Saturday, December 16, 2017

Vanilla Donuts...sort of's task on Cornwall Church's advent calendar is: "Make a donut run!"  But I knew I had a doughnut recipe I wanted to try. Or try modified: the original recipe calls for soy milk; I have none (and don't want any!). I also don't have a doughnut pan, and don't have any intention to buy one unless I find a fabulous recipe, and discover a good reason to for making them more often. (...which I really don't foresee!) These are...okay. Not too densely cakey (especially when still warm!), even though they're baked; and they're a quick bread style, using baking powder. I want to find a good yeast recipe. But for now...

½ C plus 2 T butter, softened
1 C sugar
2 eggs
½ t vanilla
3 C flour
1½ T baking powder
½ t salt
1 C milk (soymilk if you want to go that way...)

Preheat oven 350°. Lighlty coat doughnut pans (or mini muffin tins!) with non-stick cooking spray.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients and milk a little at a time, alternately.

Fill pans 2/3 full. Bake 12-15 minutes, until just beginningto brown at the edges. Remove to wire racks to cool.

For sugared doughnuts, dip in melted butter and then in sugar (or sugar cinnamon, etc.). Or frost with thin glaze of powdered sugar and water. If desired, add sprinkles.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tarte aux Moutarde & Tomate -- Tomato & Mustard Tart

I made a recipe and half, to fit a larger rectangular pan, but I've kept the recipe in it's original amounts for a 9" tart.

1 pastry crust for 9" pie shell
½ C Dijon or grainy brown mustard
2-3 medium to large tomatoes, thinly sliced
6-8 ounces swiss cheese, shredded
1-2 T olive oil
2 T herbes de Provence

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Gently press pastry crust into 9" pie pan. Dock with a fork. Spread mustard over bottom of pastry crust. Top with shredded cheese; sprinkle with 1 T herbes de Provence. Arrange tomato slices in an overlapping spiral (or rows, if -- like me -- you choose to use a rectangular pan!). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with remaining 1 T herbes.

Bake 20-30 minutes, until crust browns and tomato edges are starting to brown.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Spaghetti & Meatball Cupcakes

500 Recipes posted!! WooHoo!!
That's a milestone!

Okay, so this one really isn't a new recipe...just an idea I saw and had to try. :) And it uses and combines some of my already-posted recipes...

Every November, I hold a "Cupcake Wars!" event for my high school culinary students. They come up with some creative ideas. I -- of course -- can't compete, but they always inspire me. So this year I made a batch of mock Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcakes just for fun.

I used the olive oil cake recipe, vanilla butter cream icing piped on in a messy pile, chocolate crisped rice cereal (cheap knock-off version of Cocoa Krispies or Cocoa Pebbles) shaped into 'meat'-balls, with raspberry jam/syrup drizzled over the 'meatballs' as marinara, and a dusting of grated white chocolate for the look of parmesan.

Just fun!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread (Whole Wheat)

I got this recipe from another FCS teacher. (Family & Consumer Sciences) It's good, but I may fiddle with it a bit. The bread was very dense (could be the yeast wasn't really fresh?), and with only a half cup of pumpkin, that flavor doesn't come through as much as I'd like. But it's a good starting point.

2 tsp yeast
¾ C warm water
¼ C brown sugar
2¼ C flour
1½ C whole wheat flour
1 C quick rolled oats
½ t ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
½ C pumpkin purée
2½ T maple syrup
2½ T butter, melted
1 egg
Swirl filling:
3 T butter, softened
½ C brown sugar
1½ tsp cinnamon

Stir yeast and brown sugar into warm water in bowl of a stand mixer; let sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flours, oats, spices and salt in one bowl; stir together pumpkin, maple syrup, melted butter and egg in another.

Add half of flour mixure to yeast, then add egg mixture, then remaining flour mixture. Knead -- in mixer or by hand -- until dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Lightly coat with oil and place in a bowl, in a warm place until doubled (about an hour).

Lighlty coat a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Punch down the dough and roll dough out to a rectangle, roughly 9x15". Spread with 3 T butter; sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Starting with a short edge, roll dough into a log pinching the seam to seal. Place log into loaf pan. Let rise 40 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 375. Bake 45 minutes or until goalden brown.

