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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Feathered Turtle Doves

These holiday cookies were inspired by a thrifty find, given to me by a dear friend. The little red Turtle Dove cookie cutter (as shown above) had to be put to the test- but not with just any ordinary sugar cookie recipe.
The cookie is actually an 'Orange-Spiced' rolled sugar cookie with a baked glaze. The baked glaze transforms this cookie into something wild, by creating a feathery look as the icing crackles. Sweet and buttery with a hint of orange, this cookies will keep finding their way into your mouth.
The recipe is adapted from my most treasured baking book 'Caprial's Desserts' by Caprial Pence and Melissa Carey. This book is a must have for any serious baker- for it is full of unique recipes ranging from breakfast sweets to special occasions.

The Recipe
Orange-Spiced Glazed Cookies

1-1/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange
3 teaspoons pumpkin spice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets w/parchment paper.
In a bowl or electric mixer, beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and orange zest, and mix well. In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice, and mix well. Incorporate flour into wet ingredients until dough is smooth. Refrigerate dough until firm and easy to handle.
Coat a clean surface area for rolling, with powdered sugar. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter of your choice, gently cut out cookies and place on to parchment lined baking pan. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.
While cookies are baking, prepare icing by mixing together 1 cup powdered sugar, a dash of pure vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice.
When cookies are done baking, remove them from the oven. Immediately brush each cookie with a glaze. Bake for 5-6 minutes until glaze begins to crackle. Let cookies cool completely before serving. Enjoy!

Notes: The parchment paper is and important step in baking these cookies. Otherwise, the icing will bake onto your cook sheet. The parchment paper keeps cookies from sticking and will help them come off in one piece.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mini Cran-Apple Pies

These little mini pies are perfect for a small holiday gathering. Flavors burst with hints of cinnamon and orange.

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Butter Crisco
2 tablespoon cold butter
2-3 tablespoon cold water

4 small Granny Smith apples, peeled & sliced
1 cup Cranberry Orange sauce (see recipe below)
4 tablespoons all-purpose four
4 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumble Topping
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons cold butter

Preheat oven to 350 and grease four small (8 oz) ramekins.

To prepare crust, sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut Crisco and butter into flour with a pastry blender. Add cold water a little at a time to bind. Lay out saran wrap onto a round cutting board big enough to roll out dough. Gather mixture into a ball and cut into fours. Placing one ball onto center of saran wrap at a time, roll out using a floured pin. Roll it out large enough to fit over individual ramekins. Place ramekin in the center of the dough. Using both hands, flip dough into ramekin. If the dough falls apart, its okay. Use your fingers to piece it together. Fold excess dough under and flute edges. Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Make filling by combining apples, cranberry sauce, flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Toss together, mixing well. Fill each ramekin, slightly mounding the top.

Make crumble topping by mixing flour, brown sugar, and oats together in a small bowl. Cut in butter until topping binds and crumbles.

Top each filled ramekin generously with crumble topping. Place ramekins back on cookie sheet and place back into oven for 30-35 minutes until apple soften and topping becomes golden brown. Serve warm is vanilla ice-cream. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Give your friends and family something more to be thankful about.

Cranberry sauce on this very holiday, is a tradition that has far surpassed the usual accompany to carved turkey. It can also add something special to leftover turkey sandwiches, pie, or salad.

This recipe offers a slightly sweet but tart flavor. Be spontaneous and make your sauce anyway you like-add ginger or your favorite Pinot Noir for a more sophisticated twist.

Make enough to take home by placing cooled sauce in old fashioned mason jars with a lid and monogrammed note to make your holiday a little extra special for everyone.

Cranberry Orange Sauce
(yields: 4-16 oz mason jars)

2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 cup sugar
zest of 1 large orange
2-12 oz bag fresh cranberries
1/2 cup dried currants or sour cherries
2 teaspoon cinnamon

Rinse thoroughly and pick through cranberries being sure to eliminate any bad ones.

In a large sauce pan- bring fresh squeezed orange juice, sugar, currants, cinnamon, and orange zest to a boil. Add fresh cranberries and cook over low heat, simmering berries until they pop and sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Thoroughly sanitize mason jars and lids. Place cooled sauce into each jar, being careful not to overfill. Seal each jar with a lid.

Attach a personalized note with a ribbon and instructions including an expiration date of 1 week in the refrigerator.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

Ripe bananas serenade old fashioned pancakes with a hint of chocolate and nutty pecans. As the bananas meet the griddle, this sweet fruit begins to caramelize taking on a new flavor-especially when bathed in butter and warm maple syrup. Declared a "Chunky Monkey" for a reason, these fluffy pancakes are perfect for that late Saturday morning.

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
pinch of salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
2 ripe bananas, sliced

Heat griddle or frying pan over medium heat.

In a medium size bowl sift flour, baking powder, and sugar. Make a well in the middle of flour mixture and set aside. In a liquid measuring cup melt butter. Add milk and egg and whisk together. Slowly pour milk mixture into the center of the of the flour well. Stir batter until their are little to no lumps. Stir in pecans, chocolate chips and slice banana.

