Monday, December 31, 2012

coconut breakfast quinoa

I've been on a total quinoa kick lately. It started with that quinoa fried rice, and I've been hooked on this super-food grain ever since. 


Overnight oats are one of my staples during the school week, they can be prepared at night and devoured in the morning.  They keep me full of energy all morning so that I can search for my gym clothes and take my math quizzes without having to stop at the vending machine. 


Quinoa is a wonderfully nutty, crunchy alternative to classic oats, plus it's loaded with protein. That means that I can substitute my usual Greek yogurt for something even creamier and delicious: coconut milk.  The rich, creamy, coconutty milk seeps into the fluffy quinoa overnight, along with some chia seeds. Now that's something to wake up for!  Since winter break started, I've been waking up at 10:30 and staying up until 2:00. I just realized that school starts on Wednesday... but I have faith that this quinoa will lure me out of bed despite the fact that I'm going out yet again for New Years Eve tonight.


Think of this "recipe" as more of an outline -- and top this quinoa off with any fruit, nut, or milk you like.

With love,
Erica

Serves 2
Ingredients

1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for sprinkling
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon chia seeds.
1/2 cup light coconut milk 
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 banana, chopped
2 kiwis, sliced

The night before:
Combine quinoa, water, cinnamon and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes until quinoa can be fluffed with a fork. Combine the cooked quinoa along with the coconut milk and chia seeds in a container with a lid and let chill in the fridge overnight.

The next morning:
Divide quinoa into two bowls then top with bananas and kiwi slices. Sprinkle with coconut and pumpkin seeds.






Sunday, December 30, 2012

best of 2012

2012 was a huge culinary milestone for me. The end of this year has me feeling quite nostalgic -- I finished freshman year, I started track and field, I successfully whipped my first meringue.  This year will always be remembered, as Cannella Vita was founded in 2012, and since has become such a precious part of my life.  Although I know I will have a blast doing new, crazy things with my Kitchen Aid in 2013, I want to take a moment and remember all of the sweet kitchen victories I had this year.  I am going to share with you the seven most popular posts of 2012, as well as the seven most delicious and underrated posts of the year (that should really get some attention in 2013!). 
With love,
Erica

The Seven Most Popular Posts of 2012
 



The Seven Most Deliciously Underrated Recipes of 2012

Peach Cobbler Ice Cream
This was the first time I made my own ice cream (quite sentimental).  Full of farmer's market peaches and crushed graham crackers, I couldn't keep my hands off of this!

I will never forget the victory dance I did when I doused a batch of this fresh out of the oven with ice cold milk.  Coconut oil is a gift from the gods.

This may have been the best cake I have ever eaten. Ever.

My loyal readers will know that banana bread has a very special place in my heart -- this cinnamon crumble loaf is one of the best I've ever tasted.

I've tried many brownie recipes, and this super fudge-y version is the best I've ever tasted.

These cookies are perfection -- especially when sandwiched with coconut mascarpone.

Sweet Potato Casserole
This casserole stole the show at Thanksgiving this year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

instarecipe: quinoa fried rice


I have a confession.
Sometimes, I throw together amazing recipes... and I gobble them up before I can grab my big old DSLR.  I'm sorry, I can't help it.  When I go back and try to recreate them for you all, I can't remember what I did, and I end up not sharing my new culinary discovery. :(
Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I am Instagramming 24/7 -- updating you all on  my socks, my dog, and my new nail color.  From now on, I'm also going to Instagram my spontaneous culinary creations so that I can share them with you all before I forget.
Lets start with lunch.
We just got back from vacation a few days ago, and the kitchen is still quite sparse.  We had egg whites, quinoa, and a bunch of frozen veggies.
Fried rice brings back elementary school memories for me. My mom would make it for me at least twice a week with salami and egg.  That flavor combination will always have a special place in my heart.
Today, I made a healthier and more grown-up version of this childhood favorite of mine.  I replaced the white rice with quinoa and replaced the salami and egg with vegetarian sausage patties, egg whites, and a ton of green veggies.
This lunch packs a ton of protein from the quinoa, egg, sausage and edamame, and a ton of vitamins from all of those green veggies -- so it'll keep you feeling strong all afternoon!
With love,
Erica

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (dry)
  • 1/2 +1/8 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup sliced baby carrots
  • 2 frozen sausage patties (I used Morningstar farms)
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder


Add the quinoa and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 12 minutes, and let stand for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, put the sesame oil into a large frying pan and cook the egg whites.  Once set, add the saugsage patties and all of the frozen vegetables.  Cook until everything is defrosted.  Add the cooked quinoa and stir. Season with the soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, and curry.  Cook on medium-high heat for 5-10 more minutes.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 28, 2012

peppermint mocha affogato



Affogato is the ingenius dessert that melds creamy gelato with warm espresso.  The contrast between the hot and cold and the bitter espresso and the sweet cream makes affogato otherworldly. In my opinion, the best part of this dessert is the little, creamy puddle of coffee milk that forms in the bottom of the bowl.  It reminds me of the coffee cabinets that my dad always gets in Rhode Island.

I put my hot chocolate in an empty kikkoman bottle #resourceful
I have to admit the first time I heard of affogato was at Starbucks, when they offered to make my mocha coconut frappucino "affogato style" (with a shot of espresso poured over top).  However, the first time I had real affogato was this past summer at the Sunflower Cafe in Sonoma, CA.  It was perfection. 

"affogato" means drowned... this is why
The basic recipe is as simple as it gets: pour some espresso on ice cream -- however, the possibilities for variations are endless.  Different drinks, different ice creams, different ratios, different toppings... you get the idea.

I was skimming Bon Appetit and came across a recipe for Hot Chocolate Peppermint Affogato... um yes please!  I made a batch of homemade peppermint ice cream, a batch of my favorite hot chocolate, whipped up some fresh cream, and finished my concoction with a sprinkling of espresso powder and a festive candy cane.  I served this along with some homemade croissants for a very festive Christmas breakfast.

With love,
Erica
Ingredients
  • Peppermint ice cream, either store-bought or homemade (recipe here)
  • 1 recipe hot chocolate (recipes here: dairy free / regular)
  • Fresh whipped cream
  • Espresso powder (for garnish)
  • Candy canes (for serving)
Make or buy peppermint ice cream.
Prepare hot chocolate according to recipe.
Whip cream until firm peaks form.
Scoop ice cream into teacups; pour hot cocoa into cups, dividing evenly. Top each with a small dollop of whipped cream. Dust with espresso powder and garnish with a candy cane, if desired.

how to: peppermint mocha ice cream

Ever since I discovered Kevin and Amanda's method for making homemade ice cream without a machine, I've been hooked.  I've made Twix Fudge Swirl, Apple Pie, Coffee, and some knock-your-socks-off Peach Cobbler Ice Cream.  Since I just made my croissant "how-to" (and am currently obsessed with making gifs), I decided I'd do a photo tutorial on how to make homemade ice cream, because everyone should know how incredibly easy and delicious homemade ice cream is!
This time, I made peppermint mocha ice cream.

Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks…

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Pour condensed milk into a separate bowl,

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Add in some melted butter,

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Some crushed candy canes,


And some chopped dark chocolate too.


 Finish with 1 tablespoon instant coffee, 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.


Fold it all together...


Pop it in the freezer for a few hours...

Take it out and enjoy the creamiest, most delicious ice cream ever.  Doesn't that look good? The possibilities are endless!


With love,
Erica

Thursday, December 27, 2012

linzer stars


I know it's after Christmas, but I still have a ton of holiday recipes that I want need to share with you all.  And even though Christmas is over, the holiday spirit isn't over! Right guys?! We've still got New Years... and heck, we've still got Groundhogs day!  In my opinion, even a Thursday is worth celebrating with cookies... especially these lovely little star shaped jam filled ones.


This star shaped cookies look so festive, and so professional.  I added these to my holiday cookie assortment and they definitely added the visual appeal that even the most decadent brownie can't attract. 


I made mine with my favorite Bon Maman Raspberry Jam.  But you could even fill yours with an assortment of jams if you want to be fancy like that.


So if the post-Christmas blues are getting you down, turn up some music, grab some friends, whip together a batch of these uber-Christmas-y star shaped cookies, and relive Christmas all over again!

With love,
Erica
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups slivered almonds
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons dark rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam 
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

Pulse flour, almonds, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor until almonds are finely ground (no larger than poppy seeds).

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Beat in rum and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients. Beat dough just to blend; gently knead if necessary to form a ball.

Divide dough in half. Place each half between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Working with 1 piece at a time, flatten dough into a disk; roll dough, occasionally lifting paper on both sides for easier rolling, until 1/8 inches thick. Chill dough in paper until very firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

Arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Working with 1 dough disk at a time, remove top sheet of paper and, using 2-inch star cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Transfer to baking sheets, placing 1/2 inch apart; chill. Repeat with remaining dough. Gather scraps; repeat rolling, chilling, and cutting until dough is used.

Using 1/2-inch star cookie cutter, cut out a star from the center of half the cookies. Working in batches, bake cookies until light golden brown, dry, and just firm to the touch, 11-13 minutes. (Cookies will firm up as they cool.) Transfer to a wire rack; let cool. DO AHEAD: Cookies can be baked 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Bring jam and 1 teaspoon water to a boil in a small saucepan; let cool slightly.

Arrange whole cookies flat side up. Spoon 1 teaspoon cooled jam in the center of each, dabbing slightly to spread. Arrange cookies with cutouts flat side down on a wire rack; dust with powdered sugar. Set atop whole cookies, lining up star points and allowing jam to push up slightly through center. DO AHEAD: Linzer Stars can be assembled 8 hours ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

how to: croissants



I received a request on my recipe for butter croissants to do a photo tutorial.  I have to admit, the recipe can look quite daunting when printed in black and white (almost as daunting as the history outline I should be writing now).  But I have made croissants numerous times using this technique and every batch has been golden, buttery, crunchy and delicious.  In fact, I think croissants are easier (there I said it) than making regular yeast bread.  The dough proofs overnight in the fridge, and I don't have to worry about all the yeast-y terrors that come along with counter-top rises.

savory ham and swiss croissants -- sprinkled with poppy and sesame seeds
This is my very first photo tutorial, so bear with me. (I even used some gifs... ohhh so fancy)

bliss is dark coffee with freshly whipped cream and a homemade nutella croissant

I decided to do my tutorial in black and white because:
a) the light in my kitchen is horrendous at night
b) it looks kind of vintage-y and Parisian, you feel?

up close and personal with a nutella croissant
I hope this tutorial makes the joy of croissantery (is that a word? now it is.) more accessible. There is no satisfaction greater than biting into a perfect, crisp croissant that you baked yourself.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:

Dough:
4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon + 1 scant teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt

Butter layer:
1 1/4 cups cold, unsalted butter

Egg Wash:
1 egg

Fillings (optional):
Chocolate
Ham and Cheese
Nutella
Cinnamon sugar
etc.

Day 1:

Combine all of the dough ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, and medium speed for an additional 3 minutes.
Place the dough on a lightly floured plate, wrap well in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2:

Cut the cold butter lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slabs (about 3 slabs per stick)


Arrange the pieces on a sheet of parchment paper to form a 6x6 inch square.


Top with another sheet of parchment and pound the butter with even strokes with a rolling pin -- or if you're like me and lost your rolling pin, a bottle of balsamic vinegar :).
(how in the world did I manage to lose my rolling pin?!)


As the pieces begin to stick together, use more force and roll it into a 7.5x7.5 inch square.
Trim the edges off and pound them into the center of the square.
Refrigerate while you roll out the dough.


Unwrap the dough and lay it on a lightly floured surface.
Roll it into a 10.5 inch square.


Take the butter square out of the fridge and unwrap and place it on the dough so that the points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough square.  Fold the flaps of dough over the butter and press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough.

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Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough, and roll it into an 8x24 inch rectangle, focusing on lengthening rather than widening. Pick up one short end of the dough and fold it over the dough, leaving one third of the dough exposed, and roll it over once more (fold the dough into thirds)
Freeze for 20 minutes.
Repeat this rolling and folding process 2 more times.

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After you've done that rolling and folding process a total of three times, roll the dough into a long and narrow strip (8x44 inches) *hang in there! its a great arm workout!
    Repeat the folding, freezing, and rolling process 2 more times.
    After, roll into a long, 8x24 inch rectangle!
    And cut into triangles:
    Add the fillings of your choice, and roll that baby up!
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    You could use Nutella,
    or cinnamon sugar,
    Brush each croissant with egg wash,
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    And pop the baking sheet in the fridge overnight!



    In the morning, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Take the croissants out of the fridge and brush with a second egg wash.
    Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.  Enjoy! (and bask in the glory of having made your own croissants)

    Be sure to take lots of pictures so you can show off to your friends later!