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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dreaming Up Deliciously Dimunitive Dessserts

Guest Blogger: Chris Manganaro We often find ourselves fixated with the size of many things in our lives. From our cars and homes to who got the larger piece of cake, everyone always wants to have the bigger piece of the pie in life. What we do not often consider is the idea that good things come in small packages. Due to the fact that people often dismiss this perspective, we sometimes miss out on what really matters. It all comes down to greed. This applies just as easily to dessert, which is something that some people cannot get enough of. They want to have their cake and eat it too. Well, with a recipe like Piecaken from Christy Beaver and Morgan Greenseth's book, Petite Treats, you can do just that. Greenseth and Beaver both show an understanding of the might behind miniature things. Their cookbook, as well as the business which sparked it, were formed on the basis of this thought. The desserts in this book may be small, but they pack a powerful punch both in flavor and presentation. By presenting so much to the senses in such a compact way, the book and desserts speak volumes in their own tiny voice. The book itself is small in comparison to other cookbooks, but not so small as to be impractical. The words are still easy to read and the pictures included are good quality. Another bright side to its smaller size is the fact that there is less white space on the pages, making the book feel full. The use of pictures which relate to the recipe at hand also help to fill the white void without overwhelming the reader. This is all done to compliment the size and enhance the readers experience. Speaking of enhancing the experience, there are side bars on most of the recipes which are labeled as "sweet tips" and are there to assist the readers baking needs. In some cases these tips are rather necessary while other times they are partially silly, pushing the reader not to waste anything. Due to the brevity and wit of the boxed words, they come off merely as gentle prodding and clarification. They are but another part of the books charm. One should have no trouble navigating their way through the recipes in this cookbook. It is split into simply defined sections with an easy to navigate table of contents. The little blurb between sections shows off the writing style and mood of the authors quite well. This is a book written for everyone from hobby bakers to vegans, who will find many recipes that can be altered for them. You do not need to be a seasoned veteran of the kitchen to use this book. Everything is laid out concisely, but also with enough detail that anyone should be able to prepare these desserts. The only downside would be the fact that the book does not have an equipment guide, but this is easily remedied as long as you read through a recipe first as the necessary equipment is mentioned within them. Not everyone's kitchen contains mini scone and whoopie pie pans after all. In the end,there are no small cooks, just petite treats! For more great recipes and culinary travel join 100,000 worldwide subscribers at Get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays &Special Occasions-2nd edition How to Make Gluten Free Amaretti Cookies (The Basic Art of Italian Cooking)

Moroccan Tajines

Guest Blogger: Renata Toth To continue with another typical Moroccan dish, I’d suggest choosing a delicious tajine. Tajines are those pyramid-shaped cooking pots Moroccans use for cooking. The specialty of this is that all the ingredients are added one another, allowing for the different cooking times, and then basically cooked together, which gives an extraordinary mixture of all the flavours, the outcome of which will be a full and tasteful meal. In case you do not have this tajine, you can just as well cook it in a pot. A meat and fruit tajine would just do nicely after this thick soup. You’ll need the following: 1 middle-sized onion approx 4 cl oil 1 kg meat, mostly beef is used 2 cinnamon sticks, or ground cinnamon ½ tsp ginger salt and pepper 1 litre of water a little bit of powdered cinnamon, if you have been using sticks above 4 sp honey 200 gr dried peaches 250 gr pineapple, cut in small dices 250 gr pears cut in small dices 100 gr butter 5 sp sugar 2 bananas 100 gr breadcrumbs First, in a pot, put together the onion cut into thin pieces, the oil, meat, 1 cinnamon stick (or a little powdered cinnamon), salt and pepper, ginger and the powdered cinnamon (in case you used sticks above). Mix it well until the meat is browned, then add water, cover and cook for 35 minutes approximately. Afterwards, add the honey and let it cook for a little while, but keep some sauce. While the meat is cooking, wash and peel the peaches, and cook for 10 minutes. Then, drain them and mix in the mixer. Put the pineapple cubes and pear pieces in a pan with a small amount of butter, add the sugar and the other cinnamon stick, and let it cook until the juice evaporates completely and the fruits are slightly caramelised. Peel the bananas, cut them in circles. Melt butter in a pan. Cover every pieces of banana with breadcrumbs and fry them on both sides in the butter. Serve the meat on a plate and surround it with the fruits and the peach sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. To accompany this dish, prepare a nice fruit juice! For example, take half a kilo of strawberries, sugar according to your taste, ice cubes and half a litre of orange juice, mix them together in the blender and serve in long glasses! To be stylish, you can dip the glasses into sugar as well and maybe add a little umbrella as decoration! For more recipes visit Get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition

A Taste of Harira..

By Guest Blogger: Renata Toth Ramadan night dishes are usually heavier than an everyday lunch, given that the whole day’s calorie consumption has to be covered with one meal. Yet, this one meal includes several dishes from the dense soup to the nuts, sweets and fruits coming for dessert. Probably the Moroccan harira and couscous are the most widely known dishes preferred during Ramadan, given their richness that fills the stomach easily. Harira itself is most often associated with Ramadan. To make this soup, you will need the following ingredients: 100 gr chickpeas 100 gr lentils 200 gr soft meat cut in small pieces 100 gr onion cut in small pieces 4 sp oil 100 gr chopped celery 500 gr chopped tomatoes salt black pepper 1 tsp powdered ginger a little bit of saffron 1 cinnamon stick or a small amount of ground cinnamon 2 litres of water 1,5 sp tomato puree around 100 gr ground coriander and parsley First you’ll have to soften the lentils and the chickpeas in water for a whole night -so begin the night before. In a pot, put together the chickpeas, lentil, the oil,the onion and the celery, and cook on medium fire until the meat gets a nice golden color. Then, add the chopped tomatoes and the salt, pepper, ginger, saffron and the cinnamon. Pour water over the mix and boil until the meat and the chickpeas are well cooked. Using a pressure-cooker would significantly diminish the cooking time of this dish. Then when the meat is ready, take out he cinnamon stick if you used one. Add the tomato puree, coriander and parsley, and cook on medium fire for another 15 minutes. Serve hot.. for more recipes and foodie info visit and get your
copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition