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Posts from the ‘Fruit Desserts’ Category

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart Using Puff Pastry

I have a ritual that I do every time I cook, my kitchen must be thorougly cleaned, counters, floor, no dishes in the sink, every surface clean, for me it creates new energy and clears my kitchen. I also try to make sure everything I need is ready so I don’t have to go finding and grabbing with flour on my hands. So the ritual began early this morning in preparation for my puff pastry adventure. I had the butter in the freezer all night, the flour weighed and in the fridge as well. In retrospect I would not freeze the butter quite so hard because let me tell you it was hard work pounding that butter when it’s rock hard. In the video he makes it look easy, well not so much. I had it wrapped in plastic wrap which after a good pounding broke and I had to peel off the pieces from the butter. I decided to use a zip lock bag and sprinkled a little flour on the butter as per The Kitchn. It worked and I got the butter in a nice square and it was still pretty cold. The butter went back in the refrigerator while I rolled out the dough.

The dough comes together nicely in the food processor and forms a cohesive ball which I let rest for a few minutes under a damp tea towel. The hardest part of this recipe is pounding the butter initially, the rest goes very smoothly and if you have any frustration or feel the need to pound something try making puff pastry, it’s a stress reliever.

The first two turns went pretty well, it was hard to make it a neat rectangle but I did the best I could. After a 30 minute rest in the refrigerator I took it out for 2 more turns and there was a marked difference in the dough, it’s very soft, tender and pliable. Rolling it out was a breeze and doing the second set of 2 turns was easy. With only 2 more to go I have to say puff pastry is not all that much work but the proof is in the pudding I guess you can say and I was nervous to see how it turns out when baked.

Final Analysis: AMAZING recipe, with the exception of trying to pound frozen butter it was so easy to make. Honestly, I will never buy puff pastry again. It’s tender, flaky, buttery, pretty much perfect. I have enough dough in the freezer for another large tart. This recipe is a keeper. Also note, I am convinced using a good European butter is key, I used Kerrygold unsalted butter and it really does make a difference.

ready for the 4th turn see the flecks of butter

6 turns and I’m done, smooth, supple and feels like a beautiful dough if you look closely you can still see pieces of butter

 

strawberries and rhubarb

3 stalks rhubarb, washed, ends removed and cut into approximately 1/4 inch pieces

1 punnet of strawberries, trimmed, hulled and cut into pieces (quartered or halved depending on size)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp orange zest

dash of salt

2 tsp cornstarch

Mix everything in a bowl and let sit until sugar has melted and fruit has given off juices. Drain but save the juice. After draining sprinkle the cornstarch on the fruit and mix with a spoon. Pour the saved juice into a sauce pan and cook on medium heat until thick and reduced slightly. When you remove the tart from the oven cool for about 15 minutes then drizzle the thickened syrup on top of the tart. It’s delicious.

docked and ready for the fruit

Making the tart

Cut your dough in half and freeze the other half. Roll into a rectangle, using a sharp paring knife make a slice not all the way through so cut gingerly, you want the slice about an inch from the edges. Roll the edges to the cut line, dock the inside of the dough well with a fork (this is so it doesn’t puff). Arrange fruit on the dough, brush the edges with egg white that has been beaten with a fork. Sprinkle some finishing sugar or turbinado sugar on the whole tart. Bake in a pre heated 400 degree oven until golden brown and bubbly this tart took about 35-40 minutes.

 

Happy Mothers Day, Waste Not Want Not Bread Pudding

My Mama taught me not to waste food, I had to clean my plate and sit at the table until either the food was gone or one of us, both stubborn by nature gave in. One day my Mom made liver and onions, bleh, hate it still do. I refused to eat it and literally sat at the table all night long with the food in front of me and still wouldn’t touch it.  To this day I have not eaten liver and onions and won’t make it.

Honoring my wonderful Mother on this day I decided instead of baking something new I decided to repurpose leftovers and make this bread pudding. Here is what I had:

2 challah rolls (more than a day old but still good)

4 egg yolks (left over from my dacquoise)

peaches from the peach ice cream

1/2 container of blueberries

creme fraiche

With those ingredients I made bread pudding.  Bread pudding is simple rustic down home fare. I remember Mom made bread pudding often and it was one of my favorite desserts. She was frugal and never wasted anything and would save bread that wasn’t eaten to make this pudding. This is not her recipe it’s mine but it’s equally as good as hers. Mom is a great cook, intuitive, creative and accomplished. I learned so much from her and wish that I were with her this Mothers Day!

