Sunday, November 14, 2010

Changes to Moomser

I have decided to rearrange things a little here on Moomser, Moomser Food and Moomser Baby. I’ve decided to group everything under one blog: Moomser (
I simply am not organized enough at this point in my life to maintain three separate blogs. I’ll still be writing about the same things, I’ll still be posting recipes and talking about specific child-related concerns, you’ll just find it all under Moomser along with the slightly neurotic ramblings of my sleep deprived brain. And if you’re just interested in recipes or babies you can click up top on Moomser Food and it’ll automatically select only the posts labeled food (recipes and such), or on Moomser Baby for the baby and child stuff. I hope this works for you! Any suggestions are welcome as always.
I will eventually be shutting down the separate moomserfood.blogspot and moomserbaby.blogspot accounts so if you've bookmarked anything you won't find it anymore, but it's all on already. (phew! sorry about the confusion!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Just another Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I love chocolate chip cookies. Or rather, I love store bought chocolate chip cookies.
Ah, now that all the purists have left my blog with expressions of disgust, let me explain. I’ve made a lot of chocolate chip cookies, but they’re either too crispy, or too soft, or too sweet (that happens a LOT) or, you know, they just make me reach for the Pepperidge Farm. The fact is that there is no such thing as the “perfect chocolate chip cookie”, cause perfect is different for each of us. Anyway, this is a “pretty good chocolate chip cookie recipe”, I’ll probably make it again, it’s not perfect… but it’s good enough.

This is what you need:
150 grams (1cup plus 2 tablespoons) flour
½ tsp baking soda
115grams (8 tbs – 1 stick) unsalted butter softened or straight from fridge but cut into small pieces
100grams (½ cup) white sugar       
120grams (½ cup) brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies (or chocolate chunks)
½ cups chopped pecans (or walnuts) optional
This is what you do:
Preheat oven to 180°C - 350°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper, or grease them but this may make your cookies a little richer.
Whisk together flour and baking soda. Beat butter and both sugars on medium speed until fluffy (if your butter is cold will take awhile – over 10 minutes). Add eggs, vanilla and salt and beat until well combined. Stir in the flour and baking soda and beat on low speed until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts by hand (many recipes say with a wooden spoon, but I used a silicone spatula and didn’t notice any difference.)

Distribute the dough on your cookie sheets leaving quite a bit of space around each dollop so your cookies don’t end up stuck together. You can use a small ice cream scoop or two spoons to make the dough balls. If you use spoons, each ball should be no larger than half a spoon.
Bake at 180°C – 350°F for 8 – 10 minutes (depending on your oven and the size of your dough balls) or until the edges start browning slightly. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet so they firm up and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely or, you know, get out the milk and start eating!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Easy peasy cream cheese frosting

I use this a lot, so I figured I'd give it it's own post so I don't just keep repeating myself over and over and boring you into a stupor!
This is what you need:
150 – 160 grams Philadelphia cream cheese
40 – 50 grams butter (softened)
120 grams (1 packet – 1 cup) confectioner’s sugar
Depending on what you're frosting you can also add powdered cinnamon or pure vanilla extract, or almond extract. It is also a good base for flavored frostings like chocolate cream cheese frosting.
This is what you do:
Beat together cream cheese and butter until well combined and fluffy (smitten kitchen says to soften cream cheese too, but I find that cold cream cheese makes for a thicker frosting – as suggested by the Joy of Cooking) add vanilla if using.
Sift in sugar (and cinnamon, if using) and beat until well mixed, but don’t over beat cause it’ll get runny.
Try and wait for your cake to cool before frosting….

Healthy Carrot Cake

Sunday the husband wasn’t feeling well so I decided to bake him a carrot cake to cheer him up. This version is loosely adapted from the Joy of Cooking, though I modified it to make it a little healthier and more kid friendly. Luckily for me, my toddler doesn’t like overly sweet cakes so I substituted part of the sugar and part of the oil with applesauce (this also makes it more diet friendly for me!) Carrot cake is so easy to make and so satisfying there’s really no reason not to bake it every week… well, you know, if you’re naturally skinny or have a lot of self-control or can stand to eat it with no icing… I can only get away with it once a month or so but it’s so worth it!
This is what you need:
200 grams (1 ½ cup - 7oz) whole wheat flour (this’ll make it slightly denser than all purpose flour, but it’s still moist thanks to the applesauce)
100 grams (½ cup – 3.5oz) sugar                             
10 grams (1 ½ tsp – 0.35oz.) baking soda     
5grams (1 tsp – 0.2oz.) baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves; ½ tsp ground nutmeg; ½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp salt
½ cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
200 grams (1 cup – 2oz.) spiced apple sauce
200 grams (2 cups – 4oz.) freshly grated carrots
55 grams (1 cup - 2oz) finely chopped walnuts or pecans (I used the latter) - optional
1 handful golden raisins (if they’re the largish kind chop them up a little bit) - optional
This is what you do:
Preheat your oven to 180°C – 350°F
Mix together all your dry ingredients (follow the list down from flour to salt) in a big bowl.
Add in your wet ingredients (oil, eggs and applesauce) and mix by hand or beat on low speed.
Add in carrots, nuts and raisins and mix by hand.

