Dessert

Sweeteners: Know your Sugar(s)

Sugar types: Raw sugar, partially refined, refined, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar.

The white substance that it's flavor has been coded on our DNA as the most desirable flavor, the last few years it has been blamed for every dietary disease. I am talking of course about sugar. The crystallized molecules of sucrose, that carry with them not only the sweetest flavor, but also the most densely packed energy. Energy that once was essential for survival, now is converted to undesirable fat in our waist and hips. In the vast world of diets, and nutritional information, many alternatives have been suggested as a healthier sweetness source. I am not talking about the aspartame, or the Splenda. Those chemical options taste horrible. I am talking about raw sugar, molasses, brown sugar and many more.

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Greek Christmas Cookies: Kourampiedes

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Every country or nation that has more than 50 years exposure to Christianity will have a special dessert that made exclusively around the Christmas time. Greece is no exception, and since it had embraced christianity for almost 2000 years the number of desserts for the occasion is huge. However, the one that is closer to my heart, because is delicious and also is what my grandma used to make every christmas, is the Kourampies (κουραμπιές, koo-ra-byies) that is a crumbly almond cookie dusted in powder sugar. Simple ingredients, humble cookie and big flavor. Although the Christmas reference of the cookie for most of the people comes from the white dusting of sugar, that resembles the snow, for me it is more the relation of the humble beginnings the cookies with the humble beginnings of the Messiah.

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Homemade Grenadine Syrup

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One of the most used syrups in the mixology world is the Grenadine. It is the syrup that is used one in a large number of cocktails like the Jack and Rose, Tequila Sunrise, Sea Breeze, Roy Rogers, Pink Lemonade and Shirley Temple. As the name denotes, it is a pomegranate flavor syrup, that is sweet and tart making it the best additive to balance cocktails, specially those made with hard alcohols like the tequila or brandy. The Mott's brand "Rose's" is by far the most commonly used grenadine in the United States. Until sometimes in the 80s it was made with pomegranate. However, now it is a mixture of high fructose corn syrup, water, citric acid, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate, FD&C Red #40, natural and artificial flavors, and FD&C Blue #1. Yes you read it right. There is no pomegranate in the recipe anywhere. It is a glucose (or corn syrup if you prefer) and artificial colors. Not that I share the prejudice of many with the red dyes or artificially colors, but why something that is associated with the sweet and tart flavor of the pomegranate completely lacks it? Dear readers, mixologist and food hobbyists it's time to take the king of flavored syrups back. It is easy to make, has a thousands uses and darn it, it tastes good.

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Lavender Rosemary Lemon cookies

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In this blog I don't usually make deserts. But when we do, they are amazing. Today I chose to make a simple cookie with big character. Cookies are not just a baked good that we eat. Making cookies is just a part of the process that makes a house a home. The moment the air is filled with the amazing aroma of the baked goods that is based on butter herbs and spices it becomes so much more homey, familiar and inviting. In this attempt I am making a somewhat odd, but familiar combination. I am inspired from the spring that finally decided to dawn up on us after a long and cold winter. I blend the aroma of spring herbs like rosemary, lavender and lemon to a cookie that has a mould texture and crumbly appearance.

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Simple Syrup

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If you need to add a sweet element, but the temperature required does not facilitate the melting of raw sugar, simple syrup is the way to go! Like most Greeks deserts, simple syrup is applied to a large variety of sweets like baklava and galactoboureko. In America, simple syrup is the common sweetener for iced tea and coffee. Simple syrup is also on of the best ingredients for cocktails. Syrup brighten ups the flavors and take the sharpness of harsh liquor.

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One pot Wonders – Part II: Peanut Butter & Chocolate Sandwich

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This is a strange post. It is the one and only post that has been created out of pure necessity. It is some of the inspirations of the moment that just make the difference between eating and indulging. And indulging in 5 mins is a lot more than just indulging! Sometimes I work late. I come home and easiest thing to cook is a sandwich, but a sandwich is not really cooking. Is more like putting things together! So one day inspiration came to me. And here they are the peanut butter and chocolate sandwich and the mexican chicken dog! Two recipes 3 or 4 ingredients and 3 minutes. Get your timers ready, time flies… All the ingredients are from Trader Joe’s. You can try whatever you like. I tried many combinations but this is the best I can come up with.

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Strawberry Shortcakes

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This is a very special post. For many reasons. For one thing this is the first of the 5 that will complete the 100 recipes on the blog. Very special. It is dedicated to my eternal second home the good old state of Florida. There were the South opened its arm and welcome me. A desert with character and the true meaning of soul food. Also it was created only days after a dream just died and took me back to square 1. Not the first time. But enough with emotions. Let ’s go together and see what makes this desert so special, so incredible and so surprisingly fresh.

Strawberry shortcake is one the most traditional southerner deserts. It combines many of the ingredients of the south, cream, butter, sugar biscuits… Oh yeah it does have biscuits. Although the name itself suggest a sort of a cake, and the recently the convenience and time efficient have actually offered the option of the cake, the real shortcake is a sweet biscuit. The biscuit is from the french word biscuit which is derived from the Latin words bis (twice) and coquere, coctus (to cook, cooked), and, hence, means “twice-cooked”. Originally the biscuits were breads that after baking were cut and baked a second time to harden. A great way to make bread last longer, especially when it is indented for long trips etc. The modernization of the cuisine and the kitchen tools in the 19th century made the second baking obsolete, since now fretted baked bread can be made everyday. The name however, caught on and it is still used. A traditional southerner biscuit is based largely on the british scone. It is a quick and easy way to create the ideal breakfast bread. I don’t think that at this point it really requires a lot of brains to add some sugar and sweeten things a little. From this point on the rest is history. A sweet southern history. So let’s get started.

So here are the ingredients of the southern delight:

Strawberries sugar: Turn your attention to the right of the photo

  • 1 lb of strawberries
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A brandy of sort
  • 1/4 lb of sugar
  • Black pepper… What? Black pepper? Oh yeah! it is awesome!

Biscuits: Turn your attention to the right of the photo

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tbs baking soda
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup of buttermilk

For the garnish and plating:

  • Creme fraiche
  • Whipped cream
  • Berries for garnish

Start by washing the strawberries.

Remove the stem with the little piece of hard stem in the core of the strawberry.

And slice them.

I use roughly 1/5 by weight of sugar. So here we have 500 g of strawberries (after subtracting the weight of the bowl)

Cut and squeeze the lime juice.

Add the brandy. Here as you can see I use AppleJack. It is a brandy made out of apples so the fruity flavors get well very well.

Now add the sugar.

Add the pepper… I am not joking! Pepper is very good with strawberries.

And stir them well. Well but carefully. Put them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. The sugar will force liquid out of the strawberries slowly dissolve the sugar and become a nice syrup.

While this is happening let’s make some biscuits. Start by sifting the flour.

Why sift the flour? Fro this! Especially when you make a cake type of dough where we don’t really want to mix to much these lumps will never dissolve. It is important step. Please do not skip.

Add the sugar.

Add the baking powder.

Follow with the soda…

And mix the dry ingredients together.

Measure the butter.

Cut it in small pieces.

And add it in the dry goods.

With the tips of your fingers break it in small chunks. It will resemble rice.

Add the buttermilk.

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Mix them until they just come together.

Flour your bench or board.

flip the dough and don’t worry if it is not perfect it will be like that.

Use the dough roller, roll it to a thickness of one inch. 2.5 cm for the metric mind.

With a cutter or a glass or anything that is about 2 inches wide punch out as many biscuits as you can.

Like this. Gather there remaining dough and repeat.

I usually get about 12. Like this. I know there is a runner up… I told you I “usually” make 12. Place them close to each other for more even rise. Also since they are butter made they will have a tendency to spread. Putting them close together will prevent them from spreading.

Bake at 375F (190 C).

Unitl they look GBD. Golden, Brown and Delicious.

Cool them before serving. Serving with the strawberries!!!

It is the perfect breakfast by the way.

Before we start we need to whip the the heavy cream. Add ice cold heavy cream in your work bowl.

Follow with some sugar.

Add a bit of Vanilla.

And whip. No need for mixer. You need a whisk and a little labor.

In less than a minute you have whipped cream.

And now we BUILD!!!!

Plate!

Split biscuit in half. Yes a fork is better just like on an english muffin.

Add some whipped cream on the plate to hold things together.

Add the bottom part of the biscuit.

Put the strawberries and don’t forget the the syrup. It will soften the hardest biscuits.

Top them with a bit of creme fraiché. Creme fraiché is think rich and a bit sour. It will just brink a little something to the party. Break the sweetness and brink things together.

Top it of with the over part of the shortcake.

More strawberries. Technically you can stop here, but I go one more layer.

To hold it better I add some more creme fraiche.


And more strawberries…. And syrup

Garnish with the rest of the berries.