Cool 15 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack to cool compeltely.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Serves 4

2 large sweet potatoes
salt, to taste
2 eggs
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Peel and grate sweet potatoes. Place sweet potatoes in bowl; sprinkle with salt. Mix, and let stand 20 mintues.

Squeeze or strain moisture from sweet potatoes (use a strainer, or use a towel to 'wring' the moisture out); return to bowl. Mix with the egg, garlic, paprika, onion powder, rosemary, black pepper, and another pinch of salt.

Line a baking sheet with parchment; divide sweet potato mixture into 4 portions; shape and press to ½" thickness.

Bake 20-25 minutes until browning at edges. Let cool to set (approx 15 min). Best served warm.

Delicious with sour cream & brown sugar dipping sauce: mix ½ C sour cream with 2 T brown sugar; add a dash of hot sauce or sriracha if desired.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Olive Oil Cake

There are a variety of different olive oil cake recipes around. This is a personal adaptation, borrowing from a few different recipes. I wanted an option that was not overly strong on the lemon flavor (or orange...some recipes include orange zest as well). Of course, if you want to boost the lemon flavor, increase the amount of zest or drizzle the cake with a lemon juice and powdered sugar glaze.

4 eggs
1 C sugar
1 T lemon zest
1¾ C flour
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ C butter
¾ C olive oil
3 T cream

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10" round (or a 9x9" square), or lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray.

In mixing bowl, beat eggs with sugar and zest until pale and thickened.
While it's beating, combine flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl, and butter olive oil and cream in another.

Add dry and wet ingredients, alternately (begin and end with dry). Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake approximately 30 minutes, until cake is lightly browned and pulls away from sides of pan.

Let cool. For a light, clean cake... simply dust with powdered sugar to serve. Of course it's fine to dress it up with whipped cream, some fruit compote or other icings...

Monday, October 23, 2017

Cauliflower Hash Browns

Makes 6  5" hash brown patties, or 12-18 mini patties

1 large head cauliflower
2 egg, lightly beaten
½ C Parmesan cheese
¼ C scallions
¼ C chives
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 T dried basil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper

Optional: dipping sauce(s)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Grate cauliflower. Thinly slice scallions. Finely chop chives. Grate Parmesan.

Place cauliflower in bowl; sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Stir; let stand 20 minutes.

Squeeze or strain moisture from cauliflower (use a strainer or use a towel to 'wring' it out); return to bowl.

Stir in egg, cheese, chives, garlic, olive oil, basil, black pepper, and remaining ½ tsp salt.

Line baking sheet with parchment; coat lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Divide cauliflower mixture into 6 portions on tray; shape and press to about ½-¾" thick.

Bake 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool to set (about 15 min).

Best served warm -- with dipping sauce(s) if desired.

Aloha Berry Fruit Smoothie

Yield: approximately 6  8-ounce servings

1½ C apple juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 C carrots (shredded)
1½ C raspberries
1 C frozen blackberries
1 C frozen mango

Place all ingredients in a blender, with hard/frozen fruits on top. Blend until smooth; stop blender as needed to push solids toward bottom.

Favorite Fruit Smoothie

Yield: Serves 4

2 C of frozen fruit (peaches, bananas, mango, strawberries, melon, blackberries, raspberries...)
1 - 1½ C vanilla yogurt
1 C milk or apple juice
1-2 T sugar or honey (optional)

Blend until smooth; stop as needed to push down solid ingredients.

Groovy Green Fruit Smoothie

Yield: Seves 2
This one comes from my friend Joelle at NVHS...

1 banana
1 C green grapes
6 oz vanilla yogurt
½ apple
1½ C spinach leaves

Cut the banana into chunks; peel, core and chop the apple.
Place all ingredients in blender; blend until smooth, stopping as needed to push down solid ingredients.

Tropical Tango Fruit Smoothie

Yield: approximately 6  8-ounce servings

½ C pineapple juice
2 C watermelon (cubed)
2 C frozen mango
½ C very ripe banana

Place all ingredients in blender -- frozen fruit on top. Blend until smooth; stop blender as necessary to stir fruits and push solids toward the bottom.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ginger-Peach Tarts

I made mini-tarts recently, but the same thing can make a whole pie.

