Brie and Plum Flaky Pastries. Bonus : blueberry tarts

www.kyart.ca

I’ve been terribly bad about this whole blogging thing; partially because of lack of time, but mostly because of lack of camera.

Lucky for me I’ve become friends with an awesome photographer at my local climbing gym. Although he’s new to food photography, he’s definitely got an eye for it and his camera skills are amazing! I highly recommend you check out his blog: www.Kyart.ca. Make sure to the check out the dog section; he has the cutest dog and puppy I think I’ve ever seen and my favourite part of his portfolio is the “Just Because” section. I think Kyle and I will continue to collaborate in the future and I truly look forward to this.

I also have this pretty awesome job where I’m creating a menu for a new bakery, so I essentially work in a test kitchen all day, everyday. It’s a blast and I love my work, but the downside is that I can’t share anything I create at work with the internets until I’m sure it won’t be sold in the bake shop. But here’s an idea with which I was inspired outside of the workplace. It all started with a far too sour plum.

Since I moved to Vancouver about a year ago, I have discovered two incredible things about the region.  1) The beach. It’s so close, it’s so beautiful and the sun just makes me so happy. 2) The fresh produce. It’s abundant, affordable and you just can’t compare the flavours to bland generic produce often found in the grocery stores! The fruit and vegetables here are out of this world. In Tucson I would have never purchased or enjoyed blueberries, but here, now that they’re in season, I think they may be the best berries I’ve ever had. Plus they’re so cheap!

After an exciting day at the water park just outside the city, my friends and I decided to check out a local farmers market. It was full of local cherries, berries and plums; all of the colours were so vibrant and appealing. One of the fruits that caught my eye were these bright yellow and green plums, plainly labeled “local plums”- how specific. I decided to be brave and get them anyways, the whole container was only 1.50$ so I didn’t have much to lose!

The next day I tried one. It was so tart! I’ll eat a lemon straight, so when I say this plum was tart, that’s really saying something! After some brainstorming about what to do with these Warhead-like plums I decided that they would pair well with some extra creamy Brie. And I can’t think of a better vessel than a buttery, flaky pastry!

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Ingredients:

Pastry:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
1/2 lb unsalted butter (2 sticks) (cubed and frozen)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cold water
4 tsp lemon juice 

Filling:
4-5 small plums ( I used a combination of yellow and red plums)
120 g brie cheese

1 egg for egg wash

First things first: let’s measure out our water and butter for the pastry and get that into the freezer.

There are many ways to make a good flaky pastry. I find the food processor method works best for me, but feel free to incorporate dough by hand or with a pastry cutter.

In your food processor bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, and butter cubes. Mix for a short time until the butter is in large chunks distributed within the flour. Some big pieces are okay. Add in the sour cream, lemon and cold water. Mix until the dough comes together but is still a little crumbly. Dump the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, push it together, wrap it up and flatten slightly with a rolling pin. Let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Now’s a good time to thinly slice your plums and prepare your brie by slicing it into 1 inch by 1/4 inch slices. Approximation is fine!

It’s time to roll out your dough on a well floured surface to approximately 1/4 – 1/8 inch thick. Rotate and re-flour your dough often as you don’t want it to stick to the counter! You have 2 choices here, you can either cut the dough into squares (4 inches by 4 inches) or you can use a circular cookie cutter, cut circles out, and re-roll the scraps until you’ve used all of your dough. Obviously the squares will be less time consuming, but they also rely on your ability to cut perfect squares so that the edges will fold up nicely. In the center of your cut pastries add a few slices of plum and a slice or two of brie. Don’t over stuff them; you want the edges to come together nicely and not have any plum ripping through the dough. Fold the dough in half and seal the edges with some egg wash and pin the edges together with a fork. Align the pastries on a plate and stick them in the fridge to cool for another 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Align your pastries on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush them with your egg wash. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate after 20 minutes.

www.kyart.ca

Bonus Blueberry Tarts

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I ended up with some left over pastry dough. I lined a few mini tart shells I had lying around, poked some holes in the bottom, chilled them and then baked them until golden brown. While the tart shells were baking I made a simple blueberry filling with fresh blueberries I had in the fridge.

In a sauce pan combine 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tbs lemon juice and 1/4 cup cornstarch. Stir over medium heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil (to ensure the starch taste is cooked out). Carefully stir in 3/4 cup blueberries and remove from heat. Spoon the filling into cooked tart shells and voila: beautiful and simple tarts to impress anyone!

 www.kyart,ca

All photos were taken by the amazing photographer Kyle Rurak, and I highly suggest you check out his blog. www.Kyart.ca

 

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How to make the BEST whole wheat bread

So before you continue reading, let me warn you that this is not a 2 hour recipe. This is a 2 day, 3 step recipe. Still with me? Good. Before I scare you away further, let me add that none of the steps are complicated or require any fancy equipment (except maybe a mixer to knead). Trust me, your time and effort will be greatly rewarded. This recipe produces a tender, soft loaf with a light and crispy crust. The flavor of the bread is incredible, there is no “bad”, slightly bitter whole wheat flavor to be found, nor is there buckets of honey and sugar trying to mask it. This is by far the best whole wheat recipe I’ve ever created, and I’m so excited it to share it with you.

Sadly this is not a 100% whole wheat bread, but with 60% it definitely counts as a nutritious loaf. Since working in a few bakeries I have sadly noticed that most “whole wheat” loaves are mostly white bread with about 10%-20% whole wheat flour purely for taste, one place even added cocoa to make the loaf look darker and therefore customers would assume it to be “healthier”.

Ingredients for Day 1: Yields 3 loaves
100 g White Bread Flour
75 g Whole Wheat Flour
140 g Cold Water
2 g Instant Yeast

Ingredients for Day 2:
450 g Whole Wheat Flour (I used all purpose)
450 g HOT Tap Water

250 g White Bread Flour
24 g Salt
10 g Sugar
4 g Yeast
Optional- Fresh parsley for garnish


Day one

Step 1:
Mix all ingredients in a big bowl. It’s cool if its a little lumpy – no kneading necessary! This is your “poolish”, cover the bowl and leave out at room temperature until tomorrow. Your poolish will add excellent depth of flavor and chewiness to the final bread. Day one is over! Pat yourself on the back for planning ahead, and continue on with your day.

Day two

Step 2:
Mix whole wheat flour with your very hot water. This is called a “mash”. By soaking the whole wheat grains, they become softer, more digestible and sweeter. Now let your mash sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to 2 hours, whatever fits your schedule better.

Step 3:
Now it’s kneading time. Combine your poolish from day one, your mash from day two, and the remaining ingredients into your mixing bowl. Knead on low speed for 3 minutes and then on medium speed for 7. The dough should be smooth yet fairly slack/loose/wet (Choose whichever adjective best suits your mood). It will form a dough ball while the mixer is on, but will quickly droop to the bottom of the bowl when off. I had to use a spatula to transfer the dough. I like to let my dough rise in a plastic tupperware because then I can see its progress. But any sprayed bowl will do. Let rise until it has almost doubled in bulk. I’m estimating here at 2 hours. Now perform 2 gentle folds in the bowl/tupperware. I like to grab one side of dough with wet hands and lift it 1/2 way out of its container and gently fold it over itself, rotate 90 degrees and repeat. Let the dough rest for another 30 minutes.

Now it is time shape the dough as you please, either directly onto your baking sheet or into a well-floured banneton. I did both, and I found my bread had more rise when shaped directly onto the baking sheet, but looked very pretty with the spiral pattern on the banneton. Let the dough rise once more for about 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 400F when your dough starts to look ready. If you would like to add some parsley garnish, simply cut of the stems, run leaves under cold water and stick onto bread. Make sure to then generously sprinkle flour over the parsley leaves or they will burn. I used a pastry brush to take off extra flour once it had cooled. Bake for about 20 minutes until the crust is hard and golden brown. When I placed my baking sheets in the oven I also threw 1/2 cup of water onto the elements to create some steam, more rise and a crisper crust.

Eat, freeze or share! Let’s review what makes this bread great:
Poolish- adds a slightly sour flavor, and lends to a chewier crumb.
Mash- hydrates the whole wheat flour so that the final product is naturally sweeter and softer.
Sugar- cuts any left-over bitter flavor.
Small amounts of yeast- also helps with flavor and lends to a more open crumb.

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DIY Bouquet of Chocolate Roses

I had my first boyfriend in kindergarten. I would get to school early just so I could strategically arrange that day’s seating chart in my favor. We would sneak kisses underneath the playground slide when his best friend wasn’t around, and we were in love.

I never went through the “boys have cooties” phase, and to this day still adore men and Valentines Day. My boyfriend has the insurmountable task of dealing with a February 13th anniversary and Valentine’s Day on the 14th. I foolishly gave away my first creative idea to help out a friend this year and made a bouquet of edible roses for him to give to his girlfriend. Who doesn’t enjoy flowers and chocolate combined into one! And to top it all off, it tastes really good, like really good. The chocolate seductively melts in your mouth as you eat it.

These are a great do-it-yourself gift, and I’m sure any significant other would appreciate it. It’s really not difficult either, so don’t be worried. Here’s what you’ll need…

1 Box of Bakers chocolate (225g) (pick your desired darkness/sweetness; I used semi-sweet)
60 g of Corn syrup
6 Floral wires- I used 16 gauge (found at Micheal’s)
Floral tape (also found at Micheal’s)
Pliers
2 round cutters (mine were about 1.5 in and 2 in)
Disposable gloves
Any small V-day candies
Fake greenery (found at dollar store)
Vase (any will do)

First let’s make some modeling chocolate. I should note that chocolate chips will not work, they have something weird added to help them keep their shape. Chop your chocolate into small pieces. Measure out your corn syrup. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and melt slowly, in 30 second intervals, then stir! Once the chocolate is fully melted, quickly add in corn syrup while stirring constantly to ensure even distribution. It will firm up quickly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge for one hour, or until you’re ready to use it. I let mine come back to room temperature before I started using it.

Cut off a piece and start kneading it until it becomes soft enough to roll out. I rolled it out onto a silpat and then cut it into as many circles as possible. If your chocolate is sticking use some sifted cocoa powder to help. For each rose you will need 3 smaller circles and 8 larger ones. You will also need 6 rose “buds” so roll 6 circles and taper one of the edges.

While your chocolate is setting, get your wires ready. Using your pliers, make a little ‘u’ or hook at top of each wire. Now slide each bud from the bottom up so that it hooks into the chocolate. Use your hands to mold the chocolate and hide the visible wire. Place your buds in the fridge for a few minutes to harden up. Now put on your gloves (technically this step is optional but it ensures that you wont get fingerprints on your chocolate). Pinch the edges of your circle to thin them out and help them appear more natural. Wrap your first small circle around your bud. Next wrap the remaining 2 small petals around.


Continuing to thin out the edges as you use the petals, attach the next 3 petals. Then add the last layer of 5 petals. I liked these when they were a bit fanned out.


Finally, squeeze the bottom and pinch of the excess to make a pretty bottom of your rose, then place it in the fridge to harden. A block of foam would have been helpful here to make sure they hardened upright, but I didn’t have that so I improvised and sacrificed a banana, it worked perfectly. Now if you’d like, you can wrap the wire in floral tape.

To finish off, just add some cute candies to the bottom of your vase and arrange to your liking. Now go and impress your Valentine!

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Pillowy Soft Black Bread

So I’ve been rather MIA for the past few months, partly due to a fairly hectic summer that led into an even busier semester. I’m currently in culinary(bread and pastry) school and I moved across the country! Big stuff that all required a lot of adjustments. Everything is finally starting to fall into place and I desperately miss updating this blog. I’m going to try to get back to a regular schedule- I have a ton of recipes to share! So I hope you enjoy this one, it’s SO worth the time.

I’ve been dreaming of this bread for weeks. I honestly can’t remember where I had it, but I do know for certain it was an appetizer bread at some unknown restaurant in Tucson. I know it was a black bread and it was served warm with some kind of whipped butter goodness and it was incredible. If you have any insight where it might be- PLEASE let me know! I’ve been trying to come up with a recipe that is as close as possible and after about a dozen attempts I’ve finally nailed it. This bread has an intense, almost musky (in a good way) aroma that fills your kitchen as it’s baking. The crust is delicate- crisp and thin. The crumb is as soft as any white sandwich bread you could buy at the grocery store. It is perfect start to a home cooked meal, but also makes wonderful sandwiches.

Ingredients: (Yields 4 loaves)
450 g Bread Flour
200 g Rye Flour
20 g Milk
50 g Honey
50 g Sugar
15 g Yeast
1 dash of Ground Ginger
15 g Cocoa
15 g White Vinegar (or rice)
15 g Salt
460 g Water

And I forgot to mention, on top of this bread being delicious, it simple to make too! If you have a kitchen aid I recommend using it with the dough hook attachment OR you could definitely knead this bread by hand. Place all ingredients in a bowl and run the mixer on low(2) for 3 minutes. Then on medium (4) for 5 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides and be rather elastic. You can also knead by hand for 10 minutes. Once this is done place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with seran wrap. Let it rise for 90 minutes. Dump contents onto your counter and divide dough into 4. I shaped mine into 4 batards, but this would also work as a boule. To shape the batard, flatten the dough and roll it together to form a log, then pinch the seems and place it seem side down on the baking sheet. Use 2 baking sheets. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it rise again for 45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450*F . When your oven is hot, slash the top of your loaves with a break knife and pop them into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes and then lower the heat to 350* and bake for another 20. Either eat warm or let it cool completely before storing.

