Hye Thyme Cafe: December 2011

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)


Friday, December 30, 2011

EggNog Kadayif

EggNog Kadayif : Hye Thyme Cafe

What I have pictured above and below is the plain cream-filled version of Kadayif, but every time the holidays roll around, I feel the need to try and incorporate EggNog into something. Last year, I made White Chocolate EggNog Cordial Cups and an EggNog Coffee Cake (that I apparently forgot to blog). Before that, I made a Nutmeg Cake with EggNog Sauce (translation - failed icing).  Before that, it was EggNog Cookies. I don't know why it never occurred to me before to make EggNog Kadayif?!?

All I did was replace the heavy cream in the original version with EggNog, and added a tablespoon of brandy and teaspoon of EggNog flavoring in place of the vanilla. Because you use light cream and milk in addition to the heavy cream (in this case egg nog), I didn't want the flavor to be too watered down. That's why I included the flavoring. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg when serving, and you have a delicious holiday treat!


I didn't bother with new pictures since it would have looked the same anyhow.


EggNog Kadayif : Hye Thyme Cafe

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stuffed Peppadews

Stuffed  Peppadews : Hye Thyme Cafe

It's like a disease with us - my sister and I keep vowing to cut back on the holiday menu, yet new things keep mysteriously appearing. We DID manage to drop an Onion Tart and a Souffle from the menu. When I was shopping for ingredients, I walked by the olive bar and couldn't help myself. I filled up a container of Peppadew Peppers, then headed directly to the cheese department to see what I could stuff them with. This is a super simple item when you need something quick. One of my nephews was the first to pop one, and when I asked how they were, he declared "Fantastic!" I don't know about that, but I'll definitely keep this in mind for future reference.

If you are not familiar with Peppadews, they are a hot pepper, but they are also very sweet. The heat comes at the front and passes quickly, so you won't be scrambling for water if they're too hot for you. By the way, they say water doesn't help in those situations and that you should really reach for something acidic to neutralize the capsaicin. Try tomato juice, or a wedge of citrus instead.



INGREDIENTS :
Peppadew Peppers
Garlic/Herb Boursin (or other) 
   Cheese Spread 
Fresh herbs for garnish





As a warning, we introduced our Mom to Peppadews when she came for a visit over the summer. She really liked them, so I looked online to see where she could get them when she went back to New Orleans. I found them in jars at Martin Wine Cellar, so she immediately stopped in for a supply. The next time I spoke with her, she told me the ones in the jar were so hot, they almost blew her head off, so make sure you taste test! 

You could always stir or whip the cheese spread to soften it, then use a piping bag (or ziplock with a corner snipped) to pipe the spread into the peppers, but these have such a large opening, I didn't bother. I like to use iced tea spoons for things like this.  They're just small and shallow enough to do the trick.

Stuffed  Peppadews : Hye Thyme Cafe


Once they're all stuffed, give them a sprinkle of your favorite fresh herb for garnish, and you're good to go! I had a bunch of parsley leftover from making Stuffed Grapeleaves the other night, so I used that this time.

Stuffed  Peppadews : Hye Thyme Cafe



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Spicy Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Balls

Spicy Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Balls : Hye Thyme Cafe

I absolutely love these Peanut Butter Balls, but for some reason, it hasn't occurred to me to make them for a few years. It was actually my sister who brought it up, and I'm glad she did. After having these, I could never make the usual rice krispies version - not that I'd turn my nose up at them if someone offered me some. Come on now, I don't care what form it's in - you can't go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter!! But seriously, there's lots of good stuff in this version, and even the few (crazy) people I know who detest coconut can't get enough of them.


INGREDIENTS :
1 1/2 sleeves graham crackers
  (or 1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs)
1 c shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 c pecans
2 sticks margarine
8 oz chunky peanut butter
2 t vanilla
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 lb powdered sugar
16 oz chocolate  (I like Dove milk chocolate for these)
paraffin (optional)


If you're starting with whole graham crackers, run them through a food processor to turn them into crumbs, then toss in the pecans and coconut and pulse to chop. You might be able to get away with running the three together, but I'm always afraid the nuts will prevent the crackers from grinding properly and I'll end up with big chunks, then have to keep going and end up with paste because the pecans are over-processed. If you feel daring, give it a shot and let me know how it turns out.  



