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Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Roasted Carrot Soup With Dukkah Spice And Yogurt

Carrot Soup

Happy New Year!

Raise of hands, who’s making resolutions to eat better, exercise more, lose weight?

Well, lately I’ve got the exercise part down. (Easy – just find something that’s a ton of fun! 😉 )

Lose weight? Hahahaaaa…. these hips are quite stubborn, I’m afraid.

And eat better… well, I try that every month or so, but things (ahem, somebody’s got a sweet tooth) somehow always get in the way.

Dukkah Spice Mix

Don’t worry – I’m not one to suggest a juice cleanse (I’d probably kill somebody) or going carb-free (I tried that once… can you say, “hangry”?)

I don’t have the discipline to go on any of those fad diets. But what I can do is introduce more tasty, healthy things to my life.

This carrot soup is easy, good for you, and thanks to the dukkah, it’s pretty interestingly-flavored, too. No boring health food here!

Dukkah Spice Mix

Recipe from Bon Appetit’s December 2012 issue.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted, shelled raw natural pistachios
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 lbs carrots, peeled, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 qt vegetable broth
  • low-fat plain Greek yogurt

Cooking Directions

  1. Toast pistachios in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about six minutes. Transfer to a small plate and let cool. Add sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and peppercorns to same skillet. Toast, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer spices to the plate with the nuts and let cool. Transfer nut and spice mixture and salt to a food processor or a mortar and pestle and coarsely grind.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the butter, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast until the carrots are tender and just beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Let the carrots cool slightly.
  3. Transfer the carrots to a blender. Add the vegetable broth. Blend mixture until soup is very smooth, 1-2 minutes. Pour the soup into a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. You can add a little water to the soup for a thinner consistency, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide hot soup among bowls. Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top of each bowl of soup. Sprinkle with the dukkah spice mixture.

Pepparkakor (Swedish Ginger Cookies)

Pepparkakor

“Peppahkaka!” my aunt exclaimed, when we showed up with these cookies.

“Peppahkaka!” my uncle gave me two thumbs up, when he arrived two hours later.

~~~~~

When, while cleaning out a house that has been well-lived in (and accumulating boxes) for multiple decades, you open a box and find a hand-written recipe in your grandmother’s writing… of course you need to find an opportunity to make it.

Half a year later, this recipe was first in line on my holiday baking list. I gathered the ingredients, softened the butter (which is surprisingly difficult in a house that tends to stay colder than 60°F all winter), and started mixing.

It’s funny how strong scent memories can be. Based on the name, I hadn’t had any recollection of ever eating these cookies. But as I stuck my hands in the bowl, kneading the stiff cookie dough together, the scent wafting up brought me back to my childhood.

Pepparkakor cutouts

The best feeling ever is when someone goes back for seconds (and thirds!) of something I’ve cooked or baked. (And, not to worry – I’ve had plenty of failures over the years, which make the successes that much sweeter!)

Over the course of the last two days, my aunts, uncle, and both grandparents have been sneaking cookies left and right! They’ve told me that these taste just like how Grandma used to make them. A Christmas success!

Pepparakakor recipe

Pepparkakor (Swedish Ginger Cookies)

Makes ~25 dozen small (1″) cookies, or fewer larger cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp light molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • juice and zest of one orange

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Sift the flour with the baking soda and spices.
  3. Cream the butter with the sugar. Mix in the molasses and egg. Add dry ingredients, then mix until blended. (You may need to use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or if you’re like me, just use your hands.)
  4. Turn onto lightly floured board (or sandwich between two sheets of parchment paper). Roll as thin as possible, then use cookie cutters to cut into shapes.
  5. Bake 7 – 10 minutes, or until slightly browned around the edges.
  6. Enjoy!

Clear Soup with Pumpkin Dumplings

Clear soup with pumpkin dumplings

Today’s a special day. It’s my little brother’s birthday (happy birthday, Patrick!), it’s the first actual chilly day we’ve had all fall (up until now, temps have been in the 80s, and even above 100F which is crazy for where I live!), and… it’s the release day of Marisa Baggett’s new cookbook, Vegetarian Sushi Secrets!

While I’m always excited about sushi cookbooks (that’s what happens when your original food blog is all about sushi), this one’s especially exciting for me for several reasons. First, we ladies of sushi stick together, and I love Marisa’s cookbooks. Secondly, you may have noticed I’ve been cooking more vegetarian and vegan food – although I still eat meat, I love trying out new recipes for my brother’s girlfriend, who is vegan. And thirdly… I had the huge honor of writing a foreword for Marisa’s new cookbook!

Of course, in addition to writing a foreword for her cookbook, I just had to try out some of her recipes as soon as she sent me a copy. I’m completely obsessed with her spicy tofu rolls. Her Faux Roe “Boats” are a fun vegetarian take on fish roe gunkan maki. And then, because I wanted to try one non-sushi recipe as well, I made this clear soup with pumpkin dumplings.

This soup is perfect for a chilly autumn day like today. Obviously, it’s totally appropriate for the pumpkin-mania that happens as soon as the clock strikes September. And I love the addition of Japanese curry to the dumpling fillings – it’s warming, makes the flavor ever so Japanese, and I pretty much always love anything curry. Delicious!

Recipe from Vegetarian Sushi Secrets by Marisa Baggett, out today!

Ingredients

Dumplings
  • 1 cup (220 g) pumpkin puree
  • 1 square Japanese curry base
  • 3 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander leaves (cilantro), roughly chopped
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup (30 g) panko breadcrumbs
  • 18 square wonton wrappers
  • 2 teaspoons potato starch, dissolved in 4 teaspoons water
Clear Soup

Cooking Directions

  1. Place a large pot of water over high heat. Bring to a boil.
  2. To prepare the dumplings, combine the pumpkin puree, Japanese curry base, green onions, garlic, coriander leaves, soy sauce, and panko breadcrumbs in a food processor. Pulse a few times, then process until well blended.
  3. Place two wonton wrappers on your work surface. (Keep the remaining wrappers covered with a damp towel.) Spoon 1 tablespoon of the pumpkin mixture in the center of each wrapper. Dip a fingertip in the potato starch mixture and wet the edges of the wonton wrapper. Pull the edges of the wrapper around the mixture and pinch closed. Fold the dumpling so the ends meet and crimp to close. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
  4. Gently drop the dumplings in the boiling water and then turn off the heat. Stir with a spoon to make sure none of the dumplings stick to the bottom of the pot. Let the dumplings cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.
  5. To assemble the soup, lay out 6 medium-sized soup bowls. Place 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin seed oil and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin seeds in each bowl. Divide the tofu evenly among the bowls. Add 3 warm dumplings to each bowl. Ladle 1 cup (250 ml) of hot dashi into each bowl. Sprinkle with green onions, if desired. Serve immediately.
~~~~~~~~~~

