Vegetable Tian and a Farewell from Moveable Feasts

It's been almost 9 years since I began blogging and while I love all the friends I've made and the recipes we've shared, it's time to retire. I won't disappear from your lives as I'll still visit all of you from time to time and if I make something irresistible, I'll post it here. And you can still find me on Facebook and follow me on Instagram (as bsmithw).
My love and thanks to all of you who encouraged, supported and followed me all these years. It's been a wonderful experience!

I leave you with one final recipe...for your summer veggies!

Vegetable Tian

From The Blonde Cook

1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 cups diced sweet onion
1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 medium baking potato, thinly sliced
3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
Italian seasoning, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in a skillet. Spread this mixture over the bottom of a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.
Evenly arrange the vegetable slices vertically in the casserole dish, alternating vegetables. Sprinkle with desired amount of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove aluminum foil. Sprinkle with Italian cheese blend. Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes (uncovered), or until cheese is browned.


Fresh Orange Cookies

More Marion Cunningham. I'm beginning to like her Supper Book as much as her Breakfast Book! I've never processed whole lemons and oranges and used the results in a cookie. The flavors are dense and delicious. So, if and when you're looking for something different or in the mood for something sweet and fragrant of oranges and lemons, give this cookie a try. I like them refrigerated, but you can serve them room temperature easily.

Fresh Orange Cookies
From The Supper Book by Marion Cunningham

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 medium unpeeled orange, cut into pieces, seeds removed
1/2 lemon, unpeeled, cut up, seeds removed
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped orange and lemon (from above)
2 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 350. Do not butter cookie sheets.
Put butter and sugar in mixer and beat until creamy. 
In your processor, add the orange and lemon and process until finely chopped. Squeeze out excess juice. You should end up with about 1 cup.
Add 1/2 cup of the orange/lemon mixture to the butter mixture. (Reserve two tablespoons of the orange/lemon mixture and freeze the rest for another use.)
Add the flour, baking soda and salt and beat until combined.
Drop the dough by tablespoons onto the cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches in between. Dampen your fingers to flatten the dough a little.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Remove to racks, carefully.

Make the icing by mixing all ingredients together. Spread on top of the cookies while they are still warm.


Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Oregano

We love chicken recipes and when it's nice and lemony, all the better. I tried this dish out on my daughter along with her favorite veg...beets and the hasselback apples I posted a while back. A lovely dinner. Not so great a photo...oh well. We were hungry and I didn't take much care with the camera. Happens to me a lot.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Oregano
From Bon Appétit

1 lemon
4 large or 8 small skin-on, boneless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 sprigs oregano
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425°. 
Very thinly slice half of lemon; discard any seeds. Cut remaining lemon half into 2 wedges. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Coat a large room-temperature skillet with 1 teaspoon oil. Add chicken, skin side down. Place skillet over medium heat and cook, letting skin render and brown, and pouring off excess fat to maintain a thin coating in pan, until chicken is cooked halfway through, about 10 minutes.
Scatter half of lemon slices over chicken and half on bottom of skillet (the slices on top of the chicken will soften; those in the skillet will caramelize). Transfer skillet to oven, leaving chicken skin side down. Roast until chicken is cooked through, skin is crisp, and lemon slices on bottom of skillet are caramelized, 6-8 minutes.
Transfer chicken pieces, skin side up, and caramelized lemon slices from bottom of skillet to a warm platter. (Leave softened lemon slices in the skillet.) Return skillet to medium heat. Add oregano sprigs, shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Remove skillet from heat. Add wine; cook over medium heat until reduced by half, 1-2 minutes. Add broth; cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge over and season sauce with salt, pepper, and juice from remaining lemon wedge, if desired. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil. Return chicken to skillet, skin side up, to rewarm. Serve topped with caramelized lemon slices.


Dark Chocolate Chunk and Dried Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Yet another Pinterest find! So easy to make, your kids can do it in no time at all. And they're chock full of everything good...oatmeal, chocolate and dried cherries. Something delish in every bite. They'd be a great take along for any picnic or casual party; I don't classify them as an elegant tea cookie, but one everyone will love.

Dark Chocolate Chunk and Dried Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
From Bake or Break

1 cup unsalted butter 
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed 
2 large eggs 
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3 cups old-fashioned oats 
1 cup dried cherries 
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Beat butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add vanilla. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture just until combined. Do not overmix. Stir in oats, cherries, and chocolate. 

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lined baking sheets. I made slightly bigger cookies and used an ice cream scoop. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (mine took a little longer), or until bottom edges are lightly browned. Cool on pans for a few minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Easter Coconut Flour Classic Vanilla Cake

Happy Easter!

When I was first experimenting with coconut oil, I came across several recipes using coconut flour as an ingredient. I had seen it in Whole Foods and brought home a package, but still hadn't made anything with it. In the back of my mind, I was thinking I'd make my daughter's favorite coconut bread with it.  After much reading, I made two other recipes first to test it out. One was a big success, one was not. Coconut flour is tricky. It absorbs way more liquid than regular flour so you can't substitute it for APF in your recipes without changing the basic recipe. Coconut flour soaks up A LOT of moisture. You will read the ingredient list below and think it's incorrect. It isn't.

For some reason, the original recipe made only a single layer, so I just cut the single layer in half, making half a layer cake. You can certainly double the recipe, using two cake pans to make a full cake. This cake worked out well and I frosted it with my mother's old 7-minute frosting recipe. That frosting recipe can be found in Joy of Cooking and just about everywhere online. The original recipe had a Swiss meringue icing. You can follow the link if you'd prefer to make that.

Easter Coconut Flour Classic Vanilla Cake 
From  Healy Real Food Vegetarian and the Indulge Cookbook

4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
3 tablespoon raw honey
1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of an 8×1.5 inch round cake pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip until stiff peaks form.

In a bowl, cream together honey and coconut oil. Mix in the egg yolks. Add to the mixture, coconut flour, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined. Fold the batter into the egg whites starting with a little bit at a time. Combine until the batter is completely mixed.

Pour the mixture into the cake pan. Bake for 20 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.
Let the cake cool before icing and serving.


Lemon Limoncello Biscotti

Biscotti are one of my favorite things..........just barely sweet with tea or savory to serve with wine. I ran across this simple recipe and because anything lemon makes my mouth water I simply had to try them. If you really want them a little sweeter, you could dip one end of them in a limoncello glaze, but these were light and perfect with a cup of tea just as they were. Elegant simplicity.

Lemon Limoncello Biscotti
From Liv Life

2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 cup sugar 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1  1/2 tablespoon grated lemon rind 
2 tablespoons limoncello (or lemon juice)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
3 large eggs 

Preheat oven to 350°. 
Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Combine rind, limoncello, and eggs in another bowl and add to flour mixture, stirring until well-blended (dough will be dry and crumbly). Knead it with your fingers a few times until it comes together.

Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into an 8-inch-long roll. Place rolls 6 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten each roll to 1-inch thickness. 

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove the rolls from baking sheet; cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 15 (1/2-inch) slices. Place the slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325°; bake for 10 minutes. Turn cookies over; bake an additional 10 minutes (the cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet, and cool completely on wire rack.


Crisp Cornmeal Shrimp

I've been posting quite a few shrimp recipes because along with scallops, they are my favorite quick dinner. I've made any number of versions of Cathy's cornmeal shrimp recipe for years and I bet you have too. But the other night I decided to take a photo and post it for the blog. I like that she added some Old Bay seasoning and makes her own tartar sauce, as do I. Cathy most often uses frozen shrimp for this, but because I live on the Florida coast, finding fresh shrimp is never a problem for me. Either way will work.

P.S. Are you wondering what that lobster claw is doing sticking out from under the shrimp? Those are my lobster plates....I love the oval shape and use them frequently for the blog.

Crisp Cornmeal Shrimp
From Noble Pig

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large  eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound frozen peeled and deveined large shrimp w/tail on, thawed
tartar sauce
lemon wedges

Combine flour, cornmeal, salt and Old Bay Seasoning in a bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat two eggs.
Dip the shrimp in the eggs, then coat in the cornmeal mixture.
In a skillet, cook the shrimp until golden brown and crisp in a 1/2" of canola oil, about 3 minutes (about 5-8 at a time). Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Keep warm in a low oven until all the shrimp are cooked.
Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce for dipping.

