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Matcha Tea Cake

In Cakes & Cupcakes On June 8, 2018 0 Comments

Prep time: 8 to 10 minutes         Bake time: 35 to 45 minutes

Lookin’ for a 10-minute, made-from-scratch cake on Dad’s Day? Look no more – it’s here. Add the great gift of Kickback Cold Brew Matchacha Tea to go along with the cake. He’ll “kickback” for sure – just read the label and you’ll know why.

Go to Kickback Cold Brew website below and place orders now – Matchacha sells out quickly!

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons Matcha tea powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower, preferred)

1 large egg

3/4 cup granulated, unbleached sugar

3/4 cup milk (low fat or whole) – this can be substituted with almond or soy milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using oil or butter, grease and flour a 9X9X4 loaf pan; set aside.

2. Measure all dry ingredients into a 2-cup bowl; set aside.

3. In a 4-cup mixing bowl, beat together the oil, egg, sugar and milk.

4. Stir the dry ingredients into the oil-egg-sugar-milk mixture; beat until smooth.

5. Pour cake batter into prepared loaf pan; set on a rack positioned in center of oven.

6. Bake Matcha Tea Cake for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, insert a sharp, pointed knife in center. If knife comes out clean, cake is done. If there’s batter around knife, bake cake 5 more minutes.

7. After 5 more minutes of baking, test cake again. If needed, bake 5 more minutes.

8. When cake is done, set it on a counter to cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, loosen sides of cake from pan and invert cake onto a platter.

9. Serve cake warm or cold, garnished with raspberries and mint leaf sprigs. If desired, serve with 5-Minute Sweetened Whipped Cream, also on this website here http://thekitchenbuzzz.com/2010/07/5-minute-sweetened-whipped-cream.html/

10. Enjoy Matcha Tea Cake with KickBack Matchacha Coldbrew Tea. Go here to purchase: https://kickbackcoldbrew.com/

Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

Avocado Toasts

In Appetizers / Starters, Fun Foods On May 2, 2018 0 Comments

Make these Avocado Toasts  anytime you feel like something fun. You can also surprise a Mom on Mother’s Day and include these in a delicious brunch!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 French baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices & toasted
1 large, ripe avocado
4 to 5 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 of a Jalapeño pepper, minced
salt, to taste
6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half, flesh discarded & skins cut into slivers

Directions:
1. Lay out the bread slices on a serving platter; set aside.

2. Cut avocados in half, discard pits & remove flesh from skins. Discard skins.

3. Place avocado in a medium bowl.

4. Using a potato masher, mash avocado until it is coarsely-mashed.

5. Stir in the grated cheese, minced Jalapeño and salt, to taste.

6. Using a spoon, gently add some avocado mixture to each toast on platter.

7. Garnish toasts with extra grated cheese and tomato slivers. Serve immediately.
Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

Springtime Sweets – Tut

In Cookies, Candies & Sweets On March 29, 2018 0 Comments

Persians (modern-day Iranians) celebrated New Year on March 20 – it’s called Nowruz. Like people of the Persian culture, many of us observe Springtime celebrations that have come to us from the ancient past.

For my celebration of Springtime and Easter, I’m making Persian sweets called Tut. Although I’ve posted a similar marzipan recipe in the past, this one is different. Tut are easy to make and kids will love shaping these delicious sweets. Happy Belated Nowruz, Happy Passover, Happy Easter and Happy Springtime!

Prep time: 50 to 60 minutes
Makes: 40 to 50 sweets

Ingredients:
1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1-3/4 cups raw, ground almonds (skinless)
3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
2 to 3 teaspoons rosewater (you can add more, if you like a stronger flavor)
3 tablespoons slivered unsalted pistachios
3 tablespoons slivered almonds
food coloring for red and green (follow instructions on food coloring package for making green)

Directions:
1. Place the granulated sugar in an 10-inch shallow, wide bowl; set aside.

2. In a 1 to 2-quart bowl, combine the almonds, concessioners’ sugar (not the granulated sugar) and cardamom.

3. Using a fork, stir the ingredients until well-blended.

4. Gradually (a little at a time), add the rosewater and stir with a fork.

5. With your hands, knead the mixture until it amalgamates well. If it is dry and crumbly, add a little more rosewater or drinking water.

6. Divide the almond-sugar mixture into three parts – place each part in a separate bowl.

7. Add 1 drop of red food coloring to one dough section in bowl. If it is too light, add 1 more drop; mix well. Set aside.

8. Following food coloring package instructions, add the required yellow & blue food coloring to the second dough section to create green tut or sweets. Mix well & set aside.

Shaping the Sweets:

1. Working with the white tut, take a 1/2-inch piece of dough, roll it and shape it into a slight oval.

2. Roll the oval tut or sweet in the granulated sugar, shaking off excess.

3. At top of tut or sweet, insert a slivered pistachio or almond. Set aside on a serving plate.

4. Continue shaping remaining mixture and then the red and oval mixtures into ovals, rolling in sugar and alternately inserting a pistachio or almond sliver.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.

6. Springtime Sweets can be made a day or two ahead of time, covered and refrigerated.
Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

Green Linguine with Asparagus & Tomatoes

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On March 13, 2018 0 Comments

On St. Patrick’s Day, all sorts of recipes turn up for green cookies, green muffins, green candy, green everything except pasta. So how about making a nice dish of green linguine for St. Pat’s Day?