Bread Pudding With Peaches and Blueberries

2 large challah rolls day old or older is best, brioche is also good

4 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg

1 cup whole milk

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup creme fraiche

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

dash of salt

Peaches (optional) chopped or crushed or even a peach jam or preserve

fresh blueberries (you decide how much to add)

Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Whisk the egg yolks and whole egg with the sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the milk, cream and creme fraiche and continue whisking until combined. Add a dash of salt and the vanilla and whisk just until mixed.

Add the torn bread and stir until the bread is completely immersed in the custard base, add the blueberries and fold them in.

Butter your ramekins or baking dishes, spread some peaches on the bottom and spoon the bread pudding mixture, dividing into 3 large or 6 small baking dishes.

Place the baking dishes in a large roasting pan or baking dish place into the oven and then add enough hot water so that it comes halfway up the sides of your dishes. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set.

I served it with some creme fraiche gently sweetened with brown sugar. It’s fantastic and adding the peaches and blueberries make this dessert so good!

Happy Mothers Day to all of you whether you have children, fur babies, a classroom of children, do volunteer work with kids or just love them it’s a day to celebrate women and Mothers and caregivers. I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Fresh Peach Ice Cream In Profiteroles With Blackberries

I am becoming more involved again at Food52, testing recipes and entering contests. This is all part and parcel of my need to challenge myself. I signed up to test a recipe for Fresh Peach Ice Cream by Chef June, it is on the list for a community pick, which is step one of the contest protocol. Chef June is an amazing cook/chef and has been a community member for a long time and her recipes are always spot on. What intrigued me about this recipe is that it has a custard base but the custard is uncooked. You should use the freshest eggs you can get your hands on and if you have compromised health or are very young or very old you may want to cook your custard. Since I don’t fall into any of those categories I gave this a go, have to be honest I hate standing over the pot cooking the custard, constantly stirring it and stressing about whether I’ve cooked it too little or too much (scrambled eggs).  I was happy that step was eliminated. Fresh peaches are not in season yet so I had to use frozen and although they were ok they were not the same so the peachy flavor was a little absent. I can’t wait for peaches to hit the market so I can make this again as it’s a wonderful recipe.

I had some profiteroles left from my post a few weeks ago which I froze, and I thought that this would make a lovely dessert. One of my favorite pies is peach and blackberries so the blackberries were macerated in sugar and cassis and served on the side. It’s delicious and simple, yes profiteroles are really easy to make and I can attest to the fact that they freeze well. I thawed them in the oven on 200 degree’s for about 15 minutes, they were just like freshly made. When making this I again I would make the following changes, instead of 2 cups whole milk I would add 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup half and half and 1 cup heavy cream, reduce the nutmeg to 1/4 tsp/.

Fresh Peach Ice Cream

Recipe by Chef June on Food52

2 cups peaches (approximately 8 peaches) peeled and chopped, broken up retaining their juices

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Juice of half a lemon

2 extra large eggs (I used 3 large eggs)

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

Peel the peaches, Chef June suggests blanching first by dipping the peach for 30 seconds in boiling water,(like tomatoes) the skin will come off very easily. Slice into a bowl and break the peaches up with your hands, add 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and nutmeg and stir to combine. Refrigerate for about 2 hours covered stirring every so often.

After the peaches are cold drain them retaining the juices and put the peaches back in the refrigerator, also refrigerate the retained peach juice.

Meanwhile in a mixing bowl whisk or beat with hand held mixer the eggs, the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, salt and vanilla until thick and creamy and lighter in color.

Add the milk, heavy cream and peach juice and stir to combine. Process in your ice cream maker following manufacturers directions. About 2 minutes before the ice cream is done add the peaches. Spoon into your freezer container and let sit in the freezer until it’s scoopable.

