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You are viewing blog entries tagged spicy.

From the Tropics: Growing Peppers and How to Prepare Hot Sauce! edit

Page_1_2 ***Click on image to enlarge!***
As chef, culinary educator and a believer in non-toxic agriculture, I develop my garden as a lab for freshly delicious, seasonal cooking, becoming one of my greatest joys. A friend told me not too long ago "Its garden therapy, and you are The Food Therapist !" ...with a smile I replied, it made click right away because food is what connects me with nature, bringing out my creativity in the kitchen and bringing me closer to loved ones and friends.

When I began my backyard adventure a few years ago when I had my Personal Chef Business in Sacramento, California, I knew little about gardening or growing veggies and herbs. But I learned fast, thanks to some interesting how-to guides available in the internet, textbooks and friends that have their backyard gardens for years. Two of the most important things to learn are: to learn how to nurture the soil, and how to space plants.

  • by Chef Melissa
  • December 09, 2008
  • 7:25 pm

Deliciosos Dulces Caseros Festivos: Malvas de Amor, Picantes para Chocolate Caliente edit

Para disfrutar en estos días lluviosos, prepare una taza de chocolate caliente con chocolate semi amargo y leche. Al estar listo, colocar un par de malvas en la taza y las demás en un plato por si gustan más. ¡Simplemente delicioso!

malv_1Mi buena amiga Carmen adora las “Malvas Picantes” y es por ella que finalmente publico esta primera de tres recetas fabulosas y sencillas para preparar unas malvas caseritas. Solo me lo recordó por dos años! JaJa! Mil disculpas Carmencita, pero aquí y con mucho cariño compartimos tu receta favorita y otras dos, para que se deleiten siempre y en especial estas fiestas de fin de año.
Un consejo ideal, prepare la malva el día anterior de cuando la piensa servir, para que tenga tiempo de secarse bien. Mantenga la malva alejada de las hormigas, para esto luego de haberse secado unas horas al descubierto, cubra cuidadosamente el molde con plastic wrap o papel film. Ahora a cocinar!

Malvas Picantes, para chocolate caliente

Ingredientes

    3 cucharadas de gelatina sin sabor
  • 1/2 taza de agua
  • 1 1/2 taza de azúcar blanca
  • 1 taza de sirope de maíz claro (Karo)
  • 1 pizca de sal
  • 1/2 taza de agua
  • 4 cucharaditas de extracto de vainilla
  • 2 cucharadas de esencia de almendra
  • 1/2 cucharadita de canela en polvo
  • 1 cucharadita de chile habanero seco, molido (hot chili powder)
  • 5-6 gotitas de colorante para alimentos rojo
  • Azúcar pulverizada, cantidad necesaria
  • Aceite canola en aerosol, cantidad necesaria

Procedimiento

Combinar en el bol de la batidora la gelatina sin sabor con el agua, dejar reposar por 20 minutos.
Colocar una capa de azúcar pulverizada en el fondo de un molde pyrex de 9 x 11 pulgadas, reservar.
En un bol combinar: vainilla, esencia de almendras, canela en polvo, chile molido y el colorante rojo, revolver y reservar.
En una ollita combinar el azúcar, el sirope de maíz, la pizca de sal y 1/2 taza de agua, colocar en la estufa a fuego lento, revolviendo hasta que se disuelva el azúcar. Luego, a fuego alto cocinar la mezcla sin revolver, por 15 minutos, o hasta que se haya reducido 1/3 de su volumen y tenga consistencia de sirope.
Tenga cuidado, el caramelo es extremadamente caliente y puede desbordarse de la ollita si se deja desatendido! Si tiene a mano un termómetro para caramelo, verifique que la temperatura sea 241°.
Remover del fuego e inmediatamente verter cuidadosamente en el bol de la batidora, en velocidad baja hasta depositar todo el caramelo con la gelatina disuelta.
Luego, subir la velocidad al máximo y batir la mezcla hasta que se haya triplicado el volumen y haya adquirido un color blanco intenso.
Incorporar la mezcla con el colorante y batir vigorosamente hasta que esté muy bien integrado.
Con la ayuda de una espátula ligeramente rociada con aceite canola en aerosol, verter la malva en el molde preparado. Distribuir uniformemente y colocar una capa fina de azúcar pulverizada que cubra la malva.
Dejar la malva destapada para que se seque por un mínimo de 3 horas antes de cortar.
Para desmoldar, con un cuchillo filoso corte los bordes si están pegados y voltee cuidadosamente en un plato o bandeja. Corte en el tamaño deseado utilizando un cuchillo ligeramente rociado con aceite canola en aerosol, o con la ayuda de una tijera de cocina.
Inmediatamente después de cortar, pase los trozos de malva por azúcar pulverizada.