If you have a pipping bag use it. I don’t I use the old school method with the two spoons. Move it from spoon to spoon until you shape it to what is called a canelli.

Place it on the top of the pile. And garnish with a nice mind leave.

There you have it!

I know I know you need another shot? Here… You eat with your eyes first.

Oh and one more bonus. The strawberries will get a lot of juice out within a day… What to do with it? Mix it in a shaker with ice, some vanilla vodka and some lime juice. Aaaand…

Here you have a pepper berry cocktail like nothing else!

Printable Recipe Card

Strawberry Shortcakes

From Nerd Meets Food | Desserts | American

01:45
01:00
00:45

cal Calories 218kcal

fat Total Fat 8g

High sat-fat Saturated Fat 5g

chol Cholesterol 21mg

sodium Sodium 299mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 33g

Serving size 118g Calories from fat 71kcal Fiber 1g Protein 3g Sugar 15g
12 servings

Ingredients

  • Strawberries
  • 1 lb of strawberries
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 oz of brandy
  • 1/4 lb of sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Shortcakes
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tbs baking soda
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • For the garnish and plating
  • 1/2 cup of creme fraiche
  • 1 cup of whipped cream

Directions

  1. Strawberries:
  2. Wash the strawberries, remove the stem and slice them.
  3. Put them in a bowl and add the sugar.
  4. Cut and squeeze the lime juice.
  5. Add the brandy and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Put them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
  7. Shortcakes:
  8. Start by sifting the flour.
  9. Add the sugar.
  10. Add the baking powder and the soda
  11. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  12. Cut the butter in small pieces and with the tips of your fingers break it in small chunks. It will resemble rice.
  13. Add the buttermilk and mix them until they just come together.
  14. Flour your bench or board and flip the dough.
  15. Use the dough roller, roll it to a thickness of one inch. 2.5 cm for the metric mind.
  16. With a cutter that is about 2 inches wide punch out as many biscuits as you can.
  17. Bake at 375F (190 C) unitl they look Golden, Brown and Delicious.
  18. Whipping Cream:
  19. Add ice cold heavy cream in your work bowl.
  20. Follow with some sugar, a bit of Vanilla and whip.
  21. Split shortcake in half with a fork.
  22. Layer shortcake, strawberries and whipped cream.


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French Toast

A delicious French toast by NerdMeetsFood

French toast is my choice of breakfast when I want to treat myself to something awesome. Something Amazing something great. It is one of the quickest things to put together requiring only a few ingredients that you can find almost in every standard household. Usually made with stale bread, but now I don't really wait fro bread to go stale. I just go for it. And so will you. Before we get to that though, we need to learn about its history. Origins etc. It is been a while that we felt with historic facts in this blog but, we are back to it. You missed it?

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Lost and Found: A Pie

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I am sure you have lost at some point something. Your keychain, your wallet, your pen, your lighter, your dignity… And many of these items you wish you can get back: Your keychain, your wallet, your pen, your lighter, your dignity… Especially your dignity. The last one however is pretty much unrecoverable. But for the rest you can hope. And actually Greeks have gone to great lengths to strengthen their hope. They have a saint for that and it is very popular. His Name St. Fanourios loosely translates to appear, so it is considered the St. that makes lost things appear again. To his honor there is a pie that is made to commemorate his abilities and acknoedge him. And here is when things get culinary interesting. When tradition, religion and superstition meet, the mix is quite interesting. First of all there is a restriction that requires that you either use 7 or 9 ingredients. That is ok as long as there are other specific guidelines for the types or kinds of the ingredients. If not, the someone can easily cheats by adding nuts, or raisins, or fruits artificially raising the number of ingredients to the target value. So I will follow that rule just because tradition dictates but only to a certain point. I will not count for example almonds and walnuts as two ingredients, they are just nuts. The strangest of all, however, is that Greek orthodox tradition requires that deserts are made according to the lent rules: No Eggs, No Dairy and No Meat.

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Masticha Cheesecake

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The cheesecake is indeed an american classic. I never considered myself american or even close to the culture it represents till the moment my oven rolled out one of these beauties! It is a desert that sums up the american spirit. Many reasons for that. First of all it has a bunch of american ingredients, cream cheese, Graham cookies and butter. The all american cooking fat. Also the idea of a cake that has a base that can be tailored to anything sweet and savory it is an all american classic. An all american classic. But most of all it is the basic custard filling that is the heart and soul of the american country desert cooking.

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