German-Style Bacon & Shallot Potato Salad

I have to confess that I am not really a huge fan of potato salad. I guess that I usually think of potato salad as the typical super starchy mayonnaise-laden version. This German-style potato salad is loaded with mustard, bacon, and shallots- some of my absolute favorite ingredients. When my husband requested potato salad for his belated Father’s Day cookout, I was so happy to have found this mustard version! It was tangy and loaded with flavor. :) This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. It is best eaten warm, just after it is assembled, but would also be good at room temperature. Perfect for every summer cookout. I’m sharing this with my friends at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #75 this week- which I am co-hosting with my friend Julie of Hostess at Heart! Come join the fun! :) Happy 4th of July! Yield: Serves 8

  • 2 pounds small waxy white or yellow potatoes, roughly about the same size
  • 6 ounces thick-cut bacon, diced
  • ½ cup thinly sliced shallot (I used 2 GIANT shallots)
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt, more as needed
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • chopped parsley, for garnish, optional
  1. Place whole unpeeled potatoes in a large pot with enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes depending upon size.
  2. Drain and cut potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks as soon as you can handle them. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  4. Stir shallots into the skillet with the bacon fat and fry for a minute, until just slightly crisped. Remove from heat.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in shallots and bacon drippings. (I added the mustard mixture directly to my skillet to combine with all of the drippings.)
  6. Crumble in bacon. Immediately toss potatoes with dressing. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
  7. Garnish with parsley and more vinegar if you like and serve warm or at room temperature.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Raspberry-Ricotta Cake

This recipe encourages the use of frozen berries! It was very quick to put together, had a lovely presentation, and most importantly was delicious as well. :) We ate this cake for dessert but it would also be an amazing coffee cake. This recipe is from Bon Appétit.

Yield: Serves 8

  • nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups ricotta
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries or blackberries, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350° (preferably on convection).
  2. Line a 9”-diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended.
  5. Then fold in butter, followed by ¾ cup raspberries, taking care not to crush berries.
  6. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining ¼ cup raspberries over top.
  7. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes on convection or up to 60 minutes in a standard oven. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.

Note: Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Creamy Tomato Risotto with Crispy Garlic Crumbs

This wonderful dish is truly season-less. I made it with canned tomatoes but it would be amazing adapted to use fresh summer tomatoes and garden herbs. The crispy garlic breadcrumbs add crunch and a burst of flavor.

I modified the original recipe to cook in a pressure cooker- making it an elegant weeknight meal. (I use my pressure cooker almost exclusively for risotto!) This recipe was adapted from Nicky @Kitchen Sanctuary.com. Lovely!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

For the Risotto:

  • 800 g/28 oz can diced tomatoes (or peeled and diced fresh tomatoes)
  • 400 ml/16 fl oz chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or sweet onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 300 g/11 oz/ 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 150 ml/5 fl oz white wine (optional, replace with stock if you’d prefer)
  • 100 ml/4 fl oz light or heavy cream
  • 60 g/2 oz freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano
  • freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
  • 2 generous pinches of coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Crispy Garlic Crumbs:

  • 1 1/2 T unsalted butter
  • generous pinch or two of coarse salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 60 g/2 oz panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 T chopped chives or parsley
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 40 g/1.5 oz freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano

To Make the Tomato Stock:

  1. Using a colander or sieve, strain a can of chopped tomatoes over a bowl. Use a spoon to mash the tomatoes left in the sieve to a fine pulp, then pour this pulp back into the tomato juice in the bowl.
  2. Add in the stock and tomato paste and stir. The total yield will be a scant 6 cups.

To Make the Risotto:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pressure cooker (5 to 7 quarts). Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion starts to go translucent, add in the garlic, stir and cook for a further minute.
  2. Add the rice and stir until it turns opaque, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the unheated tomato stock and the wine. Stir to combine.
  4. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain high pressure. Cook for 7 minutes.
  5. Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions or place the pot under running (drizzling) cold water. 

To Make the Crispy Garlic Crumbs:

  1. Heat the butter in a small frying pan until it starts to foam.
  2. Add the salt and the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add in the breadcrumbs and stir to ensure the butter covers all of the breadcrumbs.
  4. Allow to cook until the breadcrumbs start to brown a little, stirring often. Keep a close eye on them as they burn very easily.
  5. When ready, turn off the heat and add in the herbs, lemon zest and parmesan.

