Posts Tagged ‘Breakfast’

As promised, here is the granola recipe I mentioned when we chatted about homemade yogurt earlier this week.  It’s the perfect crunch to top that tart yogurt.  And it’s just sweet enough that you won’t need to add anything else.  And even if you don’t make it as a yogurt topper, it’s a perfect stand-alone snack.

Again, the advantage of making your own granola is that you have control over what goes into it.  I use not only organic ingredients, but more interesting, healthy additions that you won’t find in a typical store-bought granola blend.  Quinoa, chia seeds, flaxseed meal– all of these are phenomenal, nutritious foods.  Uncooked steel-cut oats in granola?  You bet!  They add such a nice texture.  It’s also nice to be able to choose the type of fat to use.  Olive oil works perfectly here, and is so good for you.  I also love using coconut oil (you remember my coconut oil obsession, right?), it imparts such a lovely flavor.

If you don’t have all of these ingredients, or you want to try something else, by all means, do so.  Maple syrup comes to mind.  Or if you want a chunkier granola, increase the rolled oats and add less steel cut oats or quinoa.  Dark chocolate, cinnamon, or unsweetened coconut flakes, anyone?  See what I mean?  Have fun with this. Just remember to try to keep the ratio of dry/wet ingredients the same when substituting.  Pack it for a snack at work, or take it for your kids’ events.  If you make it– they will eat it.

The Recipes:  Homemade Granola Two Ways

Homemade Granola with Coconut Oil, Vanilla, Dried Blueberries and Cherries:

1 cup rolled oats, dry

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/3 cup pepitas

1/2 cup steel cut oats, dry

1/2 cup quinoa, dry

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup dried blueberries

3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of kosher salt

Homemade Granola with Olive Oil, Ginger, Almond, and Dried Cherries:

(As shown in the photographs)

1 cup rolled oats, dry

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds

1/3 cup pepitas

1/2 cup steel cut oats, dry

1/2 cup quinoa, dry

1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup dried currants

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

2 tablespoons chia seeds

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon almond extract

pinch of kosher salt

Preheat an oven to 250°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.  In a large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients together, with the exception of the salt and dried fruit.  In a small bowl, mix together the oil (if using coconut oil, be sure to melt it in a small saucepan first, so it can liquify) honey, and extract.  Mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients together.  Here is where you need to make a decision — you can either mix the dried fruit into this mixture and bake it for two hours or you can mix it in during the last 10 minutes of baking.  Doing so right away will yield a very chewy fruit, which some people tend to enjoy.  Doing so later, will keep the fruit more soft and tender.  The choice is yours.  I enjoy both ways.

Spread the mixture onto the lined pan and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Bake in the oven for two hours, stirring every 15-20 minutes, or so.  The grains will get evenly toasted this way.  After 2 hours, remove from the oven and let the granola sit, untouched, for a bit to cool and firm up.  When it’s cool, you can break it into chunks.  Keeps well for days in a sealed container with a lid.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It — hope you enjoy the granola!


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Today’s post is kind of like a public service announcement: Make your own yogurt!  It’s so easy, you’ll be amazed!  Honestly, I can’t believe it took me this long to start making yogurt at home.  For some reason I was under the impression that it was more complicated.  I don’t know if I thought it required fancy equipment, took up too much refrigerator space, or what.  Turns out it’s only two little ingredients and a very simple process.  And given the amount of yogurt we eat, this discovery ended up being a game changer.

Here’s a little insight into our yogurt-centric family.  My kids and husband eat yogurt every single day.  I certainly like it, but the other three are nuts.  So until this homemade-yogurt discovery, week after week I ended up buying loads of the stuff.  I always sought out the organic versions, but even they were often packed with unnecessary, processed sugar.  That always troubled me a bit.  And the cost of keeping Radd, Aanen, and Aria’s yogurt supply stocked was embarrassing.  The good stuff is not cheap.

So far, I’ve been making plain yogurt.  It’s more versatile, and I like to use it in preparing other meals, too.  We make Indian food frequently, so it works perfectly swirled into various dishes.  I’ve also been putting it into different egg-salad recipes, making salad dressings from it, baking with it, and once summer hits I can’t wait to make frozen yogurt-pops for the kids.  It’s been so convenient to have such a large supply on hand every week.

