March 2012


Matcha. The ground green tea powder that rhymes with gotcha!

Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, matcha is said to boost metabolism and burn calories while lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. Isn’t that good to know as we’re about to whisk it into a creamy dessert?

I’m not sure about matcha’s health benefits when blended into gelato–let’s hope at the very least, it’s a wash. HA HA HA! Ready to take vanilla bean gelato into matcha latte land? Off we go!

MATCHA LATTE GELATO (VANILLA GREEN TEA GELATO)

1 ¼ cups whole milk (I use The Farmer’s Cow)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, halved the long way and scraped
1 tablespoon matcha
a pinch of Kosher salt

Scrape vanilla bean seeds with a knife–add both seeds and pod to milk, cream and matcha in a saucepan.

The vibrant, grassy color alone makes this a perfect spring gelato!

Over medium-high heat, whisk to blend the matcha. As the milk/cream warms, the powder will blend in nicely. When small bubbles form at the edge of the pan, remove from heat. Cover and let steep for half an hour.

Sort of looks like planet earth, doesn’t it?

In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly.

Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Do not let it boil!

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl, let cool to room temperature. Stir in salt. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 10 minutes. Then, it’s time to go for a spin: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions.

What’s not to like about a matcha latte you can enjoy with a spoon? Let’s dig in!

I can dig it, he can dig it, she can dig it, we can dig it, they can dig it, you can dig it… And I hope you can dig it, too! >>^..^<<

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My almond shortbread is a favorite of my #1 taster (and me, too!). It’s smooth, buttery, easy to make and so very easy to snack on. Wouldn’t this be most excellent with a layer of tart cherry in between? Why, yes, it would!

One of my recent tasty finds comes from Smucker’s–Orchard’s Finest Michigan Red Tart Cherry Preserves. It’s straight-from-the-jar-by-the-spoonful good, but as almonds and cherries are such a winning combo, I couldn’t wait to see how they’d come together as bars. You’ll want to add this one to the top of your “to-bake” list–it’s a total keeper!

CHERRY ALMOND SHORTBREAD BARS

¼ cup almond flour (or ¼ cup almonds processed till finely ground in a food processor)
¼ cup sugar
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter (salted), softened
3/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest Michigan Red Tart Cherry Preserves

FOR TOPPING
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously butter an 8 x 8″ baking dish.

With your mixer, combine almond flour, sugar, flour and salt. Add softened butter and almond extract; mix till smooth.

Divide the dough into two equal parts–you may need a bit more than half to cover the bottom of the pan completely. Pat dough into the dish, smooth the top of the dough as best you can, then spread cherry preserves evenly over this layer.

To help make an even top layer, drop small pieces of the dough over the cherry layer–maybe four across and four down, then use a knife (or if you have an offset spatula, that would be best!) to smooth everything out. It’s not going to look perfect. In fact, it’s going to look a bit of a mess. The cherry layer will combine with the top layer of dough. While not very attractive, it bakes into pure deliciousness, so please not to worry. The best is yet to come!

Next sprinkle sliced almonds evenly over the top. This masks any of the lack of perfection in the layer below. 🙂 Sprinkle just a half teaspoon of sugar over the almonds and now it’s time to bake–into the oven for 35 minutes. Makes 16 delicious bars.

Et voilà! Cherry almond shortbread bars emerge from the oven in a swan-like state.

Ready for a special delivery!

P.S. A small bit of trivia: if you’ve made it this far, you’ve just read my 100th post! Last week was an exciting one. The nice folks over on the Maker’s Mark Facebook page shared my rice whisky treats and–quite literally overnight and around the world–many more eyes were on Katty’s Kitchen. Wow! What a sweet, unexpected treat for me! It is really good to be a kat in the kitchen.

So, old friends and new, know that here you’ll find some sweetness, all things almond-y, plenty of chocolate, a taste of growing up Italian and a roll on the boozy side of the street with a little humor and music along the way! Let’s keep enjoying the ride together. ZOOMA-ZOOMA!

Do you roll on the spicy side of the street? Give your margaritas the heat treatment with jalapeno puree! Just buzz up jalapenos with agave syrup to pump up your favorite ‘rita with an extra kick! It’s so good and so easy…and the spiciness is subtle.

JALAPENO PUREE

3 jalapenos, seeded and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons agave syrup (I use light organic blue agave from Wholesome Sweeteners)

Add to mini food processor and grind away! On day one, it will look all sorts of frothy like this.

Then it will settle down into this vibrant green color:

How much does it make? Why, a whole skull-ful! That’s just under 1/3 of a cup.

How much to use per drink? Try 3/4 of a teaspoon and see what you think!

How long does it keep? I have no idea, so call your friends, make plenty of margaritas and drink up! All the other kids with the pumped up kicks are on the jalapeno train–you should get on board, too! WOO WOO!

I was never a big fan of cauliflower–then again, no one roasted it when I was a kiddo. Roasting cauliflower is a wonderful thing. Roasting it, then coating it with spicy, buttery Buffalo sauce? Well, that takes the humble cauliflower to a higher level. So let me first share one of my favorite recipes, courtesy of Serious Eats, for Buffalo roasted cauliflower.

But while we’re taking a good thing and making it better, why not combine the deliciousness of Buffalo roasted cauliflower with the home-baked goodness of a strata? Yeah, now we’re talkin’!

BUFFALO ROASTED CAULIFLOWER FOR STRATA

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets, about 4 cups
olive oil to coat the pan—toss the cauliflower in it
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot Original

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt.

Roast for 10 minutes, turn halfway through, until the cauliflower is browned in spots, then roast for 10 more minutes. This is less time than the Serious Eats recipe calls for, but my goal was to ensure the cauliflower wouldn’t get all mushad once baked into the strata.

Melt the butter (I use the defrost setting on the microwave) in a separate bowl, then stir together with Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Toss cauliflower in butter/hot sauce.

You will have almost double the cauliflower you need. Set aside two cups for the strata; save the rest for a tasty side dish at another meal this week. Ready? Let’s strata-fy!

BUFFALO ROASTED CAULIFLOWER STRATA

8 eggs
2 cups whole milk (I used The Farmer’s Cow)
¼ cup whipping cream a.k.a. heavy cream
6 oz. Gorgonzola, cubed/crumbled (I used Mountain Gorgonzola)
4 cups of your favorite bread, cubed
2 teaspoons Penzey’s Sunny Paris seasoning
2 cups Buffalo roasted cauliflower (see above)

Beat eggs, milk and cream in L A R G E bowl. Add blue cheese, Sunny Paris and pepper. Stir bread cubes into egg mixture. This part of the recipe should hang out in the fridge for at least a couple of hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to complete the recipe, grab two cups of the roasted cauliflower we made and stir into the bread/egg mixture.

Pour ingredients into a buttered 9″ square baking dish. Depending how long you let your bread soak, you may have enough to make a 9” square plus an additional small dish, as I did, since my mixture soaked just about two and a half hours. Now it’s ready to bake!

Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 50 minutes or till top is lightly golden and eggs are set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

“It was a Buffalo strata…in the heart of America.”Woy-yoy-yoy-yoy. Woy-yoy-yoy-yoy. Woy-yoy-yoy-yoyyoy-yoy-yoy-yoy. Enjoy!