The recipes on this blog are a combination of things I've learned over the years and meals inherited through generations of adoration for good food. They are a cherished property, so please be good to them.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Apple Cobbler

I had a bunch of apples leftover from a 1/2 pec I purchased at Trader Joe's last week. I checked around my kitchen and had all of the ingredients to make this cobbler. Turned out fantastic!

8-10 apples

3 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1 tsp grated lemon zest

1 large egg, plus one yolk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
Peel and core the apples and cut them into 1/4 to 1/2-inch dice. Try to get the apples pieces as uniform as possible to ensure even baking in the cobbler. Combine the apples with 1 cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Cover and set in the refrigerator while preparing the cobbler topping. The sugar will draw out some of the moisture in the apples, so the filling will be nice and thick.
Combine the remaining sugar with the flour and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sugar and flour mixture to coat the apples. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and work into the sugar/flour mixture using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers until it forms a coarse meal.
Drain the sugar syrup from the apples and set aside. Combine the apples with the reserved flour and sugar mixture. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest to the apples and stir well to evenly distribute all the flavors. Pour into the buttered baking dish.
Lightly beat the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and slowly drizzle it into the flour mixture. Don't worry if it seems a little dry at first. Continue to stir the mixture until the flour is completely absorbed into the egg. (You might want to get your hands into it and use your fingers to finish.) Take a small bit of the topping and roll it into a 1-inch ball. Gently flatten the ball into a disk and place it on top of the apple mixture in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining topping, slightly overlapping the disks.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the juices are bubbling and the topping is a light golden brown. Let the cobbler rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving

Italian Sausage Sandwiches

It's snowing outside today and so comfort food is on my mind. I has some leftover italian sausage, so I thought I'd make a hearty lunch out of it.

You can grill these sausages or even cook in a pan, but I used my family's method of oven baking. This method takes longer, but it makes a crispy crust that can't be captured with other methods.

Preheat Oven to 300*F

In a roasting pan, arrange(hot or sweet or both, whatever you like) sausage. Add a small amount of water (about 1/4 of the height of the sausage). Cook covered lightly with foil for one hour. Uncover and turn oven to 400* for 30 minutes or until browned. **Water should be evaporating**
Turn sausage over to brown the other side and raise oven to 425* for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile for the veggies:
1 large sweet onion think sliced
1 bell pepper (I had a green pepper, but love this with red or orange)
2 tbsp olive oil
to taste: salt, pepper & dried oregano

On med-high heat add the olive oil. When oil is hot add onions and peppers and saute for 5 minutes. Gradually add seasoning to your taste.

When the sausage is done, add to cooking veggies and saute for 5 minutes to let flavors meld.
Serve on crispy grinder rolls.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Orange Cranberry Muffins

I had to make some muffins for work tomorrow so I thought I'd go traditional and simple but using my two favorite flavors in a muffin.

1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for preparing the muffin tin
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus I used leftover coarse sanding sugar (from our award winning rosemary cookies we made this christmas) for topping the muffins
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Put the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan, and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Remove berries from the heat, and set aside to cool and plump. Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.

**Cooks note: I used these in lieu of muffin tins.**
Lightly brush a 12-muffin tin with butter . Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,, cream the butter, orange zest, and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Fold the flour in 3 parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until just combined. Fold in the cranberries. Do not over mix. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Molten Lava Chocolate Cake w/ Strawberry Sauce

Made this for my sweetie last night for Valentine's day.....

Molten Lava Chocolate Cake
This makes 12 (large muffin size) individual cakes

5 eggs
5 egg yolks
1/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2lb bittersweet chocolate (i used 65%), cut into pieces (i used chips)
2 sticks unsalted butter

In a saucepan, melt butter and chocolate together over medium low heat, to ensure the chocolate doesn't burn.

Meanwhile, beat eggs and yolks together in a large bowl. When chocolate has melted and is smooth and shines, transfer 1/4 of chocolate mixture into egg mixture to temper the eggs. You don't want the hot mixture to cook the eggs, so beat heavily until tempered correctly. Add the rest of the chocolate and beat until well incorporated. Beat in sugar and flour until well blended.

Pour mix into prepared (lightly buttered and sprinkled with sugar) ramekins or muffin tins (i used those Reynolds foil cupcake/muffin cups that sit right on a cookie sheet without a muffin tin) and bake at 375*F for 8 minutes. Cakes should have puffy baked outer rim with a shaky center (should be liquid on the inside).

Serve warm, immediately.

I served with whipped cream and strawberry sauce.

Strawberry Sauce
1 bag of frozen strawberries
3tbs sugar (to taste)
1tbs honey
puree ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Allow to thaw (if necessary) to a liquid state. Can be stored a few days in fridge. You can use any frozen fruit... I had strawberries!

The MIA Foodie

I'm such a let down!

I started this and then POOF... gone!

It's been a hectic time for me... but I plan on starting back up again after this weekend. New camera, new recipes ... new blog entries!!
In the meantime... does anyone else love making a meal of fruit and cheese? Mmmmmm ..cheese.