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Archive for August, 2011

blueberry buckle

If you are looking for the perfect coffee cake to serve to  company for breakfast, look no further. This is it.

As I’ve chronicled before, I love egg-y, savory breakfasts, but my frequent dining companion/roommate/cheese-grater extraordinaire/ beloved doesn’t do eggs. Sometimes coffee cake or pastry-filled breakfasts don’t seem filling enough to me. This hearty, yet-light and fluffy, and utterly flavorful and tasty coffee is filling and goes great with plain or vanilla yogurt. You can make it the night before (important in my mind, if you are serving guests for breakfast), and contains whole grain flours. Plus, it has lots of blueberries. It is fantastic. Oh! It reheats well too and keeps for a couple of days in the refrigerator.

So you really don’t have any reason not to try it.

It will probably come as no surprise that this recipe is from Kim Boyce’s lovely book, Good to the Grain. My mom once told me that you only need to find one great recipe from a cookbook to make it a keeper. This buckle, in addition to soft rye pretzels, ginger peach muffins, and two things I still need to blog – whole wheat chocolate chip cookies and double chocolate cookies… this book is well worth purchasing.

A note on the flours: The original recipe calls for whole-grain pastry flour. I used regular whole wheat flour with no ill-effects. You can find the spelt flour in the health or natural foods section of most grocery stores, or for my local Louisville readers, you can find the spelt flour at Nuts n Stuff,

I hope you enjoy this coffee cake as much my family and friends (and I!) have recently.

“(Blueberry) Huckle Buckle” from Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce

Streusel Topping

1/2 c. whole-wheat flour

1/2 c. spelt flour

3 T. sugar

1 T. dark brown sugar

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. kosher salt

3 T. cold unsalted butter

1 egg

Dry Mix

1 1/4 c. spelt flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. dark brown sugar

1/2 c. sugar

1 T. baking powder

1 t. cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

Wet Mix

3/4 c. whole milk

1/2 c. plain yogurt

4 egg yolks

2 t. vanilla extract

2 c. or so blueberries

Preheat your oven to 350 and butter a 2 1/2 qt. baking dish.

For the streusel topping: mix flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl and stir with a whisk. Cut the 3 tablespoons of cold butter in 1/4” chunks and add them to the mix. Press and rub the mix with your hands breaking the butter in to small bits. Continue until the mix is like cornmeal. Do this quickly.

Whisk the egg and use a spatula to scrape it into the streusel mix. Use your hands to mix the egg in. Squeeze handfuls of dough together. The topping should hazelnut-sized clumps with smaller crumbs mixed in. Set aside.

For the Batter

Mix all the dry mix ingredients into a large bowl and whisk. Add the softened butter and using a hand or a stand mixer, blend on medium speed until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, egg yolks and vanilla until well blended.

Pour the milk mixture in with the dry ingredients and blend on low speed until the batter is smooth and creamy.

Pour half of the batter in to your buttered baking dish. Pour a layer of berries onto the batter. Scrape the rest of the batter onto the berries and spread evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the berries on top of the batter and top with the streusel mix. At this point, you can cover the dish and refrigerate overnight.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes. If the dish was refrigerated overnight, it might take up to 80 minutes to bake. Test with a skewer and make sure it comes out clean.

Let the Buckle cool in the pan before serving.

Enjoy!

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With the amount of vegetables we have regularly been receiving and eating thanks to our CSA, I’ve been working hard to a) be resourceful with what I have around my pantry and kitchen already to avoid too many additional grocery store purchases, and b) combine the vegetables with good protein sources to turn them into more complete meals.

With the receipt of some beets a couple of months ago, I wanted to do something new with them that incorporated protein. Searching around on the internet, I came upon this recipe: Edamame Salad with Baby Beets and Greens. Looking down the ingredients list, I was a little skeptical. Soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and edamame all sounded great, but how would the flavor of the beets and beet greens work with the other flavors?

Very well it turns out.

I should have known after I noticed the recipe was “contributed by” Melissa Clark. I have yet to make something of her’s that did not turn out splendidly. The spices and flavorings made a tasty, bold, salty contrast to the sweet beets. And the edamame added a toothsome, filling quality to the dish. It made for a great take-to-work, make-ahead lunch. Super healthful and fresh. Great for when beets are growing and you have edamame in the freezer.

Here’s the recipe for Edamame Salad with Baby Beets and Greens, from Food and Wine.

4 small beets (about 1 ounce each), trimmed, 1/2 cup greens reserved, you could also use 2 or 3 larger beets

2 c. shelled edamame

1 T. rice vinegar

2 t. soy sauce

1 1/2 t. sesame oil

1 t. finely chopped fresh ginger

2 scallions, finely chopped

1 T. basil, julienned

[Confession from my kitchen: I try not to acquire too many kitchen gadgets. One that I do not have is a steamer basket. I’ve always worked around one before. It might not be a bad idea to add to my wish list. The original recipe says to steam the beets. I cooked them in a small amount of boiling water. Seemed to work well for me.

In a large saucepan, fill up to 1/2 inch with water. Bring to a boil. Add the beets, cover and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes for small beets or up to 40 minutes for larger ones. Check the water level in the pan halfway through steaming and add more as needed. Check the beets periodically. Some may cook faster than others.

Transfer the beets to a plate. Empty the water out of the pot and fill again with fresh water. Bring to a boil. Add the edamame and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse the edamame in cold water to cool, then pat dry with paper towels. Peel and cut the beets into wedges.

In a medium bowl, stir the rice vinegar with the soy sauce, sesame oil and grated ginger.

Add the edamame, beets, scallions and beet greens and toss to coat. Sprinkle the basil on top before serving.

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I’m not sure what inspired me to try this recipe for poblano peppers stuffed with chorizo and shrimp. Earlier this summer, we received chorizo sausage in our mixed meat CSA. I might have also had a green pepper, an onion, and garlic leftover from one of the weekly deliveries. After searching for chorizo recipes online, I found a recipe from Guy Fieri.

While I may defend Rachel Ray and her various shows on Food Network, I actively dislike Guy Fieri’s show, “Guy’s Big Bite.” I’m not sure whether it is his need to “de-bling” before getting his hands dirty, his cheesy lingo, or… well…. here is the description of the show from Food Network:

“Guy Fieri’s bleached blonde hair, goatee and skateboarder shorts make a strong statement – you are what you eat! Whether it’s his Mojito Chicken, Pepperoni Lasagna or Jambalaya Sandwich, one thing is certain – Guy Fieri’s food is as fun, fearless and fundamental as his larger-than-life personality. We hope you’re hungry because this Guy’s imagination knows no limits. Open wide for Guy’s Big Bite.”

To be fair, I’m sure I ‘m not his target audience, being as I’m not  a “bro.” I’ve seen the show a few times and the food always looked pretty tasty, if heavy on the oil and cheese, but I never had any desire to cook anything. Then, I found this recipe for the stuffed peppers. I immediately wanted to make it, despite the creator of the recipe. And I did make it. And it was good. Better than good, it was delicious. The combination of the sweeter shrimp and white wine contrasted nicely with the spicy chorizo and peppers. All of this was topped with a browned, crunchy layer of cheese that made for a filling and wonderful dinner. It also reheated better-than-expected for lunch. I think the key is to not overcook the shrimp initially. Guy Fieri didn’t disappoint. I also didn’t have to watch his show.

I didn’t make too many changes to the original recipe. I used one green bell pepper instead of half-red and half-green. I also significantly cut back on the amount of cheese used, used 6 peppers instead of 4, and didn’t use added oil.

Here’s what I did, adapted from Guy Fieri’s poblano peppers stuffed with shrimp and chorizo, from Guy’s Big Bite

1/2 lb. Mexican-style chorizo (this means not smoked)

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 c. short-grain rice

1 c. chicken stock

1/2 c. white wine

6 large, fresh poblano peppers

1/4 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

1/4 c. shredded Jack cheese

1 lb. shrimp, shelled, cut into 1/2 -inc pieces (If using frozen shrimp like I did, make sure to thaw first according to package instructions.)

In a large saucepan,  cook chorizo for 3 minutes. Add peppers, jalapeno, onions and garlic. Cook until translucent, then add rice and cook until all the grains of the rice are coated with oil. Add wine and stock and stir over high heat for 3 minutes.

Cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 20 minutes. Check the rice for doneness. Continue to cook a  bit longer if the rice isn’t cooked.

While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place poblano chiles on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, cut top 1/4 of chile off and remove ribs and seeds.

When rice is finished cooking, fluff with fork and stir in shrimp. Stuff  each poblano with 1/6 of the rice mixture. Place all the chiles on baking sheet and place into oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, mix cheeses together and cover pepper with cheese. Broil for 3 minutes to melt and brown the cheese. I was not able to stuff the peppers neatly. I ended up slicing them in half and laying them in a casserole dish, then layering the topping over the peppers and topping with cheese. It was a pretty dish, but it still tasted great.

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“Late summer…”

How did it get to be “late summer” already? I read the words in an email I receive from a food blog to which I subscribe. It seems like I was JUST making hearty stews and casseroles to ward off the winter chill. Then it seems like I totally missed the asparagus and strawberry season from Spring amidst THE move. Now, if I’m not careful, I will totally miss tomatoes and eggplant and the rest of the “late summer” bounty.

Especially since I have not been able to do a whole lot of cooking the last few weeks. Two weeks ago, I was in Washington, D.C. for work, which you can read about here (my visit, not the city.) Then I spent a lovely week in the crisp, cool air of Vancouver, eating lots of delicious sushi, freshly-caught salmon, fancy Indian food, and too much pizza, beer, wine and cheese.

Here’s a picture of one of the many delicious meals my family consumed. This was an extensive picnic spread eaten in the gorgeous Stanley Park, heavy on the cheese and olives, there was also salmon salad I made with the leftover grilled salmon from the night before (caught by my brother Michael, Chris, and my sister’s boyfriend).

I did so much indulging that I just about died on the final day’s event: The Grouse Grind. I have now returned to reality with Chris in tow, only to face the warm, muggy days of “late summer” in Louisville.
Having put the CSA on hold for two weeks because of “my worldly travels” (ahem, Michael…), I was faced with little direction about what to cook next. A blank slate. I was also coming down from two weeks in a row when my dear BF went to the store just about EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for an ingredient for a meal that I had not planned until the last minute.

I’ve heard people complain that cooking for one is difficult. I think I honed that skill so well that I’m finding coooking regularly for two is much more difficult than cooking for myself ever was. Whereas I used to plan 2 meals + leftovers each week, I now don’t have the luxury (?) of eating the same thing for lunch every day. I now have to plan for 4 meals or so + leftovers. That extra planning and grocery shopping is getting to be tedious. And I don’t even have children to worry about.

In a renewed effort to plan meals accordingly and prevent the BF from begrudgingly lovingly running to the grocery store on my every whim, I planned out meals for the week, and worked to use up some of the meat stashed in my refrigerator. I’ll post more about those recipes later this month.
For now, here’s a dish I made prior to my travels, trying to use up some of the ingredients I had around. I also made this recipe up. Myself. Something I’d like to do more of. I made croutons using some stale bread. I then browned some Italian chicken sausage and then cooked the garlic and onions with the kale. I combined the sausage back with the kale, topped with the croutons and Parmesan cheese, and baked it for a bit. It all turned out pretty tasty. Not too bad for an impromptu, clean-out-the-fridge dinner.

Sausage and Kale Bake with Croutons by… me!

1 bunch kale

1 lb. italian sausage links

1/2 large white onion

1 garlic clove

2 T. olive oil divided

salt and pepper

1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

1/2 loaf baguette bread, cut into bite-size cubes

1/2 c. chicken stock

1. Slice the sausage links cross-wise into disks, about 1/4 inch thick. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 T. olive oil. Cook the sausage until browned. Remove and set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and cook over medium-low heat. Add a pinch of salt. Stir occaisionally until softened and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir.

Add the kale to the pot of garlic and onions. Stir well. Add chicken broth. Cover and cook until kale is tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the bread cubes with the remaining 1 T. of olive oil. Add some salt and pepper and carefully mix well.

When the kale is done, add the sausage back to the pot.

Stir well. Place the kale and sausage mixture into a 9×9 baking dish. Top with the bread crumbs and sprinkle with paremsan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes until browned on top.

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