Tag Archives: Smitten Kitchen

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

In what was perhaps (okay fine, most assuredly) a coincidence, I ran across a recipe in my blog reader for putting gruyere cheese in a biscuit, just when I happened to have the exact amount of gruyere cheese called for in said recipe sitting in my refrigerator, about to expire! I took it as a divine sign from the Cheesy Biscuit Gods (of course they exist! Why on earth would you doubt that?) that I was simply meant to bake up these biscuit beauties.

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

So this is sort of like taking the main elements of French Onion soup – the caramelized onions, the gruyere cheese – and mixing them up into biscuit dough. They bake up incredibly fluffy and beautiful, with the sweet bite of onion and sharp nuttiness of cheese in every bite.

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

They are milder in flavor than I was expecting, but certainly not in a bad way, and Matt’s coworkers have already demolished them, even though they were apparently competing with amazing New York bagels in the break room.

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

So I hope y’all will enjoy these! A perfect savory treat!

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

{One Year Ago: Crab Macaroni and Cheese}

Source: slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:
9 tbs cold unsalted butter, divided
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch plus 1 tbs granulated sugar, divided
1 tbs baking powder
3/4 tsp coarse or kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
4 oz. (about 1 cup) gruyère or another Swiss-style cheese, shredded
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and add olive oil. Add the onions, plus a pinch of sugar, and reduce the heat to low. Place a lid on top, letting them steam for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they’re nicely golden and caramelized, which will take anywhere from another 10 to 35 minutes. Don’t rush this – you want them caramelized but not browned or charred. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Dice 8 tbs remaining cold butter into 1/2-inch bits. Use your fingertips or a pastry blender to work the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is crumbly with butter in pieces no larger than a small pea.
Pour the buttermilk onto the flour mixture, then add the cooled onions and shredded cheese. Stir all to combine. Add a few drops more buttermilk if needed. Once the dough has mostly come together, use your clean hands to knead the last little scraggly bits into the entire mixture. Do not knead for more than 1 minute though, as you don’t want to overwork the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll out to a 1-inch thickness. Use a floured 3-inch cutter to stamp out circles and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the scrap and re-roll them as needed. Space the biscuits fairly close together – not touching, but fairly close. These are not cookies, so don’t worry about them running together. Biscuits (and scones for that matter) have a lot of leavening agent; if you space them widely, they spread out, but if you space them close, they spread up. And spread up biscuits are much fluffier and lighter.
Sprinkle biscuits with sea salt and black pepper and bake 20 to 23 minutes. Serve warm.

Plum Poppy Seed Muffins

plum poppy seed muffins 044

Ahh, stone fruit. Those delicious, juicy, sweet things with a maddeningly short growing season. So many stone fruits to choose from, and so little time to enjoy them. Last year I was all about the peaches, so this year I vowed to be more about plums and nectarines. Maybe next year is apricots? But then what about pluots? It gets complicated….

plums 002

Next year can be figured out later; today we shall have these tasty muffins with lots and lots of plum chunks. And poppy seeds too, just for good measure.

Plums 009

These muffins are not savory per se, but they are not high on the sweet factor. Over the years it seems that muffins have inched closer and closer to cupcakes, some so much so that the lines of distinction have grown exceedingly blurry, and oftentimes muffins seem like little more than an excuse to eat cake for breakfast.

Plum Poppy Seed Muffins 038

Not today, my friends. These muffins are taking a stand and declaring themselves to be MUFFINS, and muffins alone. They are emphatically stating that they will not tolerate being confused with their distant look-alike cousins. These are decidedly breakfast food, and they are well aware that we shouldn’t be consuming tons of sugar first thing in the morning.

Plum Poppy seed muffins 051

That said, they are quite delicious, with a soft and impossibly moist texture, studded with ripe plum chunks that pop, and just a hint of sweetness. Enjoy while plums are still in season!

