6 hours ago
Friday, December 6, 2013
These are my favorite kinds of cakes, the ones made with ground nuts. They always come out rich and moist, using few ingredients.
Leave the loaf on the counter and take a slice.
This recipe is from the French magazine SAVEURS, which I wish I could get here in the US, but a subscription would be astronomical with the international shipping. :(
So I always pick up an issue in Paris to bring home, and I try and decipher the French recipes to make at home.
Whether or not I do it correctly is another story, however, the end results are always terrific.
I accidentally bought salted pistachio meats, but I don't think it hurt the recipe at all, however try and use unsalted nuts always in baking.
Cake Pistache Fleur d'Oranger (loosely adapted from French Saveurs)
3/4 cup of unsalted pistachio meats
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
4 tbsp of creme fraiche, whole fat yogurt or sour cream (don't use low fat in this recipe)
zest of an orange
1 stick of butter (1/4 cup), melted
In a grinder or food processor, pulse the nuts with one tablespoon of the sugar a few short times. I like my nuts ground coarse, so there is some texture to the cake. It's a personal choice, you can pulse them to powder if you like.
Add the pistachios to the melted butter in a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Pour into a well greased or parchment paper lined loaf pan and bake at 350F for 40 minutes.
Let cake rest in pan for 10 minutes and unmold to a cooling rack.
How easy was that?
Store the cake wrapped in foil for a day or two, if it lasts that long!
Thursday, December 5, 2013
This was an easy and delicious way to serve cod.
Believe it or not, I still have kale in my frosty garden, so I took the liberty of adding some green to the dish.
You will love the breadcrumbs here (who wouldn't?). I left mine kind of coarse and chunky and they really finished the dish.
Cod w/ Chorizo & Breadcrumbs (adapted from Bon Appetit):
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 oz. smoked Spanish chorizo, halved, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. Sherry or red wine vinegar
4 6-oz. pieces skinless cod or halibut fillets
2 3/4-inch-thick slices country-style bread, crusts removed
1 bunch of lacinato kale or fresh spinach
1 large garlic clove, chopped
Heat oven to 425°.
Pulse bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form.
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring often, until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a bowl, add parsley and oregano; toss to combine. Wipe out skillet.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and chorizo and cook, stirring often, until chorizo is just crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and mix in vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Wipe out skillet.
Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Season cod with kosher salt and pepper and cook until bottom side begins to turn opaque, about 3 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until fish is cooked through, about 6-8 minutes longer.
While the cod is cooking, heat the kale and garlic in a skillet with some olive oil and cook about 5 minutes until wilted, season with kosher salt.
Spoon the chorizo and vinegar over the fish and top with the breadcrumbs.
Serve with sauteed spinach or kale.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
This dish will certainly not save you any money, good tuna is pricey, as is good olive oil.
However, there is something very satisfying in making your own tuna confit at home, instead of buying it in a jar or can.
This served 8 people in a salad, vs. a jar of Ventresca tuna (belly), that only serves 2.
To confit something, means to preserve it in oil or fat.
You can re-use the cooked oil in a salad dressing with the tuna, or poach some other fish in it, as to not waste it.
This recipe is from the wonderful book Jerusalem.
If you are looking for the recipe in the cookbook Jerusalem, it is called Tunisian Tuna Fricassee and is on page 227 of the book.
A sort of Salade Nicoise, but made with preserved lemon, potatoes cooked in turmeric and harissa paste.
Very exotic for a tuna salad!
Though the original recipe does not call for salt, I like my tuna salted. You be the judge.
Here is what you will need for the tuna confit.
10.5 oz. tuna steak, cut in half
1 2/3 cup of olive oil
3 tbsp peppercorns
4 bay leaves
4 rosemary sprigs
1 tbsp kosher salt
Heat the olive oil with the bay, peppercorns, & rosemary in a shallow saucepan until just bubbling.
Carefully slide the tuna steaks into the oil, making sure the oil is covering the tuna (if not, add some more oil).
Turn off the heat and let the tuna sit in the hot oil for 2 hours, uncovered.
After 2 hours, cover the pan with a lid and place in the fridge for 24 hours.
Discard the herbs and flake like you would a good piece of tuna from the jar.
Now you are ready to use your tuna confit in the Tunisian Potato Salad..................
Will last about a week in the fridge (probably more) stored covered in the oil.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Sometimes you make something out of nothing and it just turns out great.
This was the case here.
I decided on a Tortilla Espanola for dinner, a simple Spanish omelet (though the flipping is anything but simple!) made w/ potatoes and onions fried in a ton of oil.
But I had one sweet potato, so decided to swap that for the white potatoes.
I also had some kale on the counter from the garden, and a lonely Italian sausage link.
I rethought the whole dinner and came up with this instead, and the whole tortilla flipping thing stresses me out anyway.
This was a home run. I had to hurry and write it down so I would remember how to make it again!
Not really sure if this is a tortilla anymore, you can call it a frittata now, but I am just calling it a pie.
Delicious served warm or at room temperature.
Sweet Potato, Sausage & Kale Pie: YUM
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced into thin slices
1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
1-2 good quality Italian sausage links, casings removed and crumbled
bunch of fresh spinach or kale, washed and stems removed
sea salt & pepper
1 tsp cumin (don't skip this spice)
1/2 cup of heavy cream (or half and half)
1/2 cup of good quality crumbled feta cheese
olive oil and butter for the pan
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a heavy, oven proof skillet, heat about 4 tbsp of olive oil and cook the sweet potato slices on medium heat for about 8 minutes, moving them around so they don't stick.
Add some more oil to the pan and add the onions, cook another 5 minutes or so, until the onions are soft (the sweet potatoes will finish cooking in the oven).
Remove the potatoes and onions to a large bowl and season with sea salt & pepper.
Add some more oil to the skillet and cook the crumbled sausage for about 5 minutes, until all the pink is gone. Add in the kale and cook with the sausage another minute, just until wilted.
Add to the bowl with the potatoes and onion and mix together.
In a separate bowl, whisk the cream & cumin with the eggs and add in the feta cheese.
Liberally butter a 9" oven proof skillet or pie dish.
Pour the potato sausage kale onion mixture into the prepared pie dish or skillet.
Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the contents and let settle a minute.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden. Let rest 5 minutes, then run a spatula around the edges of the pie so it loosens a bit.
Slice and serve right out of the skillet.
No flipping needed.
Monday, December 2, 2013
One holiday down, 2 more to go.
I will try and eat light lunches for the rest of the month, so I can enjoy all the culinary delights this holiday season brings..........cakes, cookies, lots of wine and overindulgence.
This is a salad you will want to eat everyday for the rest of the week, it's that good!
It is basically a chopped Greek salad, only with that wonderful Italian grain "farro" from Umbria or Abruzzo and those delicious Marcona almonds from Spain. I love it.
Marcona almonds are so different from regular almonds. They have a much higher fat content, are rounder and plumper (is that a word?) than California almonds, and are more oily and sweet, a little pricier too, but a little goes a long way.
I will give you approximate amounts, since I don't know how hungry you are, or how many hungry salad eaters are joining you for lunch.
My Favorite Salad: (makes enough for 4 people)
1 1/2 cups of farro
1 lb. of baby arugula, washed and chopped
1/4 cup of kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup of Marcona almonds
1/4 cup of good quality feta cheese, grated into snow
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
pinch of sea salt & pepper
Whisk dressing ingredients w/ a fork and set aside.
Cook the farro as per package instructions.
Not sure why some of your farro takes hours to cook, mine takes 25 minutes, and that's without the recommended 30 minute pre-soak.
Drain and rinse the farro in a colander under cool water, and add to a large bowl.
Chop everything into bite size pieces, the arugula, the olives, the almonds and the tomatoes and add to the bowl with the farro.
Drizzle a little dressing over everything and season w/ sea salt & black pepper.
Toss lightly and serve right away.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
My favorite deli in New Jersey serves a "Gobbler" 363 days a year (they are closed Thanksgiving and Christmas).
It is a sandwich comprised of fresh baked turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing.
When a customer orders it, the sandwich makers honk a big horn and all yell out "GOBBLER"!
It's tradition, and even though I never order that sandwich, I enjoy the pomp & circumstance of it all.
Here is a rare Saturday post, sharing more leftovers from Turkey day.
Here is my "Gobbler". Make it, it's so good.
I need a salad.
Have a great weekend!
Friday, November 29, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Giving thanks tomorrow for so many things.
Thankful for having such good friends who listen, accept, never judge and most of all, put up with me.
Thankful for having health, most important, because then you can do anything. No excuses.
Thankful for having a terrific, supportive, loving husband (who is pretty handsome to boot).
Thankful for having a loving (but far from perfect!) family who I get to spend this holiday with (and I don't sugar coat it!).
Thankful for being able to prepare a beautiful meal and share it with my friends, family and readers everyday.
Thankful for being blessed with the ability to do something I love everyday, writing this blog, cooking and sharing my daily musings with you.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
PS this is my friend Rosemary's beautiful table setting............and that is my Gateau Breton (that sick, delicious apple cake with the salted caramel sauce), and no, they are not marijuana leaves garnishing the cake, but Japanese Maple leaves from my tree!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
So, it's 2 days before turkey day and you haven't bought those Mrs. Smiths' pies yet? What are you waiting for? (why do people think they are baking a homemade pie, when they are heating up a frozen Mrs. Smiths's?????).
You can make this cake while having your a.m. coffee (like I did), it's so easy, and stick it in the freezer and you will have the most delicious, impressive, festive cake going, or make it Wednesday night for Thursday's festivities.
It's that easy.
I made 2, one for Thursday and one for Christmas. I plan on slicing into wedges and serving on my dessert tray along w/ my Swedish Apple Pie and Walnut Torte.
This is for the non-bakers out there, there is nothing fancy, no frosting, no egg white whipping, just a plain 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 stick butter, my kind of cake.
I think it's the 2 dashes of almond extract that makes this cake amazing, because I can't figure out why everyone loves this, heck, I don't even like cranberries.
The Silliest, Easiest, Cranberry Cake.....make in your sleep. (adapted from Lottie & Doof):
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup of fresh cranberries
2 tbsp sugar for topping
Mix the butter and sugar with the almond extract and eggs.
Mix in the dry ingredients.
Grease a 9" springform or 9" tart pan w/ removeable bottom and spread batter in pan.
Press the fresh cranberries into the top and sprinkle w/ the 2 tabelspoons of sugar.
Bake in a 350F oven for 35 minutes. Let cool in pan before unmolding.
See ya' Mrs. Smith.