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Lemon,Lime Campari Sorbet Float

Lemon,Lime Campari Sorbet

It has been really hot in NYC, too hot to cook. My thoughts have turned to cold drinks and one of my favorite light on the alcohol summer drinks is Campari and soda. Campari is a liquor made from herbs and fruits and is widely used as an apertif in Europe. I was first introduced to Campari when I lived in Italy and every time I take a sip it takes me back there, sipping the cold, slightly bitter drink in a cafe in Naples, well actually I drank them while traveling  the entire coast of Italy. A Campari and soda is usually served with a slice of lime, so I took that lovely combination of flavors and made a sorbet. It’s makes a wonderful float or can be eaten on it’s own. The sorbet, because it contains alcohol takes a little longer to freeze than a regular fruit sorbet so be patient. The first time I made this the scoop of sorbet sunk to the bottom of the glass, to solve this problem I found that by whipping the sorbet at intervals while it’s freezing produces a scoop that floats beautifully in your glass. You can of course skip that step it’s totally optional.

Serves 4

1 1/4 cup Juice from freshly sqeezed lemons and limes you can decide the ratio as long as it equals 1 1/4 cups I used 4 limes 3 lemons

1 cup  water

1 1/2 cup super fine sugar

1/2 cup  Campari

Very cold seltzer, club soda or sparkling water

  1. Combine the juice of the lemons and limes, super fine sugar, water and campari mix until the sugar is disolved. Place in the refrigerator to chill, should be very cold. Pour into your ice cream maker and churn away.When the sorbet is thick and the consitency of a slurpee pour into a freezer container. Its best to freeze over night or until it is scoopable. (See step 3 for optional method) Chill your seltzer, club soda or sparkling water make sure its very cold.
  2. Get a tall glass put two scoops of the sorbet in each glass and fill with the ice cold sparkling water, club soda or seltzer. Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime and a sprig of mint. Enjoy!
  3. This step is optional: If you want your scoop of sorbet to float you have to whip it. Here is what you do: After taking out of the ice cream machine put in the freezer for 1 1/2 hours take it out and whip it with your electric mixer right in the container you are freezing it in. Beat for one minute it will get slushy thats ok. Put it back in the freezer for another 2 hours then take it out and whip it again for another minute return to the freezer and let it freeze. Because it has alcohol in it it takes longer to freeze to a scoopable consistency. If you don’t care if your sorbet sinks to the bottom of the glass omit this step.
  4. I purposely made the sorbet very intense so when added to soda water you an really taste the flavors. If you want to make the sorbet less intense simply decrease the lemon/lime and add water equal to what you took from the citrus.

Voting Has Started!! Integrale Gauntlet- Mediterranean Seafood Risotto With Gremolata

Mediterranean Seafood Risotto With Gremolata

I created this recipe for a contest from Marx Foods, the challenge involved using their Italian Organic Integrale Rice in an original recipe for a savory risotto.  I wanted to do something a bit different, I love Mediterranean flavors and thought of Bouillabaise or fish stew with the delicious broth laden with a variety of vegetables and seafood, herbs and spice. The Integrale rice is different from any risotto rice I have ever used. It’s a whole grain brown rice which adds a whole new dimension to the dish. The risotto is made with the seafood broth, for added creaminess along with the butter I added mascarpone and parmigiano reggiano, The risotto is topped with a gremolata (parsley, garlic and lemon) and I served with assorted seafood that I cooked in the broth that I didn’t use for the risotto. To vote for this recipe click on this link Integrale Gauntlet . There are a number of recipes and the top 10 bloggers will proceed to the second round which is a sweet risotto dish. I am psyched!!

