Friday, July 9, 2010

tiramisu cheesecake

Sorry I've been remiss in posting. I made this cheesecake a few weeks back at the request of a friend. He always asks for cheesecake and then another friend wanted chocolate (not my 1st choice in deserts). This combo of ideas (cheesecake and chocolate) made me think of tiramisu. I didn't think tiramisu actually met his request, so I adapted the idea to a traditional NY cheesecake.

Tiramisu Cheesecake

12 oz. ladyfingers, crumbled
4 T. butter, melted
15 T. coffee flavored liqueur
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
8 oz. mascarpone (or sub ricotta)
1 T. instant expresso
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
4 T. all-purpose flour
1 oz. semisweet chocolate square, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.
2. Crumble the ladyfingers in a food processor (or by hand). Mix crumbs with melted butter. Moisten with 5 T. of coffee liqueur. Press into the bottom of a 9 in springform pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar until smooth. Add the instant expresso and remaining 10 T. coffee liqueur. Mix. Add the eggs and the flour; mix slowly until smooth. Do not over-mix. If cheesecake batter is too thick (mascarpone consistency can vary) add a little cream. Pour batter into crust.
3. Place pan on middle rack in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Turn off the heat, and open the oven door. Leave cake to cool for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to finish cooling. Refrigerate for three hours or overnight. Immediately before serving, grate the semi-sweet chocolate on top.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kale, Tomato, and Rice Soup

This soup is my own invention and I really like it. It is savory, chewy and filling. I used my remaining washed and trimmed carrot greens, but you can substitute parsley if you prefer. Carrot greens are a good substitute for parsley and convenient if you get your carrots with their tops. When using carrot greens - trim, wash, and dry the leaves and discard the stems (I reserve for stock). A few beans, especially cannelloni, would be really good in this soup - or a few fresh green beans added at the end. Bon appetite!

Kale, Tomato, and Rice Soup

1/2 large onion, diced
2 T. olive oil
3/4 c. brown rice
8 c. stock (and/or water)
1 bunch kale (~150 g), chiffonaded
2 c. carrot greens, chopped (or substitute parsley)
1 can tomatoes, diced (italian flavored)
1/2 large shallot, sliced (~50 g)
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
grated cheese, if desired

1. Saute onion in olive oil. Add brown rice and stock (and/or water), cover and reduce heat. Cook until rice is nearly done (~40 minutes).
2. Add kale, carrot greens, tomatoes, shallots, and garlic. Add more water, if needed. Simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper.
3. Serve with cheese and enjoy!

Monday, May 24, 2010

moroccan rice pudding

Recently, on The Splendid Table a guest suggested adding orange flower water to rice pudding (and many other foods) and I decided to adapt a traditional rice pudding recipe to give a moroccan twist. Orange flower water is frequently used in north African and middle eastern cuisine. This pudding is also flavored by cinnamon and raisins.

I took this pudding to a bbq this past weekend and it was big hit (and complements from people who self-profess hating rice pudding).

Moroccan Rice Pudding

4 c. whole milk
1/4 c. raw long-grain rice
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. raisins, soaked and drained
1 T. orange flower water
1/2 t. cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 300 deg. F
2. Mix the milk, rice, sugar, and salt in a six-cup buttered casserole and bake, uncovered, two hours stirring the mixture every half hour.
3. Drain soaked raisins and add to the pudding. Add the orange flower water and cinnamon. Mix carefully.
4. Bake the pudding (without stirring) for another half hour, or until rice is tender. Serve warm or cold.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

caramelized turnips

Looking to try something new with the bunch of jr. turnips I got in my last box, I came across caramelizing. It is a simple task and delicious with some fresh spring greens. The sauce from caramelizing act as a sweet and savory dressing. I also paired this with crumbled feta and soft boiled eggs.

caramelized turnips
1 bunch turnips
1/3 c.+ chicken stock
1/2-1 T. butter
1-2 T. white sugar

Wash or peel the turnips. Reserve the greens for the salad. Slice or dice the turnips. Simmer in stock for 10-15 minutes until tender and majority of stock evaporates. Add butter; when melted sprinkle with sugar. Cook to a brown, sticky coating (a few minutes). Serve hot.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


1/3 c. olive oil
2+ garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
1 eggplant, peeled and chopped
3 T. flour
2 green peppers, seeded & sliced
5 ripe tomatoes, peeled and sliced
red wine, optional
salt and pepper
1 T. capers

1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until transparent. Flour the sliced/chopped zucchini and eggplant. Add garlic to onions and saute for about 30 seconds.
2. Add squash, eggplant, and green peppers to skillet. Cover and cook slowly for about 1 hour.
3. Add the tomatoes and red wine. Simmer, uncovered, until the mixture is thick (may take more than an hour). Season with salt and pepper. Add capers during last fifteen minutes of cooking. Serve hot or cold with fresh bread.

