Archive for ‘Recipe’

September 25, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

by Lauren

It didn’t really feel like fall this muggy morning, but I had a craving for pumpkin.  My version didn’t have as much pumpkin flavor as I was craving.  It was more like dessert for breakfast.  Super sweet and rich and best served with some dark, dark coffee.

 

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pancakes (adapted from RecipeGirl)

 

Ingredients (for 8 pancakes):

Cinnamon filling (I would half this next time):

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Cream cheese icing (I would also half this next time):
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pancakes:

  • I cheated and used 1 cup Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix (for 8 pancakes)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
Instructions:
Cinnamon filling first!   In a small bowl, microwave butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon for 40 to 60 seconds, until butter is melted. Whisk and pour into a sandwich-sized zip-lock baggie. Zip up the baggie and lay it on the counter while you prepare the pancake batter. (I put it in the refrigerator because my pancake mix was easy to make).
Icing next!  In a small bowl, microwave butter and cream cheese for 30 to 60 seconds, until butter has melted and cream cheese has softened. Whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla and stir until smooth.
Prepare pancake mix according to box.  You could be lazy like me and use another pumpkin pancake mix or be fancy and use the recipe from RecipeGirl’s blog above.
Start cooking!  First, cut a TINY hole in the corner of the cinnamon filling bag.  Ladle out pancake batter and then starting at the center of the pancake squeeze the cinnamon filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (like a cinnamon roll). Cook the pancakes until golden brown on the bottom.  Slide a thin spatula underneath the pancake and very gently and quickly flip it over. Cook until the other side is golden. Repeat with all the pancake batter and cinnamon filling. I had way too much cinnamon filling using the amounts above.  I started adding more and more to each pancake and the results were more and more delicious, but less cinnamon roll looking.
Last, but not least, serve pancakes topped with a drizzle of cream cheese icing (again, I had a ton left over, but maybe I didn’t want my pancakes quite as sweet as some may).
September 19, 2011

Peanut Butter Creme Pie

by Lauren

About one month ago the cooking blogosphere was filled with peanut butter creme pie recipes. Why was nearly a whole page of foodgawker.com coming up with similar looking peanut butter pies? Jennie, a food blogger extraordinaire, lost her husband, Mikey, unexpectedly. He loved peanut butter pie and the community of bloggers united to make a peanut butter pie and share it with loved ones.  My roommate and dear friend had her birthday this past week and I thought of this pie.  (Sorry for the phone camera quality of the picture.)

Peanut Butter Creme Pie (Adapted from RecipeGirl’s Nutter Butter-Peanut Butter Pie)

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces chocolate cookies (I used Oreos)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup hot fudge
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (not the natural kind)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip, defrosted
  • chocolate sauce (for top)
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – Minis (for edge)
Instructions:

In a blender, combine chocolate cookies and butter. Press the mixture into a pie plate/tin. Drizzle hot fudge on top and smooth it with a spoon. Place in the freezer to set.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add peanut butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in about 1 cup of the Cool Whip with the mixer. Set the beaters aside and fold in the rest of the Cool Whip using a rubber spatula.

Spoon the peanut butter filling into the frozen pie crust, smooth top down nicely, and place back into the freezer. Freeze for at least 3 hours or overnight. Decorate with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and/or chocolate sauce.  You can move it to the refrigerator before serving.

Share with those you love.

September 4, 2011

Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream

by Lauren

I purchased an ice cream maker in April when I was eagerly waiting for summer.  Since Labor Day weekend is the unofficial “the end of summer,” I figured it was an appropriate time to post an ice cream recipe.  I tried my hand at salted caramel, vanilla bean, and strawberry throughout the summer, but with a dark chocolate lover visiting there was no better time to get over my fear of a chocolate based ice cream.  This recipe comes from  Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.  It is rich, seriously rich.  I haven’t even completely let it harden into it’s true form, but a few spoonfuls of the base (pre-hardened liquid or more like mousse in this case) and straight from the ice cream maker (shown below) indicate that this will be an intense chocolately explosion in your mouth.

 

So finally, the recipe:

Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream, by Dorie Greenspan, Baking From My Home to Yours (page 430)

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used one bar of 70% Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate and one bar of 85% Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate)
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar (It called for 1/3, but we added a bit because the store only had one bar of 70% chocolate and we were going to use 2 bars of it)
  • You will also want a thermometer
Instructions:

Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring ¾ cup of the cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit a minute, then using a rubber spatula, stir the cream into the chocolate in larger and larger circles. When the ganache is smooth, set it aside.  Try not to eat the ganache, I repeat, try not to eat the ganache.

Bring the milk and the remaining ¾ cup cream to a boil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together until well blended and just slightly thickened. Keep whisking and drizzle in about one third of the hot liquid—this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle (and become scrambled sugar eggs). Always keep whisking and slowly pour in the remaining liquid. Pour the custard back into the pan and cook over medium heat, while stirring, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon; if you run your finger down the bowl of the spoon, the custard should not run into the track. The custard should reach at least 170 degrees F, but no more than 180 degrees F. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and slowly and stir the custard into the ganache.

Refrigerate the custard until chilled (I let it refrigerate overnight because my ice cream maker had to cool in the freezer overnight) before churning it into ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pack the ice cream into the container and freeze it for at least 2 hours, until it is firm enough to scoop. Makes about 1 quart.

Happy last weekend of summer!

July 26, 2011

Yia Yia Vegetables

by Alexa

This is possibly my favorite food of all time.  When I was younger I used to help my grandmother make these vegetables for family parties,  and while a visit to a Greek restaurant has led me to believe that this dish is technically called “briam”, in my family we have always called them “yia yia vegetables” in her honor.  This is definitely a summer dish, and can be adapted to take advantage of different fresh vegetables you have–the “classic” version in my household included zucchini, green beans, eggplant, and potatoes, but summer squash, okra*, and carrots can also make there way in there.  When it all cooks up, it is something like a ratatouille, with the vegetables cooked until they are soft and swimming in this miraculous tomato/olive oil sauce infused with oregano. In true grandmother style, my yia yia never used a recipe, but just added ingredients intuitively and ended up with something awesome.  One day I tried to write down everything she did…here is what that looked like:

 

Now that she is no longer able to cook, I’m glad I have these notes to follow–I’ve transcribed the recipe below and fleshed out the instructions a little and the versions I’ve made in the past few years have turned out very well.  But hers will always be better.

*A digression about okra…As a kid, I was not a fan.  But I was an extremely polite child and would never dream of hurting Yia Yia’s feelings, so I always pretended to like it. My father knew about this predicament and thought it would be hilarious to tell my grandmother that okra was my favorite thing ever.  Being the sweet person she is, she responded to this information by cooking me special okra dishes–there would literally be a mixed vegetable dish for the family, and then a separate all-okra dish for me.  This went on for years.  The good news is that I eventually grew to love okra, and now it makes me feel all nostalgic.

            

Ingredients

  • About 1 1/2 lbs green beans. Wash and trim ends; put them in a bowl of cold water with a little salt
  • 4 zucchinis.  Wash and cut up into medium pieces (1 inch by 2 inches maybe) Soak in cold water.
  • 5 potatoes. Wash peel, chop and soak in water. (I don’t know what this soaking step is for, exactly, but she always did it, so I include it)
  • 2 large eggplants, cubed. Soak in salted water.
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 28 oz can of whole tomatoes in puree
  • olive oil
  • bunch of scallions, cleaned and chopped
  • several cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • dried oregano
  • vegetable bouillon
  • vinegar (red wine or balsamic)
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

Put a large pot on the stove over medium heat (you can use 2 medium pots, if you like–it can make stirring easier) Coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil. Put the onions in first, and cook for a few minutes.  Then add the beans and a little bit of water.  Cover and cook for about 10 minutes (if you wanted to add carrots, I would put them in now, too.)

While this is happening, prepare some vegetable bouillon; 3 cubes dissolved in about 3 cups of boiling water

Add all of the vegetables–scallions, potatoes, zucchini, eggplants, and garlic. Add the bouillon and the canned tomatoes and stir well. (I’ve also sometimes added a small can of tomato paste at tgis point for a richer tomato flavor)

Add a couple good glugs of olive oil. Don’t skimp on this–it’s a Greek recipe!  Add a couple splashes of vinegar, and a generous portion of dried oregano, crushing it between your hands to release all the flavor. (Yia Yia: “If Yia Yia no use oregano, not cooking!”)  Season with salt and pepper.

Cook over low heat, uncovered, until it’s done.  This should take about an hour–some of the liquid should cook of, leaving you with a delightful orange sauce, the vegetables should be a bit mushy, and your potatoes should be cooked through but not disintegrating.  At the very end of the cooking process, give it a taste–add a bit more vinegar, salt, pepper, and oregano if you desire.

This is maybe best at room temperature, but is also good warm or even cold from the fridge.  The only real way to eat this is with some good bread, and some cubes of nice feta cheese–you get a little piece of feta with every bite and use the bread to sop up all the sauce…heaven, I tell you.

July 17, 2011

Vanilla-Chocolate-Strawberry Cupcakes

by Alexa

I’m not really in to the whole cupcake trend that started up a few years ago and seems to be going strong.  Fancy bakery cupcakes always seem weirdly dense to me, and they invariably have too much super-rich frosting.  I mean, I’ll eat them and all, don’t get me wrong,  but I am a much bigger big fan of homemade cupcakes–they’re fun to make, fun to eat, and great to share with a crowd.

I made these cupcakes for a party, cobbling together a few different recipes to create a vanilla cupcake with a strawberry filling and a chocolate frosting.  They were a big hit!

(This recipe was very improvisational, so the quantities of batter, filling, frosting etc are a little inexact.  Just go with it, it will be awesome, I promise)

Step One:  Strawberry filling

  • Approx. 1.5 quarts strawberries, washed and cut into pieces (using frozen would be fine)
  • about 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Put the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in to a saucepan over medium heat.  The strawberries will soften and release their juices–use a wooden spoon to crush the berries against the side of the pan.  When the berries are mostly a mush, use a ladle to scoop out a bit of the hot strawberry liquid.  In a small bowl, mix the liquid with the cornstarch until you have a smooth paste.  Add the cornstarch mixture back into he strawberry pot, stirring well.  Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes, and then remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool.

Step Two: Cupcakes

I used one of my favorite cake recipes for the batter–  “Golden Layer Cake” from the 1960 Better Homes and Gardens Dessert Cookbook, a fabulous source for all manner of retro sweets printed by the Meredith Publishing Company.

It is a basic yellow cake, moist and fluffy with a hint of lemon.

I actually doubled the recipe to make 36 cupcakes.  Here is the recipe with the doubled proportions:

  • 1 cup shortening (I used softened butter instead)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (I used a bit more)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups sifted cake flour (I used all purpose flour.  I’m not actually a fan of the texture cake flour gives cakes)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk (I didn’t have any–I mixed 2 scant cups regular milk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and let it sour for about 10 minutes)

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and lemon zest.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.  Sift dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition and ending with flour.

Line a cupcake pan with paper liners, and fill them a little more than halfway with batter.  Drop a rounded teaspoonful of your cooled strawberry filling into the center of each cupcake.  Cover filling with a little more of your batter. smoothing it with the back of a spoon until all the strawberry is covered.  Put pan in the center rack of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until they are golden and spring back if you gently press their tops.  (I baked mine in shifts so there was only one pan in the oven at a time)

After cooling in the pan for a moment, I took the cupcakes out and let them cool on a rack while I made some frosting…

Step Three: Chocolate Frosting

I used this recipe for my frosting.  It was good, but not quite chocolatey enough for me, so I threw in a few tablespoons of cocoa powder at the end and mixed it in.  When the cupcakes were cool, I frosted them and decorated them with some strawberry slices, and voila!

strawberry cupcake

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