December 26, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Nuts

My blog has stayed pretty stagnant lately but it's certainly not indicative of my kitchen! I've used (no joke) three bags of flour in as many days. We've been busy and enjoyed Christmas. My KitchenAid, Ms. Empire Red, got a new boyfriend for Christmas. Don't worry, I'm still in love with my KitchenAid but I am excited to have the Bosch for bread making. I've always felt a little guilty about overusing my dearest mixer on big batches of cinnamon rolls or brioche! Yesterday, after all the commotion died down, I made a big batch of wheat bread, rolls, a batch of orange rolls and a batch of cinnamon rolls. My Tall Man, Mr. Carbohydrate himself, is enjoying my present too.

So about this French Fridays with Dorie recipe. It's really simple- some sugar, spices, nuts, and a egg white. I had my son do the whole thing (with a little direction) and he had fun and enjoyed the final product. Get the recipe from Dorie's wonderful book here. I'm going to try another sweet cinnamon version next and soon, because I think these would be great for any party (or to snack on around the house, what we did!)

I have lots of yummy recipes to post and hope to be back soon. Merry Christmas from my house to yours!

December 14, 2010

Apple Orange Holiday Cupcakes

Apple Orange Holiday Cupcakes
Last week at a Christmas party, my girlfriend and I were laughing at another friend's ridiculous food aversion. "No way will I eat onions, they're like tapeworms!" she repeated and we laughed. "Come on, everyone knows onions are nasty." Another chimed in against onions and added another equally repulsive (to her) food- tomatoes. Natalie and I just had to look at each other and laugh. When she said, "Well if you don't like onions or tomatoes I don't think I could make you anything for dinner" I had to agree. I can't imagine never eating those delicious foods again (come on, lasagna, best food of them all) but do understand the ridiculous food aversion.

Apple Orange Holiday Cupcakes
My number one, can't do it food is coconut. No way on the texture (I'll refrain from posting what I identify it with since this is a food blog after all) and the flavor (sunblock? Apply not eat, thank you!) So when I saw this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe from Cobbler du Monde was an Apple Coconut cake I knew that wouldn't do. For a minute I even thought about growing up and making it with coconut since it was for my husband's coworkers anyway, but it turns out there isn't even any coconut in my house, which makes since considering I do all the shopping! So I just upped the apple, added some orange zest and juice to sub for the rum, and made it my own with a little more Greek yogurt (regular plain yogurt would work just fine, too) and a little less oil. Of course since I was already off the radar of the original recipe I added some orange zested frosting, why not? They are cupcakes, after all, and try as I may to grow up in my food preferences, frosting will always trump cake around here. Since they felt a little muffin-y I went light on the frosting, for me anyways. Really though, the orange, cinnamon, and vanilla pair so nicely with the apple and my house just smells like Christmas. Not bad for about 15 minutes of work (20 if you count the dishes). See the real deal with the other TWD bakers and come back later this week for a fun giveaway.

Apple Orange Holiday Cupcakes
Apple Orange Holiday Cupcakes
from Anne Strawberry
loosely adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

1 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 apples, peeled and cored (a mix of whatever you have on hand, I used galas and granny smiths)
zest and juice of one orange 
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
6 ounces plain yogurt (I used Greek Gods)
5 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350. Line about 18 muffin tins with paper wrappers, set on a baking sheet, and set aside.

Whisk together the dry team (flour, powder, soda, cinnamon, salt).

Peel and cut the apples into a small dice (I like to use my apple peeler). Zest the orange and then squeeze the juice from one half into the bowl- combine to prevent browning.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together for a minute or so. Add in the yogurt, oil, and vanilla and mix until nicely combined. Fold in the dry ingredients with a silicone spatula, being careful not to overbeat so the cake stays tender. Lightly mix in the apples and scoop into prepared muffin tins using an ice cream scoop.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool and frost with my favorite frosting, whipped cream, or apple jelly.

December 11, 2010

Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

Cherry Cheesecake Brownies 
Did you know Christmas is almost here? I'm sure that, unlike me, you're on the ball and all ready. I actually made these brownies for a Halloween trunk or treat party (as evidenced by the styrofoam plate and hastily shot picture) and haven't had a chance to post yet. My little chickens keep getting sick and like nice children they are sharing their germs with their parents, so we've all been a little crazy! Today I finally got the lights on the tree and my little man is excited to cover it (or the lower half anyway) with ornaments. We made some homemade cinnamon ornaments that were quick and fun- I can't wait to share them with you next week. My house smells wonderful. I love Christmas time even though it's plenty busy!

It feels like we have some get together every spare minute in December. These brownies are the perfect accompaniment because they come together in a flash (five or ten minutes, really, and you can taste the brownie batter along the way so you won't mind the time, or is that just me?) I swirl in some softened cream cheese and a can of Lucky Leaf cherry pie filling and they actually feel fancy, are super easy, and taste SO good. I didn't used to like cherry pie filling. I'm not sure what I was thinking there, but now that I'm a "grown up" I've changed my ways. Lucky Leaf is also having a recipe contest that you can read about here. I have a few more cans of their yumminess in my pantry that I'm going to experiment with. Let me know if you enter- and you should, there's a prize and a trip to their bake off!

Cherry Cheesecake Brownies
from Anne Strawberry

1 box of brownie mix, prepared in a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment or generously greased- I like Betty Crocker
1 can Lucky Leaf Cherry Pie Filling
1 stick (8 ounces) Neufchatel (reduced fat) cream cheese, softened (regular cream cheese works just fine too, use what you have!)
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350.

