Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gingerbread Waffles


A big hit at Topsail vacation!
Adapted from several blogs. Makes about 4 waffles.

1 C white flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1/4 C dark brown sugar
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 t (each) cinnamon and ginger
1 t (each) cardamom, cloves, allspice, nutmeg
4 eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 C milk
1 C plain yogurt
1/4 C molasses
1 t vanilla

Mix melted butter, milk, yogurt, molasses, vanilla, and eggs in a bowl. Add in dry ingredients and mix until smooth.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cranberry-Blueberry Muffins

Cranberry-Blueberry Muffins

Makes 18 muffins

It’s not too often that I come across a new muffin recipe that I love! This one is great, filled with fruit, not too sweet….

(modified from Weight Watchers recipe)

  1. 2/3 cup sugar
  2. 2 t. baking powder
  3. 1 t. baking soda
  4. ¼ t. salt
  5. 1 T melted butter
  6. 2 T canola oil
  7. ¾ c. plain nonfat yogurt
  8. 1/3 c. thawed o.j. concentrate
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 2.5 c. flour: I mixed whole wheat, white whole wheat, and white
  11. 1.5 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
  12. 1 c. cranberries

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray muffin tins with cooking spray and dust with flour or yellow cake mix

I combined the first 9 ingredients, and then folded in the flour (#10), and the berries.

Spoon the batter into the cups. Dust the top of each muffin with granulated sugar.

Bake til golden, about 15 minutes.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

These delicious, quick, and pretty cookies come from a new blog I discovered, 17andbaking. I made them for the annual December frisbee tournament down on the Cape, Get Ho Ho Ho. Even though it was less than 35 degrees outside, I think these cookies warmed everyone up a bit. NOTE: The dough needs to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours so plan accordingly!

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional - my addition and it added a great flavor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls with lightly oiled palms. I used a cookie scoop to portion the dough, a tablespoon or rounded teaspoon would also work depending on what size you like. Coat each ball well in confectioners’ sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Charlie's Beef Short Ribs with Red Wine

While Tova was visiting me in Boston, Charlie surprised us by making dinner using the slow cooker. It was his first time using a slow cooker, and the dish turned out beautifully! Since Tova and I didn't know exactly when we'd be home from our errands, he could just let the short ribs simmer away in the slow cooker until we were ready to eat. This recipe is adapted from Beth Hensperger & Julie Kaufmann's Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook.

Ingredients:

1 c dry red wine, such as a Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon
2/3 c ketchup
3 T soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 T brown sugar
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
4 lbs beef short ribs, on the bone
2 medium-size yellow onions, chopped

Directions:

1. Combine the wine, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, and pepper in the slow cooker and mix until smooth.
2. Add the ribs, submerging them in the sauce. Distribute the onions over the ribs.
3. Cover and cook on LOW until tender and the meat starts to separate from the bone, 7-8 hours.
4. Transfer the ribs to a platter and set aside. Let the sauce cool for a bit, then spoon the liquid fat off the surface and discard.
5. Pour the sauce over the ribs and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Serving suggestion: Scrub a few potatoes, prick them, and pop them into a 400-degree oven about an hour before the ribs are ready. When the potatoes are done, place one in each bowl or plate, gently mash with a fork, and spoon the ribs and sauce over top.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shredded Kale Salad


1 bunch kale, stem removed and shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 onion, thinly sliced (optional)
1 avocado, diced
splash of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine kale, garlic, avocado, and onion (if using) in a bowl. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Savory roasted squash

Ingredients
squash (for this recipe I used a North Georgia Candy Roaster but any kind will work)
extra virgin olive oil
salt
(optional) freshly ground black pepper
(optional) finely chopped thyme, rosemary, & sage (approx 1/2t each per cup of squash)
(optional) chile flakes & orange peel (approx 1/4t chile and zest from 1 orange per cup of squash)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
With a strong vegetable peeler, remove and discard the squash's skin.
Remove and discard the seeds.
Slice the flesh into 1/2-inch cubes.
Drizzle with olive oil and salt (1/2t per cup of squash).
Sprinkle with either:
herb mix, or,
chile/orange zest mix, or,
freshly ground black pepper.
Toss to combine.
Place on a baking sheet lined with foil.
Roast for 15-20 minutes until the squash is tender and begins to brown.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cauliflower Black Pepper Cake

