Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines

I know, I’m writing about Pumpkin Spice Madeleines in early spring. It’s not exactly pumpkin season. We are towards the tail end of citrus season, and most of the fresh local fruit is still weeks away. I always have a forgotten can of pumpkin puree in the pantry. Remember that one time that there was a shortage of canned pumpkin? Ever since them, I stock up on it. Long story short, I had a can in my pantry that was taking up space and needed to be used up.

Madeleines: Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake and Share

Madeleines: Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake and Share

Enter the great little book Madeleines Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake and Share by Barbara Feldman Morse, from Quirk Books. This little book beautifully photographed book is full of delicious and fun madeleine recipes. There is even a recipe for lox, cream cheese, and red onion madeleines.

Here is the recipe for the delicious pumpkin spice madeleines that I made. Take a look inside your pantry, and if you have a can of pumpkin puree, make sure to try this recipe. These madeleines are tender, flavorful, not too sweet and perfect with a cup of coffee. If you like sweeter madeleines, I would recommend that you add an additional 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to step 4.

Pumpkin Spice Madeleines (Slightly adapted from Madeleines by Barbara Feldman Morse)
Makes 16-18 madeleines

cooking spray or 4 tablespoons butter for pans
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I used dark brown, but you can use either dark or light brown)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped or 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
Note: You can substitute 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg

1. Prepare the molds. Spray them with cooking spray. Alternatively, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave, and use a pastry brush to coat each mold, making sure to coat the interior of each shell mold.
2. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350F.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
4. Place 6 tablespoons of the butter, and brown sugar in a 2 quart microwavable glass bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on low power for 1 to 2 minutes and then stir mixture with a whisk until smooth. If butter is not melted, microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until smooth.
5. Let mixture cool for about 3 to 4 minutes and then add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition until completely blended. Whisk in pumpkin until thoroughly blended.
6. Stir in flour mixture until incorporated. The batter should be smooth. Add walnuts or chocolate chips, if using (this will yield 2 or 3 more madeleines).
7. Using a 1 1/2 inch-diameter scoop or a teaspoon, fill shell molds with batter until almost full. Gently press batter to distribute it evenly. I like to place the mixture into a piping bag, and just pipe the filling into each shell mold.
8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until madeleines puff up and spring back when lightly pressed.
9. Remove pan from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 2 to 3 minutes, then invert and tap madeleines onto the rack. You may also use a small offset spatula to remove each one individually.

Charred Shishito Peppers, Cherry Bombe Magazine, and a Gallery Wall

  Food trends come and go. We have seen macarons, cupcakes, bacon, kale, chia seeds, quinoa, bulletproof coffee, bone broth, and many others as the latest “It” foods.  What is the current “It” food in grocery store ailes? Amanda Merrow, of the Amagansett, NY based Amber Waves Farm, mentioned in a Cherry Bombe Radio episode last July that shishito peppers were the new kale.  I didn’t think much of it back them. Sure, you could find shishito peppers in every restaurant in town, and in most farmers markets. I didn’t think that they would soon be like the ubiquitous kale. In the past few weeks I’ve seen Shishito peppers everywhere, most notably at my local Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stores. I guess Amanda was right after all.

Shishito peppers are usually mild, except for the odd one out that will be a bit spicy (one out of 10 according to Wikipedia). You can cook them in a variety of ways, but my favorite way to cook them is to pan fry them in a wok until charred. Then, I sprinkled them with flaky sea salt. For a version that’s a bit more exotic, sprinkle the peppers with furikake or togarashi. If you are feeling adventurous, you can make your own furikake and togarashi at home.

Charred Shishito Peppers

Serves 2 as an appetizer or snack

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil (or other oil suitable for high heat cooking)
  • 8 ounces Shishito peppers

  1. Flaky sea salt or furikake or togarashi to seasonHeat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat, almost until it starts to smoke. Toss the peppers around every now and then. Pan fry for 6-10 minutes, or until the peppers are charred all around.
  2. Transfer the peppers to a serving plate and sprinkle with your choice of seasoning. Eat immediately.

