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RECIPE: Calle Dão Coconut Rum Flan

Coconut Pineapple Flan
[1] Un bonito postre (a beautiful dessert): coconut rum flan at at Calle Dão| NYC.

Gosling's Rum Bottles
[2] When you’re done with the flan, treat yourself to a Dark ‘N’ Stormy, mix dark rum with ginger beer. Fill a tall glass with ice, add the juice of half a lime, and your desired proportions of rum and ginger beer. The Dark ‘N’ Stomy recipe is copyrighted by Gosling’s (photo courtesy Gosling Brothers Limited).

Whole Pineapple

[3] Did you know that you can boil the skin/rind of the pineapple into a healthy drink? Here’s the recipe (photo courtesy Produce Marketing Guide).

 

Calle Dão is a Cuban-Chinese fusion restaurant, with two locations in New York City.

Why Cuban-Chinese fusion?

In this town, there are plenty of restaurants serving “comidas chinas y criollas,” which commemorate Havana’s once-thriving El Barrio Chino (Chinatown). There, as the Cuban and Chinese cultures mixed, a fusion cuisine emerged.

One of our favorite dishes at Calle Dão is this coconut rum flan with two special accents: pineapple jam and passionfruit caramel.

A blend of coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream cheese create the silky flan. It is accessorized with the homage to Chinese cuisine: fried rice vermicelli noodles.

This is a restaurant-sized recipe, but it is easy to cut it in half. Or better yet, make it along with a friend or two, and divide the tasty results.

The recipe takes a bit of work, but goes quickly when you share the labors.

Ingredients For 20 Servings

For The Flan

  • 2 cups + 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cans evaporated milk
  • 1.5 cups coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 24 ounces cream cheese
  • 18 egg yolks
  • 12 egg whites
  •  
    For The Pineapple Jam

  • 2 pineapples
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  •  
    For The Passionfruit Caramel

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup passionfruit purée (make or buy)
  •  
    Optional Garnish

  • Rice vermicelli noodles
  •  

    Preparation

    If you want to top your creation with the fried rice vermicelli shown in the photo, you can make them in advance and keep them in an airtight container. See step 7.

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Make the flan: Place 2 cups sugar, the corn syrup and water in a medium sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat. Cook until the sugar begins to melt, swirling the pan. Continue cooking until it is melted and medium-dark brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the caramelized sugar into individual aluminum molds. Let cool.

     

    2. WHISK together remaining 1 cup sugar, salt, egg yolks, rum, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk in a large bowl, until combined. In a blender, combine the cream cheese, coconut milk and egg whites on low until smooth and combined. Add into egg yolk mixture. Pour into the metal ramekins with the cooled sugar in them.

    3. TRANSFER to a deep pan (roasting pan, hotel pan). Pour water around the ramekins about halfway up their sides. Bake in a 325°F oven until flan is almost set (it will appear loose in center but continue cooking as it cools), about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack until water cools, then transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool.

    4. MAKE the pineapple jam. Cut the pineapple by removing the skins and tops. Grate the flesh with a box grater. Place the grated pineapple in a large sauce pan with the sugar, salt, water and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the liquid has reduced by half and the pineapple has softened and become translucent. Add the rum and lemon juice; cool and store.

    5. COMBINE the passionfruit caramel ingredients in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat. You are looking to thicken this mixture, not caramelize it. This will take about 10-15 minutes.

    6. TEST the thickness of the sauce by dropping a small amount on a plate and placing it in the fridge for a few minutes. Based on how it drips down the plate, you can tell the thickness of the sauce. You want it to only drip slightly when completely cooled. Cool and store until ready to serve.

    7. FRY the vermicelli noodles at 350°F until they puff up. Place on paper towels and sprinkle with sugar and a dash of salt. If you don’t want to use the noodles, consider adding a garnish in a contrasting color, e.g., a sprig of herbs or a strawberry half.

    8. ASSEMBLE: Place each flan on a plate or in a serving bowl. Add one or two tablespoons of pineapple jam. Drizzle with the passionfruit caramel.


