Whole Lemon Bars

This is a simple recipe that uses one whole lemon plus some fresh lemon juice in the filling. It is another great one from David Lebovitz. Use an 8″ square baking dish that you overturn and cover with foil. Remove and fit into pan, pressing into corners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crust

1 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 t. salt

8 t. melted butter

1/2 t. vanilla

Filling

1 organic lemon, washed

1 cup sugar

3 T. fresh lemon juice

3 eggs, room temperature

4 t. cornstarch

1/4 t. salt

3 T. melted butter

powdered sugar, to garnish

Combine crust ingredients and press into bottom of baking dish.Bake for 25 minutes.

Cut lemon into quarters and remove seeds. Cut into chunks and add to food processor with the sugar and lemon juice. Pulse and process until fine. Add remaining ingredients and pour over hot crust. Reduce oven to 300 degrees. Bake 25 minutes. Cool completely. Lift out of pan, dust with powdered sugar and cut into pieces.

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Boston Cream Pie

My husband has a new App called Pulse and he has started emailing me appealing recipes from his bed before he gets up in the morning!! I love to cook but this could be dangerous!! This is a really easy nice recipe from Saveur.

Cake

12 T. unsalted butter, softened plus more for the pan

1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for the pan

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1 cup sugar

2 T. vanilla extract

3 eggs

2/3 cup buttermilk

Filling

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 t. salt

1/2 vanilla bean scraped, optional

6 egg yolks

1 1/2 cups milk

4 T. uns. butter, cubed and chilled

1 t. vanilla

Glaze

4 oz. 60% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9″ round cake pan or springform pan. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cream butter and sugar and vanilla in mixer on high for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs one by one. Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk in three additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour into pan, smooth the top and bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the filling: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt (and vanilla seeds if using) in a 4 quart saucepan. Add yolks and whisk until smooth. Stir in the milk and place over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, one cube at a time. Stir in vanilla extract. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate 2 hours.

Glaze and assemble the cake: Place chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream to a boil, pour over chocolate and let sit 1 minute. Whisk together until smooth and shiny. Let cool 10 minutes. Slice cake in half so that the top is a little smaller than the bottom layer. Cover with filling and top with cake. Pour chocolate over cake and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Tomato Soup

This is one of the best tomato soups ever from my favorite restaurant, The Kitchen. You will make this over and over and over again!!  I find I add at least another cup (or more) of cream, depending on what tomatoes I use. The flavor is so good from the slowly simmered onions in butter mixed with the tomatoes. Serves 8-10.

1 1/3 sticks good quality unsalted butter

1 large onion, diced

sea salt

48 oz. good quality whole peeled organic tomatoes, undrained

1/3 cup heavy cream

good quality extra virgin olive oil, for finishing

They recommend using San Marzano brand of tomatoes, if you cannot find them, any good quality tomato will work.

In a large pan, melt butter over low heat. Add the onion and a good pinch of salt. Reduce heat to very low, cover and cook onions 30 minutes, until translucent and soft but not browned. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Increase heat to simmer and cook 25 minutes.

Working in batches, blend tomato onion mixture in the food processor or blender, adding cream while blending. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot, drizzled with a little olive oil.

Alpine Chowder

This recipe comes from a cookbook called Vintage by Jeff Keys. It is absolutely delicious and makes a lot of soup! I would not freeze this soup with the cream and cheese in it but I would freeze it before adding those ingredients and add after thawing.

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 medium onions, diced

1 leek, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into matchsticks

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice

2 T. unbleached flour

1 1/2 quarts chicken stock

1 head of cauliflower, quartered, broken into florets, and sliced thinly

1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper

1/2 t. thyme

2 bay leaves

1/3 cup parsley, chopped

3 cups half and half

finely grated zest of 1 orange

8 oz. medium sharp cheddar, grated

fresh snipped herbs like parsley, thyme, dill or basil

 

Melt butter in a large soup pot, add onion, leek, carrots and garlic-saute for 5 minutes, stirring often until soft and juices are released. Stir in potatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. Add stock and cauliflower. Stir in dried herbs and bring chowder to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Scald cream and add to chowder. On very low heat, just before serving add the orange zest and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Almond Cake

The original recipe for this cake came from Chez Panisse desserts but the center always caved in so I tried David Lebovitz’s adaptation and it is perfection! You can find the almond paste in the baking section of your grocery-it is not marzipan! The brand I use is called Odense and you can see the label in the picture. Make this in a 9″ or 10″ springform pan. You make the whole cake in the food processor, which makes it so easy! I live at 5,000 ft. so I cooked the cake 15 minutes longer than the recipe calls for. If the middle is jiggly, cook a little longer and keep checking, every 5 minutes. This cake is delicious with tea or coffee or as a dessert. You could serve it with whipped cream and fruit. I am thinking about caramelizing some pear slices to serve it with tonight!

1 1/3 c. sugar

7-8 oz. tube of almond paste

3/4 cup + 1/4 cup flour

8 oz. butter, cubed, room temp.

1 1/2 t. baking powder

3/4 t. salt

1 t. vanilla extract

1 t. almond extract

6 large eggs, room temp.

powdered sugar, to garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter pan and line with parchment, butter and flour. In processor, pulse almond paste, sugar and 1/4 c. flour until fine, like sand. In a small bowl, whisk together the  3/4 cup  flour, baking powder and salt. Add cubed butter and extracts to processor and blend until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Batter may look curdled, but no worries! Add flour mixture in 2 batches. Scrape sides of bowl, as needed. Bake for 65-80 minutes, until brown and top is set.

When cool dust with powdered sugar.

Perfect Rice

My husband can make the perfect rice-every time! I struggle but have recently found the  answer from Saveur magazine’s recipes. It works for any kind of rice-brown, basmati, jasmine-short grain or long grain. Makes 2 cups

Rinse 1 cup of rice for 30 seconds, drain.

Bring 12 cups of water to a boil. Add rice, stir once and cook uncovered for 30 minutes

Pour rice into a strainer in a sink, let drain 10 seconds. Return to pan and cover with a tight fitting lid for 10 minutes, no heat. Uncover, fluff and season!

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

This recipe comes from a great little book called Tate’s Baking for Friends. Tate’s is a very popular bakery in Southampton. This might be one of the best cookies I have ever made! I chilled the dough overnight, which is often what I do with cookie doughs. This recipe makes about 30-36 cookies. You can make them any size you want. I make cookies that are about a tablespoon and a half.

2 c. all purpose flour

1/2 cup natural cocoa

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1/2# butter

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup dark (or light) brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 T. peppermint extract

1 t. pure vanilla extract

2 cups (12 oz.) semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Use the top third and center rack of the oven.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and brown sugar on high speed for one minute. Add eggs one at a time, followed by the peppermint extract and vanilla. With the mixer on low, mix in the flour, just until combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop the cookies onto the baking sheets, keeping the dough chilled. If it gets too soft, refrigerate dough while baking the first batch. If you refrigerate the dough overnight, you can bake the cookies, two trays at a time. I found the pan on the bottom rack can tend to burn so that is why you use the center and top racks. Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking. Let cool on sheet pan at least 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Apple Crisp

This recipe comes from Kelsey Nixon who has cooking show. It is so easy and delicious!

Fruit filling

6 baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

1 T. lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 T. flour

Topping

1 1/4 c. flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. salt

12 T. butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/2 c. coarsely chopped and toasted nuts, I used sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart baking dish and set aside. In a large mixing bowl toss together the apples, lemon juice, sugar and flour. Pour into baking dish.

In a bowl or food processor, mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pulse in the butter . Add the nuts. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit. Bake about 45 minutes, until crisp is golden brown and bubbling.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Party Menu and a great vinaigrette

I had a lunch with four girlfriends yesterday and the menu was perfect!

Ina’s chunky blue cheese dip yogurt dip with tiny multi colored potatoes and asparagus crudite

Ina’s roasted figs and prosciutto

Ina’s roasted shrimp salad

Mixed greens with Jody’s vinaigrette including arugula from my garden and watercress, garnished with sliced avocado, cucumbers, diced mixed peppers and colorful cherry tomatoes

Thumbprint chocolate caramel tartlets

from my previous post!

Jody’s vinaigrette-my sister makes the best vinaigrette-these are the basic ingredients and adjust to the amount you want to make. I am giving the amounts I just made that yields about one cup.

1 clove chopped garlic

3 T. rice wine vinegar

1 T. balsamic vinegar

dash of soy sauce

dash of maple syrup or other sweetener

1/2 cup olive oil

Shake up in a jar!

Thumbprint Chocolate Caramel Tartlets

Another great recipe from the Little Flower cookbook! This is a winner and very easy! You need two mini muffin pans to make 24 tiny tartlets! The recipe calls for rice flour, which I used but I think you could substitute regular flour if you have to-the author says the rice flour adds some snap to the crust.

Chocolate Crust

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 t. vanilla extract

1/2 t. salt

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup plus 2 T. cocoa

Caramel filling

1/4# caramels ( I bought Bequet caramels from Whole Foods or you could make your own caramels!)

3 T. heavy cream

Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet

Sea salt for sprinkling on top

To prepare crusts-use butter or cooking spray to generously grease the tins of 2 minimuffin pans. In a large bowl or mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light. Add egg, vanilla and salt. In a separate bowl, mix both flours and cocoa together and stir into the butter mixture. Mix until smooth. Form the dough into 3/4″ balls and press firmly into tin with your thumb, leaving a well in the center. Chill the thumbprints in the freezer for 20 minutes (I forgot to do this step!) Preheat oven to 350. Bake 7-10 minutes, until the crust appears to dry. Remove from oven and use a wooden spoon end to press down the wells. Set aside to cool completely.

For the caramel filling-melt the caramels and cream over low heat. Stir briefly after caramels have melted until smooth. Fill each thumbprint with 1/2 t. caramel.

For the ganache-bring the cream to to a boil and pour over the chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth and shiny. Top off each caramel filled thumbprint with the chocolate and smooth out the surface with an offset spatula. Set aside to cool to room temp and sprinkle a few grains of salt just before the chocolate is set.