This Honey Cake is one of the most requested holiday desserts in our household. It originated in the 19th century in Russian Empire and has been popular in countries of the former Soviet Union ever since. It is a dessert which is known for its lengthy preparation time and is best made a couple of days in advance before serving. You may bring it completely to room temperature or serve it cold. It’s delicious both ways. It’s a honey flavored sponge cake with caramel cream filling topped with a nutty crumb. Absolutely decadent to say the least.

Serves: 20-25 people depending on the size of the pieces.

INGREDIENTS:

1 (14oz.) can Organic sweetened condensed milk (I get mine at Trader Joe’s) or you can buy pre-made caramel

2 -½ cups Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour (King Arthur)

1 Tbsp Baking Soda

3 sticks of Organic Grass Fed Unsalted Butter, 1 stick at room temperature (for caramel cream)

¼ cup Organic Clover or Wildflower Honey

3 Large Organic Eggs (I use Pete & Gerry’s)

1 ½ cups Organic Evaporated Cane sugar

1 cup Organic Walnuts

1/2 10 oz. Bag of Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate chips for drizzle

Parchment Paper

Pencil

Off-set Spatula

13 x 9 cutting board

Hand Mixer

DIRECTIONS:

Boil your condensed milk submerged in water for 2 hours. ** (see note) Let cool completely. Beat the cooled caramel with 1 stick of butter. Set aside.

Sift your flour along with the baking soda and set aside.

On your parchment paper, trace the shape of your cake with a pencil. I used a 9×13 cutting board with rounded edges. I had enough dough for 4 layers. Therefore I traced four sheets of parchment paper.

Heat oven to 350°F. In a large Pyrex bowl set over a double boiler, melt 2 sticks of butter over medium heat. Whisk in honey until completely combined. Using a hand mixer beat in your eggs one at a time until incorporated . Now add your sugar and beat again for about a minute or so. Now add your flour/soda mixture. Beat until completely incorporated and creamy. Remove the bowl from the double boiler and set on a trivet or kitchen towel. Measure out 1 cup of dough and put it on your parchment paper. Using an off-set spatula spread evenly going just over the edges that you traced. It’s not supposed to be perfect because you will trim the layers after they bake again with the cutting board over it. Continue with the rest of the dough until you have 4 parchment papers ready with the dough to be baked. Bake for 5-6 min. Cool completely.

Use the same board you used to trace the parchment paper. Put it over each cookie layer and trace again except this time cut with a paring knife. Separate the edges and put them all into a food processor with walnuts continuing to do the same with the rest of the layers.

Now place the first layer on your serving plate. Start spreading the cream filling with the offset spatula. Try to distribute the cream as even as possible. Continue with the rest of the layer until you have used up the cream filling at the top of the last layer and the sides. Using the crumb-walnut mixture, spread some over the top of the cake and sides. Melt your chocolate, transfer to a sandwich bag and cut off a tiny corner and drizzle over the top. Let the chocolate set. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 days.

*recipe is from Czech Cook Book.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Italian Rainbow Cookies

January 2nd, 2020 | Posted by Milana in Dessert | Italian Cuisine - (0 Comments)

Italian Rainbow Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 Cups Organic Vegan Shortening (I use Spectrum Organics)

1 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour (I use King Arthur Flour)

1 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour (I use King Arthur Flour)

8 oz. Almond Paste (I use Solo )

1 Cup Coconut Sugar (I use Madhava)

4 Large Eggs, Room Temperature, Separated (Pete & Gerry’s Organic)

1/2 tsp Almond Extract (I use Flavorganics)

1/2 tsp salt ( I use Himalayan salt)

Red and Green Plant Based Food Coloring (I use Color Garden Dyes Holiday Pack)

1/2 Cup Organic Apricot Preserve (I use Trader Joe’s)

1/2 Cup Organic Seedless Raspberry Preserve (I used Trader Joe’s)

1/2 a package of 10oz. bag of Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

1/3 bar of 100% Cacao Baking bar (I use Dagoba Organic)

1 Tbsp Vegan Shortening

Cooking Spray

3- 9” x 13” x 0.75” non-stick pans

Off-Set Spatula

food processor

Parchment Paper

Cooling Rack

DIRECTIONS:

1.Prep. First, position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray the pans with cooking spray and lay parchment paper in each one. 

