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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!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Cookie Mania!

Happy Monday everyone! I was very busy this weekend, making cookie boxes for a very special group of people. Check it out:

Chocolate chocolate!
French Sables

From left: chocolate chocolate, strawberry oat bars,
chocolate chip blondies, sables



For the perfect cookie box, be sure to include a variety of flavors; don't be afraid of bar cookies! Mine are all bite-sized to accommodate my receivers. Here are a few interesting recipes to get your creative cooking juices flowing...


Oatella Cookies
Dagmara Kokonas

Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • One 13-ounce jar Nutella
  • 2 cups rolled oats
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the shortening with both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl. Add the Nutella and beat until smooth. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then beat in the oats.
  2. Scoop 1-tablespoon mounds of dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and the cookies are just set; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Immediately transfer the cookies from the pan to racks to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.
MAKE AHEAD The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies
The Gourmet Cookie Book Conde Naste Publications

Ingredients
For Cookies
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • White and colored sanding sugars
For Filling
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
Special Equipment
  • a heavy-duty sealable bag
Directions
Make Cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  3. Beat together butter and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in zest and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture just until a soft dough forms.
  4. Put sanding sugars in different bowls. Roll a scant teaspoon of dough into a ball and drop into sugar, turning to coat. Reshape if necessary and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat, spacing balls 3/4 inch apart, until baking sheet is filled.
  5. Bake until tops are slightly cracked but still pale (bottoms will be pale golden), 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to a rack to cool completely.
  6. Form and bake more cookies on second baking sheet.

Make Filling and Sandwich Cookies:
  1. Beat together all filling ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until combined well. Transfer to sealable bag and snip off a corner.
  2. Turn over half of cookies and pipe about 1/2 teaspoon filling on flat side of each. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently.
Notes:
  1. The sugared dough balls should be chilled for 30 minutes or frozen for 5 to 10 minutes to help preserve their round shape. Keep the sandwiched cookies chilled.
  2. The unsandwiched cookies keep, in a metal cookie tin, at a cool room temperature for up to 4 days.

 Happy baking!



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cherries, Cherries Everywhere!

Happy Hump Day everyone! I've noticed that cherries have been on super sale in the supermarket for the past few weeks - $3.99/lb at A&P and $6.99/lb at Whole Foods - so I think it's time to make use for those cherries before the prices skyrocket! Cherries are really fabulous and freeze very easily, so buy a whole bag and save some for the wintertime. In the meantime, let's do some baking!

Classic Sour Cherry Pie with Lattice Crust
Lori Longbotham

Ingredients
Crust
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons (or more) ice water
Filling
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups whole pitted sour cherries or dark sweet cherries (about 2 pounds whole unpitted cherries)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (if using sour cherries) or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (if using dark sweet cherries)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon (about) milk
  • Vanilla ice cream
Directions
For crust:
  1. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small pea-size clumps form. Add 5 tablespoons ice water; mix lightly with fork until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough together; divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Do ahead Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.
For filling:
  1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Stir in cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla; set aside.
  2. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Using large knife or pastry wheel with fluted edge, cut ten 3/4-inch-wide strips from dough round. Transfer filling to dough-lined dish, mounding slightly in center. Dot with butter. Arrange dough strips atop filling, forming lattice; trim dough strip overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips and crimp edges to seal. Brush lattice crust (not edges) with milk. Sprinkle lattice with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
  3. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Cherry Hand Pies
Kay Chun

Ingredients

  • One 14-ounce package all-butter puff pastry, thawed and chilled
  • 2 cups cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, beaten
Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry on parchment paper to a 14-by-12-inch rectangle and cut into eight 3-by-3 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer the parchment paper to a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the cherries with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon. Brush the pastry edges of the rectangles with the beaten egg wash. Mound the filling in the center of each pastry and fold the dough over; press to seal and crimp decoratively. Brush the pies with beaten egg and make a small slit in the top of each one. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden.

Warm Skillet Sour Cherries with Vanilla Ice Cream
Gourmet July 2005

Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 lb fresh or thawed frozen sour cherries, pitted (2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons kirsch
  • Premium vanilla ice cream
  • Accompaniment: bakery butter cookies
Directions
  1. Rub together sugar and lemon juice in a 12-inch heavy skillet with your fingertips until mixture resembles wet sand. Heat over moderately high heat, swirling skillet slowly, until sugar is melted and pale golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Add butter and swirl skillet until incorporated, about 30 seconds (mixture will bubble up). Add cherries, swirling skillet to coat, and bring to a boil (cherries will exude liquid; caramel will harden). Cook cherries, swirling skillet, until caramel is dissolved, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour through a medium-mesh sieve set over a bowl, then return liquid to skillet and boil until reduced to about 3/4 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, then add cherries and kirsch. Return to stove and boil 30 seconds.
  2. Spoon warm cherries into shallow bowls and top with scoops of ice cream.
Cooks' Note: Cherries can be cooked 3 hours ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature. Bring to a boil just before serving.


Happy baking!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Carrot Cake For Me; Foodie's Delight For You!

Happy Tuesday! Yesterday was my 2nd wedding anniversary with my husband, and I spent the day making our favorite tropical carrot cake (I melt for carrot cake - since I was in the single digits), Chelsea Market-style crab cakes, and some roasted sides. Yum, yum. Check it out:


Crab cakes on our wedding china!

A very tricky tropical carrot cake...
this frosting sure didn't want to play nice!

A delicious 4 layer, extra creamy, extra moist slice!

Hungry yet? I'm always hungry when I look at food. So today I bring you awesome links to where you can find the biggest and smallest food towns. Looks like outrageously fabulous food (and the demand from salivating foodies) is spreading across the country! Grab your car keys and find your closest town.

1. According to my favorite travel guide
2. According to the creators of many, many, MANY, magazines.
3. According to one of my favorite food sources