Citrus Poundcake

April 9th, 2020


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Week three of home confinement.  We have fallen into a rhythm; marking the days with small household tasks, canceling airline tickets for a Fall trip to Europe, cooking, reading and cherishing our continued good health. It is on my mental list to do some major cleaning to closets and bathroom tiles.  But for now, all I can manage are small steps.  Trips to the Supermarket are fraught with worry.  We try not to go often.  Cooking has been one of the ways that restores calm.  I bought a bag of Navel oranges a few weeks ago and have been using them in baked goods.

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This simple one bowl poundcake came from Melissa Clark of the New York Times.  Rubbing the sugar with orange zest seems to release the oils in zest and impart more flavor.

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It is a treat to have this bread available for a quiet breakfast on the deck with a cup of coffee each morning. The beauty of nature soothes us in these turbulent times.  Stay safe.

LL Balconey Herbs 1

 

Still life orange

CITRUS POUNDCAKE

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

1 Cup sugar
Zest of 1 navel orange
2 Tbls melted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla (or 1/4 tsp Fiori de Sicilia Citrus flavoring and 1/4 tsp vanilla)
Grated nutmeg (optional) or 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup plain cornmeal
1 1/4 cup flour

In a large bowl, rub the sugar with the orange zest.  Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.

Whisk in the dry ingredients in this order; salt, baking soda, baking powder and cornmeal.  Once smooth whisk in the flour until combined well.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Let the bread cool in the pan.  Remove.  Slice and serve as is or place in a toaster for a crispy warm treat.  Butter optional (or not).

Printable Recipe

Danish Apple Pie with Caramel Apple Topping

March 28th, 2020

Still life with Apples

I thought I would share an apple still life with you during these challenging days; a little art can distract us from all that is happening.  Still life is a good word for these days by the way.  We are living a “still life” now;  no social events on our schedule. We returned to North Carolina from Florida last weekend.  We are sheltering in place like so many of you.  I have kept busy Spring cleaning after being away for 3 months.  But I have also been busy cooking and reading.  If you want to read a great series of books, I recommend Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache books.  The charming village of Three Pines inspires warmth with its quirky people and strong sense of community.  Ironically the first book in the series is called Still Life.  I have been downloading books to my Kindle.  I am caught up with all of Louise Penny’s books, but am looking for more feel good books with wonderful prose and a hopeful message.  Let me know if you have suggestions.

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This recipe for Danish Apple Pie with Caramel Apple Topping actually came from one of the Kindle books I have been reading by Susan Wiggs; The Apple Orchard.  Although this is called an apple pie, it is actually an apple cake with a crumbly surface.  It is so easy in execution that you can throw it together in no time.  The topping takes a little bit longer, but it is a great condiment to have on hand for this or a topping for ice cream. It will keep well in the fridge for a week or more.

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We have been avoiding desserts over the last year, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball.  I am feeling an occasional treat can brighten the day.

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Another thing to brighten the day is this wonderful roast chicken.  We will be eating on this for a few days and will turn the carcass into soup.

LL tight up

This is the way to distance yourselves on the lake.  In these uncertain times it is hard to know what to do.  We are trying to support our local restaurants and businesses in anyway that we can. The best thing we can do right now is to help others.  One of my friends is making runs to Sam’s Club for food for several families so that fewer people are exposed. We have bought gift certificates to restaurants to be used later when the threat has passed and will be ordering take out from our local restaurants.  Stay safe and try to weather this unexpected “still life”.

DANISH APPLE PIE WITH CARAMEL APPLE TOPPING (Slightly adapted from Susan Wiggs)

Danish Apple Pie:
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups diced apples, peeled and sautéed in 1 Tbls butter until soft
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Beat the egg, gradually adding the sugar and vanilla.  Then add flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to create a smooth batter.  Fold in slightly cooled sautéed apples and nuts, then p9our into a buttered and floured 8″ square pan or 9″ pie pan.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Caramel Apple Topping:
4 chopped apples; no need to peel
4 Tbls butter
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cream or buttermilk

Melt the butter in a heavy pan.  Add the sugar and swirl until melted.  Add the spices and apples and sauté until apples are tender.  Add the walnuts and stir.  Turn off the heat, and slowly stir in the cream.  Serve over ice cream or cake and keep leftovers in a jar in the fridge.  Also good with yogurt, pound cake or granola.  I halved the topping recipe when I made it.  It is easy to do if you don’t want a lot of leftover topping.

Printable Recipe

Meals to Make us Feel Better

March 18th, 2020

Tuna Tostadas 2

We are all aware that these are hard times.  Social sacrifices are necessary.  Everyone should be hunkering down at home to avoid getting, or spreading the Coronavirus.  Grocery stores are out of stock on many items.  But meals don’t have to be boring.  That can of tuna in the pantry doesn’t have to be made into a tuna sandwich or a tuna casserole.  Why not make Tuna Tostadas?  It does require a can of pickled jalapeños and carrots, but I bet that is one item that will not be depleted on the grocery shelves.  The crunchy fried corn tortillas also gives this dish pizazz.

Pappardelle-with-Pine-Nuts-2VPappardelle with Pine Nuts, Prosciutto (or Bacon), and Brown Butter is another satisfying meal which relies on some pantry items and special items like Prosciutto and pine nuts.  Substitute bacon and slivered almonds if you like.

Margarita-Braised Chicken Thighs

Margarita Glazed Chicken Thighs are a fun way to spark up mealtime.  Especially with a margarita on the side.  Keeping an upbeat attitude is good for us.

Garlic-Rosemary-Baguette-2v (1)

Baking bread is a rewarding pastime at any time.  But it is especially so when you are housebound.  The kneading, slow rising and aromatic baking is soothing to the soul.  This Rosemary-Garlic Baguette recipe is easy.  Make several and share with your neighbors.

Julia-Childs-Scalloped-Potatoes-3

Julia Child’s Scalloped Potatoes are a classic.  With simple ingredients you can transform the lowly potato into a gourmet treat.  Nobody does it better than Julia.  Also, if you haven’t read any of the books about Julia Child you can find them on Amazon.

Mom's Black Bottom Cake

Starry starry night chocolate cake is special to me.  It is an easy chocolate cake that reminds me of my artistic Mother. Go out and look at the stars. Stay kind to everyone Be safe and healthy.

 

Creamy Chicken Poblano Soup

March 9th, 2020

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Winter’s last gasp has even hit Florida.  Last week was unseasonably cool and windy.  A fire was lit in the fireplace and I craved comfort food.  Soup is always my first choice.  Soup made with lots of vegetables puréed to a smooth consistency is also my first choice.  The depth of flavor created is heartwarming. Add to that lots of Poblano chilis, which are not hot but pleasantly warm, and you have the perfect bowl of soup.  Chicken is just a given.  Chicken soup has been warming our bellies forever.

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This recipe came from Joanna Gaines which will appear in her new cookbook Magnolia Table Volume Two.  It can be preordered on Amazon.

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A chicken soup with a Mexican flair and crispy tortilla strips is the best way to say goodbye to Winter. We return to Lake Lure at the end of the month.

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Stay warm wherever you are.

CREAMY CHICKEN POBLANO SOUP

ingredients

+ 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
+ 2 cups small-diced onion (about 1 large)
+ 4 celery stalks, cut into medium dice
+ 3 carrots, cut into medium dice
+ 2 garlic cloves, minced
+ 3 medium poblano peppers, seeded and cut into medium dice
+ 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
+ 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
+ 1 teaspoon ground cumin
+ 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
+ 8 cups (2 quarts) chicken broth
+ 2 cups heavy cream
+ 3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (home-roasted or rotisserie chicken)
+ 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
+ Tortilla chips and sliced radishes, for garnish

instructions

1. In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and poblanos and sauté, stirring often, until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, and thyme and sauté until caramelized and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes longer.

2. Add the broth and cream, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes to meld the flavors.

3. Use an immersion blender to carefully blend the soup until smooth. (Alternatively, let cool slightly and, working in batches as necessary, process in a stand blender until smooth, filling the blender no more than half full and removing the lid slowly after blending. Pour the soup back into the pot.)

4. Add the chicken and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes to meld the flavors to your liking. Stir in the cilantro.

5. Serve warm, garnished with tortilla strips and sliced radishes.

6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

PRINTABLE RECIPE

Walnut and Rosemary Baked Salmon

March 1st, 2020

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We have salmon quite often.  I find it one of the easiest fish to cook.  The beauty of this recipe is that the oven does most of the work. The salmon is coated with a mixture of chopped walnuts and minced rosemary and baked.   What takes if over the top is a drizzle of browned butter when it is plated.  It hits all of the right notes.

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The recipe is one from Eva Kosmas Flores of the blog Adventures in Cooking.  I love her moody photography and beautiful food.  She offers photography workshops and has written two cookbooks.

 

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Visit Eva’s blog for the recipe.  You will love the professional quality of her website.

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