matcha dark chocolate truffles

14 August, 2012 § Leave a comment

I stand firm in my belief that matcha should be in its own food group. Colorful, versatile, healthy, delicious…everything I look for in a superfood, check, check, check and check. Imagine how thrilled I was, having just bought a small tin of matcha (it’s surprisingly expensive!) at a local specialty foods store, to find a recipe for truffles! Just to give you an idea: very. I was very thrilled. So thrilled, in fact, that I made the huge batch pictured above for my mother for Mother’s Day last year. These little green balls of joy have been a staple in my truffle repertory ever since.

They’re relatively easy for such a fancy-looking truffle, and I love that they require no tedious chocolate coating at the end, as many truffle recipes require. The only difficulty you may come across is that in matcha that’s been sitting around for a while–see my recipe notes for more info. No adaptations excepting a minor recipe simplification or two.

Matcha Dark Chocolate Truffles Makes roughly 50 truffles
from Eric Gower’s The Breakaway Cook
8 ounces heavy cream
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon matcha, plus another tablespoon for dusting
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Scant 1/8 tsp of kosher salt

Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over gentle heat, add the maple syrup and brown sugar, and stir until dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add one tablespoon of matcha, stir until dissolved, and set aside.

Place the chocolate in a large mixing bowl and pour in the cream mixture. Mix thoroughly, and pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Smooth it out with a rubber spatula. Cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour (until you’re ready to make the truffles).

Using a spoon, scoop out a heaping teaspoon, and make a ball using the palms of your hands. Repeat until all the chocolate is used – you should wind up with about 50 truffles. Line them up on a tray or plate, and dust them with the additional matcha, using a fine sieve.

Cooling the truffle mixture is imperative for the truffles to keep their shape–when you mold them with your hands, the warmth of your hands rubbing them instantly heats the truffles. Work quickly and delicately, re-refrigerating if necessary.

Sometimes not-so-fresh matcha clumps up a bit, and you end up with stubborn little beads of matcha similar to those you get when sifting confectioner’s sugar. Once the matcha clumps up, it hardens in the saucepan as you cook them, which is unpleasant both taste- and texture-wise, so be careful.


herbed onion frittata with parmesan + ricotta

3 August, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m convinced that you really can’t go wrong when there’s a good cheese in a recipe, and in my book, ricotta is a very good cheese. I actually recall a New York Times article I read a few years ago titled, Suddenly, Ricotta’s a Big Cheese. Suddenly? Clearly, the Times was behind the times (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

When I’m making this frittata for myself, I usually opt for fat-free or part skim, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the whole milk variety makes this dish that little bit more delicious. I can vouch for the diet version, though, to be fair. Both are hearty and flavorful, and they could easily make for a tasty lunch if you’re not big on breakfast.

The recipe, originally from Bon Appétit (I found it on Epicurious last year) clearly states: “The key to making this dish is to have all the ingredients prepared before you begin sautéing the onions.” I can vouch for that, too. Prep can be tedious, but it makes everything so much easier when you want the dish to come together quickly. Thankfully, nothing in this frittata rendition requires too much effort, and in my experience it comes out picture-perfect every time. The frittata above is one I served my mother for Mother’s Day.

Herbed Onion Frittata with Parmesan + Ricotta Makes 4-6 servings
Adapted from Bon Appétit

2 cups egg replacement
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
3 large fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
3 large fresh sage leaves, minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt or to taste
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper or to taste
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/3 cup fat-free ricotta

Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside. Heat oil in a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low; stir in egg mixture. Spoon dollops of ricotta evenly over. Cook until frittata begins to set, about 2 minutes. Place in oven; bake until just set, 7-9 minutes. Slide the frittata onto a platter. Cut into wedges; serve hot or at room temperature.

I never really measured exactly how much ricotta I tend to use, but it’s probably closer to a 1/2 cup than a 1/3, so it’s not necessary to follow the 1/3 cup guideline. If you love the stuff, dollop to your heart’s desire! Another option for this recipe is to use half real eggs and half egg replacement (as opposed to no real eggs); the frittata’s texture isn’t compromised either way.

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