Plum poppy seed muffins 042

{One Year Ago: Nutella Zucchini Muffins, Purple Jesus, Peach Sour Cream Pancakes}

Source: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Ingredients:
6 tbs unsalted butter
1 large egg
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup sour cream
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
2 tbs poppy seeds
2 cups pitted and diced plums, from about ¾ lb of whole plums

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin. Set aside.
First step is to brown the butter. Cut the butter into chunks and add to a stainless steel small pot or skillet. Place over medium heat and let it melt. Once it’s melted completely, the butter will start popping and bubbling and sputtering – this is the water evaporating out. You will see the butter turn a nice brown color and there will be little browned bits hanging out at the bottom of the pan. Once the sputtering and popping has died down to a minimum, shut off the heat. Let it cool slightly.
Add the egg and both sugars to a large mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Now add the butter, including those browned bits floating around, plus the sour cream. Whisk to combine. If your butter is still very warm, drizzle it in slowly while constantly whisking.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and poppy seeds. Add to the sour cream mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not overmix, and a few lumps are okay. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the plums.
Use an ice cream scoop (helps to grease it lightly first) to evenly distribute the muffin batter into the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Rest the muffins in the pan for about 2 minutes, no more than 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and let them cool completely. Store any leftovers in an airtight food storage container.

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Shaved asparagus pizza

Happy Sunday evening! I’m so excited because I am finally returning to my themed weeks!! I’ve missed blogging this way. So this week’s theme is….. drum roll please…… ASPARAGUS!! Asparagus and I have become great friends over the past several years (of course I hated it growing up), and to me it’s the perfect vegetable to usher in the spring season.

asparagus shavings (for pizza)

We’re starting the week with a delicious and beautiful pizza, which I couldn’t get enough of; Matt felt the same, and I’m sure we both deserve a medal for allowing the other their fair share of leftovers. I know either of us could have easily hoarded them all for ourselves.

shaved asparagus pizza

Shaved asparagus pizza

This pizza will go down as one of my favorites, one I will probably make every spring at least once. You should too. Enjoy!

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Shaved Asparagus pizza

{One year ago: Tomato Cornbread}

Source: adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Ingredients:
1 lb. fresh pizza dough
½ lb. thick asparagus
2 tsp olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 oz. goat cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Grease a round pizza pan and sprinkle with a touch of cornmeal if desired. Roll or stretch out your pizza to fit the pan. Par-bake it for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, leaving the oven on.
Meanwhile, prep the asparagus. Do not snap the tough ends off the asparagus. Working with one spear at a time, hold it by its tough end and lay it flat on a cutting board. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus into long strips. Keep going until you physically cannot make it work anymore, then snap off the tough end. Discard the tough ends and place the shavings in a bowl. Toss them with the olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the par-baked pizza crust from the oven. Crumble the goat cheese and place the crumbles evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the parmesan evenly over the crust, followed by laying the mozzarella slices on top. Pile the asparagus on top.
Bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are browned. The asparagus might be lightly charred. That’s a good thing.
Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle with the scallions. Let rest about 5 minutes, then slice and eat!

Gingerbread Dutch Baby

gingerbread dutch baby

Okay, I have a question for all the Dutch babies out there: where, I repeat, WHERE, have you been all my life??? These are the coolest, easiest, tastiest things EVER! You simply whip up a simple pancake-like batter – in the blender, no less! – and then you melt some butter in a cast-iron skillet. Once it’s melted, brush it up the sides, pour in the batter, and poof! You’re done with your part and the oven does the rest of the work.

Gingerbread Dutch Baby

Inside the oven, these babies puff, and wrinkle, and cave, and look so cool when you pull them out. The edges crisp but the inside stays moist. Texturally they are somewhere between a French crepe and an American pancake. Dutch babies are also known as German pancakes, and you’ve gotta wonder if this is just German efficiency at work here. Because they get whipped up in no time, way less time than it takes to make a batch of crepes or pancakes, and they taste just as good if not better than either! Oh, and perfect to serve to a brunch crowd.

Gingerbread Dutch baby

I wanted to make something gingerbread for the holiday season (it seems that December is the only acceptable month to make anything gingerbread-themed in Food Blog Land), and couldn’t decide between waffles, or cookies, or maybe a cake; and then I remembered this recipe for a gingerbread Dutch baby, and now here I am! This would make a perfect Christmas Day brunch if you’re so inclined. Enjoy!

Gingerbread Dutch baby, sliced

{One year ago: Pumpkin French Toast}

Source: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp unsulfured molasses
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
1/8 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup whole milk
2 tbs unsalted butter
Maple syrup, to serve

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Crack the eggs into a blender and puree until they are smooth and pale yellow in color. Shut off the blender, then add the brown sugar, molasses, flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and whole milk. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.
Melt the butter over high heat in a 9 or 10 inch cast-iron, or other oven-proof skillet. The original recipe calls for a 9 inch, the closest I had was a 10 inch cast iron, and it worked just fine. As the butter is melting, brush it up on the sides of the skillet thoroughly. Remove the pan from the heat, then pour the batter into the skillet. Immediately transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. (Mine, in the larger 10 inch skillet, took only 15 minutes to bake).
Slide the Dutch baby onto a plate, or leave in the skillet; slice into wedges and serve with the maple syrup. You can also dust powdered sugar on the top; that’s how it is pictured in the SK cookbook, and it looks just scrumptious that way, but as someone who got a little hurried to snap pics because the scrambled eggs were getting cold, I can assure you that it’s just fine without.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting

So if you’ll recall, yesterday I mentioned being extremely excited for the much-anticipated Baylor/OU game? Well. My friends, it did not disappoint. My Bears blew away the OU Sooners! It was utterly fantastic. My pizzas, on the other hand – not so much. Oh well…

making pumpkin cupcakes

pumpkin cupcakes before baking

And now we should talk pumpkin cupcakes. Because you should make these cupcakes, very soon. They are unbelievably moist, earthy, warm and comforting. Pairing them with chocolate frosting was the right thing to do. Even better, the frosting used cream cheese and sour cream, which of course made it deliciously tangy, a tanginess that served as a perfect counterbalance to the earthy pumpkin flavor. So great!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

My original plan was to make mini cupcakes. However, I only have one mini cupcake pan (for 24 minis), yet there is enough batter for 48 mini cupcakes, thus requiring me to make the two batches separately. Someone, meaning myself, did not have time to make two separate batches on the particular day I made these, so I grabbed one of my standard, 12-cup muffin tins and filled it with the remaining batter. This recipe works beautifully for both regulars and minis, I’m happy to report. Try it either way and enjoy!

pumpkin chocolate mini cupcakes

pumpkin chocolate frosted cupcake, eaten

{One year ago: Chocolate Meringue Pie}

Sources: Cupcakes adapted from Smitten Kitchen; Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting adapted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients:
CUPCAKES:
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

FROSTING:
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup sour cream
Mini chocolate chips, for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 standard or mini cupcake pans with the appropriate liners.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.
Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the vanilla extract and the pumpkin puree. Beat until just combined.
Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners, about 3/4 full. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes for the standard cupcakes and 12 to 14 minutes for the minis. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. To a medium bowl, add the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter, cocoa powder, and sour cream. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed until smooth. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
When the cupcakes are completely cooled, use a butter knife or small offset spatula to spread a generous amount of frosting on each cupcake. Sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on top of each cupcake.

Golden Sheet Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting

Golden Sheet Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting

It’s crazy but true – summer is officially winding down. The weather is cooling off a tad, and my personal Facebook newsfeed is lighting up with first day of school pics. All summer long, I (and pretty much everyone else, I feel sure) try and take as much advantage as possible of all the wonderful summer produce. So the past week or so I’ve been taking stock and asking myself what I haven’t used enough of.

raspberries

straining raspberry puree

Answer: raspberries. For crying shame, I’ve hardly used them. That is no bueno. So I rectified the situation with a more unusual method for baking with raspberries – let’s make butter cream cake frosting with them. Sure why not?

ready to frost golden sheet cake

raspberry butter cream frosting

I can’t take credit for the creativity involved here as this recipe comes from Deb Perelman’s terrific book. I can assure you, though, that this will be one of the more flavorful frostings you’ll ever taste. Oh, and please don’t think you have to stop with raspberries. What I’m really sharing here is a method for berry butter cream frosting. Use whatever berry you prefer or whichever looks best that day. This will work beautifully with blueberries, blackberries, or probably strawberries too.

golden sheet cake with raspberry butter cream frosting

I did love this cake very much. The frosting tasted so fruity and naturally sweet, but not the least bit cloying. The cake was moist but firm. It was really everything you want in a vanilla cake – quite perfect, really. I think next time I might make cupcakes with this recipe.

Golden Sheet Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting

A few recipe notes: I didn’t serve the cake right when I frosted it, and out of paranoia, I stuck it in the refrigerator instead of leaving it out on the counter. I don’t know if I absolutely had to do that or not. If anyone has any thoughts on this, please do share them. As such, it was chilled when I had a piece, and I wished I would have tasted it at room temperature, mainly because that’s how I associate cakes. But still quite delicious. The cake itself is very moist, and the frosting is so fruity and flavorful. As usual, Matt took the leftovers to work the next day, where they absolutely evaporated. I think next time, I will make the frosting, refrigerate it in a bowl (which the recipe said you absolutely should do), and then frost the cake right before serving.

Golden Sheet Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting

{One year ago: Jamaican Jerk Snapper and Classic Barbecue Chicken}

Source: slightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Ingredients:
CAKE:
12 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk, well-shaken

RASPBERRY BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
1 cup fresh raspberries
16 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups (1 lb.) confectioners’ sugar

Directions:
First make the cake. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13” cake pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time. Beat well and scrape down the bowl after each addition. On low speed, beat in the buttermilk until just combined (it’s okay if the mixture looks curdled). Add the flour mixture in three batches, blending until each addition is just incorporated into the batter.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges of the cake and let it cool the rest of the way. Cool completely before frosting, at least 1 hour.
Now make the frosting. Puree the berries in the food processor until they are as smooth as possible. Press the puree through a sieve or other fine-mesh strainer. Discard the solids and seeds. You are looking for about 1/3 to a scant ½ a cup of puree. Set aside.
In a large clean bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add ¼ cup puree and beat until the color is fully incorporated. Add more if desired, but beware: more will intensify the color, which looks beautiful, but it will make the frosting not as stiff. The choice is yours.
Now, either frost the cooled cake right away and serve, or store the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Peach Sour Cream Pancakes

Peach Sour Cream Pancakes

Deb Perelman wrote this recipe for her wonderful cookbook (it’s actually the first recipe in the whole book) and in the into she describes them as “weepingly delicious.” A strong statement, to be sure, but after trying them, I’d have to agree that yeah, that pretty much sums them up.

making peach sour cream pancakes

They are so light and fluffy, I can’t even begin to describe. They are just the perfect amount of sweet thanks to the peach. You don’t have to peel the peaches, a big plus. I find peeling peaches to be a big pain in the caboose, so I try to avoid it when I can. And I loved her idea to put the peach on the pancake as it’s cooking instead of mixing chopped peaches into the batter. Not only was it very attractive, it was almost like having mini upside-down peach cakes.

making peach sour cream pancakes

And speaking of this whole pancakes becoming mini upside-down cakes thing, I think maybe Deb is on to something. This could work with any other stone fruit, and in the fall I could see it being quite fabulous with sliced apples or pears. Something to think about!

Peach Sour Cream Pancakes

These make a terrific special breakfast, but I can say with some authority that they make a very lovely dinner as well. The choice is yours. Enjoy!

Peach Sour Cream Pancakes

{One year ago: Pickled Donut Peaches and Mexican Lamb Barbacoa}

Source: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Ingredients:
1 large egg
1 cup sour cream
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
Butter, for greasing the griddle
1 peach, halved, pitted, and thinly sliced
Maple syrup, for serving

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, vanilla, and sugar. In a separate, medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing until just combined. A little lumpy is okay.
Heat a griddle to medium-low heat. Melt a pat of butter onto the surface. When hot, ladle in ¼ cup batter at a time, leaving about 2 inches between each pancake. Arrange two peach slices over each pancake. Don’t worry if they are bigger than the pancake, it will spread out as it cooks.
When the pancakes are dry around the edges and you can see bubbles forming on the top, about 3 to 4 minutes, flip the pancake. Make sure your spatula is completely underneath the cooked portion of the pancake, and flip quickly. It seems scary and like it’s not going to work, but trust me, it does work just fine.
Cook another 5 minutes or so, until the pancakes are golden brown on the underside and the peaches are nicely caramelized. If they are browning too quickly, lower your heat. If they aren’t browning at all, nudge the heat up just a bit. When pancakes are done, remove to a plate.
Make sure to keep your griddle well greased between batches with more butter. I’ve also found that a toothpick inserted in the center of the pancake serves as a good tester to see if it’s done. It should come out clean or with dry crumbs. Serve with maple syrup.

Tomato Scallion Short Cakes with Whipped Goat Cheese

tomato scallion short cakes with whipped goat cheese

When it comes to short cakes, why do sweets get to have all the fun? Well, they shouldn’t. And now they don’t.

unbaked biscuits

Holy field cows, were these ever freakin’ amazing. I whipped them up as an appetizer – and I don’t remember what we had for dinner, what does that tell you – so we only ate one each. You know, to save room for dinner. And the whole time dinner was being prepped, Matt and I kept looking at each other with sad, puppy-dog eyes, silently and pitifully communicating our strong desire to eat, like, three more short cakes. Each.

tomato scallion short cakes ready to be assembled

While these require three separate steps, it’s really quite the easy dish to pull off. Making the biscuits was the most time-consuming part. I’m categorizing these as an appetizer, mostly because that’s how I served them, but I could see them being part of a brunch spread. Or possibly a stand-in for the salad course. And I certainly wouldn’t judge anyone for eating just these short cakes for dinner (or any other meal, frankly.) I can’t rule out the possibility of doing that myself sometime in the near future…

ready to eat savory short cakes

Make these soon – tomatoes are fresh and in season, everyone’s eating sweet short cakes anyway, so I suppose ’tis the season for savory short cakes, too, right? They really are the perfect summer treat!

Tomato Scallion Short Cakes with Whipped Goat Cheese

Recipe notes: the original recipe called for goat cheese and that’s what I used. If you really don’t groove on goat cheese, I suppose I would sub in ricotta. But you need something that will whip with a hand mixer, so keep that in mind. Secondly, I used heirloom cherry tomatoes because my store had them and they’re pretty. But any cherry tomato variety will do. Just get what looks best that day.

Tomato Scallion Short Cakes with Whipped Goat Cheese

Source: ever so slightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Ingredients:
BISCUITS:
2 cups plus 2 tbs flour, plus more for dusting
2 tbs baking powder
¾ tsp kosher salt
5 tbs chilled unsalted butter
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 cup whole milk

TOMATOES:
1 tbs olive oil
1 ½ tbs red wine vinegar
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of sugar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ lb. cherry tomatoes, heirloom or otherwise

WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE:
3 tbs heavy cream
4 oz. goat cheese, softened
2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced

Directions:
First, make the BISCUITS:
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large, wide bowl. Add the butter, and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. If you don’t own a pastry blender, quickly chop the butter into pieces first, then use your fingers or a couple of forks to work in the butter.
Add the scallion and the milk and stir with a firm rubber spatula or wooden spoon until evenly moistened. Lightly flour your hands and knead 7 or 8 times until the mixture comes together and there are no floury bits on the bottom of the bowl.
Now dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat it out to about 1-inch thickness and cut into 6 or 8 (3-inch) rounds with a biscuit cutter (I only got 6, which was fine), reforming scraps as need be. Transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet, making sure to space them about 2 inches apart.
Bake until golden brown on top, for about 15 minutes.
While the biscuits are baking, make the TOMATOES:
In the bottom of a medium mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, salt, sugar, and black pepper. Quarter the cherry tomatoes lengthwise and add them to the bowl. Toss the tomatoes with the dressing gently.
Now make the WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE:
In a separate bowl, use a handheld electric mixer to whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the goat cheese and beat until the cheese topping is light and fluffy.
To assemble, split each warm biscuit in half, and generously spoon the tomato salad onto the bottom halves. Dollop some whipped goat cheese on top of the tomatoes, then top with the biscuit tops. Serve at once.

Cherry Almond Galette

slice of cherry almond galette

I made a new food friend recently: Rainier cherries. Rainier (pronounced ray-near) cherries have a short early summer season, are well-loved by birds (apparently growers can expect to lose as much as one-third of their crop to our feathered friends each year), and are prized for their sweetness.

beautiful Rainier cherries

Their short season and excellent flavor command a high price tag for the little beauties – they can be as expensive as $5 per pound in the US and as much $1 per cherry in Japan. Yes you read that correctly – a dollar per individual cherry. Yikes. And as you can see, they are not large cherries.

making galette with Rainier cherries

cherry almond galette, unbaked

But they are very delicious and easy on the eyes. They have a lovely yellow-and-red hue. I saw a bag at Whole Foods on Memorial Day weekend and grabbed it out of intrigue. Then I made this galette with them, a recipe I’ve had my eye on for the past few months.

Cherry Almond Galette

Cherry Almond Galette

And, um, it didn’t disappoint (to make the understatement of the century). The recipe instructed to use an all-butter pie crust, which you know I don’t usually groove on. Usually I need some lard in my pie crusts. But, I decided to be bold and take a leap of faith, and I’m glad I did. It worked; very flaky and just the right amount of toothsome texture. Don’t deprive you and yours of this summery, easy, rustic pie. If you can’t find rainier cherries, never fear – any sweet cherry will do just fine. Enjoy!

slice of cherry almond galette

Source: slightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Ingredients:

PIE CRUST:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tbs sugar
½ tsp salt
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold
¼ cup ice water

GALETTE:
1/3 cup slivered or sliced blanched almonds
1 ½ tsp flour
3 tbs sugar
1 tbs unsalted butter, somewhat softened (just work it in your hand for a minute)
¼ tsp almond extract
1 large egg white
1 pound rainier or other sweet cherries, pitted
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp water
1 tbs turbinado
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:

PIE CRUST:
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter into a medium dice (quickly!) and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the largest pieces are the size of peas.
Drizzle the water over the flour mixture and use a flexible spatula to gently stir it together until a craggy, uneven mess forms. Knead the dough and any loose bits together, working quickly to warm it as little as possible. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Stick it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

GALETTE:
Fine grind almonds and flour in a food processor. Mix in sugar, butter, and extract, then egg white. Blend until smooth. Cover and chill until needed.
Preheat oven to 400 F. On a floured work surface, roll the pie dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the almond filling evenly over the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Scatter the cherries evenly on top. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge as you go to make it fit (the center will be open).
Whisk the egg yolk with the water, and brush the edges of the pie dough with the mixture. Sprinkle the crust with the turbinado.
Bake until the filling is puffed and the crust is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. Rotate the galette once halfway through for even browning. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Then dust with the confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Rhubarb Jam Tart

slice of rhubarb jam tart

Happy Memorial Day everyone! I hope you’re all having beautiful weather, wherever you are, and that your day is fun, tasty and safe. Matt and I are chilling out with cold beers, spare ribs on the grill, and a cherry almond galette that we have almost demolished.

short bread dough

short bread dough fitted in tart pan

As promised last week, here is a delicious way to use up that leftover rhubarb jam. This tart is scrumptious, beautiful to look at, and it really could not be simpler to throw together. The crust is more like short bread than pie dough, so you don’t even need a rolling pin.

slicing a log of dough

The topping is so cool; it’s actually circles of the dough placed evenly across the jam, and it makes for such a pretty scalloped looking tart. The instructions said to roll the dough into a log and then thinly slice it into rounds. I did that, and my slices weren’t completely cooperative. I had to smash some down with my fingers because I hadn’t sliced them thin enough, and for whatever reason I found it difficult to roll the log into an even circular round, so my slices were a bit misshapen.

rhubarb jam in tart shell

I think it might have been a little friendlier to just roll out the topping dough and stamp out circles with a small biscuit cutter. But since I did not do it that way, I couldn’t say for sure. And if I tell you to do that, I’ll be breaking my no-rolling-pin-needed promise. But next time, I think I will try that. And if you try it that way, please let me know how it goes.

Rhubarb Jam Tart

Rhubarb Jam Tart

I’ll conclude this Memorial Day post by saying a huge and sincere thank you to all our men and women in uniform. Your service is greatly appreciated. And thank you to your families for enduring their own sacrifices to let you protect us.

slice of rhubarb jam tart

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
9 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, whole
1 large egg, separated
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 1/3 to 2 cups rhubarb jam, or any other homemade or store bought jam or marmalade you have lying around
2 tbs turbinado

Directions:
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a food processor, mix the butter and 1/2 cup sugar together until smooth. Add the egg, egg yolk (keep the egg white from the second egg on hand for later) and almond extract and beat until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until the dough just comes together. (I used the stand mixer).
Transfer about one-third of the dough to a lightly floured counter and shape it into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it until needed. Alternately, if you’re planning to use the roll and stamp out method, you could just shape it into a disc and then refrigerate.
Transfer the remaining dough to a greased or buttered 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using your hands, press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Set the tart pan on a baking sheet. Refrigerate the dough-lined pan until firm, at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spread the jam evenly over the dough in the pan. The amount used here will depend on how much you have; the original recipe called for around 1 1/3 cup, but I used 2 cups and it worked just fine.
Cut the chilled log of dough into very thin discs with a sharp paring knife. Arrange them slightly overlapped in concentric circles over the jam to form a top crust. Whisk the remaining egg white with a teaspoon of water until frothy; brush evenly over the tart lid and then sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of the turbinado (I found mine needed slightly less). Bake until the top crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then slice and serve.