Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Extravaganza!

I went to my aunt and uncle's house for Thanksgiving and I had a great time cooking Thanksgiving dinner with their family. I didn't manage to get photos of everything, but below are some of the tasty things on our table...

The turkey!

Delicious cranberry chutney (recipe below)

More cranberries! (recipe below)

Roasted garlic mashed potatoes

My cousin goes for the Brussels sprouts! (recipe below)

This photo doesn't do our desserts justice! Pumpkin pie made by my aunt and me, and pecan pie from our guest Joan.

Cranberry Chutney (from Gourmet)

5 shallots, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (12-oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cook shallots in the oil over medium-low heat until softened. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until cranberries have burst, 10-12 minutes.

Raw Cranberry Relish (slightly adapted from Simply Recipes)

2 cups raw cranberries
1 apple, peeled and cored
1 large orange, plus its peel
2 cups sugar

Pulse fruit in a food processor until chopped but not mushy. Stir in sugar.

Brussels Sprouts Hash with Caramelized Onions (From Bon Appetit)

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
Coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.

Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper.

November SHF

definitely not martha is hosting this month's Sugar High Friday, and the theme is "The Beta Carotene Harvest." I made these pumpkin cupcakes for my housemate's birthday, which also coincided with Halloween (leading to a party called "Joshoween!"). They were a big hit at the party. Another housemate did the great decorating--I can't take credit for that! :)

Pumpkin Cupcakes (from

4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup milk
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.
3. Whisk together pumpkin and milk and set aside.
4. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
5. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the pumpkin-milk mixture.
6. Pour into muffin tins and bake 18-20 minutes.

The original recipe calls for buttermilk icing (recipe here), but I just used a simple cream cheese frosting instead, made up of an 8 oz. package of softened whipped cream, a few tablespoons of butter, and some powdered sugar.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Chocolate Cupcakes

More chocolate cupcakes for my service auction donation this month...this month a double order, half frosted with chocolate and half with vanilla.

The cupcakes are from Martha Stewart and always work out perfectly. The chocolate frosting is from a recipe I found on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. Both those recipes can be found here, from the last time I made these cupcakes. The vanilla frosting did not turn out as well as I'd was just powdered sugar, butter, cream, milk, and vanilla, but I think I might have gotten the proportions wrong. It tasted good but didn't look amazing. All in all though, yum!

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
makes 24 cupcakes or a few more

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 c plus 2 T cake flour
1 1/4 c Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2 c sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 large whole eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 c milk
1/2 c plus 2 T vegetable oil
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c warm water

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Put the dry ingredients into a big bowl (flours, cocoa, sugar, soda, b. powder, salt). Whisk together, then add the eggs and yolk, milk, oil, vanilla, and water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.

Divide batter among muffin tins, filling each 2/3 of the way full. Bake about 20 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Cool slightly, then remove from tins and cool fully.

If you don't have cake flour, you can substitute it with one cup of all purpose flour, but I think it makes them extra fluffy.

When they're fully cooled, make the most amazing frosting ever:

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
adapted slightly from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3/4 c whipping cream
1/4 c butter at room temperature
2 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c whole milk
1 1/4 tsp vanilla

You can really use different combinations of chocolate based on what you have on hand--more unsweetened and bittersweet will make it darker, more semi-sweet will make it less dark. I don't think I'd use milk chocolate, though. In any case, chop up 8 oz. total of chocolate into small pieces and put in a heat-proof, microwave-proof bowl.

Heat up the cream, stirring occasionally, until bubbles form and break around the edges. Pour over the chocolate. Wait 1 minute, then stir until combined. You might need to microwave the bowl for about 15 seconds to make sure everything gets melted. Add the butter to the bowl and whisk until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla. Whisk until everything is combined and there are no big lumps.

Add the sugar to the chocolate and whisk to combine, then let sit for about 10-15 minutes at room temperature until thickened.

Beat the frosting with an electric mixer until fluffy and a little lighter in color. If this doesn't happen easily, you might need to wait a few more minutes and try again.

Bring your favorite chocolate dessert to Roxana’s Home Baking#ChocolateParty and win amazing prizes from OXOCalphalonKeurigImperial SugarHoney Ridge Farms and Land O Lakes® Butter!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Pecan French Toast with Autumn Fruit Sauce

After a disastrous morning (a raccoon got trapped in my housemate's room and went nuts), this french toast was just what we needed. Make your favorite french toast recipe and then dip it in a plate of finely chopped pecans before frying it up. Serve with this delicious, creamy fruit sauce...

Autumn Fruit Compote

Melt a little butter in a small pot. Add:
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 pear, peeled and chopped
1 persimmon, peeled and chopped
brown sugar, to taste
Cook down until the fruit is soft, adding water as needed so that it doesn't stick to the pot. When the fruit is relatively soft, add a tablespoon more of butter and a few tablespoons of warm cream. Let the liquid reduce and the fruit soften further until the sauce is to your liking.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Florida Pie!

My housemate Jessie and I had a girls' night last night, which was superfun and exactly what we needed. As part of it, I made this Florida Pie, which was also perfect given the unseasonably warm weather we've been having. It's got a graham cracker crust, a layer of coconut cream, a layer of key lime pie, and then it's all topped with meringue. I even got to use our house's mini blowtorch to brown the meringue! The best part is that each component is extremely easy, so even though the pie looks amazing and has a lot of parts, it's actually totally possible to throw it together on a moment's notice. It's also completely delicious!

One note of warning--keep leftovers in the freezer...the fridge isn't quite cool enough to keep one or another part of it from getting a little liquid-y and making the crust mushy...not the end of the world by any means, but generally the freezer should prevent this (Dorie suggests letting it sit for 30 minutes to soften up before eating).

Florida Pie (From Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours)

1 9-inch graham cracker crust
1 1/3 c heavy cream
1 1/2 c shredded coconut (The recipe calls for sweetened, but I could only find unsweetened so I just added some sugar to taste.)
4 large eggs, separated
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c lime juice
1/4 c sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put pie plate on a baking sheet
2. Put cream and 1 c coconut in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook until reduced by half and slightly thickened. Set aside to cool in a separate bowl.
3. Beat egg yolks on high until thick and pale. Beat in condensed milk and then half the lime juice on low speed. Add the rest of the lime juice and mix to combine.
4. Spread coconut cream into the graham cracker crust and then pour the lime mixture on top. Bake 12 minutes. Cool 15 minutes and then put in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
5. Put 4 egg whites and sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium low heat until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer to a bowl and beat until the hold firm peaks. Fold in the last 1/2 c coconut.
6. Spread meringue over the pie and either run it under the broiler or use a kitchen blow torch to brown the top. Put the pie back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Chocolate Chunkers

Yum, yum, yum. I made Dorie's Chocolate Chunkers for a student lunch at my church this morning and everyone was delighted with how tasty they were...the cookies are very intense but also very addictive. You can add whatever mix-in-y things you want...I deviated a bit from the recipe but it still turned out great...the trick is just adding lots of them. :) I went crazy in the bulk food area at Berkeley Bowl so I was able to get little bits of lots of things.

Also, check out this awesomer-than-usual photo, courtesy of my housemate Josh...he lent me his mini-tripod and gave me some tips on photographing, so hopefully this will help my photography skillz in the future, too! I know they're not up to the snuff of many food bloggers, but I'm working on it!

Chocolate Chunkers (From Baking from My Home to Yours)

1/3 c flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 T unsalted butter
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Lots of mix-ins...I used a Green & Blacks vanilla white chocolate bar, some chopped up bittersweet chocolate, raisins, dried cranberries, roasted almonds, and toasted pecans.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder.
2. Melt the butter and chocolate until smooth but not so hot the butter separates. Cool slightly.
3. Whisk together eggs and sugar until light and frothy. Whisk in the vanilla. Mix in the chocolate-butter mixture, and then the dry ingredients (at some point you'll have to switch to a rubber spatula). Mix in your mix-ins. :)
4. Drop onto baking sheets covered in tin foil or parchment paper and bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes each. The tops will look mostly dry but the interior of the cookies will still be soft.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Farfalle with Arugula Gremolata

I just got Mollie Katzen's new book The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without from Amazon and am already loving it. I've totally fallen in love with her past books and this one is not a disappointment at all. The recipe I tried this evening, "Farfalle with Arugula Gremolata" was very delicious. The arugula was a little bitter to my taste; I might do part arugula and part spinach next time.

This was also my first time using my new food processor! It was very exciting, and I'm now totally convinced that it was great purchase...compared to those terrible mini food processors I've been using all my life, this one:
a) is completely quiet!
b) actually chops things!
c) is easy to clean!

Here's the gremolata by itself, along with some slices of these great heirloom tomatoes I got at Berkeley Bowl.

And here's the final dish...

Farfalle with Arugula Gremolata (adapted from The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without)


Chop in food processor until finely chopped but not pureed:
2 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
2 big garlic cloves
peel from 1 orange

Season with salt and pepper


3/4 lb. farfalle
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 recipe Gremolata
Chopped dried cranberries
3 smallish tomatoes, chopped
Crumbled goat cheese
1/2 c minced walnuts, toasted

Cook the pasta. Drain and toss with olive oil immediately. Add the gremolata, cranberries, and tomatoes and toss again. Spook into serving dishes and sprinkle with cheese and walnuts. Yum!

And again, don't forget to check out Sweetnicks's ARF/5-A-Day roundup starting Tuesday evening here. I've also been enjoying reading all the entries in Presto Pasta Night, where the round-up is posted every Friday.