Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blueberry-Molasses Cake

"Cake for breakfast. Again!" That is exactly what my 7-year-old said. Really? I thought it would be a welcome treat. I was wrong. So, Jake and Riley downed the cake while Dylan and I ate leftover pho. Bellies full, I think we're all ready for the final push to get out of our old house. Moving stinks. But we are almost done. Phew.

2 C white whole wheat flour

2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 C organic granulated sugar
1 T ground cardamom
1 T ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1-1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C organic plain yogurt
2 T molasses
lemon zest
juice from one lemon
2 C fresh blueberries
brown sugar and granola for topping, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a baking dish. Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until just moistened. Gently stir in blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading it evenly to the edges. Sprinkle with brown sugar and granola, if desired. Bake till a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Spiced Applesauce Cake

The thing I love about this cake - besides it not being too sweet - is the fact that I can mix it, pop it in the oven, and crawl back in bed. By the time the aroma permeates the house and wakes everyone up, it's ready to eat!
I found an intriguing recipe for quince sauce cake in Myra Goodman's Food to Live By then I tweaked the ingredients a bit, substituting yogurt for buttermilk and applesauce for quince sauce, and changing the spices. I haven't found any quince to give the real recipe a shot. Maybe in the Fall...

2 C white whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 C organic granulated sugar
1 T ground cardamom
1 T ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1-1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C organic plain yogurt
2 T ginger syrup
raisins and granola for topping, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a baking dish. Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until just moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading it evenly to the edges. Sprinkle with raisins and granola, if desired. Bake till a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Speedy Soba-Style Noodle Bowl

When you are in a rush to get dinner on the table, what do you make?

After spending some time at our old house packing and cleaning and taking Riley to his mandolin lesson, my culinary creativity was waning and it was getting late. I opened up the fridge and found organic pea shoots, julienned carrots, fresh spinach, marinated tofu and thought: soba! Well, in this case, soba-style; I didn't actually have any buckwheat noodles.

Boil the noodles. In another pan wilt the spinach with the carrots until they are barely softened. Turn off the heat and add the pea shoots. The residual heat with steam them slightly, but not make them too limp. Add sliced tofu. Add in the noodles when they are cooked and drained. Dress everything with mixture of rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and toasted sesame oil. Add minced garlic and ginger for more flavor. Toss till everything is coated. Serve with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.

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Crêpes with Strawberry-Prosecco Jam

It's laughable, really, that I cannot make pancakes but I make a mean crêpe. If someone can please give me a no-fail pancake recipe, I would be eternally grateful.

Until then, when the boys are craving something sweet for breakfast, they can usually choose between french toast, waffles, or crêpes. But, this week, since the waffle maker is still at our old house and I had no bread, crêpes it was. Thankfully these are quick, easy, and oh so tasty.

1 C white whole wheat flour
3 eggs
2 C milk

Whisk everything together to form a thin batter. Heat and butter a griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Pour the batter onto the pan. Tip and rotate pan to spread batter as thinly as possible. Brown on both sides and serve hot. This recipe makes between 8-10 crêpes. Once the crêpe is cooked, I smear it lightly with whatever jam I have on hand, roll it up, and dust it with powered sugar. This morning it was some strawberry prosecco jam I made earlier in the week.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Strawberry-Prosecco Jam

We had popped open a bottle of prosecco to christen our new home and I had some leftover strawberries. So instead of letting the bubbly go to waste (we both had to get up to go to work and didn't want the bubbly-headache), I added juice from 1 lemon and some sugar to make a strawberry-prosecco jam. Piece of cake.
I've made a lot of jams in my culinary life, so I don't usually measure...but my formula is pretty simple: fruit (whatever I have that's not the prettiest or freshest anymore) + sugar + liquid (usually wine) + acid (squeeze of lemon juice).
I found these instructions from Leite's Culinaria: Hot Food, Dry Wit that seem very close to my process.  
  • 4 pounds fruit,rinsed and cubed
  • 2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 C liquid (wine, water, or a mixture of both)
  • 1 lemon, halved and juiced
  • lemon zest
1. Sterilize the jars for canning by boiling them and their lids.
2. To make the jam, place the fruit, sugar, liquid, and lemon juice,into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, stirring the jam constantly, for about 15 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to medium. Hold the jam at a constant simmer, checking frequently to make sure the jam isn’t scorched at the bottom of the pot. After 15 minutes, check to see if your jam has set by running a wooden spoon down the middle of your jam. If the jam leaves a path, it's set. If the liquid runs back to fill the path, cook it a little bit longer.
4. Place the jam in sterilized jars, leaving about a 1/2" gap to the top. Gently tap the bottom of each jar on the counter to release any air bubbles. Using a damp clean towel, wipe the rims of the jars and secure the lids and rings. Process in a water bath for 10-15 minutes. Remove the containers with tongs and let cool on the counter.
You’ll hear the sound of can tops popping shortly—a sign that a secure seal has been made. Pop, pop, pop. Or, you can refrigerate the jar without processing and use it within three weeks. Enjoy!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Brussel Sprout Brainwashing

When I served honey-mustard pork tenderloin, Israeli couscous salad, and steamed brussel sprouts for lunch yesterday, Riley declared, "Mommy, these are so good," as he gobbled up the brussel sprouts before anything else.

