Lemon Ginger Tea




Lemon Ginger Tea is the perfect early morning pick-me-up. It leaves you refreshed and awake without the 3 o’clock caffeine crash that comes from drinking coffee.

It’s also the perfect drink when you’re feeling sick. At the first signs of a stuffy nose or scratchy throat, brew up a big pot of this tea and relish in its immune system boosting properties. Lemon juice has high quantities of vitamin C, while ginger and cayenne pepper help to clear the sinuses.[1]

Ingredients:
a small knob of ginger, grated
½ lemon, juiced with the seeds removed
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Method:
In a small pot, boil enough water to fill a tea mug. Add the grated ginger into the boiling water and allow to simmer for 3 minutes. Pour the lemon juice into the mug. Pour the boiling ginger water into the mug and sprinkle cayenne pepper on top. If the tea is too bitter, add a small spoonful of honey. Serve hot.



[1] http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1938/2

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Chocolate Truffles


These truffles are the perfect pick-me-up snack when you’re feeling like something sweet. They’re easy to make and keep for a long time, making them the perfect dessert to store in your freezer for unexpected company – if you can resist them long enough. I'm not proud to admit it, but I’ve been known to eat these truffles for breakfast.

CHOCOLATE DATE TRUFFLES
Ingredients:
15 large dates, pitted
1 cup raw almonds, chopped
5 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. coconut oil, room temperature
2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate

Optional Flavoring Suggestions:
Orange Juice/Zest
Coffee Extract
Mint Extract
Hazelnut Extract

Suggested Toppings:
Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Cocoa Powder
Chai Powder
Rolled Oats
Mixed Nuts


In a small double boiler**, melt the baking chocolate and coconut oil. In a food processor, mix the dates until they form a gooey paste. Add the almonds, cocoa powder, and melted chocolate and coconut oil to the food processor and mix until combined. Add any optional flavorings. Remove the food processor’s blade and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Then, form 15-20 small round balls in your hands and coat each truffle with one of the suggested toppings. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes before serving. 
**If you don’t have a double boiler, boil water in a small pot and place a medium-sized metal bowl on top of the pot. Place the chocolate in the bowl and allow it to melt. Using the double boiler method allows you to melt chocolate without it burning or seizing.**

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Bran Muffins


The Danish word hygge has no direct English translation. If you ask any Dane, they’ll give you a list of near-synonyms like coziness, security, fellowship, or well being, but they’ll always follow it up with the assertion that none of these words could ever hope to describe hygge correctly. Hygge is a way of life, they’ll tell you. It’s the Danish culture.


When I lived in Denmark last year, I experienced many things that were totally different than anything I had ever done before. But the culture of hygge was a constant in my life, following me from New York to Copenhagen. To the Danes, hygge means lighting a few dozen candles, inviting your friends and family over, sitting in front of a crackling fire, staying up late talking and laughing the night away, and most importantly, eating good food. At the end of the night, when you’re all exhausted and ready to pile into the car for the drive home, you give your hosts a big hug and say “Tusind tak. Det var hyggelig.” 


Even though my parents and siblings had never heard that word until I brought it back with me in May, I can’t think of a better way to describe our family dynamic. Many nights at the Campanelli house are spent next to a roaring fire, a cup of mint tea in one hand and a muffin in the other, with the five of us reading together at the kitchen table. This is what family is to us. Our recipe has evolved over the past ten years, just as we all have. But to me and Julia, there’s nothing more hyggelig in the world than walking through the front door to smell fresh bran muffins baking in the oven.


BRAN MUFFINS


Ingredients:

Dry:
2 cups raw bran (Bob’s Red Mill or Kellogg’s All-Bran Cereal)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ - ¾ cup raisins
3 tbsp. cinnamon
1 orange, zested 

Wet:
1 ½ cups rice milk
½ cup olive oil
1 egg
1 tbsp. almond extract
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Method:
Preheat the oven to 400F on convection bake. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients to dry. If the batter looks too dry, add more rice milk and oil in proportion.
Bake for 26 minutes.

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Mini Apple Pies


Our brother Jonathan is a picky eater. Like us when we were 13, he likes plain pasta, French bread pizza, and not much else. He’s also our biggest critic and he doesn’t sugarcoat his feelings – if something’s not sweet enough, he’s the first to pull out the chocolate ice cream. “It just needs a little something to accent the flavor,” he says as he piles spoonful after spoonful on top of our delicate creations. But there’s one thing he can’t resist, and that’s a delicious apple pie. Whenever we come home from college, that’s the first thing he asks me to make – no chocolate ice cream necessary.


Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we’re drowning in desserts, but Jon had a craving for apples. I told him that if I was going to make him a fleet of baby pies, then he would have to help me. So we ran to the grocery store, picked out eight perfect Golden Deliciouses, and set to work peeling and coring and slicing.


In the end, he was a great sous-chef and our pies turned out great. I only had to bribe him with the promise that he could get any girl to date him if he knew his way around a kitchen. 

Maybe, like us, he’ll outgrow his picky habits and turn into a food lover. And if not, at least he now knows how to make a mean apple pie (or at least direct his future girlfriend to this blog post).


PIE CRUST
Makes dough for two single-crust pies, or 12 4-inch ramekins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Check out her Rolling and Crimping Tutorial while you're at it!

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups white flour
1 tsp. sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and very cold
2 tbsp. ice water

Method:
In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and butter in a food processor and pulse for 5 seconds. Add the water one drop at a time until the mixture starts to combine. Place mixture in a big bowl and kneed until dough-like.

Divide the dough in half and place each half on large pieces of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a flattened disk and allow to sit in the fridge for at least one to two hours. 

