Monday, November 29, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is probably my favorite Thanksgiving dish besides mashed potatoes and rolls and pecan pie and apple pie and-screw it. I can't choose a favorite dish. But if I had to, this delicious pie might be it.

Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
Whipped cream (optional)
1. MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
2. POUR into pie shell.
3. BAKE in preheated 425°F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

The Playlist:
  1. Sea Wolf-You're A Wolf
  2. Generationals-When They Fight, They Fight
  3. Kid Congo & the Pink Monkeybirds-Pumpkin Pie
  4. Yeasayer-Madder Red (The Golden Filter Remix)
  5. Ennio Morricone-Rabbia E Tarantella

Thursday, September 30, 2010


FOCACCIA IS THE BEST INVENTION OF ALL TIME, PROBABLY. It's better than the wheel, because wheels don't taste good with soup. 



Yield: 3 lb /1.36 kg

Cornmeal, as needed
18 fl oz / 540 mL water
½ oz / 14 g compressed yeast
2 fl oz / 60 mL extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb 12 oz / 794 g hard wheat flour
½ oz / 14 g salt

Garnish Options
Crumbled goat cheese, as needed
Olives, pitted and sliced, as needed
Pine nuts, as needed
Sun-dried tomatoes, as needed
Chopped herbs such as basil and oregano, as needed
  1. Line baking sheets with parchment. Scatter with cornmeal.
  2. Combine the water, yeast, and oil until yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt. Mix the dough until smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to ferment for 75 minutes. Punch down and scale the dough at 10 oz / 284 g per foccacia. Round off dough. Set dough on prepared sheet pan and proof at room temperature 1 hour.
  3. Press the balls of dough flat and stretch slightly. Brush with olive oil and add any optional garnish items desired. Pan-proof an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Bake in a 425°F / 218°C oven for approximately 30 minutes.
Variation Grissini: Prepare the dough through step 2. Punch down and scale at 1½ oz / 43 g. Round off the dough. Seton a sheet pan and proof at room temperature 1 hour. Roll the balls into long, thin sticks. Brush with olive oil or egg wash and top with desired seasoning: kosher salt, sesame seeds, or fresh herbs. Pan-proof an additional 15 minutes. Bake in 425°F / 218°C oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
Chef’s note: Focaccia may be lightly brushed with garlic and olive oil and served on its own, used as the base of an hors d’oeuvre or sandwich, or dressed with various additions

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Baked Brownie

OK, I have to admit I was kind of skeptical when I kept hearing how great the Baked brownie was. It's not that I've ever eaten a bad brownie, but I just didn't see how this one could live up to the expectations I had. I mean, it's just a brownie, right? WRONG. This brownie basically will render you speechless. It's definitely my favorite brownie, and Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Chocolate Brownie is a very close second. I actually used milk chocolate instead of dark because that's all I had, but it still turned out fine. But anyways, I am very glad I tried these and I encourage you to try them, too! Also, you will notice a playlist at the end of the post and I am adding that because I love listening to music while baking or cooking and I thought I'd put what I listened to just for fun :)

The Baked Brownie

1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Butter the sides and bottom of a 9x13 Pyrex baking pan
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa
- Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally utnil the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth
- Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. Allow mixture to come to room temperature
- Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined.
- Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or brownies will be cakey.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture and using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
- Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top
- Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, until toothpick inserted comes out clean
- Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them into squares

The Playlist:
  1.  Phoenix-1901 (Fortune remix)
  2. The Greenhornes-Saying Goodbye
  3. The Velvet Underground-Sister Ray
  4. Gogol Bordello-Super Taranta
  5. The Black Keys-No Trust
The Velvet Underground song is 17 minutes long, so that was what I was listening to for at least half the time I was baking. What music do you listen to while in the kitchen?


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Classic Apple Pie

I'll be honest. I kind of despise both spring and summer. Spring because of my bad allergies, and summer because it's so HOT. And when it's 100 degrees outside, I have a hard time justifying baking anything. But since yesterday we only had a high of 82 degrees, I was allowed to use up all the apples in the house in this tasty apple pie recipe.