My tartar sauce: To mayonnaise, I add a squeeze of lemon juice, sweet pickle relish to taste, a little grated onion and pepper.


Rhubarb Cake

Ah yes, time for a rhubarb recipe! And this is one of the few times I have no clue where I found the recipe. (If anyone knows, please mention in comments.)
Do I need to tell you how wonderful this was? We gobbled it down in no time. Although I think I got a tad carried away with the whipped cream in this photo!  

Rhubarb Cake

1 lb fresh rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3 cups), or 3 cups frozen rhubarb, thawed after measuring 
1 cup packed light brown sugar 
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted 
3/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
1/3 cup whole milk 
2 large eggs (1 separated) 

sweetened (and flavored, your choice) whipped cream for serving

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 10-inch glass or ceramic pie plate or a 2 1/2-quart oval gratin dish and chill. 

Toss rhubarb with brown sugar in a bowl until coated. 

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl until combined well. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk together milk, whole egg, and yolk. Make a well in center of flour mixture and add milk mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon to gradually incorporate flour and form a soft, sticky dough. 

Transfer half of dough to chilled pie plate and pat out over bottom and halfway up side with well-floured hands, then spoon rhubarb and any juices onto dough. Using a tablespoon, spoon remaining dough in small mounds evenly over top. Lightly beat egg white with a few drops of water, then lightly brush cake with egg wash. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar over top. 

Bake cake until top crust is golden and rhubarb is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool, about 30 minutes. 

Serve cake warm or at room temperature. 


Triple Coconut Scones with Coconut Glaze

Well, if it says coconut in the recipe title, I'm making it. Scones are one thing I do like in the morning...a close second to croissants. I'm not into major sweet anything for breakfast....but I made an exception for these; you'll find the glaze makes them plenty sweet enough for everyone's taste. Besides, you've got three kinds of coconut in the batter plus the coconut glaze. Wowza! Coconut heaven!

Triple Coconut Scones with Coconut Glaze
From Pastry Affair

1 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
2 tablespoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/3 cup coconut oil (solid state, not liquid) 
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes 
3/4 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the solid coconut oil with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in the coconut flakes and coconut milk until the mixture comes together. (I needed to add a tad more flour)
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a disk roughly 1-inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 pie shaped wedges and move to a baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the edges barely take on color. Allow scones to cool completely before glazing.

Coconut Glaze 
1/2 cup  powdered sugar 
1 tablespoon coconut milk

In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and coconut milk. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze over cooled scones. Allow a few minutes for the glaze to set before serving.
Makes 8.


Ina's Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

This is without a doubt the best mushroom soup I've ever tasted....anywhere. Of course, it's Ina's recipe...how could it be otherwise?

Ina's Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
From Barefoot Contessa at Home, 2006


5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms

5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. 
Separate the stems, trim and coarsely chop the stems. 
Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if they are large, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.
Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.


Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

While my daughter was here over the holidays, we tried several new dishes. I was pleased to give this pork dish a try because I so rarely eat pork (I don't know why, but that's going to change!) and it's such a natural paired with apples and onions. If you're like me, you'll love that it's made all in one skillet and I'll make it again. A nice hearty dish, perfect for cold weather. We both enjoyed it. (The booze didn't hurt either. LOL)

Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
From Southern Living

4 (6- to 8-oz.) bone-in pork rib chops (1 to 1 1/4 inches thick)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1 medium-size yellow onion, thinly sliced (root end intact)
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons bourbon
8 small fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 450°. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Cook in hot oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from skillet.
Add apples and onion to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet.
Add broth to skillet, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Whisk together cream and mustard; add to skillet, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbly.
Remove skillet from heat, and stir in bourbon. Add pork, turning to coat, and top with apples, onions, and thyme.

Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until liquid is just beginning to bubble. Let stand in skillet 5 minutes before serving.


Cheesecake Brownie Bites

                      Happy Valentine's Day!

For Valentine's Day, it just has to be chocolate something, right? I've had this recipe in my file for ages and finally made them for a luncheon. Women will refuse a dessert for lunch, but if you put a plate of little gems like this out, they're gone in no time. So rich, dense and smooth that you really only want a couple bites....sort of like candy, but better, I think. Minis are definitely the way to go with this sweet treat. Your whole family will go nuts over them and they freeze beautifully.

Cheesecake Brownie Bites

Found on Just a Taste

For the brownie batter:
4 large eggs
1¼ cups baking cocoa, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder, mixed with 2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2¼ cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1½ cups all-purpose flour
For the cheesecake filling:
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, baking cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso mixed with water, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the sugar and melted butter until well combined, then stir in the flour. Set brownie batter aside.
In a separate bowl, prepare the cheesecake filling by stirring together the cream cheese, sugar and egg yolk until well combined. 

Grease a non-stick mini-muffin pan with cooking spray or butter and then spoon a tablespoon of brownie batter into the greased cups. Add a spoonful of cheesecake filling atop the brownie batter. At this point, I took a toothpick and swirled a little. Then top off each cup with an additional teaspoon of brownie batter. Swirl again.
Bake for about 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let the brownie bites cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer them to a cooling rack to continue cooling, or enjoy warm.


Shrimp Scampi

We eat a lot of shrimp at my house...served any number of ways. My favorite is Shrimp De Johne, but we decided to try this scampi recipe recently. A simple dish, full of flavor. I served it with roasted carrots and you could also serve the shrimp over rice or pasta. 

Shrimp Scampi
From The New York Times

2 lbs large shrimp (about 48), shelled and deveined
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chervil
Pinch of dried thyme, crumbled
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of mace
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cook shrimp in a 4-quart pot of boiling salted water * until just cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain shrimp in a colander, then immediately transfer to a large bowl of ice water to stop cooking.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mash garlic to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash garlic with salt using a large knife), then stir together with fresh and dried herbs, shallot, onion, 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, 1 cup bread crumbs, nutmeg, mace, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Melt remaining 1/2 stick butter and stir together with remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to make topping.
Arrange shrimp in 1 layer (slightly overlapping if necessary) in a buttered 3-quart flameproof gratin dish or other wide shallow ceramic baking dish. Cover with herbed breadcrumb mixture, then sprinkle with topping. Bake in upper third of oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil until crumbs are golden brown, about 2 minutes.

(When salting water for cooking, use 1 tablespoon for every 4 quarts water.)


Butterscotch Pudding

I don't know about you, but I'm a pudding lover from way back. My mother used to make all kinds of puddings for dessert....even blancmange, which I actually liked! Talk about bland. Her custards were perfection. No holes, not watery, just creamy mouthfuls.
My favorite pudding, or should I say the one I make the most, is plain old tapioca (I remember in boarding school we called it fish eye pudding), but any pudding will do (except instant.). Even chocolate pudding, for which I posted a divine recipe HERE, and you know I'm not a chocolate lover, so you know this is ambrosial.

Well recently, Lori from Recipe girl posted a butterscotch pudding recipe and I made it immediately. It's creamy and delicious and so simple to make. When the mood strikes you, give this a try. Bet you have everything in your pantry to make it.

Butterscotch Pudding
From Recipe Girl

1 1/2  cups brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3  cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
unsweetened whipped cream, for serving

Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan.  Pour in the milk and egg yolks; whisk to combine, and stir the together over medium heat.  Once it starts to boil, reduce heat and while stirring, cook until thickened. When it seems like it has a nice, thick texture for pudding- pull it off the heat and stir in the butter.
Spoon the pudding into small glasses or dishes and chill for at least 2 hours.  Top with whipped cream before serving.


Brioche Loaf

Unfortunately, this loaf takes two days to make. Fortunately, it doesn't take much time the first day and the second day is mainly the rise. I love the Huckleberry Cookbook by Zoe Nathan and had seen a recipe there for a delicious Christmas breakfast...cranberry syrup over brioche French toast. No doubt you saw it on my blog before the holidays and I promised I'd post the recipe for the brioche loaf. I've made individual brioche, but never a loaf. It's not the prettiest loaf you've ever seen...but divine tasting. My rise went quickly because I have a proofing setting on my oven and after two hours, it was practically overflowing my loaf pan. I have a feeling Ms. Nathan uses a loaf pan made especially for brioche which would get the height I didn't get without the overflow. Doesn't matter, it was an awesome loaf...from the Christmas French toast, to our traditional Christmas brunch souffle, to sandwiches, to bread pudding, to just plain toast. We loved it. Worth the effort, I assure you.

Brioche Loaf
From Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan


3 tablespoons whole milk

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 ¾ cups bread flour
¼ cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup unsalted butter, very soft
1 batch Egg Wash

For Egg Wash:
 2 egg yolks
2 tbsp heavy cream
Pinch of kosher salt

Day 1
Slightly warm the milk and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the yeast and whisk by hand to combine. Add the all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, salt, and eggs. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together, 1 to 2 minutes.

Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and work the dough for 6 minutes. Pause about every minute to push the dough back down into the bowl and off the hook.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the butter, a little at a time, over the course of 2 minutes. Pause halfway through to scrape down the bowl and hook. When the butter begins to blend in, increase the mixer speed to medium-high to fully incorporate the butter and bring the dough back together, 4 to 6 minutes longer.

Transfer the dough to a greased sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Divide the dough into two equal balls, about 11 oz/315 g each. Transfer to a greased sheet pan, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2
Grease a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. Work with one dough ball at a time. First flatten into a disc, then left an edge and press it into the center. Work your way around the circumference, pressing every edge to the center until you have a ball. Flip the ball over so the pleated side is down and the smooth side is up. Cup the dough in your palm and massage the seam side of the dough firmly against the work surface in a circular motion, allowing the friction to seal the seams. Set aside and cover with plastic wrap or a slightly damp kitchen towel while you shape the next ball.
Place the balls into the loaf pan, cover loosely with plastic, and allow to rise in a warm place until more than doubled in size, about 3.5 hours.
As the dough nears readiness, preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C. Carefully brush the dough with the egg wash, making sure the egg doesn’t pool around the edges. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.

For the Egg Wash:
Combine the egg yolks, heavy cream, and salt and whisk until homogenous. Refrigerate until needed.


Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Not the greatest photo of our chicken dish, but you know how it is when everyone is in a hurry to eat, you're fortunate to get a photo at all.
The chicken is marinated for a day or so in buttermilk. rosemary and garlic and I can't begin to describe how tender it was. Just drain the marinade and pop it into the oven. Easy, peasy.

Buttermilk Roasted Chicken
From The New York Times

1 4-pound chicken 
2 cups buttermilk 
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed 
1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns 
1 tablespoon Maldon or other sea salt 
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped 
1 tablespoon honey 

Butterfly chicken by placing breast side down and using heavy-duty kitchen shears to cut along both sides of backbone. Discard backbone, turn chicken over and open it like a book. Press gently to flatten it.

Place chicken in a large freezer bag. Add buttermilk, 1/4 cup oil, garlic, peppercorns, salt, rosemary and honey. Seal bag securely and refrigerate overnight or up to two days.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.Remove chicken from marinade and place on a rack so excess can drip off. Line a roasting pan with foil and place chicken in pan. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Roast for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees. Continue roasting until well browned and until juices run clear when chicken is pierced where leg joins thigh, about another 20 minutes.
Place chicken on a carving board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces. Place a portion on each of four plates, and drizzle each serving with pan juices.


Lemon Ricotta Cake with Almonds

This is a divinely moist cake, mostly because of the ricotta. Besides, I love anything made with almond flour and when you add lemon zest to the mix, you've got a blue ribbon recipe. For dessert or to serve thinner slices with tea, it's perfection. What better way to start out the new year?

Lemon Ricotta Cake with Almonds

From Honest Cooking, recipe by Hein van Tonder

4.2 ounces butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup lemon zest
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 scant cups (8.5 ounces) almond meal
1 1/4 cups (10.6 ounces) ricotta
flaked almonds for decoration
icing sugar for serving

Heat oven to 355 degrees F and line the base and sides of a 20cm (8 inch) round cake tin with baking paper.
Place half of the sugar and the lemon zest in a food processor and blitz until finely ground. Then beat the butter, vanilla and sugar/zest mix together for about 10 minutes until pale and creamy.
Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating the mixture well after each egg yolk is added.
Add the almond meal and beat to combine and then fold the ricotta into the almond mixture.
Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites and whisk until stiff peaks have formed. Mix a third of the egg whites into the cake mixture, then gently fold in the rest of the egg white mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top and sprinkle with the almond flakes.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until cooked and firm to the touch.

Allow to cool completely in the cake tin before removing. Dust with icing sugar to serve.


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