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look what i found...

2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
up to 1/4 cup vegetable or nut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. Toast until the skins are almost black and the meat is dark brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through baking so ensure an even color.

Since the skin is bitter, you’ll want to discard them. Wrap the cooled hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel or paper towl, and rub until most of the skins have come off. Don’t fret if you can’t get off all the skins.

Process nuts in a food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until they have liquefied, about 5 minutes. At first, you will get coarsely chopped nuts, and then it will turn into a fine meal. After a little while, the nuts will form a ball around the blade, and it will seem like you only have a solid mass. Keep processing. The heat and friction will extract the natural oils, and you will get hazelnut butter!

When the nuts are liquidized, add in the sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Slowly drizzle in enough oil to make a spreadable consistency. Since the mixture is warm, it will be more liquidy now than at room temperature.

Transfer the spread to an airtight container, and store refrigerated for up to 1 month. For best results, stir the Nutella before using.


* Do use whole raw nuts, and toast them yourself to intensify the nut flavor. Pre-toasted or pre-chopped nuts are often spoiled.
* To further intensify the nut flavor, use unrefined nut oil, which is tan in color. Refined nut oils have the color and flavor removed. Peanut oil is especially cheap in Chinese supermarkets. I bought 20 ounces for $2.38! There’s a lesson here: if you’re looking for an "gourmet" ingredient, try an ethnic market. People wouldn’t dare pay an arm and a leg for something that’s a cooking staple. American supermarkets mark up the price of tofu, rice flour (for the gluten-intolerant or the culinarily curious) or seaweed all in the name of health, but in a Chinese market, these things cost less than a loaf of bread.
* To make any standard nut butter, use this procedure but omit the powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla and extra oil. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp granulated sugar. Try making your own cashew butter: you may never go back to peanut butter again!
Oh my goodness, Dr. Pepper.



Pepper, honey, you are amazing. Now all we need is a crepe recipe.

I'd use hazelnut oil instead of peanut oil, absolutely. I don't care if it's costlier--the point of making food like this is that you can make it taste so much better than the commercial stuff! So hazelnut oil it is, for me. I'd probably go that extra mile with the vanilla, too: scrape out the pod for the flavour, or at least get good, pure vanilla extract. And the best cocoa out there. Pepper, no one needed this recipe: now it's all we're going to eat for next few weeks, watch.

You know, I've had a food processor sitting unused on the top of my fridge for over 2 years. I have never felt like I needed to use it, I've actually always stopped myself with the logic that cleaning that thing would make a quick job into a far too lengthy one. Suddenly I must make pie dough, and I need to make that nutella.

ETA Cashew butter? That food processor is going to be put through hell now.
Uh....amazing. *bows before the mighty pepper*

OMG, I am definitely going to stop at whole foods on my way home and get some hazelnuts and powdered sugar. I have some lonely G&B's cocoa powder in the pantry just waiting to be put into service. This is just totally brilliant!

Pepper, you made this wet, dreary day a whole lot brighter! *swoons at the thought of homeade nutella*
ha ha ha ha ha!! i RULE!!!!

crepes: (add nutella to that sauce, i dare ya!!)


* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 cup milk
* 3 tablespoons butter, melted
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/4 cup half-and-half cream
* 6 bananas, halved lengthwise
* 1 1/2 cups whipped heavy cream
* 1 pinch ground cinnamon


1. Sift flour and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Add eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth.
2. Heat a lightly greased 6 inch skillet. Add about 3 tablespoons batter. Tilt skillet so that batter spreads to almost cover the bottom of skillet. Cook until lightly browned; turn and brown the other side. Repeat process with remaining batter, grease skillet as needed.
3. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet. Stir in brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in cream and cook until slightly thickened. Add half the bananas at a time to skillet; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, spooning sauce over them. Remove from heat.
4. Roll a crepe around each banana half and place on serving platter. Spoon sauce over crepes. Top with whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon.

join me in the debauchery, won't you? i feel assess growing fatter all around me *evil laughter*.

food processors are amazing for salsa and guac. make the salsa first and just a quick rinse before tha avo. make enough to store some in the fridge for later. so quick and easy.
*throw the pit back into the guac, it keeps it fresher. also, store guac in a tall narrow container, cover the top with saran (press it right onto the guac), only a small bit will turn brownish (scrape it off, it's funky tasting).
I went to Asian stores with the same idea--staples in Asian cooking can't be as expensive there as in a common supermarket--but found peanut oil just as costly there.

