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Tagged With: autumn

Chef Andrea’s Cardamom and Olive Oil Cake

Exotic spices to feature in this fabulous cake- cardamom, pink peppercorn, and fennel seed.

Exotic spices to feature in this fabulous cake- cardamom, pink peppercorn, and fennel seed.

Recently, Holly admitted her powerlessness over the char grilled prawns at the West Edge’s favorite eatery, Lecosho. She recommended following the dish with this fantastic cardamom olive oil cake for dessert, and my ears perked right up. (As a Sicilian, when you say “olive oil,” I say “more!”) I called over to beg pastry chef Andrea for her recipe, and she graciously gave it up. The Ranier cherries that she serves with it are at the end of their season, now, but don’t let that stop you from attempting this cake! Try a few slices of Northwest pear, poached in wine and sugar, or a few cubes of caramelized pumpkin, roasted until soft to garnish. This cake is heavenly with freshly ground cardamom, but is also a brilliant vehicle to feature any number of exotic spices- try pink peppercornssaffronfennel (or fennel pollen!) or anise seed, paired with a different flavors of gelato.

A word on the recipe itself: “Real deal” bakers and pastry chefs weigh their ingredients, much like we weigh our spices here in the shop. Weighing provides far more consistent and accurate measurements, which is why we choose to sell our spices that way, too. I left Chef Andrea’s original weights in the recipe in case you’re in possession of a gram scale, but also translated them to the more commonly used volume measurements for the average home cook, too.

Cardamom Olive Oil Cake with Rose-Poached Pears and Pistachio Gelato

Cardamom Olive Oil Cake with Rose-Poached Pears and Pistachio Gelato

 

Chef Andrea’s Cardamom Olive Oil Cake

Ingredients

290 grams All-Purpose Flour (2 1/3 cups)
6 grams baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
4 grams Utah Basin Salt (1scant teaspoon)
2 eggs
316 grams sugar (1.5 cups plus 1 tablespoon)
2 cups whole milk
2 cups olive oil- pomace, or a mild-tasting extra virgin
Freshly ground cardamom seed, to taste (In the neighborhood of two tablespoons, for us)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F if you've got a convection oven, 350 F for standard.
  2. Line a half sheet tray (for the home cook, a full-sized jelly roll pan) with parchment paper, and grease it liberally with olive oil or non-stick spray
  3. Cream sugar and eggs to ribbon stage
  4. Sift together the dry ingredients, and set them aside
  5. Combine the olive oil and milk (they won’t incorporate, but this is okay)
  6. With a stiff rubber spatula, add the dry ingredients and milk/olive oil mix to the creamed sugar and egg mix in alternating thirds- that is, 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mix, 1/3 of the milk/oil, mix, repeat until all ingredients are just incorporated.
  7. Add your desired amount of freshly ground cardamom
  8. Pour into the prepared pan, and spread until even.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you're not using a convection oven, turn the cake pan halfway through baking.
  10. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.
  11. To serve as they do at Lecosho, top with a scoop of almond gelato (Chef Andrea makes her own, but we love Procopio!) and pile of pitted local Rainer cherries, mascerated in just a bit of sugar. Enjoy!
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/chef-andreas-cardamom-olive-oil-cake/

Categories: Holiday, Notes from the Field, Recipes, Spice Notes, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Equinox Detox- Autumn Spice Overhaul!

Ready for Fall!

Ready for Fall!

The Autumn Equinox brings many things around the Pacific Northwest: our infamous drizzle begins anew, the few maples and oaks color aflame in between the miles of evergreen, the oysters are firm and plump again, garden kale stems grow thick and tough in preparation for wintering over, and, perhaps less famously but no less excitingly– my spice cabinet gets its quarterly makeover! Fall is when my cooking gets hearty, and I rely the heaviest of blended spices to warm my belly and my soul through the short, grey days, and the long, cold nights. It should come as little surprise to anyone who follows my blog-y musings that I delight in the unexpected, so here I’ll share a few of my top, must-have-on-hand blends that add cheer, color, and interest to my standby fall dishes.

Hearty Things: 

Whole Harissa

Whole Harissa

The man who shares my life also shares with me an almost unnatural love of Harissa. At once familiar and unexpected, Harissa adds such depth and warmth to everything it touches. Instead of the traditional thyme and rosemary, I rub harissa on a chuck roast before sealing it in my dutch oven and slow-roasting it overnight. The juices from the meat mingle with the exotic spice, and makes the most sumptuous little pan sauce- after you’ve pulled your tender roast, just reduce the liquid by half, and add a pat of butter.  Our cous cous with roasted vegetables and Harissa sauce is a year-round classic in my house, too.

