Saturday, February 28, 2009

Almond Streusel Blueberry Tea Loaf

2 T sifted cake flour [not self-rising flour]
2 T sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 T chopped almonds
1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
3 cups sifted cake flour, divided [not self-rising flour]
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 T vanilla extract

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

Combine 2 tablespoons cake flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon and chopped almonds. Add 1 teaspoon butter, stirring until crumbly. Set almond mixture aside.

Combine blueberries and 2 tablespoons flour, tossing gently to coat; set aside.

Combine remaining cake flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl; cut in remaining butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Combine milk, egg and vanilla, stirring well. Add to flour mixture, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Add blueberry mixture, stirring gently (batter will be thin and lumpy). Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and sprinkle almond mixture evenly over batter.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove loaf from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Triple Chocolate Scones

Ingredients for the dough:
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces cream cheese, cold
1/4 cup butter, cold
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup chocolate chips

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the icing:
1 cup powder sugar
1 T cocoa powder
1 T water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk together the whipping cream, egg and vanilla in a bowl until well blended. In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and the salt.

In a food processor, combine all the dried ingredients (flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and the salt) together. Add the cold cream cheese and the cold butter and pulse until the mixture becomes the size of small peas. Remove to a bowl, add the chocolate chips and mix.

Add in the mixed liquid and stir till just combined. Pour out onto a flat surface and knead a few time. Do not over knead.

Shape into a 6-inch by 8-inch rectangle. Cut into 8 pieces and place onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. When cool, drizzle with the icing.

* * * * * *

Preparing the icing:
Combine the powdered sugar, cocoa and water, mix with a fork.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

*Award-Winning* Noodle Kugel

Yes, it is that good. I entered it in an online group's holiday food contest and it came in first place. Okay, okay, so there were only eight other entries, two of which were vegetable side dishes that included canned ingredients (potato sticks and onion rings)...It won!

I usually make it for a holiday buffet table where a roast beef or baked ham is center stage. It also is brilliant reheated in the microwave on Christmas morning, and on those lazy self-indulging weekends when you'd love to have brunch out if only it didn't require getting dressed and leaving the house:

George Foreman Grill [*the award that it won]

1 lb. broad or wide egg noodles
½ lb. butter
½ lb. Philadelphia brand cream cheese
1 pint sour cream
5 eggs, separated
½ cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of raisins
¼ cup cognac or rum

cinnamon (optional)
brown sugar (optional)
fruit preserves (optional) - strawberry or seedless black raspberry highly recommended

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Soak raisin in cognac or rum for at least 15 minutes, drain excess.

Boil noodles to al dente, as per package instructions. Drain, return noodles to pot, add butter, gently fold to coat all noodles with melting butter.

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and sour cream and add to the noodles. Beat egg yolks lightly with sugar and fold into the noodle mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the noodle mixture, along with the drained raisins.

Transfer the mixture to an ungreased casserole pan. Sprinkle cinnamon, brown sugar, on top.

Bake for 1 hour. Serve with fruit preserves.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Balsamic Shallot Vinaigrette

¼ cup chopped slab bacon, or 2 slices, chopped
1 shallot minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 T balsamic vinegar
3 T extra virgin olive oil
pinch kosher salt
pinch black pepper

Place a small skillet over medium-high heat and, when it is hot, add the bacon. Cook until the fat is rendered and drain off all but 1 teaspoon. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until lightly golden. Add the vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until it coats the back of a spoon.

Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.

Variation: Add 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and/or 1 tablespoon honey when you add the oil.

Makes ⅓ to ½ cup


Monday, February 23, 2009

Deep Dark Chocolate Chewy Meringue Cookies

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped (or use semisweet chips)
4 T butter
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 12-oz package semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted; do not overheat.

There should be some small chunks of chocolate left. They will melt from the residual heat. Don’t overheat the chocolate.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until ight and fluffy.

Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate.

Mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Add the chocolate chunks. Stir well to combine.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers. 12 to 15 minutes.

Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

This makes 2 dozen (or 18 if you drop them by big heaping tablespoons).


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes

5-6 medium very ripe tomatoes, about 2 lbs. (romas are perfect for this dish)
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
fresh basil leaves, torn or julienned
⅓ cup of fruity olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut out tomato cores. Halve tomatoes crosswise.

Coat bottom of a roasting pan or baking dish with about 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Arrange tomato halves, cut side up, in pan.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Press minced garlic into each half; drizzle each with about 1 teaspoon oil. Pour on any remaining oil.

Place tomatoes in a preheated 375-degree oven and cook 2 hours, basting two or three times with the oil and juices that collect in pan. When done, tomatoes will have collapsed and some of the juices will have burned a little.

With a table knife and fork, cut tomatoes into small pieces. Scrape burned bits into juices to amalgamate them into sauce.

Toss in cooked spaghetti and shredded basil.

Serve immediately with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Malasadas, A Third Way

Not fried like doughnuts, but baked as a bread:

For the dough:
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature and beaten
2 T butter, melted
4 1/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons instant active-dry yeast

2 T melted butter
2 T granulated sugar

Place evaporated milk, water, salt, sugar, eggs, butter, flour, and yeast in the pan of the bread machine. Select dough setting and press start. Check the dough; it should form a nice elastic ball. If the dough is too moist, add additional flour, a tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too dry, crumbly, add warm water a tablespoon at a time.

When dough cycle has finished, remove dough from pan and turn out onto a lightly oiled surface.

Form dough into an oval, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. Turn dough over (but do not punch down), cover, and let rise again 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size again.

Place dough on a lightly oiled surface and form dough into two loaves. Cover and place in a warm spot to rise, approximately 20 minutes, until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 20 minutes or until nicely browned. Use an instant digital thermometer to test the bread (temperature should be between 200 and 210 degrees). Remove from oven and place bread on a wire rack. Brush top of bread with melted butter; sprinkle with sugar. Let cool.

Makes 2 loaves.


Malasadas, One Way

A cousin to beignets, malasadas were introduced to Hawaii by Portugese settlers.

2 T water, lukewarm
1 yeast cake
½ cup whole milk, lukewarm
1¼ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 T butter, melted
3 cups flour
3 eggs, beaten
vegetable oil, for frying

In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast, stirring until the yeast is dissolved. Pour the warm milk into a large bowl and add the yeast, sugar, salt and melted butter.

Stir in half the flour and mix until smooth.

Add the eggs, mix well and stir in the remaining flour, mixing until the dough is soft and smooth.

Cover the dough with a damp tea towel, set in a warm spot and let rise until the dough is doubled in bulk.

To cook, pour at least 3 inches of oil into a large pot and heat to 360 degrees.

Put about an inch of sugar into a brown paper lunch bag. Set a flattened large brown paper bag next to the stove.

Drop tablespoons of dough, a few at a time, into the hot oil and cook, turning once, until evenly golden brown. Transfer to the paper bag to drain briefly and then shake, a few at a time, in the sugar. Transfer to plates or wax-paper-lined baskets.

Serve immediately.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Black & White Cookies

For the cookies:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup well-shaken buttermilk
½ teaspoon vanilla
⅓ cup (5⅓ tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg

For the icings:
1½ cups confectioners sugar
1 T light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 T water
¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Preparing the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Spoon ¼ cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and chill (to cool quickly), about 5 minutes.

Make icings while cookies cool:
Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, ½ teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as white icing.

Ice cookies:
Turn cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half.

Makes 8 cookies.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Brother Juniper's Struan Bread

a loaf of struan, without poppy seeds

I fell in love with Brother Juniper's bread back when Brother Peter Reinhart was baking it in the back of a tiny bakery/cafe in Forestville, California. The cafe's menu, like its floor space, was brief: A soup of the day, barbecued beef sandwiches (made with Brother Juniper's own superb barbecue sauce) cole slaw, and freshly baked pastries, all of which were packaged to go.

