Harvard Squares

February 20th, 2018

Harvard Squares

As a former school librarian, there is nothing more fascinating that visiting a local library in the town where I happen to be at the moment.  I recently got a visitor’s card to the New Smyrna Beach Library and have since checked out over 12 books.  I am like a gourmand in a food emporium when visiting a library and this library delivered.  All of the latest cookbooks where available.  Both David Leibovitz’s books,  My Paris Kitchen and L’Appart were on the shelves.  I also found Ottolenghi; The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

On a lighter note, I starting reading a culinary fiction series.  Katherine Hall Page is the author of the Faith Fairchild books about a caterer with the business “Have Faith in your Kitchen” who is also married to a minister.  She cooks up delicious food while solving mysteries and dealing with the challenges of being a minister’s wife.  In the book, The Body in the Attic, Faith and her husband make a temporary move to Boston where he is an interim Divinity Professor at Harvard.  I love the play on words of these Harvard Squares.  This is basically a bar cookie and allows you to make 48 cookies in one batch.  A great idea for a caterer or anyone not wanting to deal with batch after batch of cookies.

French Kande

I received a very special Valentine’s present this year.  I have been admiring the French Kande line of jewelry for a long time.  David gave me this necklace, although mine has a different Medallion.

French Kande Necklace

The designer, Kande, found French Medallions at a Paris Flea Market years ago and became inspired to create beautiful jewelry with them.

French Kande Medallion

My medallion is a  Silver Champagne medallion from the  Champagne region of France.  I love it.

Give the Harvard Squares a try.  I used a combination of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.  The next time I would cut down or eliminate the butterscotch chips.  They overpowered the flavor profile.

HARVARD SQUARES

1 cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips (See above comment)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream the butter, then add the sugars and beat until fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing well.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, then add to the batter.  Combine the chocolate chips and other chips.  Stir them into the batter.

Spread the batter evenly into a well-greased jelly-roll pan (approximately 15 1/2 inches by 10 1/2 inches).

Bake in the oven until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool in the pan, then cut into squares.  Makes 48 squares.

Printable Recipe

 

Christmas Cheer

December 19th, 2017

Cookie Brittle

Cookie Brittle is a new treat for Christmas in our house.  The recipe came from one of my favorite sites, Food52.  I will be packaging this up for friends and neighbors.  The butterscotch-caramel flavor of this crispy treat is habit forming so be careful when you make it.  Someone in our house has been sneaking bits of it at all times of day and night.  Think I am going to have to make a second batch.

Shirred EggsThese shirred eggs make a wonderful festive breakfast for the holidays.  They can be prepared ahead and then baked when you are ready.  Make as many as you want.  It was a perfect Sunday morning meal.

Shirred Eggs

Served with bacon and Focaccia Bread Stick for dipping you can’t go wrong.  The recipe is here.

Christmas Card 2017 (1)

 

Our Christmas card this year.  The Grands are growing up so fast.  Wishing all of you a festive holiday and Happy New Year my friends.

You can find the recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle here.

Eclipse Weekend

August 23rd, 2017

Orange Cake

Our family rented a house in Highlands, NC to watch the total eclipse of the sun.  It was one of the locations along a narrow track that would experience totality. We were excited to be there.  It was also our DIL’s birthday.  As part of the four day event, I made this Orange and Brown Sugar Glazed Cake from Jamie Schler for the celebration.  Her new cookbook, Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet, has just been released.  It is a gorgeous book that showcases oranges in many ways.  I have been following her blog, Life’s a Feast for years.

Orange Cake

The orange flecked cake is drizzled with an orange glaze.  Because it was a birthday cake for Kristen, I added a brickle topping and extra orange zest.  I served it with Jamie’s orange flavored whipped cream. I will be making this cake often.  I will also be ordering Orange Appeal from Amazon.  I am anxious to try the Beef in Bourbon Sauce and her Chocolate Orange Marmalade Brownies.

Sweet Potato Salsa

Kristen was in charge of breakfast one morning.  One of the components to her Eggs Benedict dish was this Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa from Foster’s Market.  The smell of roasting sweet potatoes with Balsamic vinegar and cumin drew everyone into the kitchen.  This is such a versatile recipe.  Serve it with a steak, add it to tacos or serve it with eggs as we did.

Eggs Benedict

Kristen layered the English muffins with guacamole, cheddar cheese, sweet potato salsa, poached eggs and a crema sauce made from milk thinned sour cream.

Eggs Benedict

This was a unique take on traditional Eggs Benedict and we loved it.

Eclipse Group with glasses

After breakfast we were ready for the eclipse.  Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate.  Clouds rolled in to block our beautiful view.  In spite of that, it was awesome.  Darkness descended quickly, the crickets began chirping, birds flew to their nests, the temperature dropped, and for a brief moment the total eclipse came into view, with a flash of the aurora.  The kids will remember it always.

ORANGE AND BROWN SUGAR GLAZED CAKE WITH ORANGE-FLECKED WHIPPED CREAM
(As printed in Fine Cooking Magazine by Jamie Schler)

For the Cake:
8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
12 oz. (scant 3 cups) unbleached cake flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. table salt
2 oranges
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup fresh orange juice

For the Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbs. orange marmalade

For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, well chilled
1 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. finely grated orange zest

Make the cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees F.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Use a rasp-style grater to remove 1 tbs zest from the oranges.  Juice one of the oranges to yield 1/4 cup juice.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and orange and lemon zests on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition just to combine.  Add the vanilla, and beat briefly to combine.
In three additions and alternating with the milk and orange juice, add the dry ingredients, beating on medium speed after each addition and scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to remove air bubbles, and smooth the surface with a spatula.
Bake until the cake is just set in the center and golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. (A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake may have a few crumbs clinging to it.) Check the cake during the last 10 minutes of baking; if it’s browning too much, tent it loosely with aluminum foil.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then slice a knife around the edge to release the cake, if necessary.  Remove the side of the pan, and using a large cake spatula, transfer the cake from thee pan to a cooling rack.  Let cool.

Glaze the cake:
Poke holes all over the cake with a toothpick in 3/4-inch intervals.
Combine the juice, sugar, and marmalade in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to low, and whisk often until syrupy, about 10 minutes.  Brush the glaze onto the cake, letting some drip down the sides.  (The cake can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days before serving.)

Make the whipped cream and serve:
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a bowl using a hand mixer, whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and zest, raise the speed to medium high, and continue to whip until medium soft peaks form, about 2 minutes more.  Serve the cake with the whipped cream.

FOSTER’S MARKET ROASTED SWEET POTATO SALSA

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled/chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tomato, cored and chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 to 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
2 scallions, minced (green and white part)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
juice and zest of 1 large lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, vinegar, chili powder and cumin and spread in one layer on a large, rimmed baking pan.
Place in the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until the potatoes are golden brown and soft.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, place the tomato, red pepper, jalapeños, scallions, cilantro and lime juice and zest with the sweet potatoes; toss until combined.
Season with salt and pepper and serve warm with eggs, tostadas, grilled steak or chicken.

Printable Recipe Orange Cake

Printable Recipe Sweet Potato Salsa

Blackberry Tart

July 26th, 2017

Blackberry Tart

I have a very good friend with a large garden.  She recently shared some of her bounty with me. The blackberries were plump and ripe, so I made this amazing tart with a rosemary flecked crust. There is something about the rosemary that marries well with berries.

Blackberry Tart

I love making free form tarts.  The rustic look appeals to me. These blackberries were juicy and full of flavor.  When you use top notch ingredients you can’t go wrong.

Porch, Lower

Enjoy this Blackberry Tart on a summer evening with ice cream, preferably on a screened porch overlooking a lake.  Fireflies and screen doors add to the ambience.

BLACKBERRY TART (I halved this recipe because I had only 1 pint of blackberries)

Rosemary Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup AP flour + extra for dusting
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • tablespoons fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
  • tablespoons turbinado sugar + extra for dusting
  • teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4-1/2 cup ice cold water
  • 1egg, for glazing the crust
Blackberry Filling

  • pints fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • lemon (juice of)
  • tablespoons flour
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment or a food processor, mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the cubed butter, and mix or pulse until butter breaks down into pea sized pieces.
  4. With the machine running or pulsing, add the ice water until the dough JUST begins to come together.
  5. Turn the crust mixture out onto some plastic wrap, wrap it and flatten it into a disk shape. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.
  6. Throw all the filling ingredients into a bowl, and mix well so that that the sugar and flour coat all the blackberries well.
  7. Remove the chilled crust from the fridge and unwrap it onto a silpat or piece of parchment paper large enough to cover your baking sheet. Dust it with flour, then roll the dough out until it is between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick.
  8. Spoon the filling and its juices into the middle of the crust and spread it out leaving a 2″ border of crust. Fold the border of the crust over onto the filling, leaving the nice rustic edges.
  9. Brush the crust with eggwash and sprinkle the crust with sugar. Slide the tart onto the silpat or parchment onto a baking sheet.
  10. Bake for about 40 minutes until crust is nice and golden.

Printable Recipe

Rhubarb Spoon Cake

June 6th, 2017

Rhubarb Spoon Cake

Rhubarb season is almost over, but I did find some fresh rhubarb at the market last week.  My history with rhubarb is long.  In my day, children walked to and from school every day; sometimes alone.  I remember my Mother going with me to my kindergarten orientation.  We walked.  She told my to pay attention to where we were going because I would be responsible to get myself to the school building every day.  On the first day of school I made the trek alone and found my way.  I marveled, later, as an adult that my Mom would allow me to do that even though we lived in a small town and the school was not too far away.  But years later, my Mom confessed that she discretely followed me on that first day.  It was a safer world in those days.

One of the things that I loved about these walks was taking in the houses, lawns and gardens as I passed by.  I still remember the cracks in the sidewalks and the neighborhood dogs.  But every Spring, one home in particular held my attention.  It had a huge garden with a rhubarb patch.  The appearance of rhubarb became my harbinger of Spring in our cold Michigan weather.

Rhubarb Spoon Cake

This Rhubarb Spoon Cake is another recipe from Erin French’s new cookbook {the} Lost Kitchen.  It is a simple cake with great flavor.  The rhubarb is made ahead of time as a sweetened compote.  The batter is light and by the time it is baked, you will almost wish you could spoon it out of the skillet and eat it with dollops of whipped cream.

Rhubarb Spoon Cake

Why not just do that very thing?  Place the cake in the center of your table and spoon out what you want.  It is that good.

RHUBARB SPOON CAKE ( {the} Lost Kitchen by Erin French )

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sour cream
Rhubarb Compote (Recipe follows)
Whipped cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Coat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, with butter and flour, shaiking out any excess flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, milk, sour cream, and melted butter.  Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated.

Pour about two-thirds of the compote into the greased skillet and spread evely.  Pour the cake batter over it, spread evenly, then dollop the remaining compote over the top.  Use a butter knife to swirl together the batter and compote.

Bake until a cake tester or knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  I like to serve this warm, directly from the skillet, with a big spoon and a bowl of whipped cream to dollop on top.

RHUBARB COMPOTE

3 cups chopped rhubarb (1-inch pieces)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the rhubarb becomes tender and sauce-like, about 5 minutes.  (Mine took longer).  Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  This will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Printable Recipe

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