Blog – Recipes

Mandarin Jelly w/ Chocolate Mousse

The term ‘mandarin’, sometimes called ‘kid-glove oranges’, is characterized by deep orange skin with easy peeling and separation of sections. This popular widely known fruit goes by a variety of names, creating some possible confusion at times as to which plant one is dealing with. Commonly known as mandarin in much of the world, the fruit is most often called tangerine in North America.

The tangerine has a long history. Its name comes from Tangiers in Morocco, the port where the fruit was first shipped to Europe and Florida in the United States in the 1800s. But prior to that, tangerines had been cultivated in China and Japan for over 3,000 years.

This light, summery dessert combines the ever-popular flavor pairing of orange and chocolate. Elegant and easy at the same time. Perfect for a summer dessert!

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Mandarin Jelly w/ Chocolate Mousse
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Instructions
Jelly
  1. Soak gelatin in juice for 10 minutes. Heat until gelatin & sugar dissolve. It is important not to bring to a boil, otherwise everything will deteriorate. Strain & pour into serving molds to 2/3 of the height. Cover jellies & place in the refrigerator.
Chocolate Mousse
  1. IMPORTANT NOTE: This shortcut mousse sets quickly so wait to prepare it when your jelly is set.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cocoa powder & instant pudding powder. Add the heavy whipping cream & mix with an electric mixer on medium-high for 1 minute.
  3. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip & make a large swirl on top of jelly. Garnish with zest if desired.
Recipe Notes
  • I just used some simple syrup to candy the tangerine zest but they are fine just left plain.

Spicy Honey Lime Chicken

I’m one of those people who almost always has chicken frozen in my freezer, so I’m always interested in ‘another’ chicken recipe. 

Marinated in honey, lime juice, soy sauce, and garlic, these honey lime chicken skewers have a tangy, sweet, and salty taste, 

A perfect marinade for chicken guarantees the chicken will be flavorful and juicy. So, marinades should always combine an acid (such as vinegar or lime juice), fat, and sweetness. Salt, herbs, and spices also contribute to the end flavor of marinated chicken.

Honey and lime is an all-time flavor pairing. It not only works on sweet things, but it also plays nice with savory dishes. I think the reason it works so well is that it’s got that perfect balance between tangy and sweet. Add in a few savory and salty elements in the rest of the marinade, and the flavors are just mouthwatering.

The honey lime chicken marinade I’m using today infuses the chicken with loads of flavor, but it also helps caramelize the outside of the chicken, so you get not only gorgeous flavor, but a beautiful textural contrast between the crisp, caramelized exterior and the tender, flavorful interior.

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Spicy Honey Lime Chicken
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
SERVINGS
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Instructions
Marinade
  1. Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a small bowl or blend them in a food processor.
Marinate Chicken
  1. Pour HALF the marinade into a zip-lock bag or container & add chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or 6-12 hours in the refrigerator. IMPORTANT: If marinating overnight, leave out the lime juice & increase zest so it doesn't 'cook' the chicken.
Glaze
  1. Use the reserved marinade for basting & glazing. Mix the cornstarch into the reserved marinade & microwave for about 1 minute, watching carefully. Set aside.
Grilling
  1. Spray grill with oil. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Skewer marinated chicken pieces onto skewers & PAT DRY. Discard the marinade used for marinating. Lightly spray chicken with oil to avoid sticking.
  2. Grill on all sides until chicken cooks to a golden brown (you will need to turn chicken a couple of times), for 9-12 minutes in total (depending on the thickness & how tightly packed the skewers are), basting once or twice with the GLAZE.
  3. Any extra glaze can be drizzled over cooked skewers. Serve with lime wedges if you wish. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Summer Corn Salad

One of the highlights of summer is the fresh sweet corn from local roadside farm stands. Fresh corn is soooo tasty!! Corn salads are a summer classic.