MINI APPLE PIES
Serves 12

Ingredients:
8 golden delicious apples; peeled, cored, and sliced
1 cup raisins
¼ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger powder
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. almond extract
1 pie crust recipe

Method:
Preheat the oven to 375 F (200 C).

In a large bowl, combine cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger powder, vanilla and almond extracts. Add sliced apples, raisins, and coconut, stirring until the spice mixture fully coats all of the apples.

Remove the pie crust dough from the fridge and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece until ¼ inch thick, lay it on top of a ramekin and press the dough lightly into the bottom. Place 3-4 spoonfuls of the apple mixture on top of the dough, pressing down gently to fill the ramekin. Cut off the excess dough around the edges and re-roll the dough. Cut the dough into 6 thin strips and arrange in a lattice pattern.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust turns golden brown. 


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Cannoli


There are some foods that I’ve always loved, but have been terrified of making for myself. Whether it’s French macarons or sprouted bread, I’ll gladly shell out money for someone else to take the trouble to beat egg whites until their arms hurt or lord over a farm of sprouting wheat berries and lentils.


            There’s also the issue of “healthifying” these recipes. Often, the ingredients that we want to change are the ones that give the dish its defining characteristics. I mean, have you ever tried to make sugar-free, vegan marshmallows? (It goes about as well as you might expect.)           
So naturally, we thought that making cannolis would go down in same disastrous way. And since buying premade shells was obviously out of the question, we had resigned ourselves to live cannoli-free for the rest of our lives.


So you can imagine our surprise and delight when we found this recipe with easy to follow, step-by-step instructions on how to create those delicious, flaky shells. The following recipes are not complicated, but the assembly takes a little bit of finesse. Our best advice is to invest in a stainless-steel cannoli shell form. It’ll cost you no more than 6 dollars on Amazon and (unlike us) you’ll save yourself from breathing toxic plastic fumes all night (the things we’ll do in pursuit of the perfect picture). If you’re dying to try these sugar-free cannolis and just can’t wait for the UPS guy to arrive, cut the dough into small chips, deep fry them, and use the mascarpone filling as a delicious dip.

Atlantis wanted to make a cameo.


CANNOLI

INGREDIENTS
CRUST
1 1/3 cups white flour
2 tbsp. butter
1 pinch salt
white wine (sweet or dry)
vegetable oil

FILLING
16 oz. mascarpone cheese
18 dates
1 tsp. almond extract
3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, minced

METHOD
CRUST (Adapted from Food.com)
In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, butter, and salt. Add enough wine to create a stiff but workable dough. Roll the dough into a ball and let it stand for about 1 hour.

After 1 hour, roll the dough until it’s ¼ inch thick. Cut the dough into 5x5 inch squares. Place the tube in the diagonal middle of the square and wrap one corner around the tube, then wrap the other so it overlaps the first. Press to seal the seam.

Pan-fry each shell until golden brown, turning as necessary to keep any one side from burning. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely before removing shell from the tube. Fill with mascarpone cheese.

FILLING
In a food processor, blend dates into a paste. Add almond extract and mascarpone cheese and pulse until smooth. In a medium bowl, mix the cheese with the minced baking chocolate. Fill shells.

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Chocolate Beet Cake

First off, we’d like to apologize from our long hiatus from The Two Pears. Ever since Julia went back to school, it’s been hard for us to figure out a system to cook, photograph, edit, and write collaboratively while we’re 100 miles away from each other.

But this weekend, we took a trip back to New York to celebrate our Dad’s birthday. Since we were finally in the same kitchen, we took advantage of it and cooked and photographed for three days straight. So get ready for a ton of Two Pears posts in the coming weeks!


We made this cake for the first time after I came home from Copenhagen. We were celebrating Poppy’s 93rd birthday and all of us were craving something rich and chocolaty. My mind immediately went to Green Kitchen StoriesChocolate Beet Cake, a recipe I had wanted to try since I first saw it back in April. When Mom suggested a chocolate mascarpone frosting to glaze the top, we needed no more convincing.



This cake is actually such a hit among people of all food preferences that we’ve made it many times since Poppy’s birthday. Last month, I made one for my housemates and even my pickiest friends were instantly obsessed with the moist, dense chocolate cake and its rich, creamy chocolate frosting. They didn’t even care when I revealed the cake’s secret: 2 full cups of shredded beets.



We’ve kept our recipe pretty similar to the original, but we’ve replaced the maple syrup with dates and added some ground oats. Making the cake vegan is easy too! Just replace the 3 eggs with ¾ cup of unsweetened applesauce and 1 ½ extra tsp. of baking powder.


So next time you have to make a cake for any reason, remember this recipe. Your guests will thank you as they come back for seconds.


GKS’S CHOCOLATE BEET CAKE

2/3 cup safflower oil/olive oil/coconut oil
10 dates
3 oz. baking chocolate (unsweetened)
2 cups raw beets
3 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ rolled oats
2 tsp. baking powder
5 tbsp. cacao powder
zest and juice of ½ orange


CHOCOLATE MASCARPONE FROSTING

8 oz. mascarpone cheese
6 dates
2 oz. baking chocolate
2 tbsp. cacao powder
2 tbsp. coconut oil
orange zest


In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the safflower oil and baking chocolate and allow to melt slowly. In a food processor, blend the dates, raw beets, and rolled oats and blend to combine. In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, contents of the food processor, eggs, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, cacao powder, and orange zest and juice

Grease a 9-inch circular pan with coconut oil and sprinkle with shredded coconut to prevent sticking.

Bake in the oven at 350F for 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING:

Melt baking chocolate in a saucepan with the coconut oil. In a food processor, combine the cheese, melted chocolate, cacao powder, and the remnants of the orange zest. Frost and enjoy.

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