 

Pips Lemon Christmas- A Guest Post From Teagan Riordain Geneviene

 

Taken from Pinterest

Happy New Year Everyone.  On the first day of 2017 I wanted to do something special, not only are we starting a brand new year but this is my 5th year of blogging, in a few days will be the anniversary of A Pug In The Kitchen. Last year for my anniversary post I invited Teagan of Teagan’s Books to guest post and I had so much fun doing it I decided I would ask her again to collaborate with me. Teagans books are special, she takes me to a happy place with characters that come to life, mystical, magickal and a little bit of the supernatural are woven into stories that are so beautiful I honestly can’t and don’t want to stop reading. Whether it’s her amazing serials or a novel she never disappoints.  Teagan graciously penned this snippet with one of my favorite characters, Pip a flapper from the 1920’s. In doing some research of food in that era, citrus, specifically lemons were very popular so thats what we did, incorporated lemons not only into this delightful snipppet but also into a recipe for a lemony dessert.  I found a recipe for a lemon pound cake from the 1920’s that was served at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in their tea room. The cake was a disaster, it stuck to the bottom of the pan and didn’t come out in one piece,  but I didn’t let that deter me, I managed to salvage the cake, turning it upside down (the top of the bundt cake was missing) and serving it with a lemon sauce, like a lemon pudding cake, sort of.  I hope you all enjoy what Teagan has written for us all and again wishing all of you a joyous, healthy, happy and prosperous 2017. Take it away Teagan.

Pip’s Lemon Christmas

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It had been a grand and glorious year.  However, it pos-i-lute-ly had ups and downs.  At that moment I was in one of the downs.  Even the long distance telephone call from my best friend Mona failed (miserably I might add) to cheer me.  She might not be sure where she wanted her future to go, but at least it was going somewhere.  All my friends were moving forward, going somewhere.  Me?  It didn’t look like I would ever get anywhere.

Not only was I going nowhere, I seemed to be going there all by myself.  Worse, it was Christmastime.  Even my Pops suddenly had to go up north on business.  I offered to go and keep him company…  Okay, so I begged. 

“Young ladies have no place at business meetings,” he told me in the stern, no nonsense voice that meant I wouldn’t get anywhere with my plea.

Idly, I looked at the lace covered table, lemons artfully arranged as a centerpiece.  I took one of the tangy fruits, tossed it in the air and caught it.  I pondered as I tossed the lemon. 

What would any self-respecting flapper do in such a situation?  Refuse to be a sourpuss, that’s what a flapper would do!

I decided as I tossed the lemon.  If all I had for Christmas was lemons, then I’d make lemonade — so to speak, especially after I found the bottle of hooch Pops had squirreled away.  I would have rather had the champagne I knew he hid some place, but that had been ages ago and I couldn’t remember where I saw it.

Gin will do just fine, I told myself.

Suddenly inspired, I gave the yellow fruit a final toss.  I went to the shoebox that held Granny’s recipes.  She had given me instructions for all sorts of citrus treats, and I was a sourpuss with a sweet tooth.

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A little while later I was cleaning up the kitchen as it filled with citrusy baking aromas.  Just as I picked up the remains of my lemons, a loud knock pounded at the front door.  It startled me so badly that I ran to the door with barely a wipe to my juice drenched hands.

“Delivery!” the words came with another thunderous knock.

I threw open the door and the cool December air hit my face.  It was downright brisk, for Florida anyway.  There was a truck in the driveway and a young man with a name embroidered on his jacket — Ronny.  I took the package, barely looking at the guy who handed it to me.  My hands tore at the twine excitedly, even before I went inside.  Meanwhile Ronny the delivery man wrote something on the receipt clamped to his clipboard.

“If you’ll sign here, Miss?” he asked.

There was a card inside the package from my friend Mona.  The front of it said “I’m sorry you’re alone at Christmas.”  Hurriedly I stuck the edge of the note between my teeth and tucked the package under my arm so I could take the clipboard and sign the form.

Only then did I notice what a cutie the guy was.  He tilted his head all the way to his shoulder and read aloud the note while I signed.  As soon as I heard him speak the words, I blushed scarlet.  To make matters worse, he made a sympathetic aww sound that made me feel like a six year-old.

In my flustered flurry of motions, taking the note from my teeth, trying to stick it back in the package, and pushing my hair back… wouldn’t you know I touched a lemon coated finger to my face.  I yelped as the citrus stung my eyes.  It made tears stream down my cheeks.man_ray_tears

The guy sounded guilty when he pleaded to know what the matter was, as if he had caused it.  The only word I could manage to utter was, “Lemons!”

He pulled my hand away from my face and lightly sniffed it.  He gave a little chuckle that made me want to bean him.

“Yep, that’s lemons all right.  For a minute there I was afraid you got bad news,” he commented.  “But I guess being alone on Christmas Eve is bad enough.”

For some reason his comment made me lose my composure.  I burst out in real tears and sobs, no longer caused by the stinging citrus.  I plopped down on the porch and sat there with the package in my lap.  This upset poor Ronny.  He started blabbering apologies, clearly unsure of why he was asking for forgiveness.

