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I am working mom who loves to cook and bake. I hope to keep track of recipes and share some of my better ones. In the process, hopefully my photography and cooking will get better and better!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lemony Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese

We love asparagus.  The 3 grocery list staple vegetables are spring mix, broccoli, and asparagus, so I'm always trying to find news ways to prepare it.  Lately, I've been in a rut, just roasting it every time we have it.  Although that never gets old, it was time for a change.

This is just the thing.   After the goat cheese crumbles sit for a while, they break down in the oil-lemon mixture and emulsify, an effect I enjoyed.  They taste like summer on a plate- so what if it's dark and chilly here?  Bring on the summer dishes!

Lemony Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese

1 bunch asparagus
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1/4 tsp Sea salt & 25 grinds black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Blanch the asparagus: Bring a medium pot or sauce pan of water to boil. Prepare a bowl of ice and water to shock the asparagus after cooking.

Trim the woody ends off of the bunch of asparagus. Use a peeler on the ends if they are insanely thick.  Cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the pan and place into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and cool the asparagus.

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl. Add the asparagus and goat cheese and toss with tongs until well coated with the dressing.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Herb Roasted Onions

Ina strikes again.  Simple, delicious, and no wacky ingredients!  And once again, roasting makes everything better.  This recipe is perfect for me because I am always- *always* forgetting we already have onions and buying more!  The one time I don't buy them, we really are out.  I might start doing that on purpose just to make this again!

Herb Roasted Onions
Adapted from Ina Garten

2 red onions
1 yellow onion
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned. Toss the onions once during cooking. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Individual Meatloafs

Let's just start with the obvious.  It's darned hard to make meatloaf look attractive.  I mean, really.  That parsley is just dying to get out of there and be by some pretty food.  That being said, this recipe is the only one I use for meatloaf.  Sure, I tried PW's, but that one is way too decadent for me.  The wine is my adaptation, and you barely notice it.  Honestly, I was out of chicken stock.  Anyway, it's moist (Good lord, Lissa, how do I do a food blog without that word, you tell me!!) not dry, has a good salt balance, and is not mundane.  It took this woman who'd never had it and made me a regular meatloaf-er.  So to speak.

Our favorite side to eat with this is mashed lima beans.  You heard me.  They are really very good!  But that's for another day....

Individual Meatloafs
Adapted from Ina Garten

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cups chopped yellow onions (1 onions)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/6 cup white wine (I used dry vermouth)
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey or chicken
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup ketchup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don't mash or the meatloaf will be dense. Divide the mixture into 4 (4-6-ounce) portions and shape each portion into a small loaf on a sheet pan. Spread about a tablespoon of ketchup on the top of each portion, if desired. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the internal temperature is 155 to 160 degrees F and the meat loaves are cooked through. Serve hot.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sugar Cookies and Royal-ish icing

There are lots of good tutorials now for cookie decorating.   The first time  I made Royal icing was for my sister's baby shower.  This baby was a long time coming, and I wanted to do something special for her impending arrival.   I made cookies for the shower.  And when I say I made cookies, I MADE COOKIES.  Nutter  Butter cookies, oatmeal cream pie cookies, mississippi mud, homemade oreos, coconut chocolate chip cookies, and these sugar cookies.  They were tasty, but aesthetically, a flop.  Well, I've finally made peace with royal icing after a brief foray into glaze.  I didn't like the lack of detail that I could achieve with glaze (other people do it just fine- I am baker, Cookie Crazie).  But Glaze tastes better!   Enter Meghan.  The addition of corn syrup and vegetable shortening to the royal icing both soften the traditionally rock hard royal icing just enough so it's more pleasant to bite into, but decorations still stay perfect, stackable, shippable- 24 hours uncovered drying time pre-shipping advised!

But I still hated the separate flood and piping consistency, and couldn't get it right (too thin, too thick, - repeat).  Then I saw a tutorial by Callye of Sweet Sugarbelle that brought me back to RI.  The twenty second rule(video tutorial)- thin your icing until it takes 20 second to fall back on itself- then you can do marbling, piping and flooding with the same icing.  I'd always have too much flood and not enough piping, or vice versa.

