Blueberry and Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

This recipe is originally from Alice Waters Simple Food II and I found it on valleybrinkroad.com by a woman in LA who has a wonderful blog and is a caterer in LA and makes the most beautiful boxes of fabulous things to send to friends in LA.
The glaze was very thin, I did not add the milk but the cake is delicious!

1 egg, at room temperature
2 meyer lemons, zested (or regular lemons are fine)
2 cups blueberries, washed, dried, stems removed
2 tablespoons + 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon unbleached flour
2 tablespoons poppyseeds, must be fresh!
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup creme fraiche
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon whole milk
Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with flour.
In a medium bowl, gently stir together the blueberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, and the nutmeg. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, poppyseeds, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixture, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture and creme fraiche, alternating, until both have been completely added to the mixing bowl. Mix just until the flour is incorporated and then remove the mixing bowl. The batter is quite thick, so don’t be alarmed. Spread the batter into the springform pan, creating a depression in the center and pressing the batter up a little higher around the sides.

Add 1 tablespoon of flour to the blueberry mixture and stir. Pour the blueberries into the center of the batter. Bake for 45 -50 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool slightly.

While the cake is baking, make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, meyer lemon juice, and milk.

Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake. When the cake is cool, run a knife around the edge of the pan and lift it out of the form.

Lemon Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Another winner from the Williams Sonoma blog. The texture of this cake is so nice-you do not miss the butter. Use an olive oil that is not too peppery and be sure to beat the egg/sugar mixture for a good three minutes.

Lemon-Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

4 oz. (125 g) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups (10 oz./315 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 cup (8 oz./250 g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) full-fat Greek-style yogurt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Lemon Chocolate OO Cake
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).

Put the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and set over (but not touching) barely simmering water. Heat, stirring, until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat together the granulated sugar and eggs until pale in color. Beat in the vanilla. Add half of the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Beat in the yogurt and lemon juice, and then the remaining flour mixture. With the motor running, beat in the olive oil just until smooth. Scoop about one-third of the batter into a clean bowl and gently fold in the chocolate. Stir the lemon zest into the rest of the batter.

Lightly oil a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf pan. Fill the pan with alternating spoonfuls of the lemon and chocolate batters. Swirl a large, thin-bladed knife in an S pattern through the batters to create the marbled effect. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto the rack, then place upright on a cutting board. Cut the cake into thick slices and arrange, slightly overlapping, on a platter. Dust with the confectioners’ sugar and serve. Serves 8.

Italian Wedding Soup

This is the most amazing soup! I have wanted to try it forever and am so happy that I finally did! The Barefoot Contessa rarely disappoints! I love that you bake the meatballs and by the time they are baked, the soup is done! I used the little star shaped pasta that is so festive! I am not sure a photo would give this soup justice but I assure you, everyone will love it!
For the meatballs:
¾ pound ground chicken
½ pound chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup ¼-inch diced carrots (3 carrots)
¾ cup (¼-inch diced celery (2 stalks)
10 cups homemade chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
¼ cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1- to 1¼-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don’t have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

Caramel Pretzel Bars

This recipe is from Saveur I love the combination of the shortbread base, sweet caramel and salty pretzels.
Caramel Pretzel Bars
FOR THE SHORTBREAD:
1¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

FOR THE CARAMEL TOPPING:
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1¼ cups light brown sugar
¼ cup honey
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp. salt
1 cup heavy cream

6 cups (about 9 oz.) small pretzel twists, lightly broken up

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Make the shortbread: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°. Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with parchment paper, folding paper up and over the sides of the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and brown sugar at medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the vanilla, change speed to low, and add the flour-salt mixture. Mix until crumbly, 10-15 seconds. Pat the dough evenly into the bottom of the parchment-lined pan, and prick dough all over with a fork. Bake 15-18 minutes, until just golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

2. Make the caramel: In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and salt. Stir regularly until mixture is foamy and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer inserted into the caramel registers 240°F (soft ball stage), about 11 minutes. Add the crushed pretzels and quickly incorporate into the caramel.

3. Pour the pretzel-caramel mixture over the baked shortbread, spreading the mixture evenly. Return to the oven until the topping is bubbling, 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Remove from the baking pan by lifting the edges of the parchment paper; unfold the paper and slice into bars. Serve immediately, or bars will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

Ultimate Nutty Granola Clusters

My Canadian friend, Jen, gave me The Oh She Glows Cookbook, vegan recipes, that she claimed is the hottest cookbook in Canada! This is an easy and delicious granola recipe.
Granola
1 c. whole raw almonds
1/2 c. raw walnut halves or pieces
3/4 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. raw buckwheat groats or rolled oats
2/3 c. mixed dried fruit-apricots, cherries, cranberries etc.
1/2 c. raw pepita seeds
1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/3 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
2 t. ground cinnamon ** I only used 1/4 t.
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 c.+ 2T. maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
2 t. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 275. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 1/2 c. almonds in food processor and process for 10 seconds-until a fine meal forms. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining 1/2 c. almonds and the walnuts to processor and process for 5 seconds-you want some larger pieces and some finer meal. Add to bowl. Add remaining ingredients through the coconut and stir to combine. Add maple syrup, melted oil and vanilla and stir well. Spread onto the sheet pan and gently press it down to compact it slightly. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate pan and bake 18-25 minutes-until golden brown on the bottom and firm to the touch. Cool for one hour before breaking apart. Store in glass jar in refrigerator or freeze for 4-5 weeks.

Meyer Lemon Raspberry Squares

I could not resist a beautiful bag of Meyer lemons at the store. Dorie Greenspan is a famous baker and I was very interested in trying this recipe.I made the Meyer lemon curd a day before I made the squares so it could cool. The curd recipe is very easy-you must stay with it for 8-10 minutes but it is very fast. The crust did not totally come together for me but I patted the 2/3 in the parchment lined (a must!) pan and it worked out fine. I baked the filling 8 extra minutes as it was very loose. Also, I cut the pan into 24 squares, which is a perfect size as they are quite rich!
Meyer Lemon Raspberry Sq.
Crust and Crumbs
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages (6 ounces each) Driscoll’s Raspberries (3 1/2 to 4 cups)
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup almond flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
Lemon Curd Filling
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (from 8-10 lemons)
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

Filling
Working in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, whisk the eggs and sugar together until well blended. Whisk in the zest and lemon juice, then drop in the chunks of butter. Put the saucepan over medium heat and start whisking, taking care to work the whisk into the edges of the pan. If your whisk is too big to clean the edges, switch to a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Whisk without stop, and, in 8 to 10 minutes, the buttery curd will thicken. It won’t get terribly thick–it thickens more as it chills–but you’ll notice that your whisk leaves tracks. The sign that the curd is ready is a bubble or two burbling to the surface, then popping. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and scrape the curd into a heatproof bowl. Place a piece of plastic film against the surface and refrigerate the curd until it’s cold all the way through. (Packed airtight, the curd can stay in the fridge for a couple of weeks.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to about 13 x 17 inches or so that about 2 inches hang over the edge of each side of the pan. Place the parchment paper inside the pan and butter the paper.

To Make the Crust and Crumbs
Put the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla in a food processor and whir until the mixture is blended. Add the almond flour and blend until smooth. Add the flour and pulse, stopping as needed to scrape the bowl, until you’ve worked the flour into the other ingredients and have moist, bumpy curds of dough. Reach in–if the dough holds together when you pinch it, it’s ready.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead it gently to gather it together. Cut off one third of the dough, cover it and set it aside. Press the rest of the dough evenly over the bottom of the lined pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork.

Bake the crust for 15 – 18 minutes, or until it’s pale golden all over. It will puff a bit and still feel soft to the touch, so judge its readiness by its color. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the crust cool to room temperature.

If you’ve turned off the oven, heat it to 375 degrees F again.

Scatter 1 package (1 3/4 to 2 cups) of raspberries over the crust. Stir the chilled curd to get it moving then, using a long offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the filling evenly over the berries. Pinch off small pieces of the reserved dough and scatter them over the filling – you’ll have enough dough to almost completely cover the curd.

Bake the lemon squares 30 minutes, rotating the pan after about 20 minutes. Working quickly, remove the pan from the oven and scatter the remaining raspberries over the crumbs, gently and lightly pressing them into the topping. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 10 to 13 minutes. The filling will puff – and it should puff all the way to the center – the lemon curd will caramelize around the edges (my favorite part) and the crumbs will be golden brown. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let stand for at least 2 hours (and up to 6 hours) before cutting.

Use the edges of the parchment paper to carefully lift the lemon squares out of the pan and set on the counter or rack. Invert a plate over the lemon squares and turn the plate and lemon squares over and then peel away the parchment paper. Using a long, slender knife, cut the cake into 12 squares, about 3 inches on a side. Serve now or chill – the bars are delicious at room temperature, when the crust is almost as tender as the filling, and just as good chilled, when all the elements are firm but the filling melts in your mouth.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you’d like, just before serving.

Storing: Well wrapped, the squares will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days; wrapped airtight, they can be frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost the squares, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.

Blondies with Cherries, Chocolate, Cashews and Pecans

A wonderful recipe from the blog, Apt.2bakingco. How could you go wrong with cherries, chocolate, cashews and pecans?
Blondies

1 cup butter
3 cups dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoon bourbon (optional)
2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup roughly chopped cashews
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cherries
2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º and line a 9×13 baking pan with foil and grease well

1. Brown the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until all of the milk solids turn golden and the butter has a nutty fragrance being careful to not let it burn. Remove from heat and stir in the dark brown sugar, set aside to cool slightly.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, bourbon and salt. Whisk in the cooled butter, sugar mixture then fold in the flour and baking powder.
3. Stir in the nuts, cherries and chocolate, but make sure the mixture is cool enough that the chocolate won’t melt. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30-35min or until the top is shiny, set and slightly cracked around the edges. Place on a wire rack to cool completely then cut into squares.

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart

This recipe is from the famous chef Alain Ducasse and I found it on Food and Wine It is a little time consuming but can be done in steps so don’t let this recipe intimidate you! The tart shell is a little fragile but it is forgiving when you put it into the pan. It is a showstopper dessert and easily will feed 12 people.
Bittersweet Choc Tart
TART SHELL
All-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
FILLING
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
GLAZE
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving
MAKE THE TART SHELL: In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, blend 1 cup of all-purpose flour with the butter, sugar, cocoa, almond flour and salt at medium speed. Mix in the egg just until a soft dough forms. Scrape the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and lay another large sheet of plastic wrap on top. Roll out the dough between the plastic wrap to a 12-inch round. Transfer the round to a baking sheet and freeze until firm, 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325°.
Peel off the top sheet of plastic and invert the dough onto a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Remove the remaining sheet of plastic and gently press the dough into the pan. Trim the dough flush with the rim. Freeze until firm, 10 minutes.
Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, until the tart shell is nearly cooked through. Remove the parchment and weights and bake until the shell is cooked through, about 20 minutes longer. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 250°.
MAKE THE FILLING: In a medium saucepan, combine the cream and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and let stand until melted, 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the egg yolk, then whisk in 1/2 cup of the chocolate cream. Thoroughly whisk this custard into the chocolate cream in the saucepan. Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake until set around the rim but still slightly jiggly in the center, 30 minutes. Let the tart cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours.
MAKE THE GLAZE: In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and let stand 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, whisk the cream, sugar and cocoa over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Scrape the gelatin into the cocoa mixture, add the milk chocolate and whisk until melted. Pour the glaze over the tart and spread it in an even layer using an offset spatula. Refrigerate the tart until the glaze is firm, 30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.

Salty Sweet Peanut Butter Cookies

From the NY Times. A very easy recipe that yields 60 cookies. I used Maldon sea salt and raw cane sugar to sprinkle on the cookies before they are baked-I love this addition to the cookies. I cooked the cookies the full 15 minutes and used my convection oven as well. They are delicious and melt in your mouth!
Lots of peanut butter cookies
1 cup/228 grams/2 sticks unsalted butter, preferably cultured, softened at room temperature
¾ cup/150 grams granulated sugar
¾ cup (packed)/170 grams light brown sugar
1 heaping teaspoon/6 grams kosher salt
2 cups/510 grams unsweetened peanut butter, creamy or chunky
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups/250 grams all-purpose flour
Flaky sea salt and coarse sugar for sprinkling (or use kosher salt and granulated sugar)

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter and eggs, and mix. Add the flour and salt and mix just until well combined, with no white flour showing.
Using a small cookie scoop (about 2 teaspoons capacity), scoop dough onto prepared pans. The tops will be rounded but craggy. The cookies will not spread much or change shape when they bake, so they can be placed quite close together, but leave room for air circulation so they can brown.
In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 tablespoon salt. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with sugar-salt mixture, getting it into the crags and crannies. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until cookies are set and golden-brown. Carefully lift or slide off baking sheets and cool on racks. Store in layers separated by parchment paper, in airtight containers.

Red Beans and Rice

I have never made Red Beans and Rice and this recipe did was the absolute best! I ordered these fabulous red beans from Amazon and they were sensational. The recipe is absolutely perfect (although I used 2 thick slices of tabasco bacon from Whole Paycheck as I did not have the ham and it was delicious!)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 pound boiled ham cut, into 1/2-inch cubes
6 ounces smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (1 cup)
1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted through, soaked overnight and drained
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
8 to 10 cups water
Steamed rice
Directions
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, black pepper and thyme for about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves, ham and sausage and saute for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the beans, garlic, and enough water to cover the contents in the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours. Add more water if the mixture becomes dry and thick. Use a wooden spoon to mash about half of the mixture against the side pf the pot. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the mixture is creamy and the beans are soft. Add more water if it becomes too thick. The mixture should be soupy but not watery. Remove the bay leaves and serve with steamed white rice.

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/new-orleans-style-red-beans-and-rice-recipe.html?oc=linkback