Every time the seasons change, there is a corresponding but subconscious shift in my cooking and baking. For instance, winter is marked by stews, soups, and casseroles, the summer by barbecues, mixed drinks, and cupcakes, and fall anything with pumpkin, apples, and cinnamon. Spring is harder to pin down, but I do like brighter and more colorful foods as the weather warms up. This grapefruit pound cake fits that description— it's super tasty (think tart and sweet) but also very light and refreshing.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
3 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon grated grapefruit zest from approximately one large grapefruit
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla.
3. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the oil into the batter, making sure it’s incorporated.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
5. Cook the 1/3 cup grapefruit juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
6. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Carefully place on a baking rack over a pan and place cake on top of it. While the cake is still warm, pour the grapefruit-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
7. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and grapefruit juice. Spread over the cake and allow to dry.
I made this cake for one reason and one reason alone: a few lingering bags of frozen cranberries were just begging to be used. My thought-process for the recipe was pretty simple. What to pair with the tart fruit? A sugary sweet crumble! And what would make the cake more texturally interesting? Almonds! The result was an incredibly moist, deeply flavorful cake (you can thank cinnamon, ground cloves, and almond extract for that). The treat won't last more than a few days in your kitchen–consider yourself warned.
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1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
a pinch of salt
¼ cup blanched slivered almonds, lightly toasted and chopped
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
½ cup blanched almonds, lightly toasted and chopped
1 ½ cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly toast almonds on an un-greased cookie sheet until golden, stirring once, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. In small bowl combine topping ingredients, blending with fork until crumbly. Set aside.
2. Sift 1 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt into a bowl. Stir in cranberries and almonds.
3. In a medium bowl, beat together egg, 3/4 cup sugar, and oil. Add milk and vanilla.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet (do not over-mix).
5. Pour batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square or 9-inch layer-cake pan. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over batter.
6. Bake at 375° for about 40 minutes or until cake tests done. Partially cool in pan on wire rack and slice.
I'm always looking for easy but impressive side dish and appetizer recipes. These stuffed mushrooms are definitely a crowd-pleaser. I've tried filling mushrooms with all sorts of flavor combinations but this is by far my favorite. The stuffing is both easy to throw together and complex, with moist breadcrumbs, plump clam meat, and flavorful herbs and cheeses. Make sure you cover the tray properly–the key to cooking this dish is to let everything steam for its long bake-time.
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12 fresh mushrooms, stemmed and washed
2 6-ounce cans clams, drained and finely minced
1/2 cup of clam juice, reserved from can
2 green onions, finely minced
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup breadcrumbs
1.5 teaspoons oregano leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon finely grated romano cheese
4 tablespoons finely grated mozzarella cheese, for stuffing
1/2 cup finely grated mozzarella cheese, for garnish
1/2 cup olive oil
fresh parsley, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a small baking dish.
2. Combine clams, onions, garlic powder, minced garlic, oil and oregano in a bowl and mix well. Add bread crumbs, egg, and clam juice,mixing well. Add Parmesan, Romano, and Mozzarella cheeses.
4. Place approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of the clam stuffing mixture inside mushroom cavity and slightly mound.
5. Place the stuffed mushrooms in the baking dish and pour 1/4 olive oil over their tops. Cover and bake for about 40 minutes.
6. Remove cover; sprinkle with 1/4 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese and return to the oven to melt the cheese.
7. Remove from oven. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve hot.
I like many different kinds of desserts but when one doesn't list chocolate among its ingredients I can't help but feel a bit let down. This holds doubly–okay even more than that–true on Valentine's Day, which is why I made a batch of these brownie/blondie hybrids for tomorrow. I of course reach for the more chocolatey of the two, but I'm overall memorized by the sweet neatness of their cut-out black and white hearts. In an (appropriate) effort to be healthy for our actual tickers, both recipes use olive oil instead of butter–but don't worry, they're still decadently rich (you can trust me, I'm an expert).
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4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 pan. In a large bowl, combine melted chocolate and olive oil. Whisk in eggs, sugars and vanilla until combined.
2. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.
3. Spread in prepared pan. Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 1″ away from the edge comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butterscotch chips (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk oil and sugars until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla.
2. Add flour and salt; mix just until moistened (do not overmix). Fold in chips if using. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top.
3. Bake until top is golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack, and let cool completely before cutting into squares.
Using a heart shape cookie cutter to remove center of squares. Reassemble, reversing colors.
