turmeric spice-seed almond cookies

turmeric spice seed almond cookies gf

My earliest memory of cookies are not fond ones. I blame it all on my kindergarten "Sports Day" (aka worst time of the school year) where we'd have to run across the field and pick up a cookie off a bench, eat it and then run back to the other bench and eat another one, the vicious cycle would continue a couple of times, I can't remember for how long but I think it was long enough! It was something I dreaded (I was a very lazy kid) and worst of all the cookies were not at all tasty. Now, come to think about it, I don't think it made that much sense, run and eat a cookie, No, No, No! Thankfully, I don't run across any fields for cookies but I will definitely run to the kitchen to whip some up.

almond cookie spices

My grandmother would get a dozen or more cookies that were lightly spiced and flavored with fennel and cardamom. They were fat, round and fragrant with the aromatic spices that were blended into the dough. This is my take on those cookies she had happily pick up from her baker.

I take great pride in my heritage and love infusing the flavors of Indian cuisine in everyday cooking. These cookies are extra special because they also bring back wonderful memories with my late grandmother from whom I have watched and learned to cook from. I made these cookies with Bob's Red Mill almond meal/flour and then added some turmeric for color and a whole buncha seeds for flavor and spice. These cookies are deliciously crisp and thin, flavored with fennel, flax and poppy seeds and colored with turmeric. But there's also a delicate hint of black pepper for that extra amazing little kick. 

I had a really hard time trying to come up with a name for these almond cookies. The turmeric kept hinting at "Golden cookies" but I kept debating with myself, I finally settled for something a little less glamorous but hopefully does it justice. Either way, I hope you love the cookies as much as I do! 

turmeric spice seed almond cookies in can

I used Bob's Red Mill Almond flour in these cookies and the cookies turned out perfect. The flour has fine grains making it easy to work with. The folks at Bob's Red Mill are sponsoring a giveaway for one lucky winner, all you need to do is go to the Rafflecopter widget and follow the instructions. 

You can win a bag of their delicious Almond meal flour and a $20 gift card to their store. So go ahead enter and best of luck!!!

This contest will run from April 4th through April 12, 2014.

Disclaimer:

 I did not receive any financial compensation from Bob's Red Mill for this post and all opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.

turmeric spiced seed almond gf cookies

turmeric spice-seed almond cookies

yields:

30-34 cookies

ingredients

1 1/2 cups (5 1/8 ounces) almond flour (Bob's Red Mill)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1 cup (7 5/8 ounces) sugar 

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 teaspoons flax seeds

2 teaspoon poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon green cardamom seeds, freshly ground

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 large egg

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients from the almond flour to the black pepper with a whisk until all the ingredients are evenly mixed.

2. Whisk the egg lightly in a small bowl. Fold the egg into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until completely combined. Bring the dough together into a ball, cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking.

3. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. 

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and take a generous teaspoon of the dough, mould it into a small ball with the palms of your hand and place it on the baking sheet. Bake 9 cookie dough balls at a time and space them around 2 inches apart from each other, for approximately 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. The cookies will rise during baking and eventually flatten. Once baked, allow the cookies to rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

fennel and roasted strawberries frozen yogurt

fennel roasted strawberries frozen yogurt

I made strawberry frozen yogurt last weekend and then it snowed on Sunday. Ha, to think I was going to be all fancy and bring spring in with some sweet pink frozen yogurt spiked with the licorice flavored spike of fennel! The weather clearly didn't work out my way but I'm thrilled the yogurt did. 

strawberries

Fennel and cardamom are probably some of the most popular spices that you come across in Indian desserts. Consequently, I eat a lot of both and I should definitely, at some point, consider buying stock in a farm or plantation that grows them. Roasted strawberries and fennel seeds are a fantastic pairing that should be done more often. I got inspired by a fennel seed spiced ice cream by Princess Tofu that really rocked my world and she even made her own candied fennel! Though I adapted the frozen yogurt recipe from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Strawberries have a high water content so I roasted them a little in the oven to pull out the liquid. I recommend eating it the day it is made, it can get a little hard when frozen too long (I find that allowing it to stay out at room temperature for about 20 minutes to soften before serving helps with scooping). I mixed half of the fresh strawberry puree into the yogurt and the rest I reserved and mixed with a little lime juice to brighten the flavor. So when you bite into a swirled scoop, you get two different levels of strawberry flavor that makes this amazing, so good, that I think it needs a repeat soon. 