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Something Sweet… Chocolate Caramels


Salted caramels… I’m not sure what all of the rave is about. Who wants to bite down into a large chunk of salt when your supposed to be enjoying the luscious taste of something sweet and creamy! “But the salt is pink and pretty”, “it brings out the sweet flavor”, you say? PHOOEY! There’s a bit of salt incorporated into the recipe already, who wants to be bombarded with more! If I wanted something savory I’d sit down with a big bag of my favorite salt and vinegar chips!


Now onto how caramel should taste… rich, creamy and sweet. I want a caramel that’s going to melt in my mouth as I eat it. It needs to leave teeth marks if I bite in half. It shouldn’t snap like the gross ones available at the super market. It’s not to be sucked on. It’s to be chewed and chewed slowly. Its flavor needs to be complex. It shouldn’t taste like pure white sugar or burnt cookies either. It has to be the perfect balance of “browned” sugar. The bitter dark chocolate is enough to complement the sweet nature of caramel. And this is how I think caramel should be enjoyed.

Ingredients:
6 Tbs Unsalted Butter
1 cup 35% Cream
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups White Sugar
1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup
1/4 cup Water
1 cup Dark Chocolate
Candy Thermometer

In one small sauce pan combine butter, creme and salt. Bring to a low boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. In another slightly larger small sauce pan combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Be cautious while pouring in ingredients, add them all to the middle of the pot. You want to be cautious that the sugar doesn’t crystallize/burn on the edges of the pot. Heat over medium high heat until sugar mixture begins to turn brown or an amber color. Do not stir the pan, you can gently swirl the pot to distribute the heat if necessary. Approx 310F. But use your senses, it should start to have a caramel-like aroma and will turn a very pretty reddish brown. Now pour your creme/butter mixture into the sugar. BE CAREFUL. It will bubble up ferociously.

Now here’s when your handy thermometer comes into play. Heat mixture, while stirring occasionally until it reaches 248F. Once it does remove from heat and pour into sprayed ice cube trays or a 9X9 pan lined with parchment paper. I used ice cube trays that had silicone bottoms allowing these to “pop” out easier. If using ice cube trays, pop these into the freezer for an hour, or if using a pan cool in the fridge for 2. Melt chocolate either in a double broiler or the microwave. I used the microwave in 20 sec instalments. Transfer chocolate to a plastic baggy and snip a corner. Drizzle on chocolate however you please! Let chocolate harden in fridge and enjoy!

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Popeye’s Trail Mix Bread

If Popeye (the sailor man) was to endorse a bread, it would be this one. This bread is jam packed with healthy goodness. It’s filled with fiber, protein, and complex carbs. I’d even go as far as calling it SUPER BREAD ( must be read to the super man tune!)

As I was perusing the isles of Bulk Barn, I came across a ridiculous selection of trail mixes… VOILA I had an idea, why not incorporate trail mix in bread, who’s says I can’t do that? That sounds weird to you? Too much crunch? It’s not, it’s perfect. I finally decided on a mix, that didn’t include chocolate. I was initially worried the melted chocolate might be weird but after trying the bread, I think it might have been fun. The mix I chose, Garden of Eating, had raisins, peanuts, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and papaya. All things delicious. In order to cut down on the “crunch” factor just a bit, I boiled the nuts for a few minutes. While doing so I read a few articles about how nuts are more easily digested once they’ve been boiled! 1 point Super Bread. The nut’s didnt get soggy, just a little softer, similar results to roasted nuts. For good measure I threw in some ground flax seeds, which are high in fiber. I used a combination of whole grain, whole wheat and bread flour. (17%, 41%, 41%, respectively) The use of white bread flour is the reason the bread was so airy and with such an open crumb structure, and of course the high hydration. The extra gluten in the bread flour made up for the lack of gluten in the whole wheat/whole grain flours. The loaf was wonderfully soft even with addition of flax seeds.

This is a wonderful bread that has a ton of character and makes a great sandwich. If you like crunchy peanut butter, you’ll love this bread. And because of all its nutrition, it will keep you full for longer.