Grease preheated griddle. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, pour batter onto griddle. Brown pancakes on both sides. Serve warm with a dollop of butter and pure maple syrup. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pumpkin Pie Wontons

This Autumn, I can't seem to be enough of everything pumpkin. With a pantry full of nothing but pumpkin, I decided it was time to go out on a limb and try something new. Little round shaped discs of dough, otherwise known as wontons are unexpectedly delicious in a variety of recipes. Miniature pumpkin pies ooze with maple and pecans treating the soul to an early and very thankful holiday.

Pumpkin Pie Wontons

1/2 cup 100% pure pumpkin
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
12 wonton wrappers
raw sugar & cinnamon
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle a thin layer of raw sugar evenly across baking sheet and set aside.

In a small bowl mix together pumpkin, maple syrup, brown sugar, spices, and pecans. In another bowl whisk together 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water and set aside. Lay out 12 wonton wrappers on a clean surface like a wood cutting board. In the middle of each wonton, place 1 teaspoon of pumpkin mixture. To seal the edges, brush the inside edge of each wonton with egg mixture using your finger and gently folding wonton in half meeting each side together. Dip each wonton in egg wash and place on lined baking sheet. Sprinkle to the tops of each wonton with more raw sugar and finish with a light sprinkle of cinnamon. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. let cool slightly and serve warm. This tasty desert pairs well with a steamy Maple Latte.

Maple Latte

10 oz steamed milk
1 oz espresso
1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Pour maple syrup into mug. Steam and froth milk to 140-160 degrees, set aside. Pour espresso directly into mug and top with stream milk and a dollop of foam. Enjoy!

If you don't have an espresso machine, you can cheat by replacing the espresso with 1 teaspoon instant espresso to 1 oz hot water. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat slowly without scolding. You won't be able to obtain the same kind of froth, but can substitute froth with a dollop of light whip cream.

Serves 1

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thai Chicken Sandwich with Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Where Pineapples grow all year round, seasons cease to exist. Here in Hawaii you will not find crates overloaded with pumpkins in the fall, or streets covered in leaves the color of an African sunset. Instead you will find a large influence of Asian cuisine and a tropical paradise. The lack of seasons brings a strong desire to recreate such a life once lived on the mainland-but in a more eclectic way. Fall favorites like pumpkin meet tropical treats like coconut and other fresh bites like lime and pineapple.

Thai chicken Sandwich
1 loaf rustic french bread, toasted
4 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 large jalapeno, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small pineapple, sliced
2 lbs chicken breast tenders
2 limes
2 tablespoons Thai spice (see notes)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
salt & pepper to taste

In a small bowl whisk together juice of 1 lime, Thai spice, sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste. Clean chicken tenders and place in a gallon Ziploc bag. Pour marinade over chicken, seal bag and marinate chicken in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Wearing gloves to protect your hands from hot oils, carefully dice jalapenos and set aside. Wash cilantro, chop and set aside.

Remove marinaded chicken from bag and place on a preheated grill. Grill chicken until evenly cooked on both sides. Peel and slice pineapple and place on grill. Grill on both sides and set aside. Meanwhile, slice french bread and place open side down on grill until golden brown. Remove chicken and french bread from grill.

Spread mayonnaise evenly on both sides of french bread. Layer sandwich with grilled chicken and pineapple. Top with chopped jalapeno, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Slice sandwich into 4 even pieces. Serve with Pumpkin Coconut Soup.

Thai spice can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store. It is a spice blend of garlic, ginger and lemon grass. However fresh is always better so if you can find all three things blend them up for a more flavorful sandwich. Chop 1-2 cloves garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, and lemon grass to taste.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup

1 can coconut cream
1 can 100% pure pumpkin
1/2 cup Pilsner beer (like miller lite)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Thai spice
sea salt to taste
pumpkin seeds, toasted for garnish

In a medium sauce pan combine coconut cream, pure pumpkin, and beer. Stir until smooth and creamy. Chop ginger and garlic together. Using the flat side of the knife, continue to chop and smear ginger and garlic into a paste. Add paste to soup and season with Thai spice and salt. Bring soup to a boil and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until flavors blend. Serve warm and garnish with pumpkin seeds and paprika.

Notes: If you desire to use something other then beer, chicken broth is a good substitute.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sweet Reads

Here is what the girls are reading at Sparrows and Oranges. An eclectic bunch, much like ourselves-these sweet reads evoke vampire romances, bohemian style, art, music, and the beach. Take some time out and aspire to dream!


BOHO Magazine

Foam Magazine

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

When bananas pass their prime, sugars caramelize into a sweet symphony. Not to be eaten on their own, but rather materialized into something better. Sweet and creamy bananas swirl with light hints of cinnamon, brown sugar, and molten chocolate. This banana bread bares the sinfulness of chocolate and yields a few healthy ingredients as well. Enjoy this light and hearty fair with your afternoon coffee and a few of your closest friends. But don't expect much chatter, this tasty treat will be sure to keep their mouths full of surprises!