I was thinking that hazelnut oil would totally be worth it, too.

And I can use organic ingredients and fair trade cocoa. I think that means I HAVE to make some, doesn't it? In the interests of socially conscious living, of course.
Oh yes, Anoushh, definitely!
Oh, Anoushh, your fair trade cocoa will be put to its highest purpose. I priced the hazelnut oil, it's, like, $13. I'm buying it. One tin ought to make gallons of Nutella.

As for asses getting fatter: Nutella is Italy's war-time desperation substitute for chocolate. Even when they got chocolate back, they wouldn't part with it. It was what we ate in our house instead of peanut butter (though, when my mother "discovered" that, we were never without either again). The French have been using Nutella to fill crepes since...well, for a long time.

Those nice Italian and French food hoovering people do not have fat asses, and at 70 years of age they're out smoking their post-crepe gitanes while pedalling home in the rush hour traffic.

I'm not going to worry...I'm just gonna warm up the crepe pan.
nice justification chacha. pass the syrup, would you? it will go prefectly with my coffee, butter and cream laden pastry and this here glass of wine. ah, i do so love being la french. nothing can make my ass fat. nothing! *more evil laughter*
because it's true you know. i never gain an ounce. my ass is still small. lumpy but small.
turboman and I agreed...there will definitely be nutella making this weekend!

And, in other news, I got *the most* delicious red plums ever in my produce box this week. I don't know what makes them so special, but there's perfumey mystery in the skin, and the flesh has an almost d'anjou pear flavor....mmmm.....I think I may have to take a walk back to the shop tomorrow to pick up a few more.
Plums have always been so overlooked, but they're really amazing, aren't they? My favourites are the damsons and the blue italian plums--and their perfume is part of the whole pleasure. They are one of my favourite fresh fruits, and I love them baked, too.

Pepper, my ass has had several different lives, I think--and I delude myself that they've all been separate from my svelte, shapely, and chic internal life. But I'm currently in the process of physically bringing it back down to a smaller size, and the process does include "the good stuff". I don't want to go on without wine and real food, I've decided. I've "changed my mind", and now I'll see if my ass will follow. So to speak.

ok..I know I am going to get fatter just by stepping in here. I'm blaming Bunny, she sent me for a nutella recipie.
hmph, I did not start the nutella talk way back when ... maybe doodle? tongue.gif there are so many good nutella recipes but the wontons combine nutella with MARSHMALLOWS. Mmmm, so could this:

Hot Nutella Cocoa

Boil water in teapot.

Using a 12 ounce mug, scoop out approximately two tablespoons of Nutella from its jar. This is the tricky and sticky part. Use your fingers to get all the Nutella in the mug.

Heat 8 ounces of milk in a microwave until hot, but not boiling.

Pour about one third cup of boiling water into the mug. Stir very well as the Nutella does not melt easily. Add the very hot milk to the mug and continue stirring until all is blended. ADD MARSHMALLOWS (for a bunnyb nutella cocoa).
Just a bit of warning to those of you in the States: E Coli outbreak linked to bagged spinach

Going to make nutella wontons this weekend with McCrush. We're going to try out one of Alton Brown's recipes... yay! I don't think boy has ever tried Nutella.... smile.gif

Chocolate and hot boy...mmmm....

Uh, I just have to say...that I made the homeade nutella recipe that pepper posted in the trolls thread this is *amazing!* Better than anything I've had in a jar!

And I just made a few of the nutella marshmallow wontons - magic! I am so excited that I can take my nutella obession to new geeky levels!!
yeah!! that is so happy exciting. wontons coming up...
I think I could eat Nutella a squares of cardboard. I scoop it out with my fingers sometimes and lick it off. I'm that lazy.
Recently at work I've been making a little pastry I call Hazelnut Bombs. It's a cupcake made with hazelnut flour, filled with soft ganache and topped with whipped ganache and a candied hazelnut.
Well, I was making the candied hazelnuts and so I toasted them and was rubbing the little bastards in the towel and cursing the day I thought that candied hazelnuts sounded good when my Pastry Partner told me she always puts the nuts in a colendar and rubs them against the metal. It scrapes off the skin and then the skin falls through the holes so you don't have hazelnut skin everywhere and when the nuts are clean, you can grab handfuls of them rather than picking them out of the towel one by one.
Zora baby, send me some. Hot damn, those sound amazing.... can you tell I'm PMSing!! Ha.
I don't know if "amazing" covers it! Except I can't think of a word for just how good that sounds....
We've been calling them "H-Bombs" for short. Don't know if that is pollitically correct, but neither are the exclamations people make when they eat them.
I have a good pastry story. My pastry partner pullled some eclair shells out of the freezer, let them thaw and filled and topped them. She then ate one and asked me to give her my opinion. The shells were super-soft and not crispy like they should be. So then our bakery clerk tried one as well. Somehow we ate the whole tray. It was like, sixteen mini eclairs divided between three people. I managed to stuff two in my mouth and clerkie managed to cram three in her mouth. We had pastry cream and chocolate all over our faces. We laughed about how they were too soft to sell so we just ate them all.
You were obviously doing your part to protect your customers! smile.gif