To Finish the dish:

  1. Open the lid of the pressure cooker, being careful of the steam. Add in the cream, cheese, and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine.
  2. Scoop portions out onto shallow bowls or plates. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top and serve.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

Okay. I made the special jam, the “world-famous” strawberry shortcake cookies, the slab pie… We still had more hand-picked strawberries! I always feel a lot of pressure to make sure that they are put to good use. When I saw this recipe, I thought it would be the perfect breakfast on the morning of the last day of school- I surprised my kids with them. :)

This special breakfast was the perfect use for my super ripe- almost overripe- strawberries. SO sweet. This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. We ate them right off the griddle with maple syrup. Easy and delicious. Happy Summer Vacation!!

Yield: 14 3-inch pancakes

  • 3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (105 grams) yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table or coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan (I used canola oil spray on my griddle)
  • 1 cup (235 ml) buttermilk, well-shaken, or 2/3 cup plain yogurt thinned with 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (about 140 grams or 5 ounces) roughly chopped strawberries
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk.
  2. In the microwave, melt 3 tablespoons butter in the bottom of a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk buttermilk with the melted butter, followed by the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Stir in strawberries. Pour strawberry-buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. In a large skillet (preferably cast-iron) or on a griddle, melt butter over medium/medium-low heat. (I used canola oil spray instead.)
  6. Pour a scant 1/4 cup batter into skillet for each pancake. Cook until bottoms are golden and bubbles appear all over top, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook until second side is golden, another minute. If batter slipped out the sides of the pancake when you first flipped it, return it to the first side for another 30 seconds to ensure the leaked batter cooks.
  7. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter/oil spray as needed. If pan gets too hot — the butter turns brown as soon as it melts, the pancakes are done on the outside before the inside — reduce the heat to low.
  8. Serve with fixings of your choice, be it a pat of butter, powdered sugar, syrup and/or additional fresh strawberries.

Note: If you’re not going to eat these right away, you can spread them on a baking sheet and keep them warm until needed in a 200 degree oven.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Strawberry Slab Pie

Despite being overbooked with so many end of the school year activities- orchestra concerts, dance recitals, field days, parties- we have to squeeze in strawberry picking! The resulting year supply (a well-rationed year supply, mind you!) of strawberry-vanilla bean jam makes it SO worth it!!

After making my special jam, I love to try a new recipe to use our overflowing 8 quarts of mouthwatering strawberries. :) This year the first new one was this amazing slab pie. The juice from the fresh berries resulted in a very syrupy pie. oozing… It also had a lovely hint of orange flavor. The crust was over the top buttery as well. Mmmmm.

This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff favorite” recipe contributed by Joanne Chang. I adapted the recipe to bake in a convection oven. Fabulous!

Yield: 6-8 servings

For the Pastry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and chilled
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cold whole milk
  • baking spray

For the Filling & Pie:

  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered (4 cups)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons sanding or turbinado sugar

To Make the Pastry:

  1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the flour, sugar and salt and mix at low speed.
  2. Add the butter and mix at medium speed until almost incorporated, with some pecan-size pieces remaining, about 1 minute.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the milk.
  4. With the machine on, drizzle the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix until the pastry just starts to come together, about 30 seconds; it will be crumbly.
  5. Scrape the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it together. Using the heel of your hand, smear the pastry against the work surface to work in the butter. Form the pastry into a 1-inch-thick disk, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350° (on convection, if possible).
  7. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving 
3 inches of overhang on all sides.
  8. Cut one-third of the pastry off of the disk. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the smaller piece of pastry to an 8-inch square; transfer to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and refrigerate.
  9. Roll out the larger piece of pastry to a 12-inch square, about 1/4 inch thick. Ease the pastry into the prepared pan, pressing it into the corners and up the sides; trim the excess pastry, leaving no overhang.
  10. Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for about 25 minutes (convection) or up to 30 minutes (standard oven), until just pale golden and set. Remove the pie weights and parchment paper. Transfer the pan to a rack and let 
the crust cool completely.

