Get updates sent to you for free by RSS, or by email:


Currently Reading

me_in_paris_198That’s me, on a trip,  sitting in a Paris restaurant.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Just finished reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Oh my goodness. When one of my book groups met to discuss this book, we all talked about the crying we did at the end. Oh yes, me too. This is a novel with a point to make (somewhat like Jodi Piccoult’s books). In this case it’s the right to die issue and it’s cloaked in a fast-paced page turner. A young woman who is a bit at loose ends, accepts a new job as a caregiver, something she’s never done before, to a young man who had recently become a quadriplegic. There are numerous sub-stories (about her family, her relationship with her sister, her boyfriend and her relationship with him, the patient himself, who is grumpy, and his relationships with his mother and father and ex-girlfriend). And, it’s about his wish to end his life. During the last 100 pages I could hardly put it down. I don’t want to jinx the story. It’s a romance of sorts. It’s gritty in a way, but charming. Loved the book. Now I’m going to order the sequel, the book the author never really intended to write, but so many people wrote her asking for one. I’m right there too. This book is being made into a movie.

Also read A Year on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball. It’s a selection from one of my book clubs. An easy – very easy – read. Not a deep book by any means. It’s a story about 3 middle-aged women who decide to buy an old ram shackled house (maybe mansion) in the South and devote a year to fixing it up. There are many twists and turns with numerous people (a ghost, a vagrant, a handyman, and many neighbors) entering into the story. Much calamity ensues with house repairs and all 3 women questioning their sanity when they bought the place – Ladybug Farm. It’s cute. No swear words. No sex. Just a very pleasant story about friendship and an old house.

Probably the most in-depth book I’ve read recently is Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford. If you decide you want to read this, make sure you get THIS one by Weatherford – there are many books out there with “Genghis Khan” in the title. What I knew about Genghis Khan before I started reading this book could be put into a very small thimble. We’ve heard the descriptions of his viciousness and slaughter of thousands of people. Well, what you learn is that that kind of behavior was typical of the warring tribes of the time. His story was fascinating. Believe it or not, I found the book a page-turner. Weatherford has a gift for writing a good story – it reads more like a novel, but it’s a biography, an easily read one. The last third of the book is more about his son who took over the kingdom after his father’s death, and it’s every bit as interesting. A definite good read – and makes for interesting talk around the water cooler.

Oh, I can’t forget another monumental tome, The Accidental Empress: A Novel by Pataki. It’s about the Austro-Hungarian Empress and wife of Emperor Franz Joseph. From amazon: The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe’s most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry. And he marries Sisi, a little known 15-year old. The book is her story. If you enjoy historical fiction, this is a good one. Loved it.

Another good read: The High Divide: A Novel by Lin Enger. Takes place in the late 1800s in remote Minnesota. It tells the story of a young family, husband, wife, and 2 sons. The husband, without work, suddenly leaves his family with no explanation. The wife is left back at the homestead with her 2 sons with next to nothing to carry them through. The 2 young boys decide they have to go in search of their father, and very ill-equipped to do so. Then the mother also heads out to find her boys. She believes her husband left with good intentions, but she doesn’t know. You do learn a bit about the husband eventually. Made for a very riveting story if you enjoy that time in history, with a complex family relationship that is tested by the weather, the moral codes of the time, and by the meaning of family. Good story.

Another fascinating book I just finished is Three Daughters: A Novel by Baehr. It covers a part of the world and time that I’ve never encountered in my reading of fiction. From amazon: From the fertile hills of a tiny village near Jerusalem to the elegant townhouses of Georgetown, Three Daughters is a historical saga that chronicles the lives, loves, and secrets of three generations of Palestinian Christian women. It begins around 1900, near Jerusalem. There are a whole lot of family secrets that play parts in this book (adultery mostly) that certainly makes for an interesting read. If you overlook the immorality involved (which continues, in secret through the generations) you’ll find the story quite riveting. It’s a HUGE book, though, so don’t go further if that overwhelms you. It didn’t bother me a bit as I could hardly put it down.

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small engraved sterling silver tea spoons that I use to taste as I'm cooking.

Scroll down to the bottom to view my Blogroll

Posted in Miscellaneous, on October 6th, 2015.


Caramelized onions stewing in the pan make for a wonderful aroma – add some bourbon and a few other things and it’s a match with a piece of grilled steak or pork chop.

Remember, I was mentioning that my freezer in the garage is kinda full of frozen beef? Mostly steaks. I think this one was a prime ribeye from Costco since it was in a vacuum sealed bag. I can’t remember the last time I grilled a steak – I’ve had steak at my son’s home –  I never order it at a restaurant because I think I can make it better anyway. So, I defrosted a nice big steak – enough for 2 meals for me. It was 4:00 in the afternoon once it was defrosted (I plunged the sealed bag into a big bowl of cold water, put a big wide bowl on top and put a weight in the middle to keep the steak submerged). It took about 2-3 hours and it stayed very cold.  Grilled or sautéed onions with a splash of bourbon were what appealed to me so I researched several recipes online. I went off on a tangent and added a variety of things

I decided not to fire up the outdoor grill, but instead I cooked the steak in my sous vide. It needed a minimum of 2 hours at 131°F, and that was just exactly how much time I had before my approximate dinner time at 6:30. The beauty of the sous vide is that I could have cooked it for 4 hours at 131° and it would have been the same, perfectly cooked medium rare.

Meanwhile, I started making the onions. Sliced them – not paper thin as they kind of come out as a gloopy mess – a little thicker than that. They are gently sautéed in olive oil and butter. It takes awhile for them to sweat off all the liquid, but it’s enhanced with just a teaspoon of brown sugar. Once they began to brown they need more frequent stirring so they don’t burn. Once they get to a dark golden brown you can finish – or you can let them go to a full mahogany color if you’d prefer. By then it had been about 35 minutes and I was ready to eat, so I added in the liquids (Worcestershire sauce, a dash of soy sauce, mustard, and bourbon). It took another 5+ minutes for that liquid to be absorbed and simmered off – I wished I’d left just a smidgen of liquid to drizzle onto the steak, so keep that in mind if you make this.

