Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gâteau Breton

time for a bite...

This Gâteau Breton is another recipe by Rose Levy Beranbaum from Rose's Heavenly Cakes cookbook. One of the things I love about this cookbook is the variety of types of recipes. There are really complex cakes that take a couple of days to complete which I love, because sometimes I am just in the mood to bake something complicated and intensive that requires me to go out and find special ingredients or a new pan. But I also love that there are really straightforward - yet delicious - recipes, for which I am likely to already have all of the ingredients...and this is one of those. Simple, easy, yummy.

This dessert is sort of a cross between a shortbread, a cake, and is baked in a tart pan. As it bakes, the outer edge forms a flaky sort of a crust. The middle is lighter than a shortbread, but heavier than a cake and not too sweet. I recommend serving it with coffee and some whipped cream would be lovely too.

mise en place for the cake

the toasted almonds and some of the sugar...

are ground together

the butter and sugar are combined

and creamed for several minutes until nearly white in color

the eggs are added and beaten until fluffy to incorporate more air into the batter

the rum, vanilla, and almond mixture is added, then the flour mixture
is added in four parts

the finished batter is very stiff...

smooth the batter into the tart pan and brush with an egg wash

score the top with the tines of a fork

and voila, done!

it makes such a pretty presentation

lovely flaky crust

ready to serve

dense, but still flaky...delicious!

Bye for now...

Homemade Baked French Fries

served simply, with some ketchup

I love making my own french fires. I cook them in the oven with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt. Simple and delicious.

I'm not too picky about the type of potato, I just slice them - skin on - into thin sticks and pour over some olive oil (a few tablespoons, but enough to fully coat them and leave a little on the pan bottom) and some balsamic vinegar (about 2 teaspoons or to taste). Toss the fries - I just use my hands - then spread out on a sheet pan into a single layer, or as close to that as you can. Depending on how many potatoes you used you may need to use a second sheet pan - they will come out much better if they are not crowded. Finally, sprinkle some sea salt over the potatoes before you put them in the oven.

Bake in a 450-475 degree preheated oven. Check them after about 15 minutes or so; use tongs to flip them if you need to. Keep cooking until they are golden brown or you just can't wait any longer.

The olive oil helps them to get really crispy and crunchy on the outside and the balsamic vinegar caramelizes a bit and gives the french fries a lovely flavor. Serve with ketchup. YUM!

baked in a single(ish) layer on a sheet pan

a delicious close up!

Bye for now...

Zesty Orange Streusel Coffee Cake

pretty coffee cake, just out of the oven

I wanted to make a coffee cake one Saturday morning but didn't have a tried and true I adapted a couple of Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes and made my own. Since it's an adaptation, I'll include my recipes below for the streusel filling and for the cake itself. I didn't make the full streusel filling recipe because I only needed it for filling and not to cover the top of a cake, so my measurements are approximate. Use more or less, to your liking (you don't need much more though!).

Streusel Filling ingredients (adapted from Cinnamon Crumb Topping, by Rose Levy Beranbaum)
approx. 70 grams (3/4 cup) walnut halves, finely chopped
2 T melted butter
approx. 50 grams (1/4 cup or so) total of light brown sugar and granulated sugar, use mostly brown sugar
30 grams (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1/2 t cinnamon
scant 1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 t cardamom
drop of orange oil

Streusel instructions: melt the butter and stir in the sugars, spices, flour, and orange oil. Mix in the flour and the finely chopped walnuts. Set aside.

Zesty Orange Streusel Coffee Cake ingredients (adapted from Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake, by Rose Levy Beranbaum)
2 large eggs PLUS 1 large egg yolk, at room temp
200 grams (3/4 c plus 1 T) plain, full fat, strained Greek yogurt (I used Fage), separate out approx. 1/4 cup which you'll use to mix with the eggs. I think you could also use sour cream instead of yogurt
1 3/4 t vanilla
1/2 t orange oil (I used Boyajian)

250 grams (2 c plus 3 T) all purpose flour
250 grams (1 1/4 c) granulated sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 salt
zest from 2 oranges
200 grams (14 T) unsalted butter, at room temp

Preheat oven to 350 and put the oven rack on the bottom third of the oven. Spray your 10 c bundt cake pan with a baking spray with flour (I love the Spectrum Organics brand). I use this Nordic Ware 'Heritage' pan. It is wonderful. It's heavy and the sharp edges make the most beautiful frosting or other embellishment is needed.

Cake instructions (also adapted from Rose's sour cream cakes method - no alternating of mixing in the milk and flour - it's the best!):

In a small/medium bowl, mix together: eggs, egg yolk, 1/4 of the yogurt, vanilla, orange oil, set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest. Add the softened butter and remaining yogurt. Mix on low until combined, scrape down, and then increase speed to med-high for 90 seconds to two minutes.

