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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vegetarian's Dream Sandwich!

Good morning my lovely readers! Today I'm bringing you another delicious savory recipe from my repertoire. Last night I made my favorite filling sandwich, which includes eggplant, beets, kalamata olives, and a variety of herbs - so yummy! In this recipe, the author uses pickled beets. I like to substitute those for roasted golden's quite healthy and extremely tasty! Enjoy!

Roasted Eggplant and Pickled Beet Sandwiches
Saltie, Brooklyn, NY


Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Mayo

  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt, ground pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar

Beet Salad and Assembly

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mixed tender fresh herb leaves (such as flat-leaf parsley, dill, and mint), torn if large
  • 1/2 cup chopped pickled beets
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted oil-cured olives
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 6x4-inch pieces focaccia, split
  • 6 ounces feta, thinly sliced or crumbled
On a wheat peasant bread instead of foccacia

Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Mayo

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Place eggplant slices on a large rimmed baking sheet and rub both sides with oil. Season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Roast until golden and tender, 30-40 minutes.
  2. Whisk garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.

Beet Salad and Assembly

  1. Toss scallions, herbs, beets, olives, capers, and oil in a medium bowl to combine.
  2. Spread cut sides of focaccia with garlic mayo. Build sandwiches with focaccia, eggplant, feta, and beet salad.
DO AHEAD: Eggplant can be roasted 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beat the Heat and Feel Like a Kid!

We've made it to Wednesday people! Thank goodness! Today's post was inspired by my looooong, air conditioning-free car ride home in the heat. I think I may have done a similar post before, so forgive me for that, but I think a few more popsicle recipes would be lovely right about now. So with that and with summer on its way, here are a few recipes to keep you cool in the uncomfortable heat!

For the healthy lifestyle...
Blueberry-Lavender Lemonade Popsicles
Women's Health magazine


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp culinary lavender
  • 1 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice (or juice of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen 
  1. Bring sugar, lavender, and 1/4 cup water to boil in saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and steep for at least 30 minutes. Combine remaining water with lemon juice. 
  2. Strain lavender from sugar syrup, add syrup to lemon water, and mix well. 
  3. Evenly distribute into ice-pop molds, filling each about three-quarters full. Drop several blueberries into each mold, until the liquid reaches the top. Insert sticks and freeze for about 8 hours. 

To wow the crowd...
Fruit Salad Ice Pops
Martha Stewart


  • 1 peach, cut into 1/2-inch slices (1/2 cup)
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 3 ounces blueberries (1/2 cup)
  • 4 ounces strawberries, hulled and halved ( 3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups 100 percent white-grape juice
  1. Arrange some of each fruit in eight 3-ounce ice-pop molds, making sure pieces fit very snugly. Pour enough juice into each mold to just cover fruit. Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until solid, 6 hours (or up to 2 weeks).

For the non-traditionalist...
Frozen Chocolate-Dipped Bananas with Peanut Brittle
Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez for Gourmet Live

  • 8 medium bananas
  • 1 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter plus more for baking sheet
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 ounces bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate, chopped
Special equipment: 8 wooden popsicle sticks (4 1/2- by 1/2-inch); candy thermometer

  1. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper.
  2. Peel bananas and carefully insert a popsicle stick into bottom end of each banana, halfway up stick. Arrange bananas on the baking sheet and freeze until firm but not frozen hard, about 1 hour. (You don't want the bananas so cold that the chocolate solidifies before you have a chance to add the peanut brittle.)
Make Peanut Brittle While Bananas Are Freezing:
  1. Butter a rimmed baking sheet. Combine peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan, and bring slowly to a boil over medium heat, stirring.
  2. Position a candy thermometer so that it can rest on side of pan with bulb in mixture. Slowly boil, without stirring but tilting and swirling mixture in pan if it begins to color unevenly. Cook until deep golden and temperature reaches 295°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in butter and baking soda (mixture will foam up). Immediately pour molten candy onto baking sheet. Let cool completely, 45 minutes to 1 hour, then pry from baking sheet, and finely chop.
Assemble Bananas:
  1. Melt chocolate in a deep metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove bowl of chocolate from pan. Working with 1 banana at a time, set banana in bowl and coat most of banana evenly in chocolate by spooning it on and smoothing it with the back of the spoon.
  2. Immediately sprinkle peanut brittle over chocolate coating while chocolate is still wet, then return coated banana to wax paper–lined sheet, and let it set while coating remaining bananas. Refreeze bananas, if necessary, to firm up chocolate.
Cooks' note:
Bananas can be coated and kept frozen on prepared sheet, covered with plastic wrap after chocolate sets, 3 days ahead.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Non-Traditional Rice and Beans!