This homemade yogurt is creamy and not overly tart.  I imagine that part of the flavor will depend upon the milk that you use.  I’ve made several batches using milk with different fat contents, and I’ve mixed both regular and Greek yogurt into the heated milk.  They’ve all worked well.  If you prefer a thicker yogurt, you’ll want to strain it in a few layers of cheesecloth when it’s finished.  I might do that in the future, but right now I want to enjoy every last spoonful.  Radd and I have been enjoying it plain with homemade granola (recipe to come later this week).  The kids like it sweetened with a touch of honey.  I’ve also pureed fruit and stirred it in, and can’t wait until berry season arrives.   The process could not be simpler.  Once I put the yogurt in the oven, I don’t give it another thought until the morning.  Look here if you’d like to experiment with other methods.

A few other things to consider:  When you make your own yogurt, you know exactly what’s going into it.  We buy milk from grass-fed cows from a local dairy.  Aside from having more control over our food supply chain by buying local, the grass-fed milk contains more omega 3’s (among other health benefits).  I also love that I can keep my family’s yogurt habit satisfied at a fraction of the cost of buying those individual packages.  And without those individual plastic packages, there’s less waste.  Alright, enough preaching for now.  Go make a batch!

The Recipe:  Homemade Yogurt

1/2 gallon milk, preferably organic (you choose the fat content)

1/2 cup plain yogurt with active live cultures, preferably organic

To make the yogurt:  In a large saucepan heat the milk to 170°F, stirring every so often.  This will kill anything that isn’t supposed to be there.  Let the milk cool to 110°F.  This process will take about an hour, stir occasionally to release steam.  In the meantime, heat your oven to the lowest setting.  Once the milk reaches 110°F, stir a bit of the warm milk into the 1/2 cup of plain yogurt to temper it, then add the entire yogurt mixture to the saucepan and mix everything together.

Pour the mixture into a large glass bowl and lightly press cheesecloth onto the liquid.  This will prevent a “skin” from forming on the yogurt.  Put the bowl on a baking sheet and place in the oven.  Turn the oven off and turn on the oven light.  This will generate enough heat in the oven for the yogurt to stay active.  You want to try to maintain an oven temperature of about 110°F.  After about 12 hours in the oven, the yogurt is done. Experiment with the duration of time — you may prefer it with a shorter time in the oven.  Remove the cheesecloth and give it a stir.  Pour it into individual glass bowls or just leave it in the bowl, cover it, and refrigerate.  The yogurt will keep well for about 10 days, but it will more than likely be gone before then!

Source:  Adapted from Zoe Bakes

Thanks for stopping by today!


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Ahhh…citrus in Spring.  Fresh, vibrant, and beautiful.  You already know that I’m a sucker for pretty much anything citrus-related– just take a look at these and this… and these… and this…and this..and these…and these…and this…  Wow!  I didn’t realize I was that big of a sucker for citrus!  Well, you get the point.  Another great way to indulge in these brilliant fruits is by making curd.  I know, the name doesn’t sound very appealing, but think of it more as a silky, citrus pudding.  Much better.

Today’s dish relies on my favorite citrus curd recipe.  It’s foolproof.  You can use any type of citrus (lemon, grapefruit, and lime work too!), and it’ll turn out perfect every time.  Personally, I love lemon curd the best, but Radd is a big fan of orange, so this batch was for him.

One of the best things about curd is that it’s so versatile.  It’s a great topping for shortbread or toast.  I often fill white cupcakes with it and top them with a beautiful meringue frosting.  And of course, it is perfect paired with classic scones, the second recipe for today’s dish.  You know the kind I’m referring to– the one’s that aren’t fussy or fancy.  The ones that go with anything.  Jam and clotted cream, anyone?  Spread a little fresh citrus curd on a scone, pour a cup of coffee, and take in the Spring morning.  Perfect.

The Recipe: Orange Curd with Classic Scones

Orange Curd

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

2/3 cup fresh orange juice

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

In a small bowl, combine the eggs and egg yolks and lightly beat, set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the butter and sugar.  Beat for about 2 minutes.  Slowly add the eggs.  Beat for 1 minute.  Pour in the orange juice and continue to mix.  The mixture will look curdled — this is fine, it will smooth out as it cooks.

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it begins to look smooth.  The curdled appearance will disappear as the butter melts.  Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, between 10-15 minutes.  It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and a thermometer should read 170°F.  Do not let the mixture boil.

Remove from heat.  Stir in the orange zest.  Transfer to a bowl and place plastic wrap against the curd to keep a skin from forming.  Place in the refrigerator.  The curd will thicken as it chills.  It will last in the refrigerator covered for 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.


Classic Scones

(Makes 8-10 scones)

2 cups unbleached cake flour (11 ounces), plus more as needed

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (or anything coarse), divided

5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 – 3/4- cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar into a food processor.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter, and pulse a few more times until the mixture resembles cornmeal.  Medium chunks of butter are just fine.

Add the egg and enough of the cream to form a slightly sticky dough.  It should stick to your hands a bit, but shouldn’t be overly wet.  Adjust cream/ flour as necessary.

Remove dough from food processor and place on a lightly floured surface.  With flour on your hands, pat dough into a flat 3/4-inch thick circle.  Use a round 2-inch biscuit cutter to cut out scones.  Place them on the baking sheet.  Brush with cream and sprinkle with remaining sugar.  Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Source: Scones adapted from the New York Times.  Orange curd adapted from Fine Cooking

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.


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I know, I’ve made another dish with a fancy French word.  Well, I’ve found that a good rule is,  if it comes from French food culture it’s going to be good.  Mollet eggs (rhymes with Olé) are wonderfully soft eggs with a firm egg-white, and a beautiful oozy center.  They’re not what we would generally call a soft egg, with it’s more liquid albumin.  I’ve been obsessed with these eggs for the last two months.  By obsessed, I mean I’ve eaten at least one for breakfast or lunch almost every day.  And can I just mention how brilliant they are this time of year!  If you’re using organic, free-range chicken eggs, you’ll see the yolks are almost orange right now, as the birds get out and take in those nutritients.  Happy chickens means a happy me.  I’ll put an egg on most anything.  “Put an egg on it!” is my “Put a bird on it!”.  (Portlandia anyone?)

I don’t always like to use oil when I prepare eggs, so that leaves me with the options of either hard-boiled (which I make often) or poached.  And more often than not, I’m too lazy to poach them.  I’ve found that mollet eggs are the perfect solution.  This technique, which I first saw used by that French culinary sage, Jacques Pepin, is foolproof.  First, bring a saucepan of water to a boil.  Use a pin or thumbtack to poke a hole into the largest end of the egg.  This hole prevents the egg shell from cracking while it’s cooking.  Boil the eggs for six minutes and then pour out the water.  Shake the pan to crack the shells a bit.  Finally, peel the eggs under cold, running water.  The water gets under the shell and membrane, causing it to slough off without taking any of the firm egg-white.  The egg is perfect every time.

Now the egg is only part of this breakfast dish.  We love hash– the perfect big breakfast to start the weekend.  It’s even better when you have friends come over to enjoy it with.  I make the pork shoulder in a crock pot, though of course you can just use your oven and braise the pork shoulder if you like.  One of the things I love about this meal is that most of it can be made in advance.  Much of the morning can be spent visiting and sipping on a cup of French-press coffee.  I love being able to make most of this meal ahead of time,  it makes the morning so much more relaxing.  And even better, the leftovers (if you somehow have any) heat up very well, and make a fine lunch.  Here’s to your next weekend breakfast!

The Recipe: Mollet Eggs with Pork Shoulder Hash

(serves 6 comfortably)

4 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic

2 sprigs rosemary

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 – 3/4 cup water

1 large white onion, chopped, plus another 1/2 onion

3 pounds organic fingerling potatoes, steamed, then diced

3 celery ribs, chopped

2 pounds pork shoulder

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

6 organic eggs, or more

kosher salt and fresh black pepper

To make the pork shoulder:  The night before you plan to serve it, place the pork shoulder seasoned with kosher salt and fresh black pepper, 1/2 white onion cut into chunks, garlic cloves, 1 rosemary sprig, thyme, and 1/2 cup of water (or a bit more, if you see fit) into a crock pot set at low.  Leave on overnight.  In the morning, remove the meat and and shred it with two forks, discarding any fat. Add the soft garlic cloves to the meat.  Set aside.