Make the brownies as directed on the box and pour into a pan lined with parchment so you can lift the brownies out later. Spoon the pie filling evenly over the top.

In a mixer or bowl, combine cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla until perfectly smooth. Using a large spoon, divide it over the brownie batter in random piles. Use a butter knife to swirl everything together and bake for about a half an hour or until they reach your desired "doneness".

December 2, 2010

Best Ever Lemon Cake

Lemon Cake 

{printable recipe here}
Did you have a great Thanksgiving? I hope so! Ours went a lot different than planned. We were going to go to Utah to see family but decided against it due to bad weather. We ended up staying home and I was happy to relax. Since we made our plans so late in the game, dinners were already planned so we were going to scoot on in to dinner with my tall man's family and a later dinner with my cousins and not really worry about cooking at all. My husband left first thing to play football with the guys from Church and while the kids and I were getting ready to go meet them at the park there was a knock at the door- my tall man with a nasty dislocated finger. Our plans went out the window and we spent some time with the nice, patient people at urgent care and the er. The doctors laughed about how many guys were in with football injuries, my husband said over and over again, while he sat with a throbbing, tangled finger for a few hours, "I'm never playing sports again" (believe that when I see it), and we ate turkey sandwiches while we waited on xrays. It was memorable to say the least.

Thanksgiving Baby StrawberryBaby Strawberry at Thanksgiving Dinner
We did make it to our dinners and had awesome food and better company. The rest of the week flew and here we are, December already. I've been working on a handmade felt advent calendar (like the pottery barn kids one here) and it's not done yet! My poor, hungry husband has been eating sandwiches and breakfast for dinner while I stitch away as often as I can. Good thing my kids are little and don't know one day from another. I did squeeze in this lemon cake and it's a winner. It's made with a mix (once again, half of my readers just unsubscribed and the other half are finally thinking about making one of my recipes) and ridiculously delicious. The recipe comes from a Church friend, Cyndi Reis, who is an amazing cook. She brought us dinner after Baby Strawberry was born and this dessert was the start of the show. We offered to share with my brother in law who was over but after we tried the cake we realized we shouldn't have shared, if you know what I mean! I knew I needed to the get the recipe right away and truly value my photocopied recipe cards Cyndi brought over. I figured it was time to put the recipe on my blog so I wouldn't risk it being lost/colored on/cut into pieces by my little preschooler.

Really, try this cake, even if you're against mixes. The cake is moist and flavorful. I'm all about the frosting and can usually take or leave the cake but this lemon cake is really better than frosting (I can't believe I said that!) It's so good I might have to put down my sewing and make it again. And I forgot to post the winner for the CSNStores Giveaway- Naomi. Shoot me an email (it's on the top right).There's lots of baking to be done with Christmas right around the corner. I'll be back soon!

Cyndi's Lemon Cake
recipe adapted from Cyndi Reis

{printable recipe here}

1 boxed lemon cake mix (I like Betty Crocker)
1 small box instant lemon pudding
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla (that and the zest are my addition and optional but recommended!)
4 eggs

Combine ingredients in stand mixer and mix for five minutes on medium. Pour into ungreased cake pan (about 9 x 13 or two 8-9" rounds) and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup orange juice
3 cups powdered sugar

Warm butter, water and juice in microwave for about a minute, or until they are just warm and will nicely combine. Stir well and pour over powdered sugar. Mix until smooth.

Prick cake all over with a fork and pour glaze on top. Enjoy!

November 23, 2010

TWD Rewind (my favorite)

Brioche Chocolate Orange Snails
This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is a rewind, a favorite to choose for our Thanksgiving tables. My first (and still favorite) Dorie recipe ever are the Brioche Snails- really just a fancy, buttery, sweet roll. I lined mine with pastry cream and chocolate chips and it's like I'm in Paris eating cheap, delicious Pain Au Chocolat from some hole in the wall bakery. I would definetely be thankful to have these on my table, any day of the year. You can see the recipe here. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving and with any luck I'll finally post our cute sugar cookies I made with my little man in honor of turkey day.

Did you know you can get a free $3 MP3 credit from Amazon today? Just click over here and type in GET3MP3S. I am totally going to download the Michael Buble Holiday Album (or this 99 Christmas Essentials, shoot, Amazon has too many good choices once again). Either will be great for some holiday baking (I've already started- I love this time of year, especially since it's actually nice to turn on the oven and have things warm up a little, finally!)

November 16, 2010

Cranberry Lime Galette & a Giveaway

Cranberry Lime Galette
It's Tuesday and today I have a quick and delicious cran-apple galette. I don't think most people know what a galette is, but it's actually just an open-faced pie. I think it might even be easier than a pie because there's no need to put a pretty crust on top or crimp (I know that bugs some people). Just roll out the dough, put the filling in the center, and fold over the edges. Bake and enjoy. Dorie's pie crust is absolutely amazing- buttery, easy, and delicious. This lime and cranberry combo is new to me but it's really fun and tangy- just make sure you use enough sugar to compensate for the tart, fresh cranberries.

Now for the giveaway. I'm sure you've heard about CSN Stores in the blog world before- where you can buy anything from a suitcase to a rice cooker (that's what I just bought from them this weekend- I'll let you know how I like it once it's here!). This time around I have a $75 store credit to CSN Stores (for US or Canada residents only). Just leave a comment and let me know what your favorite type of pie is- I'll leave the giveaway open until Friday at midnight. I love apple pie (so I put extra in this galette of course). Whatever pie you make for thanksgiving, I would try Dorie's amazing dough and her tip to put a little bit of graham or bread crumbs on the bottom to soak up juice- it makes all the difference.

Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
3/8 cup very cold (frozen is even better) Crisco (plain, not butter flavored), cut into 4 pieces
About 1/2 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don't overdo the mixing—what you're aiming for is to have pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley.

Pulsing the machine on and off, add 3 tablespoons of the water—add a little water and pulse once; add some more water and pulse again; and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn't look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. If you've got big pieces of butter, that's fine. The dough is ready and should be scraped out of the work bowl and on to a smooth work surface. (be careful not too add too much water- if the dough looks dry after adding most of the water, pinch it with your hands to check if it's coming together, and finish combining it by hand)

Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it. Refrigerate the dough at least 1 hour before rolling. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

November 10, 2010

Baked's Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake
{printable recipe here}
Oh man, I can practically taste this chocolate cake as I look at the pictures and write this post. The texture was amazing- from the first slice through the cake to the last bite into my mouth. This recipe comes from Baked. I'm probably the last person to finally get my hands on this book (they even have a second, now) but I loved it when I finally did! So far I've tried this cake and their easy hot fudge sauce- both were hits. I loved browsing all the different recipes and really want to try their root beer cake. Do you have a favorite? Leave me a comment and let me know what I should try next. I loved this cake because although it's gluten free and perfect for my friend with a wheat allergy, you don't stop and think for one minute that you are missing out. I also found separating the eggs and folding them into the batter a little therapeutic, but that might just be me. I have a feel I'm not the only "emotional baker" out there though!

PS Come back soon for a sweet cookware giveaway!

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Note: I slathered this cake in whipped cream, raspberries, and caramel sauce. Use your imagination- just about anything would taste great with the chocolately goodness!

Flourless Chocolate Cake
from Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
{printable recipe here}

10 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
10 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
7 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the over to 350. Generously butter a 9 inch sprinform pan. Line the bottom with a parchment circle then butter the paper.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler, set aside to cool.

Using a hand mixer, stand mixer, or whisk, whisk the egg whites and salt until they are stiff. Set aside.

In your stand mixer, use the paddle to beat the butter and sugar on high for about five minutes, until very light and well combined.

Reduce to low speed and add the egg yolks one at a time. After they are well incorporated, scrape the bowl down with a spatula, add in the cooled chocolate, and mix. Add in the vanilla and beat until just combined.

Using a spatula, gently fold one cup of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold until almost completely combined. Go slowly and lightly, making sure you are careful and don't overwork the batter.

Pour into the pan, smooth the top, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (the cake should look set on top, but don't overbake it!) Let cool on a rack and then loosen the cake with a knife, remove the sides of the pan, and serve.

October 29, 2010

Marie Helene's Apple Cake

We love apples at our house and while cake is growing on me, I'm still a frosting girl at heart. So when I read that this week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Marie Helene's Apple Cake, was more "apple" than "cake" I was on board. I made it for my mom's birthday dinner (that's her above with Baby Strawberry, who since her birthday has decided that people singing to her is the single best thing in the world). Since we don't have any alcohol around here, I opted for extra vanilla and a little almond extract to flavor the cake batter. It was delicious and I love how quickly it came together. I'll definetely be making this cake again when I'm looking for something simple and tasty- that's how we like it around here.

For this easy, yummy recipe you need to get a copy of Dorie's newest book, Around My French Table. It's on sale now!

PS This picture was taken by my phone when my beloved camera was in the shop! Thank goodness my pretty is back!

October 28, 2010

Halloween Orange and Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes{Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes- printable recipe here}
{Vanilla Bean Filled Cupcakes- printable recipe here}
Today my son had his first big Halloween party at his cute preschool. He dressed up as a pirate and was so excited- even down to his little drawn on goatee! His teacher asked for volunteers helping in the class room and bringing cupcakes and other treats. I wasn't chosen to make the cupcakes (oh the rejection!) but got to come be a "mom helper" instead. The kids were so cute and excited about every single thing that I'm sure they would have eaten cupcakes made out of dirt as long as they included brightly colored toppings. That said, either of these happy cupcakes would have been perfect for the party! Instead, the vanilla bean cupcakes were destined to go to my husband's work event, where they were happily devoured by a bunch of lawyers. Honestly, the little Disney-clad preschoolers couldn't have appreciated the pastry cream filled vanilla bean cupcakes as much as they adults. I'll save the Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes (in their brightly colored glory) for the littles! Have a safe and happy Halloween, surely filled with candy, costumes, and baked goods!

Halloween Vanilla Bean CupcakesAnne Strawberry's Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
{printable recipe here}
1 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
1 box betty crocker french vanilla cake mix

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Place atop a baking sheet and set aside.

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer and beat for two minutes until well combined. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, scoop into muffin tins.

Bake for 21-24 minutes or until cupcakes spring back slightly when touched and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on racks and frost once completely cooled.

Anne Strawberry's Favorite Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened (one stick)
1 package of cream cheese, softened (I like to use Neufchatel, less fat and I don't notice much difference)

2 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the seeds of one vanilla pod, scraped
dash of salt
6 cups of powdered sugar (more or less to achieve desired consistency, this is a baseline)
1 Tablespoon meringue powder

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the milk, vanilla, and salt, and blend.

Next, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder, cover the bowl of the mixer with a dish towel, and turn it on low until everything is combined. Then increase the speed for a minute or so until the frosting is light, fluffy, and delicious. The meringue powder will help set the frosting after it dries so it holds its shape.