Butter and flour your round spring-form pan, pour in the mixture right away and spread evenly.
Bake 25 – 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes then take out of pan. Frost when completely cooled!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spiced Applesauce Cake

I got this recipe of the Smitten Kitchen website (surprise, surprise) and as usual it came out fantastic, so had to share. Plus I had promised many posts featuring apples and pears, right? You may be relieved to hear that I’m halfway through the three crates of apples and pears I got from my friend (mostly cause I’m cooking and pureeing for the baby like Gerber’s is going out of business) so I’ll hopefully be changing subject matter in the near future. For now, this lovely, easy cake.
This is what you need:     
A square non-stick cake pan  - I used a heart-shaped one cause I was feeling whimsical today!      
365 grams (1 ½ cup – 13oz) applesauce (I made a mix of spiced apple and pear sauce, will be posting the recipe for this asap on Moomser Baby)
½ cup crushed pecans (the original says walnuts, but I had pecans…)
250 grams (2cups – 8 ¾ oz.) all purpose flour         
10 grams (2tsp) baking powder
3 grams ( ½ tsp) baking soda
3 grams ( ½ tsp) salt
2 grams ( ¾ tsp) cinnamon
1 gram ( ½ tsp) ground ginger (I also added the same amount of ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and allspice)
115 grams (1 stick – 4oz) unsalted butter – softened
215 grams (1 cup – 7 ¾ oz) light brown sugar (as usual I would put less sugar cause it was too sweet for my palate, next time I’ll stick to no more than 180grams)
5ml (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract
2 eggs – room temperature

This is what you do:
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F)
Beat together butter and sugar until soft and fluffy (took me at least 10 minutes, but my sugar was quite coarse, keep an eye on it).
While that’s beating, measure out your dry ingredients. And butter your cake dish.
Then add eggs to wet ingredients one at a time and beat well in between. Add applesauce.
Put your mixer on low and add in the dry ingredients and nuts and mix until just combined.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean – it took me 30 minutes, so check on your cake often!
Let it cool for 15 – 20 minutes and take out of your pan to let it cool completely. You’ll notice that my cake is cracked… I took it out too soon, so be patient!

You can serve this with cream cheese frosting:
This is what you need:
150 – 160 grams Philadelphia cream cheese
40 – 50 grams butter (softened)
120 grams (1 packet – 1 cup) confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
This is what you do:
Beat together cream cheese and butter until well combined and fluffy (smitten kitchen says to soften cream cheese too, but I find that cold cream cheese makes for a thicker frosting – as suggested by the Joy of Cooking) add vanilla.
Sift in sugar and cinnamon and beat until well mixed, but don’t over beat cause it’ll get runny.
Try and wait for your cake to cool before frosting, I obviously didn't….

Friday, October 22, 2010

Salone del Gusto 2010

The Salone del Gusto is upon us once again. Every two years Slow Food organizes the massive trade fair that is the International Salone del Gusto in Turin, and as one of the main sponsors we participate with a passion. I mentioned in “Why Moomser Food” that I have never worked in the food service industry, but I have worked in the food production industry, namely a mineral water company, so I will occasionally post on these types of events.
Unfortunately, after a full day at the fair I’m completely beat, so will reserve all commentary on how it’s going for tomorrow (I hope) but for now I just wanted to share our little midnight snack with you…
One of the great things about participating in these large trade shows is that we get to interact with other food producers from around the globe, and by interact I really mean try out all their goodies, and obviously in the wonderful spirit of bartering that prevails at these events, we get to go home with some yummy things. So after a tiring day on our feet, our mouths constantly in motion (mostly talking to clients and such, but also eating, of course), the husband and I got home and decided to have a light dinner of German whole wheat bread, fresh Greek feta cheese and the most fragrant Sicilian extra virgin olive oil I have ever had the pleasure of trying.

German bread? But you’re Italian, you might object, but the truth is that the Germans make the lightest, tastiest, most delicate whole wheat bread I have ever had, and Italian bread, though phenomenal when baked with regular flour, simply doesn’t measure up in this, dare I say healthier, variety. The Sicilian olive oil was divine, totally different from the Liguria oil we are used to eating, I can barely describe it, it is so fragrant, slightly spicy on the tongue, it is very smooth but not thick, when you taste it you realize you could probably dress a salad with just this oil, and nothing else. And the Feta? Well, we just really love it and it’s lovely with a little oil, so what more could we want for a midnight snack?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mrs. C's Apple Cake

Even though it doesn't look like much this is an easy peasy basic apple cake, and it’s oh, so satisfying! It’s soft and sweet and fruity. It’s great for breakfast or for dessert or for a midnight snack, it’s a simple comfort food that you’ll end up going back to over and over again.
This is what you need:
4 large apples – whatever kind you think cooks well
100gr. (¾ cup) all-purpose flour – I used whole flour, cause I’m trying to cut down on processed foods but honestly in this cake, white flour tastes better, the whole flour left it a little dry.
100gr. (¾ cup) sugar – I used brown sugar (which worked out fine) and as usual I used a bit less than called for, about 70gr. The apples I had were a little tart, so it wasn’t as sweet as other times I had made it, so I would suggest you adjust the sugar depending on the sweetness of the apples you have (if you so wish, cause the original recipe is pretty yummy as is). + 1 tbs. to sprinkle at the end.
100gr. (3.5oz.) butter
3 eggs
I used a 22cm (8.5inch) round spring-form pan, but you can use a pie dish as well.
16gr. baking powder
1tbs. cinnamon and a dash of allspice (I added these to the original recipe, cause I can’t resist cinnamon with apples)

 This is what you do:
Preheat oven at 180°C (350°F)
Peel and slice apples. Melt butter (bain marie or in the microwave). Separate yolks and beat whites till stiff. Mix the sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and butter. Wait a few minutes for the mixture to have cooled completely (the butter was probably warm when you added it) then add yolks. Mix well scraping sides of bowl completely. Gently fold in whites.
 Grease and flour your baking pan. And pour in your batter. Then add the apples pressing them down into the batter, you will probably be able to get two layers in. Sprinkle the top with a tbs. of sugar.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes.
(p.s. I told you it was easy!!)