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Archive for June, 2012

Recently we made Pioneer Woman’s version of blackberry cobbler.  Not a “real” cobbler recipe involving a biscuit-like topping on fruit, the cake-like recipe was farther away from any actual cobbler we had baked or tasted.  But is was no less tasty.  In fact, we quite enjoyed the cake-like treat with dollops (and dollops) of whipped cream.  Moist, soft, and sweet, it was really something special.  So I thought, why not apple, my favorite fruit in desserts?

We lightened the original recipe here by using a mix of canola oil and applesauce and less sugar.  I found the original blackberry cobbler recipe a bit too sweet and I think the reduced sugar here allows the apples to shine through more.

Apple Applesauce Cobbler

1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 cup Milk (full-fat or reduced fat)
2 cups apples, cubed
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Cook apples in scant amount of canola oil over medium meat.  Add a pinch of salt. Cook until desired tenderness is achieved.  (We prefer them a bit on the crunchy side.)  Add in 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk.  Pour in the oil and applesauce and whisk until well incorporated. 
  3. Spray or butter a baking dish.
  4. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle apples over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle scant amount of sugar over the top, if desired.
  5. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly.

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Pumpkin French Toast

Ingredients

4 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups milk, plus more if needed or less if using honey (low fat is what we used; whole milk or mix of whole milk and cream would be a decadent option)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 slices day old bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick
4-5 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil (or half oil, half butter)

Ingredients

  1. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt in a large baking dish until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, ground spices, milk, vanilla and whisk until smooth.
  2. Put 4 slices of the bread in the custard mixture and let sit for 2 minutes. Carefully turn over the slices and let sit until the bread is completely soaked through, about 2 more minutes.
  3. While the bread is soaking, heat 2 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until the mixture begins to sizzle. Cook the 4 slices of the bread until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip over and continue cooking until the bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Remove to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Wipe out the pan with paper towels and repeat.

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There is comfort and decadence in this dish, in the same way lobster mac ‘n cheese offers comfort and decadence.  Being a family of rice lovers, this was bound to make an appearance on our dinner table.  Now if only I had thrown in some crispy bacon….

Basic recipe here, with leftover shrimp and lobster thrown in.

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Beef Rib Chili

I know, it’s summertime.  Not chili-time.  But we have “cold” nights in Northern California and, really, I could eat chili with a side of honey-drenched cornbread most evenings.  Certainly not the recipe you might expect to find at our place, which usually serves up lightened dishes with plenty of colorful vegetables and a dose of wheat or whole grain flour in anything baked.  But, hey, we own also gelato stores and european patisseries.  And we do all the R&D and taste-testing ourselves =)  This recipe is decadent, meaty, hearty, and flavorful.  Perfect comfort.

Beef Rib Chili, full recipe here  

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When I think of cobblers, I don’t think about sweet cake sprinkled with cooked, juicy fruit.  I prefer streusel and I prefer a thick, crunchy crust.  But Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond lured me in, as she often does.  Sweet and soft, with a crunchy, sugar-coated top, this is one of the quickest, easiest desserts to prepare.  FHE loved this, even without ice cream and whipped cream (he didn’t know we had either).  Personally, Rice Kernel and I prefer the typical cobbler, but this isn’t a bad last-minute option with 4 ingredients, 5 minutes of prep, and 30 minutes of cooking.  Warm and bubbling, it’s the perfect canvas for dollops of whipped cream. 

Cakey Blackberry Cobbler, from Pioneer Woman (my changes in parentheses)

Ingredients

1 stick Butter (I used 1/2 by accident; recipe said 1/2 stick and I interpreted that literally)
1-1/4 cup Sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 cup Whole Milk (I used 2%, what we have on hand)
2 cups Blackberries (frozen Or Fresh)

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a microwavable dish. Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well. Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. Butter a baking dish.
  2. Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.
  3. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly. If you desire, sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done.

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One of Rice Kernel’s favorite things is my mother-in-law’s strawberry kiwi sorbet, which is the inspiration for this simple fruit salad.

Strawberry Kiwi Salad

Ingredients
 
1 (16 ounce) container strawberries, quartered (about 3 cups)
5 medium kiwis, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks (about 2 1/2 cups)

Dressing:
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves

Directions

  1. Place all of the fruit into a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the honey, lime juice, zest, and mint. Right before serving, pour the dressing over the fruit and toss gently to combine.

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This one-dish rice gratin tosses a handful of ingredients together and transforms them into a warm, comforting complete meal.  Flecked with beautiful bits of spinach (or whatever greens you have on hand), the top bakes into a gooey, cheesy crust with crunchy sprinkles of toasted pine nuts.  I took a bite out of the corner to “test” the results and, next thing I knew, Rice Kernel and I each had a fork in our hand and a forkful of rice in our mouths!

Spinach Rice Gratin, adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups leftover/pre-cooked white or brown rice, room temp
1 1/2 cups cups well finely chopped spinach (or chard or kale, or a mixture)
4 ounces diced ham, crumbled sausage, or firm organic tofu, crumbled
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/3 cup pine nuts or almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup shredded cheese
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Grease a 10-inch round baking dish (or equivalent) with a bit of olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl combine the rice, spinach, and protein. Stir in the onions and pine nuts (reserving a few for garnish) and olive oil. Now stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, and salt. Fold the eggs into the rice mixture, pour into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the casserole is set. Garnish with remaining nuts.

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