Booze Health Cookie ~News

* Love of Chocolate May Have Begun With Cacao Beer
"New archaeological findings by John S. Henderson of Cornell and Rosemary A. Joyce of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues push the date of the first use of cacao back to about 1100 B.C., 500 years earlier than previously known. What’s more, the researchers suggest that this early beverage was something different again — a fermented beer made from cacao pulp, not seeds."

* Citrus Juice, Vitamin C Give Staying Power To Green Tea Antioxidants
I'd like some lemon with my tea please.

* Christmas Countdown:The 40 Best Cookie Recipes For Shipping
~ that was a super-fun list to peruse (mostly very rich refined sugary goods). My list would include a variety of super-delicious, crunchy, (sturdy!) and surprisingly healthy biscotti like Chocolate Almond Bran Biscotti or Pecan Gingerbread Biscotti...

Heathy Baking on Group Recipes

I recently joined Group Recipes - a social networking site where foodies can share info and recipes. I really like it! There are all sorts of fresh interesting recipes being added everyday, and it's a good way to meet and exchange info with other foodies and food bloggers. I met a lovely lady from Mallorca who makes wonderful fare with local ingredients, and a prolific fellow Canadian who posts all sorts of inspiring recipes. It's still in beta and is only about a year old - and had NO ads! I really hope the founder doesn't sell out anytime soon :-)

Like facebook, there are many groups one can join. I formed a group called Healthy Baking, which so far has 44 new recipes to browse - and the list is growing fast - very exciting! If you sign-up, join my group and be my buddy - look for "pattycake" :-)

Bleedy Cake, anyone?

Just came across this fun site: 365 Halloween "...for anyone who wishes that Halloween was longer than just one short day."

Gross + yummy recipes here (made with super ingredients!) including: Gingerbread Zombies, Stuffed Intestines Recipe, Mummy Dogs with Green Goo, Bleedy Cake

I mean, eww...

Food of the Gods

Mayan chocolate discs

Real Mayan chocolate from the Yukatan, Mexico.

Another great score from Mexico ~

Hand made in the Yukatan, the only ingredient in this chocolate is cacao. We spoke with the woman who made it, and she told us how to prepare Mayan-style hot chocolate:

Blend for 1 minute: 1 disc of chocolate with 1 liter of hot water (or hot milk). The hot chocolate should be nice and foamy. Serves 4.

This will produce a very bitter drink. I'll add 1 - 2 Tbsp of Mexican honey and a splash of vanilla when I make it.

Besides honey and vanilla, other ingredients traditionally included can be: cinnamon, chillies, anise seeds, sesame seeds, ground corn, allspice, achiote, and aromatic flowers.

beautiful breads...

Came across this nice little description and pictorial on how to make a light rye bread: George's Light Rye Bread Recipe.

I actually haven't made a real yeasty bread yet - though I'm most interested in the whole-grain sourdough variety... (I have made many a quick-bread, flat-bread, cracker, and even whole-wheat soda bread on the BBQ)

I read an amazing book that I borrowed from the library on the topic called
The Bread Book: A Natural, Whole-Grain Seed-to-Loaf Approach to Real Breads by Thom Leonard.

This guy Thom is very hard-core. He basically describes how to source out good seeds, grow your own patch of wheat, mill it yourself, and make your own sourdough bread! I was impressed :-) Now this book is out of print and consequently very expensive.

Back to the web:

This recipe sounds good: Black Bean and Chipotle Bread
(from Sourdough Home: "A Exploration of Sourdough")

~ more on bread later!


Panforte cross-section
a chocolate version of the famous Italian fruitcake: Panforte

Yes - it's the holiday season. I've been busy making super-rich frighteningly tasty treats including my own version of the amazing sweet/spicy/chewy/bitter/nutty Italian cake/confection panforte (aka Sienna cake).

Some inspiring recipes for panforte:

I've read slightly different historical accounts of panforte - here's the Wikipedia's most recent write-up:

"Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert containing fruits and nuts, and resembling fruitcake or Lebkuchen. It may date back to 13th century Siena, in Italy's Tuscany region. Documents from 1205 show that Panforte was paid to the monks and nuns of a local monastery as a tax or tithe which was due on the seventh of February that year. Literally, Panforte means "strong bread" which refers to the spicy flavour. The original name of Panforte was "panpepato" (pepper bread), due to the strong pepper used in the cake. There are references to the Crusaders carrying Panforte, a durable confection, with them on their quests."

Currently there are many shops in Italy producing Panforte, each recipe being their jealously guarded interpretation of the original confection and packaged in distinctive wrapping. Usually a small wedge is served with coffee or a dessert wine after a meal, though some enjoy it with their coffee at breakfast."

(more history here)

ps - panforte is really really sweet so consume in moderation ;-)

Panforte discovery

In my search for an amazing fruitcake recipe, I came across panforte. Panforte, or "strong bread" is like the Italian version of fruitcake: very rich and full of nuts, honey, spices, citrus peel - more like a confection than cake.

lovely little poppy-seeds

lovely little poppyseeds

I definitely have a thing for poppy-seeds. They taste great, look cool, and seem help me relax when I eat a lot of them... not sure why ;-)

These famous/infamous little seeds seem to pop up around the winter season in traditional Eastern European foods. One dish that I've had the pleasure of eating is Kutya (also Kutia): a traditional sweet Ukrainian (and Russian, Eastern Orthodox) dish eaten on Christmas Eve for good luck and fertility. It's basically cooked wheat with honey, ground poppy-seeds, nuts, and sometimes dried fruit. It's so tasty and satisfying that I crave it year-round!

Recipes: KUTYA, Ukrainian Christmas Kutya ( Kutia)
And here's a Lithuanian recipe for Poppy-Seed Milk (dairy-free!)




In case you're interested in knowing more about quinoa, a fabulous high-protein gluten-free "grain"(actually it's a "pseudograin" as it's not a grass), there's a nice little write-up on it here: A nutty, gluten-free alternative to grains - by Brenda Farrell

(More on quinoa in the Wikipedia - and some interesting recipes.)

An Attainable Dream: Miso Cookies!

I was just eating some brown rice and flax crackers with some sweet white miso and peanut-butter - and had a though: peanut-butter miso cookies would be great! (So would miso cookies...)

I did a search and, not surprisingly, found a nice-looking recipe from Shinmeido Miso: Peanut Butter and Miso Cookies. Haven't tried it out yet - sounds yummy - though I'm already envisioning a version with less sugar and more miso :-)

There's a recipe for "Miso Cookies" at Marukome, and other japanese recipes can be found online. As well, there's a blog post in Obachan's Kitchen and kinkistyle on this topic... and that's about all there is on miso cookies right now - in English anyways ;-)

UPDATE: Here's my recipe! Ginger Miso Peanut Butter Cookies