Mini Cherry Pistachio Muffins

So I am starting this new section called muffins in the mountains.  Basically, I want to create some deliciously healthy recipes for you to enjoy.  I’ll be photographing them outdoors because aesthetics, but also to promote an active life style!  Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Pretty pictures from the hike 

Let’s have a chat about these muffins.  They’re only 64 calories each, and you get 2 grams of protein too!  (Yay muscles!)  The cherries and pistachios are the perfect sweet and salty duo for these babes.  (Yes, I just called my muffins babe).

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Mini Cherry Pistachio Muffins

Yield: 36 muffins      Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 cups flour + 1 TBSP for coating

¾ cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

¾ cup unsweetened applesauce

2 eggs

1 cup 1% milk

1 tsp vanilla

¾ cup dried cherries, chopped

¼ cup pistachios, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease 2 mini muffin pans
  2. In a large bowl mix together the 2 cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together applesauce, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl add the remaining flour to the cherries and pistachios, coat well. Set aside.
  5. Gently stir the liquids into the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.
  6. Fold in the cherries and pistachios
  7. Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way full and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy!!

Nutrition: Calories: 64, Fat: 1g, Carbohydrates: 13g, Sugar: 7g, Fiber: 0g, Protein: 2g

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September 26th- pies

♥♥♥♥ILOVEPIESOMUCH♥♥♥♥

PIE! 

PIE!

PIE! 

Lattice talk about pie.  Pie (if you couldn’t tell from my word “art”) is one of my favorite things to make.  In the culinary world today, so much of the things we do seem more like an art show than delicious food.  Sometimes these 3 Michelin star restaurants will even sell flavored air as part of their dish, no joke.  At times it gets a little ridiculous, and it was nice to get back to something as classic as pie.  There is nothing more timeless and comforting than flaky crust and sweet fruit.

Today I made both a cherry and apple pie, using a different method for each.  The cherry pie used the frozen fruit method, which means you thicken juice from the thawed fruit.  The only problems I had were 1) I overfilled my pie, so when I baked it the juice oozed down the sides.  And 2) The strips on my lattice weren’t all the same width.  To avoid these issues next time I need to make sure I only fill cherries till they are level with the crust, and use a ruler when I cut the lattice strips.

The apple pie used the cooked fruit method, which means that you thicken the liquid that comes out when cooking the apples.  I didn’t run into any problems except my streusel was more like sand than the clumpy goodness that was expected.  I learned I needed to mix it until it came together as a ball then crumble it, rather than mix it until it was too fine.  I also learned that when shaping the edge of the crust you’re supposed to tuck it under itself before doing the wavy shape, which is why my crust was so ugly yesterday.


September 25th- Pie Dough

Cherries are red,

Potatoes can be blue.

Pie dough is flaky,

But not Pate Choux.

If only my pie skills were as honed as my poetry skills, am I right?  Or maybe I just need some practice with both!  Today we got to work on three different recipes: flaky pie dough, mealy pie dough, and tart dough.

Flaky pie dough has large chunks of butter in it to produce layers when it bakes, a similar concept to croissants.  With this recipe you cut the butter into the flour (which means to crumble cold butter into flour) until it is the size of peas.  Then you slowly add cold water, just until the dough starts to come together.  This is a critical control point because if you add too much water you will lose the flakiness, but if you don’t add enough your dough won’t roll out.  Another important step is making sure your dough is cold before you roll it out.  I refrigerated mine for an hour, but next time I will wait longer because it was still a little soft when rolling it out.

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It isn’t the prettiest, but hopefully it’ll be flaky when I bake it!

The mealy pie crust is almost the same recipe as the flaky, except you want the dough to resemble cornmeal instead of pea sized lumps.  With mealy dough you can throw it in a mixer, but you have to watch it because if it gets over mixed it will form a dough before you can even add water!

