Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie Rewind-Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Mari, who runs the beautifully delicious Mevrouw Cupcake chose Creme Brulee for this week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe. I really wanted to make this and do a pumpkin version, but I don't have a torch and didn't know if I wanted to try out the broiler, plus I have been making treats like crazy and so when we were given the choice to do a rewind, I decided that is what I would do.
I decided to try the Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies, which was the first recipe chosen when TWD started. These little cookies were tricky! I made sure not to handle the dough too much and also chilled it for a day, but some of them still spread and got really crunchy. I had about 2/3 that turned out right, so I guess that is something to be happy about. They were really delicious and lucky I was able to take them to a gathering so that we didn't end up eating them all. Go check out all the other Creme Brulee and Rewinds, by visiting the Tuesday's with Dorie Blogroll!

Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies
(Source: Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home to Yours” p.127)

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground cloves
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup finely ground pecans
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and cloves.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Add the pecans and give the mixer a couple of turns, just to get the nuts into the dough.
3. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9×10-1/2-inch rectangle that’s 1/4-inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.
4. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets wiht parchment or silicone mats.
5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-1/2 inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.
6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale - they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
7. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cupcake Hero Bakers Choice- Lime Cupcakes with Cranberry-Lime Filling and Marshmallow Frosting

This month's Cupcake Hero marks the 1-year anniversary! To celebrate Laurie decided that Cupcake Hero needed it's own site, check it out HERE. Now you can post your entry directly to the site and see everyone else's entry as well.
This month's theme was Bakers Choice. That means we could choose at least 2 or more of the past 12 themes and go with it.
I choose Lime, Cranberry and Marshmallow. It might sound like a wierd combination, but it works out well. I was inspired by one of my favorite drinks, which combines cranberry juice, lime juice and zest and a little carbonated water. It is sour and delightful. So, I went with a lime flavored cupcake, a cranberry-lime filling and Dorie's marshmallow frosting.
The outcome was delicious. This is a light, tangy cupcake with a fluffy frosting. Perfect if you ask me, but I am not the judge!

Lime Cupcakes

Cupcakes adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
What You'll Need...
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoon chopped lime zest

What You'll Do...
1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and lime juice/zest together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/lime juice mixture and beat until combined
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full (depending on whether you wantflat or domed cupcakes).
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cranberry-Lime Filling by Mary Ann
1 cup 100% juice Cranberry-Pomegranate Juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp lime juice
2 Tbls cornstarch
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp grated lime zest
Combine juice, water, sugar, lime juice, cornstarch, and dried cranberries in a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking or stirring occasionally. Boil, until begins to thicken, then remove from heat, stir in zest, and let cool.
Marshmallow Frosting from Baking: From My Home to Yours
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large)
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer. While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites. When the syrup is at about 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer.
If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable -- don't try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting.

Pear-Oatmeal Muffins

Tons of fresh pears were quickly ripening and something had to be done. I also just happened to have a little bit of ricotta left in the fridge which led me to this muffin recipe.

These muffins were quick and easy to throw together and everyone really loved them. I made 14 regular sized muffins and then some mini-muffins. I thought they tasted a little bit better warm, but they were good cold too. If you have some pears waiting to be used, chop them up (peel included) and make some muffins!

Pear-Oatmeal Muffins from Cooking Light

1 cup quick-cooking oats, divided

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 cups chopped ripe pear

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/3 cup light ricotta cheese

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 large egg white

1 large egg

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine 1/2 cup oats, flour, and next 6 ingredients (flour through allspice) in a large bowl. Stir in pear, and make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk and next 5 ingredients (buttermilk through egg), and stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle 1/2 cup oats evenly over batter.
Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until done. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Beef Stroganoff

Sometimes you have to make something for dinner that will please those who like meat and not tofu. Sometimes that meal will also include mushrooms. Most likely this dinner will not be too photogenic, but will garner rave reviews from everyone except the person who made it, because she couldn't make herself eat it. This is that dinner.
I do not like mushrooms. I shared that a few days ago. They are one of the few foods I really don't like. I can eat them on pizza or in small pieces, but when they are the star of the show along with beef (not something I enjoy), I just have a hard time.

So, I myself, didn't eat this (I was sneaky, so no one noticed), but everyone else did and they loved it, so I thought I would share it. It is another of my great grandmother's recipes that I revisited and changed a little (I didn't really think that cooking the meat in crisco was a good idea!) I also used sirloin steak and that reduced the cooking time a little bit.
If you want an updated Stroganoff, give it a try!

Beef Stroganoff by Great Grandma Ruthardt, adapted by Mary Ann
1 lb. 1/4-inch thick round or sirloin steak
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 Tbls canola oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 1/2 cups water mixed with 1 beef boullion cube or 1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 lb fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2 Tbls chopped fresh chives or scallions

Rub steak with minced garlic. Mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Slice steak unto 1x1 1/2-inch slices and toss in flour mixture. Heat oil in a dutch oven or cast iron pot. Add meat and brown well. (Keep the flour mixture). Add the onions and cook until transparent.
Add remaining flour mixture, water/broth, and mushrooms. Cover and cook slowly until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours (or if you use the sirloin steak, 35-45 minutes)
Stir occasionally. If the sauce is not thickening, mix 1-2 Tbls cornstarch and a small amount of cold water in a small bowl. Bring the sauce to a bubble and add cornstarch mixture and heat until thick.
Add greek yogurt. Serve with egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Sprinkle chives or scallions on top.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers- Lavash Crackers and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

This month's Daring Bakers challenge was Lavash Crackers and Toppings. This fun challenge was hosted by Shel- Musings From the Fishbowl and Natalie-Gluten a Go Go. They decided to go with a savory challenge that was vegan and/or gluten free. We were free to choose the toppings for our lavash and also encouraged to use a favorite dip or topping. I chose garlic sea salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and cumin as the topping for my Lavash. I kinda just sprinkled some of it everywhere. The edge pieces of my lavash were nice and thin, which meant they were very crispy and the ones in the middle tasted more like a pita. It was nice to have a difference in the thickness and texture. I made a Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, but cheated and used some of the bottled peppers I had in the fridge. I didn't really measure anything for the hummus, I just threw it in the food processor and pureed it. It was good though!

I had a little Lavash left over that I had to trim for it to fit in the pan and so I sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar. That was my 1 year old's fave of the bunch. This was a fast recipe (except for the fermenting) to throw together and it disappeared quickly! Go see what the other Daring Bakers came up with this month by visiting the Daring Bakers Blogroll!

Lavash Crackers recipe taken from The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart
Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers
* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend
without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed. .

2.For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bread-Dough-Has-Been-Mixed-Long-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).
7. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus adapted from Cooking Light
1 red bell pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (19-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, quartered

Preheat broiler.
Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel.
Place bell pepper and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cookie Carnival-Pink Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies and Grapefruit Mousse

Remember that stick of butter and cup of cream I didn't use in the soup yesterday? Well, don't worry folks, they both found a home and it was worth it, for these tasty desserts. This month's cookie for Cookie Carnival is Pink Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies. When I saw this recipe I immediately thought of a delicious mousse that I made last fall, from Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine. I decided to go all out and pair these two grapefruity desserts together.

The cookies were like a basic sugar cookie with a citrusy zest flavor and a tangy frosting. I couldn't really detect an exact grapefruit flavor, it was more of a citrus taste. No one really cared what citrus flavor it was, they just ate these up! The mousse is tart and a bit surprising, not too sweet, and I think that is why I like it so much. I am a big fan of grapefruit, so that might be another reason why I liked both of these treats. If you are looking for a couple fun, citrusy desserts, give these a whirl!

Pink Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies from Martha Stewart
You can bake the cookies and make the filling a day ahead
Ingredients for cookies
Makes 15 sandwich cookies.
* Grated zest of 1 Ruby Red grapefruit, plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed juice
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
* 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
* 2 large egg yolks
* Pink Grapefruit Cream Filling


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl, combine zest with 1 tablespoon sugar; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and remaining sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg yolks, and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in reserved zest-sugar mixture. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the juice, and beat to combine.
3. Turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and shape into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out disk to 1/8 inch thick using a lightly floured rolling pin. Using a lightly floured 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds and place about 1 inch apart on prepared sheet. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until edges are golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes. Transfer parchment paper and cookies to rack to cool completely.
5. Using an offset spatula, spread 1 tablespoon filling onto flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping flat sides down. Once filled, cookies can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Ingredients for filling
Makes enough to fill 15 sandwich cookies.
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
* 2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in honey. Add juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until filling holds together and is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside until ready to use.

