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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Apple Season is BACK!

Cake sneak peek!
Happy Thursday everyone! On this important date, I'd just like to take a moment to remember those who aren't with us and those who became heroes on this date so many years ago...we honor you today and every day. 

Just noticed I've exceeded the 9000 reader mark! Thank you to everyone who has been checking out my blog - it means a lot to me! This week I've been working on two, count them TWO party cakes for a very special soon-to-be one year old girl! Pictures coming soon...

In the meantime, let's talk apples. Blueberry pints have shrunk back down to expensive half pints; strawberries are looking a little droopy; pluots have become plu-blahs...so that can only mean apple season is upon us once more! I've found 3 apple recipes that will make you happy to say bu-bye summer, hello fall!

Mmmm...cake...
Maple-Apple Upside-Down Cake
Joanne Chang

Ingredients
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and cut into eighths
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • Crème fraîche, for serving
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake pan. In a large saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over high heat, then simmer over low heat until very thick and reduced to 3/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Pour the thickened syrup into the cake pan. Arrange the apples in the pan in 2 concentric circles, overlapping them slightly.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the dry and wet ingredients in 3 alternating batches until the batter is smooth; scrape down the side of the bowl.
  3. Scrape the batter over the apples and spread it in an even layer. Bake the cake for 1 1/2 hours, until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a rack for 45 minutes.
  4. Place a plate on top of the cake and invert the cake onto the plate; tap lightly to release the cake. Remove the pan. Let the cake cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve with crème fraîche.



Fry 'em up...
Apple Fritters
Gourmet December 2001

Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold beer (not dark)
  • 10 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 apples (1 lb), peeled, halved lengthwise, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting
Directions
  1. Stir together flour, granulated sugar, and salt, then add beer and whisk to combine. Heat oil in a 5-quart heavy pot until thermometer registers 375°F.
  2. Dip apple slices in batter, shaking off excess, and fry, about 8 at a time, until golden, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Transfer fritters with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Serve warm, dusted with confectioners sugar.




Skin on, please...
Apple Crisp with Apple Skins
Jo Robinson

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 pounds apples, preferably Granny Smith or another nutritious variety
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, or rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Topping
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, or rice flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed, or 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted or salted butter, melted
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel and core the apples, but do not discard the peels. Slice the peeled apples into 1/4 inch slices and place into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Combine 1 cup of the sliced apples, the apple skins, the honey, 1 tablespoon flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the bowl of a food processor. Process on high speed until the skins are finely chopped, about 3 minutes. (This will seem like a long time.) Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir the chopped mixture into the bowl of sliced apples, then spoon into a greased 8‑inch square baking pan. Set aside.
  3. To make the topping, combine all the topping ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until blended, then spoon over the apples. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake 50-60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the apple slices are tender. Cool 10-15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Variations: Add a teaspoon of grated lemon peel to the apples. Add 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cloves. Use pecans instead of walnuts.

Happy baking!

Friday, September 5, 2014

One Ice Cream; Three Cookies

Happy Friday everyone! While melting on a bench in the dog park, dog happily sitting in the sun, I suddenly had a craving for ooey gooey delicious ice cream, smooshed between 2 soft and chewy cookies. *drool.* So tonight I want you to go out and get your favorite brand of vanilla bean ice cream: are you a Haagen-Dazs fanatic or a Ben and Jerry's lover? Breyers or Cold Stone? Take your pick, buy a few pints, and choose which cookie flavor tickles your fancy for dessert!

Going the chocolate route...
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
Emily Farris

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º. In small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the melted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop the dough by a rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then remove the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
MAKE AHEAD The cookie dough can be tightly rolled with plastic wrap into a log and stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. To bake, remove the dough from the freezer and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Place on cookie sheet, allow to defrost for 10 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes.


Going the peanut buttery route...
Peanut Butter Cookies
Alice Medrich

Ingredients
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 8 tbsp. softened butter 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups chunky peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Sift the flour and baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside. Put the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy but not fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla, and beat until just smooth, about 30 seconds. Stir in the reserved flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 12.
  2. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, then preheat oven to 325°. Pinch off heaping tablespoon-size pieces of dough and roll into balls. Arrange balls 2 1/2'' apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Use tines of a fork to flatten balls to a thickness of about 1/2'' and to make a grid pattern on top. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool cookies completely before storing in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks.


Pucker up...
Old-Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies
Martha Stewart Living, August 2005

Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl; set aside.
  2. Put sugars and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed 30 seconds. Add butter; mix until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time, and then the lemon juice. Reduce speed; gradually add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
  3. Scoop dough using a 2-inch ice cream scoop; space cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten cookies slightly with a spatula. Sprinkle tops with sanding sugar, then lightly brush with a wet pastry brush; sprinkle with more sanding sugar.
  4. Bake cookies until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks using a spatula; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Shrimp Rolls For Hot Nights

Happy Wednesday everyone! Last night we ate healthy, delicious shrimp rolls for dinner with homemade potato chips. Don't click away just yet - this is super easy and actually very healthy! For potato chips, slice 1/8" slices of russet potatoes on a mandoline, bake chips with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 450 degrees for 20-25 min, rotating pans halfway. For the shrimp rolls, check out these bad boys:

Shrimp Rolls
Ellie Krieger

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup plain Greek-style nonfat yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallion greens (from about 1 scallion)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound cooked shelled medium shrimp
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 whole-wheat hot dog buns (I find them - cheap yet delicious - at Trader Joe's)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions
  1. In a bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, celery, scallions, and lemon juice. Fold in the shrimp and season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to use. 
  2. Just before serving, open the hot dog buns and brush the inside with olive oil. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and grill the bread, cut side down, until toasted, about 3 minutes. 
  3. Fill each with ¾ cup of shrimp mixture and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 1 shrimp roll

Happy shrimping!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Holding Onto Summer for a Few More Weeks

Happy Thursday everyone! Summer has taken hold of my schedule, but I'm working hard to get back to my favorite Lizzy Bee's bloggies! Today let's talk about the end of summer desserts (I know, I know, sore subject!) slash ideas for Labor Day this weekend. Here are a few recipes to hold onto the sweet fruits of our poolside season.

Blueberry Cheesecake Galette
Food Network

Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 large egg
  • Cooking spray
For the filling:
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 8 -ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten, plus 1 egg yolk
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Make the dough: Pulse the flour, granulated sugar, vinegar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size pieces of butter. Whisk the egg with 2 tablespoons water; add to the food processor and pulse until a dough just starts to form. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap; shape into a disk, wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  2. Mist a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch round between 2 sheets of floured parchment paper. Remove the top piece of parchment and invert the dough onto the prepared baking sheet; remove the other piece of parchment. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
  3. Make the filling: Toss the blueberries, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, the lemon juice, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Whisk the cream cheese, egg yolk, the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and the nutmeg in a separate bowl.
  4. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Top with the blueberries. Fold the edge of the dough over the filling. Drizzle the remaining cream cheese mixture over the berries; refrigerate 30 minutes.
  5. Put an inverted baking sheet in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Put the baking sheet with the galette directly on the hot baking sheet in the oven. Bake until the crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before slicing.



Mango Blueberry Fool
Lillian Chou

Ingredients
  • 1 (1-pound) ripe mango, pitted, peeled, and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (1/2 pound)
  • Grated lime zest to taste
Directions
  1. Purée mango, sugar, lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a blender until very smooth. Add cream and blend until very thick. Blend in additional lime juice and sugar to taste.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and fold in most of blueberries, then divide among 6 glasses. Top with remaining blueberries and zest. If desired, chill, loosely covered, 30 minutes.



Farmer's Cheesecake with Strawberries
Nicolaus Balla

Ingredients
Crust
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups packed graham cracker crumbs (10 to 12 whole crackers)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • Pinch of cinnamon
Filling
  • 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  1. Toppings
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1/2 cup honey
Directions
  1. MAKE THE CRUST In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar over moderately low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the salt, ginger and cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the side of a 9-inch fluted tart pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.
  2. MAKE THE FILLING In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the ricotta with the cream cheese, agave nectar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and ginger just until smooth. Using a spatula, spread the filling in the chilled crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.
  3. MEANWHILE, PREPARE THE TOPPINGS In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Let stand at room temperature, stirring once or twice, until the berries are juicy and slightly softened, about 30 minutes.
  4. In a small saucepan, toast the caraway seeds over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar and lightly crush the seeds. Return the caraway seeds to the saucepan and add the honey. Warm the honey over moderately low heat for 10 minutes. Strain the honey into a bowl, discarding the seeds; let cool.
  5. Cut the cheesecake into wedges, top with the strawberries and caraway honey and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. The honey can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Happy baking!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pass the Cheese, Please

