Puffy Pumpkin Pinwheels

23 Nov

Do you need an appetizer in a pinch? These will get gobbled up at any Thanksgiving gathering! Slice them frozen and bake them off at the party or make just as you are heading out so they stay warm, best eaten warm.

Also for a cute and speedy floral arrangement, hollow out a mini pumpkin, line with foil. Add a few florets and there you have it!

1 can pumpkin purée
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened (fat-free or light is okay)
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed but still cold (see note)
2 Tbsp. all-purpose seasoning blend see below*
Salt and pepper, optional
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 Tbsp. water

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° F Line a cookie sheet with parchment or non stick foil.

In a medium bowl, stir together the pumpkin purée and cream cheese, set aside.

Unwrap puff pastry , if it comes rolled in parchment just un roll it on the parchment or place on a clean, lightly floured counter or work surface.

Spread pumpkin and cream cheese mixture over the puff pastry, leaving a half-inch margin on all sides.

Sprinkle seasoning blend evenly over the top.

Sprinkle with a small amount of salt.

Evenly sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.

Roll up the puff pastry in an as-tightly-wound cylinder (log) as possible.
Wrap log with plastic wrap and freeze until almost frozen.

Unwrap log with a very sharp knife slice the log into 12 equal-size pieces. Let thaw on cookies sheet until very cold but not totally frozen.

In a small bowl, lightly beat together the egg and water to create an egg-wash. Brush egg-wash over pastry slices, distribute evenly until it’s gone.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until puffs are golden, puffed, set and done.

Allow puffs to cool in pan for about 5 to 10 minutes before removing. Serve immediately.

*All purpose seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon black pepper

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School Lunch Flashback

11 Aug

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I’m bringing back this article I wrote for Edible Marin Wine country in 2012. This continues to be an easy fun lunch for my kiddo!

If you have a rice cooker, set it the night before to cook fresh rice in the morning before you get up. Use whatever is on hand, leftovers, nuts, veggies , chicken, steak, whatever you have on hand.

We are all getting ready for school and being prepared for lunch making is a real time saver. Good luck!

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By Jennifer Carden / Photographed by Matthew Carden

If it’s day one of 200 or so school days to come and you’re already out of ideas, you are not alone. It feels like kids’ school lunches have been the same since the ’50s. Does this sound familiar: PB&J with the crust cut off, an apple and juice? My own mom used those waxed bags that never quite closed, so one side of the sandwich was dried out by the time lunch rolled around. I almost never ate them. Sorry, Mom.

I consulted with my daughter when I was writing this piece and she provided some useful food for thought on why kids don’t finish their lunch at school. “I like to get through my lunch fast so we can go out to recess,” she divulged. I think that’s pretty universal. So give this sleight of hand a try to spice up your child’s lunchtime with a game of handball… sushi, that is!

Temarizushi is Japanese for “hand ball,” and these small jewel-like rice balls, formed by hand, are traditionally served in the spring for young children’s parties. They are actually great year-round, changing the toppings with the seasons, and a perfect way to use the leftovers in your refrigerator. Three rice balls that include a protein have around the equivalent nutritional value of most lunchbox sandwiches, making them the right kind of fuel for all that playing and learning. The balls are easy and fun for kids to make the night before school.

TO PREPARE HAND BALL SUSHI:

Tear or cut a dozen 4- by 4-inch squares of plastic wrap and set aside on a clean, dry work surface. (Note: If you lay them down with half extending over the edge of the counter it makes them easy to grab when you need them.) Place a small amount of your chosen ingredient on a sheet of the plastic wrap. Drop approximately 2 teaspoons of room-temperature sushi rice on top of your *Toppings of choice. If it is sticky, dampen your hands with a bit of water.

