Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hot Fudge Soufflé

This is the first soufflé I ever made, and I made it for New Year’s Eve 2013 for a special dinner with Tova and Carlos.

Before dinner I prepared the baking dish, mixed together the dry ingredients in a saucepan, and beat the egg yolks with the vanilla.  Near the end of dinner I prepared the rest of the soufflé and put it in the oven.

This recipe creates a light soufflé with a “hot fudge sauce” a little bit like our family favorite pudding cake.
Vegetable oil spray
2 teaspoons granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup, plus 1/3 cup
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
 Pinch of salt
1 cup cold skim milk
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 egg whites
½  teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar 

1.      Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

2.      Coat a 9 inch casserole dish (or deep pie plate) with vegetable oil spray. Dust with 2 teaspoons sugar. Set aside. 

3.      In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/3 cup sugar, the cocoa, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly over medium heat, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. 

4.      In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and vanilla. Whisk the hot chocolate mixture into the yolks until smooth. Set aside. 

5.       Beat the egg whites until frothy (I did this in my Cuisinart, or you can use a hand-mixer).  Add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the rest of the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until firm (but not dry) peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. 

6.       Stir about one fourth of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then use a large spatula to fold the chocolate mixture into the whites until just incorporated.   My chocolate/egg mixture was marbled, which was fine.

7.      Spoon the soufflé into the prepared dish and bake 15 minutes or until the soufflé is almost doubled in height and feels firm around the edges but still somewhat jiggly in the center. 

8.       Dust the top of the soufflé with powdered sugar and serve immediately by spooning onto dessert plates or into small bowls.

 REALLY don’t worry if the inside seems jiggly!  This is the magic of the hot fudge inside the soufflé!  This recipe served 4 generous portions.  

Based on a recipe from the American Medical Association Family Cookbook (Barnard & Dojny).  SO sorry I didn't take a photo of this beautiful dessert :(

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pumpkin Cranberry Tea Cake

Thank you Oprah!

This cake is plenty sweet enough, but using agave syrup, which is milder than sugar, allows the creamy pumpkin flavor and the tart berries to meld smoothly.  I was really happy to find a cranberry coffee cake recipe that doesn't have any butter or margarine.

 Makes 2 loaves

·   2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour 
      NOTE:  I use some whole-wheat flour in the mix
·   1 tsp. baking soda
·   1/2 tsp. baking powder
·   1/2 tsp. salt
·   1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
·   1/2 tsp. ground ginger
·   1/4 tsp. ground allspice
·   1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
·   3 eggs
·   1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
·   1/2 cup canola or other neutral-flavored vegetable oil
·   1 cup agave syrup, preferably light
·   1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (if frozen, don't defrost first) -- set aside about 1/2 cup
        NOTE:  I chopped the cranberries first
·   1 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped -- set aside about 1/2 cup


Oil and flour two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans or spray with nonstick cooking spray.  NOTE:  I "flour" the pans with spice or vanilla cake mix

I know this isn't the proper way to make a cake, but it works for me:

In the Cuisinart whip together the oil, eggs, pumpkin, agave syrup, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg

Quickly add the nuts and cranberries (be sure to set aside 1/2 cup of each for toppings).

Pour this batter into a mixing bowl and add the flour and mix thoroughly (but don't over-mix).

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. 

Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup each of cranberries and nuts evenly over the tops, pushing them gently into the batter to help them adhere and prevent burning.

Bake until the tops of the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the center with a fingertip, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for about 20 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of each pan to loosen the cake sides, then unmold the cakes onto the racks. Let cool completely before serving.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tomato Scallion Shortcakes with Whipped Goat Cheese

These are a perfect summer dinner. We used tomatoes from the Farmer's Market (mix of large and small). So good! The recipe has three separate components but it's a pretty easy recipe. Adapted from...surprise, surprise, Smitten Kitchen.

Yield: 6-8 shortcakes


2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 cup milk

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch of sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound cherry or grape tomatoes (mixed colors, if you can find them)

3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt or cream cheese
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
greens from 2 scallions, thinly sliced


1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large, wide bowl. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the scallion. Add the milk and stir until evenly moistened.

