"Of soup and love, the first is best."
Spanish Proverb

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Summer Stone Fruit Cake with Honeyed Yogurt

This cake is simple and rustic, just perfect for summer's gift of fresh-from-the-tree peaches, plums and apricots. Serve for dessert or as a breakfast treat.
Summer Stone Fruit Cake
adapted just slightly from food52
The Ingredients:
3 ripe peaches or plums, or 6 apricots
3/4 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Turbinado Sugar
The How-to:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
Cut the peaches, plums or apricots into bite sized pieces. Toss with cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and remaining sugar with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the egg, buttermilk and extracts, and stir to combine.
Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix until smooth (some lumps may remain). Pour into the prepared pan.
Press the peaches into the top of the cake. They can be nicely arranged, but I like to cram as many peaches as possible into the cake. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over the top.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Serve with honeyed yogurt or fresh cream.

Honeyed Yogurt
1 cup Plain Yogurt
1/2 cup honey

Cucumber Tomato Salad

This may just be Mark's last supper request. Maybe it's a Russian thing, nostalgia for meals served in those warm, cramped apartments in the Urals, but if I serve this with crusty bread, sometimes broiled warm in the oven, sometimes not, it makes my man happier than anything.
Cucumber Tomato Salad
The Ingredients:
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
3-4 vine-ripe Tomatoes or equal to the amount of cucumbers, sliced
1 Shallot, sliced very thin
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1-2 Tbl. Vinegar
1 tsp. dry Dill or 2 Tbl. fresh Dill
Salt and Pepper, to taste
The How-to:
Combine all ingredients ans serve with bread. It's as simple as that.

Fresh Blackberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze

We picked juicy, sun-warmed blackberries until our hands were stained purple and then I made these. Awesome. I doubled it.

Fresh Blackberry Muffins
adapted from Williams-Sonoma

The Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
5 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh blackberries

The How-to:
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Grease 12 standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, lemon zest and salt. Make a well in the center and add the egg, melted butter and buttermilk. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Sprinkle with the blackberries and gently fold in with a large rubber spatula just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Take care not to break up the fruit. Do not over mix. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each to a bit above the rim of the cup. Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Dip the tops into the glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lemon Glaze
The Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
3/4 cup Heavy Cream, warmed in the microwave, but not boiling
juice of one lemon
The How-to:
Whisk all ingredients together until there are no lumps. Use while warm.

Perfect Meatballs with Asian BBQ Sauce

I've tinkered with this meatball recipe a lot and tried a variety of binders--bread, oats, Italian breadcrumbs--and this is my very favorite. I like to make a double batch, and freeze half of the browned meatballs, without sauce, in the freezer to pull out for a quick spaghetti and meatball dinner, or meatball subs.
Perfect Meatballs
The Ingredients:
1-½ pounds Ground Beef
2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
1 cup Milk
1/2 onion, grated
1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
a handful of Fresh Parsely, if I have it around, chopped finely
Plenty of salt and pepper
The How-to:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs and milk and let sit until absorbed. Add remaining ingredients. Roll into medium-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet.Brown meatballs in 1-2 Tbl. olive oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish.Combine all sauce ingredients in the same pan as you browned the meatballs in. Stir up any caramelized bits at the bottom and cook until warm. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. I like to serve them with brown rice and green beans.
Asian BBQ Sauce
1 cup Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Tbl. Honey
3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/2 Onion, diced
1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes, 2-3 if you feel like heat
1 1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1-2 inch piece Fresh Ginger Root, peeled and grated

Sweet Corn Cornbread

Everyone has to have a good cornbread recipe and this is mine. It's moist and has big corn taste. It's loosely adapted from Cook's Illustrated; I just added more corn and more sweetness.
Sweet Corn Cornbread
The Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 cup Yellow Cornmeal
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 tsp. Salt
1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
1 cup Frozen Corn Kernels, thawed
1 cup Buttermilk
2 large Eggs
8 Tbl. Unsalted Butter, melted and slightly cooled
The How-to:
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 8-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Melt butter in microwave; set aside to cool. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl until combined; set aside.
2. In food processor or blender, process brown sugar, thawed corn kernels, and buttermilk until combined, about 5 seconds. Add eggs and process until well combined, about 5 seconds more.
3. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; pour wet ingredients into well. Fold ingredients together gently until barely combined; add butter and continue folding until just moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth surface with spatula. Bake until golden, about 25-35 minutes.
Quick Honey Butter
Melt 8 Tbl. or one stick butter. Add 1/2 cup honey and whip like crazy until incorporated. Let cool until desired consistency.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Calcutta Grilled Chicken

This is one of my Mom's recipes, changed just a little bit. It's my favorite chicken marinade hands down. Maybe it's the butter?
Calcutta Chicken
2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 stick butter, melted
4 tsp. ground coriander
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 Tbl. soy sauce
zest and juice of one lemon
1 Tbl. brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

The How-to:
Combine all ingredients in bowl or zip lock bag. Add chicken and mix thoroughly. Cover and marinate in fridge for 6-7 hours or overnight. Grill or broil.

Tortellini Salad with Cranberries and Arugula

This is so much better than your average Tortellini Salad. The arugula and cranberries make the tortellini shine. It's definitely one I will make again and again.

Tortellini Salad with Cranberries and Arugula

1 package cheese tortellini, cooked according to directions
1 plastic shell baby arugula or tender greens, 2-3 large handfuls
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted in a dry pan
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, shaved Parmesan or feta cheese

The How-to:
Toss all ingredients with Shallot Vinaigrette or your favorite salad dressing. Poppy Seed would be yummy too. Serve immediately.

Shallot Vinaigrette
1 small shallot, minced
2 Tbl. vinegar (I use Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tbl. Honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Walnut Oil or extra virgin olive oil

The How-to:
I prefer combining all ingredients in a jar and shaking like crazy.