The last recipe I worked on was my tart dough.  It reminded me of sugar cookie dough, but with a little less sugar and butter.  I may or may not have sneaked a couple pinches of it raw…. haha.  A critical control point with this crust is when you are putting it into a tart shell you have to make sure you press the dough into the bottom corners.  If you don’t, you’re tart will sink into the pan.  One thing I had trouble with is when I docked my tart dough (stabbed it with a fork to prevent bubbling), I didn’t pierce to the bottom of it, so it still rose up.  To avoid this next time I will check the bottom of my tarts before they go in the oven to make sure I docked them correctly.IMG_1489

Overall, today was a fun day and I’m super excited to start making pie filling tomorrow!


Blackberry Eclairs

Soap box time.  Extracts are nice, they really are.  They are cheap, convenient, and produce tasty flavors.  On the flip side, they are rarely going to give you the delicious, natural flavor you want. Take blackberries for example.  For this recipe I could’ve used blackberry extract and purple food dye in the pastry cream and everything would’ve turned out ay-okay.  (And you have my blessing if you want to do just that).  BUT GUYS!  If you are wanting to get an incredible, authentic flavor here, you have got to try freeze dried fruit!  For any of you who are unfamiliar with freeze drying, it’s basically this incredible process that takes out all the water from foods without using tons of heat and destroying flavors.  They even retain their original size and shape.  It’s pretty much the most amazing invention since sliced bread, and I’m super obsessed with it.  You can find freeze dried foods in the food storage area of your local grocery store in bulk, or smaller packages in specialty food stores.  I got a gallon-sized can of blackberries for  $28, so they are a bit pricey (but so worth it.

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This color is all natural folks!  And yeah, that’s a freeze dried berry

Rant over.

As promised I have for you an eclair recipe.  I stuck to some simple flavors for this one, because I really wanted you guys to enjoy the blackberry pastry cream.  I topped them with ganache, then I decorated with fondant, icing, and powdered sugar.  Decorating is optional; it honestly just adds a lot of sugar.  Hope you enjoy these yummy pastries!

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Blackberry Eclairs

Pastry Cream

1 1/3 cups sugar (divided in half)

4 cups milk

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup corn starch

1/4 cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

30 freeze dried blackberries

1. In a medium sauce pan combine milk and half of the sugar, heat to a boil.

2. While that is heating, whisk eggs in a large bowl.  Once eggs are thoroughly whisked, stir in remaining sugar and corn starch until no lumps remain.

3. Once milk is boiling, take off heat and SLOWLY pour into egg mixture (about half a cup at a time), whisking constantly.

4. Pour eggs and milk back into the sauce pan and heat on medium to medium-high until it comes back to a boil.  Boil for 1-2 minutes.

5. Take off the heat and allow to cool until you can touch it without getting burned.  Stir in butter and vanilla.

6. Refrigerate for a couple hours, until set.

7. Put blackberries in a sealed plastic bag and crush until very fine with a rolling pin.  Sift into prepared pastry cream to get the seeds out.  Stir to combine

Eclair Dough

2 cups water

1/2 cup butter

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups bread flour

6-8 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.

2. In a medium sauce pan boil water, butter and salt.

3. Take off heat and stir flour all at once.

4. Return to heat and cook for a few minutes.

5.  Transfer dough to mixer.  With the paddle attachment, mix on speed 2 until mixture has cooled and you can touch it.

6. Add eggs one at a time, waiting until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.

7. Stop adding eggs once the mixture is shiny and slides off the paddle when you stop your mixer. You may have to occasionally scrape the sides.

