Stay tuned, stay hungry, and go cook something already!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Best Blueberry Muffin of All Time (IMHO)

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Hello my peeps, yes it's been a while, but I'm back! Work has been taking up my entire life and basically killed me but now it's me time. Getting my juju back and starting to bake again, which I love! This is a recipe I recently developed (which I have been told is the best muffin ever) and of course can be used with a variety of fruit. The secret to the moistness and great texture is in the full fat Greek yogurt (so don't skimp). I promise to post more often, any requests?


2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup blueberries
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 room temp eggs
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup melted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw brand)

Preheat oven at 350. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Mix the berries and lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon from the total sugar amount and let sit in small bowl. Combine sugar, water, yogurt, butter, vanilla and eggs. In separate bowl combine flour, powder, and salt. Mix everything together with a spoon and put in muffin cups and sprinkle turbinado sugar on top. Bake 25 minutes until top is golden and it springs back when touched. Remember, less is more when it comes to making muffin batter, don't over mix as it creates tough and rubbery muffins.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Everyone should have at least one great cheesecake recipe in their repertoire. This is my new fave! I love the crust made from lady fingers (instead of the uninspired graham cracker crust) with the inclusion of espresso powder and chocolate chips. I love the addition of mascarpone instead of just cream cheese. And I love the chocolate chips in the cake which give your mouth something to do. Cheesecake is easy to prepare, but make sure you really whip the cream cheese because lumps are unacceptable! Making sure the ingredients are at room temperature helps them blend together more easily.

1 7-ounce packages crisp, Italian-style ladyfingers
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
boiling water

Position a rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with foil and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, grind ladyfingers into fine crumbs. Add melted butter, espresso powder, and 1/4 cup chocolate chips then pulse until incorporated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press to form a crust halfway up the sides. Bake until set, 8 to 10 minutes, let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

While the crust cools, beat the cream cheese using an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar at high speed until smooth. Beat in the mascarpone, vanilla and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Set the springform pan in a roasting pan. Pour the mascarpone-chocolate chip mixture into the baked crust, then place the roasting pan in the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the top is golden and the center is set but still jiggly, about 1 hour.

Let cool in the water bath for 15 minutes, then transfer the springform pan to a rack to cool completely. Refrigerate the cheesecake (still in the pan) for 6 hours or up to 2 days. Remove cheesecake from the springform pan and put on flat platter. You can decorate with some whipped cream with a little coffee liquor in it. Or melt some chocolate and do a little Jackson Pollock drizzle thingy.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Paleo what? Vegetable wraps!

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Recently I visited Santa Fe and had a great time because my friends are the best! One of my favorite meals was surprisingly at Sweetwater Cafe with the lovely and talented Helga Ancona of KSFR fame. She recommended I try the spinach paleo wrap with turkey, sweet potato and some other stuff — and it was amazing! So as soon as I got back to NY, with the info the owner of the cafe was kind enough to share with me, I set about to figure out how to make the wraps and it was soooo easy! Sweetwater does the spinach version so I started with that and then branched out to other veggies. I think with the basic formula the possibilities are endless. Remember, depending on the moisture content of the vegetables used you might have to play with it a little.


Assorted Vegetable Paleo Wraps

Ingredients for Green Spinach flavor
4 ounces spinach
3 eggs
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large basil leaves
1 sprig tarragon leaves
2 sprigs fresh dill

Ingredients for Curried Carrot flavor
4 ounces shredded carrot
3 eggs
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Ras al Hanouj
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Ingredients for Beet and Dill flavor
4 ounces cooked beets, cut into cubes
3 eggs
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dill
2 tablespoons chives (add to batter at the end, do not purée into mix)

Procedure (for all flavors)
Pick one of the flavors above, then purée all those ingredients in blender until mixture is very smooth.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat (low to medium for the beet version) and spray lightly with oil. Ladle some batter into the pan then quickly tip the pan in a circle so the batter coats the bottom in an thin, even layer. Let cook you until bubbles rise to the surface (like in the photo above) and the edges start to come away from the pan and brown a little. Then flip over and cook the other side for 15 seconds. Do your best not to brown the wrap too much, so the vegetable color stays bright. Repeat with the remaining batter. Don't worry, the first few are always borked, even for me!

Wraps hold well in fridge up to 4 days.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Classics We Enjoyed this Holiday Season

Seasonal Recipes of the Week
Yes, I still hate Christmas, Chanukah, New Year's Eve (because everyone always fails at having fun), and even Kwanzaa. What can I say? I'm an equal-opportunity Grinch. I hate the stressful over-shopping, the insanity in parking lots, the parents lamenting about their materialistic kids (“I learned it by watching you, Dad!”), and the required overindulgences. BUT! I do love the getting together with friends and sharing a meal or a cocktail. So here are three recipes I made this year to share with neighbors and friends. They are all classics and can be served anytime. So sit back, watch the yule log burn on TV, and relax. Don't worry, it's almost over.

Crème Brûlée

1 extra-large egg
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. In a bowl, mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of the sugar together until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it's very hot to the touch, but not boiled. Now slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla and orange liqueur, mix to combine, then pour into 6 to 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch (or under the broiler — watch it!) until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.


2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
3 tablespoons rum
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup dry Madeira
1 pound mascarpone (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
36 crisp Italian ladyfingers
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

Stir together water, espresso powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and rum in a shallow bowl until sugar has dissolved, then set aside to cool. Beat egg yolks, Madeira, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, using a whisk or handheld electric mixer until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. Beat in mascarpone until just combined. Beat cream in a large bowl until it holds stiff peaks. Fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream gently but thoroughly.

Dipping both sides of each ladyfinger into coffee mixture, line bottom of a 13 × 9 × 3-inch baking pan with 18 ladyfingers in 3 rows, trimming edges to fit as necessary. Spread half of mascarpone filling on top. Dip remaining 18 ladyfingers in coffee and arrange over filling in pan. Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top and dust with cocoa. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours. Let tiramisu stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving, then dust with more cocoa.

Hazelnut Linzer Tart cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for decorating
3 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups hazelnuts, finely ground in processor (about 1 1/2 cups ground)
jam filing of your choice (I like to mix raspberry and apricot)

In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. In a large bowl, beat butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, and citrus zest until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions, then beat in nuts. Gather dough into ball, then flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out half of dough on lightly floured surface to a 1/8-inch thickness. Using 2-inch round cutter, cut out rounds. Using 3/4-inch round cutter (or a shape that's about the same size, like I did), cut out the centers of half of the rounds to make rings. Transfer rounds and rings to prepared sheets. Gather dough scraps, chill, and re-roll to make more cookies. Repeat until all dough is used.

Bake cookies until golden, reversing sheets after 10 minutes, about 22 minutes total. Cool completely on sheets.

Arrange cookie rings on work surface. Sift powdered sugar over. Spread 1 teaspoon jam on each cookie round. Press rings onto jam on rounds. Can be assembled 1 day ahead. Store between sheets of waxed paper in airtight container at room temperature.

Do ahead: Before filling, you can store baked cookies airtight at room temperature up to 2 days, or freeze up to 2 weeks.