Monday, April 26, 2010

cold potato leek soup

Potato Leek Soup

1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 1/2 c. homemade stock
4 medium leeks, trimmed and washed
2/3 c. sour cream
salt and pepper

1. Boil potatoes in the stock in a stockpot. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes
2. When the potatoes are barely tender, add the leeks. Season with salt and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes. You can thin the soup with additional stock or water, if desired.
3. Puree the soup with the aid of a hand blender. Add the sour cream to garnish, if desired.

Friday, April 16, 2010

kale raab stirfry

The latest food box came with another vegetable in which I was unfamiliar: kale raab. I found little information about this vegetable, but it is apparently over-wintered kale. The flyer with the box suggested a recipe that involved blanching. I decided to fashion a stir-fry, but blanched the kale first (this is supposed to make it less bitter, but it tasted sweet to me). I used the whole plant: stems, leaves, and flowers. The stir fry was delicious, fresh, and crisp.

Kale Raab stirfry
2 t. oil (high smoke point, I use grapeseed oil)
1 bunch kale raab
5 oz. chicken
1 sm. head broccoli
1-2 spring onions
1 sm. zucchini
1 red bell pepper
2 T. soy sauce
brown rice, to serve

1. Clean and chop all vegetables into bite size pieces. Prepare chicken, or other protein (I used some pre-cooked chicken from a roasted chicken) by chopping and tearing into bite size pieces.
2. Blanch kale raab in boiling water.
3. When kale is in water bath, begin to heat wok. When wok is hot, add oil. Spread around surface and begin to cook/crisp chicken (or other protein). Add broccoli, onions, zucchini, and red bell pepper. Let cook for 1-2 minutes. Add drained kale raab. Mix well. Cook for a few minutes (taste kale raab to determine when it's cooked). Dash with soy sauce.
4. Serve with brown rice.

Yield: 2-4 servings

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Food Budget

Like many people these days, I have a pretty tight budget but I like to eat well. I consider my heavy reliance on staples, buying few processed foods and rarely eating out as part of my savings, but I also prefer organic (although I don't eat 100% organic), higher quality ingredients, and lots of fresh produce might be counter-balancing these cost savings measures. There are many reasons that I prefer organic and un-processed food but my strongest motivation is my belief in its health effects and any cost increase I consider a long term investment in my health. I recently ran across this USDA food plan chart on typical costs based on sex/age/type of plan. I am happy to see my typical budget falls between the thrifty plan and low-cost plan. I guess I'm doing all right after all.

Monday, April 5, 2010

white bean and tomato melange

parmesan, to serve

1. If using dried beans, soak and cook according to standard directions. Add salt and any other desired herbs towards end of cooking. Begin to cook pasta. When pasta is done reserve some water (~1/2 c.) for sauce.

2. Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add zucchini and stir occasionally until it starts to brown. Add swiss chard and stir until wilted. Add canned tomatoes, garlic, red chili pepper, and any other desired seasonings. Allow to simmer. Add reserved pasta water whenever it is ready.

3. Add beans. Heat through. Add pasta. When steaming, serve with parmesan.

Yield: 6 generous servings.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday: Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are traditionally served during Lent and especially on Good Friday. Holiday traditions, especially foods, can really be comforting and I love the tradition. My step-mom (who is a very good cook) makes a meal she had every Good Friday of her childhood, although it isn't my favorite food (German and involves wilted lettuce) I still miss not being close enough to take part in the tradition. I thought I might start one of my own and have been making Hot Cross Buns for the last few years. In preparation of this post I looked the buns history up on Wikipedia and discover one of the superstitions is that if you hang one in the kitchen it will "ensure that all breads turn out perfectly". In light of my confession earlier this week, I think I should hang one in my kitchen.

Inspired by Clotilde's post last month I decided to convert this recipe to a sourdough* version. She did warn that breads which include sugar and eggs might not rise and to add some dry yeast to help it rise. I should have probably started with an easier recipe - so I'll post the non-sourdough version here (and stop neglecting my starter!).

Whatever your Easter holiday traditions are (or if you don't celebrate), I hope it's a happy Easter and beautiful early spring weekend!

Hot Cross Buns
1 pkg. dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. milk, scalded
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 egg, well-beaten
3 1/2 c. flour (420 g) - divided
1/2 t. cinnamon
2/3 c. raisins, soaked

1. Combine the yeast and warm water for a few minutes.

2. Combine milk, sugar, salt and egg in a large bowl. Beat well.

3. Add yeast mixture to large bowl. Add 1 1/2 c. flour (180 g) and cinnamon. Cover and let rest for 1-hour until double in size. (Begin to soak raisins in water).

4. Add the remaining flour, 2 c. (240 g), add more if needed to make dough firm enough to handle. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth + elastic. Drain raisins and dust with flour. Knead in raisins at last minute.

5. Put the dough in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled. Punch the dough down and turn onto floured surface. Roll into rectangle and 1/2" thick. Cut the buns with a cutter (2 1/2" d) and place 1" apart on greased cookie sheet. Let rise, uncovered until doubled.

