Cook in the Moment: Rose Water Scented Couscous with Citrus, Yogurt, and Almonds

Rose Water Scented Couscous with Citrus, Yogurt, and Almonds (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

It’s 6:00 am. I can hear my husband’s alarm softly ringing from his cell phone on the bedside table. My eyes open, and I’m startled by a wet nose in my face. Minnie, our daschund, is asleep between us, blissfully unaware that it’s Monday. The sun has yet to rise, and after my husband silences the alarm we both shut our eyes for a few minutes more.

The alarm goes off again, this time more urgently. My husband springs from the bed, breaking free from a deep sleep. The dog groans and boroughs further into the covers. I stumble out of bed and into the bathroom. Splashing water on my face washes the sleep from my eyes, along with fragile memories of last night’s dreams. I scurry into the kitchen to make breakfast, ears perked, taking note of where he’s at in the getting ready for work process. The sound of running water in the bathroom sink lets me know he’s shaving, I have plenty of time.

. READ MORE...

10 Ways Tuesday: Rose




I’ve got creative ideas for cooking with rosewater and dried rosebuds in winter:



1.  Rosewater Madeleines

Madeleines are miniature French sponge cakes, baked in a cute little sea shell shape. They are dainty and sweet, a simple “cookie” made with butter, sugar, and eggs that lends itself to endless variations from lemon to chocolate, or even a hint of rosewater. The delicate perfume of rose can really be appreciated in madeleines, and Martha Stewart adds her special touch with a sprinkling of pink sanding sugar to decorate the cookies just as they come out of the oven. I found a couple of different approaches to baking rosewater madeleines: Martha bakes the cookies plain, then brushes them with rosewater syrup once cooked, while Nigella Lawson incorporates the rose water into the madeleine batter in her recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess.

. READ MORE...

Ingredient of the Week: Rose

Rosebuds & Rose Water (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

You may be hoping to receive a delivery this Valentine’s day, a dozen crimson roses surrounded by baby’s breath, perfuming the house or your office cubicle with their floral aroma. Here at la Domestique, I’m looking forward to cooking with roses all week, savoring the heady fragrance of brittle, dried rosebuds in spice blends and adding delicate rose water to fruit salads, pastries, and cocktails. Cooking with preserved rose essence brings spring into the winter pantry, battling the blues we feel during this time of year when fresh produce is difficult to find. Though using roses in the kitchen may seem bizarre, dried rose blossoms and rose water are a pantry staple in the Middle East and Northern India. It’s all about balance, though, and a heavy hand with this ingredient can easily overpower. Dried rosebuds are used in spice blends to balance floral and savory, spicy and calm, bitter and sweet. The musky aroma of dried rosebuds adds depth and intrigue to spice blends used in meaty stews, couscous dishes, and curries. Rose water, milder than orange flower water, is subtle, yet luxurious, in puddings, sorbets, cakes, and cookies.

. READ MORE...

Cook in the Moment: Boca Negra, a Chocolate Chipotle Cake

Boca Negra (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

Each week I contribute an article to the Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder website expanding on one of the 10 Ways Tuesday ideas. This week I cooked and photographed a recipe for Boca Negra. For the full article, click on the icon below.

The name says it all- Boca Negra means black mouth in English, and it’s impossible to sneak a piece of this cake without anyone knowing. Your sticky fingers will leave smudged chocolate prints on the fridge door, and even after wiping your lips clean a tiny piece of evidence will linger on the corner of your mouth- not to mention the satisfied smile that will certainly tip off anyone who knows you well. Boca Negra is a rich, fudge-like cake infused with the flavor of smokey dried chipotle chiles. This recipe comes from Fany Gerson’s book, My Sweet Mexico, a heartfelt collection of traditional Mexican desserts and sweet treats. The book has a noble mission, manifest in Fany’s commitment to traveling Mexico in search of recipes passed down through generations orally, recipes at the brink of extinction as modern cuisine carries on without them. Fany was born and raised in Mexico, but here career as a pastry chef has taken her around the world. She writes of family matriarchs carefully guarding their treasured recipes, willing to “go to their grave with them rather than share.” Motivated by her desire to preserve these meaningful traditions, Fany spent time with people, earning their trust, and wrote a book that is much more than a collection of indulgent desserts. My Sweet Mexico is a history book, a dictionary of traditional Mexican ingredients, a map, a lesson in pastry technique, and a heartfelt trove of stories. Boca Negra is the very last recipe in the My Sweet Mexico, and Fany writes that this cake is one of her proudest creations. After baking it, I can see why.

. READ MORE...

10 Ways Tuesday: Dried Chiles

Dried Chili Peppers (c)2012 LaDomestique.com



I’ve got creative ideas for cooking with dried chiles during winter:



1.  Chocolate Dessert

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to cook something special with chocolate and chile. Later this week at la Domestique, you’ll find a recipe for Boca Negra (chocolate cake with dried chipotle chiles) I discovered in the book, My Sweet Mexico, by Fany Gerson. It’s a simple semisweet chocolate cake with citrus notes from orange and the fruity dried chipotle. Achingly rich and moist, like a flour-less chocolate cake (only 1 1/2 tablespoons flour), Boca Negra refers to the black mouth you will have when you’re covered in chocolate after eating the cake. I also found a recipe for Chile Chocolate Almond Bark with Salt Crystals in Salted by Mark Bitterman that’s vegan friendly. Melted dark chocolate (70% cacao) is melted with dried Thai bird chiles or piquín chiles and poured over toasted almonds. A sprinkling of flour de del is the finishing touch.

. READ MORE...