Archive for March, 2014


Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Fresh Blueberries

March 31, 2014

20140317 Blueberry Cake 02

This cake is inspired by lemon poppyseed bread. The cake is sweet enough for dessert, but it would be a great addition to any brunch.

You will need:

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 + 1/4 c sugar, divided
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T poppyseeds
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c light sour cream
  • 3 c fresh blueberries
  • 4 T blueberry jam
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/3 c powdered sugar
  • 2 T strong coffee

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with a non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter together with 1/3 cup of the white sugar plus the brown sugar.
  3. Mix in half of the zest and lemon juice.
  4. Mix in the egg, poppyseeds, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and vanilla.
  5. Stir in half of the flour and half of the sour cream.
  6. Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream.
  7. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.
  8. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, the other half of the lemon zest and juice, the blueberries, blueberry jam and nutmeg.
  9. Spread the fruit on top of the batter.
  10. Bake 40-50 minutes or until the center is set and the cake is golden brown.
  11. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing the springform sides.
  12. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar with as much of the coffee as needed to making a drizzling consistency. Drizzle to taste on top of the cake.

PB&J Bars

March 26, 2014

I adapted this recipe from a September 2013 Real Simple. I also recommend trying it various combinations of fruit and jam until you find your favorite. I happened to have blueberries and some yummy blueberry jam at home, so that it was I used. You could also swap out 1/2 of a cup of the flour for a 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats if you wanted!

You will need:

  • 1/2 c blueberry jam
  • 3/4 c fresh blueberries, roughly mashed (I just used a fork)
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 t pure vanilla extra
  • 1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 3/4 c chopped nuts (I used an unsalted combination of peanuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts)

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the edges.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the mashed blueberries with the jam.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together (recommend via electric mixer) until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined.
  6. Beat in the peanut butter until thoroughly combined.
  7. Gradually stir in the flour mixture just until combined.
  8. Press half of the down into the baking dish. Spread with fingers and try to keep an even thickness.
  9. Spread the fruit mixture on top of the dough.
  10. Stir the chopped nuts into the remaining dough.
  11. Crumble the dough on top of the fruit mixture, lightly pressing to ensure top is covered.
  12. Bake until golden brown, about 40-45 minutes.
  13. Allow the bars to cool in the pan for a half hour before moving to a wire rack to complete cooling.

20140315 PBJ Bars


Six Spice Roast Chicken

March 20, 2014

I really enjoy roasting chickens. It makes your home smell wonderful, and then you can choose to serve it in so many ways. This one has a nice combination of spices to keep it flavorful. You can just serve it alongside potatoes and veggies; you can make soup or sandwiches; you can shred it and have it with a salad; or whatever you desire.

You will need:

  • 1 roasting chicken (6-8 lbs)
  • 2 t paprika
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/4 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • Salt + pepper, according to taste
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t red wine vinegar

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Take out a roasting pan and have it at the ready.
  2. Remove any giblets from the chicken. Trim any areas where there is a significant excess of fat and/or skin such you around the neck.
  3. Place the chicken back side up in the roasting pan.
  4. Wash your hands.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the six spices (paprika, cumin, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and allspice). Mix in some salt and pepper according to your taste.
  6. Stir the olive oil and vinegar into the spice mixture.
  7. Spread the half of the spice mixture on the back of the chicken, being sure to get under the skin.
  8. Flip the chicken so the breast side is up. Spread the remaining half of the spice rub on the front of the chicken. Again, be sure to season under the skin.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  10. Continue to roast the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. For a 6-8 pound chicken, this will be about another 90 to 120 minutes.
  11. Remember to baste the chicken with its juices periodically so the breasts don’t dry out.

Simple Pie Crust

March 16, 2014

20140302 Pie Crust

This is a very basic pie crust recipe that will make one crust for you. It is so simple and makes a yummy crust for your favorite pies or quiches. You may not go back to prepared crusts!

You will need:

  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon (if making a non-savory pie)
  • 12 T ( 1.5 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • Up to 1/4 c ice water

Then you will…

  1. Add the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon (if using) to your food processor.  Pulse to combine.
  2. Pulse in half of the butter.
  3. Add the rest of the butter and pulse until it turns into coarse crumbs.
  4. Pulse the dough, while adding the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time. Repeat until the dough gathers into a ball. Be careful not to add too much water or the dough will become very sticky.
  5. Flatten the dough into a disk.
  6. Wrap the dough in lightly floured plastic wrap.
  7. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  8. When you are ready to use the dough, roll it out until it is slightly larger than your pie plate and an even thickness.

Lemon Cinnamon Quick Bread

March 10, 2014

This is a lightly sweet bread full of cinnamon and lemony goodness. You don’t have to knead it, so this dough comes together very quickly. It makes great snacking toast and is a nice accompaniment to some afternoon tea. I think it would be a yummy french toast too. This recipe makes two loaves; try freezing one loaf in case of unexpected company!

You will need:

  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • ~ 2 c milk
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 2/3 c sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 t ground cinnamon

Then you will…

  1. Pour the lemon juice into a two-cup measuring cup. Fill to the 2 cup line with milk. Allow to sit (undisturbed) for 5 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two loaf pans.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and 2 cups of the sugar.
  4. Mix in the eggs.
  5. Stir in the lemon zest, ground ginger, baking soda, flours and milk mixture.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar with the cinnamon.
  7. Spread 1/4 of the batter in one of the loaf pans. Repeat with the second loaf pan.
  8. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar on top of the batter in the first pan. Repeat with the second pan.
  9. Spread half of the remaining batter in the first pan. Spread the last 1/4 of the batter in the second pan.
  10. Divide the remaining cinnamon sugar between the two loaf pans.
  11. Swirl with a butter knife.
  12. Bake 40-45 minutes or until set in the middle and golden on top.
  13. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes in the pan, before turning out on a wire rack to finish cooling.

20140302 Cinnamon Bread 01


Chicken, Mushroom and Prosciutto Pie

March 4, 2014

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit for the first Sunday night dinner at our new place. It is a lighter meat pie than my Steak Pie, but D thought it was still comforting and perfect for a cold, winter evening. We enjoyed it so much that we almost didn’t have leftovers.

20140302 Chicken Mushroom Pie 02

You will need:

  • 6 T butter, divided
  • 1 lb baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 oz thin prosciutto slices, cut into thin strips
  • 2 t zested lemon peel
  • 3/4 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 2 c low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 1/2 c peas
  • 3/4 c grated cheese (I used a Swiss/Gruyere blend)
  • 1 can crescent roll dough

Then you will…

  1. In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons  of the butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the mushrooms and garlic; sauté about 3 minutes.
  3. Add chicken and continue cooking, allowing the liquids to reduce.
  4. When there is a little more than a half cup of liquids left, pour them out of the pan and reserve.
  5. Add the prosciutto to the pan and cook with the mushrooms and chicken until everything is starting to brown.
  6. Stir in the wine to deglaze the pan. Add one cup of the chicken stock plus the lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper.
  7. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter.
  8. Whisk the flour into the butter. Allow to cook about 1 minute.
  9. Gradually whisk in the second cup of broth to the butter-flour roux mixture.
  10. Stir the butter-flour-broth mixture into the main pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered 20 minutes to blend flavors.
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  12. Mix the cheese into the filling pot until melted and smooth.
  13. Pour the filling into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  14. Top with the flat crescent roll dough.
  15. Bake 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and the dough is cooked through and golden.
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