A few months ago I made crab cakes for the first time. I liked them but probably wouldn't have made them again if Shane hadn't specifically requested them. Shane has, however, been asking me to make them again for quite a few weeks now. The last recipe I used was "light" so I thought this time I would try to find a recipe that wasn't quite so diet friendly! After some searching, I finally came upon the below recipe on William Sonoma's website. I've generally enjoyed their recipes so I wanted to give it a try.
The process of making these crab cakes was somewhat frustrating for me. I found that the cakes weren't holding together at all when I shaped them. I wasn't sure if I had done something wrong or if that was just the way it was supposed to be. In the end, once I stuck them in the pan to fry, everything seemed to work out. They held their shape as they cooked and were a nice golden, brown color. Shane absolutely loved these crab cakes and I'm positive he'll be asking for them again! I still wasn't won over so I've decided maybe I just don't like crab cakes (hard to believe, but I've never had them in a restaurant so don't have anything to compare my 2 attempts to). I halved the recipe below and it made 4 good sized crab cakes.
3 or 4 slices French or Italian bread
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced green onions, including some tender green portions (3 or 4 onions) (I left these out)
1 lb. fresh-cooked crabmeat, picked over to remove any shell fragments
1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
Lemon wedges for serving
Remove the crusts from the bread and discard. Cut or tear the bread into small pieces and put into a food processor fitted with the metal blade or into a blender. Pulse a few times to make coarse crumbs; you should have about 2 cups. Place the crumbs in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small sauté pan over low heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter. Add the green onions and sauté until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onions to the bread crumbs along with the crabmeat and parsley. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream and eggs until well blended. Whisk in the lemon juice, mustard, salt and cayenne pepper. Slowly add to the crab mixture, stirring continuously so the bread crumbs are evenly moistened. Form into 8 or 12 oval or round cakes about 1 inch thick. Put the flour on a plate or on a piece of waxed paper. Lightly and evenly coat each crab cake with the flour, shaking off any excess.
In a large sauté pan or fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter with the vegetable oil. When hot, fry the cakes in batches, turning once, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a warmed plate and keep warm until all the cakes are cooked. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
This week's recipe was chosen by Michelle of Michelle in Colorado Springs: Summer Fruit Galette. I love fruit desserts so I was definitely excited about this recipe and giving it a shot!
I won't lie.....in the end, this recipe and I were not friends. Where to start.... I chose to use only peaches in my galette and I could not for the life of me get the skins off of the peaches, even after blanching them as Dorie suggested in the recipe. It was a half hour (very messy) process to get those skins off. The other big problem I ran into was with the crust. The edges of my crust were just too soft to pull up and over the fruit without a problem. I had to refrigerate the crust for quite a while just to get the crust to cooperate. I had turned the air on in our house to get the humidity and heat out so I don't think that was the problem, but who knows.
That said, once this recipe was finally pulled together and baked, I really liked the rustic look of it! I even had a small piece this morning just so I could say I'd tasted it and I have to say it was pretty good! Despite the problems I had with the crust, it tasted incredible - definitely the best part of this dessert for me.
The galette is unlike anything I've ever made so I'm really glad I tried it this week! I probably won't be rushing to make it again anytime soon but at least I made it once. Thanks to Michelle for choosing this recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog if you're curious. Be sure to head over to TWD to see how everyone else's galette turned out!
UPDATE: I tried a piece of the cake this morning at work and was blown away!! It was perfect in every way. All of the flavors married together perfectly and the texture of the cake was soft and crumbly but not too much so. I definitely put this cake in my top 3 for favorite things I've ever baked!
Tomorrow we're having a party at work to celebrate the return of a coworker who was out on maternity leave. I wanted to bring something unique and unlike anything I'd already made for my coworkers. At the same time, I didn't want to spend too much time making the treat. This bundt cake happened to be one of the recipes on this weekend's Everyday Baking and I knew this was something I could make quickly that would go over well at work!
Since the cake is for tomorrow I haven't had a piece yet, but it looks gorgeous and smells amazing! The combination of the blueberries and lemon creates a really fresh fruity scent. I love the simplicity of the glaze and the way it looks after cascading down the sides of the cake. I will definitely be digging in first thing tomorrow morning and will post an update tomorrow night on the flavor!
Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake
from Everyday Baking
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries and zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of sour cream.
In a bowl, toss blueberries and zest with remaining teaspoon flour; gently fold into batter.
Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up.
To Make the Frosting:
Whisk the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar together, making sure to break up any lumps of confectioners' sugar. When the cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze generously around the cake letting it fall down the sides and into the center of the cake.
While I have definitely conquered my fear of working with yeast, I still don't make too many yeast goods. I think the main reason is because I have this idea in my head that all yeast goods take an entire day (or more!) to make. In the past week, however, I've seen the same recipe for white bread on two of my favorite food blogs (here and here) and since (a) they both said it was a quick recipe and (b) I've never made white bread, I decided to go for it today. As promised, this recipe was both quick and easy! I always forget how wonderful homemade bread smells as it bakes and I was definitely reminded of that today too! We had some friends over today and as soon as the loaf had cooled a bit, I cut slices for everyone to try (topped with butter of course). Everyone, including me, thought it was delicious! I really liked the crust on this bread and while I don't make sandwiches too often, I'll definitely make this bread again. Maybe I'll even throw together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which I'm sure would be great on this bread!
American Sandwich Bread
from Baking Illustrated, by Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine
3¾ cups (18¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm whole milk (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
1 envelope (about 2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Once the oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain the heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven.
Mix 3½ cups of the flour and the salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the liquid. When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping the machine two or three times to scrape dough from hook, if necessary, about 10 minutes. (After 5 minutes of kneading, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time and up to ¼ cup total, until the dough is no longer sticky.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead to form as mooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.
Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly. Coverthe bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.
Gently press the dough into a rectangle 1 inch thick and no longer than 9 inches. WIth a long side facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
Keep one oven rack at the lowest position and place the other at the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an empty baking pan on the bottom rack. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the boiling water into the empty pan on the bottom rack at set the loaf onto the middle rack. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf read 195 degrees, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.
Who doesn't love chocolate? And when you can have chocolate for breakfast, even better! I was craving chocolate tonight but didn't feel like making cookies or a complicated cake so I turned to these muffins. They were delicious and definitely satisfied my craving. Even more surprising, they weren't terribly rich, which I generally find is the case when I have something this chocolately! I can't wait to make these again soon!
Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins
from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.
Melt the butter and half the chopped chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; or do this in a microwave. Remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients and the melted butter and chocolate over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don't worry about being thorough—a few lumps are better than overmixing the batter. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin molds.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.
Yields 12 muffins.
It's been a while since I've baked anything to bring in to work so Sunday night I set out to make something for my coworkers. When I realized I had some very ripe bananas on the counter I set out to find a recipe other than banana bread that I could make. These cookies seemed to fit the bill - they looked simple and quick and I had all of the ingredients. The cookies came together quickly and were very yummy! I think they were actually better today than when I made them last night. They have a soft texture and I really enjoyed the flavor combination of the bananas, chocolate and spices. I didn't find the spices overpowered the banana flavor...they just added a little something extra. The folks at work enjoyed these too and by the end of the day there were only a few left!
Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Annie's Eats
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 cup of mashed bananas (about 2 ½ large bananas)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until well incorporated.
In a bowl, mix the mashed bananas and baking soda. Let sit for 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas which will in turn give the cookies their lift and rise.
Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. Mix together the flour, salt and spices and sift into the butter and banana mixture until just combined.
Fold chocolate chips into the batter. Drop into dollops on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.
Makes 25-30 cookies.
One thing that I really struggle with is figuring out what to have for lunch during the week. Sure, I could find something to buy everyday without a problem. We're trying to be frugal, though, so buying lunch 5x a week really doesn't fall into that plan. I don't like lunch meat so that eliminates sandwiches and I brought salads for months and am VERY sick of them now. Finally, last week I came upon this chili recipe and thought this was something I could bring to work and enjoy. Better yet, it's healthy!
