Sunday, October 13, 2013

Flourless 'Cloud' Buns

This is a fluffy alternative to shortbread biscuits, and a carb-&-gluten-free alternative to hamburger buns or for sandwiches (you can leave out the sugar, though they're not overly sweet to begin with). Pictured below with fresh peach slices and whipped cream...drizzled with caramel. 

3 eggs, separated 
¼ tsp cream of tartar
3 Tbls ricotta cheese*
1 tsp sugar
 * substitute with sour cream, cream cheese, or cottage cheese 

Preheat oven to 300°. Lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small bowl stir together egg yolks, ricotta cheese and sugar until very smooth. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until fluffy with stiff peaks. Gently fold in egg yolk mixture, taking care to preserve the fluffiness.

Scoop by heaping spoonfuls onto baking sheet (makes 6 large buns/cakes). Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown and lightly crispy at edges.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Camembert-Caramel Apple Grilled Sandwich

I've discovered a few 'gourmet' grilled cheese sandwich combinations that I really enjoy. This one -- with salted caramel, chives and thyme -- really intrigued me. The mild camembert gives it that melted cheesy goodness while letting the other flavors come through. And who doesn't love a little salted caramel even before you get to dessert?!

Fried Sage and Gruyere Deep Dish Quiche

...with Ham and Caramelized Onions

The fried sage and Gruyere get top billing in the name simply because they were the inspiration for this quiche...originally from an omelette recipe (FoodNetwork?) that included them in combination. The ham and onion got in on this one -- in smaller amounts -- simply because I had half an onion and the end of a ham to use up!

6 eggs 
½ C sour cream 
½ C half and half (or heavy cream) 
½ tsp salt 
¼ tsp pepper
pinch each of nutmeg and cayenne pepper
6 oz gruyere, shredded 
¼ C fried sage leaves
olive oil
4 oz ham, small diced
½ onion, thinly sliced
1  9" deep dish pie crust

Directions :
Preheat oven to 350°.

Line a 9" pie pan/dish with crust. Spread diced ham over bottom. Set aside.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat; add sage leaves. Fry the sage leaves, turning as they just begin to brown. They should be just crisping. Remove from heat and drain leaves on paper towel. I started with 8 or 9 fairly large sage leaves which gave me about a ¼ cup of crumbled leaves to add to the quiche.

Return sauté pan to medium-high heat, adding another tablespoon of olive oil. Add thinly sliced onion to pan; saute 10-12 minutes until well caramelized. Spread evenly over ham in pie dish.

 Whisk together eggs, half and half, sour cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Stir in 4 oz of the shredded Gruyere and crumbled sage leaves. Pour egg mixture over ham and onion in pie crust.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until eggs are slightly browned on top and firm in the middle.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hasselback Baked Potatoes

From Cooking Light's September 2013 issue..."Hasselbacks" -- which get their name from Hasselbacken, the Stockholm restaurant where they were first served.

A "baked-potato-meets-oven-fries" approach to herbed, seasoned potatoes. Other Hasselback recipes include parmesan, romano, or other cheeses along with the olive oil and herb drizzle, seasoned with salt & pepper. So...plenty of variations to explore!

I kept mine fairly simple: olive oil, salt & pepper, garlic, and rosemary...mostly because that's what I had on-hand fresh. Find the recipe (more instructions than a full recipe) here:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash

butternut squash*
olive oil and/or butter
herbs, spices, other seasonings - suggestions pictured and below

* Other firm squash would also work (acorn squash, kabocha, pumpkin). Smaller squash (like pattypan) or a softer squash (like zucchini) would need much less cooking time, but the same method would work.

Preheat oven to 375°. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil or coat with non-stick cooking spray.
Slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise. (You can remove the ends if it's easier. I cut the top off mine.) Scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Place the halves cut-side down on the baking sheet. Bake 30-35 minutes until squash is just tender.
Remove from oven. Use tongs to turn squash cut-side up. Drizzle with olive oil or dot with butter. Season with salt. Sprinkle with your choice of herbs, spices or other seasonings. Return to oven for an additional 10-20 minutes until the top of the squash just begins to brown. If the squash is fully cooked yet not browned, use the broiler for just a couple minutes before serving.

Pictured: One squash I dotted with butter and seasoned with brown sugar, a little cinnamon and just a dash of cayenne; the other I drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with a little minced garlic, and fresh chopped rosemary.  Try curry powder, splashed with a little coconut milk if you have it, or topped with coconut flakes to toast brown at the last couple minutes. Any combination of pepper/herbs/spices that you like! I sprinkle the seasonings generously as it's only on the surface. You can eat the cooked squash with a spoon, scooping right out of the shell, and I want enough seasoning to distribute through the depth of the squash.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Peach Cobbler

Pictured: Peach-Blackberry Cobbler, baked (20 minutes) in individual custard cups rather than a 9x13 pan. -- I had about 4½ cups peaches and made up the difference with blackberries.

¾ C sugar
1½  C flour
1½  tsp baking powder
¾  tsp salt
½ C cold butter, diced
¼ C + 2 Tbls warm milk

Peach Filling:
2 Tbls cornstarch
¼  C cold water
¾ C sugar
¾  tsp ginger
1½  Tbls lemon juice
6 C sliced peaches

Preheat oven to 400°.
Prepare Topping: In a bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Cut-in butter, blend until mixture is coarsely mixed and crumbly; add warm milk and stir until mixture just forms a dough. Set aside.

Fruit Filling: In a large saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in coldwater. Add sugar, ginger and lemon juice; combine gently. Bring mixture to a slow boil over medium heat. Add peaches. Return to a boil, stirring very gently, cook 1 minute.

Pour fruit mixture into 9x13” baking dish. Drop dough topping by spoonfuls over top of fruit filling. Bake 20-25 minutes at 400°.

Pomegranate-Molasses and Mint Marinade

Pictured: marinated caribou steak - one of the leanest meats I've ever had, so it appears very dark. I'd have never thought of garlic with pomegranate, but this was positively delicious! - and complimented the caribou very nicely.

¾ C chopped mint leaves
½ C pomegranate molasses*
2 Tbls lemon juice
2 Tbls olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt

Whisk together all ingredients. Put meat into glass baking dish and pour marinade over, turning to coat. Bake or broil, basting occasionally with marinade...  Makes enough for about 2 lbs meat.

* Find pomegranate molasses at well-stocked grocery stores and Middle-Eastern markets, or make your own pomegranate molasses.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cream Cheese Frosting

½ C butter
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
5 C confectioner's sugar
¼ C whole milk
½ tsp vanilla
pinch salt

Beat butter and cream cheese on high speed until well combined, pale and creamy. Reduce speed to medium; add confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time. Add milk, vanilla and salt; beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes).

Anchovy Lemon Marinade

I found this recipe when I was looking specifically for "wild game" recipes to cook up some caribou steaks I'd gotten from my dad. With capers and anchovies added to the citrus, it's a briney, zesty marinade, and I think it's well suited to fish, seafood and chicken as well as red wild game meats. (Pictured here on pork chops.)

½ C chopped flat leaf parsley
3 Tbls olive oil
2 Tbls lemon juice
1 Tbls chopped capers
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp minced anchovy
½ tsp salt

Whisk all ingredients together. Place meat in glass baking dish; pour marinade over meat, turning to coat. Bake, broil, grill...  Makes enough for about 2 lbs meat.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ginger-Ale Glazed Carrots

I'm not a huge fan of using soda pop in cooking. But I'm not a huge fan of cooked carrots, so if a little ginger ale may get me to eat my vegetables, it might be a worthwhile compromise.

1 lb carrots
2 Tbls butter
pinch salt
1 C ginger ale 
½ tsp chili powder
1 Tbls chopped fresh parsley leaves

Peel carrots, slice ¼" thick on the bias. Combine the carrots, butter, salt and ginger ale in a saute pan over medium heat. Cover; bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove lid, stir, and reduce heat to low. Cover again and cook 5 minutes. Remove the lid, add the chili powder. Increase eat to high. Cook, tossing occasionally, until ginger ale is reduced to a glaze (about 4 or 5 minutes). Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes

1 head cauliflower
2 large eggs
½ C cheddar cheese, grated
½ C bread crumbs
½ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
olive oil


Cut cauliflower into florets and cook in boiling water until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain. Mash while still warm. Stir in cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, cayenne & salt to taste. (My pancake batter seemed a little too runny, so I added a little extra bread crumbs.)