My family is a bit “leftovers-challenged,” which is a nice way of saying that even the meals that get raves on night one, die slow deaths in the refrigerator if not re-imagined in to other things. When I make our Turkey Mole, the first night I’ll use the meat to make enchiladas or tacos, while the second, I’ll thin the sauce with chicken stock until it’s just thicker than broth consistency, and add chopped tomatoes, white beans, corn, and onion, and simmer for half an hour to make the world’s fastest and most delicious chili. Soul satisfying, and infinitely more interesting that your traditional “bowl of red.”

Roasted Things:

Acorn, Butternut, Delicata, Hubbard, Kabocha, Spaghetti, Turban… Gardens and markets abound with scores of winter squashes — to say nothing of the dozens of pumpkin varieties — all delicious, nutritious, inexpensive, and begging for a roasting. A dash of cinnamon, a grate of nutmeg- fine, I suppose, but who settles for “fine” when “amazing” is available? I stock Kashmiri Curry and Besar for just these occasions. Both have the toasty, sweet spices that bring out the inherent sweetness of the squash, but add so much more, whether you’re roasting whole to mash, or cubing and caramelizing your gourds.

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The easiest side dish at this time of year is roasted root vegetables. Heat a sheet pan in a 450 degree oven, toss a sampling of carrots, parsnips, turnips, potatoes, and onions in a bit of oil, spread in an even layer on your hot pan, and roast until tender and golden. It may be natural to reach again for the rosemary, or even the Italian Herbs, but I prefer the savory crunch of Svaneti Seasoned Salt. This eastern European blend is so versatile that I find it pairs no matter how I’ve seasoned the main dish — European, north African, Middle Eastern, or Indian. I go through quarts of the stuff, I just can’t get enough.

Sweet Things:
I have to preface all of this by saying that I do not consider myself a baker. I usually find the excessive measuring and strict orders of operations stifling, and too math-like to be enjoyable to my free spirit. However, creatively spicing puts the joy back in. Pumpkin pies abound at every gathering this time of year, and though I love them, I do grow weary. I prefer this pie, adapted from a very traditional Southern recipe, using sweet potatoes and Sri Lankan curry. Deeply toasted and just a bit spicy, this warm, sweet blend has all but replaced Pumpkin Pie Spice in my kitchen, for sweet potato and pumpkin pies.

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This Apple-Carrot pie has also become a standby in my kitchen. When I first posted it, great Seattle food blogger cook.can.read commented that “Cinnamon is the gateway drug. Chinese Five Spice is the destination.” I couldn’t agree more! Try using Chinese Five Spice anywhere your autumn baking calls for cinnamon- I’m talking pumpkin or zucchini breads, muffins- even toss it with sugar to coat the outside of your snickerdoodles!

So, if you’re open to any advice from your humble spice merchant,  although nature may be hunkering down for the chilly months ahead, use this time to re-awaken your spice stash. Grab a few unfamiliar and exotic blends, and turn over those spices that have been languishing for six months or longer. The bright flavors of fresh spices will all but erase the dreary skies from your psyche. We’ve got an entire display dedicated to these blends and a few other fall staff favorites, (as well as a bunch of new books!) so drop by for a sniff and a chat!

Categories: Curries & Masalas, Eastern Europe, Global Cuisines, Hot Topics, Indian Subcontinent, Main Meals, Middle East, Recipes, Sides, Spice Notes, Sweet Somethings, Tools of the Trade | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating Fall with an Easy and Delicious Apple Cake

It wasn’t until the Pike Place Market produce vendors started sampling apples instead of stone fruits that I realized fall was here. With my first bite of Honeycrisp, I began thinking about a recipe Amanda shared last year — an apple cake recipe as easy as it is delicious. Chinese Five Spice adds an extra layer of flavor to a classic family recipe that is perfect in school lunches, with your afternoon tea, or served to your dinner guests.

Great Grandmother Carter's Apple Cake....with Chinese 5 Spice

Great Grandmother Carter’s Apple Cake….with Chinese 5 Spice

 

Chinese Five Spice Apple Cake

Ingredients

1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Mix sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Fold in apples and nuts.
  5. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees in a greased 9" x 13" pan.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/apple-season/

Categories: Back to School, North America, Recipes, Snacky Bits, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poudre de Colombo Carrot Soup

A word of advice from a novice gardener: Carrots are much bigger than carrot seeds. Somehow, fifty-odd square feet of garden space doesn’t seem like that much when it’s being planted, but it can produce a surprising haul, most especially in the carrot department. Praise be that carrots are delicious, so their being excessively plentiful is a problem I’m thankful to have! This soup is hearty and delicious, made velvety by the soft puree of carrots, and from the toasted rice in the Poudre de Colombo curry. We’ve dressed it up a little with the prawns, but this soup can easily be made vegan by omitting them, and using red miso paste in favor of the Worcestershire powder.  If you’re short on time, or you perhaps planned your garden space better than I did, and therefore the creative utilization of carrots is not a pressing issue for you, a can of pumpkin puree is an excellent substitution.