8. Spoon dough into pastry bag fitted with any large tip of your choice.

9. Pipe at a 45 degree angle with your tip above (not touching) the parchment paper.

10. You should be able to make 15-20 eclairs at 4 inches.

11. Place cookie sheets in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  At the 10 minute mark turn your heat down to 350 F and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown

12. Remove and cool completely IMG_1435.JPG

Ganache

5 oz dark chocolate chips

5 oz heavy cream

1. Microwave cream for 1 minute in microwave safe bowl.

2. Add chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

3. Stir

Assembling:

1. Dip the top of each eclair in ganache and allow to set for an hour.

2. Put pastry cream in a pastry bag and snip the tip

3. Poke three holes in the bottom of each eclair with a paring knife

4. Holding the eclair upside down, insert the tip of the pastry bag into the first hole and squeeze in cream until filled.  Fill the other two holes

5. Repeat with all the other eclairs

6. Enjoy!  Make sure you store eclairs in the fridge.

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Roasted Corn and Cheddar Chowder

Happy autumn, friends!

Imagine: you curled up on the couch with a blanket, rain drizzling down foggy windows, and in your hands you hold a bowl of this soup.

Oh man.  We’re talking cheesy, rich, and creamy.  Roasting the corn gives it a little more depth than traditional comfort food, yet the cheddar cheese and powdered mustard will send you back in time to mom’s kitchen.  Not to mention, it is jam packed with tender bites of potato, carrot, and corn.

All your hopes and dreams can be translated into a bowl of this chowder.  So make it.  bask in its delicious golden glory.  You won’t regret it, pinky swear.

IMG_1405Roasted Corn and Cheddar Chowder

Roasted Corn and Cheddar Chowder

Serves 8

2 cans of corn

¼ cup butter

1 onion, diced

½ cup flour

4 cups chicken stock

3 large carrots, diced

4 large potatoes, diced

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp powdered mustard

4 cups milk

3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup parmesan, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Drain water from both cans of corn and put into a pan on medium high heat. Let it sit until any remaining water has evaporated and the corn has some color.  Take off heat and set aside
  2. In a large pot, sauté the onion in the butter.
  3. Take off the heat and add in flour.
  4. Slowly stir in chicken stock and bring to a boil until thickened.
  5. Add in veggies (including corn) and spices.
  6. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Once veggies are tender, take off the heat and stir in milk.
  8. As long as the soup is hot enough you can also stir in the cheese. If it’s not, you can put it back on the heat until it can melt the cheese.
  9. Add salt and pepper to preference.

 

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September 21st- catering

I can’t open every post on here with a food pun… can I?  Lettuce know what y’all think in the comments; you know I love hearing from everybun… I mean everyone (;

Today we had a catering!  I love doing these because the classroom turns into a more realistic kitchen and everyone kinda puts their heads down and gets it done.  I was assigned two tasks: frying leeks and plating.  To make the leeks we first had to julienne about 8 cups of the little nasties.  Then we battered them and threw them in the deep fryer.  The problem we ran into was forgetting to add liquid the leeks before coating them in starch (cornstarch in this case).  The basic idea with battering is that you need to moisten whatever you’re frying so the starch will stick to it.  Luckily we caught our mistake before we dropped them in oil, so all we had to do was splash some buttermilk on the leeks and reapply cornstarch.  One critical point when you’re deep frying is seasoning.  If you season food before you drop it, the oil will break down.  The best time to do it is when you’ve finished cooking, but the food is still hot enough that everything will stick too it.

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The components of the meal we catered.  On the bottom left you can see the leeks I fried.

After the leeks were done we headed out to plate.  My job on the plating station was to put chicken breast on a bed of rice pilaf.  It was super simple and everything went smoothly.  The best part about tonight was that we didn’t have to clean up any plates.  We left that up to the front of the house.

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The pretty little dessert that was served

 


September 20th- Cuts and sauces

For those of you who don’t know I work at a donut shop.  I get there everyday at 4 to cook and decorate.  It’s a great job and I love it.  Today a gentleman came in and ordered 6 fritters.  I jokingly asked him if he was having a fritter party, to which he responded with the most pained fake smile and pity in his eyes.  It’s like he didn’t carrot all for my humor (aaayyyy) (;

So today we had to large dice some carrots.  As you can see from the cover photo, mine weren’t very uniform.  I still can’t cut straight with scissors, so I don’t know how they expect me to make perfect cuts with a knife.  Just kidding.  I just need to practice some more.  You’ve heard of Netflix and chill, but have you heard of tourne and chill (que forced laugh that gradually turns into sobbing).

