Nov 22

Nutmeg Tarts

Food, Uncategorized Comments Off on Nutmeg Tarts

After the apple pie contest last summer I want to develop a less finicky pie dough recipe. Things of been rolling around in my mind using the three or four or five different recipes that I have used and I combined them into one. At the same time I also wanted to develop an old school nutmeg custard pie recipe. So I put the two together and here it is.

The crust is light and flakey…tender as can be. The filling is luscious and sweet, but not too, too much. And since the pie crust isn’t sweet at all, the two together made a little magic. Here is what I did.

Easy-as-Pie-Dough

Easily makes enough for 4 dozen tartlets or two 9” crusts

• 3 C flour

• 1 cup of shortening

• 1/4 cup lard or butter

• 5 Tablespoon water

• 1 Tablespoon white vinegar (cider vinegar will work too)

• 1 egg, beaten

• 1 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350°

Cut the shortening and lard or butter into the flour. Mix together the water, vinegar, egg, and salt. Add that to the shortening flour mixture and mix together until a ball forms. No need to chill – you can roll it out right away. Roll half the dough to about a 1/4” thickness. Cut out rounds slightly bigger than the bottom of your muffin tin and push the pastry dough into the tin forcing the dough up the sides.

Nutmeg custard

• 1 cup granulated sugar

• 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

• 3 eggs, yolks separated from whites

• 1 T vanilla

• 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground (if you can) nutmeg

• 3 heaping Tablespoons flour

• 1 can evaporated milk, adding enough water to it to make 3 cups

Mix together the sugars the egg yolks the butter and flour and milk. Whip your egg whites until soft peaks form and fold into the sugar mixture. Scoop this into custard your tart shells (I used a quarter cup measuring cup) about 3/4 full…making sure to mix it every now and then because the mixture will settle and separate in no time at all.

Bake in the preheated 350° oven until the pastry is lightly browned and the custard just barely has a little wiggle left in it. Remove from the oven place on the cooling rack and allow to cool using a butter knife by the tarts out of the muffin tens and let cool all the way. Enjoy

Jun 11

Yes, I know it’s a little redundant posting about biscuits over and over. But what you need to understand is I’m trying to perfect my biscuit recipe. And… I might be there.In thinking about this I think I’ve decided I’m going to start my cookbook. I’be done this for so many things (repeat and repeat a recipe)—with my banana bread bread recipe, my Mac and cheese, my riff’s off of my Babcia’s recipes, old recipes no one else has written down in standard format—it’s time to write them all down. 
This will take a long time, but it’ll be a great background project. Going through old Facebook posts will be great, too…great reminders of what I’ve worked on…And the first recipe is, Biscuit Perfection.

Jun 05

Blueberry Buckle Take Two

City Boys Living in the Country, Food Comments Off on Blueberry Buckle Take Two

I love blueberries and hope to have a bunch of blueberry bushes in the back yard…baby steps however. 

I made Alton Brown’s Blueberry Buckle and, although I was gifting it  (Carole was the lucky Guinea pig—a tiny expression of thanks for watching our boys while we had a crazy week at chorus), it wasn’t what I was envisioning. Although it tasted fine, it wasn’t high enough (not being negative, mind you, just wanting it to match the vision vision in my head.) It may have had something to do with the pan. The recipe calls for a 9×9 pan. My closest square pan is 10×10 and I could adjust the recipe, bit …. I do love a square coffee cake. But based on the last version and what probably ends up being the only size pan I don’t have, I tried a spring-form pan. This version is really high. Maybe too high? I don’t know. I’ve got to live with it for a while. 

I also put my personal touches on the recipe adding the juice and zest of a lemon to brighten thins up. 

Going to be perfect with coffee and the French Open. Do you know why it’s called a “buckle,” by the way? I read on-line, it gets its name for how the crumb topping buckles in the oven. 

Blueberry Buckle

Sunday Morning Coffeee with Blueberry Buckle


I have to say the addition of the lemon zest really brightens this recipe

Here’s what I did:

Blueberry Buckle

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

1 large egg

Zest and juice of one lemon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup milk

5 cups wild or cultivated fresh blueberries

Streusel Topping

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup packed light-brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. salt

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature

Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9″ springform baking pan with baking spray (alternatively you can butter and flour your pan), Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn off and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add egg, vanilla, lemon juice, and zest, beating until fully combined. 

Add reserved flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Gently fold in blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan and gently smooth out to the edges with an offset spatula. 

Streusel Topping:

In the bowl of a food processor (or you can do this by hand using a pastry cutter or your hands), combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Process until only small pea-sized pieces of butter  remain visible. Using your hands, squeeze together most of the mixture to form large clumps. (The topping can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months. This recipe makes a very generous amount of topping. But I loved it a little over the top! )

Sprinkle streusel topping over cake. Bake until cake tester comes out batter-free, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool for 15 minutes before serving. Makes 1 9-inch.

Enjoy!

 

May 28

Morning

City Boys Living in the Country, Food Comments Off on Morning

We are going to live in this sunroom. It’s morning after a late night Bar Mitzvah and we have to journey back to McKone street for our final clean out/clean up. It’s supposed to get hot so we’re letting the cross breeze go through the house and cool things as much as it will.

Waiting for the (giant, because my biscuit cutter have gone missing and I had to use a cup–but I’m not complaining. Who doesn’t love a giant biscuit?) biscuits to finish baking, we are enjoying the mining. 

Michael lovin’ on Dasher

Dasher enjoying the morning sun

Giant biscuits


Still working on this recipe, using my home made yogurt instead of buttermilk. These rose beautifully, but fell a little. May need a higher temp. I’ll eat them though–a little butter and some orange marmalade…yes, indeed. 

mmm…warm buscuits with marmalade!

Apr 07

#Whole30 4/7 (day 10, 20 to go)

Food, Whole30 Comments Off on #Whole30 4/7 (day 10, 20 to go)

An interesting quote from the Book, It Starts With Food.

So this is what I’m looking forward to. The program let’s you know that days 1-7 you are pretty much detoxing from sugar and dense carbohydrates and your body can’t rely on those as a primary energy source. This can lead to withdrawl symptoms. Days 8-14 see an end to those symptoms. People report falling asleep faster and sleeping better (please, yes, oh please) and having more consistent energy levels.

One can only hope. But…”digestive distress” can take a couple of months to resolve.

Found a lovely new recipe called Sunshine Sauce that’s used on veggies or grilled meats…coconut milk, almond butter (no sugar, unsalted, of course), lime juice, garlic and hot pepper flakes. And I discovered something called Coconut Aminos at WholeFoods…a replacement for soy sauce!

Onward.

Did I mention that our offer on a house was accepted! Inspection Monday!

Apr 05

#Whole30 4/5 (day 8, 22 to go)

Food, Whole30 Comments Off on #Whole30 4/5 (day 8, 22 to go)

I have not (as you can obviously tell) been posting daily. There just wasn’t so much to tell. I’ve Facebooked photos of the meals I’ve cooked, etc. If you want recipes, I’ll try to write down what I did. But they mostly are off the cuff.

This week’s planned menu isn’t that different than last weeks. More chicken than any other protein. But I’m going to add more salads and buy some avocados to make some guacamole (I will miss eating it with chips, though). I’m making some turkey breakfast sausage. I really enjoyed the spaghetti squash, so I’m repeating that. I did not love butternut squash in a fritatta. so we’re going to leave that out.

Speaking truthfully I have not noticed that much change yet. I read that the energy and better sleeping come after two weeks….so maybe next week? I may have hallucinated that my jeans were looser. But shhh…that’s not supposed to be a goal of the program.

The eating isn’t that much of a challenge at all. I know myself and as long as I’m eating creative, interesting foods I won’t get bored. If I had to stay with grilled chicken on a salad, I would lose my mind. But I’m trying to be creative within the guidelines of the program.

I tried cauliflower “rice” and enjoyed it very much. I think it’s a great alternative to regular rice. I just used a bag of frozen and threw it in the food processor until it was rice sized and sauteed it.

The hardest time of the day is the later evening, after nine. I want something…something snacky or sweet. I’m craving peanut butter then too. Luckily I haven’t had any night time sleep eating!

So, one week (plus) down…and 3 to go. It truly isn’t horrible. Looking forward to feeling some results.

Mar 31

#Whole30 1/30 (day 3, 27 to go)

Food, Whole30 Comments Off on #Whole30 1/30 (day 3, 27 to go)
 
Yesterday was interesting. Because of my schedule I had to eat out for 2 meals…and it wasn’t hard at all.
 
A simple (un-photographed scrambled egg breakfast — note to self, while it wasn’t horrible, adding coconut cream to try to give the eggs a creaminess didn’t work).
 
Lunch was at Milk Street Cafe where it was simple to adapt…I got a salad. They had olive oil and vinegar…so it was easy and yummy.
 
Dinner before chorus was another dinner out and I did the exact same thing at Au Bon Pain. (Now hopefully there aren’t Whole30 enthusiasts out there who are going to reveal some underbelly of these places and suggest I start out at day 1 again.)
 
Caffeine headache withdrawal is nearly going away. I still have a funny slow motion feeling…and my digestion is just out of whack. But I consulted the “plan” and they describe all these symptoms as “normal” and that they go away during the 2nd week. Here’s a quote from the plan
 
…as your body heals and adjusts to this new way of eating and your brain wraps itself around going without all its habitual sweet tastes and sugar-driven energy spikes…
 
Onward to day 4. There is a learning lunch here today. And pizza will be served. Give me strength. Luckily I’ve blabbed all about the program so everyone knows I would be cheating if I ate pizza.
Mar 30

#Whole30 1/29 (day 2, 28 to go)

Food, Whole30 Comments Off on #Whole30 1/29 (day 2, 28 to go)

Monday night was a bit of a difficult night. My headache never really went away and I had some serious stomach trouble. It’s difficult to know what caused that…the caffeine withdrawal or my body getting adjusted to Whole30.

But it’s clear that my body is freaked out. And it’s clear that I reach for food for many reasons other than being hungry. Must be for comfort. I’m sitting here at my desk working, thinking I’ll run and get a bagel. But I’m not hungry.

Anyway, here is breakfast. A grilled turkey sausage patty with sauteed spinach on top and 2 poached eggs…with a small dollop of mayonnaise (I didn’t have the lemon to make hollandaise and figured, mayonnaise is really almost exactly hollandaise except it’s not hot).

Whole30 breakfast

Whole30 breakfast

 

Lunch was simple and no photo taken. A Burger with sauteed onions and peppers with a spinach salad (I’m definitely not depriving myself).

Dinner was lovely (so say I) File Mar 29, 7 00 15 PM
Grilled Chicken breast with steamed broccoli and grilled butter nut squash. I made a sauce using coconut cream and curry…kind of a spin of of a Thai Massaman Curry. I topped it with my grilled pineapple salsa.

Caffeine headache is slowly going away…stomach issues seem to be resolving. I don’t miss coffee so much. I don’t really miss any food that much. The thing about this is convenience. You have to plan. I never realized how easy a sandwich is. At the very least I always will have eggs in the house and grilled chicken that I can throw on a salad…

So far so good.

Mar 28

#Whole30 1/28 (day 1, 29 to go)

Food, Uncategorized, Whole30 Comments Off on #Whole30 1/28 (day 1, 29 to go)

Well here we go with all the enthusiasm I can muster. I’ll be sharing my experience, emotions, cravings…right here with you.

Day one menu:


Breakfast: a crust-less quiche with grilled butternut squash, grilled asparagus, spinach, and turkey breakfast sausage. While yummy, I did miss the cheese I might have added in another life. But it was very filling. No coffee though….should get interesting.

Lunch: spaghetti squash with bolognese and a small mixed green salad (no photo)

Dinner: grilled burger over peppers and onions with a cayenne mayo and a spinach salad

Midday brought a crushing headache…and a little bit of a foggy feeling. Hoping it’ll clear soon.

Mar 21

It’s Time for a Change–Whole30

Food, Life, Whole30 Comments Off on It’s Time for a Change–Whole30

How many times have I enthusiastically started a new diet, a new eating plan…a healthy new start? Started and failed. But, what’s amazing is, I am finding out why. It isn’t necessarily because of poor willpower or laziness. I’m learning it’s simple chemistry.

I’m looking into doing the Whole30 program, reading and researching this week with a proposed start date of Monday, March 28. You can do your own reading/investigating, etc at the Whole30 Website too. AND the information on the website is totally free. You can buy the book if you want, but all the information is out there for free.

I’ve tried every diet out there and what I’m reading is dieting actually promotes a hormonal response in the body that causes diets to fail. Read that again

Dieting makes it harder to lose weight.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, and I have not lost all of my critical thinking skills. I’m not “drinking the koolaid” and am doing other research on line to help debunk any craziness. But nothing sounds crazy here. I’ve read the same things in other nutrition magazines and articles. I am learning and plan on blogging each of the 30 days of this journey, sharing my experience with you. There will be no weight loss reports. The program discourages this. This isn’t primarily about weight loss. This is about resetting your body, detoxing from our sugar/carb (no this is not Atkins) addiction (results of chronic overconsumption of empty carbohydrates in the next paragraph) and toward eating food that:

Promote a healthy psychological response.

Promote a healthy hormonal response.

Support a healthy gut.

Support immune function and minimize inflammation.”

Excerpt From: Melissa Hartwig & Dallas Hartwig. “It Starts With Food.” Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, 2012. iBooks.

In a nutshell, due to consuming over processed foods (something we all agree is bad, right?) causes an imbalance of 4 major hormones in our body; Insulin, lepton, glycogen, and cortisol. 4 hormones which are supposed to work together to maintain sugar levels, manage stores or energy, regulate our hunger/not hunger signals, and  also help keep the others in check–a well designed checks and balances system.

But chroniclly overeating empty carbohydrates throws this system out of balance. The brain doesn’t know when we’ve consumed enough, blood sugar levels remain chronically high which leads to a domino effect with these 4 hormones, hyper over-secreting them and stressing out our bodies which then actually starts breaking down, rendering these checks and balances inoperable…leading to a host of chronic conditions not limited to Type2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, chronic fatigue, etc., etc., etc.,

So before this post gets too long, I’ll summarize. What I think this program is about is: rebalancing your body’s own natural system which is designed to keep us at a healthy weight, store a healthy amount fat, and keep everything thing in a harmonious balance. Unnatural and over processed food destroy that balance.

preload preload preload