Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Berry Cobbler

Seems as though my baking is driven by requests from DH. That's ok since he has more of a sweet tooth than me & I love baking. I have made this cobbler twice in the last 2 weeks. DH says he is craving berries. The first cobbler was made from all frozen berries but this time it was a combination of fresh & frozen. The colors are all natural & beautiful. I must admit that sometimes when I make cherry pie I do add a few drops of red food coloring. It was amazing how the fragrance of raspberries permeated the house during & after baking. The recipe is one that has developed over time. Sometimes I use cornstarch and sometimes tapioca as a thickening agent. I was out of cornstarch yesterday so I used tapioca. If you love berries (you can use a combination of just about anything you like) this is a great way to use them. I use my standard oil crust recipe (found in the November Archive) and you can use your favorite crust recipe.

Raspberries (12 ounces fresh or frozen--used frozen this time)
Blackberries (12 ounces fresh or frozen--used fresh this time)
Sugar (1 cup--you may use less if you don't like it as sweet)
Lemon Juice (fresh from 1/2 lemon)
Nutmeg (dash)
Instant Tapioca (3 tablespoons)
Turbinado Sugar (Just a sprinkle over the top crust)

Mix berries in a large bowl. Mix dry ingredients. Pour lemon juice over berries & then pour dry ingredients over berries and mix to coat.

Line the bottom of pie plate with a layer of crust. Add fruit mixture. Cover with a layer of crust. Sprinkle with turbinado. This may be a solid layer of crust or a pattern or just free form pieces of crust. This is a cobbler & not a pie!

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for up to 50 minutes. Ovens vary, so watch carefully. I start checking mine at 30 minutes. When top crust is turning brown, I remove it from the oven.

Notes--This is not an exact recipe. You may use a little more or less of any berries you choose. I have used different combinations with success--strawberries, blueberries, golden raspberries, cherries. If you prefer a less sweet dessert, just use less sugar. If you don't have lemon juice use orange, lime, or grapefruit. Use less tapioca if you like a juicier treat. This goes great with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Carrot Ring Cake

This recipe is one that I adapted from The Silver Spoon cookbook. I have enjoyed perusing the pages and since I had a request for a carrot cake, this became my first try at a recipe from the new cookbook(new to me). I made some changes but if you want the original recipe it appears on page 1045. I enjoyed the cake's texture and not being "too" sweet. The frosting was added, as it is a favorite on any carrot cake at our house--the original is sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.

The Ingredients****

Butter (2 Tablespoons--melted)
AP Flour (1 1/4 Cups)
Soft Brown Sugar (2/3 Cup)
Baking Powder (2 Teaspoons)
Ground Ginger (pinch)
Freshly Grated Nutmeg (pinch)
Milk (2 Tablespoons)
Canola Oil (5 Tablespoons)
Eggs (1 whole & 2 egg whites lightly beaten)
Raisins (Generous 1/3 Cup & enough fresh orange juice to soak raisins until soft)
Pecans (1/2 cup chopped)
Carrots (2 finely chopped)
Salt (pinch)

Frosting Ingredients

Apricot Preserves (1/2 cup melted)
Cream Cheese (8 ounce package--room temperature)
Honey(2 Tablespoons--spray the spoon with non-stick coating 1st--easy release)
Powdered Sugar (5 Tablespoons)
Fresh Lemon Juice & Peel(1 Tablespoon of juice and finely zested peel of 1 lemon)
Salt (pinch)
Vanilla (the best you have--just a splash)


I used a small ceramic bundt pan. Spray pan with non-stick coating. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together all dry ingredients. Add milk, oil, butter, eggs & mix well. Stir in raisins (with OJ from soaking) & pecans and then the carrots. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. Ovens vary so check accordingly. Remove from oven & cool in the pan. Turn out on plate and coat with the melted apricot preserves. I unmolded while still slightly warm and the preserves were warm as this helps the cake soak up the apricot flavor. When cake is completely cooled, frost (or not). For frosting--put the room temp cream cheese in a sandwich size resealable plastic bag with powdered sugar, honey, vanilla, salt, a bit of lemon zest and lemon juice. Press the sandwich bag closed and mash the ingredients together until thoroughly mixed. If you are good at decorating you can snip the corner of the bag and pipe the frosting onto the cake. I'm not that talented, so I frosted the entire cake and sprinkled the remaining lemon zest over the top.

Notes--The original used walnuts, 2 whole eggs, did not soak the raisins, no frosting or lemon & zest or oj and used either olive oil or sunflower oil instead of canola. I'm sure the original is delicious but I adapted it to use the ingredients I like.
And there you have it--my version of--

"Ciambella Alle Carote"

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Breakfast Frittata

This morning's breakfast frittata was the result of a combination of things. First, DH declared he was tired of the usual and I have been reading 2 wonderful books. Sometime in the winter I acquired Mark Bittman's inspiring book--The Best Recipes in the World. The Pasta Frittata (Italy) on page 558 was the original inspiration for my modified recipe. The other interesting reading & inspiration comes from another book I've been delving into--The Silver Spoon. The Silver Spoon includes several variations of frittatas. I settled on the following ingredients--

1 medium white rose potato (grated & squeezed dry)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
4 slices of crispy cooked bacon (crumbled)
4 eggs (used 2 whole eggs & 2 whites)
4 tablespoons butter
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (to taste)

First, coat pan with vegetable spray & add 2 tablespoons of butter to melt.
Add potatoes to melted butter and cook until brown (essentially making hash browns).
Combine eggs, cheese, bacon, salt, pepper, pepper flakes and cooked potatoes in a bowl.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the pan and add the mixture to the pan.
Cook over medium heat until it starts to firm up. Transfer the pan to a preheated 400 degree oven & bake for about 10 minutes. It will be firm on top. Result--a big thumbs up from Mr. Meat & Potatoes Guy (he had to have ketchup on the side).

Notes--There are so many variations on this dish I think you can do what you want once you get the basic idea. Do want to try Bittman's original with pasta. I did not use a non-stick pan. When my last one was ready to go I vowed not to buy another because of the dangers of non-stick pans I had been reading about lately. Using the cooking spray and the fact that the recipe had butter added to the pan before cooking yielded good results.

These 2 books are so interesting. I'm having a great time reading them and thinking of what I would like to try next.