Pour the crumb mixture into a large bowl and stir in the margarine, peanut butter, vanilla, and cayenne.

Stir in the powdered (or confectioner's) sugar, a little at a time until incorporated - feel free to get in there and use your hands. Depending on what type of texture you're looking for will determine whether you use all of the sugar. If you like a drier, more Reese's kind of texture, use the whole pound. If you would like them to be creamer, hold back a bit.



Roll the filling into balls and set aside.

Spicy Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Balls : Hye Thyme Cafe
Yummmm


Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate with a small amount of paraffin. I like to use a microplane to shave the paraffin rather than chopping it. It melts faster that way. The paraffin is to help the chocolate set and give it a nice shine. If you use chocolate chips, you can go ahead and melt them in the microwave and skip the paraffin. Chocolate chips are made to resist melting in baked goods, so adding paraffin will just make it set too fast, or get gummy, and make it more difficult ... unless you don't mind constantly re-heating it to keep it thin.



This time around, I actually did half and half. I dipped half the batch in the milk chocolate, then melted a few bars of Lindt Excellence Dark Chili Chocolate. I'm partial to creamy milk chocolate, but most of my family prefers dark chocolate. For some reason, I only like dark chocolate by itself.  

Spicy Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Balls : Hye Thyme Cafe


Dip each ball in the melted chocolate, allowing the excess to drip off. I used to use a toothpick to dunk them, but I whipped out a fondue fork the other night, and that worked great! I have tried those sticks they make for dipping but have never liked them. Sometimes I use two iced tea spoons and and sort of pass them back and forth between the two to let the excess run off. Whatever works for you is great. Just don't do what I did the other night! I dip the balls, then drop them on waxed paper to set. Usually, I add a drop of chocolate to the hole where the toothpick was, but I was on a roll and just kept dipping. By the time I thought about filling the holes, I had used up all the milk chocolate and re-filled the bowl with the dark chocolate. I ended up heating a spoon and running the back of it over the holes to melt the chocolate. I contemplated melting some white chocolate and doing a drizzle for contrast and to fill the holes, but it was late, and the spoon was faster.  You could also grind some peanuts or keep more coconut and/or graham crumbs handy and sprinkle the balls before the chocolate sets.





Spicy Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Balls : Hye Thyme Cafe

Spicy Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Balls : Hye Thyme Cafe














I especially like to make a batch of these when I plan on giving out trays of cookies to friends and neighbors. I like to dot them around the tray for contrast.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful Christmas! As much as I moan and groan when we get snow, it seems weird that tomorrow is Christmas Eve and we don't have any yet. Hopefully we'll at least get a little for Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Red Rice Crusted Quiche

Red Rice Crusted Quiche : Hye Thyme Cafe

I have been wanting to try a rice crust for a while now, so one night last week when everyone but my sister and I were out of town, I decided to experiment on us for dinner. I originally intended to try it with black rice, but I happened to have some red rice from the local Amish market, so I used that instead. As much as we enjoyed it, I will probably wait until we have "leftover" rice to do it again, just because of the time factor. I usually think of a quiche as a quick dinner, but between cooking the rice, par baking the crust, and caramelizing onions for the filling, it took a lot longer than planned. It was delicious though, especially with the caramelized onions!


INGREDIENTS :
1c red rice
3 T butter
2 1/2 c chicken broth
**************************
1 egg
1/4-1/3 c shredded asiago cheese
 *************************
4 eggs
1/3 c cream
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 bunch thin asparagus, diced
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced
3-4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
1 lg onion
handful shredded cheese (cheddar blend, etc.)
crushed red pepper flakes
salt / pepper


For the crust, cook the rice in the broth and butter until tender, then let it cool for a bit and stir in the 1 egg, along with the Asiago. You first want to make sure the rice isn't hot enough to cook your egg. Bake at 375 in a buttered 10" pie plate for about 15" until set.



Red Rice Crusted Quiche : Hye Thyme Cafe
Red Rice Crusted Quiche : Hye Thyme Cafe




While that's baking, slice your onions and, over low heat, slowly caramelize them in a little butter and olive oil until nice and creamy and golden.



For the filling, beat the eggs with the cream, season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, then stir in the veggies, bacon, and cheese. I almost always have some sort of a shredded cheddar blend in the fridge, whether a pizza blend, Mexican, etc.