To Make the Pie:

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and salt.
  2. Spread the filling in the pastry crust.
  3. Cover with the chilled piece of pastry crust, gently pressing it down around the edges.
  4. Brush the top with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sanding sugar.
  5. Using a sharp paring knife, make six 2-inch-long slits in the top pastry.
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes (convection) or up to 50 minutes (standard oven), until the crust is deep golden.
  7. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool, at least 3 hours. Carefully lift the pie out of the pan and transfer to a platter before serving.

Note: The pie can be kept at room temperature overnight.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Greens & Chayote Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

These wonderful, vegetarian, no-bake enchiladas claimed to be light and satisfying- a pretty accurate description! Perfect warm weather Mexican fare. Fresh and fabulous. :) This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman.

Inspired by my food blog friends who have made their own birthday cakes, etc., I made this dish for my own birthday dinner!! I prepared the filling a day in advance (no work on the big day!) and we ate them after a relaxing day in the sunshine. My husband made my favorite Huevos Rancheros for breakfast (I am obviously a Mexican-food lover), and I was greeted with a surprise birthday cake from my girlfriend when I got home! <3 What a great day! Maybe getting older isn’t so awful….

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I’m bringing my special dish to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #74 (belatedly, again…), co-hosted by Loretta @Safari of the Mind and Caroline @Caroline’s Cooking. As another surprise birthday gift, my dish from Fiesta Friday #73 was featured this week! Yay!! Check it out & Enjoy! :)

Yield: Serves 8

  • 1 pound Swiss or rainbow chard, or a combination
  • 2 medium-size chayote or summer squash (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut in small dice (4 cups diced)
  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2 jalapeño or 2 to 3 serrano chiles, stemmed
  • ½ white onion, coarsely chopped
  • coarse salt to taste
  • 4 large peeled garlic cloves; 2 whole and 2 minced
  • 12 cilantro sprigs, plus chopped cilantro for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
  • 2 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • About 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta

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  1. Peel and dice the chayote squash.
  2. Strip chard leaves from stems and wash in 2 changes of water. Keep leaves whole.
  3. Rinse chard stems and cut in small dice if wide, or, if thin, slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick. (I cut my wide stems into thin strips and then sliced all of them crosswise 1/4 inch thick.) Set aside stems with chayote in one bowl and leaves in another.
  4. Make the salsa verde: Combine tomatillos, jalapeños and onion in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until tomatillos have gone from pale green to olive and have softened. Using a slotted spoon or a Chinese strainer, transfer tomatillos, onion and one of the jalapeños to a blender. (I used a Vitamix!) Do not drain water from pot. Let vegetables cool in the blender while you blanch greens and chayote.
  5. Add more water to the pot so it is about 2/3 full. Return to a boil, salt generously, and add the chard leaves. Blanch until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer leaves to a bowl of cold (ice) water to quickly shock, then drain and dry. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  6. Return water to a simmer and add chayote and chard stems. Simmer 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain through a colander and again on paper towels.
  7. Add whole garlic cloves and cilantro sprigs to ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Taste for heat and add remaining jalapeño if desired. (I only used one jalapeño- and the salsa had quite a kick!)
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add tomatillo purée and partly cover to protect from splattering. Cook, stirring often, until it thickens and begins to stick to the pan, about 5 minutes.
  9. Stir in stock, add salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring often, until sauce is thick and coats the front and back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  10. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat and add minced garlic. When fragrant, after about 30 seconds, stir in oregano, blanched and chopped leaves, stems, and chayote. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, until tender, fragrant and coated with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup salsa verde and set aside.
  11. Place tortillas in a tortilla warmer or on a microwave safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel and cover with warmer lid, or with plastic wrap if using a plate. Microwave on high for 1 minute. (Alternatively: Prepare the tortillas: Heat 1/3 cup canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, until oil bubbles around the edges of a tortilla when you dip it into the pan. Place a platter covered with paper towels next to pan. Using tongs, slide tortillas, one at a time, into hot oil. As soon as tortilla begins to puff, about 10 to 15 seconds, flip over and leave another 10 to 15 seconds. Immediately remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Cover with foil to keep warm.)
  12. One by one, quickly dip tortillas into the remaining warm salsa verde, lay on serving platter, and top with about 1/4 cup filling. Roll up tortilla and place seam side down on platter. When all tortillas have been filled, pour remaining salsa verde on top, sprinkle with cilantro and queso fresco (or feta) and serve.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Watermelon and Tequila Cooler

This drink SCREAMS summer to me! So far, I have only enjoyed one of these fruity and fabulous cocktails on my back porch (which was lovely, by the way!)… but I know I’ll have one on the beach this summer as well. :) Maybe at an outdoor concert too? I can’t wait!