Serves 4-6

Stock

5 cups fish stock

1 cup clam juice

1 1/2 cup white wine

1 cup water

1 yellow or white onion peeled and sliced

1 shallot peeled and sliced

2 scallion the white and light green parts chopped

2 cups yellow or red cherry tomatoes cut in half

2 large cloves garlic peeled and sliced

1 tbs fresh thyme removed from stem and rough chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp saffron threads

olive oil (to saute the vegetables)

Risotto:

1 1/2 cups Integrale rice

1 shallot peeled and chopped

6 -6 1/2 cups hot seafood broth

olive oil to coat skillet

2 tbs butter

2 tbs mascarpone

1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

Gremolata:

1 head Italian flat leaf parsley cleaned and stems removed and air dried

zest of 1 large lemon

1  clove garlic

Directions:

In Dutch oven add some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and heat on med/high until hot. Add the onion, shallot ,garlic, thyme and green onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook until they start to soften,now add the fish stock, clam juice, saffron and wine and turn heat to high, bring to a boil then reduce to med/high and let cook for 30 minutes. Turn heat to low so the stock simmers. Scoop out the vegetables so you have only the broth remaining. Season with salt and pepper.

While the broth is cooking make the gremolata, you can either chop by hand or use food processor. If using processor add the parsley, lemon zest and garlic and pulse until it is combined. Place in covered container and refrigerate until you are ready to serve the risotto.

In 12 or 13 inch saute pan coat bottom of pan with some olive oil and heat on med/high. Add the shallot and saute until soft, add the rice and stir constantly coating each grain with the oil and shallot, saute for 1 to 2 minutes, touch the rice with your hand it should be hot to the touch. Make sure you have your pot of simmering broth next to you, add one cup of the broth when it is absorbed add one more cup of the hot broth, stir constantly and when the rice has absorbed the liquid add another cup of broth, continue doing this until the rice is cooked through and creamy, at this point add the 2 tbs of butter, grated cheese and the mascarpone the rice should not be dry but  creamy (like heavy cream). It took about 35 minutes to cook the risotto. Adjust seasoning. To serve spoon onto plate and top with gremolata.

Serving Suggestion: With remaining broth add some mussels, scallops and firm fish filets (I used halibut) or whatever kind of seafood you like and serve with the risotto.


Featured Recipe:Vegan Chocolate Cake And Almond Joy Ice Cream (Vegan)

Vegan Chocolate Cake

I have never really attempted vegan baking before, flourless chocolate cake, yes, but never egg or dairy free. I saw this recipe on a wonderful website Go Bake Yourself, Choc Chip Uru, a very talented  young Australian cook and blogger participated in a Virtual Vegan Potluck and adapted this recipe making a few minor changes. Uru provided a link to another beautiful blog Not Quite Nigella also from Australia.The author is Lorraine Elliott, who by the way has a cookbook coming out this year.  I was really impressed with the beauty of her website, she is an amazing photographer and her posts are engrossing and beautifully written, and of course her recipes are amazing. I had to make this dessert, and I was thrilled that a vegan friend of mine happened to be coming over for dinner. I followed her recipe making only one minor change, instead of adding water I used coconut milk. I am in love with this cake, if I didn’t tell you it’s vegan you would never know. The cake is tender, rises beautifully, has a gorgeous crumb. Instead of making a cake I used my mini bundt pan and made individual bundt cakes. Thank you Lorraine for such a great recipe and also to Choc Chip Uru for introducing me to her website through your wonderful blog.

I also wanted to serve ice cream with the cake and again had never made a vegan ice cream, sorbet yes, but never dairy free ice cream. I used coconut milk both canned and Silk brand in a carton, I added toasted coconut, brown sugar and a generous chocolate swirl. When I tasted it, I was reminded of an Almond Joy candy bar, so thats what I called this ice cream. Since there are no eggs involved I used the method Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream uses, making a pudding, using  cornstarch as a thickener for the coconut milk. It’s genius and absolutely amazing ice cream.

The dessert was a huge hit, so I asked if I could post the recipe for this amazing cake and Lorraine generously gave me permission. Please visit both websites. These Aussie girls really have wonderful blogs and fantastic recipes.

Chocolately Rich Vegan Chocolate Cake (Egg & Dairy Free)

An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella

  • 1.5 cups plain or all purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa, sifted
  • 1.5 teaspoons bi carbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup mild flavoured vegetable oil (eg. canola oil)
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 75g/2.5oz dark chocolate (dairy free) finely chopped
Chocolate syrup or icing
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup icing or confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 100g/3.5ozs dark chocolate, roughly chopped

1. Line a 20cm round baking tin with parchment and preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. In a jug mix the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate and then pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

2. While it is baking, prepare the syrup. Heat the water, icing or confectioners sugar and cocoa until boiling and syrup – this may take a few minutes but you do want this syrupy. When thick add the chocolate and then whisk to remove any lumps and melt the chocolate.

3. When the cake is ready, take out of the oven and leaving it in the tin, poke tiny holes with a skewer. While it is still warm, gently pour the syrup over the cake and allow to cool completely before taking it out of the tin. Alternatively, if you allow this to cool and partially set, it takes on the consistency of icing and you can spread it out over the top which is what I did (who knew that inattentiveness would pay off?

Almond Joy Vegan Ice Cream

Almond Joy Ice Cream
1 can full fat unsweetened coconut milk (13.5 oz)
2 cup Coconut milk (I used Silk all natural in a carton)
1/2 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbs corn syrup
1/2 cup toasted coconut
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
Chocolate Swirl
4 oz dark chocolate chopped
1/4 cup coconut milk
3 tbs corn syrup
Preheat oven to 325, spread coconut on half sheet pan and toast in the oven until the coconut is lightly browned. Move the coconut around occasionally so that it browns evenly. This should take about 15 minutes.
To medium size saucepan add the coconut milk, sugar and cornstarch, whisk until smooth and cook over med/high heat until mixture thickens, it will coat the back of a spoon, swipe your finger making a line that will remain intact, it will be slightly thick. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and toasted coconut. Pour into a heat proof container, let it come to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight is preferable.
When you are ready to process in your ice cream maker stir in 3 tbs of corn syrup, this will help it to be a bit softer so it’s easy to scoop. (You can also add 2 tbs vodka this also helps it not to be hard when frozen, I added both the corn syrup and vodka) Add to your ice cream maker following manufacturers instructions. Just before ice cream is ready add the chopped nuts.  Remove to freezer container when it’s the consistency of soft serve ice cream.
While ice cream is churning make the chocolate swirl, heat the coconut milk in microwave for 50 seconds, add the chopped chocolate, let sit for a minute or two until chocolate is soft,(if the chocolate is not completely melted put back in microwave for 10 seconds)  stir in the corn syrup and stir until its smooth and silky.
To make the chocolate swirl, drizzle some of the cooled chocolate mixture on top of the ice cream and using a butter knife swirl it around, you can do this adding chocolate until you are satisfied with the amount of chocolate swirled into it.
Place in freezer for several hours until it reaches a scoopable consistency.

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup With Wilted Radish Greens And Bacon

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup

The contest on Food52 is all about radishes and turnips. Honestly, I am not a lover of either but if I had to pick I guess turnips would be my choice. I do however love greens, turnip or radish they are delicious and anything is better with bacon, right? This soup is silky and creamy and can be eaten warm/hot or chilled. The wilted radish greens and bacon are delicious with the soup. I made this with young spring leeks and turnips and only added a little cream to smooth out the bite from the turnips. I am so pleased at how wonderfully this soup came out and it literally takes less than an hour to prepare. With the weather turning warmer I’m sure soup is not high on the priority list, I had it slightly chilled last night for dinner and it was wonderful.

The Soup

3 cups spring turnips cut in quarters

3 young leeks cleaned very well and sliced

4 cups broth (I used chicken but vegetable broth would also be good)

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

Clean and slice your leeks, I like to clean, trim and chop into rounds and add to a large amount of clean water. The grit goes to the bottom, then I scoop them out and rinse again. Let them air dry while you prep the turnips. Peel, rinse and chop the turnips into quarters.

Heat only enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a heavy large saucepan, add the dried leeks and cook only until softened. Add the turnips and cook for a short time you don’t want them to brown only to start to soften, I cooked on medium/high heat, Add the stock, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the turnips are very soft.

You may not need all of the liquid depending on how thick you like your soup, so drain the turnips and leeks and process in blender until very smooth, Pour into a bowl and add back the stock until it reaches the consistency you like. Now add the heavy cream. Adjust seasoning. Stir and set aside while you make the topping. If you are serving the soup warm pour back in the saucepan and keep on very low flame.

