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Friday, February 24, 2012

Haute Chews: Sweet Warm Hues

Hello All! This weeks Haute Chews is inspired by warm hues (perhaps because it is snowing again here in the lovely city of Boston, or maybe just because this vegetable medley looks so yummy). Either way, a little bit of warm hues in this winter blues never hurt anyone. Enjoy your weekend!
 Gucci Printed silk dress • Yves Saint Laurent Gold-plated stingray-effect cuff •Gucci Zebra-print calf-hair pumps • Victoria Beckham Mini Satchel textured-leather shoulder bag  • CO-OP Barneys New York Basic Skinny Belt  Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi


Roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes with caper vinaigrette
Recipe & photo from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

4 parsnips (700g in total)
4 medium red onions
150ml olive oil
4 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
2 medium sweet potatoes (600g in total)
30 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp small capers (roughly chopped if large)
½ tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Salt and black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190°C/375°F. Peel the parsnips and cut into two or three segments, depending on their length. Then cut each piece lengthways into two or four. You want pieces roughly 5cm long and 1.5cm wide. Peel the onions and cut each into six wedges.
2Place the parsnips and onions in a large mixing bowl and add 120ml of the olive oil, the thyme, rosemary, garlic, 1 tsp of salt and some pepper. Mix well and spread out in a large roasting tin. Roast for 20 minutes.
3. While the parsnips are cooking, top and tail the sweet potatoes. Cut them (with their skins on) widthways in half, then each half into six wedges. Add the potatoes to the tin and stir well. Roast for a further 40-50 minutes.
4. When all the vegetables are cooked through and have taken on a golden colour, stir in the tomatoes. Roast for 10 more minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, capers, maple syrup, mustard, remaining oil and ½ tsp salt.
5. Pour the dressing over the roasted vegetables as soon as you take them out of the oven. Stir well, then taste and
adjust the seasoning. Scatter the sesame seeds over the vegetables if using and serve at the table in the roasting tin.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Greek Golden Loukoumades

"Loukoumades," a pretty exotic name right? But when you break it down, these sweets are a pretty simple concoction; in fact, they are nothing more then little fired dough balls. Now don't get me wrong these little Greek golden beauties are amazing, drizzled with thyme honey and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. They truly make your mouth sing serenading love songs.
But Greek taste buds are not the only ones that sing their praise. Many other cultures have something similar to loukoumades. The French have beignets, the Mexicans have churros, and the Americans have doughnuts, just to name a few. And to think that so much yumminess comes from just flour, yeast, water, and sometimes a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of honey. Easy peasy and simple right?
So is it cliché to say that the best things in life are the simplest? Of course it is, but who cares. Once you pop the first one in your mouth, we’re betting you won’t be able to stop at one (or even two).
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 pkg. (1/4 oz) instant yeast
2 tbs. baking powder
1 tbs. honey
1 tsp. salt
 2 cups lukewarm water
 2 cups canola or corn oil
Ground cinnamon and walnuts for serving

For the syrup:
2 cups sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1-cup water
1/2 cup honey
In a medium to large mixing bowl, add the flour, yeast, baking powder, and honey. Slowly add the water. Add salt and mix well to combine.
Cover the batter with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for about 30 - 45 min to rise (or until batter has doubled in size).
Prepare the syrup while the batter is rising. Add the sugar, cinnamon stick, water and honey to a saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. Keep warm.
When the batter is about double in size, heat the 2 cups oil in a saucepan or deep frying pan until very hot but not smoking (about 350F).
Using two spoons, carefully drop about a teaspoon full of batter for each puff into the hot oil. Turn the puffs using a slotted spoon and fry until golden brown on each side. Remove the puffs to a plate lined with paper toweling to absorb excess oil.
Dip the hot puffs in the syrup and then sprinkle with cinnamon, ground walnuts or even with confectioners sugar. Serve immediately.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Haute Chews: NYC Yummies

Photo by Sang An

Hope you all had a wonderful week! As usual, I'm looking forward to a semi-relaxing weekend. Although, I wish I were attending NY Fashion Week, {sipping my cosmos's and eating NY yummies}, unfortunately I will be getting caught up on chores and groceries after a long week of work. So for those of you attending all the glitz and glamour of NY fashion week here is a suitcase full of goodies I would suggest you take along. As for us ladies with previous engagements well, I leave you with a nice ice cream dessert to ease the pain. Enjoy!