How do you cook corn on the cob? There seems to be as many methods as cooks. Do you steam, boil, microwave? Do you grill and if so, in the husks or out? Or do you get fancy and pull back the husks, put butter or an ice cube inside, rewrap and proceed?

This Summer Corn Salad is the ultimate summer salad to make for a BBQ during the warmer months. The lime-y dressing and sweet grilled corn are a winning combo alongside the fresh cherry tomatoes and avocado. It would pair perfectly alongside ribs, grilled chicken, or even seafood. 

Corn on the cob is one of those foods that just gives off summer vibes and when it arrives each year, Brion & I enjoy it to the fullest.

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Summer Corn Salad
Instructions
Dressing
  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together & set aside.
Salad
  1. In a microwave steam dish, cook shucked corn ears for 6 minutes. Heat grill to medium-high. Brush corn lightly with olive oil & grill for a few minutes, rotating it as it cooks, until golden on all sides.
  2. Allow corn to cool & then cut corn off of the cobs; place in a bowl. Add remaining salad ingredients & drizzle with desired amount of dressing. Gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chocolate Rhubarb Brownies

While I’ll never grow tired of the classic pairing of strawberries and rhubarb, I love rhubarb too much to let it simply be a sidekick to those sweet berries. Not only can it hold its own, but it also begs to be matched up with many other flavors that give it new life.

Eating seasonally doesn’t have to be difficult when it tastes so delicious. Finding inventive ways to incorporate locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables into breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes is actually a very easy task.

When making desserts, chocolate and rhubarb bring very different flavors to the table. The result makes a perfect balance. High-cacao chocolate is rich, subtly sweet, and creamy. Fresh rhubarb, meanwhile, is tart and comes into its own when offset by a dash of sweetness.

Celebrate rhubarb season with a stellar dessert like fudgy rhubarb brownies.

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Chocolate Rhubarb Brownies
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Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk sugar, butter, eggs & vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder & sea salt.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients & mix until they are just incorporated. Add the rhubarb, chocolate chips & nuts. Mix only until they are combined. The batter will be quite thick. Pour batter into baking pan & spread it out so that it is even.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. DO NOT OVERBAKE.
  6. Remove brownies from the oven & allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Slice into squares.

Bedfordshire Clangers w/ Variations

July is such a wonderful month. The weather’s warm, there’s still plenty of summer left, and the produce is literally amazing.

Midsummer means the farmer’s markets are brimming with great fruit & veggies. With such a colorful bounty of goods, we can settle into our summer cooking routines with tasty meals hot or cold.

But, even in summer, we sometimes crave ‘comfort food’ such as a ‘hand pie’. The humble hand pie goes by many different names: call it a pasty, a turnover, an empanada, or a ‘Bedfordshire clanger’….

A Bedfordshire Clanger dates back to at least the 19th century. It was typically made for agricultural workers to take with them to work as their lunch. The original pastry was made from suet and cooked by a boiling method. There is a theory that the pastry crust was not originally intended for consumption but as a vessel in which to protect the filling from the soiled hands of the workers.

The clanger originated from the county of Bedfordshire, a small, low-lying and predominantly agricultural county nestled in the east of England and adjacent counties, including Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. 

The name is as intriguing as the food itself. The word clanger, it had been suggested, referred to the mistake of mixing sweet and savory fillings. But a more likely explanation was that in nearby Northamptonshire dialect, ‘clang’ means to eat voraciously.

Knowing their husbands would need lots of protein and carbohydrate sustenance, homemakers came up with the brilliant idea of a doubled, loaf-shaped pie. One end contained a savory filling that used the famed pork of the area while the other end was filled with stewed apples (made from local apples) as dessert. So, the two fillings didn’t combine, there was a ‘pastry wall’ in between blocking any flavors from mixing. A ‘secret code’ denoted which end was meat, and which was dessert: two knife slits on one end of the pastry top means meat, three small holes on the other shows the sweet. This was brilliant, an entire meal for the field workers – handheld, portable and delicious.