My sous vide steak was ready to finish – it was fully cooked, but it has a kind of insipid grayish color to the outside when it’s done in the sous vide, so I fired up my stovetop grill and got it smoking hot and plopped that steak on there for about 90 seconds per side – that’s all it needed. I let it sit for about 5 minutes on a cutting board, cut it in half and served it with the onions on top.

What’s GOOD: oh my, yes, it was delicious. Loved the sweet onions – I could have eaten double the amount if they’d been there – I saved half for a 2nd meal. The bourbon flavor was very subtle. Altogether delicious. If you like bourbon, you could add more – I will next time.

What’s NOT: really nothing other than the time it takes to sweat down and caramelize the onions.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 14 file (click on link to open in MC)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Caramelized Onion Sauce with Bourbon

Recipe By: My own concoction, but loosely based on several online recipes
Serving Size: 2

1 large yellow onion — peeled, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 clove garlic — smashed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce — reduced sodium
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup bourbon

1. Slice onions and add to a skillet in which you have heated the oil and butter. Stir frequently – it will take awhile – about 20 minutes – to get most of the water out of the onions, then they’ll begin to get golden, then darker and darker. Turn down the heat so the onions don’t burn. Once they’ve reached the color you like, add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds or so.
2. In a small bowl combine the Worcestershire, soy sauce, Dijon and bourbon. Mash up the mustard so it’s mostly disappeared into the liquid.
3. Add liquid to the pan of onions and cook over low heat until nearly all the fluid has evaporated – about 4-5 minutes. It’s nice to have just a little tiny bit of liquid left to drizzle onto the grilled meat.
4. Pile on top of a piece of grilled steak or pork chop.
Per Serving: 220 Calories; 13g Fat (73.6% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 16mg Cholesterol; 338mg Sodium.

Posted in Desserts, on October 2nd, 2015.


Comfort food. Soothing. Creamy.

Stress is certainly the norm these days. My days have been filled with contractors, pounding, scraping, dust, trash, hammering. It begins to wear one down. I’m starting to think about packing for that trip to Africa. I discovered my passport expires in March, and it must be valid for at least 6 months after my arrival, so am frantically trying to deal with that. I need to start a list – a long list of the things I need to do. All that tends to give one stress – at least it certainly does with me. So even though it wasn’t exactly fall weather, I felt like something soothing. A pudding of some kind. Not rich. Not fancy. Not chocolate.

This was in my “new” to-try list of recipes. Remember, in my recipe program it’s called “Internet” recipes, and I’ve had to start all over. I’ve got a couple hundred recipes in it already – it had some – those prior to 2011, but nothing  of all the recipes I’d added since. This was in that the old list. I fiddled with the recipe a little bit, and tweaked it because all I had was light coconut milk. It was serendipitous because there was exactly 1/2 cup of tapioca in the box on my pantry shelf. It was supposed to be pearl tapioca, but if I have it, I can’t find it, so the regular had to do.

The tapioca, coconut milk and a vanilla bean (with the seeds scraped out into the mixture also) are simmered together until the tapioca is cooked and thickened. Then you mix 2 egg yolks and just 5 T of sugar (it’s not an overly sweet pudding) and spoon a little of the hot tapioca mixture into the eggs, to temper them, then they all get mixed into the tapioca and that’s cooked for a little bit. I couldn’t see much of a noticeable difference after cooking it with the egg yolks (not any thicker that I could tell), then the vanilla bean is discarded and you pour it into individual serving cups or a bowl to cool. I drizzled a little tiny bit – maybe 2 tsp. of heavy cream on top when I served it. The original recipe served it with freshly cut up mango. I didn’t have any of that, either, so plain was just fine for me.

What’s GOOD: well, if I was looking for comfort food, it certainly filled the bill. It wasn’t real rich (light coconut milk, remember) and I used mostly 2% milk with just a tiny bit of heavy cream added in. It was definitely comforting. Next time I’d make it with full fat coconut milk as I couldn’t really tell there was anything coconut-y in it. Nothing fancy. Just plain good.

What’s NOT: nothing, really.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 14 (click link to open in MC14)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Creamy Coconut Tapioca Pudding

Recipe By: My own concoction, but loosely based on a recipe from Food & Wine
Serving Size: 6

1/2 cup tapioca
2 1/4 cups 2% low-fat milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 whole vanilla bean — halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 pinch Kosher salt
14 ounces light coconut milk — unsweetened (use full fat for more coconut flavor)
2 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar

1. In a large saucepan, combine the tapioca, milk, vanilla bean and seeds and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until the tapioca is translucent and tender, about 20 minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Gradually whisk in half of the warm tapioca in a steady stream. Continue whisking and pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook the pudding over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pudding to a bowl or individual cups and let cool to room temperature. Discard the vanilla bean. Chill for 2-3 hours. You might pour a little smidgen of heavy cream on top and garnish with a mint leaf.
Per Serving: 225 Calories; 11g Fat (41.3% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 29g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 91mg Cholesterol; 89mg Sodium.

Posted in Veggies/sides, on September 28th, 2015.


Something just a tad bit different. A riff on a standard Southern dish. Zucchini cloaked in a light custard, grated cheese added and cheese cracker crumbs sprinkled on top. Easy.

Have you ever read a recipe, thought you’d saved it and didn’t? Then 2 days later you go looking for it and can’t find it. That’s me. I was SURE I’d saved the recipe – I’d found it on somebody’s blog. Went to the 2 blogs I thought it must have been, but nope. Not there. So what’s a cook to do except hunt around on the ‘net for another one.

This recipe is very similar to hundreds. Squash casserole is ubiquitous in the South. Most of them are made with yellow squash, however. You could use yellow squash in this one, but I had zucchini.

