Quinoa and Corn Flour Crepes

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I’m cooking my way through  Heidi Swanson‘s Super Natural Cooking in an effort to learn how to incorporate different types of whole and natural foods into my daily diet. This week, in addition to the Do-It-Yourself Power Bars, I made Quinoa and Corn Flour Crepes.

The crepe batter was made using 3 types of flour: quinoa, corn, and white whole wheat; eggs, salt, and water. The crepes by themselves tasted hearty and healthy. I liked them, but they’re definitely not your typical crepe.

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As suggested, I filled the crepes with a mixture of Peruvian purple potatoes and red potatoes, Gruyère cheese, and chives. I added Sriracha. YUM! Purple potatoes, because of their color, have antioxidents (or it could be the other way–they have their color because of the antioxidents :P ).

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{TWD} A Scrumptious Cheesecake to End the Year!

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What a great way to end the year! A perfectly simple cheesecake. This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was a Tall and Creamy Cheesecake: A Basic. Cheesecake is always a big hit in my house and P was counting down the days until I made it. Apparently there are some people out there who hate cheesecake, but no such thing exists in my family. :P

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Thanks to Anne of AnneStrawberry for choosing this wonderful treat. You can get the recipe from her blog or from the book: Baking…From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

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I made a few changes. Instead of the traditional graham cracker crust I used Marias, a cookie with vanilla flavoring, and added shredded coconut to it. I can’t seem to get out of the tropical state of mind. :P

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I didn’t make any changes to the cheesecake batter. The recipe gave us the option of using heavy cream, sour cream, or a combination of both. I used only heavy cream because that’s what I had at home and didn’t have to buy another ingredient.

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I don’t have 9-inch springform pan and unlike my usual self I did not feel like running to the store for one. I used my 8-inch pan and had enough to fill my mini-springform pan with crust and a ramekin without the crust.

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The cheesecake was pure decadence. It definitely was tall and creamy. I loved it!

(I apologize for the pictures this week–I was a bit rushed and didn’t have time to ‘pose’ my cake. :P )

Do-It-Yourself Power Bars

This week, to get back into the groove of healthy cooking, I made Do-It-Yourself Power Bars from Heidi Swanson‘s Super Natural Cooking. I’ve been making my own granola for my morning cereal and other uses for awhile now. And I’ve only been buying snack/energy bars that only use natural ingredients.  So it was only a matter of time before I made my own bars. After trying these, I won’t buy premade bars on a regular basis anymore. These are so wonderful and so easy to make.

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Do-It-Yourself Power Bars

Adapted from Super Natural Cooking
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped toasted nuts (the original recipe calls for walnuts. I used pecans.)
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened puffed brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

Grease a 9″ by 13″ pan. Mix first six ingredients through the ginger in a large bowl. In a saucepan, combine the rest of the ingredients. Stir continuously while it comes to a boil and thickens a bit. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until the syrup is evenly incorporated. Pour and press into the prepared pan. Cool to room temperature and cut into to bars.

Makes 21 bars.

{DB} A French Polynesian Yule Log

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Sometimes, more often than not, I still fall under the delusion that having all the right tools will help me make great desserts. In my head, I know it is about technique and balance and the right flavor combination.

I had a moment of panic when I discovered this month’s Daring Bakers challenge: A French Yule Log or Bûche de Noël.  I was out of town for most of December and just got home a couple days before Christmas. I wanted to make it for our annual Christmas Eve dinner, but time was short for this seemingly overly-complicated dessert. I took a deep breath and remembered the point of joining this group was to challenge myself.

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This month’s challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and  Blueberry and Marion from Il en faut peu pour etre heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand. The website is in French and the recipe is six different components and variations and not located in one link.  In order to successfully complete the challenge, I needed to make and assemble the six elements in whatever shape.

The first step I took was to run out and buy (see my first rambling up above) a traditional Bûche de Noël mold.

I decided to make a French Polynesian themed yule log because I just got back from the South Pacific with vanilla beans and French lacy crepes I bought at a grocery in Papetee.

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For my yule log I decided to make:

1. Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)–the basic recipe. I had trouble with this cake. It broke apart when I tried to insert it into the mold. I created a patchwork cake layer–luckily no one could tell in the final product. Because it broke apart and because I ate a lot of the broken pieces I didn’t have enough cake for the top of the mold (or bottom of the cake).

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2. Vanilla Mousse–instead of the traditional dark chocolate mousse. I wanted to showcase my Tahitian vanilla beans.

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3. Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert–the basic recipe.

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4. Coconut Crisp–instead of the traditional praline feuillete crisp. I wanted to use coconut for tropical flavoring. This recipe called for the use of lace crepes, which you can’t buy or are hard to find in the US. The choices were to (1) make your own or  (2) use rice krispies or corn flakes. I planned on using option (2) until I happened upon lace crepes in a grocery in Tahiti.

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5. Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert–the basic recipe worked here, showcasing the vanilla beans.

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6. Dark Chocolate Icing–the basic recipe

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Naked yule log

Although this wasn’t the prettiest yule log (cake decorating is not my strong suit), it was definitely a hit at our Christmas Eve dinner. Everyone loved it.

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{TWD} Real Butterscotch Pudding

imgp3000Just got back from vacation on Sunday. Bought ingredients and made pudding on Monday. Forgot to buy brown sugar, made own with molasses and regular sugar. This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie was Real Butterscotch Pudding selected by Donna of Spatulas, Corkscrews & Suitcases. The good thing about this recipe was that it was relatively simple to make. By simple, I don’t mean neat. My kitchen was a disaster, with all the pouring back and forth from the pot to the food processor to the pot again and then back to the food processor and finally to the ramekins. I’m amazed I actually had pudding left to pour into the ramekins.

After tasting the pudding, I felt I could get drunk from eating it because the taste of alcohol was very strong. In reality, there was only 2 tbsp of single-malt scotch in the whole recipe.  Divided by six , there’s only a little more than 1 tsp in each. I liked the taste, but this is definitely an adult dessert.