Happy Tuesday! As I mentioned yesterday, I'm going to start adding some savory recipes to my blog because I love to cook and I do it all the time! Tonight's recipe was a very delicious one I've made before. For those of you who don't know, I'm a pesco-vegetarian - not something I like to advertise because I keep my food preferences to myself! That being said, my hubby is a meat-eater, so I've had to learn to cook meat and appreciate the quality of a good meat-based meal! This particular recipe scores HUGE with him, even though the protein is beans instead of meat (not one of his fav proteins, either!). It's quick and easy, especially if you use Trader Joe's brown minute rice. Lots of health benefits too! Enjoy!

Brown Rice and Beans with Ginger Chile Salsa
Mary-Frances Heck for Bon Appetit

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divide
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, divided
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 2 red jalapeños or Fresno or Holland chiles, stemmed, halved, seeded
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese or feta (I use fat free feta from Trader Joe's)
  • Lime wedges (for serving)
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/4 of onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Add 2 cups water and season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is just tender, 40-50 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork. Fold in 1/4 cup cilantro; season with salt and pepper.
  3. While rice is cooking, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/3 of remaining onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add coriander and cumin; stir 1 minute. Add beans and broth; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, occasionally mashing beans, until thickened, 8-10 minutes.
  5. Pulse chiles, garlic, ginger, lime zest, lime juice, and remaining onion in a blender until a chunky sauce forms. Season salsa with salt.
  6. Serve rice with beans; top with salsa, avocado, cheese, 1/4 cup cilantro, and lime wedges.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Quick Tip for Tricky Cupcake Frosting!

Happy Memorial Day! I'm taking a little time today to remember the fallen men and women who've fought for our country, and those still out there working hard to keep us safe!

Mini Coconut Cupcakes
Meanwhile, it is GORGEOUS here in the Northeast...though not quite beach weather! I'm still going to spend plenty of time outside with my hunny and my puppy! Thus today I've just got a quick tip for the tricky frostings that just don't pipe beautifully.

Yesterday I made coconut cupcakes, based on a recipe from Hominy Grill in Charleston (I was thinking of you, Becky!) and was stuck in a pickle. These particular cupcakes are both filled AND frosted with coconut flakes mixed in. Though absolutely delicious, it makes it rather difficult to pipe frosting onto the cake when it's filled with thick flakes. So my tip to keep your frosting pretty (and why wouldn't you want to, considering how hard you worked on the cakes!) is to pipe some frosting in the center of your cupcake. It will sit there like a mound. THEN, roll it in something that matches the cake filling - in my case I toasted some coconut flakes - so it adds an extra exciting flavor and gives your cupcakes a beautiful finish to hide the funky frosting job. Make sense? Check out my pic and try it at home!

Lizzy Bee's Blog Update!!!
Be sure to keep an eye out on my blog Tuesdays/Thursdays for some exciting savory dishes! I love to cook unique dinners and always take pictures. I'd love to share my adventures with you! As always, please be sure to leave feedback if you like my stuff or are looking to see something else! And thank you to all of my wonderful readers, including those in faraway countries, from the UK to Russia to Slovenia, you all make me so happy and I love knowing you're out there! Happy baking!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cool Down on Memorial Day!

Hello all! We've finally reached Wednesday (finally...phew). While I wait for the Nashville season finale, I've been brainstorming what would be delicious on a Memorial Day table. I've come up with a few recipes that'll bring you right into summer. But...and not to be preachy...but while you're sipping your mai tais and margaritas, take a quick moment to remember why we celebrate Memorial Day. And with that...bon appetit!

For a girly drink that isn't pink...
Strawberry-Lemon Mojitos
Joaquin Simo, Death & Co.


  • 8 lemon wedges
  • 24 mint leaves, plus 4 mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)
  • 4 strawberries, plus 2 halved strawberries, for garnish
  • Ice cubes, plus crushed ice
  • 8 ounces gold or aged rum
  • 3 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces prepared sugarcane syrup or agave nectar

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the lemon wedges with the whole strawberries and mint leaves. Add ice and the rum, lemon juice and sugarcane syrup; shake well. Strain into crushed ice–filled highball glasses. Garnish with the berry halves and mint sprigs.

A twist on a classic Memorial Day (or any holiday, quite frankly) drink...
Blackberry-Mint Margarita
Hungry Cat


  • 8 blackberries, 2 skewered on a pick
  • Ice
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 ounces reposado tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce Simple Syrup

In a cocktail shaker, muddle 6 of the berries. Add ice, the mint, tequila, lime juice and Simple Syrup; shake well. Pour into a rocks glass; top with the 2 berries.

For a gourmet BBQ...
Chocolate-Covered Mint Ice Cream Terrine
Gourmet July 2007

For ice cream
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
For chocolate coating
  • 3 1/2 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (preferably 70% cacao)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon crème de menthe or 1 tablespoon sugar
Equipment: an ice cream maker; a 12- by 2- by 2-inch metal terrine mold or a 3-cup rectangular terrine or loaf pan; a small offset spatula


Make ice cream:
  1. Blend together cream, milk, and mint in a blender just until minutest is finely chopped.
  2. Bring cream mixture to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan, then let stand off heat 5 minutes. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar, then slowly add cream mixture, whisking to combine. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula, until custard thickens slightly and registers 175°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil).
  3. Immediately strain custard thourough a fine-mesh sieve set over a metal bowl, pressing on and then discarding solids. Quick-chill custard by setting bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stirring occasionally until cold, about 20 minutes.
  4. Freeze custard in ice cream maker.
  5. Lightly oil terrine, then line long sides and bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches of overhang on each side.
  6. Pack terrine with ice cream, smoothing top with offset spatula, then cover with parchment overhang. Freeze until completely firm, at least 3 hours. make chocolate coating while terrine is freezing: Finely chop chocolate (preferably in a food processor).
  7. Bring water, cream, sugar, and cocoa to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in crème de menthe and chocolate, stirring gently with whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature (chocolate should still be liquid; do not chill), about 20 minutes.
  8. Put a 12- by 9-inch piece of parchment on a small baking sheet (if using other than 12- by 2- by 2-inch terrine, adjust dimensions of parchment accordingly), holding it down with dabs of chocolate under each corner. Spread chocolate evenly over parchment with cleaned offset spatula, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Chill on baking sheet until set, about 1 hour.
Coat terrine:
  1. Remove terrine from freezer and open flaps of parchment. Run a hot knife along short sides to loosen, then invert terrine onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Remove mold and discard parchment. Remove terrine from plastic wrap and arrange lengthwise on its side on set chocolate so that bottom of ice cream is 1 1/2 inches from a long edge of chocolate. Roll up ice cream tightly in coating (still on parchment) until edges of chocolate meet, then press together so that excess chocolate and parchment are standing up like a seam (you will trim it off later).
  2. Immediately freeze terrine until chocolate is firm, at least 1 hour. Starting from seam, peel parchment off both sides of terrine. Trim excess chocolate from seam with kitchen shears and trim open ends with a knife. Invert terrine onto a platter and peel parchment off top.
Cooks' notes:
Ice cream can be made 2 days ahead. · Terrine can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap once chocolate is firm. Let soften 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

For the kids...
Peach-Vanilla Cream Pops
Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 4 cups sliced peeled ripe peaches (about 4 medium), or 16 ounces frozen sliced peaches, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto (optional)

  1. Place sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Transfer syrup to a small bowl; chill. Discard vanilla bean.
  2. Purée syrup and peaches in a food processor until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium pitcher; strain, pressing on solids to extract about 2 1/4 cups purée. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Divide among molds. Cover; insert ice-pop sticks. Freeze until firm. Dip bottoms of molds into hot water for 20-30 seconds to loosen pops. Remove pops from molds and serve.

For the classic palette...
Raspberry Sorbet
Tamasin Day-Lewis

  • 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 lb. fresh raspberries (about 5 cups)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

  1. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 2 cups water and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Reduce heat to low and simmer, without stirring, to make a syrup, for 5 minutes.
  2. Pour the syrup into a medium bowl, stir in vanilla extract, and transfer to the freezer to let chill for 15 minutes.
  3. Purée 1 lb. of the raspberries (about 4 cups) with the syrup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Scrape the purée through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard the seeds. Stir lemon juice into the raspberry purée and pour it into a 2-quart ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions until almost set but still a little slushy, about 25 minutes.
  4. Add remaining raspberries (about 1 cup) and continue freezing in the ice cream maker for about 5 minutes. Transfer the sorbet to a plastic container and freeze until completely set, about 1 hour.
Makes about 5 cups.

