carrotcakecookies_sm.jpgSweet fresh-grated carrot makes all the difference in these cakey spiced cookies. The filling is just greek yogurt mixed with honey, but it tastes decadent sandwiched in between the cinnamony orange layers. Cute enough for a party, but healthy enough for everyday, they are definitely going on my 'make again' list.

1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Wheat Bran
1/2 Cup Oatmeal
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (or fresh nutmeg, cause I'm sure you're more likely to have that around)
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
1 tbsp. Real Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cups Shredded Carrot (not store bought- freshly grated in a cheese grater)
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2 tbsp. Butter, room temperature
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Golden Raisins

Filling:

17.6 oz Container (about 2 Cups) 2% Greek Yogurt (Fage brand recommended)
1/2 Cup Local Honey
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Oven to 325°

1. In a small bowl, pour about half cup of hot water over the raisins and let them soak. In a bowl, whisk the eggs well. Add applesauce, butter, brown sugar and stir. Drain the raisins and add them, and the carrots to the wet mixture. In another large bowl, mix all dry ingredients and the nuts.

2. Gently, in thirds add the dry ingredients to the wet. You should get a pretty thick dough at this point, firm enough keep form on a baking sheet, but still more moist than your typical cookie.

3.Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Use an ice cream scoop for large cookies, or a tablespoon for smaller ones and set them 2'' apart. Bake for 12-16, depending on cookie size, until edges brown a little and the middle is just set. Timing will vary.

In the meantime, mix all filling ingredients with a whisk and put in fridge to firm up.

Allow cakey cookies to cool before assembling the sandwiches. After assembling, freeze for 30 minutes or so to make them easier to eat.

Makes 20 Minis

Calories:124
Fat: 4g

Original recipe

crustlessquiches_sm.jpgRich, cheesy little quiches with gruyere, zucchini, and basil. The best thing about them - other than the taste - is they can be made ahead of time and either frozen or refrigerated until needed. A few minutes in the oven gets them toasty and ready for a party. 

1/4 c. cornstarch or 1/3 c. flour
1 1/4 c. milk
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 c. half and half
1/2 t. salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
fresh ground pepper
oil for the pan

1 T. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
2 zucchini, grated
1/4 cup gruyere or parmesan, grated
fresh basil, finely chopped

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare Batter: Put the cornstarch in a medium bowl. Whisking steadily, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the milk, mixing until quite smooth. Whisk in the whole eggs and egg yolks, mixing again until smooth, then gradually whisk in the rest of the milk, the cream, salt, and nutmeg. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, for up to one day. If using the next day, be sure to re-whisk.

Prepare Zucchini Mixture: In a nonstick pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add grated zucchini, and stir until just softened, another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Oil mini muffin tins well. Put a pinch grated cheese into each muffin cup, a teaspoon of zucchini mixture, and pinch of chopped fresh basil. Pour 1 tablespoon of the batter into each muffin cup.

Bake until the quiches puff and start to turn golden, 15-18 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and then carefully run a paring knife around the rim of each muffin cup. Carefully lift each quiche out of its cup.

Mini quiches freeze very well. Let cool, then freeze in a single layer in a covered container. Reheat on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes.

makes ~48

Original recipe


chickenmilanese_sm.jpgPan-fried breaded chicken topped with a salad of arugula, corn, tiny potatoes, and cherry tomatoes in a light lemon honey vinaigrette. One of my absolute favorite summer dishes, with a very pretty presentation.

For the salad:
5 to 6 fingerling potatoes
1 ear corn
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large handfuls of baby lettuce or arugula (or a mix), washed and dried
optional: 3/4 cup sliced hearts of palm
juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper
2 ounces ricotta salata or fresh mozzarella, cubed
For the chicken:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin (about 1/4 inch)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
juice of 1/2 lemon
For the salad:
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Have a bowl of ice water off to the side. Add the fingerling potatoes to the pot and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until one can be sliced in half easily. Remove the potatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon and put in the ice bath until cool. Remove, pat dry, and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.

Cook the ear of corn, in its husk, in the microwave- on high for 3 minutes. Remove, allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then shuck. Cut the kernels off the cob and add to a bowl with the potatoes, tomatoes, lettuces, and hearts of palm. (note: can use canned or frozen corn)

Make the vinaigrette. Combine the lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard in a bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking vigorously. Add honey to taste. Set aside until the chicken is cooked (you'll dress the salad and use the ricotta salata when you plate the food).

For the chicken:
Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a very large (14-inch) skillet over high heat. Pour the beaten eggs into a shallow pie plate. Pile the breadcrumbs onto a plate or in another pie plate and season with salt and pepper (mix the salt and pepper in with your fingers).

Working with one chicken breast at a time, dip it into the eggs, then allow the excess to drip off. Place it in the breadcrumbs and coat on both sides, then gently lay the chicken breast into the pan. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, flipping carefully with tongs, until the breadcrumbs are a deep golden color and crispy. Remove the chicken from the pan, set on a plate, and squeeze the lemon juice over them.

