Four Clan Kitchen

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Archive for the ‘baked’ Category

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls and Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

Posted by fourclankitchen on January 29, 2017

 

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The cafeteria at work sells Vietnamese Spring rolls for a ransom.  I thought it was time to switch to home-made ones and really, they are so easy to make and so versatile that they should be in your lunch rotation.   You can use whatever you have in the fridge and scale up to any number of people you want to feed.  Plus throw a couple of dipping sauces in.   My favorites are peanut sauce and nuoc cham, the Vietnamese sweet chilli garlic sauce.    For the Spring Roles, I  am providing a list of what I consider to be essential ingredients, plus a list of other ingredients that you can pick from.  I am providing  no quantities, you can scale up and down as you wish. You can buy the peanut sauce and nuoc cham and you can easily find vegetarian versions of each.  I am providing a version of nuoc cham that I obtained from the blog Cafe Sucre Farine and will post a recipe for peanut sauce another time.

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Ingredients:

Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham): 

2/3 cup warm water

1/4 cup sugar

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tbs fish sauce

2 tbs lime juice

1 tsp sambal olek (chilli sauce)

1-2 tsp cilantro stems, chopped fine

 

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Spring Rolls (Essential Ingredients):

  • Spring Roll Wraps (any size), available at almost all supermarkets
  • Cilantro, finely chopped
  • Fresh Basil Leaves, finely chopped
  • Mint, Finely Chopped
  • Avocados
  • Firm Tofu, or substitute cooked shrimp/ left-over noodles,  or simply add more avocados and bean sprouts.  Anything that provides body will do.
  • Roasted, unsalted peanuts, crushed

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Optional ingredients:

  • Lettuce, finely slivered
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Carrots, shredded
  • Radish, shredded
  • Raw Mango, shredded
  • Scallions, green parts, finely minced
  • Serrano peppers, finely minced
  • lime
  • Teriyaki Sauce, Soy Sauce, Salt

 

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Method:

  1. Purchase or prepare dipping sauce(s).  For home-made  Nuoc cham, mix all listed ingredients and you are good to go.
  2. Prepare the Tofu:

Cut the Tofu slab into 5 horizontal sheets.  Heat oil in a frying pan and add the sheets.  Cook on high heat for a few minutes till both sides are browned (see image).  If you like, you can flavor the tofu with some teriyaki sauce as I did, or soy sauce or salt.  Cool and cut into match-sticks (see image).

3. Prep all other ingredients and have them available.

4.Place warm water in a large pan large enough to submerge the Spring Roll wraps.  A 9×13 baking pan works    well.

5. Assemble the Spring Rolls:

  1.  Submerge the Spring Roll wraps in the warm water till they soften and lose shape.  This takes seconds
  2. Place the wrap flat on a cutting board.
  3. Place ingredients on the wrap leaving a 1.5″ border on three sides.  Include the essential ingredients and any other ingredients of your choice from the optional list.  Do not overstuff.
  4.  Fold in the top and bottom and then the short  side.
  5. Roll the wrap and gently press the edges.  The edges will seal easily.
  6. Continue, till you are out of ingredients.
  7. Serve with dipping sauces.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Asian, baked, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Shortbread Cookies

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 6, 2016

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Shortbread cookies

I loved shortbread cookies and this recipe caught my eye because it had rice flour in it.  In Indian cooking, rice flour is often used in deep frying for providing a crisper texture that all purpose flour cannot provide.  I guess that rice flour is doing the same here.  The cookies have a lovely texture and take about 5 minutes to put together although rolling the dough out is not quite as easy as I thought it would be.  The recipe was taken from the following website, with only a couple of minor changes: adding salt and the demerrara sugar: http://www.rotinrice.com/2013/12/shortbread-stamped-cookies/

 

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Ingredients

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour

¼ cup rice flour

½ c pwd sugar

2 sticks salted butter room temp.   If unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt.

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Method:

  1. Mix the flours together. Set aside.
  2. Using the paddle attachment and a stand mixer or a hand held mixer, cream butter and sugar till fluffy- this takes a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Cut dough into 2 equal portions. Saran wrap and refrigerate 15 min.
  4. Roll out first disc between sheets of plastic wrap so that it is about ¼ inch high.
  5. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Cut out cookies using a 3” stamp or a biscuit cutter and place on the prepared sheets.
  7. Bake at 350deg F for 20 min until the edges of the cookies are light brown.
  8. Cool completely on a mesh rack and store in an airtight container.

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Notes:

1. I had trouble rolling the dough and stamping out the cookies (dough was too soft).  I rolled out the second half between sheets of saran wrap,  placed the rolled out disc in the freezer for 10 min and then stamped out the cookies.  This worked pretty well, But maybe I will roll the dough into logs, cool and cut into rounds the next time.

2. I got 18 cookies, although the recipe said 12, so I must have rolled the dough out too thin. Still the baking time of 20 min for first batch and 19 min for subsequent batches was perfect.

3. I sprinkled some demerrara sugar onto onto the rolled out disc and rolled the sugar right into the disc. This added a nice texture.

 

Posted in baked, Dessert, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Granola

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 28, 2015

IMG_0892 I frequently mean to make granola and it seems relatively easy.  It’s the ingredient list that is daunting and causes me to move on to other dishes.  This time I decided to go with what I had by liberally adapting a granola recipe (Melissa Clark) from the New York Times.  I reduced the amount of oatmeal, swapped most of the maple syrup with honey and changed the type and the proportion of nuts based on  what I had on hand.  I omitted the dried fruits entirely (these are basically candy) and did not find this to be a glaring omission. IMG_0891

 

Ingredients:

1.  2 cups oatmeal (I used McCann’s quick cooking oatmeal).