Prepare the potatoes the night before, as well.  Add the potatoes to a large saucepan with a steamer inserted into it.  Set the heat to medium-high and cover with a lid.  If they don’t all fit into your pan, steam them in two batches.  Steam for 10-15 minutes, depending upon the size of your potatoes, or until a knife inserted into them goes in with ease.  Let cool and place them covered in the refrigerator overnight.  Dice them in the morning.

In the morning,  heat a large skillet (mine is 14-inches) to medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil and then sauté the onion until it develops a nice golden color, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the celery and sauté until it softens a bit.  Sprinkle kosher salt and fresh black pepper into the pan.  Add the diced potatoes and cook until they are heated through and have developed a bit of a golden color to them.  Add the shredded pork shoulder to the pan and continue to sauté until everything is hot.  Re-season, if necessary.  Sprinkle with chives and chop up the remaining rosemary sprig and add that, as well.

 Meanwhile, while the potatoes are cooking, bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil.  When the potatoes are on the verge of being done, gently push a pin or thumbtack  into the large end of each of the eggs.  Gently lower them into the boiling water.  Reduce the heat to a small boil.  Set a timer for six minutes.  When the timer goes off, remove from heat.  Drain the hot water into sink leaving the eggs in the pan.  Gently, but with a bit of force, shake the pan back and forth, so that the eggs crack a bit.  Run some cold water and begin to peel the eggs underneath it.  It is important to get the water under the shell and the membrane.  Once that occurs, peeling the egg will be a cinch.  Dry the eggs on a paper towel.

Have the pork shoulder hash plated and place one egg (or more) on the top.  Cut into the egg and enjoy the golden yolk oozing all over the crisp potatoes and pork shoulder.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!


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For the last few weeks, I’ve been obsessed with kumquats.  I’ve been blending them to make salad dressing, slicing them thin as a salad topper, and making this delicious marmalade.  For those of you who haven’t tasted a kumquat, they are quite tart.  I guess the best way to describe their flavor is like a cross between an orange and a lemon– with the emphasis on the orange-like qualities.  And they’re perfect for this citrus-obsessed girl.   I almost decided not to share this recipe, since it’s hardly a recipe at all.  I thought it might be ridiculous to write about something made from just three ingredients– one of them being water.  But I kept on making batch after batch of this amazing marmalade, and eventually figured I had to share it.

I’ve been enjoying this marmalade on sandwiches with brie and arugula.  Sometimes I even throw a piece of bacon on top, because bacon goes with everything (I know we’ve already established this).  It’s true though.  The salty bacon works so beautifully with the sweet, yet tart flavors of the marmalade.  Sometimes, for a little added punch, I like to sprinkle some red pepper flakes on top.  And aside from brie, this topping goes well with both ricotta and goat cheeses.  Fresh herbs, such as thyme or rosemary, are also great additions.  Come to think of it, I may even throw a sprig or two into the next batch.  It would make a dramatic topping for a rich vanilla cheesecake…with a bit of rosemary for garnish!

The most time-consuming part is slicing all of the kumquats, but after that it’s smooth sailing.  The recipe here is for one jar, but I usually increase the ingredients to make four or five at a time.  Since I love to give homemade things away for little gifts, I’ve been using the larger batches for that purpose.  It’s like giving a little jar of sunshine.  Make some of this fabulous marmalade, give some away.  It’ll make you happy.  I promise.

The Recipe:  Kumquat Marmalade

(Makes enough for an 8 ounce jam jar)

15 Kumquats

3/4 cup granulated sugar OR 1/3 cup honey (both versions are equally delicious!)