Add the egg-yogurt mixture in two parts, mixing on low until combined and then on med-high for about 30-40 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when adding the eggs.

Spoon about 2/3 of the batter into the bundt pan, then create a 'well' into which you can spoon the filling. Spoon in the streusel filling in, and then gently spoon over the remaining batter. Smooth the batter with a small offset spatula being careful not to mix up the streusel mixture.

Bake for 45-50 minutes (mine was done at 48 minutes), until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan, on a rack, for 8 minutes, then turn out onto your serving plate and let cool completely (or...if you're like me, eat while still warm).

The cake came out really well. It had a really light crumb and the filling was a delicious mix of nuts, sugar, and spices. I'll definitely make this one again. Enjoy!

ingredients for the streusel filling. Use whatever spices you like best.

mise en place for the cake

I used some of my homemade vanilla extract

the batter with the dry ingredients, plus butter and yogurt...

and now the egg-yogurt mixture added in...smooth!

about 2/3 of the batter is scooped into the pan

then the streusel filling is added

add the remaining batter...

and carefully smooth over the filling

I love the edges that this bundt pan creates

this is a little smooshed because I was too impatient to let it
cool completely before slicing...but tasted delicious!

Bye for now...

Heavenly Cake Baker: Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake

The Heavenly Cake Baker club is over now, but I still frequently bake from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Rose's Heavenly Cakes cookbook. Her recipes are very straightforward and always delicious. She also has a great method (read: easy) for making cakes. You combine the dry ingredients, add the butter and part of the sour cream, beat for a couple of minutes to create air in the batter, then add the eggs and remainder of sour cream and then beat. So much easier than the old alternating the dry and wet ingredients, starting/ending with the dry.

So, back to this cake...although I am not a huge fan of poppyseeds, I've been wanting to try to make a poppyseed cake for a while, so who better to turn to than Rose? I have memories of my mother making some sort of lemon poppyseed pound cake when I was younger so maybe that is why I wanted to try this recipe? Well, regardless of the reason I felt compelled to bake it, this Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake was fantastic.

Even though it had a lovely light lemony flavor (and I even added lemon oil, not called for in the recipe), I would probably add some freshly squeezed lemon juice next time to punch up the lemon flavor a bit. I would also cut back on the poppyseeds slightly. The recipe also called for lemon syrup to be brushed on after baking...which I skipped. So I would definitely make the syrup next time and this might also help with the lemon flavor.

mise en place

oops, I accidentally started by beating the worries, I'll just mix
the dry ingredients in another bowl and then add to my mixer bowl

here we go, the dry ingredients mixed and added back to the mixer bowl

in goes 1/2 c of the sour cream

the butter and most of the sour cream are mixed in and beaten for 90 seconds
and then the remaining wet ingredients are added

and done...into the pan!

so pretty and smells great

a slice for the chef


Bye for now...

Chopped Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

I went to an Eat Like a Yogi vegan cooking class about six months ago with Siri Bani Kaur of Kundalini Yoga Boston. Most of the dishes were also raw. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to like the food as much as I did but everything was great. The Kale Salad recipe was so delicious that I've adapted it, and the tahini dressing slightly, and made it several times since the class.

Chopped Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing, adapted from Siri Bani Kaur's recipe
Kale Salad
1 bunch of kale
3 medium carrots
1 avocado
1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes
1 English cucumber
1 small red onion, finely diced
~ 2 c cooked quinoa, optional

Tahini Dressing
1/4 c Tahini
2 T Brewer's yeast
2 cloves garlic, pressed
juice from 2 lemons
3 T extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
1/2 t sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 T water, or as needed

This recipe makes a huge amount, so make it when you have guests (or decrease the ingredients). It will last for a few days, but because everything is raw, you'll want to enjoy it quickly.

Chop the ingredients for the kale salad into bite-sized pieces and place in large bowl (I use the largest bowl I have or a large cooking pot); add the quinoa. Gently mix together so you don't mash the avocado.

For the dressing, mix all ingredients except the water. Add the water a little at a time, until you get the consistency you like. Add the dressing to the vegetables and stir gently.


the easiest way to cut up an avocado...slice top to bottom
and then across...

and then scoop out with a spoon

all of the chopped up veggies

kale is washed and ready to be chopped into bite-sized pieces

the quinoa cooks while I chop up the veggies

ready to mix everything together

the tahini sauce is ready too

pour the sauce over the vegetable-quinoa mix and stir gently healthy and delicious!

served with some french bread crostini


Bye for now...