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Almond Rose Turkish Delight and A Giveaway for Substituting Ingrediants

A certain ennui is settling over my kitchen. It could be that I'm just plain exhausted with new part  time hours working as a line cook for a well known caterer in addition to my day job.The hours there can be feast or famine, and lately its a feast, which leaves me exhausted.Imagine 16 hour days with your day job and then working the kitchen  for the love of it and to gain  practical experience. I confess I'm learning and hedging my bets at the same time. In these financial times, with job uncertainty, it's good to get any experience you can, as the more traditional jobs are scarce.Lately I have all these cooking plans for fun and by the time a quick dinner is made and Certain Someone and I are settled, I just drift away. Maybe it's  the heat too. Who knows, but I need my drive and inspiration back,soon.It happens to all of us from time to time.
Before I get to this weeks fun recipe of Turkish Delight,I want to talk about a little book that was just published and should be in every ones kitchen.
Substituting Ingredients by Becky Sue Epstein is a indispensable guide for the kitchen. In these lean times, its nice to have a book on hand that resolves a ingredient dilemma , without having to run to the store and spend yet more money.Upon reading this book you will find out how to find replacements for herbs, spices, fruits,and other essential ingredients, Becky Sue also includes recipes for mixes like Hot Cocoa to a Garam Masala, and ketchup.My favorite part of the book is the chapter on Household formulas. Becky Sue shows how to replace costly toxic chemicals with formulas made from household ingredients.I found this book simple,and easy to use. It will be well thumbed as I go about  my cooking and baking endeavors. I have one copy of this book to give away. Leave a comment at this end of this post and I will chose a winner next week.Comments close for entry July 3.

I received my copy of Dessert Professional Magazine last month and saw a recipe I knew I had to attempt at home.Turkish Delight! The recipe was excerpted from Chocolates and Confections by Peter P. Greweling of the Culinary Institute of America.His Turkish Delight looked like  clear solid perfection . I substituted out pistachios for what was on hand, slivered almonds.The slivered almonds stuck out and didn't  allow for a smooth cut. Buts that's the beauty of Turkish Delight, its many variations.I confess mine looks rather crude compared to the photo in Dessert Professional, but it was tasty . My only complaint is that the humidity caused my pieces to sweat after dusting the next day. The heat and humidity is extreme here in Chicago currently, so I wouldn't advise making this when humid. But I will be making it again.Here was an interesting thread on some other peoples experience making this particular recipe as well .
Turkish Delight or Lokum was created in response  by a crafty confectioner,Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir, for a sultan in the Ottoman Empire who tired of hard candy.Ali Muhiddins descendants still sell Rahat Lokums ( comfortable morsels) to this day in many variations . Turkish Delight become popular with the west through CS Lewis' The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe.For those that are looking for a gummy type of confection , without the use of gelatin or animal products, this is the recipe for you. Turkish Delight gets its consistency from a mixture of cream of Tartar, corn starch,and sugar, The variations come with additions of nuts and flavors. Rose water is one of the most popular flavorings.For this recipe , which I adapted, I ramped up the almond and rose flavors.
Almond Rose Turkish Delight
adapted from the Turkish Delight Recipe in Chocolates and Confections  by Peter Greweling .*
Changes made where * appear.
Makes 9x13 inch slab
Sugar Syrup
(2lb)4 cups granulated sugar
(8oz)1 cup water
1tsp cream of tarter
Starch Paste
(4oz)1 cup Cornstarch
1 tsp Cream of Tarter
(24 oz)3 cups water
1 tsp rose water
1 tsp almond extract
a few drops of rose colored food coloring
1 cup slivered almonds
(2oz)1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
(1oz)1/4 cup Cornstarch

Oil and line a 9x13 inch baking pan with plastic wrap.Use a neutral  non flavored vegetable oil.Lightly oil the top of the wrap as well.
In a 2 qt saucepan, combine sugar, water, and cream of tarter. Bring to a boil , cover and boil for 4 minutes without stirring.After 4 minutes, remove lid, and place a candy thermometer in. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a temperature of 260F.Remove from heat and set aside.
In a 4 qt saucepan mix the ingredients for the starch paste (Cornstarch,Cream of tarter,and water).
Stir with a whisk over medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken and boil.The mixture will be thick and pasty,but continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
Taking the sugar syrup from before, add it gradually in a stream to the starch paste while whisking on the heat.Bring the combined mixtures to a soft boil and continue to whisk on a lowered heat until the mixture is smooth and clear.Cook for 20-25 minutes.
Remove pot from the heat and stir in rose and almond flavors, coloring , and nuts.
Pour into the prepared pan and lay a piece of plastic wrap on top. Leave to cool overnight.
In a large bowl sift together the confectioners sugar and cornstarch to dust the candy pieces in in, Cut the candy and roll in mixture.
Store in airtight , dry temperature.

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What Does A Cadillac Have to Do With Food? The Cadillac Culinary Challenge.

Last week I was honored to be invited to participate and judge in the Cadillac Culinary Challenge in Oakbrook. Hmmm. Cadillac and food? What gives? I asked if my buddy and fellow blogger Marie could come from Proud Italian Cook , and they said of course.Our mission , now that we accepted was to to taste and judge a friendly competition between local Chefs  Paul Virant  of Vie and Chef Martial Noguier of Cafe Des Architects  sponsored by both Cadillac and Bon Appetit magazine. In addition we got to test drive the 2010 Cadillac SRX, Escalade Platinum Hybrid and CTS Sport Wagon, all against their Lexus and Mercedes competition. Luxury cars and outstanding food. Why not? The correlation between luxury and food (food blogging ) is strong. Many of us, are drawn to the finer things life has to offer and seek to make our surroundings as comfortable and luxurious as possible. To deny we lack or don't seek affluence and luxury in our lives would be incorrect. Not saying we are affluent, but in our cooking and eating, we seek the best,no matter what our incomes. On my table or or on the road, I want the best. I was pleasantly surprised after testing the cars. My previous perception was that a Cadillac was older and stodgy. I loved the SRX ! Roomy with a panoramic sunroof and the sleekest bells and whistles one could ask for. It was a dream ride and makes me want to consider trading in my Audi , when the time comes. The SRX lacked for nothing.I really need to look more closely at my American made luxury cars now.
 Mary Nolan of the Food Networks Chic and Easy was our gracious host. She greeted us at Braxton Seafood Grill with the other media, the Chefs and representatives from Cadillac.  We took shelter from a downpour of rain and dined on the most delicious seafood . Then we went to the tents and the Chefs prepared  delectable dishes using seasonal ingredients. Chef Marital Noguier prepared the most sublime Peekytoe Crab Salad with Strawberry, Rhubarb, Pickled Turnip and Radish. Unusual but it worked, Chef Paul Virant made Almond Crepes, Pan Roasted Strawberries, and Amaretto Sabayon. It was a tough call, but in the end we all unanimously voted for Chef Pauls crepes. To chose between a starter and dessert was difficult and many of us felt guilty because Chef Marital's crab was really outstanding and daring and he showed us the proper way to cook rhubarb , which many overcook.

I uploaded a few You Tube videos of the event to witness and hear the chefs do what they do best.I apologize for the quality. I had to cut away , when it was my turn to taste and critique.  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Click to see.
You can find the PDF's of the recipes here.
One more thing! The winner of Jane Green's Promises to Keep is....
Nina from My Easy Cooking! Enjoy.
Almond Crepes , Pan Roasted Strawberries, and Amaretto Sabayon from Chef Paul Virant of Vie

Peekytoe Crab Salad with Strawberry, Rhubarb, Pickled Turnip and Radish

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