      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Superseedz Organic Flavored Pumpkin Seeds & More Good-For -You

    1. SUPERSEEDZ ORGANIC, SHELL-LESS PUMPKIN SEEDS

    We have long been a fan of Superseedz, the best pumpkin seeds we’ve ever had.

    Now, the line has added organic varieties (photo #1).

    Editor’s Note: Those seeds growing inside a thick-skinned squash are safe from surface pesticides, but consumers want what consumers want: the word “organic” on the package.

    The flavors include:

  • Organic Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds
  • Organic Garlicky Dill Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds
  • Organic Pink Himalayan Salt Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds
  •  
    Eat them from the bag, toss them onto cottage cheese or yogurt, pasta (photo #2) or grains. Garnish salads and, with the new Dark Chocolate Sea & Salt flavor, garnish cupcakes and other desserts.

    In addition to the crunchy great taste, you’ll be adding protein, magnesium and iron.

    Don’t overlook the regular line:

  • Sweet Flavors: Cinnamon & Sugar, Coco Joe, Maple Syrup & Sea Salt
  • Savory Flavors: Curious Curry, Really Naked, Sea Salt, Somewhat Spicy and Super Spicy
  •  
    Allergen-friendly, Superseedz are gluten free, nut free, egg free, dairy free, fish and shellfish free and soy free (except for the curry flavor). They have up to 9g of protein per ounce, and provide 15% RDI of iron and zinc.

    For guilt-free snacking, see them all at Superseedz.com.
     
     
    2. AQUASANA CLEAN WATER MACHINE

    If you prefer filtering your tap water to purchasing water—whether to please your palate or to eliminate contaminants—you may have tried a Britta or ZeroWater pitcher filtration device, or even a larger countertop unit.

    But if you’re kitchen-space-challenged as we are, you have neither space in the fridge nor on the counter top for one—without sacrificing something else.

    Thanks to Aquasana, we no longer have that limitation. The company, which specializes in water filters for sinks and showers—plus handsome individual water bottles with built-in filters—has come up with a space saver countertop unit that nicely hugs the side of the kitchen counter next to the fridge (photo #3).

    The Clean Water Machine has the same Aquasana professional filtration system that keeps the good minerals dissolved in your tap water (calcium, magnesium, potassium). It filterd out 99% of asbestos, chlorine and lead, and 96% of 62 other harmful contaminants, including pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

    Just 4.5 inches wide and 17 inches long, the Aquasana Clean Water Machine dispenses a gallon of filtered water by the glassful or the pitcherful, and includes a glass carafe (photo #4) to bring to the table.

    The device is electric, and claims to remove “10x more contaminants than leading gravity pitchers.”

    Instead of slowly trickling through the filter via gravity, Aquasana’s electricity-driven motor filters a half gallon in a minute.

    Two filters, each making 320 gallons of clean water, are included.

  • A light lets you know when the filter needs to be changed.
  • A second pitcher lets you keep a space-saving pitcher in the fridge, or wherever else you want it.
  •  
    Aquasana Clean Water Machine is available in black or white, and is sold at retailers including Costco, e-tailers and from the company website.

    The list price is $129.99 ($124.99 at Costco), but today the Aquasana website offered us a 30% discount on anything.

       

    Superseedz Organic
    [1] Superseedz: one of our favorite snacks and garnishes, available in snack and family packs (photo courtesy Superseedz).

    Pumpkin Seeds On Pasta
    [2] Superseeds as a garnish: Add crunch, flavor and nutrition (photo courtesy Superseedz).

    Aquasana Clean Water Machine
    [3] The space-saving Aquasana Clean Water Machine fits snugly against the fridge (photo courtesy Aquasana).

    Aquasana Carafe

    [4] You can bring the built-in pitcher to the table, or fill the graceful carafe, included (photo courtesy Aquasana).

     

     

    Leonardo's Pizza Sauce

    Pasta Sauce

    [5] and [6] Leonardo’s Pizza Sauce (photos courtesy Leonardo’s).

