Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Organic Sunbutter


Who doesn’t love peanut butter?

I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t.

A jar of peanut butter represents all the beautiful, though rather short, memories of my childhood with my late dad. He was one heck of a fan of anything peanut-y. To top it off, he was a dad that would skip main course for some delectable sundae, topped with hot chocolate fudge and almond slices, or a slice of warm apple pie served with ice cream, drizzled with caramel. Mind you, he was an architect and when I was 9 or 10 years old, he had a factory project; a milk and ice cream factory. I had never recalled a day of having empty freezer. It was always full of different flavors of ice creams and my mom would always make me eat my spinach before I dug in some ice creams. Not that I care much :p

Dad’s favorite ice cream was chocolate. He would take two heaping tablespoons of peanut butter, melted it with a bit of milk in mom’s old raggedy stainless milk pan then drizzled it on his chocolate ice cream.  He would then savor it over his huge pile of work in his drawing room and turned on some Matt Monroe or Andy Williams. I still prepare my chocolate ice cream that way, though not often, and eat it alone or sometimes with Amiko. It was rather a special moment to keep his memories alive and connecting Amiko to a grandfather she never gets to meet.

Ahh..

Such simple days.

Lately, I have been seeing Nigella posting her madness for cashew butter on twitter. Oh, I am sure as rain it tastes sooo good. I mean, what doesn’t taste good made from cashew nuts? The thing is,  I have another champion in my heart; sunflower seeds. Not only it taste lighter, the fact that sunflower seeds contain more vitamins, proteins, and essential amino acids than cashew nuts makes me opt for sunflower seeds even more. So I was thinking, why didn’t I make some sunbutter myself? I won’t try to find it anywhere near me cos I know they would put a crazy price for an eensie-weensie jar of sunbutter. Especially if it’s organic. Boo.

So without further remarks, here is my recipe for a seriously divine sunbutter.  

Ingredients:
-200 gr Organic sunflower seeds
-3 to 5 tbs Organic honey
-3 to 5 tbs Organic grape seed oil.
Exotic option for the grown-ups:
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions:

-Turn your oven on and put in the seeds. When the oven temperature has reached 175C take the pan out, shake the pan, then put it back in for around 5 minutes. Do be careful so they don't burn and just look nicely brown.
-Put the baked seeds into your blender/food processor. At first it will look coarse just like a nut meal.

                                                                                                            -Continue the blending process by adding the grape seed oil and honey. I choose grape seed oil because it is almost odorless compared to extra virgin olive which smell oftentimes too strong. Feel free to add more oil if you like creamier texture. Do note sunflower seeds also release their own oil. Depending on the power of your blender, mine is from Jurassic era so it takes..umm..half an hour, the time to get the nuts to the creamy state may differ. If you like you can use orange flavored honey to add some surprising taste to the butter.                                                         
VOILA!

Once you go sunbutter you'd never settle for peanut butter. By making your own sunbutter, you get that happy feeling of knowing your family, especially one that has toddlers, is spreading something healthy, sugar-salt-free, preservatives-free on their bread. Besides, this is great to be shared with your friends who might have nut allergy. These are made of seeds, not nuts, remember? Some recipes add a little salt to prolong the shelf-life. But who needs to think of shelf-life when what's inside that very jar won't last long! 

A little note from me about the organic ingredients is; DO NOT worry too much if you cannot find the organic ones. It is better but never a must. 


Spread it on toasted wheat bread, milk for your kids, coffee for you and your spouse, and you will all be smiling to each other on your dining the table just like the families on 70's TV commercials.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to melt two tablespoons of my sunbutter.

A bientot!


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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

20 Minutes Milk Muffins



Last weekend I had what I call ‘Severe Laziness Attack’. Basically it was Bruno Mars’s Lazy Song times one hundred. I just stayed on bed since morning, called Chinese food for lunch, and since I live in Jakarta; I called a masseuse. Oh, how divine. I bet my sister would just hate me every time we talk about living in America versus living in Indonesia. Yes, each of both has its own pros and cons, but once you try both, then Indonesia would seem a heck better if you can take the doomsday level of traffic.

