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Recipe: Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding

20 Sep

Ingredients:

1.25 C bread cubes

1/2 C milk

1/4 C sugar

1 egg

1/3 C raspberries

1/4 C chocolate chips

Topping:

1 TB butter

1 TB brown or raw sugar

dash of vanilla extract

I used one of Paula Dean’s recipes for the basis of this one, but didn’t actually follow it to the letter. I’ve never made bread pudding before so I wanted to get an idea of the ratio of bread to egg to milk to sugar to use.

I love buying baguettes, but a consequence of that is that they always get too hard for me to use after a few days. To be honest, I usually end up throwing them away (which is really tragic considering I could have boatloads of homemade croutons by now) but this time I was motivated to make something of it. I had stale bread, chocolate chips, and some fresh raspberries that all needed using. Not to mention my 2 month blog absence (sorry…) and I knew I had something. I had…chocolate raspberry bread pudding, Dinner Love edition! Nomnomnom.

Cut your stale bread into little cubes. Put them into an oven-safe dish (I used my super-awesome vintage glasbake loaf pan) and set the oven for 350˚.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and sugar.

Pour over the bread cubes and stir to coat all of the bread bits in eggy sugar milk mix. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Add the raspberries and the chocolate chips and stir again.

In a separate bowl, melt the butter and mix in the raw/brown sugar and the vanilla. Pour all over the bread bits.

Bake the bread pudding in the oven on a middle rack for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm (or cold…but having had it both ways I’m going to say that warm is better).

This makes…a tiny amount of bread pudding. The entire recipe would serve one to two people (depending on how greedy you’re feeling). Of course, you can always play with the amounts and make as much or as little as you want. I love that it isn’t too sweet, and that is probably why I ate the whole damn thing. Yup. ALL OF IT. It was like french toast on crack. And who doesn’t love that?

❤ Stef

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Recipe: Peach Cobbler

26 Oct

When I was a child, I was enamored of the kitchen. I always used to ask my mother if I could help her cook dinner, and I was always very annoyed when she told me I could make the salad.

The salad? I would think.

A salad is not cooking. I wanted to use the stove to make something real. I wanted to do something, anything other than make that very boring salad.

So suffice to say that I starting cooking (for real) at a very young age – I made my first pie (chocolate cream) when I was ten. Maybe younger. So the other day (ok fine, the other MONTH), when I was rifling through my things at my parent’s house, I was absolutely delighted to find my old childhood cookbooks. I have three – The Boxcar Children’s Cookbook, Addy’s Cookbook, and Samantha’s Cookbook (the latter two are both American Girls cookbooks. Shush you in the back! Did you make apple brown betty when you were twelve? I thought not).

As a quick side note-I am very pleased to learn that the American Girl franchise is still creating new stories and new girls. I absolutely adored American Girl when I was growing up, and I collected all of the books about all of the girls available at the time. I think it is a fantastic way to introduce American history to pre-teens, and even more amazing that all of the stories are told from the viewpoint of the girls themselves. These stories sparked so much more interest in me for the time line of American history than any class ever did, and I just can’t speak highly enough of them.

Back to the food! Upon my re-discovery of these cookbooks, I decided it would be fun to do a series on recipes made from them. Since I am really nothing more than a child at heart, and besides, I’ve never found a better recipe for many of the items in these books. Hell, I still make milkshakes the way the Boxcar Children taught me.

This recipe is from Addy’s Cookbook.

Recipe:

Filling:

4 C sliced peaches (you can use frozen if you like)

2 TB flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 C sugar

Crust:

1 C flour, plus some extra for rolling out the dough

1 TB sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 TB butter

6 TB half and half

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

Slice the peaches.

Add the flour, cinnamon and sugar, mix together and spoon it into a greased baking pan or a skillet.

For the crust, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into small chunks and smush them into the flour mixture with a fork until you have pea-sized lumps. Add the half and half and stir until the ingredients are just moistened. Sprinkle some flour on a surface (like a cutting board), turn the dough out onto it, and knead the dough for about 30 seconds. To knead, push down on the dough and then fold it in half and repeat. Using a rolling pin, (or, if you don’t have one like me, any cylindrical object. I’m rather fond of wine bottles!) roll out the dough starting from the center and working your way out until it is 1/4″ thick.

Like this!

Like this!

Cut the dough into strips, or use a cookie cutter to make shapes. I went for strips because I don’t have cookie cutters. I know, you’re just thinking, “How does this woman survive in this world?! No rolling pin and NO COOKIE CUTTERS??” It’s hard. But I manage. During Christmas time I either make drop cookies or cookie strips. Better for dunking that way.

Lay the pieces over the fruit and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over it all.

Mmm, cinnamon-y.

Mmm, cinnamon-y.

Bake in a 425˚ oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

It should look something like this.

It should look something like this.

Ta da!

Cut and serve. You can serve with whipped cream or ice cream if that suits your fancy. I eat mine plain, for dessert and for breakfast. Because I’m an adult now, and I can do that. Hahahaha!!!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes with Pesto

18 Sep

Hello again! Did you miss me? I’ll bet you did. I’ve had a very hectic few weeks, starting my graduate program at Boston College and moving out of my old place and into the new. Although I am IN my new place I still don’t have any of my stuff, just the items I had the foresight to pack. (Like my Shun Santoku knife and hand-made wood cutting board.) (These are ESSENTIALS, people!)

This is a recipe I’ve had “on file” for awhile. It uses slightly overripe tomatoes, pesto and potatoes, and was my response to The Great Tomato Invasion of ’09.

This summer my kitchen was overrun with tomatoes. I typically try to eat summer tomatoes raw because they are so amazing, but this year I was getting tomatoes from my father’s garden as well as my CSA box and they were EVERYWHERE.

I should probably have prefaced this by saying that I do not put fresh tomatoes in the fridge because keeping them at such a low temperature can completely ruin their flavor.

So picture, if you may, a kitchen exploding with tomatoes. They rested in bowls on my kitchen table, cascaded onto the table itself, and occasionally hung out on my cutting board. I had red ones, yellow ones, purple ones. I couldn’t eat them fast enough, and a few unfortunate tomatoes began to. . .soften. In their new cushy state, they were unsuited for use in a salad. My dad likes to stick soft tomatoes in the freezer, for use later in pasta sauce, but my freezer space is limited.

I prefer to get creative.

Roasted Potato and Tomato with Pesto:

Use 1/2 C of pesto (my recipe is at https://dinnerlove.com/2009/07/17/recipe-basil-pesto-with-walnuts/)

1.5lbs (ish) of little creamer or red skin potatoes

2 medium to large tomatoes

olive oil

salt

pepper

balsamic

Cut the potatoes into quarters, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. During that time, make the pesto (for my recipe, with pictures and instructions, see https://dinnerlove.com/2009/07/17/recipe-basil-pesto-with-walnuts/) and cut the tomatoes into small sized wedges.

After the potatoes have baked for 30 minutes, add the tomato.

Then add the pesto and about 1 TB of balsamic and mix together.

Put back in the oven for another 30 minutes. Keep the heat at 400.

Serve!

I served this alongside a roast pork loin, and it they were AMAZING together. It also tastes fantastic fried with some eggs for breakfast!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Clafouti Cutie!

26 Jun

A clafouti is a French custard/cake-y dessert baked with fresh fruit. According Wikipedia (which is my handbook for life) the traditional fruit is cherries, though I decided to use plums because my mom has a tree and I am inundated with them. Santa rosa plums are taking over my LIFE!

This recipe is a bit like the ricotta cake I posted last week. It is certainly just as easy, but it has a different texture. It isn’t as cheesecake-y, more cake-y, plus it has all of that awesome fresh fruit. If you thought I was crazy calling ricotta cake breakfast material, you must accept that this clafouti definitely qualifies. It has fruit! FRUIT!

Oh, and as a side note, I’m visiting Boston for a few day this coming Monday and I would love food/sight/must see suggestions, if anyone’s got em!

Recipe adapted from Almost Vegetarian by Diana Shaw.

Ingredients:

1/2 C milk

1/2 C ricotta cheese

2 eggs

1/2 C sugar

1/2 C flour

1 tsp vanilla

2 C fresh fruit, your choice. Cherries, blueberries and plums are all great options!

Set oven to 425 degrees.

Mix together the milk, ricotta, eggs, sugar, flour, and vanilla using a blender, food processor or handy-dandy immersion blender. (Have a mentioned how much I love my new immersion blender? Because I LOVE IT!)

Chop up your chosen fruits.

Spread the fruit onto the bottom of a pie plate or vaguely pie plate-shaped baking tin.

Pour the custard-y batter on the top of the fruit.

Bake until puffy and delicious looking, 30 to 35 minutes.

You can eat the clafouti warm, but it is much, much easier to cut when it is completely cold.

Eat for dessert, breakfast, or snacktime. Especially snacktime.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Ricotta Cake

19 Jun

Original recipe by Mario Batali (I modified ingredients slightly).

I had no idea that ricotta cake existed, but apparently it does, because here it is! This was extremely easy to make. You basically just mix everything together and throw it into the oven. BAM! (Sorry, Emeril.)

You’re supposed to use a cake pan, but I used ramekins because they are more fun. These are excellent served with fresh fruit, either for dessert or (gasp!) breakfast. It’s got eggs and cheese. It’s totally breakfast material.

Please excuse my wonky measurements. I halved the recipe, and dividing 3/4 by 2 is more difficult than it looks.

Olive oil, for greasing the ramekins

1/2 C + 6 TB ricotta cheese

1/3 C sugar

zest of 1 orange

1.5 eggs, separated (this is the most annoying part.)

Combine the ricotta, sugar, orange zest and egg yolks.

Mix until combined. Add half of the egg whites to the mix and stir, then add the other half and stir.

Grease the ramekins (my batter fit into 3).

Divide the batter into the ramekins, and put in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, until the tops are light golden brown.

And that’s all!

Except for the eating part, of course. That is is best part of the whole baking experience!

Oh, yes, ricotta cake. You make me happy.

❤ Stef

How To: Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee

9 Jun

I started drinking coffee at age 12. I started with the Starbucks pre-mixed frappuccino beverages you get in the grocery store. Then I moved to the real Starbucks frappuccinos, mocha at first, then the coffee flavor. Soon the frappuchinos were too sweet, so I started ordering caramel macchiatos. I stayed steady on those for a good year or two, until my boyfriend introduced me to Peet’s. I started drinking a macchiato with caramel and two packets of sugar. Then I stopped putting in the sugar, and eventually moved on to lattes. I now drink drip coffee almost exclusively. I like it extremely strong and dark, with lots of cream and sugar. It has to be very dark coffee, though! Anything less, once the addition of cream and sugar, tastes weak to me.

My cafe of choice has also changed–I absolutely hate Starbucks. I can appreciate what they have done for the coffee business, and cafe culture, but their coffee is just terrible. Sorry Starbucks!

I was making my drip coffee with a regular machine, sometimes with a french press, until I first went to a coffee shop called Philz here in San Francisco.

Oh. My. Jesus.

Philz makes its coffee using drip cones exclusively. They also roast all of their own beans, and I have to tell you that one taste of that coffee and I was hooked. In my opinion, a ceramic drip cone creates coffee that is better than any espresso.

First, a few pointers.

1. Always grind your own beans. You can easily get a grinder for $10, probably less.

2. Use filtered water.

3. Use 3 TB of coffee to 8 oz of water.

4. Use beans that are dark and shiny in appearance. I don’t think there is anything particularly documented about this, but that is how I choose beans and my coffee is always awesome!

You will need:

A teapot.

Your mug of choice.

A ceramic coffee dripper (mine is from Beehouse).

Coffee filters.

Cream and sugar.

Coffee beans!

Set a pot of water to boil. You should boil 3 times the amount of water that you need. While you wait for the coffee to boil, grab a mug and put your desired amount of cream and sugar in it. Microwave it for about 30 – 45 seconds.

Grind your beans. For this style of brewing, the beans should be a medium grind, about the texture of coarse sand.

Put the ground beans into a coffee filter, and put it all in the cone.

Set the cone onto the mug.

Pour 8 oz of water into a measuring cup, preferably a glass pyrex one.

Pour just enough water onto the ground to allow them to expand, and stir the grounds. Then slowly add the rest of the water.

Stir the grounds gently as the coffee drips. You don’t have to stir consistently, just a few times to make sure the grounds and the water are mixed.

Stir your finished coffee, and enjoy!

I guarantee that this will be the best cup of coffee you have ever had! I should know; I’m obsessed!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Lemon Thyme Donuts

5 Jun

Today is National Doughnut Day, which is pretty awesome. Every year I find out about more semi-obscure holidays extolling the virtues of all kinds of foods. Examples: National Popcorn Day, National Pie Day, National Candied Orange Peel Day, and National Cherries Jubilee Day. You should go look around on that website. There is a celebration nearly everyday.

So in honor of today’s holiday, I decided to make some donuts. Makes sense, yes? Though I do wonder, how does one officially spell “donut”, anyway? I see it spelled “donut” and also “doughnut” and am very confused. Which is correct? Does it matter? Is one more popular than the other? It seems to simply vary from one shop to the next, without rhyme or reason. I’ve elected to use “donut” because there are fewer letters. Also, the Donut Wheel, the best donut shop ever, utilizes that spelling. I bow to them as the donut gurus.

Donuts with Lemon-Thyme Glaze

Donut recipe from Secret Donut Recipe; glaze modified from their vanilla glaze recipe.

Donuts:

1 C warm milk

1 pkg yeast

2 C flour

1/2 C warm mashed potato

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 C sugar

2 TB oil

Yes, this recipe uses potato. At first I thought that potato was a very strange ingredient, but I decided to give it a chance because I love potato bread so much. It was not a mistake. These donuts are amazing! Very easy to handle and results in a fluffy and moist donut. Give the potato a chance!

So first, what you will want to do is prepare the potato. Prick it all over with a fork, and put it in the microwave to cook. If your microwave has a baked potato setting, use that. Otherwise, microwave for a minute or two at a time and check it . The potato should be soft to the touch. Let the potato cool and warm the cup of milk. Add the yeast to the milk along with a pinch of sugar and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Cut the potato in half and scoop out the insides. Add the flour, sugar, and salt.

Mix together and add the milk and yeast, and 2 TB of oil. Mix with your hands (or using a stand mixer, but I don’t have one of those) until the dough forms a cohesive ball. The dough will be a little sticky.

Spread a surface with flour, turn the dough onto the surface and knead a few times.

Spread to 1/4 – 1/2″ thick. I did mine about 1/4″ using just my hands and a cylindrical rum bottle. I don’t have a rolling pin, either!

Cut donut shapes using either a donut cutter (which I also do not have) or circular household objects. I used a drinking glass for the large circle and a bud vase for the small circle. I’m resourceful!

Let the donuts rise for 10 minutes. While you wait, fill a cast iron pan 1/2″ with oil and heat. I heated mine at about medium heat for 10 minutes and the oil temperature was perfect. During this time, you should also make the glaze.

Lemon-Thyme Glaze

2 TB warm milk

1/2 tsp butter, just a little shave off of a stick

1 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Warm the milk and the butter. Add to the powdered sugar and mix. Add the lemon zest, vanilla, and thyme. Mix together. Feel fee to leave out the lemon and thyme if you would prefer a simple vanilla glaze.

Cook the donuts until golden brown on each side. This only takes a few minutes, so be sure to watch carefully.

Let cool on a plate lined with paper towels. When the donuts have cooled, dip them into the glaze to cover and put them on a plate to allow the glaze to set.

Look at that deep fried glaze-y shine. Perfection! And yes, they absolutely do taste as delicious as they look!

Now excuse me, I have a half dozen donuts to eat.

❤ Stef