On a separate note, if you are not reading Cherry Bombe Magazine, and listening to Cherry Bombe Radio, you should look them up and get started. Both the magazine and the radio show focus on celebrating women and food. The magazine is not only packed with great content, but it is beautifully designed and filled with gorgeous photographs. The radio show host is the fabulous Julia Turshen, who is a gifted writer and has the most soothing and engaging voice ever.

I’ve been working on putting up a gallery wall in my apartment, and I needed “stand in” art for the frames. I decided to use some of the gorgeous photographs from the magazine. I like them so much, that they might just become permanent stand ins. I’m not 100% happy with how the gallery wall turned out, but it’s still a work in progress.

Grapefruit Sorbet from Lomelino’s Ice Cream

Pink Grapefruit Sorbet

Pink Grapefruit Sorbet

One of my favorite desserts is ice cream. I purchased an ice cream making machine some years ago, and bring it out mostly during the summer months.

I have an abnormal obsession with ice cream and frozen treats. I can’t have any at home because I will devour them, sometimes in one day. In an effort to curb those calories and to explore the lighter side of frozen treats, I decided that I would start experimenting with sorbets. This past winter I really stocked up on citrus fruits. Pink grapefruits, meyer lemons, blood oranges, and cara cara oranges are always in my refrigerator when they are in season.

I happened to receive a review copy of the upcoming book Lomelino’s Ice Cream right when my refrigerator was stocked with all these winter citrus jewels. The book contains 79 recipes for ice creams, sorbets, and frozen treats including some gorgeous ice cream cakes. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the photos are gorgeous and that they make you want to reach in with a spoon.

Lomelino's Ice Cream  (©2015 Roost Books/Linda Lomelino)

Lomelino’s Ice Cream (©2015 Roost Books/Linda Lomelino)

Thankfully, the book has a full chapter on sorbets. I immediately got to work. The very first recipe I made was grapefruit sorbet. Followed by strawberry and champagne sorbet, citrus sorbet, and pomegranate sherbet. All recipes are fantastic!

Strawberry and Champagne Sorbet, Pomegranate Sherbet, and Pink Grapefruit Sorbet

Strawberry and Champagne Sorbet, Pomegranate Sherbet, and Pink Grapefruit Sorbet

One of my favorites is the grapefruit sorbet, and I have already made it several times. I adapted the recipe slightly, swapping out the wine for St Germain liquor, and adding a vanilla bean to step 1. My favorite way to serve it is in little 4 ounce glasses, topped with chilled sparkling wine. A perfect dessert, or a good alternative to mimosas for brunch.

Pink Grapefruit Sorbet and Sparkling Wine

Pink Grapefruit Sorbet and Sparkling Wine

Grapefruit Sorbet
Slightly adapted from Lomelino’s Ice Cream
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

2-1/4 cups pink grapefruit juice (about 4 medium ones)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon St Germain liquor (or white wine)
2 teaspoons vodka

1. Combine 3/4 cup of juice, sugar, scraped vanilla bean seeds, and vanilla bean in a small pot and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Transfer to another container, add in the rest of the juice, the St Germain liquor or wine, and the vodka. Chill overnight, or until completely cold.
2. Strain out the vanilla bean pod, and process according to your ice cream machine instructions. Once ready, transfer into a freezer proof container and freeze.

Lomelino’s Ice Creams will be available on April 7th. If you love frozen treats, I highly recommend getting a copy. And if you don’t follow Linda Lomelino yet, visit her blog Call Me Cupcake or her Instagram @linda_lomelino. Her photographs are so inspirational.

Do you have a favorite sorbet flavor?

Time for dessert!

Time for dessert!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Lomelino’s Ice Cream for review purposes. I was not compensated for writing this post. All views are my own.

Travel Tuesday: American Trade Hotel and Cafe Unido in Casco Viejo Panama

Casco Viejo

One of the places that I miss terribly back in Panama is Casco Viejo, the old city. During the past several years, this area has really experienced a sort of renaissance. Old buildings are slowly being restored, new restaurants have opened up in old spaces, and a handful of boutique hotels have opened. Although the area is visited by tourists, it still remains an every day hang out for locals.

Casco viejo feels like a world apart from the modern city scape. It’s full of street vendors, unique shops, trendy restaurants, art galleries, and a few food carts sprinkled here and there. What is most amazing, is the the view of the sea as you stroll along.