Greens and Bacon

4-6 slices bacon (I like maple cured)

the leaves from a head of radishes

Remove the greens from the radishes and clean very well to remove any grit, Lay on paper towel to dry.

Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from pan and lay on paper towel, add the dried radish greens and saute only until wilted, Remove to paper towel. Ladle soup into bowls lay some of the wilted greens and crumble some of the bacon on top.

Palm Plates- A Review for Marx Food

Large square plate

I volunteered to review Marx Foods Eco Friendly Palm Plates for them. I received my plates and am very excited to give them a try. They are very attractive, rustic looking plates, here is the write up on Marx Food website:

These environmentally friendly square palm plates are made from a natural, renewable, and biodegradable raw material. Naturally discarded sheaths of the leaves of the Adaka palm tree are collected, which in the course of its biological life cycle, dry, fall and regenerate. No trees are cut down. The palm sheaths are then cleaned in fresh spring water and molded into shapes (read How Palm Plates are Made for more info).

Palm leaf plates are durable and leak proof, able to withstand hot and cold temperatures without getting soggy or flimsy. They are tough enough that you can cut steaks on them, standing up to both the serrated blade and the pressure required to cut the meat.

Even though these are disposable plates, each durable piece is unique with an attractive wood pattern finish that fits into both rustic and elegant events.

Test #1- Durability

The plates feel sturdy, are very attractive and my initial reaction is that these are more than a step above your usual disposable plates. So I am going to really put them to the test and heap some serious useage on them.

I received two sizes the large square plate and the smaller square salad plate. I received the package as I was preparing dinner for my dogs, I do cook for my dogs!! Izzy eats beef so the first test was on the small salad plate, Instead of using a cutting board to cut her meat I decided to use the Palm Plate, I heaped the beef on the plate juice and all and cut it with my very sharp serrated knife. We have all, I’m sure been in a situation at a BBQ or outdoor event when we have meat on a disposable plate and it can be challenging (a nightmare really) to cut on flimsy plates. If you use a palm plate the nightmare or challenge is a thing of the past. I cut beef and it held up beautifully. The plate, came through with flying colors, not a nick or scratch, no leaking. I love it! But i didn’t stop at that, I left some meat in the juices sitting on the plate and cut again a little later, the plate remained hard and again no leaks.

Meat cut on Palm Plate

I was determined to really test the durability of this plate, truth be told I was already very impressed. I decided to give it another test, I microwaved some vegetables on the plate on high for 35 seconds. The plate came through really pretty well, it warped ever so slightly but was still hard and strong, I then mashed the vegetables on the plate and it came through the abuse with flying colors.

Mashed peas

Not stopping there, I washed the plate with soap and water, rinsed well and proceeded to cut a mango on the same plate. Again, no leaks, sturdy as ever. Imagine at your next BBQ or outdoor party and your guests are able to comfortably eat, cut and re-use their plates. It’s good for you and the environment.

Cut mango

Test #2- Strength

Now let’s see how strong this plate is, can it hold up to that all you can eat, heavy food that is piled high on your plate. I have a cantaloupe weighing just over 4 pounds, so I thought it would be fun to see if that heavy melon would break the plate so to speak.

My big cantaloupe

I placed the melon on the large square plate and lifted it, I was a little worried about this test that melon was heavy,there was no sagging, it felt secure. You won’t have to worry about your plate collapsing even if its loaded with food.

The plate doesn’t even sag

I gave the used plates to my friend who has a compost bin, the jury is still out about the bio-degradeable quality of the plate.

General Overview:

Palm Plates are strong, attractive, eco-friendly.

Would I buy them? Most definitely, I love that I am using a product that is good for the environment and high quality. I would recommend these without hesitation.

Featured Recipe-South-Of-The-Border Chocolate Cookies

Don’t these look good!! Photo by hardlikearmour

Today’s featured recipe is from Sara, her cooks name on Food52 is hardlikearmour. She is a Veterinarian, experienced and prize winning cook and a cake decorator, her cakes are amazingly beautiful and professionally done. Her recipes are approachable, comforting and so very delicious. This recipe for her soft, spicy chocolate cookie is just one of her 110 recipes on Food52. She has been a finalist and/or won prize after prize on both Food52 and Whole Foods. Her Pear and Rosemary Danish is unbelievably delicious and won the contest for Best Recipe for Pears on Food52. Her prize winning recipe for State Fair Cream Puffs is so wonderful, you will think you have died and gone to heaven and the Bourbon Chocolate Whipped Cream filling is truly heavenly. It’s not just sweets that Sara specializes in, her savory dishes and drinks are amazing also, try her incredibly complex and delicious Chili El Pastor one bite and you will understand that she is a master at blending and balancing spices. I am also including my favorite summer drink that she developed. I triple the recipe every time I make it, Sara’s Lime in the Coconut Float is made with a delicious lemongrass and Lime simple syrup. The simple syrup makes an outstanding drink when added to seltzer or make the float, either way it’s absolutely delicious. Please visit Food52 and peruse her recipes, you will want to make each and every one, they are all so good you will have a hard time deciding which to make first and many of her recipes I make over and over, they are just that good.

Makes 40 to 50 cookies

1 ¾ cups sugar (12.25 oz)

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature

2 large eggs,room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups all-purpose flour (10 oz)

1 cup dutched cocoa powder (3.25 oz)

1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder

2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon cayenne – see cook’s note at end of recipe

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ cup turbinado or sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 350º F with a rack near the middle. Line 2 to 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.

Cream sugar and butter using a stand or hand mixer, until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs and extracts, and beat until well-combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Add them to the sugar and butter mixture, and mix on low speed until the flour has been incorporated. Increase to medium speed and mix until well-combined, another minute or two.

Roll dough into 1- to 1 1/4-inch diameter balls, then roll balls in sugar. Place 12 to 15 balls on prepared baking sheets – stagger 3 rows each of 2 and 3 balls to get 15 on a sheet. Flatten balls slightly, so they are about ¾-inch thick . Bake one sheet at a time for 9 to 9 ½ minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 5 minutes. The cookies will look puffy, and may seem like they’re not done, but they will be perfect! Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing the cookies to a cooling rack. Once cool store in a sealed container to maintain perfect texture for at least several days.

Cook’s notes: 1.) 1/2-teaspoon cayenne gives a pleasant warmth to the back of your throat after eating a cookie or two. If you’re not a fan of heat, feel free to scale back or omit the cayenne. 2.) If you prefer to use regular cocoa powder just add 1 teaspoon baking soda and decrease baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon.

Lime In The Coconut Float

Lime/Lemongrass Simple Syrup

2 limes
1 stalk lemongrass
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Thinly slice lemongrass and set aside. With a vegetable peeler remove the lime zest in strips trying to avoid getting much white pith. Set aside. Juice the limes and set juice aside for making the soda.
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on high, stirring or swirling occasionally to dissolve sugar until it boils. Boil for 30 to 60 seconds.
Remove from heat. Add the lemongrass and lime zest, cover with a tight fitting lid, and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour through a mesh strainer into a glass jar. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
Float
1 to 1 & 1/2 tablespoons lemongrass & lime syrup1 tablespoon lime juice2 scoops coconut sorbet (about 1/2 cup total)seltzer, cold Combine syrup and lime juice in a 12-oz glass. Add sorbet. Slowly pour seltzer over the sorbet, it with froth up pretty fiercely. Stir gently after glass is about 2/3 full. Continue to slowly fill glass with seltzer. Serve immediately with a straw.

I want to leave you with a picture of just one of the beautiful cakes that Sara designed.

Gorgeous isn’t it!!

Jerk Chicken Kebobs -I am a Whole Foods Finalist!!

Jerk Chicken Kebob

I just found out that my recipe is a finalist at Whole Foods in Boulder. If you don’t mind voting for my recipe I would really appreciate it. I am so excited and thankful that Whole Foods picked my recipe. Here is the link to Whole Foods Boulder Thank you so much everyone!!

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

Jerk Sauce

1 scotch bonnet pepper chopped (for less intense heat remove seeds)

2 jalapeno peppers chopped

1 tbs fresh thyme

4 cloves garlic

2 tsp jamaican allspice (whole)

3 tbs packed brown sugar

2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp powdered ginger

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

zest of one lime

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 lbs chicken breast and thigh meat cut into chunks

Chop your peppers (remove seeds if desired) In mortar smash the jamaican allspice. Add everything to blender and blend until everything is incorporated. To a large ziplock bag add the chicken and enough of the jerk sauce to completely cover the chicken. Smash it around in the bag so that the sauce covers every piece of chicken, Refrigerate at least 4 hours, overnight is even better.

To grill the chicken you will need enough skewers, if using bamboo make sure to soak in water for a few hours before using them. Skewer your marinaded chicken and grill,  basting with the remaining jerk sauce while they are grilling. You can grill either outdoors on the BBQ or pan grill (I highly recommend outdoor grilling for these. Serve with Caribbean Rice and Peas and enjoy!

Caribbean Rice and Peas

1 cup  dried pigeon peas, cow peas or whatever bean you like, soaked overnight

2 cups water

1/2  medium onion chopped

2 cups long grain white rice

2 cups  unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup water or unsweetened coconut water I use Zico

1 cup reserved water from cooked beans

2  whole jalepeno peppers

salt and pepper to taste

After beans have soaked over night, drain and pour them into a med saucepan add 2 cups of water and cook until beans are tender.Season the beans with salt and pepper. Set them aside along with 1 cup of the water that the beans cooked in, you will need that to cook the rice.

To a large saucepan add a small amount of olive oil just enough to coat the bottom of the pan when pan is hot put the chopped onion in and saute until onion is soft and translucent, add rice and cooked beans you judge how much of the beans to add to the rice you don’t want too many beans, stir until rice and onion and beans are combined. Add all the liquid, some salt and pepper to taste and the peppers. Bring to a boil on high flame, cover and reduce heat to med/low and let rice cook until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is done it will take 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff rice with fork and serve, you can garnish with fresh thyme or cilantro.

Dates In A Blanket

I have a large bag of pitted dates, some leftover pie dough from yesterdays pie. I love dates but Medjool are my date of choice for snacking, don’t get me wrong, these dates are good but not medjool and there is a major difference. I really love re-purposing things and hate throwing anything away. When I make a pie I take the scraps and wrap them in plastic and refrigerate them. My idea was to make something similar to pigs in a blanket and using the same principle make a bite size sweet treat. I rolled out the pastry dough, lightly smeared it with a mixture of softened butter, sugar, orange zest and cardamom, cut it into strips and rolled each date in a strip of dough, brushed it with cream and sprinkled on turbinado sugar. These little bites are so easy to make, taste delicious and make the perfect bite size dessert. The dates that were formerly a bit dry are now soft and warm and subtly flavored with the cardamom and orange and are encased in flaky pastry. I did not put amounts for the ingredients, do it according to taste and how many you want to make.

Dates (pitted)
pastry dough (pie, puff or phylo would all work)
softened butter
Sugar (granulated and turbinado)
 cardamom
Orange zest
Mix butter, granulated sugar, cardamom and orange zest together. Roll out pastry dough and cut into approximately 2 inch strips. Cut each strip into 2 or 3 pieces so you have enough to encase the date. Roll date in dough, brush with egg wash or cream, sprinkle with turbinado sugar and bake at 375 degres for approximately 20 minutes.

Mom’s Peach Pie

Mom and me.

Vintage pie recipe number two from my Mom, this recipe is adapted from “The Joy of Cooking”, which was first published in 1931.The original recipe calls for only peaches, I had some that I froze last year and it turns out it was not quite enough peaches so I added blackberries.  It’s not your average peach pie, to the peaches you add egg, butter, flour and sugar, the original recipe does not have a top crust  but I thought it would be nice. The peaches are creamy, buttery and delicious. You can mix berries (blackberries or raspberries) in with the peaches also. I made this pie for my Mom, she doesn’t live near me and I don’t get to see her as often as I would like, thanks Mom for a wonderful recipe! Happy Mothers Day! I just noticed my Mom is wearing high heels with her robe, gotta love that.

Juilia Childs Pastry Dough

Makes enough dough for a double crust 9 inch pie

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

6 oz cold unsalted butter cut into tbs size pieces (I really like using cultured butter)

4 tbs shortening or leaf lard cold

1/2 cup ice cold water

You can make this either by hand or in the food processor. To make by hand, put flours, salt, butter, lard or shortening into mixing bowl, use pastry cutter to combine until it resembles pea size crumbs. Add water mix with fork, gather with your hands, divide dough into a 2 discs and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

In Food Processor, add the flours, salt, butter and shortening or lard into the bowl of the processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles pea size crumbs. Add the water and pulse a few times until it becomes a cohesive dough.  Divide dough into two discs and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Makes one 9 inch Pie

Double Pie crust (homemade or pre-made)

6-8 large peaches (approx 3 cups sliced peaches)

1 whole egg or 2 egg yolks

2 tbs flour (if using frozen peaches increase to 3 or 4 tbs)

1/4 tsp cinnamon (OPTIONAL)

2/3 – 1 cup sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 400 degree

Line pie pan with bottom crust, add the peaches. Whisk together the egg, flour, sugar and melted butter and pour over the peaches.I used frozen peaches so increased the flour to compensate for the extra liquid. If you are making a double crust pie roll out top crust and lay on top, crimp the edges cut a few vents, brush with either cream or an egg wash and sprinkle with some sugar and refrigerate the pie so the pie dough is chilled and then place in oven. To save the oven from spills and drips I bake my pie on a sheet pan, or you can lay foil on the bottom of the oven to catch any spills.NOTE: You can make this pie with only a single bottom crust and if you do follow the directions for baking below.

For Single Crust Pie:Bake at 400 degree’s for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 300 and continue baking for 50 minutes. For double crust pie bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes then lower to 350 degree’s for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven when its golden brown and bubbly, let cool on a rack. Serve when completely cooled. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is wonderful with this pie, just saying!!

Fell apart a bit but delicious!

Bake Together:Date And Orange Cornmeal Buttermilk Muffins With Cardamom Streusel Topping

Bake together with Abby Dodge  this month is Cornmeal buttermilk muffins. I just want to say that I love participating in this, it is a wonderful way to be creative and as always I have a lot of fun. I used Abby’s basic recipe for Cornmeal Buttermilk muffins (original recipe found by clicking on Abby Dodge above) and added my own touch. My latest obsession is with Medjool dates, the are so soft and creamy and sweet I find myself snacking on them several times a day. Dates and orange and cardamom  go together really well so I thought I would incorporate all those wonderful ingredients into these muffins. The muffins contain orange zest and dates and I made a streusel topping flavored with cardamom. NOTE: I also decreased the sugar to 1/4 cup because the dates are so sweet and I made a dozen mini muffins rather than 6 large ones.
For the muffins:
3/4 cup (3 3/8 ounces) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) finely ground yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped medjool dates pitted
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
Streusel Topping
3 tbs flour
2 tbs light brown sugar packed
2 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom
2 tbs soft butter
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 6 regular-sized muffin cups with paper or foil liners or to make mini muffins 12 liners in 12 cup muffin tin.
Mix the soft butter, flour, sugars and cardamom and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Whisk until well blended. Measure the buttermilk using a 2 cup glass measure, pour buttermilk into blender and add the chopped dates , pulse a few times so that the dates are broken up but still are in small pieces, add back to 2 cup measuring cup. Add the egg, oil, and orange zest  and mix with a table fork until well blended. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold (no stirring) until just blended.
Portion the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (1/4 cup of batter per cup will be about three-quarters of the way full a little less for mini muffins). Crumble the streusel topping on each muffin. Bake until the tops are pale golden brown and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes for larger muffins because mine were smaller it took 15 minutes to bake. Move to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the muffins from the pan and set them on a wire rack. Serve immediately or cool completely and stow in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. I like them best when they are served warm so please reheat before serving.