This is my birthday week and it's been off to a wonderful start! But there are lots of recipe updates for you!!!Read More
I think I'm getting old, we hit 90 degrees which is a bit of a rare event in Oakland especially when we've crossed the line into Fall. It was hot enough to make me stay indoors at all times, I had most of the blinds drawn to keep the heat out but kept a few of the windows cracked open to let the air in. Of course, as one would expect there was no draft when it was needed the most. I survived on a diet of cold things that included iced water, lemonade, popsicles, and salads.
My inability to handle hot weather might just be one sign of old age, our cat is now testing my patience. Vesper has learned to pop open the wire mesh panel on our backdoor. He's an indoor cat and neither M nor I want him strolling the streets of the neighborhoods or picking a fight with another cat or raccoon (ya never know what's out there). But my little kitten is curious and intelligent which for a pet owner is a terrible combination (There was that one time when he opened the pet cabinet door to help himself to treats, so now we keep that door under lock and key). Thank goodness, Vesper is driven by greed because I quickly lured him back in to the house with treats because if he had jumped over the fence and run away, I'd go nuts. He makes Snoopy look like a saint!
An Indian summer and a crazy kitten have kept me crazy and consequently, I've been thinking of cooler fall desserts to eat. This pumpkin pudding is almost tropical with it's coconut flavors. It reminds me of being at the beach while fall is sneaking in. I used Califia Farms toasted coconut and almond milk blend to create the base for the pudding, it's heat stable which makes it really easy to thicken it over heat. I've added shredded coconut which gives the pudding texture while cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg brings in the warm fall flavors with a hint of sweetness.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this pudding;
- You can use toasted shredded coconut to create a richer coconut flavor in the pudding. Another option is to add a teaspoon or two of coconut rum or liquor.
- If you want more shredded coconut in the pudding you can increase the final amount to 1 1/2 cups.
- Butternut squash and pumpkin both work in this recipe.
- The pudding gets thickened at two stages, once with tapioca starch (cornstarch will ask work here) and then by the shredded coconut.
coconut and pumpkin pudding
yields: 4 servings
2 cups Califia Farms toasted coconut almond milk
one 15 ounce can unsweetened pumpkin purée
2 tablespoons coconut cream
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (preferably palm sugar)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon + a little extra for garnish
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1. Place all the ingredients from the coconut milk to the nutmeg in a blender and pulse until smooth and combined.
2. Transfer the contents to a medium-sized saucepan with a thick bottom and on medium-high heat whisk until you get a thick custard like consistency in about 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Remove from stove and fold the shredded coconut into the pumpkin mixture. Transfer to a container and place a piece of clingfilm over the surface of the pudding. There should be no air bubbles between the clingfilm and the pudding. Refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours, preferably overnight before serving. Garnish the pudding with a little powdered cinnamon just before serving.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.
I grew up hating peaches, there I said it! At least until the age of 10 or 12, I assumed they were a cheap excuse for mangoes. They seemed similar, juicy and sweet yet possessing a fuzzy disposition that made me deem them weaker to the mango. Indian mangoes are delicious (Alphonsos are my favorite) and second to none, my grandparents had several trees at their home which helped to create this arbitrary standard in my head and I nurtured this idiotic notion for a while, a long time.... However, my opinion has evolved and changed which in part is due to the lack of good comparable mango options in stores. The absence of one yellow fruit led me to appreciate another and oddly enough, I now stand happily corrected and humbled because peaches are now one of my favorite fruits to eat in summer.
Brülée a peach and it will reveal its secrets, it will release its flavor and sweetness and while sitting atop a simple vehicle such as this rice pudding, it will create a story that can be read through taste. This creamy rice pudding is gently infused with dried chamomile flowers and thickened with Califia Farms' creamer that's made from coconut cream and almond milk. There's no need to really sweeten the rice pudding since the chamomile gives it a bright and fruity flavor while the peaches will bring their sweetness to each and every bite you take.
I'm thankful that I now appreciate peaches because they make desserts such as these a heavenly experience.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this dessert,
- Add a little bourbon or whiskey or even rum to the peaches before you brûlée them. two to three tablespoons should be enough.
- Experiment with darker raw brown sugar varieties such as jaggery or palm sugar for a smokier flavor.
- I don't add any sugar to the rice pudding because there really is no need to. The peaches are sweet and get a little sugar that creates a rich sweet sauce when they're in the oven that I found to sweeten the rice pudding.
- I use a tea ball to steep the rice as it boils and cooks so the flavor of the chamomile infuses into the rice and it also makes it easy to get rid of the flowers after they're infused.
- I've not sweetened the rice pudding but you can do it, if you like it a little sweeter. I prefer the taste of a concentrated burst of sweetness from the peaches with the unsweetned rice pudding because you get to taste the flavor of the rice in the dessert.
- You can adjust the amount of creamer based on how thick you want the consistency of the pudding to be.
peach brûlée with chamomile infused rice pudding
yields: 4 servings
2 large peaches, peeled and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or melted unsalted butter if not vegan)
2/3 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups cold tap water
1/4 cup packed dried chamomile flowers
300 mL Califia Farms Better Half Creamer (Coconut Cream and Almond Milk)
1. Place a wire rack at the upper level in the oven and set the broiler to low. Take a gratin or baking dish and sprinkle the peaches with the brown sugar and coconut oil. Coat evenly and broil for about 10 minutes until the peaches start to caramelize. Remove from oven and keep on a wire rack to cool.
2. Place the basmati rice and water in a medium-sized stockpot. Place the chamomile flowers inside a tea ball or a boquet garni bag. Heat on high heat until the water starts to boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to cook for about 30 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the rice is soft and tender. Stir and mash the rice a little and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from stove, cover with a lid and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Fold in the creamer and allow to sit for at least 1 hour before serving. Divide the rice pudding mixture equally between four serving bowls and garnish with generous amounts of the brûléed peaches and some of the reserve sauce. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. However all opinions expressed are solely my own.
I couldn't be happier, you guys! I found out last night that I'm nominated in the Best Photo based Food Blog category at the International Association of Culinary Professionals for the 2016 awards that are to be held this April in Los Angeles! The past four years have been a blessing. They've been an amazing journey filled with fun and growing pains. From starting this blog to talking about food and through it, my experiences as an immigrant, to learning about photography but also just learning more about myself. I'm thankful for this blog and grateful, that you've been a part of my journey sharing the ups and downs along the way. Thank you!
What better way to celebrate this moment than with a childhood favorite, bread pudding! It took me a while to fathom that bread puddings are usually baked in the United States since my mother always steamed them whenever she made them at home and this is one dish she made often. I love both versions for different reasons. The American version, has a delicious crispy crust while the steamed version is soft and comforting. No matter what you look at it, bread puddings are one of the tastiest ways to use up leftover bread. I think it's the simplicity that makes it so appealing, a few ingredients with endless possibilities. Mom always uses vanilla extract and raisins and slices of milk bread. Bread pudding is breakfast converted to dessert and it's all about comfort.
This version is infused with dried chamomile flowers and long black pepper (which look like little pine cones). There's a creamy sauce that's infused with the spices and a sneaky helping of raisins in that give a burst of sweetness in each and every bite. This is a very simple recipe and you could modify and bake it if you wanted to. I use the bundt pan to steam the pudding and give it a more cake like shape which makes it a little fancier but again it's all up to you. Make it the way you want to and make sure to enjoy it!
A couple of kitchen notes that you might find useful when preparing this pudding;
- My recipe is loosely adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe in the New York Times. His recipe is baked while this is steamed.
- If you can't find long black pepper, you can easily sub 1/4 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper for the pudding and sauce, each.
- I use this bundt cake pan which is also a great pudding basin and you can order the cooling rack and steamer rack to go with it. I just use the cooling rack as the steamer rack all the time and it works perfectly. Another option is to use an English pudding basin like one of those pretty Mason Cash bowls but this bundt pan and it's lid remove all the extra work from making a good seal to prevent water from entering the pan.
- I don't use too much sugar in this recipe, as challah is pretty sweet to begin with and too much sugar masks the flavor of the chamomile and black pepper.
chamomile and long black pepper steamed bread pudding
yields: 6 to 8 servings
for the bread pudding
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter + extra for greasing the pan
1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers
4 long black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
4 tablespoons sugar
6 cups challah bread cut into 2 inch cubes (an entire challah loaf)
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons raisins or sultanas
for the sauce
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers
2 long black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
for the bread pudding
1. Place the milk, butter, chamomile, peppercorns and sugar in a thick bottomed medium-sized saucepan. Heat on medium-low heat stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes until the butter melts, then increase heat to medium-high and bring the contents to boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled strain the liquid and discard the solids using a fine mesh sieve.
2. While the milk is cooling, grease a 2 quart bundt pan with a little butter. Then place a layer of challah cubes and sprinkle a tablespoon of the raisins. Add another layer of bread and sprinkle the raisins. Repeat until you reach the top.
3. Lightly whisk the eggs into the cooled and strained milk mixture. Pour this liquid over the bread in the bundt pan. Cover the bundt pan with its lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Place a plate or a round cooling rack into a large stockpot, place the sealed bundt pan on top of the plate/rack. Pour enough tap water (at room temperature) to about 1 inch less than the height of the bundt pan. Place a heavy weight such as a bowl or plate over the bundt pan, cover the stockpot with a lid and heat the stockpot on medium-high heat until the water begins to boil. Continue to boil for another 1 minute and remove from stove. Allow the bundt pan to stay in the stockpot for another 5 minutes before removing from the stockpot. Remove the lid and run a butterknife between the edges of the pan and the pudding. Invert the bundt pan over a serving plate and allow to sit for 10 minutes to release. (If it doesn't release using the flat end of the butter knife to loosen the sides).
To prepare the sauce
4. Place the milk, chamomile, peppercorns, and sugar in a medium-sized thick bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium-high, stirring occasionally until the milk just starts to boil. In the meantime, make a slurry of the water and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl. Vigorously whisk the cornstarch slurry into boiling milk and continue to cook until it thickens. Remove the saucepan from the stove and strain the solids and discard the solids using a fine mesh sieve. Pour about 1/2 cup of this warm sauce over the pudding just before serving with a little extra on the side.
