Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ramp Basil Parmesan Puff Pastry Sticks

Don't ever underestimate the versatility of a puff pastry sheet. I always keep a package of them in the freezer. Here's a perfect example of why:

I had some sad, starting to shrivel ramps in the crisper as well as a bit of basil leftover from a Caprese appetizer I made for the past holiday weekend.  

I couldn't bear to throw ou the ramps so pesto was about to happen when I remembered a recipe for puff pastry zucchini twists I had seen in a German cooking magazine. 

Deciding to make a ramp and basil riff on that recipe, I pulled out a puff pastry sheet to defrost, grated some parmesan cheese, chopped up the rest of the ramps and basil and created this recipe.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tahini Harissa Rugelach

This month's King Arthur Flour's baking challenge is a rugalach redo. Actually, they are calling it a Best of Bakealong Challenge choosing last October's cranberry currant rugalach recipe

Well, King Arthur Flour, once again I accepted your challenge and turned a traditionally sweet Jewish pastry into a screaming sweet hot sesame sensation.

Admittedly this could have been more of a hot mess than a sensation but the result was outstanding. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Ramp Encrusted Baked Boneless Pork Chops

Here on the East Coast of the USA, we're ramping up for a three day Memorial Day weekend celebration. (haha, see what I did there?) It's time to bust out the barbecue for the season. People will be gathering in homes and on decks and patios all across America with family and friends and consuming delicious food.

So I may or may not have a few more ramp recipes up my sleeve this season. We had such a long winter here in the USA. It seemed to take forever to get spring produce in our farmers' markets. 

For weeks I went looking for ramps. There were none and then the ones that were available were well, just say they were sad. When I finally spotted big pretty beautiful ones I couldn't resist. Maybe I couldn't resist a few times.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Semolina Yogurt Cake Soaked in Ginger Lime Syrup

If you are throwing or attending a BBQ or party, I got you covered for your Memorial Day weekend dessert with this fluffy and flavorful yogurt semolina cake. Yes, I said fluffy and semolina in the same sentence.  The cake is made with half semolina flour and half all purpose flour. The result is one light, silky tasty cake. 

Once out of the oven, the cake it is soaked in homemade lime ginger syrup. After cooling,  a thick layer of sweet yogurt whipped cream is spread over the top.

The cake itself also contains yogurt. Plain yogurt. The whipped topping has the fancy Greek kind because it has a thicker consistency.  Oh, and both are full-fat versions. Don't judge. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Spinach & Cheese Mini-Strudel Appetizers

Mini Vegetable strudel is a perfect for an appetizer, snack or for a light meal. This recipe uses a mixture red onion, baby spinach leaves and peas accented with Emmentaler cheese.  These are also perfect to make for or bring to a Memorial Day party. 

The recipe has three steps. First, make and chill the dough, Second, sauté the vegetables in butter and third assemble the strudels. For party throwers or busy moms, the first and second steps can be done a day ahead. 

You can also make the strudels a week ahead and throw them in the freezer after they are completely cooled.  Skip the egg wash before you freeze them. Defrost the strudels the day you want to serve them. Brush them with the egg wash and heat them up in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or until they are warm to the touch and serve.

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. 

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.