Strawberry UN-shortcake

[pic to come]

This is the exact opposite of what I grew up with… these little beauties are a light, fluffy, almost not there puff that holds your sweet summer strawberries and cream. (Also, they’re quick to make!) Up until I had these, there was no comparison to my Grandmothers dense (and lovely) shortcake, but I have officially changed my mind. Ready, go.

ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Butter [I used salted butter and i also cut it a bit and used 6 T instead of the 8 it calls for]
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 4 Eggs

directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a medium saucepan combine water, butter, and salt. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat.
  3. Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball and does not stick to sides of pan.
  4. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition.
  5. Drop 8 mounds of dough onto a greased baking sheet, swirling the top.
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden. (If you need to,  you can cut slits into the sides of each pastry, then cook for another 10 minutes…. I didn’t need to)
  7. Transfer cream puffs to a wire rack to cool.

The BEST Chocolate Ice Cream (without the ice cream maker)

Hands down, the best ice cream i’ve ever had… probably because it tastes nothing like ice cream…. more like frozen mousse. And the best part is you dont need an ice cream maker!!

(I believe my friend got it from  a cooking magazine … Cooks Illustrated i think.)

 

ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Instant Coffee or Espresso Powder
  • 1 T Hot Water
  • 4 oz Bittersweet Chocolate , chopped fine [I used Ghiradelli 60% Dark Chocolate Chips]
  • 1/2 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 1/4 Cups Heavy Cream , cold

 

directions:

1. MELT CHOCOLATE BASE Combine instant coffee (or espresso powder) with hot water in small microwavable bowl. Let stand until coffee dissolves, about 5 minutes. To that bowl add chocolate & sweetened condensed milk, and place in microwave. Stir every 10 seconds until chocolate is melted (about 1 minute). Stir in vanilla and salt. Let cool.

2. MIX AND FREEZE. Pour cream into a cold metal bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip cream to soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Whisk one-third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Fold remaining whipped cream into chocolate mixture until incorporated. Freeze in airtight container until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 2 weeks. Serve. [I put mine in our deep freezer and it took only 4 hours to freeze]

2 O’clock Pizza Crust

2 Oclock Pizza Crust ++ the pear and plum

This crust makes me eat way too much pizza. I call it 2:00 Crust because if you start the process at 2:00 in the afternoon, you’ll be eating pizza at a decent dinner time hour (around 5:30 or 6). Honestly, I’m not one to wait for dough to rise….. maybe ever…. but this recipe is worth every moment of prep. And once you get fast at this recipe, it might be 3:00 pizza dough.

Note: I wrote out this one differently because theres more of a flow for this recipe.

(Makes 4 smaller pizzas)

1. Take out 2 large mixing bowls. In one of them, whisk together the following in this order:

  • 1/2 Cup Hot Water
  • 1 T Yeast
  • 1 T Honey
  • 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour

Mix into a paste and cover with a towel and let sit for 20 min.

2. After 20 min add the following in this order:

  • 3 T Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Cold Water
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour

Mix with a spatula until combined and then dump out on a floured surface to knead. Work the dough with your hands until it is tacky but not sticking to your hands. Add a dusting of flour if stays way too sticky.

3. Oil the second bowl, place dough in it and cover with a towel. Let rise for 1 hour.

4. After the dough rises, punch it back down into the bowl. Cover with a towel again and leave it be while you start to prepare the toppings and turn the oven onto 500 degrees.

5. Punch down dough one last time and cut into 4 sections. Flour each ball and place back into a bowl with a towel on it so they dont dry out. Shape dough (one at a time), add toppings, and cook each for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven.

** Shortcut To Test Out Next Time: I think if I heat oven to 150 and then turn it off… then Place dough in the oven and it might rise faster?

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream Cookies ++ the pear and plum

Ice Cream Sandwiches with homemade cookies. booya.

These are pretty plain cookies…. perfect for a crazy ice cream to be the main event. However, it might be better to use a realllly good cocoa powder to get them more chocolate-y…. or shredded coconut…. or cinnamon?