     

    3. LEONARDO’S PIZZA SAUCE

    The majority of commercial pasta and pizza sauces are made with average tomatoes—those with no natural sweetness (they’re cheaper for the manufacturers).

    As a result, the sauces are are typically sweetened with sugar or corn syrup, resulting in hidden sugar that no one needs, plus a sauce that often tastes sugary.

    Many Americans have grown to accept that everything from mustard to vinaigrette has added sugar. Personally, we dislike sugary notes in savory food, and eschew the practice of adding sugar.

    When we find an NSA (no sugar added) brand that tastes really good—like a tomato sauce should—we give it a shout-out.

    In 1990, Leonardo’s Pizza began as one pizzeria in Burlington, Vermont. It got so much attention, People’s Choice Awards, professional and Yelp reviews, that it opened more pizzerias in New England.

    When home-baked pizza began trending, Leonardo’s bottled their sauces for home cooks, in:

  • Original
  • Asiago
  • Chipotle
  • Garlic
  •  
    Pizza sauce is typically thinner than pasta sauce, so it spreads evenly and flatly on the crust (chunkier sauce is designed to cling to strands of pasta). Leonardo’s aims to give you the best:

    “We hunt for the most delicious vine-ripened tomatoes. We gather the finest cheese we can lay hands on. And we combine them with extra virgin olive oil and selected spices. This produces intense flavors, setting a strong foundation for your homemade pie.”

    We had fun pairing the sauces:

  • Topping the Asiago Pizza Sauce with a thick layer of cheese and fresh basil.
  • Topping the Chipotle Pizza Sauce spicy with andouille sausage and oregano.
  • Topping the Garlic Pizza Sauce with roasted garlic cloves and fresh thyme.
  •  
    You can also use the sauces as simmer sauces for beef, chicken, fish or tofu; and of course, on pasta, grains or vegetables.

    Buy the sauces online from Leonardo’s, or from these retailers.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Salad Mashup (Your Signature Salad)

    Here’s what you get when you combine three salad concepts:

  • Cobb Salad
  • Wedge Salad
  • Salade Lyonnaise
  •  
    It’s a Wainer Salad (photo #4). Created by the creative folks at Sid Wainer, a gourmet produce distributor, it demonstrates how you can combine favorite ingredients from different dishes to create something new.

    Sure, people have been substituting lobster for the chicken to make a Lobster Cobb Salad; but how about substituting romaine or frisée for the iceberg lettuce?

    We have a list below of salads for your mashup; but first, the Wainter:

    All three of these salads have been popular for decades—even centuries. Two are American creations, one is French.
     
     
    COBB SALAD

    Cobb Salad (photo #2)was created in 1937 at the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood: an on-the-fly assembly of whatever was in the kitchen one late night.

    Owner Bob Cobb was scrounging in the kitchen’s refrigerator for a snack for himself and Sid Grauman, proprietor of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. He compiled a plate of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cold breast of chicken, hard-boiled egg, chives, blue cheese, bacon and some watercress.

    The original French dressing used was synonymous at the time with vinaigrette—the standard salad dressing of France.

    Over time, a sweet, decidedly non-French, orange-colored vinaigrette (from ketchup, not a very French condiment) appeared in the U.S. and Canada. It’s what “French dressing” is today. To make it, combine 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of salt. Our mother halved the sugar and threw in a clove of garlic.

    But we prefer the original vinaigrette, or even better, a chunky blue cheese dressing.

    The salad created on that long-ago evening was so delicious, that Sid Grauman came back the next day and asked for a “Cobb Salad.” It went onto the menu, and never left. (The restaurant was destroyed by fire in 1987.)

    Here’s more of the history of Cobb Salad.
     