Happy Thursday lovely readers! So today I've been craving pizza (no surprise), and as we've discussed, pizza dough falls into the baking category. But today's post isn't about the dough; no no, it's not at all; today's post is about the CHEESE. A stretch from baking? Sure, but important nonetheless. Here are a couple recipes for homemade ricotta cheese, to elevate your home pizza from fabulous to fabulous AND amazing!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Rhoda Boone

Ingredients
  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Directions
  1. Line a large colander with 2 layers of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.
  2. In a 5 to 6 quart pot over medium heat, heat milk, cream, and salt, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching, until mixture foams and comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add lemon juice. Simmer, stirring, until mixture curdles, 2 minutes for small curds. If you'd like a larger, dryer curd, continue to simmer an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Pour mixture into cheesecloth lined colander and drain 10 to 15 minutes or until desired texture is achieved. Empty liquid from bowl if necessary to ensure proper draining. Reserved whey can be used in smoothies or soup. Chill ricotta until ready to use.
  4. Serve spread onto crostini with a drizzle of olive oil, dollop over pasta or pizza, or stir into scrambled eggs. Ricotta will keep in the fridge for 1 week.



Homemade Ricotta
Ina Garten

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
  2. Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
  3. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I tend to like mine on the thicker side, but some prefer it moister.) Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

And if that weren't enough, here's a video for you visual learners!

Happy cheesing!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ice Cream Social

Happy Wednesday! Back from vacation *dramatic sigh* and back to blog! I've started receiving emails about Labor Day sales and, quite honestly, I refuse to let this happen. Soooo, to counteract this propaganda, I shall pretend that the summer will last forever (and perhaps pretend that it's not raining - a girl can dream). Let's call it Ice Cream Social day! This post is dedicated to the sweet, messy, cold dessert that always warms our hearts.

(Need an ice cream maker? This one is worth the price - it comes with an extra freezer bowl. Leave one in the freezer at all times if you can, and switch them as you use the one. Needs to freeze at least 48 hours to be nice and cold for ice cream!)

Protein-filled option...
Greek Yogurt Ice Cream
Mathew Rice

Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup whole-milk Greek-style yogurt*
  • Pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 cup whole milk, and 1/2 cup sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. 
  2. Whisk 3 large egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in large heatproof bowl until blended. Gradually add hot cream mixture to yolk mixture and whisk until blended. 
  3. Return mixture to saucepan and stir over medium low heat until custard thickens slightly and coats back of spoon when finger is drawn across and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 170°F, about 3 minutes (do not boil). 
  4. Pour custard through strainer set over medium bowl. Place bowl with custard in larger bowl filled halfway with ice and water. Whisk occasionally until custard is almost cool to touch, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl with custard from ice water. Whisk yogurt and pinch of salt into custard. Refrigerate custard until well chilled.
  5. Transfer custard to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer yogurt ice cream to freezer container. Cover and freeze until ice cream is firm. 
DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep frozen.
* A thick yogurt; sold at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores (such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods) and Greek markets. If unavailable, place regular yogurt in cheesecloth-lined strainer set over large bowl. Cover and chill overnight to drain.


A flavor my father would love...
Pine Nut Honey Ice Cream
Bruce Weinstein, The Ultimate Ice Cream Book

Ingredients
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread the pine nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in oven until lightly toasted, about 5 to 10 minutes. Take care not to burn the nuts.
  2. Combine the hot nuts, honey, and sugar in a food processor and process for 2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs and process until well blended, about 30 seconds.
  3. Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy sauce pan. With food processor running, slowly pour the hot milk into the nut mixture through the feed tube. Process 30 seconds or until the nut custard is smooth. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from heat. Pour the hot nut custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.
  4. Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in one or two batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.



Plain - ish...
Sour Cream Ice Cream
Gourmet January 1996

Ingredients
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups (1 pint) sour cream
Directions
  1. In heavy saucepan combine half-and-half, 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla bean and bring just to a boil. Remove pan from heat. in a bowl whisk together egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar and hot half-and-half mixture in a stream, whisking. Return custard to pan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until 170°F. on a candy thermometer.
  2. Remove pan from heat. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into custard until combined well and discard pod. Stir sour cream into custard until combined well and strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Chill custard until cold and freeze in an ice-cream maker.


Happy baking!