To serve, toss the salad with the vinaigrette. Place one chicken breast on each plate and top with the salad. Crumble the ricotta salata on top of each salad and season with salt and pepper.

Original recipe
sponge_cake_2.jpgA beautiful golden cake with a slightly spongy texture, but more substantial than angle food cake. A little more work than your standard cake, but well worth it. Would also be lovely drizzled with a fruit glaze or syrup on top.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 ℉.  Butter and flour either 2 - 9" round, or 1- 13"x9" baking pans.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs until light, about 4 minutes.  With the mixer running on medium, slowly add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light yellow and comes off the whisk in a ribbon when the whisk is lifted, about 7-8 minutes.
While the eggs and sugar are beating, bring the milk and butter just to a boil in a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Stir the vanilla into the hot milk.
With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly add the hot milk mix to the egg mixture.  Mix until combined, then reduce the mixer speed and add the flour mixture slowly, just until thoroughly combined, stopping to scrape down the bowl once or twice.  Pour the batter immediately into the prepared pan(s) and place them into the oven.
Bake the 13"x9" cake for 25-30 minutes, or the 9" rounds for 18-25 minutes, until the edges are browned and just pulling away from the pan or a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake, comes out clean.  Do NOT overbake.  let cool slightly in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Original recipe

radish_toasts.jpgA ridiculously easy yet pretty appetizer. The peppery flavor of the radishes that pairs well with the creamy goat cheese.

good-quality bread
goat cheese with herbs
radishes
Slice the bread into thin rounds, spread with a light layer of the goat cheese, top with sliced radishes.

chard_tart_sm.jpgAn elegant savory tart full of chard, onion and thyme held together by eggs and Parmesan on an oregano whole wheat crust. Perfect for a tea or brunch. Can made ahead and served warm or cold.

Crust:

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp dried oregano or thyme
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. cold water (I used less)

Makes enough to line a 28- to 30-cm (11- to 12-inch) tart pan.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease the pan lightly if it doesn't have a nonstick coating.

Combine the flour, salt, and herbs in a medium mixing bowl. Add the oil and mix it in with a fork. Add the water, mix with the fork until it is absorbed, then knead lightly (with just one hand, in the bowl) until the dough comes together into a ball.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle a little flour on the ball of dough and on the rolling pin, and roll the dough out into a circle large enough to fit your tart pan. Turn the dough by 45 degrees (a quarter of a circle) every time you roll the pin and back, adding a little more flour underneath and on the dough when it seems on the verge of becoming sticky. The trick is to do this in quick, assertive gestures to avoid overworking the dough.

Transfer the dough carefully into the prepared pan and line it neatly. Trim the excess dough (re-roll it and cut into decorative shapes to top the tart), and place the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

You can then blind-bake the crust (prick with a fork first, cover with foil, and cook at 400°F for 12 minutes), or garnish it straight away, depending on the filling. Either way, it will take 20 to 25 minutes at 200°C (400°F) to bake thoroughly.

Filling:

1 bunch of rainbow chard, stems and leaves chopped
1 onion, diced
1 big garlic clove minced
4 large eggs
2 Tb. half and half or milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp dried thyme
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan
aged balsamic vinegar for garnish

Heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the chard stems (you will add the leaves later) and thyme. Cook for 7-10 minutes until the stems are tender. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Add the chard leaves. Cook until the leaves are wilted and soft and any liquid has evaporated, 7-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

Beat together the eggs and season with salt and a pinch of pepper. Add the chard mixture and parmesan. Mix well and scrape the filling into the prepared shell.

Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until set. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan and serve warm with a drizzle of balsamic.

Original recipe (filling)

Original recipe (crust)


pizza_crust_sm.jpgWith no rise-and-wait time, this is the fastest homemade pizza crust I've found. The finished product is a perfect thin crust pizza: crisp and crackerlike but sturdy enough to support mounds of toppings without getting soggy. The technique of rolling out the crust on parchment paper and then transferring it directly to the pizza stone saves a lot of hassle (and burned fingers!).

3/4 cups (6 ounces) of water
1/2 teaspoon of active-dry yeast (if using instant yeast, you don't need to dissolve it during the first step)
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Makes 2 pizzas

About 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it on a rack in the lower-middle part of the oven.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, heat the water until it feels barely lukewarm when you test it with your finger (if the water is so hot that you can't leave your finger in it, wait for it to cool down). Add the yeast to the water and use a fork or whisk to stir it into the water. Set this aside for a few minutes and allow the yeast to dissolve.

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the water-yeast mixture. Use your fingers or a wooden spoon to combine everything together. When it comes together into a cohesive ball (see image below), turn it out onto the counter along with any extra flour in the bowl that hasn't yet gotten worked in.

Knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic to the touch--about five minutes.The dough should still feel moist and slightly tacky. If it's sticking to your hands and counter-top like bubble gum, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until it's smooth and silky (below).
Use a bench scraper to divide the dough in two.

