1/4 cup crystallized ginger bits (optional)
The fun part about exploring the local markets in your new neighborhood is the fun things you might come across. My eyes and heart burst with excitement when I came across these purple/violet yams/ube in my neighborhood. Until now, I had never tried them and everything about these guys blew my senses away. They are sweet to taste but when roasted the yams give off a beautiful floral nectar like fragrance which frankly is kind of amazing!
Purple/violet yams/Ube are popular in Asian cooking and you can also find them in some Indian recipes, so you should be able to find them in Asian/International markets. I made one
last year and I figured it would only be appropriate to cook these yams into an ice cream to trap those delicious scents and flavors possessed by this magic tuber.
Roasting is my cheat method for many recipes, especially here because not only does it concentrate flavors and heightens tastes but it also helps to drive out moisture from the yam. I used molasses and brown sugar to sweeten the mixture and the resultant ice cream is very soft because of the yam pulp. I think you're gonna love this one, so make yourself some roasted purple yam ice cream and the purple!
roasted purple yam and molasses ice cream
1 generous quart
1 large purple yam/ube/violet yam
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cream cheese, plain
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400F. Rinse the yam under cold running tap water, wipe it dry with a clean towel. Prick the yam a couple of times with a fork and bake the yam for 45 minutes or until it is tender on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once the yam is baked, remove and allow it to cool to room temperature.
2. Once the yam is cool enough to handle, peel the skin and place the pulp in a food processor. Pulse until you get a smooth puree. Reserve 1 cup of the puree to prepare the ice cream. This can be done the day ahead and stored in an airtight container until ready to use.
3. In a large thick bottomed saucepan, add the milk, heavy cream, cream cheese, sugar and molasses. Stir the mixture on a medium-high flame until the sugar and molasses are completely dissolved. Reduce the flame to medium-low and whisk in one cup of the reserved yam puree. Increase the flame to a medium high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, whisking the liquid continuously. Continue to whisk and cook until the liquid acquires a thick custard like consistency. Remove the saucepan from the stove.
4. Strain the ice cream base through a sieve and transfer it to an airtight 1 gallon ziploc bag. Seal airtight and place the bag in an ice-water bath. Allow the ice cream base to chill completely for about 30 minutes.
5. Pour the chilled ice cream base into the pre frozen canister of your ice cream maker. Churn until the ice cream starts to form and no longer sticks to the side of the canister. This should take about 30 minutes (alternatively, follow the instructions that came with your ice cream maker).
6. Transfer the ice cream into a freezer-safe container with an airtight lid. Press the ice cream down with a spatula to remove any air bubbles and cover the surface with parchment paper. Cover the container with its lid and freeze the ice cream for at least 4 hours or until firm.
This is probably the craziest yet happiest batch of little things I've baked in a while. My not-so-secret obsession with all things chocolate and Sriracha hit it's peak this week when I decided to travel down the path of mixing them together. Maybe they might get married someday and make a happy couple, one could only hope!
Until now, I had never baked a lava cake, so I scrounged around for several recipes in my stack of baking cookbooks (that are unpacked yet literally piled against the wall of the living room like the entrance to a some ancient monument.....I'll eventually deal with this soon, hopefully), unfortunately I didn't have a recipe in any of my books (could also be an excuse to get more cookbooks)! I went online and found one that looked pretty easy to prepare and decided to take the plunge down the hole that looked dark and messy yet held a promise of sweet peppery goodness.
Buckwheat is by far one of my favorite whole grain flours to work with because it has such a lovely color and flavor. Indian cooking uses a lot of whole grain flours but buckwheat is a flour that I came across after I moved to the US and I love, love it! I've adapted the original lava cake recipe from one of my trusted cooking magazines,
and substituted the flour with buckwheat among a few other ingredients.
Here are a few notes that I made during baking and I wanted to share with you;
- I had no heavy cream at home but I did have full fat coconut milk and that worked just fine in preparing the truffles.You can make the truffles ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator, just stick them into the cake batter they day you are ready to bake the cakes.
- The cakes will rise during baking and you should remove them while they are still hot after the initial 2 minute cooling process. I removed them from the ramekins even though we didn't eat all of them the same day. The cakes might sink slightly once they are too cool which is why I really like serving them as soon as they are baked straight out of the oven.
- To store, I ended up wrapping the rest of the cakes (after removing them from the ramekins) with cling film and freezing them for long term storage in an an airtight ziploc bag. Before eating the cakes, instead of thawing, I unwrapped the cling film and microwaved them covered with a microwave-safe lid. It worked great and now I have Sriracha lava cakes on demand.
Also, if you don't like Sriracha you can leave it out from the cakes and make yourself a whole grain buckwheat lava cake.
sriracha buckwheat molten lava cakes
2 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk or heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped + additional butter for greasing
1 1/4 ounces buckwheat flour + additional for dusting
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup (2 ounces) raw brown sugar
1 teaspoon madgascar bourbon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
3 large eggs
confectioners sugar for dusting (optional, I did not do this)
1. Heat the coconut milk (or heavy cream) in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat until it just begins to simmer. Remove from the stove and pour it into a heat proof bowl containing the chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate melts into a smooth paste. If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, microwave carefully for 10 seconds, just be careful not to burn the chocolate. Once the chocolate forms a smooth silky sauce, whisk in the sriracha. Over the bowl with cling film and allow it to chill completely for at least 30 minutes.
2. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator once the chocolate is chilled. Divide into 6 equal parts and mold into small truffles/balls. Place each truffle onto a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450F. Take 6, six ounce ramekin bowls and grease them with butter and then dust them generously with flour. Place the bowls on a baking sheet/tray and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium sized saucepan, stir until combined. The mixture will resemble a smooth silky sauce. Remove from stove, once completely combined and then cool for about 10 minutes. While the chocolate is cooling, whisk the sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the batter turns pale yellow and fluffy. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Finally, beat in the melted chocolate mixture followed by the flour. Divide half of the batter between the ramekin bowls, then place a truffle in each bowl and cover each bowl with the rest of the remainder batter. Even out the surfaces of each bowl with an offset spatula and bake them for 15 minutes until the cakes are just set (they will rise a little). Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes.
5. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the ramekin bowl and immediately invert onto an individual serving plate. Tap gently to release the cake. Dust with confectioner's sugar. Repeat with the rest of the cakes. Serve immediately.
- These dulce de leche cheesecake pops by Pass the Sushi look good to begin with but they also have rumchata in them!
- This fresh fruit cake by Not Without Salt is just spectacular and pure genius!
- This braised spiced pork noodle dish from Bon Appetit looks delicious and I need to make it soon.
- The Bonjon Gourmet made a rhubarb, almond and honey tart that looks pretty tasty and reminded me that I haven't cooked any rhubarb this year!
Semolina is the tinier cousin of bulgur and it resembles a fine sand. You need to lightly toast the semolina but be careful while doing this as it can burn fast, the photograph below shows how deep I let it brown and should give you a rough idea of what the semolina must look like. You can also use ghee instead of coconut oil (stick to the same amounts) in this recipe. The semolina itself is lightly sweetened but the golden raisins impart a pop of sweetness with every bite you take. The rose water is completely optional and I don't like nuts with this halva so I didn't add any but feel free to add a few mixed nuts with the raisins if you prefer to.
- What's for Breakfast, Today? by Marta is a spectacular collection of food and travel photographs that if you haven't come across already, you need to check it out! Her work is inspiring and tasty!
- Molly of My Name is Yeh whipped up a batch of pretzel shortbread cookies and then drizzled them with chocolate. I want to eat each and every cookie she baked.
- I'm on a breakfast kick these days and Kelly of The Gouda Life is responsible for this, reason being her blackberry sour cream muffins.
There are things that I have learned that I do as a blogger that normal people don't. For example, baking yourself a cake and then trying to figure out if it's more birthday, spring or Easter appropriate for the blog. You see April is my birthday month (though my birthday falls at the very end of the month) and this year it falls on one of the solar eclipses (perhaps it might mean something), Easter too tends to bounce around the calendar every year, so I fell into the blogging dilemma of when to make the cake and when to share it on the blog. The only thing I was surely certain of, was making it! Last year I made myself chocolate butter cookies but this year I wanted a big fat cake full of berries, I should rephrase that, I mean't to say LOADED with berries!
I love angel food cakes because they are so airy and light yet so soft and spongy. I zested a couple of green limes into the batter and tossed in some ground green cardamom. Instead of a frosting, I slapped the cake layers with an extra generous amount of lightly sweetened Greek yogurt and stuffed the cake with fresh strawberries and blueberries.
- Sini of My Blue and White Kitchen made her version of Finnish Raspberry Meade that looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous. I might need a few pitchers, just saying!
- I came across a new blog called Kiss My Spatula and I've fallen in love with the rich and colorful photography.
- The talented duo, Alex and Sonja at A Couple Cooks made these Ricotta Scrambled Egg and Asparagus Tacos that looks perfect for a spring brunch.
- One of my favorite inspirational bloggers, Linda of The Tart Tart made some amazing Black Sesame Macarons that I really, really want to taste!
- Imen has a Rhubarb and Rosemary Syllabub with Poitin up on the Farmette. It's no secret that I love farms and I'm adore the photographs she shares of her family farm on Instagram because it reminds me of M's parents' farm in Virginia.
One of my favorite things to do when I work on my blog posts is to sit in the bedroom and have the curtains to the doors pulled back all the way, simply because I can glance outside and enjoy the view of my little garden. It's even more exciting when spring arrives, because I impatiently indulge in multiple glimpses of the little tips of green that are sprouting through the soil or budding off the branches. Not that the incessant staring will make them come any sooner but more so because it reminds me of what my garden looked like in previous year and what it might look this time. I have a mid-shade of a green thumb, I can grow some plants with ease and others, well not so much. I keep getting a little better each year, learning what really works well with me and my garden. Mind you my garden is not huge, it's a tiny semicircle of open soil that I am super thankful for, especially when you live in a city, it's my little oasis.
To give spring a much needed warm welcome, I've teamed up with a bunch of wonderful and talented bloggers in a fantastic giveaway organized by the very wonderful Katie Webster of Healthy Seasonal Recipes. There are several wonderful prizes that one lucky person will win. To enter the giveaway, simply follow the instructions in the widget at the bottom of the post. Good luck and do visit the other participating bloggers and check out their delicious recipes! The giveaway begins on April 11, 2013 and ends on April 16, 2014 at 9:00am PST.
Here's what's to be won in the goodie bag!
From Vermont Creamery: A Taste of Vermont Creamery Gift Package and In a Cheesemakers Kitchen Cookbook.
From JK Adams: A set of Coupe Appetizer Plates (2 pieces.)
From Calivirgin: 1 8.45 ounce bottle of roasted garlic olive oil, 1 8.45 ounce bottle of the rosemary infused olive oil and 1 8.45 ounce bottle balsamic vinegar.
From Effie’s homemade: 10 packages of crackers (2 oat, 2 corn, 2 nut, 2 cocoa, 2 rye.)
Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation from the participating sponsors in this giveaway. All opinions stated are my own. I did receive free samples from Calivirgin and Vermont Creamery.
Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Adventures in Cooking
Southern Boy Dishes
Yankee Kitchen Ninja
Mountain Mama Cooks
Cooking With Cakes
The Lemon Bowl