The version we have today is not its beginnings but its evolution. Once you’ve nailed this basic Bedfordshire clanger recipe you can experiment with all sorts of flavor combos, there’s really no limit to what you can combine in this savory/sweet pastry.

Since Brion takes lunch to work, I became intrigued with the idea and decided to get creative with the fillings. That way I could make a variety and freeze them and use as needed. These tasty little ‘clangers’ can be served as the main course for a warm-weather picnic or for a hand-held, backyard meal with the addition of a nice fresh salad at home.

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Bedfordshire Clangers w/ Variations
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Ingredients
Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
Raspberry / Nectarine Filling
Blueberry Filling
Apple / Apricot Filling
Plum / Rhubarb Filling
Rhubarb / Apple Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
Raspberry / Nectarine Filling
Blueberry Filling
Apple / Apricot Filling
Plum / Rhubarb Filling
Rhubarb / Apple Filling
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sage & salt. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour mixture & use your fingers to work them in. Alternately you could use a pastry cutter to do this.
  2. When the mixture resembles cornmeal with pea-sized bits of butter remaining, stir in cheese with a fork until evenly distributed. Sprinkle 6 Tbsp ice water over mixture & stir with a fork until dough begins to come together. If needed, add an additional Tbsp or two of ice water.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface & knead for about three times. Gather the dough into a disk & wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Pork Filling
  1. Bake potato in microwave, peel & cut into small cubes. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet & sauté celery, onion, garlic & bacon together on medium heat until veggies are soft & bacon is cooked. Add ground pork, breaking it up well. Stir in dried herbs & spices. Cover & simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in cooked potato & cheese. Set aside to cool.
Spiced Meat Combo
  1. In a saucepan, sauté onion & garlic. Add ground meat, basil, thyme, cardamom & salt & pepper. Scramble fry until cooked, remove from heat & add parmesan & potato. Place in a dish.
  2. In the saucepan, melt butter; add flour to make a roux. Cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add beef broth, stirring until sauce thickens. Season to taste. Add to ground meat mixture & combine to form filling. Set aside until ready to use.
Turkey Filling
  1. In a skillet, cook bacon until just crisp, then remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain; chop when cooled. Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon drippings from skillet.
  2. Add butter to the skillet, sauté onions, garlic & mushrooms with herbs & spices, scraping up any brown bits, until the onions have softened & mushrooms have lost most of their size & moisture. Stir in the bacon & shredded cooked turkey, taste for seasoning. Cook for another minute or two, then remove from heat & set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, combine Boursin, milk & spices (if using). Stir until Boursin has melted. Remove from heat. Add to turkey/veg mixture.
Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions
  1. Heat butter over medium low heat in a heavy ovenproof skillet. Add the onions cook for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. When the onions are a deep golden color, remove them from the pan and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, chili powder, thyme, allspice, & black pepper. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. In the same pan as the onions, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add each piece of chicken & fry for a few minutes until golden brown; flip & cook for a few more minutes. Transfer to a plate (it will not be fully cooked at this point, just browned – it will finish cooking in the oven).
  4. Turn the heat down & let the oil cool off a little bit. Make a roux with excess oil in skillet & dredging flour. Add chicken broth & cook until a sauce forms. Add the onions & chicken to the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes longer. When chicken/onion mixture is cooked, remove from oven. Allow to cool until ready to use.
