Blueberry Financiers

July 17th, 2019

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I love financiers.  They are little cakes shaped like gold bricks and first sold in the financial district of Paris in patisseries to moneymen with their morning espressos.  They are distinctive because of the ingredients; browned butter, almond flour, egg whites and plops of fruit.  I have made them with raspberries and even did a savory batch with ground walnuts and sage.

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Of course you need special rectangular molds to make them authentic.  Here is a source for silicone molds.  I was given some tin fluted molds by a friend. I love how pretty the financiers look with the scalloped edges.  But you can also make financiers in mini-muffin tins if you don’t want to invest in yet another pan.

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The summer has become humid with afternoon thunderstorms in our area. The only time that is pleasant on the porch is early morning before the heat and boat traffic take control.  It is a good time for a cup of coffee and one of these small treats.

BLUEBERRY FINANCIERS

6 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cup Almond Flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
5 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400° F and butter the financier molds. Sprinkle the molds with flour, tapping away any excess. Allow the butter to melt on a low heat, wait until it turns a light brown color and begins to release a nutty scent, then remove from the heat. Mix the flour, ground almonds and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg whites and the vanilla extract and combine everything well using a whisk. Add the melted butter and whisk vigorously again. Fill the moulds with the batter and place three berries on each mold. Bake the financiers for 5 minutes before lowering the heat to 350°F and allowing them to bake for another 10 minutes. Transfer the financier moulds to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Makes 18 Financiers.

Printable Recipe

Stuffed Vegetables Provençal

July 11th, 2019

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Summer calls out for sunny colorful food.  Red, orange, and green sweet peppers, plus plentiful zucchini are all wonderful stuffed with a meat mixture.  Topped with a marinara sauce and baked, this makes a satisfying meal with a crispy cool salad.  It is easy and would be so inviting doubled and served to guests on a huge platter.  There is something special about Provençal recipes.

French Friends

I know I have posted this picture before,  but it reminds me of our friends in France and the wonderful meal that Carole (second from left) served us in her Loire Valley home.  Stuffed vegetables were the main course after our Prosciutto wrapped melon.

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Carole stuffed peppers and tomatoes with a flavorful meat mixture.

Lulu's Kitchen

This is Lulu Peyraud’s kitchen at the Domaine Tempier winery in the Mediterranean coastal village of Bandol, France.  While in France on that same trip, we stopped at the winery and learned more about  Mrs. Peyraud.  She is a great friend of Alice Waters and the late Richard Olney.  Alice Waters serves the winery’s Bandol Rosé in her Chez Panisse Restaurant.  Lulu has a cookbook of her recipes written by Richard Olney.  You can find it here.  Lulu’s kitchen is dominated by a huge fireplace, where most of her cooking is done.  She has a small gas stove in her pantry.  It is obvious where her priorities lay.  I can just imagine how well stuffed peppers would taste coming out of that fireplace oven.  We encountered both stuffed pepper dishes and versions of ratatouille all over Provence.

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This dish is obviously summer and Provence on a plate.

STUFFED VEGETABLES PROVENÇAL

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup dried plain bread crumbs
  • 1 pound ground beef, preferably lean
  • 2 zucchini, ends removed, halved lengthwise and crosswise
  • 1 orange bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 green bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

    Lightly drizzle the olive oil into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.Whisk the onion, parsley, egg, ketchup, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese and bread crumbs. Mix in the turkey. Cover and refrigerate the turkey mixture. 

    Using a melon baller or spoon, carefully scrape out the seeds and inner flesh from the zucchini, leaving 1/8-inch-thick shells. Be careful not to pierce through the skin. Fill the zucchini and pepper halves with the turkey mixture, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Arrange the stuffed vegetables in the baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the stuffed vegetables. 

    Bake uncovered until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown and a thermometer inserted into the filling registers 165 degrees F, about 45 minutes. Transfer the stuffed vegetables to a platter and serve.

Printable Recipe

Southern Biscuits and The James Beard Outstanding Chef Award

June 19th, 2019

Ashley Christensen James Beard 2019

I am beyond excited about the results of this year’s James Beard Awards ceremony.  The winner of Outstanding Chef of the year is Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh North Carolina. Her empire has expanded to several other restaurants in Raleigh.  We spend a lot of time in the Raleigh area because our family is there.  Eating at Poole’s Diner has been on our bucket list, but it hasn’t happened yet.  The lines are long and reservations are not taken.  We even have a kitchen connection.  Our DIL Kristen’s brother David is one of the line cooks at the restaurant.  We will make it in there one of these days.  Her other local restaurants are Death and Taxes which specializes in Wood Fired cooking, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey for fried chicken, biscuits and waffles, Chuck’s for burgers, Poole’s side Pies for Pizza and Fox Liquor Bar, a subterranean drinking den.  The chef is multi-talented.

Chef Ashley Christensen’s first restaurant, Poole’s Diner hit the mark for traditional Southern fare with a creative edge.  Her signature macaroni and cheese au gratin is the most popular item on the menu.  You can find the recipe here.

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But the reason I am thrilled by Ashley Christensen’s recognition  is because she is a good person.  There is no cheffy persona in her wheelhouse.  She has turned her celebrated life toward good works.  She was quoted as saying  “I think that philanthropy, through restaurants, will ultimately end up being my life’s work.”  She works for both the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Frankie Lemmons School for Disabled Children.  The local Stir the Pot fund raiser is also one of her projects.  Supporting her community and other chefs is what she is all about. IMG_9041

In honor of her Southern roots, I want to share this biscuit recipe that I have found to be a winner.  I could never find Ashley’s biscuit recipe on line, but I have a feeling that it might be close to this one.  The flakey layers are obvious in these biscuits.  It is important to keep the butter cold while working the biscuits.  Instead of cutting the butter into the flour, which will warm the butter, the stick of butter is frozen and then grated directly into the flour and stirred in.   Working and turning the dough a few times ensures that it is not overly handled and produces many layers.  Making these biscuits puts me in mind of Edna Lewis, Ashley Christensen and all of the Southern cooks that have made our region recognized for its creative cuisine.  Congratulations to Ashley Christensen, a North Carolina native.

FLAKEY BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (Frozen) 
  • 3/4 cup Buttermilk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients.

With a box grater, grate the frozen stick of butter into the flour mixture.  Stir into mixture. Add the buttermilk and stir just until combined.

Dump the mixture onto a floured board.  Lightly flour top of dough and shape into a rectangle.  Gentle fold into thirds like a letter.  Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold again.  Repeat several times.

Gently flatten dough to 1″ thick.  Using a 2 3/4″ biscuit cutter, cut out about 3 biscuits.  Pull dough back together and cut the remainder into biscuits.  You will get about 6 biscuits.

Place biscuits on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush the tops with melted butter.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

Shrimp with Orange Butter Sauce and Cornmeal Savarins

June 5th, 2019

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This is another one of my favorite posts from the past.  It was first posted in 2013.  To be quite honest with you, I had forgotten all about this wonderful shrimp dish with a cornmeal savarin.  I really need to make it again for an appetizer or luncheon dish.

Thumbing through some old Gourmet magazines the other day, I found this recipe for shrimp savarins.  I love molds of all kinds and descriptions, but savarin molds were new to me.

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Savarins are ring shaped sponge cakes often soaked in rum syrup and filled with fresh fruit.  They are named for Jean Brillat-Savarin, a famous French politician and gastronome.  They can be one single large ring or smaller individual rings.  You can buy savarin molds at several sources such as this.

I was excited to try this savory version of savarins.  I love how the shrimp fit nicely around the cornmeal rings.

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I decided that this recipe was perfect for a first course at a dinner party or a holiday meal.  I was even able to make the dish in stages.  The cornmeal savarins were made early in the day.  The shrimp was also easy to do ahead of time.  All I did near serving time was to arrange the shrimp around the cornmeal rings that I had arranged on a baking sheet and placed them in the oven to rewarm.  While they were warming I made the orange butter sauce.

This was a delicious combination.  The orange butter beurre blanc played well off of the light cornmeal rings and the shrimp cooked in vermouth and tequila was a perfect foil.  The presentation was amazing and unexpected in my humble opinion.  This dish is a keeper.

SHRIMP WITH ORANGE BUTTER SAUCE AND CORNMEAL SAVARINS (Adapted from Gourmet)

36 large shrimp, shelled and deveined, reserving 6 shells
2 cups dry vermouth
1/4 cup tequila
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Sauce:
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons dry white wine
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
the zest from 1 orange
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

6 cornmeal savarins (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon minced scallion top for garnish

In a large skillet combine the shrimp, the vermouth, the tequila, and the butter.  Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring, and simmer the shrimp for 1 minute and 30 seconds, or until they are just firm.  Transfer the shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon and keep them warm.

Make the sauce:  Reduce the shrimp cooking liquid with the reserved shells over moderately high heat to about 3 tablespoons, discard the shells, and in a saucepan combine the reduced liquid with the shallot, the vinegar, the wine, the orange juice, and the orange zest.  Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer it for 5 minutes, or until it is reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time, lifting the pan from the heat occasionally to cool the mixture and adding each new piece of butter before the previous one has melted completely.  (The sauce should should not get hot enough to liquefy.  It should be the consistency of then hollandaise.)  Keep the sauce warm over hot water.

Arrange the savarins on heated plates or shallow bowls and top each savarin with some of the shrimp.  My shrimp were small so I used 5 per savarin.  The original recipe used 3 per savarin.  Spoon some of the sauce onto the plates or bowls.  Garnish each serving with the scallion tops.  Serves 6.

CORNMEAL SAVARINS

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1 large egg yolk, beaten lightly
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg white at room temperature
1/4 cup corn kernels, thawed if frozen
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper or minced pimiento
2 tablespoons minced Anaheim chili pepper

Into a bowl sift together the cornmeal, the baking powder, the sugar, the salt, and the flour.  In another bowl combine the egg yolk, the butter, the cream the buttermilk, and the baking soda and stir the mixture into the cornmeal mixture.  In a small bowl beat the egg white until it holds stiff peaks and fold it into the cornmeal mixture with the corn kernels, the red bell pepper and the chili pepper.

Spray 8 metal savarin molds, each 3 1/4 inches in diameter, well with non-stick vegetable coating and fill them with scant 1/3-cup measures of the batter. Bake the molds on a jelly-roll pan in the lower third of a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until a wooden pick comes out clean.  Loosen the edges of the cornbread with a small knife and turn them out onto a rack.  The cornbread savarins may be made ahead and kept chilled or frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap.  Makes 8 individual cornbreads.

Printable Recipe

Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake

May 23rd, 2019

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So many blueberries.  I have an abundance.  I wish I could say that I picked them or got them from a farmer, but they were for sale at my local supermarket for $1.88 a pint.  I have plans for future dishes, but the first one I made was this Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake.  I divided the batter between three 6 inch paper disposable liners; one to eat now, one in the freezer and one to share with a friend.

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I love this recipe because of the thick batter that doesn’t allow the blueberries to sink to the bottom, the rich buttery flavor and the lightness created by the lemon zest.  The crumble topping and the lemony powdered sugar glaze enhances it all.  Perfect for breakfast with a strong cup of coffee on the deck or boathouse.

Boathouse view

Our lake is transitioning from Spring to Summer with more boats in the water, music in the air and laughter filtering out of newly re-opened lakefront cottages.

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This recipe is originally baked in a 9-inch springform pan but is easily adaptable to a 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. In my case, I had the three disposable 6-inch liners.  Here is something similar.   We are looking forward to the Memorial Day Weekend.  Let the summer begin.

LEMON BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE  (Barbara Bakes)

INGREDIENTS

  •  2 cups all purpose flour
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  •  1 cup sugar
  •  2 large eggs
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  1/2 cup whole milk
  •  1 tablespoon lemon zest
  •  2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

CRUMB TOPPING

  •  1/2 cup sugar
  •  1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  •  3 tablespoons butter, melted

ICING

  •  1 cup powdered sugar
  •  1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (You may need more)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray with flour.
  2. Prepare crumb topping and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and milk. Mix in lemon zest. Add flour mixture and mix just until combine. Stir in blueberries.
  5. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping.
  6. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. About 210 degrees with an instant read thermometer.
  7. Cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and remove ring. Drizzle icing on cake. Cool completely before serving. (Unless you’re like us and would rather eat it hot even though the cake doesn’t cut as well.)

CRUMB TOPPING

In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, and butter. Mix until mixture is crumbly.

ICING

Whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice to create a thin glaze.

Printable Recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.