Posts tagged ‘recipe’

Overhyped Food of the Moment

Cupcakes.

You know what’s better than a cupcake? A WHOLE GODDAMED CAKE.

Each bite is different. You have cake and frosting and cake and frosting again! Best of all, there is no last bite that is just the crummy butt. There’s a reason Larry David made an entire Seinfeld episode about that close bastard brother of the cupcake called the muffin. You know the episode. Jerry & co spend the whole time trying to dispose of bags FULL of crappy muffin butts because everyone loves muffin top. I dare to suggest people only eat cupcakes for the tops as well. And you know what? A well made cake is like BITE AFTER BITE of cupcake tops!

Also a CAKE is a collective experience. You share a whole cake with people, friends. And you can eat just a sliver or a gigantic slice and not feel guilty. But the cupcake? You eat one. Or two and feel like a  cow. But with a cake, it’s easy to negotiate around the serving size.

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It was these feelings that brought me to check out a book from the library called 500 Cakes, alleging it was the only cake compendium I’d ever need. I’ve since made 2 recipes from it and while I shant RAVE about it, the results were pretty good. Both the recipes aren’t actually for cakes in the classic sense but ended up being more like loaf breads and were both devoured at the Mr.’s office! The easy lime loaf cake was moist and delicious but didn’t look anything like the picture. (Clearly the food stylist thought the lime glaze was groody looking.) Today I’ll be sharing with you the recipe for the…

Apple & Cinnamon Loaf Cake

adapted from 500 Cakes

Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 extra large eggs (or 2 large eggs plus 1 tablespoon additional egg)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 4 tablespoon jelly of choice (I used plum, they suggested apricot)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with waxed or parchment paper.

Mix

Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Taste test to make sure the butter and sugar isn’t rancid. Hmm, not sure? Have another little taste. YUM.  Beat in the sour cream and cinnamon. Beat in each egg and sift the flour, baking powder and salt over the top. Fold it together until a relatively smooth batter.

First Half Single Layer

Spread half the batter in your loaf pan. Put a generous layer (or two) of apples down. Add the remaining batter and smoosh another layer of apples on the top. You’ll be able to see it, so if you’re at all anal retentive, make sure it looks good. (Note If you’re not using jelly to top the baked loaf, I’d recommend putting a little butter on the top layer of apples as they got very dried out in the oven.

Ready to Go Baked

Bake for an hour until the loaf passes the toothpick test (a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle). Let the cake cool and remove from the pan once cool enough to handle.

Gory Slice

Heat the jelly in a small pan until hot, then brush over the still-warm cake to glaze. Totally cut and eat and enjoy!

Oh this won’t be the last of the cake posts. Expect more. Many more. What kind should I next tackle?

Weenie Brunch: Part 2

Here we are, team, at the butt end of last week’s Halloweenie Brunch! If you’re looking for Part 1, that’s over HERE. The remainder of my tweaked recipes, lessons learned and life-wisdom are as follows….

Weenie Brunch 1

What’s better than a delicious mix of fresh fruit? A delicious mix of fruit PLUS sugar, lime and mint! I didn’t even notice that I only used three fruits to make this because it ended up being so well balanced, no troll fruits to be found. It’s an incredibly easy recipe that pays off in spades.

Lime-Mint Sugar Fruit Salad

Adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast & Brunch

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • juice of 1 lime
  • a mix of delicious-looking seasonal fruit
    • 1 cantaloupe, seeded, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    • 1 cup grapes, halved
    • 1 pint strawberries, sliced
    • add what you like! get fancy and don’t forget to pre-taste for ripeness.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, minced mint, and lime zest. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the fruit. Drizzle the fruit with the lime juice and sir gently to coat. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture and turn the fruit once or twice to coat evenly. Transfer to a serving bowl and eat promptly. If you let it sit for too long, the lime looses it’s zing.

Weenie Brunch 2

Next up, we have the preferred casserole of our party. We’ve got a WINNER! The herbs added an excellent, fresh kick and the texture was great. A few notes about cooking: when we added that first layer of bread cubes, the bottom seemed woefully sparse. We added between a 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup extra cubes. Don’t add too many or there might not be enough liquid to go around. Last note, the prosciutto was fairly stringy and mostly broken when I initially put it over the dish. The original recipe called for the removing of the slices to tear and serve each dish with a bit of meat. Instead, using 6 slices means there was enough crusty prosciutto for each scoop. Also: next time I think I’ll up the cheese.

Savory Brioche Pudding with Prosciutto

adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast & Brunch

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3-4 cups loosely packed day-old brioche cubes
  • 1/4 lb Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 6 thin slices prosciutto

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and  cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and chives. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Whisk in the milk, salt and pepper until blended.

Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Place half of the brioche cubes in the prepared dish. Sprinkle evenly with half of the onion mixture and half of the Gruyere cheese. Do this again with the rest of the bread cubes, onion mixture, and Gruyere cheese. Slowly pour the milk mixture evenly over the layers. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or for up to overnight.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 375 F. Lay the prosciutto slices in a single layer on top of the pudding. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 45-50 minutes. SERVE. EAT. YUM!