2.Make the batter.  Put your almond paste in a food processor to get it finely crumbled.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the almond paste, sugar, and the shortening.  Beat on medium speed until combined.  Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, and extract and until smooth . Add flour and salt and beat until just combined. In a clean bowl, using a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites on low-medium until stiff peaks form. Fold about one-third of the egg white mixture into the batter with a rubber spatula, then gently fold in the rest.

3.Color the batter. Divide the batter evenly among 3 bowls. I used a digital kitchen scale. Stir enough red and green food coloring in 2 of the bowls to create a red and green batter.  Leave the third bowl uncolored.

4.Bake the layers. Transfer the batter to the prepared pans (one pan for each color). Dip an offset spatula in water and spread the batter to the edge of each pan, smoothing the tops (the layer of batter will be very thin).  Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans on wire racks.

5.Assemble the layers. Remove the green layer onto a large cutting board. If your preserves are a bit hard, heat it up until it is somewhat liquefied. Spread the raspberry jam evenly on top of it (use as much as is needed to make a thin layer). Remove the plain cake layer by inverting it onto the green layer.  Peel off the parchment paper. Spread the apricot jam on top of the plain layer. Remove the red cake layer by inverting on top of the plain layer.  Peel off the parchment paper.

6.Trim the cake. Trim the sides with a serrated knife to make straight edges. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Carefully slide the cake onto the rack, using a wide offset spatula to help you, if necessary.

7.Cover in chocolate. Melt the chocolate (preferably in a double boiler) and pour over the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread and smooth the chocolate on the top. Allow the chocolate to cool for 45 min. Flip the cookie to the other side and pour the rest of the melted chocolate.  Let set slightly for about 15-20 minutes. Scrape wavy lines into the chocolate with a fork.  If the lines in the chocolate don’t hold their shape, let the chocolate set a little longer and try again.

8.Cut the cake. Slide the cake back onto the cutting board. Cut the cake into 1”x 1.5” squares. Slice crosswise into strips, and then cut each strip into rectangular pieces. For clean edges, dip the knife in warm water and wipe it with a paper towel in between cuts.

10.Store in an airtight container.  Your cookies will stay fresh in a tight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 1 week, but it’s doubtful these tasty gems will last that long.

Original recipe was adapted from Tripping Blonde.

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Rating: 4.3/5 (4 votes cast)

Perfect Basmati Rice

December 11th, 2019 | Posted by Milana in Indian Cuisine | Sides - (0 Comments)

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups Basmati Rice

2 Tbsp Vegan Butter or Avocado Oil

2 tsp Lemon Juice

4 Cups Water

1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the rice:

Wash basmati rice under running cold water until water runs clear. Soak rice in enough warm water for at least 10-15 min. Drain the rice and let it dry in a strainer for 10 min. This helps to firm up the rice.

Cooking the rice:

Heat the butter/oil in a thick bottom saucepan on medium heat. Add and sauté for a minute. Add water, salt, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to the lowest it can possibly go. Simmer for 20 min. Turn off the heat and let it stand covered for an additional 10 min. This step is a must and should not be skipped. This allows time for the rice to firm up so it doesn’t break when your fluff it with a fork before serving. Then open fluff with a fork.

Nutrition Analysis:

Serving: 1 cup

Calories: 190

Carbohydrates: 35g

Protein: 3.3g

Fat: 2g

Saturated Fat: 1.1g

Cholesterol: 4mg

Sodium: 297mg

Potassium: 56mg

Fiber: 0.6g

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Chicken Tikka Masala

December 11th, 2019 | Posted by Milana in Indian Cuisine - (0 Comments)

Chicken Tikka Masala:

 

SPICE MIXTURE:

1 Tbsp curry powder (I use the one by Pereg)

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp salt

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes

1 cup Trader Joe’s Plain Cultured Cashew Beverage

6 cloves garlic, grated, divided

1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger, divided

2 Tbsp Refined Peanut or Avocado oil

1 Tbsp Vegan butter (I use Miyoko’s)

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 can (15 ounces) canned Organic tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes

1 cup Organic canned coconut milk or cream

3 Tbsp Coconut Sugar

Fresh cilantro, chopped, to serve

4 cups basmati rice, to serve

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, whisk together the spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cashew beverage, half of the garlic, half of the ginger, and half of the spice mixture, reserving the rest for later. Stir, cover, and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes, or preferably overnight.

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil and butter over medium-high. Remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the pot in batches. Cook until browned all over and beginning to char, turning once, about 6 minutes total. Remove from the pan and set aside for later. Repeat until all of the chicken is browned.

Add the chopped onion and the remaining garlic, ginger, and spices to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 4 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and gently scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release the browned bits while stirring.

Pour in the coconut milk/cream, sugar and add the chicken back to the pot. Stir and reduce to low heat. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve over basmati rice with naan or paratha bread. Enjoy!

*Originally adapted from Host the Toast.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

December 11th, 2019 | Posted by Milana in Soup - (0 Comments)

Chicken Corn Chowder:

INGREDIENTS:

2 Chicken Breast Halves, poached*

3 Tbsp Avocado or Coconut Oil

1 Large Sweet Onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Celery Stalks, diced

3 Tbsp Flour

4 Cups Organic Low Sodium Chicken Bone Broth or Low Sodium Vegetable Stock

1-1/2 Cups Ripple Original Half & Half

2 Medium Yellow Gold Potatoes, diced

2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Organic Sweet Corn

1 tsp Salt

1 Bay Leaf

1/2 tsp Ground Cumin

1 tsp Trader Joe’s Onion Salt

1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika

1/4 tsp Red Chili Flakes (optional)

Immersion Blender

DIRECTIONS:

In an 8 quart pot, heat oil. Add onion, and celery. Saute for 4 min until soft. Add garlic and saute for an additional minute or so. Add all spices and seasonings except for bay leaf. Lower the flame to medium, add flour and stir for 3 minutes without letting the flour burn. Slowly pour in your stock and continue to stir to combine. Bring to a boil on high heat. Add potatoes and simmer on medium low for 10 min. Add half & half, corn and bay leaf. Simmer for another 10-15 min to ensure the potatoes are fire tender. Remove bay leaf. Use the immersion blender to puree the soup halfway through to create a thick and creamy consistency. Add shredded or diced poached chicken breast and serve.

*To poach chicken breast, put them in a 3 quart saucepan filled with water, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp dried sage, salt, pepper, 1 tsp dried rosemary. Bring to a boil. Simmer on low for 25 min. This poached chicken can be added to any soup as a lean protein.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Zucchini Pancake with Garlic Dill Sauce

Yields: 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 Medium Zucchini, Unpeeled, coarsely grated

1/4 cup Sweet Onion (quarter of a large onion or half of a small), finely grated

2 Large Eggs, beaten

6-8 Tbsp Flour (I use white whole wheat)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper

Avocado or Peanut Oil for frying

SAUCE:

1/3 cup Mayonnaise

2 cloves Garlic, minced

3 Tbsp finely chopped Fresh Dill

1 Tbsp Chives, finely chopped

1 Lime, squeezed

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/4 tsp Trader Joe’s Onion Salt

Compari Tomatoes, cut in half and sliced for garnish as pictured

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, mix together zucchini, onion, and eggs. Stir in 6 tablespoons of flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. If the batter is too thin from the zucchini, add another 2 tbsp of flour.

In a 10” saute pan over medium heat 1 tbsp of oil. Drop about 1/2 cup of batter and spread it out evenly into a 6” pancake. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook on each side for about 2-3 min. until golden brown. Continue with the rest of the batter until you have 3-4 pancakes.

In a small bowl, combine all sauce ingredients. Spread about a 1-1/2 Tbsp on each pancake leaving an inch border. Garnish with tomatoes and some cilantro leaves. Pre-slice before serving. Enjoy!