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*Toppings of your choice such as: toasted sesame seeds; nori (toasted seaweed), cut out with a hole punch or cut into shapes; carrot, zucchini or cucumber ribbons; cooked fresh pumpkin; corn; sliced black olives; tofu, cut into animal shapes with small cookie cutters; leftover chicken, salmon or scrambled eggs; edible flowers; or thinly sliced deli meats like turkey or ham For a sweet option, add cinnamon sugar to the rice and top with thinly sliced apples.

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Gather the plastic wrap up around the rice ball, then twist the plastic wrap tightly, firmly pressing the rice into a ball shape. Continue with new ingredients until you have used up all the rice. Wait at least 15 minutes to unwrap the balls and serve. If you make these ahead of time, leave in the wrap and store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature to serve. For lunch boxes, leave them wrapped for safekeeping and your child will have fun unwrapping them at lunchtime.

How to make perfect sushi rice every time.

Ingredients for Perfect Sushi Rice

2 cups sushi rice

2 cups water

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons mirin

2 teaspoons salt

Ingredients

Toppings of your choice* (examples below)

Instructions

TO PREPARE PERFECT SUSHI RICE:

Do not follow the directions on the bag of rice! Rinse the rice only 3–4 times— the water does NOT have to run clear as it will instruct on the bag. Allow rice to drain thoroughly.

While rice is draining, combine vinegar, sugar, salt and mirin in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Add the rice and water to a pan and bring quickly to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes before removing the pot from the heat, keeping the lid CLOSED. Abso- lutely no stirring or sneaking a peek!

Let rice rest for 10 minutes, then remove the cover.

Spread the rice in a wide glass or ceramic dish to cool and lightly fan the rice while adding the vinegar mixture. Mix rice gently, being careful not to break or mash it.

Cook’s note: If you have a rice cooker, follow the directions for “sushi rice” and add the vinegar and other seasonings after cooking.

Yields 4 cups of rice.

Chocolate and Coconut Heaven (and almost healthy)

22 Mar

20140322-143037.jpgNews Flash, I love brownies. I really can’t get enough of the gooey chocolate deliciousness. We grew up on Betty Crocker boxed brownie mix.  Seriously, back then those were the bomb, all fudge with that extra fudge pack you’d add just in to really make sure thy were fudge-y enough. Times have changed and we try to stick to a healthier diet of wholesome ingredients so when I crave chocolate I scour the internet in search of the perfect treat. I stumbled upon Paleo Grub and a particular recipe by  jumped right out at me. Yes it is a brownie recipe and yes I made them twice in two days, and yes I ate most of them!

the cool thing about these is that they have no grain, the star of these is almond butter, who knew? They don’t taste like almonds and the texture is very brownie like. As good as these are I needed a bit of sweet on top so I went a step further, yes I did. The brownies were so delicious but I needed more, I was having a bad sweet tooth. I created this dairy free recipe for icing using the Kelapo Oil. It does have sugar so it is not entirely Paleo but you can create your own from this base recipe, go for it!

Recently I received a bunch of Kelapo Coconut oil and I’d been thinking of using it but hadn’t quite put my finger on anything. (lightbulb moment coming) Frosting for these healthy brownies, what a great way to test out the new coconut oil. We use a lot of coconut oil on our house from skin and hair moisturizer to sweet and savory recipes. The Kelapo oil is so coconut-y, it is very delicious and I can’t wait to use it again in another recipe.

All I can tell you is beware because this icing is way too easy to just eat by the spoonful!


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Dairy Free Coconut Icing

Makes approximately  1 1/2 cups

2 Tbs Kelapo Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil

2 Tbs room temperature Earth Balance or Butter (if you are not dairy free)

3 Tbs coconut butter

pinch salt

2 Tbs almond milk or milk (if you are not dairy free)

1 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar

 

Mix the butters and salt in a bowl with an electric mixer until very smooth. Add sugar a half cup at a time mixing until smooth.

Use immediately. To store chill for up to a week. To use from refrigerator let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften and stir vigorously for easy spreading.