Pie Filling Ingredients
1  9" pie crust or 24 mini tart shells (2½")
5 C peaches, small diced (about 5-6 peaches; for a full pie, peaches can just be sliced)
2/3 C sugar
1/3 C flour
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp lemon

Topping Ingredients:
½ C flour
½ C brown sugar
½ C quick oats
¼ butter, very soft
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl. In a separate bowl, sprinkle lemon juice over peaches. Pour flour & sugar mixture over peaches and gently toss to coat. Spoon peaches into tart shells, dividing evenly.

Combine all topping ingredients, blending until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Divide and spread evenly over tarts (or pie). Place mini tarts on baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes or until crust edges are well browned (whole pie should bake 40-45 minutes).

Serve with fresh whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

No Bake Cookies

Quick & easy! Often the first recipe I have my Foods students make...

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

2 C sugar
½ C milk
¼ C cocoa powder
½ C butter (1 stick)
1 tsp vanilla
½ C peanut butter
½ tsp salt
3 C quick oats

Combine sugar, milk, cocoa powder and butter in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture boils for 1½ minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat; quickly add vanilla, peanut butter, salt and stir. Add oats and stir together. Mixture will be semi-stiff.

Drop by spoonfulls onto waxed paper. Allow to cool and set before serving.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash

The colors are just beautiful for fall! It would look even prettier spread in a large serving dish or platter, but...right now this is what I've got available...

1.5 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 lb  butternut squash, medium diced
½ red onion thinly sliced
1-2 T olive oil
1-2 T honey
½ tsp chili  powder
¼ C dried cranberries
¼ C pomegranate molasses, warmed
s&p to taste

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, and chili powder. Place Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and onion in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil & honey mixture until evenly coated.

Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until squash is fork-tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to serving dish; garnish with cranberries and drizzle with pomegranate molasses.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Italian Stuffed Zucchini

Saw a recipe very similar to this online. I'd credit the original (or post it in a link) if I could find it again. This isn't exactly it, but...the same basic idea. Tweak it to your own taste.

3 medium zucchini
24 oz marinara
1 T olive oil
1 lb ground beef
½ C onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ bell pepper, chopped
½ tsp each: basil, oregano, thyme
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ C chopped italian parsley
salt & pepper to taste
1 to 1½ C shredded mozzarella
½ C shredded parmesan
¼ C Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°.

Trim zucchini ends and scoop out centers, leaving about a ¼-½" thick 'shell'. I used a Parisian scoop (melon baller). Chop scooped out centers; set aside.

Place zucchini into baking dish with ½" of water; cover with foil and pre-cook 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully pour off excess water; set aside.

Photos: I only made a half recipe.

Brown beef, onion, bell pepper and garlic in a skillet with olive oil. Drain off excess grease. Add chopped zucchini centers, 2/3 (approx 16 oz) of the marinara, basil, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes. Simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour remaining marinara in bottom of baking dish. Place zucchini 'boats' on marinara in baking dish. Scoop beef & veggie mixture into scooped out zucchini, dividing it evenly. I had extra filling -- no problem if it fills in around the edges too! Cover with foil; bake for 20-25 minutes, until zucchini is tender.

While they're cooking, toss chesses and bread crumbs.

Remove stuffed zucchini from oven. Set oven to broil; remove foil and top stuffed zucchini with cheese and bread crumbs. Return to oven just long enough to melt and brown cheese & bread crumbs.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pumpkin Biscuits

These are a very mild flavored biscuit, but still delicious, especially if you serve them warm with maple butter or cranberry relish. Throw some bacon on the side. Or go for a more savory spin with a sage herbed butter...

2½ C flour
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
¼ C loosely packed brown sugar
½ t cinnamon
¼ t ginger
¼ t nutmeg
½ C cold butter, small diced
1 15 oz can pumpkin purée

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together all dry ingredients. Cut in butter until coarse crumbs form. Stir in pumpkin purée just until combined.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead gently, folding to create layers. Pat or roll to ½ inch thickness. Cut with round biscuit cutter, or slice for square biscuits. Transfer to parchment lined bakign sheet.

Bake 15-20 minutes. Best served warm.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

BBQ Cauliflower 'Wings'

With some cauliflower I wanted to use up -- left over from making Parmeson-Garlic Roasted Cauliflower -- I found this recipe, courtesy of the Food Network. I have no intention of going vegetarian, so I would still much rather have real BBQ chicken wings (or tenders); but...even on cauliflower, BBQ is always an addictive, snackable flavor. The texture of the cauliflower obviously isn't the same as chicken. My adivce: take care to not overcook the florets...some of mine were really too soft.

Parmesan-Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

I didn't have fresh parsley, and I was a little shy on the parmesan cheese -- which would have made an even richer finished product! But it was still great...

1 head of cauliflower
1-2 T olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
½ C grated parmesan cheese
¼ C bread crumbs
1 tsp smoked paprika
fresh chopped parsley

Preaheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl stir together olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Chop cauliflower into florets. Toss florests in seasoned olive oil. Transfer to baking sheet, in a single layer.

Bake 15 minutes. Toss parmesan, bread crumbs and smoked paprika. Turn florets; sprinkle with cheese and bread crumb mixture. Return to oven; bake another 10-15 minutes. Test for doneness by piercing with a fork or knife. 

Garnish with chopped parsley to serve.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Honey-Sriracha Brussels Sprouts

The Moonshine BBQ (Lynnwood, WA) has Sriracha-Honey Brussels Sprouts on their Happy Hour menu. They're a nice balance of sweet and spicy. I was inspired to do something similar, although...I added a couple strips of bacon tossed into the mix, but you could leave that out and they'd still be sweet & spicy!

4 C very thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
2 T olive oil
s & p
1/3 C honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Sriracha (more or less...I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to hot spices)
Optional: 2-3 slices of bacon

Preheat oven to 400 F.
If I remember right, The Moonshine just quarters their Brussels sprouts; I like mine thinly sliced. You can buy shaved Brussels sprouts, if not...that's your first step. (I crisped my bacon at the same time.) Toss with olive oil. Spread the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet; season with salt & pepper.

Roast Brussels sprouts for 20-25 minutes until starting to brown. (It may take longer if they're just quartered.) While they're in the oven...

(Crumble or chop the bacon, if you're adding bacon.)
In a small bowl, combine honey, lemon juice and Sriracha.

When Brussels sprouts are done roasting, toss with bacon, drizzle with honey-Sriracha and toss to coat. Season with additional salt & pepper if needed.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Traditional South African Melk Tert

I've made a melktert before, with my Culinary Arts class during our African foods unit. Here's a slightly different version (traditional family recipe) with what is probably a more authentic crust -- which is not actually a crust at all.

Filling Ingredients
3 T cake flour
4 T cornstarch
1 C sugar
1 liter milk
125 grams butter
4 eggs
1 T vanilla

Crust Ingredients
2 T butter
2 T sugar
1 egg
3 T flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 400.

Begin Filling: In a large saucepan, mix cornstarch, flour and sugar. Slowly add in milk, stirring to combine dry ingredients smoothly. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring constantly until it just begins to boil, and thickens. Add butter, stirring until butter melts; stir in vanilla. Set aside to cool while preparing crust.

Prepare Crust: Cream together butter and sugar. Blend in egg. Stir in flour and baking powder. Smear evenly over bottom and up sides of a pie pan.

Complete Filling: Whisk egg whites into stiff peaks. Stir half the egg whites into filling; gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour filling onto pie pan; sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake 15-20 minutes; center will still be slightly 'loose' (jiggly) in the center.

Pecan Pie

I have an allergy to nuts. So, I don't make pecan pies often. But, I do make them for the caterers where I work. Full size or, more often recently, into mini pecan 'tarts' (pictured).

1 (single layer) pie crust
1 C sugar
3 T brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 C corn syrup
1/3 C butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 C chopped pecans
Optional: additional whole pecans (halves) for topping

Preheat oven to 350˚. Press pie crust evenly into pie dish. Spread chopped pecans into bottom of pie crust.

In a large bowl, mix together everything except pecans. Pour mixture over chopped pecans. If desired, arrange whole pecan halves on top. Bake pie for approx 50 minutes*, until center is barely jiggly in the center.

* Ovens vary, cooking time may vary as well. Pie can be covered with foil for the first 30 minutes to prevent crust or tops of pecans from burning.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Shortbread Crust

1 C butter, softened
2 C flour
½ C powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients, stirring -- or mixing by hand -- until thoroughly blended.
Press into pie pan or into baking dish...

Chocolate Version:
Reduce flour to 1½ C and add 1/3 C cocoa powder.

Chocolate Cream Pie

I have another chocolate cream pie recipe that uses only chocolate (no cocoa powder, like this one). That one and this one are both very good (and very chocolatey!). I've never made them both at the same time to do a side-by-side comparison of which one's the best. If you don't have heavy cream on hand, the other just uses milk...

2/3 c sugar
3 T cornstarch
2 T cocoa powder (I use dark)
dash salt
1 C heavy cream
2 C milk
3 egg yolks
1½ C semisweet choc
2 T butter
1 tsp vanilla

One 9" pie crust
          A standard pie crust is fine.
          A graham cracker or chocolate cookie crust is good.
          A chocolate shortbread crust is my personal favorite!

Combine sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt in a saucepan. Slowly whisk in, a little at a time, cream milk and egg yolks. Heat gently to a boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Blend in semi-sweet chocolate, butter and vanilla, stirring until chocolate and butter are completely melted. Pour into prepared crust.

Once cooled, cream pie may be spread with a generous layer of whipped cream before serving; garnish with chocolate curls...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Fudge Brownies

1 C butter
3 C sugar
4 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
1½ C flour
1 C cocoa powder (I use dark)
1 tsp salt
optional: 1 C chocolate chips (or white chips, peanut butter chips...)

Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly grease (or coat with non-stick cooking spray) a 9x13" baking dish.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla, mixing until thoroughly blended. Add remaining dry ingredients all at once. If desired, fold in chocolate chips.

Pour and spread batter evenly in prepared 9x13" pan. Bake 30-40 minutes.

Flourless Chocolate Cake (...Torte)

This is better than the flourless chocolate cake recipe I've made before. ANY flourless cake I've made before has left me disappointed if I really want a cake. Even if the flavor is good, the texture isn't ever light or fluffy enough to satisfy my expectations. This recipe isn't light and fluffy  enough to be a cake, but if you call it a torte (which is typically layered, but also typically has little to no flour and is more dense)...  The flavor is rich and intensely chocolatey!

3 eggs
¾ C sugar
1 C semi- or bittersweet chocolate, chips or chopped
½ C butter
C unsweetened cocoa powder (I use dark)
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Grease (or lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray) an 8" round pan. Beat together eggs and sugar until well blended.

Place chocolate and butter in double boiler (or a microwave safe bowl) and melt gently.

Combine melted chocolate and butter with egg & sugar mixture. Add cocoa powder, salt and vanilla, stirring until very smooth. Pour into prepared pan; bake 25 minutes. (Toothpick test is NOT effective to test for doneness.)

Cool in pan 5-10 minutes before turning onto serving plate.

Serving suggestions: Top with chocolate ganache, drizzle with raspberry coulis, caramel sauce...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lemon Buttercream

1 C butter, softened
2 tsp lemon zest
2-3 C powdered sugar
1½ T heavy cream
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

Whip butter and lemon zest until light, fluffy and very pale, almost white. Blend in 1 cup powdered sugar. Mix in heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla. Add 1 to 2 cups more powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.

Lemon Cupcakes

1 C butter
2 C sugar
2 T lemon zest
4 eggs
1 t vanilla
3 C flour
2 T baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 C whole milk
2½ T lemon juice
Optional: lemon wedges and mint leaves to garnish

Preheat oven to 350˚. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and very pale. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla and lemon zest. Next, alternately blend in dry ingredients, milk and lemon juice.

Fill cupcake liners ¾ full; bake 15-18 minutes. Let cupcakes cool 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool on a rack.

Frost with lemon buttercream, or citrus cream cheese icing.

