Well, where were we? It was the 2nd week in January, and I had just returned from the Ragnar Relay in the Keys….oh yes. And then I went and ran the Disney marathon. Here’s me and David after the race. We both ran it…but not together. He’s much faster than I am.
after the race we detoured on the way home to get me one of these:
That is a blurry photo of an amazing strawberry milkshake from the Parksdale Farmers Market in Plant City, FL. Did I mention they make a spectacular strawberry milkshake? They’re famous for them. If you ever find yourself in the neighborhood, you should pull off the highway and get one. Especially if you just ran a marathon!
I baked these tarts on Friday, before the marathon, because I figured it would make a good dessert after a good pasta (gotta get those carbs) dinner. And I was right. It was delicious. And not too terribly difficult, either….a winning combination, in my book.
The dough was the same one we used for the blueberry-nectarine pie over the summer. This time, I paid closer attention when I was splitting the recipe. I think it paid off in the end. The dough was flaky and tender and buttery. I used Kerrygold Irish Butter, which no doubt added extra flavor to the dough. I bought the fancy butter because I thought we’d be making croissants over the holidays, but we didn’t…so I took this occassion to use it. I usually use plain old Publix butter, because it is less expensive. But it is clearly lacking in the flavor department. This is definitely the place to go for the good stuff. It just tasted more ‘buttery.’ I’m serious.
I may not have cut the butter into the flour well enough…some of my tarts had small holes in them, which I can only assume came from the butter melting. It didn’t matter. They were delicious.
The apple filling could not have been more simple. I chunked up the apples, tossed them with sugar, lemon juice, spices and some fresh bread crumbs (I used challah that was in the freezer) and popped it in the oven. It took longer to cook than the recipe said, but otherwise was delicious. I ate some of it right after I mashed it up, and then as leftovers on saturday afternoon.
The crusts were pre-baked, and mine shrank. Which was dissapointing, but not the end of the world. Perhaps my beans didn’t get all the way into the corners? Next time I’ll try aluminum foil and do a better job at mushing them into the corners of the crust/pan.
And then filled with the apple ‘compote’ and covered with thinly sliced apples and baked again. Mine didn’t get terribly brown…I think they needed more time in the oven? Whatever….they were delicious! I’ll definitely be making this again.
The apples were light and tart against the buttery-flaky-ness of the crust. So good! I can’t wait to find an excuse to make this again. You should find an excuse to make it too. The recipe can be found on page 379 of the book, and you can find the recipe at Gaye’s blog, Laws of the Kitchen. As always, you can find other tasty examples of this recipe at the Tuesday’s With Dorie blog.
The last month has been crazy, and January is possibly shaping up to be even more so. I participated in the Ragnar Relay. My team, the Real Housewives of Pinellas County ran 197 miles from Miami to Key West this past weekend. My last run for that race was over the 7 mile bridge. I didn’t look quite that cute while I was running. In the group picture, I’m in the bottom row with the black do-rag.
The Relay was a spectacular experience. I’m seriously contemplating going back and doing it again next year
Next weekend, I’m running the Disney Marathon, and then we head out for vacation in Sun Valley, ID. I’m exhausted just writing that down. Well, I’ll need lots of carbohydrates for this journey, so these recipes were a good place to start
These were two delicious recipes. The pizza dough was super easy, even though it called for making a sponge….and then the final dough. I doubled the recipe and put half of it into the freezer, which was smart. I made the kids pizza one day during winter break as lunch when we had another friend over for lunch (4 kids….it was a fun day!)
The confit came together very easily, and it was delicious. I even ate it on english muffins for breakfast!
I made one pizza with goat cheese and the onions for myself and David (though it was really for me….he doesn’t love goat cheese) and the rest of the dough was transformed into regular pizza’s to celebrate Adam and Reid’s 5th Birthday.
The recipe for the dough will definitely go into regular rotation around here, and I’ll continue to double the recipe and freeze half. It was nice to not have to think about making dough the second time I made it. And the onions? I think I’ll keep that recipe in my back pocket. I think it would make a lovely onion tart on our future puff pastry.
The recipe for the pizza and the onions can be found on page 159 of Baking with Julia. You can also find the recipe at Paul’s Blog, The Boy Can Bake. Also be sure to check out everyone else’s delicious examples at the ‘Leave Your Link LYL’ post at Tuesdays With Dorie.
This weeks assignment was to make brownies. The recipe can be found on page 331 of Baking With Julia
When I make brownies I like them to be easy, and maybe only use one bowl. I never bake from a mix, but when it comes to brownies, I like them easy. And dense. And incredibly chocolately. These were not easy, nor dense.
This recipe used no less than 3 bowls plus a fine-mesh strainer that I use for sifting. One bowl for the flour, one bowl to melt the chocolate in, and one bowl to mix up the eggs and sugar.
I melted the chocolate and butter in a bowl set atop a pot with some water in it.
It melted and then I added some sugar and took it off the heat
Then I whisked together the eggs and sugar and whisked half of that into the chocolate
Then I whisked the remaining eggs and sugar until they doubled in volume and folded them into the chocolate
And then I folded in the flour. I licked the bowl
And finally they went into the oven
And I brought them to my bunco group on Monday night. Nobody complained, but everybody knew that I’ve done better
I probably won’t be making these again any time soon. But, check out our host for the week, a Beautiful Mess, it looks like she got the beautiful, fudgy brownies I was looking for, she’s got the recipe posted on her site. Also, take a look at our leave your link page to see how other people did it.
Its been a while since I posted anything here. Sorry! We’ve had a bit of a crazy month. Right after the bagels were baked, we started two weeks of craziness.
First we had the Sunfish World Championships in town. David was racing, and he came in 3rd place!
I’ve been cooking a lot lately, but none of it has been terribly exciting. And the stuff that has been exciting, I haven’t taken pictures of. Bad blogger. Bad blogger. In fact, today is Tuesday, and I didn’t even make this week’s Tuesday’s With Dorie selection, a pumpkin/walnut/cranberry loaf. It just didn’t interest me at all. But you should take a look at what other people did, here.
I made dinner last night, Sticky Chicken. I pulled the recipe from a magazine about 2 years ago. Which magazine? I have no idea. I wasn’t even going to post it because its not the most exctiting meal in the world. But then all my kids ate without any complaint and cleaned their plates, and then Reid (my scrawny child) asked for seconds. And then thirds. I was beginning to wonder if hell was freezing over. Because THAT just DOES NOT happen in my house.
So, I don’t have any pictures, but that’s okay. Take my word for it, this is good. And flavorful. And easy. Here it is
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon (or more, depending on your preference) sriracha
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 or 4 good sized chicken breasts. I use bonless and skinless, but I think you could really use whatever cut of chicken you prefer.
Combine all ingredients except chicken in a baking dish. Stir to combine
Add chicken and toss to coat
Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, turn about 1/2 way through cooking.
I serve this with steamed broccoli and either brown rice or quinoa.
I had 1/2 hour between when I came home from the co-op before my appointment to get my hair colored. After I put my vegetables away I sliced up a red onion and poured some boiling water over it. I put the red onion in a bowl with some white vinegar, water and salt. And into the fridge it went. And it came out a few hours later tasting great.
Would you believe it if I said that all three of my children ate it? I even bribed them with more onions if they ate all of their chicken. They ate all of their chicken to get more pickled onions. I served the onions with chicken breasts that I roasted with some peaches and quinoa. The chicken with peaches were solidly ‘eh’. The onions were clearly the star of tonight’s show. I put the leftovers in a jar and left them in the fridge. Every now and then I reach in and grab a slice of onion. they’re really, really good. Go grab an onion and make this.
Quick Pickled Onions
recipe from Fitness magazine
1 red onion, sliced thinly
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons agave nectar
Slice the onion and place in a colander, pour boiling water over.
Place onions in a bowl and add vinegar, water and agave nectar. Stir and cover. Place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Toss occassionally.
Will keep for a few weeks covered in the fridge. Enjoy!
Our next assignment is to make a French Strawberry Cake. So, on the last day of school I decided to take my few hours by myself and bake the genoise sponge for the cake. The recipe for the genoise can be found on page 39 of Baking with Julia.
A genoise is a whole egg sponge cake. The eggs are whipped with sugar until they are pale yellow, frothy and form a ribbon that takes a few seconds to ‘re-absorb’ back into the eggs once its fully whipped. That process takes at least 5 minutes. I used my trusty hand mixer since my Kitcchen-Aid is so big, I was afraid that there wouldn’t be enough ingredients in it for the machine to fully whip everything up. The photo in the lower right is the finished whipped eggs. See how much lighter yellow and more voluminous they are than in the one above?
Then you take cake flour*, a little sugar and salt and sift it together, and fold that into the eggs in 3 parts. The eggs are the only thing holding the cake up, so you’ve got to be gentle. Then you take a bit of the batter out and stir it up with only 2 tablespoons of melted butter and then fold that back into the batter. All of that goes into a buttered and floured and parchmented cake pan and baked. Ta-Da!
The cake sat in the freezer minding its own business until yesterday morning. I hosted my Bunco group last night, and served Sour Cream Enchiladas they were amazing. The only changes I made to the recipe were that I didn’t fry the tortillas, and I added a box of frozen chopped spinach to the filling. They were amazing. And I served this cake for dessert. Here’s how it went down. Continue reading
I first tasted key lime pie when I was a kid. We came to Florida for winter break, and drove down to the Keys from Ft. Lauderdale. My mother convinced me to taste key lime pie, no small feat, I’m sure, and it was love at first taste. For the rest of the trip, we tried key lime pie at almost every place we ate–we were trying to find the best one in the Keys.