2. Drop dough into rounds on the baking sheet. Pat out dough to 3/4- to 1-inch thickness. Arrange the biscuits on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until they are golden brown on top, for about 15 minutes.

3. Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, sugar, and pepper in the bottom of a bowl. Quarter the tomatoes lengthwise and add them to the bowl with the dressing, tossing them together gently.

4. In a separate bowl use an electric mixer to whip together the yogurt/cream cheese and goat cheese. Beat until light and fluffy.

5. To assemble the shortcakes, split each warm biscuit in half (I used a bread knife to cut them). Generously spoon each half with the tomato salad and its dressing. Dollop with whipped goat cheese and sprinkle with scallion-green slivers. Eat at once.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pickled Peaches 


  • 6 peaches
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. To peel the peaches, make an "X" slit on the bottom of the peach, and then lower them a few at a time into boiling water for a minute or so, and immediately refresh them in a bath of ice water. When cool, use a paring knife to remove the skins, which should come off easily.
  2. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. If you have cling peaches (rather than free-stone), the flesh won't slip away from the pit to make nice halves, so you'll need to cut the fruit off the pit.  I prefer my pickled peaches in slices rather than halves.
  3. To make the pickling solution, combine the water, vinegar, wine, honey, peppercorns, cloves, , cinnamon and bay leaf in a heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the peach segments and cook just until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.  (Make sure the peaches are cooked through or they will turn brown.) 
  5. Gently drain the peaches in a colander, reserving the pickling liquid.  
  6. Carefully pick out cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, etc.
  7. Let the pickling mixture cool slightly and then pour it over the peaches. 
  8. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to a week.
adapted from a recipe by Chef Alice Waters

Monday, May 13, 2013

Quick Salmon With Sriracha Sauce

This recipe is really easy and has a fun flavor. It doesn't get all crispy like salmon on the grill, but is very moist and flaky. I served it with roasted potatoes for a quick weeknight dinner with one of our friends. The recipe is from "It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great" by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen.

Serves 4

Juice and zest of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons sriracha (or more for more of a kick!)
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 1/4 lbs pounds salmon fillet

Heat oven to 425°. In a bowl, whisk together juice, zest, syrup, sriracha and salt. Place salmon in a baking dish lined with parchment paper; pour lime-maple mixture over top. Roast salmon until cooked through and flaky, 15 minutes.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

White Beans with Pasta

Modified from Smitten Kitchen recipe

 I made this for a dinner for students, and it was a big hit, even for non-vegetarians!  Very easy to make for a crowd.   

­­1 medium onion, cut into big chunks
1 medium carrot, in big chunks
1 celery stalk, in big chunks­­­
6 garlic cloves, 4 left whole, 2 finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
Coarse or kosh salt
ground pepper to tast
2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 1/2 cups cooked, drained beans (save cooking liquid for water in recipe, if desired) or 2 15-ounce cans small white beans (such as Great Northern or Cannelini), rinsed
1 pound short tube pasta
A few sprigs of rosemary

  • Pulse onion, carrot, celery and whole garlic cloves  in a food processor until finely chopped.
  • Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat and add vegetable mixture to pot. Season generously with salt.
  • Cook, stirring from time to time, until vegetables take on a bit of color, about 10 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste and rosemary sprigs and cook it into the vegetables for another minute.
  • Add 1 cup water or bean cooking liquid and use it to scrape up any bits stuck to the pot.
  • Let simmer until liquid has almost disappeared, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Add beans and 2 more cups of water (or bean cooking liquid) to the pot and simmer until the flavors meld, about another 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente and reserve 1 1/2 cups cooking water from your drained pasta.
  • Transfer one cup of the bean mixture (not the rosemary sprigs) to your rinsed food processor and purée it until smooth, then stir it back into the sauce to thicken it.
  • Add drained pasta and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to bean sauce and cook the mixture together, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until the sauce coats the pasta, about 1 to 2 more minutes.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chocolate Almond truffles

This is a delicious, not too sweet, soft truffle recipe I made with the immersion blender. Using dates instead of sugar and soy sauce for that unami flavor that goes well with chocolate, you will be surprised at how good this is!