 

 

 

22 Mar

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Breakfast Isn’t Boring Anymore

10 Feb

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In our house we do breakfast every day, I mean a full breakfast. My daughter isn’t a big lunch eater so we try to pack in the nutrition in the AM as best we can. I make a mean poached egg and slamming Matzoh Bri, the occasional Hash or the ever popular Chilaquiles. Over the years my husband has become quite the breakfast maker, he started off on the weekends and He even took over school weekday breakfast for a whole school year. He’s got his own funny recipes like the Framble, and the Encharadia.
Weekday breakfast is back on my plate now and we are board! I’ve made it my mission to try and make breakfast new again. It doesn’t take much effort to make it fun or different. The night before I set out bowls and chopsticks so when they sat down they had a surprise!
Today I made Breakfast Fried Rice, they ate it up, I will be a staple on our breakfast menu from now on. You can use brown rice and add frozen peas and carrots and anything else you can dream up. We like Applegate Organic Bacon, it’s thin and not too salty. You can add a sliced orange to finish the meal with just like at a Chinese restaurant!

Breakfast Fried Rice

When making fried rice it is best to use leftover rice, it clumps and soaks up the flavors well. Make your rice the night before and you can even make and chop, the bacon the night before. For ease I crack and scramble the eggs in a separate container. In the morning I just add the eggs to a pan scramble, and then add the rice.
Serves four

2 cups cooked white rice
5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
Three large eggs
Salt
Pepper
Soy sauce
2 Tbs. grape seed oil or coconut oil
1 avocado, sliced

Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Eggs, scramble until almost dry, remove from pan, set aside.
Add rice and chopped bacon to pan (you may need more oil if not using a non stick pan)
Fry rice until hot, stirring rice until cooked through, add eggs back to pan with rice. Season with salt and pepper.
Add soy-sauce and sliced avocado to taste.
Serve in boxes or bowls.

My Other Life

23 Jan
Carolyn Tillie Sushi Ring made from Gachapon toys

Carolyn Tillie Sushi Ring made from Gachapon toys

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Matthew Carden - Cauliflower Farmers

Matthew Carden – Cauliflower Farmers

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Cara Brown Watercolor

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Victoria Mimiaga Broccoli in Plastic

Victoria Mimiaga Broccoli in Plastic

imageMany of my readers may not know about my other life.  For years my husband, photographer Matthew Carden and I dreamed of having some kind of food related art business. We weren’t sure how it would take shape but two years ago in April it was suddenly born as Super Fresh Art Gallery. It only made sense, I’m a chef and cookbook author and he’s a fine art food photographer. Just by chance we stumbled upon a fantastic light open space on the Main Street in Old Town Novato,  just four blocks from our house. We weren’t quite ready,  but are you ever really ready for a new adventure?

Carolyn Tillie Broccoli Earrings

Carolyn Tillie Broccoli Earrings

We rented the space and  took off from there. We opened the world’s first all Food Art Gallery, all our art has some relationship to food. It’s funny, people walk by and I can hear them saying “food art, that’s weird” or they get all excited and love what we are doing! At first we opened as an appointment only showroom for my husband’s art work but in the last year and a half we find ourselves moving in to being a full blown gallery. Dividing  my time between the gallery,  my cookbook and food styling have been a challenge.

We started selling on the new Amazon Art site when it launched this summer and that has been really fun!I do love running the gallery and I love when my clients get so excited about the art. Recently we have a very nice article written about our crazy life, focusing on the gallery. It was wonderful for us because it brought so many new food artists out of the woodwork and to our attention. Since the article I have acquired four new artists and two more on the way. I am really excited that we can represent artists who document our culture through food and some who just find it the subject they love to work with. Thank you to all my readers for the support and positive energy you always seem to throw my way.

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Click to read article

Check out our other artists too:

Jim Bachor – Humorous mosaics

Caren Alpert – Amazing Magnification photography

Happy 2014!!

31 Dec

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Hoping 2014 will bring everything you wish for

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