Feb 22, 2019

Delectable Pecan Sour Cream Coffee Cake



This easy-to-put-together streusel-style coffee cake is a real crowd pleaser. It goes into the file of "the only recipe you need". It is light and tasty, and the maple glaze really adds to the flavor. Be sure to have the eggs and the butter at room temperature, and do use the cake flour for the light texture. Feel free to swap out walnuts for the pecans, or leave out the nuts entirely.

INGREDIENTS:

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) butter at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1¼ cups sour cream
2½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
For the streusel:
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
For the glaze:
½ cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons real maple syrup

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed. Do not over mix the batter.
For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the pecans.
Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with half the streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for about 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners' sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.

Feb 7, 2019

Fabulous Dairy-Free, NO MIXER Chocolate Cake

Spruce Eats recently shared this chooclate cake recipe from chef Sharon Paley, and I don't think I ever will make a different recipe. Its just perfect, and, you won't miss the dairy! As an added bonus, you don't need to take out a mixer, just whip it up in a bowl, and bake it off in a bundt pan. It doesn't even need frosting, just dust with a little confectioners sugar.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso granules
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 ° C). (If you are using a dark or nonstick pan, reduce the heat by 25° F). Lightly grease and flour a Bundt pan, making sure to tap out any excess flour. Or, grease 2 9-inch (23 cm) layer cake pans, and line the bottom of each with a parchment paper circle. Grease the parchment circles. Set aside.
  3. In a double-boiler or microwave, melt the chocolate. Alternatively, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and set it over a small saucepan of gently simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should rest in the saucepan, but should not touch the water). Stir constantly until the chocolate melts, then remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, instant espresso, and salt.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, orange juice, water, eggs, and vanilla.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix just until combined. Add the melted chocolate, and stir just until it is well incorporated and the batter is smooth.
  1. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake in the preheated oven until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean – about 50 to 60 minutes if using a Bundt pan, or 35 to 45 minutes if using layer cake pans. Cool completely on a wire rack. Glaze or frost as desired. Enjoy!

Jan 14, 2019

Delicious, stick-to-your-ribs Provencale Style Beef with Olives and Capers


This delicious and easy pot roast, adapted from a Food Network recipe by Aaron McCargo Jr. uses an economical chuck roast for a satisfying dinner that will leave your guests begging for the recipe. Don't hesitate to use the habanero pepper. It really packs on a lot of flavor. If you really don't like a lot of heat, you can substitute a jalapeno. There is a ton of delicious sauce, so serve with mashed potatoes, rice or your favorite starchy side. This serves 4-5 people. You can use a larger roast if you have more guests, without changing the amount of ingredients. You can also make this with a brisket.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
1 3-4 lb boneless Chuck Roast
1 Tablespoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion chopped
2 large carrots peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 Tablespoon fresh)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 cinnamon stick
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
1 habanero  pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley (reserve a small amount for garnish if desired)
1/2 cup chopped good green olives, pitted
1/4 cup capers (drained)

1. Preheat oven to 300
  1. 2. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil. Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper. Sear until nicely browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. 
  2. 3. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, parsley, oregano, cumin, cinnamon stick, tomatoes and beef stock. Make a slit in the Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper and just place it on top of the preparation. 
  3. 4. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and braise in the oven until the meat is fork tender, about 3 hours. Remove from oven, fold in the green olives and capers. Sprinkle with reserved parsley. 
  4. 5. This keeps well in a warming drawer, or 200 degree oven.

Oct 18, 2018

Moist and Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are thick and chewy and a great treat for potlucks and parties. They have the flavor you love from a great chocolate chip cookie, baked into easy and delicious bars!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter , room temperature
 1 cup light brown sugar , packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
 2 large eggs at room temparature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup all­purpose flour
2 cup old­-fashioned rolled oats
2 cup chocolate chips semi­sweet, milk chocolate, or a little bit of both!

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 in. pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth and
light.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla.

4. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients: salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour, rolled oats, and 1 cup chocolate chips.

5. Add to the butter mixture and stir until combined.

6. Spread 1/2 of the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining cup of chocolate chips on top.

7. Carefully press remaining cookie mixture on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Aug 12, 2018

Rosemary Tomato Focaccia

Fresh Cherry Tomatoes Roasted on Focaccia-- I wish I had used even more tomatoes!


Thanks to Bon Appetit for the recipe for the best focaccia ever!

This recipe uses a liberal amount of olive oil for the crispest, best tasting focaccia I ever tasted. Be sure to read through the recipe-- it calls for a long, lazy rise in the refrigerator-- 8-24 hours to develop its yeasty, chewy deliciousness. Mix it up in the evening and let it make magic in your fridge for dinner the next night.



6¼ cups bread flour (30 oz. or 850g)
2¼ tsp. active dry yeast (from one ¼-oz. packet)
Pinch of sugar
2 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 Tbsp. Morton kosher salt read here about the differences
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing and drizzling
Flaky sea salt
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Cherry Tomatoes, halved, tossed with a bit of olive oil. salt and pepper

Instructions:

Combine flour and 2½ cups room-temperature water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

Mix on low speed, scraping down sides and hook as needed to incorporate any dry flour, until a shaggy dough forms. Remove dough hook and cover bowl with plastic.

Let sit while you prepare the yeast (you can leave the dough in this state up to 2 hours). Stir yeast, sugar, and ½ cup warm water with a fork in a small bowl to dissolve. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Pour yeast mixture into stand mixer bowl and mix on low speed until dough absorbs all additional water, about 1 minute (pulse mixer on and off a couple of times at very beginning to prevent liquid from splashing over the sides).

Add kosher salt and continue to mix, increasing speed to medium, until dough is extremely elastic and very sticky (it will look more like a thick batter and will stick to sides of bowl), about 5 minutes.

Pour 3 Tbsp. oil into a large (preferably glass) bowl and swirl to coat sides. Scrape in dough with a large spatula or flexible bench scraper. Cover and place in a warm spot until dough is doubled in volume, 2–3 hours. If using a glass bowl, it’s helpful to mark the position of the dough at the beginning so you can accurately assess the rise (a dry-erase marker or piece of tape works).

Drizzle 2 Tbsp. oil over a 18x13" sheet pan and use fingertips to rub all over bottom and sides.

Using large spatula or flexible bench scraper, fold dough inside bowl a couple of times to deflate, then scrape onto prepared baking sheet. Using oiled hands, lift up dough and fold over onto itself in half, then rotate baking sheet 90° and fold in half again.

Cover dough with a piece of well-oiled plastic and let rest 10 minutes to let gluten relax.

Uncover and go back in with oiled hands, gently stretching dough (to avoid tearing) across length and width of baking sheet in an even layer, working all the way to edges and into corners. If dough starts to spring back, let sit 5–10 minutes and start again.

Cover again with same piece of oiled plastic and chill at least 8 hours and up to 24. 

Let sheet pan sit in a warm spot until dough is puffed and bubbly and nearly doubled in height, 45–65 minutes (if you’re using a standard half sheet pan, it will have risen to the very top of the sides).

Meanwhile, place a rack in center of oven; preheat to 450°. Remove plastic and drizzle dough generously with more oil. Oil hands again and press fingertips firmly into dough, pushing down all the way to bottom of pan to dimple all over. Sprinkle generously with sea salt,  scatter tomatoes and rosemary over the focaccia.

Bake at 450°until dark golden brown and crisp. Let cool before you cut into it. (Yeah, I dare you to wait.)

Aug 3, 2018

Paella! ole

Paella!
To make a kosher version of paella, simply use chicken and any spicy sausage that is available.

For vegetarian paella, try any mixture of beans, asparagus, mushrooms, squash, and parboiled new potatoes.


Ingredients
2 chicken breast fillets
3 tablespoons smoked spanish paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2  chorizo  or other sausages of your choice
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Spanish (yellow) onion, diced
1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
2 cups Spanish rice, BOMBA if you can find it- its the best or Goya Medium
1 teaspoon saffron threads
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup green beans
one red pepper sliced in thick wedges


Fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, for garnish
Spanish olives for garnish
Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions
Rinse the chicken pieces and pat them dry. Mix the paprika with some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the pieces of chicken; marinate for 30 minutes so the flavor can sink in a bit.

Heat the olive oil in a paella pan or wide shallow skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly cook pepper wedges and green beans, remove to plate.
Place the chicken in the pan, skin-side down and brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Add the sausage and continue to cook until the oil is a vibrant red color. Remove the chicken and sausage to a platter lined with paper towels.


Return the pan to the stove and lower the heat to medium. Make a sofrito by sauteing the garlic, onion, and tomatoes; cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld; season with salt and pepper, and more smoked paprika. Fold in the rice, stirring to coat the grains. Stir the saffron into the rice. Pour in the stock and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Do not cover or constantly stir like risotto.

Arrange  the reserved chicken and the chorizo on the rice. Give the paella a couple of good stirs to tuck in all the pieces and just let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes. Scatter the green beans on top and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the paella looks fluffy and moist. The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat. Allow to rest, off the heat for 5 minutes, and garnish with parsley and olives. Serve with lemon wedges.

Jul 3, 2018

As American as Blueberry Blueberry Pie



PERFECT BUTTER PASTRY
2 1/2 cups  King Arthur Mellow Pastry Blend, or All Purpose flour
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder, optional
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tbs. sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter or vegetable shortening or a combination
6 to 7 Tbs. ice water
  • Combine the flour, buttermilk powder, and salt. 
  • Work in the butter in two batches, leaving some pieces as large as your thumbnail. 
  • Sprinkle in ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork and adding water till the dough is completely cohesive. 
  • Divide it in half, wrap, and chill for 30 minutes before rolling. 
  • Roll the crust about 1/8" thick and about 2" wider than the diameter of your 9" deep-dish (at least 1 ½" deep) pie pan. 
  • Place in the pan. 
Preheat oven to 425°F.

Make Filling
4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and drained
2 cups wild blueberries (frozen or canned are ok)
3 Tbs. Instant ClearJel OR 4 Tbs. instant tapioca
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1Tbs. freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 Tbs. butter
Milk or cream and sugar for sprinkling on the crust

TO ROLL THE CRUST: Put a clean kitchen towel on your work surface, and sprinkle with flour.
Unwrap one pastry disc and place it on the towel, and sprinkle with a bit more flour.
Roll the dough once, and turn the towel 45 degrees.
Roll again, turn again. Continue until your crust is even, about 1/8 inch thin, and big enough for about a 2 inch overlap in your pan.
Avoid over rolling the dough, or rolling your pin back and forth.

Preheat the oven to
425°F.

Toss together the berries, half the sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Let the juices develop a bit.
mix the clearjel (or tapioca) and remaining sugar together in a small cup (this keeps the thickener from clumping inside the pie).  Add to berries. Pour into the crust.
Roll out the top crust, (or make a lattice if you like) place it over the berries.
Trim excess overhang, and crimp the edges together.
Cut several slashes to allow steam to escape (if you haven't made a lattice crust). Spritz with water, and sprinkle with sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar.


Bake the pie at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for another 40 to 50 minutes, covering the edges if they seem to be browning too quickly. When done, the filling will be bubbling, and the crust golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool for at least 1 hour before serving.
Serve with vanilla ice cream for a super treat.




Mix fresh and wild blueberries
Allow the berries to rest until the juices start to flow
package of chilled pastry
start to roll on floured cloth


lightly roll the pastry with your rolling pin

leaving overhang, gently drape into pan

pour in filling, dot with butter

King Arthur Pastry Blend and Clearjel

Use scissors to remove excess pastry

Crimp the crust (notice my festive blue nail polish!)