1/2 cup water

To make the marmalade, wash the kumquats.  Slice them as thin as as you can — peelings and all.  Carefully remove the seeds, as you come across them.  In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat add the kumquats, sugar or honey,  and water.  Sir with a wooden spoon.  As you do this more tiny seeds may float to the top of the water — remove them with the spoon. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to an aggressive simmer.  Cover with the lid and stir frequently.  After about 30 minutes the kumquats should be tender, though it may happen sooner depending upon your heat level.   Remove the lid, raise the heat, and let cook a bit longer until the mixture becomes your desired consistency.  About another 15-20 minutes is where I like mine, though it will depend on how high your heat was.  Keep in mind that it won’t completely thicken until it is chilled in the refrigerator.   Remove from the heat and let cool a bit in the pan before you pour it into your sanitized jam jar.  Put into the refrigerator to chill.  It will keep for about a month — though it will be long gone before then.

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!  Have a great weekend.


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I distinctly remember the first time I ate a piece of chocolate babka bread.  It floored me.  I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that it looked so sweet– like a dessert bread– but instead had so much more flavorful depth.  Those simple swirls wrapped around chunks of bittersweet chocolate were amazing.  And though it wasn’t what I was expecting, I loved it.  I was hooked.  Since that first piece, I’ve ordered chocolate babka whenever I’ve had the opportunity.  Some have been amazing, while others just didn’t quite get it right.

For today’s recipe, I’ve found a babka that definitely gets it right.  Being able to make something at home that is just as good, if not better, than the versions I’ve tried elsewhere is one of the most satisfying things about cooking and baking.  And this babka ranks right up there with the best I’ve ever eaten.  The bread is moist and soft, and of course, not overly sweet.  I love the big chunks of chocolate and the subtle kiss of cinnamon that make every bite interesting.  In a word, it’s perfect.

This babka is not difficult to make, and I think the pictures should help you visualize each step.  As always, fancy equipment is not necessary.  Every step can be done by hand, though it’ll take a bit longer to mix and knead the dough.  The results are worth the little added effort.  This babka begs to be eaten while sipping a cup of coffee and chatting with a good friend.  I hope you make this one, you’ll be so happy you did!

The Recipe: Chocolate Babka

For the Bread:

2 1/4 teaspoons (one 1/4-ounce envelope) active dry yeast

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees)

1 large egg plus one large egg yolk

3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for bowl and pan

1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash

For the Filling:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (1 1/4 cups)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Crumb Topping:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

To make the bread: In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar over the milk and let stand for about 5 minutes, or until foamy.  In another bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, the egg and the yolk.  Whisk into the yeast mixture.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour and kosher salt.  Add the egg mixture and mix on low speed until almost fully combined, about 30 seconds.  Switch to the dough-hook attachment, and add the butter.  Mix until smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 9-10 minutes.  Butter a large bowl.  Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times until smooth.  Place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, roughly 1- 1 1/2 hours or longer (it will depend upon how warm your house is).

Meanwhile, make the chocolate filling.  In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate chunks, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Cut in the butter with a fork, pastry cutter, or my favorite way, your fingers, until combined.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down.  Place it on a flour work surface.  Let rest for 5 minutes and then roll it out into a 18-inch square.  Reserve a 1/2 cup of the filling and sprinkle the rest over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border.  Brush the edges with the egg wash.  Tightly roll the dough from one end to the other, like a jelly roll.  Pinch the seam to seal.  Fold in half and form a “U” shape.  Twist 2 or 3 times to “braid”.  Make sure to pinch the ends of braid together, as well.  Butter a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan, line with parchment, leaving 1-inch overhangs; then butter the parchment paper.  Place the dough in the pan and brush with egg wash.

To make the crumb topping, in a small bowl combine the confectioners’ sugar, flour, and butter.  Mix with your finger until large, moist clumps form.  Sprinkle topping along with 1/2 cup reserved chocolate filling over the cake.  It’s ok if it falls down the sides of the cake, it will bake up beautifully.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Drape plastic wrap over the dough.  Let rise in a warm place until risen by half, about 30 minutes.

Place bread pan on a cookie sheet, in case any of the topping tumbles off while baking.  Place in the oven (center rack).  Bake rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.  Bake until deeply golden, about 15-20 minutes more (cover with foil if top gets too dark).  Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely before removing from pan.  Bread can be stored in an airtight container (with plastic wrap placed on cut ends) for about 3 days.

Source:  Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, 2011

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It.  I’d love to hear about some of the foods you’ve been relishing in your life lately!


