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Chocolate Hearts For Your Valentine

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A quick Valentine’s Day post, since it’s 7:30pm on 14th as we speak, and I’m waiting for the kids to go to bed…

Chocolate Hearts without all the fancy equipment.

You’ll need the following:

DSCN25771.  8 or more aluminium 1 1/2″ baking cups

2.  Silken tofu, 300 g. about 12 oz.

3.  Melting chocolate – I like Aijia Chocolate, it’s cheap and not nasty(don’t get me started on the quality of chocolate sold here)

4.  Good quality chocolate, 1.75 oz dark 80% cocoa

5.  Ditch the white chocolate chips, they didn’t work out here…

Step One:  In a double boiler, bring the water to boil, then turn off the heat.  Add your cheap melting chocolate.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Stir.

Step Two:  While your chocolate is melting, bend your aluminium cups into heart shapes.  Keep the bottoms flat and the shape as heart-like as possible.

Step Three:  Using a small spoon, scoop out some melted chocolate (about 2 tsp), pour into the heart cups, and tilt it around until all the sides are coated.  Do this until all the cups are coated (as a reminder, I just used 8 cups).  Refrigerate 5 minutes.

Step Four:  Pull your cups out of the refrige, and re-coat the inside walls.  The walls will be the thinnest, so they need an extra coating.  Return to the refrige when done.

Step Five:  Melt your good 80% cocoa chocolate now, using the same bowl if you want.  Use the same method as before – heat the water to boiling, turn off the heat and then add the chocolate.  Let sit 5 minutes until melted.

Step Six:  In your blender, blend the tofu until smooth.  While the motor is running, slowly pour in your melted chocolate, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary.  Add 1 tsp. vanilla and about 1/4 c. of molasses. (a simple syrup would work fine as well)

Step Seven:  Unmould your chocolate cups.  At the tip of the heart, using a scissors, carefully cut the rim off both sides until you get to the top of the heart.  Return to the tip, cut or gently pull off the aluminium walls of the cup.  Keep in mind that the walls are the thinnest, and crumble easily.  Hold the cup by its base.  Pull off the aluminium base last and then pull out the section stuck between the humps at the top of the heart.  Maybe this is confusing.  See the picture below.  Don’t get bent out of shape if it crumbles or is all lopsided.  You can fix the lopsidedness.

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Step Eight:  Heat a ceramic or glass plate in your microwave until warm, and set it on the counter.  Pick up your chocolate hearts carefully, and upend it gently on the plate, apply slight pressure on the base, moving it around while it melts off the sections that are uneven.  If you just leave it on the plate (as I did while taking pictures) it will melt away to oblivion, so be careful.  After finishing all of them, refrigerate for 5 minutes.

Step Nine:  Pour your pudding/mousse into your chocolate cups, filling each one to the top.  You’ll have a lot of left over pudding that you can save for later or for some other use.  Refrigerate chocolate hearts until firm, about 2 hours.

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Vegetarian Tamales

I really miss Mexican-American food when I live in other countries.  For some reason I was thinking about tamales the other day, so I looked up how to make them online.  Unfortunately all the recipes called for masa harina (not sold here), flour, and beef or chicken.  Well, I like to try things out my own way.  Masa harina is ground white corn, and I thought it can’t be that different from cornmeal…except that cornmeal’s gritty.  I came up with the following recipe on my first try.  It was amazing!  The husband loved it.  The kids…not so much.  We make it anyway.

Vegetarian Tamales

Dough

1 c. yellow cornmeal (I found mine at Bakery Supply in the freezer)

1/3 c. oil

2 c. water

1 tsp. salt

Place in a sauce pan.  Cook on medium-high until all the liquid’s used up.  Cover and let sit until cool, about 30 minutes.  Proceed with your filling.

Filling

1 sweet potato, skinned and chopped small (I prefer the yellow variety, but orange yams work fine as well)

1 onion, chopped small

1 c. chopped mushrooms (I think I used button mushrooms here)

1 tomato, chopped small

1/2 can black olives, cut in half

4 garlic cloves, minced or sliced

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. salt

1 TB oil

Toss it all in a frying pan.  Cook until the liquid’s used up.  Add 1 c. water, cover and simmer on low until the water is all gone, and the potatoes are soft.  About 20 minutes.  Set aside until you’re ready with the dough.

Dough Continued

By now your cornmeal should be firm and cool to the touch.  Crumble it up with your hands and add:

2 eggs (I make mine egg free = 2 tsp ground flax and 1/3 c. water)

3/4 c. buckwheat flour

1/2 c. cornstarch

1 tsp ground flax seed

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Mix this well by hand.  It will be quite sticky and the consistency of playdough.  Using parchment paper or banana leaves: take about 1/2 c. of the dough, roll it out to 1/4 inch thick on the parchment in a rectangular shape.  Place 1/3 c. of the filling in the center.  Pull up the top and the bottom, and pinch the dough together.  Roll the dough to the top.  Grab both sides of the roll and squeeze gently together.  Twist the ends.  Place in your steamer and steam for 20-30 minutes.  Serve with salsa and sour cream.  I ran out of parchment paper, so made a tamale pie in a ceramic bowl.  This recipe usually makes about 8 rolls.  Serves 4.

 

 

Flax, my new best friend

I’ve been having so much fun experimenting with ground flax seed in my recipes the last few days.  It is amazing.  I replace the xanthan gum normally called for in a GF recipe with 1-2 tsp ground flax.  They have turned out wonderful.  No longer gummy, and the recipes cook up fine even if they are more liquidy than I would prefer.  I’ve made bread, chocolate cake, noodles and blueberry muffins.  Everyone is happy.  The blueberry muffins were perfect, and I didn’t bake them with eggs.  Just added 2 more tsp. of ground flax and about 1/3 of water to replace the 2 eggs called for.  I found both the blueberry muffins and noodle recipes on this website.  Seriously.  I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to try flax seeds.  And the best part?  Omega 3’s