Links to this post
If you're looking for a cupcake recipe that's a little different, try this one! Lemon juice and zest is added to the batter, so it's nice and citrusy. A crisp lemon-raspberry glaze goes on top, and a dollop of raspberry jam awaits you in the middle of the cupcake (okay, so my jam sank to the bottom -- maybe because I didn't have a thick enough batter?).
Next up, I'm going to try to tackle the ubiquitous strawberry sponge cake that can be found at just about any Asian bakery. You know the kind -- the cake is soft and airy, the icing is fluffy and not too sweet, and the strawberries just bring it all together. Trouble is, I simply can't find a recipe for one. I'm starting off with a Norwegian sponge cake recipe that is supposed to be similar, and working from there. I'll keep you posted.
Bon Appetit, April 2008
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, divided
4 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel, divided
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
12 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
Fresh raspberries (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Using electric mixer, beat butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered suga, and 3 teaspoons lemon peel in large bowl until blended, then beat until fluffy and pale yellow. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat in half of flour. Add buttermilk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; beat to blend. Beat in remaining flour.
Drop 1 rounded tablespoonful batter into each muffin liner. Spoon 1 teaspoon raspberry jam over. Cover with remaining batter, dividing equally.
Bake cupcakes until tester inserted halfway into centers comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan on rack. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon peel in small bowl. Spoon half of icing over 6 cupcakes. Whisk 1 tablespoon raspberry jam into remaining icing. Spoon over remaining cupcakes. Let stand until icing sets, about 30 minutes. Garnish with raspberries.
Links to this post
Links to this post
I have a confession to make -- I don't like pie. The ratio of filling to crust is never optimal (I like lots of crust), and things always end up way too soggy. This galette maintains the concept of pie, but the smaller amounts of fruit cook in a shorter amount of time so mushiness doesn't occur, and there is crust galore.
And this galette is unbelievable. The original recipe calls for blueberries to be mixed with lemon juice and zest, but I think lime tastes even better. I also threw in some nectarines to amp up the color, and they came out really well, too.
Blueberry, Nectarine and Lime Galette
based on this recipe from Gourmet, July 2004
12 oz fresh blueberries
2 nectarines, pitted and sliced
1 tbsp finely grated lime zest
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup + 1 tsp sugar
1 9" refrigerated pie dough (I like this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, although store bought would also work)
1 tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
Set the oven for 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix together the blueberries, nectarines, lime zest, lime juice, corn starch, salt, cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl. Roll out the pie dough and transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pile the fruit mixture onto the middle of the dough, leaving about a 1 1/2" border along the outside. Fold the edges of the dough up over the outer inch of the fruit filling.
Sprinkle the filling with the remaining 1 tsp of sugar, and dot the surface of the fruit with butter. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Best eaten warm.
Rhubarb season is drawing to a close, and strawberry season is beginning to warm up in Ohio. There is only one thing to do in such a situation -- and that is to make a kick-ass pie. I toyed with the idea of buying a ready made crust, but decided to tackle home-made pie crust once more (my previous attempts were all dismal failures). This recipe from Bon Appetit came highly recommended (4 forks, 129 reviews) on epicurious.
Well, I think I finally cracked the pie crust. The key was to make sure all the fats were COLD, and to add water until a workable dough formed. My pie dish flares out at the top, and the base of my pie crust wasnt quite large enough to wrap over the latticing, so I had to improvise.
All in all, it was a good recipe -- very easy to do (for a pie!), although my filling was a little tart. Many of the reviewers noted that the baking time (a total of 1 hr 45 min) was far too long, and a little over an hour was just fine for the pie. If you're going to bake for the whole time, you might need to protect the crust by covering it with foil for part of the baking time.
Lattice-Topped Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
Bon Appetit, April 1997
3 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups 1/2" thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 lbs untrimmed)
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 tsp water for glaze
Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms. Blend in enough ice water 2 tbsp at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently to blend.
Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13" round. Transfer to 9" diameter glass pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4" overhang.
Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13" round. Cut into 14 1/2" wide strips. Spoon filling into crust. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evely. Form lattic by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhand of bottom crust. Fold strip end and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively.
Brush glaze over crust. Transfer pie to baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour 25 mintues. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.
Sometimes, I just get in that mood when I really have to bake something. Like really, really have to. Generally, these whims appear when there's almost nothing left in the house, so I've found it's best to have a couple of recipes that use only the basic ingredients. This cookie is a great twist on the shortbread cookie; the lower butter content and the addition of vanilla and a little water makes it really lacy and crisp.
The cookie itself is very light and crunchy, and would be pretty darn good to eat with a cup of coffee. They're also pretty delish by themselves!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the flour, sugar and kosher salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the almonds, the vanilla and butter, and combine with your fingertips until a loose dough forms. If the dough is not coming together, add the water a little at a time until the dough will clump together.
Form the dough into a ball and roll out to 1/4" thickness on parchment paper. Cut cookies out of the dough with a cookie cutter, and move them with a spatula to a nonstick cookie sheet, keeping the cookies about 3/4" apart. Repeat with the remaining scraps of dough until it's all used up.
Bake the cookies on the middle rack of the oven for about 15 minutes. They're ready when they're golden brown on top.
Move the cookies to a cooling rack, and dust with confectioner's sugar.
Hot cross buns were a childhood favorite of mine. These don't quite match the softness of the ones I used to get at the supermarket, but they're a good deal tastier! The recipe comes from Feast by Nigella Lawson, and it differs slightly from the traditional variety, as it calls for cardamom and ginger. The spices add a nice touch of warmth and spiciness, I think. If you don't have ground ginger on hand, a problem that I ran into, just cut a few slices off a ginger root and steep that in milk with the cardamom pods.
Hot Cross Buns
For the dough:
For the egg wash:
For the crosses on the buns:
For the sugar glaze:
Heat the milk, butter, orange zest, clove and cardamom pods in a saucepan until the butter melts, then leave to infuse.
Measure the flour, yeast and dried fruit into a bowl and add the spices. When the infused milk has reached blood temperature take out the clove and cardamom pods, and beat in the egg. Pour this into the bowl of dry ingredients.
Knead the dough until silky and elastic -- if needed, add a little more warm milk or water. Form into a ball and place in a buttered bowl covered with plastic wrap. Leave to rise overnight in the fridge, or on the counter for about two hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
Punch the dough down, and knead it again until it is smooth and elastic. Divide into 16 balls and shape into smooth round buns.
Sit the buns on a parchment paper or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Make sure they are quite snug together but not touching. Using the back of an ordinary eating knife, score the tops of the buns with the imprint of a cross. Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave to prove again for about 45 minutes -- they should have risen and almost joined up.
Brush the buns with the egg wash, and then mix the flour, sugar and water into a smooth, thick paste. Using a teaspoon, dribble two lines over the buns in the indent of the cross, and then bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes. (I found the easiest way of doing this was to pick up a little paste along the side of the teaspoon, and drizzle that into the indent by sliding the side of the spoon along the dough. You'll get rather undigified globs if you load a lot of paste on the spoon)
When the hot cross buns come out of the oven, mix the sugar and boiling water together for the glaze, and brush each hot bun to make them sweet and shiny.
Links to this post
Icebox cookies are a treat to have around; you simply keep them frozen in logs, and when your next cookie craving hits, it's a simple job to take them out of the freezer, slice them into round and pop them into the oven. This recipe isn't too traditional (most shortbread recipes call for flour, butter and sugar -- almost never do eggs enter the equation), but it makes for a nice crisp cookie. Don't be afraid to add the kosher salt, either -- the grains of salt make for a great contrast with the sweetness of the cookie.
Just before baking, you can press each cookie round into sugar, or a mixture of other spices. Ming Tsai recommends five spice, caramel and macadamia nuts, or chocolate and ginger.
Butter Shortbread Cookies
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp vanilla extract
Interior scrapings of 1/2 split vanilla bean
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
In the bowl of a mixer, combine butter, sugar and salt. Cream on medium speed until blended, about 2 minutes. One by one, add the egg yolks, mixing until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and the scrapings of the vanilla bean. Scrape down the bowl.
Turn the mixer off and add the butter. Turn the machine to low and mix until the flour is completely incorporated. Remove the dough from the bowl. Working on parchment or wax paper, form dough into 4 logs, 10 inches long and 1 1/4 inches in diameter; wrap and chill.
Slice each log into about 20 rounds. Dip one side of each round into turbinado sugar. Arrange rounds on a parchment-covered baking sheet, about 3" apart. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes. Cool on racks.
from Simply Ming.
Links to this post
This torte will rock your socks off. No, really, it will. I recommend that you run out to a grocery store and buy the ingredients immediately, and buy enough for double the recipe, because you'll probably find yourself craving it again later in the week. Chances are you won't find ground blanched almonds, but you can grind whole blanched almonds in either a clean coffee grinder or food processor. If you accidentally grind for too long, and the almond ends up clumping together, just throw the almonds in with the wet ingredients instead of the dry.
This recipe is from the always amazing Molly.