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

INGREDIENTS:

For the chicken:

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos

2 Tbs. sesame oil

1 Tbs. maple syrup or coconut sugar

2 tsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger or 1 tsp ginger paste

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

For the coconut rice:

2 cups jasmine rice

2 cups canned coconut milk

1-3/4 cups water

1/4 tsp salt

For the Eggplant:

2 Asian eggplant or 5 baby eggplant, cut into 3” strips

2 tsp ginger paste

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. maple syrup or coconut sugar

1 tsp. Asian fish sauce (optional)

pinch of red chili flakes

1 scallion, sliced (reserve some for garnish)

1 Tbsp Peanut or Avocado oil

Lime wedges for serving

DIRECTIONS:

To make the chicken, in a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, oil, maple syrup, ginger, and garlic. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the chicken marinates, make the coconut rice. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the rice, coconut milk, water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, cover and set aside.

Heat oven to 375°F. Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade, and place on a baking sheet. Roast until the skin is caramelized, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Remove the meat from the bones and cut into strips. Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or a deep pan. Add the eggplant to the pan and cook, stirring often, until most of the oil has been absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is tender and the ginger and garlic are browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup, fish sauce, chili flakes and scallions until incorporated well.

*originally adapted from William and Sonoma Blog.

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Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Dairy Free Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

November 20th, 2019 | Posted by Milana in Recipes | Soup - (0 Comments)

Dairy Free Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbsp Avocado Oil

1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tbsp unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp fresh or dried thyme

1/2 tsp salt

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 medium gold potato, peeled & diced

2 chicken breast halves, poached or roasted with italian seasonings

1 cup Ripple Original Half & Half

1/2 cup Delallo Organic Whole Wheat Orzo

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium pot, heat oil and sauté onions, carrots, celery and garlic on medium heat for about 7 min until soft. Add flour and seasonings. Stir and cook for about 2 min.

Add chicken broth and potato. Bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer on low for about 25 minutes. Add chicken, half & half and orzo. Taste soup and see if you need to add any seasonings. Bring to a boil again. Cover and simmer for another 10 min until orzo is al dente and soup has thickened. Enjoy!

*Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. You may always add more broth to the soup if you feel like it’s too thick after sitting in the fridge, since the noodles and potato soak up liquid the more they sit.

*Original recipe has been adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.[ultimate-recipe id=”latest” template=”95″]

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Chicken Shiitake Potstickers

November 13th, 2019 | Posted by Milana in Appetizers | Recipes - (0 Comments)

Chicken Shiitake Potstickers

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. Ground Chicken Thighs

3/4 Cup diced fresh Shiitake mushrooms (trim stem)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

3 scallions thinly sliced (white and green parts)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce or Coconut Aminos

1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil

1 Tbsp Ginger paste

1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar

1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

36 Twin Marquis Spinach Square Wonton Wrappers

1/4 cup Avocado or Peanut Oil, divided

Small glass bowl with water

Pastry Brush

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine chicken, mushrooms, cilantro, green onions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, rice wine vinegar, pepper and red pepper flakes, if using.*

To assemble the dumplings, place wrappers on a wooden cutting board or any work surface. Spoon about 2 tsp of the chicken mixture into the center of each wrapper. Using a pastry brush, rub the edges of the wrappers with water. Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, pinching the edges to seal and fold over edges over each other to create a fan-like design. Place on a large plate covered with towel so the potstickers don’t dry out. Continue wrapping until finished.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet that has a fitted lid over medium heat. Working in batches, add potstickers in a single layer and cook until beginning to crisp on the bottom, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and fry for another minute. Working quickly, add 1/4 cup water; cover and cook until liquid has evaporated and dumplings are crisp and golden, about 2-4 minutes.

Serve immediately with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce for dipping.

*The filling in the potstickers does not have to be cooked prior to wrapping.

*To freeze, place uncooked potstickers in a single layer on a baking sheet overnight. Transfer to freezer bags.

•Adapted from Damn Delicious.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups Kodiak Cakes Power Protein Flapjack & Waffle mix

1 Can Organic Pumpkin Puree

1 Egg

1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste or Extract

1 tsp baking soda

1-1/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 cup maple syrup or honey

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

DIRECTIONS;

Heat oven to 350F.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the kodiak cakes flour, baking soda and pumpkin pie pie. Add pumpkin, egg, vanilla, and maple syrup. Mix to combine. Stir in the oil until incorporated well. Stir in chocolate chips. Scoop evenly among muffin tins that have been sprayed well with baking spray.

Bake for 20-22 min or until tester comes out clean. Enjoy!

Original recipe was adapted from Boys Ahoy.
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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)