  • by Chef Melissa
  • December 02, 2010
  • 3:30 pm

Hot & Delicious from the Tropics: Luscious Thai Truffles edit

3truf_1 This is an unusual combination of sweet flavors with spicy, hot sensations. Traditionally, cuisines from temperate regions of the world, as such as Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Mediterranean have  always  combined these ingredients. This time we are celebrating this widely known aprhodisiac in the form of a truffle. Enjoy!

Yield 50 truffles

Ingredients:

For the Spicy Semi-Solid  Ganache:

  • 1 lb(16 oz) Semi sweet chocolate, chopped

  •  

  • 1 teaspoon “Thai Curry Paste for desserts” or to taste, recipe follows.

  • 1-1/2 cups heavy
    cream

Preparation

  1. Place chopped chocolate in food processor and pulse until pea size. Bring heavy cream to boiling point and mix in the curry paste for desserts. Stir to combine. Remove from heat, cover and infuse no more than 3 hours. Strain through a very fine sieve and re-heat to a boiling point.
  2. Pour the chocolate mix into the tube of a running food processor. Process until mixture becomes smooth. Transfer into a clean bowl and let set overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.
  3. Pipe onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze overnight.
  4. Pre-coat truffles with thin layer of tempered chocolate and dust with cocoa powder, OR toss in toasted coconut flakes.

Important Note:

chocolate is tempered when its temperature is between 84° and 88° F (29° and 31° C). One of the easiest ways to achieve this point is to place the chocolate  in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate is melted, be specially careful not to over do it. You may see lumps, but they will be dissolved with the residual heat of the chocolate.
To speed this process up, you can use an immersion blender or a whisk. When the chocolate begins to set, scrape the sides of the bowl and mix in. It is very
important to have your food thermometer on hand to verify when the mixture reaches ideal temperature.

 For the Thai Curry Paste for Desserts:

  • 1 stalk lemon grass, finely sliced. Use only the bottom 6”of the stalk.
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest, preferably kaffir lime, but any lime will do!
  • 1-2 dried Thai bird chilies, seeds removed.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cardamon pods, husked
  • 1- 1/4 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh galangal or ginger root, minced (see Chef’s note)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk (optional)

Preparation

  1. Dry toast cumin, coriander, cardamom and cinnamon in a skillet under medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Do not leave unattended, and shake the pan often to prevent burning. Remove from heat, cool.
  2. If making in a mortar and pestle, pound all the ingredients into a smooth paste. If making in a blender or food processor, blend everything into a smooth paste. Transfer to a small container and keep refrigerated or frozen. Read Chef’s note.

[Chef’s Note: this paste will keep for up to two weeks refrigerated and can be frozen in one-teaspoon quantities in n ice cube tray. To grind the ingredients use either a mortar and pestle, a blender, coffee grinder or spice mill. Remember that the number of chiles is up to you. If you find a paste too hot, simply reduce the number of chiles used. Galanga, sometimes called “galangal”, is known as “kah” in Thailand and is used even more widely than fresh ginger. Use whole pieces of dried galangal and reconstitute them by soaking them in water. Powdered “kah” has very little flavor. Fresh ginger can be used as a substitute for kah.]

Yield ½ cup

Enjoy,

Chef Melissa

  • by Chef Melissa
  • May 18, 2011
  • 4:51 am

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