2. Total seeds (3.5 cups) as follows:

a. 1 cup pistachios

b.. 1/2 cup cup slivered, blanched almonds

c. 1 cup sesame seeds.

d. 1 cup pecans

3. 1 cup desiccated, shredded coconuts (flakes would have been nicer).

4. 1/2 cup olive oil

5.  Sweetners: honey, maple syrup, brown sugar

a.  1/2 cup honey

b/ 1/4 cup maple syrup

c. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

6. 1 tsp Diamond kosher salt (1/2 tsp is using regular table salt or other kosher salt)

7. 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground IMG_0893

Method

1. Preheat oven to 300˚F.

2.  Coat the bottom of a 18×12″ jelly roll pan with oil (I regretably did not do this).

3. Mix all ingredients and spread evenly in the pan.

4. Cook, uncovered for ~45 min (start checking at 30 min, when the granola tastes toasty and starts to clump).

5. Allow granola to cool for a 10-15 min in the pan.  Break into lumps before the granola hardens further and store in an air-tight container.

Note:  You could add dried fruits (apricots, raisins) to this, but should do it after the baking process.

Posted in baked, Breakfast, Brunch, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Russian Teacakes (Mexican Wedding Cakes)

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 14, 2014


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It does not matter what you call them, these are easy to make and delicious!  Our family makes them for Christmas, but today  I am mailing these  to send to my son who is off to college because they keep well at room temperature for several days.  I use the Betty Crocker recipe except that I substitute 1/2 cup of flour with the same amount of almond meal (ground almonds).  I also add almond extract to enhance the almond flavor.  Using the food processor makes the whole thing easy and makes the fewest dishes.  So here goes:

Ingredients:

2 sticks (1 cup butter) softened (don’t skip this step)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 1/2 almond meal   (if yo don’t have this simply skip and use 2 1/4 cup flour)

3/4 cup finely ground nuts (I used walnuts)

1/2 tsp salt

Extra powdered sugar to roll the cookies.

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Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 400˚F.

2. In a food processor,  finely grind the walnuts and set aside.

3. Add the butter, powdered sugar and the extracts and blend.

4. Add the flour, almond meal, ground nuts, salt and pulse until the dough comes together.

5.  Remove from the processor, shape into a smooth ball and roll into 24 balls.

6.  Place  balls on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1″ apart.  You may need to do this in 2 batches.

7.  Bake 10-12 min (do not over bake).  The cookies should not be brown when you pull them out.

8.  Roll cookies in powdered sugar while still warm, then roll again.

9.  Store in a tight box between pieces of parchment.  The cookie freezes well and as I said above, it also travels well.

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Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake

Posted by fourclankitchen on August 17, 2014

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I saw this cake on one of my favorite blogs: Alexandra Cooks.  Just about everything I have made from this website has been great, so I highly recommend a visit.   This cake is called torta caprese, which I am guessing is Italian in origin.  It is gluten free and has no leavening besides beaten eggs and it is grand enough to serve at any kind of gathering.  So it is very versatile.  For grand cakes, it is also simple to make,  but it does require a number of dishes and bowls and proper sequencing.  So read the recipe all the way through before you launch into it.

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Ingredients

1. 2 cups almond meal/almond flour.

(Note: The original recipe calls for 12 oz or 2 cups of whole almonds. I used almond meal, but  when I measured 12 oz of almond meal, it was nearly 4 cups worth.  So I used 2 cups of almond meal, this worked fine.  I have also used 2 cups of whole almonds.  So I think may be the 12 oz is a misprint).

2. 1+ 1/4 cups sugar, divided

3. 8 oz bittersweet, coarsely chopped chocolate (2 bars of Ghiardelli)

4. 1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter (original recipe calls for unsalted butter, but that seemed wrong since know other salt is added)

5. 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

6. 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (I omitted)

7. 2 tsp almond extract (not in the original recipe)

8. Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

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Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 and shift a rack to the bottom or bottom third of your oven.   Butter a 9″ springform pan, line with parchment paper and butter the paper as well.

2. Separate your egg whites and yolks, putting each in large bowls.

3.  Beat yolks with 1 cup of sugar for about 5 min until the yolks are light lemon colored and have increased in volume by a lot.

4.  Melt 2 sticks butter in the microwave in a largish bowl about a minute.  Then add the chocolate and mix.  Microwave for 30 seconds, mix and repeat if needed to melt the chocolate entirely.  Depending on the microwave, the first 30 seconds should do it, since the butter is already warmed up.  Do not overdo this step, or your chocolate will seize (separate from the cocoa butter and form little criddlies-you cannot recover from this mistake to my knowledge).

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5.  Fold in the almond meal into the egg yolks.  Then add the chocolate mix and almond extract (or grand mariner).

6.  Using a stand mixer, beat eggs whites at a slow speed for a minute or two, then add the remaining  1/4 cup of sugar and beat at high speed  till it forms firm peaks.

7.  Fold in the chocolate mix into the egg whites and mix gently to incorporate (don’t deflate the eggs).

8.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 55-90 min (mine took 80 min), until an inserted tester comes out clean.

9.  Cool in pan for 15 min.  Remove the edges of the pan and cool completely.

10.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

The cake is moist and lasts several days, so it is a good make-ahead cake.

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