Category Archives: American

Hazelnut Sandies

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Growing up in Singapore, hazelnuts looked like a jar of Nutella.  I would plunge my biggest spoon into this chocolate pool of heaven and devour it like a monster child.  Now that I am an adult, live in LA and know what real hazelnuts look and taste like it has become a favorite.  This recipe is my hazelnut version of Ina Garten’s pecan sandies.  Her use of turbinado sugar was genius because it gave the cookies a nice crunch.  I cut out a few steps in my modification to reduce the “UR”, utensils required.  Resting the dough overnight is an added step to help the flour absorb moisture, resulting in a firmer cookie.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup of hazelnuts
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar
  • 3 tsp of pure vanilla extract

Steps:

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toast 1 cup of hazelnuts in toaster oven for around 5 – 10 mins.
  3. Remove skin from hazelnuts.
  4. Place cooled hazelnuts and 1/4 cup of flour into food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground.  Do not process until oil separates from nuts.
  5. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour, salt and baking powder. Pulse 5-8 times to combine.
  6. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow.
  7. Reduce speed to low, slowly add vanilla and flour mixture.  Mix until dough combines.
  8. Empty dough onto a sheet of parchment paper.  Roll into a log, wrap and place in fridge overnight to rest.
  9. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cut dough log into half inch slices and place pieces one inch apart on baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 20 – 25 mins until the edges turn golden brown.
  11. Cool for 20 mins.  Do not touch until cookies have cooled completely.

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Cook’s Notes:

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The cookie is delicious as is.  But if you want a more decorative look try placing a chocolate kiss or hazelnut on each cookie.  Using enough salt in the dough is necessary to bring out the flavor of the hazelnuts.  Another option is to sprinkle flakes of Maldon sea salt on the cookies.  This enhances the flavor of the hazelnuts and creates an unexpected twist.

Brie Brulee with Fig Jam on Toast

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I grew up on white bread toasted with Kraft cheese singles and a dollop of ketchup for sweetness.  I would eagerly wait for the cheese to bubble up in the toaster oven and puff into a bronzed dome.  Brie brulee is my gourmet take on this childhood favorite.  The blow torch further caramelizes the  melted cheese to add a smoky flavor.  Fig jam adds sweetness in this very classic pairing.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 half inch slices of brie, enough to cover a piece of toast
  • 1 tsp fig jam
  • 1 slice whole grain bread

Steps:

  1. Spread fig jam on sliced bread
  2. Lay brie over bread
  3. Toast for 5 mins until cheese has melted but bread not burnt
  4. Using a blow torch run flame quickly over cheese to caramelize
  5. Serve immediately

Spelt Berry Corn Salad with Coriander Lemon Dressing

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People in Los Angeles do not diet, they cleanse.  In West LA, we are either caught massaging our kale or juicing some vegetation sprouted from ionized water.  Monsanto is the devil and white rice arsenic.  Everyone has at least one to two high protein/high fiber salad tucked solidly under their belt.  Fearing for my woefully clogged chakras, I came up with this recipe last summer when fresh sweet corn was in season.  I love corn thus may be biased with my oversized corn ration.

Ingredients:

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  • 3 cups fresh corn
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked spelt berries
  • 1 1/2 cup diced japanese cucumbers
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped italian parsley
  • 1 Tbsp ground toasted coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Steps:

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  1. Toast pumpkin seeds till golden brown in a small skillet over medium heat.  Swirl continuously  to prevent burning.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp butter. When butter foams, add fresh corn and season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 black pepper. Stir frequently for 2 mins. Cool.
  3. Toast coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat.  Swirl continuously to prevent burning.  Grind to powder in coffee grinder.
  4. Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl and mix thoroughly.