6. Cut cross in top of buns with floured scissors. Bake in preheated 375 deg. F oven for about 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack.

Yield: 24 buns

* I've been neglecting my starter which also couldn't have helped. Apparently one names their starter so I've been brainstorming and am thinking "June" after my grandmother.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pizza! Pizza!

I wanted to learn to do it myself. I tried many dough recipes looking for one that had a yeastiness and baked through in my oven (pizza ovens cook at an intensity rarely found in home ovens, especially rental ovens). I found a basic recipe I liked and then kept making pizza until I got consistent results. Confession time: I have a problem with doughs. I'm working to improve my technique. The first big step was buying a digital food scale which I am learning to trust. (I always think the dough is too wet and keep adding flour, resulting in brick hard breads). Dough needs to hydrate on it's own (part of what's happening during rising/resting phases) and you must trust the recipe! Maybe you don't have this same hang-up, buoy for you.

Pizza Dough
2 1/4 t. yeast (1/4 oz.)
1/2 t. brown sugar (2 g)
1 1/2 c. warm water (110 deg. F)
1 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
~5 c. flour (400-600 g)

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast the brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 min.

2. Stir in the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 c. (300 g) flour.

3. Sprinkle counter with flour, turn dough out onto a clean surface and knead in more flour (100 g - 300 g) (about 2/3 c.- 2 1/2 c.) until the dough is no longer sticky. (Trust the numbers!)

4. Let rise until double in a well-oiled dough and covered with a cloth (about 1 hour). Punch down the dough, divide in 2+ and form tight balls. Allow the dough to relax before rolling out.

5. Preheat oven to 425* deg F. (I actually do 500 deg. F, but my oven runs cool). When heated, bake rolled crust for ~5 minutes. Remove from oven and add toppings. (Tip: you may not need as many toppings and you think). Use pizza sauce (I like to make homemade and let it simmer throughout rising), a few toppings (artichoke hearts and shallots) and a light sprinkling of cheese. Cook with toppings until cheese is bubbling (about 10-15 minutes). [Internal temp should be 160 deg. F].

6. Remove pizza from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Bon appetite!

Yield: 2 large pizzas (8 servings). Dough can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen.

*Time and temps will differ depending on your cooking method. If you use a heated pizza stone it will cook faster than if you use a cookie sheet.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Last week, a friend held a tamale making party (it's a lot of work and easiest to have help!). Everyone brought some snacks and I decided to make my first flan. I found a recipe that seemed pretty simple and set about to make the flan. The recipe requires so many egg yolks, that I'm going to make an angel food cake as it's counterpart (with early strawberries). The flan is steamed on the stovetop, so you'll need a pie plate that fits into the top of a large pot.

10 egg yolks
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
12 oz. evaporated milk
3 T. butter
3 T. brown sugar

1. Whisk together egg yolks, condensed milk ,and evaporated milk. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Keep stirring until the brown sugar has dissolved and 'burnt'. Evenly spread the sugar over the bottom of a pie plate. Then pour in the custard.
3. Fill a large pot with water (about 3/4 full) and bring to a simmer. Cover the flan with foil. Set flan in pot and cover with the pot lid. Cook flan for 65-70 minutes. Remove flan from the boiling water and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
4. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the flan. Invert onto a serving plate. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

vanilla pudding

Vanilla Pudding

2 c. milk, scalded (heated to 185 deg. F)
2 eggs separated
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. corn starch
1-2 t. vanilla flavoring
pinch of salt
2 bananas, assorted berries, or nilla wafers if desired

1. Scald milk on medium high heat until it reaches 185 deg. F (85 deg. C) which is nearing a boil. Stir constantly to prevent skin from forming and sugars from burning.
2. Mix sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch together. Beat to a smooth paste. Add paste to scalded milk mixing constantly over medium heat until thickened. (Be sure to mix it in throughly at first so you don't get egg-y bits!)
3. When thickened transfer to another dish (or dishes) and over with plastic wrap (press to surface to prevent formation of a skin, if preferred) and keep in fridge until cooled (two hours to overnight).
4. Serve with sliced bananas or nilla wafers or assorted berries. Enjoy!
Serves 4 (1/2 c. servings)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Broccoli Romanesco

Lemon Dijon Broccoli Romanesco
1 head broccoli romanesco, trim & wash as you would broccoli
2 T. butter, melted
1 t. dijon mustard
1 1/2 t. lemon juice
1/4 t. salt
1 t. sugar
2 T. parmesan, grated

Steam the broccoli romanesco for 7-9 minutes, being careful not to over cook. Toss to coat with dressing. Sprinkle with cheese. ~2-3 servings

* These names might be confusing. Most sources make a distinction between green looking cauliflower and the conical looking broccoli as broccoflower and broccoli romanesco respectively, but broccoli romanesco is frequently called broccoflower as well.