Cooking North African-Inspired Citrusy Sweets On The Queen Latifah Show

Posted on February 4, 2014 by & filed under food.

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I first fell head over heels with rose water backpacking through Northern Africa. The delicate floral flavoring is used around the globe in many applications from Middle Eastern candies like Turkish delight and baklava to Southeast Asian sweets like bandung and Indian rice puddings. When used sparingly, it adds a subtle aromatic quality unlike any other. And it’s particularly wonderful when added to sweet dishes using winter citrus, like my orange rosewater polenta cake.

So when Curtis Stone rung me up to come cook my favorite citrus dish for the Queen (Latifah, that is!), I happily obliged and went to my exotic cake.Β I mean, she’s on fire right now with the Grammys and the Super Bowl appearances.

Though I’d love to take credit for being the first to bake using rose water, it’s been utilized in baked goods for quite some time now. In fact, up until the 19th century, bakers across the globe commonly used rosewater before vanilla became popular. It also is a nice accompaniment to citrus, so we decided to riff on an old recipe from Gourmet Magazine to make something truly unique for the Queen and her court.

You can find the recipe here.Β And of course, be sure to watch the show Tuesday on CBS!

International markets are 100% my happy place. I'm literally a kid in a candy/pickle/ produce store! I adored Nishiki Market in Kyoto so much that I just had to create this mini video tour for ya. And in case you're curious about that nibble at the end, it's tako tomago -- squid stuffed with a quail egg in a sweet BBQ sauce. Turns out, "put an egg on it," is indeed a universal language. πŸ™πŸ³πŸ‘πŸΌ
Loved breaking bun with @aidamollenkamp @nonglacafe this afternoon, talking travel, food, girl power and the grand hustle. Big things poppin', lil things stoppin'! πŸ’ͺπŸΌπŸœπŸ’‹
Okay, I lied, one last snap from Japan. This one is too darn pretty not to post tho, I think. These octopus were looking almost floral at the freshest seafood market in the world. #takemeback
Wrapping up my Japan posts with a shot from the onsen outside Kyoto. In my mind, there truly is no better way to unwind than wading in your birthday suit amidst lush natural hot springs. This is the way many Japanese vacation -- we were the only Westerners at the ryokan, where we slept on tatami mats on the floor -- and I'm inclined think that if we all just took some time to read, write, reflect and just BE, we'd be happier, much more present, pleasant people. Wandering around all day in a robe doesn't hurt either. πŸ˜‰ #robelife
Only handful of ancient Japanese businesses are ‘senzen’ (before the Onin War), and I was lucky enough to visit one in Kyoto -- a world class knife maker named Shigeharu. The workshop was originally founded in the Kamakura period (1190-1329), has no website, and is completely off the beaten path. And holy cow, not only is the santoku I purchased absolutely beautiful, it's by far the sharpest, most precise, natural feeling knife I've ever used! Speaking with the craftsman using my VERY minimal Japanese while scribbling pictures of what fruits and fish each knife is used for will definitely be a cherished memory of this trip. Pictured are some of his great grandfather's knives and tools. I'm not big on souvenirs, but this one has significance to last a lifetime. πŸ™πŸ”ͺ
Normally not into the whole feet-and-food photo thing, but I couldn't resist this shot. Man oh man do I miss wearing a kimono all day. I don't care what you fashionistas say, robes + socks + sandals are where it's at! #ihavethisthingwithfloors #latergram #howyouglow
You can't fault a girl for being happy; Inari Temple had crispy karaage, vibrant Shinto shrines, AND cuddly wuddly shiba inus. I mean, it'd be a crime NOT to be this giddy! πŸΊπŸ—πŸ™πŸΌ (Thx @mkretovics for snapping this shot of me on the road in Kyoto. )
Good morning, gorgeous. This bouquet of edamame is a perfect illustration of the understated elegance of Japan. It's all in the details, people.
Throwing back xaio long bao while perusing the collections at the #MadeinChina designer showcase at American Rag. The soup dumplings and street style are bringing me straight back to Shanghai! (@AmericanRagOfficial is expanding with stores in Shanghai and Beijing this June.) Great running into @sandgater and @boothmoore, too.πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³πŸœ
#TBT to this off-the-chains Japanese strawberry glazed donut I had at the train station for our ryokan outside Kyoto. Yep, those are REAL strawberries in the glaze. Japanese strawberries are smaller and sweeter and just more intensely awesome than what you get in Cali, believe it or not, and man are they good, esp in donut form. The matcha chocolate nibble didn't hurt the case either. Usually donuts are too sweet and heavy for my liking, but the desserts here seem so lighter and more balanced. πŸ˜πŸ©πŸ“
Going thru severe sashimi withdrawals at the moment. πŸ˜“ This glorious chirashi bowl was packed to the brim with sweet, delicate Hokkaido uni, scallops, shrimp, hamachi, and the fluffiest tomago yaki I've had. And it was SO CHEAP. Two of us ate for $30. I really was scared that Japan would break my bank, but there is a ton of wonderful food to be had outside the Michelin starred spots that carry those notoriously hefty price tags. The only real financial issue is that now all I want to do is buy a plane ticket back!
Totally craving something sweet this afternoon and wishing I could be back in Harajuku lapping up this amazing ice cream cone made with fresh Hokkaido dairy topped with choux pastry crumbles. Take me baaaaaack! πŸ˜πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅πŸ¦
These super kawaii baby lobster rolls at last night's @infatuation @microsoftlumiaus dinner had everyone swooning! Thanks for the warm welcome back from Japan, #lumiaXinfatuation! #eeeeeats #infatuationLA
Many travelers flock to Tsukiji Fish Market to catch a glimpse of the giant bluefin tuna auctions, but to me it's all about the little guys. They're what's going to keep this place -- and the oceans -- alive, after all. Glistening sardines, firefly squid, sanma, and saba were just a few of my fave sightings (and eatings!) this trip. What an incredible experience to finally see this iconic spot, which is the largest wholesale fish market in the world. I mean, it dates back to the 16th century! πŸŒŠπŸ‡―πŸ‡΅πŸŽ£
Move over bone broth, a new stock has stolen my heart! I learned the subtle art of making dashi from chef Matsamisu Taima, who taught me all about the nuance of blending katsuobushi (dried skipjack) and kombu (dried kelp) to make the perfect broth. He uses a vintage kombu dried naturally for 3 years that fetches $90/kilo. The result is the cleanest, most comforting sip that tastes like the purest essence of the sea. 🌊😍
Crazy to share sizzling organ meats and cold beers with friends from home halfway across the globe in the most unassuming of locations, Memory Lane. This maze of grimy, smokey alleyways was originally established in the 1940s, and is filled with yakitori vendors, black market dealers, and salary men knocking a few back after work. I mean, who doesn't adore meat on a stick? Amirite? πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅πŸΊπŸ’
Snacking on omusubi and Asahi on the Shinkansen from Kyoto>Tokyo while studying up on the local cocktail scene in @bonappetitmag's rad new Will Fly For Food issue. Thx for the handy lowdown @andrewoknowlton! πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅πŸΊπŸ‘ŒπŸΌ #BAreaders
Absolutely blown away by the rail system in Japan. Not only is incredibly efficient, clean, and shockingly simple to navigate, but it's a fantastic way to see the countryside. Oh, and the FOOD! These darling gals come by with pushcarts loaded with bentos and masubi and booze. It's the best! If only air travel were this fabulous.
I want ALL THE PICKLES! πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸΌ
Geisha in Gion.

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