Happy baking!

Monday, May 20, 2013

My thoughts go out to Oklahoma...

Hi everyone! I'm not feeling comfortable posting's sad how many times I've said that lately. My thoughts go out to the people in Oklahoma. I'll be doing more updating this week, just not today. I hope you will keep these people in your hearts as well.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Gluten-Free Can Be Delicious!

Hello dear readers, we are at that time again...FRIDAY! Phew. We made it...almost. I didn't post on Wednesday because I didn't get home until late, so I wanted to make sure you got a post today. The other day, I received one of my (many) weekly food emails and saw a list for the best gluten-free desserts in America. Though I've heard a lot about gluten-free baking, the specialty bake shops that cater to sensitivities, I haven't done a lot of gluten-free baking myself. I was surprised to see how many famous places offer special options without the diner even realizing it! Look how mainstream gluten-free baking has gotten; it's marvelous. So in honor of the gluten-free lifestyle, here are a few recipes to excite any guest.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Crescent Cookies
Makes 2 1/2 dozen


  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for finishing cookies
  • 14 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6oz. walnuts or almonds, finely ground in food processor
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/3 cup chestnut flour
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. fine salt


  1. Heat oven to 325°. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat together sugar, butter, and vanilla on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add walnuts, tapioca, chickpea, chestnut, and rice flours and salt, and mix on low speed until just combined. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and form into a rough cylinder; divide cylinder into 30 equal pieces, about 1 oz. each. Working with one piece at a time, roll dough between palms of hands to form a link sausage shape, about 2" long. Taper ends, and bend slightly to form a crescent; repeat with remaining dough pieces and transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spaced 2" apart.
  2. Bake, rotating baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through cooking, until firm and lightly browned at edges, 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and sift over confectioners' sugar until all cookies are well-coated. Let cool completely before serving.

Old-Fashioned Peanut-Butter Cookies
Real Simple, November 2010

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter (not the all-natural variety)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in the eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Roll heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. With a lightly floured fork, press the dough to a ⅜-inch thickness, making a crisscross pattern on top of each cookie.
  4. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges are set, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Katharine Hepburn's Brownies, Gluten-Free
Saveur, Anna Stockwell's adaptation

  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 2 tbsp. tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp. potato starch
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1⁄4 tsp. fine salt
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  1. Heat oven to 325°. Grease an 8" x 8" baking pan with butter. Line the pan with parchment paper; grease the paper. Set the pan aside.
  2. Melt the butter and the chocolate together in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir to make a smooth batter. In a separate bowl, mix together the white rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, and salt; pour into the egg mixture, add walnuts, and stir until incorporated. Pour the batter into the baking pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40–45 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Cut and serve.

Happy baking!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Delicate, Suprisingly Easy, and Elegant...the CREPE!

Happy Monday! Tonight I made DELICIOUS crepes for of my husband and my favs! I'm a fan of the elegant simplicity of Tyler Florence's cookbooks and his crepes are my go-to recipe. I followed his version, which are filled with ricotta (fresh from Whole favorite kind!) and topped with cooked oranges and figs. DIVINE. I just can't say enough! (Clearly.) But anyway, I want to share his recipe with you and let your imaginations explore the possibilities. For us bakers, the savory crepes are the best treat. Whether filled with nutella and bananas, chocolate, whipped cream, strawberries, peanut butter, figs and ricotta...the possibilities are endless. The beautiful thing about the crepe is that it's a blank canvas. Don't be discouraged if the first one doesn't flip properly. Use a soft rubber spatula; run it around the edges of crepe; gently move it to the center and do a quick flip. Confidence is key. Enjoy!

Basic Crepe Batter
Tyler Florence


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, plus more for sauteing crepes
  1. Combine the milk, water, eggs, flour and salt in a blender. Blend on medium speed for 15 seconds, until the batter is smooth and lump-free. Scrape down the sides of the blender and pour in 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Blend it again for a second just to incorporate. Refrigerate the batter for 1 hour to let it rest. If the crepes are made immediately, they have a tendency to be rubbery; where letting the batter rest, gives you a better texture and a softer product.
  2. Put an 8-inch crepe pan or non-stick skillet over medium heat and brush with a little melted butter for added insurance. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and swirl it around so it covers the bottom evenly; pour back any excess. Cook for 30 to 45 seconds until the crepe batter sets. Lightly bang the edge of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the crepe, then flip it over in the air and cook another 30 seconds. The art of flipping a crepe takes practice, so make sure no one is looking when you get the first one going. If this intimidates you, use a heat-proof rubber spatula. The crepes should be pliable, not crisp, and lightly brown. Slide them onto a platter and continue until all the batter is used. Cover the stack of crepes with a towel to keep them from drying out.

Happy baking!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful mothers out there, including my own! I hope your day is relaxing and stress-free. Though we celebrate and honor you today, I know that I could not be who I am without my mom's love and support over the years. Raise your cupcakes to Mom today!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Breakfast for Mama!

Hi everyone! This week has been hectic to say the my postings have been sparse. I'm back now so let's get to it. I couldn't resist another post for mom. Let's talk a few brunch/lunch ideas to make her day special (or your day, if you'll be doing the cooking for the family on Sunday).

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Custard with Fresh Berries
Bradley Ogden


  • 16 slices of cinnamon-raisin bread
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Fresh berries, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Brush both sides of each bread slice with melted butter. Arrange the bread in the prepared dish in 2 even rows.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the whole eggs with the egg yolks until blended. Whisk in the granulated sugar, milk, heavy cream and vanilla. Strain the milk mixture over the bread, pressing on the slices to make sure they're evenly moistened.
  3. Place the baking dish in a larger roasting pan and pour enough warm water into the pan to reach halfway up the side of the dish. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the custard is set. Transfer the baking dish to a rack and let the custard rest for 15 minutes. Sift confectioners' sugar over the custard and cut into squares. Serve with berries.
MAKE AHEAD The bread custard can be prepared through Step 2. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Molten Chocolate Cake
Mark Bittman


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the molds
  • 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons flour, plus more for dusting the molds


  1. Put the butter in a medium bowl and melt it in the microwave. Add the chocolate to the hot butter and stir until melted.
  2. Crack 2 eggs into a bowl, and add 2 more yolks (discard the extra whites). Add the sugar, and beat or whisk until light and thick, about 1 minute. Add egg mixture and 2 teaspoons flour to the melted chocolate; beat until combined.
  3. Butter and lightly flour four 4-ounce molds or ramekins (make sure not to miss any spots, or the cakes will stick). Tap out the excess flour. Divide the batter among the molds. (At this point you can refrigerate them for up to 3 hours; just bring them back to room temperature before baking.)
  4. When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 450. Put the molds on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the cakes have puffed up a bit, the tops are barely set and the cakes still jiggle slightly when shaken, 7 to 9 minutes (better underbaked than overbaked). Let sit for 1 minute.
  5. Put a plate on top of the ramekin and (with a potholder to protect your hand) carefully invert the cake onto the plate. Let it sit for 10 seconds, then lift up the ramekin. Serve immediately, with ice cream, sorbet or whipped cream.

Starting the morning off right...
Hellfire Club Bloody Mary
Bronson Van Wyck

  • 3 1/2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 1/4 cups vodka
  • 1/2 cup olive juice
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco
  • 2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced dill
  • 1 Peppadew pepper, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Ice cubes
  • Celery ribs and green olives, for garnish
In a pitcher, combine all of the ingredients except the ice cubes and garnishes and stir well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Serve the cocktails in ice-filled Collins glasses, garnished with celery ribs, green olives and black pepper.

Happy Mother's Day! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mother's Day Around the Bend...

Happy Tuesday all! I didn't get to post yesterday (chalk it up to a tough Body Pump workout) so I wanted to make sure I got it in today! I hope you're not disappointed! Here are a few ideas for Mother's Day - a little something for every mom.

Finally get to use that waffle maker...
Crispy Waffles with salted Caramel Coulis
Yves Camdeborde, Bon Appetit May 2008

Salted caramel coulis:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
  • Peanut oil
  • Powdered sugar
For salted caramel coulis:
  1. Combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 10 minutes. Add heavy whipping cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir over low heat until any caramel bits dissolve. Remove from heat. Stir in unsalted butter and fleur de sel or coarse salt. Transfer caramel to small pitcher or bowl. Cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Stir over low heat just until warm enough to pour before using.
For waffles:
  1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Whisk whole milk, 2 large eggs, and melted butter in medium bowl to blend. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients in large bowl and whisk until batter is smooth. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 hour ahead. Let batter stand at room temperature.
  2. Heat waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions (medium-high heat). Brush grids lightly with peanut oil. Pour enough batter onto each waffle grid to cover generously (about heaping 1/2 cup batter for 4 1/2x3 1/2-inch grid); spread evenly with offset spatula. Close waffle iron and cook until waffles are golden brown and crisp on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Cut each waffle in half, forming either rectangles or triangles. Divide waffles among 4 plates. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with salted caramel coulis. Serve waffles, passing remaining salted caramel coulis separately.

