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Friday, December 12, 2014

Cassava Cake

Flourless custardy cake with amazing tropical flavors
Source: adapted from AllRecipes
Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

- 1 package / 1 lb / 2 cups frozen grated cassava, thawed
- 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 eggs
Total: 12 servings

1. Reserve 2 tbsp. of condensed milk and 2 tbsp. of coconut milk and mix them together.
2. Mix all ingredients in a large blender (about 30 seconds on power 10 in a Vitamix.)
3. Preheat the oven to 350F (or 375F for my oven - it likes special attention.)
4. Grease a 6x9 inch baking dish with coconut oil (not sure this step is really needed, but just in case.) Or if using a smaller dish, you can pour some of the dough into individual serving ramekins and have more variety.
5. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Your oven might be more agile than mine, so I would check after 1 hour, if the cake looks golden brown and seems to have solidified, you are ready for the next step.
6. Remove the cake from the oven, pour the mixture of condensed and coconut milk over the cake and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
7. With the cake in the oven, turn the broiler on high for about 2 minutes until the top caramelizes.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool. Chill completely in the refrigerator.

- Tres leches cake with cassava and coconut. Perfect with ice cream.
- I thought it would be too liquid, but it turned out moist and just right. The only thing is: it separated into 2 layers with some cream accumulated in the middle. I suspect it's because I poured the extra liquids towards the end. Probably the top was still unbaked but the bottom solidified and the milk could not penetrate it. Maybe I will skip the step of adding milk towards the end next time to see what happens.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Honey Sandwich Bread

Soft and fluffy sandwich bread, tastes almost like challah
Source: adapted from Ina Garten's Honey Bread

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5)

- 1/2 cup warm water (110F)
- 1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 1/2 cup lukewarm milk (room temperature)
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey (or agave syrup)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp salt
- 5 - 6 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp milk with 1/2 tsp sugar to brush the top of the bread
Total: 2 loaves

1. Add the yeast and the sugar to the warm water and let rest for 5 minutes until the yeast blooms.
2. In a bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook mix the liquid ingredients, until uniform.
3. Add 3 cups of flour and salt and mix on med-low speed for 3 minutes.
4. Add 2 more cups of flour, continue kneading the dough gradually adding more flour, until the dough starts coming off the sides of the bowl. In my case I used about 5 3/4 cups of flour total. Keep kneading for 8 minutes.
5. Grease a clean bowl with butter or oil. Knead the dough with your hands for 1 more minute, roll into a ball and transfer to the greased bowl. Cover with a wet towel or a wet paper towel and leave in a warm place for an hour, until the dough doubles in volume (this time I actually left my dough in the dryer, switched off, of course. I don't know if it made much difference, but the dough rose quite nicely.)
6. Grease 2 9x5 inch loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper (the bread tends to stick to the pan, especially in the corners.) Punch the dough, or knead for 1/2 more minute to remove large air bubbles. Divide the dough in half, shape into 2 ovals and place into the pans. Cover the pans with wet paper towels and leave to rest for another hour. The dough should double in volume again.
7. Half way through the second rise, start preheating the oven to 350F. (For my oven I preheated it to 375F, my oven temperature tends to be lower than is indicated.)
8. Right before baking, brush the tops of the loaves with milk/sugar mixture and bake for 40-45 minutes. I baked @375F for about 20 minutes, and then @365 for another 25 minutes.
9. The bread should be golden brown and should sound hollow when you tap on the top. Flip the loaves onto a cooling rack and wait until completely cools to room temperature.

- The crust is soft, this is not one of the artisan breads, which I usually prefer. It's great for sandwiches though, be in cheese or Nutella :-).
- It's ready in about 3 hours. A nice way to relax on a cold weekend afternoon with warm oven and smell of fresh bread.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Vitamix Carrot Soup

Good for your eyes, heart and diet
Source: a successful experiment after several trials and errors

Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5)

1 lb / 420 g carrots
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp onion flakes
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp better than bullion beef stock (optional)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Total: 3 servings

1. Wash the carrots and cut in half lengthwise. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast in an oven preheated to 400F for 40 minutes. You can prepare more carrots and freeze them for later use.
2. Place all the ingredients in a Vitamix blender. Start on slow, increase the speed and move to High power setting. Blend the soup for 6-10 minutes, until you see steam coming out.

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