     
    SALADE LYONNAISE

    Cooked eggs on salads have long been part of French cuisine. The most noteworthy:

  • Salade Niçoise, from the city of Nice on the French Riviera. The salad began to evolve in the late 19th century using ingredients accessible to the poor, including hard-boiled eggs. The recipe evolved to include additional ingredients, from steamed green beans to anchovies and tomatoes. Here’s a recipe.
  • Salade Lyonnaise (photo #1)a, classic French country with roots in the area around Lyons, France. It has a poached egg on top, plus lardons (a salad version of bacon and eggs). In the U.S., a simpler version without the egg it is often called Frisée Salad. Here’s a recipe for Salade Lyonnaise.
  • Salade Lyonnaise was popularized in the U.S. in the early 1980s at The Odeon, a bistro in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood.
  •  
     
    WEDGE SALAD

    Wedge Salad (photo #3) began to emerge in the 1950s, when restaurants offered hearts of iceberg lettuce salad with creamy dressings. The head was cut into quarters and plated with a slice of tomato for color.

    Homemakers were fans, too, because iceberg heads were sold fully trimmed, with little waste, and had a longer shelf life in the fridge. It was easy to cut into wedges or slice into shreds. The lettuce’s crunch was very popular, if bland-tasting (solution: lots of dressing—like creamy blue cheese).

    Thanks to the retro food movement of the past decade, iceberg has returned to restaurant menus beyond its steakhouse stronghold, and the hearts of lettuce salad are now known by a trendier name: wedge salad. Bacon was added, because bacon has become a garnishs of choice.

    By the way, iceberg lettuce was a mutation, discovered in the late 1800s. Here’s the history of iceberg lettuce, and more about wedge salads.
     
     
    WHAT’S YOUR SALAD MASHUP?

     

    Salade Lyonnaise
    [1] Parent #1: Salade Lyonnaise, a French frisée salad with lardons (here’s a recipe from Saveur).

    Cobb Salad
    [2] Parent #2, a Cobb Salad, invented at the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood (here’s the recipe from La Creme De La Crumb).

    Wedge Salad
    [3] Parent #3: Wedge Salad (here’s a recipe from Little Broken).

    Cobb Wedge Salad
    [4] The Sid Wainer fusion: a slice (not wedge) of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing and bacon from the Wedge Salad, cubed chicken from the Cobb Salad and a poached egg from Salade Lyonnaise.

     
    In addition to the three salads above, here are 10 more popular green salads with ingredients you can pick and choice to make a [Your Name Here] Salad.

  • Arugula Salad: arugula, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, olive oil vinaigrette with fresh lemon juice, parmesan cheese
  • Avocado Salad: avocado, cucumber, tomato, red onion, cilantro
  • Caesar Salad: romaine, anchovies, croutons, grated parmesan cheese
  • Endive Salad: endive, blue cheese, pear, walnuts, balsamic vinaigrette
  • Greek Salad: feta, bell peppers, peperoncini, red onion, kalamata olives, tomato, oregano, lemon juice, oil and vinegar, optional stuffed grape leaves
  • Kale Salad kale, chopped almonds, apple, parmesan cheese
  • Mesclun Salad: mixed baby lettuces, walnut oil or hazelnut oil vinaigrette, goat cheese
  • Mixed Green Salad: lettuce with bell pepper, carrot, celery, onion, tomato
  • Spinach Salad: baby spinach, bacon, feta, strawberries
  • Watercress Salad: watercress, onion, dijon vinaigrette
  •   

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    HALLOWEEN RECIPE: Spider Cake

    Halloween Spider Cake
    [1] A hairy spider, ready to eat (photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter).

    Chocolate Sprinkles
    [2] Chocolate sprinkles make the spider “hairy” (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).

    Candy Eyeballs Wilton

    [3] Wilton makes the smallest eyes we’ve found. These are from Target (photo courtesy Wilton).

     

    Along came a spider and sat down beside her—and she ate him!

    This eye-catching chocolate spider cake from Go Bold With Butter doubles as a table centerpiece and dessert.

    The ingredients are easy to find. Chocolate chocolate sticks for the spider legs and candy eyeballs can be found at kitchen specialty stores and online.

    You also use use Pocky, the Japanese chocolate-covered biscuit sticks that have good distribution at grocery stores and international markets.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 50 minutes.
     