It's very noble of you. My kind of person.

I'm still fantasizing about those h-bomb things. Hazelnuts and chocolate may be the best thing in the entire world.
Zora, I love it when you talk about work.

I made pesto last night and cursed myself for not making it all summer long. Bright green, garlicy, and just perfection.
Pesto--food of the gods.

Ok, it's my mother's birthday and I'd like to make something, but I"m a bit stumped as to what. (I'm thinking a cake or something.)

My main criteria at the moment, besides it being good, is that it doesn't require me to stand up for a huge amount of time. (The next 7 or so weeks feel like they are going to be loooooonnnnnnggggggg.......)
hey, this is really more of a general knowledge question but i thought i'd pose it here too:

say someone accidentally put very hard frozen ice cream in the refrigerator after eating it one evening, and left it in the fridge for about 36 hours before realizing they'd put it in the wrong place. would the ice cream still be ok to eat, consistency issues aside? i mean, does ice cream have to stay below a certain temp for any other reason than "to be ice cream"?

please say it's ok. i put an entire thing of cookies and creme hagen daz in the fridge the other night and i reallllllly want to be able to eat it... i don't really want to die from eating it.
It's not going to be spoiled, just melted.

that's what i was thinking, hence putting it back in the freezer.

It won't freeze to ice cream constancy though, I'm afraid. It will probably be one big icy mess. It needs the movement like in an ice cream maker to make it nice and creamy.

so, i'm looking for a very good chocolate icing recipe. i also want to have a berry filling of some sort between the layers of cake i'm making, but i'm trying to figure out if i can do something more than just spread jam on the cake. any suggestions?
I'm making this for Le Boy's family's mini-reunion this weekend. I've never made it before, so I hope it's good. I think I'll double it, though- his family are cheese fanatics. Think I should serve it with chunks of Italian bread?

Salsa di Parmigiano
Recipe courtesy of Michael Chiarello, Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 4 hours
Yield: 2 1/2 cups

1/2 pound Parmesan, not too dry
1/2 pound Asiago cheese, not too dry
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Remove any rind from the cheeses and chop the cheeses into rough 1-inch chunks. Place the cheese in a food processor with the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and pulse until reduced to the size of fine pea gravel. Stir in the green onion, olive oil and black pepper and pulse again. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 4 hours before using.

I decorate cakes. This is my personal favorite chocolate icing recipe. It's one I've "tweaked" over the years. (I'm old.) It seriously helps if you have a great mixer, like a Kitchenaid stand mixer. But it's definitely not a requirement! cool.gif

This is enough to frost either a two layer cake, or one 13x9 very nicely.

Chocolate Decorator's Buttercream

Serves/Yields: 3 1/2 cups
Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time:
Category: Frostings
Difficulty: Easy

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 T. light corn syrup
1 lb. Domino powdered sugar
2-4 T. lowfat milk

Place butter in mixer with paddle attachment. Beat for about 2 minutes until very creamy. Melt chocolate in microwave or over double boiler. Stir in corn syrup. Add chocolate mixture to mixer bowl, and process for about a minute, on low speed, until butter and chocolate are mixed well. Speed up mixer to 4 and add powdered sugar slowly. When fully incorporated, stop mixer and scrape bowl. Whip frosting again, and add milk until of desired consistency. You may or may not need to use all of the milk, depending on humidity.

I just made the *best* fall dinner, ever. I picked up my produce box at the grocery this afternoon, and it had an *awesome* selection of veg in I made a morrocan veg stew with onion, garlic, red pepper, green pepper, fennel, zuchini, fresh sweet corn, a can of tomatoes, fresh sweet corn, and seasoned with coriander, cinnamon and fennel seed. And then I roasted up an acorn squash to go with it. SO yummy!!

thanks, quietmadness. the cake was perfect, and that was much better than any chocolate icing i've ever invented whilst baking.