Weenie Brunch 3

People liked this eggy casserole too and I definitely enjoyed the leftovers but it needs some work. Frankly, the sun-dried tomatoes (yes, those from the Farmers’ Market) stuck out like sore thumbs. They never quite blended in and almost felt like raisins in the otherwise smooth overall consistency. These particular tomatoes also had a tang that works well in the pasta dishes but overwhelmed even the spicy sausage. Speaking of which, the sausage definitely wasn’t the main attraction either. Next time, this thing gets more cheese, double the sausage (1/2 lb sweet, 1/2 lb sweet pork sausage), and some other element, onions? veggies? instead of the tomatoes.

Sausage Strata with Cheddar Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast & Brunch

  • 1/2 sweet or hot sausage, meat crumbled
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup slivered dry-packed sundried tomatoes
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • unsalted butter for the pan
  • 12 slices soft white bread, sans crust
  • 1/4 lb cheddar cheese, grated

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, cook the sausage meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until there is no pink, 10-12 minutes. Remove with a spoon and put it on a paper towel, to absorb some of the oil.

With about 1 tablespoon sausage juice left in the pan, add the onion to the hot pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, remove from the heat. In a large bowl (we used a 4 cup liqud measuring cup, with a spout for easy pouring),  whisk the eggs. Whisk in the milk, salt, and pepper until blended.

Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 of the bread slices in a single layer on the bottom of the prepared dish. You’ll likely have to break a slice in half  if they don’t all fit flat on the bottom. Top evenly with half of the sausage, half of the tomato mixture, and half of the grated cheddar cheese. Preeat with the rest of the bread, sausage, tomato and cheddar cheese.

Slowly pour the milk mixture evenly over the layers. Wrap securely in plastic wrap and regrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 . Bake until puffed and golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Remove and let it cool out for 5 mintues. SERVE. EAT. YUM!

Broiled Grapefruit

adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast & Brunch

Last note: I don’t have a picture for the broiled grapefruit and I honestly didn’t taste it. Of the 10 we made, only one was left. The rest? They  were scraped and slurped dry. How does one make a broiled grapefruit? Simply cut a grapefruit in half and sprinkle the top with brown sugar. Place it face-up on a foil-lined cookie sheet, turn on your oven’s broiler and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Should look bubbly and sweet.

That’s all she wrote! I hope that you’ll give some of these recipes a shot on your own. If you do, send me a picture of how it turned out and definitely let me know if you had any tasty tweaks of your own.

It’s the Holidays! …not.

There are many reasons why family is great, especially sisters, and I’m constantly reminded of this fact around the holidays. My all-time favorite reason to love ’em is that sometimes you’ll get a mid-September call asking if you have some random piece of kitchenware. If you say no, chances are a package will arrive holding an early Christmas gift, many months in advance.

My sister C* (the one who instilled in me my bargain-seeking, ruthless-cheapskate desire to get the best deal possible and to take delight in the hunt) struck gold and wanted to send this perfect gift to me as quick as possible.

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Say hello to the newest Hipster Home addition, Mildred the Pasta Machine!

I’m no stranger to homemade pasta. It happened once before, like a violent explosion of flour and egg. A newly unearthed blog, The Amateur Gourmet, was making pasta and he said that a pasta machine is your best bet unless you’re an Italian grandmother. Did you just hear him question my abilities? That is a CHALLENGE. As a half Italian lady nowhere near grandma status, I decided, irrationally, that there was something to prove here. I huffed and puffed and rolled that stubborn dough out.  The sweat, grunting, bruises and broken rolling pin were worth it. Fresh pasta, afternoon delight!  I knew that if I could roll out pasta by hand ONCE, that I’d be free to use a machine the rest of my life. Cue new machine.

Mildred and I got working the other night, just to experiment. I’m including no recipes because frankly, I don’t think Mildred and I are on those kind of terms yet. I will say that pasta dough for ravioli was made combining eggs, flour, salt and olive oil. It then rested inside some cuddly plastic wrap while I worked on the filling.
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The insides were a freestyle concoction of caramelized onions, toasted pine nuts and some roasted Red Kuri squash (yes, THAT ONE from a month ago!)
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After it was seasoned to satisfaction, time to wrangle up some thin sheets of pasta dough! This was also improvised as I had a hard time finding any suggestions as to how thick ravioli pasta should be rolled out too. I was also going to use the ravioli mold but decided to make them irregularly by hand. OH MONSTROUS RAVIOLI!

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Hmm, the next question was what should go on the ravioli? The Hipster Home’s own Mr. set out to make another bowl-lickable sauce, that of cream, nutmeg, parmesan reggiano and butter. White Sauce Ahoy! Delicious, hearty, stick to your ribs autumnal meal- Ding!