Almond Torte with Sugared Apricots
1/3 cup finely ground blanched almonds
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egss
6 ripe apricots, halved and pitted (or 1 can halved apricots)
1 - 2 tbsp granulated sugar
Set an oven rack in the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In another medium bowl (or the bowl of stand mixer), beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the dry ingredients and the eggs and beat to combine, scraping down the bowl as needed. Do not overmix. The batter will be pale yellow and very thick.
Pour and scrape the batter into an ungreased 9-inch springform pan(cover the base of the pan with parchment paperand clamp the pan sides on top of the paper, then tear off the excess), and use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly. Arrange the apricots cut-side-up on top of the batter, and sprinkle them with sugar. If they’re particularly sweet, you should only need about 1 tablespoon, but if they’re only so-so, you might want up to two.
Slide the pan into the oven, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven, and let cool on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around the perimeter of the cake; then release the sides of the pan. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm, preferably with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Links to this post
Most people try to pick their zucchini when they are small, for maximum tenderness and flavor. However, these sneaky vegetables tend to hide out underneath the foliage, and when you finally do discover them, they're the size of a large baby. You might be tempted to just foist these off on a neighbor, but you really should think about keeping them -- after all, they are the perfect size for stuffing!
Don't think that you need an oversize zucchini to make this recipe, though. You can just as easily use a medium-size zucchini, as long as it's large enough to hold the stuffing when the seeds and pulp have been scooped out.
Stuffed Zucchini with Tuna and Mushrooms
2 medium zucchini
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
5 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can tuna in olive oil
2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Dash worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes
1/6 cup panko (or another kind of breadcrumb)
1/6 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the zucchini, and split in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving the shells about 1/2 inch thick.
Steam the zucchini for 8 - 12 minutes, until almost tender. If the zucchini is extra large, you can do this in the oven over hot water, or throw them in the microwave if they'll fit.
Melt the butter in a large saute pan, and throw in the onions and mushrooms. Saute until soft, then add the tuna, worcestershire sauce, and parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes. Pile into the zucchini shells.
Mix the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs together, and sprinkle the mixture over the stuffed zucchini. Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Place zucchini in a foil-lined baking pan, and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until toasty brown on top.
Original recipe from Simply Recipes.
Links to this post
Some of my favorite foods include stews, risottos, and roasts. Unfortunately, it's always too hot in the summer to even attempt any of these (who wants to turn the oven on when it's 90 degrees out?). But as soon as the temperature starts to dip, I'm whipping out the arborio rice and the roasting pans. We made this dish recently to bring to accompany some delicious steaks (thanks, Jack!). This recipe is a tried-and-true favorite, done up in true Nigella style with simple ingredients and a super-fast prep time. You don't even have to peel the garlic cloves! But please don't skimp on the halloumi, and do eat it as soon as you can without burning the roof of your mouth off.
Double Potato and Halloumi Bake:
1 large sweet potato
1 large Desiree potato, or other red/firm potato
1 red onion
1 yellow pepper
1 red peppers
1/2 head Garlic
4 tbsp Olive oil
1 pinch Pepper
125g halloumi cheese, sliced as thinly as you can
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Cut the sweet potato into rough 1.5" cubes and the Desiree slightly smaller (1") as the sweet potato will cook more quickly.
3. Halve the red onion then cut the half into 4-6 segments, discarding any tough outer skin.
4. De-seed the peppers and cut into 1" squares, and separate the cloves of garlic.
5. Put everything into a large roasting tin or whatever you want to use (it should be big, otherwise use two dishes) and, using your hands, give the vegetables a good coating of olive oil. Season with black pepper, but no salt as the cheese will make it salty (and anyway, the salt will make water leech out).
6. Cook for 45 minutes, by which time the vegetables should be cooked through and here and there tinged with brown.
7. You'll need to turn the oven up to maximum, or light the grill for the endgame: so place the thinly sliced cheese on top of the bake, and put it back in the very hot oven or under the grill until the cheese has melted and turned slightly brown on top, about 5-10 minutes. Serve straight out of the roasting tin.
Recipe originally from Nigella Bites. She states that the recipe feeds 3, but if you're using this as a side dish, you'll easily get at least 6 servings out of it.
Links to this post
We live in a four-story apartment building and the hallways here are unusually good at showcasing the smells of our floormates' dinners. It's a terrible thing to come home, starving, and be accosted by suggestions of pot roast or pie from a neighbor's kitchen. But trust me when I say, these cookies will make you the envy of your apartment building.
The recipe is from Elise at Simply Recipes. It is reprinted below, but you can read the original post here.
Elise's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes about 18 large chewy oatmeal raisin cookies.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups rolled oats (We use Quaker Quick or Old Fashioned. Do NOT use instant.)
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or waxed paper.
2 Either by hand or with electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.
3 Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together in medium bowl. Stir dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture. Stir in oats, raisins and optional walnuts.
4 Working with generous 2 tablespoons of dough each time, roll dough into 2-inch balls. Place balls on parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between each ball.
5 Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool on cooling at least 30 minutes before peeling cookie from parchment.
If you prefer a less sweet cookie, you can reduce the white sugar by one-quarter cup, but you will lose some crispness. Do not overbake these cookies. The edges should be brown, but the rest of the cookie should be very light in color. The trick to making the cookies chewy is to make them large. Smaller cookies tend to get more dried out and crisp, and therefore not as chewy.
One of our favorite restaurants is the Happy Greek in Columbus -- just ask any of our relatives who happened to visit us when we lived in the city. Their avgolemono soup (a lemony broth-based rice soup) is always amazing, as are their gyros. But our most-loved dish was their moussaka. Now that we live in Cleveland, we've been forced to get creative, and find our own recipe!
Moussaka is fairly similar to the Italian lasagna, only with vegetables replacing the lasagna noodles. There are countless variations on this dish, but we picked one that makes the most of a rampant summer vegetable -- zucchini. Moussaka is also usually topped with a creamy bechamel sauce that browns nicely in the oven. In this recipe, a lower-fat version of this sauce is used.
I have to confess that I don't really care for Parmesan cheese. I find the acidic taste it develops when it's aged too much (or has been sitting in the refrigerator too long) a little disgusting. Instead, we like to use Grana Padano cheese, which is prepared very similarly to Parmigiano Reggiano. We buy it at Whole Foods, but have found it at larger grocery stores before.
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup milk
dash of ground nutmeg
2 tbsp grated grana padano cheese
1 egg yolk
Whisk flour in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Slowly add the milk, whisking all the while, until the mixture is smooth. Add the nutmeg. Continue whisking the mixture until it thickens and comes to a boil (this will take about ten minutes). Take the pot off the heat, and add the nutmeg, cheese and the egg yolk. Set aside.
1 large eggplant, trimmed, peeled and sliced lengthwise (1/2" thick)
2 medium zucchini, trimmed and sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
1 large russet or red potato, peeled and sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
1 tsp olive oil
1 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 to 3/4 lb ground beef or lamb
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup plain dry white breadcrumbs
1 egg white
dash ground cinnamon
grated Grana Padano cheese
While the vegetables are roasting, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add onions and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and brown, breaking up the beef with the back of a wooden spoon. When the meat is completely brown, add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Add half the breadcrumbs, the cinnamon, and the egg white.
In a glass 8" x 8" x 2" dish, sprinkle breadcrumbs over the base of the pan. Arrange the potato slices in a layer over the bottom of the pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half of the tomato sauce over the potatoes. Arrange the eggplant in a layer on top of the tomato sauce, and spoon the remaining sauce over the eggplant. Finish off with a layer of zucchini. Pour the white sauce over the whole dish, and sprinkle with cheese.
Put the moussaka in the oven and bake for about half an hour, until the top is nicely browned. Let sit for 15 minutes after leaving the oven, then slice and serve.
Serves 3 or 4.
Bon Appétit, February 1998Links to this post
Links to this post
Pancakes have never been a food I like to eat; they're always a little too dry and there's always too much of them. I've tried everything to make them tastier -- dousing them in jam, syrup, even hot salsa -- but I'd always rather have a big platter of bacon, done up crispy-style.
However, that all changed when I saw this post on orangette. Jimmy's dutch baby pancakes looked buttery, light, and airy... and I had to have them. The batter is made in the blender, creating little air bubbles that expand when the pancake is baked. You can make this in two small cast-iron pans, or one large one. A glass pyrex dish would also do (I used four small ramekins).
4 tbs unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar (balsamic would also work)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the dish on a baking sheet, and into the oven to heat up. After it has risen to temperature, divide the butter evenly between the dishes and slide back into the oven.
Put the eggs, flour, and milk in a blender and give them a quick spin. After the butter has melted in the dishes, remove from the oven and distribute the batter evenly in each dish. Pop them back into the oven for 25 minutes.
Mix the strawberries with the granulated sugar and vinegar in a bowl. After the pancakes are ready, quickly take them out of the oven, dust with a generous amount of powdered sugar, and spoon the strawberries over the pancakes.
These are best eaten piping hot, so serve immediately.