This sweet and refreshing cocktail (Sandia y Tequila Fresca) was adapted from El Chino Latino Cocina. Great!

Bringing it to Fiesta Friday #73, co-hosted by the amazing bloggers Juju @ Cooking With Aunt Juju and Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake. Cheers!! :)

Yield: Makes 1 drink

  • 1 cup watermelon
  • 1 oz tequila
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 2 T agave nectar
  • ice cubes, for serving
  1. Cut the rind off the watermelon and remove the seeds. Cut enough chunks to measure 1 cup and put in a blender. (I used a Vitamix.)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.
  3. Pour over ice in a margarita or other cocktail glass. Serve cold and enjoy!

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Pork Tenderloin with Warm Harissa, Couscous & Roasted Vegetable Salad

I wanted to make this dish because it was so pretty! :)

I am obsessed with Harissa- and this recipe has an amazing homemade version. This fabulous Moroccan spice paste is then mixed into an Israeli couscous-based warm salad with roasted potatoes and vegetables. Wow. It lived up to its photo in the magazine- really lovely! The leftover Harissa was fabulous over the pork slices. This delicious recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

I’m bringing this dish to share at Fiesta Friday #73, co-hosted by Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake and Juju @ Cooking With Aunt Juju. Join the party & check out their wonderful blogs as well!! Enjoy :)

Yield: Serves 6

For the Harissa Paste:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili paste (I used chili powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Couscous:

  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

For the Roasted Vegetables:

  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch small carrots, preferably heirloom in a mix of colors, scrubbed or peeled and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt

For the Pork:

  • 2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 pounds total)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola or safflower oil

For the Warm Salad:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • coarse salt
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Harissa Paste, plus more for serving

Make the Harissa Paste:

  1. Roast the red pepper over the flame of a gas burner, turning with tongs, until blackened and blistered. (Or roast under broiler, turning as needed.) Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 15 minutes. Rub off skin with paper towels, then remove and discard ribs and seeds.
  2. Puree pepper with garlic, chili paste, spices, oil, and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.) Season with salt and pepper.

Make the Couscous:

  1. Bring broth and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a medium pot. Add couscous and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is al dente, about 8 minutes more.
  2. Remove from heat, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat.
  3. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, spread in an even layer, and let cool, 10 minutes.

Make the Roasted Vegetables:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (on convection roast, if possible).
  2. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss potatoes and carrots with olive oil; season with salt.
  3. Spread in a single layer and roast, tossing halfway through, until tender, about 20 minutes for the potatoes and up to 30 minutes for the carrots. Let cool completely on baking sheet.

Cook the Pork:

  1. Raise oven heat to 425 degrees (on convection roast, if possible).
  2. Season pork all over with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Swirl in canola oil to coat. Add pork and brown on all sides, turning as needed, about 6 to 12 minutes total.
  3. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in middles registers 140 degrees, about 11 minutes. (I used my oven probe.)
  4. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest 15 minutes before cutting into 1/2-inch slices.

Make the Warm Salad:

  1. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium. (I used the same pan the pork was cooked in after removing the meat to rest after cooking.)
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl, add tomatoes and herbs, and toss to combine.
  4. Add prepared couscous, roasted vegetables, and harissa paste to the salad; toss to combine. Season with salt.
  5. Arrange couscous mixture on a large platter and top with pork. Serve, with extra harissa on the side.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Mini Pear & Blueberry Upside-Down Cakes

My daughter has been asking for an upside-down cake! When I spotted this seasonal recipe, and had all of the ingredients on hand, I made it to surprise her. :) A springtime spice cake was such a nice change of pace. The spices worked nicely with the blueberries and pears too. The mini size was just the icing on the cake. ;)

This recipe was adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics. I used my pretty Daisy cupcake pan- so pretty!

I’m bringing this tasty dessert to share with my friends at Fiesta Friday #72– hosted by Quinn @ Dad Whats for Dinner and Naina @ Spice in the City. Enjoy!!

