Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cheddar Cheesemaking

Today is cheddar cheese day.  I am making a 2 lb. block of cheddar to keep in the cheese cave for a few months.  Using a recipe from Gavin Webber's Little Green Cheese website to create this lovely.  I will post pictures after it comes out of the mold, tomorrow.  For today, know that the cheese is currently basking in a 90F water bath until the rennet has set and it is time to cut the curds into 1/2 inch cubes.

Above are the curds after slicing into 1/2 inch dice.

Below- the mass of curds ready for cheddaring -

The whole process of cheesemaking is very much like bread or beer making, time, temperature and cultures combine to transform a food into another more usable and storable form.  Patience is the word in all these endeavors and I enjoy exercising to increase my store of this much needed virtue. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Cottage Cheese Onion Dill Bread

We had quite a bit of cheese curd leftover from making a gouda cheese this past week, so I used some of it to make cottage cheese onion dill bread from the Tassajara Recipe Book.  We had also received a big bunch of dill in our Eatwell Farm CSA box that I had dried and I bought a bunch of onions at the farmers market this past week.  I had all the fixings at my disposal along with more King Arthur Bread Flour (I've gone thru buckets of this flour in the past weeks due to Christmas baking).  The bread is in the oven right now for a 55-60 minute bake.  I'll post a picture when the loaves are done.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Soup of the Week - Split Pea with Ham Hocks

Oh it's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring --
It is definitely soup weather.  We received some leeks, and turnips from Eatwell Farm this week, so I decided to use up some of the bounty in a split pea soup. 

Split Pea Soup

2 cups green split peas, washed and drained
2 ham hocks
10 cups chicken broth
2 daikon radishes, diced
6 carrots, diced
2 onions, diced
6 white potatoes, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
3 leeks, cut into thin rounds
1 TBSP celery seed
1 TBSP dried parsley
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. salt
fresh ground black pepper
3-4 TBSP olive oil

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil then add the onions and leeks.  Allow these to cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  Add the radishes, carrots, celery, celery seed, parsley, Italian seasoning, thyme, salt and black pepper.  Mix thoroughly and 'sweat' the vegetables on low heat with the pot covered for 5-10 minutes, stir once or twice during that time.  Add the chicken broth and enough water to cover the veggies by an inch or so, bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes, split peas and ham hocks.  Reduce heat to a light boil once everything has again come to a full boil.  Cook until peas are tender and ham begins to fall off the ham hocks.  Remove the hocks, cool them.  While they cool, puree the vegetables in the pot with an immersion stick blender or in batches in a regular blender.  Reheat the soup, pick any meat off the ham hocks and return to the pot as well.  Serve with fresh french bread and a salad for a great lunch.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baking and Cooking Today!

Today I made  three batches of chocolate biscotti, one with Splenda for a diabetic friend, the rest followed the recipe from David Lebovitz found here :

For the Splenda version, I did not use the chocolate chips and had to add at least 1/4 cup milk to get the biscotti dough to come together.  I also baked them for only 20 minutes instead of 25 like the others. 

The biscotti are very decadent and chocolatey.  I would, however, like to try them without the chocolate chips - the chips seem to make the biscotti very fragile. 

After baking all that biscotti, it was time for dinner, shepherd's pie -

Shepherd's Pie (Coward's Edition - no organ meats)

2 TBSP olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 TBSP. flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. dried parsley
2 cups chicken or beef broth
2 large carrots diced
1 cup frozen green peas, defrosted
3 cups mashed potatoes

Microwave the carrots in 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes.  Mix with the green peas and set aside. 
Heat 2 TBSP oil in a saute pan.  Add the ground beef and cook until all red is gone from the meat.  Add the onions, garlic and seasonings. Cook until onions are transparent.  Add the flour and stir, cook for 2-3 minutes stirring to avoid burning the flour.  Add the broth and stir well, working any flour off the bottom of the saute pan.  Cook until the broth has thickened.  Place in an 8 or 9 inch baking dish.  Top with carrots and peas.  Top the carrots and peas with the mashed potatoes.  Bake in 350F oven for 30-40 minutes until bubbly.  Serve.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sourdough Rye Take 2

Today, I baked 2 loaves of New York Deli Onion Sourdough Rye from The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  They look ALOT better than the previous attempt.  It's amazing what can happen when you watch the bread and make sure it doesn't overproof.  I'm still getting used to my make-shift microwave proof box.  The temp in there is about 80F so proofing loaves goes really fast.  I also reduced the amount of yeast in the bread to 1 1/2 tsp. instead of 2 tsp. which had seemed pretty high considering there is also a good amount of rye sourdough starter in the bread as well.  Here are my pretties -

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Stollen

Ok, so my ethnic tradition would demand that I make panettone for Christmas, but I'm not ready to make that leap just yet, so I made a Christmas stollen today.  It should have been made at least a month ago to age properly, but what the heck, I decided to go for it anyway.  The recipe is from Peter Reinhart's book The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  I made up some almond paste by grinding some almonds and adding confectioner's sugar and light Karo syrup to make a paste.  Here's the result -

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Keep Your Mind on Your Baking!

Some days I don't know where my mind goes.  I was baking 2 loaves of New York Onion Rye Bread from Peter Reinhart's book Bread Baker's Apprentice.  Everything was going smoothly.  The loaves were proofing in my make-shift proofer (microwave with cup of boiled water in it) but then disaster struck. 

I didn't pay attention to the bread as it was rising.  The recipe said 90 minutes to proof so I went with 90 minutes, oh so wrong!  Bread was proofed and I hadn't even started the oven!  In my tizzy, I set the oven 30F too cool and didn't realize it until 10 minutes or so into the bake. Bleh!  So I watched my two loaves of bread meet in the middle of the baking pan as they rose (sideways) on the baking sheet. Argh!!  No oven spring for me with that cool oven.  Here are the loaves as they look, cooling on the rack.  NEXT TIME - I'll check the bread about half way into the proof time. NEXT TIME I'll read the ENTIRE recipe through several times to get it straight in my head and not ASSUME anything!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Tale of Two Loaves

Today, I baked two loaves of San Francisco sourdough bread from a recipe on .  I've made this recipe before with some success.  Today's bake, however, was very interesting.  First the loaves feel heavy - not light and airy.  Hmmm, underproofed, overproofed?  Then while baking the first loaf, the crust never browned.  It looks pale and anemic.  So, for the next loaf I kept the oven at 500F for at least 20 minutes into the bake, browner loaf, still kinda heavy but better color. 

See for yourself --

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Poor Little Baguette!

Well, I decided to jump off the cliff and try to make sourdough baguettes - not a great attempt as you can see -

The scoring looks like Jack the Ripper came thru and attacked them.  The crumb is dense and salty.  Next time I'll try yeasted baguettes to eliminate the starter as the culprit.  Onward!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gingerbread Army

I've been baking up a storm here, making biscotti, mint surprise cookies and now gingerbread men.  My Mom used to make these every year when we were kids and she even sent some when we were all grown up.  One year she put them on the Christmas tree and we ate all the red hots off of them, leaving them on the tree without eyes or buttons.  Mom was not pleased!  So, here is my army taking shape --

Here is a link to the recipe --

Monday, December 3, 2012

Eatwell CSA - This Week's Bounty

This week we will be getting another great box of fruit and veggies from Eatwell Farm.  They include:

Collard Greens
Purple Spring Onions
Savoy Cabbage
Lemon Verbena

Escarole, collard greens and savoy cabbage along with spring onions and some turnips - sounds like Grammie Soup(Minestrone) to me.  The base for the soup will be some turkey broth I froze when we make soup with the leftover bird.  Spinach and orange salad with pomegranate dressing sounds good, still have some pomegranate dressing I made up a couple of weeks ago.  Cauliflower calls out for aloo gobi (Indian cauliflower and potato saute).  Broccoli coupled with some bok choy from the farmers market will make a great stir fry with some shrimp and ginger.  Lemon verbena, hmmmm, maybe I'll just dry this and use it for tea or put some in the biscotti da the? 

Michael also brought home some lemons, so I may try to make some limoncello!

Enjoy the days leading up to Christmas, a perfect time to bake some good things and share with family and friends!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Time is Coming Right Up - Cookie baking time!

