Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

White Chocolate Maple Walnut Fudge

Posted by fourclankitchen on February 24, 2018

I have been making this fudge from a recipe on the food blog ” Thibeault’s Table” for years.  This recipe is the real deal, no evaporated milk, condensed milk or marshmallows to get you fudge to gel.  However, I find the instructions a bit confusing and the timings do not work for me.  I have tried to nail the recipe down so making real fudge is not intimidating, although it is time consuming.

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter cut into pieces

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 tsp table salt

6-8 oz white chocolate (I used 1.5 cups of ghirardelli white chocolate chips)

Or substitute 2 4 oz bars of bitter sweet or semi-sweet chocolate broken into pieces.

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup toasted walnuts crudely chopped (might want to up this to 1.5 cups)

 

Method

  1.  Mix together the sugars, maple syrup, butter, cream and salt in a sauce pan fitted with a candy thermometer.
  2. On a medium flame and with frequent stirring, bring to a boil.  Lower the flame to medium low and allow the mix to come to 234-238˚F (16 min, for me; 7 min in the original recipe). This is called the soft ball stage, in candy-speak.  This means, if you don’t have a thermometer, put a cold cup of water next to your stove and at 7 min,  drop a few drops of the candy mix into the water.  When ready, it should form a soft ball.  See image below.   At this point,  the candy mix will feel like you are stirring crystallizing sugar and air.

3.   Cool for 10-15 min.  At this point, my candy mix was at 180˚F.  I added the white chocolate chips and vanilla to the candy surface without stirring.

4.  Cool further until the mix is 110˚F.  This took about 54 min, but the original recipe says to wait to 10-15 min.

5.  While mix is cooling, prepare a pan for the fudge.  I used a 8″x6″x2″ glass pan lined with foil, but you can use anything that you have.

6.  Once the mix is at 110˚F,  use a hand-held mixer to  beat the mixture for 1-2 min. till the fudge loses its sheen.

7.  Add the walnuts and mix with a wooden spoon.

8.  Spread the fudge in the prepared pan and let it cool a bit before putting it into the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

9.  Then cut into small pieces.  I usually keep this in the fridge, but it should be fine at room temp for several days and also freezes beautifully.

Note: If you don’t have a candy thermometer, just follow the provided times (which is what I used to do).  If you don’t call the soft ball stage right, and stop too early, the fudge will begin the melt at room temp.  But it will be fine to serve it straight out of the fridge where it will stay solid. The taste will be the same.

Don’t go much over the prescribed temperature or you will have hard candy.

 


 

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Quick Indian Chili Pepper Pickles (Mirchi ka Achar)

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 26, 2016

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My mom made the best Indian pickles in the world.  Before she died,  I transcribed some of her recipes (minimal as they were) onto my iPhone Notes.  Unfortunately, when I bought a new phone,  these files did not survive and now these recipes are nothing but a memory on my tongue.  So I was delighted to come across some recipes on the website called Indian Simmer.  I adapted and annotated the simplest one and used the last of my garden’s serranos to make a pickle you can prepare in just a few minutes and eat within a few hours.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gm chili peppers, any combination.  I used a mix of red fresno and serrano peppers, but Thai bird peppers are traditional and much, much hotter.
  • 4 tbs.  brown mustard seeds, coarsely ground in a coffee grinder.
  • Generous pinch of Asafoetida (Hing).  Skip if you cannot find it,  but this is like fish sauce and adds a lot of umami, although it would taste awful if you placed a pinch on your tongue.
  • 5-6 tablespoon oil, preferably mustard oil  (this oil really lends the distinct Indian pickle flavor, but swap with other unflavored oils if you have to). There should be enough oil to fully coat the peppers.  This is the second preservative.
  • Salt to taste  (1 used 3 tsp- this acts as a preservative, so don’t skimp.
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tbs. Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric powder

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Method:

  • Stem the chillies and pulse them in a food processor to get smallish pieces (this will only take a few pulses) .  You can also cut these by hand which is traditional.
  • Place the chillies in a medium sized bowl and add salt.  Dry brine the chillies for 1/2 hour (or longer).
  • You can drain the water from the chilies if you want to reduce the heat after the brining.
  • Heat the mustard oil until it is smoking, then turn off the stove and allow it to cool completely to room temperature.  This reduces the pungency of the mustard oil.
  • In a small  bowl, combine the ground mustard, asafetida, oil, salt, sugar, lemon juice and turmeric powder.  Mix thoroughly.
  • Toss the spice mix with the chillies.
  • Taste and adjust the salt and lemon to taste.
  • Transfer the pickles to a glass jar.   You should probably sterilize the jar or run it through the dishwasher.
  • Let the pickles sit on the counter for a day and then store in the fridge.  These should keep for a long time.

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Notes:

  • The pickles will taste better after a few days, although they can be used right away if you cannot wait.
  • The pickles will also lose some of their heat over time.
  • These pickles can be used as an accompaniment to any Indian meal, but are also great on buttered toast, on eggs, you name it!

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Posted in Asian, condiments, Indian Food, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 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.

