Tuesdays with Dorie Flashback

To keep me motivated to bake & blog, I joined the baking group Tuesdays with Dorie, where each week someone chooses a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours. Then, every Tuesday, bakers post about the chosen recipe. Since my book has yet to arrive and I wanted to get a jump start on my baking, I decided to make a past recipe. Michelle in Colorado Springs picked Summer Fruit Galette back in July. Also, I figured since I haven't "officially" started yet, I could make some tweaks to the recipe. So, I did the pie crust Sandra Lee style -- I bought one. If you want the version of this recipe with a homemade crust, buy the book.

Dorie Greenspan's Summer Fruit Galette
Baking: From My Home to Yours
Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough for a single crust, chilled or premade crust
2-3 tablespoons jam or marmalade
2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
Fresh summer fruit: about 10 apricots, 8-10 nectarines, 8 ripe but firm peaches, 8-10 firm plums or 2 stalks rhubarb
Decorating (coarse) or granulated sugar, for dusting

For the Custard
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

I chose fresh blueberries and blackberries from the Farmer's Market and raspberry jelly.

Also, instead of graham crackers, I used Teddy Grahams. Here they are goofing around in the blackberries before they were crushed into crumbs. They did not know their fate.

Preheat to oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out one premade pie crust. With the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula, spread some of the jam in the center- how much will depend of the jam flavor you want. Sprinkle over the crumbs, adding a little more than 2 tablespoons if you think you’ve got particularly juicy fruit.

Arrange the fruit on the dough, cut side down if using stone fruits, then gently lift the unfilled border of dough up and onto the filling.

As you lift the dough and place it on the filling, it will pleat.

Brush the dough very lightly with a little water, then sprinkle it with a teaspoon or two of sugar. Bake galette for 25 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the fruit is soft. Meanwhile, make the custard. Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in a bowl; set aside until needed. Remove the baking sheet from the oven (leave the oven on), and carefully pour the custard around the fruit. Depending one how much juice has accumulated and how much space you have between the fruit, you may not be able to pour all the custard into the galette, but even 2 tablespoons can give the right effect. Pour in as much custard as you can, then carefully return the pan to the oven.Bake for another 12 to 15 minutes, or until the custard is set- it shouldn’t jiggle when you gently shake the pan.

Mmm...bubbly goodness.

Cool the galette on the baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes.Very carefully slide a small baking sheet or cake lifter under the galette and slip the galette onto a rack to cool. The galette can be served when it is just warm or when it has reached room temperature. Dust with confectioners; sugar just before serving. I topped mine with vanilla ice cream.


Dear Polenta, where have you been all my life?

For me, one of the greatest joys in life is cooking a really fabulous meal. Now, I know what you're saying, you really can't go wrong stuffing pork with pork or wrapping pork around a veggie. I will say though, I was a little nervous about the polenta. It seems everyone but me is making it these days. I swore I never would. But, everywhere I turned, there it was. Now I know why. It is DELICIOUS. And, not only is this a porktastic meal...it is the first post with multiple photos. Yeah!

Prosciutto and Parmesan Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Herbed Polenta and Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Prosciutto and Parmesan Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Butterfly a pork tenderloin. You may also want to pound down the meat a bit. Rub on some olive oil and salt & pepper the meat. Sprinkle Italian breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and prosciutto bits on.

Starting on one end (long side), roll the pork. You can also sprinkle the outside w/ breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. Tie with either baker's string or put in about four skewers to hold the tenderloin shut. Put on the grill for approx. 20 min.

Herbed Polenta
courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
(This makes enough to feed an army. Next time, I will half it.)
6 cups water
2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup whole milk
6 tbls. unsalted butter
3 tbls. chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. chopped thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper
Bring water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add salt. Gradually whisk in cornmeal. Reduce heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 min. Remove from heat. Add the cheese, milk, butter, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and pepper, and stir until the butter and cheese melt. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Chop the ends off of 8 asparagus spears. Place asparagus in a pan of salted boiling water and blanche for 2 minutes.
Remove the asparagus and place in a bath of ice water. Once cooled, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Watch the salt! The prosciutto is salty, so you don't need to add too much. Wrap one piece of prosciutto around 2 spears...making 4 bundles.

Place the bundles on the grill for approx. 6 minutes or until the asparagus is tender and the prosciutto is crisp.
All that is left now is to grab a bottle of wine and enjoy!


Cheesy Shrimp Tortillas

Here's another one from Rachael's magazine. It was AWESOME! The smokiness of the gouda and chipotles in adobo sauce work well together.

There are a few things we would do differently next time:

1. The recipe makes three meals for four people, so we scaled it back. We used about a cup of gouda and 22 shrimp. We could have used some more shrimp and cheese.

2. I am kind of a wimp when it comes to spicy food. So, working with chipotles in adobo can be difficult. It is pretty spicy and if you put too much in, it will be ruined. Again, since we weren't making as much as the recipe called for, we put about a teaspoon in. However, next time around we will add more. There was a smokey flavor, but not as much heat.

3. Also, the recipes says to spread the chipotles and sauce on the tortilla. We actually mixed it in with the shrimp and cooked it that way.

Cheesy Shrimp Tortillas
Makes 3 meals for 4 people

2 tablespoons butter
Two 2-pound bags frozen raw shrimp (31-40 per pound), thawed and tails removed
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
Salt & Pepper
1 lemon, halved
3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
Twelve 10-inch flour tortillas
1 pound gouda cheese, shredded.

1. In a large, deep skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are just opaque, about 4 minutes. Squeeze the lemon halves over the shrimp.