This recipe is definitely a keeper! It came together so quickly and easily. We generally have most of the ingredients around the house so it's not one of those recipes I have to go and buy all kinds of exotic ingredients for. I topped the chili with a little bit of sour cream after reheating it and really enjoyed it! So much so, I'm making it again this weekend to bring to work next week. I'm sure it would be even more enjoyable when the weather is cooler but I think it says a lot that I'm enjoying it even with the 90+ degree temperatures we've been experiencing around here lately.
from Weight Watchers
1 tsp canola oil
1 large onion(s), chopped
2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
2 medium carrot(s), thinly sliced into rounds
1 pound lean ground turkey
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 medium tomato(es), chopped
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup cooked kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium green pepper(s), chopped
1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup scallion(s), chopped
Heat a large pot coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add oil and onion; sauté onion until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and carrots and cook until garlic is softened. Add ground turkey and brown meat, about 5 minutes. Stir to break up lumps.
Add chili powder, paprika, cumin and red pepper flakes, tomatoes and tomato sauce, broth and vinegar. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer until meat is tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
Add beans and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, until peppers are done, about 10 minutes; season to taste and serve garnish with scallions.
Yields about 6 cups.
This week's TWD was chosen by Melissa of It's Melissa's Kitchen: chocolate pudding! While I'm not personally a huge fan of chocolate pudding, Shane loves it so I knew he'd be looking forward to this recipe. Plus, I've never made pudding from scratch so I welcomed the new experience.
This was one of the easiest recipes we've done on TWD. I didn't start making it until almost 9 last night but it came together so quickly I was glad I didn't wait until today to make it. I halved the recipe since Shane was the only one who'd be eating the pudding and filled 3 7-oz ramekins. We stuck them in the fridge overnight and this morning Shane tasted the results. He enjoyed it and commented on how sweet and rich the pudding was. I gave it a little taste too and agree with him. I think this is another example of the bittersweet chocolate being too much for me. Next time I make it I'll try semisweet.
For the pudding recipe, head over to Melissa's website (her pictures are great too!). And if you still crave more pudding photos, check out the other results at TWD.
I love carrot cake. Mostly, I love the hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in the cake. Rarely, however, do I want to spend the time making a huge layer cake just to enjoy a single slice before giving the rest away. So, when I saw this recipe for carrot cupcakes in an issue of Everyday Food, I was psyched! I was so looking forward to these that I made them tonight despite the fact that it was way too hot to be baking.
It ended up being a good decision :-) These cupcakes had everything I was looking for and I really enjoyed the one I ate! I took a risk on the frosting and used up the remainder of my yogurt cheese (from the cheesecake I made this weekend) in place of the cream cheese. While the frosting definitely was not as good as a typical cream cheese frosting, it was still tasty and since I used fat free yogurt to make the yogurt cheese, far healthier than the cream cheese alternative! I'll be giving the rest of these away tomorrow so I'm not tempted to eat them all!
from Everyday Food
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (from about 4 medium carrots)
For the Frosting:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, egg, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir in carrots. Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture mixing until well combined.
Divide among prepared muffin cups. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Remove cupcakes from pan to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
To frost: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl until smooth; beat in vanilla and orange zest. Spread cupcakes with frosting.
A few months ago I'd picked up an issue of Cooks Illustrated that focused on making lighter versions of great recipes. I've already tried the chicken parm and loved it and this weekend I gave the cheesecake a shot. I'm not a huge fan of cheesecake but I do occasionally enjoy it so I thought it would be nice to find a lighter version of this dessert I could go to when a craving struck!
The first step in making this cheesecake is to make the yogurt cheese. To do that, line a colander/mesh strainer with several paper coffee filters or a double layer of cheesecloths. Set the strainer over a deep container (enough room for 1 cup of liquid to drain without touching the strainer). Spoon the yogurt into the strainer, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the yogurt has release about 1 cup of liquid and has a creamy, cream cheese-like texture, 10 to 12 hours (it can stay in the strainer for up to 2 days). Transfer the yogurt cheese to a clean container (discard the liquid). The cheese will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container. (instructions courtesy of Cooks Illustrated)
Once you have made the yogurt cheese, the rest of the recipe comes together fairly quickly (I confess that I cheated and used a premade crust because I was lazy). I was definitely skeptical that yogurt cheese, cottage cheese (which I really don't like) and cream cheese would combine to make a tasty cheesecake. I guess I should have had some faith in the folks at Cooks Illustrated because this was really delicious! I cut some strawberries up and stuck them on top with a small slice and really enjoyed it! I gave the rest of the cheesecake to my mom to bring to work and it was well received there too! I will absolutely make this again - perhaps trying to incorporate some additional flavors to jazz things up!