Recipe slightly adapted from smitten kitchen. Surprisingly quite good!






medium cauliflower
1 large red onion, chopped
3 T olive oil
1/2 t rosemary or sage, preferably fresh
10 medium or 8 large eggs (I used our eggs)
Handful basil, chopped
Scant 1 1/2 C white-wheat flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t ground turmeric
1 C grated Romano cheese
Salt and black pepper
Butter, for greasing pan

Break cauliflower into medium florets and place in a pot with a teaspoon of salt, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until quite soft. Strain well.

In another pan, saute red onion with rosemary or sage until soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool.


Whisk eggs, olive oil and onion mixture together. Stir in basil. Add flour, baking powder, turmeric, cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and several grinds of black pepper. Stir to remove lumps and then gently stir in cauliflower.

Grease a 9" pan with spray, pour cauliflower batter in, and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes,
until golden brown and set. Be careful not to over-bake.

Pumkin Lemongrass Soup with Corn

1 fresh lemongrass stalk, root end trimmed and 1 or 2 outer layers discarded
1 large onion, chopped
butter or oil
1 1/2- 2lbs (4 C) butternut or other sweet squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
5 cups water

Slice bottom 5 inches of lemongrass into chunks. Melt a bit of butter or oil in a pot and combine lemongrass, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until onion is softened, about 10 minutes. Add squash, corn, water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and discard lemongrass (if you can find it).


Purée soup and then strain it through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing hard on and then discarding solids. Season with salt and pepper.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sweet Potato Soup


Here's an easy and yummy soup I made this past week using sweet potatoes from Wilson Farm in Lexington.







3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped leek, washed well and drained
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 large carrots, sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds (about 3 large) sweet potatoes
a 1/2-pound russet (baking) potato
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t ginger
Salt and pepper to taste

In a kettle cook the onion, the leek, the garlic, and the carrots with the bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste in the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened. Add the sweet potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin, the russet potato, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin, the 5 cups broth, the wine, and the water, simmer the mixture, covered for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender, and discard the bay leaf. In a blender (or with an immersion blender) puree the mixture in batches until it is very smooth, transferring it as it is pureed to a large saucepan. Stir in the maple syrup and the spices. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more maple syrup, spices, or salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm with fresh bread!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tostones (Fried Plantains)

Our friend Bobby, who writes a great blog about deep fried adventures, hosted a Deep Fried Thanksgiving Potluck on Sunday. In addition to a deep fried turkey, we sampled deep-fried stuffing, mashed potatoes, and of course sweet potatoes. Charlie and I decided to make tostones, or fried plantains, a dish we had loved during our trip to Nicaragua. These were very easy and really good! We couldn't cook them up fast enough for people. We served them with guacamole, but they're just as good plain or with some rice and beans.

Adapted from the Gourmet cookbook.


INGREDIENTS:

3 to 4 large unripe (green) or barely ripe (slightly yellow) plantains
about 2 cups olive, canola, or peanut oil for frying

1. With a sharp small knife cut ends from each plantain and cut a lengthwise slit through skin. Cut plantains crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces and, beginning at slit, pry skin from pieces. (Warning: this is a little trickier than peeling bananas!)

2. In a 12" nonstick skillet heat 1/2 inch oil over moderate heat until just hot enough to sizzle when a plantain piece is added. Fry plantains in batches, without crowding, until tender and just golden, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. With tongs transfer plantains as fried to paper towels to drain.

3. Remove skillet from heat and reserve oil. With the bottom of a heavy saucepan or a wide solid metal spatula flatten plantains to 1/4 inch thick (about 3 inches in diameter). This is the most fun part.

4. Dip flattened plantains into a bowl of warm salted water, 1 at a time. Heat reserved oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and fry flattened plantains in batches, without crowding, until golden, about 3 minutes. Use tongs to transfer tostones to paper towels to drain. Season with salt if desired.