When Le Creuset asked me to create a sweet thanksgiving side this year with their Heritage bakeware collection, I decided to stray away from pies and dive into the realm of baked puddings. I grew up eating a lot of steamed and baked puddings and since Thanksgiving dinner is all about traditions and comfort eating, I figured I'd bake a pudding this year!
This sweet cranberry and maple syrup pudding can be made with fresh or frozen cranberries (so you can make it any time of the year) which burst when baked to release the tart and red juice into the batter (I don't recommend using dried cranberries as it doesn't cook and taste as good as it does with the whole fruit). Now maple syrup is delicious by itself but in this sweet side when baked it starts to caramelize with the berries and creates a deep dark brown color that smells heavenly. This cranberry pudding is best served warm and has a cake like texture yet buttery and soft with a sweet maple caramelized crust.
You can get the cranberry and maple syrup pudding recipe here. I'll be busy moving and unpacking for the next few days so have a wonderful Thanksgiving folks and stay warm!
Note: This post was sponsored by Le Creuset but all opinions stated are my own.
Somewhere between my meyer lemon tree and a stack of sweet potato vines, sits my Moro blood orange tree. Unlike the lemon tree, it hasn't produced any flowers this season but there are tiny little leaf buds between each and every portion of the stems of this little tree. So until the day arrives that this plant will hopefully produce some fruit, I make do with ransacking the stores and markets in the neighborhood for the blood oranges. And some of those blood oranges went into making this sauce to be drizzled over this pudding.
Ahh, how I love puddings! They are convenient and comforting yet can be made fancy to suit one's needs. I like to think there's something sweet waiting for me in the refrigerator when I come home after work, so every now and then I'll make up a batch of puddings that will satisfy my sweet cravings. This pudding is made with sweet polenta and the creamy delicious flavors of coconut and almond milk and there's also a lightly burned caramelized blood orange sauce that goes over the pudding. Happy flavors and tasty puddings.
By the way this Califia coconut almond milk combination is rather delicious!
Here are some tips that you might find useful when preparing these puddings,
- You can skip blood oranges and use regular oranges to prepare the sauce. Remember to adjust the sweetness of the sauce accordingly.
- The puddings will rise during baking and then sink a little after they are chilled. I trim the crust off the exposed end of the pudding to give the dessert a smooth finish.
- I gently bake the pudding for about 2 hours in the oven at a lower temperature so it doesn't burn but helps to get rid of most of the liquid.
- You can adjust the sweetness of the dessert to your liking by changing the amount of sweetener added.
- Garnish as needed with candied orange chips if desired
burnt sugar blood orange sauce
yields: approximately 1 cup
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup blood orange juice, fresh and strained
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
- Place the brown sugar in a small thick bottomed saucepan and heat on a medium-high flame for about 3 minutes until the sugar just begins to darken and caramelize (watch the sugar carefully to avoid it from burning). As soon as the sugar begins to caramelize, remove the saucepan from the stove and carefully stir in the orange juice. Return to stove and stir until the caramelized sugar has completely dissolved.
- While the sauce is cooking, stir the cornstarch and water to form a slurry in a small bowl. Stir this mixture into the sauce and quickly whisk. Continue to cook with constant stirring, the mixture will begin to thicken and begin to boil. Continue to stir constantly and cook for one additional minute. Remove the saucepan from stove and pass the sauce through a sieve to remove any clumps. Transfer the sauce to a container and refrigerate until completely chilled.
polenta coconut almond milk baked puddings
yields: 4 servings
1 cup (6 ounces) polenta
3 cups Califia coconut almond milk
1 tablespoon toasted unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
a little coconut oil for greasing
- Add all the ingredients from the polenta to the sugar in a large thick bottomed saucepan. Bring the contents of the pan to a boil on medium high heat and then reduce the heat to a medium-low. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water to form a slurry and fold this slurry into the polenta. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook and stir the the polenta until there is little to no visible liquid left, this should take about 8-10 minutes. The mixture should resemble a thick porridge like consistency. Remove from stove.
- Grease 4 X 4 ounce heatproof glass canning jars with a little coconut oil. Using a ladle fill the jars up and using a spoon flatten the mixture to release any trapped air bubbles. Bake the jars for 2 hours at 250F on a baking sheet on the middle rack of a preheated oven. Rotate the tray halfway through the baking process. Remove the hot jars and allow to cool to room temperature. Wrap the mouth of each jar with cling film and refrigerate until chilled for at least 3-4 hours. The puddings will shrink a little in the refrigerator.
- To release the puddings, run the blunt edge of a knife between the jar and the pudding. Tap the jar over a plate to release the pudding. Trim off the crusty end of the pudding using a sharp serrated knife and place the pudding in a serving plate. Garnish the pudding with a candied orange slice and drizzle generously with the burnt sugar blood orange sauce. Prepare the remaining three puddings similarly.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia and all opinions stated here are purely my own.