Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Apple Crisp

I promised to post this recipe a few days ago... oops.  Here is the recipe for Apple Crisp.  As I mentioned earlier, this past week I couldn't decide between making apple crisp and apple pie... so I just made both!  I have had and used this recipe forever - it's been a staple in my 'fall recipe' collection for years.  This is a relatively easy dish to make - the the only real labor intensive this about it is waiting the 45 minutes for it to get out of the oven!

Apple Crisp

  • 4 Apples, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup white sugar


  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • A dash or two of nutmeg and apple pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Place the cut apples in an ungreased 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle with the white sugar.
  3. Mix together the topping ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Distribute the mixture over the top of the apples, and pat it firmly in place.
  4. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is crisp and lightly browned and the fruit/juice is bubbling around the edges. I recommend serving this hot, but it tastes just as yummy at room temperature.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Apple Pie! It's Finally Fall!

If you ask anyone who knows me, I live for fall flavors.  I wake up early in the morning just to get the best gallon of apple cider at the farmers market, I dream about going to the Dexter Cider Mill, and I get excited for fresh picked apples for fresh baked fall treats.  I'm posting two recipes, one for apple pie (with an all butter crust) and one for apple crisp.  I couldn't make up my mind for which one I wanted to bake, and when asking people which one they'd rather eat, the results were split down the middle.  Nick gave me some Jonathan apples that he picked from his grandfathers farm!  They were absolutely amazing; so fragrant, crisp, and a perfect balance of tart/sweet.  I also had some New Zealand Pink Lady's at my fridge, so I used one of those in the apple pie (because I needed just one more apple) and the others were used in the apple crisp.
I also always make an all butter crust; the concept of shortening just freaks me out.  We have been using butter churns much longer than shortening-making factory equipment.  And butter just tastes better!  What also made making this crust so much easier is that I got to use my "new-used" food processor for the first time!  My grandma gave me her old one that she barely used and it works like a dream… and it's 20 years old!

Oh yes, and this recipes, I can't even remember where I got them.  I have been making apple pie since I was 16 and the recipes are fairly engrained in to my memory.  However, I did forget how long to cook the pie for, so I referenced Smitten Kitchen for that.

All Butter Pie Crust:


  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons cold water 

  1. Cut the butter into 1/2" prices and freeze the pieces for at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Process for a few seconds to combine.
  3. Mix together the yogurt and cold water in a small measuring cup.
  4. Into the food processor, add the chilled butter pieces. Give the flour/butter mixture 6 to 8 one-second pulses. You want some pea-sized pieces of butter remaining for a flaky crust (over-processing will result a shortbread-like texture).
  5. Pop the liquid ingredients into the freezer for a couple of minutes.
  6. Drizzle in half of the liquid into the food processor. Give the mixture 3 one-second pulses.
  7. Drizzle in the remaining liquid and repeat the 3 one-second pulses.
  8. Check the consistency of the dough. The texture should be similar to wet sand. Pinch a bit of the dough together with your fingers. If it holds together on its own, it has enough moisture. If it doesn't hold together, drizzle in an additional tablespoon of water and repeat the 3 one-second pulses.
  9. Turn the dough out on a work surface. Split into two balls and wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to a couple of days).
  10. If refrigerating the dough for more than a couple of hours, let stand at room temperature to soften a bit (15 to 30 minutes) before rolling out.
  11. Roll the dough out into a circle and fit into a pie pan, make sure to press the crust down firmly into the corners of the pie pan!
  12. Place the crust in the refrigerator while assembling the apples.

You can see the butter and liquid chilling (and in the tupperware my no-bake cookies that will not firm up)

Apple Pie:


  • I used 3 medium and 1 large apple
  • 1 tablespoon juice and 1 teaspoon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 egg white, beaten lightly


  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat rimmed baking sheet and oven to 500°F. 
  2. Peel, core and cut apples in half, and in half again width-wise; cut quarters into 1/4-inch slices and toss with lemon juice and zest. In a medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, flour, salt and spices. Toss dry ingredients with apples. Turn fruit mixture, including juices, into chilled pie shell and mound slightly in center.
  3. Roll out second piece of dough to 12-inch disk and place over filling. Trim top and bottom edges to 1/2-inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute edging or press with fork tines to seal. Cut four slits on dough top. If pie dough is very soft, place in freezer for 10 minutes. Brush egg white onto top of crust and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
  4. Make a ring of tin foil (see picture) around the crust of the pie - it protects the edges from burning and keeps that nice and flakey! 
  5. Place pie on baking sheet and lower oven temperature to 425°F. Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375°F; continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30-35 minutes longer.
  6. Make sure to let the pie sit to cool for AT LEAST 30 minutes!  This is crucial!  During this time the insides of the pie firm up and make it a lot easier serve/eat/enjoy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stir-Fried Vegetables in a Peanut Butter Sauce with Curried Tofu

