20 Comments

Raspberry Chocolate Coffee Cake - Sweet Weekend



Wow, this  Raspberry Chocolate Coffee Cake is great! I haven't had coffee cake in a long time. For me they are dry, and sweet yet tasteless. I actually thought that it was just the way coffee cakes were supposed to be, but after making this one, I've definitely changed my mind.

This is the densest, moistest coffee cake you’ll ever eat, made of alternating layers of rich sour-cream cake and a filling consisting of raspberries mixed with cocoa sugar. Perfect to serve for breakfast or on Sunday brunch.

Raspberry Coffee Cake 6

Ingredients:
Cake:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups sour cream or yogurt
  • melted chocolate for top of the cake
Filling:
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 1/2cup raspberries (frozen or fresh), plus extra for decoration
Tip: If you don't have sour cream you may substitute some Greek style yogurt.

Raspberry Coffee Cake 5

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour or spray a 9- to 10- inch Bundt pan.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.

In the bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla.

On low speed, in 3 additions of each, mix in the dry ingredients and sour cream, alternating the dry and wet ingredients until ingredients are just blended. Be careful not to over mix batter.

Raspberry Coffee Cake 4

Make the filling by mixing the sugars  and cocoa powder  in a medium bowl.

Scoop in 1 ½ cups cake batter into your prepared Bundt pan and spread evenly to cover the bottom. Sprinkle one-third of the filling and scatter one-third of the raspberries over the filling. Scoop in 2 cups cake batter and spread evenly. Sprinkle one-third of the filling and scatter one-third of the raspberries over the filling. Scoop in 2 cups of cake batter and spread evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the filling and raspberries. Add the rest of the cake batter and spread evenly over the raspberries.

Raspberry Coffee Cake 2

Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350F until a cake test inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack, remove pan and let cool completely before serving. Put melted chocolate on the top of the cake and raspberries.


Have a sweet weekend!

Raspberry Coffee Cake 1

11 Comments

Saffron Rice with Raisins and Pine Nuts



Saffron is the world's most costly aromatic, for it takes the stigmas (pistil tips) of 75,000 Crocus sativus blossoms to make a single pound when dried.

Saffron has been treasured from remotest times as a culinary spice, a coloring for foodstuffs, a cosmetic, a fabric dye, and as a medicine. Homer was acquainted with its golden hue when he wrote a "saffron-robed morning." Saffron may have come originally from the Holy Land; from the Songs of Solomon we have learned that it was among the "chief spices": "Thy plants are an orchard of Pomegranates, with pleasant fruits, Camphire with Spikenard, and Saffron, Calamus and Cinnamon, with all trees of Frankincense, Myrrh and Aloes."

The Greeks and Romans called saffron Krokus, and the little bulb followed the Roman legions all over Europe. Then came the fall of Rome, and the beginning of the Dark Ages. The golden days were past; luxuries, among them saffron, were relegated to memory.

In the course of several centuries many of the plants the Romans had introduced, including saffron, disappeared from gardens in England and northern Europe. But when the Moors conquered Spain, one of the treasures they brought with them was the spice zafran, meaning "yellow." That is why, for the past 12 centuries, so many of Spain's best dishes have been redolent of this golden spice.

Saffron is among those spices often used too lavishly. Just a few strands are adequate to give excellent color and aroma to a pot of rice.

from The Spice Cookbook, 1964

Coffee After Lunch

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup golden raisin (sultanas)
  • 1/4 cup dried currant or cranberries
  • 1/8 tsp saffron thread
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • cilantro for serving
Rice with Pine Nuts 2

Directions:

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and saute until a little brown, (about 5 minutes). Add rice and saute 2 minutes longer.


Add broth or water, pepper, butter, cinnamon and allspice. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Stir in raisins, currants or cranberries, saffron and half of the pine nuts. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid (about 15 minutes).

To serve, stir and fluff the rice and garnish with remaining pine nuts and cilantro.


Have a nice cup of coffee after your meal. I did-))

Rice with Pine Nuts 1

7 Comments

Sun-dried Tomato and Pistachio Flat Bread



Flat bread is something between a crumbly cracker and a crisp biscuit. Once you have mastered the technique, experiment with ingredients to make both sweet and savory snacks. You may use sunflower seeds, walnuts, spinach or onions. This is a very earthy flat bread, healthy and nutritious.

Tomato Flat Bread 5

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup stone ground, garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg and 1 egg white
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios
Note: If you are using not oil-packed tomatoes, you need to make them soft.
In the small bowl, pour the boiling water about 2 cups over the tomatoes. Let stand until the tomatoes are slightly soft, 3-5 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels and chop the tomatoes finely. If using oil-packed tomatoes then you don't need to do this.

Tomato Flat Bread 4

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350F/Coat a large, baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Into a large bowl, sift together the whole wheat flour, garbanzo bean flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and cayenne pepper. Add the egg and egg white and thyme and stir vigorously to combine. The dough will be very stiff at this point. Add the chopped pistachios and chopped tomatoes and work them into the dough.

Tomato Flat Bread 1

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times. Pat and roll into 10-inch disc about 1/4 inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 pieces and place them at least i inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes. Turn over and bake until dry and lightly browned, 10 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Tomato Flat Bread 3

38 Comments

Orange Sweet Potato Baked Chips with Thyme



Sweet potatoes and yams: True sweet potatoes are tuberous vegetables with light to deep-red skins and pale yellow to orange flesh. The term yam is also incorrectly applied to sweet potatoes in US, most often when referring to the darker-skinned, orange-fleshed variety. In fact, true yams are a very large tuberous vegetable eaten in Africa and the Caribbean.

Sweet potatoes contain more beta-carotene than carrots plus vitamin C and fiber. In contrast, true yams have no beta-carotene.

Yams Baked Chips 1
Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces), scrubbed 
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil 
  • 1 tsp orange zest 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • freshly ground pepper 
  • 1 tsp thyme 
Yams Baked Chips 6

Directions:

Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Slice the sweet potato into very thin rounds using a mandoline slicer.

Yams Baked Chips 4

Mix together olive oil and orange zest in a small bowl. Brush two baking sheets with half of oil mixture. Place potato slices on sheets in a single layer and brush tops with remaining oil. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and freshly ground pepper. For one medium sweet potato you will need two-three baking sheets.

Yams Baked Chips 5

Bake one sheet at a time until the edges of the chips curl up, the centers are just golden brown, and the tops are dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the chips cool until crisp, about 3 minutes. Using your hands, carefully transfer the chips to a serving dish. Repeat with the second sheet.


Yams Baked Chips 2

6 Comments

Roasted Flank Steak with Mushrooms and Thyme


Ingredients:

  • 1 flank steak, about 1 1/2 lb. trimmed
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled, sliced
  • salt and ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil for marinade plus 1 Tbsp for a cooking pan
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Flank Steak 5


Directions:

Place the steak in a large glass dish. Combine fresh thyme, garlic, salt, ground pepper, oil and red wine, pour over the meat. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap. Let the meat stand in the mixture for several hours in the refrigerator, turning occasionally. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 40 minutes before cooking. Bringing the meat to room temperature helps it to cir more evenly.

Flank Steak 3

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Heat a heavy nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbs. of the oil. Remove the stake from the marinade. Put the steak in the pan and sear it, turning once, for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until browned. Spread the marinade over steak and add onions; place pan in oven. Roast at 400° for 10-15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Transfer the steak to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Flank Steak 1

In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

Cut the steak into thin slices on the diagonal, using a sharp knife. Serve with roasted onions and mushrooms.


Flank Steak 2

Our Peach Tree is Blooming. Last year we had 3 peaches. Let see what this young tree will bring us this year.

