Mom de Cuisine


Sweet Potato Cookies
January 4, 2012, 12:47 pm
Filed under: Dessert, Just for Fun | Tags: , ,

 

Sometimes I swear I need a holiday from the holidays. It’s not that it wasn’t a great holiday season, because it was (this was the first year since my husband and I have been married that we’ve been able to spend every holiday together.) It’s just all the fun trips to restaurants, staying in pj’s all day catching up on Top Chef and exploring the island have made it hard to get back into our weekly routines. But we must.

 

Well, my husband has gone back to work and I feel like I was thrown back into our routine, in that almost right away it was our turn to host our playschool group. A while ago I asked “M” what topic she would like to learn about when it was our turn to host. She promptly told me, “Cooking! I want to learn cooking!” I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that when I asked her we were in the kitchen peeling garlic, but none the less, I had to figure out how to turn cooking into a lesson plan for preschoolers. I started brainstorming about teaching the kids the difference between whisking and folding; how to deglaze a pan; and of course, the wonders of a mandolin. I quickly came to my senses and thought I better keep to the basics: fruits and vegetables.

I think the basics were the way to go. We talked about different kinds of fruits and vegetables, pretended to make vegetable soup, and used poster paint to make fruit/veggie prints. But of course, restraint is not my strong suit. I had to do a little something extra for snacks. A fruit and cheese plate, vegetable crudites with hummus, banana chips, and sweet potato cookies. My mom sent me a recipe for sweet potato cookies not too long ago, so I thought it would be fun to show the kids that veggies don’t always have to be those mushy green things you push to the side of the plate.

 Everything that could go wrong making cookies did. First, I go to gather all the ingredients and realize I have no eggs. Ok, fixable. Then I roast the sweet potatoes and when they cool, I peel them and discover that half are rotten. Frustrating, but workable. Finally when I have the first batch in the oven, I see that they are spreading too much and I realize I forgot to add all of the flour. Forget it, unforgivable.

But hubby reassures me and tells me to just add flour to the remaining batter. I did and they turned out thinner and chewier than I would have like, but still pretty good. I would make these again, but next time, make sure I add the flour and have enough sweet potatoes. But I can’t complain too much as “M” is still running around talking about all of the vegetables she’d put in her soup…including sweet potatoes!

Sweet Potato Cookies

Adapted from my Mom and We Are Not Martha

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 cup oatmeal

 1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

1 cup butter (2 sticks) (softened)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar (packed)

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2/3 cup sweet potatoes, mashed

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup dried cranberries

Preparation:

Combine the flour, oatmeal, baking soda, cinnamon, salt in a bowl. Cream butter; add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Alternate additions of dry ingredients and sweet potatoes, mixing well after each addition. Stir in morsels. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet 5-7 minutes at 350°.

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Cindy-Lou Who Christmas Wreaths
December 24, 2011, 12:02 pm
Filed under: Dessert, Just for Fun, Snacks | Tags: ,

 

When I was a kid, I used to love Dr. Seuss books and much to my delight, my children love them as well.  I’m sure part of it is the fact that I’ve been reading One Fish Two Fish and Oh the Places You’ll Go, along with many others since they were babies; but none the less, I love that they love those stories.  Naturally because it’s Christmas time, we’ve been reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  I’ve read the story to them at least once a day, every day pretty much since Thanksgiving.  We even downloaded the TV special on iTunes (the original, not the Jim Carey version.) 

Some time ago I came across a Dr. Seuss inspired cookbook, aptly named, Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook and I decided to order it for myself the kids for Christmas.  After it arrived, I read it cover-to-cover (as I do with every new cookbook) so now that Christmas time is here, I knew the kids would have fun with the idea of making Cindy-Lou Who Christmas wreaths inspired from the cookbook.  I kind of felt like the Grinch when I was making this.  No, not because I was going to try to steal Christmas, but rather, like the part of the book that goes:

Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!
THE GRINCH
GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!

It was a wonderful, awful idea.  We made these sugary wreaths at 9am (and they had each eaten one my 9:15 am.)  Giving preschoolers that much sugar in the morning was an awful idea, but it was so wonderful to watch them get so excited about it.