I am poor college student who has a gourmet palate that primarily cooks for one (sometimes four when I cook for my housemates or 20 when I go to potlucks).  As a result, I have a fridge full of half cut up veggies and a very full spice rack.  This past sunday I noticed that in my fridge I had the following ingredients that needed to be used up ASAP: Half a white onion, some spinach, some baby carrots, some extra firm tofu that was teetering on its expiration date, a huge bag of limes, and the last bit of a jar or natural peanut butter.  And, of course, over the weekend I picked up a fresh jar of hot curry powder.  What's a girl to do?  Pseudo stir fry of course!  This meal is incredibly filling and easy to make for one (and easy to double or triple).  Sadly, I did have some tofu left over that I just had to throw out (a cardinal sin for college students, I know) because I knew I would never eat it.  And again, please excuse me for the poor photography.  I have florescent lights in my kitchen and i was eating at about 8 at night… not really the best time to capture an award winning image.  Hopefully my light box will be up and running soon and I won't have to worry about my shady florescent lights anymore!

(PS - proud to say this recipe is 100% my own)


  • Extra Firm Tofu, cut into half-inch cubes
  • A few shakes of Hot Curry Powder (I'll estimate a tablespoon or so)
  • 1 tsp Yellow Mustard Seed
  • Canola Oil
  • Fresh (or frozen is fine) spinach
  • Baby carrots, cut into long strips
  • White onion, cut into rings, then cut in half

For the Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (leaving it out on the counter it warm up real helps)
  • The juice and zest from one lime
  • Yellow Mustard Seed (a pinch or two)
  • Red Chile Pepper Flakes
  • A few dashes of the hot curry powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. For the Sauce, mash all the ingredients together with a fork and set aside.
  2. Heat up a wok (or a large skillet) with some canola oil and sprinkle with a little salt.  Once the wok is hot, slowly add in the tofu, sprinkle on the mustard seed and curry powder, combine well, and stir-fry until the outside of the tofu has formed a crispy shell.  Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat up a small amount it canola oil and saute the onions until partially cooked, then add in the baby carrots.  Once the onions and carrots are soft, add in the spinach.  Once the spinach has cooked down, add in the pre-cooked tofu and combine with the stir-fried veggies.
  4. Invigorate the sauce with the fork and pour over veggie/tofu mixture on the pan.  Cook for another minute or two.  Remove from heat, transfer to your favorite plate, crack a beer, sit down, and enjoy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Butterscotch Brownie Cake

Happy birthday Kirk!  I made this cake for one of my fantastic friends, Kirk, because he just turned 24!  One of his favorite flavors on the face of this earth is butterscotch (if you don't believe me, refer back to the double butterscotch feature post).  I adapted this recipe from Annie's Eats , but I made a few (possibly) significant changes.  The biggest change I made was separating the eggs, beating the egg whites, and adding them in separately.  I did this to try and lighten the texture of the cake so it wouldn't be as dense as a brownie.  The cake turned out fine - but I'm not sure how it taste's yet (you'll have a wait a few hours for the verdict).  I also used my own chocolate ganache recipe because it hasn't failed me yet.

Butterscotch Blondie Cake
Adapted from Annie's Eats

Ingredients for the butterscotch brownie cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, separated.
  • 1 (11 oz.) package butterscotch chips, divided

Ingredients for the butterscotch ganache:

  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 6 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter

Ingredients for the chocolate ganache:

  • 4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 60%), chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter


  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour the sides of two 5-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.  In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  
  2. In a bigger bowl, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed until creamy.  Scrape down the bowl.  Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.  In a smaller separate bowl, beat the egg whites until light and fluffy until stiff peaks form.  
  3. Gradually beat in the flour mixture on low speed just until combined.  Then fold in the egg whites until well combined.  Stir in 1 cup of butterscotch chips with a rubber spatula.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Sprinkle with the remaining butterscotch chips.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pans to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before carefully removing from the pans.

To make the butterscotch ganache:

  1. Combine the cream and the butter in a small saucepan.  
  2. Warm over medium-high heat until the mixture is almost boiling.  
  3. Place the butterscotch chips in a small, heatproof bowl.  
  4. Pour the cream mixture over the butterscotch chips and allow to sit for 30 seconds.  Stir until smooth.

