Monday, August 31, 2009

Lemon-Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies

I always get a lot of requests for lemon recipes, so whenever I hear of one, I'm always quick to share it. Here's a recipe that was given to me by Kathleen, who got it from Lisa, who found it in an issue of Everyday Food magazine. The Lemon Glaze was added by Kathleen and I think it's the perfect touch! Oh, by the way, the picture is from Kathleen too!
Thanx again Kath!

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. packed finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 medium zucchini, grated on small holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. in a large bowl, mix butter, sugar with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, lemon zest and salt. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until mixture is crumbly. Add zucchini and stir until a thick dough forms.

2.Drop dough by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two parchment–lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are light golden brown at edges, 25-30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks.

Makes 25 cookies.

Lemon Glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix the lemon juice and sugar well, spread a thin coat on each cookie. (This recipe makes JUST ENOUGH for the batch of cookies above.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Orange Brownies

Well, once again, I'm turning to my favorite celebrity cook for a decadent dessert. This is a Paula Deen recipe, so you know it has to be good, right? Seriously, when I made these, I sent my BFF Paul a text message that I need to make these every day for the rest of my life. They're so delicious!
Now, at first, I thought "Why are these called BROWNIES? They're not brown, they're orange! Shouldn't they be called ORANGIES?" But then I made them and it all made sense at the very first bite. When you think of a brownie, you think of something fudgy and moist and a lot richer than a piece of cake, right? These are the orange version of that. They're moist, and rich and they're the orange version of "fudgy". They're the same exact texture as a brownie. YUM! I think you should make them, like, right now.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pure orange extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan and set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest and beat with a mixer until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven and pierce top of entire cake with a fork.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Pour glaze over brownies. Cool and cut into squares.

You can use the glaze as directed above or you can frost the cooled brownies with Orange Cream Cheese Icing. Since I usually use the cream cheese icing for Orange Creamsicle Cake, I opted to use the glaze for the brownies.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Avocado Gazpacho

Have you ever tried Gazpacho? It's a Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup that you serve cold, best served during summer months due to its cool refreshing qualities. It's one of those things that I've made in the past, and whenever I have it, I think "Why don't I make this more often?" To be honest, I haven't made it in years, and I don't have any certain go-to recipe for it. Well, that is, until NOW! My friend Kathleen was thoughtful enough to pass this along to me. I hope you'll give it a try! Thanx Kath!!!

OMG!! Joey!!! I had the VERY BEST gazpacho EVER today!! A girlfriend of mine took us and the kids out on her boat today and she shared this with us. It was HEAVENLY on this hot, summer day!!! If you like gazpacho, you have to try it!!!
Here's the recipe (courtesy of my friend, Betsy)

1 quart or 3 cans Clamato or Snap-E Tom tomato juice (I prefer the Snap-E Tom juice)
2 cups mango or pineapple juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 large mango- diced
1 red onion- diced
1 red pepper- diced
1 green pepper- diced
1 cucumber(optional) diced
2-3 tomatos- diced
2 large or 3 small avocados (on the firmer side)- diced
1/4-1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbs ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together and chill.
Serve with bagel chips or corn bread croutons.
So good on a hot day- you need nothing else!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Paula's Sweet Potato Biscuits

I was in the mood for a baked something served warm out of the oven. So, I browsed through the pantry to see what ingredients I had on hand. I found a small can of sweet potatoes and immediately remembered seeing an episode of Paula's Home Cooking where she made these fluffy yummy biscuits. Perfect! They're a snap to throw together and they're in and out of the oven in no time. Perfect for a sunday brunch or a simple afternoon tea. This is where I'd normally say "Great then!" but I'm thinking Miss Paula would probably say "Great Y'all!"

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 heaping tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter
2 to 4 tablespoons milk (depending on the moisture of the potatoes)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate, large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes and butter. Add the flour mixture to the potato mixture and mix to make a soft dough. Then add milk a tablespoon at a time to mixture and continue to cut in. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and toss lightly until the outside of the dough looks smooth. Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on a greased pan and coat tops with melted butter. Bake for about 15 minutes. Serve the with a little smear of butter and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Quick Tip: Watch your oven: If the biscuits are browning too fast, lower the temperature.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Apple Pan Dowdy

There are a million different versions of this recipe. This is how I make it. It's sort of like an upside down apple pie. The fruit is on the bottom and the crust is on top! You can add maple syrup or molasses to it, but I like to keep it simple. Oh, and if you're wondering about the name... When you serve it, you break up the crust into small pieces and then dunk them into into the filling, which gives it a "dowdy" appearance.
Regardless of how it looks, I happen to LOVE it! And as Dinah Shore used to sing: "I'll never get enough of that wonderful stuff!"