Tear off two pieces of parchment paper roughly 12-inches wide. Work one piece of the dough in your hands and form it into a large disk. Lay the disk of dough on the parchment paper.

Working from the middle of the dough outwards, use the heel of your hand to gently press the dough outward until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. You can also use a rolling pin for this part. Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Note: The dough will stick to the parchment paper, making it easier for you to roll out. You'll bake the pizza right on the parchment paper. As it cooks, the dough will release from the parchment, and you can slide the paper out before serving.

Topping and Baking the Dough:

Spoon a few tablespoons of sauce into the center of each pizza and use the back of a spoon to spread it out to the edges. Pile on all of your toppings except the cheese.

Using a bread peel or the backside of a baking sheet, slide your pizza (still on the parchment) onto the baking stone in the oven. If you don't have a baking stone, just bake it right on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 5 minutes and then rotate the pizza 180-degrees (most ovens have 'hot spots' your pizza will bake unevenly if it's not rotated). Bake for another 3 minutes and then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake for another 2-3 minutes until the edges are golden brown and crispy.

Remove your pizza from oven and let it cool on a wire rack. At this point, you can slide the parchment paper out from under the pizza. Repeat with second pizza.

Let both pizzas cool for about five minutes and serve.

Original recipe


asian_pizza_sm.jpgAn Asian pizza sounds like a strange idea, but this combination of tangy peanut sauced chicken, Swiss & mozzarella cheeses and a crispy crust was outstanding. Plus, if you have one person make the crust and another make the chicken, it comes together remarkably quickly for a weeknight meal.

3/4  cup  rice vinegar
1/4  cup  firmly packed brown sugar
1/4  cup  low-sodium soy sauce
3  tablespoons  water
1  tablespoon  minced peeled fresh ginger (optional)
2  tablespoons  chunky peanut butter
1/2  to 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4  garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
1/2  pound  skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat, reduced-sodium Swiss cheese (such as Alpine Lace)
1/4  cup  (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4  cup  chopped green onions
Pizza crust

Preheat oven to 500°.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add chicken, and sauté 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.

Pour rice vinegar mixture into pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook mixture 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. (Mixture will be consistency of thick syrup.)

Sprinkle cheeses over prepared crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border, and top with chicken mixture. Bake at 500° for 12 minutes on bottom rack in oven (or according to pizza crust directions). Sprinkle with green onions. Place pizza on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes.

6 servings (really only feeds 2-3 people)
Calories: 293 (22% from fat)
Fat: 7.3g (sat 2.9g,mono 2.6g,poly 1.2g)
Original recipe

soda_bread_sm.jpgThis hearty, rustic quick bread is my go-to when I want bread and only have an hour. It is only slightly sweet and so goes very well with all sorts of dishes. Best served warm & crunchy with butter and homemade jam.

1  cup  all-purpose flour
2  tablespoons  sugar
1  teaspoon  baking powder
1  teaspoon  baking soda
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1 1/2  tablespoons  cold butter or margarine
2  cups  whole-wheat flour
1/4  cup  regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2  cups  plain nonfat yogurt or buttermilk
Milk
In a bowl, mix all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture forms fine crumbs. Stir in whole-wheat flour and oats.
Add yogurt; stir gently. If mixture is too dry to hold together, stir in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, just until dough holds together; it should not be sticky.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead gently 5 times to make a ball. Set on a lightly greased baking sheet. Pat into a 7-inch circle. With a floured knife, cut a large X on top of loaf.
Bake in a 375° oven until well browned, about 40 minutes - do not underbake! Cool on a rack. Serve warm or cool.

socca_sm.jpgSocca is kind of chickpea flour pancake/flatbread that is a specialty of Nice in France. Or so the blog I got it from says. All I really know is it's crispy, salty, and has a smoky hummus-like flavor that is very addicting. It would make a perfect appetizer before a Mediterranean meal or part of a tapas platter. The recipe is simple but requires 2 hours rest time between mixing up the batter and actually cooking the socca, so keep that in mind when planning.

1 cup (130g) chickpea flour

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (280ml) water
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

freshly-ground black pepper, plus additional sea salt and olive oil for serving

Mix together the flour, water, salt, cumin, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let batter rest at least 2 hours, covered, at room temperature.

To cook, heat the broiler in your oven. Oil a 9- or 10-inch (23cm) pan with the remaining olive oil and heat the pan in the oven.

(I use a cast-iron skillet, but Tricia uses a non-stick tart pan.)

Once the pan and the oven are blazing-hot, pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom, swirl it around, then pop it back in the oven.

Bake until the socca is firm and beginning to blister and burn (about 5 minutes). The exact time will depend on your broiler.

Slide the socca out of the pan onto a cutting board, slice into pieces, then shower it with coarse salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cook the remaining socca batter the same way, adding a touch more oil to the pan between each one.

Makes about 3 10 inch pancakes

Original recipe


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