For the sophisticated mom...who loves kid desserts...
Kelly Fudge Pop
Modern Art Desserts, Caitlin Freeman

  • 8 ounces (227 g) high-quality bittersweet chocolate (62% to 70% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (10.4 oz / 290 g) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (8.6 oz / 242 g) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (1.8 oz / 50 g) sugar
  • 4 teaspoons natural (not Dutch-processed) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Have ready 10 ice-pop molds. If your molds are flexible like the ones we use at the museum, set them on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl, add the vanilla extract, and set aside.
  3. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the cream, milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking often to break up the lumps of cocoa powder, until bubbles start to form around the edges and the temperature of the mixture registers 180°F to 190°F on a digital thermometer.
  4. Immediately pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir with a whisk or blend with an immersion blender until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is a smooth liquid (a thoroughly emulsified mixture will yield the most creamy fudge pop). Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a liquid measuring cup.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the ice-pop molds and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours or up to 2 weeks; follow the manufacturer's instructions for inserting the sticks. If you don't have ice-pop molds, pour the chocolate mixture into ice cube trays; freeze until partially frozen, about 30 minutes, and then insert a toothpick or short wooden skewer into each ice pop. Continue freezing until solid.
  6. Unmold the fudge pops, dipping the molds into warm water to loosen, if needed, and serve.
Do Ahead: Stored in an airtight container, the fudge pops will keep for up to 2 weeks in the freezer.

Above and Beyond: This recipe works well in any ice-pop mold, but if you want to create a miniature edible Ellsworth Kelly sculpture in your home, see Resources to order the silicone ice-pop molds we use at the café. 

Resources: Medium ice-pop molds (4-ounce capacity):

For the non-cake lover...
Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake
Martha Stewart

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, melted, plus more, melted, for pan
  • Meyer Lemon Curd Mousse
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • Candied Meyer Lemons, optional

  1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually pour milk mixture into flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Whisk in butter. Pour through a fine sieve into an airtight container; discard lumps. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Lightly coat a 6-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet with butter. Heat over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Remove from heat; pour about 2 tablespoons batter into center. Swirl to cover bottom. Reduce heat to medium-low; return pan to heat. Cook until edges are golden and center is dry, about 30 seconds per side.
  3. Slide crepe onto an overturned plate. Repeat with remaining batter, coating pan with butter as needed, and stacking crepes. Let cool.
  4. Place 1 crepe on a flat serving dish. Spread about 1/4 cup lemon curd mousse onto crepe. Top with 1 crepe. Continue layering crepes and mousse. (Use 15 crepes, ending with a crepe on top.) Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  5. Top crepe cake with whipped cream and 3 or 4 candied lemon slices.

For the whimsical mom...
Vanilla Cream-Filled Doughnuts
Joanne Change, Flour Bakery + Cafe

  • 1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 2/3 ounce (18 grams) fresh cake yeast
  • 2/3 cup (160 grams) milk, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups (490 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups (270 grams) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 7 tablespoons (3/4 stick/100 grams) butter, at room temperature, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
  • Canola oil, for frying
Vanilla Cream Filling
  • 6 tablespoons (90 grams) heavy cream
  • Pastry Cream, chilled

