Month: April 2016

Seder Dinner: Communal Meal

During this Passover season, I was invited to share the Seder dinner at my neighbor’s table. The traditional Passover meal is grounded in history, and all of the food components have symbolic meanings. The Seder plate comprises foods that serve as stand-ins to retell the story about the journey from slavery to freedom. One plate around which people gather together has the all the makings of a communal meal, which happens to be my favorite blog theme (fondue, shabu shabu, injera, and raclette)!

As the dinner progresses from past to present, I wanted my contribution to honor traditions. As grain and flour are absent at a Passover meal, and eggs, orange, nuts signify new beginnings; I combined as many of the ritual foods to end on the sweetness of hope.

Orange Tart

(Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Lemon-Almond Tart)

Eggs – 4

Ground almonds – ½ cup

Sliced almonds – ½ cup

Cream – ½ cup

Sugar – ¾ cup

Oranges – 1 ½, juice and zest

Butter – 2 tbsp

Powdered sugar – for decoration

Kosher Salt – ¼ tsp

  • Heat the oven to 375ºF.
  • Process the almonds in a food processor to a fine flour-like texture.
  • Juice the oranges and zest the skin.
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl.
  • Add the almonds, cream, sugar and zest to the bowl. Mix well.
  • Add the orange juice and mix.
  • Melt the butter in an ovenproof skillet. When the butter has melted, add the egg-almond mixture. Cook until the sides of the egg mixture start to firm up.
  • Remove from the stove and transfer to the hot oven.
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the mixture is lightly browned.
  • Remove and set it under the broiler for 30-40 seconds, for a caramelized brown.
  • Decorate with powdered sugar.

 

Happy Passover!

 

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Cake Pops With Girl Scout Cookie Flavors

When spring rolls around, I always look forward to receiving my pre-ordered Samoas Girl Scout cookies. However, this year I missed the Girl Scout Troops selling the boxed cookies outside local groceries due to the crazy weather. When my craving for coconut and caramel cookies took over, I decided to recreate all of my family’s favorites – Samoas, Thin Mints, and Tagalongs.

Knowing it would be impossible to remake Girl Scout cookies, I decided to take a different angle. Hoping to capture the cookie’s essence with minimum fuss, I planned to change up both shape and texture. A cake pop is sufficiently different, and yet its firm shape can be coated with any desired flavor. Cake pops are rolled cake crumbs with a lollipop stick or skewer inserted through them. Baking one cake makes many cake pops. I thought that a pound cake would be a better option than shortbread, with fewer calories and a neutral flavor that showcases the variety of glazes. My attempts with store-bought boxed cake mix was satisfying – an instant fix to a craving!

Boxed Pound Cake Pops

  • Make the cake according to the instructions on the box.
  • When the cake is completely cooled, crumble the cake finely with your fingers.
  • Compact the crumbs into firm balls. (To avoid adding calories, I skipped adding icing or cream cheese to the crumbs, usually done to better hold the shape.)
  • Freeze the cake crumb balls for 1½ -2 hours.

For The Flavoring:

Caramel, Shredded Coconut, and Dark Chocolate Chips, Mint M&M, And Peanut Butter Chips

  • While the cake is baking, use separate shallow containers to melt your chosen toppings. I used: caramel, dark chocolate chips, mint M&M, and peanut butter chips.
  • Add cream or milk to the melting chips in order to get a runny consistency.
  • Add shredded coconut to melted caramel.

Assembly:

  • Lightly coat a sheet of waxed paper with a touch of butter.
  • Remove the frozen cake balls when they are firm. Insert the lollipop stick through their centers.
  • Roll the cake pop in the melted toppings.
  • I used caramel and coconut for Samoas, further topping each with a fine sliver of melted dark chocolate over the cake pop, melted mint M&M for Thin Mints, and melted peanut butter chips for Tagalongs.
  • Let cool on the waxed paper.

    Note: I also tried the same melted coatings on sugar cookies.