Add 1 T. Lemon or orange zest and substitute juice for the milk to make a tangy citrus frosting

For the filling:
Anne Strawberry's Slightly Lightened Pastry Cream
After the cupcakes have cooled, fit a pastry bag with a long, medium tip. Fill with cooled pastry cream and squeeze one or two tablespoons into the center of each cupcake, filling until the top of the cupcake starts to bulge slightly. Frost and decorate the cupcakes and serve.

October 27, 2010

Keys to Good Cooking

I posted about the Keys to Good Cooking preview a couple of months ago and was excited to get my hands on my own copy of the book. I started out like a dutiful student, reading from the beginning. Eventually, I felt like I was learning so much about things like appliances and tools, cooking methods and produce, that is was time to skip to my favorite chapter- Cakes, Muffins, and Cookies.

Here's a few things I learned from right away- "Cracked or peaked cakes result from overmixing batter or too high an oven temperature, so the center continues to expand after the surface has set. Try a lower temperature and/or shorter mixing." I've definitely had peaked cakes before, so I'm going to try to remember this next time I make a cake! In the section on muffins, it talks about mixing muffins as quickly as possible to avoid "losing leavening gas". I've known not to overbeat but I thought that referred to strokes, not necessarily time. For me, this is another push to bake "mise en place", or with all the ingredients out and ready to go before you start. I know that when I have everything ready and carefully read the recipe first (as opposed to reading it as I go, with a baby on my hip while I'm on the phone) I get much better results! Also on muffins, he says the secret to a "shapely peak" (super necessary for aesthetics since you can't "build" one out of frosting or it's no muffin) is to "make sure the batter isn't over-leavened, fill the pan cups almost full, and use a relatively high baking temperature, 400 to 425."
This wonderful book is also full of common sense tips that often make the biggest difference, like remembering to check doneness early and to allow things to start to cool and firm before removing them from the pan. Probably my favorite page so far is 439, where he says "Cookie recipes often need adjustment" and goes on to describe what to add or adjust to get the perfectly crisp/soft/tender/dark/moist cookie you're looking for. You can bet that page in my book is going to be covering flour and butter in no time!

There's a certainly a lot of info in here that I put into my "that's nice, hopefully I'll remember that in a couple years when I make my next turkey" or something like that. However, all the information is super accessible- the chapters are listed on the covers! The formatting is beautiful and easy to skim when you need to find just what you are looking for. The information is sorted logically and accessibly. I'm sure you have a few things that you are really great at making- along with a few things that are a little more daunting. While I feel very comfortable baking cookies or pies, I get a little more nervous with fancy cakes or caramel. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know the tricks to cooking everything, but with Keys to Good Cooking, I can find the tips to make my attempts successes. And since I know I have a great source to turn too, I'm not quite as worried about trying new things when the opportunity arises.

Come back tomorrow for Halloween cupcakes and Friday for apple cake (three posts in three days? I think I can, I think I can, haha!)

October 26, 2010

Dorie's Apple Pie

Apple Pie
{printable recipe here}
I've made a lot of pies, but the first I learned to make was apple and it's still my favorite- so I was super excited to have the All American Apple Pie chosen as this week's Dorie treat. Dorie's version is exceptional (big shock, right?) and one of my favorite parts is the layer of graham cracker crumbs under the filling. It soaks up the excess juices and leaves the bottom of the pastry crisp (my tall man's favorite part- he loves the buttery, delicious dough). And even though preparing apple pie can seem a daunting task, my surprisingly practical apple peeler and corer came to the rescue once again. From my morning apple cinnamon oatmeal, to apples to snack on for my son, to apple pie- I use this thing all the time. You can even peel potatoes with it!

Grab the recipe from Emily, this week's host, or buy the book here if you haven't already. Mine is tattered and covered in butter and flour- and it's been worth every penny!

PS Guess what- my beloved camera is back! Nikon officially diagnosed the body with "sand damage" (but I think it's more likely flour/powdered sugar damage!) and they repaired it free of charge, even though I'm well out of warranty. Thank you Nikon, I'm yours for life!

{printable recipe here}

October 13, 2010

Homemade Jello Playdoh + Candy Necklaces

{my camera is in the shop and we are officially a phone camera only household for now- bear with me!}

Today my little man has a buddy over and they decided they wanted to play with some playdoh. I only had one tub (a pink one at that, aren't I so nice?) so I told them we could make some so there would be plenty to share. I've always made my aunt's recipe but couldn't find it so I did a quick search and found this similar recipe. In the past I've added peppermint extract and food coloring to make a pretty and yummy smelling dough, but this recipe just calls for a box of jello to cover both bases. It only takes a couple of minutes on the stove and the one batch was plenty for my two busy boys- they sat and played for 45 minutes, so this "recipe" is a winner for sure! Keep leftovers in a baggie in the fridge and enjoy some cheap and easy fun!

{Update}- My friend Holly has a recipe to make homemade candy necklaces and they are adorable! Another fun project to do with the kids and add to my to do list... Check it out here.

Homemade Jello Playdoh 

1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 T. cream of tartar
2 T. Vegetable oil
1 c. warm water
1 three oz. pkg. jello (any flavor)


Combine ingredients and cook over medium heat until it thickens and pulls away from the sides of pot and becomes dull, about 3 or 4 minutes on my stove.

Note: it burns easily so don't put over too high a heat and keep stirring. Mold and knead until cool enough to touch. Store in a baggie in the fridge.