Yes! The brainwashing is complete.

In all seriousness, when people tell me they don't eat brussel sprouts because they are bitter, I just explain that like all cruciferous vegetables, cooking them too long will release that sulpher-y taste. That's true of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and - definitely! - brussel sprouts. The solution: steam them till they are just barely fork-tender. Slice in half. Sprinkle with sea salt. And drizzle with olive oil.

So easy, so tasty.

Super Nutty Breakfast Rolls

Since my breakfast rolls were such a hit last weekend, I tweaked a little to use what I had on hand and made these - super nutty breakfast rolls - using some chestnut flour, hazelnut oil, hazelnut-cocoa spread for the filling, and chopped walnuts.

1 cup warm milk
5 t active dry yeast
5 T butter, room temperature
1 T hazelnut oil
2 eggs
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 T anise seeds
1 t ground cinnamon
2 T organic granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 C white whole wheat flour
1 C chestnut flour
Nutella, or other hazelnut-cocoa spread
chopped walnuts

Pour the warm milk into a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let bloom for about 3 minutes. Mix in soft butter, hazelnut oil, eggs, spices, 2 T sugar, salt, and flours. Use a wooden spoon to mix the dough. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 30 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it until it's firm, about 3 minutes. Divide the dough in half; roll each half into a rectangle no more than 1/2 inch thick. Spread each rectangle with Nutella or hazelnut-cocoa spread.
Stack one layer of dough and filling on top of the other rectangle of dough, filling-side up. Roll the dough up, starting with the edge closest to you, to form a long log. Cut the log into 1 inch-thick slices.
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.

Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2" inches apart. Let the rolls rest 20 minutes before baking.

Bake the rolls in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake the rolls until the sides are fully set, about 10 minutes longer. Cover the baking dish with foil if the rolls begin to get too brown.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Favorite Brownies

Tonight a good friend delivered dinner (eggplant parmesan, garlic bread, salad, and brownies) so that I could focus on packing. Very sweet and much appreciated! I don't have her recipes, but thought I'd share my favorite brownie recipe: molasses-ancho brownies!

4 large eggs
1 C organic granulated sugar
1 C organic brown sugar
1 T unsulphered molasses
1 t ground ancho chili
8 oz melted butter
1-1/4 C unsweetened cocoa
2 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 C white whole wheat flour
1/2 t pink Himalaya salt
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square pan. In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients, except flour, and mix to combine. Add flour and stir till just moistened.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick method. When it's done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it's mostly cool.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Spiced Banana-Walnut Biscotti

A lone banana had eluded the Mann boys and made it to the mushy stage in the bottom of my fruit bowl. A very rare occurence indeed. Instead of relegating it to the compost pile, I decided to whip up a spiced banana biscotti.

1 3/4 C white whole wheat flour
1/2 C organic granulated sugar
1 t baking powder
1/4 t pink Himalaya salt
1 mashed banana
2 T hazelnut oil
1 T molasses
1/2 t each ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger
1 large egg
1/3 C walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease your cookie sheet. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add sugar and salt and stir together. In another bowl combine all the wet ingredients: banana, oil, molasses and egg. Pour dry ingredients into wet ones along with walnuts; stir together.

Form one 8-inch log. Put onto cookie sheet and pat down to 1/2 inch thickness. Sprinkle top with organic turbinado sugar and ground nutmeg. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Remove log from cookie sheet and cool for 10 minutes. Then cut into about 1/2 inch slices and bake 20 minutes at 250°F. Turn biscotti over and bake another 20 minutes.

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Spiced Anise Breakfast Rolls

And because I never make anything the same way twice when Riley requested "the same rolls you made for breakfast yesterday", this was my version today.... I loved the addition of the anise seeds.

1 cup warm milk
5 t active dry yeast
6 1/2 T butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 T anise seeds
 1 t ground cinnamon
2 T organic granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour - yes, I refrained from using whole wheat flour, just for today!
1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 C organic granulated sugar
2 T ground cinnamon

Pour the warm milk into a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let bloom for about 3 minutes. Mix in 6 1/2 T of soft butter, eggs, spices, 2 T sugar, salt, and 3 1/2 C of the flour. Use a wooden spoon to mix the dough. If it's very sticky, mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 30 minutes.

Cream together the remaining butter and sugar. Stir in the cinnamon.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it until it's firm, about 3 minutes. Divide the dough in half; roll each half into a rectangle no more than 1/2 inch thick. Spread each rectangle with half the filling.

Stack one layer of dough and filling on top of the other rectangle of dough, filling-side up. Roll the dough up, starting with the edge closest to you, to form a long log. Cut the log into 1 inch-thick slices.
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.

Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2" inches apart. Let the rolls rest 20 minutes before baking.

Bake the rolls in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake the rolls until the sides are fully set, about 10 minutes longer. Cover the baking dish with foil if the rolls begin to get too brown.

I'm link this recipe up to Wit, Wok, & Wisdom's Let's Break Bread Together! linky party. 7/22/11





Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls for the Moving Crew

As promised, I whipped up some cinnamon rolls for the guys as a thank you for helping us move the big stuff.

1 cup warm milk
5 t active dry yeast
6 1/2 T butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground all-spice
1 t ground cinnamon
2 T organic granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour - yes, I refrained from using whole wheat flour, just for today!
1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 C organic granulated sugar
2 T ground cinnamon

Pour the warm milk into a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let bloom for about 3 minutes. Mix in 6 1/2 T of soft butter, eggs, spices, 2 T sugar, salt, and 3 1/2 C of the flour. Use a wooden spoon to mix the dough. If it's very sticky, mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 30 minutes.

Cream together the remaining butter and sugar. Stir in the cinnamon.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it until it's firm, about 3 minutes. Divide the dough in half; roll each half into a rectangle no more than 1/2 inch thick. Spread each rectangle with half the filling.

Stack one layer of dough and filling on top of the other rectangle of dough, filling-side up. Roll the dough up, starting with the edge closest to you, to form a long log. Cut the log into 1 inch-thick slices.

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.
Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2" inches apart. Let the rolls rest 20 minutes before baking.

Bake the rolls in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake the rolls until the sides are fully set, about 10 minutes longer. Cover the baking dish with foil if the rolls begin to get too brown.

And because the guys wanted "dipping sauce just like at Burger King", I made a powdered sugar glaze for drizzling on top. I am afraid to know what, at Burger King, they dip into a sauce like this. Certainly not french fries!

Veggie Frittata, First

I had promised the friendly brawn - Kevin and Brian - that I would make some cinnamon rolls this morning before they started moving all of our big stuff.

But, like any good mom, I insisted that they eat their veggies first. So, I started them off with a bacon-cauliflower-caramelized onion-red pepper frittata.

Use whatever veggies you have on hand. This morning I parboiled the cauliflower, cooked and crumbled the bacon, added some shredded cheese, covered it all with eggs beaten with milk, and topped it with caramelized red peppers and cippollini onions

Bake it in a 350 degree oven till the center is firm, usually about an hour.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fudge Ripple Spotlight

Ever wonder about a blogger's culinary background, favorite gadget, dream dinner party ideas, puzzling food trends?!? Well, when Christy of Fudge Ripple asked me if I would be willing to be her monthly spotlight, that's exactly what she asked me...and more!

Click here to read the interview.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

I love stuffed peppers - for their look, their taste, and the ease of making them! You can stuff with with just about anything. Tonight my mixture was: cooked brown rice, cooked garbanzo beans, oregano, sea salt, ground flower pepper, some tomato sauce, shredded cheese, and a couple of raw eggs to bind everything together. You can add shredded chicken or beef if you want.

Mix the stuffing together in a bowl. Cut open the top of the pepper and deseed. Stuff. And bake in a 350 degree oven, covered with foil, for about an hour...or until the pepper is soft to the touch. Cool slightly. Serve.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nectarine-Chardonnay Jam

I've made a lot of jams in my culinary life, so I don't usually measure...but my formula is pretty simple: fruit (whatever I have that's not the prettiest or freshest anymore) + sugar + liquid (usually wine) + acid (squeeze of lemon juice).

So, today I had some leftover nectarines from our camping trip that were slightly bruised, some leftover wine- yes, that IS possible in my house, despite what all my friends will claim. I added juice from 1 lemon and some sugar. Easy peasy.

I found these instructions from "Leite's Culinaria: Hot Food, Dry Wit" that seem very close to my process. I use less sugar than she does.

•4 pounds fruit,rinsed and cubed
•2 C organic granulated sugar
•1-1/2 C liquid (wine, water, or a mixture of both)
•1 lemon, halved and juiced

1. Sterilize the jars for canning by boiling them and their lids.

2. To make the jam, place the fruit, sugar, liquid, and lemon juice,into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, stirring the jam constantly, for about 15 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to medium. Hold the jam at a constant simmer, checking frequently to make sure the jam isn’t scorched at the bottom of the pot. After 15 minutes, check to see if your jam has set by running a wooden spoon down the middle of your jam. If the jam leaves a path, it's set. If the liquid runs back to fill the path, cook it a little bit longer.

4. Place the jam in sterilized jars, leaving about a 1/2" gap to the top. Gently tap the bottom of each jar on the counter to release any air bubbles. Using a damp clean towel, wipe the rims of the jars and secure the lids and rings. Process in a water bath for 10-15 minutes. Remove the containers with tongs and let cool on the counter.

You’ll hear the sound of can tops popping shortly—a sign that a secure seal has been made. Pop, pop, pop. Or, you can refrigerate the jar without processing and use it within three weeks. Enjoy!

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