Ingredients ( 2 loaves)
3/4 cup Trail Mix
100 g 5 Grain Flour
75 g Ground Flax Seeds
20 g Soy Milk Powder
240 g Whole Wheat Flour
240 g Bread Flour
20 g Sugar
13 g Active Dry Yeast
15 g Salt
25 g Olive Oil
2 1/2 cups Warm Water

               
First, prepare your trail mix. Bring a small pot of water to boil, and add trail mix and cook for 5 minutes. Drain nuts and remove skins of almonds. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except the trail mix. Use your kitchen aid dough hook to knead the bread. It will take a long time for the dough to come together fully, but I promise it will- grab a book. Knead on low for 2-4 minutes, and then on medium speed for about 10 minutes. The dough will become very elastic as the gluten strands form within the dough. With wet hands transfer to a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. Grease your counter top and dump contents of the bowl. Divide dough into 2. Divide the trail mix into 4 piles. Flatten dough, and add a layer of trail mix. Fold into 3′s. Then flip the dough (the seam should now be facing you) and flatten the other way. Add another line of trail mix. Fold onto itself 3 times again. Now, shape the dough either in a boule or a long loaf. I preferred the long loaf once baked. Transfer onto a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape the next loaf. Sprinkle loaves with flour and cover loosely. Preheat the oven 450 F . Place the loaves in the oven and immediately spray some water into the oven. Cook for 10 minutes, and then flip the loaves. Let cool and enjoy with some nutella or peanut butter!

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Candied Ginger – A Zesty Treat


I’m so excited for this post. Now that my mom has received her surprise package, I can share them with you.

Last Wednesday I was feeling mischievous and wanted to make something fitting to my mood. What better than a candy that is deceivingly spicy. It looks so innocent, dressed up with sugar crystals and decadent chocolate, but don’t let looks deceive you. This is a devilish treat. A bite into these zingy desserts is a medley of velvety chocolate and fiery ginger. The sensation is exhilarating. The chocolate cuts the intense taste of the ginger and leaves the perfect balance between sweet and spicy.

I would definitely classify these as sophisticated candy, not something you would share with your child. Mainly because it’s more enjoyable to hoard them all for yourself. And there are benefits to devouring these treats! It is a well known fact that is heart-healthy to consume a small amount of dark chocolate daily, and ginger is great a way to soothe an upset stomach or to just aid in digestion. So in my humble opinion, I would say that these candies are essentially healthy! (We’ll just turn a blind eye to the high sugar content) Seriously though, they are definitely worth trying!

Ingredients: (yields at least 40 pieces)
1 Large or 2 Small Ginger Roots
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Chocolate


First, you need to peel your ginger. The easiest way to do this is with edge of a spoon! You’ll have to cut your ginger into smaller pieces in order to get into all of the its nooks and crannies. Next get out your mandolin (if you don’t have one, you can carefully slice by hand) I used the smallest attachment in order to get the thinnest slices. Slice all of your ginger. Place your ginger in a pot, fill with water until all of the ginger is submerged. Bring to boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse your ginger. Return to pot with new water, bring to boil again and let cook for 30 minutes or until ginger is soft, tender, and translucent. Drain, rinse and return to bowl once more. Add 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar. Cook on medium-high heat for 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Drain and keep liquid if you’d like to sweeten teas or make ginger ale. Spread ginger out on a piece of wax paper and let dry over night. Now you can either toss ginger in sugar, or dip in melted chocolate. Let harden, and store in airtight container. Enjoy your “healthy” dessert!

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Sourdough With a Yeast Push

Unlike a lot of other bloggers, I do not fear a wet dough. I aim for one. One of the first things that I discovered was the wetter the dough the better the crumb consistency- at least in my opinion. I was experimenting in my kitchen the other day, hoping to maximize hydration in the dough while still producing a loaf that can maintain its shape. This dough took a long time to double in bulk during the first rise, even in a warm room (about 4 hours). My sourdough starter has been temperamental lately and I decided to give my recipe a boost with a scant 1/2 tsp yeast. Overall it produced a beautiful loaf, with a super soft slightly chewy crumb. The brown sugar really enhanced the flavor and helped produce a lovely caramelized crust. I baked it in my ceramic “dutch oven” to help with its structure and crumb, but I accidentally used too much dough, and I don’t think it had enough room to properly rise. I think it had potential to be even “hole-ier”. I say this because I also made a few rolls on a baking sheet that had a very open crumb and also held their shape. Unfortunately they were eaten before I had a chance to get any photos!


