Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Ina's Heirloom Tomato Salad with Herbed Ricotta

This week my CSA distributed fresh tomatoes, including heirloom.


2 cups ricotta (I used a local brand)
2 scallions, minced, white and green parts
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pints assorted heirloom tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
Fleur de sel


In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and set aside for up to 30 minutes.

With a small serrated knife, cut the larger tomatoes in wedges through the stem and the smaller tomatoes in half through the stem. Place them in a medium bowl with the garlic, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and set aside.

When ready to serve, add the basil to the tomatoes and combine. Pile the ricotta in a large (12-inch) round shallow bowl or oval platter. Using a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes around the ricotta, discarding any liquid. Drizzle the tomatoes and ricotta with olive oil, sprinkle with the reserved basil and fleur de sel, and serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Another Day - Another Cake - Chocolate Espresso Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Glaze

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake with Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Glaze


For the Cake:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup high quality dark Dutch process cocoa
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved into 3/4 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon  salt

For the Glaze:
4 oz high quality bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2" pieces
1-1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon  ground cinnamon

For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 10-12 cup bundt  pan.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; add cocoa, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the espresso water and remove from heat.

Add the sugar, sour cream, vanilla and eggs to the warmed cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add all at once to the first mixture, whisking until well blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch and has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan.

Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake with a knife and invert onto a large plate.

For the Glaze:
Place the chocolate, butter, corn syrup and cinnamon in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.

Stir the mixture using a rubber spatula until melted and smooth.

Assembly of the Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake with Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Glaze:

Pour warm glaze over bundt cake. Keep covered in a cake-keeper at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bundt Cakes - Light and Moist Maple Bundt Cake

Last month, I met the local rep for NORDIC WARE.  He was impressed by my Sand Castle Cake.  I stopped by the local office and he gave me a new cake pan.  Here is the cake!  I used a simple Betty Crocker Maple Bundt cake recipe.


3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)
3/4 cup milk (I used fat free lactose free)
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla (From the Spice House in Evanston, IL)

1 c powdered sugar
1/4 t cinnamon (From the Spice House in Evanston, IL)
1/2 vanilla (From the Spice House in Evanston, IL)
1/4 cup maple syrup - the real stuff

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 12-cup bundt cake pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat softened butter and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed about 2 minutes or until pale and creamy.

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl, beat maple syrup, milk, eggs and vanilla with whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with egg mixture. Pour batter into pan, spreading evenly with spatula.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until edges are golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in pan; transfer to cooling rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

In small bowl, beat Glaze ingredients with whisk until smooth. Add more powdered sugar or maple syrup if necessary for desired consistency. Spoon glaze over cooled cake, letting it drip down sides. Let glaze set at least 15 minutes before serving.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Did Someone Say Donuts????

I am not a big fan of donuts.  In fact, we don't go to Dunkin Donuts to buy donuts.  Again, I like a homemade Sufganiot during Chanukah, but not a huge fan of the mainstream donut.

Of course, when traveling, how can you not try local donuts like:

When in Philadelphia, PA we tried Beiler's donuts in Reading Terminal.  Who knew that donuts could be that delicious.

When in Kennebunk, Maine, I tried Satellite Donuts.

Once, I even tried Black Bird Donuts at SOWA.

One day I will try the donuts that my co-worker raves about in Maine, and that I caught on the Food Network, The Holy Donut.

Last week I purchased my first set of donut pans at King Arthur Flour in Vermont!  I made my first dozen last night and they were delicious.

King Arthur Baked Donuts
Makes 12 donuts

4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 2/3 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup milk


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth.
3. Add the eggs, beating to combine.
4. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
5. Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined. The batter will be fairly thick.
6. Spoon the batter into the lightly greased doughnut pans, filling the wells to about 1/4" shy of the rim.
7. Bake the doughnuts for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and wait 5 minutes before turning them out of the pans onto a rack.
8. For cinnamon doughnuts, shake warm doughnuts in a plastic bag with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup cinnamon-sugar. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Oven Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms and Thyme

Last night was the rare night, when it was just Adam and myself for dinner.  I took the opportunity to make a dish that the kids do not like at all.  Neither kid likes mushrooms.  Has been like that since they were inside the womb.

1.5 lbs of mixed mushrooms - shiitake, baby portabello, crimini
4 sprigs of thyme
8 garlic cloves - smashed
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 T unsalted butter
1 cup cornmeal
4 oz Parmesan, finely grated

Preheat oven to 325.  Combine mushrooms, thyme and garlic on two large baking sheets (use two so that the mushrooms are in one layer and not two).  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil.  Cook on two upper racks.

Bring 4 1/2 cups of water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat and add butter and salt and whisk.  Bring to a boil and pour into a Pyrex pan (sprayed with Pam) and put into the oven for 25 minutes.

Remove Polenta from oven.

Check mushrooms.  If roasted, turn off oven.

Whisk Polenta and gradually add cheese while whisking.  Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the polenta into four bowls and place 1/4 of the mushrooms on top of the polenta.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Cherry Biscuit Cobbler from Bon Appetit

¼ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1⅓ cups chilled heavy cream
Filling and Assembly
2 lb. fresh (or frozen) sweet cherries, pitted
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
2 Tbsp. raw sugar
Vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream (for serving)

Special Equipment
A 1½"-diameter cookie cutter


Whisk granulated sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, salt, and 2 cups flour in a medium bowl. Add butter and toss to coat. Quickly smash butter into flour mixture with your fingers, working until the largest pieces are about the size of a pea.

Gradually stream cream into bowl, tossing flour mixture constantly with a fork to distribute. Using a flexible bench scraper or a hard plastic spatula, fold dough over and onto itself several times, scraping bottom and sides of the bowl, to bring together into a mass (dough will feel very wet and sticky).

Turn out dough onto a generously floured surface. Pat into a ¾"-thick rectangle or square with floured hands, using bench scraper or spatula to lift up dough and dust underneath with more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Dust surface with more flour, then cut dough into 4 equal pieces and stack on top of each other. Dust with flour and press down on stack with a rolling pin to flatten to a workable height. Roll out to ½" thick, dusting with more flour as needed.

Use cutter to punch out biscuits as closely as possible, dipping cutter in flour often. Transfer biscuits to a plate. You should have about 40. Gather up dough scraps, reroll, and punch out more biscuits if needed. Chill until ready to use.

Filling and Assembly
Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400°. Mix cherries, granulated sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt in a large bowl. Scrape filling into a 2-qt. baking dish or 9"-diameter cake pan with 2" sides and press down on it firmly to compact. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Arrange chilled biscuits over filling, fitting snugly so they’re touching with only a few gaps. Brush generously with butter; sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake cobbler 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue to bake until biscuits are golden brown and juices are bubbling, 50–65 minutes more. Let cool slightly. Serve cobbler with ice cream.

Do Ahead: Cobbler can be baked 1 day ahead; store tightly covered at room temperature.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Nothing Bundt Cakes - Lemon Cake

This store was in San Diego when we visited many moons again, and I have never forgotten it.  Recently one opened in Newton Highlands!  I still love the Lemon Cake, but I found a similar recipe online here and I thought I would share!

Made it for my co-workers!