Red Rice Crusted Quiche : Hye Thyme Cafe


Pour the egg/veggie mixture into the rice shell, garnishing the top with additional veggies if you like, and bake at 375 for 25-30" until cooked through and lightly browned on top.

Red Rice Crusted Quiche : Hye Thyme Cafe

Red Rice Crusted Quiche : Hye Thyme Cafe

Red Rice Crusted Quiche : Hye Thyme Cafe









Red Rice Crusted Quiche : Hye Thyme Cafe

The rice crust was a nice change from the traditional pastry dough. It was very tasty in its own right,with slightly nutty undertones, and it was just a little crispy around the edges. If you want a very crisp crust, just use less rice to make it thinner.  

Now I'm really curious to try the black rice ...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Puya Chile Raspberry Sauce

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Puya Chile Raspberry Sauce : Hye Thyme Cafe


OK guys ... the folks over at Marx Foods are at it again. Or should I say the folks over at Marx Foods have ME at it again? This time around, it was a chocolate challenge. They sent all of the participants a variety of items to use in conjunction with chocolate. At least one item needed to be included, and the recipe could be something sweet or savory. The ingredients we were sent to choose from were:
  • Fennel Pollen (one of my favorites)
  • Dried Chilies - adobo and puya
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Granulated Candy Cap Mushrooms
  • Vanilla Beans
I opted to use the Fennel Pollen, Puya Chilies, Coconut Sugar, and Vanilla Beans in my recipe. My first thought was to try a mole sauce since I have yet to do that, but I have so much going on this week, I was concerned about time. Then I thought about French Toast or Crepes, but finally settled on the Bread Pudding. I have never made a chocolate bread before, but I'll certainly be making it again! I was very surprised by the texture. It had that slight chewy pull of a bread, but a velvety mouth feel because of the chocolate.

This recipe may be as time consuming as a mole, but I haven't read up on that yet to know what is involved, and at least while my dough was rising, I could be doing other things ... like baking an Egg Nog Kadayif, making Tabouli, and tackling some of the clean-up from last night's big Sukiyaki birthday dinner. I'm not a Sushi kinda gal. I do love Tempura, but Sukiyaki is my absolute favorite! Lucky for me, everyone else loves it too! Even luckier that my nephew requested it for his birthday.

Wanting to use as many of the ingredients as I could, I was thinking about whipping the fennel pollen with some cream, but I decided the whipped cream might be too much with the sauce, so I instead infused the fennel pollen into a little powdered sugar and dusted the top.  That stuff is like GOLD, so I cried a little when I did that - wanting to savor the fennel pollen for as long as possible.  ;)

CHOCOLATE BREAD :
1 T yeast
1 T coconut sugar
3/4 c tepid milk
4 T butter4 oz bar Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate
2 1/4 c bread flour
2 t instant espresso powder
5 T coconut sugar
1/4 c Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
1 vanilla bean
1 t sea salt


In the bowl of your stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast. To the yeast, add the 1T of coconut sugar, along with the warm milk. Let that bloom for about 5", until it gets nice and bubbly.

In the meantime, break up the bar of chocolate and set that over a double boiler with the 4T of butter to melt. If you don't have a double boiler, just find a bowl that fits over a small pot and fill the pot with water, but not quite touching the bowl.

In a separate bowl, stir together the bread flour, espresso powder, remaining 5T coconut sugar, and cocoa powder. Make sure you're keeping an eye on your chocolate.

Split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. So you don't waste the rest of the pod, you can either add it to an existing bottle of vanilla for a little boost, or pour some sugar in a covered container, add the bean and give it a shake every now and again so you end up with a vanilla sugar.

Remove your melted chocolate from the heat and let that sit for a few minutes so you don't end up cooking your egg with it.

Lightly beat the egg, vanilla bean, and sea salt into the yeast mixture, then add half the flour mixture, followed by streaming in half the chocolate, and repeat. I used the dough hook, but I think the dough was loose enough that the regular whip attachment should work just fine. Let it run for about 5" until smooth and elastic.

Lightly spray a bowl with cooking spray, or brush with oil, scoop in the dough, turning to coat, then set in a warm place for 1.5' to raise.  