Monday, July 3, 2017


I don't feel obligated to make hummus from scratch every time I care to enjoy some. But it's not difficult -- especially using a mini blender (Magic Bullet, Nutribullet, etc.) if you have one -- and it's nice to be able to adjust the seasonings to your own taste, or add extra flavorings...roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, garlic and herb...  Using the recipe below as a base, I added a little extra lemon juice and salt to mine, then kept half of it as is and blended half a jar of sun dried tomatoes I needed to use up with the other half. Both tasted great! (The hummus pictured has the sun-dried tomatoes blended in., so it's a bit redder.)

¼ C vegetable broth
1 14 oz can of chickpeas, drained*
2 cloves garlic
2 T lemon juice
3 T tahini*
½ t salt

* The brand of chickpeas I used was 15 ounces. I didn't have ready made tahini (sesame seed paste) but I had sesame seeds; I just put my Magic Bullet blender to use with 3 generous tablespoons of sesame seeds and the vegetable broth before adding the other ingredients. 

Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

If desired, garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sausage Ragù over Creamy Polenta

2 T olive oil
2 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 C chopped carrot
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
1 lb Italian sausage
15 oz tomato sauce
¼ C sugar
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper
creamy polenta
Optional garnish: grated Parmesan and chopped parsley

Small dice (or chop) onion. Mince garlic. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots, salt and pepper; cook until tender, stirring occasionally (5-7 minutes). While onion mixture is cooking, slice sausages.

Remove onion mixture to bowl, add sausage to pan and cook until browned. Return onion mixture to pan, Add tomato sauce, sugar, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to boil; reduce heat, simmer at least 10 minutes. Season with additional salt or pepper to taste.

Serve over creamy polenta; if desired, garnish with grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Chocolate Cake

I still love the denser (almost pound-cake-like) chocolate beet cake. But for a more basic version, I find this one's a bit moister and richer than the chocolate cake recipe I've used previously.

2 C sugar
1¾ C flour
¾ C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T unsweetened dark cocoa powder*
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 eggs
1 C buttermilk
1 C coffee*
½ C vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla

* I used more of the dark cocoa powder...simply a matter of preference. And I don't like coffee; a little coffee boosts the dark/bitter flavor of the chocolate without any strong coffee flavor taking over the cake, but a whole cup is too much for me! However, any similar liquid option will do. Water doesn't alter the flavor. Fruit juices could be fun to try (orange, cranberry, raspberry, pomegranate...). I stuck with water this time knowing I had chopped peanuts and caramel as a filling between a couple layers...

Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease and flour pans, or coat with non-stick cooking spray, and line bottoms with parchment. 2 9" pans, 1 9x13" pan, or cupcake tins.

Whisk together (or use low setting of electric mixer) sugar, flour, cocoa(s), baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Pour batter (which will be thin) evenly into pans. Bake...about 30-35 min for rounds, 35-40 min for 9x13, 18-22 min for cupcakes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to finish cooling on wire rack.

Frost as desired.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ground Beef (or Elk) Stroganoff

Beef is, obviously, traditional. However, thanks to Dad's hunting success and generosity, I have ground elk on hand. :)

2 T butter
8 oz sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1 C chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef, elk or other meat
1½ C beef broth
1½ T Worchesershire
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ C flour
1½ C sour cream (+ more to garnish at serving)
Italian parsley, finely chopped for garnish

noodles or rice

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; cook mushrooms, onion and garlic until tender (6-8 minutes). Transfer to small bowl; set aside.

Brown ground beef (or elk...) in skillet over medium high heat. While meat is cooking, whisk flour into ½ cup beef broth; set aside. Add remaining broth, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and nutmeg to browned meat; bring to boil. Add flour and broth mixture, stirring as it thickens. Stir in mushroom and onion mixture; cool slightly. Stir in sour cream.