“Look sweet cakes, you’re my last delivery.  Let me help you wash your face and get rid of that lemon juice before you put your fingers in your eyes again,” he offered in a contrite voice.

I insisted that it was okay, and with a sniffle, silenced my sobs.  Too embarrassed to look at him I turned my attention back to Mona’s gift.  Her card had fallen, but Ronny picked it up and handed it to me.  I took it from him and with a deep breath I spoke the words that humiliated me a moment before.

“I’m sorry you’re alone at Christmas,” I read the elegant script on the outside, and then opened the card.  “So you’ll just have to make your own party.”

Antique champagne Glasses

What?  Digging through the packing paper I found two sparkling etched crystal goblets.  I held up one of the glasses to watch the light play on it.  I looked at Ronny, feeling utterly bemused.  He returned my gaze with a twinkle in eyes that I suddenly noticed were a heavenly shade of blue.

Ronny picked up the other empty glass and playfully tapped it against the one I held.  I suddenly remembered where Pops hid the bubbly.

The end

***

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

when life gives you lemons...

when life gives you lemons…

Pound Cake With Lemon Sauce

You can use homemade cake or just go buy Sara Lee Pound Cake for this. The star is really this pucker worthy lemony sauce served over the cake. It couldn’t be easier to make and has only a few ingredients.

Lemon Sauce

Adapted from a recipe on Epicurious

2/3 cup sugar

2 1/2-3 tbs cornstarch

1 1/2 cup water

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

zest of 2 lemons

1 tbs unsalted butter

Whisk sugar and cornstarch in heavy bottom non reactive saucepan, add the water and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and starts to boil, add the lemon juice and zest and continue cooking until it comes to a boil again and immediately remove from the heat, add the butter and whisk until combined. Refrigerate until slightly thickened and serve. It can be made a day ahead just bring to room temperature before serving.

Did the delivery man join Pip?

Did Ronny join Pip, I think so?

Happy Halloween, Cheesy Cauliflower Puree With Roasted Vegetables And Pear With Poire William Creme Anglaise

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Halloween is a big day in our neighborhood, our community group the Society for Clinton Hill sponsors a Halloween Walk and other events, there are months of planning that go into this. Last year there were over 3000 children and adults that participated and this year I think there will be more, judging from the response we have gotten so far. We have a halloween map showing houses that hand out candy, a theatrical production at 313 Clinton Avenue, the Dead Zombie Band puts on an incredible show and everyone looks forward to it. Because we are a not for profit organization local business donate to help us defray the expense of putting this whole thing together. I am on the board of directors for the community organization and am in charge of the PR, social media and the website as well as helping to coordinate.  It’s a tremendous amount of work but very rewarding. I will post photo’s this week. Happy Halloween to all!!

Sorry about all the cauliflower recipes, as I said in the last post it’s an obsession of mine and a filling and delicious sub for carb laden rice or potatoes or pasta. In this case I probably would have served over polenta but instead served with a cauliflower puree made rich with a little creme fraiche and grated comte cheese. The vegetables are simple, a small graffiti eggplant roasted with whole cherry tomatoes and shallot. For a textural diversion I sauteed some fresh bread crumbs in garlic, butter and olive oil and sprinkled over the top.

In an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth and still stay away from refined sugar and flour I created this simple dessert by poaching pears in Poire William (pear liquor) with a touch of maple syrup to sweeten and served with a créme anglaise again with a little maple syrup to sweeten and some Poire William.  Créme Anglaise is a custard sauce made with eggs, milk or cream, sugar, vanilla and rum or some sort of spirit or liquor. Because I am not really eating refined sugar I chose to lightly sweeten with maple syrup, this was adapted from Julia Childs recipe in her book, “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom”.  I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t thicken properly because there is no sugar but it worked just fine.

Cauliflower Puree with Roasted Vegetables 

Really no recipe required for this I made enough for 2 servings

Cauliflower puree follow instructions but use creme fraiche rather than cream.

1 small eggplant cut into bite size pieces

cherry tomatoes

1 shallot peeled and cut into quarters

cheese of your choice I used comté and didn’t measure- grated – add as much cheese as you like

olive oil

salt and pepper

fresh breadcrumbs

1 small garlic clove thinly sliced

butter

Make the cauliflower puree and set aside. Clean and cut your eggplant and shallot, heat the oven to 400 degree’s. Place parchment on sheet pan and lay the vegetables and whole cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. The eggplant and shallot should be soft and the tomatoes nicely caramelized.

Heat a little olive oil and butter in a skillet on med high heat, add garlic and sauté until soft. Add the breadcrumbs stirring so that the fat is absorbed by the breadcrumbs. Toast in the skillet until crisp and browned.

Heat cauliflower puree in saucepan add grated cheese. Serve immediately with the roasted vegetables spooned on top, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and garnish with a little parsley if you like.

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Créme Anglaise

2 servings

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Child

3 egg yolks

2-3 tbs maple syrup

1 cup half and half or whole milk

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbs Poire William (you can use the juices from the poached pears for this)

Whisk egg yolks with the maple syrup until the yolks are thick and pale yellow. Heat milk to scalding and add in a slow steady stream to the egg yolks whisking constantly. Pour into the saucepan and cook on medium to medium low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, using your finger swipe a line and if it stays intact it’s done. Remove from heat immediately, pour through a fine sieve to remove any bits of egg that may have cooked and add the vanilla and pear liquor.  Refrigerate until ready to use, since this is best served warm heat over simmering water (bain marie) until warm to the touch. The créme anglaise which is usually a light yellow because of the maple syrup and vanilla is more beige in color.

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Poached Pears

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Peel, cut in half and core the pears,  place in a buttered baking dish adding some Poire William, pear nectar or whatever liquid you like. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until pears are soft when gently poked with the end of a sharp knife.

If your créme anglaise is cold you can warm over simmering water. Spoon onto a plate and top with the pear.

You can add a cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pod or whatever spice you like to the pears and this will infuse with a gentle warm spice that would be delicious as well.

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Count Dracula

Percy as Count Dracula

A Guest Post From Cheryl – Caramel Apples

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I am overwhelmed right now, being pulled in so many different directions my head is swimming, it’s no ones’ fault but my own, I can’t say no when it comes to the community work. This came at just the right time, I was so pleased and surprised that Cheryl “Cheffie Cooks Wiser offered another guest post. This simple treat is perfectly seasonal and a delicious treat for Halloween! Thank you so much my dear friend.

Take it away Cheryl……

A fun Halloween Treat for Everyone!
Wonderful Caramel Apples, so easy and so delicious.

I use Large Rome Apples (or your choice), 2-16 ounce bags of Kraft Caramels (melted), 12 Wooden Sticks, plastic wrap, ribbon for bows.

Slowly Melt the caramels on low heat, allow to partially cool down, pierce top of each apple with the stick, dip into the caramel sauce, let them drip, then place on a large sheet pan covered with either parchment paper or waxed paper for the caramel apples to set-up. Place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Wrap in plastic and tie a pretty bow! Great for gifts.

Enjoy your Halloween.

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Ocean Living and Cooking, Florida Fun antics and adventures for YOU!

Thank You Suzanne for letting me share this easy, fun treat! xo

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Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake And Apple Pear Crumble With Creamy Cider Syrup

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I just have to say what a lifesaver it has been to have the guest posts. I have been so extremely busy I really haven’t cooked much of anything and most of what I have cooked is not noteworthy enough to blog about. Thank you so much to everyone who has submitted guest posts, you truly are amazing. I also have been delinquent in reading and commenting on your blogs. I will not be able to catch up there are just too many, once Halloween is done I should be able to breathe and get back to my routine.

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Searching through the hundreds of cookbooks I have (and rarely use) I happened upon this recipe from “Plenty More” by Yotam Ottolenghi. Since my latests obsession is cauliflower this immediately grabbed my attention, the list of ingredients sounds delicious, I decided this is a recipe I have to try. It does contain some flour, one cup of all purpose flour but I subbed spelt flour making it lower in carbs and more healthful. It’s a simple recipe, easy to put together and with my current crazy busy schedule this was a must. I really do love Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, the photo’s are drool worthy and recipes are not complex they use simple ingredients but how they put it all together is genius.

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Cauliflower Cake

from Plenty More- Yotam Ottolenghi

Serves 6-8

1 small head cauliflower broken into 1 1/2 inch florets

1 medium onion (recipe calls for  a red onion)

5 tbs olive oil (I didn’t measure)

1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

7 large eggs

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup all purpose flour (I used spelt flour)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 cups grated parmesan or your favorite grating cheese

melted butter for brushing – about 1 tbs

1 tbs white sesame seeds

1 tsp nigella seeds (I misplaced them so just used sesame)

salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat oven to 400 degree’s

Place cauliflower florets in saucepan filled with salted water, simmer for 15 minutes until the florets are quite soft, they should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander.

