Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ginger Crumb Cake and Thankfulness

I just returned from teaching a cooking and tea class at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  This is my third year to teach there and it is always wonderful each time.  The staff is great, the Viking kitchen is amazing, and Caroline in the coffee/tea department does a spectacular job prepping all the teas to serve with the recipes I demo.  If you live in or around Chapel Hill, you will want to stop in, but be prepared to spend some time!

The theme for this class was Tea Around the World-Taste Tea and Food from Around the Globe.  The recipes were all from my book, The World in Your Teacup. We traveled to China, Morocco, France, and ended our journey in England.  For England, I chose to demo my great grandmother's recipe that has been passed down in my family.  The recipe card I have is in my grandma's handwriting as my great grandmother shared it with her to bake, then she shared it with my mom, and my mom shared it with me. Now, I can share it with my family and all of you!

My great grandma Effie Johnson lost her mom at a young age and had to help at home a lot more after that.  She learned how to cook and bake.  When she finished school, she left home and worked as a live-in for several wealthy families as a cook of which one of them was an English doctor until she married in her mid-twenties. This is one of her recipes. It would make a good tea bread for in the morning or to serve as dessert after your Thanksgiving meal.  This will be our family's Thanksgiving dessert this year!

Crumb Ginger Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup salted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Fresh whipped cream to serve with cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter until mixture resembles the consistency of cornmeal. You may also use a food processor and pulse slowly until mixture is the desired consistency. Take out 1 cup of mixture and set aside for topping. Add soda, salt, egg, molasses, vanilla, and buttermilk to the remaining mixture. Mix well with an electric mixer or by hand. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and pour the batter into it. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the batter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is set. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream.

I would suggest pairing it with a Chinese Black Keemun.  The light smokey and sweet flavor of the Keemun compliments the ginger/cinnamon spices of this subtle sweet cake!

We have a tradition at my house growing up and now I have passed on this tradition with my family.  Before we eat, each person at the table says what they are most thankful for in the past year.  It can be more than one thing, but each person has to share at least one thing.  It is a way of stopping for a moment to remember the spirit of Thanksgiving. 

This year I have so much to be thankful for.  My faith grows stronger through the challenges life offers, my husband and children bring such love into my life and home, and I love my job of teaching, inspiring, and exciting others about tea.  I am THRILLED to share with you that I have been contracted to write my third book on tea with Chronicle Books.  It is a new publisher for me and the book will out Spring of 2013!!!! 

What are you most thankful for this year? 

Happy Sipping, Eating, and Thanksgiving, Lisa

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Need Some Easy No-Fuss Recipes Right Now?

When I first heard about this book that my friend/colleague Katie Chin was writing, I became intrigued.  I thought "Really, 300 Rice Cooker Recipes?"  However, when I received the book for review, I was amazed at how much you could actually cook in a rice cooker. 

Rice cookers date back to 1250 BC, but they have come a long way from there.  If you already own a rice cooker, you will want to pull it out and try some of these recipes.  If you don't have one, I hope that these recipes inspire you to go get one!

I have included a couple recipes below with tea pairing ideas for both that will be perfect for the holiday season.as the weather turns cooler. 

Here is an inviting appetizer for the holidays.  You can serve this dip with some pita wedges and vegetable crudites. 

Moroccan Bean Dip (Bessara)
Makes 10 to 12 servings

• Medium rice cooker; fuzzy logic or on/off
• Food processor

11⁄2 cups dried fava beans 375 mL
6 cups water 1.5 L
2 cloves garlic 2
11⁄2 tsp salt 7 mL
1 tsp ground cumin 5 mL
1⁄2 tsp sweet paprika 2 mL
1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper 2 mL
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 60 mL
1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil 75 mL
Additional sweet paprika
Finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Sort, rinse and soak fava beans (see pages 32-33). Drain and peel off skins.

2. Place soaked fava beans and water in the rice cooker bowl. Set the rice cooker for the Regular cycle and set a timer for 11⁄2 hours.

3. When the timer sounds, check to see if fava beans are tender. If necessary, continue cooking, checking for doneness every 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 3 tbsp (45 mL) cooking liquid.

4. In food processor, combine fava beans, reserved cooking liquid, garlic, salt, cumin, paprika, cayenne and lemon juice; purée until smooth. With the motor running, through the feed tube, drizzle in oil; process until blended.

5. Transfer bean mixture to a large saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring, until warmed through.

6. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl. Dust with paprika and garnish with parsley.

My pairing choice for this recipe is some Moroccan Chun Mee Green Tea otherwise known as Gunpowder Green Tea with Mint!

For a easy healthy meal for the family this fall, how about this Indian inspired dish?

Bombay Turkey

Makes 4 servings

Need medium to large rice cooker; fuzzy logic or on/off

2 tbsp ghee 30 mL
1 tbsp curry powder 15 mL
1 tsp salt 5 mL
1⁄2 tsp garam masala 2 mL
1⁄2 tsp ground cumin 2 mL
1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 mL
1 lb lean ground turkey 500 g
1 cup finely chopped onion 250 mL
1⁄2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped 1⁄2
1 cup pearl barley 250 mL
1 cup diced acorn or butternut squash 250 mL
1⁄2 cup diced Granny Smith or other tart apple 125 mL
2 cups chicken broth 500 mL

1. Set the rice cooker for the Quick Cook or Regular cycle. When the bottom of the bowl gets hot, add ghee and swirl to coat. Sauté curry powder, salt, garam masala, cumin and pepper for 1 minute. Add turkey and onion; sauté, breaking turkey up with the back of a spoon, for 4 to 5 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink.

2. Stir in yellow pepper, barley, squash, apple and broth. Close the lid and reset for the Regular cycle. Set a timer for 40 minutes.

3. When the timer sounds, check to make sure barley is tender. If necessary, continue cooking, checking for doneness every 5 minutes. Switch to the Keep Warm cycle and let stand for 10 minutes, then serve immediately.

Variation - Bombay Chicken: Substitute lean ground chicken for the turkey.

My pairing choice for this Bombay Turkey is a cup of Masala Chai or an Indian Assam!

Remember to sip some tea and take some time for yourself during this busy season!  Let me know if you try one of these recipes and I will pass on your review on to Katie Chin!

Happy Sipping, Lisa

Thanks to Robert Rose for sending me a copy of the book for review.  Excerpted from 300 Best Rice Cooker Recipes by Katie Chin © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.