MARZIPAN CAKE

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 This is one of the best cakes you’ll ever make if you love marzipan.  It’s very easy and “wows” people every time I make it.  This cake remains moist and delicious for several days.

MARZIPAN CAKE  serves 10

 

1- 8-ounce can almond paste (I use Solo):  DON’T BUY ALMOND FILLING!

¾  cup sugar

1 stick  unsalted butter (room temperature): (I microwave until almost melted)

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup flour

1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder (sifted )

¼ teaspoon salt

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ? F.  Butter and flour 9 inch diameter cake pan with 2-inch sides.  Line bottom with waxed paper. 
  2. Break almond paste into 4 equal pieces.  Take one teaspoon or so to taste! Place in food processor with sugar and blend until paste is ground to size of sugar granules, about a minute.
  3.  Add butter and process until soft paste forms.  Beat eggs  into marzipan mixture one at a time and then add vanilla.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt and pulse 8-10 times u until just incorporated.
  4. Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake cake until brown and tester comes out clean (about 35-40 minutes).  Cool 10 minutes, turn over unto rack.  Peel off paper and cool completely
  6. I either sprinkle with confectioners sugar or glaze with a chocolate ganache.

 

For Ganache: 

 

6 ounces dark chocolate (I use Giradelli chocolate chips 60% or Lindt bars 70%)

¼ cup heavy cream or 2 TBS butter

1 TBS light corn syrup

Whole almonds for garnish

 

  1. Melt chocolate, cream and corn syrup together in microwave.  Stop microwaving before the chocolate is entirely melted and then stir it until the last pieces melt.
  2. Wait until it is thick enough to spread and pour it carefully in rounds over the top of the cooled cake.  Spread it gently to cover the top and sides of the cake.
  3. Garnish with whole almonds.

 

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VENISON HASH

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 VENISON HASH

 

 

 

My friends Evie and Dave presented me with venison the other day.  Rather than worry about the cut of meat being too tough to eat as a steak, I decided to feature it in a hash with lovely local root vegetables.

No recipe needed here.  I cut all the vegetables and meat in roughly the same size small cubes, maybe ¼ inch.  I cooked each vegetable separately and used what I had on hand from my local CSA share.  The only thing I bought was a sweet potato but it certainly wasn’t necessary.

This is what I used:  onion, carrot, celeriac, potato, and sweet potato.  I could have added squash, parsnip,and turnip.  Everything should be cooked in olive oil in a hot frying pan.  I like to brown everything because it caramelizes and adds flavor and sweetness.  But stay right there and flip the frying food over as it browns…and don’t overcook or everything will be mushy or burned.

The only seasoning needed is salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  When everything has been cooked separately, add it together and heat up again. 

The only necessary  addition is an egg fried in the middle of the hash.  One per person. 

Now of course this sounds like a brunch dish.  But  I usually don’t eat a heavy brunch.  So we have this for dinner.  It's real comfort food.  And it looks beautiful and tastes wonderful.

 

 

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TOMATOES

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 TOMATOES IN ABUNDANCE:

WAYS  TO ENJOY TOMATOES WITHOUT A RECIPE

 

 

 

This year we have the greatest crop of tomatoes:  cherries and heirloom.  This is what I believe about homegrown tomatoes: the less done with them, the better since their flavor and texture is just perfect right now. 

 

Some of the ways I enjoy tomatoes right now….and  no recipes are necessary!

 

·         BLTs:  don’t get better than right now!  Everyone knows how to make a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. 

·         Tomato sauce:  Cook down all your tomatoes:  they don’t have to be plum tomatoes,  but only use the nice ripe ones and cut off blemishes.  Then put them through a food mill.  If you don’t have one,  I suggest you invest in one.  I use mine for applesauce, tomato sauce, and raspberry sauce.  After you’ve put them through the mill, cook the sauce down some more until it is the consistency that you like. Be careful not to burn your sauce! Watch and stir.

         At this point you have three choices: 1) freeze as is, 2) add fried peppers and onions and cook together a while longer and eat right away or 3) freeze the version with peppers and onions.  You also need to add crushed garlic at the last minute so the taste of garlic stands out, and you add salt and pepper.  But I advise not using other spices if you really want the tomato taste to shine through.  Tonight we had a perfect meal with fresh pasta (linguini) served with the sauce I described above  and some fresh parmesan. 

·         Tomato soup.  Same as above, without the peppers, blended in a blender and with cream added if you’d like.   A pinch of allspice is a little secret that enhances the flavor without overpowering the tomato flavor.

 

Tomato salad done several ways:

 

·         Cherry tomatoes  halved with fried pine nuts, basil, olive oil and salt to taste.