I always find it interesting how people define comfort food in such different ways. The list of entrees and desserts that make feel happy is quite long, although it's safe to say anything with cheese and tomato sauce will jump to the top pretty quickly. Eggplant lasagna is one of those dishes that takes time to make but is worth the work the second you bite into your first flavorful fork-full. In a (somewhat) futile attempt to lighten what can feel like an indulgent meal, I bake the eggplant slices rather than fry them and use part-skim cheese wherever I can. Don't worry, you can't taste the difference–but you may feel a little less guilty about reaching for that second slice.
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 head minced garlic
2 28-ounce cans of peeled tomatoes with puree
1 can of puree
1 can of tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
For the filling,
2 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta cheese, drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
4 3/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 head minced garlic
3 tablespoons dried parsley
2 large eggs
pepper, to taste
6 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise 3/4-inch thick, salted and drained in a colander for about 1 hour
1. For the sauce: Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until softened. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Cool.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange sliced eggplant in a single layer on sheet pans. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the eggplant until soft and golden, about 25 minutes.
2. Lower oven to 350°F. Combine ricotta, garlic, and cheese in medium bowl. Season to taste with pepper. Mix in eggs and parsley.
3. Spread half of the sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Lay slices of eggplant to cover followed by the ricotta mixture and additional sauce. Repeat, finishing with marinara sauce. Top with remaining Parmesan.
4. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake lasagna 40 minutes; uncover and continue to bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before slicing to serve.
I always make picking food for the Super Bowl, whether we're having a large party or a smallish get-together. Nothing is a bigger crowd-pleaser than pigs in a blanket–old and young alike love the mini hotdog/bun treat. I'm not going to lie, the few times I ever crafted the appetizer I used store-bought, tube-popping crescent roll pastry and after I read the long (and not so yummy) ingredient list, I avoided snacking on the finished product. Then I discovered this dough. Easy to make and so much more tasty, these cocktail franks are more addictive than ever.
What do you think? Which team are you rooting for during Sunday's game? And what will you be eating while you watch?
2 1/4 tablespoons canola oil
¾ cup milk
1½ tablespoons sugar
3½ cups unbleached flour
1½ teaspoons instant yeast
1½ teaspoons salt
2 packages of mini hot dogs
2 tablespoons milk
1. Heat oil and milk in small saucepan over medium heat until just warm. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
2. Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs.
3. Mix flour, salt, and yeast in bowl. Slowly add milk mixture. Mix until dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic, kneading in extra flour if dough is too sticky. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface and knead to form smooth, round ball.
4. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 1-1½ hours.
5. Line baking pan with parchment paper or grease. Roll dough in one direction until dough is ¼-inch thick. Trim to size and place 1 hot dog near a short end, then tightly roll, keeping the tips of the hot dog exposed. Place seam side down on pan. Repeat with remaining dough and hot dogs.
6. Cover and let rise until dough is slightly inflated, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush dough with milk. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
It's hard to imagine improving apple pie, but somehow topping the treat with sweet crumbs does just that. It's funny to think that I used to be overwhelmed by the idea of baking a pie from scratch–homemade crust? cutting the fruit to the perfect size? a super-long bake-time?–but to be honest this is now one of the easiest desserts I make. Don't skimp on the spices (I've put in much more than I've written here and the results always have been spectacular). So what's the most difficult thing about this dessert? Deciding whether or not to pair a finished slice with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or both.
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2-2/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup canola oil
6 tablespoons skim milk
1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Put the oil in a measuring cup then add the milk without stirring. Pour mixture into the flour and mix briefly. Do not refrigerate.
3. Flatten dough by rolling on floured surface or between two sheets of wax paper (the crust is easily repairable). Place in pan.
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 tablespoons canola oil
1. Mix oil into dry ingredients until well blended. Set aside.
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 pound(s) Granny Smith and/or Braeburn apples, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large bowl, combine sugar with cornstarch and spices. Add apples and lemon juice and toss to coat evenly.
2. Spoon apple mixture into prepared crust. Fold overhang up over the pie-plate's rim and pinch to form a decorative edge. Top evenly with crumb mixture.
3. Bake pie 1 hour 10 minutes or until apples are tender when pierced with knife (to prevent burning, cover pie loosely with tented foil after 40 minutes). Cool pie on rack 3 hours to serve warm, or refrigerate to serve cold later.