As I write this I’ve just spent the last 5 days. 4-6 hours each day, going back in my blog for the last 4 years (to mid-2011) and adding all the posted recipes from my blog into my MasterCook software. What a tedious job that was. My buns were sore from sitting. My kitten kept me company in his little bed (one of those short cat poles with a round carpeted bed on top) waiting for strokes now and then. So at least I now have a record of all my blog recipes, but have still “lost” all the saved to-try recipes. There were hundreds of them. Oh well, so many recipes out there and never enough time to try them all anyway.

So, what I had was zucchini, Fontina cheese, Pecorino and some cheesy crackers – actually they weren’t Cheez-its (I never buy those anyway) but Trader Joe’s new cheese crackers. I don’t like them particularly, but they worked fine for this recipe which I knew I was going to make which is why I bought them. I’ll likely throw out the remainder of the box because they’re not good enough to snack on. Most of the recipes use Cheddar, or even American cheese.

I had a couple of leeks, so decided to use them, although they are not traditional in this casserole. They added a nice sweetness to the zucc_cheesy_casserole_unbakedcustard. I lightly sautéed onion and the leeks, then added the chunky zucchini in. I cooked all that until the zucchini was almost cooked, but not quite. That got poured into a casserole dish, a custard mixture (2 eggs, 2% milk and a tetch of cream) cheese was added on top, then the crushed up cheese crackers. I added the cream because I only had 2% milk, and the recipes I read all called for whole milk. You can do it all with 2% if you’d prefer. At left is the unbaked casserole.

Into the oven it went for about 20-25 minutes until the top was a bit crusty golden brown. The cheese crackers didn’t really brown, which was fine – it’s the cheese and the egg mixture that does. I let it sit out for about 5 minutes before I scooped out a serving. I’d made some salmon for my dinner. It was dreadful. Probably the preparation was fine, but the salmon had freezer burn on it and it just tasted awful. I ate about 3 tiny bites and threw it all out. I made a chunked up salad of tomatoes, mozzarella, red bell peppers and some Italian parsley. It made up for the awful salmon. I didn’t even zucc_cheesy_casserole_wholewant to put it in my trash (I don’t use my garbage disposal much anymore because it too easily gets clogged up) because I knew it would smell something fierce. The disposal made quick work of about 1/2 pound of salmon. Sigh. At right is the finished (baked) casserole.

What’s GOOD: it’s very easy to prepare and makes a simple vegetable very elegant and tasty. I liked the custard and the cheese. And the onions & leeks also added a sweetness. I could have done without the cheese cracker crumb crust – maybe next time I’d use saltines or panko. Or maybe if I’d used Cheez-its or Pepperidge Farms’ cheesy crackers it would have tasted better. But overall, it was a great dish. It could also be a very nice vegetarian entree.

What’s NOT: only that it takes about 15-20 minutes to get it ready for the oven. A bit of chopping and mixing. But worth doing.

printer-friendly PDF and FILES: MasterCook 5+ and MasterCook 14 (click on link to open in MC)

Zucchini Cheesy Custard Casserole

Recipe By: My own concoction, based on a variety of online recipes, 2015
Serving Size: 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound zucchini — stemmed, coarsely chopped
1/2 medium onion — chopped
1 large leek — cleaned, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk

1/4 cup heavy cream
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup Fontina cheese — grated (or Cheddar)
1/3 cup Pecorino cheese — grated (or Parmigiano, or some other cheese of choice)
1/2 cup cheese crackers — crushed

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. In a large skillet heat olive oil until it begins to shimmer, then add onion and leeks. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, but not brown at all. Turn heat down if necessary.
3. Add zucchini and cover. Continue cooking for about 4-7 minutes until zucchini is nearly cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk eggs until they’re blended, then add milk. Set aside.
5. Grate cheese and crumble the cheese crackers and set aside.
6. Grease a casserole dish (about 2 quart) and pour the vegetable mixture into the dish. Level slightly. Pour in the milk mixture and top with grated cheeses.
7. Top with cheese cracker mixture and bake for 20-30 minutes until the top is golden.
Per Serving: 239 Calories; 14g Fat (52.8% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 93mg Cholesterol; 341mg Sodium.

Posted in Chicken, on September 24th, 2015.


Simple preparation of a turkey breast – enough for 4 people – very tasty and easy.

I’ve been making an effort to eat some of the frozen meat and other stuff in my freezer. After my darling DH passed away, I hardly even cooked for weeks and weeks. I’ve entertained very little, and on any ordinary evening I never seem to have the interest in doing a really nice dinner that would feed 3-4 people with all the accompanying side dishes to go with it. But I’ve got good steaks that have been there for 18 months. A big honkin’ pork shoulder that’s been there for probably 2 years. I should give that one away as I couldn’t possibly eat it up and it probably shouldn’t be re-frozen. I’ve had plenty of chicken breasts, salmon fillets, chicken thighs and pork chops in a variety of shapes and sizes. But the beef is languishing in there.

The meat in these freezers – some are in the kitchen freezer and pounds and pounds of varied meat items live in my garage freezer. I’ve had several packages of casseroles or vegetables, or even a dessert. Today I decided to defrost a turkey breast half that I’d stuck in there some months ago. I have another recipe on my roast_turkey_breast_tobakeblog for a dry brined turkey breast that I’ve prepared several times since I first made it – and have loved it. Today I did some internet sleuthing and found another recipe from Taste of Home. It was a simple enough preparation and needed about 1 1/2 hours to roast.

The breast weighed about 2+. I slathered a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil under the skin, then patted a dry mixture on top comprised of dry thyme, dry rosemary, garlic powder and salt and pepper. It got laid upon a bed of sliced onions and a couple of stalks of celery cut up, and then I floated in about 3/4 cup of white wine. Into the oven it went and about 90 minutes later it was at exactly 170° on my Thermapen instant-read thermometer. There at left you can see the raw breast ready to bake.