2. In a small bowl, mash the chipotles with the adobo sauce. Spread the paste in a thin layer on each tortilla.

3. Place one tortilla in a large nonstick skillet. Sprinkle tortilla with cheese. Follow with a layer of shrimp. Sprinkle more cheese and place one tortilla on top.

4. Cook over medium-high heat until golden, about 2 minutes on each side. Cut into wedges and serve!


Creamy Parsley and Pistachio Fettuccine

While it appears as if we haven't been cooking alot lately, that couldn't be further from the truth. I have been cooking and baking up a storm. Unfortunately, everything has either tasted like crap or was a big flop. And, I certainly don't want to blog about that.

The recipe below comes from Rachael Ray's magazine. This is the second Rachael Ray recipe I have ever made. The first one being the aforementioned "crap." Actually, to give her credit, the first recipe was one that was sent in by a reader and was not hers. Still, she did publish it.

Creamy Parsley and Pistachio Fettuccine
1 pound fettuccine pasta
3/4 cup heavy cream
Grated peel and juice of one lemon
1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I used Parmesan)
1/4 cup shelled natural pistachio nuts, lightly toasted
1 large clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain.

2. While the pasta is working, in a small saucepan, warm the cream and lemon peel over medium heat.

3. Using a food processor, puree the parsley, cheese, nuts and garlic. Mix in the lemon juice. With the machine on, blend in the EVOO until combined.

4. Place the pesto in a large pasta bowl; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the hot cream mixture, add the pasta and toss.

The lemon gives the sauce a fresh zip. We served it w/ lemon-garlic grilled chicken. As Rachael would say, Yum-o!


A Good Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe

A good Red Velvet cupcake recipe is a must for every baker. I tried making them once last year and they turned out brown and dry. Obviously, I did not have a good Red Velvet cupcake recipe. Then I found this one. The cake is moist and a wonderful bright-red color. I topped them with a simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

Some things to note about this recipe:

1. It says it makes 24 cupcakes. That is a lie. It makes 1 million. I have them everywhere. I brought some to work. I sneak one in Jeff's lunch box every day. I even fed one to the crazy squirrel in the backyard. I don't have proof yet, but I think they are multiplying (the cupcakes, not the crazy squirrels). Next time I think I will fill the cups up a bit more.
2. Because of the amount it makes, I had to double the frosting recipe. I could have used even more. I like frosting.
3. I used an entire bottle of red food coloring. That was only 3 tablespoons...just half of what the recipe calls for. As you can tell from the picture, mine were very red.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons red food coloring
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla.
7. Add to the batter and beat well.
8. In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk.
9. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.
10. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well.
11. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
12. Divide the batter among the cupcake cups. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
13. Allow cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.

Soft Vanilla Buttercream Frosting1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
1. Beat butter at medium-high speed until creamy. 2. Sift powdered sugar into the mixer bowl (right on top of the beaten butter). Beat to combine. 3. Add the vanilla and the milk. Beat until combined.

Note: This makes a softer, less sweet buttercream that is good for swirling on but not for piping as it’s not stiff enough.
Happy baking!


Chicken Pesto Pizza

A few weeks ago we visited a new restaurant that opened in our neighborhood, Onesto. Jeff, being the wild and crazy guy he is, deviated from the usual pepperoni pizza and went for the Pesto in the House. It was deeelicious & we realized how simple it would be to make at home. So, here it is!

Fresh pesto (recipe is below)
Chicken, shredded (I like to use the rotisserie chicken you get at the grocery store)
Cheese (we used an Italian Blend of Romano, Mozzarella, and Parmesan)
Pizza dough (We used ready-made dough from Trader Joe's)
Toasted pine nuts

Roll out the dough according to directions. Spread pesto on the dough. You can be the judge of how much to use. I would say we used about 1/4 cup. You just want a thin, even layer. Sprinkle the shredded chicken on top and then sprinkle with cheese. Top off with a handful of the toasted pine nuts and cook according to the directions for the pizza dough.

Pesto Recipe

1 1/2 cups of firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 large garlic glove
1/8 t. of salt
1/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients with the olive oil added last. Process with a few on/off pulses until a puree forms. You can freeze any extra for up to one year and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

I also make a Weight Watchers version of this by using a whole wheat tortilla instead of dough and cooking it on the grill. Either way, it is a good and fast meal!


Mint Madness

This spring, Jeff and I added mint to our herb garden. Luckily, we were smart enough to plant it in its own container...apparently it's pretty invasive. We have more mint than we know what to do with.

I can drink only so many mojitos. However, I can eat a TON of Mojito Cupcakes. I got the Mojito Cupcake recipe from alpineberry.

Mojito Cupcakes
makes 18 regular cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
3/4 cup whole milk, hot
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
grated zest of 2 limes
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum (optional)

Preheat to 350F. Add mint leaves to hot milk. Let steep for 10-15 minutes. Pour milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Press liquid from mint leaves. Discard leaves and allow milk to cool slightly.Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in lime zest, vanilla and rum (if using).On very low speed, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk and ending with flour, mixing until just incorporated. Fill 18 standard muffin cups half full. Bake until cupcakes spring back when touched, 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely.

The icing recipe is from KimberleyC Baking:

1 stick of butter
1 pkg of cream cheese
4 cups of confectioners sugar
lime juice (Squeezed the lime twice)
Bacardi Rum 3 capfulls poured in
1/2 tsp of vanilla
Mixed with a hand mixer
Mint for garnish

I baked the cupcakes a day ahead of time. I think by the second day they were too dry. Maybe I baked them too long. Nothing a cold glass of milk didn't cure, though. Next time, I would bake them the same day I needed them.