...though now i'm in charge of making everyone birthday cakes. that's what i get for making things so tasty tongue.gif
I made the dip I mentioned below. I doubled the recipe, and it turned out very strong. I love garlic, cheese and olive oil as much as anyone, but this was really bite-y. It may be because the proportions got wonky after I doubled it. Anyway, I added a can of chick peas to mellow it out a little and I think it helped without making it totally bland. The party's this afternoon, so I hope everyone like it. I think I'm going to save some for myself to slather on some chicken breasts and bake them- yum!!

I also made an apricot honey cake for Rosh Hashana last night. Despite the edges being burnt, it tasted really good. Here's the recipe. I only used unbleached AP flour, I used port instead of rum as one of the commenters suggested and I cooked it in a 8 x 11 glass baking pan (I think it was 8x11- not quite the full 9x13.) Oh, and I used slivered almonds on top and left out the orange rind/juice because I don't like orange flavored things. It was very dense, but tasty.

ETA: Here's a story from NPR about proper cleaning of fruits and veggies. Informative and interesting.
QUOTE(turbojenn @ Sep 19 2006, 09:08 PM) *

I just made the *best* fall dinner, ever. I picked up my produce box at the grocery this afternoon, and it had an *awesome* selection of veg in I made a morrocan veg stew with onion, garlic, red pepper, green pepper, fennel, zuchini, fresh sweet corn, a can of tomatoes, fresh sweet corn, and seasoned with coriander, cinnamon and fennel seed. And then I roasted up an acorn squash to go with it. SO yummy!!


I am so jealous of this dinner. I want it. Now. *sigh*
i was naughty and went out to dinner in little italy (to a place risala rec'd!) and mmmmmmm it was soooooo good but the check? was more than anything i had in new orleans! granted, there, i was sharing wine bottles instead of buying it by the bottle...

anyway, my meal:
* the water: regular tap water, with a slice of lemon
* the wine: scratchbook's pinot noir. times two. and had i know i would drink two glasses? i would have just bought the friggin bottle.
* the soup: lobster bisque with a drizzle of sherry on top.
* the bread: a ciabatta, with some flavored olive oil for dipping.
* the salad: a chopped salad (cukes, lettuce, onion, tomato, olives) with a house oil and vinegar-based dressing and parmasean. i added some pepper to it...
* the main dish: a full rack of lamb chops, some sort of wine reduction sauce, roasted garlic smashed potatoes, and sauteed green beans
* the dessert: warm chocolate tort with the oozy fudgey insides, some sort of chocolatey sauce, vanilla bean gelato, and creme anglais
* the after-dinner drink: espresso

it was soooooooooooooooo good. so so so good.
4 hours later, i'm still stuffed. i should have passed on the dessert, but the chocolate caaaalled to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...
q - you're in italy???!!! How did I miss that memo? Call me jealous! And that dinner sounds yummmm.....*drools*

I think I'm going to make that veg stew again this week....its so good, fast, and simple.

But tonight...its mushroom risotto for dinner, with a side of acorn squash...I'm looking forward to it already! AND, I bought some organic/grassfed butter at the farmers market yesterday - and I have no allergic response whatsoever! So, I'll fold a little of that in at the end.
i bought a chocolate almond tart from trader joe's. we ate some of it for a party, but half is left over. do you think i could freeze the rest? the crust is really thin, and the consistency of the tart is just slightly drier than a flourless chocolate cake. the almonds are sliced and on top. if i can freeze it, how should i wrap it?
I think you could freeze the tart. I'd wrap it well though to be sure the cold air doesn't "burn" it. It should be fine as long as you don't leave it in there too long.

I think it's fabulous the butter caused no reaction. Hope you enjoy it, turbojenn!
QUOTE(turbojenn @ Sep 24 2006, 10:19 AM) *

q - you're in italy???!!! How did I miss that memo? Call me jealous! And that dinner sounds yummmm.....*drools*

eeeee no, i left off the word 'little' in there - HA! it was quite delicious, though.
QUOTE(quantumspice @ Sep 24 2006, 10:10 PM) *

eeeee no, i left off the word 'little' in there - HA! it was quite delicious, though.

Yesterday I had this incredibly unusual but extremely good walnut pie. It was almost like a pecan pie, with a shortbread crust and a kind of butter tart filling.

I'm obsessing about it, because I bought it in a bakery in Toronto and it's really out of my way (guaranteeing that everytime I make the trip there to pick one up it will not be available).

