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Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

This moist single layer cake is popular every time I make it.  It is simple to make, not too sweet and full of delicious raspberries.  The top has a nice sugary crunch that adds texture and makes for a lovely presentation.  This recipe comes from the now defunct Gourmet Magazine, of whom I miss dearly.  You can substitute any sweet juicy berry you like, the cake serves 6.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.  Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.  Or spray it really well with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

In a separate large bowl beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla.  Add egg and beat well.

At low-speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top.  Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2  tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and toothpick comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool in pan 10  minutes before removing to serving dish.  Do not cover until completely cooled.

Classic Cranberry Sauce

For the first time in 5 years I am not cooking Thanksgiving dinner!  I am responsible for the cranberries for my mom’s traditional early Thanksgiving celebration on Sunday though.  This is a recipe from Cooking Light and it was great.  The cinnamon, ginger and orange juice really make the cranberry sauce something special.  It smells great while its cooking and is very simple.  If you don’t want to squeeze your own orange juice just use it out of a carton.  But since you’re going to need the zest you may as well juice at least that orange so that you’re not wasting.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Classic Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • 1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low/medium and cook about 12 minutes until the cranberries pop.  Remove from heat and stir in zest.  Cool completely.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.  Makes about 3 cups.

This recipe is a great dish for a Meatless Monday or as a side dish.  I adapted it from The Gourmet Cookbook which has the rice topped with deep-fried onions.  Even though the thought of some onion rings sounded yummy, I don’t think this dish needs them.  On its own the lentils and rice make a hearty and healthy dish.  If I could figure out how to make saag paneer I think I could make my perfect vegetarian meal.  I might even become a once a week vegetarian on a regular basis.  Happy lentils!

Lentils and Curried Brown Rice

  • 1 cup lentils picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Combine lentils with cold well-salted water to cover by 2-inches in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook lentils at a bare simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain in a sieve and gently rinse under cold water.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add curry and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups water, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook uncovered for about 12 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more.  All the liquid should be absorbed.  Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.

Transfer rice to a bowl and fluff with a fork.  Add lentils and parsley and toss well.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Serves 6 as a side dish.

Don’t be afraid of the parsnip!  Think of the parsnip as carrot’s pale cousin.  Parsnips are not only tasty, but they are loaded with potassium and are a good source of dietary fiber.  They also add a lovely texture to pureed soups.  This soup combines parsnips and sweet potatoes for a savory and slightly sweet flavor.  I used chicken broth in mine, if using vegetable broth the soup may turn out slightly darker.  To make this a one pot meal add the optional chickpeas.  This goes great with fresh crusty bread.

Sweet Potato and Parsnip Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 leeks, including light green parts, finely chopped
  • 3 – 4 parsnips peeled and sliced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, about 1 pound total weight, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (for garnish)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil.  Add the leeks and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the parsnips, and potatoes and saute about 3 more minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stock.  Partially cover the pan and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 25 – 30 minutes.  Add the chickpeas if using and heat 3 minutes longer.  Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.

Puree soup in a blender or food processor or process with a handheld blender until smooth.  Return soup to pan and reheat gently.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with remaning parsley.  Makes 4-6 servings.

This stir fry is flavorful, colorful and simple.  Hoisin sauce can be found near the soy sauce at the grocery store, and is a great addition to many Asian inspired dishes.  If you are serving kids omit the the chili garlic sauce and add it at the table.
 
Chicken, Shiitake, and Broccoli Stir Fry
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 12 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced (or 3 – 4 large dried mushrooms)
  • 1 pound chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Florets from 1 crown of broccoli (about 3 cups)
  • 5 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chinese five spice powder

 If using dried mushrooms, place the mushrooms in a microwave safe bowl and cover with water. Microwave on high for 3 minutes and let mushrooms soak until ready to use. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat sesame oil in a wok or large saute pan.  Add ginger, mushrooms, broccoli and onion.  Stir fry 5 minutes.  Move the vegetables to the outside of the pan and add the chicken to the center. Cook stirring frequently for about 10 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through.  If you like a lot of sauce add some of the mushroom soaking liquid now.  Add hoisin, chili sauce and five spice.  Cook about 2 minutes more and remove from heat.  Serve with hot steamed white or brown rice.

Macaroni and Cheese

Homemade macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods.  Its is rich and cheesy and delicious.  It does take some time to prepare, but the preparation is relatively simple and well worth the time.  Served with a green salad or other vegetable it makes a complete meal.

Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded colby-jack or mozzarella cheese
  • Paprika (optional)

Cook macaroni according to package directions (be sure to add salt to water).  Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan or dutch oven over low heat: add flour, stirring until smooth.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.  This can take about 10 minutes.  Stir in salt and cheeses, stirring until cheese melts.

Stir cooked macaroni into sauce and pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.  Bake uncovered at 350° for 25 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe can be halved and baked in a 2-quart or 11 x 7-inch baking dish.

This quick salad is a great side dish for chicken or is great all by itself.  It’s fresh, light and satisfying.  Be sure to eat it the day its made or the next day because the yogurt separates and looks a tad unappealing. 

Cucumbers with Yogurt and Mint

  • 2/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups sliced peeled cucumber (about 3 medium)

Combine yogurt, mint, salt, cumin and pepper in a large bowl.  Add cucumber to yogurt mixture, and toss gently to coat.  Cover and chill one hour.  Makes about four one cup servings.