Here’s the recipe:

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh asparagus, bottom tips discarded & stems cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 pound (16 ounces) spinach linguine or fettuccine pasta variety
salt, to taste
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, cut in half
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:
1. Set the cut asparagus aside in a bowl.

2. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a 4 to 6-quart sauce pot.

3. When water boils, add pasta and 3/4 teaspoon salt to the water.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions.

5. During the last minute of pasta cooking, add the asparagus to the pasta in sauce pot.

6. When pasta is “al dente” (crunchy-tender), drain the cooked pasta in a colander and quickly transfer it to a large glass or porcelain bowl.

7. Add the cherry tomatoes and olive oil. Taste and adjust salt and olive oil levels.

8. Serve pasta in individual bowls; ask guests to add grated cheese to their pasta bowls.

Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc or Cabinet Sauvignon
Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

Vibrant Cancun: Street Art to Du Mexique Restaurant

In Nancy's Articles On February 22, 2018 0 Comments

When thinking of Cancun in Quintana Roo, Mexico, this is the image that comes to mind, right? After all, Cancun is renown for its great beaches and luxurious resorts.
Image.CancunBeachCancun Beach View, Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

In January, I celebrated my birthday in Cancun. And although, we woke up to this spectacular view every morning, my husband and I were anxious to see the culture of the locals in other parts of town.

Braced with our adventurous spirits and a rental car, we drove onto Bonampak Boulevard, a commercial and residential area of the city. We immediately noticed the vibrant architectural scene.
Image.CancunArtHouseMural on Boulevard Bonampak, Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

In Cancun and all of Mexico, you are surrounded by vibrant colors every day. They appear in paintings, sculpture, decorative arts and in glass-domed ceilings such as this one at Kukulkan Galleria Shopping Mall.
Image.CancunGlassDomeGlass Dome, Kukulkan Galleria Shopping Center, Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

Thanks to the great Mexican muralists of the early 20th century (Diego Rivera, David Alvaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, and others), the art of murals (wall paintings) lives on. Here are some murals made by Cancun’s talented artists:
Image.CancunMuralLadyIndigenousMural on Boulevard Bonampak, Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

This mural is inspired by symbolism related to Middle Eastern cultures. The Hamsa Hand or Hand of Fatima is an ancient Middle Eastern symbol with an eye at center. Native American cultures also used this hand symbol. People believe this talisman protects them from the evil eye and brings them goodness, abundance, fertility, luck and good health. Here, the artist transferred the eye from both hands and placed one eye at the center of what appears to be a heart.
Image.CancunMuralBlvd.KukulkanMural on Boulevard Kukulkan, Cancun, Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

The snakes could represent the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, also known as Kukulkan in the Maya culture. The native Maya culture thrived in Quintana Roo and Yucatan from the 9th to the 12th centuries.
Image.DetailMuralBlvd.KukulkanMural Detail on Boulevard Kukulkan, Cancun, Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

The mural’s brilliant snake relates to the serpent god Kukulkan (see its heads at base of pyramid (below). It is called El Castillo and is located at Chichen Itza, a large city built by the Maya people. This city thrived from 600 AD. until 1221. You can visit Chichen Itza by driving 2 hours via an impressive toll road.
Image.ChichenItzaKukulkanHeadsEl Castillo Pyramid, Chichen Itza, Yucatan (detail); Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

After driving all over Cancun, our hunger pangs led us to Puerto Juarez where we enjoyed guacamole and beer on the beach:
Image.GuacamoleGuacamole Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

However, the most gourmet meal we had in Cancun was at Du Mexique Restaurant on Bonampak Boulevard. It is owned by Mexican entrepreneur Sonya Grimond and French Chef Benjamin Ferra y Castel.
Image.DuMexiqueOwners
As soon as you meet Sonya and Benjamin, you feel as though you are at home. Their warmth and meticulous attention to detail are astounding. Both Sonya and Chef Benjamin serve you personally.

For his foie gras, Chef Benjamin innovatively lays the flavors of both France and Mexico side-by-side on his canvas – the plate. The foie gras (made from fattened duck liver) is complemented by hibiscus sauce and coconut – Mexican ingredients.

Image.FoieGrasHibiscusFoie Gras Torchon, Coconut & Hibiscus, Toasted Brioche Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

Did you know that in 2010, UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) added the traditional and gastronomic French and Mexican cuisines to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage?

This Ocean Terrine with Mexican Flavors combines fresh seafood with vegetables from local, private farms.
Image.DuMexiqueTerrine Terrine Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

The Red Mullet couldn’t have been any fresher. Its flesh was still glistening – it truly went from the dock to the table! The Ixnipec sauce tasted of Habanero chile and lime/citrus juices!

Since I eat gluten-free foods, this dish was perfect for me. Notice the French bread. Yes, Chef Benjamin makes bread, too. Surprised?
Image.DuMexiqueFishFilet de Rouget/Red Mullet with Olive Oil & Ixnipec Sauce Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real

Image.DuMexiqueNR&OwnersChef Benjamin, Nancy DeLucia Real & Sonya Grimond

Clearly, this was one of the best meals that I have had in a high-end restaurant! Sonya and Chef Benjamin, merci/gracias for a delectable dining experience and your personal attention. We can’t wait to come back to your fabulous restaurant and the exciting city of Cancun!

Text & Photographs ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real