Spray an 8" round cake pan with PAM Baking, then knead the dough a few times, lightly pat it into the pan, and let it raise again for 45" to 1'. FYI - I got a really nice rise the first time, but not as much the second time around.

Bake at 350 for 35-40".

















I was thinking that when it baked, it would bubble up like a peasant loaf, but it stayed pretty flat. Look at that nice crumb though. I baked the loaf yesterday and let it sit out to dry some so I could make the bread pudding with it today.


BREAD PUDDING :
I loaf chocolate bread - cubed
1/3 c coconut sugar
2 c milk
2 eggs
2 t vanilla

To put together the bread pudding, I followed my usual recipe in that I soaked the cubes in the milk, then added the remaining ingredients. Now, having worked with the chocolate bread, the next time I make this, I'll do it differently, because it kinda turned to mush! The bread was too delicate to be tossed with the egg mixture, soooo ...

Butter an 11 3/4" x 7 1/2" baking dish, and nestle in the cubed bread. Beat together the sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla, and pour evenly over the bread. Let that sit for at least an hour to soak up the liquid.

Set that pan inside a larger pan, and fill the larger pan with hot water to create a water bath. Bake at 350 for 35-40" until set. If you aren't able to remove the smaller pan from the larger pan to get it out of the hot water, try holding the two pans over the sink and tilting to one corner to pour out the water first. If you're not comfortable doing it that way, here's a chance to bust out the turkey baster!



While you're waiting for the bread pudding to cool a little, go ahead and make your raspberry sauce.


RASPBERRY SAUCE :
12 oz bag frozen (unsweetened) raspberries - thawed
1/3 c sugar
2 t lemon juice
1 vanilla bean
2 puya chile peppers
1 T cornstarch
2 T water

Fill a bowl with very hot water and drop in the chile peppers, covering them if necessary to keep them from popping out. Let them steep until soft, then squeeze out the water, slice them open and scrape the flesh off the skin. Depending on how much heat you like will determine whether you leave the seeds with the flesh. I'll be serving this at an office pot luck tomorrow, and probably not everyone likes it hot, so I removed most of the seeds.

Split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds, adding the pod to whatever you did with the first one - I hate to waste those!! 



In a small pot, cook the raspberries with the sugar, the flesh from the chilies, and the vanilla bean until nicely broken down and soupy. If you don't have any vanilla beans and are planning to use extract, I would add it at the end rather than cooking it with the raspberries.  I was originally planning on leaving the seeds, but when I saw just how many there were, I changed my mind! Pour the raspberry mixture over a strainer into a bowl or large measuring cup.  

While the raspberry mixture is draining, stir together the cornstarch and water to form a slurry. 

Pour the strained raspberry mixture back into the pot and return it to the heat. Stir in the lemon juice while it's coming back up to temp, then add the slurry and let it come to a boil for a minute or so to thicken - stirring constantly so it doesn't bubble over or scorch.

To serve, spoon a little of the raspberry sauce onto the plate to form a pool, place the bread pudding over the sauce, then lightly sprinkle the fennel pollen infused powdered sugar over the top.



As usual, a BIG thanks to everyone at Marx Foods for the samples!

The polls are open until Thursday (12/22/2011) - click here to vote for your favorite.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Backstage at the Betty Crocker Kitchens




I have been so inundated with e-mail lately, that I just unearthed this clip today - even though I apparently received it three weeks ago!  I'm glad I didn't delete it.  It was actually pretty interesting.  I had no idea that Betty Crocker was the first radio cooking show.  Seems kinda funny that there were radio cooking shows.  I'm a fanatic about not buying cookbooks with no pictures - imagine me trying to function from a radio recipe!  

I also had no idea that the Big Red cookbook is one of the best selling books in the world.  That's pretty impressive.  Equally impressive is the fact that Betty Crocker was once dubbed one of the most famous women in America, second only to Eleanore Roosevelt.  Why is that so impressive?  Betty Crocker was never a real person.  LOL

Check out this video for some interesting info, ways to connect with BC that you might not be aware of, etc.  Looks like a fun place to work!







Monday, December 12, 2011

2011 Hot Holiday Trends



The folks over at Betty Crocker have put together a collection of this season's Red Hot Holiday Trends.  They cover everything from Skinny Cocktails to Dog Treats.  Check out the links below to see what's hot this season.