Light New York Cheesecake
from Cooks Illustrated
9 whole graham crackers (5 oz), broken into rough pieces and processed in a food processor to fine even crumbs (about 1 1/4 cups)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 pound 1% cottage cheese
1 pound light cream cheese
8 oz yogurt cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar (10.5 oz)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
vegetable cooking spray
For the crust: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar together in a medium bowl. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into the pan bottom. Bake the crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.
For the filling: Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees. Line a medium bowl with a clean dish towel or several layers of paper towels. Spoon the cottage cheese into the bowl and let drain for 30 minutes.
Process the drained cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth and no visible lumps remain, about 1 minute, scraping down the work bowl once or twice. Add the cream cheese and yogurt cheese and process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the work bowl once or twice. Add the salt, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and continue to process until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the work bowl once or twice. With the processor running, add the eggs, one at a time and process until smooth.
Being careful to not disturb the baked crust, spray the sides of the springform pan with vegetable oil spray. Set the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake 10 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the cheesecake reads 150 degrees, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Transfer the cake to a wire rack, and run a paring knife around the edge of the cake. Let cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, running a paring knife around the edge of the cake every hour or so. Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours.
To unmold the cheesecake, wrap a hot kitchen towel around the springform pan and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and blot any excess moisture from the top of the cheesecake with paper towels. Let the cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges.
Shane and I were both sitting around watching an episode of Everyday Food when we saw them make this recipe. We were both very intrigued because we definitely enjoy shredded pork. They actually took the shredded pork and made tacos but we just made sandwiches tonight because it was easier! I was really happy that this recipe was as easy as it looked on tv. I have never slow cooked pork like this and was skeptical that it would really be as easy to shred the pork with two forks as they make it look but it definitely was! I had to leave the chile out as we didn't have any and I forgot to grab some at the store. Without the chile, the pork didn't have a ton of flavor but was still tasty. I think next time we'll either make sure we have chile on hand or we'll try a rub and some BBQ on the pork instead.
from Everyday Food
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 3-pound boneless pork shoulder, cut in half lengthwise
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in juice
1 large chipotle chile in adobo sauce, (from a small can), minced (about 4 teaspoons)
In a large (5-quart or larger) heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves; season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Add pork, tomatoes (breaking them up) and their juice, chipotle, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until meat is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Discard bay leaves.
Using tongs, transfer meat to a large bowl; shred with two forks, discarding any large pieces of fat or gristle. Return meat to pan, and simmer until sauce is thick, 30 to 45 minutes more. Season, if necessary, with salt and pepper.
In this, our first full summer in the new house, I really wanted to grow some herbs. Unfortunately, I'm not much of a gardener so it probably wouldn't have happened. Luckily, my mom was growing a few herbs at her house and generously brought me a basil plant earlier this summer! Somehow, I've managed to keep it alive for 2 months and in fact, it's really thrived! I'm sure it's probably just a low maintenance plant, but it makes me feel better to think my excellent care is the reason it's thriving.
Anyway, due to how well the plant is doing I have a ton of basil! I decided to take a shot at making some pesto sauce as I figured that would require a fair amount of basil. I can't recall ever having had pesto before so I only made a small quantity this time in case I didn't like it (I made only 1/4 of the below recipe). I made the sauce earlier this week and today for lunch I grabbed the pesto from the fridge and mixed it up with some pasta! I really enjoyed it! It was a nice change from either a red sauce or an alfredo and had great flavor. I would up using almonds when I made the sauce as I didn't have either pine nuts or walnuts and I was a little afraid the sauce would be too nutty but that wasn't the case. I've still got a little sauce in the fridge and I'm looking forward to mixing it up with something else later this weekend!
