Friday, December 9, 2011

Mini Apple Pie, just for me!

Williams Sonoma sells these adorable (and practical!) ruffled mini pie pans from Henry Emile. I own the big one in white, but I don’t bake large pies that often, but the small one came in handy for those spontaneous mini pies. Crust or not, I tried it out today with some of the last apples from the farmers market that had lost their crisp, and would be perfect for as baked apples. I peeled 2 large apples, cored and diced them, and mixed them with 2 TB of multigrain flakes (or rolled oats), a teaspoon of lemon, a tablespoon of maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a pinch of ground cloves. They were so sweet that sugar was not necessary. Once everything was mixed I poured the apples in the mini pie pan and baked them at 400F for 40min. A dollop of sweetened Greek yogurt with fresh orange zest rounded out the apple pie. Which was eaten at once.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Easy Italian plum tart

Italian plums are less common in US than in Europe. However, they make for a great, simple,  juicy tart in the fall. Using store-bought pie crust, this tart takes about 10 min to make (+ 30 min baking). Delicious!
Plum tart:
  • 9 1/2 inch tart pan (best with removable bottom)
  • store-bought (or home-made) bake-ready pie crust
  • 1 pound Italian plums, washed, stone removed, quartered
  • 3-4 tablespoon of ground hazelnuts or almonds
  • 2 eggs
  • 150ml millk
  • 1/4 cup fine sugar
  • 1/2 ts vanilla extract
Preheat the oven for 375 F degrees. Lay the tart pan with a layer of pie crust and press it into the corners and rim of the tart pan. Cut off excess dough. Sprinkle the base slightly with ground hazelnuts or almond meal. Cover it with quartered plums. Sprinkle a 1 TB of sugar over the plums. Mix the eggs with the milk, the sugar and vanilla. Pour the mix over the plum tart and bake for 30 minutes. Let it set for about 30 min for the custard to set and firm before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fig pizza

Fresh California mission figs have not much of a shelf life to speak of. I was in a hurry to try out what I actually bought them for: fig pizza. The real deal  of this pizza is with pizza dough made from scratch, proscuitto, gorgonzola, walnuts, sliced figs, baked and then topped with arugula salad with a balsamic reduction drizzle. Since I had made an apple tart from scratch I was in no mood for all the fuzz. So, shortcut to the rescue. I used a frozen small Trader Joes pizza, removed much of the toppings, and added gorgonzola and goat cheese crumbles instead and topped it with fresh figs before baking. 15 min later, warm, baked and smelling heavenly I added thinly sliced radicchio, pecans and balsamic vinaigrette. Elegance with a shortcut.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Apple Olive Oil Cake

It is apple picking time again! Maybe not today since it rains, so it is more apple cake baking time. This is one of my favorite apple cake recipe from La tartine gourmande. It is not only elegant and tasty, but also glutenfree.

Apple Olive Oil Cake a la Tartine Gourmande (makes 2 small cakes or 1 large):

  • 1/2 TB butter
  • 5 smaller apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup blond organic cane sugar + 1 TB for the apples
  • 1/2 TB vanilla extract
  • 1 ts finely chopped lemon thyme
  • 4 organic free-range eggs
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 100 g millet flour & 100g brown rice flours*
  • 65 g almond meal*
  • 40 g quinoa flour*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

    *Or 200 g (gluten-free) all-purpose flour replacing all the other flours and almond meal combined

In a sautee pan, heat 1/2 TB butter over medium heat. When warm, add the diced apples with 1 Tb cane sugar, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the apples are softer. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray 2 smaller or 1 larger (i.e.10-inch) mold with baking spray (with butter and flour) and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the flours and baking powder and lemon thyme. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and a pinch of salt and the vanilla extract. Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the wet mixture to the flours. Fold the apples in the cake batter. Transfer the batter to the molds and bake the cake for 40 minutes for a very small mold and 50 min for a small, but higher mold, or until a sharp knife inserted in the middle comes out dry. Let the cakes cool for 5 minutes before unmolding.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Simple 1lb wholewheat sandwich bread

I love to make sourdough bread in my Zojiurushi Mini Breadmaker, but due to negligence my sourdough bit the dust in the spring. This is a simple yeast wholewheat bread without a lot of fuss. Great for sandwiches and paninis!

  • 3/4 cup +2 TB  lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 cups  wholewheat flour
  • 1 TB organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 1 TB active yeast
  • 1 TB Baker’s dry milk powder (helps to make sure the bread rises)
  • Optional: 1 TB olive oil

Place water in bottom of breadmaker, then add the flour, mix in the salt, add the sugar, yeast and milk powder, and slightly mix the dry ingredients. Turn on the breadmaker; regular bread with light crust. It takes about 3 1/2 h.

 DSC_1112gr DSC_1121gr

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blueberry Cheesecake (with Greek yogurt)

Here is a new way to indulge in fabulous Greek yogurt: making cheesecake!  I could have made a graham cracker crust, but I did not have any crackers on hand, so it is a crustless cheesecake with fresh blueberries. It is easy to whip up with just a few ingredients, mainly featuring non-fat Greek yogurt.
  • 1 cup non-flavored Greek yogurt
  • 1 eggwhite
  • a few drops of liquid stevia
  • 1/4 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 TB all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup fresh Maine blueberries (the small ones)
  • almond slivers
In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt with the eggwhite until smooth, and add the liquid sweetener and vanilla. Sift in the flour and whisk until smooth. Gently fold in the blueberries and distribute into 2 small ramekins. Arrange a few blueberries and almond slivers on top.

Bake (in toaster oven) at 400F for 25min. Let cool, and serve.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tomato Basil Feta Muffins

I love savory muffins, and these take advantage of the summer harvest: tomatoes and fresh basil! (there is a fall version with butternut squash feta and spinach). They are a great snack with a glass of white wine on those longer summer evenings, or a side to a salad for lunch, or go well to the picnic on the beach.
  • 1 TB butter for 12-hole muffin pan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 4 ts baking powder
  • 1/2 ts seasalt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 ts grainy mustard
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 100 g feta, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • handful basil leaves, chiffonade
  • about 12 springs of thyme, chopped
  • 4-6 kale leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 405F / 200C, with rack in the top third. Use the butter to grease a 12-hole muffin pan and set aside.

Quarter the cherry tomatoes, and arrange on a foil covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil and some salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes until slightly wilted and caramelized, but not completely cooked. Set aside to cool.

Transfer the baked cherry tomatoes to a large mixing bowl along with the sliced basil, chopped thyme, chopped kale, toasted pine nuts, and the feta. Gently fold together. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, milk and mustard together and add to the tomato mix. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt, and sift onto the tomato mix, top with a generous dose of freshly ground black pepper and fold together just until the batter comes together, be careful not to over mix. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, filling each hole 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops and sides of the muffins are golden, and the muffins have set up completely. Let cool for a couple minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vegan chocolate cupcakes

Today, the trip to the farmer market brought sweet treats. I am not really big on sweets, but decided I want to support the newly opened vegan and gluten-free bakery stand with the adorable name Irish Daisy on the farmers market, which popped up this spring. First of all the cupcakes look just adorable, second they are VEGAN and third, the samples say “incredible baking”. Currently, I am a bit at a loss as of what to buy at the farmers market, because eggs, fish and chicken as well as goat cheese are kind of out of the question, and there is not much green stuff beside seedlings and radishes yet. So, I arrived to the FM with the purpose of finally buying a vegan cupcake. Of course, I had to sample the vegan whoopie pies. So good!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Vegan Rhurbarb Strawberry Crisp

When rhurbarb is in season there is only one thing to pair it with: sweet fresh strawberry and a crispy crumble on top, warm out of the oven. To keep portion size under control, I made individual servings in small, but tall ramekins. Each one was filled to the brim with the fruit mix and topped with a bit of the rolled oats and almond meal mixture. After baking, the fruit mix shrunk to have the ramekin, but the kitchen smelled fabulous and of course, I had to eat one, hot out of the oven. Heaven!
Fruit mix:
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup fresh rhubarb, cleaned and cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 tart apple, small dice
  • 1 TB organic sugar
Crisp Topping:
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 TB almond meal (basically ground non-blanched almonds)
  • 2 TB flour (any kind)
  • 2 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB earth balance, at room temperature
  • 1/2 ts vanilla extract
In a bowl, mix the fruits with the sugar. Fill into 4 small ramekin. Set aside. In the same bowl, mix the dry ingredients, and with a fork knead in the butter. Distribute on top of the 4 ramekin. Since there is little butter and no baking powder the crisp will not rise, but it will still be a sweet crunch on top of the fruit mixture. Bake at 400F for 35min. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream or… straight up!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Feta Pumpkin Spinach Muffins revisited