Classic Apple Pie

From Baked: New Frontiers In Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Unfortunately, I can't find the recipe anywhere online and I returned this book to the library before copying it down. But most apple pie recipes are winners, so bake your favorite! 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Grilled Pizza

Pizza on the grill. I thought it was kind of a bad idea until I saw a post about it on one of my all-time favorite blogs, Annie's Eats, and then I wanted to try it immediately. It was a great way to use up some squash and tomatoes before we went out of town, and it tasted absolutely delicious. I wouldn't recommend using a storebought dough for this; the one I used for half the pizzas worked wonderfully in the oven, but didn't hold up on the grill very well. A nice, handmade pizza crust will work much better. So, don't be scared like I was! Do yourself a favor and try making pizza on the grill!

Grilled Pizza


Thinly sliced zucchini and yellow squash

Thinly sliced cherry tomatoes

Kosher salt

½ batch homemade pizza dough, at room temperature*

Olive oil

Thinly sliced red onion

Fresh basil, minced

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Crumbled feta cheese

Freshly ground black pepper


Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Place the slices zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes in a colander set over the sink or a large bowl. Toss with ¾ teaspoon kosher salt. Let sit 20-30 minutes to drain excess liquid.

Meanwhile, transfer the pizza dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, shape each piece of dough into a flattened round, about 6-7 inches in diameter. When the coals are heated, generously oil the grates (I use a wad of paper towels dipped in olive oil, and hold it with tongs). Carefully place the shaped dough rounds onto the grill and cover. Let cook until nicely browned on the bottom surface, and large bubbles appear on the top surface, about 3-4 minutes. Carefully remove the partly cooked dough rounds from the grill for topping.

Transfer the dough rounds to a work surface so that the cooked side is facing up (this is the side that will hold your toppings). Top evenly with sliced zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, and red onion. Sprinkle with minced basil, freshly grated Parmesan and crumbled feta. Season with pepper, to taste. Carefully return the topped pizzas to the grill, cover, and let cook until the bottom surface is nicely browned and the cheeses are melted, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from the grill. Serve warm.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Muffins are fantastic because you can bake a huge batch of them and have something delicious to eat for breakfast every morning for the next few days, which is very useful if, like me, you never seem to have breakfast foods in your house. Chocolate for breakfast may not seem nutritious, but think about it: cacao is a bean, and beans are good for you! So I consider chocolate a vegetable, and therefore you should eat it whenever possible.

Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Yield: 12 muffins

¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1¼ cups buttermilk

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


12-cup muffin pan

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

2. Melt the butter and half the chopped chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients and the melted butter and chocolate over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Do not overmix the batter. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

4. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.

Chocolate Gelato

Summer's not over yet, is it? Well, it doesn't matter because it's always a good time to make chocolate gelato. Always. Even though "gelato" just means ice cream in Italian, it will make you feel more sophisticated saying it. And eating it is just plain enjoyable. So go ahead and make some!

Chocolate Gelato

Adapted from Epicurious


2 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)

2 1/4 cups whole milk

1/3 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup minus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 large egg yolks

1. Coarsely chop chocolate. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan bring milk, cream, and about half of sugar just to a  simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add cocoa powder and chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
2. Have ready a large bowl of ice and cold water. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat yolks and remaining sugar until thick and pale. Add hot chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking, and pour into saucepan. Cook custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until a thermometer registers 170°F. (Do not let boil.) Pour custard through a sieve into a metal bowl set in ice and cold water and cool. Chill custard, covered, until cold.
3. Freeze custard in an ice-cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, 1 to 3 hours.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary

It's not like people are ever looking for a way to get rid of potatoes, because pretty much everyone loves them. But if you happen to have a fair amount on hand, along with a good handful of rosemary, this is a good recipe for you.

4 large potatoes, red or Yukon Gold variety
3 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Wash and cube the potatoes, not so large that they will take forever to roast and not so small that they will soak up too much oil. About a 1-inch cube is best.

2. Place the potatoes and rosemary in a glass baking dish, about 9 X 13, and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Bake at 375 F for about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are slightly browned, crispy on the outside, and fork-tender.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

(The Best) Chocolate Chip Cookies

Would I lie to you? No, I certainly would not. So when I say these are the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet, you had better believe it. Better yet, make a batch for yourself and after that first bite you will's the absolute truth. I baked a huge batch of these for an art opening I was in recently, and they were eaten in less than an hour.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 cups minus 2 tablespoons

(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds coarsely chopped milk or dark chocolate, or a mix of the two

Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.


I know that hummus is not particularly advanced as far as culinary ventures go, but it's so good and easy that everyone should make it if they haven't already. This is a basic recipe, but you can always add more ingredients to make it more exciting, such as a roasted red pepper that's been diced or maybe some chiles for added heat. It's great for a dip, a spread, or even to toss with pasta (which I think is so tasty, but not everyone agrees with me there). Anyways, give it a try and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.


1 15oz can of chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), drained

¼ cup Tahini (sesame seed paste)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon finely minced garlic (optional)

Sea salt and black or red pepper to taste

1. Combine chickpeas, Tahini, and garlic in a blender.

2. Add the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice to loosen it up.

3. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with pita, crackers, or crudités.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gnocchi With Caponata

Gnocchi (NYOH-KEY) is one of my favorite foods, but I have always been afraid to try making it myself, because I had this idea it would be really hard and not at all rewarding. On the contrary, it was very easy to make and tasted even better than the kind I usually buy from Trader Joe's. To accompany it, I made some Caponata, a Sicilian eggplant stew, and served it with Parmesan. Easy, and delicious.


Adapted from Eating Well Magazine
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

1. Steam the potatoes until tender in one inch of water in a pressure cooker, about 20 minutes.
2. Peel and mash the potatoes finely.
3. Add the flour and as much of the water as you need to make a basic dough.
4. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and roll into a disc shape. 
6. Cut the disc into four sections and roll each one out into a skinny log.
7. Cut pieces of gnocchi that are about 3/4-inch long each and repeat until all the dough is formed.
8. Bring a pot of water to boil and salt it well. Cook the gnocchi for 2-4 minutes; they are ready when they float to the top.


From Jamie's Italy by Jamie Oliver

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ciabbata Rolls

Since I like to do things the old-fashioned way a lot of the time, this recipe is slightly adapted because I don't have a dough hook attachment for my mixer (which is about 700 years old) and mixed and kneaded the dough by hand. Like any recipe written by Daniel Leader (author of Bread Alone) these may take a bit of effort, but are so worth it.

Ciabatta Rolls

From Panini Express by Daniel Leader and Lauren Chattman


3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon tepid water (70-78 degrees)

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan and brushing the rolls

1. Pour the water into a large bowl and then add the yeast, flour, salt, sugar, and olive oil and stir with a spatula to blend into a dough.

2. Turn the dough onto a well floured surface and knead for about 12-15 minutes (which will seem like quite long time to do by hand, so I recommend putting on some music you like so you don't get bored). You may need to dust the dough with more flour so it doesn't stick to your hands, so have a bowl of it nearby.

3. Oil a 7 X 11 baking dish and scrape the dough into the dish. Pat it with oiled fingertips to flatten it.

4. Let the dough rest 5 minutes, then use lightly oiled fingertips to push and stretch it across the bottom of the dish.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm, draft free place until it has doubled in volume and reaches the top of the pan, about 2 hours.

6. Lightly oil a large baking sheet and invert the dough onto the baking sheet, then use a sharp chef's knife to cut the dough into six squares, then use the knife to push the squares three inches apart from each other.

7. Drape a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough pieces and leave them to expand by about 50%, around 40 minutes.

8. Preheat the oven to 475 F.

9. Remove the plastic and bake the rolls until dark golden brown, about 20 minutes.

10. Brush the hot rolls with olive oil and let cool completely on the baking sheet before slicing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chocolate Cookies With White Chocolate Chunks

I understand that the name of this recipe is none too original, but I hardly think it will matter to you when you have a delicious, dense chocolate cookie in your mouth. These cookies have a texture that is almost like a brownie, but they are still pretty light, and all the chocolate in them is balanced by the bits of white chocolate throughout the cookie.

You can make these using any combination of extras; dried cherries, nuts, and bits of candy (like M&Ms) are all good additions.

Chocolate Cookies With White Chocolate Chunks

3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder (regular is fine, too, but this is the kind that I used)

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 large bar of baker's white chocolate, cut into small chunks

Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. Scoop spoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheet, and make sure there is an inch or two of space in between them. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until firm on the bottom but softer on the top, 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies may look like they are not done baking, but as they cool they will become firmer. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 5 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.