8 lg. Granny Smith apples
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
2 tbs water
3 tbs. butter
1/2 recipe for Easy Pie Crust or one Pillsbury ready made pie crust.

Preheat oven to 425F.
Peel, core, and slice apples. Place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water. Gently toss to combine. Place apple mixture in an ovenproof 12" skillet. Dot with butter.

Roll out pie crust on floured board to fit your skillet. Place dough over apples. Sprinkle with additional sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Break crust into 3 inch square pieces. Return to oven and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes longer or until apples are tender.

If you're using a variety of apples that is less tart, substitute lemon juice for the water.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Blueberry Buckle

This is a really basic easy recipe when you're looking for something to have with a cup of coffee or tea. Use any kind of fruit, especially berries for this one. I think a raspberry buckle sounds heavenly, don't you? Then again, my brother Chris suggested that I should use Huckleberries, making it , yes, you guessed it, say it with me......a Huckle Buckle.

1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
2 c. sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
2 c. blueberries

Crumb Topping:
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. butter

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Then add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk, beating until smooth. Gently fold in berries. Combine crumb topping ingredients. Sprinkle over batter. Bake in greased 9 x 9 x 2 at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.

This recipe only makes a small cake, which is perfect if you don't have a big crowd, but if you'd like a larger cake, you can easily double it and bake it in a 9x13 pan.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Apple Brown Betty

This is an American dessert that dates back to Colonial American times. A ‘betty’ is a baked fruit pudding, made with layers of sweetened and spiced fruit and buttered bread crumbs. Similar to a crisp or a crumble, it's one of those desserts that I like to call a "throw-together" dessert and it's so rustic and simple, anyone can make it!

4 c. coarse soft bread crumbs*
6 tbs. butter, melted
4 c. apples - peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease a 2-quart casserole. Set aside.
Place bread crumbs in a medium bowl.
Pour melted butter over the crumbs and toss gently until well combined.
In another bowl toss together apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
Layer 1/3 of bread crumbs in prepared casserole, then 1/2 of the apple mixture.
Repeat layers, ending with bread crumbs.
Sprinkle top with a little extra cinnamon.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden.
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

*To make bread crumbs- Take 5 or 6 pieces of regular white sandwich bread, and break them into pieces. Place them in a food processor and pulse it approximately 12 times until it becomes coarse crumbs.

If your apples aren't quite as juicy as you'd like, go ahead and add a few tablespoons of water along with the lemon juice.
If you don't have any lemons, try a splash of orange juice instead!
Instead of serving it with ice cream, try a little drizzle of heavy cream over the top, or a big dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
For an even bigger splurge, serve it with a little hot caramel sauce!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Raspberry Slump

Slumps (or Grunts, as they're sometimes called) are similar to cobblers, but they're topped with soft dumplings. The fruit "grunts" as it cooks and the dumplings "slump" into the fruit as they set up. This is one of those dishes that's absurdly easy to make and it's ready in minutes. Since you "bake" it in a skillet on the stove top, it's the perfect dessert to make when your oven is busy or during a hot summer day when you don't feel like turning the oven on!

2 pints fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream

Gently toss raspberries, 1/2 cup sugar, water, lemon juice and cinnamon in a 9-inch, heavy skillet with a domed lid (or use an upside-down pot or heat proof bowl as a lid).

In a mixing bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt. Add cream. Stir just until mixture forms a soft dough.

Heat berry mixture to boiling over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Drop tablespoons of dough over the top of the fruit. Cover and simmer until dumplings are set and tops are dry, about 15 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

For a little extra added sweetness, sprinkle a little granulated sugar over dough after it has finished cooking.
Try any other combination of fruit such as peaches, blueberries, and blackberries.
You might need to add a little extra cream to pull the dough together. As my Mom would say, "Just add it a few drops at a time until it's enough!"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pear Crisp

Yes, yes, I know everyone always think of apples when they think of a fruit crisp (or crumble if you're from the UK), but I wanted to show you how easy it is to use a different fruit and get an equally delicious dessert. This recipe lends itself to any number of fruits or fruit combinations. Try raspberries, blackberries, and mangoes. Also try peaches with blueberries or strawberries with rhubarb.
It just doesn't get any better!

3 pounds Bartlett or Bosc pears
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/3 c rolled oats
4 tbs cold butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 c chopped pecans (optional)

Peel, core and slice the pears. Gently toss in a bowl with lemon juice. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; add to the pears and toss to combine.

In another bowl combine flour, sugar and oats. Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is crumbly. Stir in the chopped nuts (if using).

Butter a 9-inch square baking dish. Spread pear mixture in bottom of baking dish then sprinkle with flour mixture. Bake at 375° for 30 to 45 minutes, or until pears are tender and topping is lightly browned.

Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream or a little heavy cream, if desired.