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Ah yes, lemon season…  It’s that one bright seasonal food that falls just when I need it the most–right in the middle of Winter.  The lemons are sublime right now.  Obviously I love to bake with these beauties.  This tart  and these bars always make me weak in the knees. And this delicious yogurt cake  is one of the best desserts I’ve ever made.  But don’t stop at baking.  Remember to preserve a batch of lemons to use in savory dishes as well.  With lemons around, the dull gray of late February just seems a little less oppresive.

This fantastic pull-apart bread is another mouth-watering way to bring that lemon-y zing into your baking.  And how good is this bread?  It knocked our socks off!  My family was wowed by this one– we inhaled it in one day.  It really is that good.  I mean, it’s so good that you’ll want to invite friends over to share so they can ”ooooo…”  and “ahhh…” at your masterpiece.

Don’t be intimidated by the recipe’s length– it’s not difficult.  The photos here show you how to cut the dough, which seemed to be the most confusing part of the original directions.  Just remember the goal– make a dough, let it rise, roll it into a large rectangle, top with lemon/sugar mixture, cut into 30 small, equal rectangles, stack in a bread pan, let rise, and bake.  That’s it.  The cutting measurements don’t have to be perfect, so slight variations in shape are just fine.  The key is to make sure you bake it long enough.  Otherwise, the center may not be done, which will ruin your bread.  If you make the dough and store it in the refrigerator, you’ll find it really shortens the wait if you plan on making it for breakfast.  Enjoy!


The Recipe: Lemon Pull-Apart Bread

(Makes one loaf)

For the Dough:

2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) whole milk

2 ounces (4 tablespoons), unsalted butter

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Lemon Paste Filling:

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

4 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (4 lemons)

2 ounces unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), melted

For the Icing:

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounce) confectioners’ sugar

About 2 tablespoons lemon juice

I recommend  making the dough and refrigerating the night before.  The dough is remarkably easy to handle this way.  To make the dough, mix together 2 cups (9 ounces) flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  In a small sauce pan, heat the butter and milk until it is entirely melted.  Remove from heat and add the water and vanilla.  Set aside until the temperature drops to  120°F – 130°F.

Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture and stir with a spoon until moistened.  Attach bowl to mixer and using the paddle attachment, begin to add the eggs one at a time while the mixer is on low.  Mix until just incorporated after each egg.  Stop the mixer and add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, and continue to mix on low until the dough is smooth, 30-45 seconds.  Add 2 more tablespoons of flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.

Sprinkle work surface with 1 tablespoon of flour, knead dough by hand for about 1 minute, or until no longer sticky.  1-2 tablespoons of flour can be added, if needed.  Butter a large bowl and place dough in it and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Gently deflate the dough.  At this point, either refrigerate the well-covered dough overnight or proceed onto the next step.

Meanwhile, while dough is rising, make the lemon filling.  In a small bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest.  Using a spoon or your hand, mix together until it forms a sandy mixture.

Center a rack in the center of an oven pre-heated to 350°F.  Butter a 9 x 5 – inch loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter again.  Set aside.

On a lightly floured work surface roll the dough out to a 20 x 12 – inch rectangle.  Use a pastry brush (or smear with your hands) to distribute the melted butter onto the dough.  Sprinkle the lemon/sugar mixture evenly over the melted butter.  Give the mixture a gentle pat so that it sticks well.  Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough crosswise into 5 equal strips (each about 12 x 4 – inches).  Carefully stack all 5 strips of dough.  Again using the pizza cutter, cut the stack into 6 equal sections (each about 4 x 2 -inches).

Carefully place all of the stacks, widthwise, into the prepared bread pan.  Make sure the dough pieces are close/snug with each other.  There will be extra room at the end of the pan and that’s good.  The dough will rise and fill that space in.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30-50 minutes, or a bit longer if the dough was refrigerated.

Bake the bread until the top is a beautiful golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the bread reads about 200°F, about 35 minutes.  If the bread seems to be browning too quickly and the inside is not yet done, place some aluminum foil over the bread while it continues to bake.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely in pan, or else the bread will fall apart.