5. Serve immediately.



Yield: Makes 18 to 24 tostones

Orange Cake With Triple Sec

This cake is remarkably delicious, elegant, and easy. I made it in small loaf pans and left the nuts on the bottom; it would probably be delicious with the nuts on top! This can be made using cake mix, or from scratch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 box yellow cake mix, or replace with cake ingredients below
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water (or OJ or Triple Sec)
  • Glaze (recipe follows)
Cake ingredients to replace cake mix:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 T butter

Preparation:

Sprinkle pecans over the bottom of a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except glaze. Beat with an electric mixer on 30 seconds at low speed of an electric mixer; then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake at 325° for 1 hour, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack. Pierce cake all over with meat fork, skewer, or wooden pick. Spoon glaze slowly over cake, letting it sink in.

Glaze

· 1/4 cup butter (or less)

· 1/4 cup orange juice

· 1/2 granulated cup sugar (or less)

· 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

· 1/2 cup Curacao or Triple Sec

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in orange juice and sugar; bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in orange zest and liqueur.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Quick Indian Chicken

I had some leftover Indian food from a dinner in Somerville with a friend, and Charlie and I wanted to eat it for dinner. We decided to supplement the aloo chole and rice with some Indian-flavored chicken. I loosely adapted this recipe from this one at the blog coffeemuffins.com.


Tandoori Chicken Marinade

  • 2-3 tablespoons of plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric or curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • optional: coriander, ground chili pepper, garlic
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper

Mix the ingredients together, until they form a smooth paste.

This makes enough for around 3 or 4 chicken breasts. We cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, but you could also leave the breasts whole. Cover the chicken with the marinade. Leave it to marinate for 10min - 2hrs (the longer you let it sit, the deeper the flavors.

Cook on the stove-top or on the grill (7min per side for a whole chicken breast, 3min per side for cut-up chicken).

Serve with basmati rice!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Crisps

Very nice taste, simple, fast, crisps were good but didn’t really crisp

Soup ingredients:
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart chicken stock(I use home-made, of course)
  • 1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmesan
  • Salt and black pepper

Crisps ingredient:

  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan

Directions for soup

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic.

Cook until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Remove the leaves and thick core from the cauliflower, coarsely chop.

Add cauliflower and stock to pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the cauliflower is very soft and falling apart, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and, using a hand held immersion blender, puree the soup (or puree in small batches in a blender).

Add the Parmesan and stir until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

Directions for parmesan crisps:

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Spread the shredded cheese over the foil in 1 even thin layer.

Bake about 10 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.

Break sheet of crisp cheese into large pieces and garnish each soup bowl with a couple shards.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Blackberry-Basil Crumble

I made this recipe with blackberries I picked when I visited Arianna in Northampton a few weeks ago. The blackberry/basil combination is really good and definitely different! This is adapted from a recipe in one of my favorite books, "Animal Vegetable Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. Enjoy!
  • 4 cups blackberries (optional: use half blackberries and half apples - peeled and cut into small chunks)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large handful of basil leaves, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup honey – or more, depending on tartness of your berries

Preheat oven to 400. Combine the above in an oven-proof casserole dish, mix
and set aside.

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 3 heaping tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 stick cold butter
  • Pinch of salt

Cut butter into flour and sugar, then rub with your fingers to make a chunky, crumbly mixture (not uniform). Sprinkle it over the top of the fruit, bake 30 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Devour!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer Strata with Spinach, Basil & Garlic Custard

This yummy summer dinner dish comes from a fun new blog that my roommate Sally introduced me to: eat me, delicious. There are also some killer baked goods dishes on her site. When Sally and I made this we halved the recipe - which was enough for about five servings. The one below should serve ten.

Caramelized Onions (start this early!)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 yellow onions, sliced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup vegetable stock or water
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1 tsp minced fresh thyme, sage or rosemary (or a combo)

Filling
1 lb sourdough loaf, cut into 3/4" cubes (you could use whatever bread you wanted - we used a simple white-whole wheat loaf)
2 bunches of spinach, wilted, squeezed and chopped OR a big bag of baby spinach (no need to prep, it'll wilt when it's being baked)
1 recipe caramelized onions
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (not oil packed)
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup chopped parsley (optional)
1 1/2 cups grated fontina cheese, divided

Custard
6 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk (no-fat is fine)
2 bulbs roasted garlic, mashed OR four cloves raw garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground pepper

Caramelized Onions
1. Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat until the butter begins to foam. Add the onions and stir to coat. Add salt and cook for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

2. Sprinkle in the sugar and wine and reduce until the liquid has evaporated. Add stock, vinegar, pepper and herbs. Cook gently until the stock is reduced and the onions reach a creamy texture.

