• 29Nov

    This is the latest candied yam recipe. Slightly healthier than previous iterations. A must have at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

    Bake 4 pounds (4 large)  orange yams (sweet potatoes) at 350F until soft and the skins are “loose” – about 90 minutes. Let cool and peel skins off. Cut into 1 1/2″ disks. Arrange tightly into a 9″ square baking dish. Brush a generous amount of the bourbon brown sugar glaze and bake at 325 for 30-40 minutes. Brush on some more glaze and bake another 20 minutes.  If you want to crisp up the top you can brush on more glaze and put under the broiler for a few minutes. Serve warm.

    Bourbon Brown Sugar Glaze (approximate)

    1/4 cup butter
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 T bourbon
    1/2 tsp vanilla

    Put all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. The butter and brown sugar should blend together into a nice thick glaze.

  • 28Nov

    In the last few years, I’ve tried a number of holiday recipes for the first time and a few were big hits. Cranberry Sauce, Apple Crumble Pie, a new method of making spiced nuts, Artichoke Dip and more.

    This year I tried to remember where I got the recipe for the, I swore the best Cranberry Sauce I’ve ever had…I could not remember and barely could remember any ingredient past…well, cranberries!

    So, I will use this blog as it was intended, to record recipes I have tried and also family favorites – both old and new.

    Ok, now to the the recipe in the title of this post. Since I am wheat free and egg free these days I wanted a holiday dessert that I could enjoy. On the plus side, Patti really loves cheesecake. This recipe is a blend of a recipe I found from Whole Foods and Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Pumpkin Cheesecake.
    The Whole Foods recipe is a basic refrigerator cheesecake but I was hesitant that the pumpkin wouldn’t have that nice baked caramelized quality even though I am using canned pumpkin. So I stumbled on the Beranbaum method of cooking the pumpkin in a sauce pan with the sugar. Viola! A + B = Spiced Refrigerator Pumpkin Cheesecake

    Then I made up a crust that used a combo of oat bran and almond meal to avoid the wheat in graham crackers or gingersnaps.

    Spiced Pumpkin Refrigerator Cheesecake

    Amount  Measure       Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——–  ————  ——————————–
    2/3           cup  almond meal
    1/2           cup  oat bran
    1/4           cup  brown sugar
    1           teaspoon  cinnamon
    1/2      teaspoon  ground ginger
    1/4      teaspoon  allspice
    1/4      teaspoon  salt
    4        tablespoons  butter — melted

    4        tablespoons  butter
    1/2           cup  brown sugar
    1                cup  pumpkin puree
    1           teaspoon  cinnamon
    1/2      teaspoon  ground ginger
    1/4      teaspoon  allspice
    1/4      teaspoon  salt
    1           teaspoon  vanilla extract

    16            ounces  cream cheese — 2-8oz packages, room temperature

    Preheat oven to 400°F.

    In a medium bowl, combine almond meal, oat bran, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, salt and melted butter. Press mixture into bottom of a 8 or 9-inch springform pan and about 1/4-inch up the sides. Bake until golden brown and toasted, 7 to 8 minutes; set aside to let cool completely.

    In a small, heavy saucepan, melt the butter and sugar together. Stir in the  pumpkin purée. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a  simmer, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes.
    Add the cinnamon, ginger, allspice, salt. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring
    constantly, until the mixture has darkened and thickened a bit, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature.

    In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the cooled pumpkin mixture; beat until smooth. Transfer pumpkin mixture to prepared pan, spreading it out evenly over the crust. Cover and chill until set, about 6 hours, or overnight.

    Un mold and slice:
    Be sure the cheesecake is thoroughly chilled – I froze mine. Have ready a serving plate and a cutting board as wide as the cake wrapped in plastic wrap.
    Use a hair dryer to warm the outside side of the pan. Release and gently loosen the ring and then lift it off.
    Set the board with the plastic wrap on top of the cheesecake and carefully invert the pan. Heat the base of the springform with the hair dryer and lift it off.
    Set the serving plate on the bottom of the cheesecake and reinvert the cake. Lift off the plastic-wrapped board.

    To cut neat slices, use a sharp, thin-bladed knife dipped in hot water (wipe off excess water) between each slice.

  • 22Nov

    It’s a little busy in the TDK kitchen at the moment – lots of things to prep for making sides for about 60 people total. Of course there are 3 different menus but thank goodness there is some overlap.

    Even amongst all the chopping and dicing and roasting, my mind is always churning with new ideas. Since I have been mostly gluten free I try to avoid wheat as much as possible. I can resist most of the time – like just now when I pulled 6 dozen mini pumpkin muffins out of the oven. And I will indulge with the occasional birthday celebration or when a good slice of New York style pizza calls out or Holiday feast.

    But what about the day after Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich? …bummer. Will I be able to hold out after having stuffing and other wheat goodies on T-day? I hate to go into wheat overload. Then it hit me…

    Ha! What about a spring roll? You know, the fresh rice paper wrapped rolls…So during today’s grocery run I got a few turkey sandwich fixings minus the bread. Just now, I ate a rice paper roll filled with lettuce, arugula, avocado, roast turkey, mayo, dijon and more lettuce. Rolled it up tight and yum! I’ll have to add some cranberry sauce for the next one.

    Just follow the basic roll instructions from this earlier post, filling the roll with your favorite sandwich filling.

    I’m thinking a watercress, tomato, horseradish and roast beef or a turkey club with avocado, bacon and tomato…the possibilities are endless…burrito anyone?

    Use lots of lettuce or other salad green – makes it easier to roll a nice tight roll.
    When I have a chance I am going to buy the extra large rice paper wraps that are about 12″ in diameter.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • 06Aug

    Here is a quick and tasty salmon dish. Always a hit with the clients I cook for.

    Broiled Miso Orange Glazed Salmon

    4 – 5-6 oz filets of salmon (thick cuts are best)
    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    ½ cup light miso
    zest of 1 orange (or tangerine)
    juice of half an orange
    1 Tbs mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
    1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
    1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar, unseasoned

    3 scallions, thinly sliced
    sesame seeds, lightly toasted (optional)

    Mix sauce ingredients together.

    Rub salmon filets with sesame oil. Marinate the salmon with 3 Tb of the sauce. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or up to 8 hours. If you do not have time to marinate, don’t worry – just top with the sauce and broil – the dish will still be delicious.

    Preheat broiler.

    Place salmon filets on a baking sheet. Top with the remaining sauce. Broil for 8-10 minutes or until the salmon is cooked to your liking. The top of the sauce should be a rich brown color.

    Place salmon on serving plates and garnish with a generous sprinkle of the scallion and sesame seeds.


    Sauce can be made ahead up to a week. Sauce can also be frozen.
    Substitute with your favorite fish such as halibut, bass, sable, tilapia, etc


  • 24Jun

    I’m on a no grain low carb menu for a few weeks – need to lose the muffin from the cupcake binge I went on…

    I notice that I actually had to put some thought into changing what I reach for during meal times – it’s just reprograming as my snack and meal making is so automatic.
    No grains, ok -but low carb means cutting some veggies and fruits off the list. I didn’t want to eat big hunks of meat all the time so I made a list of protein foods and veggies that I can incorporate into my daily snacks and meals…I wanted to make the list for 3 reasons – show all the possibilities so I don’t feel deprived, reassure myself I will not starve and make sure I have the ingredients I need. Also, knowing what is not on the list will prevent me from inadvertantly bringing home the “do not eat” list foods.

    The lastest snack light / meal munchie…Tonnato

    Tonnato is a sauce of Italian origin made from canned tuna that is traditionally served with veal. I’m skipping the baby cow and enjoying it with cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes and celery sticks.


    (based on a recipe from Food and Wine, August 2003)

    2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
    2 Tb Italian flat leaf parsley
    1 – 3 ounce can of tuna packed in olive oil
    1/4 cup mayonnaise
    1 tsp capers, drained
    1 Tb lemon juice (more or less to taste)
    2 anchovy fillets
    1 clove garlic
    1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

    Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.


  • 07Jun

    Had a little slider party yesterday – it was tiny burger rama. (got a nice sun burnt neck too – talk about well done…ouch) Any way, I didn’t want the herbivores to feel left out so made a bunch of tofu burgers – not just a boring plain bland tofu burger but one gussed up with mushrooms and truffle oil. Here is the recipe…

    Truffled Tofu Mushroom Burgers

    1 pkg of Firm Tofu (I used organic Hinoche brand, House is also nice – use organic to avoid GMO)
    1 cup of sauteed mushrooms (any combination of sliced mushrooms, probably about 1 1/2 to 2 cups raw)
    1 egg
    3 scallions, thinly sliced
    3 Tb italian parsley, chopped
    1/2 cup grated parmesan (or romano or guryere)
    2/3 cup of bread crumbs (home made is easy to make – toast slices of bread and toss into a food processor or blender…I used half a Semifreddi ciabatta roll)
    1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
    generous pinch of ground black pepper
    1 tsp or more to taste herb garlic salt or store bought
    1 Tb truffle oil
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil for frying burgers

    Remove tofu from package and let sit on a double layer of a clean dish towel to soak up extra moisture.
    Meanwhile, chop up mushrooms (I used a food processor :). Prepare the parsley and scallion.
    Take the tofu block and smash it up – use a fork or potato masher. Mix this with the mushrooms, then add the remaining ingredients – bread crumbs last. Taste for seasoning – I like the mix to be well seasoned to hold up against the bread.

    Let sit for a half hour or so – the mix will firm up (you can make the day before and refrigerate). Form into patties and saute in a medium hot pan with EVOO until browned on both sides.
    I used a 2″ biscuit cutter to form the patties (you can use a bigger or smaller ring so the patties fit your buns) – take ring and put on a flat surface. Spoon in enough mix to form a 1/4″-1/3″ thick patty. Use the back of the spoon to press the mix in firmly. Remove the ring carefully. Transfer to the saute pan using a thin metal spatula.

    Use your favorite bun or bread with all the fixins (mustard, mayo, relish, tomato, onion, lettuce, pickles, etc…).
    Yesterday we used the seeded rolls from Neldam’s Bakery in Oakland – cute 2″ egg rolls with a buttery taste. I’ve made bigger burgers and used Alvarado Baking’s Sprouted Wheat Buns (available at most grocery stores, at least in the SF Bay Area)

  • 29May
    Diego, Quick get the Van - Boots has been kidnapped...


    Diego, Quick get the Van – Boots has been kidnapped…


    It’s cupcake madness in the TDK kitchen – we want the perfect topping for the 3 year old birthday girl. This recipe is based on Billy’s Bakery Chocolate Buttercream. The original called for semisweet chocolate but I opted for bittersweet and added a pinch of sea salt.

    This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting.

    Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

    1 cup butter — room temp (2 sticks)
    6 ounces bittersweet chocolate — melted and cooled
    2 tablespoons whole milk
    3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/8 teaspoon sea salt
    2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.

    With mixer on low speed, add chocolate until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.

    Add milk, vanilla, sea salt and half the sugar; mix until well combined. Add remaining sugar.

    Mix until smooth and creamy.

    Store up to 2 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

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  • 28May

    take the cake!

    I’m not much of a baker – at least of the finer crumb cakes. The pressure, oh, the pressure to make cute tasty cupcakes for an up coming 3 year old’s birthday.

    The search was on – I made a few recipes – hands down and belly up -the best recipe is from Billy’s Bakery in New York City. He had done a demo back in 2006 on Martha Stewart so I’m a bit behind but better late than never.

    Here is the recipe as I made it. Be sure to use cake flour –  the first time I used pastry flour – not the same as cake flour. The pastry flour version did not have as fine a crumb. This recipe makes 30 (you can halve the recipe)

    Billy’s Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes

    1 3/4 cups cake flour
    1 1/4 cups flour, all-purpose
    2 cups sugar
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1 cup butter — 2 sticks, room temp soft, cut into small pieces
    4 large eggs — room temp
    1 cup whole milk
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Line cupcake pan with liners.

    Combine dry ingredients in bowl of electric mixer. Add butter pieces, mixing until incorporated into the flour forming pieces no larger than grains of rice.

    In another bowl, beat together eggs, milk and vanilla.

    At medium speed, mix in wet ingredients in 3 parts. Scrape sides of bowl after each addition. Batter should be smooth. (I mixed by hand for one test batch and it worked out fine)

    Use #20 scoop to fill cups or use a spoon to 2/3 full.

    Bake 17-20 minutes. Rotate pans at 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

    Frost with your favorite buttercream recipe.

    Interesting to note that this method of mixing the butter with the dry ingredients and then adding the liquid reduces your chances of over mixing the batter resulting in a tough cake. The butter coats the flour preventing the gluten from forming.

  • 14May

    I’ll be doing a cooking demo next Wednesday at the Women’s Cancer Resource Center as part of the monthly ‘Cooking Club’ series that happens the third Wednesday of every month. Pick up the Summer 2009 issue of Edible East Bay to read about a past Cooking Club class on Mushrooms.

    The topic for this month is ‘Rice.’ Here is one of the recipes – albeit not the healthiest of the bunch but a mighty tasty treat.

    Lemon Cinnamon Arborio Rice Pudding

    2 1/2 cup water
    1 qt of whole milk
    pinch of sea salt
    3 each cinnamon sticks
    zest of 2 lemons
    1 cup Arborio rice
    4 egg yolks
    2/3 cup organic sugar
    1 t vanilla extract

    Bring milk and water to a boil.  Add salt, cinnamon stick and zest.   Stir in 1 cup Arborio rice.  Stir often to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  In a small bowl, blend yolks and sugar together with a whisk.  When rice is cooked, ‘temper’ yolk sugar mixture by stirring a ½ cup of the hot rice mixture into the yolks. Then stir in this yolk mixture to the hot rice.  Stir in vanilla. Pour into individual bowls or one large bowl. Chill before serving.

  • 07May

    here is a tasty and healthy dip – a take on Romesco sauce…

    Roasted Red Pepper and Chickpea Dip

    10 oz of cooked garbanzo beans (from a 15 oz can)
    1 whole roasted red pepper (2.5 oz by wt)
    1/4 cup almond butter
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    4 halves of sun dried tomato packed in olive oil
    2-3 cloves of garlic
    2 Tbs sherry wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon fresh thyme
    1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (Spanish pimenton or sub plain paprika)
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

    Put all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Add a bit of water if needed.
    Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
    Serve with vegetable sticks, crackers or tortilla chips

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