Christmas cookie baking 2012 is now officially on - starting with a favorite of mine - Anise biscotti.  These are great by themselves or jazzed up with a quick dip in dark chocolate after they've been completely baked(twice). 

I really enjoy these cookies with a cup of tea in the evening, or even dipped in a bit of wine.

The recipe is from Franco Galli's book The Il Fornaio Baking Book.


2 1/3 cups All Purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 TBSP. anise seeds
1 1/2 c. sliced raw almonds
1 stick (1/4 lb.) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. anise extract
Additional flour for workarea
Additional butter for baking sheet (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F.
In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, almonds, salt and anise seeds. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Using a hand-held or stand mixer, beat until the mixture is light, fluffy and pale yellow in color (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and anise extracts. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture one third at a time, beating after each addition until thoroughly incorporated (don't get carried away here of the cookies could turn out tough).

Turn the dough out onto lightly floured work surface using a bowl scraper. Flour or oil your hands with vegetable oil. Divide the dough into four equal (or three if you like bigger biscotti)pieces. Roll each portion into a log 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Line a 12 inch by at least 18 inch baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with butter. Place the dough logs on the baking sheet and with the palm of your hand flatten to about 1/2 inch high. Bake the logs in the preheated oven for about 18 minutes, until light, golden brown (do not overbrown the bottoms). Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so until they are cool enough to be handled. Leave the oven at 375F.

Transfer the cooled logs to a cuting surface, with a sharp knife, cut them on a slight diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange the cut pieces cut side up, on a baking sheet. Return the cookies to the oven for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheets before serving. Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to two weeks. (If they last that long, LOL)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The gods have given us an elephant....

Or at least it seems that way, time to use those turkey leftovers.  Turkey pot pie is in the offing, but right now it's turkey soup day.  I'm taking the pickings from the turkey carcass and using them in the soup along with some of my favorite soup vegetables --

Turkey Soup

3 leeks, white and tender green tops, cut into rounds, washed well to remove all grit
4 large carrots, diced
1 large fennel bulb, diced(you can use the green tops too if you like)
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP dried parsley
1 TBSP dried Italian Seasonings
2 tsp. celery seed (NOT salt)
2 tsp. salt
fresh ground black pepper
8 cups turkey broth or chicken broth
8 cups water
turkey meat picked off the bones and any other leftover turkey you wish to add
1/2 lb. egg noodles

Prepare the leeks, carrots, fennel and parsley. 
In a heavy bottomed soup pot (at least 1 1/2 gallons) heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the leeks and stir.  Add the dried herbs, salt and celery salt, stir.  Add the carrots and fennel and cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring twice during that time, to 'sweat' the vegetables.  Add the turkey broth, water and turkey meat, bring to a simmer. 

Meanwhile start pasta water boiling to cook the egg noodles. Add noodles to boiling water and remove noodles when cooked and add to pot once the vegetables in the soup pot are tender.  Remove from heat and enjoy in bowls with a slice of crusty french or sourdough bread.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cappellacci de Zucca -Bring on the Butternut Squash

This time of year when butternut squash is so available, my favorite way to enjoy them is as stuffing for cappellacci.  These little pillows of pasta filled with sweet butternut squash puree are delicious in some sage butter with a sprinkling of romano cheese.  The recipes I've seen call for amaretti cookies but I don't keep any in the house (they wouldn't last long anyway before I ate them all).  In place of these little cookies I put some ground almonds and a bit of honey. 

Cappellacci de Zucca

For the filling:
1 butternut squash, peeled, diced (1 - 1/2 inch)
2 TBSP olive oil

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh is best)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 TBSP honey
4 TBSP finely ground almonds (more if you like)

In a bowl, toss the butternut squash pieces with the olive oil.  Place in a single layer in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake the squash for 45 minutes in a 350F oven.  When done, remove the squash and place in a seive over a bowl to drain.  When cooled, mash/puree the squash.

Add remaining ingredients and set the filling aside or refridgerate if you are not making the pasta that day.

Note: wonton dough squares can be used instead of making the pasta, if you prefer.

For the pasta:
2 cups semolina flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 whole eggs
1 tsp. olive oil
warm water (3-4 TBSP)

Combine the flours, place the mixture on a bread board and mound the flour making a well in the center (like a volcano crater).  Beat the eggs, olive oil and 2 TBSP water in a bowl and pour gently into the volano crater.  Carefully mix the ingredients with a fork, taking flour from the sides of the crater and mixing into the eggs.  Mix the flour completely into the eggs to form a shaggy mass of dough.  Knead the dough as best you can until it is somewhat soft and pliable (this is a very stiff dough) Add more water as you need it to make the kneading easier.  When done cover the dough with an upside down bowl and allow it to rest for 1 hour. 

To assemble the cappellacci:
Using a pasta machine or rolling pin, roll out one sheet of dough(cover remaining dough with the bowl to prevent it from drying out) and cut into 4" squares. Place scraps of dough under the bowl that contains the remainder of the dough, incorporate the scraps into the remaining dough as you use it to roll more pasta sheets. 

Place about 1 rounded teaspoon of filling in one corner of the 4" square. On either side of the teaspoon of filling, run a wet finger dipped in water along 2 dough edges.  Fold the 4" square along the diagonal to make a triangle that covers the filling completely.  Seal the edges with your finger and then a fork.  Take the two corners of the triangle and attach them together to form a little cap (much like a tortellini). 

Place the completed cappellacci on a well floured tea towel that lines a cookie sheet. Continue with remaining dough, until the cookie sheet is full.  Put the cookie sheet of cappellacci in the freezer for 1 hour or more to freeze complete.  Once frozen, remove from cookie sheet and place in a sealed plastic baggie for later use.

To cook the cappellacci:
A simple sauce of melted butter and leaves of sage
grated romano cheese
6-8 cappellacci per person

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  When boiling, add frozen cappellacci (about 6-8 per person) to the water.  Boil for a few minutes until the cappellacci come to the water surface and they appear cooked (try one to be sure).  Place them on a heated plate.  Top with a sauce of melted butter and sage, sprinkle with romano cheese and enjoy.

If you run out of filling before you run out of pasta dough, make noodles with the rest, dry them and use them in soups or if you have enough, keep the noodle long, cook and serve with your favorite tomato sauce.  If you run out of pasta dough and have filling left, make a custard by adding a egg and some milk and baking in a bain marie in the oven or just eat the filling as is -it's pretty tasty.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

San Francisco Sourdough - Large holes! Success!

This morning before the turkey went into the oven, I baked a San Francisco Sourdough bread from a recipe by Dave Snyder on .  It worked!  It has big holes in it and is very tasty, not too sour.  Michael says it's not as sour as the Boudin bakery, but then again my starter is not 150 years old either.

Here is a picture of the bread's crumb - nice and holey!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Pies

In addition to working on my San Francisco Sourdough bread recipe today, I baked two pies - Sweet Potato Pie from a recipe on and a pecan pie from Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen cookbook.  The sweet potato pie is deep dish and what would fit in two 9 inch pans is in one 10 inch deep dish pie plate (yum!). 

The pecan pie is in the oven now but it is before baking -

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy the holiday, celebrate with friends and family and most of all have gratitude and give thanks for what we have all year long.

Cranberry Orange Sauce for Turkey Day

For the past several years I've been making cranberry sauce.  It is so easy and so much tastier than what you buy in the can.  In the past years I have added minced clementine rinds to the sauce.  This year I thought I would go for even bigger orange flavor in the sauce and a few more spices besides the  cinnamon I had been adding.  Here's this year's recipe--

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 Navel Orange
12-16 oz. cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
dash ground nutmeg or fresh ground nutmeg
pinch of salt

Into a sauce pot, zest 1 navel orange.  Juice the orange and reserve the juice in a measuring cup.  Add enough water in the measuring cup to make 1 cup of liquid.  Add the liquid to the pot along with remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Stir constantly to avoid burning.  Cook until the berries are all bursting and the mixture is a jam-like consistency.  Pour into a serving bowl to cool.  Once cooled, refridgerate until Turkey Day.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stuffed Delicata Squash

We received two delicata squashes from Eatwell Farm this past week, so it was time to make some stuffed squash for dinner.  Here's my recipe:

2 delicata squashes, cut in half lengthwise and deseeded
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 lb. ground beef or bulk pork sausage
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 TBSP dried parsley
6 leaves fresh sage, chopped small
1/4 tsp. salt
black pepper
3 TBSP. grated romano cheese

1 slice bread, torn or diced into crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 lb. shredded monterey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350F
In a saute pan, heat the olive oil.  Brown the meat.  Add onions and celery and cook for 15 minutes or so until vegetables are softened.  Add parsley, sage, salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Remove from heat.  Place bread crumbs in a mixing bowl and add the cooked meat/onion/celery mixture.  Add the romano cheese and stir well.  Allow the mixture to cool until it is easily handled.  Add the egg and mix well. Place the squashes in a baking dish or cookie sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil.  Stuff each squash half with the meat mixture, top with shredded cheese.  Bake for 1 hour in 350F oven.  Enjoy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Getting Ready for the Turkey! Stuffing Bread

Each year I make one loaf of stuffing bread for the bird and another one for leftover turkey sandwiches.  The bread makes turkey stuffing easier to put together as all the necessary herbs and spices are already in the bread - all you need to do is cut the bread into croutons, dry them and then add some sauteed onions and bulk Italian sausage(cooked) to them along with perhaps a little cheese and a couple of eggs, adjust the seasonings to your taste - et voila turkey stuffing or dressing if you are cooking it outside the bird.  To cook the dressing in the oven without the bird, grease a oven-proof casserole dish, put in the stuffing mix and add a bit of chicken broth(no more than a cup) to keep it moist as it cooks in the oven. Allow to cook in a 350F oven for 30 minutes to an hour or so. 

Here's the recipe

Stuffing Bread - makes one small loaf (4 x 8 inch pan)

Wet Ingredients-
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. molasses
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Dry Ingredients-
2 cups  flour
1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 cup corn meal
2 TBSP dry parsley
1 TBSP dried onion flakes (I use 1/4 cup minced regular ol' onion)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried sage (I use 1 TBSP fresh sage)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 clove fresh garlic, pressed or minced fine
1/2 to 1 1/2 tsp. salt to your taste

Combine wet ingredients and set aside.  Combine dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix to form dough.  Knead briefly (5 minutes or so) to combine the ingredients and work up some gluten in the flour.  Add flour, only if you need it to keep the dough from sticking to your bread board.  Grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan.  Shape the dough into a loaf and place in the pan. 

Allow the dough to rise just so it reaches the top on the pan, about an hour. (I heat a cup of water in the microwave for 2 minutes, once the microwave oven is off, place the bread and the loaf pan in a plastic bag, twist tie shut and place the whole thing in the steamy microwave to proof.) 

When the bread if proofed, heat oven to 350F. Bake in a 350F oven for 50-60 minutes.  Remove from pan to a wire rack and allow to cool.  If using the bread for stuffing allow the bread to age for a day, then cut into croutons - dry them at the lowest setting of your oven until crisped.  Cool and make your stuffing.  If making sandwiches, slice the bread, top with your favorite turkey sandwich fillings and enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Romanesco, Cauliflower and/or Broccoli Gratin

A week ago, I tried a gratin recipe from an online source and was unimpressed by it.  What was missing was the lovely bechamel sauce that binds it all and makes the flavors work together.  So here is my version, perhaps not as calorie light, but I believe, more flavorful.

4 cups of romanesco, cauliflower, broccoli (or a mix thereof)

2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 onion cut thinly into half moons
2 TBSP olive oil

1 1/2 cups milk or cream (your choice)
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
dash of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste.

1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
2-4 TBSP romano or parmesan cheese

Oil or grease a 9x9 ovenproof casserole dish.  Preheat oven to 350F.

Parboil or partially steam the vegetable(romanesco, cauliflower and/or broccoli).  You can cook it in a cup of water in a covered baking dish in the microwave for 5 minutes on high until you can pierce it with a fork, but do not overcook.