Coat griddle or skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat. Drop -- and spread if needed -- the cauliflower mixture into 3" pancakes; cook until golden brown and set (about 3 minutes per side). Keep each batch warm in oven while cooking the rest.

I got 11 pancakes out of one head of cauliflower (1 recipe); some of mine were a little more than 3", so you could probably figure on a dozen.

Gingerbread Blackberry Muffins

3 C flour
2½ Tbls baking powder
1 Tbls ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
1 C butter, softened
1 C brown sugar
1 C dark molasses
4 eggs
1 C buttermilk
1¼ C blackberries*

* or substitute blueberries, cranberries, even raspberries

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease or spray muffin pans, or use paper liners. Combine flour, baking powder and spices. In separate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add molasses, eggs (one at a time), and buttermilk. Using an electric mixer is optional, but it makes a lighter, fluffier batter. Add flour mixture all at once and stir until just combined. Layer batter with berries in muffin cups until ¾ full. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan (if not using paper liners). I topped mine with raw/turbinado sugar, but that's definitely not necessary.

Makes about 30 muffins. I often just make a half recipe.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

'Monkey Bites'

Hardly need a recipe for these. Saw them in a magazine promoted as a 'better for you' frozen dessert.

peanut butter
optional garnish: sea salt or peanuts

Slice bananas; freeze the slices for about an hour - on a cookie sheet lightly coated with non-stick spray. Spread half the slices with peanut butter; top with the other half of the slices, then refreeze for another hour. Melt chocolate (chips, broken up chocolate bars...) in a double boiler. Dip the peanut-butter-banana bites in the chocolate. Top with coarse sea salt or half of a peanut. The 'Monkey Bites' can be returned to the freezer for a frozen treat, but they'll also keep equally well in the fridge for a softer bite.

Sparkling Blackberry Mint Julep

mini ice cubes or crushed ice 
½ C blackberries
4 Tbls mint leaves, torn or roughly chopped
2 Tbls simple syrup*
3 oz bourbon
prosecco (or other sparkling wine)

* Combine equal parts water and sugar; bring to boil just long enough to melt sugar. Cool.

Fill 8 oz glasses with ice cubes/crushed ice.

Muddle blackberries, mint leaves and simple syrup in shaker (or bowl).  Add 1 C ice and bourbon; shake (or mix) well. Strain and pour into glasses, filling ¾ full. Finish filling glasses with Prosecco.

Garnish, if desired, with additional mint leaves and/or blackberries. Serve with a short straw.

For a non-alcoholic version, simply skip the bourbon and use seltzer water or ginger ale instead of prosecco.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pineapple Rosemary Ice Cream

This recipe makes me crave a buttery cookie crunch of some kind to compliment the ice cream...

1 C milk
2 C heavy cream 
¾ C sugar
3 egg yolks
1 - 1½ Tbls fresh rosemary, roughly chopped (adjust to taste, if desired)
1  15.5-ounce can crushed pineapple with juice, pur
½ C dried pineapple, chopped (optional)

Directions: Put 1 C heavy cream in large bowl with fine mesh sieve over top; set aside. In saucepan over medium high heat, warm milk, 1 C cream, and sugar. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves; bring mixture almost to boiling point.

In medium bowl, whisk egg yolks. Temper eggs by slowly whisking part of hot cream mixture with yolks, then pouring yolk mixture back into saucepan, again whisking constantly. Add chopped rosemary. Over medium high heat, bring mixture to a simmer; cook until thickened enough to coat spatula. Pour the egg mixture through sieve into remaining cream. (It's okay if small pieces of the chopped rosemary passes through.) Stir in pineapple purée. Cool to room temperature; cover and chill for 2-3 hours (or overnight).

Pour chilled mixture into ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer's instructions. Optional: Stir in the dried pineapple during final minutes in ice cream maker; this distributes it evenly by preventing the chopped pineapple from sinking to the bottom.