Pardon the repost……

 

We’re going on a  bit of a hiatus for the next few weeks while we’re having some work done on the house. If everything works out with the renovations we should be back to posting mid-October. This week I’m reposting my quick and easy recipe for a Fig Galette, You can check out the original post here.

Mission Fig Galette

We’re fortunate to share a garden with our neighbors. We have herbs, tomatoes, artichokes, lemons and a couple of fig trees. The first crop of figs provided the filling for a nice galette.  Galettes are easy desserts, think of them as a pie or tart, but you don’t need a pie plate or a tart pan. You can also use store bought pie crust or use your favorite crust recipe.

Filling

3-4 Ripe figs cut into quarters

1 9″ pie crust*

½ cup orange marmalade

1 TBS milk or cream

sanding sugar

pinch of salt

Roll out pie dough (or store bought crust) to approximately 9″ in diameter and ⅛” thick. Spread 2TBS of marmalade over the crust leaving a 1″ border all around. Place in the middle of the pie crust in a spoke like pattern and brush with the remainder of the marmalade. You should have a about a 2″ border all the way around. Fold the crust over onto the figs.

Brush the crust with milk and dust with sugar. Bake at 350F for 25″ or until the crust is golden brown.

*Pie Crust

    2 ½ cups sifted all purpose flour
    ½ cup sugar
    ¼ tsp salt
    1 cup iced water
    1 ¾ sticks chilled and cubed butter
    the zest of 1 lemon
    ¼ cup chilled and cubed vegetable shorting vegetable shortening

Combine the flour, salt, butter, sugar, lemon zest and shortening in a food processor with the chopping attachment. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine sand. Slowly add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse keep adding water until the dough starts to form pea sized balls. Test the dough by trying to form a ball, if the ball holds together, pour the mixture out on to the work services and knead together into a disk. Wrap the disk in wax paper and a zip top bag and store in the fridge for about an hour to chill. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface to about ¼ inch thick. Cut out into whatever shape you like. The dough recipe should be enough to make 8 3″ hand pies.

 

 

National Pot de Creme Day

Vanilla Bean Pot de Creme garnished with fresh figs and cherries.

As it turns out, today is National Pot de Creme Day. I’m not sure who decides these sorts of things but who am I to argue. Pots de Creme are super easy custards that are a versatile dessert to have in your repertoire. I love their simplicity and that they don’t have a lot of ingredients. So here is my take on Pot de Creme.

Vanilla Bean Pot de Creme

  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

Over medium low heat, bring the evaporated milk and heavy cream to a boil in a heavy bottomed pot, While the milk is heating up, whisk egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla paste together in a large bowl and set aside. Once the cream and evaporated has come to a boil, remove from heat. Slowly add the warm cream to the egg sugar mixture a ladleful at a time while continuously whisking to temper the egg mixture. Once all the cream has been added to the cream, set the mixture aside for 10 minutes. Skim and discard any foam from that settles on the top. Even distribute the mixture into 4 ramekins and bake in a water bath at 325F for 50 minutes or until set.  Chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with fresh fruit and whipped cream or whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.

Vanilla Bean Pot de Creme with a dusting of cocoa powder.

Give this a try and let me know what you think

 

 

 

By Popular Demand

Piña Colada Ice Pops

A few months back I took an impromptu and wholly unscientific survey of roughly 80 or so people (mostly my co-workers) asking what their favorite flavor of Ice Pop/Paleta was. Coconut was the winner by an overwhelming margin. Second was Cherry Pineapple which according to my co-workers was a common treat from the ice cream man after school. What surprised me though was that Arroz Con Leche or Horchata was also very popular.

So by popular demand, this week I’ll share my recipe for Coconut, Pina Colada and Arroz Con Leche Ice Pops. To make this weeks recipes you will  need either re-useable ice pop molds or you can get single use zip top ice pop pouches from Amazon. Here is the link to the brand I use.

Coconut

2 15 ounce cans coconut milk

1 can Creme de Coco

½ cup shredded coconut

½ tsp coconut extract

¼ tsp each ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground allspice and ground clove.

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, pour into molds and freeze for at least 8 hours.

Piña Colada Ice Pops

Pina Colada

1 15 ounce can coconut milk

1 Ripe Pineapple peeled, cored and cut into chunks

1 can Creme de Coco

½ tsp coconut extract

Combine all ingredients in the carafe of a blender, blend on high until smooth. Pour mixture into molds and freeze for at least 8 hours.

Arroz Con Leche Ice Pops

Arroz con Leche/Horchata

2 cups cooked rice*

1 15 ounce can coconut milk

pinch of salt

1 12 ounce can evaporated milk

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla paste

½ tsp each ground clove, ground allspice, ground nutmeg

Yep, you guessed it combine all the ingredients into the blender and blend until well combined but not completely smooth. You’ll want to retain some of the grains of rice for texture. Pour into molds and freeze

* I suggest using left over rice, but if you do decide to make a fresh batch of rice for this make sure its at least room temperature but ideally cold.

 

That’s it simple easy kid friendly. Enjoy

Getting Toasted

 

Avocado Toast..BLTA Edition

I love going out to brunch like anyone else and there’s some really great (and overly popular) brunch spots within walking distance of our house. But what I don’t like is the often long wait for these very popular (crowded and busy) brunch spots. So that’s where having an arsenal of quick and easy to prepare brunch worthy recipes comes in. So this week’s post is exactly that, a few quick and easy recipes for dressing up toast. A good toast needs a solid foundation and I’m partial to sourdough for toast and there’s an added benefit that sourdough is Low FODMAP diet friendly. But you can use whichever bread like base you’d like.

Avocado Toast

First up is that brunch mainstay, Avocado Toast in this case, the Bacon Lettuce Tomato and Avocado edition.

Freshly picked tomatoes, micro greens and crumbled bacon dress up this avacado toast

For my version, I coat sourdough bread in bacon grease and toast on a griddle until golden brown on each side. In a small bowl, I mash 1 avocado with salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of mayonaise together. Feel free to add any herbs that you like then top with micro greens which is acting as the lettuce in this case, fresh tomatoes and crumbled bacon and season with salt and pepper. It’s that easy.

Fig Toast

Our next toast features figs which are just starting to come into to season here. We had a decent amount of rain and expect another bumper crop of figs from the two trees out back. So this will come in handy to highlight the figs as well as use them up.

For fig toast, mash 8 ounces of goat cheese with 2 tablespoons of honey and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread on toasted bread and top with quartered figs, top with a drizzle of honey and crumbled blue cheese. Place under the broiler until the blue cheese and figs start to brown. To take this over to the savory side, add candied bacon and caramelized onions. This would be good on soda bread or a cinnamon raisin form.

The next few recipes use whipped feta which is a great salty tangy alternative to cream cheese or goat cheese.

Whipped Feta

  • 8 oz of crumbled feta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz of mascarpone cheese

Toss all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and whip until smooth. This takes about 2-3 minutes.

Pastrami Smoked Salmon with Whipped Salmon

We recently discovered that our local Trader Joe’s has pastrami style smoked salmon and it’s really good. They also have a really good gluten free everything bagel. Whipped Feta and micro-greens make a great accompaniment to the salmon and bagel.

Tomato and Whipped Feta Toast

Tomato and Whipped Feta Toast is as simple as it sounds, its just really fresh tomatoes on top of whipped feta. A finish of a really good olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper will bring out the sweet brightness of the tomatoes. This is a great way to really show off homegrown tomatoes.

Roasted Corn Cucumber Tomato Salad with Whipped Feta Toast

Roasted Corn Tomato and Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cups of fresh corn kernels
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes seeded and cut into cubes
  • 1 medium sized English Cucumber
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons flat leaf parsely (Italian Parsley) finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil divided
  • salt and pepper to taste

Spread out the kernels of corn on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in an oven preheated to 425F until kernels start to brown and blacken, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Allow the cool to room temperature. In a large bowl combine, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs and dress with the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper.

The toast part is dead simple, just spread whipped feta on the toasted bread of your choice and top with the salad.

That’s it. All are super easy, flavorful and seasonal.

 

 

 

 

 

No scratches or bee stings required

Fresh out of the oven and piping hot Blackberry Cobbler

One of the many things I miss about living in the PNW (that’s Pacific Northwest) is how easy (and free) it is to get your hands on ridiculous quantities of blackberries. They’re like weeds and grow everywhere and you don’t even have to go far off the beaten path to find them they grow along the side of the road. To make this week’s recipe, you just need to get a hold of blackberries, fresh, frozen, foraged or otherwise.

We hosted our first bbq of the summer this past weekend and I wanted a dessert that’s easy to serve to a crowd, can be made ahead and reminds me of summer. Blackberries, cobbler and corn remind me of summer and cobblers are great crowd friendly make ahead desserts. Since blackberries pair really well with corn, I decided to make a corn biscuit top.

As I mentioned, this was designed to feed a crowd so adjust your quantities accordingly. I used a combination of fresh and frozen blackberries. This recipe will serve 8.

Blackberry Cobbler with Corn Biscuit Top

  • 8 cups of blackberries (if using frozen, thaw the berries and retain the liquid)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Corn Biscuit top

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup freeze dried corn (ground)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 TBS chilled butter (cut into cubes)
  • 3/4 cup of buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and let sit for an hour or overnight. Preheat oven to 350F.

Biscuit top-

Combine flour, cornmeal, freeze dried corn, salt, sugar, baking powder and chilled butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until butter forms little pea sized balls. Slowly add in buttermilk/yogurt (you may not need all of it) until dough just starts to come together. The dough will be fairly loose and sticky and that’s ok.

Spray a 2 quart (deep dish) casserole with cooking spray and fill with berry mixture. Using a Table spoon that’s been sprayed with cooking spray, drop dollops of biscuit batter across the top of the berries.

dollop corn biscuit batter

 

Place casserole dish on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for 1 hour or until middle portion of the cobbler is bubbling. If top starts to brown too much over with aluminum foil. The cobbler can be served warm, room temperature or cold and pairs well with ice cream.

 

Easier than a Rice Krispy Treat

Simple and easy with big coconut flavor

Want a super easy sweet treat that goes together is a matter of minutes? As it turns out, macaroons are just that treat. Since Friday May 31st is National Macaroon Day (not to be confused with National Macaron Day which is in March) this recipe is just in time for that macaroon emergency. This is also a great little recipe if you find yourself like me with left over coconut and the dregs of a can of sweetened condensed milk that you don’t know what to do with.

Recipe

  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2 TBS AP Flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condendensed milk
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or bakers chocolate for drizzling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the flour, coconut, salt and condensed milk in a large mixing bowl. Mix until combined. Spray your hands with cooking spray or lightly coat with oil and form coconut mixture into 1″ balls and lay out evenly on a baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 11-15 minutes or until coconut is golden brown. Allow to cool and drizzle with dark chocolate if desired.  Yield 12-15 macaroon

Yep, its that easy. If you spray your mixing bowl with cooking spray, it will make clean up a little easier.  Oh and stay tuned. I’ll post my recipe for Coconut Layer Cake with Coconut Buttercream and Coconut Cake Truffles in a few weeks.

That’s how the cookie crumbles..

What’s better than milk and cookies?

I was having all sorts of technical issues this week, but finally go them resolved and was able to actually upload images again. So now that’s all taken care of for this weeks post I’m making cookies. Though this time around, I’m dressing up that timeless classic chocolate chip cookies. One of my co-workers gave me a package of Horlick’s Malted Milk Powder from her prized stash and it got me thinking that I don’t think I’ve ever seen Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies before. So after a little bit of testing here’s the recipe I came up with.

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup/2 sticks of room temperature unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground coffee
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cup sifted All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed malted milk balls like Whoppers or Maltesers
  • 2 oz of chopped extra dark chocolate
  • coarse salt and chopped dark chocolate for the top (optional)

In a large bowl, cream butter until it turns a light pale yellow then add granulated sugar and light brown sugar and beat for a couple of minutes until it is light and fluffy. Add in eggs, malted milk powder, coffee and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Slowly add in salt, baking soda and sifted flour until the flour is mostly combined. You may have to mix this by hand or use a stand mixer. Stir in the chocolate chips, crushed malted milk balls and dark chocolate. Form into golfball sized balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let chill in the fridge for at least an hour before baking. To bake, preheat oven to 350F. Place dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet leaving 2″ space between cookies and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Fully Loaded….Fries that is…

Here in Southern California, loaded fries is a pretty big deal and just about every bar and hamburger stand has their variation of them whether it’s Pastrami Fries, Carne Asada Fries, or Greek Fries loaded with Gyro meat and feta. We make our own variation at home and the best part aside from warming up some BBQ brisket or pork and heating up some fries not much prep or cooking required. So this also comes together pretty easy on a week night with stuff from the grocery store.

Jack Danial’s Pulled Pork Fries

1 package of Jack Daniel’s Pulled Pork or Brisket

1 jar of Tostitos Queso sauce

1 bag of French fries, tater tots or waffle fries

2 cups of shredded cheese

1 jalapeno finely chopped

3 scallions finely chopped

1 dill pickle finely chopped

bbq sauce/mayo sauce*

 

Cook the fries according to the package directions. While the fries are cooking, heat up the bbq pork/brisket according to the package directions and set aside. Once fries are cooked, add the shredded cheese and top with bbq meat and drizzle with queso sauce. Return to the oven and heat until the cheese melts (about 5 minutes). Remove from oven, garnish with the chopped onions, jalapeño and pickles then drizzle with bbq sauce/mayo and serve.

*BBQ/Mayo Sauce

½ cup bbq sauce

½ cup mayo

1 TBS apple cider vinegar

pinch of salt

1 TBS honey or agave nectar

1 tsp hot sauce optional

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until combined

 

It’s like eating a cloud….no really

Fluffy airy Pavlova with a mix of fresh berries and dusted with powdered sugar

The  weeks recipe is handy to keep in your back pocket for occasions when you find yourself with a lot of leftover egg whites. After making the custard for last week’s coconut cream pie, that’s exactly the situation I was in. Pavlova are sweet baked meringues but with crispy airy outer shell and a gooey marshmallowy center. They’re a perfect vehicle for seasonal fruits like fresh berries and other fruits.

Though you don’t need special equipment, you could mix them by hand. But unless you want your arm to fall off, I’d suggest at a minimum using a electric hand mixer but ideally a stand mixer.

Pavlova

4 eggs. whites

1 cup super fine sugar*

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons corn starch

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar

Preheat 275F

Wipe the inside of the stand mixer. bowl with white vinegar to make sure there is not oil or grease in the bowl. Using the whisk attachment, whip the 4 egg whites on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Mix the salt and sugar and gradually add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time into the egg whites,  whisking in between additions of sugar. Scrape down the sides of the Whisk until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Add in the cornstarch, vanilla, and lemon juice and whisk until incorporated. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use the back of.a large spoon or a piping bag to form meringue mixture into 2 7″ rounds or 6-8 4″ diameter rounds. Bake on the middle rack at 275F for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Turn off the over and let Pavlova’s cool in the oven while leaving the oven door slightly ajar. Serve with freshly whipped cream and fresh fruit

French Toast – Crowd Pleasing Brunch Edition

French Toast casserole style made with store bought cinnamon bread and fresh berries

This weeks recipe is a super easy way to make French Toast for a crowd. Typically if you’re making French Toast or pancakes for a large group, there’s inevitably someone waiting around hungry while whoever’s cooking is furiously trying to get fresh and hot pancakes/French Toast served as quick as possible. Not only is this extremely stressful for the cook it’s not particularly conducive for folks to gather around the table and eat at the same time.

Essentially what we’re making here is a French Toast Casserole or bread pudding. For added convenience, I used store bought, pre-sliced cinnamon bread that I cut diagonally and let sit out on a wire rack for an hour so that it would start to stale. This allows the bread to absorb more of the custard without becoming a soggy slimy mess. Alternately you can toast the bread but that’s one more step and this is all about ease and convenience.

To augment the menu, I’d suggest having things like granola, yogurt with fresh fruit, baked eggs, quiche or a Spanish style tortilla and sausage/bacon which you can bake ahead and warm up along side the French toast the last 15 minutes of baking. Here’s the recipe:

Recipe

  • 1 egg for every 4 slices of bread
  • 2 slices of bread per person
  • 1 cup half/half for every 4 slices of bread
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 TBS brown sugar for 4 slices of bread
  • butter or cooking spray
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh berries (optional)
  • Powered sugar (optional)

Spray a large casserole pan with cooking spray or coat with butter and set aside. In a large bowl, mix half/half, eggs, sugar, salt and cinnamon until well combined and set aside. Arrange sliced cinnamon bread in the casserole dish and then pour the custard mixture over the bread. Let sit for 15 minutes to ½ hour so the custard can be absorbed by the bread. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake casserole at 350F for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the egg mixture is set in the middle. To serve, dust with powdered sugar and top with fresh berries. That’s it, and it’s that easy.