Raspberry/Rhubarb Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cardamom & salt. Add water & stir then add chopped nectarines. Simmer until nectarine is slightly soft & liquid is thickened. Remove from heat & carefully fold in raspberries. Set aside to cool.
Blueberry Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except blueberries. Cook until sauce starts to thicken then gently fold in blueberries & cook a couple of minutes more. Remove from heat & set aside to cool.
Apple/Apricot Filling
  1. Peel & dice apples. Drain canned apricot juice into a small saucepan. Add sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon & salt & combine. Add apples & cook until apples are tender. Cut canned apricot halves into quarters. When apples are cooked & sauce has thickened, remove from heat & add apricots. Gently combine & set aside to cool.
Plum/Rhubarb Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt & lemon zest. Add rhubarb & plums. Gently stir over a low heat. When enough juice has formed, allow to simmer until rhubarb is soft & juice has thickened. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
Sour Cherry Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, place sugar, cornstarch & salt. Add juice/water mixture & stir to thoroughly combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Immediately remove from heat. Gradually fold in cherries. Set aside to cool.
Rhubarb/Apple Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, add the rhubarb, apples, salt & sugar. Add a drizzle of water if necessary & heat on medium. The rhubarb will begin to release liquid & break down as the apples soften. Heat the mixture until the moisture has evaporated & begins to thicken. Once the mixture is thickened, add the lemon juice, lemon zest and cinnamon. Place it in a bowl & allow to cool.
Apple/Pear Filling
  1. Heat butter in a small skillet until melted, add apples & pears & cook until fruit begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over mixture & continue to cook stirring often until fruit begins to lose its juices. Mix together cornstarch & lemon juice & add to pan. Simmer until mixture has thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat & allow to cool.
Assembly/Baking
  1. Divide pastry into 5 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface (or dry wax paper) roll out each piece of pastry into 14 x 7 1/2-inches. The excess trimmed from the sides will be used for little pastry ‘walls’ dividing the sweet & savory fillings. Roll excess pastry into a 3-inch length.
  2. Cut each piece of pastry in half horizontally so you have (2) 7-inch long pieces from each piece of pastry. From the top of each piece, LIGHTLY make a line across your pastry 4-inches from the outside edge. This will help to place your fillings properly.
  3. On the 3-inch wide section, place savory filling to cover 2/3 of the area. Place one of the rolled strips after that then place sweet filling on the remaining 1/3 to complete the 'clanger'. The little rolled piece of pastry divides the savory & sweet filling.
  4. On the sweet side make 3 holes for vents & on the savory side make 2 slashes. This is the 'code' to let the person eating the clanger which was savory or sweet.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Brush the edges of each pastry with egg wash. Lift the pastry from the opposite side over the fillings & seal the edges with a fork.
  7. Brush clangers with remaining egg wash & bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden.
Recipe Notes
  • Due to the length of this recipe, I found making the savory & fruit fillings on one day & the pastry, assembling & baking the next, worked out well for me. Although these pastries are VERY time consuming, believe me, the are well worth it in the end, especially if your freezing some to use later. I baked them all & then wrapped them well before freezing.
  • You will probably find there will be enough savory & sweet fillings left over to make about 10 more clangers.
  • All of them will freeze well which will be a time saver for your next batch. Just make a recipe of pastry & your ready to assemble & bake.
  • If your not interested in freezing the 'leftovers', the fruit combined will make a wonderful crisp & the savory fillings can be used in quiche or casseroles.