I must learn that recipe. Or any recipe for a walnut pie. Anyone got one?
OMG. My house smells so good. Here's what I'm's going to be gifts this Fall to celebrate the season.

Not your Grandma's Apple Pie

1 gallon apple juice
1/2 gallon apple cider
5-6 cinnamon sticks
1 liter of Everclear

Simmer the apple juice, cider, and cinnamon for two hours to reduce. Let cool. Add the everclear.

I'm in the simmering stage right now...yum.

This needs to be refrigerated or it will mold. And it's DEADLY..because you can't taste the alcohol.

It tastes just like apple pie without the crust.
treehugger- that sounds absolutely delicious! What a nice gift to give. I bought my supply of yummy fall drinks today, apple cider, chai tea... mmmm I also stopped for a maple frappucino on my way, oh how I love fall!
I need some barefoot bustie advice:

Several of my classmates are starting a "rotating dinner party" club. The idea is that you make and then eat dinner with 7 of your classmates (the groups are randomly selected from the club members, but it's a pretty small program, so we all know each other). Your group and location is different each time.

Well, we're having the first of these dinners this week, and it's not at my house, but I've volunteered to come up with good autumn recipes to cook. It has to be mostly vegetarian (seafood's ok) because one person is allergic to chicken (really!) and one doesn't eat beef.

I would like to make use of some of the very intriguing fall specialties I've been seeing in the farmer's markets (root veggies, spices, heirloom tomatoes, etc.).

Here are the options I've thought of so far. They all seem good but none really holds a meal together:
- Pasta with fresh pesto (to use all the basil in my fridge) and shrimp
- Pasta with roasted veggies (bell peppers, asparagus, and eggplant) and grated parmesan cheese.
- Sliced heirloom tomatoes with sea salt and goat cheese.
- Roasted root veggies (sweet potatoes, squash, turnips)
- Apple or sweet potato pie, if there's time

Any other suggestions? What are your favorite elegant but easy to cook autumn recipes?
How about some roasted butternut squash risotto? I roast up the cubed squash with garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt pepper and olive oil - roast for an hour, until soft and a little carmelized. about 2 cups of the squash in a blender, you may need to add a little broth.

Then, make up a regular risotto recipe - using the widest, biggest, non-stick skillet you have. Have your broth heated on another burner - about 1 of the broth brick packages per cup of the dried aborio rice. Saute some shallots and garlic in olive oil, add the rice and toast for a couple minutes, then deglaze the pan with about a cup of white wine. Once the wine is mostly absorbed, begin adding your broth about a half cup at a time, stirring as you go, and adding more liquid when the last ladel full is mostly absorbed, and season with salt as you go as well. When the rice is allllmost done, stir in your squash puree, a little butter or oil and serve!

For garnishes, you can fry some sage leaves in oil so that they're nice and crisp - or when you roast the squash, you can chop some up into smaller pieces so that they get nice and caramelized and reserve those and add into the risotto at the last minute. A little pork sausage is also delightful on top, for the non-veggies in the bunch... I wish I had some squash in the house!
Will using regular cocoa powder in a recipe that calls for Dutch-process cocoa powder cause a problem?

ETA: Nevermind- I found out it will react with the baking soda and counteracting that can be difficult and unpredictable. Damn. I hope my local Eastern European-centric grocery store will have Dutch-process cocoa powder. Otherwise I'll have to step foot in the big chain grocery store.
I made this chocolate cake last night for my mom's birthday and it was soooo worth the trip to the chain grocery store for that Dutch-Processed cocoa. It was one of the most moist cakes I've ever had. I added extra cinnamon and the flavor was perfect- a real chocolatey flavor, withoout being super sweet or overly rich. The "glaze" was interesting- maybe I had too many nuts (not really possible, IMO), but it was more like a layer of chocolate coated nuts on top of the cake- it didn't harden, but it didn't run down the sides or anything. And for being made from scratch, it wasn't very difficult or time-consuming.
Sounds wonderful!

For some reason I couldn't remember the difference b/w dutch process cocoa and not when you first asked, but your description of the cake reminded me--it is supposed to create a flavor that is milder and less bitter.

Out of curiousity I've now looked it up and the joy of baking site also has a whole bunch of interesting stuff, including the need for baking soda for dutch process, but not the regular.

Ok, I've just spent 15 minute or so looking at that web site. Everything looks sooooo good.

I'm going to try the apple scone cake, I think. Yummy.
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