Filling and Custard
1. Soak the sundried tomatoes until soft, strain and chop coarsely.

2. To make the custard, whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the milk, cream, mashed roasted garlic, salt and pepper. Stir in the bread cubes, cover and let stand for up to 1 hour. Stir occasionally to ensure that all of the bread is evenly soaked. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients, reserving half of the grated cheese.

3. Heat the oven to 350F. Butter or oil a 9"x13" baking dish and scoop the bread pudding mixture into it. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and bake until crusty, golden brown and just set in the middle (about 45 minutes). Let stand for several minutes, cut into squares and serve.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Soy-Sesame Grilled (or Broiled) Eggplant

I always love the idea of eggplant but often don't like the way it's prepared. I wanted to make something asian-inspired, thanks to the delicious eggplant dish we had in July at Pok-Pok. I found this recipe in Andrea Chesman's "Serving Up The Harvest" and it was great!

2 large-medium eggplant, sliced 3/8" thick
Canola or peanut oil
5 T soy sauce
2 T dark sesame oil
2 T Chinese rice wine
1 T rice vinegar
1 T chili paste with garlic (or 1/2 T chili powder)
1 1/2 T sugar or honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, whites and tender greens, finely chopped

1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in the grill or preheat the broiler. Brush eggplant with oil.

2. Grill the eggplant until browned, 5-7 minutes on each side. Or broil the eggplant on high (2-4" from the top) until brown, 5-7 minutes on each side. The eggplant should be slightly crusty on the outside but soft and moist inside.

3. Slice the eggplant into bite-sized pieces (I left mine fairly large so I could put them on bread). Transfer to a bowl.

4. Combine soy sauce through scallions in a small bowl. Mix well. Pour over the eggplant and toss to mix.

5. Let stand for about 30min to allow the eggplant to absorb the flavors of the marinade. You can refrigerate the dish for up to 3 days. You can serve warm or cold.

Optional: sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wheat Berry Salad

I made this salad for Bruce and Tova and it was a big hit! The right mixture of texture, taste, and color.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups hard wheat berries
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tart dried cherries or dried crangerries
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large pot combine the wheat berries and enough water to come 2 inches over the wheat berries. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until tender. OR, cook wheat berries in rice cooker with this proportion: 1 cup berries to 2.25 cups water. I added a few garlic cloves, a chopped onion, and a bay leaf to the water. Use as is, or drain if there is excess fluid.

Toast the walnuts in a medium dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, walnuts, celery, dried cherries, scallions, parsley, olive oil, balsamic vinegarl and lemon juice. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fresh Corn Salad with Basil
(with thanks to the Barefoot Contessa)

This salad is simple and delicious.

5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

Directions

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Potato Rosemary Foccacia

Inspired by a Log Lunch recipe, adapted from Gourmet 1990 via Epicurious. I made this for a dinner at Alexis' house with her mom and it was a big hit!

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose and/or bread flour
2 cups mashed cooked russet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 tablespoon salt
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (dried is ok too)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 pounds small red or purple potatoes

1. In a small bowl sprinkle the yeast over 1 cup warm water and let it proof for 5 minutes, or until foamy.

2. In a large bowl combine 4 cups of flour with the mashed potatoes and the salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the yeast mixture, and stir the dough until it is combined well.

3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it, incorporating as much of the remaining 1/2 cup flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball, put it in an oiled bowl, and turn it to coat it with the oil. Let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.

4. While the dough is rising, in a small bowl stir together the garlic, the rosemary, and the oil and let the mixture stand, covered.

5. Turn the dough out into an oiled 15 1/2- x 10 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan, press it evenly into the pan, and let it rise, covered loosely, in a warm place for 30-45 minutes, or until it is almost double in bulk.

