Monday, July 16, 2012

Pistachio Pesto

3 Tbsp shelled pistachios
2 c packed fresh basil leaves or arugula
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 pinches sea salt
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c freshly grated Pecorino Romano

Combine pistachios, basil, garlic and salt in a stone mortar.  Grind with the pestle until fine.  Drizzle in olive oil.  Continuously grind while adding cheese one tablespoon at a time.  Store in a jar topped with a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil.  Will keep in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

Note:  Pecorino Romano is a cheese made from sheep's milk and is thus dairy free as our family defines it.

Note:  This can also be done in a food processor.

Leftover Candy Cane Brownies

So here we are in July and much to Dacia Grace's delight, I found a large stash of candy canes leftover from Christmas.  I know they keep a long time but I also know that after awhile them become gummy when you eat them.  (YUCK!).

What to do?

They are too pretty to throw out.  Besides it would break my daughter's heart to throw out these pretties.

Throwing them out would also break my frugal heart!  ;)


Why not experiment?  I have nothing to lose!

The result is yummy brownies that are sooooo good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Don't get upset with me if you no longer have any candy canes leftover.  (In a pinch I think that the star burst peppermints that you get at the bulk hard candy section of Winco will work just as well.)

So without further ado.........

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup shortening or coconut oil
2 eggs - (I use duck eggs)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
A few drops peppermint oil (optional)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup crushed candy canes, divided
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

(1)  In a small food processor grind/chop between 8 to 10 candy canes to fine powder.  Set aside.

(2) In small saucepan, put the unsweetened chocolate and the shortening.  Allow to melt while working with the eggs and sugar.  Be careful not to over melt as the chocolate will taste burnt.  I take it off the heat when the four lumps are very soft and then stir it until everything melts together.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.

(3) Beat eggs and sugar.  Add vanilla and peppermint oil.

(4) Slowly add the chocolate mixture.

(5) Mix in flour and salt using a wooden spoon.  If you have been using a mixer, you will need to move to a wooden spoon now.  Mix only until the ingredients are all incorporated.  Do NOT over mix.

(6)  Add in the semi-sweet chocolate mini chips and 1/2 cup of the crushed candy cane.

(7)  Press batter into greased AND floured 8 inch square pan.  Sprinkle remaining 1/4 c of the crushed candy cane.  Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.  Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes.  This will allow the brownies to "firm up" before you cut them. 

(8) Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.

Notes:  We use Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening which is 100% soy free!

Coconut Rice #2

2 14 oz. cans coconut milk
2 c. water
1 t. salt
2 c. uncooked long grain rice

Combine coconut milk, water and salt.  Bring to boil.  Stir in rice.  Reduce heat.  Cook covered for about 20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed.