Friday, May 18, 2018

Caramelized Leek Lemon Cream Tart in a Spelt Crust

Savory tarts have become my go-to fridge cleaner. If you have flour and butter in the house, you can assemble a crust. If you have eggs, cream, milk, cream cheese, hard or soft cheeses, ricotta, sour cream, you can use any combination to make a creamy tart. 

The rest of the ingredients depend upon what you have left in your fridge. Looking at the bits and bobs hanging our give me inspiration for new recipes and clean out the fridge and pantry at the same time. 

I had some really sad leftover leeks in my fridge. I always think of leeks as a winter vegetable. Leftover ones depress me so I had no choice but to caramelize them. Who doesn't love caramel anything? Encased them in a bright lemon cream inside a healthy spelt crust turned out to be a fantastic idea.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Whole Wheat Espresso Date Bread

Normally, I would make this bread in the fall or winter. However, since there still is a persistent chill in the air on some of the Spring days here in the New York area, I found it to be the perfect recipe for the weather. Nevermind how delicious it is. OK. Mind a bit. 

This dense and crusty bread has a hint of coffee flavor and is studded with sweet, juicy dates.  The bread is practically a meal in itself. Spread it with butter or cream cheese for breakfast or snack. Or serve it at brunch. 

I found the original recipe in a German cooking magazine years ago and it's been waiting patiently its turn for a go on this blog. The original recipe used three types of flour. I went straight up for the whole wheat version. Maybe the mix of flours would have made the bread less dense. What do I know? I'm no bread baking genius. 

If you want to be super fancy and have time, add spices or citrus flavor to the butter or cream cheese to top the bread. Butter or cream cheese with cinnamon or orange flavor would take the taste to the next level. 

Be mindful this recipe has a three-hour total rise time. So be sure to schedule your other daily tasks around that.  No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen because they forgot to check how long the dough needs to rise. #dontlookatme.

By all means, go nutty. Add your favorite nut variety to the bread or favorite nut mix. You can also swap out the dates for other dried fruits. Dried cherries would work well.

This whole wheat bread recipe is now officially added it to my "favorite bread recipes to make" list. I will put it on my Thanksgiving menu options as well. 

Whole Wheat Espresso Date Bread
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rise Time: 3 hours
Bake time: 45 Minutes
Yield: 1 large loaf - 12 slices


  • 3+3/4 cups (17.6 oz) whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 oz lukewarm espresso
  • 3/4  cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped into small pieces

  • In a large bowl place the flour, brown sugar, yeast, salt and ground ginger.
  • Mix in the milk, espresso, and butter and use the dough hook of your mixer or knead by hand into a smooth dough, about 10 minutes.
  • The dough should be soft but not sticky.
  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel and stow in a warm place for 2 hours.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a large rectangle.
  • Arrange the dates on top of the dough then fold it in half, enclosing the chopped dates and knead for another 5 minutes.
  • Pat the dough out into a large oval and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Re-cover with the dish towel and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 465 degrees F. 
  • Place a small cast iron pan on the bottom of the oven with 1/2 cup water in it. 
  • Use kitchen shears to snip a large cut lengthwise down the middle of the bread and then make 3 smaller diagonal cuts on each side of the large cut.
  • Sprinkle with flour and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 3 minutes, then prop the oven door slightly open and bake for another 12 minutes. 
  • Turn the oven down to 410 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes.  
  • Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve. 

Try these other delicious whole wheat bread recipes:

Whole Wheat Ramp Walnut Bread
Whole Wheat Red Beet Bread
Buttermilk Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread

Monday, May 14, 2018

Spring Vegetable Parmesan Savory Loaf Cake

Last year I joined a great organization, The New York Women's Culinary Alliance The group produces wonderful events for members like happy hours in different venues, wine and spirit tastings, community outreach projects, professional panels and culinary outings. 

Twice a year in the spring and fall, the organization presents a potluck dinner sponsored by a beautiful Manhattan venue, this year at the stunning  Fischer & Paykel Experience Center

For this event, a theme is picked and members not only bring dishes and drinks but also invite other nonmember women who are involved in the culinary world who might be interested in joining.

Friday, May 11, 2018

8 Pretty & Delicious Cake Options for Mother's Day

If you are planning a celebration for Mom or a mother you love this Sunday, I got you covered for Dessert.  
Some feed an army, some a small or large family. Some take some time to create (you may want to start the day before) and s others come together within an hour and a half. 

From Bee Sting cake to bundt cakes, pretty ganache-covered brownies or cheesecake, there is plenty of sweet inspiration below.  With flavors that range from strawberry to lemon, lavender minneola, rhubarb, sweet milk, and grapefruit, it's not too late to impress your guests with great flavor and style. 

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Rise Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 24 pieces

Like most streusel cakes, this one essentially has two steps, making the cake and making the streusel. There are two other steps to be aware of:

1) Because the cake is yeasted, you will have to let the cake batter rise for 45 minutes.

2) Halfway through the baking, the cake is removed from the oven, more buttermilk is poured over the top, then the cake is returned for its final turn in the oven.

This recipe serves 24. The lavender lemon special flavor makes it a perfect fit, not only for Mother's Day but for a brunch or daytime party any time of the year.

Recipe found HERE.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Potato Sauerkraut Fritters with Turmeric Yogurt Sauce

In Germany, potato fritters are often found at street fairs with names like reibekuchen or Kartoffelpuffer. For this homemade version, I added sauerkraut and onion into the mix to pack this version with more flavor.

There are two important steps to remember when making these fritters. The first is to make sure the butter is extremely hot before frying them. 

The second is to make sure you wring as much liquid out of the sauerkraut as you can before adding it to the batter.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Black Raspberry Jam Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting

This past weekend I was invited to a Kentucky Derby/Cinco de Mayo Party. I had already made those delicious fresh guava mint frozen margaritas so I decided to do with the southern theme for a dessert to bring the host and hostess.

I googled southern desserts and came upon something I have never heard of before, a jam cake. After going google deeper, I read several recipes for Jam cake which seems to be a southern specialty. I knew I had to make one. 

Most of the recipes called for blackberry jam. I had a jar of black raspberry flavor. Close enough. What intrigued me about the recipe is that the jam is completely mixed in with the cocoa powder spiked cake batter.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Fresh Guava Mint Frozen Margaritas for Cinco de Mayo

What kind of monster passes up a container full of fresh guavas in the market? That's the thought that went through my head as I was perusing the produce aisle searching for margarita flavor inspiration when I spotted the guavas.

My gut (or my imaginary palate) told me the guavas were not enough. Something else needed to be added to the mix. Mint, of course. The first tender shoots are sprouting in my gardens but not enough to harvest for a cocktail combination. So I caved and bought a packet of fresh mint as well.

When you grow your own herbs, buying them in the supermarket is almost painful. It's not just about being economical,  there is something special and more satisfying for me about creating dishes and drinks with plants you have grown yourself. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Ramp Sunflower Seed Potato Salad

Ramps or bärlauch, as they are called in German are seasonal vegetables and are mostly found in the wild. Ramps have large leaves and an edible white bulb. 

Ramps have a strong garlicky flavor. Foraging for them falls in Spring and it's quite a short season. If you find your local farmer's market is no longer selling them, try a natural food store or upscale supermarket. 

This seasonal potato salad features paring yellow potatoes with a spicy garlicky ramp sauce. The addition of sunflower seeds adds a bit of crunch and mellows out the overall flavor of this spicy side dish.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Ramp Spätzle in Cream Sauce

Ramps have a short season so I like to make the most of it by experimenting with incorporating them into all types of recipes. From knödel to potatoes salad, you will find those recipes at the end of this post. 

Homemade spätzle or "Little Sparrows", translated from German, is a wonderland for flavor hacks in general. All you have to do is add a purée of your flavor choice to the egg batter. 

This version uses sexy seasonal ramps to amp up the taste adding a hint of wild garlic.

If ramps are not in season in your area, you can substitute leeks or scallions plus a clove of garlic. You will have to boil them to soften them before making a purée.

This ramp spätzle recipe is covered in a flavorful cream sauce. You can lighten the calories by using a reduced fat cream when creating the sauce.  

TIP: If you don't have a spätzle press, squeeze the batter through a colander with large holes.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Watermelon Radish Pepper Cream Tart in a Beet Crust

Like many of my recipes, this tart is designed to be versatile so you can easily adapt the dish to your taste. Add some goat cheese slices, roasted garlic or a combination of your favorite fresh herbs to customize it to your own taste.

This is a good thing for me as well. This tart originally was designed to have goat cheese in the recipe. I forgot to put "goat cheese" on my shopping list and started to make the tart without realizing there was none to b found. So pepper cream it was! I was really happy with the result but I also believe the tart would be great with goat cheese. 

You can also use whatever type radish you like or have on hand. I found these watermelon radishes at the farmer's market recently and could not resist their beautiful pink color. The radishes were perched among a wonderful variety of others including green meat and black ones but I just had to have the pink. I can chalk the gravitational pull to the pink up to my girl genes, maybe but mostly I knew they would be pretty in photographs. #foodbloggermentality