October 12, 2010

Fold Over Torte (Apple Berry and Peach Berry)

It's Tuesday again, and while I'm shocked at how fast the week has flown, I'm just grateful that I planned ahead and made this delicious Dorie treat a few weeks ago! Although this looks pretty fancy, it's nothing more than a pie crust placed in a springform pan and piled high with fruit and a quick custard. Easy, I promise. Plus, with the pastry, the fruit, the filling- all the amazing ingredients come together to make a real crowd pleaser.

PhotobucketGrab the recipe from Cakelaw or, better, yet, buy the book. This delicious recipe is yet another example of the merits of joining a baking group- I'd never have tried it without the push, but we all loved it!

October 8, 2010

Boston Cream Cupcakes for Baby Strawberry

I mentioned it was Baby Strawberry's first birthday a couple of weeks ago (can you believe it?) We of course had lots of fun and lots of yummy food. With my little man, I had a big party at the house, fed everyone, made cute/high maintenance cupcakes, and loved it all! This time around (after another big birthday complete with Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes) I thought something simpler would be better. Since her birthday is right next to two of her cousins', we had an easy get together at the park with pizza and salads. I made vanilla bean and red velvet cupcakes that night and will post those next.

PhotobucketThen we decided to do a simple dinner, just my family and my "sister", and celebrate together. For dinner I made roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Kara brought cornbread and an amazing salad with locally made meyer lemon olive oil and strawberry balsamic vinaigrette! So I confess the simple dinner took a lot longer than I thought it would- it always does (big thanks to my mom for letting me mess up her kitchen all day and helping clean it all up!) But we all enjoyed it and Kara went into labor the next day, so I think the food did it's job!

For dessert I made Martha Stewart's Boston Cream Cupcakes. I'm not sure why I was crazing Boston Cream Pie (since I've never actually had it!) It probably has to do with my affinity to pastry cream. This recipe was very simple to make, just a ganache for the topping, a pastry cream for the filling, and a quick, easy cake. Baby loved it, of course (she has a huge sweet tooth!) There are three components to make but each is very simple and doesn't take much time. I worked on each them between other steps for dinner and didn't hardly notice the time to make these- don't be intimidated!

PhotobucketShe even shared with her new baby that she wouldn't let go of for two days straight (baby is playing with her right now, actually, she was a hit!) It was a great birthday and totally worth all the dishes (especially since so many people helped out)! Happy birthday Baby Strawberry!)

PhotobucketBoston Cream Cupcakes
from Anne Strawberry (recipe via Martha Stewart)

*note- My family has been (rightfully) accusing me of underbaking things so I tried to follow these directions exactly. However, I thought the cupcakes were just a minute overdone and a tiny bit dry for that reason, so I would be sure to remove them as soon they get a hint of color and their lovely smell wafts through your kitchen!

For the Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for tins
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour standard muffin tins. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat.

Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in dry ingredients.

Bring milk and butter to a boil. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture to batter, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake cupcakes until light gold (just barely starting to color), about 15 minutes. Let cool in tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Let cool.

Using a serrated knife, cut each in half horizontally. Spread 1 tablespoon vanilla cream (I used more) on each cupcake bottom. Sandwich with top. Spoon glaze over each, and serve immediately.

Vanilla Cream
*note- I prefer Dorie or Ina's pastry cream and will use my favorite "slightly lightened" version next time I make these.

2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk yolks until smooth. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes. 

Pour 1/3 of milk mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla. 

Pass vanilla cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

2/3 cup heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and add chocolate and corn syrup. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool, stirring often. Use immediately.

October 5, 2010

TWD- Apple Cake

Apple CakesOne of my best friends just moved to Minnesota. It's pretty heart breaking (especially since she went from Arizona summer to cold already!) Naomi is my go to friend for good recipes and exciting things to feed my family. She's the one I call when I see a great deal on some fancy cheese to see if she needs some just in case. When I was picking up a case of Utah peaches last week it made me think of her, so I called to say hi. She said there weren't any peaches to be found in her frigid new home (haha, comparatively at least) but there were apples coming out her ears! When I baked up this quick, easy bread/cake from this week's Tuesdays with Dorie treat, I couldn't help but think of her. I used homemade apple sauce instead of the apple butter, reduced the sugar by about 1/4 cup, and added some extra grated apple. This bread is extra appley (and I'd totally send some Naomi's way if I could!) Thank goodness apples can be found everywhere, from hot Arizona to far away Minnesota, because everyone should make this yummy cake!

Grab the real recipe from Lynne. I'll be back later with a printable version of my highly adapted recipe.

October 1, 2010

French Fridays- Gougeres

PhotobucketToday is the first day of French Fridays with Dorie, an awesome new group dedicated to baking through Dorie Greenspan's new book Around My French Table. Dorie choose the first recipes and todays, Gougeres, are absolutely delicious (no surprise there!) Gougeres are made just like cream puffs (a quick and easy stove top process) except you add cheese- I used a mix of cheddar and fresh Parmesan. You scoop or pipe them onto cookie sheets, bake, and end up with a yummy appetizer that leaves you wanting more. More what? I'm not sure. Maybe alcohol, because that's the suggested pairing. But- since I don't drink, I just figured I would stuff them with something else. My mom suggested jalapeno and cream cheese to make a sort of home made jalapeno poppers (you've had those, right?) Now I hope I don't fail the first Frenchie Friday attempt by adding Mexican flavors but this ended up pretty yummy- Cream Cheese, Green Chiles (that's what was in the pantry), Pimentos, Black Olives, and Salt and Pepper. I scoop it in and then we tried another and thought, "Now it's done." Either way, these are super yummy- and easy to make. And although I clearly took this recipe in a crazy direction I think the moral of the story is that French food doesn't have to be hard or fancy pants. So buy the book already- I can't wait to try more!

PS My beloved camera is in the shop so my blogging is feeling a little strained by the thought of using my cell phone or stealing my mom's purse camera! Excuse my inconsistency (not that that's anything new, but, well, I really am missing my camera!)

Don't Tell Dorie I Made These Southwestern Gougeres Filling
from Anne Strawberry

1 stick of neufchatel (reduced fat) cream cheese, softened
1 can mild green chiles
2 tablespoons pimentos
1/4 cup diced black olives
salt and pepper to taste

September 28, 2010

TWD- Tarte Fine (Apple Tart)

PhotobucketThis week's Tuesdays with Dorie treat couldn't be simpler. Leslie (she's wonderful, you should check out her blog) chose a simple apple tart made with puff pastry. If you use an apple peeler and corer, it should take less than ten minutes to assemble the whole thing. Then people will ooh and ahh because it's so delicious and you'll have to confess that it's simpler than any cookie recipe. I like to keep a box of puff pastry in my freezer for "emergencies". Usually I save the second sheet but this time I made ham and cheese turn overs for my brother. He was so excited that I will have to make them (and this tart of course) again soon.

Come back later to see Baby Strawberry's birthday festivities. I baked up a storm and she loved it!

September 14, 2010

TWD- Nectarine Upside Down Cake

PhotobucketMy family suffers from birthday clump up- my husband's, brother's, mine, and now Baby Strawberry's birthday are all within a couple of weeks. It's wonderful but crazy and when I found myself making yet another birthday dessert last week I hoped everything would align, knowing this summer time "Cranberry Upside downer" was important- going to my hubby's work! I also made the apple tart that morning, took care of two kiddos, and was all ready to leave when it was time to flip the cake onto the platter. I'm sure you can see the beginning from the end- the cake topped all over my baking sheet and table (which was thankfully clean, even if it isn't fancy and pretty like all these lovely kitchen tables) and was not interested in going back together! I was already late (as usual it seems) and there was no time to make something new, so I put it in my pretty red hobnail bowl and wished for the best.

Fortunately, Dorie delivered and even crumpled, this was one of the most delicious Dorie treats I've made yet! Of course, I was still pretty frazzled from the tragedy and while I remembered my camera bag, I forgot to put my camera inside! So all we have for pictures is the tiny bit of leftovers we brought back from my tall man's work. This stuff was yummy, I'm telling you! CSN Stores has offered to let me review something and I think I should finally get a cast iron skillet (of course I'm loving the expensive, red, Le Creuset one here but I'm sure I could be happy with something more practical like this). The first step to make the cake is to cook the sugar and butter together to make the glaze for the fruit. I bet I could do that step in the skillet, line up the fruit, and pour in the batter (not unlike the Tart Tatin). Throw it in the oven, pull it out and serve ice cream or whipped cream right on top, what do you think?

I have some new nectarines on the counter and can't wait to make this again- skillet method or even served right out of a bowl! Even blurry phone-pic Baby Strawberry wants more cobbler/cake/deliciousness- and I can't get her to eat fruit most days, despite her nickname! Thank you Sabrina for such a great choice! Get the recipe from her blog here (or buy the book already, it's wonderful!)

September 13, 2010

Bon Anniversaire

It was my birthday this weekend and my wonderful best friend brought me Sprinkles cupcakes. I'd never actually tried them before and felt pretty bad about that, since cupcakes are one of my favorite things to make! Will you forgive the camera phone picture? My lens is broken and it's making me crazy! My other beautiful friend made me an enormous red lips cake that was sparkly and shiny like my signature lipgloss. Then I went to the mother daughter church campout on my actual birthday and they surprised me by singing and giving me a mini strawberry cake (that Baby Strawberry promptly devoured). It was a great birthday. I'll be back tomorrow with a messy but delicious Dorie treat. In the meantime, I'm planning Baby Strawberry's birthday (crazy how time flies) and would love any inspiration for the perfect first birthday cupcake. I'm planning on working with my old favorite recipe and think I'll have to do pink... but that's all I have planned for now!

What's your favorite cupcake flavor? I'm a red velvet fan but that's no shocker. I was actually pretty surprised to see that my Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes are the second most searched of my recipes (first? Cafe Rio Pork of course!)

September 7, 2010

TWD- Peanut Butter Cookies

If I had to choose my last dessert, it would probably be cheesecake or some pastry cream laced tart. Certainly there would be mounds of strawberries on top. Now a cookie? I don't think so, but I do have an awfully hard time resisting them when they are on my counter (usually briefly in a tupperware, since they never make it to a jar). Really though, I think my tall man might actually choose peanut butter cookies as one of his all time favorites. Don't get me wrong, I think peanut butter cookies are yummy- but usually, they just make me want to wrap them around candy bars or drizzle them with chocolate or embelish them some way. But, since it's my tall man's birthday week and he was pulling weeds all morning I figured I could make the cookies how he liked them. This recipe is a little different than mine but I think the final product tasted almost identical, so I've included our family favorite version. I'd never rolled them in sugar, though, which was fun (especially since it made it so the tines of the fork didn't stick when I squished the cookies- a probably a usually remedy by dipping the fork into some flour every few cookies). Don't forget to scoop them out and bake them on a Silpat for uniform, picture-perfect results.Thanks for a great recipe choice, Jasmine! You made my husband a very happy man!

Are you an easy going peanut butter cookie man like my husband? What would your last dessert be?