Gently run knife around the edges of the pan and carefully invert cooled bread into your hand, then place on a plate.  Using a wooden spoon or whisk, mix the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon juice together — using more or less lemon juice depending upon your desired consistency.  Drizzle over the bread.  Stores well in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Flo Braker’s Baking for All Occasions via Leite’s Culinaria

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My favorite meal of the day?  Easy.  Breakfast.  I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned that before, but it’s worth repeating.  Going out for breakfast is– hands down–the best part of the day.  The morning is full of potential.  Full of promise.  Now my family may ridicule me and my Saturday morning “Time to get up and rock and roll!” mantra, but it’s the weekend and I’m ready to get out the door.  I have coffee shops to get to and patisseries to explore.  But–and I know I’ve mentioned this–the boys (Radd and Aanen) are incorrigible homebodies.  So Aria and I compromise on occassion.  And those weekend mornings that we stay home are pretty great too.  Especially when the breakfast is as delicious as this one.

You are looking at the amazing combination of chorizo sausage, fire-roasted tomatoes, smoked paprika, and poached eggs.  And yes, it tastes as wonderful as it looks.  I love this breakfast dish.  I love the tongue-tingling spice from the chorizo, the acidity of the fire-roasted tomatoes, the smoky complexity of the spices, and of course, those fantastic eggs.  Throw a dollop of harissa on top, and you have a show-stopper for breakfast or brunch.  This one has personality, in spades.

A few pointers on the ingredients:  if you don’t have all of the spices listed, don’t worry.  Use the ones from the recipe that you do have. However…I think you really will want to track down the smoked paprika.  It’s one of the keys to making this dish so tasty.  And, you will use it a lot more than you think in other recipes.  It’s that good.  For the meat, I used ground chorizo sausage.  I’m fortunate enough to live just a few blocks from an excellent co-op, and just a few miles from a year-round farmers’ market.  Both have vast selections of locally produced meats.  The chorizo I use is wonderfully spiced and perfectly salty.  I didn’t add one fleck of salt here.  If you can’t find ground chorizo, just use whatever type you can find.  Cut it into small pieces.  Like the smoked paprika, this dish relies on the unique flavors that it provides.

The Recipe: Chorizo and Fire-Roasted Tomato Ragout with Poached Eggs

(serves 4)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ground chorizo

1/4 of a large white onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon EACH of ground ginger, ground allspice, ground coriander, ground turmeric, and ground cinnamon

2 cans of fire-roasted tomatoes (preferably Muir Glen Organic)

6-8 large eggs (depending upon how many you want)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons harissa, optional

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the chorizo and cook a few minutes until cooked through; drain the grease.  Add the onion and garlic to the pan of chorizo and sauté for 2-3 more minutes until softened.

Lower the heat and add all of the spices: smoked paprika, ginger, allspice, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon.  Let them toast for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes.  Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.

Gently crack the eggs on top of the mixture, cover, and cook until the whites are set, but the yolk are still soft.  Sprinkle with cilantro and a drizzle of harissa before serving.  Enjoy with some crusty bread!

Adapted from a recipe by Food Blogger/Chef Emily C. Swantner of Epicurean Odyssey  via The Food 52 Cookbook by Amanda Hesser and Merril Stubbs

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Oh, I do love a good a scone.  And I’m not too fussy about the style.  I love cake-like scones with a bit of icing on the top just as much as I enjoy the crumbly biscuit-like versions.  This scone falls firmly into that second category.  It’s substantial.  Dense.  Almost ‘heavy’ (in a good way!) because of all those healthy whole grains packed into such a small treat.  But it also has a nice hint of natural sweetness from the maple syrup, which marries incredibly well with those oats.

These scones come together in a flash, so they are perfect for a lazy weekend morning.  Be sure not to overwork the dough, as the irregular cold butter chunks make for a wonderfully textured scone.  When you bake these, the cold butter leaves behind empty air pockets which add a fantastic, flakey texture.  Yes, chunks of butter are a good thing.   I decided to not put any sugar in the scone (aside from the sprinkles on top), and instead let the sweetness of the maple syrup come through.  It worked perfectly.  I like to eat these treats with a smear of butter and a little maple syrup on the side.  Enjoy!