·         Tomato and Cucumber salad: tomatoes peeled and cubed, and added to cucumbers peeled and cubed about the same size.  Dress with good olive oil and salt.  And if you’d like, add some balsamic vinegar.

·         Dried cherry tomatoes.  If you have a dehydrator you can cut the tomatoes in half and dry them as is…or add some salt. You can just pop them in your mouth.  They're like candy.

·         Tomato omelet;   Peel the tomato, dice and fry in olive oil until just beginning to brown.  Set aside,  Then chop up some sweet onion and fry slowly until caramelized.  Mix together, set aside and use as a filling for an omelet.  If you want to make it “over the top” you can add some gruyere cheese to the omelet. 

·         Tomatoes on a platter with  mozzarella, basil, and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

·         A wonderful “sub” using fresh tomatoes, goat cheese and pesto.  I used to make these for picnics with the kids.  I would take a baguette and half it lengthwise.  I’d then spread the goat cheese on one side and the pesto on the other and the tomatoes went in the middle. I’d wrap it up and when we got to the picnic, I’d slice it into portions.  If it was going to be a while before we ate, I’d add the tomatoes at the last minute.

·      Oven dried plum tomatoes Preheat oven to 225°F. Halve each cherry or grape tomato crosswise or Roma tomato lengthwise and arrange on a silipat or  parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and salt and pepper, though go easily on these.Bake the tomatoes in the oven for about three hours. You want the tomatoes to be shriveled and dry, but with a little juice left inside–this could take more or less time depending on the size of your tomatoes. Check them often.  You can eat them as is or served on toasted slices of baguette with goat cheese.

·         And of course:  gazpacho.  If you have some extra tomatoes from one of the tomato or tomato and cucumber salads this is the start of your gazpacho.  All you do is peel tomatoes, add some cucumber and only peel them if you need to.  Add a little onion,( not too much) and some garlic:  not too much of this either.  I you like bell peppers, add some as well.  Cut up some stale (or not stale) bread into cubes.  Blend together in food process and add some red wine vinegar and some good olive oil.  Add some salt and taste.  You may need to balance with some more vinegar.  When it tastes right, refrigerate overnight until it’s well chilled.  Before serving taste again and adjust the for taste.  Gazpacho can be served in shot glasses for an elegant presentation.

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ISRAELI EGGPLANT SALAD

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ISRAELI EGGPLANT SALAD
 
2 medium sized eggplants
2 medium or one large onion
¼ to 1/3 cup red wine vinegar (my husband prefers cider vinegar)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
 
  1. Slice unpeeled eggplants into 1/4  inch slices.
  2. Fry them a few at a time in a fair amount of olive oil on both sizes until lightly browned and cooked through. Set the cooked eggplant aside in a bowl and as oil collects in bottom of the bowl, add it back to the frying pan. The eggplant soaks up lots of oil, so more oil has to be frequently added.
  3. When all the eggplant has been browned, add vinegar and salt.
  4. Thinly slice the onions and either add them raw if they are sweet or fry them quickly over high heat in the olive oil and then add them to the eggplant. Check for seasoning and for best results marinate the salad overnight in the fridge.
 
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BAKED RATATOUILLE

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NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE RATATOUILLE WITH ALL LOCALLY GROWN  INGREDIENTS!!

 

 

 

Ingredients for the RATATOUILLE

 

The bell peppers were from our garden, the zucchini and onions were grown by Full Plate CSA and the plum tomatoes and baby eggplant were bought from Mandville Farm at the Farmer’s Market.

 

I decided to do something new with the ratatouille that would allow people to pick and choose their vegetables.  I sliced and fried the onions in olive oil until they were well cooked, brown and caramelized.  The onions were then evenly spread in an ovenproof 8X12 or so dish.

I then cut the peppers into 4 or 5 strips lengthwise and cooked them also until they were slighly charred and well cooked.  They were then spread over the onions in a neat row. 

Next I cut the eggplant in half lengthwise(no need to peel or salt or anything fussy) and fried them also until they were almost cooked and slightly brown. They were also attractively laid over the onions in a neat row.

 I cut the zucchini into think slices widthwise and made nice rows of with my two medium sized eggplants.  I didn’t precook them since I like them to be a little crunchy.

Finally, I skinned the tomatoes by putting them briefly in boiling water and then removing them and skinning them.  I cut them in half lenthwise and arranged them attractively on or around the vegetables.  Make sure all the vegetables are properly salted.

I used dry bread to make breadcrumbs and mixed about 1/2 cup with 1 TBS of dijon mustard, 1 or 2 crushed large garlic  clove and 2-3 TBS olive oil.  I did this in my mini food processor but you can also do it by hand.  Spread this over the vegetables and bake at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until beginning to brown. 

This is best made the day before, refrigerated and reheated.  You can serve this room temperature or bring it to room temperature and then warm it up briefly under a broiler. 

