottom and pour a layer of 1/3 of prepared caramel.  Repeat the layering two more times.

Cover the pie with the second disk, cutting it through for the air to escape any way you like, or cut the second disk into strips and make a lattice top like mine, pinch the edges together.

Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar and salt flakes.

Bake. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 375°F/190°C.  Reduce the heat to 350°F/175°C and bake for another 45 minutes.

Serve warm or cold with ice cream.

 

Russian Friday – Plushkas

If there was a CA (Carboholics Anonymous), I would have been a member. Perhaps I would have had a sponsor, who probably would have gotten a hundred calls from me today.  Alas, there was nobody to stop the vile addiction, and I was… oh, so naughty!!!! – white flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and the whole nine yards!

This Russian treat is called “Plushka”.  The dough is rich, the filling is simple, and your teatime is a guaranteed success!

Print this recipe

RUSSIAN PLUSHKAS

INGREDIENTS:

DOUGH

  • 8 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (divided)
  • 2 cups milk (lukewarm)
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 20 g active dry yeast
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 225 g butter, melted, brought to room temperature
  • ½ tsp salt

FILLING

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup of poppy seeds or cinnamon or raisins (btw, I usually get such things online – you save lots of money buying in bulk)

EGG-WASH

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbs water

Yields: about 24 buns

DIRECTIONS:

Make poolish: whisk 2 cups of flour with milk and sugar with yeast, cover and let raise for about 1 – 1,5 hours.  The poolish is ready after it reaches it’s peak height and drops.

Mix the dough: whisk eggs, sugar, salt, and butter together till everything is dissolved.  Add the mixture to the poolish.  Slowly add sifted flour.  Mix till all ingredients are incorporated.  Place the dough on a floured surface and knead (adding flour, if needed) till the dough stops sticking to your hands – for about 10 minutes.

Place into an lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rest for another hour.

Make the filling: mix sugar with poppy seeds or other ingredients on the list.  Set aside.

Make the plushkas: line a baking sheet with parchment paper and apply cooking spray.  Take enough dough for six plushkas.  Keep the rest of the dough in the mixing bowl, covered.

Separate the working dough into 6 balls (mine were a little smaller than tennis balls).  Roll each into a flat circle (about 4 mm thick) and apply a filling on top of it, staying away from the edges.

Roll the circle into cylinder (like a sushi roll).    Take the edges of the cylinder, and press them together in the center of the roll.  Turn it around, the edge seam side down, and place on the baking sheet.  With a sharp knife cut the new edge in half, stopping about 5 mm away from the center. Spread the cut into a heart-shaped opening.  Repeat with the second edge.

After all plushkas are on the sheet, cover them with a towel and let rest for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C, position the rack in the middle.

Prepare the wash: whisk the yolks with water.

Brush the non-sugared edges of each plushka with the wash and place the batch in the oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden-brown. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

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