I also made a zucchini casserole which I’ll write up next. That’s what I had for dinner – turkey and zucchini. No salad (had one of those for lunch). It was very filling and tasted delicious. I still haven’t been able to go into my dining room (alone) and set the table there to eat my dinner. Dave and I had dinner in there all winter long, and ate outside on our patio in the summer. I’ve hardly done any patio dining (alone) either. I’ve still got construction going on anyway, and furniture is pushed every which way. But I haven’t been able to eat in the dining room because it makes me sad. As good as I’m doing most of the time – it’s been 18 months – to eat dinner in the dining room, alone, staring at the windows or roast_turkey_breast_bakedmy plate, holds very little interest. In time, maybe. I love my dining room, and I sit there often to do homework for my bible study classes. I’ve entertained in there, no problem. But to be there alone to eat just floods me with too many memories.

So, this dinner was eaten at the kitchen counter with the 6 o’clock news on nearby. And it tasted really good. The zucchini casserole was a perfect side for the juicy, herby turkey. At right is the whole half-breast just out of the oven. Underneath it are some onion slices and chopped up celery – and the white wine was poured in to keep it moist.

What’s GOOD: it’s EASY – only about 5 minutes of prep required – the rest of it is baking in the oven. There’s enough of it (for me, just this one person) for another 3 meals, I think. Maybe I’ll make some kind of Indian curry with it, and perhaps a turkey sandwich. Will have to go buy some bread – I don’t even have any in the house!

What’s NOT: only that it took 1 1/2 hours to bake – not necessarily a quick weeknight dinner. But worth doing anyway if you can make the time.

printer-friendly PDF and FILES: MasterCook 5+ and MasterCook 14

* Exported from MasterCook *

Herb-Roasted Breast of Turkey

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from Taste of Home, 2015
Serving Size: 4

2 1/2 pounds turkey breast
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 medium onion — thickly sliced
3 stalks celery — chopped
3/4 cup vermouth — or other dry white wine

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Gently wedge a finger or two underneath the turkey skin, being careful not to tear it or dislodge it. Make room to drizzle (or use a brush) in the lemon juice and olive oil that you mix up in a small bowl. Pull turkey skin back in place.
3. In a small bowl combine the pepper, rosemary, thyme and garlic powder. Using your hands, pat the herb mixture on the skin of the turkey breast, spreading around to the edges. It’s not necessary to do the under side as it’s almost all bones.
4. In an 8×10 inch baking pan (with sides) place the onion slices and the celery chunks. Make it mostly flat and place the turkey breast on top, skin side up.
5. Add the white wine to the pan and bake for about 90 minutes, or until the breast meat has reached 170°. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. The drippings can be made into a gravy, if desired, or save it to flavor soup broth.
Per Serving (assumes you eat all the skin): 25 Calories; 12g Fat (30.2% calories from fat); 56g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 139mg Cholesterol; 1103mg Sodium.

Posted in Veggies/sides, on September 20th, 2015.


Simple vegetable. Roasted. Spiced up. Pine nuts added. Tahini sauce on top. Yum.

I’d bought a cauliflower a couple of weeks ago. On a day when I thought, oh yes, I’ll fix that in a day or two. Days went by, and I forgot all about it stuffed into the back of the bottom shelf. By the time I decided to do something about it I truly thought it would have been over the hill (spoiled), but it wasn’t. Surprise. I’d read this recipe at Food52 that sounded really good and worth the effort to make.

cauliflower_spiced_roastingIt wasn’t hard to make though it did take some time to do – cut the cauliflower into florets, toss them in a spice blend of ground cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Drizzle the cauliflower with a few tablespoons of olive oil and spread them out on a big flat metal baking sheet. Roast in a hot oven for about 40 minutes, removing half way through to turn all the pieces over so they get brown toasty spots on at least 2 sides. Toast some pine nuts part way, and add them onto the pan with the cauliflower during the last 4 minutes or so of roasting. Meanwhile, you make the tahini sauce: tahini, some lemon juice, garlic, and water added to make it barely pourable, and some fresh parsley. Pour the hot-hot cauliflower out into a wide platter or bowl, sprinkle on some more chopped parsley and drizzle it with the tahini sauce (some of what you made, not all). Done. I cut the sauce part in half (because the original recipe indicated you’d have left over sauce). Well, maybe I didn’t put enough tahini sauce on the cauliflower because even making half, I have a LOT of sauce left over. So I’ve altered the recipe below to cut the sauce recipe down by 2/3. You can always make more.

What’s GOOD: a delicious way to make cauliflower more interesting. I like anything with sort-of Indian spices. This isn’t exactly Indian – maybe it is – I don’t know – but the cumin and cayenne gave it a little bit of zip. Cauliflower doesn’t ever get crisp because it has a lot of water in it – but it did get toasted on the edges as you can see in the photo at top. I liked the tahini drizzle. When I tasted it as I made it I was a bit ho-hum about it, but I added some more lemon tahini_lemon_juice_saucejuice, which brightened the flavors a lot and it enhanced the cauliflower. The tahini, surprisingly enough, doesn’t overwhelm the cauliflower as I thought it might. It’s a good recipe, worth making if you’re adventurous about spices on a humble veggie.

What’s NOT: it did take a bit of fuss to make – roasting the cauliflower; and, well, cutting it up into florets too (maybe get a helper to do that part), whisking up the tahini drizzle, toasting the nuts – certainly a bit more work than an ordinary quick veggie. Warmed up (the left overs) weren’t so perky – couldn’t seem to crisp up the cauliflower at all and the nuts had gotten soggy. So try to eat it at the first sitting.

printer-friendly PDF
Files: MasterCook 5+ and MasterCook 14 (click on link to open recipe in MC)

Spice-Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Tahini Drizzle

Recipe By: From Food52
Serving Size: 4

1 whole cauliflower — cut into florets
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper — or up to 1/2 tsp if you like the heat
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt — to taste Fresh-cracked pepper — to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts — toasted for about 4 minutes in a separate pan in oven with cauliflower
3 tablespoons Italian parsley — chopped, as garnish
1/3 cup tahini
1 small lemon — juiced, divided use
1 small garlic clove — pressed or grated
Kosher salt — to taste
Fresh-cracked pepper — to taste
Warm water (start with 1/4 cup and add more as needed)
2 tablespoons Italian parsley — minced