Roasted Fruit Tart w/ Cinnamon Crust

Since stone fruit is so gorgeous when in season, why not make a fruit tart? Not just an ordinary fruit tart, but one bursting with an array of colorful fruit and roasted to bring out all the natural sweetness.

I like this tart in the fall made with apples, but since we can enjoy the seasons stone fruit bounty right now, let’s take advantage of it. When we were shopping for fruit, we came across some apricots called raspberry apricots. Their flavor is absolutely incredible. Of course the plum/apricot cross (pluots) is pretty special as well. I decided on a nice cinnamon-y pastry to highlight all these wonderful fruit flavors!

 Roasting stone fruits concentrates their sweetness and flavor, creating a depth of taste unrivaled by a regular fruit salad.
The cornstarch in the filling acts as a thickener to prevent the fruit juices from making the base soggy while it bakes. And the open-faced top exposes the fruit to the oven’s heat, allowing it to caramelize and concentrate its flavor. What’s not to love!

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Roasted Fruit Tart w/ Cinnamon Crust
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Ingredients
Cinnamon Crust
Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Cinnamon Crust
Filling
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Instructions
Crust
  1. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon & salt. Cut in butter with a fork or finger tips to form a crumbly mixture. Drizzle in beaten egg & combine until mixture just begins to come together. Lightly press mixture into the bottom & up the sides of a 14 x 4 x 1-inch tart pan. Chill until firm while you prepare the filling.
Filling
  1. Toss prepared fruit with sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest & juice, vanilla & salt.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Arrange fruit mixture over pastry in pan. Press down slightly into pan.
  3. Bake until the fruit is soft & cooked through, the fruit juices are bubbling & the crust is a golden brown about 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes.

Avocado & Smoked Salmon Pizza

CELEBRATING CANADA DAY!

In Canada, July 1st marks the day for Canadians to show pride in their nations history, culture and achievements. From coast to coast the country’s birthday is marked with various events.

On July 1st, from coast to coast, the country’s birthday is highlighted with colorful parades, concerts, carnivals, festivals and firework displays.

Food and drink are almost as synonymous with Canada Day as the colors of red and white. More importantly this date celebrates the historical event in which Canada gained its independence from Great Britain in 1867.

Pizza is one of those foods that works for just about everyone. From meat eaters to vegetarians, kids, adults and everyone in between. Year-round, it’s the perfect entree for family or party events.

Although avocado on pizza may sound weird, to me it’s glorious. When you think about it, tomato or tomato sauce is a big part of pizza most of the time. Often guacamole is made with tomato, so that avocado flavor compliments pizza well.

Pizza is one of the easiest meals you can make at home. I most always prefer to make my own crust but nothing wrong with a purchased one or some naan or focaccia bread for the crust. Once that crust part has been taken care of, it’s really just a matter of topping the pie with all your favorite ingredients and waiting for it to come out of the oven.

It’s always interesting to me what develops when you ‘step out of the box’ so today our Canada Day meal is a smoked salmon & avocado pizza.

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Avocado & Smoked Salmon Pizza
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Servings
NAAN PIZZAS
Ingredients
Pizza Spread
Caramelized Red Onions
Pizza
Servings
NAAN PIZZAS
Ingredients
Pizza Spread
Caramelized Red Onions
Pizza
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Instructions
Pizza Spread
  1. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese with the dill & minced garlic. Mix well.
Caramelized Onion
  1. Heat oil in a skillet until hot. Add sliced onion & sprinkle with salt. Cook & stir about 15 minutes or until moisture is evaporated & onion is soft. Reduce heat; sprinkle with cider vinegar & brown sugar. Cook & stir until caramel brown in color. Remove from skillet & set aside.
Toppings
  1. Grate cheese. Flake smoked salmon. Peel avocado & remove pit. Slice in 1/8-inch slices.
Assembly/Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Drizzle garlic olive oil onto the Naan breads & spread with cream cheese mixture. Divide onion evenly between the 6 Naan breads. Top with 1/2 of the grated cheese. Evenly distribute the smoked salmon then top with remaining cheese.
  3. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until hot & bubbly.
  4. Remove from oven & divide avocado slices between the pizzas. Garnish with chopped sprigs of fresh dill & sprinkle with lemon pepper if you wish.
Recipe Notes
  • Alternately, you can omit the garlic olive oil & the cream cheese mixture & use bottled tartar sauce for the base of the pizzas. Brion & I really enjoyed this alternative.

Mini Roast Beef & Cheese Slider Buns

The name ‘slider’ originated in the 1940’s when sailors in the US Navy would refer to mini-burgers as sliders because of their extreme greasiness. In just one or two bites, the burger would just slide right down. Fortunately around 2007, sliders evolved from miniature ‘grease bombs’ to elegant culinary creations that now appeal to people of all backgrounds and tastes.

There’s something inherently appealing about a small burger. For the diet-conscious, the idea of a small gourmet burger is more feasible. When dining out, ordering sliders instead of an average sized hamburger also allows you to try several different varieties as they are often served in pairs.

The modern day slider has been reinvented from the traditional beef patty to being made from chicken, pork and veal as well as various seafood options.

These tasty little slider buns are layered with thinly sliced roast beef then topped with warm cheese sauce. Yum!

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Mini Roast Beef & Cheese Slider Buns
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SLIDERS
Servings
SLIDERS
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Instructions
Sliders
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat skillet over medium heat, adding butter & oil. Sauté sliced onions in butter & oil until soft, brown & slightly caramelized, reduce heat to low if necessary. Stirring occasionally, about 15-30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the sliders. Slice the “loaf” of brioche rolls in half lengthwise, with the bottoms slightly thicker than the tops, do not separate individual rolls.
  4. Layer roast beef to slider bottoms, then layer cheese over the top of the roast beef, finishing with caramelized/sautéed onions. Cover with tops of bread rolls.
Drizzle
  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic & onion powder, & dried thyme, stirring until the drizzle is warmed & the sugar has dissolved. Just a minute or two.
Baking
  1. Evenly pour drizzle over the tops of the brioche rolls. Cover with sprayed aluminum foil & bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Remove foil & bake for 7-10 minutes until tops are lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Ube Cream Puffs w/ Craqueline Topping

Ube (pronounced OO-bay), is a purple yam native to the Philippines and other areas of Southeast Asia. Ube is a very versatile ingredient. It is not a purple sweet potato or taro, it is a purple yam. Its special taste reminds one of vanilla, pistachios or chestnuts. The vibrant purple color inside and out is uniquely photogenic.

Ube has been used for decades in Filipino cuisine and has now caught on in North America, especially in the form of desserts. In fact, one of the world’s top 10 food and beverage flavor manufacturers has identified the official 2024 Flavor of the Year as Ube. The 2024 Food and Beverage Flavor Trends Report is an annual summary by California-based T. Hasegawa USA.

Globally recognized for its innovation and expertise in flavor development and proprietary flavor enhancing technologies, T. Hasegawa remains at the forefront of consumer trends and shares these developments and research findings throughout the food and beverage industry.

Today, I’m making some ube cream puffs with a craquelin topping. Cream puffs start with choux pastry, a heady mixture of butter, milk, water, eggs & flour. When you combine these ingredients, they become so dense and sticky that it seems impossible they’ll come together as soft, puffy, light, tender. Heat is what initiates the expansion of the dense paste. Steam from the milk and water expands the pastry’s edges, puffing up its capacity until the oven heat provides just enough crispness and structure to hold the puffs’ boundaries. A cream puff expands so dramatically in the oven that it creates a cavern inside to hold any number of things—whipped cream, pastry cream, ice cream or savory fillings.

Cream puff pastry (or choux pastry) is the base for profiteroles (smaller puffs filled with ice cream), éclairs (elongated puffs filled with pastry cream and glazed), croquembouche (a tower of cream puffs held together and drizzled with caramel) and savory appetizer puffs called gougeres with cheese and herbs.

Craquelin (pronounced kra-ke-lan) is a thin biscuit layer that can be added over choux pastries before baking them. It is used to create a crackly appearance, crunchy texture and a buttery sweet taste as well as helping the choux pastry bake evenly to form hollow rounds. It certainly dresses up ordinary cream puffs and the taste is so unique.