If your pears are really juicy (as mine were), just add a touch more flour or let it bake for a while longer so it'll caramelize and set up a bit more.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler

How is it that I've gone this long without posting a recipe for peach cobbler? One would think that I'd have made one at some point. What's up with that?
Well, hopefully this was worth the wait. It smells HEAVENLY while it's baking and tastes even better. Oh, and in case you're wondering why it's called a 'cobbler'...
As the crust bakes up from the bottom, it gives the top a 'cobbled' appearance. So now you know!

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
3 cups sliced fresh peaches
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Melt the butter in a small saute pan over medium-high heat until it bubbles and turns golden-brown. Pour the butter into a large shallow oval casserole dish. (9x13 also works well). Swirl it around so it coats all sides. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and milk. Pour the batter on top of the melted butter. Do not stir. Arrange the peaches evenly on top of the batter. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the peaches. Sprinkle a little more cinnamon over the top, if you like. Place the casserole dish on a baking sheet and bake the cobbler for about an hour or until the top is set and golden brown. The batter will bake up from the bottom of the pan to partially cover the peaches. Serve warm with vanilla or peach ice cream.

Be sure to place your casserole dish on a baking tray, just in case your cobbler decides it wants to bake up over the sides of the dish.
To peel peaches, use the same technique as when you peel a tomato. Simply place your peaches in a pot of rapidly boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove them and let them cool for a few minutes. The skins slip right off!
This recipe works beautifully with other kinds of fruit. It would be absolutely delicious if you combined flavors. How about apple rhubarb?? or peach blueberry? Use whatever fruit is the freshest!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fruit Desserts!

This week, I've decided to go against my "one recipe a week" plan and do another themed week of recipes. Denny has been telling me for months that one recipe a week just isn't enough. So, Den, here you go, a full week of desserts! How does that sound?
So, wait, let me back up a little and I'll tell you the flight of ideas and how I got here......

I recently cooked dinner for Katie and Anthony and Mike and Danielle. When I asked Anthony what his favorite dessert is, he told me "apple or peach cobbler, hands down." Then I began to think of all the old fashioned fruit desserts with the fun names and I wondered if there were any differences between them. So, of course, I launched into research mode.
First, let me tell you, I had no idea that there are so many variations! It was all quite a lot to take in. Cobblers and pan dowdies, grunts and slumps, crisps and crumbles, buckles and brown betties. Who knew there were so many? Are they all the same thing? And how did they get those quirky fun names? What makes a cobbler a cobbler? Is a buckle the same thing as a slump? What's the difference between a crisp and a crumble? How is a brown betty different from a pan dowdy? These are the questions that I wanted to answer. Come to think of it, the only time I ever heard of a pan dowdy was a lyric from the old Dinah Shore song that my friend, Nora, loves to sing: "Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy makes your eyes light up and your tummy say Howdy". She always cracks me up when she sings that! But anyway....
I discovered that most of these dishes are very similar in that they're usually some sort of cooked spiced fruit with a crust or a topping. The thing that sets them apart from one another usually has to do with the way they're assembled and also the way they're cooked.
The crust is another distinguishing factor which varies from one dish to another. Sometimes it's similar to a traditional pie crust, while other times it's more of a sweet biscuit topping, similar to a scone. It can either be on the bottom, on the top, or layered throughout the dish. The fruit is either baked in the oven or cooked in a skillet, or sometimes both.
Here's a list of all the fruit desserts I found, along with their defining characteristics:

Usually a dessert consisting of a fruit filling poured into a large baking dish over a batter that rises through when baking. The batter forms as a dumpling within the cobbler as well as a crust for the top.

Crisps and Crumbles:
A "Crisp" in the United States or a "Crumble" as it is known in the United Kingdom is a dessert consisting of baked fruit topped with a crispy crumb crust. The topping is usually made of butter, flour, brown sugar, sometimes oats and/or nuts, and is rolled together so that it resembles breadcrumbs.

Grunts and Slumps:
These are desserts consisting of stewed fruits (usually berries) with light and fluffy dumplings on top. They're "baked" in a skillet on top of the stove instead of in the oven.

Brown Betties:
Usually consists of alternating layers of fruit and sweetened buttered bread crumbs or crackers, often with a sauce. They have a consistency sort of like a cross between a crisp and a bread pudding.

This is more like a coffee cake than a fruit pie. The cake rises and falls and "buckles" as it bakes, causing the filling to swirl through the cake.

Pan Dowdies:
These have fruit on the bottom and pie crusts on top which are broken up and dunked in the fruit filling after baking.

The consistent thing about all of them is that they're easy and delicious and they all scream to be served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream on top. Sounds like heaven, doesn't it? Hopefully you'll enjoy this week's dessert theme and give them a try!
I know you'll love 'em!