September 30, 2006

Apple-Pear Crisp


for the base:
3 large tart apples*, cubed
3 large pears**, cubed
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon corn starch

for the topping:
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour or spray with cooking spray with flour one 9 inch pie plate or a 8x8 baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together the apples, pears, brown sugar, cinnamon and corn starch to make the base. Pour and spread evenly over prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together flour, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and oats until a coarse meal forms. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until the fruit is soft and bubbly and the top is lightly brown. Serve warm.

*I used Granny Smith apples but any baking apple would work.
**I used Barlett pears but Bosc or Anjou would be yummy alternative.

My thoughts:
There is a bit of damp coolness in the air that I haven't felt in a long time. It seemed to call out for a warm fruity dish of some sort. We had some pears that were in danger of spoiling so I came up with this as a way of both using them up and creating a yummy breakfast.I love how the brown sugar carmelizes and how the sweet fruit contrasts with the crisp oats. For those of you interested in that sort of thing, the difference between a crisp and crumble is highly debated as they are both fruit dishes with a crumbled topping, but since in this recipe the topping is very crisp (quite unlike that of the topping on the divine apple crumble I made a while back) I believe I am correct in calling it a crisp.

September 26, 2006

Cheesecake Brownies


brownie layer:
2 eggs, at room temperature
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

cheesecake layer:
1 egg, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour or using baking spray with flour one 8x8 inch pan. In a medium pot, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan, smoothing the surface with a spatula as needed. In a separate bowl, beat together cream cheese, egg, sugar, flour and vanilla until fluffy. Carefully pour over brown layer. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack then slice and serve. The cooler the brownie, the easier it will be to cut.

My thoughts:
I have been wanting to make cheesecake brownies for what seems like years but could never find the perfect recipe. I've been thinking about making them a lot lately and decided to finally come up with my own recipe. Tonight is the Gilmore Girls premiere which I have been looking forward to all summer, even though I was sorely disappointed in Season 6. What better way to usher it in then with cheesecake brownies? I wanted a recipe that created 2 distinct levels of cheesecake and brownie (no swirling), was very chocolate-y without overpowering the cream cheese and which created a minimum of dishes. These brownies are darn near perfect. They are very chocolate-y while still maintaining the tang of cream cheese. Not to mention that by making the brownies in one pot, it minimized the dishes to my Kitchenaid, a pot, a measuring cup and a spoon. Rory and Lorelei would be proud.

September 24, 2006

Catfish Fry

2 lb catfish filets*, cut in half length-wise
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 flour
1 tablespoon Old Bay
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
1 teaspoon celery seed
juice of one lemon
oil for frying


Place fish in a shallow bowl, squeeze lemon juice over the fish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. On a plate, mix together flour, cornmeal, Old Bay, cayenne, salt, pepper and celery seed. Dredge the fish (both sides) in the mixture then place on a place and refrigerate an additional 1/2 hour. Meanwhile, heat enough oil to pan fry in a large, shallow pan. Heat the oil on medium high heat for about 15 minutes or until you can really start to smell the oil. Fry fish filets in the oil, for about 4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. Make sure the fish is cooked through. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and serve immediately, although any leftovers will make good sandwiches the next day.

*If you don't have catfish, white fish (whiting) or even tilapia will do.

My thoughts:
When I was little I used to go fishing and catch giant catfish that my grandpop would then cut up and fry for me. Now I buy my fish at the supermarket and it is my husband who fries it up for me. This version is spicier than what my grandpop made but every bit as tasty! The trick to a successful fry is very hot oil. If it is not hot enough, the fish will soak up the oil and you will be left with greasy fish. Cooking with hot oil can be tricky, but if you are careful, the results will be well worth the hassle.

September 23, 2006

Apple & Honey Cake

1 3/4 cups flour,
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large apples, diced
2 eggs, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour or spray with baking spray with flour one 9 inch springform pan. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, cinnamon, cloves and brown sugar. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the oil, milk and honey. Add baking soda, baking powder and flour to the egg mixture, mix thoroughly. Add in the milk/oil mixtures and stir until well combined. Fold in apples. Pour into prepared pan and bake 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack then serve.

My thoughts:
During Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, people traditionally eat apples dipped in honey to usher in a sweet new year. This cake extends that tradition into a nice dessert.

September 22, 2006

Double Chocolate Hot Chocolate

2 cups milk
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan, heat all ingredients until almost boiling, whisking continuously to incorporate the chocolate. Serve hot, with marshmallows.
Serves 2.
My thoughts:
It is just starting to get cool enough for hot chocolate. I like to serve mine with Campfire brand marshmallows (fair superior to icky Jet Puffed)and a chocolate covered peppermint stick to use as a stirrer.

September 21, 2006

Turkey Salad

2 cups roasted turkey breast, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 green onions, green part diced only
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon hot paprika

Place all ingredients in a bowl, stir until thoroughly mixed. Serve as is or on sandwiches.
My thoughts:
This time of year it is fairly easy to find fresh turkey breast at the grocery store. Not the whole turkey, but just the breast. It's a nice change from chicken without the long cooking time of a whole turkey. We roasted one yesterday for dinner and then today I made this yummy salad with the leftovers.

September 18, 2006

Tangerine Dream Cookies


1 egg
zest of one tangerine*
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup tangerine juice**
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, cream together butter, zest and sugar. Add egg and juice, mix thoroughly. Add flour, baking powder and salt, mix until a thick dough forms and all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Drop tablespoonfuls on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until "set". The cookies will puff up quite a bit but they should no longer be shiny on the top and the bottoms should be lightly browned when you take them out of the oven. Cool on a wire rack, then eat!

*or tangelo
** no pulp!

My thoughts:
I have been wanting to make make something orange flavored for months now and just never got around to it. Then I saw some tangerine juice and thought "Why, tangerines are even better than oranges! Gadzooks, I'll make cookies!". Okay, maybe I didn't exactly say that, but I was going to make orange cookies until I saw the yummy tangelos and tangerine juice at the store. I am glad I did because these are some truly delightful cookies. Of course, you could make these cookies with oranges instead but "Orange Dream" isn't nearly as much fun to say.

September 15, 2006

Pineapple Coconut Squares

3 eggs, beaten
2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
1 cup flour
1 cup crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or spray one 8 inch square pan. In a medium bowl, combine the softened butter, flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and half of the beaten eggs until it forms a thick dough. Spray or grease a spatula to spread the dough evenly along the bottom of the prepared pan. The dough will be extremely sticky. In another medium bowl, mix together the remaining eggs, melted butter, pineapple and coconut. Mix until combined. Pour evenly over raw dough and bake 30-35 minutes or until set and slightly browned. Allow to cool thoroughly before slicing.

My thoughts:
These bar cookies are so retro and sunny tasting I almost expect Marcia Brady to walk in at any moment. They are super simple to make and the combo of pineapple and coconut is classic. They are also surprisingly low fat.

September 13, 2006

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups


4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small carrot, minced
1 medium onion, diced
28 oz canned whole tomatoes, hand crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar


2 eggs
1 shallot, minced
1/2 lb ricotta cheese
1/2 chopped spinach
2/3 cup mozzarella, cubed
2/3 cup Parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, grated

1 lb lasagna noodle cooked until almost al dente and then cooled.

Preheat oven to 350.

To make the sauce: In a large saucepan, saute onion, garlic and carrot in olive oil until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced. Add tomatoes, basil and sugar plus salt and pepper to taste and cook 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, eggs, shallot, nutmeg, mozzarella and salt and pepper to taste, thoroughly.

Ladle 3/4 cup of sauce along the bottom of
Lay out lasagna noodles on a towel, blotting to dry. Spread noodles with 2 tablespoons filling end to end. Roll up. Place in pan on sauce with the open ends to the side. Repeat until no noodles remain or the pan has one complete layer with little gaping. Ladle remaining sauce over the top, sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake covered in foil for 20 minutes, then remove cover and bake an additional 10-15 or until steamy hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Spring this recipe!

My thoughts:
This is one of our favorite dishes we've developed recently. While I am not entirely convinced that lasagna roll ups are necessarily any faster to make than a traditional layered lasagna, they are much easier to serve. The rolls stay together really nicely without the slippery layers of sauce and the density of traditional lasagna while still allowing for a mingling of tomato, spinach and cheese. In fact, my husband says he actually likes this recipe better than traditional lasagna. Not bad for a sudden whim.

September 09, 2006

Apple Spice Mini Bundt Cakes

3 apples*, cubed
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon cloves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
25 ounces unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, cornstarch, allspice, cloves, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and apples. Add applesauce and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour into lined or buttered and floured cupcake pans. Will make about 12 cupcakes or 6 mini bundt cakes. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, removing from pan 5 minutes, then serve.

* I used Ginger Gold apples, but any apple suitable for baking would do.

My thoughts:
You wouldn't know it from the taste but they are actually quite healthy!In addition to being vegan, these cupcakes are also fat free. We have been invited to a party this evening with an all vegan menu so I made these to take with me. I was pleased with how well they turned out, moist, spicy and very full of apple flavor. My first truly "Autumn" dish of the year.

September 05, 2006

Broccoli & Garlic Pasta

2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3/4 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon oregano

Heat oil in a large pan or wok and add the garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and shallot. Saute until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add broccoli and cook until almost tender, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bread crumbs and stir to incorporate and heat through. Toss with 10 oz hot, cooked pasta.

Spring this recipe!

My thoughts:
This is not even a 30 minute meal, it's a 15 minute meal and it's good. You can make the whole thing in the time it takes to boil the pasta and no one would ever know. The broccoli takes on this amazing garlic flavor and just about melts in your mouth. Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

September 04, 2006

Dark Chocolate Chip Blondies

2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour or spray with cooking spray with flour one 8 inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix throughly, about 2-3 minutes. The batter will be rather thick. Scrape batter in pan. Bake 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan comes out almost clean. The blondie will set up as it cools. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes then remove from pan to continue to cool. Serve at room temperature or slightly above.

My thoughts:
A hint of dark chocolate really sets off the caramel-y flavor of these chewy blondies. I like how easy this recipe is to mix together, it makes it a perfect weeknight treat when you want some thing sweet but don't want a lot of hassle.

September 03, 2006

Zucchini Parmesan Bread

2 3/4 cups flour
2 cups zucchini, grated, excess water removed
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour or spray with baking spray with flour two loaf pans. In a large bowl mix together zucchini, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, baking soda, baking powder and Parmesan. In a small bowl or measuring cup whisk together eggs, buttermilk and butter. Pour over zucchini mixture and mix thoroughly. Divide into loaf pans and bake 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes then remove from pan and either serve warm or continue to cool.
My thoughts:

Another week, another zucchini bread recipe. I wanted to try my hand at a more savory zucchini bread than is typicaly made. I made this using heirloom Black Beauty zucchini from my garden. It has a whiter flesh and darker skin than more common zucchini varieties. It is very tasty and maintains a good flavor when baked. It also leaves pretty dark green flecks in the bread. Which I enjoy, of course, if you want a more pure white bread, just peel the zucchini before grating.

September 01, 2006

Broccoli & Ham Quistrata

2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup cubed ham
3/4 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
8 eggs, beaten
4 slices of bread, cut into triangles
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil

Preheat oven to 350. In a large saute pan, heat oil and then saute the onion, garlic and broccoli until softened. Spray or grease medium sized casserole dish. Arrange the bread to completely cover the bottom of the dish. Pour the onions, garlic and broccoli over the bread. Sprinkle with cheese. Pour eggs over the mixture, add salt and pepper to taste. Bake uncovered about 15 minutes or until the eggs are "set". Slice and serve hot.

My thoughts:
There has been a fair amount of broccoli/cheese/ham recipes floating around lately and they all looked so good, I coaxed my husband into making this one. He named it a "quistrata" because it is sort of a cross between a strata and a quiche. It is also very tasty if cheese and egg laden. Very much a comfort food.

Also: I realized I never really posted this: I have started another food related blog, Food Maven, to post non-recipe food/cooking related things. Check it out!