Ingredients (Yields 2 loaves)
200 g White Starter
500 g Bread Flour
440 g Water
1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
20 g Salt
20 g Brown Sugar

In a large mixing bowl combine starter, flour, 300 g water, yeast, salt and sugar. Start kneading with a dough hook. Once the dough has formed a rough ball, slowly start to add the remaining water, the dough may seem like it wont incorporate all of the water, but give it time- it will. Keep kneading until the dough has cleaned the edges of the bowl and the gluten strands have formed (the dough is very elastic) About 10 minutes. Prepare a bowl by spraying it with oil. Wet your hands before dealing with the dough, and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover and let rise until it has doubled in bulk. It took 4 hours for me. Once it has doubled, flour a counter top, and dump contents out. Fold onto itself 3-4 times. If you plan on baking your dough free form, cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and shape dough. If you want to use a “dutch oven” or any ceramic/glass or cast iron pot with a lid, fold dough onto itself 3-4 times, divide in 2 and return to two very oiled or floured bowls. Let rise for 1 hour. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 450F. If using a “dutch oven” place it in the oven while it heats. Once heated bake with lid for 10 minutes, and 5-8 minutes without until crust is crackly and golden brown. Otherwise place a heat proof dish with a cup of ice water on the bottom of your oven while you bake your bread on a cookie sheet for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes remove your dish, rotate your sheet and continue baking for another 6-8 minutes.

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Spicy Gazpacho with Tomatillos

Summer is coming, and what better way to enjoy a hot summer day than with a refreshing cold tomato soup. Gazpacho has many variations; green or red, smooth or chunky, spicy or mild. I prefer mine red, chunky, and with a big kick. To spice things up, and to make the recipe my own I added in 2 tomatillos! If you’ve never had a tomatillo, it looks like a green tomato but tastes like a green apple or sour pear. It added a very distinct citrus flavor to the gazpacho. It was a wonderful tangy addition.


Ingredients: (Yields 6-8 servings)
7 Ripe Tomatoes
2 Tomatillos
1 Red Onion
1 Cucumber
1/2 Can of V8
Black Pepper
2 Tbs Sugar
1 Tbs Salt
2 Chilli Peppers, Seeded
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
Cilantro to Garnish

Roughly slice up 5 tomatoes, 1 1/2 tomatillos, 1/2 a red onion and 3/4 cucumber. Set aside the rest. In a bowl combine chopped vegetables, V8, vinegar, sugar and salt. Use a hand blender to puree. I like to keep mine a little chunky, but its your preference. Carefully dice up the remaining vegetables and set aside for garnishing. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Serve in cute little bread bowls!

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Easy Salt and Vinegar Veggie Chips

I have a weakness for potato chips. I try really hard not to buy them, and I generally only succumb to my addiction a couple of times a year, but unfortunately I’ve now found a loop hole. A very dangerous loop hole. On the bright side, these chips really aren’t that bad for you and are just as delicious as their evil, extra fattening twin! The other day I visited a fresh market, and I was elated to find yellow beets, instantly knowing I was destined to make colorful vegetable chips. I gathered my vegetables; yellow and red beets, sweet potatoes, zucchinis, yellow potatoes and most importantly my boyfriends mandolin (Shh, don’t tell!) My favorite chip is of the “salt and vinegar” variety. I’m not picky- regular or fancy balsamic vinegars will do for me. I’ve noticed people either LOVE or HATE S&V chips. You’re either passionate or loathsome towards these extra tasty chips. I’d say my opinion is quite obvious. I decided to go with original white vinegar for my chips, purely out of cost efficiency and simplicity, but I’m sure it would be fun to play around with other tastes.

Ingredients:
Whichever root vegetable you desire, I used sweet potato, yellow potato, red beets, yellow beets and zucchini.
Distilled White Vinegar
Cooking Oil Spray
Kosher Salt for sprinkling

Slice vegetables as thin as possible, to ensure even baking. In order to get the desired vinegary taste, you have to boil your sliced veggies in vinegar. Toss all veggies into a pot and add enough vinegar so that all veggies are submerged. Bring to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let soak for 20 minutes. Lay out flat to dry on paper towel for another 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F. In order to prevent burning, I suggest baking all same vegetable at once. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lay out one type of vegetable flat, spray with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10-14 minutes, checking and turning periodically. Bake until they are brown around the edges and crispy, lay out on paper towel to dry. Enjoy hot or once cool.

DISCLAIMER: While delicious, these chips are a bit of a time commitment, 1-3 servings can be made in an hour, but more will take a few hours. There’s only so many chips that can fit into the oven at once!

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