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

Juice of 1 small lemon
3 very ripe organic bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 canola oil or unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup organic all-purpose flour
3/4 cup organic stone ground whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Hodgson Mill wheat germ with cinnamon & milled flax seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2-1 cup Starbucks 'Double Delish' Drinking chocolate chunks
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1-2 tablespoons organic raw sugar

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a loaf pan. In medium sized mixing bowl, mash bananas, brown sugar, and lemon juice together. Add oil and stir until well combined. In a small bowl combine flour, wheat germ, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Sift flour mixture together with a fork and add to bananas, stir well. Fold in Chocolate chunks and walnuts reserving some for topping. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Top with reserved chocolate, walnuts. Finish with a sprinkle of raw sugar. Bake in oven for 40-50 minutes. Let cool and serve warm with a dab of butter. Enjoy!

yields: 1 loaf

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

Cravings of pumpkin, sugar and spice swarm my mind while my hands splurge as they reach for my little black book full of chicken scratch and creative cravings. The book opens... exposed is a recipe that has been long waiting to be tested. It catches my eye like a long lost memory. This sweet little doughnut recipe is more then sinful, especially when combined with flavors of orange and candied ginger. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of all-spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
zest of 1 medium orange (optional)
2 tablespoon candied ginger, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
canola oil for frying

Sugar spice

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, pour an 2 inch layer of oil in pan for frying. Heat oil on medium heat. If frying isn't your thing, baking works just as well. See notes below.

Make the Sugar Spice by combining sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl stir together brown sugar, pumpkin, eggs, orange zest, ginger and milk. Add flour mixture and stir until well combined. Batter will be sticky and elastic. Using a soup spoon, drop spoon sized balls into hot oil. Fry doughnuts on both side until golden brown. Remove from oil and toss in sugar spice. Serve warm with a glass of milk.

If baking doughnuts, preheat oven to 350. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside. Drop dough into sugar spice to coat. Place doughnuts on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pom-Pear Salad with Lime Dressing

From early fall to winter, small deciduous shrubs bear beautiful bulbous fruits called Pomegranates. This tasty fruit resembles millions of little red jewels and can be tedious to eat. Well worth the time to prepare, flavors harmonize on the palate when combined with acidic flavors like lime and feta. Take this healthy fare to the max by adding another fall friend, the pear. 

Pom-Pear Salad 

4 handfuls baby spring greens
2 ripe pears, sliced 
1 large pomegranate
1 cup feta, crumbled
cracked pepper

When seeding pomegranates, it is wise to wear an apron. This jewel tone fruit can stain easily during preparation. 

Prepare your pomegranate by scoring the top with a knife much like you would when peeling an orange. Place your thumbs in the middle of your score and break open the fruit. Gently pull the seeds away from the skin and set aside. 

Begin to build your salads by placing one handful of baby spring greens on each plate. Divide slice pears among each salad. Top with pomegranate seeds and feta. Finish each salad with a drizzle of lime dressing and cracked pepper. 

Lime Dressing

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ginger, grated
dash cayenne, optional
cracked pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and pour over salad. Enjoy!

Note: Cayenne is optional but can add an extra zesty flare and a nice contrast to this sweet salad. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Inhaling Autumn: Chai Butternut Squash Soup

Successions of rainy days, oozing pumpkins, parades of goul's and goblins, and bright leafy lanterns paint the sidewalks with reds, oranges, and golden yellows. I inhale autumn and the pit of my stomach craves more.

Autumn has to be one of my most favorite times of year. No company is more divine on a cold autumn afternoon then that of spicy tea and hot soup. Here is my latest creation using the best of both worlds accompanied be a tasty grilled sando. Enjoy!

Chai Butternut Squash Soup

1 large Butternut Squash, peeled and seeded
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small apple, chopped
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/4 cup Chai tea concentrate
1/2 cup Vegetable broth
sea salt & pepper

Combine squash, onion, garlic, apple in a medium sauce pan, coat with olive oil and season with sea salt and cracked pepper. On medium heat, cover and saute for 30-40 minutes until soft. Remove from heat and mash ingredients to desired consistency. Blend with hand blender for a smoother texture. Return to heat, add Chai concentrate and vegetable broth. Stir until well combine. Serve with a dash of cinnamon.

Peppered Bacon & Smoked Cheddar Sandwiches

8 slices Rye bread
16 slices peppered bacon, cooked
1/2 lb. Smoked cheddar
8 teaspoons butter

Heat skillet to medium heat or preheat panini grill. Assemble sandwiches by layering the bacon and cheddar. Lightly butter each side and place on grill. Grill until golden brown on each side, and cheese is melted in the middle. Remove sandwiches and let rest for a minute. Slice and serve with Chai Butternut Squash Soup. Enjoy!

Two Kindred Spirits

Aloha, and welcome to Sparrows & Oranges first blog. Here you will find a window into the heart of one enthusiastic spirit, and a love for everything delectable.

Be the change you want to see in the world.
-Mahatma Ghandi