To make the chocolate ganache:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil
  2. Place chopped chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a small bowl and pour hot cream, through a sieve, over the chopped chocolate.
  3. Stir until smooth and creamy in texture.
  4. Let stand, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened.
  5. Pour over the cooled cake, slice and serve.

To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers on a wire rack with a sheet of wax paper.  Drizzle butterscotch ganache over the top so that it drips over the edges of the cake.  Drizzle with a small amount of chocolate ganache as well.  Lay the remaining cake layer on top of the first and top with remaining butterscotch and chocolate ganache so that it drips over the edges.  Transfer the cake to a serving platter.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chickpea Salad

Today was the first Les Voyageurs potluck of the season. Not only does this mean that there were a bunch of new faces down at the cabin, but there were a LOT more mouths to feed. Hence, I needed to make a substantial amount of food without breaking the bank or my back cooking all day in the kitchen. This recipe was quite easy to make... but you need to make sure that you use VERY good ingredients because there are so few in the recipe. I recommend Trader Joe's organic Chickpeas - they are nice and meaty and are never mealy. Also (as I have mentioned before) use Greek Olive Oil - it has a much richer flavor. The manchego cheese is a nice soft cheese, but it is hard to find and isn't inexpensive - so if you must you can substitute parmesan for manchego.

Chickpea Salad
Adapted from Orangette

  • 3 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons best quality olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onions
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed shredded manchego cheese
  • big pinch kosher salt, plus more to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and stir gently to mix. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve immediately, or chill, covered, until serving.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Baked Brownie with a Swirl of Peanut Butter

I have been wanting to try "The Baked Brownie" forever. Every time I went on tastespotting or foodgawker, I saw yet another photo of the alluring Baked Brownie. Having an urge to bake something and use of the bag of chocolate chips in my freezer, I decided this would be the best option. While looking for recipes all over the internet, I swear, no Baked Brownie recipe was the same. Some recommended using three different types of chocolate, some used specific types of cocoa powder....etc. I being a poor college student, I used plain old Hersey's Dark Chocolate Cocoa, Trader Joe's Chocolate Chips, and I made a little bit of some REALLY strong coffee in my french press.... and I think they turned out just fine. Just ask my neighbors and housemates... they didn't seem to complain too much (or at all) when eating them. Oh yeah, and I also added some Peanut Butter!


Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers In Baking


  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • One bag of dark chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe's)
  • 8 ounces butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp of REALLY strong coffee
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Peanut Butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9x13x2 pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.
  4. Configure a large sized double boiler. Place the chocolate, the butter, and the STRONG coffee in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. Mixture should be room temperature.
  5. Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
  6. Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula (DO NOT USE A WHISK) fold the dry into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.
  7. Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Spoon on some natural peanut butter and "marble" in with a knife.
  8. Bake the brownies for 33 minutes (rotate the pan half-way through baking) and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  9. Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving. (This step wasn't so strictly followed...)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thumbprint Cookies

First post of September and first post for the school year! I just moved into my new house... so I haven't been able to do much cooking. I made my soft pretzels for the neighbors and my housemates two nights ago and the night before that I made double chocolate chip cookies (sadly, I don't think I'll be posting the recipe anytime soon. It's my recipe and it's pretty much under lock and key. But if you specifically approach me, I'll maybe share the recipe with you). Last night I made Thumbprint Cookies for the first Les Voyageurs potluck tonight! I had a bunch of apricot jam I needed to use up - so this was a perfect solution. I also have a lot of molasses to use up - so I may be making gingerbread muffins sometime soon.... There is a whole bunch of thumbprint cookie recipes, so I combined yummy traits from all of them to create this recipe.

Now that the school year is beginning, I won't be able to post as many recipes. I'll try and get two up a week.

Thumbprint Cookies

  • Any sort of Jam (I used apricot and strawberry)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 oz (6 tbsp) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a pastry bag with the jam. Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in the cream cheese, egg, and vanilla one at a time until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beater(s) as necessary.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Working with heaping teaspoon of dough, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Make an indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb. If you find your thumb sticking to the cookies, wet it a bit with water.
  5. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they are just beginning to set and are lightly browned around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and, working quickly, gently reshape the indentation with the bottom of a teaspoon measure. Prepare the pastry bag and carefully fill each indentation with about 1/2 tsp of the jam. Put the cookies back in the oven and continue to bake until lightly golden, 12-14 minutes.
  6. Let the cookies cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes, before serving.


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