Cook the Book Fridays – Gazpacho with Herbed Goat Cheese Toasts

It doesn’t look like much, I know, but this really is a flavor explosion. Unfortunately we are out of fresh local tomatoes and used on the vine tomatoes imported from Texas, but I can only imagine how amazing this would be with fresh produce sun-warmed from the garden.

As you can see I put the whole darn thing through the Cuisinart. There is still a little chunk left to this that you could get a crunch of onion or cucumber. I eat salad on a regular basis and definitely wanted a different consistency than that. We had also gone down to Palm Beach last weekend and was fighting against the daylight for a picture, so I was trying to economize my time! Much as I always love to hone my knife skills (pun intended), it was just begging for the cuisinart. 

And those toasts. Oh how I love Goat Cheese. It is so tangy… the perfect counterpoint to the richness of the Gazpacho. I added dill to mine, but Basil would have been equally appropriate and delicious. 

I would definitely make this again, though I would shoot for when I could get local tomatoes. Still adjusting to the early seasonality of local produce here in Florida!

Posted in My Paris Kitchen | David Lebovitz, Soup | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Tuesdays With Dorie – Edouard’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Of all the things in the world to bake, Chocolate Chip Cookies have a swath of memories attached to them. Mom and I made these often (and I would always sneak bites of raw cookie dough when she wasn’t looking), and when I spent my summers dancing away at Boston Ballet, I was always sure to receive a care package with a few dozen cookies to share (or not). Of course I had to make these first when they came up on the list!

The great thing about these is that they can be put together with common pantry items. We had gone down to Palm Beach for the weekend to visit my sister in law’s family, and we went driving down to Boca in search of a french patisserie that turned out to be a total bust. I thought it would be super easy to just make these as a superior compensation (plus we got Shake Shack!). Then I don’t have to worry about having 50+ delicious cookies in my house to tempt me and the hubs at every turn throughout the week. 

My husband asked, “so what makes these different than normal chocolate chip cookies?” The cookies are made just a little more special with the addition of almond flour, in addition to all of your normal ingredients. The balance of sugars and leavenings makes a lovely cookie that doesn’t spread too much, and yet remains chewy on the inside. Of course these cookies are best when still barely warm from the oven! Let me tell you these didn’t last long. Once one was had, the family just couldn’t bear staying away!

These are definitely a keeper. I will definitely have to make these again! If you are interested in making these, you can find the recipe online here.

Posted in Baking, Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Tuesdays With Dorie – Esquimaux Pops for Grown-Ups

So yeah. Couldn’t get them out of the mold. The handles came right out of the mold. My husband tried running it under warn water, but then only half of one pop came out, just like Kara’s! We had to use a spoon to dig the rest out of the mold.

Don’t get me wrong… these are incredibly delicious (I used Chambord), and I opted to leave small chunks of chocolate, which is a fun contrast to the creamy silky-ness of this mousse. However, were I to do this again (and I probably will), I would make small ramekins of the mousse with a hard crack surface to mimic creme brulee. This recipe yielded 7 pops, but I would probably decrease the yield and make 4 slightly larger servings… when you scoop it out into a bowl there really isn’t that much in there. 

I am curious to see if anyone else had luck with these as pops…

Posted in Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Cook the Book Fridays – Cherry Tomato Crostini with Homemade Herbed Cheese

Before we go any further, I believe I owe you a certain picture of me making crêpes when I was a tween. It took me a minute to dig out the album, but here you go:

Observe the level of concentration! Yes I was wearing a mood ring! 

Anyway, I had stayed the night at my friend’s apartment in Manhattan, and her dad made crêpes for us. With Nutella! I had never been exposed to either before this point and I was sold. This must have been after our annual jaunt to Montauk because I would never have made them for my family without the Nutella, and I definitely remember insisting that mom take me to the specialty food shop in Montauk, while we were there, to procure a jar of it. I was exacting (and eccentric) even as a kid! Wheee! 

Incidentally it was about this time that I first saw the Galloping Gourmet on PBS (also while out in Montauk) and I was mezmerized. My mom humored me when I asked her to recreate, at home, the lemony chicken dish that he made on that show with only half of a scribbled recipe. There was no dvr in “those days”. 

This week’s challenge was the Cherry Tomato crostini:

I couldn’t find goat’s milk yogurt so I used grass-fed cow’s milk yogurt instead. I used shallots, garlic, sage, chives, and rosemary in my cheese, and I am just realizing that I totally forgot the basil on top. 

OMG though. Were these not transcendent? I don’t know what else to say except that these were a total mic drop. I will definitely make these again for company. Or maybe just for us. I think my mouth is watering just thinking back on this.