 

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Whole Wheat Naan (Indian Leavened Flat Bread)

Posted by fourclankitchen on November 28, 2015

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Naan as anyone who has made a trip to an Indian restaurant knows is an Indian leavened flat bread (most Indian breads are unleavened).  Given their high cost at the grocery store, I decided that I would try my hand at making these at home.  I found a recipe that uses Indian whole wheat (atta) flour at a website called Monsoon Spice.  While atta  is  technically a whole wheat flour, this variety of wheat has been bred over millennia to have very little bran and thus a relatively high glycemic index.   Regular whole wheat is not a great option for naans either since it is  tough-tasting and not at all delicate like a naan, typically made with all-purpose flour, is supposed to be.  I had read some place that whole wheat pastry flour, which is whole wheat flour ground superfine,  was a very good whole-wheat flour to use in breads, pizzas and even pastries (!) so I decided to give it a shot.  I was very pleased with the naans this produced, very supple and delicate.  So here is the recipe with a small number of adaptations from the original.

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 Ingredients:
2½ cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour (I am guessing that this can also be substituted by whole what pastry flour)
¼ cup warm milk
¾ – 1 cup Yogurt (I used 1 cup)
1 packet Yeast
½ tbsp Sugar
¼ tsp Baking Powder
1-1½ tsp Salt
2 tbsp Oil
Warm water for kneading

Flour for dusting and rolling the naan.

Ghee/butter for frying and for brushing on top.

Toppings: anything you like. I used: Nigella seeds (kalonji), garlic & chopped cilantro.

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Method:

1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm milk (110˚F).
2. Mix flours, baking powder and salt.  Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, slowly add  yogurt, oil and yeast. Add little warm water as needed. Continue to knead till you get a soft pliable dough, about 7-10 min.   You can also make your dough in a high-end blender or food processor or you can knead by hand.
3. Make a smooth round dough ball and coat with a thin film of oil.  Cover the dough with a cheese cloth or plastic wrap and keep it in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours till the dough doubles  in size.  I turn my oven on at the lowest setting for 5 min and then turn it off and let the dough rise in the oven.
4. Punch down the dough to release air and divide it into 8-12 equal  sized balls.

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Cooking the Naan: 

There are several ways to cook the naan: in the oven, on a grill and on a griddle on a stove top.   The recipes for all of these are available on various websites.   I used a Lodge cast-iron griddle on the stove as follows:
1. Heat the tawa/griddle till quite hot.

2.  While the griddle is heating, roll or stretch the dough into a round or tear-drop shaped flat bread about 1/4 inch thick.   Sprinkle your toppings and gently press them into the dough using a  rolling pin.  I pressed a few Nigella seeds on both sides.
3. Flip the naan and sprinkle a little water and  place the water side down on the heated griddle. Cook for a minute or so  until you see a few bubbles form and  then flip. The naan should have brown blisters/spots on the side that was down.

4.  Cook the second side for a minute or so as well.  If desired,  smear some ghee/butter to the top of the naan before serving.

Serve with curries, pickles or any Indian meal.  Naans also make a great pizza base.

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Flavoring/Tempering the ghee (tadka): Optional

As an alternative to smearing ghee alone on your cooked naan, you can temper the ghee with nigella seeds, minced garlic and cilantro and smear this concoction on the naan right before serving.  Simply heat 2 tbs of ghee in a small sauce pan, add the nigella seeds, minced garlic and chopped cilantro till the ghee turns aromatic, a matter of few seconds.  Take the ghee off the fire and your schmear is ready.

Posted in Asian, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Indian Food, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hot Pepper Jam/Thai Chili sauce)

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 19, 2015

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I love the Asian chili garlic sauce because it goes with everything from a samosa, to noodles, to empanadas to a marinade for chicken or fish.  It can make your whole day if you have this around.  I have looked at a lot of these recipes and wanted to make one that did not have dried shrimp (I am allergic) or fish sauce.  A common complaint about the home-made versions is that using corn starch just not give it the gel-like constancy of the commercially available sauces.  To sort this problem out, I liberally adapted this recipe from the hot pepper jam recipe on the Kraft Sure-Jell website.  I use only hot peppers,  I added salt and I drastically reduced the amount of sugar.  With the pectin being boiled with the peppers, this is a one-pot deal and literally takes 5-10 min to be ready.

I always make jams in small batches so I don’t have to be bothered with canning.  I freeze whatever I don’t use and the frozen stuff seems to be good for a year or so.  But if you make a larger batch, please play it safe and learn how to can from any number of websites.

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Ingredients:

1 cup  chopped red, hot peppers (I used cascabels,  but fresnos, serranos or jalapeños are other choices; if you cannot tolerate heat, substitute some of these peppers for red bell peppers).

1/2 cup cider vinegar  (This really is part of the flavor so try to stick with this vinegar. I would guess that if you needed to substitute this, the best option would be rice vinegar or some other mild vinegar).

1 pkg. powder Fruit Pectin (I used Sure-Jell)

Salt to taste

2 cups sugar (or a little bit less)

Method:

1. Coarsely pulse your peppers in the food processor and place them in a medium sized pan. Add vinegar and salt. Stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a boil  on high heat, stirring constantly.

2. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.

3. Taste and adjust the salt.

3. Ladle into clean jars.   Let the jars sit on the counter for several hours.  You will get 2 jars out of this.  Put one in the fridge and the other in the freezer.

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Posted in Asian, condiments, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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