Brush lightly with milk or cream, sprinkle with sugar

Cut slits to allow steam to escape

Bake in middle of preheated oven, if crust seems to brown too quickly, lightly protect with foil strips



Jun 12, 2018

Rhubarb in Your Garden or Your Farmers Market

It's prime time for Rhubarb!
If you are like me you might have looked askance at "pie plant", or let the rosy stalks from your neighbor's garden wilt in the fridge while you put off cooking them.
Have I got a recipe for you!
Its a delicious, easy-bake  cake that everyone loves, and it is perfect for dessert, brunch, snacks or afternoon tea. After rhubarb season it's delicious with any fruit-- try peaches, blueberries, raspberries (fresh or frozen). I reduced the sugar a bit (to 3/4 cup) because I like the tangy rhubarb, but make it with a cup of sugar if you like it sweeter.


Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (whole milk is best) or buttermilk
  • 1 stick softened butter 
  • 3/4 to 1 cup  granulated sugar plus 2 tsp for sprinkling (or sprinkle with demerara sugar)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, (save 1 Tbsp to toss with rhubarb)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
Instructions
  1. Cream the soft butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  2. Toss 1 Tbsp of the flour with the rhubarb and toss well.
  3. Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and blend in. Add the yogurt, and blend in. Finally add the rest of the flour and blend just until combined, don't over mix. Fold in the rhubarb. Note: the batter is on the thick side.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top evenly with a good layer of sugar. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the cake golden and a toothpick in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it (moist crumbs are fine.)
  6. Let the cake cool slightly before cutting.


May 4, 2018

Grammy's Cheesecake





Grammy’s Cheesecake



According to my longtime friend, Amy Cahners, this is the best cheesecake ever.
You might have to place an order on Amazon for the Zweiback crackers if you want to try the real thing, or else  substitute Graham Crackers.


Crust:
2 boxes (12 pieces) Zweiback rolled into crumbs (can substitute graham cracker crumbs but they’re not as good)
Add 1 stick melted butter
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Mix in a spring-form until wet
Press along bottom and sides
Refrigerate.

Filling:
2 lbs. cream cheese
4 eggs separated
½ - 1 pint all-purpose (heavy) cream ( or whipping cream)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in milk
½ teaspoon lemon juice

In an electric mixer, cream the cheese until smooth.
Add sugar gradually.  Beat until smooth.
Add egg yolks. Beat until smooth.
Add cornstarch mixture.
Beat cream partially in a separate bowl.
Add to mixture.
Beat egg whites until stiff.
Add to mixture by hand with lemon juice.
Pour into spring-form.

Bake at 225° for 1½ hours.  Turn off heat.  Do not open door.  Leave in oven for 1 more hour.
or
Bake at 250° for 1 hour.  Turn off heat.  Do not open door.  Leave in oven for 1 more hour.


This is what made Harriet Schwartz famous.

Apr 6, 2018

Fudgy Olive Oil Brownies for Passover or Any Time




Passover Fudgy Olive Oil Brownies

Ingredients
·       4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
·       1/3 cup Olive Oil,
·       1/2 cup dark brown sugar
·       1/4 cup granulated sugar
·       2 eggs
·       1/2 cup matzo cake meal
·       2 tsp vanilla
·       1 tsp salt
·       1 1/4 cups chocolate chips, milk or semi sweet
·       *optional 1-2 Tbsp coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Instructions
1.     Preheat oven to 350
2.     Line an 8×8 pan with foil and spray lightly with baking spray
3.     In a large bowl, combine your melted chocolate and olive oil.
4.     Whisk in eggs, sugars and vanilla until combined.
5.     Add in cake meal and salt and stir until incorporated.
6.     Fold in chocolate chips.
7.     Spread in prepared pan and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired.
8.     Bake approx 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted 1″ away from the edge comes out clean, and the center is still slightly soft.
9.     Let cool completely before cutting into squares.