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, blend together basil leaves, nuts, garlic, and cheese. Pour in oil slowly while still mixing. Stir in salt and pepper.
This week's TWD was chosen by Amy of South in Your Mouth and was the double crusted blueberry pie! I absolutely love blueberry pie so I was really excited about this selection. Also, I'd made a blueberry pie not too long ago and hadn't had the best result so I was eager to improve this time.
Unfortunately, it just wasn't to be. The good news was that this pie was very delicious so it definitely won't go to waste. However, the pie was not without issues. The biggest problem became apparent when I cut my first piece of pie this afternoon. The filling was not set and was incredibly runny and watery. There's literally a puddle of blue juice where the first piece of pie was removed. (Hence the reason you don't see any pictures once the pie was cut into...) I was very frustrated when I saw that result as I followed the recipe exactly and even baked the pie a little longer than the recipe called for because I used frozen berries. If anyone has ideas about where I'm going wrong, I'm all ears! Last time I made blueberry pie I wasn't patient enough and cut into the pie too soon but this pie had been out of the oven for 18+ hours by the time I cut into it so I know that wasn't the problem.
The recipe for this pie can be found over at Amy's website. Be sure to check out how everyone else fared with this pie over on TWD. I checked out many of the results today and saw some gorgeous pies!
This is a recipe from a recent issue of Everyday Food magazine. We have chicken a lot at our house so it's always nice to find another recipe to try. Granted, this recipe is of interest only to me because Shane doesn't eat spinach. Maybe next time we'll leave the spinach out and just roll Shane's chicken with the mustard and cheese but for tonight Shane sat this one out.
The biggest challenge for me with this recipe was getting the Brie cut up. We've never had Brie at home before so working with it was a little tricky. Otherwise, this is a really easy recipe to put together. The chicken came out great. It was still juicy after about 9 minutes under the broiler and the cheese had melted nicely with the spinach. Definitely a tasty dinner for only about 20 minutes of work to get it on the table.
Spinach and Brie Chicken
from Everyday Food
8 thin chicken cutlets (1 1/2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 package (10 oz) frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 oz Brie cheese, cut into 8 slices
Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Place chicken on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Dividing evenly, spread one side of each cutlet with mustard; top with spinach, then cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Starting at short end, roll chicken up tightly, and arrange, seam side down, on sheet.
Season rolled chicken with salt and pepper. Broil, without turning, until tops are lightly browned and chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
Yet another gem from my friends at Cooks Illustrated. I watched them make these biscuits on an episode of America's Test Kitchen this weekend and made a mental note to try these as soon as possible. We love homemade biscuits at our house and while we don't have them too often, it's always a nice treat! What I really love about the recipe is that I don't have to cut butter into the dry ingredients. Just stirring the cream in is SOOO much easier to me. Besides that, it's faster which is always a good thing.
These were wonderful! They baked up light and fluffy and so delicious! Well worth the little bit of extra effort to have homemade biscuits instead of the canned ones from the store.
from Cook's Illustrated
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 450 F with a rack in the upper third. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the cream and use a wooden spoon to stir until a rough dough comes together. Lightly flour your work surface, then turn the dough out. Knead for about 30 seconds until the dough is smooth. Roll or pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle. Use a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter to cut biscuits from the dough (be sure to use a straight up and down motion, no twisting the cutter!). You can gather and reroll the scraps as necessary to get more biscuits. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown. Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Makes 8 biscuits
It's been a fairly lazy 4th of July weekend at our house and I really haven't been terribly motivated to bake anything too complicated. I did, however, want to make Shane a treat and what could be better than chocolate chip cookies? I have been keeping an eye out for a new chocolate chip cookie recipe to try and when I saw this one on Chelle's blog, I wanted to give these a try.
I think I may have underbaked these a little too much and I really didn't like them much when they were fresh from the oven. They were, however, really tasty the next day when we tried them! The texture was definitely soft and chewy though mine really weren't thick. I'm going to give these another try when the humidity isn't so high and see what happens.
Updated: (January 2011) - Having made these cookies several time since originally posting the recipe here, I wanted to update to say they've become one of our favorites. The key to making them perfectly thick and chewy is making the cookies large enough and baking them for just the right amount of time, as per the recipe's instructions. If you're a dough eater, this one is very dangerous to have around!
Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Sugar and Spice
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 F with racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
With an electric mixer (or even by hand), mix the melted butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Holding the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands, pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and join them, with the jagged surfaces pointing up. Don't smooth the jagged edges. Space the cookies about 2 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake for about 12-14 minutes (rotating the baking sheets halfway through), or until the edges begin to set yet the centers are soft and puffy. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets.
Makes about 18 large cookies.
This week's TWD, apple cheddar scones, was chosen by Karina of The Floured Apron! I am barely making the Tuesday deadline this week so it's going to be a short post from me. I must confess that I've never made a scone so this week's recipe was especially interesting for me!
I love that this recipe comes together quickly. Any recipe that doesn't call for a mixer or food processor makes me happy, especially when I'm trying to bake on a weeknight! The fewer dirty dishes, the better! The only problem I ran into with this dough was when it came time to divide it up into individual scones. The dough is incredibly sticky and I made a mess trying to divide the dough into even sized scones. I wound up with a few very large ones but otherwise everything went well.
I tried one of these scones when they were still warm from the oven, as Dorie suggests that is when they're at their best. Honestly, I couldn't taste the apple or cheddar all that much. I'm not sure the flavors were supposed to be that subtle but they definitely were for me. These basically tasted like biscuits - very light and fluffy and yummy! I used fresh apples instead of the dried apples the recipe called for so maybe that accounts for the difference in flavor?
The recipe for these scones can be found over on Karina's website. Be sure to check out everyones' scones over at TWD!
This recipe was one of the selections for TWD before I joined the group. These muffins always looked really tasty to me so I knew I'd try them eventually. Monday was a birthday event for work and I decided to make these muffins to bring in. Unfortunately, we didn't have any oranges or orange juice like the original recipe calls for so I had to modify it slightly. Too bad because I'm sure the addition of the citrus would have been wonderful!
The most exciting thing that happened with these muffins is that they didn't turn blue! I used fresh berries instead of frozen and had no problems for the very first time ever. That seems to be the trick to not turning out blue blueberry muffins. As is the case with most of Dorie's recipes, these muffins were great and enjoyed by everyone!
adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 Tablespoons honey
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries - fresh, preferably, or frozen (not thawed)
decorating sugar (optional)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, honey and melted butter in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough - the batter will be lumpy and bubbly, and that’s just the way it should be. Stir in the blueberries. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. If you want to top the muffins with decorating sugar, sprinkle on the sugar after the muffins have baked for 10 minutes. When fully baked, the tops of the muffins will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.
As I've mentioned once or twice on here I love watching Everyday Baking. This week they made all sorts of tarts but the one I really wanted to try was the blueberry tart. Fortunately I had plenty of blueberries so I set out to try it almost immediately!
I started off making the tart shell and ran into some problems. I don't have much experience making tart shells and I really struggled pressing the crust into the pan. I had trouble getting it to go up the sides of the pan and stay there! When I put it in the oven to bake one side completely collapsed back into the center. It didn't look pretty but I didn't want to waste it, so I hoped the filling would cover a majority of the problems. Fortunately, it did for the most part! However, the side that had collapsed left an opening through which the filling completely escaped. The result was that when I took the tart out of the pan there was blueberry juice all over the side.
So, it wasn't pretty, but from what I hear it was very tasty! The tart got rave reviews so next time I'll definitely have to keep some for myself :-)
from Everyday Baking
For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the Filling:
6 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter; process until large moist crumbs form (dough should hold together when squeezed). Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom; with floured fingers, press evenly into bottom and up sides. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes; prick bottom of dough all over with a fork.
Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes; cool completely.
Meanwhile, reserve 1 cup of the prettiest berries for topping. In a medium saucepan, bring 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 cups berries to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down, 3 to 4 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water; stir into berries in pan. Add lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring, just until mixture begins to thicken, 30 to 60 seconds.
Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 3 1/2 cups fresh berries.
Immediately pour hot berry mixture into cooled tart shell, and smooth with a spatula.
Scatter reserved berries on top, pressing down lightly to help them adhere. Refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes and up to overnight.