Peanut Butter Cookies
by Anne Strawberry

1 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined. Mix in peanut butter. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Scoop dough out, place on baking sheet, spacing apart generously, and bake from 9-12 minutes until dough has set but before cookies take on too much color. Remove from sheet and allow to cool. Enjoy warm!

August 28, 2010

Dimply Plum Cake

We're having a lazy morning around my house. My son slept in to 7:00 (haha, he's such an early riser) and we had a nice breakfast before we got to pressing projects like building duplo towers and folding laundry. Tonight we have a party to go to and the hardest part of the day promises to be a trip to Costco (on a Saturday). I'm also thinking over Baby Strawberry's upcoming birthday and what kind of baked good to make her. Surely something pink and covered in frosting. This cinnamon laced cake is delicious. I've made it before with pears or peaches so you can really use whatever similar fruit you have available (maybe I'll use raspberries next time). It's easy enough for my little man to whip up with me and I can pretend it's healthy with the whole wheat flour. Make this and in a few minutes your whole house will smell delicious. It's going to be a good day.

Let me know if you have any fabulous one-year-old birthday party ideas. Time is flying too fast and her day is only a couple of weeks away!

Dimply Plum Cake
from Anne Strawberry
Adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or cardamom)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
Grated zest of 1 lemon or orange
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 ripe plums, pitted, halved, and sliced into thirds (6 slices per peach)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet. (I actually buttered my pan this time but a nice even spray of Pam with Flour would work here)

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together.

Working with a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each addition. On medium speed, beat in the oil, lemon zest, and vanilla. The batter will look smooth and creamy, almost satiny (with the whole wheat flour and cinnamon it will have a nice light brown color). Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums in an evenly spaced pattern, lying each slice on it's side and slightly jiggling the pan just so the fruit settles comfortably into the batter.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes , or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the fruit and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes- during which time the plums juices will seep back into the cake- then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

Optional Accompaniments: Serve with whipped cream or a dollop of pastry cream for breakfast. For dessert, add a small scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. It’s also cute frosted with a little cream cheese frosting.

August 24, 2010

Keys To Good Cooking

PhotobucketYesterday, a friend and I went to the farmers market. We both have little boys and baby girls so we were quite the site, with our carts full of children, diaper bags, and even some produce. My son was having fun showing off for my friend by helping her- picking up whatever was closest to give her to buy. Between trying to get him to grab the right kind of food, much less the perfect specimens, and taking care of the rest of the kids, we were a little distracted. So, I shouldn't have been surprised when I came home and started cutting some berries and found that even though I thought I'd made good choices, quite a few were under or overly ripe. I'm sure the same will be true of the apples and onions when I get to those. When I consider all the time (and money) I spend planning meals, clipping coupons, shopping, putting away groceries, and finally actually cooking and cleaning, it's a ridiculously huge part of my life! If it's going to be such a big deal (and it is, since I don't see my tall, hungry man giving up food anytime soon) I want to be efficient so I can enjoy the process as well as the end product. That's one of the reasons I'm so excited about a new book that TLC Book Tours asked me to review.

Keys to Good Cooking by Harold McGee isn't another recipe book, although I'll admit I love those. It's all about the right way to cook- from using your tools properly to selecting the best food. We all have different levels of experience, different preferences and products, but everyone can benefit from doing things right. I read through the chapter on meat preparation and appreciated the tips on keeping temperature in check to produce safe and delicious results. I don't want my family or my guests to get a sore jaw eating overcooked meat at my table but I certainly don't want them ending up with food poisoning either! I can't wait to learn more from this book and hope my husband doesn't laugh at me reading another cookbook. I'm not the only one who does that, right?

You can Preorder the book on Amazon and I'll have my final review up in October (You can see the master schedule for the rest of the tour here!) And come back later this week for one of my favorites- Dorie's Dimply Plum Cake.

TWD- Easy French Tarts

It's Tuesday again and I found a comforting familiarity making tart shells and pastry cream. This week's recipe, the crunchy custardy peach tart, didn't exactly come to fruition this week. I prepped the shells Saturday (just a quick whirl of the ingredients in my food processor and pressed into the tart pans) and planned to make the real deal for Sunday dinner. Last minute at Church, though, my husband invited some friends for dinner and I found myself in a frenzy! Instead of making the actual recipe (and trying something new, not!) I whipped up a batch of pastry cream and topped half with madarin oranges and the other half with homemade apple pie filling. While it wasn't the real deal, you really can't go wrong with pastry and cream. Thanks to Rachel for the push to make this yummy dessert.

Come back later this week for Greek (it's my brother's birthday and we're going all out!)

"Slightly Lighted" Pastry Cream
adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

2 1/2 cups 2% milk
4 large egg yolks
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature
Seeds from one vanilla bean (optional)

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly--as I always do--put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

August 17, 2010

Apple Oatmeal Quick Bread

It's no secret that my tall man would subsist on carbs and meat alone if he could. I knew he would love this week's Dorie treat. I enlisted my little man to help me make it and it was super easy- even when my brain feels so fried from the heat that I'm practically forgetting to cook at all! Everyone loved it (especially baby strawberry- I made her a special mini loaf sans nuts). I'm still more partial to banana bread, I'll be honest. But I'm keeping this recipe up my sleeve for the next time my husband is begging for some carbs! Grab the recipe from Natalie.

Notes: I used one apple, peeled and diced, for the fruit and baked the batter into four mini loaves. They took about forty minutes in the oven and would do great in the freezer! Next time I'll add a little whole wheat flour. No one will notice, promise.