(based on a recipe from here.)

ingredients:

  • 4 T Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Veg Oil [I used Coconut Oil and it was great]
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar(decreased from 1 C because I used sweetened Cocoa Powder)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder (used Ghiradelli sweetened)
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ice cream

directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, vegetable oil and brown sugar.  Beat on medium speed until combined.
  2. Blend in the eggs one at a time, and the vanilla extract until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix just until incorporated and a soft dough forms.  Gather the dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  6. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to about ¼-inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter (or the top of a drinking glass) to cut out as many pieces as you can, transferring the cut outs to the prepared baking sheet.  Gather and re-roll the dough scraps as needed.  If desired, use a wooden skewer to make a dotted pattern on the cookies.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheet a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To assemble the sandwiches, use the same cookie cutter that was used for the cookies to cut out pieces of ice cream.  Layer one piece of ice cream between two of the cookies and return to the freezer immediately.  Wrap the sandwiches individually as desired.  Keep frozen until ready to serve.

 

Soft Pretzels

[pic to come]

I have a thing for the pretzels in the mall and these may even be a little better…. Yes, they’re that good.

(Original recipe from here)

ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) (note 2/2016: Maybe increase to 1.5 Cups Water- Dough too dry last time)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar [I used a bit less]
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil [I used coconut oil]

Final Wash:

  • 1/8 cup baking soda [original recipe calls for WAY too much so i changed it to what you see]
  • 1 cups hot water [altered this to balance the baking soda]
  • kosher salt for topping

directions:

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
  4. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 6 – 8 minutes, or until browned. [The bottoms burn fast on such a high heat so check them towards the end – Possibly lower heat/extend cooking time next time?]

Chicken and Lime Soup

Chicken and Lime soup ++ the pear and plum

Great soup for a cool summer ocean breeze evening….

(serves 4 big bowls)

ingredients:

  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • Jalapeno Slices (to taste)
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 7 Cups Broth
  • 3 Carrots, chopped
  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • A handful of greens, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish with: Scallions, Cilantro and Avocado

directions:

  1. In a stock pot, saute garlic, onions, jalapenos and red pepper in olive oil.
  2. When they begin to brown, push to outside edge of pot and put chicken in the middle. Sear for a couple minutes on each side and then add broth.
  3. Add Carrots, Greens and Lime Juice
  4. Remove chicken from stock when its done. Let sit while the rest of the soup cooks.
  5. Cut up chicken and add to soup right before serving.
  6. Salt & Pepper to taste and garnish with Cilantro, Avocados and Scallions.

Fleur de Sel Caramels

(Original recipe from Barefoot Contessa)

ingredients:

  • Vegetable Oil
  • 1.5 Cups Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 5 TBSP Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tsp Fine Fleur De Sel ( I used Sea Salt) plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

directions:

Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to drape over 2 sides, then brush the paper lightly with oil. [I used a cookie sheet … worked okay]

SUGAR:In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown. Don’t stir — just swirl the pan.

CREAM:In the meantime, in a small pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside. (DO THIS STEP AS SOON AS YOU CAN and put the cream in a pourable container because once the sugar is perfectly brown, there isn’t time to organize yourself for the next step)

COMBINE: When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful — it will bubble up violently. (WEAR A GLOVE) Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Very carefully (it’s hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.

When the caramel is cold, pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the square in half.

Starting with a long side, roll the caramel up tightly into an 8-inch-long log.

Sprinkle the log with fleur de sel, trim the ends and cut into 8 pieces. (Start by cutting the log in half, then continue cutting each piece in half until you have 8 equal pieces.) It’s easier to cut the caramels if you brush the knife with flavorless oil like corn oil.

Store Caramels in Fridge. ( she gives individual carmel wrapping instructions but i dont have that kind of patience)

Super Quick Parmesan Dip

(original recipe from here)

ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 Cups Super Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine

directions:

Mix it up and eat it. Seriously.

This recipe is a great simple base to add other things to… figs, lemon zest, chives, herbs, etc….