Taste of Fall

September 12, 2010

Most people I talk to love fall. They’re excited to see the changing season and for the weather to cool off.
I so wish I could understand that feeling. I’m too much of a summer girl. Spring is the most exciting for me, I look forward to the first day of the year to hit 90 and to take naps on the beach. I’d honestly be perfectly happy to have that all year round, but I somehow find myself in the northeast year after year dreading having to pull out coats and layer up.

Then I remembered how I get through fall…


I goodness, I love pumpkin anything. If there’s one trait I got from my dad it would be the love of pumpkin and ability to finish off a pumpkin pie in no time at all. I suppose there’s worse addictions, right?
So, to kick off fall, here’s a little recipe for some perfectly pumpkin, and super soft scones. Perfect for breakfast with a cup of tea, if I do say so myself.

Pumpkin Spice Scones
Adapted from Pinch my Salt

1 C. all purpose flour (I use Whole Wheat)
1 C. cake flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground ginger
6 T. unsalted butter
1/3 heaping C. pumpkin puree
1/3 C. Milk (I used 2%)
6 T. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Get out a baking sheet and line with parchment paper (not required but makes cleanup easy!). Cut the butter into small pieces, put it in a small bowl and put it back in the refridgerator. In a medium bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, salt, and all spices. Whisk together well. Place bowl in freezer (refrigerator is fine if you have no room in freezer).

2. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, heavy cream, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk together well. Put this bowl in freezer (or refrigerator) and take the other bowl back out. Get the butter pieces out of the fridge and dump them into the bowl with the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins if you are using them.

3. Get the liquid mixture out of the freezer and pour into the flour mixture all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is just moistened. The dough will be very crumbly, this is the way it should be. Turn the mixture out onto the counter and push the pile together with your hands. It should stick together fairly well. Knead it just a couple of times until everything is together. Don’t knead it too much or the dough will get too sticky.

4. Pat the dough out into a rough circle, 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut it like a pie into 8 pieces. Place pieces on the baking sheet so that they are not touching. Bake scones for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees. They should be light brown on the bottom, the tops will darken as they cool.

For cinnamon icing, mix together 1 C. powdered sugar, 2 T. milk, 1/2 t. cinnamon (to taste). Adjust the amount of sugar or milk to make the icing the consistency you want. It should be pretty thick. Icing can be brushed on or drizzled.


Vegan Chocolate Cookies

August 13, 2010

Sometimes I have my fancy-pants cooking days, but most of the rest of the time I just want to throw together something, simple, basic and, most of all, delicious. I’ve found that vegan cooking and baking for me is not basic enough. There’s usually some funky ingredients that, unless your an actual vegan, you probably won’t have on hand. This is the second time I’ve used The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur’s recipe for Double Chocolate Chip Cookies and they absolutely fit the criteria of basic, simple and completely delicious! They’re easy and quick to whip up plus they are so tasty!

Dougie the Dino quite enjoyed them…

I had to share this with you.

You may remember my Strawberry Rhubarb Galette, which is one of my favorite desserts I’ve made (at least, this summer). Well, I knew you could make a savory dinner type Galette and couldn’t wait to give it a try.

Let me tell you – probably my favorite savory food I’ve ever made.
I give props to the delicious and fresh local veggies of course too of course.

It was completely worth the time it took. The crust (which is the same that I always make) was, as always, perfectly flakey and delicious on its own, and the filling was favorful and just way too darn tasty.

I really didn’t have a recipe I followed, I mostly looked at other galette recipes and kind of emprovised from there so I’m happy to share it with you… go forth and have a delicious dinner!

The Crust
Partial whole wheat version
(adapted from Bread Baby)

1 tsp salt
2/3 cup very cold water
300 g of white flour
170 g of Whole Wheat flour
1 cup plus 5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into 1 inch cubes (300 g)

I find using weights for measuring flour works MUCH better here, so weigh it if you have a scale.
In a small bowl, dissolve salt in very cold water and keep cold by sticking it in the freezer while you do the next steps.
To make dough with a mixer put flour in the work bowl, scatter butter over flour, and mix slowly until the mixture forms pea-sized crumbs. Add salted water and mix from low to very high for several seconds, until the dough comes together as a ball, but is not completely smooth (you should see some butter chunks).
At this point be careful not to handle the dough to much to keep it as tender as possible. On a floured surface, divide dough into two balls, shape into 2 thick disks, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
(I freeze my second disk of dough to use for later)
30 minutes or so before baking, roll out the dough, place on parchment lined sheet and stick in the fridge until rest of ingredients are prepared.

The Filling

2 1/2 Tbsp butter
olive oil
1/3 onion (chopped)
Spices: Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Parsley
2 cloves (or 2 tsp) of minced Garlic
1/2 Bunch of Asparagus
Parmesan Cheese (goat cheese would work well too)
1 1/2 cups of Zucchini (thinly sliced)
4 Thick slices of Tomato

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees
Sauté onion in butter with a splash of Olive Oil until tender and slightly browned. Chop 1/2 of your asparagus into inch or so sized pieces and add to sauté-ing onions. Add garlic and spices to your liking – do not be shy with the spices! once asparagus has gotten tender remove from stove and alow to cool.
Once the mixture has cooled, pull rolled out dough from fridge. Scoop mixture on the center of the dough, sprinkle with desired amount of cheese (I went fairly light with mine), layer with zucchini, then layer with the remaining asparagus, and finally layer with tomatoes. top with more cheese and plenty of spices. Fold up edges and assure they’re well “glued” to one another. Coat crust with olive oil and drizzle a little bit into the galette.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until crust is slightly browned. Allow to cool slightly before digging in, and then enjoy :)

Limited Torte

July 5, 2010

How do you pass off a chocolate torte as patriotic when serving it on the 4th of July?
by adding strawberries and blueberries of course

I must say, this delicious and dense creation went over well at my friends little get get together. My favorite part of the night though? backyard fireworks.

Recipe used was from Williams Sonoma Desserts

I love when desserts are simple, lovely and above all- delicious. That is what this is. What says summer more than strawberries and rhubarb? And nothing can make you feel closer to be some french woman hosting a fancy dinner party at her summer home in Provence than a Galette.

Yesterday I did something I’ve been really really wanting to do for quite a while now – make a pie completely and totally from scratch. So I set to work peeling apples and rolling dough with help only by my ten fingers and two palms. I was beyond happy when it came out perfect. Seriously, perfect! I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty sure it could kick the butt of any premade dough and canned filling pie any day of the week (bring it on pillsbury dough boy!). The crust was flakey and soft and the apples were sweet and tender, what more could a girl possibly ask for?

The crust recipe was from Tartine via Bread Baby.

And the Filling was Martha Stewarts via Handle the Heat.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 6, 2010

Chocolate chip cookies are made in my house at least one a week for as long as I can remember. If my mom has had a bad day, you will most likely find butter softening on the counter, waiting to be beaten and mixed. Personally, I’m not a huge fan. I love the dough of course but most come out like flat little frisbies, plus I’m not much for chocolate chips myself.

So when I came across this recipe, I bookmarked it.
I like to give new CCC recipes a try (not only to try to find one that “tickles my fancy” but also because I know they will all get eaten even if they aren’t the absolute best).

It’s been a while since I’ve baked, and I was thinking how much I missed it yesterday afternoon as I was sculpting little birdies out of clay for a bowl I’m working on. So I packed up my things and headed home to squeeze in a little baking time before I met my friday night group for some dinner and bible studyin’.

The recipe is unique and definitely more time consuming as you have to brown the butter, then wait for it and the sugars to cool and then refrigerate the dough before baking (I was only able to refrigerate mine for an hour, so I’d like to try it again when I’d have time to do it for the full 24 hours). But I don’t mind a little extra effort and time, I’ve found it almost always pays off in the end.

My dough was slightly dry, and I was nervous about the end result, but they formed into cute little cookie balls in my hands and baked down to yummy goodness in the end. They were crispy on the outside but soft in the middle and were the perfect dessert with a cup of coffee. One of my favorite things about them was the use of chopped bittersweet chocolate as opposed to regular semi-sweet chips which are a little too milky tasting, in my opinion. Everyone said they loved them and my sister said they were “awesome.”
so yay! I will definitely be trying them again and still experimenting with other recipes, but this is probably my favorite so far!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Via Blue Ridge Baker

8 1/2 ounces unbleached white flour (I used Whole Wheat)
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, browned
5 ounces light brown sugar
4 ounces granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugars. Pour hot brown butter over sugars, and without stirring, place in refrigerator to cool the butter to room temperature. Attach bowl to mixer and on medium speed, beat until light in color and fluffy. If butter isn’t becoming pale, it isn’t cool enough. Pop it back in the fridge for a few more minutes and try again. When butter mixture is desired consistency, add egg and beat for 30 seconds. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate. Form dough into a log and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours (if you can stand to. If not, I understand). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Form dough into balls a little over an inch in diameter, or 1.5 ounces. Place balls at least 2″ apart on baking sheet, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until slightly puffy, dry on top and tinged with golden. Let cool completely on baking sheet.