I received a copy of this cookbook for free, as well as provided a foreword for the cookbook. Links in this post may be affiliate links.

Black Sesame Shortbread

Black Sesame Shortbread

2015 marks the fourth year that I’ve participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! … and the first year that I couldn’t get the darn post written by the deadline. Oops.

Not to worry – I definitely got the cookies made and shipped with time to spare, and I’m happy to say that Rebecca of Displaced Housewife, Elizabeth of It’s Good to be the Cook, and Sara of Confectionary Tales of a Bakeaholic all received packages of cookies from me right on time.

It’s just that awesome things and crappy things and just plain life happened a bit more than usual, and then Lightroom broke so we couldn’t even process the photos until we figured out how to get that fixed, and the cookie swap posting deadline came and went and I decided that the posts will happen when they happen (because, yes, as usual I definitely made more than one type of cookie to send) and it’s not worth stressing like crazy about.

So.

Cookies!

These Black Sesame Shortbread Cookies were the first of four different types of cookies I sent. They’re nutty, and fragrant from the orange zest, and oh so snackable especially when you make them small (mine were quarter-sized). Of the four types of cookies I made, these were my mom’s favorite.

Black Sesame Shortbread with Orange Zest

Recipe from SugarHero!

Ingredients

  • 12 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz (1 cup) powdered sugar
  • zest from 1 large orange
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15 oz (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/8 oz (1/4 cup) black sesame seeds

Cooking Directions

  1. Cream together the butter, powdered sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl on medium-low speed just until the sugar is incorporated and the butter is smooth. Add the cardamom, salt, and flour, and mix on low speed until only a few flour streaks remain. Mix in the black sesame seeds with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl and making sure the seeds are well-distributed.
  2. Scrape the cookie dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, form it into a disc, and wrap it tightly. Put the dough on a flat tray then refrigerate it until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  3. Once firm, preheat the oven to 350°F, and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half and keep the half you’re not working with well-wrapped in the refrigerator. Roll out the remaining half between two sheets of lightly floured parchment or waxed paper, until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Cut shapes out of the dough, or cut it into squares with a sharp knife. Arrange the cookies on the baking sheets. The cookies won’t spread very much while baking, so you don’t need to leave too much room between them. When you’ve cut out all the cookies you can, press the dough together, re-roll it, and return it to the refrigerator to chill while the first batch bakes.
  4. Bake the cookies at 350°F for about 12 minutes, until the edges are very slightly colored. Remove the tray from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Repeat for the second half of the dough. Let cool completely.
  6. Enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Flourless Brownie-Bottom Cheesecake

Triple Chocolate Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

Death by chocolate… very appropriate for Halloween, don’t you think?

I made this a few years ago, when my grandmother had to go gluten-free so we planned an entire gluten-free Thanksgiving for her. This cheesecake is rich, decadent, and oh so chocolatey… and completely flourless! Highly recommended for all the chocolate-lovers in your life.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

Recipe originally found on Fridgg, but sadly the original link to the recipe no longer works.

Ingredients

For the brownie bottom:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
For the cheesecake:
  • 2/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup honey

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom of a pie tin with a bit of coconut oil.
  2. Combine the first 5 brownie ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Combine 3/4 cup of milk chocolate chips with 3/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Melt the chocolate chips by microwaving on low and stirring every 20 seconds until the chocolate is melted. Make sure not to overcook the chocolate chips!
  4. Pour the melted chocolate into the existing brownie batter stirring the batter as your pour. Once incorporated, pour the brownie batter into the prepared pie dish and bake for 15 minutes at 350°F.
  5. After 15 minutes, remove the pie plate from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the cheesecake part. The brownies will be very underdone at this point, but that’s ok. Reduce the oven heat to 325°F.
  6. Combine the 1/3 cup of milk chocolate chips and the 1/3 cup of semisweet chocolate chips and melt them in the oven using the technique described above.
  7. Once chocolate is melted, combine the mascarpone, ricotta, egg, egg yolk, vanilla, cocoa powder, honey and melted chocolate in a large bowl and beat with a hand held mixer until smooth.
  8. Pour the cheesecake filling onto the partially baked brownie bottom. Bake in a 325°F oven for 40-50 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake springs back when touched.
  9. Let cool, and enjoy!