1/2 C almond butter
1/3 C date paste*
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t tamari or soy sauce

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Chill in the refrigerator before scooping into balls. Turn this into icing by adding 1/4 C liquid. Makes about 1 C.

* soak a handful of pitted dates in enough warm water to cover for 1 hour. Drain the dates and reserve the soaking liquid. Add dates to a blender and add just enough soaking liquid to get a smooth consistency. (Use leftovers in baked goods and just reduce the liquid a bit.)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Vanessa's Gingerbread "People"

This was a favorite family recipe in New Zealand.  This recipe makes about ten 10cm "people".  I've copied it exactly as we used it in New Zealand (except for changing "men" to "people").

1/2 cup (100ml) golden syrup
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
3 T butter
1 T milk
2 cups (280 g) flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground ginger

1.  Preheat oven to 180C and butter some pans

2.  Heat the golden syrup to boiling point and then add sugar, butter, and milk

3.  Mix the flour with the baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.   Add to the first mixture and blend well.  Add a few tablespoons of water, enough so that the dough holds together and handles easily.

4.  Roll or pat out the dough about 0.5cm thick.

5.  Cut into gingerbread "people" using special cookie cutters or a very sharp knife.'

6.  Bake for 5-7 minutes.

I couldn't find any photos of our gingerbread "people, 
so here is a photo of our 3 New Zealand real "people".

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

The first time I made this was December 2012 at our family reunion at the NC beach.  I found the recipe in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. My wonderful daughter typed up the recipe to include here.

1 1/2 cups flour
2 T freshly grated grapefruit zest (from 1-2 large grapefruits)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 T freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice - preferably from ruby red grapefruits
1/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt

2 T sugar
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 T freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
Pinch of salt

1. Heat the over to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

2. MAKE THE CAKE: In a large bowl, rub the grapefruit zest into the sugars with your fingertips. This will bruise it and help release as much grapefruit essence as possible. Whisk in the oil until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and whisk until combined. Scrape down the bowl.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a second bowl. In a liquid measuring cup, combine 2 T grapefruit juice and buttermilk. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures, alternating between them, to the oil-and-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

4. Spread the batter in the pan, smooth the top, and rap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

5. MAKE THE SYRUP: Combine 2 T sugar with 1/3 cup grapefruit juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

6. When the cake is finished, let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then invert it onto a rack set over a tray. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or toothpick, then spoon or brush the grapefruit syrup over the cake. Let the cake cool completely while it absorbs the syrup.

7. MAKE THE GLAZE: Combine the confectioners' sugar, grapefruit juice, and salt in a bowl, whisking until smooth. Pour the glaze over the top of cooled cake, and allow glaze to drizzle decoratively down the sides.

    Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas

    I love chickpeas but sometimes I get bored with hummus. This delicious recipe is from Ina Garten's newest cookbook, Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. It's very easy and delicious. It has a bit more texture than hummus and cooking the chickpeas briefly makes them meld together with the other ingredients really nicely.

    2 (15.5 ounces) cans chickpeas
    1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you want to make it vegetarian)
    3 T olive oil, plus extra for serving
    2 ripe medium size tomatoes, diced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (preferably freshly grated)
    3 T minced flat-leaf parsley
    2 T lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
    Grilled country bread for serving

    1. Pour the chickpeas into a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Drain well. Place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the chicken stock and pulse until chickpeas are coarsely chopped but not pureed.

    2. In a medium-sized saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and saute for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the chickpeas, stirring to combine with the tomatoes and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

    3. Take off the heat and stir in the parmesan, parsley, lemon juice and 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pile in a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve warm or at room temperature with shards of grilled country bread.

    NOTE: The flavors definitely develop if you make it in advance!