The Recipe:  Oat and Maple Scones

(Makes 7 round scones or 6 wedges)

1 3/4 cups (235 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (80 grams) whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup (53 grams) old fashioned rolled oats

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 HEAPING tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup real maple syrup

1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk or milk, (use a bit more, if necessary)

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted, cold butter, cut into small cubes

1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

About 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on the tops

Preheat the oven for 400°F.  Position rack to the middle of the oven.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add the flours, oats, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl.  Whisk them together.  With a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small breadcrumbs.  (Note: a food processor can also be used, but I would recommend mixing in the oatmeal by hand at the very end, so it retains it’s shape.)  It’s ok to have some irregular chunks of butter.  In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk and maple syrup together.  Pour them into the flour mixture and either by hand, or with a rubber spatula mix it all together to form a dough.  Do not over mix.  If the mixture feels too dry, add a bit more milk.  This particular dough should not be sticky.

On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough out until it is about 1 1/4 – inches tall.  Using a 2-inch cutter cut the dough into about 7 rounds and place them on the parchment- lined baking sheet.  Or cut them into 6 larger wedges, if you don’t have a 2-inch cutter.  Using a pastry brush, top the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.  Bake them for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

These scones are best if eaten on the day they are made.  They will dry out a bit after that, but certainly nothing a little smear of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup can’t help.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals at Rose Bakery via Smitten Kitchen

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The title of this post might be a little misleading…mainly because it is, in fact, misleading.  These aren’t pumpkin waffles. These are Sweet Mama Winter Squash Waffles.  Aside from the fact that it doesn’t roll off the tongue, I figured ‘squash waffles’ might turn some of you away.  Here’s the thing though, these taste a lot like fresh pumpkin.  And besides, most of the canned pumpkin you find at the market contains squash.  Bet you didn’t know that.  I guess what I’m saying is, I’m comfortable with the deception.

Weekend breakfasts are one of my favorite Fall events– and yes, I consider them an event.  We aren’t in as big a rush to leave the house in the mornings as we are in the Summer.  The farmers market isn’t as picked over when we don’t get there just after sunrise.  Instead, we lounge around in the morning, watching Liverpool play soccer and drinking French-press coffee, while the kids play nearby.  My homebody boys, Aanen and Radd, really love these lazy Fall weekend mornings.

Although I was a bit deceptive at the top, I’m not when I say these waffles are near perfect.  I’ve done my best to make them more healthy by adding whole grains, smaller amounts of sugar, and just a bit of butter.  They are perfectly spiced– not too much, not too little.  I made these particular waffles from a Sweet Mama Squash, which tastes very similar to a Butter Cup.  I’ve also made them with Sugar Pie Pumpkins, as well as canned 100% organic pumpkin.  They all work well, so don’t feel that you must puree your own.  (But if you do, I have another fantastic recipe later this week for your left-over squash).  Whatever you decide to use, I strongly urge you to top them with a dollop or more (so much for healthy) of freshly whipped cream and raw turbinado sugar.  It adds such an amazing, sweet crunch.  Try these this week, you’ll end up making them all the time.

The Recipe:  Pumpkin Waffles

(Makes about 10 waffles)

1 cup white unbleached all-purpose

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for waffle iron

1/2 cup winter squash or pumpkin puree

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups 2% milk (add a bit more, if needed)

Do ahead:  To make the puree — Preheat oven to 375°F.  Quarter the squash or pumpkin if large or half it if smaller.  Remove the insides.  Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Cover with aluminum foil if quartered.  If only halved, place cut side down and you shouldn’t need to cover them.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender.  Remove from oven and let cool a bit.   Puree in a food processor until very smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the waffles:  Preheat the waffles iron.  Place the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk them together.  Add the eggs, squash puree,  2 tablespoons melted butter, vanilla, and milk.  Whisk until just mixed.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Add more milk, if too thick.

Brush the waffles iron with a bit of melted butter.  Ladle 1/4 cup into each section of the waffle maker.  Make sure to smooth it out as much as possible.  Cook until a deep, golden brown.  Remove and let cool for a minute or so.  Top each waffle with real maple syrup, freshly whipped cream, toasted walnuts, and a sprinkle of raw turbinado sugar.  Enjoy!

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