fennel seeds

Here are some of my favorite reads for this week,
  • Sarah of The Vanilla Bean Blog made a delicious whole-wheat pasta with balsamic basil spinach dressing and some grape tomatoes. 
  • I discovered Valentina of Hortus Natural Cooking who cooked up a delicious Italian braised crumbed artichoke dish that I'm absolutely in love with.
  • Valerie of Une Gamine Dans la Cuisine  baked and frosted a tasty Pineapple carrot cake with a honey-cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream frosting.
fennel strawberries frozen yogurt

fennel and roasted strawberries frozen yogurt

yields: 1 generous quart

ingredients

2 pints (4 cups) strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup sugar + 2/3 cup
1 quart plain low-fat (2%) greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups whole milk + 2 tablespoons 
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, freshly ground
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix the strawberries with the 1/3 cup of sugar in a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes in the middle rack. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Puree the mixture in a food processor. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until chilled or the temperature of the puree reads 40F. 
2. Drain the yogurt in a clean cheesecloth or muslin lined sieve for about 2 hours in the refrigerator. Discard the liquid whey and keep the yogurt aside until ready to use.
3. In a large thick bottomed saucepan, whisk the milk, honey, half and half, fennel and the sugar. Heat the mixture on medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook for 4 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons of milk and the cornstarch to form a slurry. Using a whisk, quickly mix the slurry into the boiling milk. Cook for another 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula. Remove the saucepan from the stove. 
4. Stir and mix half of the strawberry puree from step 1 and the drained yogurt from step 2, into the mixture in the saucepan until completely mixed. Add the lemon juice to the remaining strawberry puree, reserve and keep chilled for the final step when layering the frozen yogurt.
5. Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Pour a little of the yogurt mixture from the saucepan and whisk until the cream cheese becomes a smooth paste. Whisk in the rest of the yogurt mixture until completely blended. Transfer the entire liquid into a gallon zip lock bag and seal airtight. Place the ziplock bag in an ice water bath for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the yogurt mixture is 40F. Transfer the chilled yogurt into the pre-frozen canister of your ice cream maker. Churn for 30 minutes until the yogurt begins to come off from the sides of the canister or alternatively  following the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the half of the frozen yogurt into an airtight freezer safe container.  Drizzle and pour the rest of the strawberry puree over the frozen yogurt and then layer with the rest of the frozen yogurt. Cover the surface with parchment paper and seal airtight. Freeze for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs before serving. This frozen yogurt is best served the day it is made. If it becomes too hard, I recommend leaving it out for about 20-30 minutes to soften a little before scooping.

fennel and pea soup

fennel and pea soup

The best way to describe snow day this week, would be to call it interesting. Having the stairway to your front entrance completely layered with several inches of snow was probably the craziest way to wake up. Snoopy didn't mind and he ate his way through, we on the other hand had to figure out where the steps were. Still we had so much fun in the snow. It was really nice to get the day off from work and use the time to relax. Those of you that were hit by the storm, I hope you stayed warm and safe with your loved ones. We drove down to the farm this weekend and already had another bout of snow but everything looks beautiful and white out here in Virginia. (I'll be sharing photographs on Instagram and Facebook). As much as I complain about cold weather, I am always amazed by the breathtaking beauty of snow laced mountains and hills in the countryside.

fennel

Fennel is one of the most aromatic and wonderful vegetables that I really enjoying cooking with. It is simply delicious and the shape intriguing (I'm always thinking of those crying baby Mandrakes from Harry Potter when I look at them). This soup is light, clean and healthy with very few ingredients that give it a delicious flavor. There is a luxurious creaminess to this soup without the need for heavy cream to but instead it simply relies on the peas to give that extra level of richness.

oven roasted fennel and peas

I used a two-step process to cook the vegetables by first caramelizing the natural sugars of the vegetables in the oven and then cooking them in water to make a flavorful stock. I also season the olive oil by infusing the hot oil with some fennel seeds and drizzle that over the soup. The garnish is completely optional but it really is worth it!

creamy fennel and pea soup


fennel pea soup

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

1 fennel bulb with stems, fresh
3 cups peas, fresh or frozen
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups water
juice of one fresh lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, for garnish
a few fresh fennel leaves, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 400F and place a wire rack at mid height of the oven. Slice the stems off the fennel and quarter bulb. Place the fennel and peas in baking tray and toss them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast the vegetables in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the bulb turns lightly brown.
2. Transfer the vegetables to a large stockpot. Add the water and bring the contents to a boil on a medium-high flame. Cook until the vegetables are completely soft and tender for about 20-25 minutes.
3. Remove the stockpot from the stove. Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients until creamy and smooth. Alternatively, transfer the vegetables and half of the liquid to a food processor or blender and pulse until completely smooth and creamy. Transfer the contents back to the stockpot.  Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Cook on a medium-low heat with occasional stirring. 
4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan on a medium-high flame for 45 seconds, as soon as the oil gets hot add the fennel seeds and cook them for 10 seconds. Remove from the stove and drizzle the fennel and olive oil seasoning over the soup. Alternatively, you can also garnish the soup in individual bowls and drizzling them with the seasoning. Garnish the soups with a fresh fennel leaves. Serve warm with slices of toasted bread.

oven-roasted carrots with fennel

roasted carrots

Over the weekend, we had the pleasure of attending the wonderful wedding of our friends, Adam and Daniel. It was romantic, fun, intimate, and inspiring. There were joyful tears and laughter that filled the celebrations in the room. The wedding was amazing and we were happy to be a part of their special moment. There is something  special about spring weddings, they remind me of hope and strength. I always think of the brightly colored flowers that begin to sprout above the sometimes snow-covered soil. They seem resilient and ready to flourish displaying signs of what wonderful things are to come as the temperatures get warmer. Each spring I hope that I will have stunning daffodils in the garden but they seem to avoid me. My gardening skills need a bit of fine tuning. By the way what was up with the snow we had on the East Coast earlier this week, it's spring! There is absolutely no need for anymore snow now.

fennel

Spring gets me super excited since it heralds the onset of all the fresh produce of the land. I'm also getting closer and closer in opening up our grill on the patio and long for the day when I can char the heck out of things! One of my favorite recipes this spring, is something I've tried and tested on some of my friends. Since it was still a bit chilly to get the grill out, I roasted these carrots in the oven with a slight sprinkling of fennel seeds, dried rosemary, sea-salt, and a little splash of olive oil. The roasted fennel seeds go really well with the rest of the ingredients in this simple dish. In Indian cooking, fennel seeds are often dry roasted in pans and then ground to make a variety of spice rubs and mixes but it is also common to find them served after a meal as a digestive and mouth freshener. You might sometimes find this in the form of tiny sugar-coated fennel seeds in an assortment of different colors at Indian restaurants.
If you use rainbow carrots, be careful with the dark purple variety, they tend to caramelize faster then the lighter colored kind and can burn (This always reminds me of a physics class I took, Ferry's perfect black body and the rules around it, darker matter absorbs more energy like heat). If they cook earlier than the rest, I would suggest taking them out of the pan and then cooking the rest of the carrots a little longer. You can mix them together before serving.

carrot salt1

oven-roasted carrots with fennel

servings: 4

ingredients 

2 bunches carrots
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon coarse sea-salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400F.
2. Wash and peel the carrots. Pat the carrots dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper. 
3. With a sharp knife, slit the carrots in half across their length. Place the carrots in a roasting or baking pan. Sprinkle and drizzle the rest of the ingredients over the carrots. 
4. Place the pan with the carrots in the oven and roast the carrots until tender for about 25 minutes. You can check the tenderness of the carrots with a fork. Serve warm.