January 22, 2015

Tuna Salad

My mom found this recipe for tuna salad recently. It packs in veggies and is very tasty!

Tuna Salad
adapted from Everyday Maven

2 5-ounce cans solid white albacore tuna (in water), drained very well
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste - it depends on if the tuna has salt added or not)
1/4 freshly ground black pepper

Use a food processor to chop the carrots, celery, parsley, red onion, and scallions one at a time. Measure the ingredient after it has been finely chopped. Or just hand chop everything.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.

Granola with Orange and Fig

Here in Vermont there is a widely-available local brand of yogurt which we all love in my family. It is from organic, 100% grass-fed cows and has two ingredients: milk and living yogurt cultures. While I do often eat plain yogurt by itself, it's nice to have something sweet added in too (a splash of maple syrup and a drop of vanilla go a long way).

This granola is very easy and lovely eaten with yogurt. Next time I'll try dried cranberries instead of figs, just for a change.

Granola with Orange and Fig
adapted from Lynsey Loves Food

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 splash vanilla extract
1 cup dried figs, diced
1 orange, zest only

In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, walnuts, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Melt the coconut oil and combine with syrup and vanilla. Pour liquid mixture over the dry one and mix with a spoon to combine. Spread over a parchment-lined large cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and stir. Bake for 5-10 minutes more, watching carefully to prevent the granola from over-browning. Once cool, toss with figs and orange zest. Store in an air-tight container.

French Chocolate Cake

Always in search of an amazing chocolate cake, and this is the winner so far. I've tried flourless chocolate cakes, but I prefer this one.

French Chocolate Cake
from Smitten Kitchen

9 tablespoons (125 grams) unsalted butter
7 ounces (200 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup (40 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (about 30 grams) dark cocoa powder, sifted
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Two pinches sea salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the baking pan with a round of parchment paper.

Melt butter in a large saucepan, 3 quarts is a good size. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Once melted, stir in 2 tablespoons water, then baking powder, flour and cocoa until just combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar, 1 tablespoon water and vanilla, if using, until pale and no longer lumpy. Stir into chocolate mixture until just combined.

In a larger, very clean bowl, beat egg whites and salt until stiff. Gently fold into chocolate mixture until most of the white streaks disappear. Be careful not to deflate the cake.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. Remove from oven and rest on rack for 5 minutes. Run knife along outside cake to make sure it isn’t sticking anywhere, then invert onto another rack, then back onto a cake plate. Eat warm or cold.

Cake keeps for several days at room temperature, lightly wrapped.

Anisette Cookies

I love anise flavor, but only recently purchased my first anise extract. These cookies use the extract and were delicious.

Anisette Cookies
adapted from Italian Dessert Recipes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon anise extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract or freshly squeezed lemon
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup powdered sugar
splash of milk

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Add anise and lemon extracts and mix to combine. Add eggs and beat.

Add flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl. Mix until blended. THe dough may be a little crumbly. Use your hands to mix the dough the rest of the way, if ndded.

Form dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes until barely browned. Make glaze by adding a splash of milk to sifted powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth add more milk until desired consistency is reached. When cookies are cool, dip tops in glaze.

Skillet Cornbread

Easy and delicious! Gotta have cornbread with chili.

Skillet Cornbread
adapted from Flavor the Moments

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
1 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 tablespoon for the pan

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter and swirl it so that it coats the bottom of a cast-iron skillet (10 or 12 inch diameter). Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, maple syrup, buttermilk, and cooled butter until combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir just until incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 18-20 minutes on the middle rack of the oven until the cornbread is golden brown and crispy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin and cream cheese frosting are such a great match, and the only pumpkin my husband will eat. This cake was quite delightful.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
from Leite

2 cups all-purpose flour OR cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick (4-ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, preferably grade B amber

Preheat the oven to 350° (175°C). Butter two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, line them with parchment circles, butter the parchment, and coat the pan with flour. Tap out the excess.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, 1 at a time, to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth.

Divide the batter equally between the pans. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool the pans on racks for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto racks and remove the parchment paper. Cool completely.

In a stand mixer beat the cream cheese butter, confectioners’ sugar, and maple syrup on medium until fluffy.
To assemble the cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the sides and top. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set, if needed.

Spinach Lasagna

I've made this spinach lasagna several times and really love the kick from the lemon.

adapted from Food Network

salt and freshly ground black pepper
9 dry lasagna noodles
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10-ounce) box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 pound ricotta cheese (about 1 3/4 cups)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or a combination
1 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded (about 4 cups)
Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 large egg, beaten
4 cups marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt it generously. Add the lasagna noodles and boil, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat until the garlic begins to brown. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and stir until the spinach dries out and the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Cool.

Mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan/Pecorino, 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese, lemon zest, nutmeg, cayenne, and egg in a bowl. Add cooled spinach to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cover the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch casserole with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Cover with 3 noodles placed side-to-side, but not overlapping. Top with a 1/3 of the cheese mixture and a third of tomato sauce. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Repeat to make one more layers. Cover lasagna layers with remaining noodles. Drizzle with remaining tomato sauce, then scatter the remaining 2 cups mozzarella on top. Bake, uncovered, until the lasagna is hot and bubbly, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let lasagna stand for 10 minutes before serving.

January 2, 2015

Apple Crisp

I have experimented with several different apple crisp recipes over the years, but have not found one I like more than my mom's old stand-by. I was looking for a recipe with a little less sugar, and next time I may try it with 1 cup sugar instead of 1 1/2 cups. My favorite way to serve it is warm drizzled with cream.

Apple Crisp

8 c. sliced tart apples (about 8 medium)
1 1⁄2 c. packed brown sugar or coconut sugar or sucanat
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. oats
1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1⁄2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2/3 c. butter, softened

Heat oven to 375 ̊. Arrange apples in greased 9x13 pan. Mix remaining ingredients; sprinkle over apples. Bake until topping is golden brown and apples are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

January 1, 2015

Garlic Herb Cheese Dip

This cheese dip can be formed into a cheese ball or log and then rolled in the walnuts. Or just put it in a bowl with the walnuts on top. Either way, serve it with raw veggies or bread.

Garlic Herb Cheese Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. dried herb mix (basil, oregano, thyme)
black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
2 Tbsp. cream
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Form into a ball or other desired shape, or put it in a bowl. Sprinkle the walnuts on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

I have avoided buying salad dressings for several years now. The standard dressings are full of junk and don't even taste that good. This dressing goes well on almost anything. I usually leave out the fresh garlic unless I know I'll be using up the dressing within a few days.

On a side note, this summer and fall I've been buying a very tasty, zesty green mix from a local farmer. It tastes amazing with this dressing, and doesn't need anything else. Now that winter has come, I bought the run-of-the-mill romaine hearts from the grocery store to make a salad. I was taken back by the taste - not just a lack of, but actually an unpleasant taste. Can't wait for my local greens to come around again - possibly as soon as March.

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. water
1 small garlic clove, minced (optional)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 c. olive oil

Stir together all ingredients except olive oil. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking the dressing. Store in the refrigerator for a few weeks, though with fresh garlic, it may not last as long.