All through the long and glorious summer the garden rewarded us with glorious vegetables. I walk from the kitchen across the long stretch of grass and into the garden. It is another world of vegetables going quietly about their business … Continue reading →
We are surrounded by fields of blueberries. In season they are delicious eaten out of hand, sprinkled over home made ice cream and baked into muffins, pies and crumbles. Our blueberry growing neighbors generously share their bounty with us. The season is short so I fill my freezer with bags of frozen blueberries. Frozen blueberries juice turns cake and muffin batters an extremely unpleasant purplish green. To avoid this simply rinse your frozen blueberries several times until the water runs almost clear. Then dry them well – top and bottom – between several layers of paper towels. Use immediately in your recipe. I baked this sour cream coffee cake with frozen blueberries they are true blue.
Most recipes using frozen or fresh blue berries suggest dusting them with flour to keep them suspended in the batter. In this recipe you simply scatter them over the struesel topping. The flour used in the sour cream coffee cake is cake flour. If you don’t have it in your pantry remove two tablespoons of flour from one cup and replace it with two tablespoons of corn starch. Mix and sift well several times. The cornstarch lowers the protein in the flour and gives you a tender, lighter crumb.
A classic sour cream coffee cake with crumbly cinnamon flavoured struesel , a blueberry filling and maple syrup glaze.
12 tbs. (6 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
1½ cups (10 oz.) granulated sugar
4 large eggs room temperature
1½ tsp pure vanilla
½ cup sour cream
1¼ cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine sea salt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
FOR THE STREUSEL
⅓ cup light brown sugar packed
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon powder
¼ tsp fine sea salt
3 tbsp (l ½ oz) cold unsalted butter cut into ½ inch pieces).
FOR THE GLAZE
½ cup sifted confectioners' sugar
2 generous tbsp. maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour thoroughly a 10 inch tube pan.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and butter in a medium sized bowl and pinch and rub together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. (do not use a food processor. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment for 4-5 minutes, until light and very fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time beating well before adding the next egg.
Beat in the vanilla and sour cream.
With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Then use a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Spoon half the batter into the pan and smooth it out. Sprinkle with ¾ cup streusel.
Add all the blueberries sprinkling them evenly over the batter.
Spoon the rest of the batter into the pan and spread it out.
Scatter with the remaining streusel on top.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Led cool on a wire rack for at 30 minutes or more.
Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up onto a serving plate.
Whisk the confectioners' sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of milk or cream if necessary to make glaze runny,.
Keftedes can be made with tomatoes, chickpeas, ground meat, and zucchini. They can be served as an hors d'oeuvre or a starter course. They don't need a sauce. Sprinkle some salt and crumbled feta on top
I will never forget the first time I tasted date squares. I was still in public school. My best friend’s Mom was an excellent cook and baker. One day after-school she served us a treat that had me over the moon. A sweet square that looked a little crumbly around the edges . One bite and I was swooning over a rich, buttery, caramel enhanced oat crumb with an intensely exotic filling of dark, sweet dates. She called these magical morsels matrimonial squares. Even the name was wonderful. Matrimonial squares. Were these a special creation for weddings? Or did they bring about marriage?
Date squares (matrimonial squares) were my first introduction to baking squares. None of my cookbooks had a section for “squares”. My cookbooks were published in the thirties and early forties and were all that was available. I had started baking around l945. I asked for the recipe and these many years later I am still baking Mrs. Rybka’s Matrimonial Squares.
¾ cup unsalted butter cut into small chunks - room temperature.
Preheat oven to350F. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan with butter and line with parchment paper.
Combine the dates (there is no need to chop them up, water, brown sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the baking soda. Continue to cook stirring occasionally until the dates are soft and lose their shape (about 5 min.).
Remove from heat and allow the filling to cool completely.
To make the crumble topping whisk together the oats, flour, salt and baking powder until combined.
Add the butter and mix in with your hands until it forms a crumble.
Divide the crumble in half and firmly press into the bottom of the baking pan using the flat base of a measuring cup.
Gently spread the cooled date mixture over this base then sprinkle with the remaining crumble topping, pressing lightly.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the topping is a light golden colour. For even baking rotate the pan from front to back halfway through.
Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing from the pan and cutting into squares.
The squares can be stored in an airtight container for about two 2 weeks.
CHEF'S NOTE: For a delicious and different alternative you an use equal amount of prunes in place of the dates.
You know when Edith Piaf is singing in your kitchen something wonderful will be cooking on the stove. But first you must wander into the garden and snip a basket of fresh herbs … some sage, a little marjoram and a few branches of thyme. These fragrant herbs are the stars of this chicken liver pate that is dead simple to whip up, costs next to nothing and is very, very French.
