I'm a non practicing protestant who married a non practicing jew. However, I always jump at the chance to celebrate things with food. Hanukkah food is really a celebration of fried food with sour cream and apple sauce. The traditional latke is a little bland for my taste so I try new ones every year. Here is what I'm playing around in the kitchen with this year.
After a conversation about how donuts should be an ingredient in more foods, my friend Kelly surprised me with a cake made entirely out of donuts for my birthday. She chose assorted donuts, pressed them into a cake form, and covered the whole thing in coffee buttercream. I am in awe. I had another piece for breakfast and it is an amazing innovation in both cake and breakfast pastries.
If you've never baked with almond paste, you've never truly baked. It's chicest ingredient you can add to a baked good. Everytime I use it angels weep and lives are changed. Don't be afraid of it. You'll find it in a tiny box hidden on the baking aisle next to the marzipan. This recipe from Williams-Sonoma is easy to make but has a lot of waiting between steps. Make it on a lazy Sunday and send me a thank you note for making your life better. It's a favorite in my household.
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs. very cold water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄3 cup sugar
1⁄4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into
In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk, water and vanilla; set aside.
make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar
and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the
flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter
pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and mix with a
fork just until the dough pulls together.
To make the dough in a
stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, stir together the flour, sugar
and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed
until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no
larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and beat just until the
dough pulls together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat
into a ball and flatten into a disk. Use the dough immediately, or wrap
in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.
To roll out the dough, on a lightly floured board, flatten the disk
with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a
quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with
flour as needed, then roll out until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick.
Use a small, sharp knife to cut out a round or rounds 2 inches greater
in diameter than your tart or larger tartlet pans. Use a small, sharp
knife or a cookie cutter to cut out rounds 1/2 to 1 inch greater in
diameter than your miniature tartlet pans. If using a rectangular tart
pan, cut out a rectangle 2 inches larger on all sides than the pan.
Makes enough dough for one 9 1/2-inch tart, six 4-inch tartlets, twelve
2-inch miniature tartlets or one 13 3/4-by-4 1/4-inch rectangular tart.
The tart dough may be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month. To
freeze, place the dough round on a 12-inch cardboard circle and wrap it
well with plastic wrap. Alternatively, use the round to line a tart pan
and wrap well.
Almond Raspberry Tart
1 rolled-out round of tart dough
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1⁄2 lb. almond paste, cut into 1-inch cubes
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄3 cup raspberry, plum or cherry jam
1⁄3 cup sliced almond
Fold the dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9 1/2-inch
tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom. Unfold and ease the round
into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom
and up the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess dough by gently running
a rolling pin across the top of the pan. Press the dough into the sides
to extend it slightly above the rim to offset any shrinkage during
Refrigerate or freeze the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to
Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill
with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift
an edge of the foil. If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking
every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time
of 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a whisk, beat
the butter until smooth. Add the almond paste, one piece at a time,
beating until smooth after each addition. While continuing to beat,
sprinkle in the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after
each addition. Stir in the flour.
Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the partially baked tart
shell. Spoon in the almond paste mixture and spread evenly over the jam.
Sprinkle the surface evenly with the sliced almonds.
Bake the tart until the filling is golden and the middle is firm to
the touch, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the tart
cool completely. If using a tart pan with a removable bottom, let the
sides fall away, then slide the tart onto a serving plate. Serve at room
temperature. Makes one 9 1/2-inch tart; serves 8.
I'm obsessed with all things Pioneer Woman, and when I saw her make this recipe I had to have it. She makes her own pizza dough in bulk and stores the extra in one of her chic ranch homes. I got mine from Trader Joe's. With the premade dough, it's crazy easy to throw together.
Fig-Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula
Premade Pizza dough 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil 4 Tablespoons Fig Spread Or Jam Kosher Salt To Taste 12 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced Thin 6 ounces, weight Thinly Sliced Prosciutto 1 bunch Washed And Rinsed Arugula Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste 1/2 cup Shaved Parmesan
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Roll out 1/3 of the pizza dough as thinly as possible. Place on a large baking sheet.
Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Spread fig spread (or jam) all over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
Lay sliced of mozzarella all over the surface. Sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.
Remove from oven and immediately lay prosciutto over hot pizza. Just before serving, sprinkle on arugula and Parmesan shavings.
A new issue of Sweet Paul is out again. Other than check stand tabloids, it's my favorite magazine. The main difference being, that info about Lindsay's drug binges doesn't help me make chocolate tarts or Brooklynized flower arrangements. This issue, I'm most excited about homemade apple chutney on a cheese plate, the rum and chocolate cake in a jar, and the home decor. READ IT NOW
I can never have enough savory baked goods. If I had a restaurant or bakery, it would exclusively sell savory baked goods. Served with some fruit or a light salad, they are the perfect meal. I'd eat them breakfast, lunch, and dinner if given the opportunity. Since my savory restaurant/bakery doesn't exsist yet, you'll have to settle for making these savory tarts at home.
Ice cream pies are a relic of my youth that need to make a comeback. It's simple and genius to spread ice cream in a cookie crust and cover it with an exciting topping. As a kid I loved vanilla ice cream with an Oreo crust and an Oreo topping. As an adult I think the world is ready for more options. Here are a few I found today. These recipes offer a good place to start, but I think there is a lot of potential yet to realize in the ice cream pie community.
Fresh corn is always cheap and readily available at the grocery store in summer. It's also sweet and delicious. If your purree it with some spicy, savory, and creamy deliciousness, it's even more exciting. I found this recipe on The View From Great Island. I didn't have any red jalapenos, so I used green ones and seeded them for more sensitive soup eaters.
Fresh Corn Soup with Chili, Lime, & Coconut Milk
2 Tbsp butter 1/2 large yellow or white onion, chopped 4-5 ears corn, kernels removed and cobs reserved 3 red jalapeno peppers, sliced (seeds and all) the juice of 1 1/2 limes half a can of coconut milk (about 7 oz) salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
In a soup pot melt the butter and saute the onion for a few minutes until translucent. Add the corn and peppers to the pot and saute for a few more minutes. Add 3 cups water and the corn cobs to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 8 minutes. Add coconut milk, lime juice, salt and pepper.Remove the cobs and puree in a blender or a food processor, in batches, until smooth. Return to the pot to reheat and check the seasonings. Serve hot.
I'm not a big fan of hot coffee or complicated coffee drinks. Instead, I like a huge glass of strong black iced coffee. I drink black iced coffee at least twice a day. So, when I saw that The Pioneer Woman had discovered a method for making a huge vat of iced coffee at home, I took note. You will need a 2 gallon air tight brewing container, some cheese cloth, and a large easy to pour container for the finshed coffee. Aside from the setup, the process is super easy and will change your life for the better.
Fun Fact #2: I first learned that tomatoes were a fruit watching the two part episode of Full House where Uncle Jesse marries Rebecca Donaldson.
I love tomatoes in every form. As a kid I used to drink tomato juice by the jug and sometimes I bring baggies of cherry tomatoes to eat in movie theatres. When fresh ripe summer tomatoes come into my life I get giddy with the possibilities. Here are some of the ways I plan on eating tomatoes this summer.
Forget everything you thought you knew about muffins. These muffins are a game changer. I made them because I am an old lady who makes banana bread whenever I have a bunch of over ripe bananas. Since I was baking with my 2 year old, I improvised to make banana bread more exciting. We ended up with banana muffins full of chocolate and peanut butter chips. They came out of the oven an hour ago and I still can't stop shoving them in my face.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins or use paper liners. Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside dry mixture.
Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture and mix until smooth. Fold in peanut butter chips and chocolate chips.
Scoop batter into muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. Muffins should spring back lightly when touched.