December 29, 2008
December 27, 2008
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 whole star anise
- 5 large ruby red or pink grapefruit
- 4 blood oranges
Dissolve sugar in water in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring. Add star anise and simmer 5 minutes. Let stand off heat 30 minutes.
Cut peel, including white pith, from fruit with a sharp knife. Cut segments free from membranes into a bowl. Squeeze juice from membranes into bowl.
Add syrup with star anise to fruit and juice and stir gently. Remove star anise before serving if desired.
*Can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.
December 25, 2008
- 1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout (I used Guinness Stout)
- 1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cardamom
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used light)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3/8 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3/8 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter two 8 x 8 brownie pans and dust with flour, knocking out excess.
Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in applesauce, oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
Divide batter evenly between pans and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles (oops I did not do this). Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 35 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack, cool completely and cut into squares.
December 21, 2008
Aside from being delicious, these cookies are also really easy to make and always come out well. Crunchy on the outside and coated with raw sugar and chewy in the middle with tiny pieces of crystalized ginger. You really can't go wrong (er, except for the fact that they are made with Crisco... but they are so good...). I actually can't stand crystalized ginger or any ginger for that matter by itself, but in these cookies, it's delicious.
Here's a photograph of the boxes of cookies I sent my boyfriend's family for the holidays. I included another picture in my post about madeleines. Anyway, if you love baking, homemade cookies, candies or anything always makes a great holiday gift. I think people, especially those who don't bake, love getting things like this because it shows you put a good amount of time, energy and thought into their gift. It's also a lot more personal than just going to the store and buying something. You can make them look really professional.
December 19, 2008
Here is a link to the original recipe of no knead, which uses all white flour. The only change I made from that was to use half white and half whole wheat to get a heartier, healthier bread. I also used oat bran and a little bit of flour to coat the bread, if you were wondering what those little specs were. But there are many other modifications you can make as this article by Mark Bittman discusses. So I'm not going to post the recipe because it's all over the place, just follow the link and in about 24 hours you'll be able to enjoy great bread too.
December 18, 2008
My bark turned out a bit marbled because the white chocolate I used didn't melt to the same consistency as the dark; instead it turned into more of a paste, which required more spreading. So even though I had refrigerated and hardened the dark chocolate before I put the white over top, the spreading I had to do melted some of the dark chocolate and I got a marbled finish. It still looks ok though and the taste was not effected at all.
You can use any kind of chocolate you want, just make sure it's something you would want to eat plain since this isn't going to be melted and put into a cake or chopped and added to cookies. Also aside from peppermint you could add pretty much anything you want to chocolate bark. I was thinking about doing a dark chocolate, dried cherry and sliced almond one as well but then got a bit lazy.
December 17, 2008
My mom has a recipe for coconut madeleines and as much as I love coconut the flavor isn't really what I'm in the mood for around the holidays. I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks and it looked perfect. Simple, flavorful and reliable. Heidi says her friend Lahna has been using this recipe for years.
December 16, 2008
December 8, 2008
Adapted from Bon Appétit
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3) - I just used 3 large ones without measuring
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 16 muffin cups with foil muffin papers. Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Mix in wheat germ. Combine bananas, milk, eggs, oil and vanilla extract in large bowl and whisk to blend. Mix in dry ingredients. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, dividing equally.
Bake muffins until tops are golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
December 7, 2008
November 30, 2008
So I made the crust a day ahead and it was SO crumbly. I did everything the recipe said and even used frozen butter to make sure it was cold enough, but I didn't get any oatmeal or pea sized flakes before the egg was added, or clumps and curds after. When I turned the dough out on the counter to ball it together before I stuck it in the fridge it would hardly hold its shape. It just crumbled everywhere and would not stick together. So I was nervous and confused about what had gone wrong but was hoping overnight in the fridge might solve the problem. Unfortunately it didn't really.
The filling was pretty easy, except I tried to stir the sugar too early and it ended up forming some hard clumps, luckily they melted once the caramel heated through. Also pouring the butter and cream mixture into the caramel was a bit messy and the caramel ended up hardening some because the butter and cream had cooled. I put it back on the heat and after some careful stirring with my caramelized utensils things turned out alright.
