Archive for the 'recipe' Category



23
Nov
10

Everyday is Thanksgiving at our House

We don’t need a once a year holiday to feel grateful or to eat a big dinner.  Katie and I exchange gratitude lists every day and have since the beginning of our relationship of over 3 years.  I often talk about what I’m grateful for at work and my co-workers share in this as well.  It just feels good to talk about the good stuff in life rather than dwell on the crappy side of things.

As far as food goes, I make dinner every night and it pretty much always looks like this.

Dinner is served!

I don’t always have a centerpiece decoration on the table,  but I like it.  There is, however, always a tablecloth and place mats.  I’m just funny that way (Ok, I’m funny in a lot of ways!).  Dinner at our place always has a green salad of some sort, a grain, some sort of vegetarian protein and at least two vegetables.  We’ve cut way back on bread, pasta and cheese, so we tend to eat semi vegan meals.

Tonight I made a quinoa pilaf with toasted pecans and dried cranberries, roasted butternut squash, from our garden, paired with Fuji apple and Field Roast Applewood Smoked Sausage (it’s vegan, of course), steamed broccoli and kale and mesclan salad (also from the garden).

 It was delicious!

A full plate of food, we get full, yet never feel stuffed eating like this

Yummy quinoa pilaf. don't worry, I'll give you the recipe.

QUINOA PILAF

serves 2

1/2 cup quinoa
3/4 cup mushroom broth
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
olive oil, salt and pepper

In a small pan, bring broth to a boil.  Stir in quinoa, cover and lower heat to simmer.   Steam for 19 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.  Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat a small amount of oil and saute onion until a bit browned.  Add nuts and cranberries.   Stir and heat through until nuts impart a wonderful fragrance.  Stir into cooked quinoa and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Butternut squash, Fuji apple and Applewood smoked Vegan sausage tossed in olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper, place in baking pan, cover with foil and bake for 35 -40 minutes at 350 degrees.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.  Katie and I will probably do our usual routine:  stay in our jammies, make homemade pizza, watch movies, play pool and eat pumpkin pie!

19
Nov
10

Don’t make me go into that kitchen!

Just give me one good reason to bake a cake and I’m all over it.  Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a GOOD reason or even a reason at all.  Or an excuse for that matter.  Ah, hell, just ask me to bake a cake.  Better yet, tell me you have something to celebrate.  I love a good celebration cake.  A couple of weeks ago, my Katie and her workmate, Patty B.,  both had work anniversaries.  These two ladies were both celebrating four years of working for the good Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.  Being a former Catholic School Girl, this still makes me slightly nervous, but the nuns are cool.  And they do love a good sweet treat!

Heaven on Earth - four layers of banana cake wrapped in a cloud of coconut cream cheese frosting

This here bad boy is a Banana cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.  To really kick up the banana flavor, I put slices of banana between each of the layers (it’s a four layer cake!).  It was insanely heavenly, right up the sisters alley, so to speak.

Here is the recipe:

CORDON ROSE BANANA CAKE

Adapted from the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

2 nine inch pans, buttered and parchment lined bottoms

4 large ripe bananas
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups sifted cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
20 tablespoons unsalted butter, must be softened

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

In a food processor process the banana and sour cream until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and process briefly just to blend.

In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend.  Add the butter and 1/2 of the banana mixture.  Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and strengthen the cake’s structure.  crape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining banana mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and develop the structure.  Scrape down the sides.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.  Bake 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool 10 – 15 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from pans.  Allow to cool completely before wrapping.

I like to chill my cakes before I frost them.  Remove the top “dome” with a serrated knife, for a more professional look.  You can make this a two layer cake or a four layer.  My preference is four layers.  It’s best to use a cake decorating stand.  Place cake on stand, and using a long serrated knife, slice the cake into two even layers.

COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 # unsalted butter, softened
1/2 # cream cheese, softened
0.2 oz salt
0.4oz vanilla
0.2 oz lemon juice
2 oz water
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Place butter in bowl of electric mixer.  Cream for 2 – 3 minutes.  Add powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon juice and water.  Mix on low ( I pulse it until incorporated so my kitchen isn’t covered in powdered sugar) for about 1 minute.  Once it is incorporated, gradually increase the speed to the highest.  Stop and scrape the sides a couple of time during this process. Whip until light, fluffy and very white.  Add coconut and mix until incorporated.

So rich, so insanely decadent!

Frost the cake.  I sliced about four bananas for this cake for in between each layer.  You can see them in the pictures.  So good.

I really do love to tease you with these photos!

Dear, sweet Katie brought a piece home to me.  We ate on it for three days!  So, what are we celebrating next?  Anyone?

25
Oct
10

A few of my favorite things

 
 

When the dog bites,
 When the bee stings,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember a few of my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad

 

 And that is why we don’t have a dog or keep bees.  But I am prone to the occasional bout of sadness.  Thankfully those episodes do not last long and I do have a few favorite things to comfort me.  Wearing pajamas all weekend and watching silly movies helps.  Meditating with Katie and writing gratitude lists can lift my spirits.  Reverting to my girlhood and playing with my Barbies in my room is a therapy unto its own.  And I am sure it will come as no surprise to you that I have some special comfort foods that sooth me in my time of need. 

 
 

I know, right?

Next time you have the morning blues, I highly suggest these Blueberry Pancakes.  This has been a rough emotional week for Katie and me and I really wanted blueberry pancakes for breakfast this morning.  Alas, we had no blueberries, fresh nor frozen.  My brilliant spouse suggested I go next door and bribe Snowie with some butternut squash spice cake, a butternut squash from our garden and a bag of fabulous fresh dates.  It worked.  I returned with a quart of frozen blueberries  from our wonderful neighbors garden!

  

Blueberry Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk or soy milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons canola oil

blueberries

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.  In another bowl or measuring cup, combine liquids.   Pour liquids into the center of the dry ingredients and stir well to combine.  Heat griddle until a few drops of water dances across the surface.  Oil the surface and ladle the batter onto the griddle.  At this point, sprinkle a few berries over the cakes. 

yeah, like that

When the edges are slightly dry and little bubbles are popping, flip ’em.

 

That's what I'm talkin' about

Ok, that takes care of the morning blahs.  But what if I’m just not feelin’ it later in the day?  Well, a big bowl of Katie’s spicy popcorn and that silly movie I mentioned is good for starters.  A good veggie BLT or Reuben sandwich also works wonders when the blues hit.  But what if you are a major sugar junkie, like me?  I love candy, cake and pie, but nothing makes me happier than a freshly baked cookie.  Or 3 or 4 cookies…….

 

Grab a cup of coffee, tea or a cold glass of (soy) milk!

When people discover that I bake for a living, the question that is put to me most often is “What’s your favorite thing to bake?”  That’s always a stumper.  But if they were to query  “what’s your favorite cookie?”; that’s a snap!  Ginger Molasses cookies are my absolute favorite.  Not as hard as a ginger snap, but certainly spicy and flavourful.  They also make a great gifts as they are easy to stack and hold up well to travel.

 

Ginger Molasses Cookies

adapted from “More of  Magnolia” 

by Allysa Torey

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar plus more for rolling

1 large egg

1/2 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.   Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the oil and sugar for 2 – 3 minutes.  Add the egg and molasses, and beat well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Put a small amount of sugar in a small bowl. Using a small disher or teaspoon, scoop dough and drop into the sugar bowl.  Roll into a ball and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  I always use a Silpat, but the instructions in the book call for an ungreased sheet. It’s your call.  Leave several inches between cookies to allow for expansion.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Once again, the recipe in the book says 12 minutes, but you know your own oven.  12 minutes will yield a crispier cookie.  I prefer crisp edges and chewy center.

 

True confession: I just ate two of these as I was writing this post

I don’t know about you, but I am feeling much better now.  That’s not to say that I won’t be stealing back to the kitchen later for a few more of those cookies, just to make sure I’m good and happy for the rest of the evening.  Life is good!

30
Aug
10

Zucchini Zombies

“Lock your door” advises my little old lady and gardener extraordinaire next-door-neighbor.  “Don’t answer the door during zucchini harvest.”  Why not?  Are there Zucchini Zombies that I am unaware of?  Will they be shuffling down the middle of the street, lugging baskets full of the dreaded green phallic vegetable?  Will they be scratching and thudding  their grubby dead hands on our doors and windows trying to force us to eat our vegetables? 

Well, all I’m sayin’ is, if you hear something mucking about on your front porch, you best answer the door.  Yours truly, Vampire Gran, could be standing there with a tray of these: 

 

I have admitted in the past to zucchini being one of my least favorite vegetables and now I am literally eating my words.  Or at best, I am eating the zucchini from our garden.  Oh, I am fixing it in healthy ways for meals, but I just can’t help adding sugar and chocolate to it and baking it into something delectable, like these Chocolate Zucchini Walnut cupcakes. 

Dude, look at these things!  They are so moist and oh, so bitable! 

Lick the frosting. Lick it, I say!

Go to this post, Vampire Gran’s Perfect Chocolate Cake and get the recipe for the cupcake base, then add 2 cups of shredded zucchini and 1 cup of chopped walnuts.  Line your muffin pan with cupcake papers, scoop in the batter about 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees for 23 minutes.  Toothpick inserted into the center of cake should come out clean when done.  Cool on rack.   They are the perfect foil for cream cheese frosting.  

Now, here’s another “grate” way to use zucchini.  Today I made some savory muffins to enjoy with our Sunday brunch on the deck.  Look at this plate and tell me it doesn’t make you just a little bit hungry. 

Now, that’s a healthy brunch

I whipped up a tofu scramble using fresh tomatoes, peppers and leeks from our garden.  The yellow stuff is polenta with butter and pure maple syrup drizzled over the top, a bit of sweet cantaloupe and a zucchini basil muffin. 

Very similar to a popover, but more sturdy

  

ZUCCHINI BASIL MUFFIN 

2 cups all purpose flour 

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon salt 

2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped 

2 eggs, slightly beaten 

1 cup buttermilk 

3 oz butter, melted 

2 medium zucchini, shredded 

1/4 cup chopped walnuts 

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into large mixing bowl.  Add basil and mix.  Make a well in the center of the bowl.  Combine eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and zucchini in another bowl.  Pour zucchini mixture into the well and mix just until all of the dry is incorporated with the wet ingredients.  Batter will be lumpy. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Either grease a 12 cup muffin pan well, or use paper liner.  Evenly divide your batter among the twelve cups.  Top with chopped walnuts.   Bake for 18-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for about 5 minutes before enjoying. 

Well, I better be shuffling off now.  I’ve got a basket I need to haul down the street.  Oh, what do vegetarian zombies eat?  GRAAAAAINS!

My GranSon - cute, ain't he?

24
May
10

The healthy eating will continue

It happens everyday

I can’t believe it’s May.  It’s difficult to believe that May is almost over.  Portland weather is always entertaining.  One minute the sun is shining, then it turns dark as dusk and the sky opens up and torrential rain is upon us.  Then it turns to icy hail. All at once, it comes to a screeching halt and there is that ol’ sun again.  I love Portland. 

Our garden continues to thrive because of, and in spite of, this weather pattern.  And it saves us an awful lot on our water bill.  I have high hopes that our garden will not only save us money by growing in our yard and not having to make constant trips to the market, but will keep us eating happy and healthy meals. 

We’ve been going strong on this healthy eating path.  We started making healthier choices in December, while Katie was recovering from a surgery.  She threatened to start making her own meals because she needed vegetables.  Well, any of you that read this and know me, know that I wasn’t havin’ any of it.  The kitchen is “ours” but I’m pretty territorial when it comes to food and the production of it.  Plus, I couldn’t have her getting slim and healthy and leaving me struggling along, huffing and puffing and being chubby in her skinny shadow.  No effin’ way! 

So I jumped right on that healthy merry-go-round and I have no intention of falling off.  We are slimming down naturally, without effort, and it feels and tastes so delicious.  I’ve lost 8 pounds since January!  No Weight Watchers, no meetings, no starving.  Common sense and a culinary knack are what I have going for me.  And it’s working. 

So, enough of my rambling.  I want to show you something easy and tasty.  Oh, and it’s healthy, too.  Here’s a picture of a typical dinner at Chez Tolbert: 

It may look like a lot of food, but it is so low in fat and calories

Green salad (lettuce from our garden), wheat berries with cannellini beans and Field Roast Smoked Applewood Veggie Sausage, and Zucchini Ribbon “Pasta” topped with Savory Mushroom Sauce.  Yum. 

I always dug in my heels when it came to eating zucchini.  I never liked it.  At least rarely did I like it.  It’s a texture thing.  People always  over cook it, in my humble opinion.  I discovered it’s not bad when you use thin strips of it as a pasta alternative. 

so simple, so quick

The first time I tried this method, I used my electric slicer.  It’s like the ones the deli’s use, only a lot smaller.  But for the sake of the blog, I decided to use a vegetable peeler this time.  It worked great!  I figured not everyone has a home slicer, but a vegetable peeler, even non cooks have those. 

Really, anyone can make this

See how simple that is? 

Looks kinda like pappardelle, yeah?

I used 2 zucchini for this meal.  Rule of thumb: use 1 zucchini per person. 

So, that’s it.  No cooking.  Set the zucchini ribbons aside and make the sauce. 

Let the sauce making begin!

Thinly slice 1 leek, mince 1 shallot and 2 cloves of garlic.  Add a small amount of olive oil to a hot  pan and gently saute until softened. 

Mmmm...smells so good

Next, add some sliced mushrooms.  I used creminis, because we like ’em. 

Looking good

You can use whatever mushrooms you prefer.  A combination is always good. 

Once again, I wish computer screens had scratch and sniff!

Continue sauteing until the mushrooms soften.  Add seasonings to taste:  salt, pepper, dried oregano and dried basil. 

Oh, mamma, these are smelling so good right now

Once the mushrooms have softened and browned a bit, move everything to the sides of the pan, making a circular opening in the center of the pan.  Add a bit more olive oil, about 1/2 tablespoon and then sprinkle in some flour, a couple of tablespoons. 

Does anyone else see a cartoon bear face in there?

Cook the flour for a minute or two, till it starts to brown slightly. 

Stir and brown flour

  I like to add some hot sauce at this point.  It’s optional. 

Squirt in some hot sauce of choice - this is Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

Now I add some vegetable stock.  You can use home-made or store-bought stock.  I make it every week, so I always have it on hand. 

Add some stock and you have sauce

Add stock about 1/2 cup at a time.  I like to use a ladle for this step. Just add and cook until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. 

This looks, smells and tastes just right

Place zucchini ribbons in a large serving bowl or platter.  Top with hot sauce.  Finely chop some fresh Italian Parsley and sprinkle on top, for a pretty presentation. 

Dinner is served

Then toss gently to combine.  The heat of the sauce with cause the “noodles” to soften, but not get mushy.  It’s fast and easy and best of all, tastes great. 

Damn, that's a healthy looking dinner!

13
Mar
10

Practice Makes Perfect

Banana Walnut Pancakes with Fried Potatoes and Applewood Smoked Sausage

Thanks ,Christine, from Christine Can Cook blog.  I think you must have infected me with your pancake mania post a few weeks back.  Who’da thunk an innocent blog could be so contagious that just by reading and looking at cool pictures that you could catch an infectious bug like pancake making?The past three Saturdays I have been making pancakes for breakfast!  Not that this is a bad thing.  I love to cook and I love a big breakfast on Saturday especially since we juice fast on Sunday.  It’s a good thing Katie always eats what’s put in front of her, but I don’t want her getting bored.  So like Christine, I have been trying out different pancake recipes. 

Last weekend I pulled one of my favorite vegan books down from my shelf of 130 cookbooks and started a search for some yummy pancakes.  Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson is a great cookbook.  I have tried many of her recipes and they have all been pretty good.  Out of a book of 400 recipes, she had three for pancakes.  Since I had all of the required ingredients in my kitchen, I decided on the Spiced Banana Pancakes.

There are only two of us in our household so I halved the recipe.  I was  a little disappointed in these pancakes.  They were a bit on the gummy side due to the amount of banana and a little too much soy milk.  Actually, I could only eat one as they were a bit on the heavy side.  They did have a nice flavor though.

Not being one to give up easily, especially where food is concerned, I decided to try these cakes again today.  I made some minor adjustments in the measurements and viola!  I made some really good vegan pancakes.

Vegan Banana Nut Pancakes

(Serves 2)

¾ cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar of choice

1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cardamom

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 banana, cut in half, reserving half for garnishment

½ cup vanilla or plain soy milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup chopped nuts

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices in medium bowl.  In a blender or food processor, blend ½ banana, soy milk and vanilla until smooth.  Stir liquid into the dry mix.  Mix in nuts.

Using a ladle or disher (my fave way), scoop batter onto hot, oiled griddle.  When the edges start to look a bit dry and the pancake has burst several bubbles, turn using a spatula.  Cook another minute or two until the bottom side is nice and brown. 

Place pancakes on plate, slice the remaining half of banana over the top, garnish with a few nuts and serve with warm maple syrup.

In keeping with the vegan breakfast theme, I served the pancakes paired with fried potatoes and Field Roast Applewood Smoked Vegan Sausage.  So good.  I love when the pure maple syrup mixes with the sausage and potato.

Even if you are not vegan (we’re vegetarian), you should give these pancakes a go.  I’m glad I did not dismiss this recipe the first time out.  Practice really does make perfect.

10
Mar
10

Just Beet it!

Beautiful jewels of the earth

I love beets.  They are so beautiful.  Sweet and earthy, and when they are dressed, they shimmer like fine jewels under showroom lights.  According to Harold McGee’s book ” On Food and Cooking”  beets have been eaten by man since prehistory.  They are native to a vast region of Eurasia from Britain to India.  In the 18th century, a white beet variety began to be cultivated for sugar production.  I always wondered why beet sugar wasn’t pink.  Did you know that up to 8% of the beet’s weight is sugar?  That is an exceptional figure for a vegetable.

Another interesting fact about beets and us humans is the ability to metabolize the bright red pigment, called betacyanin, is controlled by a single genetic locus.  People who have inherited two recessive genes pass the pigment in their urine.  In other words, after consuming red beets, those fortunate bastards get to pee pink!!!  Lucky.

So, where are we going with all this?  Well, I just wanted to write about how easy it is to make a simple, light dinner using one of my favorite root vegetables.

Scrub the beets, trim off the ends, you can peel before or after.  I like to peel after they are cooked because the peel slides right off with a small, sharp knife.  I add fresh rosemary sprigs just because I have it growing in my yard but you don’t have to, and wrap it all up in heavy foil.  Set your oven to 350 degrees, place the wrapped beets on a baking tray just in case that foil gets a little whole in it.  You don’t want beet juice mucking up your oven, trust me.  Roast for about an hour or until tender when pierced with a knife.  I like to just stab it through the foil; it’s easier than opening the foil and risking a steam burn.

All dressed up and ready to go

Once your beets are roasted and peeled, cut them up into bite size pieces and place them in a bowl.  Whisk together some olive oil, a little orange juice, salt and pepper and toss in the beets.  Once they are nice and evenly coated you are ready to eat.

 

The night we ate these beets I paired them with a bit of  herb rolled goat cheese and some basmati rice cooked in vegetable broth and spiked with Tamari and nutritional yeast.  Yeah, it was that good.

14
Dec
09

Tastes just like Chicken Soup!

Winter staple gone vegetarian

This time of year always means two things to me:  Sweater weather and soup.  As I get older, the pretty pull over sweaters of my youth have given way to cardigans (for fast removal during those pesky hot flashes!) and my soups have become more complex.

I have always loved soup.  I could eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  When I was a kid, I would go on soup jags.  Everyday, for weeks, I would eat either chicken noodle or tomato soup for lunch.  Of course, these soups all came from the familiar red and white can and you just added a can of water.  That was how soup was made in our house.  Being a kid and never having tasted real home made soup, I didn’t know what I was missing. 

When I grew up (stop laughing, those of you who actually know me!) and started cooking for my own family, I made several attempts at home made soup.  I will admit that a lot of them were bland and lacked flavor.  Soup stocks were still a mystery to me so suffice it to say, my soups were pretty watery. 

Years fly by (calendar pages fly by in rapid succession, like in the movies) and my love affair with soup has blossomed into a comfortable relationship.  I can whip up a soup in no time flat.  Good soup. Hearty soup with lots of flavor and enough heat to coax the chill out of your bones at this very cold time of the year.  When I owned Naked Baker I made two types of soup every day.  I made my own vegetable stock.  My customers loved my soups.  I only wish that this recipe I am about to share with you had existed when I had my little shop.  I know it would have been a favorite. 

Six years ago I cut a recipe out of the food section of the newspaper.  It was for a chicken soup.  Now, being a vegetarian, I would never make chicken soup.  But I love to do a redux of nonvegetarian dishes and make them veggie friendly.  This soup became an instant hit with family and friends.  It is velvety in texture, chunky with bits of goodness and pure comfort food. 

TASTES JUST LIKE CHICKEN SOUP! 

  

8 OZ CHICKENLESS STRIPS (Trader Joe’s or Morningstar Farms) 

2 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL 

3 TABLESPOONS BUTTER 

1 MEDIUM ONION, FINELY CHOPPED 

3 STALKS CELERY, FINELY CHOPPED 

2 LARGE CLOVES OF GARLIC, MINCED 

1 TEASPOON DRIED TARRAGON 

1 TEASPOON DRIED OREGANO 

2 TEASPOONS HUNGARIAN PAPRIKA 

2 TEASPOONS KOSHER SALT 

½ TEASPOON FRESH GROUND PEPPER 

½ CUP PLUS 2 TABLESPOONS FLOUR 

8 CUPS NO CHICKEN BROTH (Imagine Brand) 

1 14.5 OZ DICED TOMATO IN JUICE 

¾ CUP HEAVY CREAM 

2 CUPS THINLY SLICED FRESH SPINACH 

Hot sauce to taste!

 Cut chickenless strips into bite size pieces.  Heat a small amount of oil in sauce pan.  Add chickenless pieces to hot oil, sprinkle with salt, poultry seasoning and dried garlic or garlic powder to taste.  Saute until pieces are lightly browned, about 3 – 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside. 

Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium high heat.  Add butter and melt.  Sauté onion and celery until the onions are translucent, about 7 – 8 minutes.  Add the garlic, tarragon, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, for 3 or 4 minutes.  Add the flour and stir until well combined.  Slowly whisk in the no chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add the tomatoes, with juice, and cream.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the “chicken” pieces and simmer another 10 minutes.  Stir in the spinach just before serving.  Serve with extra hot sauce to help warm you up!

 

13
Dec
09

Yo Ho, Yo Ho a Pirate’s Tart for me!

Captain Morgan's Apple Tart

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post.  I’ve been missing writing about what’s been cooking in my kitchen.  A lot of tasty concoctions of course, but this one really made the cut.  I had a few Fuji apples in my fruit bowl and I needed to use them.  I whipped up a flaky crust and while it was chilling I peeled, cored and thinly sliced the Fujis and tossed it with a few key ingredients.  Slammed it into a hot oven and the house filled with the amazing aroma of warm, baked apple.  Yum. 

CAPTAIN MORGAN’S APPLE TART 

  

PREPARE THE FLAKY CRUST FIRST 

  

4 -5 FUJI APPLES, PEELED, CORED AND SLICED THIN 

1 CUP SUGAR 

¼ CUP FLOUR 

1 TEASPOON GROUND CINNAMON 

1 TEASPOON GROUND CARDAMOM 

½ TEASPOON GROUND NUTMEG 

3 TABLESPOON CAPTAIN MORGAN’S SPICED RUM 

4 – 6 TABLESPOONS BUTTER, CUT IN SMALL CUBES 

Combine all ingredients, EXCEPT THE BUTTER CUBES,  in a large bowl. 

  

FLAKY CRUST 

  

1 ¼ CUPS FLOUR 

1/8 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER 

¼ TEASPOON SALT 

8 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER (1 STICK) 

2 – 3 TABLESPOONS ICE WATER 

  

9” tart pan, lightly sprayed with non stick spray 

Place flour, baking powder and salt in bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to mix.  Cut butter into small cubes and toss into food processor.  Pulse until fine crumbs form.  Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time.  Be careful not to add too much water.  You will end up with tough crust if you add too much water.  Mix until the dough sticks together when you press it between your thumb and fingers.  Dump dough into large mixing bowl and gather to form a ball.  Flatten the dough ball into a disk, wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for an hour.  Once dough is chilled, remove plastic and roll out on a lightly floured flat surface, about 1/8 inch thick.  

Place the rolled out dough in a tart pan, overlapping the sides and pour in the apple mixture

 

  

  

Generously sprinkle turbinado sugar over the top of the apple mixture and dot with butter

Wrap the overhanging dough up on top of the apple mixture

Brush the top crust with half n half or heavy cream and sprinkle with more turbinado sugar

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 - 55 minutes, until the apples are bubbling and the crust is a beautiful brown

That’s it.  Pretty straight forward and simple.  If you are one of those people who have a fear of making pie crust from scratch, you could use the pre-made kind.  Just don’t let your shipmates know cuz’ they just might make you walk the plank while they eat the tart.  

  

 

26
Nov
09

Pies, Pies, Pies, Yeah!

Chocolate Pecan Pie and Southern Pecan Pie with Spice Crust

Okay, so the last post was all about Pumpkin Pie.  I showed you how to make a crust and gave you all handy tips about putting the pie on a sheet pan to ease it in and out of the oven.  The second most popular pie for the Thanksgiving holiday is, of course, Pecan Pie.  One of my spouses co-workers was wise enough to track her down and inquire if I made pies to order for this holiday.  I LOVE SPECIAL ORDERS!  I welcome them.  I live for them.

So, this lovely lady wanted a Pecan Pie.  I just happen to have a wonderful recipe for Pecan Pie.  I’ve shared with you, in a past post, another one of my fave baking gurus, Nick Malgieri.  This guy has great pie recipes.  The above pictured pies are the ones I baked yesterday using Nicks recipes.  “How to Bake” is one of my “go to” books when it comes to pies.

SWEET SPICE CRUST

1 cup all purpose flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

1 large egg

Place dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a few times to mix.  Add pieces of cold butter to the bowl and pulse until mixture resembles corn meal.  Add the egg and process, about 10 pulses, until dough forms a ball.  Flatten into a round disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface.  Place in pie pan and finish edges as desired.

SOUTHERN PECAN PIE

1 cup dark corn syrup

3/4 cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter

3 large eggs

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons bourbon

2 cups pecan halves or pieces or combination

 

Prepare and chill dough

Combine corn syrup and sugar in a sauce pan and stir to mix.  Place over low heat and bring to a boil, without stirring.  Remove from heat, add the butter, and allow the butter to melt.  In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs until they’re liquid and whisk in the salt and bourbon.  Whisk in the syrup and butter mixture, being careful not to overmix.  Allow to cool.

Set rack at the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Roll crust out and set in pan.  Arrange pecans in the crust.  Skim foam from the top of the filling (or the top will have an unattractively mottled surface) and pour over the pecans.  With the back of a fork, press the pecans down into the filling so that they are covered.

Bake the pie for about 45 minutes, until the crust is baked through and the filling is set and well puffed in the center.  Cool the pie on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

Cocoa Dough

Same recipe as above except you need to add 2 tablespoons sifted non-alkalized cocoa powder to the dry ingredients before mixing in the butter.  Omit the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

PIE FILLING

Add 4 ounces coarsely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate to the hot syrup along with the butter.  Allow chocolate to melt and whisk the filling smooth.  Stir the pecans into the filling, rather than pouring it over them.

Follow the same directions as Southern Pecan Pie

 

Trio of pies baked for Thanksgiving 2007

Two Thanksgivings ago, we were invited to join some family and friends for the holiday meal.  I volunteered to bring pie, of course.  Of course everyone expected Pumpkin Pie, but I wanted more.  I make a pretty good Rustic Apple Tart, so it was a natural choice for me to bring.  Someone else mentioned Chocolate Cream Pie, so why not make three desserts?  I’m tellin’ ya’, any chance I get to make something sweet, I’m up for it.

Makes my mouth water to look at this shot

This one was so much fun to make, all that whipped cream and shaved chocolate

Not the best looking Pumpkin Pie I've ever made, but tasty none the less

 I feel a pie kick coming on…………………………………..

 

 




Foodbuzz

Foodbuzz
Quantcast

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 101 other followers