Friday, April 8, 2011

Biscotti & Muffins

Both the very snackable recipes in this post are adaptations from recipes by well known chefs. The first is a quick and easy low fat biscotti recipe by the internationally recognizable Martha Stewart. The second is a muffin recipe by Quebec's own Ricardo Larivee. Ricardo, who is a star chef on the grandest scale in Quebec, is less well known than Martha, but then again who isn't? I heard Ricardo speak about his passion for food and family a little over year ago on CBC 1. He is an eloquent speaker who is fluent in both French and English. Ricardo has a magazine named simply Ricardo. As a food stylist I appreciate his magazine for it's sophisticated look and its' modern, but not overly artistic or alienating, approach to food photography. Quebec's population is small, and being able to produce a magazine that holds its' own in comparison to much more widely circulated and better funded American and European food magazines is very impressive. Ricardo also has a popular television show on the Food Network called Ricardo and Friends.

The chocolate edition you see in the above photo peeking out from behind the latest edition is truly food porn. Ricardo's magazine was available in English for a while, but the English publication has been suspended due to low readership. I think Ricardo should try again soon. Once more Anglos get to know him and his food philosophy I think they will be hooked.
And when you get Ricardo talking about food and culture and national identity, you can practically see the passion cracking around him like an electrical charge. “On a visit I made to New Zealand, I was fascinated to see that the customs and foods of its Aboriginal population (the Maori), were proudly incorporated into the mainstream culture of New Zealand,” said Ricardo. “But here we need to do some work on that . . . many of the dishes that we call indigenous to Canada or Quebec specifically actually do have their roots in Native cultures. I want to talk about that and I want to show that so people can appreciate it.”
But Ricardo is trying to take it one step further – he is trying to spread the word to children in schools in the towns and regions he visits. “It is an indisputable fact that parents that make it a habit of sitting down to meals with their children encounter far fewer social and developmental problems with their children,” says Ricardo. “So I am trying to work in a love of food, a curiosity about food and where good food comes from in children from an early age so that my enthusiasm and curiosity then becomes theirs as well.”

excerpt from
Let me tell you that I would work as the assistant to the assistant to the assistant to the food stylist on any of the Ricardo food shoots...but I have been told by those in the know that I would be in a very long line of food stylists ready to sell their first born to get in at Ricardo! I think I will hold on to mine, and hope for the best!

Click here for the Whole Wheat Raisin Walnut Biscotti recipe by Martha. Adaptations to the recipe: I used regular raisins instead of golden. I also replaced the whole wheat flour with spelt flour. Spelt flour is a very nutritious flour that can often be used instead of whole wheat. These biscotti are low in fat and very satisfying as an afternoon accompaniment to tea or coffee.
From Ricardo's latest edition I made the banana muffins. Who needs another banana bread or muffin recipe right? Well I like to try new recipes as much as possible, and especially if there is a little twist in the recipe that could make all the difference. I have never added lemon juice and I like that this recipe requires 3 bananas, as I often have too many ripe bananas on hand. This recipe is accompanied by a chocolate peanut butter icing recipe. It was tempting, but I send these muffins in my son's lunch so I skipped the icing. As a compromise I added milk chocolate chips. These guys are moist and delicious.

Banana Muffins with Peanut Butter Chocolate Icing

(translated from french from Ricardo Vol. 9 #4)
yields: 12 muffins

  • 500 ml (2 cups) un-bleached all purpose flour
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) baking powder
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) juice of freshly squeezed lemon
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk chocolate chips (optional and not in original recipe)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) peanut butter
  • 55 g (2 oz) dark chocolate, melted
  • 30 ml ( 2 tablespoons) 35% cream
  • sufficient quantity un-salted roasted crushed peanuts or banana slices (fresh or dried)
  • Place the grill in the center of oven. Pre-heat oven to 180C (350F). Line 12 muffin tin molds with muffin liners.
  • In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients.
  • In another bowl use a fork to crush the bananas with the lemon juice. Add the milk, oil, and eggs to the bowl and mix well.
  • Using a spatula add the dry ingredients and fold until just blended.
  • Divide the batter equally between the 12 molds and cook for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Let cool. Remove muffins and let cool on a cookie rack.
  • In a bowl, with a spatula, mix together the peanut butter and chocolate until well blended.
  • Add the cream and stir to blend.
  • Ice the cooled muffins and decorate with peanuts or banana slices.
You could also ice the muffins with whipped peanut butter. To whip the peanut butter be sure that it is at room temperature before whipping.

Aslo check out Dessert Poutine recipe by Ricardo!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic recipe! I think it's a shame Ricardo's magazine is not in English. He's such a star.


Printer friendly