Spring Peach Tree

5 Comments

Healthy Banana-Carrot Cake with Blackberries (no sugar, no butter)



Leonie de Sounin says of the carrot in her delightful book Magic in Herbs:

"So delicate is this vegetable that it is predestined by nature just to be taken from its cool ground and eaten right on the spot, crisp and fresh. Yet if you take it home and cook it, then please don't scrape this lovable rosy thing of charm. Just place it in a little boiling water. After a while the skin comes off easily and the carrot underneath looks just as alluring as in its original state."

Spring 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 banana, large and ripe

  • 3 eggs

  • 3/4 cup almond milk

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup oats
 
  • a pinch of salt
 
  • a pinch of saffron

  • 2 carrots, shredded

  • 1 cup walnuts, ground
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil + more for the tartlets
  • roasted almonds for serving
  • blackberries with syrup for serving
  • apricot jam for top (optional)

Healthy Banana-Carrot Cake with Walnuts with Blackberries (no sugar, no butter)

Direction:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Mash the bananas with a fork, add the eggs and coconut oil and whisk together. Add almond milk, brown rice flour, oats, chia seeds, vanilla, salt and saffron and stir around. Shred the carrots and ground the walnuts, add to the mixture and stir around.

Healthy Banana-Carrot Cake with Walnuts with Blackberries (no sugar, no butter)

Grease the inside of 2 large 8-inch tartlet tins with coconut oil. Pour the batter into the tins and bake for about 30 minutes. Serve the cakes while they are warm, together with blackberries  and roaster almonds.


Tip: If you like the cake to be a little sweeter, brush the top of the cake with a warm apricot jam.

Healthy Banana-Carrot Cake with Walnuts with Blackberries (no sugar, no butter)

Happy Spring!

Spring 3

14 Comments

Three Days at Disney World, Food Blog Forum, Orlando, Florida - Photo Reportage



This amazing event was produced by Food Blog Forum with Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, Todd & Diane of White On Rice Couple, Julie Deily of The Little Kitchen and Dawn Viola.

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The weather was perfect.

FoForum 18 FoForum 22

We had a gorgeous food at Welcome Reception at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa sponsored by Walt Disney World.

FoForum set 1FoForum 2 FoForum 21

I met many beautiful and talented people.

FoForum 4

I learned to tell a story in photography and never use the word "delicious" in my recipes.

FoForum set 2

Thank you all for letting me be a part of your lives.

FoForum 13

14 Comments

Perfect for Spring Vegetable Soup with Purple Potato Chips, Something Green for Good Luck and an Exciting Announcement - or two!:))



I have a great news, something I just have to share with you my dear friends!

First, I'll be attending the Food Blog Forum in sunny Orlando, at Walt Disney World the weekend of March 17th! I feel honored that I was invited to be there with some of the top food bloggers, food photographers, cookbook authors, web designers and others. This is a first time for me and I am very excited about it. I promise to bring back a lot of pictures and great story. Can't wait to meet all the wonderful people from everywhere.

Green Soup 8

Second, I've got featured with my photo of Baked Scallops with Cheese and Wine Sauce on The FoodPornDaily. And this is my 7th time, I am so happy!!!!

I have many pictures for you today and the lovely spring soup recipe with purple potato chips.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I'll be back on Monday -))

Spring 1


Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 1⁄2 cups green beans cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 1⁄2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced
  • 5 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • 4 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 3 purple potatoes, thinly sliced
  • olive oil to fry

Green Soup 1

Directions:

Warm the oil in a pot over medium heat, and cook the leeks for a few minutes. Add the green beans and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broccoli, zucchini and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

Green Soup 3

In the meantime, slice the purple potato with a mandolin or a super sharp knife (mandolin works best). heat the olive oil and fry the potatoes for about 1 minute until they crisp up. Drain them on paper towels and season with salt.

Green Soup 7

When the vegetables are tender, puree in batches in a food processor or blender or put through a vegetable mill.

Green Soup 5

Return the milled vegetables to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste cook, stirring, over medium heat for 5 minutes more. Sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with chips and Irish soda bread.


Green Soup 6

As I mentioned, Something Green for Good Luck!:)

Green Dragon 1 Green Dragon 2 Green Dragon 3

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