Years later, when I was living in Dallas, I discovered this recipe. I printed it out from the Food & Wine website, and its been in my recipe binder since. This was about 10 years ago. I’ve tried it with bottled key lime juice and with fresh. Take my advice, it is just as good with bottled, and you’ll save yourself a lot of pain and suffereing of juicing the teeny-tiny key limes. Unless you have a tree, or your friend with a tree gives you some, don’t be seduced by the cute little limes in the market. They’re nothing but trouble. I use Nellie and Joe’s key lime juice, and I’ve never had trouble finding it in the market.
The recipe includes directions to make your own crust. Do it at least once. It is ridiculously easy. And it is so much better tasting than a pre-made crust. In a pinch, I’ve used the pre made crust, but I’ve always regretted it. You don’t have to grind your own crumbs, but I ran out of pre-ground crumbs….I was lucky that I had a box of graham crackers. Use one bowl for the crust and while it bakes use the same bowl to make the filling. One bowl, one whisk, one spatula and one fork. Could it be any easier?
Key Lime Pie
I’ve not changed a thing about this recipe. It is perfect.
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 7 oz)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (I almost always forget to put this in)
2 14-oz cans sweetend condensed milk
2/3 cup Key lime juice
- Preheat the oven to 350. In a bowl, stir together the crumbs, melted butter and cinnamon. Evenly press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate. Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, until firm. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325. Leave the plate on the cookie sheet.
- While the crust cools slightly, mix the filling in the same bowl. Whisk the egg yolks and cream of tartar until frothy. Stir in the condensed milk, and then whisk in the juice until fully encorporated.
- Pour the filling into the crust and bake for about 15 minutes, or until set.
- Cool on a rack and refrigerate once cooled.
Today we had some friends over for brunch. I hadn’t seen Laura and James in about 18 years. They met at sleepaway camp the summer we all worked there together, and she moved to London to be with him. They were in town for a family B’nai Mitzvah, and managed to carve out time to see us. They brought their three boys, Charlie, Harry and Ben. We had bagels, lox, and all the trimmings. And I took the opportunity to make the remaining ‘log’ of sticky buns that was sitting in my freezer, taunting me.
So, before I went to bed last night I mixed up some butter and light brown sugar. Some of my fellow TWD-ers said that the butter and sugar separated during baking and ended up with a puddle of butter when they turned it out onto a dish. They all reccomended mixing them together and then spreading it into the bottom of the baking tin. I followed their reccomendation, though I went lighter on the butter, the recipe called for one stick per pan, and I went with about half of that, but with all the sugar, 1/2 cup:
I spread that mixture in the bottom of a round cake pan and then sliced up my log of brioche dough/cinnamon/sugar/nuts:
and I sprinkled some chopped pecans on the butter/sugar mixture, and then I put in the pinwheels of yummy-ness
I covered it all up with some saran wrap and put it in the fridge to defrost and rise overnight. When I woke up this morning it looked the same as when it went in last night. I had about 4 hours to get it to rise and bake before my guests arrived. So, I put it into my proofing box. AKA my microwave with the door ajar.
I was worried that even in a warmish house (78 degrees) that it woudn’t be warm enough to get the yeast activated and rising in such a short time after a week+ in the freezer and an overnight in the fridge. David thought I was crazy. But it worked like a charm. At about 10:45 I took this out of the microwave
I put it on a foil lined baking sheet and into the oven it went. and about 45 minutes later I took it out. Laura and James cheered me on as I flipped it over to find this:
I had to scrape out some of the caramel and nuts that stayed behind, but there was no pool of unencorporated butter.
After our bagels, we all tasted the sticky buns. I shared one with David, Laura ate one, James and Ben shared theirs. Ben could not get enough. Ben is only 2. I’m sorry I didn’t get a shot of him eating this, I really think he enjoyed it more than any of us. He actually came back to the table and had another.
Personally, I think I’m more interested in cinnamon buns that have a confectioners sugar glaze on the top, this was too sweet for me. But they were delicious, there is no denying that. Would I make it again? Probably not, we’re not pecan sticky bun type people. If I did make them again, I would definitly skip the ‘lamination’ step in the recipe. I think they’d be just as good without it, and slightly (ever so slightly) lower in fat and calories. I don’t think anyone would miss the extra butter. Making them in the tin all together like this made them better than the individual one that I made earlier in the week.
This is something we grew up eating….my Nona made them and would bring them to us, usually in large ‘recycled’ plastic bags. When I went to college, she would pack them into boxes and send them, but only when it was winter. She didn’t want to send them in the warmer weather. When I moved to Dallas, I would bring them back with me when I came home for a visit. Now that I live in Florida, its too hot to ship them, and, lets face it, I’m too old to be receiving care packages from Nona, and she has macular degeneration which has rendered her unable to do things like this. Dorothy LOVES them, and its one of the only things that I can send with her to lunch and she will eat, so I started making them myself. And you can too.