After dicing, I minced my scraps.  As you can see mincing doesn’t take tons of skill.  You just have to make sure you’re cutting small enough.

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I’m sorry you have to see my nasty hands

With the carrots set aside I started on my Bechamel, which is another mother sauce.  This one was just milk, roux, and an onion piquet (onion, clove, bay).  A key component to making this sauce is simmering the piquet in milk until you get the essence of it.  While I did have my milk on the stove for the right amount of time, I didn’t have the heat up high enough so I didn’t capture enough flavor.  I ended up having to add some extra spices at the end.  To avoid this next time I need to make sure I have my heat up high enough.

 

 

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My piquet fell apart in the milk

The second sauce we made was tomato.  It was super easy, all we had to do was simmer tomatoes, garlic, and basil in oil for 50 minutes.  After that was done we blended it.  My tomatoes were super acidic, and I should have used a lot more basil and salt to counteract it.  Next time I make this sauce I’m going to be a lot more generous with my seasoning to avoid too much acidity.

 

 


September 19th- Blueberry Muffins and Eclairs

Would choux like to hear about my eclairs today?  I’m sorry for the pun, but not enough to delete it.

Today we made eclairs which comes from a dough called pate choux.  The most crucial step when making this is to know when though dough needs more eggs, or if it has had enough.  Most people added all of their eggs, plus water.  I decided to not add all of my eggs because my dough had reached a point where it was both shiny and relaxed.  I think this is why my dough was more successful than others.  I still had some flat eclairs, however, and I think it has to do with incorrect baking.  I’m not 100% sure where I went wrong but I plan on making some at home (get excited for some delicious eclair recipes, people!) to perfect the technique.  I found this AWESOME troubleshooting blog post at http://www.ironwhisk.com/2014/06/tutorial-eclairs-choux-paste/ .  Check it out it is super insightful!

Next we remade our blueberry muffins.  This time we used a new recipe that worked out so much better than our last one.  This time I made sure my butter was 100% melted and I didn’t over mix.  For my blueberries I measured them first thing, coated them in flour, and put them back in the freezer while I mixed the recipe.  Right before I started scooping it into a muffin tin I brought the blueberries out and coated them in flour again.  As you can see below, my streaking was minimal.    The only big issue I had was that I had a bunch of different muffin sizes because I was being a little too gentle with my muffin scoop, and didn’t press it against the side of the bowl.  So next time I’ll need to make sure I’m filling the scoop evenly every time.

 


September 18th- Pastry Cream and Whole Wheat

“Pour up, bake.  Head shot, bake.  Sit down, bake.  Stand up, bake.”  Sometimes I like to imagine Kendrick Lamar is in my baking class rapping this as we put bread in the oven and whip up frosting.  Instead, all I hear is the sound of ovens beeping, dishes being washed, and “Where’s this ingredient?”,  “Does this look okay chef?”  Not that these are unwanted noises, they just aren’t K-Dot.

Today we made honey wheat bread, challah rolls, pastry cream, and chantilly (whipped) cream.  I started with the challah rolls, and I ran into a couple problems.  First of all, I didn’t make them as uniform as they should have been.  That was my own fault.  I shouldn’t have been lazy about rolling and folding.  Second, They under proofed so they stretched more in the oven.  All of my issues with these rolls came from being in a hurry to get them in the oven.  If I had been more patient and careful they would’ve been more uniform and wouldn’t have stretched so much.  At least they had a nice color! IMG_1374

Next I started with the honey whole wheat bread.  The recipe produced 5 pounds of sticky dough that needed to proof for 2 hours.  I shaped 2 one pound loaves and 40 rolls with it.  Both turned out well.  The crumb was good.  The loaves were a little misshapen because I put the slashes more sideways rather than up and down (this makes the bread grow at funky angles in the oven.  To avoid this next time, I will use my fingers and a guide to make sure my slashes stay down the center of the bread.

While the breads were proofing/baking, I started on my pastry cream.  My senior year of high school I went to a culinary program at a technical school.  I have this horrible memory of the first time we tried pastry cream.  The first time I made it, it curdled.  So I tried a second time.  It curdled.  I tried a third time, and surprise- it curdled.  After that I just walked out.  So yeah, I was a little nervous to make it again.  In the same fashion I made the orange curd, I took every step slowly.  The only issue I had was not cooking the tempered mixture for a full two minutes.  I was so nervous about over cooking it and it curdling that I took it off the heat too soon.  This left a bit of a starchy taste.  To avoid this next time I’m going to have to be brave and cook it longer.

Lastly I made chantilly, which is whipped cream.  Mine turned out good it had stiff peaks and was still shiny.IMG_1372


GF Coconut Chocolate Crepes

My second semester of college I decided to give up on school and work 80 hours a week instead.  I know, I know, it was a stupid thing to do.  I didn’t even need the money!  I was just bored of school haha.  I had three jobs and one of them was a crepe diner.  All they made were crepes.  I’ve worked in a lot of places, but this one is still my favorite.  We had huge circle burners (probably a foot in diameter) that we would cook crepes on, and then we would fill them with toppings like cheesecake and Nutella.  Oh baby, those were some delicious days.

Flash forward to these heavenly morsels.IMG_1338 (2)

This recipe came to me when I bought my very first coconut.

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Did you know if you shake a coconut next to your ear you can hear the water sloshing around?

I named him Manny, and we got along swell until I had to drill into his skull and put him in a 400°F oven.

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I miss you Manny

These crepes are so good!  The coconut panna cotta filling is so refreshing, the chocolate gives it a touch of richness, and the crepes themselves are so tender and flavorful!

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Gluten Free Coconut Chocolate Crepes

Gluten Free Coconut Chocolate Crepes↓↓↓

For the panna cotta filling:

1 can coconut milk

1 package gelatin

½ cup sugar

½ to 1 cup chopped dark chocolate

  1. Evenly distribute the gelatin over ¼ cup of very cold water and let sit until gelatinized (about 5 minutes)
  2. While your gelatin sits, heat the coconut milk and sugar over medium-high heat until it starts to simmer. Make sure you stir constantly.
  3. As soon as your mixture starts to simmer take it off the heat and whisk in the gelatin until it is completely dissolved
  4. Refrigerate at least 4 hours

For the crepes:

¾ cup coconut flour

¾ cup tapioca flour

½ cup sugar

½ tsp salt

3 large eggs

3 egg yolks

¾ cup water

1 cup milk

¼ cup oil or melted butter

  1. Sift the first 4 ingredients into a medium bowl, set aside.
  2. Whisk all the eggs together in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk in water and milk
  4. Slowly whisk your dry ingredients
  5. Stir in the oil
  6. Let the mixture chill for at least 30 minutes
  7. Heat a medium pan with a small amount of oil on medium high heat
  8. Pour in just enough crepe batter to coat the bottom of the pan (2-3 TBSP)
  9. Cook for 15-30 seconds on one side. Flip carefully with a spatula and cook the other side for 5-10 seconds
  10. Once all your crepes are cooked you can either keep them in the fridge for a few days or go ahead and assemble.
  11. To assemble, take your coconut panna cotta out of the fridge and give it a stir.
  12. Spoon coconut into the middle and top with some chocolate. Fold crepe however your heart desires.  I find that rolling is easiest.  Only assemble ready to eat crepes.

recipes adapted from the “Professional Baking” textbook