Cut 4 round slices approximately 1/4 inch thick from one end of the onion and set aside. Coursely chop the rest of the onion and place in a pan with some olive oil and the rosemary. Cook for 1o minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onions to a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and basil and whisk well, then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, cheese and 1 tsp salt (I used less salt) and plenty of ground pepper stir to combine and add the cauliflower stirring gently so as not to break up the florets.

Line the base and sides of a 9 1/2 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them in the pan and swirl the pan around so that the seeds stick to the buttered sides. Pour the cauliflower mixture in the pan smooth the top and arrange the onion rings on top ( I sprinkled some of the grated cheese on top as well). Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and set. A knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It should be served warm or at room temperature rather than hot.

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For Dessert was an apple Pear crumble using no refined sugar and almost no flour. To sweeten the fruit and crumble I used a little bit of maple syrup and served it with a creamy cider reduction, again made completely without sugar. The natural sweetness of the cider when cooked down into a syrup is intensely sweet, I softened it with a little heavy cream (to make even more decadent you could add a little butter also) and the end product was amazing on this simple crumble. The cider syrup would be great on oatmeal, pancakes or waffles also, instead of adding cream just add a little butter.

This dessert is great and you don’t feel badly eating it, you could even use a little less maple syrup because the cider syrup is sweet enough that you would never know that this is not loaded with sugar.

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Apple Pear Crumble

Made 2

Crumble topping

1/4 cup whole oats

1/4 cup spelt flour

2 tbs toasted hazelnut flour (or any nut flour)

pinch of salt

2 tbs softened (not melted) coconut oil

1 tbs cold butter

2 tbs maple syrup

Mix everything together with your fingers until it is blended completely (it will look more like a cookie dough). Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s

2 -3 apples  (if you don’t have pear use 3 apples)

1 ripe pear

1 tbs maple syrup

pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt

Peel and slice the apples and pears. Oil or butter the baking dish, mix the fruit with the maple syrup, spices and salt, lay the fruit in the pan. Add the crumble topping and pour a little apple cider over it. Bake for 30-40 minutes until crumble is browned and fruit is soft.  Note: The crumble topping was patted into place rather than dropping in crumbles, after baking I broke it up  kind of like a cookie crust.

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Creamy Cider Syrup

Apple cider

Heavy cream

Pour about 1 cup cider in saucepan  over medium high heat until reduced to a very thick syrup, it took about 20 minutes. One cup of cider reduced to about 1/4 cup of syrup. The more cider you use the longer it will take to reduce of course. One cup of cider in a saucepan took a little over 20 minutes on medium high heat.

Reduces to almost nothing

Reduces to almost nothing you can see my hand reflected in the pan, LOL.

Add some heavy cream about 2 tbs and continue to cook another 30 seconds approximately. The sauce will be thick.

Spoon over the crumble and enjoy.

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Mini Lime Cheesecake Mock Soufflé

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I think I have mentioned before how much I love dessert, or anything sweet for that matter. Since changing my eating habits staying away from bread, rice and pasta, monitoring portion size, cutting down (almost out) refined sugar etc… dessert has been challenging. I have to have something sweet even if it’s a yogurt and fruit or a bite of chocolate I’ve got to have it. Years ago when I went on the South Beach plan I bought the book and there are some recipes in it for all the different phases. I saw these little cheesecakes and thought I would give it a try. I altered the recipe a bit and noted the changes in the ingredients. These little bites couldn’t be any easier or quicker, no crushing cookies and pressing them into a pan, all you do is put a whole cookie in the bottom of a cupcake or muffin liner. Spoon the filling on top and bake. I am going to try these with chocolate I think. It’s a nice little dessert, good and satisfying. I called them mock souffle’s because they rose like a souffle in the baking cup and they are mock because it’s not the method in which you make a souffle. They are very light, not really cheesecake like at all.) I have not cut fat out but have reduced greatly the amount of sugar I eat, I like what Julia Child said “if you are afraid of butter, use cream” I remember watching her show once and she mentioned that she eats whatever she wants but in small portions and that was how she stayed trim. She was such an amazing woman and has so many great quotes.