It ended up looking beautiful out of the oven (see first picture) and while I wasn't blown away by the taste the first time I tried it (thought it was too nutty) other people at Thanksgiving seemed to really enjoy it. I had another piece a couple days later and definitely appreciated it more. The caramel was really tasty, sweet, and sticky. The almonds were slightly crunchy, the crust was buttery and the cranberries burst in your mouth. All in all I think it turned out to be a pretty successful endeavor.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
2. To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. (Alternately, you can roll this out between two pieces of plastic, though flour the dough a bit anyway.) Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.
Alternately, you can press the dough in as soon as it is processed: Press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tart shell. You want to press hard enough that the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that it loses its crumbly texture.
3. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
4. To fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. And here is the very best part: Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes.
5. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.
Do ahead: The dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, the flavor will be fresher bake it directly from the freezer, already rolled out.
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into eight pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup frozen cranberries
2 cups unblanched sliced almonds (I used blanched by mistake)
1. Measure the cream and butter into a saucepan and heat it over low heat. When the butter has melted completely, remove from heat.
2. To make the caramel, spread the sugar evenly in a perfectly dry, deep 10-inch skillet and place it over medium-low heat.
3. The sugar should turn straw-colored, then gold and then a nutty-brown caramel after about 10 minutes. If the sugar cooks unevenly, gently tilt or swirl the pan to evenly distribute the sugar. Remove from heat and slowly whisk the cream and butter into the sugar, which can splatter as the cream is added (long sleeves are a good precaution). If the caramel seizes, return it to the heat and continue to stir until it is smooth and creamy. Strain the caramel into a bowl and cool it for 30 minutes.
4. Stir the frozen cranberries and the almonds into the caramel and mix until all the fruit and nuts are coated. Spoon the filling into the partially baked tart dough mounding toward the center.
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the juices and the caramel are bubbling slowly around the edges. Remove from the oven and let stand for 1 hour, then gently lift the tart ring off the pastry.
6. Carefully transfer the tart to a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
November 23, 2008
So for a new (or maybe not so new?) twist on kale I decided to have it, instead of spinach, with toasted homemade bread, tomatoes, gouda, and an over easy egg. It was satisfying, warm, and a great way to incorporate a healthy seasonal vegetable into a quick meal.
November 15, 2008
Seeing all the seasonal fall vegetables really made me want to try cooking something with them. I've only made butternut squash once before and the result was less than pleasing and I've never cooked with kale but I thought I might as well go for it. How hard could it be?
Very hard actually, butternut squash that is. It is so hard my shitty knives and even my good knife had quite a bit of difficulty cutting though it, but it was definitely worth it. The baked/ broiled squash cubes were so tasty, they kind of reminded me of sweet potato fries. I couldn't stop popping pieces into my mouth while the rest of the food was cooking.
Pretty pomegranate from the Farmer's Market
November 14, 2008
I've been wanting to delve back into it for awhile and last night after a disappointing paper grade, a food sample binge at whole foods and a cocktail, I decided it was time. At first I wanted to make this recipe for honey wheat bread but because of the long pre-ferment and my aforementioned lack of patience I decided to use this one from Martha Stewart instead.
I halved the recipe in order to make only one loaf because I thought having two around would probably result in a "this is going to go bad soon so I have to eat it carb overload," but I am pretty positive I didn't mess up any of the measurements and I used about 1/2 - 3/4 of a cup more flour than the recipe called for (so if you were making the whole recipe that would be 1- 1 1/2 cups more!). Also even though I did this it was still fairly sticky but I didn't want to add too much flour and ruin the recipe.
Anyway the final product ended up tasting pretty delicious. It's doughy and thick with a hint of sweetness and tastes great toasted. Today I had a slice with half peanut butter, half almond butter and maple syrup poured on top. Really really good idea.
Some changes I made are: putting a pan of water on the rack below the bread so that a nice crusty crust forms, fermenting the yeast for longer in the hope of extra flavor development, (although I don't really know if it changed anything or not) and sprinkling some poppy and flax seeds over the top.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
3 1/2 cups warm water, 100 degrees to 110 degrees
3 tablespoons honey
2 packets active dry yeast
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons salt
Canola oil, for bowls, plastic wrap, and pans
Combine warm water, honey, and yeast in a large liquid-measuring cup. Stir until dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together 3 1/2 cups of the bread flour, the whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon, gradually drawing in the flour until well combined.
Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead in the remaining 1/2 cup bread flour a little at a time until dough is smooth and elastic, 10 to 15 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Transfer to a warm place, and let rise until double its original size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in center. Brush two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with canola oil. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and punch down. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Flatten one piece of dough into an oval, and roll up lengthwise. Place the roll, seam-side down, into a prepared pan. Repeat process with second piece. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Place the loaves in a warm place, and let rise again until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
Bake until deep golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes (the loaves will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom). Transfer pans to a rack, and let cool 5 minutes. Invert the loaves onto the rack to cool completely.
November 10, 2008
And they were SO GOOD. A little bit difficult to eat, with onions and melted cheese squeezing out of the sides with each bite and of course there were some things I would have done differently: I didn't time the toasting of the bread very well so it was a little on the hard side after sitting for a bit waiting for the onions to finish caramelizing, I would have made the pieces of onion bigger (I cut the onion in half widthwise before slicing it), I would have remembered which side of the sandwich and was sweet and which was salty so I didn't have to turn one piece of bread upside down so as not to mix the spreads... but it didn't matter because it was still delicious. Just right for a cold day or my cold house everyday.
I had a bite of each half first to try them but then I ate all of the salty half because I always like to have something sweet to finish off a meal. I don't think either half was better but I may be partial to the sweet side because it had a mix of sweet (apple butter) and salty (brie, onions).
Caramelized Onion and Cheese Sandwich
I came across this recipe on smittenkitchen and I already had everything it called for, plus Deb's pictures always make everything look so good that I really wanted to try it. Instead of doing these pancakes with the sauteed apples that the original recipe calls for, I decided to use some frozen blackberries I had to make a compote instead.
And just look at how well I whipped these egg whites. I'm glad too so I can evidence that perhaps it's not my lack of ability which created that mess (see 3rd photo) last time. I think whipping the eggs also added a lot of fluffiness to what could have been a really dense pancake- you know with all of that cheese and no real liquid...
They were so pillowy and thick and although I guess I wouldn't say "light" considering the ingredients, they definitely weren't as heavy as they could have been. And even though I haven't tried them with the sauteed apples I thought the blackberry compote worked better because it was a nice complement to the lemon-y flavor of the pancakes.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blackberry Compote
1 cup frozen blackberries
Juice from 1 small lemon
1 tbsp brown sugar
For the Pancakes:
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/3 cups ricotta
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
melted butter for brushing the griddle
maple syrup as an accompaniment
Prepare the Blackberry Compote:
Add the blackberries, lemon juice, and brown sugar to a pan over medium high heat. Once the the mixture begins to bubble, squash the blackberries and continue cooking over medium until the blackberries have cooked down and the mixture has reduced.
Make the Pancakes:
In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks, the ricotta, the sugar, and the zest, add the flour, and stir the mixture until it is just combined. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold stiff peaks, whisk about one fourth of them into the ricotta mixture, and fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Heat a griddle over moderately high heat until it is hot enough to make drops of water scatter over its surface and brush it with some of the melted butter. Working in batches, pour the batter onto the griddle by 1/4-cup measures and cook the pancakes for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until they are golden, brushing the griddle with some of the melted butter as necessary. Transfer the pancakes as they are cooked to a heatproof platter and keep them warm in a preheated 200°F. oven.
Serve the pancakes with the blackberry compote and the maple syrup.
November 9, 2008
Later on we passed a stand with lots of different varieties of pasta. They had so many combinations I'd never even heard of or thought about like chocolate linguini, lemon, tangerine, and beet flavored pasta, and so many other colorful mixes of orzo and rotini. We settled on some whole wheat toasted onion pappardelle because I think the thickness of pappardelle just makes it heartier and more flavorful, plus it looks pretty. I'm pretty sure I could actually taste the toasted onion when we had the pasta and it pleasantly reminded me of the dry lipton soup mix I used to use to make french onion dip when I was little.
Pappardelle Pasta with Fresh Roasted Vegetables
1/2 lb pappardelle pasta