     
    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE SPIDER CAKE

    Ingredients For 8-10 Servings

    For the Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  •  
    For the Spider Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  •  
    Decorations

  • 8 small candy eyeballs
  • 1 cup chocolate sprinkles
  • 16 chocolate sticks or chocolate-covered biscuit sticks
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the frosting. Combine the heavy cream and chocolate in small microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 45 seconds and stir. Return to the microwave and heat again for 20 seconds. Let the mixture stand for 2 minutes; then whisk together until smooth. Place in refrigerator to firm to spreading consistency, about 1 hour.

    2. MAKE the cake. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine first six ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk together. Add the milk, melted butter and vanilla and beat on low until combined. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg; beat again until well incorporated.

     
    3. LINE one well of a cupcake tin with a paper liner and fill it 2/3 full with batter (this is the spider’s head). Grease and flour 2-1/2 quart ovenproof bowl for the body (you can use stainless steel) and pour in the remaining batter. Bake the cupcake for 12-15 minutes, or until the center springs back when pressed. Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Allow the cupcake and cake to cool on wire rack.

    NOTE: If you want to use the rest of the cupcake tin to bake more cupcakes, plan ahead for your batter of choice.

    4. PLACE the chocolate sprinkles in a bowl. Cut the cupcake in half and cover top portion with chocolate frosting (bonus: you get to eat the other half of the cupcake). Place 8 candy eyeballs on top of the frosting. Use a spoon to cover the cupcake with chocolate sprinkles. Gently shake off excess and set aside.

    5. PLACE the cake on a large serving platter. Cover the bowl-shaped cake with chocolate frosting, then cover frosting with chocolate sprinkles. Apply more frosting to the back side of the cupcake to attach the “head” to the “body.”

    6. GENTLY INSERT three chocolate sticks, standing upright on each side of spider body (do one side at a time). Use leftover frosting to attach a second chocolate stick, creating three sets of spider legs on each side. Insert two short chocolate stick “legs” on either side of spider head. Use frosting to attach two additional short chocolate sticks to legs, creating segmented front legs.

    7. SLICE and serve, but only once your guests have applauded the finished cake.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: No Sugar Added Caramel Apples

    If you love caramel apples but are cutting down on sugar, make your own with sugar-free caramels.

    Werther’s makes delicious sugar-free caramels in regular and chocolate-flavored. Pick up a few bags and get dipping!

    You can use the same recipe with regular caramels.
     
     
    RECIPE: SUGAR-FREE CARAMEL APPLES

    Ingredients

  • 5 Granny Smith apples (1-1/2 pounds), washed and thoroughly dried
  • 12 ounces Werther’s chewy sugar-free caramels (not the hard caramels)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Wooden sticks
  • Optional garnish: chopped nuts or whatever your reduced-sugar diet allows
  •  
    Preparation

    1. INSERT the wooden sticks into stem end of the apples. Cover a large plate, baking pan or tray with waxed paper. Lightly grease the paper with butter.

    2. COMBINE the caramels and water in large saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the caramels are completely melted, stirring constantly.

    3. DIP the apples in the melted caramel, spooning additional caramel over the apples if necessary to coat evenly. Place on the buttered paper and allow the excess caramel to drip off.

    4. SCRAPE pooled caramel from the bottoms of the apples for neatness. Garnish as desired, then place on a prepared serving plate and refrigerate for 1 hour.

     

    Dipping A Caramel Apple
    [1] Enjoy your apple covered with sugar-free caramel (photo courtesy Daffy Apple).

    Werther's Sugar Free Chewy Caramels

    [2] Werther’s makes sugar-free soft chewy caramels and chocolate-flavored chewy caramels (photo courtesy Werther’s Originals).

     

    MORE CANDY APPLE, CHOCOLATE & CARAMEL APPLE RECIPES

  • Bourbon Caramel Apples
  • Classic Red Candy Apples
  • Easter Candy Apples
  • Matcha White Chocolate Granny Smith Apples
  • Modern Art Chocolate Apples
  • Sugar-Free Red Candy Apples
  •  
    You can also host a candy apple party!

      

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