All of Brother Juniper's breads were delicious (nothing like buying bread, fragrant and warm, out of the bakery where it was made), but it was the struan (pronounced stroo-in) bread that became his signature and best-selling bread. And once a week he offered a variation that was impossible for me and other customers to resist (if you had any hope of scoring some for the weekend, you had to get there before noon on Friday): Small loaves of the pane al cioccolato (dark chocolate chips rolled up in the struan dough). It made the most perfect toast for weekend breakfasts, with latte.

The cafe/bakery is long gone; Reinhart sold Brother Juniper's recipes many years ago, and while you can find Brother Juniper's breads in many supermarkets, it's not the same as buying it on the premises the day it's been baked, without the stabilizers which enable a longer supermarket shelf life. Fortunately, Brother Reinhart has published many of his recipes and I can make struan anytime at home. And often do.

Struan with a bread machine:
1 cup, plus 2 T water
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 1/2 cup unbleached bread flour
1/4 cup polenta (cornmeal)
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cooked brown rice
2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 T honey
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips, with or without the barest sprinkling of cinnamon, before the last rise and baking off. After the last kneading cycle, roll out the dough as you would a jelly roll cake, spread the cinnamon-dusted chocolate chips over the dough, roll the dough up and place back into the bread machine seam-side down.

Poppy seeds pressed into the top after the last kneading cycle and before the last rise and baking off.

Place the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed above (wet ingredients first), isolating the salt from direct contact with the yeast.

Use the white bread setting.

Makes 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Luddite-version of Struan (by hand, without a bread machine):

3 tablespoons polenta
3 tablespoons rolled oats
2 tablespoons wheat bran
1/4 cup water

3 cups unbleached bread flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
3 tablespoons cooked brown rice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Mix together the ingredients for the soaker. Cover and allow to soak for at least half an hour or as long as overnight.

In a larger bowl, combine the dry ingredients, then stir in wet ingredients and soaker. Add more flour or water until the dough can be formed into a ball that is tacky but not sticky. Place the ball of dough on a clean work surface and knead it for 10 to 12 minutes, then return it to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to ferment until doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl, de-gas it gently, and split it for two loaves or shape it as is for one. Place the loaves in greased bread pans, spray water on top, and sprinkle a handful of poppy seeds on top.

Cover the pans loosely with plastic and allow the loaves to rise until doubled in size again, approximately 90 minutes

Bake these loaves at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes, until the internal temperature is around 190 degrees. When ready the loaves will be quite brown on top and will make a hollow thud when tapped on the bottom.

a chocolate swirl loaf of struan, oven-baked


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Balsamic Glaze

2 Cornish hens (about 1-¼ pounds each)
freshly ground black pepper
5 fresh rosemary sprigs
10 sage leaves
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 bunches scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths (about 2 cups)
1 cup peeled, trimmed, and thinly sliced carrots
½ cup thinly sliced celery
6 slices dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups chicken stock, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 T balsamic vinegar
1 T honey

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Remove all visible fat and the neck and giblets from the Cornish hens. Rinse the hens under cold water and pat them dry inside and out with paper towels.

Season the birds generously with salt and pepper, inside and out. Place one rosemary sprig, 2 sage leaves, and 1 bay leaf in the body cavity of each bird.

Heat the oil in a heavy, flameproof roasting pan or very large ovenproof skillet over medium heat.

Add the scallions, carrots, celery, porcini, and the remaining rosemary and sage leaves and cook, stirring, until the scallions are wilted, about 4 minutes.

Smooth the vegetables into an even layer and nestle the prepared birds, breast side up, over them.

Roast, basting frequently with enough of the chicken stock to keep the vegetables well moistened, until the vegetables and hens are golden brown- about 45 minutes.

Carefully tilt the pan and spoon off enough of the roasting juices to measure 1 cup , not including fat. Stir the balsamic vinegar and honey into the measured juices until the honey is dissolved.

Return the birds to oven and roast, basting occasionally with the honey mixture, until the birds are a rich mahogany color and the leg joint moves easily when you wiggle it, about 15 minutes.

Remove the birds from the oven, transfer them to a platter or plates, and cover with a tent of aluminum foil to keep them warm.

Strain the pan juices through a sieve into a small saucepan, pressing as much of the liquid from the vegetables as possible.

Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce, and bring the sauce to a simmer while carving the birds.

With a pair of kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbones to remove them. Cut the birds in half and through the center breastbone. Cut each half into leg and breast portions. Arrange the pieces on a platter or plates, and spoon some of the roasting juices over them.

Pass the remaining sauce separately.

Serves 4


Monday, February 16, 2009

Coq Au Vin

1 750-ml bottle of a good, dry red wine
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 onions, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
6 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
6 whole chicken legs with thighs

1½ cups pearl onions
5 T unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces large mushrooms, quartered
4 bacon slices, chopped

1 T vegetable oil

1½ cups Port
2 T all-purpose flour

Marinating the chicken:
Stir first 6 ingredients in heavy large nonreactive pot.

Add chicken, submerging completely. Cover; chill overnight. [I have marinated the chicken legs and thighs in tightly sealed Tupperware containers, rotating upside-down every 12 hours or so, for up to 3 days with splendid results.]

After marination:
Cook pearl onions in large pot of boiling salted water 3 minutes.

Drain and cool. Peel.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add pearl onions and mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Add bacon to same skillet and sauté until brown and crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Wipe skillet clean.

Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken from marinade to strainer (reserve marinade in pot).

Pat chicken dry with paper towels; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat.

Add chicken and sauté until skin is brown, turning once, about 10 minutes.

Transfer chicken to pot of marinade; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered until chicken is very tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Strain chicken and cooking liquid over large bowl.

Transfer chicken to medium bowl; discard vegetables in strainer. Return liquid to pot.

Add Port and bring to boil.

Combine flour and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in small bowl. Whisk into cooking liquid. Boil over medium heat until sauce thickens and is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Return chicken to pot.

Add pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon to sauce in pot. Simmer until heated through and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Warm Beef & Shaved Fennel Salad

1½” thick filet mignon, or New York strip steak
salt and pepper

For the salad:
1 small fennel bulb
5 chives chopped

For the dressing:
juice and zest of ½ a meyer lemon
1 T olive oil
pinch of sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Using a mandoline slice the fennel into 1/16” slices, discarding the tough bits that come from the core. Put the slices in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Refrigerate until you’re ready to make the salad.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the fennel out of the fridge, and drain it in a strainer letting it air dry while you make the steak.

Remove the fillet from the refridgerator and give it at least 15 minutes to come to room temperature. Generously salt and pepper all sides of the fillet. Get a cast iron pan very hot on high heat. Sear 4 sides of the steak to get a nice brown crust. Once the steak is browned on all sides, quickly put the whole pan in the oven and turn the oven off.

Allow the steak to finish cooking as the oven cools down for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile whisk all the ingredients together for the dressing in a small bowl.

Remove the steak from pan and allow it to rest for 5 minutes on a plate.

Slice the steak at a 45 degree angle against the grain into ⅛” thick slices. Add this to the bowl with the dressing then add the fennel and chives. Toss to coat and serve immediately.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Baked Brie

small wheel (8 inch) of good quality brie
1-2 cups of light brown sugar
7 ounces slivered almonds
baguettes or other crusty artisan French breads, thinly sliced

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

In a small oven-proof casserole pan (for table service), place the brie and pack brown sugar on the top and around the sides.

Press slivered almonds into the brown sugar.

Bake until the sugar melts and bubbles, and the almonds turn toasty light brown, 8-20 minutes.

Serve immediately beside a basket of thinly sliced baguette.

Alternative Preparation:
1 wheel of brie (8")
2 T brown sugar
2 T sliced almonds
1 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll crescent rolls, seal seams and roll into a circle.

Place brie in center and top with brown sugar and almonds.

Bring sides of dough up to cover brie and seal.

Place in a round baking dish (one that can be used for serving) and bake for 11 to 13 minutes.

Cut into wedges to serve.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Chocolate Shortcakes with Red Fruits & Cream

For the fruit:
2 pints fresh, ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
⅓ to ½ cup sugar, depending on sweetness of fruit
1 pint fresh raspberries
½ pound sweet red cherries, pitted and halved

For the chocolate shortcake dough:
2½ cups unsifted all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
1 T baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
¾ cup cold buttermilk
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cold milk
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
6 ounces (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch slices
3 T sugar, for topping

For the cream:
1½ cups cold heavy cream
1 T sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla
¼ cup powdered sugar, optional

Preparing the fruit:
In a large bowl, pour sugar over strawberries and gently toss. Set aside at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Using a fork, mash a third of the berries in the bowl, toss mixture again, add the raspberries and cherries, and let stand another hour. (You can make this the day before, but refrigerate the mixture after mashing some of the berries, and bring berries to room temperature before serving.)

Preparing the chocolate shortbread dough:
Adjust oven rack to lower third and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, mix the egg with the buttermilk, milk and orange zest. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the egg mixture just until it forms a soft and moist, sticky dough. Spoon ¼ cup mounds of dough, about 2-inches apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar over each shape and with fingertips pat dough to ½ to ¾-inch thickness. (After patting, shortcakes should be about 1-inch apart to allow for spreading while baking.) Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool shortcakes on a wire rack. (You can freeze shortcakes in a sturdy container for up to 2 weeks.)

Preparing the cream:
Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.

Split shortcakes in half horizontally, preferably with the tines of a fork. Place bottom halves on dessert plates, top each with berries, cherries and whipped cream mixture and set other half of shortcake onto the whipped cream. If desired, sprinkle with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Serves 12


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Michelle's Blueberry Tea Loaf

My friend Michelle, a phenomenal home cook, first made this for us to go with an afternoon coffee gabfest over thirty years ago. It is deceptively delicious, given the simplicity of the recipe:

2½ cups of sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup of softened unsalted butter
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 cup of blueberries, fresh or canned, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 by 5 by 2¾" loaf pan.

Sift flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and eggs at high speed until light and fluffy - about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in flour mixture (in fourths) alternately with milk (in thirds), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until smooth.

Gently fold in blueberries with rubber spatula. Turn into greased loaf pan.

Bake for 60-65 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Turn out of pan onto wire rack.

Variation: Substitute vanilla sugar for granulated sugar.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chocolate Mocha Pudding Cake, in a Slow Cooker

cooking spray or butter for pot
1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoon plus ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (divided use)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
3 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
¾ cup packed golden brown sugar
1⅔ cup hot coffee or hot water

Spray inside of 3½ to 4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray or rub with butter.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk, melted butter, vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread this mixture over the bottom of your slow cooker

In another bowl, mix together brown sugar and remaining ¼ cup cocoa powder. Sprinkle cocoa mixture over the batter, but do not stir it in. Pour the coffee evenly over all. Again, do not stir.

Cover and cook on high heat for 1¾ to 2 hours or until a tester inserted in the top portion of the cake comes out clean. The inside should be hot and similar to fudge sauce. Spoon cake and sauce out of slow cooker and arrange next to or under a very cold scoop of ice cream. Or if you prefer, set the ice cream on top.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rugelach, Another Way

For the dough:
2½ cups (12½) ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ T sugar
¼ t salt
2 sticks (8 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼ " pieces
8 oz cold cream cheese, cut into ½" chunks
2 T sour cream

For the filling:
1 cup (7 oz) sugar
1 T cinnamon
⅔ cup apricot preserves (process if necessary to break up big chunks)
1 cup golden (or other) raisins
2¼ cup (9 oz) walnuts, chopped fine

For the glaze:
2 large egg yolks
2 T milk

Pre-heat oven to 375F.

Combine flour, sugar and salt in food processor and pulse to mix. Add butter, cream cheese and sour cream, process until dough comes together in small uneven, cottage cheese-like curds. About 15 pulses.

For Crescent-shaped: Turn mixture out and press into a 9“ x6” log. Divide into 4 equal portions. Press into a 4½“ disk. Between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, roll into an 8½” circle. Stack dough on a plate and “freeze” for 30 minutes (or in freezer bags for up to a month for future baking).

For “Roulades”: Roll into four 7“ x 11” rectangles.

Stack dough on a plate and “freeze” for 15 minutes (or in freezer bags for up to a month for future baking).

Preparing the filling:
Mix cinnamon and sugar, set aside. Line 2 heavy rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one circle or roulade at a time, remove dough from freezer and spread 2½ T preserves, ¼ cup raisins, 2 T cinnamon-sugar, and ½ cup walnuts over dough. Pat gently with your fingers.

Crescent-shaped:Cut dough into 8 wedges and roll up from wide to the narrow pointed end. Place 2" apart on prepared sheets and freeze for 15 minutes.

Traditional-shaped (from rolled-up dough[roulade]): Starting from long-side, roll dough tightly into a long cylinder. Try to keep the filling in the dough as much as possible. Trim each end of cylinder to get a nice clean edge. Cut into 1“ pieces. Place 2” apart on sheet. Place seam side down on baking sheets and freeze for 15 minutes.

Whisk egg yolks and milk together and brush this over the tops and sides of “frozen” rugelach. Bake in middle (upper-middle and lower-middle racks) for 21-23 minutes until pale gold and slightly puffy. Rotate baking sheets if necessary as in front-to-back and/or shelf-to-shelf halfway through baking time.

Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture immediately upon leaving the oven. Carefully transfer to wire rack for cooling. Store for 4 days OR freeze.

Update: You can get teiglach and other authentic Jewish sweets through mail order from the Delancey Dessert Company in New York.



2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup apricot preserves
1 1/3 cups (about 1 cup) walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1 cup currants
1/2 cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped
3 T heavy cream

Whisk flour and salt in a bowl; set aside. Put butter and cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix to combine. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a ball; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 6 hours (up to overnight).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl; set aside. Divide dough into quarters. Working 1 piece at a time, roll out to a 12-by-8-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. With long side facing you, spread with 3 tablespoons preserves, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup each walnuts and currants, 2 tablespoons raisins, and 2 tablespoons sugar mixture. Tightly roll dough into a log; place, seam side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Brush each log with cream; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; cool 15 minutes. Cut into 1-inch-thick slices. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Ginger-Mustard Chicken

1 T chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T Dijon mustard
2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts, split
1 to 2 medium beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 8 slices total
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the ginger, garlic, and mustard in a small bowl and mash together with a fork to form a paste.

Place the chicken in a baking dish and coat the top of the chicken breasts with the ginger mixture. Top with the tomato slices. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, bread crumbs, parsley, and rosemary, place in the oven, and bake until tender, about 15 minutes.

Serves 4


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Shrimp Bisque

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
4 cups seafood stock
3 T good olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
1 T chopped garlic (3 cloves)
pinch cayenne pepper
¼ cup Cognac or brandy
¼ cup dry sherry
4 T (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
⅓ cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the shrimp shells and seafood stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Add enough water to make 3¾ cups.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the cayenne pepper and shrimp and cook over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Cognac and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes longer. Transfer the shrimp and leeks to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely pureed.

In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pureed shrimp, the stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling. Season, to taste, and serve hot.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Onion Tart

1 puff pastry sheet, 10" square
1 lb large onions, sliced
2 eggs
½ qt. cream
salt and pepper to taste

Roll dough out and pre-bake as directed. Place cooked pastry in baking pan.

Saute onions in butter until translucent.

Place onions on cooked dough, season to taste.

Mix together egg and cream and pour onto onions.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Boston Cream Pie

For the milk sponge cake:
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup milk
3 T unflavored vegetable oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
⅔ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar for decoration

For the Boston cream filling:
1 cup milk
½ cup sugar, divided
3 egg yolks
3 T flour
1 teaspoon each dark rum and vanilla
½ cup heavy cream, whipped

For the chocolate sauce:
½ cup each water and light corn syrup
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preparing the milk sponge cake:
Adjust rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment or waxed paper; do not grease. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl add the the milk and oil; do not be concerned that they do not blend together.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, yolk and sugar to combine. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, whip the egg mixture until it is light ivory in color and very fluffy, about 6 minutes. Add the vanilla toward the end of whipping. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture in two additions. Pour the milk mixture down the side of the mixing bowl. (It will sink to the bottom of the bowl under the batter.) Gently fold until the milk mixture is thoroughly incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the cake is golden on top and it springs back when lightly pressed in the center. Remove pan from oven to a wire rack until cool.

Preparing the Boston cream filling:
Only half of this rich, thick pastry cream, lightened with whipped cream is needed for the dessert. Enjoy the remaining filling with fresh fruit.

In a small bowl whisk to combine the egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar, then the flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and ¼ cup sugar and heat just until it comes to a boil. Remove, and pour half of the hot liquid over the yolk mixutre, stirring to combine. Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan, and bring it to a boil again, stirring constantly. When it is thick and smooth, remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a large bowl to cool. Cover surface with plastic and refrigerate. When ready to assemble the dessert, stir in the rum and vanilla until smooth, then fold in the whipped cream.

Preparing the chocolate sauce:
In a small saucepan over low heat, bring the water and corn syrup just to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir constantly until the chocolate melts and the sauce is smooth and glossy. For best results, reheat in a double boiler.

To assemble the dessert, split the cake into two layers. Spread half the filling evenly over the bottom cake layer. Center the other layer on top. Place the cake on a serving plate, cover with plastic and refrigerate. Before serving, sprinkle top of cake with powdered sugar. Spoon warm chocolate sauce onto individual plates. Using a serrated knife, slice dessert into “pie-shaped” wedges and center each portion on the sauce.

Serves 8


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ruchel's Potato Kugel

6 new (yukon) potatoes
1 large onion, grated
2 egg yolks, beaten
4 T cracker meal or matzoh meal
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 T melted butterv
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Preparing the kugel:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Peel and grate potatoes into salted water. Drain potatoes well.

In a large bowl, mix the drained potatoes, onion, egg yolks, cracker meal and baking powder, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter thoroughly.

Fold in egg whites carefully, but thoroughly. Pour mixture into greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

Pour remaining butter on top.

Bake 1 hour or until set and brown.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Homemade Wheat Bread

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons oil or softened unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unsulphured blackstrap molasses
a generous sprinkling of ground ginger
a pinch of citric acid (can use ascorbic acid instead)
2 teaspoons granulated lecithin (or liquid)
4 tablespoons (¼ cup) vital wheat gluten/gluten flour (75% protein)
3 cups whole wheat flour; or 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose unbleached white flour and 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (Original recipe called for Prairie Gold hard white wheat, but any whole wheat bread flour would work.)
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

Put the ingredients in a bread machine in the order listed above. Choose wheat setting and light crust.

Let rest after baking for 15 minutes on a rack before slicing.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pizza Dough, from Figs

¼ cup whole wheat flour
3½ cups all purpose flour plus additional for rolling
2 teaspoons (¼ ounce) fresh yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1⅔ cups lukewarm water

Place the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour; yeast, salt, and sugar in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. While the mixer is running, gradually add the oil and water. Knead on low speed until the dough is firm and smooth, about 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into four balls, about 7½ ounces each. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place two balls on a sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let them rise in a warm spot until they have doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

To roll out the dough: Dab your fingers in flour and then place 1 ball on a generously floured work surface and press down in the center with the tips of your fingers, spreading the dough with your hand. When the dough has doubled in width, use a floured rolling pin and roll out until it is very thin, like flatbread. The outer border should be a little thicker than the inner circle. Pick the dough up with a spatula or the back of a knife, allowing it to fold up almost like an umbrella and transfer it to a paddle. Do not worry that the pizza is not round, you are looking for; an 8- to 10-inch shape, a cross between an oval and a rectangle. If you get a hole; simply pinch the edges back together. Repeat with the remaining balls and proceed; with any of the following recipes.

Basic Tomato Sauce - Makes about 1½ quarts
1 T olive or vegetable oil
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup red wine
1 T dried Greek oregano
one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice
1 cup chicken broth or water
2½ T fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
½ to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Place a large saucepan over medium heat and, when it is hot, add the oil. Add the garlic and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine to de-glaze the pan and cook until reduced by about a third, about 5 minutes.

Add the oregano, tomatoes, and Chicken Broth and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low and cook until the mixture starts to come together as a sauce, about 45 minutes. Add the basil, salt, and pepper.

Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.

Margherita Pizza:
2 pizza rounds
cornmeal for sprinkling
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon minced garlic
2 pinches kosher salt
2 pinches black pepper
½ cup Basic Tomato Sauce
6 to 8 thin slices mozzarella cheese
12 whole fresh basil leaves
4 teaspoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

One hour prior to cooking, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat it to 500 degrees.

Roll out 1 pizza dough as thinly as possible. Place it on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover the surface with 1 teaspoon oil, ¼ teaspoon minced garlic, and 1 pinch each salt and pepper. Be sure to leave an outer lip of 1 inch all the way around.

Evenly distribute ¼ cup Basic Tomato Sauce on the pizza. It is not necessary to cover the bottom completely. Top with 3 to 4 slices of mozzarella cheese, 6 basil leaves, and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese.

Shake the paddle lightly and slide the pizza onto the baking stone. Bake until browned, about 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a firm surface and cut into slices.

Serve immediately.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Yields: Makes four 8- to 10-inch pizzas


Garlic Crumb-Stuffed Artichokes

4 artichokes
4 slices of white bread or 1 cup of bread crumbs
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 T olive oil

Start bringing a large pot of water to a boil.

Peel the stems of the artichokes. Discard the tough bottom leaves, then slice off about 1-inch of the top of each artichoke. Using scissors, snip off the prickly tips of the leaves.

Put the artichokes in the boiling water, and boil gently for 15-20 minutes, until the bottom of each choke feels tender when pierced with a fork. Remove artichokes from water, turn them upside down and let drain.

* * * * * * *

Preparing the stuffing:
Tear each slice into 5-6 pieces. Put into a blender and blend until pieces turn into crumbs. Spread the crumbs on a baking sheet and dry them in a 250 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden.

Toss together the crumbs, garlic, salt, and olive oil in bowl; mix well.

Stuff the crumbs between artichoke leaves (you don't have to stuff between each leaf; the flavor will spread).

Serve warm or chilled.

Serves 4


Monday, February 2, 2009

Roquefort Dressing

2½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
1 shallot, minced

Place the vinegar, lemon juice, oils, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Add the Roquefort cheese and shallot and mix well.

Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.

Makes about 1½ cup


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Scallops with Brussels Sprouts

¼ cup crème fraîche
¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 T snipped chives
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
6 jumbo scallops (about ¾ pound)
6 thin slices pancetta (about 2 ounces)
½ pound brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 T unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced

In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the finely grated lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, snipped chives and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

Season the lemon-chive crème fraîche with salt and pepper.

In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering.

Generously season the scallops with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet. Cook the scallops over moderately high heat, turning once, until they are golden and just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the scallops to a plate; tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in another medium skillet, cook the pancetta over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes.

Add the brussels sprouts and shallot and cook, stirring, until the brussels sprouts are softened but still bright green, about 2 minutes.

Off the heat, stir in the butter and garlic and season with salt and pepper; transfer to plates and top with the scallops.

Serve with the lemon-chive crème fraîche.

Serves 2


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