While the vegetable is steaming, heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a saute pan large enough to hold all the vegetables.  Add the onion to the pan and stir for 2 minutes, add the garlic to the pan and cook until the garlic begins to turn brown and the onions are tender, do not blacken the garlic, you just want a carmel color on its edges.  Add the steamed veggies to the pan and toss with the garlic, onions and oil.  Place the vegetable mixture in a greased 9x9 casserole. 

Make a bechamel sauce in a 1 quart sauce pan, by melting the butter over medium low to low heat.  Once the butter is melted, add the flour and stir for 3 minutes over the heat.  Gradually add the 1 1/2 cups milk to the pan, stirring constantly to avoid lumps in the sauce.  Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Bring to just under a boil, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened. 

Pour the bechamel over the vegetables in the casserole. Top with bread crumbs and cheese.  You can dot the top of the casserole with bits of butter if you desire.  Cook for 30 minutes in the oven until the cheese is melted and the top is browned. Enjoy!

Apple Cake

This is one of my favorite desserts and I post it here for those who requested the recipe:

4 tart apples (pippin variety works well), peeled cored and cut into 1 inch cubes

1 1/2 TBSP  granulated sugar
2 tsp.            cinnamon

3 cups          all purpose flour
1 TBSP        baking powder
1/2 tsp.         salt

4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup            vegetable oil
2 cups          granulated sugar
1/2 cup        orange juice
1 tsp.           vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F (if using a glass pan reduce heat to 325F).  Grease and flour or line with parchment paper the bottom of a 9x13 pan or a 9 inch tube pan.

Mix the apples with the 1 1/2 TBSP sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together well in a separate bowl and set aside.

Beat the eggs in a stand mixer on medium high speed (KitchenAide setting 6 or comparable speed) for 4-6 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add the vegetable oil and sugar and mix an additional 4-6 minutes.

Add the flour mixture 1 cup at a time, alternating with 1/2 of the orange juice, beating just to combine after each addition, ending with the orange juice and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. 

Pour 1/3 of the batter in the prepared cake pan and top with 1/3 apples.  Add a second third of batter and the second third of apples.  Add the last third of batter and top with the last of the apples.

Bake for 60-70 minutes or unetil the top is a rich borwn adn the cake feels firm to the touch. 

Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.  If using a tube pan, once cooled, remove the cake from the pan and put on a plate, top side down.  Serve plain or dusted with confectioner's sugar. Slice and enjoy!

What's in the Eatwell Box for Thanksgiving?

The upcoming box for Thanksgiving has the following:

Sweet Potatoes
Butternut Squash
Cauliflower or Romanesco

What to do with all this bounty?  I'm thinking of recreating a salad I had at the Hog Island Oyster Company restaurant at the Ferry building in San Francisco.  It was an arugula salad with fine shreds of fennel and pickled watermelon diakon in it along with diced golden beets.  It would be really tasty especially with some pomegranate juice dressing I made a couple of weeks ago.  The sweet potatoes and butternut squash are destined for sweet potato pecan pie and a combo of sweet potato and butternut squash pie replacing the well-known pumpkin Thanksgiving pie.  Cauliflower and broccoli will make a flavorful gratin to accompany 'the bird'.  Later in the week, once turkey leftovers have been converted to turkey pot pie and turkey soup, a nice green lettuce salad will be appreciated.  Spinach may make it into a loaf of spinach and olive bread to accompany the soup or salad.  Leeks will be welcome in the turkey soup along with celery and carrots I already have in the fridge.  Rosemary will go into stuffing bread inside 'the bird' with any extra stuffing becoming a dressing cooked outside the lovely turkey.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday - designed specifically for enjoying good food and our families while being grateful for all we have.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Homemade Pickled Ginger

We just made up a bunch of sweet pickled ginger(amazuke).

It's an easy recipe -
8 oz. of ginger, peeled and sliced thin, 1 cup rice vinegar, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt.  

 Toss the peeled sliced ginger with the salt, meanwhile heat the pickle jar in some water to avoid cracking it when you pour in the hot vinegar/sugar mixture. In a small pot, place the rice vinegar and sugar, stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil. Remove the warmed jar from its water bath, add about 1/2 inch of boiled vinegar to the jar and pack in the sliced ginger. Cover with remaining hot vinegar mixture. Allow to cool before covering and refrigerating - ready in about 1 week.