Serve over noodles or rice, garnished with a dollop of sour cream and chopped parsley.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Peppered Ricotta & Honey Crostini

I've long been a fan of peppered cheese; Boursin's peppered cheese is probably what got me started (photo below; black pepper, so it doesn't look as 'pretty', but it's still a good option, especially if you're short on time). And I learned to really love honey drizzled cheese in Italy, where it was served often. So when I saw a Crostini with Ricotta and Pink Peppercorns recipe in this month's Food Network Magazine I was excited to give it a try! Crunchy crostini, creamy ricotta, savory cheese, sweet honey and a kick from peppercorns...there's a lot to love!

baguette (about 1/2 baguette for generously spread crostini)
extra virgin olive oil
kosher/coarse salt

Ricotta spread
1 C ricotta cheese
1 tsp lemon zest
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/8  tsp kosher salt

¼ C honey
1½ T flaky salt*
2 T pink peppercorns, crushed

* With the pink peppercorns, I used a pink Himalayan salt to coordinate the look. However, for my taste, salting the crostini, a pinch of salt in the cheese, and then 1½ T of salt dusting them at the finish was too much salt. I like it on the finish (topping) so it is 'flavor forward' in each bite. I'd probably do without it in the ricotta. Go easy on it at first, and taste before you use it all.

As peppercorns go, green are my favorite. The pink is a pretty look -- and I'd love to try this completed crostini with sliced strawberries sometime. I think the flavors would go really well together. I'd also like to try green peppercorns sometime...a more earth-y looking presentation, and subtle flavor difference.

Preheat oven to 400˚. Cut the baguette on a slight bias into ¼" slices. Place on baking sheet, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together ricotta, lemon zest, olive oil and salt.

Once cool, top each crostini generously with  with ricotta mixture. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with flaky salt and crushed pink peppercorns.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Red (or purple) Velvet Rolled Cookies

I already have a red velvet drop cookie recipe. These were in Better Homes & Gardens magazine this month--specifically with red hearts for Valentine's Day (I'd link to it here, but I can't access it online; red heart photo is theirs). I opted for purple food coloring as I plan to take them to my students at NVHS...if the snow ever melts, roads clear and we actually have school again! Any color could be used, though with a bit of cocoa powder in these, if you want light or pastel colors it would be better to make a rolled sugar cookie.

1 C butter, softened
1¼ C sugar
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
1 T liquid food coloring
1 tsp vanilla
2¾ C flour
    powdered sugar for dusting

Cream butter and sugar. Add cocoa, baking powder and salt; beat, scraping sides of bowl to fully incorporate all ingredients. Beat in eggs, food coloring and vanilla.

Slowly add flour and stir until just combined. Chill 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375˚. Roll dough on lightly floured surface to " thick; Cut with cookie cutters and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, until bottoms are very light brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Sprinkle cooled cookies with powdered sugar, using stencils if desired for decoration.

Makes about 3 dozen 2 - 2½" cookies.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Chewy Sugar Cookies

1½ C sugar
2 oz cream cheese
6 T butter, melted
¼ C vegetable oil
1 egg
1 T milk
1 T vanilla (and/or lemon)
2¾ C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
optional: additional sugar for rolling or dipping (coarse sugar, colored sugar)

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Cream sugar, cream cheese, butter and vegetable oil. Add egg, milk and vanilla; stir until thoroughly blended.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into batter until well combined.

Line baking sheets with parchment. Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto parchment. If desired, dip or roll in course/colored sugar. Bake 9-11 minutes.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Yellow Cake (2)

I already have a yellow cake recipe, but it was a bit dry. I came across another, richer version. This is a combination or compromise of the two, and much better. Delicious with chocolate frosting, or topped with fresh berries and whipped cream!

1 C butter
1¼ C sugar
2 eggs
4 egg yolks*
2 tsp vanilla
¾ C milk
2 C cake flour*
1 T baking powder
½ tsp salt

* For a less rich cake -- and lighter yellow color -- substitute 2 eggs for the 4 yolks (for 4 eggs total). All purpose flour works too, though the cake will not be quite as finely textured. If you'd like, you can reduce the flour by 2 T and add cornstarch instead for a substitute for cake flour.

Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease and flour two 8" pans, or coat with non-stick spray.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until well combined.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture by thirds, alternately with milk blending after each addition. Divide evenly between pans (or scoop into muffin tins lined with cupcake papers). Bake 25 minutes (or approx 18 minutes for cupcakes).

Cool in pans 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.