Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

I had no intention of making this cake, but due to a little snafu while attempting to make a pumpkin roll, I had to change course.  What a lucky mistake!  This cake was fantastically moist with just the right amount of spice.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
Adapted from Whipped

1 c unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the bundt pan
2 1/4 c flour, plus extra for flouring the bundt pan
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 c pumpkin puree
1 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 c sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 c chocolate chips or chopped nuts (optional)

2 T butter
1 c powdered sugar
2 T milk

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter and flour bundt pan.
2) In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla.
4) In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy (3-5 minutes).
5) Beat in eggs, one at a time.
6) Alternately mix in flour and pumpkin mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, until just combined.
7) Stir in chocolate chips or nuts, if using.
8) Pour batter into prepared pan; bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
9) Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes before inverting to a wire rack.
10) To make glaze, melt butter in a small saucepan.
11) Whisk in powdered sugar; add milk and whisk until smooth.
12) Drizzle over cake.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Buttermilk Zucchini Bread

This zucchini bread turned out to be a nice surprise.  It looked beautiful coming out of the oven, and it tastes great too.  The flavors are very subtle -- a little bit of sweet, a little bit of lemon -- but no single flavor smacks you in the face.

Buttermilk Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Miri Leigh

6 T butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c shredded zucchini
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp lemon zest

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.
2) Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
3) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
4) Mix in zucchini, buttermilk and vanilla.
5) In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and lemon zest.
6) Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in 3 batches; mix only enough to fully incorporate.
7) Pour batter into prepared loaf pan; bake for 55 - 60 minutes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Peach Pie

This is my favorite way to eat peaches!  You may need to adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness (or lack thereof) of your peaches.

Peach Pie
Adapted from James Beard's American Cookery

5-6 c sliced peaches (about 5-6 peaches)
1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 T lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
2 T butter, diced
double crust pie dough

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2) Combine peaches, sugar, salt, lemon juice and cinnamon in a bowl.
3) Roll out bottom crust; place in 9 inch pie pan.
4) Pour peach filling into pie pan; dot with diced butter.
5) Roll out top crust; lay over filling.
6) Trim and crimp the edges; cut slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.
7) Bake for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 25 - 30 minutes.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bolognese Sauce

This is a really flavorful thick, meaty sauce.  A friend's mother originally adapted it from a Dear Heloise column; we've made a few additional tweaks.  As with most tomato sauces, you can use whatever tomato products you have on hand.

Bolognese Sauce

2 T olive oil
1 c chopped onions
4 strips bacon, finely chopped
1 lb ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp dried parsley (or 3 T chopped fresh parsley)
28 oz San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
6 oz tomato paste
2 small carrots, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
2 T finely chopped basil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning
smoked paprika, to taste

1) Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
2) Add onion; saute for 2-3 minutes.
3) Add bacon; saute until about halfway done.
4) Add ground beef; saute until all meat is browned.
5) Add garlic and parsley.
6) In a separate sauce pan, combine remaining ingredients.
7) Add beef mixture to the sauce; simmer for at least an hour.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sour Cherry Pie

We came back from vacation with a 10-lb bucket of frozen sour cherries.  What was I to do but immediately make a pie?  This recipe turned out great...full of cherries and not too sweet.  As I couldn't taste either the vanilla or almond extracts, I'm not sure if I would bother with them next time.  It wasn't the prettiest pie I've ever made, but that's what happens when it's 80+ degrees in the kitchen.

Sour Cherry Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine

2 lbs pitted cherries (about 4 c)
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
double crust pie dough
2 T butter, diced

1) Combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and almond extracts in a bowl; set aside.
2) Roll out bottom crust; transfer to 9" pie plate.
3) Fill pie with cherry mixture; dot with butter pieces.
4) Roll out top crust; drape over cherry mixture.
5) Trim edges and flute decoratively.
6) With a sharp knife, slice several steam vents in top of crust.
7) Place pie in refrigerator while oven preheats to 425 degrees.
8) Bake for 15 mins; reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional hour.
9) If necessary, cover edges of pie with foil to prevent over-browning.

Buttery Flaky Pie Crust

This recipe makes enough dough for a double crust pie (or 2 single crust pies).  The trick is to keep all of the ingredients and the utensils as cold as possible, especially when you are working in a warm kitchen.  I like to put the mixing bowl and pastry cutter in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before I start. 

Buttery Flaky Pie Crust
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 T sugar (optional)
1 c (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
3/4 c ice water, divided

1) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and sugar.
2) Dice butter and sprinkle over flour mixture.
3) Using a pastry blender, cut butter into the flour mixture until butter pieces are the size of small peas.
4) Sprinkle 1/2 c ice water over mixture; use spatula or your hands to mix.
5) Add up to 1/4 c more water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough just comes together; gently knead into large mound.
6) Divide dough into 2 pieces; wrap each piece in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least one hour.