The beauty of this presentation is that the eggplant haters or those of us that can’t eat peppers can partake only of their favored parts of the ratatouille. 

 

 

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INDONESIAN PILAF SALAD

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INDONESIAN PILAF SALAD

 

(adapted from KASHI™ recipe)

I happened upon this recipe when browsing through magazines at Hairy Canary getting my hair cut.  It looked really enticing and prompted me to go and buy the ingredients on my way home.  Since then, a couple weeks have passed and I’ve already made this salad three times with great reviews from family and friends.  I’ve simplified it so this is a modified version still made with Kashi™ Whole Grain Pilaf which comes in a box and can be found in Wegman’s health foods section  The box holds three packets each with about a cup of pilaf.  It’s a chewy flavorful blend of whole grain oats, brown rice, rye, hard red wheat, triticale, buckwheat, barley and sesame seeds.  In case you don’t know what Triticale is, (and I didn’t) the Kashi folks explain that it is “a natural cross between durum wheat and rye with higher protein than both.  A ½ cup serving contains 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.

 

 

 

 

Indonesian Pilaf Salad

Created by Kashi™  and  Adapted by Celia Clement

For original recipe go to: http://www.kashi.com/recipes/8

Ingredients

  • 1 packets of Kashi™ 7 Whole Grain Pilaf
  • 1 cup whole roasted peanuts
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4  teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 cup organic currants
  • 3 medium carrot, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup organic red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped 
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mirin or other sweetener such as honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes (I omit this but add it if you like it spicy)
  •  

Directions

  1. Cook Kashi Pilaf according to directions on the package and set aside. The directions are: for each packet which holds 1 cup, boil two cups water and then add the pilaf.  
  2.  Add the cumin and coriander and salt to the rice mixture as it cooks.
  3. Add the carrots for the last 10 minutes of the pilaf cooking time.
  4. Cover and cook about 25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped cabbage, scallions, currants, cilantro,  and peanuts with cooked Pilaf mixture,  and mix well.
  6. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger root, vinegar and cilantro, whisk together, add to pilaf mixture, stir well and taste to adjust the seasoning. Enjoy.
  7. This is best made ahead of time to let the flavors harmonize.  

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ROSEMARY RAISIN PECAN CRISP

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                                                              ROSEMARY RAISIN PECAN CRISPS (BISCOTTI)

 

    At a recent party I attended at my friend Marcy’s house another guest brought a most unusual appetizer.  They were very thin savory biscotti.  Mary served them with an herbed marscapone spread but I liked them best unadorned.  These are really extraordinary and unusual little crisps. 

You can serve them alone as an appetizer, with a goat cheese or cream cheese spread or in a bread basket to accompany a soup or salad.  I tracked down the maker of the "crisps" who turned out to be Mary and she not only agreed to part with the recipe, she also allowed me to publish it.

 

 

Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps

 

2 c flour 2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

2 c. buttermilk

¼ c. brown sugar

¼ c. honey

1 c. raisins or cranberries or currants (I use currants)

½ c. chopped pecans

½ c. toasted pumpkin seeds

¼ c. sesame seeds

¼ c. flax seeds

1 t. chopped rosemary

 

  1. Stir together flour, soda and salt. Add buttermilk, brown sugar, honey and stir. Add raisins, pecans, pumpkin sesame flaxseed and rosemary. Stir until well blended.
  2. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake 45 min.
  3. Cool on rack and let sit a day or two.
  4. Slice thinly (1/4 inch tops). Spread on cookie sheets and bake @300 for 15 min. Turn and bake another 15 min until crisp. Watch carefully and do not overcook.  It should just start getting brown.  It will continue to crisp up after you take it out.  But it can burn very quickly.

 

Variations:

Pumpkin, flax, sesame, poppy, molasses

Cranberries, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, flax, honey, brown sugar, sesame seeds

Figs, pumpkin seeds, flax, kalamata olives, sesame seeds, brown sugar, honey

 

 

 

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MULTI GRAIN BREAD

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MULTI-GRAIN BREAD
 
 
Craving comfort food? I love this standby recipe for multi-grain bread that I’ve been making for a couple of years. It’s very easy if you use a bread maker. I always remove my bread dough before the second rising and bake it in the oven. This bread tastes better a day or even two days later. It’s such flavorful bread that it doesn’t need any butter. The secret is adding scallions that have been fried briefly in olive oil.   And the other secret is using Bob’s Red Mill 8 Grain Cereal. 
 
 
 
4 scallions chopped up or about ¼ cup
2 Tbs olive oil
1 package instant rise yeast
1/2 cup 8 grain cereal (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 1/2 cup bread flour
1  cup graham or light whole wheat flour or bread flour
2 Tbs. toasted wheat germ
1 Tbs. ground flaxseed
Salt to taste
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. molasses
1 cup warm water
 
1.       Briefly fry the scallions in olive oil to soften but don’t brown them. Let cool.
2.      To the bread maker add the rest of the ingredients starting with the yeast and ending with the water. Add scallions before the water.
3.      Switch on the bread maker and let it go through the first kneading and rising cycle. If you’re an experienced bread maker you’ll know what the consistency of the dough should be. It may need to be adjusted with a little more water or flour. It should come together in a ball that is went enough that when you squeeze it with your fingers, it is just a little sticky.
4.      After it has risen to about double (one hour), punch down, remove from the bread maker and put into a loaf pan that has been liberally spread with olive oil. Grease the top of the bread with olive oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Put in warm, draft free spot to rise.
5.      After 45 minutes start your oven heating at 400 ? 
6.      After the bread has risen for an hour check to make sure it is nicely risen above the rim of the loaf pan. (See picture below).
7.      Carefully place in hot oven and reduce to 375 ?. Bake for about 30 minutes or until beginning to brown and fully baked.
 
 
 
 Risen bread right before baking
 

 

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MUESLI

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MUESLI
 
 
This is my mother's recipe from memories of her childhood.  I don't think anyone else uses sweetened condensed milk but wait until you taste this!   We eat this for dessert and also for breakfast and snacks. It lasts a few days in the fridge and gets better as the flavors of the fruit mix together.  Though nuts and raisins are classic muesli ingredients, our kids prefered it without nuts and raisins.  Experiment and enjoy!
 
 
     This recipe is approximate quantities. You need to play around with the proportion of liquid to oatmeal since it depends on how juicy the fruit is. This quantity serves 8-10.
 
Mix together:
 
3 cups instant (1 minute) oatmeal
1 1/2   cup boiling water
1/3  can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk). You can use the “no fat” variety.
 
Add and stir frequently:
 
 2-4 large oranges, peeled, seeded and cut up.
2-3 apples cut into small pieces
2-3 bananas, sliced
Strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, pears (the more fruit the better: (all optional)
Nuts, raisins or other dried fruit (optional)
Juice from 1 lemon
 
Stir well and add more liquid (cider, OJ or water ) if necessary. Then let sit several hours or overnight, refrigerated. Add more liquid if it’s too gloppy. It really needs an overnight standing time in the fridge in order for the consistency to be correct.
 
 

 

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TURKEY LEFTOVERS

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Leftover turkey has many tasty reincarnations. Turkey barley congee is one of my favorites that I make every year after Thanksgiving. It starts off by using the turkey carcass to make a rich broth. Congee is a nourishing and healthy one dish meal which I’ve adapted from the recipe of one of my favorite cookbooks: A Spoonful of Ginger: Irresistible, health-giving recipes from Asian kitchen, by Nina Simonds. She references the healthful or medicinal qualities of each recipe so you feel good about what you serve your family and guests.
 
 
 
 
 
 
TURKEY CONGEE WITH BARLEY
Adapted from the cookbook, “A Spoonful of Ginger” by Nina Simonds.
 
For the broth:
1 Turkey carcass from the Thanksgiving dinner
12 cups water
Salt
1 peeled onion
1 celery stalk
1 slice ginger
 
For the marinade:
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 ½ Tbs rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
 
For the soup:
1 pound or more leftover turkey meat, cut into bite size pieces or use uncooked turkey meat. if you don’t have leftovers.
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 cup whole grain or pearl barley, rinsed and drained.  (whole grain barley is healthier)
3 carrots,  peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
3 stalks celery , cut into ¼ inch dice
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tsp.-1 Tbs.   grated fresh ginger (depending on how much you like ginger)
8 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced (fresh) or/and dried shitake:  5-6 reconstituted in water
1-2 cans chicken or turkey broth as needed (optional:  see note).
 
 
  1. Combine the broth ingredients and bring to boil in large pot. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for an hour.  Strain and check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as necessary.
  2. Meanwhile, combine ingredients for the marinade, add turkey and coat with marinade. Refrigerate.
  3. Fry onions in oil or butter until soft and lightly brown and set aside.
  4. Fry mushrooms in butter or olive oil until lightly browned and set aside.
  5. Add barley to the strained broth and cook for 45 minutes. If necessary, add more water or broth.
  6. Add carrots and celery (and turkey meat if it is uncooked) and cook another 15 minutes, checking to make sure there is enough liquid.
  7. Add browned onions, cooked turkey, rice wine, browned mushrooms and grated ginger and cook another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  8. Taste for seasoning and add more broth if necessary and a little sesame oil to taste.
 
Note: This is meant to be a thick, porridge like soup. I prefer it a little soupier and so I have some broth set aside to add if necessary.
 
 

 

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