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Ube Cream Puffs w/ Craqueline Topping
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Servings
CREAM PUFFS
Ingredients
Ube Pastry Cream
Craquelin Topping
Choux Pastry
Servings
CREAM PUFFS
Ingredients
Ube Pastry Cream
Craquelin Topping
Choux Pastry
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Instructions
Ube Pastry Cream
  1. In a medium saucepan whisk together sugar, cornstarch & salt. Pour the milk & egg yolks into a bowl & whisk until combined then add liquid mixture to the saucepan slowly & whisk together.
  2. Add butter, bring mixture to a boil whisking constantly for one minute before removing from heat then mix in the ube extract.
  3. Transfer the pastry cream to a separate container (optional: first strain it through a mesh sieve to ensure the cream has a really smooth consistency) Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, ensuring that the plastic wrap touches the top of the pastry cream to discourage the formation of a skin on top of it.
  4. Place in refrigerator & chill for at least 2 hours before using.
Ube Craquelin
  1. Soften the butter then mix the ube extract into it. Add in the flour, brown sugar & salt. Mix together until thoroughly combined. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper & flatten until the dough reaches about 1/4 inch thickness. Freeze the dough until ready to use.
Choux Pastry
  1. Pour the water, sugar, salt & butter into a saucepan & heat over medium heat. Stir the mixture together until the water is boiling & the butter is melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat & add the flour.
  2. Vigorously mix the flour into the butter/water mixture so that all the water is absorbed. Once the dough is formed, return the saucepan to the heat. Continue to mix & cook down the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the saucepan, about 2-5 minutes. You should be able to place a spoon into it & have it stand straight up.
  3. Transfer the dough to a bowl & allow it cool down for a couple minutes. Crack in the eggs one at a time, ensuring the previous egg is fully incorporated into the dough before adding in the next egg.
  4. Transfer the dough into a piping bag.
Assembly
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Remove the craqueline topping from the freezer & cut out disks of a desired size to put on top of the choux pastry.
  3. Pipe out mounds of choux pastry onto the prepared baking tray & top each mound with a craqueline disk.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the choux mounds. DO NOT open the oven for the first 25 minutes of the baking process of the steam will release & the choux won't puff up properly.
  5. After about 25 minutes, open the oven & prick each choux with a toothpick, then return to the oven to cook for another 5-10 minutes depending on the choux size (this helps to dry out the insides to maintain a firm choux).
  6. Remove from oven once the choux is nice & golden brown. Prick each choux again with a toothpick to allow them to dry out even further while they cool.
  7. Remove the pastry cream from the fridge & fill a piping bag with it. Slice each choux pastry in half keeping them connected slightly on one side. Divide ube pastry cream between the 'cream puffs'.

Spiced Chicken Skewers on Avocado Puree

If you’re a meat lover, chances are that you are partial to the taste of good skewers every now and then.  Of course, people enjoy numerous types of food served on sticks due to the convenience and ease of eating. However, meat skewers are the type of skewered food that started this trend and continue to be a popular way of enjoying a delicious cut of meat in a unique way. After all, they’re economical, versatile, infinitely customizable, and quick cooking, making them ideal for not only summer BBQ but frugal winter grillers who want to limit their exposure to frigid weather and high prices.

In modern times, skewers are used in variety of ways: for candies and other sweet products, to garnish cocktails, and many other types of street-food that are sold ‘on a stick’.

Materials from which modern skewers are made, range from the traditional wood and bamboo to the glass, metal and other decorative materials.

These chicken skewers are not too spicy and have a variety of vibrant flavors going on like coriander, ginger and mustard. If you like avocado as much as we do then you’ll love the puree that goes alongside the chicken. Yum!

Print Recipe
Spiced Chicken Skewers on Avocado Puree
Instructions
Marinade
  1. In a skillet, gently heat the spices for 1 minute or until lightly browned. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients & stir to combine.
Skewers
  1. Add the chicken to the marinade & coat well. Thread the chicken onto 12 skewers & place in a dish. Cover & refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat the grill, setting the burners on high. Oil the grate.
Avocado Puree
  1. In a small food processor, purée the avocado with the sour cream & lime juice until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside in a bowl & cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface.
  2. Grill the skewers for 5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is no longer pink.
Serving
  1. In the center of each serving plate, spread a dollop of the avocado purée. Top with some caramelized red onions & roasted tomatoes. Finish with 2 chicken skewers.