Raspberry Cream Roll Cake

It is a shame I didn't get pictures of this in the end, it looked really nice cut into slices. I fell in love with roll cakes ("ro- ru kei-ki" in native Japanese!) in Japan- you can find any manner of these cakes in the depachika stores under department stores at the train station hubs.

Make sure you have the right size pan (rectangular enough to facilitate rolling from one side), I used a 12x 17 inch pan, Joy of Cooking states a 10.5 x 15.5 pan works too. Also, make sure you have wax paper/parchment or foil, otherwise I think this would be impossible.

Since you need to beat the yolks and whites separately, plan for separate bowls and mixers/beaters so you don't contaminate the whites with fat from the yolks.

1. Crack and separate 4 eggs- it is easiest to do this when cold, so I did this first and then waited to beat them (book says to wait until they are 70 degrees). As usual when working with egg whites, make sure none of the yolk gets into your egg white bowl. I stuck the whites in my stand mixer (in preparation for beating them into peaks), and the yolks into a pyrex measuring cup.

2. Find and measure pan- grease, line with foil overhanging edges, grease again (believe me on this). Preheat oven to 375 F.

3. Beak the 4 egg yolks from step 1 until light yellow
4. Gradually add 3/4 C granulated sugar and keep beating until gets thick and creamy- it will change consistency
5. Add 1 tea vanilla and mix
6. In a medium bowl, sift or break up the clumps in 3/4 C cake flour, 3/4 tea baking powder, and 1/2 tea salt.
7. Add the egg yolk/sugar mixture with the flour mixture and beat until "smooth", mine was quite thick.

8. In separate clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry
9. Carefully fold egg whites into other mixture in two batches
10. Pour into prepared pan, bake 12 minutes

11. Remove from oven, pull foil and cake out of pan. Cut off hard/crunchy ends from the cake and use a knife to peel cake off of foil. I flipped the cake over for the shiny top would be on the outside of the cake.

12. Use foil to carefully roll cake into the shape, so when it cools you can re-roll with the filling.

13. Beat 1 small container of whipping cream until thick. Add 1/2 C of raspberry jam and 1/2 tea vanilla.

14. Spread raspberry cream inside cake, carefully re-roll with seam at bottom.

15. Move cake to final plate or serving dish, frost with additional raspberry cream. Refrigerate before serving.


Really Good Guacamole

I've never had much luck with homemade guacamole until reading this book. The trick is to rinse the minced onion before adding it to the guac- rinsing removes that bitter onion taste that has historically taken over any of my aspiring guacs or salsas.

Gently chop into large bits in food processor:
1 large tomato
1 serrano or jalapeno chile

1-2 garlic cloves

3 TB chopped cilantro

Scoop into a serving dish and set aside.

Mince ½ a white onion in clean food processor. Dump minced onion into strainer and rinse under water. Add ½ C of the rinsed minced onion into serving dish with the tomato mixture.

Halve 3 large ripe avocados, remove pits. Using dull table knife, cut a checkerboard pattern into cut side of guac, then use spoon to scoop out into serving dish.

Use back of spoon to coarsely mash avocado. Stir in 2-3 tea of lime or lemon juice and up to 1 teaspoon of salt.

Serve with tortilla chips!

Coconut Panna Cotta (Vegan)

I got my inspiration for this from Heidi's cookbook, but since we don't keep milk in the house I used rice milk, which makes it vegan. This is very fast to make, since it uses Japanese kanten or agar-agar flakes instead of gelatin. You can buy them in either the seaweed/gelatin aisle at an Asian grocery. As a bonus, it is a really light dessert and looks beautiful. I can't wait to serve these with fresh Oregon berries after a BBQ!

Stir in a small saucepan and let sit for 10 minutes to dissolve the kanten:
1 can coconut milk
1.25 C rice milk
1/3 C organic sugar
1.5 kanten (agar-agar) flakes
(or use 3/4 tea if you have agar powder)

Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer for a few minutes, stirring until kanten is incorporated. Pour into lightly greased individual ramkeins. Chill until set (40 min to an hour).

When ready to serve, carefully remove panna cotta from ramekins and invert onto serving plates. Top with macerated berries.

Vietnamese Salad Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

This is an all-time favorite at my house. Very healthy feeling, fun to eat, and they will be good when the weather gets too hot to cook. I took cues for the peanut sauce from this wonderful book on Asian cooking.

Prepare the peanut sauce first:
Heat a wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, mince 2-3 cloves of garlic. When pan is hot, add olive oil and garlic, fry until garlic is golden.

Grind 1/2 cup roasted peanuts to small pieces (but not peanut butter) in a food processor. Add to the fried garlic in the pan. Stir fry until peanuts darken and release some natural oil, about 3 min.

Now add:
1 C veggie or chicken stock
1/2 C coconut milk (the lite kind is ok for this)
2 TB tamarind extract
2 TB fish sauce
1/4 C palm sugar or brown sugar
2 minced chilis (either thai or jalapeno chilis)

Continue to gently boil, about 20 min. Serve with cilantro in personal dipping cups/ramekins.

Assemble Salad Rolls:
Cut firm tofu into 1/2 inch logs
Cut half a cucumber into thin strips
Slice green onion/scallion
Grate 2-3 carrots (easiest in food processor)
Optional: soak thin vermicelli/rice noodles in boiling water
Optional: clean break off stems of thai basil leaves

Soak one rice paper wrapper in hot water for 30-45 sec or until soft. Now place on a plate or cutting board, and add the prepared ingredients from above. Roll up tightly like a burrito. As the rolls sit for 5 minutes, they will dry slightly and be easier to pick up. Don't let them sit out too long, the rice paper dries out and gets tough (not good for leftovers).

Serve with peanut dipping sauce. Serve approx 3 rolls with sauce for dinner/lunch.

Black Forest Cupcakes

After months of craving black forest (i.e. chocoate + cherry) cake while in Japan (which does not have such a thing), I finally got around to buying a can of cherries and making these cupcakes.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan.

Combine & melt:
8 TB Butter
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

½ C (or 1.5 oz) dutch-processed cocoa

¾ C (3.75 oz) Flour
½ tea Baking soda

¾ tea Baking powder

2 eggs
½ C sugar

1 tea vanilla
½ tea salt

Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture, mix until incorporated.

Sift in flour mixture and:
½ C (4 oz) sour cream or Nancy’s plain yogurt

Whir canned cherries and some of their liquid in a food processor. This is the "filling".

Layer cupcake batter with a spoonful of cherry filling into muffin pans. Bake 18-20 minutes, until skewer comes out clean. Cool.

Frost with cream-cheese-cherry frosting
Whir in food processor:
1 package cream cheese
a little bit of cherry "filling"
about 1/4 C powdered sugar

Drip of orange flavor or liquer