Yield: 6 small cakes

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for tin
  • 6 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 12 teaspoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 ripe Bartlett pear, halved lengthwise, cored, and cut into thin wedges
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (I used freshly ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large whole egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees on convection.
  2. Generously butter the cups and top of a muffin tin with six 8-ounce cups. (My 8-ounce cup muffin pan is a Daisy Pan! I used cooking spray instead of butter to coat the details more easily.)
  3. Place 1 teaspoon butter in each muffin cup. Top each with 1 tablespoon corn syrup; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons light-brown sugar.
  4. Arrange 7 to 9 blueberries in each cup.
  5. Cut pear slices to fit the shape of muffin cups; place 4 or 5 pieces on top of the berries, spreading slices to cover berries.
  6. Arrange remaining berries over the pears, and set tin aside. (I didn’t have leftover berries!)
  7. Into a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger; set aside.
  8. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat granulated sugar and remaining 5 tablespoons butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk; beat until smooth.
  9. Combine the vanilla with the buttermilk.
  10. With mixer on low-speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, and beginning and ending with flour.
  11. Pour 1/3 cup batter over fruit in each muffin cup. Gently tap bottom of tin against counter several times to evenly distribute the batter.
  12. Bake cakes until golden around the edges and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 17 minutes on convection, or up to 25 minutes in a standard oven. Remove from oven; let cool in tin.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Pappardelle with Mashed Peas and Pecorino

When I received the May issue of Martha Stewart Living, I earmarked every pea recipe- they all sounded so delicious!! I picked this buttery, sweet, rich, and easy dish to try first. (We also can’t eat enough pappardelle in my house!) My son declared that it was “addictive.” :) It was absolutely DELICIOUS. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 cups shelled green peas (from 3 pounds in pods), or 3 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 pound pappardelle, tagliatelle, or fettuccine
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
  1. Blanch fresh peas in a large pot of salted boiling water until bright green and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander with a slotted spoon. (If using frozen peas, skip this step.)
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add peas and lightly mash with the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, return pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain. (I put a measuring cup in my colander to that I don’t forget to reserve the pasta water!)
  4. Add pasta to skillet and cook, tossing to coat with pea mixture. Add butter and 1/2 cup pasta water; toss to evenly coat (adding more water if necessary). Top with cheese, season with pepper, and serve.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Broiled Salmon with Asparagus & Shiitake Mushrooms

This dish is a lovely single sheet pan dinner ready in under 30 minutes. Genius! The flavorful sauce was wonderful with the shiitakes and asparagus. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. Simple and elegant.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (I used light soy sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger (from a 1-inch piece)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and halved crosswise (about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, halved if large
  • 3 tablespoons safflower or canola oil, plus more for drizzling
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 skinless wild salmon fillets (each about 5 ounces and 3/4 inch thick)
  • rice, for serving, optional

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  1. Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches from heating element.
  2. Stir together soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, and ginger in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved.
  3. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss asparagus and mushrooms with oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and spread in an even layer. Broil 5 minutes. Add soy-sauce mixture, stir to coat, and broil 3 minutes more.
  4. Add salmon, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with oil and some sauce from pan. Broil 2 to 3 minutes more (for medium-rare). Serve, with lemon wedges, if desired.

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Mark Bittman’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

I feel somewhat compelled to try different chocolate chip cookie recipes- especially when they claim to be “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER”…. (and I don’t think I’m alone!)

A couple of weekends ago, I had to make a dessert for my kids and their friends, so naturally I thought of chocolate chip cookies. I had seen this recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything on Sarah n Spice.com. She said that they were “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER”- even beating out a recipe from Alton Brown. (WHAT!?!?) I had to try this one.

I liked that the recipe incorporated both mini and standard semisweet chocolate chips. I adapted the recipe only to chill the dough prior to baking. We ate them as is as well as in chipwich form with French vanilla ice cream. SO good!! I have come to the conclusion that I just appreciate a really good chocolate chip cookie. It’s too hard to judge “The Best!”

  • ½ pound unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 on convection.
  2. Start off by creaming together sugar and butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the dry to the wet ingredients and mix until the cookie dough comes together.
  5. With a spoon, stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour or up to overnight.
  7. Scoop tablespoon-size mounds on a baking sheet. (I used an ice cream scoop.)
  8. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

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