6. Using a mandoline or hand-held slicer cut the small potatoes into paper-thin slices, arrange the slices on the dough, overlapping them, and brush them with the oil mixture, discarding the garlic. Sprinkle the focaccia with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Bake it in the bottom third of a preheated 400°F. oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it is golden. Let the focaccia cool in the pan on a rack and serve it fresh out of the oven!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Arugula Pesto


What to do with two bunches of arugula from the Farmer's Market? Make arugula pesto, or course! This easy and delicious recipe is adapted from Andrea Chesman's book, "Serving Up the Harvest."

8 cups arugula leaves, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the arugula and blanch until wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove the arugula with tongs and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Let cool, then drain, squeezing out as much moisture as possible. If you're making pasta, you can use this water to cook it!

2. Chop the pine nuts and garlic in a food processor. Transfer the arugula to the food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the oil and parmesan and process until the mixture has the consistency of a thick paste. Add a little bit of water or more oil if you want to thin it out. Transfer to a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

My favorite way to eat this is with whole wheat pasta and halved cherry tomatoes - yum!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Corn Muffins with Fresh Corn

Corn Muffins with Fresh corn

Ingredients

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 cup buttermilk (OK to substitute sour cream or plain yogurt)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons oil

1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/3 cup corn kernels


NOTE: I used fresh corn and grilled the corn first -- shucked, lightly oiled (olive oil), lightly salted, wrapped in foil; I also added a bit of shredded cheddar cheese!

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, egg and yolk together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – the batter will be lumpy, and that’s just the way it should be. Stir in the corn kernels. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes (12 minutes for minis) at 400 degrees, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Adapted from recipe called Dorie Greenspan’s Corniest Corn Muffins



Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fresh cherry compote -- 2 recipes, sweet & "savoury"


It's fresh cherry season! I use sweet cherries that I pit using my fingers. Cherry compote/sauce is wonderful on ice cream, on cake, with yogurt, as a side dish with meat or fish. And, it uses about 10% of the sugar required for jam.

CHERRY COMPOTE #1: SWEET

· 4 cups pitted sweet cherries (about 1 1/2 pounds)

· 1/4 cup granulated sugar

· 2 tablespoons water

· 2 teaspoons cornstarch

· 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


To prepare compote, combine cherries, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in extract. Cool.

Options: add a pinch of salt, amaretto, lemon juice

CHERRY COMPOTE #2: SAVOURY

  • 1 pound halved and pitted fresh sweet cherries (4 cups)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  1. In a small saucepan, combine cherries, sugar, fresh rosemary, and 1 tablespoon water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until cherries are nice and tender and liquid is slightly thickened, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar; season lightly with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature until cool. Serve or store.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Moist, Light, Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

Section 1
  • 2 c. flour
  • 0.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
Section 2
  • 1.5 c. mashed overripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 c. buttermilk or yogurt mixed with milk or water
  • 0.5 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 c. chocolate chunks

Preheat overn to 350 and grease pan(s).

Mix together section 1. Mix together Section 2. Mix together Section 1 and 2. Add Chocolate.

Put in pan(s) and bake for 30-35 minutes or until done.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Two Blackberry Cakes

Blackberries have been on sale for the past few weeks, so...

1. Blackberry Upside Down Cake
Blackberry Upside-Down Cake

Adapted from
this Gourmet magazine recipe
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries (12 ounces), washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line bottom of a buttered 8- by 2-inch round cake pan with 2 rounds of parchment paper, then butter parchment. Dust pan with some flour, knocking out excess.

Arrange blackberries in 1 layer in cake pan. Sprinkle berries with 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and shake pan to help distribute sugar.

Whisk together 1 cup flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix at low speed until just incorporated. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 batches, mixing at low speed until just incorporated.

Spoon batter evenly over berries, smoothing top, and bake in middle of oven until top is golden and a tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Run a thin knife around edge of pan, then invert a large plate over pan and, using pot holders to hold plate and pan together tightly, flip cake onto plate. Peel off parchment and serve!


2. Walt's Blackberry Cake

From 1001 Low-Fat Desserts

  • 6 T butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups pureed fresh or frozen (thawed) blackberries
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in egg. Mix in combined dry ingredients (flour --> nutmeg), alternating with blackberries, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Pour batter into greased and floured 6-cup fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 until toothpick comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Cook cake in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Optional: Drizzle with sugar or brown sugar glaze.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Really Good Zucchini Bread

adapted from SmittenKitchen-

2 loaves or 12-16 big muffins

3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1-1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease 2 pans or muffin tins. Whisk eggs and then mix in oil, applesauce and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla. Add all the dry ingredients, and lastly add nuts and chocolate. Divide the batter into prepared pans.

