Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ghee Sweets

Ghee is very good for savory dishes but it can also be ideal for sweets. This past weekend for a birthday celebration we had two incredible treats, mini chocolate chip cookies and decadent flourless chocolate cake, both made with ghee...henceforth the recipes...

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies


5 tbsp ghee
2/3 cup light brown sugar
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Beat together the ghee, sugar salt and baking soda in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add the flour and mix gently until fully integrated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon tiny rounds (the size of a quarter) on un-greased cookie sheets, about 1" apart. Bake 6-7 minutes or until golden...watch carefully because they burn easily being so tiny. Transfer to racks and let cool...enjoy!

*the key to the true deliciousness of these babies is the teeny tiny size, so really stick to spoonfuls of batter no bigger than a quarter.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

8 oz. good bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 tbsp ghee
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder , plus a bit more for dusting

* Special equipment, 10" springform pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and make sure a rack is placed in the middle.
Melt chocolate with ghee in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir consistently until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each one. Sift cocoa powder over chocolate and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into pan. bake until top has formed a thin crust and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking, 30-45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack for about 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan. Invert cake onto a plate and then immediately re-invert onto rack to cool completely.
Dust cake with extra cocoa powder before serving...very tasty with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and berries

Monday, April 20, 2009

Simple Asparagus

One of the best ways to use ghee is on simply steamed vegetables. In this case I used a beautiful bunch of small stemmed asparagus from our local farmer's market.

Remove tough part of the stems (usually about 1 1/2" at the bottom)
Steam asparagus to desired tenderness
Toss with ghee, lemon juice and sea salt
Serve warm and enjoy!

Great as accompaniment to fish or served along side a dinner omelet

Monday, April 13, 2009

Squash Puree

*squash puree is shown here drizzled with a balsamic reduction-the acidity really compliments the buttery sweetness.

This is an easy, versatile recipe that delights both adults and children. It can be a side dish or the main event. Feel free to experiment with addind different herbs and spices, the squash is a great backdrop for a variety of flavors.

Squash Puree

1 Kabocha Squash or 1 Lg Butternut Squash (really you can use any variety that you fancy just make sure you have about 2 1/2 cups of chopped squash once you have peeled and de-seeded)
4-5 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp turmeric
1-2 leaves fresh sage or 1 tsp dried
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400.
Peel, de-ssed and chop squash into 1 inch pieces. Place in a shallow baking dish along with the rest of the ingredients, dispersing the tablespoons of ghee evenly over the top. Pour about a quarter cup of water or vegetable stock over the squash and cover the dish with foil. Bake for about 1 hr, checking occasionally to make sure it's not burning or drying out to much, add water as needed. Once you can stick a fork easily through a piece of squash they are finished baking. Remove from oven and puree using a blender or food processor. Check for seasoning and adjust to your taste. Stir in extra ghee if the puree seems a bit dry then serve over rice and steamed greens or enjoy as is.

*other spice/herb suggestions-simply replace the turmeric and/or sage with any one of these or a combination.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chard & Onion Torta

This is a fantastic recipe adapted from Deborah Madison's cookbook Vegetarian Suppers. My favorite time to serve it is brunch though it most certainly works for lunch and dinner too...

4 tbsp ghee,
1 cup bread crumbs made in the food processor (don't make them fine, you want a variation in texture and larger chunks)
1 large yellow or white onion
2 pinches of saffron threads
1 tsp thyme leaves, chopped or 1/2 tsp. dried
2 big bunches of chard, leaves sliced from stems and chopped into 1" pieces
salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup Gruyere cheese
1/4 freshly grated Parmesan plus a bit more for the top
3 eggs
1 cup milk or light cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix 2 tbsp ghee with the bread crumbs in a bowl with your hands then press them into a baking dish, filling the bottom and coming up slightly on the sides. If you have any extra bread crumbs keep them to add later.
Heat the other 2 tbsp of ghee in a heavy skillet on low-medium. Add the onion garlic and saffron threads. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and starting to caramelize on the edges.
Add the chard and season with a pinch of salt. Cook until the chard is tender and wilted about 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in any extra breadcrumbs. Add the cheese, eggs, cream and black pepper. Once all ingredients are combined, transfer to the baking dish and grate a little extra Parmesan over the top. Bake until golden and nearly firm throughout. It should take about 30 minutes, just be sure the eggs are set before removing from the oven.
Remove and let sit for several minutes before serving.

It's delicious accompanied by a beet salad with goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.