These cookies are so much better than ordinary sugar cookies- They hold their shape very well and the lemon zest is such a nice addition- it makes them positively crave-able!

I'm still quite a novice- this is only about my fifth or sixth time doing these.  But you get better quickly.  It is time consuming- I made dough and RI and decorated in the same night, and for 30 cookies (1 batch) it took 3 1/2 hours including clean up.

You should go to the University of Cookie for great video tutorials on cookie decorating.  Really neat.

Butterfly decorating inspired by sweetopia and Annie's Eats
Zebra Cookies decorating from Callye
Marbling from Sweetopia
Doing a straight line from one tough cookie
Rolling dough from TidyMom

Lemon and Vanilla Bean White Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Annie's Eats

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (4.5 oz)
1 large egg
2½ tsp. vanilla extract (I like vanilla bean crush extract)
1 TBSP vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, seeds
Zest of half a lemon
2½ cups all-purpose flour (12.5 oz)
1 tsp. salt

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, and lemon zest until blended.  Mix in the flour and salt on low speed just until incorporated.

Roll dough to about 1/4 inch thick between 2 sheets of wax paper.  Put dough and wax paper in fridge or freezer to chill for 30 minutes.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.   Cut with cookie cutters as desired and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.  Bake 8 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until fully cooked but not at all browned.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

Royal-Ish Icing
Adapted from Meghan as featured on Sweet Sugarbelle
21 oz powdered sugar (about 6 cups)
about 8 tablespoons water (divided 7 1/2 and 1)
2 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
6 tablespoons meringue powder

Beat meringue powder, 7 1/2 tablespoons water, and powdered sugar.  Beat until stiff and glossy on medium high, about 7-9 minutes.  Add crisco and corn syrup, beat again until combined.  You may need to add more water (I had 1 tbsp) to achieve the 20 second rule.  Color and decorate.

Roasted Tomatoes

I am obsessed with roasting vegetables.  It's a technique that makes everything taste sweeter.  These tomatoes are so much more flavorful than raw tomatoes.  It's so pronounced that these could easily overshadow the main protein, so plan to serve them with something mild- like grilled chicken.  I also love that they are good (almost better) room temperature, so you can make them and then go rescue your daughter from playing with any household item she can get her hands on.  

I made these twice within about 10 days, and I'm already plotting when I can slip them on the menu again!!

Roasted Tomatoes
Adapted from Ina Garten  

12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
4 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Whisk together to vinegar and olive oil.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Garlicky Bread Crumb Coated Broccoli

This broccoli has been making it around, especially on French Fridays with Dorie.  I know the participating bloggers are not posting recipes from that cookbook, but I went ahead and posted it since I found one version of it by DG on Epicurious, so it can't be a too closely guarded secret.  I already knew the lemon would be a good addition since Ina taught me that- it's very subtle.  I think the bread crumb amount could be reduced, but then again I halved the recipe and only used one stalk, so it's probably just fine as it is.  We really enjoyed it!  The broccoli was tender but not mushy, and just started to get caramelized in the pan.  The breadcrumbs were decidedly garlic and had a nice crunch.  I'll definitely be making this again.

Garlicky Bread Bread Crumb Coated Broccoli
adapted from Dorie Greenspan on Epicurious, and apparently featured in Around my French Table

3 large broccoli stalks (about 1 1/2 pounds total), stalks trimmed to 4 to 5 inches long, each stalk halved lengthwise
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3 small garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fresh panko
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Steam broccoli until tender, about 9 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. This can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and sauté until soft, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until pale golden, stirring often, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in parsley and lemon zest.
Add broccoli to breadcrumbs and sauté until heated through, turning broccoli to coat, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumbs over and serve.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Three Bean Salad

I have an inordinate amount of guilt about 3 bean salad- guilt this recipe finally relieves.  My godmother, who is a wonderful woman, always made three bean salad.  Her version involved kidney beans, canned green beans, and canned wax beans.  I never liked it- something about the texture.  Now the last time I had it I was under 12, for sure, so I may feel differently about it now.  But this recipe I would put up against hers any day!  The fresh green beans are my adaption, and the major reason I love it.  The blanching makes them crisp but tender, and very green.  Draining the marinade prevents it from getting too pungent, or too soggy.

The other nice thing about this recipe is that it's meat free and keeps all week.  So after reading Food Matters, I decided we needed to be meat-reduced - that book basically argues you should have 2 meat free dinners a week, and no meat until dinner time.   This is perfect for a meat free lunch!

Three Bean Salad
Adapted from Allrecipes

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb green beans
4 green onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced

1/2 cup tarragon or cider vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Trim the green beans.  Boil the green beans for 3 minutes, then drain in a colander and plunge into ice water until cool.  Then drain again.

In a bowl, gently mix the garbanzo beans, kidney beans, green beans, green onions, and celery. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Pour dressing over the salad, and toss gently to coat. Cover, refrigerate at least 2 hours, then remove as much marinade as you can.  Gently toss before serving.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

      Blame it on Baked Explorations.  That's what I'm going to say when they ask me why my chapters are not written for this crazy book project I'm involved with.

      I decided I wasn't baking this weekend.  That was until Sunday morning when I decided I had to bake!!   I had seen a similar recipe from Ina Garten and been intrigued then.  They taste exactly how you would expect- the crust just plays a supporting tole, with the bulk of the flavor coming from the sweet peanut butter filling.  The only thing I would change the next time is to make sure my jelly topping was really a heaping 2 cups (a 15.5 oz jar is not quite enough)-some of the pieces were a little jelly sparse. But it was a really yummy treat and a nice change from the traditional peanut butter-chocolate combo.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Adapted from Baked Explorations

For the sweet pastry dough:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (7 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg

For the peanut butter filling:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups smooth peanut butter or 1 cup smooth peanut butter and 1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the crumb topping:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour (3.5 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup rolled oats
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For the assembly:
2 heaping cups good-quality jelly or preserves, grape preferred

To make the sweet pastry dough: Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9-by-13-inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter the parchment.  (I forgot to do this.  Thankfully, even on the bar pan, it came out just fine....) Put the sugar, flour, and salt in a stand mixer and beat with a paddle until combined. Add the butter and mix until sandy. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and pour them into the mixer. Mix just until the egg is distributed.  Form the dough into a disk with your hands, wrap it tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. 
Put the dough between 2 pieces of wax paper.  Unless you have major arms muscles, you will probably need to let it sit for 30 minutes or so until you can work with it.  Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle slightly larger than 9 by 13 inches (the size of the pan) and about ¼ inch thick. The dough will be sticky.   I pop it back in the freezer for ten minutes to then help the dough peel off the wax paper.

Guide the dough into the pan and lightly press it—without pulling—into the bottom; it is not necessary to bring the dough up the sides of the pan, only to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Trim off any excess. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

Remove the pan from the freezer, line it with aluminum foil, and fill it three quarters full with pie weights or dried beans, or lentils (all I had!!). Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. 

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

To make the peanut butter filling: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth. Add the peanut butter and beat until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again. Turn the mixture out onto the crust and, using an offset spatula, spread it into an even layer. Chill the peanut butter layer while you make the crumb topping.

To make the crumb topping: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add the brown sugar and use your hands to rub it in until the mixture is uniform in color. Stir in the oats. 

Place the dry mix in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and beat on low speed until loose crumbs form. 

To assemble the bars: Spread the jelly in an even layer over the peanut butter filling. Sprinkle on the crumb topping until the jelly is no longer visible.

Bake the bars for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  The top may not brown.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut the bars and serve.
Note: The bars can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days.   Bars are tastiest cold!!!

Garlic Lemon Chicken

I love this recipe.  It's ridiculously simple, with things I nearly always have on hand.  The best part about it is the olive oil marinade.  The olive oil permeates the chicken and gives it this wonderful texture and flavor.  I've made this without the lemon zest or parsley in a pinch, as kebabs, as chicken tenders, with tzatziki...   I also love that I can put the marinade in a zip lock on a sunday, and since it's lemon zest and not juice, I can pull it out on wednesday and dinner's great.  These also are good at room temperature- nights like tonight when the kids' needs mandate that you don't eat for hours after you get home!

Garlic Lemon Chicken
Adapted from Annie's Eats who adapted from Williams-Sonoma

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or tenders

In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.  Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix to coat with the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to several days.

Prepare a medium fire in a grill.  If making kebabs, soak your wooden skewers for twenty minutes in water or get metal ones.

 Discard the excess marinade.  Lightly oil the grill grates.  Place the chicken on the grill, cover, and cook until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 8-12 minutes, turning once or twice during cooking.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw

So for this recipe, I was in a major, major, major rush.  As you can see, as I was snapping the slaw photo, there was a small person about to sabotage my macintosh.   (only because she wanted to hear Carrie Underwood again)  I didn't see the apple skin was supposed to stay on.  Texturally, I liked it off.  Visually, I'd like it on.  I also liked that without skin, the apple blended in with the cabbage and you never knew which bite would surprise you with sweet-tart apple.  We will definitely make this again, especially because it's nice to mix up which vegetables we eat.  The dressing is sweet with some mild heat from the red pepper, but nothing more than a pleasant zing.  The cabbage is crunchy and filling.  Overall, a good pick!

Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw
adapted from Confessions of a Foodie Bride who adapted from Cooks Country
Makes: A LOT o' slaw

1 medium head green cabbage , cored and finely sliced
1 Tbsp salt
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin matchsticks (I used Granny Smiths)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Toss cabbage and salt in colander set in the sink. Let stand until wilted.  (This may take an hour, however, I cheated and did about 20 minutes.)
Rinse cabbage under cold water, drain, salad spin, dry well with paper towels, and transfer to large bowl.
Add apples and green onions, tossing to combine.
Heat oils, vinegar, sugar, mustard, and red pepper until hot in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat.
Cover with plastic and refrigerate until cold. Store leftovers in the fridge (the coleslaw should be crisp for about 3 days).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Homemade Granola

What don't I love about the BAKED cookbook?  This page is already canola oil and honey spotted.  I love this granola, and am excited to try variations, but I haven't gotten sick of the original!  I am itching to try a pumpkin variation, cinnamon, and maybe even an espresso version!  But each time I stick to the original, because it's so reliably delicious.  It's nothing like store bought granola- it's chewy, crispy, and wholesome.   I did not have raisins or cherries, so I used figs and cranberries.  Good, but I adore the raisin-cherry version.  This granola is very, very adaptable, so feel free to make it your own.  I love it with plain greek style yogurt in the morning.  It would also be great with milk, plain, or layered with yogurt and fresh fruit parfait-style.

Homemade Granola
barely adapted Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt**
1 teaspoon cinnamon (good with, or without!)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole or chopped almonds
1/3 cup whole or chopped hazelnuts
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dried cherries

** Diamond Kosher salt, not Morton.  When I made it with morton, it was noticeably too salty.  Thanks, Deb, for explaining why!

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, salt,  and vanilla. Whisk until well combined.

Add the oats into the honey mixture and combine by repeatedly making fists, or toss with a spatula, depending on your tolerance for hand gunk.

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture.  Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola.  Sprinkle with nuts.   Bake for 15 more minutes.  Let cool completely. Sprinkle the raisins and cherries over the granola.  This will stay fresh for one week in an airtight container.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Homemade Wheat Pasta

So literally 10 years ago, if not longer, I got this pasta maker from my best friend from high school.  I loved it.  I loved it so much, it has sat in a cabinet in several different states move by move completely unused.   But I kept it, because I definitely wanted one, and would use it.  Someday.  After making Pioneer Woman's homemade pasta, I was annoyed at the uneven thicknesses and widths I got when I cut it myself.  I saw this recipe and decided I was time to try it.

I can't believe I waited this long!! It was super easy.  I always imagined running the same sheet of dough through the machine over and over again trying to get to the right thickness.  I kept my machine on the thickest setting, and it only took one run through before I could let it go through the cutting blades.  The hand crank was fine, no big deal.

The pasta was delicious.  I wanted to make a wheat version so it would be modestly more healthy.  The dry vermouth was not noticeable to me at all- next time I might try all wine and no water.  Nor was the salt.  The first batch I made I didn't salt the water, and the second I did, with a noticeable positive difference.  The batch that sat for 5 minutes was also noticeably more al dente, in a good way.  You have to make sure to flour the dough (the small section) to help keep the cut pasta separated.  I then floured it on the plate to help keep it separate.  My daughter was watching be and kept jubilantly saying "PASTA!!!" (she's 18 months.  Pasta made it into her vocabulary early.)

The pasta maker is definitely not gathering dust anymore!

Homemade Wheat Pasta
Adapted from Confessions of a Foodie Bride who adapted from Michael Chiarello

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 egg yolks
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp dry white wine (or dry vermouth)
3 Tbsp water, plus more if necessary

Add dry ingredients to a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Pulse to mix. Add egg yolks, oil, and wine. Process and add water 1 tablespoon at a time just until dough forms a ball. Knead a few times, form a ball, and flatten to one inch thick. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll pasta to 1/16-inch thickness and cut as desired. (I used a pasta roller so I divided the dough in half and each half into three equal pieces before sending it through the roller a few times.)

Let the cut pasta sit for 5 minutes. Place in salted, boiling water 5 minutes to cook.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Light and Fluffy Pancakes

We're a big breakfast family.  We used to go to a local place for breakfast every saturday, but sadly it's closed down now.  It was swarmed with locals- Marcy would bring us a plate of fruit to tide the kids over, and the food was good and consistent.  It's gone now, and we hate its replacement, not out of loyalty, but because the one time we went there they served B a positively scorched omelette.  Blech.

There pancakes are fluffiest with buttermilk because the thickness of the buttermilk keeps them from spreading and de-fluffing.  I made them with milk for this recipe, and you can see they are stiff pretty fluffy.  My favorite way to make these is to sub in eggnog around the holidays!  These also freeze well, cooked.

Light and Fluffy pancakes
adapted from Nigella Lawson


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (7.5 oz)
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder (about 0.75 oz)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Butter or butter spray, for frying pancakes
Best-quality maple syrup

Preheat over to 200F.

Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly.

In a bowl, measure out the flour and add the baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine.

In the bowl with the butter, measure the milk, beat in the eggs, and pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking as you do so.  Bake over medium heat with butter spray or butter (if you can get away with that sort of thing).  Keep warm on plates in a 200 F oven to help everyone eat together.  The warm plates are a nice touch too!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Homemade Bread and Butter pickles

This recipe is from my friend Corinne.  Thrown together as suitemates first year of college, we've been through a lot together!! Amazingly, or lives have converged rather than diverged over the years.  She makes these with cucumbers fresh from her garden.  My favorite thing about them is that they are not boiled, so they stay exceptionally crisp.  They are sweet, a little salty, and fresh.

Homemade Bread and Butter pickles
Adapted from Corinne


2 cups cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp mustard seed
2 tbsp celery seed
2 tbsp salt
1 sweet onion, thinly and evenly sliced
2 lbs pickling cucumbers, evenly sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced in thirds

Boil first ingredients through salt until dissolved.  Pour over cucumbers and cool.  These are best 2 days after you make them, and keep for at least 2 weeks in the fridge.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

You cannot live on bread alone-- no rise rolls

So just a quick post to put up some johnny-on-the-spot rolls.  You might want to remove some of the sugar from these babies, they are just a bit too sweet for me, but very good, and as advertised, no rising time. They puff up just fine, due to the yeast and baking powder.  By the time the oven is preheated, you are done making them.

No Rise rolls
adapted from here
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp (1 tbsp= 3 tsp) yeast
1 Tbsp oil
3 C flour (can use white or wholemeal)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Stir water, yeast, sugar and oil together. Leave for 5 minutes until it becomes frothy on top. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Knead. Shape for use as rolls into 8 rolls. Paint with milk or butter. Bake at 400 degrees F for 13-15 minutes, preferably on a baking stone, but cookie sheet will be just dandy.
FOR FLOUR, USE 16 OZ ALL PURPOSE AND 1 OZ VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN (adds chewiness and a big improvement in texture- it's what makes bread flour bread flour)
Sprinkle oregano and parmesan cheese before baking, after brushing with butter or milk.

Cake Batter Ice Cream

We were in florida and my son and daughter were introduced to Marble Slab.  They loved it!  This was also the first time for cake batter, or birthday cake, ice cream.   I've been eyeing this on Annie's Eats for a while, but I knew I'd have to stick with David Lebovitz's ice cream recipe.  I mean seriously, I got The Perfect Scoop from the library this summer, and every recipe was perfect.  And he even has recipes for homemade mix ins like brownies, cookie dough, chocolate swirl.  It's a perfect book.  Perfect.  Why haven't I bought it yet?  As soon as the weather warms up, I will.  I digress.

This ice cream is custard based, which is a good match for the yellow cake mix.  It's very rich, very creamy, and a little goes a long way.

There are a couple quirky things about this recipe-

Why use vodka?    Well, to sum it up, this basically keeps it from freezing fully and being too hard.

Are you really using a cake mix???   Yes.  Yes, I am.  If this offends your moral sensibilities, I would go here.  (p.s. the aforementioned link is not to hades, it's to I am Baker's cake mix!)

adapted mainly from David Lebovitz
and inspired by Annie's Eats


1 cup (250ml) whole milk

A pinch of salt

3/4 cup (150g) sugar

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream

5 large egg yolks

1/2 cup cake batter prepared mix

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1-2 tablespoons vodka

1. Heat the milk, salt, egg yolks, and sugar in a saucepan.  Stir constantly until thickened enough to coat the back of a spatula.  Add the eggs first before heating or you will have scrambled eggs!  Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.

2. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

3. Strain the custard. Whisk in the cake mix.  Stir the bowl over another bowl filled with ice until cool, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

4. Add the vodka and vanilla extract, and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Yeasted Malt Waffles

I first made these waffles by Marion Cunningham a few months ago, and I have been coming back to them ever since!  I just got Baked Explorations, and after reading it cover to cover several times, I decided the first thing I wanted to try was the malted waffles.  Those boys love malt, and I wanted to see what the fuss was about.  It seemed to me this would pair well with the yeast flavors (enhanced by the maple syrup) in the delicious Breakfast Book recipe.  It does, and the malt flavor is very subtle, but a nice addition.  If you don't have it on hand, just skip it and proceed without it.   You can also substitute 1 teaspoon sugar for the maple syrup if you find yourself out of it.  The grade B syrup has a deeper flavor than Grade A.  My supermarket only carries it in its own brand!  The best part about these if you make the batter the night before, then just cook them in the morning- almost easy enough for weekdays!  These also freeze well once cooked, and you can put them in the toaster for warming (beats L'Eggo!!).

Yeasted Malt Waffles
base recipe from Annie's Eats, who got it from Marion Cunningham with adaptations inspired by BAKED Explorations and King Arthur Flour

½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. active dry yeast (I use instant – either is fine)
2 cups whole milk, warmed
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup malted milk powder
1 tsp. salt
2 TBSP grade B maple Syrup
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ tsp. baking soda

Combine the water and yeast in a large mixing bowl, letting yeast dissolve. Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar and flour to the bowl.  Whisk until well blended and mostly lump-free.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight (it'll be fine, but if this wigs you out, you could do the fridge).  Be careful- make sure your bowl is much larger than the volume of batter- it will rise overnight and could end up with waffle counter!!

When you are ready to make the waffles, preheat the waffle iron.  Preheat the oven to 200˚ F and place a plate in the oven.  Just before making the waffles, whisk the eggs and baking soda into the batter until smooth.  The batter will be very thin.  Fill waffle wells and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Cook until crisp and golden.  Transfer finished waffles to the oven rack in the oven while you cook the rest of the batter (to maintain crispness).  Top with butter and syrup.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Outrageous Brownies for Jeff

These brownies are pretty well known to be slightly amazing.  Tomorrow my husband is going fishing in Louisiana with arguably his closest friend, Jeff.  Jeff is not shy about considering my worth in life to be directly proportional to how often I bake.  Sadly, my stock has been pretty low lately.  It was time to bake for him!!!  Jeff and my husband are very tight, and they text each other like middle school kids passing notes in class.  Not that I would know anything about that sort of behavior!  Besides, Jeff introduced us to Dave Ramsey, which is probably the best thing that anyone could do for a (then) young couple.  These brownies were inspired by the Soho Charcuterie's Soho globs, which also were adapted in the Big Jakes cookies.  Chilling the brownies transforms their flavor and texture into something positively decadent.   These are decidely in the fudgy brownie camp.  And don't fret- the espresso powder serves only as a chocolate enhancer, you won't notice it in the finished product.

Outrageous Brownies
mildly adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs (or 6 large plus 1 tablespoon egg whites)
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules or 1 tbsp instant espresso powder)
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar (18 ounces)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (5 ounces plus 1 ounce)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts (if desired- I didn't desire)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour or line with parchment a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet (12 x 16 works fine too, but the rapping on countertop becomes important!)

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar(18 ounces). Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup (5 ounces) of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts (if using) and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup (1 ounces) of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf or counter to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into about 20 large squares.  Then, stash a couple away for you and the kids and send the rest of with your husband.....hoping TSA does not confiscate them!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Homemade Kettle Corn

This recipe is so simple, yet so addictive!!  Our favorite local restaurant- and by favorite, I mean, the one that gives balloons when we leave, doesn't shoot us dirty looks ever, and pretends to be endlessly amused by our two midgets- serves popcorn that doesn't hold a candle to this, but it's still very popular.  With everyone.  I found myself prompting the kids "Anyone for Kettle corn?"  It's the perfect sweet and salty combo.

Homemade Kettle Corn
adapted from joy the baker

1/2 cup popcorn
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a large pot with a lid.  Once it's hot, add kernels and sugar.   Start shaking the pot neat constantly to keep the sugar from burning.  Once popping slows, take off the heat, add salt, and shake again.  Empty into a large bowl and try to wait for it to cool a minute (that carmelized sugar is HOT!!).

 Makes 8-10 cups.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Crab, Lemon, and Avocado Salad

Back on the Wagon.

We just came back from 7 days on vacation, with no rules eating, nightly ice cream, and lots of sand.  But now we're back, and it's time to be disciplined again.  I came back itching to cook, and promptly made a huge vat of the "Staff Dressing," and liked it even more this time.  So for dinner, we actually had salad...and salad.  I may be jumping the gun a bit since it's in the 50's here, but after vacation I wanted a little taste of summer.  I also have my deck furniture out.  It snowed 2 days ago.  Your point?

 I loved the avocado with the crab, and found myself wanting more of it in the salad.  Somehow I know more avocado would make it less treasured (and less healthy) when you do get a bite with avocado.

Crab, Lemon, And Avocado Salad
adapted from Cooking Light: fresh food fast

3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lb lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed
1/2 cup (about 3) finely chopped scallions
1 diced peeled avocado
Baby romaine lettuce

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, stirring well with a whisk.  Place crabmeat, avocado, and scallions in a bowl.  Pour wet ingredient over and toss gently to coat (so as not to crush the lumps of crabmeat),  Arrange baby romaine around the edges of a plate and mound salad in the center.