I am bringing these little desserts with me to Fiesta Friday #135, the co hosts this week are Me, yep me and Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook. It’s a holiday weekend, can’t believe it’s Labor Day the summer flew by and now we are coming to Fall which is my FAVORITE season. Crisp weather, apples and pumpkins (pumpkin spice latte) sweaters and jackets and leaves turning gorgeous shades or orange and gold. Yesterday,  Sept. 1 at 5:07 AM there was a solar eclipse which occurred simultaneously with the New Moon. Very cool!!

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven they deflated so quickly I couldn’t get a photo quick enough

Mini Lime Mock Souffle Cheesecakes

adapted from a recipe in The South Beach Diet

Makes 12

12 Carr’s whole meal biscuits (recipe calls for nila vanilla wafers)

1 8 oz package neufchatel cheese softened to room temperature (or cream cheese)

3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream (recipe call for 3/4 cup non fat cottage cheese proccessed until smooth)

2 large eggs

2 tbs + 1 tsp organic stevia (recipe calls for 1/4 cup +2 tbs organic cane sugar)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbs lime zest

1 tbs lime juice

In food processor add the cream cheese, sour cream or creme fraiche and pulse to combine, add the lime zest and juice, eggs and vanilla and process until creamy and smooth about a minute. In the book they have you process the cottage cheese and then scrape it into a mixing bowl and using a hand held mixer combine everything, I decided to save myself time and dishes and did it all in the processor and it worked great.

Pre heat oven to 350. Place paper liners in muffin tin and add 1 cookie to each liner. Spoon the cheesecake mixture on top about half full. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh fruit. Note: I didn’t use a muffin tin instead I had some sturdy liners and I just place them on a sheet pan. Let cool completely then peel away the liner from the cheesecake. In the book they top it with non fat vanilla yogurt, I served with some fresh fruit, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry. On the side is some whipped cream or coconut whipped cream lightly sweetened would be equally delicious.

IMG_5397Percy and I are on Instagram, I think I publish more photo’s of him than what I cook. He recently was invited to be a member of  “grumble inc.” bad boy (and glam girl) pugs and other dogs. The grumble is great fun but is also is a notice board for lost and abused pets as well as a group of caring and loving pet parents that help out other pets in need. A voice for the Voiceless. Here is Percy’s photo that was used announcing that he is a Grumble brother, he’s so cute!

#webadbutnotbadbad

#webadbutnotbadbad fa shizzle

A Breakfast Skillet And Dessert

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First let me say how encouraged and overwhelmed I am by all the support from all of you good people. Thank you, thank you!! Because of the outpouring of support it made me even more resolute. I have to say it really helps baring your soul to your friends, I have always found that a diet and exercise buddy helps me stay on track,  I  live alone it’s and it’s really easy to fall off the wagon, my best friend Carla lives in Long Island, not exactly close to Brooklyn but we talk on the phone almost every day and encourage each other. I feel now like I have LOTS of diet buddies in all of you and it has helped tremendously. I encourage anyone in the same shoes to do this, we will all cheer you on.  Special thanks to Elaine @foodbod who chatted with me by PM on Instagram in the wee hours and Cheryl @cheryl cheffie cooks Wiser, who did a special post for me with fantastic salads, I am so touched.  It means the world to me.

So far I am doing fine. This morning I wanted something substantial that would nourish and keep me from getting hungry. There is nothing worse than being hungry and perusing all the food blogs and food photo’s on instagram. I used what I had for this breakfast skillet, eggplant, zucchini (used the pieces left from spiralizer) tomatoes, kale and micro potato. Half roasted in the oven, I wanted the kale crisp like a kale chip, transferred to a 6″ skillet (portion control) added an egg and completed the cooking until the egg was done. At the very end I added a little bit of raclette and put it under the broiler for a minute. A dash of hot sauce and it was a great meal.

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Skillet Breakfast

Made 2 #6 inch individual size servings

4 micro potatoes cut in half

approx a half of a medium zucchini cut into bite size pieces

handful cherry tomatoes larger ones cut in half

generous handful of kale leaves

4 asparagus stalks with tough end broken off and cut in half

4 tiny fairy eggplant cut in half or quartered lengthwise

Cheese, just a little, didnt’ measure. I used raclette but any good melty cheese will do

Pre heat oven to 375. Place all of the vegetables on a parchment lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, make sure the vegetables are coated with the oil. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, kale will be crisp and vegetables will have softened. Arrange in skillet, crack an egg on top and bake (again at 375) until the egg is done to your liking it took about 20 minutes for an egg where the white was done but yolk was runny.  Add some cheese, I used raclette, and place under the broiler just until the cheese melts.

Dessert

Dessert

I have to have dessert, something sweet it’s part of the fabric of my being. You have to be a bit creative when trying to lose weight and maybe a little crafty. I came up with this recipe, well it’s not really a recipe, but it is really good.  It made 2 small parfait or maybe they are more like an ice box cake or a combination thereof.

Strawberry and peach parfait

makes 2 small parfait

4 Carr’s whole meal biscuits smashed into crumbs

1 7 oz container plain greek yogurt (I used whole milk yogurt)

3 tbs heavy cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

honey to taste ( I used a little more than a tbs for both the fruit and yogurt mixture)

fruit of your choice, I used strawberry and peach.

Cut the fruit into bite size pieces and drizzle with a little honey. Smash the whole meal biscuits into crumbs. Whip the yogurt and cream, sweeten to your liking and add the vanilla. Layer into small containers and refrigerate at least an hour or two before eating. The biscuit absorbs some of the fruit juice. It’s delicious.

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I just have to show you the throw pillow I won in a charity auction to help pets with liver shunt disease. I love it!!

pug pillow

pug pillow

Lastly in memoriam for little Caleb a 3-4 month old dog in Atlanta that was brutally abused, if you think of the worst this is 100 times worse than you could possibly imagine. You can sign a petition by going to my facebook page . This has me so upset, to my very core, and it’s all over the news. Hoping they catch the monsters that perpetrated such a heinous and evil crime. Little Caleb is not the first dog to suffer horrific abuse and unfortunately he will not be the last. Raising awareness, supporting rescue organizations and being pro active reporting abuse perceived or otherwise is so important. RIP little Caleb. #justiceforcaleb

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Peach And Blueberry Tart

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This was a really busy week, I have neglected the blog, between work, the community work I do and this oppressive heat I haven’t had time or the inclination to use my stove/oven. On Thursday I got to meet one of the bloggers that I have been following for a long time, Shashi whose wonderful blog Runnin Srilankin is always chock full of delicious healthful recipes. We met at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and had pizza at Grimaldi’s. It was great finally meeting her in person.

Last weekend I went to a barbeque, and decided to be daring and try a new recipe. This is a tried and true recipe that is very popular on Food52, it’s by Amanda Hesser and she got it from her Mom.  I used frozen peaches which is not the best idea as they produced a lot of juice and some plucots. The party was great but I had to leave before dessert was served and I didn’t get a chance to try it. The feedback though was that it was amazing. The simplicity of this recipe is what drew me, a press in crust that uses oil not butter, fresh fruit and you make a sugar, flour and butter crumble topping and sprinkle it on before baking.

Today I went to the farmers market and got some great produce, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, nectarines and blueberries. Since I didn’t get to taste the tart I decided to make it today using the nectarines. Best laid plans don’t always work, the nectarines were very ripe and I put them at the bottom of my cart without thinking and 3 of them got squished, I will blame it on the heat,  for once I only bought enough for the tart, since I had some blueberries I decided to use them as well.

This tart is a winner, and I hope you give it a try. The ease of preparation, use of delicious seasonal fruit and beautiful presentation make this tart one that I will make over and over again. Next time with only peaches or nectarines, it’s not as pretty with the blueberries after it’s baked but still delicious.

This tart is coming with me to Fiesta Friday #130, Angie is away but has left the party in very good hands the co hosts this week are Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Petra @ Food Eat Love

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Peach Tart

Made 1 9 inch tart (the recipe said 11 inch but I didn’t have enough fruit)

Pie Dough

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp sugar

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup neutral oil (I used grapeseed)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbs milk (I used half and half)

6-8 peaches, nectarines sliced thickly (I added a pint of blueberries also)

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk or stir with a fork. Add the oil and milk and mix with a fork until cohesive.

Press into tart pan with your fingers pressing on the bottom and up the sides. Make sure there are no cracks in the dough. Trim and set aside. Pre heat the oven to 425 and line a sheet pan with parchment.

Arrange the fruit however you like in the tart pan.

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Crumble topping

3/4 cup sugar

2-3 tbs flour

2 tbs cold butter

pinch of salt

Mix with your hands until it resembles fine crumbs. Distribute the crumbs on top of the tart and bake until golden brown and bubbly, approximately 45 minutes. It will seem like a lot of the topping, it’s ok use all of it.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

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