After a long hot bath and feeling recharged and rejuvenated, it started to rain. Pretty, glorious rain. Amiko instantly drew her blanket, tap Jango on her iPad, and choose Camille Saint-Saens radio and took a nap with an adorable smile on her face. I was left alone to listen to the wind chime orchestra and the romantic thought of the rain itself.

A half an hour passed and the thunder began to roar. There was no way I would be outside on my porch reading and rain watching less I wanted to catch cold. So I went inside with a huge craving on my part for something warm. Not soup though, I still wanted to continue reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and I did not want to cook soup. It was my lazy day.

I happened to have a bag of insanely malty and dark Toraja coffee, which I hid from my husband, for he would want me to make him two cups every day. It’s a big ‘No Way, Man’ from me. That thing was expensive and could only be savored on special occasions; like on heavily rainy days and when I felt like it *grin*

So, what was missing was a perfect snack to accompany my perfect cup of coffee. It didn’t need to be extravagant. It didn’t need to be fancy. It needed to be perfectly simple to compliment the coffee and not leave the overbearingly sweet aftertaste. Alas, I didn’t have any. Then I remembered having a quick muffin recipe that I stumbled upon at Babble It was a mini milk muffins recipe. As usual, I tweaked the recipe and used half wheat flour. I guess it cuts the amount of guilt I have whenever I eat anything that uses flour.


Mini Milk Muffins

Makes 12 mini muffins

Ingredients:
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons low-fat milk
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder,
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 tsp Apple cider vinegar

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius. Line 12 mini-muffin cups with mini paper liners.

2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the egg, sweetened condensed milk, and milk until smooth. add the Apple cider vinegar

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, then add it to the egg-milk mixture, and whisk together. Whisk in the butter. The important step here is not to overmix the batter (overmixing will overdevelop the gluten in the flour which will cause a tough muffin with tunnels and a compact texture). Only 10 to 15 strokes are needed to moisten the ingredients. The batter can still be lumpy—don’t worry, the batter will continue to blend as it bakes and the lumps will disappear.

4. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups. Bake for 9-10 minutes. The muffins are done when the top springs back when gently touched with a finger and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.

If you don’t have wheat flour and apple cider or you don’t have problems with your conscience about eating just white flour, just make it according to the original recipe HERE.

These muffins are foolproof and truly can be ready in 20 minutes providing you crank up your oven during the time you whip the ingredients up. It’s light, not too sweet, has a tad of savory hint, and it truly compliments the dark, malty flavor of my coffee, or just any coffee, methinks. 

Do try this easy and fast recipe at home. You wont regret it. Another plus of this recipe is that the muffins are mini. It's perfect if you have little toddlers at home. Their little hands, little muffins, cute. Or if you don't have toddlers anymore like me, just bake them for the simple joy of eating fresh warm muffins anytime.


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Friday, September 14, 2012

(Individual) Potato & Onion Tartes Tatin


What comes to your mind when you think of French cuisine? 

Intricate, delicate, hard, Julia Child. 

Oh, Julia Child. What’s not to love from her? I embarrassedly admit I did not know who she was until I watch the movie Julie & Julia back in 2009. I was instantly hooked and inspired. I wasn’t even interested in cooking back then. I guess I started to cook intensely around late 2010 or early 2011. Do forgive my somewhat hazy memory; I am not quite useful when it comes to remembering timelines and names. 

After purchasing Julia’s book Mastering The Art Of French Cooking I tried several easy recipes and they were awesome. I was hooked on La Tarte Des Demoiselles Tatin. It is basically an apple tarte tatin. Tarte tatin itself actually has a very interesting story behind the rather accidental way it was created. In the 1880s, there was a hotel called Hotel Tatin about 100 miles south of Paris, France. Hotel Tatin was run by two sisters, St├ęphanie and Caroline Tatin, hence the name La Tarte Des Demoiselles Tatin. One day St├ęphanie made an apple pie but left the apples cooked for far too long. Afraid the pastry would come to waste and burn; she inverted the pastry onto a baking pan and let it cooked with the apples on top. She was surprised that the almost burnt apple pie tasted different from the traditional apple pie and many guests loved it and since then it has become a classic French dish.

I cannot tell you how much I adore everything tatin; be it apple, pear, or pineapple. One day I was craving for something savory and I found a gorgeous Martha Stewart tatin recipe. It’s Potato & Onion Tartes Tatin. Looking at the list of ingredients, I was smitten. This pretty dish includes a balsamic syrup. How rustic! 


Ingredients:

-3 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for the pan.
-Flour to dust the pan.
-Store bought puff pastry to fit your pan.
-4 medium yellow onions, peeled, cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds.
-5 small new potatoes, pelled.
-Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
-¼ cup balsamic vinegar
-A pinch of sugar

Directions:

-Generously butter six individual pie tin (5 inch) or one 9 inch pie tin.
-Using the tin as a guideline, cut the puff pastry to fit in the tin, set aside and keep refrigerated. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 210C.
-Lay two or three onion rounds on the bottom of each pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
-Slice the potatoes very thinly and place them slightly overlapping each other, over the onion to form a concentric circle. The potatoes should cover the onion. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
-Place chilled puff pastry rounds on top of the potatoes and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
-Immediately invert the tarts onto plates.
-In a small saucepan, combine the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until mixture reduces into syrup, about 4 minutes. Whisk in butter, a piece at a time, until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
-Glaze the tarts with the balsamic syrup and serve.

I have been making this dish countless times ever since. I tweaked the recipe using different kinds of dried herbs and it just keeps getting better. Even though it is best when served warm, it is also lovely in room temperature. That is why I always make this whenever I feel down and need something so light and pretty to uplift my spirit. 



This Potato & Onion Tartes Tatin is such a chic idea to be served whenever you have a small party in your house or whenever you have some close friends come over. You will impress them with a dish so simple and cheap yet it looks and tastes like it’s coming from some French bistro. It can be assembled and refrigerated, covered in plastic wrap, three to four hours in advance, then bake it just before serving.

So shoo.. go buy a pack of puff pastry. Don’t bother making it especially when you have other things that need worrying... like lazying about and choosing what DVD to watch. 

Enjoy this exquisitely beautiful dish!



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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

MaMiko's Reduced Fat Quiches

Dearest friends,

Ever since I started selling my quiche around mid 2011, I've received so many lovely feedbacks and I cannot thank you enough for loving them.




MaMiko's quiche is totally made with love and warm thoughts of you. I have always been a big fan of quiche. It's versatile, great to be eaten warm or at room temperature, has a decent shelf life, highly nutritious, fulfilling, and most of all, quiche is such a crowd pleaser that brings a hum-dee-dum feeling that satisfies our taste buds.

I do have to underline that I do my quiche differently. Apart from its high nutritional value, common quiche is laden with saturated fat from the use of excessive yolks, double cream, full cream milk, and not to mention the large amount of shortening, which is something I have never and never will use in any of my cooking, to give a crisp edge to the pastry. For the pastry, I use little amount of butter with no yolk. As for the filling, I do not use cream nor full cream milk. I only use low fat milk and the best vegetables in the market to enrich the flavor

I have 3 available fillings of choice:
-Smoked Beef & Mushroom
-Spinach & Mushroom
-Eggplant & Cheese (mushroom by request)

Price: 
22cm diameter Rp125.000,-
13cm diameter Rp32.500,- (min.3 pans)

These lovely quiches are baked on the delivery date. So please always order in advance to ensure the availability of the shiitake mushroom. Why shiitake mushroom? It's simple. As a proud Asian and a health food lover, shiitake packs most fiber and nutrition than other kinds of mushrooms. It renders a distinctive taste to a dish. 

So are you ready to have a delectable, reduced fat quiche?
Click here to order. Be sure to hide a slice from your friends and family. 
They are THAT good J


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