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast and milk. Stir together briefly, then let sit for about 1 minute to dissolve the yeast. Add the flour, 1/3 cup (70 grams) of the sugar, the salt, and the eggs and mix on low speed for about 1 minute, or until the dough comes together. Then, still on low speed, mix for another 2 to 3 minutes to develop the dough further. Now, begin to add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to mix for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is soft and cohesive.
  2. Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 15 hours.
  3. Lightly flour a baking sheet. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch square about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2- to 4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 9 doughnuts. Arrange them on the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to proof for 2 to 3 hours, or until they are about doubled in height and feel poufy and pillowy.
  4. When ready to fry, line a tray or baking sheet large enough to hold the doughnuts with paper towels. Pour oil to a depth of about 3 inches into a large, heavy saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. To test the oil, throw in a pinch of flour. If it sizzles on contact, the oil is ready. (It should be 350 degrees if you are using a thermometer.) Working in batches, place the doughnuts in the hot oil, being careful not to crowd them. Fry on the first side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown. Then gently flip them and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown on the second side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the prepared tray and let cool for a few minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
  5. Place the remaining 1 cup (200 grams) sugar in a small bowl. One at a time, toss the warm doughnuts in the sugar to coat evenly. As each doughnut is coated, return it to the tray to cool completely. This will take 30 to 40 minutes.
  6. To make the vanilla cream filling: While the doughnuts are cooking, whip the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold it into the pastry cream . You should have about 3 cups.
  7. When doughnuts are completely cooled, poke a hole in the side of each doughnut, spacing it equidistant between the top and bottom. Fit a pastry bag with a small round tip and fill the bag with the filling. Squirt about 1/3 cup filling into each doughnut. Serve immediately.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cinco de Mayo Baking Fiesta!

Hello again! Maybe you're like me and you're saying, it's only Wednesday?! or maybe you're having a spectacular week. Either way, I've got a few new recipes to get you excited to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this weekend! If you're having a big celebration (which is often the case around my neck of the woods), here are a few recipes to consider to make your crowd say WOW! at the end of the meal.

Tres Leches Cake
Alma in Dallas via Bon Appetit


  • Unsalted butter (for pan)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
Special equipmentAn 8x8x2" metal cake pan


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour bottom and sides of cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until firm peaks form, 7-8 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in 2 tsp. vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into pan; smooth top.
  3. Bake cake for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°; continue baking until cake is golden brown and middle springs back when pressed, 20-25 minutes more. Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Whisk 1/2 tsp. vanilla, evaporated milk, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Poke holes all over top of cake with a skewer. Slowly drizzle half of sauce over cake, letting liquid soak in before adding more. Let cake sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Invert a plate on top of cake. Lift rack and gently invert cake onto plate. Drizzle remaining sauce over. Spoon any liquid collected on sheet over cake.

Modern Mexican Chocolate Flan
Jennifer Jones, Topolobampo


  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 ounces Mexican chocolate, such as Ibarra, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 (1 1/2-inch) cinnamon stick, preferably canela
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
Ingredient info: Canela, also called true, Mexican, Ceylon, or Sri Lanka cinnamon, is a less pungent variety than the cassia cinnamon commonly used in the United States. It's available in specialty shops, some supermarkets, and online from Penzeys Spices.

Special equipment: Pastry brush, 8 (5- to 6-ounce) ramekins, large roasting pan


  1. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar with 1/3 cup water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, using a pastry brush dipped in cold water to wash down any sugar crystals clinging to the side of the pot, then lower the heat and simmer, without stirring, until the syrup begins to color. Swirl the pan continually until the syrup is an even, deep amber color. Immediately divide the caramel among the ramekins, swirling so it coats the bottom of each.
  2. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325°F.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, process the chocolate until it resembles small pebbles. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add the half-and-half, milk, cinnamon stick, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Place over moderate heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, coffee liqueur, and the vanilla and almond extracts and whisk to combine. Slowly pour about 1 1/2 cups of the hot milk/half-and-half mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add in the rest of the hot milk and whisk to combine. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl and divide evenly among the 8 ramekins. Discard solids.
  5. Transfer ramekins to a large roasting pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Loosely cover the pan with foil and bake until the custard has barely set (a knife inserted halfway between the edge and the center should come out clean), 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the water bath, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. DO AHEAD: The flans can be made ahead and stored, wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator, up to 3 days.
  6. Just before serving, run a small thin knife around each flan, then invert onto small plates and serve.

Sopaipillas with Chocolate Sauce
Food Network Magazine

For the Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Sopaipillas:
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4 8-to-10-inch flour tortillas, cut into wedges or strips
  • Granulated sugar, for coating

  1. Make the sauce: Bring 1/4 cup water, the brown sugar and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. (You can refrigerate the sauce, covered, up to 3 days; reheat before serving.)
  2. Make the sopaipillas: Heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a large deep skillet until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the tortillas, turning once, until bubbly and golden on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per batch. (Return the oil to 350 degrees F between batches.) Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle both sides generously with granulated sugar. Drizzle with the chocolate sauce.

Happy baking!