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Poudre de Colombo Carrot Soup

Ingredients

Olive oil, for sautéing
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1.5 # carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cups chicken, vegetable, or homemade seafood stock if you're so lucky
3/4 cups mild, dry white wine
1 California Bay Leaf
1/4 cup Poudre De Colombo Curry, ground
Sel de Mer or Murray River Flake salt
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Powder
Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges from 1 more for serving
Pinch of brown or raw sugar
Freshly picked cilantro leaves for garnish
12 prawns
1 Tablespoon Hungarian Paprika
1 Teaspoon Indian Cayenne

Instructions

  1. Heat oil, and sauté onions, garlic, ginger, and carrots for five minutes
  2. Deglaze with wine, and reduce until pan is nearly dry
  3. Add stock, bay leaf, and 1 tablespoon of the curry, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove bay leaf. In a food processer or blender, puree soup until smooth. Work in small batches for best- and safest- results, adding in the coconut milk to aid in the blending.
  5. Strain the processed soup through a wire mesh strainer in to a clean pot, and return the mixture to the stove over low heat.
  6. Add the remaining coconut milk, Worcestershire powder, sugar, and curry, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired seasoning level is reached.
  7. Add lime juice, and adjust for salt.
  8. Rub prawns with paprika and cayenne, and grill or sear them.
  9. Ladle soup in to bowls, and garnish each with two prawns, a wedge of lime, and a few leaves of cilantro.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/poudre-de-colombo-carrot-soup/

Categories: Caribbean, Curries & Masalas, Fruits of the Sea, Main Meals, North America, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chinese Five Spiced Apple Carrot Pie

Tender carrots are surprisingly sweet when baked in a brown sugar-y syrup, especially when united with perfect Washington apples and plump little raisin gems. The fresh ginger is such a classic pairing with the carrot, and is highlighted perfectly by the Star Anise in our Chinese Five Spice. The all-butter crust recipe I’ve included is a long-time standby of mine, and produces some of the flakiest and best pastry I’ve ever tasted. It will definitely be making an appearance at my Thanksgiving table this year!

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Chinese Five Spiced Apple Carrot Pie

Ingredients

For the Crust:
2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour- preferably Gold Medal or King Arthur brands
1 cup chilled, unsalted butter, the best quality you can afford
½ cup very cold water
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
For the Filling:
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled
3 medium McIntosh or Pink Lady apples, peeled
6 large carrots, peeled
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon Lemon Crystal
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon Utah Basin salt
1 tablespoon ground Chinese Five Spice
1 teaspoon Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon
½ cup boiling water
3 tablespoons dry sherry (or port/liquor of your choosing)
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons softened butter

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Pour boiling water and 1 tablespoon of the sherry over raisins, and allow to soak
  3. In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar several times to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture mostly resembles coarse meal, with few pea-size pieces remaining. This can be done without a food processer, using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your hands, but be wary of over working it.
  4. Sprinkle in cold water, beginning with 3 tablespoons. Pulse until dough is crumbly, but holds together when squeezed. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until this happens, but again, do not overprocess.
  5. Turn dough out onto a cutting board. Divide in to two equal portions, and form each portion in to 3/4-inch-thick disks. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  6. While dough chills, assemble filling.Peel and core apples, and cut in to slices 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut carrots on the bias so they’re approximately the same size as the apple slices, but 1/16 of an inch thick.
  7. In a large bowl, toss apples, carrots, ginger, sugars, Lemon Crystal, Chinese Five Spice, salt, and flour until well incorporated.
  8. Drain raisins, and incorporate with other filling ingredients. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of sherry to filling mixture.
  9. Unwrap dough; place on a large floured cutting board. Roll dough to a 14-inch round. Wrap dough around rolling pin and carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and up sides of plate. Using a fork, prick holes all around the dough to allow crust to vent and prevent shrinkage.
  10. Fill crust with filling, pressing gently to tamp down. Dot top of filling with softened butter.
  11. Roll out second dough disk to a ten inch round. Wrap around rolling pin, and drape over filled pie dish.
  12. Trim overhang, and crimp top and bottom crusts together.
  13. Bake pie at 425 for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 for another 35 minutes, or until crust is golden, juices are bubbling, and apples and carrots are tender. Cool for four hours, and serve alone or with lightly sweetened whipped cream.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/chinese-five-spiced-apple-carrot-pie/

Categories: Asia, North America, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment