Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blackberry Clafouti

Along with strawberries, I have an overabundance of other fruit as well, in particular, blackberries. A clafouti is a common and EASY way to use up fruit. This dessert only takes about 5 minutes to prepare and can be either be eaten for breakfast or dessert. This is based off of Julia Child’s recipe, which she makes with cherries. Leave it to Julia to make something utterly delicious and super easy.

1 ¼ cup milk
2/3 cup sugar, divided
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups blackberries*

*You can substitute the blackberries for other soft fruit, such as cherries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, or a combination of the above.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, place 1 tablespoon butter in a pie baking dish with high sides. Place the baking dish into the oven until the butter is melted. Remove from the oven and swirl the butter to cover the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour together until completely smooth.

Place the blackberries on the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Slowly pour the milk mixture on top of the fruit.

Bake for about 50 minutes, until it is puffed and a golden brown. The center should be set and when a toothpick is inserted into the center, it should be clean when removed.

Serve warm and refrigerate any leftovers. Reheat for about 20 seconds in the microwave before serving again.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wheat Strawberry Yogurt Bread

There are signs of summer starting to pop up all over the place. The first hit me a couple of days ago when I flew back from vacation. It was nice and cool in Idaho, even chilly. As I was waiting for the train after landing back here in DC, I felt nice and sticky. For those of you not in this area and used to less humidity, sticky is something that I have become accustomed to. That lovely feeling of just stepping out of the shower still damp, but with all your clothes on. Sticky. The other sign was all the beautiful strawberries that you can find everywhere. A friend of mine even suggested we go local strawberry picking. There's something about fresh and sweet strawberries. Nowadays you can get strawberries year around; however, they are definitely not the same as when they are in season.

1 cup non-fat plain yogurt

1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strawberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract together. Then in a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat and all-purpose flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In batches, add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture. Fold in strawberries.

Bake for 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chocolate Crepe Cake with Green Tea Pastry Cream

My dad got me a cookbook called Chocolate Decadence. Yeah, he knows me perfectly! Love it! This is a creation from there.

2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
8 large eggs
2 cups + 1 tablespoon whole milk
Grated zest of one lemon
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned
1 cup heavy cream
Vegetable oil for cooking

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt. Then in another large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and zest. In three batches, add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth after each addition. Add the butter, then cream. Whisk very well until there are no clumps. Refrigerate for an hour, covered.

Remove from the fridge, whisk the batter again. Heat a medium pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil. To make each crepe, pour 1/3 cup of batter into the pan and swirl to cover the entire bottom of pan evenly.

Cook for two minutes, flip and cook another minute. Transfer to a plate to cool. Repeat this until all crepes are made (I got 18 crepes out of it).

Meanwhile, prepare the pastry cream while the crepes are cooling.

Pastry Cream:
2 cups + 1 tablespoon whole milk
2 tablespoons powdered green tea (I ground up green tea leaves)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
6 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream

Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the green tea.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Add in the egg yolks and whisk until well combined. Once the milk has boiled, add about 1/4 to the egg mixture, continuously whisking so it doesn't curdle or cook the yolks. Then add this back to the rest of the milk on the stove top.

Whisk continuously as the milk is heated to prevent lumps from forming. Bring to a boil for at least 20 seconds so the cornstarch is activated.

Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. The cream should be thickened. Pour into a clean bowl and cover. Place in the refrigerator until completely cool.

Meanwhile, in a mixer, beat the heavy cream until it holds soft peaks. Once the pastry mixture has cooled, fold in the whipped cream.

Place one crepe on a plate and spread a small amount of cream on top (about 1/8 inch thick). Top with another crepe and spread more cream on it. Repeat until all crepes are used, ending with a crepe. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving so the cake can set.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Orange Charlotte with Berries

This was the request of the CEO of my company for a meeting that's being held today. He indulges my creativity and gives me a "theme" for food to bring. One was finger foods, hence the Avocado Tartines. Another was lime, so Key Lime Cupcakes. This time was berries. Since it's May, it's the perfect time for fresh berries from the market. A Charlotte cake is a spongy cake.

2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar, divided (3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 tablespoons orange zest
4 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 8-9 inch cake pans with non-stick spray (I like to line my pans with aluminum foil and then spray. Makes clean up a snap.)

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 3/4 cups sugar  until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, Grand Marnier, and orange zest.

Add flour mixture and milk, alternating additions, beating well after each addition. In another medium bowl, using clean beaters, beat egg whites until foamy, about 3 minutes. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat egg white mixture on high until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Gently fold egg white mixture into batter in 3 additions with a spatula. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on a rack completely.

1 cup cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 lbs powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Juice from 1/4 of a lemon, remove seeds

Cream cream cheese and butter on low until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add Grand Marnier and lemon juice until fully incorporated.

2 containers of blueberries
1 container of raspberries
1 container of strawberries
European style vanilla wafer cookies

Cut the top from all the strawberries. Slice about 6 of them thinly, reserve the rest.

Spread approx 1/2 cup frosting on bottom layer, top generously with the sliced strawberries, and add blueberries and raspberries. Top with second cake layer. Frost tops and sides of cake liberally. Be sure to fill in any gaps along the sides with frosting.

Cut the wafers in half and press into the sides of the cake. The frosting will be the "glue". Then top the cake with the rest of the berries. Refrigerate overnight if not serving immediately.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Herbed Lamb with Red Potatoes, & Yogurt and Chives

As any true person of Mediterranean decent, I love me classic flavors of rosemary, olive oil, and garlic. This dish brings those flavors together.

4 lamb chops
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Red potatoes
1/4 cup Greek style yogurt
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of salt

Marinate the lamb chops in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, and sea salt for about one hour.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Cook the lamb chops for about 6 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, onions, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and pinch of salt. Top the red potatoes with the yogurt.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mexican Shredded Chicken

I am always disappointed about the options of Mexican food in the DC area. I am quite spoiled from living in the southwest for so long. So, I think I've come close to a classic shredded chicken recipe. I've used this for tacos, enchiladas, and burritos.

2 chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1 large tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt to taste

In a medium sauce pan, boil the water. Add the chicken breasts, onion, and garlic. Boil for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken breasts and shred. Reserve one cup of the broth and dump the rest (or save broth for other dishes). In the same sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the tomato, black pepper, marjoram, and cumin. Add the reserved one cup of broth. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Salt to taste and serve while hot.

Coconut Cream Cake

The coconut cream cupcakes were such a big hit last week, that I decided to make a twist on the recipe. Hence, a coconut cream cake.

Follow the cupcake recipe found here. Instead of pouring into cupcake pans, use two 9-inch pans. Spray with cooking spray and fill 3/4 of the way up. Bake for about 24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Once cooled, top one of the layers with the coconut cream filling. Top with the other layer. Ice the cake with cream cheese icing.