August 10, 2010

Mint Chocolate Ganache Fudge Ripple Ice Cream

I'm aware the title of this recipe is overly long, but what are you going to do? When I saw the simple and delicious chocolate ganache recipe for this week's Tuesday with Dorie treat, I knew it would be a great recipe to experiment with. I had a chocolate mint Lindt bar in my chocolate stash that provided all the inspiration I needed. I also had a lovely jar of homemade hot fudge sauce in my fridge from a banana split party and figured a little more chocolate and cream couldn't hurt, so I swirled it in after it finished churning. And since I can't leave well enough alone, I also added some chopped mint chips.

The final product? Delicious. And I don't even like chocolate ice cream. But like my tall man said (as he stared longingly at the final, toxic-for-him-chocolate-laden goodness) it's not nasty fake chocolate flavored ice cream. It's cream and chocolate, lovingly combined into frozen deliciousness. Yum.

Grab the recipe from Katrina. She's amazing with ice cream and I bet she even found a way to lighten up this cream laden treat!

Easy Hot Fudge Sauce
from Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

*Note- this yields a little over two cups of sauce- I will halve the recipe next time

6 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used milk and semisweet chocolate chips- it's almost a whole bag put together)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup

Place both chocolates in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Bring the cream to a simmer over medium, stir in corn syrup, and remove from heat. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth, starting in the center and moving out. Cool, cover tightly, and keep refrigerated.

Reheat the sauce in the microwave by cooking in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until desired temperature is reached.

August 3, 2010

Carrot Cake Cookies

{printable recipe here}
I don't consider myself a picky eater but I might be, especially since I don't like carrot cake. Whenever I tell someone that, I get a very strange, glazed expression. Well, I don't love cake. I love frosting if that counts. And in my book the cream cheese frosting is the redeeming feature of the carrot cake. That said, these carrot cake cookies, this week's Tuesdays with Dorie treat chosen by Natalia, were lacking the most important part of the cake- the icing! They also contained my baking archenemy- coconut. I knew that had to go. Then, since I was so kind as to bake these in the middle of the hot afternoon at my mom's house while the AC ran away, I figured I should leave out the raisins, since she loves cooked raisins as much as I love sunblock, I mean coconut. After subbing in a little extra carrot, oatmeal, and craisins, the final result is actually really delicious. I think I'll sub in some wheat flour next time and no one will even notice. Yay!

I'll tell you the truth- I was kind of upset that I liked these. Not liking coconut has its perks. It's easy enough just to cross anything off my list that contains it. Cookies are tempting little devils and despite my convictions these wouldn't be worth eating, they were delicious enough that I have a slight stomach ache from ingesting all that frosting. I guess I might like carrot cake after all (though my tall man won't go that far- he was the first to say that my "gently frosted" cookies are about equal parts cookie and icing- but where's the crime in that?)

PhotobucketWhenever someone comes over and sees my beloved Silpats lining all my sheet pans, they ask what they are and why I use them. I guess I made a habit of it after I realized I would never have to grease my pans again (thanks, Kara, for the amazing gift!) Today I was to anxious to let the pans cool in between batches and so I tried using some air-bake cookie sheets to hurry things along. The cookies all came out flat and irregular, as opposed to the Silpat lined sheets that came out exactly as they were scooped. I defintely prefer the traditional half sheet pan (bonus if it comes with a lid, like this set!) and a nice, reusable Silpat. Let me know what you think (the pans and the liners are both part of the buy three get one free promotion on Amazon, so it was too much for me to resist!) I don't see myself going back to greasing my copious cookie sheets anytime soon.


Carrot Cake Cookies
from Anne Strawberry
adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan
{printable recipe here}

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (I always use dark but whatever you have on hand will work)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup shredded carrots (about 4 large carrots)
1/2 cup rolled oats (regular Quaker oatmeal)
1 cup craisins
3/4 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Cream the butter and sugars for 2 minutes then add the egg, mix for one minute, and mix in the vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients in 2-3 batches, being careful not to over-beat. Stir in the add-ins with a spatula until barely combined. Scoop onto Silpat lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes (they should just barely be set, starting to take on color and a little firm when touched on top). Top with cream cheese icing.

July 28, 2010

Summer Berry Salad with Chevre

{printable recipe here}
It's too hot. Too hot to bake, too hot to even WANT to bake. Plus, my recent attempts have not ended so well. I made yesterdays Dorie treat twice in the last month and somehow forget to take a picture either time? Plus, they came out over cooked and gooey at the same time- BOTH times (tasty though)! So right now at our house, it's all about quick, low heat meals. I'm not kidding when I say I ate this salad three nights in a row! I normally try to have "vegetarian night" about once a week but unless my Tall Man wants to fire up the grill, almost every night has been vegetarian night around here. While you could certainly add some shredded rotisserie chicken, this salad is so good I don't think you'll miss the meat! The berries are cheap and delicious right now- you can use whatever you find. The goat cheese is tangy and cooling at the same time. And best of all? The only appliance needed is the blender to whirl up the dressing!

Summer Berry Salad
from Anne Strawberry
{printable recipe here}

1 large bowl of greens (I like spring mix and romaine mixed together)
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup walnuts (candy them if you're feeling fancy- it's extra delicious!)
3 tablespoons chevre (goat cheese)
1/3 cup poppy seed dressing (recipe below)

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately.

Poppy Seed Dressing
from Anne Strawberry

1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard (or mustard powder)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4- 1/2 onion (to taste)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor until perfectly smooth. Keep refrigerated for up to two weeks in a tightly sealed container.