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower florets and spices. Drizzle the olive oil over top and toss to combine. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the mixing bowl to coat the cauliflower evenly, then spread out on a sheet pan.
3. Roast the cauliflower for about 40 minutes (depending on your oven), flipping once half-way through to ensure the cauliflower is evenly browned and roasted. About 4 minutes before they are done, sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the florets and give the pan a shake to mix them in with the spices and oil.
4. SAUCE: In a small mixing bowl, add in the tahini, and mix in half of the lemon juice. Whisk to combine, and then add in a garlic clove and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Start adding in warm water a little bit at a time, and continue whisking, until it reaches your desired consistency (something drizzle-able)! [When I made it it required about the same amount of water as tahini.] Taste and make sure there is enough salt and pepper, and if you like a little more tanginess add as much of the remaining lemon juice as you’d like. You want the sauce to be tangy.
6. Add chopped parsley to the tahini sauce and set aside.
7. When the spiced cauliflower and pine nuts are done, remove them from the oven and arrange in a serving bowl. Drizzle with some of the tahini sauce, to taste, top with more fresh chopped parsley, and serve warm. Save the rest of the tahini sauce (there won’t be much) as a dip or make into a dressing.
Per Serving (assuming you use all the drizzle): 280 Calories; 26g Fat (76.9% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 37mg Sodium.

Posted in Veggies/sides, on September 16th, 2015.


Is it fall yet? Time for some heartier side carbs?

My son and his wife were celebrating their wedding anniversary (13 years) and they threw themselves a lovely sit-down dinner with all the bells and whistles – fine china, crystal – and they invited a few other family members. It was just so fun. Powell grilled thick ribeyes and a big slab of fresh tuna right off the day boat. I didn’t know what they were making, but was asked to bring a carb, so I searched around for something. It’s interesting that I decided NOT to make a potato salad (it is still very much summer here in SoCal) or a pasta salad, or a rice salad, or a corn salad. Nope. I’d picked out something and just couldn’t seem to get my arms wrapped around it, so I went back to look at other recipes and decided to make this mashed potato dish. I had all the ingredients on hand – thank goodness. I had some Humboldt Fog blue cheese in the freezer and I’d bought a bag of Yukon Gold potatoes without knowing if I’d be using them or not.

The most time consuming thing about making these was cooking the onions. Perhaps you can see in the photo, I used some red onion. The recipe calls for yellow onions, but I opted to use 1 yellow and 1 red. They’re slow-slowly cooked in a bit of oil and butter for a long time, stirring periodically so they don’t burn. Once they finally release all of the water they begin to caramelize (helped along with a tiny pinch of brown sugar). Once that’s done you add in some port wine. I thought I had a bottle of ruby port, but having searched through the multitude of liqueurs in the cabinet, I could only find Tawny port (which is slightly more aged port, that’s all). It took about another 15 minutes to cook that down until all the port was evaporated, but the onions then have this translucent red glaze on them. Oh my. I could have eaten the plate full of them. Forget the potatoes!

The potatoes are fairly straight forward – cook them in water – I halved the small Yukon Gold ones I bought – and I left the skins on, although you really can’t see them in the photo. They’re there, though. If you prefer, skin the potatoes first. Anyway, I tried to mash them with a potato masher and after many minutes of huffing and puffing with it, I gave up and got out the hand mixer. But I still had some little lumps after several minutes. They don’t bother me and I don’t think anyone else noticed, or if they did, they must have liked it that way too. Half and half is infused with thyme. I didn’t have any fresh thyme and I didn’t make a trip to the grocery store for it – so I used dried thyme and strained the mixture after it was heated and left to sit for awhile. I ended up adding a little bit more milk to the mixture to smooth it out – it was a bit too stiff. I chose to add the cheese into the potatoes early on (you can fold in the cheese and butter at the end if you prefer – I didn’t want little crumbles of blue. I wanted it to be mixed in well. Your choice. I piled the potatoes into a casserole dish and then added the caramelized onions to the top.

I made the casserole a couple of hours ahead and when I got to their house it was reheated in a 225° oven for about 35 minutes (uncovered).

NOTE: if you happen to taste the potatoes – by themselves – and you’re a bit alarmed at the blue-cheesy flavor, don’t be discouraged. I was more than a bit turned off by the flavor – blue cheese has a tannic taste – and I could definitely taste it in the potatoes. But paired with the (sweet) caramelized onions – oh, a match made in heaven. I decided that next time I’d make this I’d make twice as many onions just because they’re so good, and it’s nice to have plenty of onion to temper the blue cheese. So, I’ve upped the quantity of onions in the recipe below. In the original recipe, for 2 pounds of potatoes you use 4 ounces of blue cheese and use 2 onions with 1 cup of port wine. I’ve changed it to 3 ounces of blue cheese and 4 onions and double the port. Just so you know.

What’s GOOD: overall the flavor is wonderful – the blue cheese marries well with the sweetness of the caramelized onions. A great pairing. It’s a hearty dish, for sure, and goes well with a big hunk of meat (steak, roast, pork chop). I wouldn’t pair this with turkey (to me the blue cheese might overwhelm the delicacy of turkey). A chicken breast might be okay, though, as long as it wasn’t strongly flavored. Can be made ahead by several hours too.