Vanilla-Bean Ice Cream With Almond Sablé and Chocolate Liquid Crunch

Provided by: Chef Thomas Keller
Served at: Per Se

Vanilla-Bean Ice Cream
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split
3⁄4 cup sugar
10 egg yolks

Toasted-Almond Sablé
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 vanilla beans
3 cups almonds, roasted in a 325-degree oven until golden brown, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour

Chocolate Liquid Crunch

2 ounces bittersweet Valrhona 70 percent chocolate
1 1⁄2 ounces extra-bitter Valrhona 70 percent chocolate
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Vanilla-Bean Ice Cream 
Bring the milk, cream, vanilla bean, and half the sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow to steep for 1 hour.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar until smooth and slightly thickened. Gradually whisk 1⁄3 of the liquid into the yolks, return this mixture to the saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until it coats the back of the spoon. Strain this custard into a container, and chill in an ice bath. When the custard has cooled, cover it, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Transfer to an ice-cream machine, and process according to directions.
Toasted-Almond Sablé
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Beat together the sugar, butter, and salt in a mixer fitted with a paddle. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans into the creamed butter.

Add 2 cups of the chopped almonds, then mix in the cake flour until well combined. Roll this sablé dough into a 3-inch-diameter log, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3 hours. Cut the log into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices. Place these sablé cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake until golden brown, about 8 to10 minutes. Cool the sablés on the sheet.

Chocolate Liquid Crunch
Melt the two chocolates together in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, add coconut oil, and heat until dissolved. Keep the liquid lukewarm until ready to pour over the ice cream. 
To Serve
Place one sablé on each plate, and top with a large rounded scoop of ice cream. Drizzle the chocolate liquid crunch over the ice cream until covered, and serve immediately.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Haute Chews: Valentine Pink

Happy February Ladies! Which means that Valentine's is just around the corner, and I am ready to put on the table all the goodness that Valentines day is about. First off, lots of chocolate, hot pink (according to me!), and hearts! But before I begin, let's put you in the mood for romance. You'll need a great dinner outfit, a chocolate dessert that is appealing to the eyes as well as the tummy, and of course lots of flowers! Nothing says I love you better then heart shaped chocolates and flowers. Oui oui?! Enjoy!
Burak Uyan Cutout suede and leather sandals • Tibi Ruffled silk-chiffon dress • Jimmy Choo Candy glitter acrylic clutch  

Forever Brownies
serving: 16 squares

2/3 cup plus 1 tbls all purpose flour
2/3 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
1/5 pound plus 2 tbls (18 tbls) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
5 oz unsweetened chocolate melted and slightly cooled
4 oz bittersweet chocolate melted and slightly cooled
5 lg eggs
2 cups superfine sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbls corn syrup
confectioners' sugar, for sifting over the baked bars

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Lengthwise and width wise, line the inside of a 9 by 9 by 2 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about 2-3 inches of parchment paper extended on all four sides. 

For the batter: Sift the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder onto a sheet of waxed paper.
Whisk the melted butter, melted unsweetened chocolate, and melted bittersweet chocolate in a medium size mixing bowl until smooth. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs just to mix thoroughly. Add the superfine sugar and beat for 45 seconds, just to combine. Blend in the butter melted chocolate mixture, vanilla extract, and corn syrup. Re sift the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Whisk slowly to form a batter, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula to keep the batter even textured.
Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan, Smooth the top with a flexible palette knife.
Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for 30 -33 minutes, or just till set. There may be a few slender cracks on top.
Cool the brownies in the pan on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Gently lift out the large block, using the parchment paper  sides to remove it from the pan. Cut the brownies into squares, using a chef's knife. Detach the squares from the parchment paper. Store in an airtight tin with parchment paper separating the layers. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the top of the brownies just before serving.