Friday, April 15, 2016

Eggs for Dinner - Shakshuka

I may be strange, but I do not like to eat eggs for breakfast. I prefer sweets in the am. I'm all about French toast, donuts and cinnamon rolls for starting my mornings. I like to reserve eggs for the evening hours. 

And why not? Who ever said that you need to eat eggs only for breakfast? You eat chicken for dinner, so why not eggs? Especially when they are in such a savory dish as this shakshuka.


I have seen this recipe around the internet for a while now and I even say it on a few menus while visiting Istanbul last year. I only recently got around to trying it out and I'm so mad at myself for not trying it earlier. I imagine that it would have been amazing in Istanbul, with fresh feta and vegetables.

Even though I didn't get the feta a eggs from my local farmer, this meal was still absolutely amazing. We had it for dinner one night and I ate the remaining portions for lunch for the rest of the week. Once you prepare all of the vegetables, the dish comes together very quickly, with very little fuss. In about thirty minutes you can have this amazing and flavorful meal prepared, perfect for a weeknight meal.

Don't let the strange name scare you off from trying this dish. And definitely have it for dinner!

One Year Ago: Spring Risotto
Two Years Ago: Peanut Butter Macaroon Brownies
Three Years Ago: Rosemary Chicken & Potato Pizza
Four Years Ago: Potato & Choriquo Gratin
Five Years Ago: Mango Shrimp Curry


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Vegan Sponge Candy

I have been meaning to test out a vegan sponge candy for years. Many friends and family are either vegetarian or vegan and cannot enjoy the deliciousness of sponge candy. Most candies out there don't have this problem, but my version of sponge candy requires gelatin for proper aeration. It took a few tries to get the candy close to the original. I have a few tweaks left to try, but I wanted to share this first success with you.


The bubbles in this vegan sponge candy are a little larger than in my traditional sponge candy. I am still doing a bit of scientific research into the difference in the protein structures of agar agar and gelatin, but it seems that the agar agar protein is not a strong as the gelatin protein. The bubbles in the vegan version are more akin to that of a Violet Crumble or Crunchie candy bar. It's still delicious, just not quite as smooth!

To make this GMO-free, I used French glucose that was prepared from wheat (This brand). Generally, all corn syrup that is produced in the US is made using GMO corn. As a chemist, I have no problem using GMO-derived corn syrup. Chemically, the corn syrup from GMO or non-GMO corn is exactly the same. The DNA of the corn will have no effect on the corn syrup product. However, if you do not want to support GMOs, use the wheat glucose! It's definitely more expensive, but glucose has so many uses in candy-making and baking.


Since this is a vegan version, I decided to coat my candy in orange chocolate! I melted a package of semi-sweet chocolate chips, added 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon orange extract. This is a small batch of sponge candy, just the perfect amount to be able to make and eat it in less than 1 week. Keeping the candy around for any longer is tricky in high humidity. Sponge candy tends to melt when it meets too much water.  

Full disclosure - Since I coated the candy in semi-sweet chocolate, it wasn't completely vegan. There was milk in the chocolate! Vegan friends, you know your options when it comes to vegan chocolate. Simply go with a vegan chocolate for the coating.

All my vegan and vegetarian friends, you can now enjoy some traditional Buffalo Sponge Candy!



Once Year Ago: Homemade Oreo Cookies
Two Years Ago: Potato, Spinach & Asparagus Quiche with Cumin
Three Years Ago: Granola Cookie Wedges
Four Years Ago: Gorgonzola Soup
Five Years Ago: Banana Mallow Cups

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Cream of Broccoli & Leek Soup

Spring has finally arrived here in New Jersey. I know that usually means that we usually pack away the soup pots for the summer, but I wasn't ready to let go! Spring trips to the farmers market brings new potatoes, asparagus and leeks! Spring leeks have the mildest flavor and pair perfectly with the broccoli in this soup.


I decided to keep this soup on the heartier side. Since it getting warmer, you can decide whether you want to add heavy cream or not. I went with the cream for this particular batch, then we went out for ice cream. It's all about balance!

One Year Ago: Jell-O Peeps (Easter must have been later last year!)
Three Years Ago: Perry's Ice Cream Factory Tour
Four Years Ago: Grilled Chicken & Potatoes
Five Years Ago: Rosemary Foccacia

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