Sunday, February 23, 2014

Deadline champions

It is Sunday, overcast, the temperatures change from mild and spring-like slowly back to frigid. Maybe, more snow. The weather models can’t decide yet. I am on my last leg because of this deadline tomorrow which has not granted any time off for a while now while juggling everything else in life. Waking up tired and exhausted, and the day starts with coffee. And these beauties.


Yes, they are still available at Dunkin Donuts while Valentine’s day is long gone. I guess this is a hers and his version ? They are filled with nutella spread and despite their alluring appearance are really just 100% pure refined sugar.

A sugar rush fits well with this.


The breakfast of deadline champions.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

18 Minutes

The day proceeded almost as planned: with skiing and donuts. However, it took a slight right turn after I found a set of pristine donut pans in my pantry when I was looking for something else. Donuts!  Baked donuts! Exactly during the time they baked in the oven (18 min) I cleared the entire driveway of its 10 inches snow layer. Without a snow blower, it would take me about 2 hours.

My reward was a freshly baked, delicious donut, with glaze and still warm, a cup of coffee and the prospect of skiing in winter wonderland for the rest of the afternoon. Not bad.


Baked chocolate donuts (GF, vegan)
  • 1 cup all-purpose GF flour/baking mix (Bob Mill)
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dagoba cocoa powder
  • 2 TB almond meal
  • 2 TB fine coconut flakes
  • 2 TB ground flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 TB grapeseed oil (or organic canola oil)
Chocolate glaze:
  • 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons earth balance buttery spread
  • 2 TB almond milk
  • 1/4 ts rum extract
  • 1/2 ts instant espresso powder
  • Preheat oven to 350F and grease a donut pan.
  • For the donuts: Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined. Make sure to remove all clumps with a sieve. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Let batter sit for 5 minutes for the flax seed to plump up and bind the dough.
  • Spoon the batter into the donut pan, filling each mold about a little bit more than half (I definitely overfilled mine). Smooth out the top of the batter with a spoon. The batter should be enough for 2 of these pans, not just 1 plus one extra donut.
  • Bake for 18-24 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Use a fork to remove the donuts and place on a cooling rack and allow to fully cool before adding glaze.
  • For the frosting: Add the frosting ingredients into a medium bowl and beat with electric mixer until smooth. Apply with large spoon.
  • Enjoy!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Calamondin Jam

The Calamondins in my potted indoor plant have been plentiful in their first season. Suddenly, they seemed to all be ripe, too many to add to salads. --- Time to cook citrus jam.

Calamondin are similar to kumquats, however, they lack the bitter quality of kumquats although they are about the same size. They just throw a puckery punch of orange flavor, and can be eaten with skin and flesh. They are so puckery that the best way to use them is… in a jam. A calamondin infused vodka would rival a limoncello.


I plucked them, washed them with a bit of baking soda and hot water, rinsed them, and sliced them up, removing the seeds and making sure to preserve all the juice they’d loose when cut up. They are cooked barely covered with water ‘until soft’.  In my case, I cooked them about 20 min, and then let them chill overnight. Since the calamondin membranes are a natural pectin and marmelade thickener, this ‘gel-ing’ happens in the wait period. Today, I measure the amount of base jam I had, equaled it with sugar, and cooked it for another 20 min.  Many tiny mason jars were filled (great gifts!) and 2 large ones for me. The cooking spoon taste taste says: insanely good! ---

They would be fabulous with raincoast crackers and soft goat cheese.


How to make calamondin jam?
  1. one pound of calamondin
  2. water
  3. large bottom heavy pot
  4. 3-4 cups sugar
  5. 1/2 cup orange juice
For preparation, sprinkle the calamondin with about 1 TB of baking soda, and cover with boiling water for about 3 min. Wash thoroughly under warm, then cold water.

With a sharp knife, slice calamondin into small slivers, and removed the seeds. Cut on a plate to make sure to capture the juice (if this is taking too long, you can also chop them in a food processor and work with the pulb, however, the thin slivers of calamondin skin look a lot prettier).


Place all the sliced calamondin in a large, bottom heavy pot, and cover barely with water.


Simmer under gentle heat until calamondin are soft (ca. 15 min). Remove from heat, and chill in fridge for 24h (I did about 18h).


The pectin in the calamondin develops, and thickens the jam.

Add the orange juice, stir, and measure the amount of base jam you have (I had exactly 4 cups). Then, add that much sugar.


Under much stirring and gentle heat do simmer for another 20 min (max). The jam changes its consistency, the sugar melts and the mixtures becomes dark and candy like.


Prepare mason jars by sterilizing them (and the lids) in boiling water for 10min.

Fill mason jar with jam, close the lids, and turn jars on their head to make sure they are sealed through the hot jam.


After 10 min, turn mason jar around. Let cool and set.  Enjoy!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chocolate Souffle

Saturday! It is still winterwonderland around here, plenty of nice powdery clean snow and sunshine. Sometimes I think I am a sunshine addict. It infuses me with so much love and energy I just want to get into my superman (woman) suit and fly off to wonderful places with wonderful adventures. Since this is Saturday, maybe I can! Also, since I got the shiny new snow blower I renewed my friendship with snow. So, where to go today?

The Winter Olympics in Sochi started.  The parts of the opening ceremony that I saw were spectacular (although I am not one for patience much, so I always skipped to other channels when some Swan lake dancing would take too long), and somehow I missed the much reported lightning of just 4 Olympic rings and the dead silence and that producers switched to rehearsal footage. But the internet knows the truth! Anyway, shit happens, right? Women usually get photoshopped on magazine covers, so Olympic coverage can get photoshopped, too, right? But at least now with social media we get reports from the truth. Haha. Otherwise, we’d all be the wiser.

We are all gearing up for Valentine’s day, which in my house is called Valentino’s day (one of my cats) but we also celebrate with chocolate and sparkling wine (not for the cats). Plenty of it, all week long. Now, the only thing that I still feel compelled to make is a chocolate souffle. Awwwh….. fluffy, chocolately, with whipped cream, so worth it. Should stop watching the Food network.


Here, some fun links for the weekend if you don’t have great weather: