Blueberry Oat Scones


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Yesterday we went blueberry picking at Drew's Uncle Don and Aunt Marie's house.  They've lived in the same house for I don't know how many years, and in that time, they've cultivated some beautiful flowers, and always novel to me, a great garden with a blueberry patch.  Drew and I picked for probably two hours, and we ended up with maybe two gallons of blueberries.  Amazing! 

I have lots of plans for this American superfruit, but one of the recipes I plan to make are these scones, which I saw in a Bon Appetit magazine a few years back.  I made them last year, also with berries from this same patch, and they're so delicious.  They may be my favorite scones yet.  They're crumbly but not too crumbly; slightly sweet but like any good scone, they allow the berries to shine.  The oats lend a nice wholesomeness to the scones, and everything converges to make this a delicious breakfast item or anytime snack.  Talking about it is enough to make me want to leave this computer and go make a batch right now!

Blueberry Oat Scones
from Molly Wizenberg via Bon Appetit, July 2009

3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1 3/4 cups chilled half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 teaspoons raw sugar*

*raw sugar is also known as turbinado or demerera sugar and can be found near the top shelf of most grocery stores. 
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and coarse salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter. Using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Add 1 cup oats and blueberries; stir to blend evenly.

Stir half and half and vanilla in small bowl. Gradually add to flour mixture, tossing until dough just comes together (dough will be very moist).

Using 1/2-cup measuring cup for each scone, drop dough in mounds onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Sprinkle tops with remaining 3 tablespoons oats, then raw sugar.

Bake 15 minutes. Reverse sheets and continue baking until scones are golden and tester inserted into center from side comes out clean, about 12 minutes longer. Transfer scones to rack and cool slightly.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Classic Roasted Salsa


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Time for yet another Everyday Food recipe!  This one comes from the June 2011 issue, and I knew that as soon as I could get my hands on some garden tomatoes that I had to make this roasted salsa.  I just love summer and all the fresh produce!  The pictures that accompanied the recipe in the magazine just looked too good to pass up.  We tried it a little over a week ago and were not disappointed.  It's some of the best salsa I've ever made.  I like its flavor after it's been sitting around a few days better than I like PW's Restaurant Style Salsa after a few days in the fridge.  It's a good blend of tomato, onion, and garlic.  The jalapeños are there, but subtle.  If you like things spicy, I'd add some more than the recipe calls for. The flavors blend best after at least a few hours in the fridge. 

I suppose that it being summer and all, that you could roast everything except the garlic on a grill grate, but I chose to use my broiler, as the recipe directed me to do.  My one change was to not add cilantro, since I'm not a huge cilantro fan.  Other than the cilantro, I made the recipe as is.  I just didn't measure the lime juice- I estimated.  If you can get to a farmer's market (or if you have tomato plants that are already producing), make this salsa ASAP!  It's such a great snack item or accompaniment to your lunch!

Classic Roasted Salsa
from Everyday Food

2 large tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs total)
1 medium white onion, halved
3 jalapeños
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 Tb fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
Coarse Salt
Ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

Heat your broiler and place an oven rack in the top position.  Place all the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.  Broil until the vegetables are blistered and slightly softened, rotating the sheet and flipping the vegetables frequently, 6-8 minutes.  The garlic may need to be removed earlier if it is browing too quickly.  

Discard the garlic skins.  In a food processor, pulse the vegetables and garlic until coarsely puréed.  Add lime juice and season with coarse salt and pepper to taste.  Pulse to combine.

Transfer salsa to a bowl and stir in 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro.  Refrigerate up to three days or freeze up to three months.  Makes approx. 3 cups-1 quart salsa. 

Whipped Frosting


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As promised, here is the delicious whipped frosting that was spread on the ice cream cake posted yesterday.  It's a very soft icing so not great for piping, but it is delicious and is much like frosting a cake with whipped cream.  To borrow from Joe Bastianich's statement off Master Chef last night, it's "ghetto delicious."  That's my new favorite phrase to describe something that's great but not culinarily snotty.

Anyway, back to the frosting- this is one of the few I make that doesn't require a stand mixer, so it's nice.  It's main ingredient is cool whip, so again, it's fluffy, spreadable, and soft.  It also contains pudding mix, so your flavor can be whatever you want it to be, provided that an instant pudding is made in that flavor.  I always use chocolate.  Here it is, from my mom's kitchen:

Whipped Cake Frosting
1 small box instant pudding
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup milk
1-8 oz tub cool whip

Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl.  Beat them one minute and then fold in the cool whip.  Spread on a cake of your choice and store cake in fridge. 

Ice Cream Cake


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Who doesn't love a good ice cream cake?  Aside from the lactose intolerant, most people go crazy over them, and I once saw a Semi Homemade episode where Sandra Lee made her own ice cream cake.  Since that time, Drew and I have made several.

The beauty of your own, homemade or semi-homemade ice cream cake is that you are able to make the possibilities of flavor almost endless.  For this particular cake, we had a chocolate cake paired with mint chocolate chip ice cream and whipped chocolate frosting.  I will post the chocolate frosting for you maybe tomorrow or Wednesday, but for now, I'm focusing on the cake itself.  This is another of those posts that I really don't want to call a recipe because of its simplicity; call it what you want, but the results are always quickly eaten!  I wanted to share this one with you because it's great for the summer and so much fun.

Ice Cream Cake
Inspired by Sandra Lee

2-3 cake layers, baked  and cooled (homemade or box mix)
1- carton ice cream (45-64 oz)
Frosting of your choice (4 cups or two cans)

Let the ice cream sit on the counter about 10 or so minutes until it is scoopable and softened, but not melted.  Unmold the cakes from the pans.  Wash 1-2 of the pans and line with wax or parchment paper.  Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop the ice cream out of the carton and into one or two cake pans, distributing the ice cream evenly among the pans.  It's ok if you don't use all the ice cream.  Place back in freezer about 30 minutes or until refrozen. 

Once the ice cream is frozen in the cake pan(s), assemble your cake.  Place one layer of cake onto a plate or cake base.  Top with one layer of the ice cream (of course, removing the wax paper).  Top the ice cream layer with another cake layer.  Repeat if you have another layer of ice cream and cake, beginning and ending your cake with a cake layer.  Frost and enjoy!  Store leftovers in the freezer. 

  • You can make this cake to contain as few as three layers (2 of cake and 1 of ice cream) or as ridiculously many as your heart desires.  I liked the thought of 3 cake layers and 2 ice cream layers.  The main thing is that you want cake layers on the top and bottom. 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


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Over the last several months, Drew and I have fostered an addiction to Trader Joe's Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.  We could devour a container in one day if we showed no restraint.  It's great as a dip, a sandwich spread, and even a very thick salad dressing.  The only problem with the Trader Joe's hummus is that the closest TJ's is about an hour from us, so it's a rare treat.  We knew we needed a substitute to fill the void.

While this recipe doesn't completley hit it for us, it's a great roasted red pepper hummus recipe that is fairly simple and gets better with about a day in the fridge.  It's definitely a great substitute, and it comes from user MARBALET from allrecipes.com. 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
from allrecipes.com

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (4 ounce) jar roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

In an electric blender or food processor, puree the chickpeas, red peppers, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Process, using long pulses, until the mixture is fairly smooth, and slightly fluffy. Make sure to scrape the mixture off the sides of the food processor or blender in between pulses. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The hummus can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before serving.)

Sprinkle the hummus with the chopped parsley before serving.

    Chocolate Syrup Frosting


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    You know the chocolate canned frostings from the store?  Well I have a confession to make that might destroy my reputation as a food snob.  I actually like those better than homemade chocolate buttercreams.  I know.  It's weird.  I think what I like about them is their creamy smoothness.  I have finally found a homemade recipe that dethrones those canned frostings, and it comes from Anne Bryn's Cupcakes! From the Cake Mix Doctor book.  This recipe is smooth, chocolatey, and dangerous to all those watching their figures. 

    It's easy to assemble but does require a stand mixer.  It uses less butter than most frostings, so that's kind of  nice, too.  I made the recipe as it is written and had terriffic results.  One note, however; this is a soft frosting, so it's great for cupcakes and maybe even cake, but I don't see the ability to get it ultra smooth or to pipe decorations with it. 

    Chocolate Syrup Frosting
    from Cupcakes!  From The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Bryn

    1 stick butter, softened
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup chocolate syrup
    3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (measure out 3 cups first and then sift)
    1 tablespoon milk (whole or 2% preferred)
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Place the butter, cocoa powder, and chocolate syrup in a large mixing bowl. Blend on low speed until just combined. Add the sifted sugar, milk and vanilla and blend on low until the sugar is combined. Increase the mixer to medium-high speed and blend 1 minute longer, until smooth and spreadable. Add a little more milk or sugar if needed.

    Kale Chips


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    Things on this blog just keep getting weirder and weirder, don't they?  If you like to eat green things, trust me on this.  If you like trying things just for the novelty of it all, try these. 

    I first got the idea from an article Molly Wizenberg wrote on kale in Bon Appetit a few years ago.  She only mentioned the kale chips quickly toward the end of the article, but there it was.  I think I then saw the recipe on Bon Appetit's website, and the tipping point that led me to make these chips came in the form of the May issue of Everyday Food magazine, where there was a recipe for chili spiced kale chips.  I made them last week, and I think that they were eaten within 24 hours' time. 

    This is another of those recipes that, once you get the hang of ingredient ratios, is more of a guideline than a recipe that should be strictly followed.  What results are crunchy, bright "chips" that are a great departure from the potato chip.  They possess a flavor that comes from the chip itself and not from some seasoning, and if you choose to use the Sriracha or other chili sauce, there's a little spicy kick, too. 

    I know that this particular recipe won't be the most popular, but trust me, you should make these if you're not a greens hater!  It's like trying pickled okra for the first time- a bit odd, but now you're hooked. 

    Chili-Sauce Kale Chips
    from May 2011 Everyday Food

    2 bunches curly kale, washed, stems removed, and leaves cut into two inch pieces
    2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
    5 Tsp chili sauce, such as Sriracha (more or less if you want)
    Coarse Salt

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Wash and dry kale and divide between two rimmed baking sheets (kale will shrink as it cooks). In a small bowl, stir together oil and Sriracha and drizzle over kale; season with salt. Using your hands, toss to coat. Bake until kale is crisp and just beginning to brown at edges, about 35 minutes, tossing kale every 10 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

    KAF's Favorite Sandwich Bread



    I can't believe I've never posted this recipe before!  I make this particular bread recipe almost weekly, and its softness is almost that of a storebought loaf with WAAAY better flavor, texture, and health.  It can be made in an afternoon, and every time I've made it (which is too many to count), it's come out great. 

    This recipe comes from the King Arthur Flour (KAF) website, a wonderful resource for bakers.  There are so many quality recipes, and thankfully, most of them do not require the use of KAF or its special products. 

    As with any bread recipe, take a deep breath, relax, and follow the instructions, and you should be rewarded with a very inviting, tantalizing smell along with a perfect loaf of bread.  As with all baking recipes, weighing the ingredients produces the most accurate results, but I think I measure on this loaf.  I also substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour for all purpose so that it's a little healthier.  It's still our favorite bread!

    Our Favorite Sandwich Bread
    from King Arthur Flour

    1 cup (8 ounces) milk

    2 tablespoons (1/4 stick, 1 ounce) butter or margarine
    2 teaspoons instant yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
    2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) sugar
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*

    *For added whole-grain goodness, substitute great-tasting King Arthur whole wheat flour (traditional or white whole wheat) for up to half of the all-purpose flour in this recipe.

    Mixing: Heat the milk to a simmer, and pour over the butter in a large mixing bowl. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm, then add yeast (if using active dry; if using instant yeast you can add it with the flour) and sugar. Once the yeast softens and begins to bubble, add the remaining ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine set to the dough or manual cycle). Add a bit of additional milk or flour if needed— the dough should be soft, but not sticky.

    Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

    Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8-inch log. Place the log in the lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, cover loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it’s domed about 1 inch above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

    Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s light golden brown.Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or by measuring its interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf). Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

    Yield: 1 loaf.

    • I use instant yeast that I buy in bulk, so I do not heat the milk and I don't proof the yeast.  I seriously just pour everything into the bowl of my stand mixer and mix with the paddle until the dough comes together.  I then switch to the dough hook and let it do the kneading for me.