What’s NOT: just the time it takes to make (caramelizing the onions and boiling down the port) but oh, it’s worth it if you can do it.

printer-friendly PDF and FILES: MasterCook 5+ and MasterCook 14 (click link to open in MC)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions & Blue Cheese

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated, Jan. 2003
Serving Size: 8

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 pounds yellow onions — sliced 1/4″ thick, 2 lbs=4 onions approx.
2 cups port wine — preferably ruby port [I used Tawny Port]
3/4 cup half and half
1 teaspoon fresh thyme — chopped (and more if potatoes are really thick)
2 pounds russet potatoes — unpeeled, scrubbed (or use Yukon Gold)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
3 ounces blue cheese — crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. ONIONS: Heat butter and oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over high heat; when foam subsides, stir in salt and sugar. Add onions and stir to coat; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften and release some moisture, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low; cook, stirring frequently, until onions are deeply browned and sticky, about 35 minutes longer (if onions are sizzling or scorching, reduce heat; if onions are not browning after 15 minutes, increase heat). Stir in port; continue to cook until port reduces to glaze, 8 to 10 minutes. Set onions aside.
2. POTATOES: If you prefer potatoes to be peeled, do that ahead. [I left the skins on.] While onions are cooking, bring half-and-half and thyme to boil in small saucepan or microwave oven; cover to keep warm.
3. Place potatoes in large saucepan with water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until potatoes are just tender (paring knife can be slipped into and out of potato with very little resistance), 20 to 30 minutes. Drain.
4. Put potatoes through a food mill or ricer if desired. Or mash potatoes with potato masher directly in saucepan. Add warmed half and half and the blue cheese and fold in completely.
5. Add butter to potatoes stirring until incorporated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, topped with onions. Or, can be made a few hours ahead (topped with the onions) and reheated, uncovered, in a 225° oven for about 35 minutes.
Per Serving: 394 Calories; 18g Fat (47.1% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 38g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 44mg Cholesterol; 680mg Sodium.

Posted in Cookies, on September 12th, 2015.


Finally, I made time to do a little baking. I was all out of cookies in the freezer, and I could have made some chocolate chip ones, which seem to be everybody’s favorite, but I looked elsewhere first. Since I still don’t have my “old” bunch of to-try recipes for the last few years (my computer guru guy is trying to make the time to find out if the files are lost), I’ve been adding new ones. I’ve probably added about a hundred recipes to my to-try ones, and they’re all kinds of things from lamb roast to rosemary oil to this, a cookie recipe. The original recipe came from Food & Wine, about a year or so ago, and that recipe was a chocolate pine nut recipe.

We make all kinds of compromises in life, don’t we? I sure do, on a daily basis. Most are easy; a few are harder. This one was easy – the recipe called for bittersweet chocolate, and the only kind I had was Trader Joe’s big block that contains chunks of almonds. I suppose I could have removed the almonds once I melted the chocolate, but I just decided to make these with almonds rather than pine nuts. See? Easy compromise. I love almonds. Below you can see the glob of batter before baking, and then after baking.



These cookies could be a version of cloud cookies since they’re almost flourless (there is 1/4 cup added flour). They have the consistency of really chewy brownies on the inside, but the outsides have a crackly crust. But a thin crust for sure.

The batter is simple enough – eggs and sugar, then the melted (and cooled) chocolate, then the tiny amount of flour, baking powder and salt. Then the toasted choc_almond_facealmonds are added in at the last. Took no time at all to put together. The batter is fairly liquid – it barely holds together. I noticed that after I’d baked 2 pans of cookies, the batter still remaining in the bowl had firmed up a little bit – made it easier to scoop and put on the cookie sheets. They’re baked 12 minutes, rotating the pans half way through. At the halfway point they were still VERY soft – I mushed one with the hot pad and it was like a glob of hot molten chocolate. Fortunately it didn’t get to my fingers or it would have burned! The cookies are very tender once you remove them from the oven. The recipe didn’t say when to remove them to a rack, so I tried right away and wow, it was hard. The ones that sat on the other baking sheet for 3-4 minutes were easier to remove. So I’ve added that info to the recipe. I think I’ll need to put each cookie on waxed paper because I think these will stick to each other if stacked. Or else freeze them on a baking sheet, then put them into a plastic bag and they’d be fine.

What’s GOOD: For sure this is chocolaty. The texture is delicious – the bit of crispy on the outside (but I imagine that would soften if left out at room temp). And the insides are chewy, fudgy almost. Stick to your teeth type. But still, it IS a cookie. The crackly top is interesting. Altogether good. Rich. I like that each cookie is only about 100 calories.
What’s NOT: they’re a bit fussy – or maybe fragile is a better word. Cooling and packaging them for freezing is a little bit of a nuisance. Or else freeze them on a baking sheet, then pile them into a freezer bag.

printer-friendly PDF – and – Files: MasterCook 5+ and MasterCook 14 (click on link to open in MC)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Chocolate-Almond Cookies

Recipe By: Adapted from a recipe in Food & Wine Magazine, 2014
Serving Size: 30

3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate — finely chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter — cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup superfine sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 325° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large skillet, toast the nuts over moderate heat, tossing occasionally, until they are golden, 5 to 7 minutes. (Alternately, toast them for about 6 minutes in a 350°F oven.) Cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan of simmering water, melt the chopped chocolate with the butter, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 5 minutes; let cool completely.
3. In a small bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar at medium-high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate, then fold in the dry ingredients. Stir in the almonds.
4. Bake the cookies in 2 batches: Scoop 1-tablespoon mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the cookies are dry around the edges and cracked on top; shift the sheets halfway through baking. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
5. Allow cookies to rest for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet before attempting to transfer them to a rack, but do do that part then allow them to cool completely before serving. Freeze on a baking sheet, then package into freezer bags, or eat them in a hurry and don’t worry about packaging.
Per Serving: 102 Calories; 8g Fat (62.5% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 18mg Cholesterol; 38mg Sodium.

Posted in Brunch, on September 8th, 2015.


Tender, moist, cheesy, leek-filled and altogether lovely for a leisurely brunch.

The other night I had house guests – Joe, Dave’s good friend, who still comes to stay periodically when he has business in my neck of the woods, and his wife, Yvette. We all attended a social shindig and they decided not to drive back home to San Diego. I was happy to accommodate them, even if my house was (still is) a bit of a mess from the remodeling.

Preparing a brunch dish was fairly easy and straight forward. I’ve been going through stacks of recipe clippings (mostly from magazines over the last couple of years) and adding them to MasterCook (nearly all of them I’ve found online so it’s easy to click a couple of buttons and it’s added into my to-try file). This recipe popped up the other day and I thought it would be a nice dish to prepare for our leisurely Sunday morning breakfast/brunch when they were here.

