Archive for April, 2012

Mini Pizza Puffs

April 26, 2012

C’mon, you knew it wouldn’t last.  After the week of the juice cleanse, followed by treating my bread as dessert, this was bound to happen.  Of course I was going to stray away from it all and make something indulgent.

Well, here we have it.  In a single bite.

People, there is more cheese in these little things than any other ingredient!  We’re talking 1 1/2 cups of cheese!  And because of that, you get the best part of the pizza – the crispy, slightly burnt edges that I usually pick off the bottom of the pizza box – as the star of the show.  That’s all this is!  Cheesy, chewy bites, that you can dip in pizza sauce.  And without all the fuss of a yeast based dough.

There’s really no turning back now.

Mini Pizza Puffs (recipe from Girl Versus Dough)

Ingredients
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Pizza sauce, to serve

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 2 mini muffin tins with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper and salt.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the milk and egg.  Add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Mix in cheeses and allow batter to stand for 10 minutes.

Stir batter and divide evenly among the muffin cups, filling about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake until puffy and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Heat pizza sauce and serve with warm pizza puffs for dipping.

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Molasses Bread

April 19, 2012

Friends, we all knew this time of year was coming.  The time of year when we are horrified to learn the number of comforting calories we quietly consumed in the cold and dark winter months, only to have them neatly hidden under a trendy, yet oversized, sweater.  The time of year when shorts and maxi dresses, and of course, swim suits are suddenly in your face again.  The time of year when you realize that you should probably lay off the sweets for a bit.

I decided to outsmart this time of year though.  I made a bread.  I mean, a delicious bread that’s barely sweetened with molasses and has all the good stuff that everyone keeps talking about: whole grains and yogurt.  (Yogurt is good for you, right?).  But then I top it with almond butter (it has proten!) and berries, or maybe some nutella (it has protein?) or cream cheese or homemade ricotta with maple syrup, which keeps your sweet tooth satisfied but you can still be on the road to your perfect beach wardrobe.

Ah, who am I kidding?!  I eat this bread because it’s delicious and I make it taste like cake.  But I am weak and I lack discipline and I will probably go back to desserts next week!  But let me have my moment.  Let me try to appreciate this time of year.

Molasses Bread (recipe from Joy the Baker)

1 2/3 cups plain yogurt

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup molasses

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt and baking soda.

In a small bowl whisk together buttermilk or yogurt and molasses.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold until well combined, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not have any leftover flour.  Spoon batter into prepared pan and place in the oven.  Bake loaf for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the top of the bread is a deep brown and a tester comes out clean.

Remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes in the loaf pan.  Run a butter knife along the sides of the pan and carefully invert onto a wire rack.

Loaf will keep, well wrapped at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Serve with cream cheese, jam, salted butter, nutella, homemade ricotta, almond butter, or just dip the whole thing in chocolate ganache.

Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cakes

April 12, 2012

Every couple of months, I do a juice cleanse.  You know, when you drink about 5-6 juices a day, in a specific order to, supposedly, gain energy and give your digestive system a break.  I love the idea of this right before I’m about to start.  I’m always so pumped to get ready for 5 full days of not eating, not worrying about cooking, and doing something good for myself.

Then, every single time I do a cleanse, after about, say, 1.5 days, when my energy is never up, I start thinking about what I’m going to eat 4 days later.  What will I cook?  Should I eat out?  Can I have cheese?!  This always begins a downward spiral leading me to break the cleanse about 3 days in every time (c’mon!  3 days is a long weekend for your digestive system…it can easily take a road trip!).

Anyway, I just finished a pretty rough cleanse.  I blame this cake for that.  This was the last thing I ate before I was on my liquid diet.  This incredibly moist orange chocolate cake (yes, another one!) with chocolate ganache on top was incredible.  Dreaming of this cake made me get through the (3 day) cleanse (and tortured me throughout), and if I hadn’t eaten all of the cakes pre-cleanse, I would have eaten this immediately after I was done.  Only to feel like I need to do a cleanse again.  Ah, but it’s worth it.

Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake (recipe from Barefoot Contessa)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 ounces (just over 1/3 cup) buttermilk or yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 ounces good semisweet or dark chocolate (chips or chopped from a bar)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a standard 12 cup muffin tin.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the orange zest.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture.  Add flour alternately in thirds and buttermilk in halves to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour.  Toss the chocolate chunks with 1 tablespoon flour and stir into the batter. Pour into muffin tin, filling about 3/4 of way up, smooth the tops, and bake for 20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the molds on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

While the cakes are baking, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves.  Carefully remove the cake from the pans, using an offset spatula, or a butter knife to help them out, and put them upside down on a rack over a tray.  Poke each cake lightly with a toothpick.  Pour the warm syrup over the cakes and allow the cakes to soak in the syrup.  Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the ganache, melt the chocolate, cream, and coffee in the microwave, in 30 second intervals, or in a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.  Spoon over the top of the cakes.

Spanikopita

April 5, 2012

The thing about having a food blog is that you have to have a story to tell about the food you’re posting.  Or explain why it’s appropriate to make that time of year.  Or how the ingredients are really fresh and seasonal.  And that’s just fine.  Because I am usually okay with all of these requirements!

But sometimes…sometimes you just want a cheesy, spinachy, flaky, savory pastry and want other people to have it too.  Sometimes, you just want to make something just because it tastes real good.

This is one of those times.  This does taste real good!  And you’ll be so pleased if you make it yourself.  Yum!

Spanikopita (recipe from David Lebovitz)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced finely
12 ounces fresh spinach
salt and freshly-ground pepper
8-10 ounces fresh feta cheese
2 tablespoons finely-chopped flat leaf parsley
pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg
1 large egg, at room temperature
freshly squeezed lemon juice

16 sheets thawed filo dough

Melted butter, about 1/2 stick

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a pan.  Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Add the spinach, and season with salt and pepper.  Cover the pan and cook until the spinach is completely wilted, stirring once or twice to make sure that the spinach doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

3. Turn off the heat and let the spinach mixture cool completely.  Transfer the spinach mixture into a colander and squeeze out all of the excess liquid.  Chop the spinach until it is in bite sized pieces.

4. Mix the spinach in a small bowl with the feta and parsley.  Taste, and add nutmeg and a dash of lemon juice, plus more salt and pepper if needed.  Stir in the egg.

5. Unwrap and unroll the filo and keep it covered with a damp tea towel.

6. Lay one sheet of filo on the counter and brush it lightly with butter. Lay another sheet on top of it and brush it with butter as well.

7.  Place about 1/4 cup  of the filling in the center, about 1-inch (3cm) from the edge of the sheets of filo, then roll the two edges of the dough over, lengthwise, to encase the filling. You should have a long rectangle with filling underneath the top far end.

8. Brush the exposed surface of the filo with butter and fold one corner diagonally over the filling, then continue folding keeping the triangle shape (as you’d fold a flag) and brushing the exposed surfaces of the filo with butter, until you have a neat triangle. Brush the top with butter and set on a baking sheet.

9. Continue making more spanakopitas with the remaining filling.

10. Preheat the oven to 350F.   Bake for 25 minutes, or until deeply-golden brown.