It was a warm sunny day, the regular farmers market had started up again with its wonderful mix of produce, artisan cheeses, free range organic eggs and chicken, fresh pressed wheatgrass, fish and shellfish from the coast, and bakery items, most stands with plenty of samples. Last fall I had tried the Appleton Creamery feta cheese for the first time, and it is undoubtedly the best feta I ever ate outside of Greece. Strong, creamy, tart, salt, strong rich flavors. Last fall I made feta spinach pumpkin muffins with the feta, and I waited all winter for the feta to be available again to make these muffins. They are delicious, and freeze well.
horseradish thai orchid
Pictures from the farmers market.
 halloumi cheese appelton
Appleton Creamery Halloumi and Feta.
feta cheese appleton
Feta Pumpkin Spinach Muffins:
  • cooking spray (for the muffin pan)
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 255g cubed butternut squash, cut 1/2-inch cubes (I buy peeled butternut squash)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large handful of fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds kernels, roasted, unsalted
  • 100g cubed feta (full-fat)
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 180 ml non-flavored almond milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 4 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
Preheat oven to 405F / 200C, with rack in the top third. Grease a 12-hole muffin pan and set aside.
Sprinkle the olive oil, salt and pepper over the cubed squash. Arrange in a single layer on a baking pan and bake for 15-20  minutes so that the squash is mostly cooked, but not mushy or dry. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl beat the eggs and almond milk together. Sift the flours and baking powder onto the mix, add in some salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, and mix until smooth. Fold in gently the spinach, sunflower seeds, feta, and all of the mustard. At last, fold in the baked squash.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, filling each hole 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops and sides of the muffins are golden, and the muffins have set up completely. Let cool for a couple minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack. 
muffin dough feta pumpkin dough feta muffins

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rich Chocolate Cake (Vegan)

Angela’s fabulous looking chocolate cupcakes made me rummage in my recipe collection and unearth a recipe of a birthday chocolate cake that I loved, long before I was vegan. Its rich dark chocolate taste and wonderful light texture is the secret. No sugar, eggs or butter – just baking soda and apple cider vinegar to make the cake rise, and maple syrup for the deep sweetness. 

Ingredients for a cake baked in a small spring form:

1/3 cp whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
1/3 cp cocoa powder
1/4 ts salt
1/2 cp almond milk
1/4 cp canola oil
3/4 cp pure organic maple syrup
1/2 ts apple cider vinegar
1 ts vanilla extract

Raspberry Sauce (for a small cake):
1 cp frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 ts maple syrup
1/2 ts vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 inch spring form pan with non stick cooking spray. Sift together flours and baking powder and baking soda. In a saucepan, heat the almond milk on low-medium heat. When it is slightly bubbling, add the cocoa powder and whisk well until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Combine the other liquid ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Add the cocoa mixture and combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Pour batter into prepared pan, bake at 350 F for 25 minutes until a toothpick or butter knife comes out clean. Let cool completely and frost with your favorite frosting.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

How to make Gluehwein

There are 6 feet high piles of snow everywhere, but one of the perks of warming up in winter is drinking Gluehwein. Gluehwein is a German mulled red wine, which literally means "wine that makes you hot like a hot iron rod".... It definitely lifts temperature and spirits in the very cold season...... Similar idea like a Sangria, just served hot.

1 bottle of red wine (a Barefoot cabernet or even the new Barefoot Sweet Red work very well; for the Sweet Red leave out the sugar)
1/2 TB mulling spices (ca. 5 cloves, 1/2 stick of cinnamon, 1-2 cardamon pods, dried orange zest)
2 TB sugar
3 TB spiced brown rum (like Captain Morgan, or I use a very famous Austrian spiced rum, Strohrum)
1 orange

Pour the entire bottle of wine in a large enough pot, and heat the wine slowly. Add the mulling spices, the sugar and the rum, and stir. Discard the rind-only ends of the orange, and cut it in half, and then into quarters. Thinly slice the orange, and add to the gluehwein. Heat, but don't boil. Once it is heated, stir, and put on a low simmer to keep it hot. Serve hot in a cup with some of the orange slices! Keep warm!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dark Pumpernickel Bread

While others are taking off to get training in bread making and running a Great Harvest bread store, my nearest Great Harvest bread store is about 500 Mi away. Now, I have a onslaught of bread envy. Sigh. Fortunately, I still get great bread, thanks to King Arthur Flour Company and their great bread mixes. Last night, I made a loaf of the Dark Pumpernickel. It is surprisingly simple to make (mix, let rise, pour in pan, let rise again, bake), and it tastes just fabulously. I see great sandwiches in the near future!