There really is no recipe; I just followed the directions for crispy rice treats on the bag of marshmallows, except used corn flakes instead of rice crispy.  I added a few drops of green food coloring (the book’s recipe doesn’t do that, but I thought it would make them more festive)  used my mini doughnut pan to shape them, add a few craisins on top, and enjoy.

*I’ll be taking a break from blogging over the next few days to fully enjoy the holiday with my family.  Peace and Love to you and yours and I’ll probably see you again before the New Year!



Christmas Tree Cake
December 11, 2011, 8:11 am
Filed under: Dessert | Tags: ,

 

 

“Maaaaaaaa, no tat-ting pittures…..I WANT CAAAAAAKKKKKEEEE!!!!”

That was “C” the whole time I was trying to snap pictures of the cake we made together. 

 

 

A few weeks ago, Lulu’s Hypermarket opened about 5 minutes from our villa.  If you’ve never heard of a hypermarket, it’s like a super Wal-Mart or Target.  It has everything from electronics, to home goods to groceries, usually at a discounted price.  They also have a bunch of international produce and other items, which is fun to look at, but our first visit I almost fell over when I saw a silicone Christmas tree cake mold.  It’s not that I’ve never seen a Christmas tree shaped cake pan before, I just wasn’t expecting to find one  in the Middle East.  Especially amazing was that is was only one Dinar (that’s about $2.65!)  I may or may not have actually screamed a little bit out of excitement! But we got home and I tucked it away, waiting until a bit closer to Christmas to use it.

 

 

Then a few nights ago, we went to a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at my husband’s job.  They put together a wonderful celebration complete with fake snow, a visit from Santa, a live nativity, and a real camel dressed up for Christmas.  The kids were still buzzing about the event the next morning so I decided today would be a good day to pull out our tree pan and bake a cake (plus it would probably make “M” stop reminding me about the part of the evening where the Christmas camel pooped on us while trying to take a picture with him. Yeah, it was gross!)

 

 

I didn’t really feel like making a cake from scratch, so I pulled out a box of cake mix and some food coloring.  I’ve seen this on several blogs, but I’ve been dying to try these rainbow cakes/cupcakes.  Since I was only able to find red and green color at Lulu’s, I thought it was the perfect time to try a Christmas version of the rainbow cake.

There really is no recipe (especially since I used a box cake mix.)  All you do is divide the batter, color each and alternate pouring the colors into the mold and bake as directed.  I thought it turned out pretty cool, but I did learn a few things over the last few days:

1.  Don’t get too excited about baking a cake that you forget to grease the cake pan, even if it is silicone.

2.  Don’t try to take pictures of food the kids will actually want to eat while they are actually around.  They will just whine, cry and try to stick their fingers in every shot.

3.  Don’t try to take pictures of a Christmas camel while standing close to it’s rear-end.  It’s just gross.

 



Sweet Potato and Eggnog Ice Cream
November 23, 2011, 11:44 am
Filed under: Dessert | Tags: , , ,

 

Turkey Day is tomorrow and I am so exhausted excited.  My husband always does the turkey; I usually do most of the side dishes.  Our menu for Thanksgiving and Christmas is usually the same every year, but we had to do a bit of modifying.  We used to have an oil-less deep fryer that he made a fried turkey with, but we didn’t bring it with, so he will be roasting it this year.  My husband usually makes collard greens, but if you’ve read my blog, greens of any variety are hard to find/very expensive.  We would have splurged on collards for T Day, but alas, they are not to be found on our host island.  I thought maybe we’d do Brussels sprouts instead.  I’ve got a few recipes that I’ve wanted to try.  Nope.  Can’t findBrusselssprouts either.  Oh well.

We usually each bake a dessert.  My husband makes a great lemon and cranberry bunt cake and I love pecan pie.  But all of our yummy delivery food has not been so kind to my waist line.  Well, you can’t have Thanksgiving dinner without dessert, but a slice of cake, pie and ice cream to top it all probably won’t help me fit into my jeans come next week.  So I thought I’d just make an ice cream reminiscent of one of my other favorite pies, sweet potato.  Well, if you could believe it, when I sent my husband to the store initially to pick up all of the Thanksgiving groceries, he couldn’t find heavy cream.  But he did come home with a few cartons of egg nog that I was able to use as a substitution.