HERBED CHICKEN LIVER PATE is best served a day or two after you’ve made it. You can also freeze half the recipe, which makes it just about the most perfect “appy” to have on hand.
This recipe has you simmering the chicken liver in melted butter just until it turns pink. Then everything is turned out into a food processor and puréed until silky smooth. It really is easy as one-two-three. Serve is with lots of crusty bread or crackers.
Melt ½ cup (4 oz) butter in a large skillet over moderate heat.-
Add the onion, garlic and ¾ tsp salt stirring until softened - about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the herbs, pepper, seasonings and livers and cook stirring until livers are cooked outside but still pink when cut open - about 8 minutes. It is important you do not over- cook the livers. I like to see them still pink around the edges. You are basically poaching the chicken livers in butter.
Stir in the brandy, sherry or port and remove from heat.
Puree mixture in food processor until smooth.
Taste the pate for seasonings and add more brandy, salt and or pepper at this time.
Transfer the pate to two 1 cup crocks or 4 small ramekins and smooth tops.
Melt the remaining ¼ cup (2 oz) butter in a very small saucepan over low heat, then remove pan from and heat and let butter stand 3 minutes. If you are using the small ramekins you may need a little more butter.
If using herb garnish put sprig on top of pate.
Skim froth from butter, then spoon enough clarified butter over pate to cover its surface, leaving milky solid in bottom of pan.
Chill pate until butter is firm, about 30 minutes then cover with plastic wrap and chill at least for 2 hours. Pate will keep well in refrigerator for one week. Once butter seal has been broken cover its surface with plastic wrap.
To freeze double wrap with plastic wrap. To use defrost in refrigerator for 4 -5 hours.
More than forty years ago ROXY’S BISTRO served French cuisine with a decided Asian flavour. Today they call it fusion. We called it “Andy’ style”. WHERE TO EAT IN CANADA listed ROXY’S BISTRO in the one hundred best restaurant … Continue reading →
Bundt cakes generally have a dense crumb the better to hold the exotic turban shape of the bundt pan. This is also the reason that bundt cake pans have a centre hole. It allows the cake to bake more evenly. If you haven’t a bundt cake pan an angel food cake pan will do the job.
To show off the bundt cakes beguiling curves we serve the cake up-side-down. If the cake cooks too quickly or the oven is too hot the cake will develop a decided hump on the top crust. You’ll have to slice this off but it does make nice nibbling for the cook. Baking this cake ( or practically any other cake) at a 325F temperature instead of the suggested 350F generally eliminates this problem. Start checking your cake after 35 minutes to see if your tester comes out dry. Be prepared to bake your cake (depending on the size) for up to an hour or more. When you start smelling the delicious aroma of cake you know your it is just about ready to come out of the oven. The cake should have shrunk ever so slightly away from the edges of the pan.
This is a Mediterranean version of Japanese wasabi peas. Perfect for serving with cocktails. They are salty, spicy, lemony and loaded with fresh herbs. My herb garden is lush with these aromatic herbs, a perfect time to make … Continue reading →
This is a cookie recipe that goes together rather quickly. It is very important that your butter is quite soft and that you whip the butter and sugar until it is very well combined and light and fluffy.
Choose a good quality semi-sweet chocolate. I use Callebaut chocolate. If you prefer you can substitute a generous cup of chocolate chips.
When adding the flour be careful not to over mix. Just until it is combined. When adding the chopped chocolate (or the chips) again mix just until combined.
You don’t have to chill this dough as it scoops and bakes best at room temperature. Avoid adding too much fleur de sel. Hold you hand about a foot above the baked cookies and allow the salt to fall evenly.
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt or fleur de sel for garnish
Center oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, c ream the butter and the sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three to five minutes.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the well creamed butter mixture, mixing until just combined.DO NOT OVER MIX.
Add the chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) and mix just until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.
Roll the cookie dough into one-inch balls using your hands using an ice-cream scoop to portion the dough.
Arrange 24 balls on each lined baking sheet, leaving ample space between them. GENTLY press the balls with the bottom of a cup until they are approximately ½-inch thick. Do not flatten these cookies too much.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the cookies are firm to the touch. For even baking rotate the sheets from front to back halfway through.
Remove the cookies from the oven and IMMEDIATELY sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of coarse sea salt or fleur de sel.
Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely,.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
This traditional dough recipe for French tart is not difficult to make. You must use a stand-mixer. A hand-held mixer is not heavy enough to mix the dough. The buttery dough makes a delicate,crisp cookie-like crust. The recipe makes enough … Continue reading →