Raspao--Shaved Ice from a Street Vendor

Raspao–Shaved Ice from a Street Vendor

A Kuna woman selling traditional molas

A Kuna woman selling traditional molas

View of Panama City from Casco Viejo

View of Panama City from Casco Viejo

The American Trade Hotel, an Ace hotel, has been open a little more than a year. Not only is it in a great location, it also offers a number of amenities which include an intimate pool, a gorgeous restaurant aptly named “the dinning room,” a lobby cafe and bar, a coffee shop that exclusively features Panamanian coffees, and an exquisite jazz club.

You could spend days lounging around the pool, feasting on local food, enjoying cocktails in between meals, and staying up late going to jazz performances.

Their brunch is fantastic, and they even accommodate gluten free diners. What to do after a leisurely brunch? Go for a taste of local coffee at Cafe Unido. Sit at one of the many courtyards to enjoy, or take a stroll in the old city to take in its colorful charm.

Hope these photos take you on a mini-vacation to Panama’s old city from the comfort of your desk. Beware—do not scroll down if you are hungry.

The Dinning Room at The American Trade Hotel

The Dinning Room at The American Trade Hotel

Gorgeous Tile Floor

Gorgeous Tile Floor

The Pool

The Pool

One of the many courtyards

One of the many courtyards

20140720-IMG_5075

Brunch Menu

Brunch Menu

Bread Basket

Bread Basket

Plantain Empanadas filled with corn and cheese, or spicy shredded pork

Plantain Empanadas filled with corn and cheese, or spicy shredded pork

Patacones with pulled pork, avocado, slaw, and cheese

Patacones with pulled pork, avocado, slaw, and cheese

Scrambled eggs with prawns, chorizo, and hojaldre (fried bread)

Scrambled eggs with prawns, chorizo, and hojaldre (fried bread)

Steak and fried eggs with arepa

Steak and fried eggs with arepa

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Specialty Coffees

Specialty Coffees

Cafe Unido Capuccino

Cafe Unido Capuccino

House made jams: celery & onion, papaya & habanero, & pineapple-cinnamon

House made jams: celery & onion, papaya & habanero, & pineapple-cinnamon

Enjoying a cup of coffee from Cafe Unido

Enjoying a cup of coffee from Cafe Unido

Travel Tuesday: Huitrerie Regis in Paris

Oyster and  Madagascar Shrimp Platter at Huitrerie Regis in Paris

Oyster and Madagascar Shrimp Platter at Huitrerie Regis in Paris

In October of last year I went on a wonderful trip to Paris with my very good friend Annelle. I hadn’t been back in several years. I mostly like to visit my favorite places and old hang outs. The good thing about traveling with a friend, is that you get to discover places that you normally would not have had on your list.

Annelle had recently discovered her love for oysters. She was adamant about going to Huitrerie Regis. I even think we went there for our first night’s dinner. For some reason, we were not able to find the place. We walked around and around the same block several times. It was late, and we were hungry.

Huitrerie Regis

Huitrerie Regis

When we finally found the restaurant, just a stone’s throw from the Marché St Germain, we realized it was the size of a matchbox and it was packed. We checked in and decided to wait for a table while enjoying a glass of Sancerre. There is no place to stand and wait inside, so we were drinking our wine pretty much out on the street with cars driving by inches away from us. And that was perfectly okay with us.

Sancerre

Sancerre

We went to much fancier restaurants, but somehow that dinner at Huitrerie Regis was magical. We were not rushed, we savored every last bite we had. They oysters were wonderful. The sweet shrimp from Madagascar were magnificent. Our dessert was a simple apple tart that is made by the owner daily. Unassuming but delicious. We were one of the last people there that night.

The sweetest Madagascar shrimp

The sweetest Madagascar shrimp

The aftermath

The aftermath

A simple but delicious house made apple tart.

A simple but delicious house made apple tart.

Then in November of last year, I came across Meet Paris Oyster by Mireille Guiliano. I bought the book on a whim, and I didn’t read it until a few weeks ago. To my surprise, the book was centered around Huitrerie Regis. It brought back memories of that wonderful meal, and I also learned about French oysters. If you are an oyster lover, I highly recommend the book. And if you are in Paris, definitely visit Huitrerie Regis. It’s a gem of a restaurant.

Meet Paris Oyster