I thought the ice cream came out wonderfully.  It tasted just like the filling of sweet potato pie, with a slight hint of the eggnog.  If I made this again, I’d probably cut back on the sweet potato so more of the eggnog would come through, but it was still great!

Sweet Potato and Eggnog Ice Cream

*Slightly adapted from O Magazine’s Candied Sweet Potato Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1 lb sweet potato

1 1/2 cup Eggnog

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preparation:

Heat oven to 450 and roast the sweet potato until very tender, about 1 hour.  When the potato has cooled, peel and puree the flesh until smooth in a food processor.

In a medium sauce pan, bring eggnog to a boil.

Meanwhile, whisk yolks, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg until smooth. 

Slowly whisk the eggnog into the yolk mixture.  Return everything to the sauce pan and simmer until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (don’t boil or it will curdle the yolks.)

Remove sauce pan from the heat and cool the mixture to room temperature.  Refrigerate to cool the mixture more at least 2 hours but not overnight. 

Freeze mixture to ice cream maker per manufacturer instructions. 

 

 

Check out this link up party here!



Rose and Butter Cookies
October 23, 2011, 3:56 am
Filed under: Dessert | Tags: , ,

 

 

Last week I mentioned that I took a bit of time away from the kitchen and blogging to enjoy the weekend with my family.  Among last weekends many activities was a trip to the Manama Souq.  I’ve wanted to find the spice section of the souq, despite my husband’s firm belief that a spice section did not exist.  Well, we found it.  It’s not like what you picture of a typical open air spice market, like Marrakech; but more like a small street lined with shops that have large bags of many types of dried spices and nuts inside.  We went into one and the owner was nice enough to show me some of the different spices and items they had.  There were many that I knew, like sage, and some I’ve never heard of actually cooking with, like frankincense.  In one corner he had a few large bags of dried flowers.  I couldn’t resist, the dried rose petals were so pretty and so fragrant.  I asked him what you use them for and he told me they can be added to tea and have medicinal power for curing headaches. So we left the shop with a few kilos of spices, including the rose petals (all for 700 fills, I might add…that’s about $2!) 

So when we got home, I knew I wanted to make something with the roses.  I started searching recipes and found very few that sounded great or peaked my interest.  I thought about what I was going to do with the roses for days.  Then I remembered when I was a kid, my grandmother used to make sugar cookies and add the leaves to from the marigolds we used to grow in our garden.  I thought it was so fun to be eating flowers and the cookies were so pretty with the dots of yellow and orange petals. 

Of course, I pulled out the cook book she used to use when I was a kid, The Joy of Cooking, 1952 edition.  It’s a great throw back cookbook that has recipes as well as plenty of guides as to what a good mid-century house wife ought to do.  I found what I’m pretty sure was the recipe we used to make together but substituted my rose petals for the marigold.  My husband thought they should be sweeter, but they were almost as I remembered them to be. 

 

Oh and before I forget, the Diana at Bromography interviewed me!  Please head over to their blog and check it out!!!!

 

 

Rose and Butter Cookies

*adapted from The Joy of Cooking

 

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 cup sifted flour

1/3 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons dried rose petals

 

Preparation:

 Blend until creamy the butter and sugar.  Beat in the remaining ingredients.  Chill the dough for 3-4 hours.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and shape the dough into one-inch balls.  Flatten with lightly floured hands and place on a prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. 

 



Caramel Apple Frozen Yogurt
October 6, 2011, 1:12 pm
Filed under: Dessert | Tags: , ,

Our pool is finally finished about a month late (don’t get me started) so my husband wants to have a pool party to celebrate.  The weather is cooling down a bit here, but it’s still close to 90 degrees at 9 am.  So with a nod to “cooler” fall temperatures, while still keeping in mind that it’s hot, I thought I’d pull out my ice cream maker and make some caramel apple frozen yogurt.  But I should tell you that I’m not a big fan of caramel apples.  I hate that the caramel get stuck in your teeth and after you’ve eaten all of the sugary stuff of the outside, all you’re left with is a boring apple on a stick.  Oh, and last fall when my husband tried to make caramel apples with the kids (who were one and two at the time) it ended up being a big mess that no one wanted to eat.  Those apples sat in my ‘fridge for weeks. 