Posted in My Paris Kitchen | David Lebovitz, Sides | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Growing up, when I wasn’t in ballet class, Saturday and Sunday mornings were always family breakfast routines. My dad would go to the German bakery a few blocks down and buy a crumb cake or Berliners (jelly donuts) for us. Sometimes Dad would even drive to the densely German neighborhood of Glendale (where he grew up) for their crumb cake, or even for amazing bagels and bialys. When I was in ballet class and rehearsals I would often run next door to the specialty food market and get one of their delicious coffee cake muffins. Yum!

Ever since I left home, I have been on the lookout for an authentic German crumb cake, and I have tried many recipes. Sadly many of the old traditional German bakeries are gone. Now that I am a more experienced baker I realize that most recipes have it all wrong by using a cake base. I will speak more to that in a later post. This recipe, however, is something altogether different. A delicate vanilla (cake) base with a swirl of cinnamon and brown sugar streusel in the middle and a base of even more streusel hearkens back to those very rare Hostess coffee cake treats. 

Perfectly served with tea, or even as a part of your breakfast/brunch buffet, this Barefoot Contessa recipe is a classic. I have made it countless times and it always hits the spot with rave reviews every time. While it is not the crumb cake of my youth, it is in a class of its own as you consider most other coffee cake recipes. The addition of maple syrup glaze is trapped perfectly in the crevices of my Nordicware Rose Bundt pan, though if you use a regular tube pan you will serve this streusel side up and the glaze will sit elegantly atop. 

Find the recipe here, and let me know how you and your guests enjoy it. Unless by guests I mean you, alone, with a fork, in which case no judgement! 

Posted in Baking, Dessert | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesdays With Dorie – Philadelphia Blueberry Tart

When I was a kid my dad would often take me and my brother bike riding. Probably to give my mom some well-deserved time and space. We used to go riding on the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, which was originally built to connect the Gold Coast mansions on the North Shore of Long Island for all the party goers in the early part of the last century. With time, the toll road fell out of use, but became a way to link the major parks. So we used to start up at Alley Pond Park, and ride for miles. Along the way we would stop and pick wild raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. We would always promise to bring some home to make pancakes, but who can resist sun-warmed wild berries? They truly are the best. Later on we spent a few Labor day weekends at a family camp up in the Catskills, and there was always a blueberry picking expedition. It was always a treasure hunt for me!

Side note… I never ate PB&J sandwiches… outrightly refused. Ugh that texture. That taste. ::shudder:: Instead, my mother made me Philadelphia Cream cheese and Jelly sandwiches. 

You will notice I left off the corn. I hate everything about corn except if it is popped at the movie theater and you can personally add a gratuitous amount of butter-flavored oil to it (amirite??). 

I did quite like this tart, even if I have been craving cake for two weeks now. Loved the creamy base, which was the perfect foil for the delicate blueberries. The rosemary in the jam evokes the slightest woodsy-ness, which brings back the smell of the pine and evergreen on those crisp early morning blueberry hunts, with the crunch of dried leaves underfoot. And overall very simple assembly and process. I always roll out the dough, rather than press it out by hand so that there are scraps to snack on. I can’t be the only one. 

Posted in Baking Chez Moi | Dorie Greenspan, Dessert | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Cook the Book Fridays – Peach Crumble Tart

So yeah, not a single apricot to be had. Instead I used peaches, which turned out well enough. Of course, I didn’t get to make the apricot kernel ice cream either for obvious reasons. I was so looking forward to it, so I will have to be very diligent when apricot season rolls around next year… didn’t you need 50 kernels??

Anyway, when we make a new recipe, I often like to Google it to see if anyone else has made it, and what it looks like. I definitely eat with my eyes. I did find this recipe from David’s website which is pretty similar, but has marzipan in the crumble. Um, yes please. When I was little, my dad would buy my mom those pretty painted marzipan candies from the German bakery in our neighborhood, which, of course, she would never share with us kids. I don’t recall where I ever had my first taste, but it has always been a favorite of mine. Marzipan seems to be one of those flavors that seem to be part of my DNA… something you are born wanting to always eat.  Since we had no apricot kernel ice cream wanted to do something special. 

The tart was delicious… the crumble really made it special, and the peaches were good this time, despite travelling 3000 miles from California! I did find the fruit stand again but it was on the other side of the street as we were driving by, and my husband didn’t want to u-turn. Oh well. The subtle almond notes repeated themselves throughout, which I always do love. My only complaint is that, while I only barely baked my shell, it did come out a little over baked for my taste during the second bake with the fruit. I think I will choose to shorten the second bake the next time. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments