Monday, September 28, 2009

Cheesecake Brownies

I needed something a little fancier than brownies:

Step one: melted chocolate and butter mixed with sugar and eggs:

Once flour and vanilla was added to the chocolate mixture, I whipped up some cream cheese, sour cream, eggs and vanilla:

And a quick swirl later, they became an elegant dessert:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Semi and White Chocolate Chips and Macadamia Nuts

Sometimes I just want plain chocolate chip cookies. Other times, I would be content to eat the cookie dough:

I decided to take classic chocolate chip cookies and use a mixture of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, with a few macadamia nuts for good measure, in these not so classic chocolate chip cookies:

I used a King Arthur Flour recipe that, sadly, is not online, just to try a different method. This recipe starts with sugars creamed with butter, here, dark brown and regular sugar:

Next, egg, added one at a time:

After that the leavening is mixed into the wet ingredients before the flour is added:

And finally, flour:

I then added all of the chocolate chips and nuts:

Once they were baked and cooled, I decided that an ice cream sandwich was in order!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pepper and Onion Quiche

Quiche was the first savory tart I learned how to make:

The formula for making a quiche is simpler than it looks - start with a crust. The crust I used for the heirloom tomato tart will work here, or you can use all flour, as I did this time:

Your next step is cheese. You need enough for a good layer over the crust, as this will keep the eggs and milk from making your crust soggy while the quiche bakes - a scattering just won't do it. I used gruyere:

Next, chopped veggies. I had a ton of green peppers and added onion as well, keeping this quiche vegetarian:

Then pour in eggs mixed with a bit of milk or soymilk. I used about 5 eggs here, and enough milk to make it custard-y:

Bake in a hot oven until done!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thumbprint Cookies with Black Currant Jam

That's right - I touched every one of these cookies:

These thumbprint cookies were made with lovely, shortbready dough. Here is the flour and salt being added to the butter, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and peel:

Once that was fully incorporated I used my small ice cream scoop to make regular sized balls of dough:

Here are the final cookies, filled with jam and baked:

Friday, September 18, 2009


Welcome to apple season!
With all the apples coming into the farmer's markets and fall holiday celebrations going on, I wanted to make an apple cake for a dinner with friends, and decided on this apfelkuchen, a German Apple Cake.

The cake itself is put together like most other cakes - butter creamed with sugar, eggs (here, just the yolks), and then flour and milk. I added the milk and flour alternately, beginning and ending with flour:

The batter is then lightened with beaten egg whites:

And layered in the bundt cake pan with chopped apples. I added cinnamon to the recipe for a bit of extra flavor, though the cake would be good as written:

The heavy, rich batter puffed around the apples as the cake baked:

and the cake itself turned out fairly well from the pan even though the layers of apples inside made for a more fragile pastry:

The cake did fall apart upon eating!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Coffee Crunch Bars

I came across this recipe while hunting for a sweet to bring to a casual gathering at the home of a friend who just happens to love coffee:

I softened some butter and dug my dark brown sugar out of the cupboard, and started mixing:

The dough came together very quickly. I finished with chopped almonds and chocolate chips:

As the recipe suggested, I spread the batter into a square in a rimmed baking sheet:

But as you can see, a smaller baking sheet might have worked a bit better:
The recipe itself was tasty and a big enough crowd pleaser so that I may indeed be making it a different pan.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Heirloom Tomato Tart Recipe

I've been asked for the recipe for the heirloom tomato tart I posted earlier today. As I wasn't using a recipe, some of the following is estimated.

The first step to a tasty tart is a tasty crust. I always make my own:
Sift together:
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cornmeal (if you don't want a cornmeal crust, omit the cornmeal and increase the flour to 1 1.2 c.)
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt

cut in, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs:
2 T. cold butter, cut into chunks
1/4 c. shortening (if you have time to measure this earlier and chill it, all the better)

Stir in about 1/4 c. ice water just until the mixture all holds together. pat into a circle, wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use, at least half an hour.

Next: the filling!

Once your crust is chilled, roll it out and place it in a 9" removable bottom tart pan and set aside.
Grate a good chunk of cheese (whatever you like with tomato is fine. sometimes I'm in the mood for a nice cheddar, other times I want gruyere), enough to cover the bottom of the tar fully, and spread this over the crust. You'll probably need a cup or more.

Chop some fresh basil and garlic and sprinkle over the cheese.

Finely slice 2 medium tomatoes and layer over the fillings.

Bake @400 for about 25 minutes, or until done.

Heirloom Tomato Tart

I love a savory tart for dinner - of course, I love most excuses to eat pastry, and this excuse was that two tomatoes from the plant outside my window were ready to be eaten:
The tomatoes in question are a bicolor heirloom called a Striped German Tomato. I bought the plant at a local garden shop at the beginning of summer.

The tart started with a cornmeal crust that I chilled overnight:

Once the crust was rolled out, I picked and sliced a few leaves of fresh basil from outside my window, and also chopped a bit of garlic:

I then sliced and layered the tomatoes, basil and garlic over shredded cheese in the crust:

And served wedges of tart with gently sauteed kale and a salad of grilled eggplant, garlic and onion in a yogurt based sauce (tastier than it sounds, I promise)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

English Muffin Toasting Bread

I admit, I was attracted to this recipe for English Muffin Toasting Bread because it was almost time to make tomorrow's lunch and I didn't have anything in the apartment with which I might make it:
Also, the King Arthur Flour pictures looked pretty tasty. I' on it and make a nicer looking loaf next time.

You can't beat this bread for quick - the ingredients include both baking soda and yeast, for two kinds of rising power, and you're instructed to use a hand mixer!

Oh, yes, and no kneading, just throw the dough into the prepared pan:

The warm water called for in the recipe worked quickly with the yeast and steamed over the plastic wrap on my dough:

As I used a large loaf pan and worked through the recipe pretty quickly, this bread didn't come out quite as advertised, but it made delicious toast and sandwiches, and I'll be trying for a prettier and lighter loaf soon:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Food Fail: Enid's Breakfast Lasagna

This is a breakfast special. It was disgusting:
Billed as a "breakfast lasagna," this was basically a thick layer of grits topped with a little bit of greasy ground meat and cheese, topped by another overly dense layer of grits and smothered in gravy. No thank you.

The small salad of radishes and cucumber was delicious, as were the collard greens.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Trio of Peach Pies

I had a lot of peaches in my kitchen this summer, thanks to my CSA:
And believe it or not, I had never made a peach pie before this summer, so I decided to try out a few recipes.

The first recipe I tried was for a peach custard pie. I mixed up a custard of egg yolk, sour cream and sugar:

Whisked it all together and poured it over sliced peaches:
That pie also had a very sweet crumb topping. I'll make that one again when I'm having a VERY strong sugar craving.

The next pie I made was a bit simpler - just sliced peaches mixed with a bit of sugar and spice, arranged over a crust of crushed gingersnaps mixed with butter:
I brushed a bit of warm apricot jam over that one for a bit of shine so it would look finished after I took it out of the tart pan.

Finally, I took on a plain peach pie. I sliced my peaches and mixed them with sugar, cornstarch and a bit of flour:

And once they were topped with crust, baked them into a classic!