Trend: Double Desserts

Taking two desserts and mixing and mashing them together is one of our favorite trends. Things like pie shakes, cookie stuffed cookies, and pie-filled cupcakes deliver a whole new kind of delicious. It´s a 1+1=3 kind of thing. 

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Cookies
Pie, meet cookie. Cookie, say hello to pie. When two all-time favorites come together, you get Pumpkin Pie Cookies, the star at your next holiday cookie exchange.

Trend: Boozy Baking

From booze cakes to cocktail pies, bakers everywhere are bringing the bar into the kitchen. A titch of tequila or a skosh of scotch whiskey adds a serious shot of fun and flavor for the over 21 crowd. We´re loving these boozy baked goods!

Recipe: Boozy Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes
Taste for yourself what the buzz is all about! A bit of bourbon, a hit of coffee liqueur and some vanilla vodka-spiked frosting make these sophisticated chocolate cupcakes the ultimate "holiday helpers."

Trend: Color. Flavor. Fun.

Traditional baked goods are being transformed with bright colors and playful flavors. With a little creativity and imagination, no one can resist this happy, fun food!

Recipe: Cake Batter Cookie Stackers
Take sugar cookies to a whole new level of delicious! Kids and adults will love these cake batter flavored cookies with colorful frosting, and lots of sprinkles! Stack `em up and watch `em go.

Trend: From Cave to Kitchen

Forget the man cave. Today guys are in the kitchen making (or at least appreciating) really good food. Big food. Really good, big food that´s stacked and stuffed with the flavors they can´t resist.

Recipe: Mantastic Fried Chicken `n´ Waffle Sandwich
Here´s a new take on chicken `n´ waffles - made better with beer, bacon, and bourbon. It´s the ultimate manly man meal.

Trend: Skinny Cocktails

Here´s the skinny! Drinking high-calorie cocktails is so last year. The modern mixologist is shaking things up with light & flavorful cocktails.

Recipe: Skinny Clementine Martini
Add some clever sparkle to your next party. Enjoy these natural, light martinis made with fresh juice, high-quality liquor, and a splash of club soda. Lower calorie cocktails never tasted, or looked, so sweet. Cheers!

Trend: Better Than Bought

From canning to candy making, there´s a renewed interest in handcrafted foods. This season, homemade food gifts are just the right thing to show your care and creativity.

Recipe: Cajeta Caramel Fudge
Create the perfect combination of flavor and crunch with this homemade candy. Rich chocolate fudge layered with cajeta caramel, cashews and a sprinkle of sea salt-a recipe to impress.

Trend: Veggie Love

Once just tolerated, vegetables are now celebrated. Omnivores and herbivores alike have discovered that veggies offer variety and great taste, and are feeling the love.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Hummus
Hummus with fresh sweet potato packs even more plant power. Add a delicious blend of smoked paprika, coriander, and cumin to make this flavorful dip.

Trend: Shareworthy & Allergen-Friendly

Allergen-friendly foods may be free from things like nuts, dairy and eggs, but shouldn´t be free from flavor. Thankfully, we´re seeing new foods and recipes that can be enjoyed by everyone - whether you´re allergy-sensitive or not.

Recipe: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread
Gather everyone around the table to enjoy this moist and delicious pumpkin bread. Made with no nuts, no dairy, no eggs, and no gluten - no kidding!

Trend: D-I-Y for D-O-G

Man´s best friend deserves man´s best effort. That´s why making your own dog food is one of the latest canine crazes! This year, homemade dog treats are at the top of fido´s list.

Recipe: Dog Bark
This treat will make your dog sit up and beg for more. Make the bark by melting carob chips and peanut butter then top with your dog´s favorite ingredients - bacon and cheese. Bow WOW!

Trend: Food Craft

The kitchen is the new craft room. With food as their medium, clever cooks are making amazing edible food crafts that are as good to look at as they are to eat.

Recipe: Chocolate Coal Lumps
Naughty or nice, everyone will love these easy cho-coal-late treats. Cocoa Puffs® cereal dipped in melted chocolate and marshmallows create these tasty stocking stuffers.



** As always, a big thanks to Betty Crocker (via My Blog Spark) for the great info and links..












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