Monday, May 31, 2010

Blackberry Lime Rickeys

2 C blackberries
2/3 C sugar
1/2 C lime juice
1 C gin
1 liter sparkling water
lime slices
ice cubes

In a blender, whirl 1 1/2 C of the blackberries with sugar and lime juice. Pour through a strainer to remove seeds. Stir in gin. Fill glasses with ice cubes, top with 2/3 C blacberry mixture, fill with sparkling water. Garnish with lime slices and remaining blackberries. For a non-alcoholic alternative, use 1 liter + 1 C gingerale instead of sparkling water and gin.

Honey-Wheat Bread

1½ cups very warm water
1 pkg yeast 
½ cup honey (or molasses)
2 cups bread flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon salt
3+ cups whole wheat flour
olive oil

In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/4 cup honey. Add white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.

Mix in 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Knead (by hand or machine) with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter or sides of bowl, adding up to 1 or at most 2 cups of additional whole wheat flour. Place dough in a bowl thinly coated with olive oil, turning once to coat. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled (about an hour).

Punch down, and divide into 2 loaves. Place in greased loaf pans, and allow to rise in a warm place until dough has topped the pans by about one inch (40 minutes to an hour).

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes; do not over bake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely.

Options: Use bran flour, rye flour, ground oats, or any combination; add other nuts, grains or seeds as desired.

Orange Beignets

1 C flour
1 C water/orange juice*
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 C butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbls sugar
4 large eggs

* 1 C total, combination of water and OJ
more juice makes a stronger orange flavor

4 C vegetable oil

1/4 C sugar
1/4 C almond flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

In a large saucepan, bring water, orange juice, lemon zest, lemon juice, butter and salt to boil. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously. Remove from heat and continue stirring until flour is evenly incorporated. Cool 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.

Heat about 4 C of vegetable oil (2 inches deep) over medium-high heat to 360°. Meanwhile combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. (I'm allergic to almonds, so I used peanuts ground superfine.) Once oil is hot, drop dough by tablespoons into oil; fry, turning once, until puffed and dark golden brown. Keep the dough balls small or the outsides will be dark brown and the insides still doughy. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain briefly; roll warm beignets in almond-cinnamon-sugar and serve immediately.

Citrus Salad

2-3 oranges
2-3 pink or red grapefruits
1/4 C cranberries or pomegranate seeds
2 Tbls olive oil
1 Tbls honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Cut peels and pith from oranges and grapefruits; cut out segments between membranes, retaining 3 Tbls of juices. Cut cranberries in half. Or, to make this a lot easier...use canned mandarin oranges, Del Monte Fruit Naturals (cups of pre-prepared grapefruit segments), and Craisins (dried cranberries, which I soaked in some of the fruit juices). :)

In a small bowl wisk together 3 Tbls citrus juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Gently stir dressing and fruit pieces to coat the fruits. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with a mint sprig if you want to be fancy. :)

Serve with toasted bagels or bread for a quick and easy breakfast. This salad is also a fresh topping on a bed of greens; - make a little extra of the dressing to serve with it. Top with sunflower seeds, or Chinese noodles for a little variety and crunch.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Strawberry Puff

5 Tbls butter
1 Tbls sugar
2/3 C flour
3 eggs
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C whipping cream
2/3 C powdered sugar
3 C sliced strawberries

Combine 2/3 C water, butter and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in flour all at once, beating quickly until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Remove from heat. Add eggs one at a time, stirring until smooth and velvety after each one.

Spoon dough into a 9" springform pan, evenly covering the bottom and about an inch up the sides. Bake 20 minutes at 400°. Prick multiple times wtih a fork; bake 15 minutes longer until golden brown and crispy. Let cool.

Beat cream cheese, orange peel, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; fold gently into cream cheese mixture and spoon into pastry shell. Top with sliced strawberries. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Dust with powdered sugar before serving if desired.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Apple Tarte Tatin

The 'REAL' Recipe...and (below) a quickie cheater version!

2 sticks butter
1 C flour, more for rolling
1/4 C sugar
1 lemon, zested
1 egg yolk
2-3 tsp cold water
salt
6 or 7 baking apples
1 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Using a pastry blender (or fork) combine 1 stick of butter (diced into pea sized chunks), 1 C flour, 1/4 C sugar and lemon zest until it is course and crumbly. Add egg yolk and 1 to 2 teaspoons of cold water. Mix, mix, mix! if it's really dry, add 1 more teaspoon cold water...mix, mix, mix until it comes together into a ball. Knead briefly to achieve a smooth dough. Using a rolling pin or your hands, press the dough into a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Cover with plastic wrap on a cookie sheet and refrigerate at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Peel, core and slice apples. Use Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, or your favorite baking apples. Stir together apples, juice of the lemon (about 2 Tbs) and 1/3 C sugar (I use brown sugar). Transfer to colander; drain 20 minutes.

Melt 1 stick butter in a 9" ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in 2/3 C sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is bubbly and browned (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat.

Arrange apples in the pan, overlapping them. Return sauté pan to medium heat; cook, pressing down on the apples occasionally, until apples are tender (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat.

Place dough on top of the apples, tucking overhaning dough into the sides of the pan (trim first, if there's more than about an inch overhang). Cut steam vents into dough. Bake 20 minutes or until crust is golden.

Remove pan from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Place a plate over the pan; quickly invert teh pan and plate together. Lift off the pan, lettign syrup drip over the tarte tatin. Let cool at least 30 minutes. Slice and serve.

Delicious with ice cream (vanilla, carmel...).


The Quickie-Cheater Version
If you're craving an apple tart, but don't have the time (or, let's be honest, just aren't feeling ambitious enough for the real thing) try this quickie alternative.

Per person/serving:
1 medium apple
1 Tbls butter
1 Tbls lemon juice
1 Tbls sugar
1/2 C Bisquick
2-3 Tbls milk
optional: grated cheddar

Preheat oven to 350°.
Peel, core and thinly slice apple(s). Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Sauté apples until they just begin to brown. Add lemon juice and sugar, cook 3-5 minutes until sugar begins to carmelize. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile... mix Bisquick (or your favorite pancake/biscuit mix) and milk. Press or roll to 1/4" thick, cut into biscuit rounds - 1 per serving. Spray ramekins with non-stick cooking spray, fill with apple mixture and top with a biscuit. Bake 20 minutes or until biscuit begins to brown. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Invert (as described in top recipe) onto small plates to serve.




If you're one who likes a wedge of cheddar with your apple pie, get a similar flavor combination by making your biscuit topping a cheesy-biscuit by adding grated cheddar. :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

1 1/2 C chocolate cookie crumbs
5 Tbls butter, melted
32 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C sugar
4 eggs
1/2 C sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 C creamy peanut butter
6 peanut butter cups, quartered


Preheat oven to 350°. Combine cookie crumbs and melted butter; press onto bottom and 1/2" up sides of 9" springform pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake 10 minutes, let cool.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy; beat in sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Remove 1 1/2 C of the batter into another bowl; stir in chocolate. Add peanut butter to cream cheese mixture in first bowl.

Pour 1/2 of peanut butter mixture into crust,and top with peanut butter cup pieces. Alternately drop the rest of the peanut butter mixture and the chocolate mixture over peanut butter cup pieces; swirl batters together gently to marbleize.

Bake 50 minutes, or until cake barely jiggles in the center. Using a thin knife, carefully cut around top edge of cheesecake to release it from the pan. Cool completely; cover and refrigerate until cold through -- 6 hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Muffins

This is a very basic recipe...which gives you LOTS of options! Depending on what kind of flour you use, what kind of sweetener, what kind(s) of fruit and/or nuts you add, spices...

...bran flour and molasses with raisins
...wheat flour and honey with diced apple & cinnamon
...white flour and corn syrup with black berries (pictured!)
...endless combinations!

1 egg
1/4 C oil
1/3 C honey, molasses or corn syrup
1 C milk
2 C flour (white, wheat, bran...)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C fruit, nuts, etc.
spice(s) - optional as desired

Preheat oven to 400*.

Combine egg, oil, honey/molasses/syrup and milk. Add dry ingredients, all at once; don't overwork the batter. (You can add a little extra milk if needed, some flours are more 'absorbent' than others, molasses is thicker than some honeys; it should be like a pancake or slightly thick cake batter.) Gently fold in fruit, nuts or raisins. Pour or spoon into muffin tins. Bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes in muffin tins before transferring to a cooling rack.

Makes 12 muffins.

If you really want to get creative, sprinkle on a little raw sugar or a crumble topping just before baking: mix some brown sugar and cinnamon with a little butter and oats; OR add a thin flavored glaze once they've cooled: blueberry muffins with a powdered sugar and lemon glaze, cranberry muffins with orange glaze, or a maple glaze over a spiced, nutty muffin...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Banana Bread (w/ chocolate chips)

1 C shortening
1 C sugar
3 eggs
3 bananas, mashed
2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 C nuts (optional)

Cream sugar, shortening and eggs. Add mashed bananas. Add--all at once--flour, soda and salt; mix thoroughly. Stir in vanilla (& nuts, if desired).

Pour batter into greased loaf pans, or muffin tins. Bake at 350°, 45 minutes (loaf pans) or 25 minutes (muffins). Makes 2 loaves or about 18 muffins.

Forget the nuts (I'm allergic anyway), throw in 1 C of chocolate chips and turn this into a dessert. :)