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Lessons learned: the thinnest setting of my pasta machine is TOO THIN FOR ANYTHING. I also tried my hand at some other cut pasta and it was way way too delicate. Also: don’t overfill your ravioli! It messes with the proportion of pasta/filling/sauce. Finally a note-to-self: this was easy, tasty and low-mess. Make it more often, dummy!

Have you made pasta before? Got any pointers or great pasta recipess? DO SHARE!!!!

*P.S. Did I mention my sister has a wicked sense of humor? Look what we got in the box:

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(it still makes me laugh, no one has eaten it yet!)

Last Week’s CSA Box

Let’s begin the self-flagellation process. BAD APRIL, BAD! You Haven’t Posted Since Last Tuesday!

Terrible, I know. But I am sorry for keeping you on the EDGE OF YOUR SEAT as to what I got in my box last Wednesday. It started well enough with good intentions. I took pictures right away and even tried a different format! (Let me know what you think.) The wait is over and hurray for fresh! Here’s the booty:

Beets and beet greens, granny smith apples, basil, rose geranium, butternut squash, eggplant, pomegranates, bell peppers, Poblano peppers, onions, red chilies

So what have we used in the last 5 days? We made 5-minute beets (which tasted a LOT like sauerkraut, nomidingdong) and made a wilted green bacon salad with the beet greens. Attempts are being made to sprout the rose geranium for potting and the Mr. took to roasting almost all of our gypsy and bell pepper supply to make a tapenade. He also roasted many of our Poblanos as well but they’re chillin in the fridge. Not sure what to do with those spicy things yet. A single pomegranate has been dissected and enjoyed. Below are the two recipes we used to prepare those massive beets: five-minute beets and wilted green salad.

I don’t know how you feel about beets but my relationship with them borders Intense Dislike. Their strong flavor doesn’t agree with me. I will, however, admit to adoring the strong beety pink color. This first recipe was STANDOUT. Despite the beet greens actually tasting a lot like beets, the ranch-fresh egg  and homemade bacon from our buddy, Ryan Freitas, meant there was NO way this recipe would suck. We were not disappointed!

Wilted Green Salad

Warm Spicy Greens with Bacon and Eggs

halved and adapted from How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman

1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound of bacon or pancetta, cut into 1/2 cubtes
1 small shallot, chopped
2 cups torn beet greens
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
2 poached eggs

  1. Put the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the bacon and cook slowly until it’s crisp all over, 10 minutes or more. Add the shallot and cook until softened, another minute or two. Keep the bacon warm in the skillet.
  2. Warm a salad bowl by filling it with hot water and letting it sit for a minute. Dry it and toss in the greens. Add the vinegar and mustard to the skillet and bring just to a boil, stirring. Pour the liquid and the bacon over the greens, toss, and season to taste (it shouldn’t need much salt). Top each portion with an egg and serve immediately.
SNARF

This second recipe was good because when it was done, the beets didn’t taste much like beets. They tasted a lot like sauerkraut and because they’re white, LOOKED like sauerkraut. We used lemon juice and dill for the herb.

Five-Minute Beets

adapted from the Eatwell Farm newsletter and recipe files, origin unknown

4 beets
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
1/4 cup water
lemon juice or vinegar to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, tarragon , dill or other herb

Grate beets into coarse shreds. Melt butter in skillet, add beets and toss with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup water, then cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until beets are tender (about 5-10 minutes). Remove lid and raise heat to boil off any excess water. Taste for salt, season with lemon juice or vinegar and toss with herbs. A tablespoon yogurt or sour cream is also a good addition.

My Love/Hate Relationship with the Barefoot Contessa

Have y’all ever read an Ina Garten cookbook? Bitch is a NAME DROPPER!

(photo by Ben Fink)

I was reading through Barefoot Contessa Parties! and it was Secretary of State this, and my good bosom buddy Martha Stewart that. Between the books and watching her show, I was always repulsed at the idea of her white bread parties and gentle mannerisms and yet I WANTED TO BE HER.

Only in her world could she purchase someone else’s business (specialty food shop Barefoot Contessa), make it HER THANG, and then cater for 40 people without breaking a sweat right off the bat. But that is besides the point. This post is really about how I picked up two of her cookbooks from the library, had them for weeks and only made one thing. My excuse? She seems to think that one ‘splurge’ ingredient per recipe doesn’t make for an expensive dinner. One splurge per course means an expensive menu.

Griping aside, I’ve got Ina to thank for these baked sweet potato fries. They’re a cross between a steak fry and a wedge. Unlike any other sweet potato fry recipe I’ve made, these bad boys actually turned out nice, plump and caramelized, not deflated, limp versions of their former selves.

Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”
from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients
serves 4

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in one layer. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.

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When paired with cherry tomatoes tossed in a light vinagrette and a chicken apple sausage topped with sauerkraut, it makes for a tasty meal and a happy boyfriend. Perhaps a little heavy but for this cool weather, a very comforting plate of goods.

(Two more CSA veggies bite the dust? CHECK!)

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