Bake loaves for 40-60 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. EAT IMMEDIATELY, or else someone else will.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"GRANOLA" BARS

Easy Granola Bars

Finally, a recipe for granola bars not filled with butter or oil. Use any combination of chocolate chips, dried fruit, coconut, pecans, almond slices, or any other tidbits you'd like in a granola bar.

BASIC RECIPE

3 cups quick-cooking oats (I used some slow-cooking oats)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup flaked coconut (I skipped this, of course)
1 cup sliced almonds (I used chopped roasted almonds and chopped roasted peanuts)
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries (I used chopped up apricots)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sweetened condensed milk, butter, coconut, almonds, chocolate chips and cranberries with your hands until well blended. Press flat into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, depending on how crunchy you want them. Lightly browned just around the edges will give you moist, chewy bars. Let cool for 5 minutes, cut into squares then let cool completely before serving.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Persian Charoses

Persian Charoses

This is another sephardic charoses (characterized by nuts and dried fruit).

Yield: 5 cups

25 (=1.25 c) dates, pitted and diced
1/2 c unsalted pistachios
1/2 c almonds
1/2 c walnuts
1 c golden and/or black raisins
1 1/2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 large pear, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 c pomegranate juice
1 orange, peeled and diced
1 banana, sliced
1/2 c sweet red wine
2 T cider vinegar
1 t ground cloves
1 T ground cardamon
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground nutmeg
4 T brown sugar

Combine nuts, dried fruit, & spices in food processor & pulse until nuts are coarsly chopped.
Add wet fruit and pulse until they are coarsely chopped.
Add the liquids and pulse again just to mix. Do not puree.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mom's Famous Charoset

Making this in the Cuisinart gives it the authentic "Mom" texture.

Mom's Regular Old Charoset

*4 apples, peeled and cored
*2/3 c. almonds or walnuts (or pecans….) - you can toast them a little beforehand if you like
*¼ c. +/- of brown or white sugar
*1 T. cinnamon
*4T sweet wine and or/ grape juice
*raisins, currants, craisins, or other dried fruit (these taste best if you soften them first – put in a mug and cover with grape juice and heat in microwave to boiling point, and then let them sit for a bit to absorb the liquid)

Chop all the ingredients in a CUISINART to taste! Add the apples closer to the end or else they will be chopped into mush! Change quantities and ingredients however you like!

Sephardic Charoset from Surinam

* ½ - 1 cup unsweetened coconut
* ½ - 1 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds
* ¼ c. sugar
* 1 T cinnamon
* a few cups of assorted dried fruit: raisins, apple, prunes, apricots, pears, craisins, dates, currants, etc.
* 4 oz. cherry jam
* sweet red wine or grape juice (or other juices I used some mango & orange juice too!)

1. Combine everything except jam & wine in saucepan.
2. Cover with juice(s)
3. Heat to boiling and simmer for at least 90 minutes -- periodically add small amounts of juice to prevent sticking
4. When cohesive , stir in jam, and cook for another 15 minutes or so
5. I put about 2/3 of the mixture in the Cuisinart to make it smoother and stirred it all back together

Roasted Carrot and Fennel Soup

So I don't like fennel but I LOVE this soup. There's something about roasting the fennel and cooking it with carrots that gives it a sweet and complex depth to this soup. You're probably thinking this soup sounds kind of weird, but trust me, you have to try it. It's really easy and I promise that you'll love it.

Adapted from this recipe from Sweet Amandine and this recipe from Orangette.

1 fennel bulb
1 ½ pound carrots
2 T. olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion
1 clove garlic
2 T. tomato paste
5 c. vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Trim the fennel bulb (discard the stalks, but reserve and set aside the fronds), cut in half lengthwise, and then into ½-inch-thick wedges. Peel and slice the carrots into ¼-inch rounds. Toss the carrots and fennel with 1 T. olive oil, and several grinds of sea salt and black pepper. Spread the carrots and fennel evenly on a lined or lightly-oiled baking sheet, and slide into the oven for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender.

While the carrots and fennel are roasting: Coarsely chop the onion. In a large heavy pot, heat the remaining 1 T. of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic , and cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Turn the heat to low, add the tomato paste, and stir to incorporate.

Add the roasted carrots and fennel to the pot, add 4 c. of vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, and use a standing blender or an immersion blender to purée the soup. Add the additional 1 c. of broth, in part or in full, until you have achieved the thickness that you desire. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I like to serve this with cheese toasts (whole wheat bread topped with gruyere cheese and baked in the oven for 5 minutes after the veggies come out).

Yield: Serves 4-6

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Whole Wheat Muffins - The Master Recipe




From Mark Bittman's "The Minimalist" column in the NYTimes, Feb 10, 2010. Made for me for breakfast one morning from Auntie Deb in Minneapolis.

1/4 c (1/2 stick) melted unsalted butter
2 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour, or whole wheat flour (or a mix with some unbleached white flour)
3/4 c white or brown sugar (to taste) + more for sprinkling on top of muffins
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 c mashed or pureed banana, sweet potato, apple, zucchini, pumpkin, or other fruits or vegetables
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c buttermilk or yogurt
optional add-ins: 3/4 c chocolate chips, 1/2 c chopped walnuts or pecans, 2 T toasted wheat germ, 1 t cinnamon or other spice (Mark Bittman recommends banana-walnut, pumpkin-coconut, sweet potato-cardamom-ginger)

1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease muffin tins for 12 big muffins. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (and spices or other dry ingredients, if using). In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, banana (or other fruit/veggie), egg, and buttermilk. Fold wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until just combined (add in any of the optional ingredients now).

2. Fill muffin tins or liners; sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until muffins are puffed and turning golden brown on top. Serve warm if possible.

Yield: 12 muffins

Friday, March 5, 2010

Black Beans and/or Cuban Sofrito


Black Beans and/or Cuban Sofrito
--
Beans
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 3-4 hours
Yield: 1.5 quart


Ingredients
1 lb. dried black beans
16 strips turkey bacon (optional)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
5 ½ cups water (4 ½ in a slow cooker)
2 chipotle peppers, whole, no need to wash off adobo sauce, if any (substitute w/ other chilis, or green/red bell peppers)
2 bay leaves
1½ tsp salt

Directions
Pick through beans, discarding all non-bean material and any beans that are broken or strange looking
Rinse beans and add to the pot
Fill with cold water to an inch above the beans, cover, and set aside for 5 hours
Drain beans
Pour in the water amount listed above
Turn heat to high
Rinse salt pork and add to pot
Add onion, chili or bell pepper, garlic, salt, and bay leaves
When boiling, reduce heat to low simmer and cover
Stir occasionally about 1½-2 hours, until the desired tenderness
Add water if needed
Remove the peppers and bacon
Remove 1 cup of beans & 1 cup of bean liquid and medium blend (until mostly liquid with small bits of bean)
Add mashed beans back into the pot
If desired, add sofrito (1/4 cup sofrito to 1 cup of beans)
Simmer uncovered for another 20 to 30 minutes until thickened to the desired consistency.
Serve over rice, next to rice, or by itself.

--
Cuban Sofrito
Yield: 2 cups
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green/red/yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
1 t ground cumin
1 T dried oregano, crushed
1 red habanero chile, seeded and chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tomatoes, chopped (optional)
3/4 cup canned tomato sauce or 3/8 cup (3 oz.) tomato paste mixed with equal amount of water
1 T lime juice
½ cup sherry

Directions:
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onion and pepper, and cook until onion is translucent.
Add the garlic, and saute until tender.
Add salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and bay leaves.
If using tomatoes, stir in and cook until all of the liquid is released, stirring frequently.
Gradually stir in the tomato sauce
Lower heat and cook a few more minutes, being careful to add sherry if mixture gets too dry
Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed
Thin the sauce down if necessary with rest of sherry (if more liquid needed use water)
Remove bay leaves and set aside
Pour into a high sided container and blend with immersion blender
Sauce is now done but can be cooked more, if desired, just put the bay leaves back in.
When finally taken off of the heat, add lime juice (taste before and after to verify if this helps)
Serve over meat, rice, beans, fish, or potatoes.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Twist Hamantaschen


Here is a my new Hamantaschen recipe which I put together and baked today:

3/4 stick of butter, softened or melted

3 spoonfuls of cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar; 1 egg; 1 t vanilla; splash of OJ

1 t baking powder; 1 1/4 c flour; 1/3-1/2 c almonds, toasted and ground as fine as possible; pinch salt


Cream butter and cream cheese together, then add the rest of the wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients, and mix or blend in cuisinart. Taste for sweetness. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour or sugar, and knead gently into a smoother hunk 'o dough. Make a few balls out of the dough and chill in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.

Roll out dough- thin circles tended to be crispier when baked. Form into cutesy Hamantaschen and bake at 350° for 10-20 minutes, checking often to avoid burnt bottoms.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chana Masala



This is a hearty and easy Indian-spiced chickpea dish. Adapted from www.smittenkitchen.com.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small + tomato paste to thicken (about half a small can)
2/3 cup water or vegetable broth
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lemon (juiced)

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. If you want a deeper tomato flavor and a slightly thicker sauce, add some tomato paste. Add the water or broth and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Eat up or put a lid on it and reheat it when needed. Curries such as this reheat very well, later or or in the days that follow, should it last that long.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Linzer Torte (from Cooking Class Cookbook)

½ c. whole almonds, toasted
1 ½ c white flour
1 t cinnamon
¼ t salt
¾ c sugar
½ c. butter or margarine
½ t. grated lemon peel
1 egg
¾ c raspberry or apricot jam
Powdered sugar

1. Process almonds in food processor til ground (but not pasty).

2. Combine flour, almonds, cinnamon and salt

3. Beat sugar, butter and lemon peel using electric mixer or food processor for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy

4. Beat in egg until well blended

5. Beat in flour mixture until well blended

6. Spoon 2/3 of dough onto bottom of 10” tart pan with removable bottom pat dough evenly over bottom and up side of pan

7. Spread jam over bottom of dough

8. Roll remaining dough on lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin into 10” X 6” square. Cut dough into 10 X ½” strips, using a pizza wheel or sharp knife.

9. Arrange 4-5 strips of dough lengthwise across jam. Arrange another 4-5 strips crosswise across top. Press ends of dough strips into edge of crust and cut extra.

10. Bake 25-35 minutes at 375 degrees or until crust is golden brown

11. Cool completely in pan on wire wrack and then remove torte from pan. S

12. Sprinkle with powdered sugar

13. EAT AND ENJOY

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Maple Blueberry Coffee Cake

A delicious, wholesome coffee cake with a interesting flavor twist. Adapted from this post on Food Loves Writing - Shannalee calls it "a sparkling blueberry coffee cake, the kind that is dense, with sweet crumbles all over the top and chock full of dark blue berries that stain all the dough they touch, creating bursts of almost-purple throughout." I used frozen Maine blueberries that my roommate picked last summer. Yum!

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of chopped dried thyme
pinch of chopped dried rosemary
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cups fresh wild blueberries (or other berries)

for topping:
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of chopped dried thyme
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
a couple teaspoons sugar

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, with the rack in the middle. Butter a nine-inch round cake pan or something similar, and line it with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, thyme and rosemary, and set aside. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer or by hand until light and fluffy. Drizzle in the maple syrup and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Beat in the egg, lemon zest and vanilla extract, scraping the sides again.

Add half of the flour, stir just a bit, now add a splash of the buttermilk, stir again a little. Add the rest of the flour and stir, and now the rest of the buttermilk. Stir until everything barely comes together and then very gently fold in one cup of the blueberries. Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan and set aside.

Make the streusel: whir the flour, butter, brown sugar, thyme and walnuts in a food processor, pulsing about 20 to 30 times until the mixture has gone past crumbly/sandy to slightly moist, like the beginning of a dough. Crumble 2/3 of it over the cake batter, sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup berries on top of that, and then add the last of the crumble. Barely pat in place with your fingertips.

Place the coffee cake in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. When it is almost finished, sprinkle sugar all over the top to give it that extra sparkle. Let the cake cool for five minutes and then remove it carefully from the pan to cool on a rack.

Serves 12 – 16 modest slices.