This time around, I thought frozen yogurt would be a healthy, dentist friendly way for everyone to enjoy an inherently fall treat.  I’ve had this idea in my head for weeks for our pool party (did I mention it was supposed to be done over a month ago?!?) and I was so happy with the way it turned out.  It really tastes like a caramel apple.  I had a recipe I scribbled down on a piece of paper long ago for a brown sugar caramel sauce that tastes like caramel, but isn’t as chewy.  I can’t remember what I first used it for, but I remember thinking that the recipe was crappy because the caramel is thinner than most dipping caramel sauces.  However, for this recipe, because the frozen yogurt is so delicate, it worked perfectly.  That and I didn’t have any granulated sugar, the last place I went grocery shopping was out.  Yes, you read that right; they were out of sugar and didn’t know when they would be getting more. 

Anyway, my husband plans on playing grill master all weekend, but of course, he can’t be the only one to make something.  I’m sure at some point during the weekend I’ll push him a side so I can play on the grill for a while, but I’m going to try to play nice and let him cook for me.  Hopefully he will enjoy this sweet treat after sweating over the hot grill!

Caramel Apple Frozen Yogurt

 

Ingredients:

4 cups apple juice (use organic, it tends to have a stronger apple flavor)

250 g low fat Greek yogurt

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

4 tablespoons flour

1 cup boiling water

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons milk (I used 2% for a thinner sauce)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

 

Preparation:

To make the frozen yogurt:  Combine apple juice and Greek yogurt in an ice cream maker.  Follow manufacturer instructions.  Freeze for an additional hour to firm yogurt.

While the yogurt is churning, make the caramel sauce.  Mix the sugar and flour in a saucepan until combined.  Pour in boiling water and salt.  Stir over medium high heat for 7-8 minutes, or until sugar mixture is thick, being careful not to let it burn.  Remove from heat and stir in milk and butter until combined.  Cool to room temperature. 

To assemble the caramel apple yogurt:  If using, add nuts to the yogurt.  Swirl in 2/3 of the caramel sauce.  Serve the remaining sauce on the side. 



French Fridays with Dorie: Honey-Spiced Madeleines
September 23, 2011, 5:08 am
Filed under: Breakfast, Dessert | Tags: , ,

 

I debated making this week’s FFwD recipe just because I knew we were going to be eating cake all weekend on account of my husband’s birthday.  However, I already felt like a Dorie slacker because I didn’t make last Friday’s Cinnamon-Crunch Chicken.  I looked for the cinnamon cookies she used to “crunchify” the chicken for two weeks and was unable to find them.  I thought about ordering them off of Amazon.com, but I knew they wouldn’t arrive in time. 

 

 

So needless to say, I decided that I couldn’t let another Friday go by without participating; I am new to the club, after all.  I am so glad that I made these tasty little cakes.  Dorie says that the cakes are best if you allow the batter to rest several hours to overnight, which was perfect.  I made the batter yesterday evening, and then I got up early this morning to bake them off.  My family woke up to the smells of cinnamon and orange and had a warm treat waiting for breakfast. 

 

I’ve never eaten, let alone made Madeleines before and I was pleasantly surprised by these.  I thought the orange and spice was very nice.  These would be perfect if you have overnight guests over the holidays.  The only slight change I made to Dorie’s recipe was to half the amount of butter and use applesauce to replace it. 

 

 

This, like most of Dorie’s recipes, is a great jumping off point.  While I will definitely be making this one again, I can’t wait to tweak it with some other flavor combinations. 

 

*As per the rules of French Friday’s with Dorie, members only post pictures, not recipes.  If you would like the recipe, you can buy the book, Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  If cooking your way through Dorie’s book sounds like fun, you, too can join French Friday’s with Dorie by clicking here.