Grapefruit Mousse From Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine
Four 4-inch strips peel and juice of 1 grapefruit
6 tablespoons sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 cup marshmallow cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon honey

1. In a small saucepan, bring the grapefruit juice, 2 peel strips and the sugar to a boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is reduced by half, 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in half of the hot grapefruit syrup, pouring in a slow, steady stream. Whisk the yolks into the remaining grapefruit syrup and cook, whisking, over low heat just until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately strain into a small bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water and let cool. Discard the peel strips.

3. In a medium bowl, stir the marshmallow cream until smooth, then fold into the grapefruit mixture.

4. Using an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream and honey on high speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold the whipped cream into the grapefruit-marshmallow mixture.
5. Spoon the mousse into dessert cups and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut the remaining 2 peel strips into slivers and sprinkle on the mousse before serving.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers- Wild Mushroom Soup and Red Lentil and Portobello Wraps with Feta and Tomatillo Salsa

This week's Barefoot Bloggers recipe was chosen by Chelle of Brown-eyed Baker
Check out her blog for the recipe or click HERE for the original, creamy recipe.

I hate mushrooms. There, I said it. They are the one food that I do not like. I will eat them mixed in with other foods, but when they are the star of the show, hmmm, I seriously have a hard time.
But, I wanted to be a good sport, so I thought to myself, I will make this soup and surely someone will like it. I will pair it with something I know I will like on the side and it will be fine. I was shocked to find Portobello, Crimini, and Shitake mushrooms all at my grocery store. I had my half and half and milk ready to go.
But, when I saw the part about straining out the carrots, stems and onion, I just couldn't do it. I didn't want to waste those yummy vegetables.
So then I saw the stick of butter to cook the leeks in- nope, couldn't do it. If I am going to use a stick of butter and a cup of cream, I better be looking some sort of dessert in the face.
That is when this simply became Wild Mushroom soup- broth based. Maybe this one turned out to be a little more Mary Ann, and a little less Barefoot Contessa. Sorry, really I am.
Forgive me my fellow Barefoot bloggers, please. I ate a bowl of it, and it wasn't half bad. I got the mushrooms down and saved my calories for something later this week.

Now, on to the wraps. Absolutely fabulous. I love red lentils, so I was excited about these and they were wonderful. The salsa alone was great. That is how I like mushrooms, mixed into the filling, so you can't really tell. But, hey I attempted it and didn't just give up after seeing the title of the recipe. That has got to count for something!

Wild Mushroom Soup heavily aapted from the Barefoot Contessa
5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms

5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms

5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms

2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh oregano plus 1 teaspoon minced oregano leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 leeks, white and light green parts, chopped
2 cups vegetable stock

Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don't wash them! Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
To make the stock, heat 1 Tbls olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat 1 Tbls olive oil and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown, adding water if necessary to keep from burning. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender.
Add the vegetable stock and transfer leek/mushroom mixture to the mushroom stock pot.
Bring back to a boil and then simmer until ready to serve. Serve with fresh oregano leaves

Red Lentil and Portobello Wraps with Feta and Tomatillo Salsa adapted from Fitness Magazine
1/4 habanero pepper, stemmed and minced
1/2 scallion, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6 tomatillos, chopped
1 Tbls chopped fresh oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbls chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup cooked, cubed zucchini
1/2 cup toasted fresh corn
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbls olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup diced red potatoes
1 cup sliced portobello mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup red lentils
3 cups fresh spinach
2 Tbls chopped fresh oregano
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed
whole wheat or multigrain tortillas
cilantro and radishes, for garnish

Place first 8 salsa ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chunky. Add remaining salsa ingredients and season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tbls oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Saute the onion for 5 minutes. Add potatoes, garlic and mushrooms. Cook for 10 minutes, adding a little bit of vegetable stock to keep from getting too brown. Add lentils and rest of vegetable stock. Cook for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in spinach, oregano, and chili powder. Add feta.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spoon 2-3 Tbls lentil mixture (you might have to do this with a slotted spoon, if too juicy) in the middle of a tortilla. Fold sides into middle and then other sides. Place seam down on a cooking sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Spray wraps with cooking spray and cook for 20 minutes, until crispy. Serve with salsa. Garnish with cilantro and radishes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Weekly Lunchbox-Couscous with Tofu, Zucchini and Basil, Gouda Grilled Cheese,Turkey, Bacon and Bean Salad, and Banana Apple Bread

Couscous with Tofu, Zucchini and Basil
Here is our lunchbox for the week. We've got a couple of make ahead salads, my son picked the turkey and bacon one and it was delicious. Also, a loaded grilled cheese with apple to bring in fall. The banana apple bread was delicious and packed well. So, do your self a favor and spice up your lunch!
Gouda Grilled Cheese

Turkey, Bacon, and Bean Salad

Apple Banana Bread
Couscous with Tofu, Zucchini and Basil adapted from Lunch Lessons by Ann Cooper and Lisa M. Holmes
2 cups salted water
1/3 cup couscous
3 Tbls olive oil
1/2 cup firm tofu, diced
2 Tbls lemon juice
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup zucchini, diced small
1/2 cup red onion, diced small
3/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp chili powder
1. Bring two cups of water to a boil.
2. Place raw couscous in a large bowl and add enough of the salted water to just cover the couscous. Allow it to stand for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
3. Drizzle 2 Tbls olive oil into the couscous and use fork to break up any lumps.
4. In a small bowl, combine remaining oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Pour over the tofu and set aside.
5. Add the zucchini, onion, herbs, zest and chili powder to the couscous and mix well. Drain the tofu and gently toss into the couscous. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Gouda Grilled Cheese by Mary Ann
2 slices whole grain bread
gouda cheese slices
thinly sliced green bell pepper
thinly sliced tart apple (I used Jonathans)
baby spinach
thinly sliced turkey tenderloin, cooked
Place 1 slice of bread on george foreman grill. Layer cheese, apple, green pepper, turkey, spinach and a few slices cheese on top. Place other slice of bread on top. Close top of grill and cook until cheese is melted and veggies are warmed.
Turkey, Bacon, and Bean Salad adapted from kids healthy lunchbox by cara hobday
2Tbls olive oil
4 oz turkey bacon
5 oz turkey breast (I used turkey breast tenderloin)
1 Tbls red wine vinegar
1 Tbls dijon mustard
14 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli
salt and pepper

1- The evening before, cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat, then add the turkey and cook until golden and cooked through. The turkey will take at least 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels until cool and then dice.
2- In a large bowl, mix together the vinegar and mustard until well combined, then stir in the oil and set aside.
3- Combine the beans, red pepper, and broccoli and stir well. Add the bacon and turkey. Check the seasoning. Refrigerate overnight and stir in the dressing before packing.

Banana Apple Bread (Source: The Sweet Melissa Baking Book)
For the apples:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the banana bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extrac
t1 ¼ cups very ripe mashed bananas (2 to 3)
Before you start:Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan.
To make the apples:Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and heat until bubbling. Add the apples and cinnamon and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
To make the banana bread:In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the orange juice mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each flour addition. Stir in the mashed bananas until combined. Then stir in the reserved apples.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool further.
*Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The banana bread keeps well wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Defrost (still wrapped) at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie- Nectarine Dimply Cake and Peach Dimply Cake with Lemon Zest and Fresh Basil

Nectarine Dimply Cake

Peach Dimply Cake- notice the beautiful basil
Peach and Nectarine side by side

Peach bite and Nectarine piece
I made the Plum Dimply Cake back in May for myself on Mother's Day. I couldn't resist. If you have seen the picture of it in the book, you will probably know what I am talking about, if you like plums. Plums are one of my favorite fruits and I had no idea if anyone was going to pick it anytime soon, for Tuesdays' with Dorie. Michelle of Bake-en must have felt the same way I did, because she picked it for this week's recipe. Go to her blog for the recipe or the link from my blog noted earlier in this post.

The great thing about having previously made this, was I knew exactly what fruit I wanted to use and I knew what not to do- Do not overload this cake with too much fruit! It will fall apart!

I decided to use Nectarines and Peaches because we have a million of them from the trees in the backyard. I made 2 cakes, the Nectarine with orange zest and cardamom and the Peach with lemon zest and basil. (Dorie's suggestions in the Playing around section of this recipe). I also did not use entire halves of either fruit. I sliced them and then fit as many slices as I could on top of either cake.

They both came out tasting wonderfully delicious. The Nectarine cake was a tad bit sweeter but the Peach was my favorite. They both disappeared. This was one tasty breakfast!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dorie's Cocoa Buttermilk Cake with The Barefoot Contessa's Peanut Butter Frosting, Fresh Peach Pie, and Banana Bundt Cake

This past weekend I was able to get together with a bunch of friends for lunch and some catching up. My friend's husband made us the best curry and bulgogi (Seriously, to die for- I have to get the recipes), and I really wanted to provide dessert. You see, get togethers give me the chance to make treats that I have on my "to-make" list, and I usually knock out at least 3 at a time.

So, then I had to decide what was going to be made. The almost rotten bananas and overload of peaches made two of the choices easy, but on the third I was going back and forth. I had seen a post for this Dorie/Barefoot Contessa combo dessert (here on Smells like Home and also here on Slow Like Honey) and everywhere else and knew it couldn't miss. How could combining Dorie and Ina go wrong? Especially when you are mixing choco and pb? If you only make one dessert in your life, make this Cocoa Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting. It was divine. I made cupcakes because they are easier to feed more people and not as hard to transport.

The Peach Pie is a no-bake filling and super easy, plus it is delicious. It is a recipe from a family friend, from my childhood that we make every year when the peaches are ripe. Everyone thought they would just have a half a slice, but it was the first thing that disappeared.

The Banana Bundt was wonderful as well. I made it the night before as Dorie suggested and wrapped it in plastic wrap over night and drizzled the icing right before we got in the car. It was so much fun to see old friends and eat yummy food. I think I try to eat healthy at breakfast, lunch and dinner, so I can enjoy delicious treats like this a few times a week. Yummy! (Exercise helps too)

Cocoa Buttermilk Birthday Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
source- Baking: From My Home to Yours and Barefoot Contessa
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 and ½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk I used low-fat because that is what I always buy
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional) I used 3 oz.
Countless amounts of miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups, smashed or cut up
Peanut Butter frosting recipe follows

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet. (I made 18 cupcakes and 12 mini-cupcakes)
To make the cake: Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until it is thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs one at a time, then the yolks one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 portions and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); mix only until each new batch is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and, if you want, add the melted chocolate, folding it in with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the cake pans.
Bake for 26 to 30 minutes (I baked the minis for about 14 minutes and the other cupcakes for 19 minutes), or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
To Assemble the Cake: Place one layer top side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Frost the top of the layer, and sprinkle the smashed up peanut butter cups inside. Be careful to not overload the inside with peanut butter cups or else it will look uneven when you place the top layer.
Next, cover with the second layer, top side down. Frost the sides and top of the cake, either smoothing the frosting for a sleek look or using a spatula, knife or spoon to swirl it for a more exuberant look. Press the remaining peanut butter cups around the sides of the frosted cake, and if you want you can sprinkle them on top too.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour (or for up to 1 day, if that’s more convenient) to set the frosting, then bring it to room temperature before serving.
Peanut Butter frosting: from The Barefoot Contessa
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Nancy Morgan's Fresh Peach Pie
1 refrigerated pir crust, or your favorite pie crust recipe, baked and cooled
2 Tbls graham cracker crumbs
5 large fresh peaches, peeled and pitted
3/4 cup sugar or less, to taste
1/2 cup water
3 Tbls cornstarch
2 Tbls butter
1/2 tsp almond flavoring

Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs onto bottom of pre-cooked pie shell. Slice 3 peaches and arrange slices over the crumbs, layering as needed.
Mash the other 2 peaches, with sugar, cornstarch and water in a small saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling or thickened.
Remove from heat and add butter and almond flavoring.
Pour over the sliced peaches in the pie crust and chill for 3-5 hours.
Serve with whipped cream.

Classic Banana Bundt Cake from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: from my home to yours
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (you should have 1 1/2-1 3/4 cups)
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-10-inch (12 cup) Bundt pan. (I used Crisco baking spray with flour)
Whisk together the flour, soda, and salt.
Beat the butter in a large bowl, until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas. Finally mix in half of the dry ingredients, all the sour cream and then the rest of the dry ingredients. Scrape the batter into the pan, rap the pan on the counter to debubble the batter and smooth the top.
Bake for 65-75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check the cake after about 30 minutes-if its browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool to room temperature.
If you've got time, wrap the cooled cake in plastic and allow it to sit on the counter overnight before serving- it's better the next day.

Lemony White Icing
Sift 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar into a bowl and squeeze in enough fresh lemon juice (start with 2 tsps and add more by drops) to make an icing thin enough to drizzle down the Bundt's curves.