The recipe (that someone gave me, don’t know who!) started from one Georgeanne Brennan created (of Brennan’s New Orleans fame). She made it when she was in France, and shared her version with the chefs at Chez Panisse in Berkeley but she even says in the recipe that you can substitute a variety of veggies and cheeses. I found several versions online, but this one had a bit more flavorful ingredients in it, so I worked with this one, adding or subtracting from the ingredient list as it suited what I had on hand. I had asparagus and leeks. Check. Eggs. Check. Ciabatta bread. Check. Fontina. Check. And Pecorino-Romano. Check. Everything else was a household staple.

I made half of the below recipe, in an 8×8 glass dish. If you had really hungry guests, probably it would feed about 6. It didn’t take long to put together – this isn’t the type of brunch dish you have to soak overnight – 15-20 minutes with the milk on the bread was sufficient. You could – I’m certain – make this the night before, but don’t add the cheese on top until you put it into the oven, and I’d allow it to sit out at room temp for about 30 minutes before baking. It might take another 5 asparagus_bread_pudding_bakedminutes of baking time too. You can vary the cheese – I used, as I mentioned above, Fontina and Pecorino-Romano, but Swiss cheese is mentioned in some recipes, and Emmental in others, so Gruyere would also work. Even Parmigiana-Reggiano would be fine too but not too much. And if you like a topping, I think this would be nice with some fresh tomato salsa. Or perhaps a mushroom sauce? However, the calorie count is fairly significant with this containing half and half and some cream, so think twice about using a calorie or fat-laden topping. That’s why I thought salsa would be a nice addition. I didn’t have any or I’d have served it with this. You can use your choice of herbs – I used what is currently in my garden (basil and rosemary) but use whatever suits you – chives, parsley, tarragon, thyme.

The leeks are cooked some, then the asparagus too. I cooked the asparagus stems first because they were rather robust in size, then added the more tender tops during the last minute. I used ciabatta bread – I cut it into small cubes and left them to sit out overnight in my kitchen, so they were certainly “stale” by that time.

The casserole is baked for about 45-55 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Don’t over bake it or it will dry out. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving. I served it with fresh fruit, some pork sausage and Greek yogurt.

What’s GOOD: I liked that it could be made just before baking and it was really nice. I might use more asparagus next time just because I like it. It was easy to make and looked very pretty on the plate. I might use a tiny bit more cheese next time – and I might try different kinds just because you can. If you make the 9×13 casserole, it would serve a big bunch of people. At least 12, maybe 14.

What’s NOT: nothing at all.

printer-friendly PDF – and Files: MasterCook 5+ and MasterCook 14 (click on link to open in MC)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Asparagus Bread Pudding with Fontina and Herbs

Recipe By: Inspired by a recipe from Georgeanne Brennan (Brennan’s in New Orleans)
Serving Size: 12

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 whole leeks — ends cut off, sliced lengthwise, chopped, rinsed well
1 pound asparagus
5 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 dash cayenne
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups half and half Zest of one large lemon
5 cups bread — (I used ciabatta) cut into 3/4″ cubes, dried overnight
3/4 cup Pecorino-Romano cheese — freshly grated (or use Gruyere)
3/4 cup Fontina cheese — grated
1/2 cup fresh herbs — chopped – such as chives, parsley, and tarragon; or sage, thyme, and marjoram (I used fresh basil and rosemary)

1. Grease the bottom of the dish you’re using (9×13 works, or similar 4-quart dish as long as it has 2″ high sides). Place bread in a large bowl.
2. Mix half and half, cream, eggs, cayenne, lemon zest, salt and pepper until there are no streaks of egg yolk. Pour HALF of milk mixture over the bread and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Reserve remaining milk mixture.
3. While bread is soaking, trim leeks, and chop well. Saute leeks in butter for 1-2 minutes, then add water and steam (covered) until leeks are cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Remove leeks to the bowl leaving any fluid in the pan. Prep the asparagus: trim off woody ends and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook briefly, about 1-2 minutes, then add the asparagus to the bowl. Discard any remaining fluid in the pan.
4, Preheat oven to 350°F.
5. Sprinkle herbs over the bread mixture, then add about half the cheese and stir this mixture around so it’s evenly distributed. Pour it all into the prepared baking dish and then pour remaining milk mixture over the top. Add the last of the grated cheese evenly on top.
6. Bake until top is crusty brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.
Per Serving: 454 Calories; 19g Fat (38.2% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 55g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 135mg Cholesterol; 824mg Sodium.

Posted in Soups, on September 4th, 2015.


Honeydew. Summertime. Melon. Cool soup. Ahhh. . .

Just a week or so ago I posted a recipe for a Cantaloupe Soup, explaining that I tried to replicate a recipe from a list of ingredients. It was delicious, but I do think this one, made with honeydew, is even better. To recap, when I was visiting my friends Lynn and Sue in Colorado, one day we visited Willow Creek Restaurant in Evergreen, a tiny little town in the foothills of the Rockies. The restaurant overlooks the town lake. It was a warm summer day and the chef had just made this honeydew_melon_soup_closeupsoup. It sounded so refreshing (it was). Sue and I both ordered it and could hardly keep ourselves from licking the little bowl. We asked what was in it. The hostess went back to the kitchen and asked, and there we got the ingredients. It was our job to figure out how much.

Sue made this recently, using her version of the ingredient list, and sent it to me, so I set to work making it. Can I just tell you – MAKE THIS! Not only is it super easy (it’s all done in a blender) but it’s just SO “summer,” SO “light,” and just gosh-darned delicious. I wasn’t having guests and I ate it all by myself over the course of 4 days.

The toasted almonds are a real must – don’t neglect that little tiny aspect as it kind of makes it – it’s the crunch, I think. I sought out every last little speck of toasted almond in the bottom of that bowl up there. And be sure to choose a very ripe and tasty melon – I let mine ripen on my kitchen counter top for several days before I refrigerated it – that’s my one little technique for buying melons. The soup will shine only if the melon flavor is good to begin with.

What’s GOOD: the honeydew flavor is predominant, although honeydew (or any melon for that matter) flavor is subtle. But it shines through here, and the addition of mint or basil is key, as are the toasted almonds. Make a day or so ahead. You’ll hear raves, I promise you. EASY!

What’s NOT: not a single thing.

printer friendly PDF and Files: MasterCook 5+ and MasterCook 14 (click on link to open in MC)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Honeydew Melon Soup with Almonds

Recipe By: My friend Sue’s and my collaboration
Serving Size: 6

1 whole honeydew melon — seeded, flesh cut into chunks
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, full-fat — or use low-fat
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon champagne wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh mint — or fresh basil
1 dash salt
1 dash cayenne — optional
1/4 cup sliced almonds — toasted, for garnish
Mint leaf or sliced basil for garnish

1. Combine in a blender all the ingredients except the garnishes. Puree until smooth. Chill for an hour or two to combine the flavors. You may add pepper if desired, and do remember you can use basil or mint, but not both.
2. Pour 1/2 cup into a small bowl and garnish with the toasted almonds and the mint or basil. Serve immediately.
Per Serving: 136 Calories; 4g Fat (23.4% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 2mg Cholesterol; 79mg Sodium.

Posted in Desserts, on August 29th, 2015.


If a CRISPY crisp is what you like, you’ll not be disappointed with this one. A layer of peaches and blackberries on the bottom and the topping (crispy, but no oatmeal) sprinkled liberally on the top and baked. Wonderful!

A few months ago I purchased another cookbook. I’m a sucker. I’d read that the book was so worth buying and very few of the recipes have shown up yet on the ‘net, so I decided to spring for it. Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More, written by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. I had a big crowd over for dinner recently – it was a cool evening (although ever-so humid what with this oddball weather we’re toppinghaving) and I even lit the outdoor fireplace for some of the younger dinner guests. Anyway, I bought a small flat of peaches (not nectarines) and we generally don’t find boysenberries at our markets, so I bought blackberries instead. Otherwise I followed the recipe.

Since I used peaches, I peeled them. I have a great Messermeister Pro Touch Swivel Peeler that works like a charm on soft fruit. The recipe calls for tossing the fruit with cornstarch and a dash of salt. I thought the fruit was sweet enough, so I eliminated the 1/2 cup tossed into the fruit. I’ve noted it in the recipe as optional.

The topping is easy to make – you combine everything (adding in the sliced toasted almonds later) in a food processor (or do by hand if preferred) and once out into a bowl you kind of manhandle the dough until it makes shards or clumps and that are sprinkled all over the fruit.

Down below  you’ll see photos of the Pyrex dish with just fruit, and then with the topping. I increased the recipe to feed more people, so ended up baking it in 2 different dishes. One of the suggestions was to bake this in flatter, wider dishes so the moisture from the fruit will do some evaporation and so the topping will have plenty of space to “crisp.” That’s what I did.



The crisp is baked for 55 minutes (the recipe says 45-55 and the tops weren’t quite brown enough so I baked it the full 55 minutes). Ideally, serve this warm – you can reheat it for 10 minutes at 325° if you make it earlier in the day. I served it with vanilla ice cream. But, when we had left overs, I served it at room temp 2 days later and it was just fine.

What’s GOOD: this recipe is a real keeper. I LOVED-LOVED the crispy topping – and especially because it contained no oatmeal. I’ve never been a fan of oatmeal crusted cobblers. So I really liked this topping which IS crunchy and tasty. Really liked the almonds in the mixture too (toasted prior to baking the crisp).  Altogether a delicious dessert, and it wasn’t all that much work to make. Peeling the peaches wasn’t a whole lot of fun, but the peeler makes it pretty quick work. Nectarines don’t require peeling, and peaches probably could have been left unpeeled. Your choice, I guess.

What’s NOT: The blackberries I used were huge, so their seeds were quite large (chewy). If I had anything to complain about it would be that – and that’s not the fault of the recipe, just the fruit selection. I’d choose younger blackberries, or substitute raspberries. That, however, was the only thing I could possible comment on. The dish was wonderful, worth making.

printer-friendly PDF and Files: MasterCook 5+ and MasterCook 14 (click link to open in MC)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Nectarine, Boysenberry, and Almond Crisp

Recipe By: Rustic Fruit Desserts (cookbook)
Serving Size: 8

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter — cold, cut into 6 cubes
3/4 cup sliced almonds — toasted
1/2 cup granulated sugar (optional – if fruit is really sweet you can leave this out)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 whole nectarines — or peaches each cut into 10 to 12 slices (3 pounds prepped)
1 pint boysenberries — or blackberries
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Optional for serving: ice cream or whipped cream

Cook’s notes: You will want to use a wide dish for this recipe so the filling can spread out in a shallow layer, which allows more water (from the fruit) to evaporate. Almonds are the first choice to complement the combination of nectarines and boysenberries, but walnuts or hazelnuts also work well.
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish (see cook’s notes).
2. Prepare topping: Mix flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Add butter and toss until evenly coated. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles crumbs. (Alternatively, you can put the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly, then transfer to a bowl and squeeze the mixture between your fingers to make crumbs.) Add the almonds and mix gently; try not to break the almond slices. Put the topping in the freezer while you prepare the fruit filling.
3. Prepare fruit filling: Rub the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl. Add nectarines and boysenberries, toss until evenly coated, then gently stir in the vanilla.
4. Pour the fruit into prepared baking dish and scatter topping over the fruit. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until topping is golden and fruit is bubbling. Cool for 30 minutes before serving, topped with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Wrapped in plastic wrap, the crisp will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 325-degree oven for 10 minutes before serving.
Per Serving: 452 Calories; 19g Fat (37.3% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 67g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 31mg Cholesterol; 388mg Sodium.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...