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8 Sep

Wet batter gets poured into a deep cup.

A super hot oven sets the rising crust.

Steam trapped inside creates a big empty pocket.

A crispy vessel is ready to be filled with goodness.

Waiting 40 minutes for these to bake is the only difficult part of this recipe…


Basic Popovers – from Food Network


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 teaspoon room temperature for pan
  • 4 3/4 ounces all purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease a 6-cup popover pan with the 1 teaspoon of butter.

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process for 30 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the cups of the popover pan, each should be about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the popovers to a cooling rack and pierce each in the top with a knife to allow steam to escape. Serve warm with fruit preserves.

Raspberry Almond Crumb Tart

2 Sep

Things I miss most when summer ends:

  • The smell of rain on hot cement streets 
  • Fireflies
  • Daylight that lasts until 9pm
  • When cole slaw and baked beans become one on your paper plate
  • Sleeping with just a sheet
  • Peaches so juicy you have to eat them over the sink
  • Coconut scented sunscreen
  • The smell of burning charcoal at all hours of the day
  • A pocketbook full of sand
  • Reaching my head deep into a jungle of string bean plants to search for camouflaged beans
  • Tan lines
  • Corn on the cob
  • Cotton dresses
  • Chlorine bleached hair
  • Baskets of berries
  • Waking up to the sound of cicadas and going to sleep with the sound of crickets

There are 20 days of summer left. Soak them up. Eat and cook as much as you can.

The good news is this recipe is on the healthy side. The crust is made with almonds and the filling is pretty much pure raspberries in all their glory with just a touch of sugar. This recipe is not hard, but it has a few steps so read it carefully.

Raspberry-Almond Crumb Tart

Taken From EatingWell Magazine:  July/August 2007

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, (skins on)
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray.

  1. Combine almonds and sugar in a food processor; pulse until the almonds are finely ground and incorporated with the sugar. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture.
  2. Add 1 1/3 cups flour and salt to the remaining sugar mixture and pulse briefly to blend. With the motor running, add butter a few pieces at a time until well incorporated.
  3. Stir egg yolk, vanilla and almond extracts together in a small bowl until blended. With the motor running, add to the processor and pulse until the mixture begins to clump and form a dough, about 1 minute (the mixture will look like crumbly sand). Set aside 1/3 cup of the mixture for the topping.
  4. Transfer the remaining dough to the prepared tart pan; spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust.
  5. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour to the reserved almond mixture; stir to blend. Gently toss raspberries with 2 tablespoons of this mixture in a medium bowl until coated. Spread the berries evenly in the tart pan. Sprinkle the remaining almond mixture over the berries. Pinch the reserved dough into small clumps to make crumbs and sprinkle the crumbs on top of the berries.
  6. Bake the tart for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and bake until the crust and crumbs are golden brown, about 45 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Remove the pan sides; place confectioners’ sugar in a fine sieve and dust the tart just before serving.

Nutrition Per serving: 276 calories; 12 g fat ( 6 g sat , 2 g mono ); 48 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 6 g fiber; 148 mg sodium; 168 mg potassium.

Strawberry Filled Red Velvet Cupcakes

18 Aug

Is it possible for baby strawberries to be cute? When I pick them, I use the same high- pitched, ridiculous squeal to talk them as I do when I talk to my puppies, so somehow they have charmed me in the same way.  Maybe it’s just me, but look at these strawberries I grew! Tell me you don’t want to knit them an adorable summer dress?

So let’s talk Red Velvet cake. It’s a favorite in my house; it was our wedding cake and therefore will always be a special treat. The thing is, to get it really red, you need a tremendous amount of food coloring and I just can’t do it.  It wastes a whole bottle of coloring, not to mention I read a few articles that say  too much food coloring makes your kids all crazy. I don’t have kids but I’m a kid at heart who’s crazy enough, so I reduce the amount. To give it a boost of color, I add something naturally red, like berries or sugar beets. I also think it’s nice if a little bit of that naturally red something gets beaten into the delicious but not overly sweet cream cheese frosting so you end up with a beautiful, barely pink icing. And do you know what you get with subtle red cupcakes with light pink frosting topped with a baby strawberry? Cute. Really, really cute.

Strawberry Filled Red Velvet Cupcakes: 

Adapted from Red Velvet Cupcakes by Nicolette Manescalchi, San Francisco, Cooking Light DEC. 2009



  • Cooking spray
  •  2 1/2 cups cake flour ( I have used AP flour and it turns out okay)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp red food coloring
  • 5 large strawberries, pureed

Preheat oven to 350°.

Line 30 muffin cups with paper liners and coat lightly with cooking spray.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Cream sugar and butter together with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each egg. In small bowl mix buttermilk, white vinegar, vanilla, food coloring and pureed strawberries. Alternately add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar and buttermilk mixture. Do not over mix.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.

Strawberry filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor and strain all the seeds out using a rubber spatula to push everything out. Pour strained puree into a saucepan and whisk in the sugar and cornstarch. Simmer over medium heat until thickened. Place in a bowl and chill before using.


  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) block less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large strawberries, pureed
  • 2 teaspoons nonfat buttermilk
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (about 1 pound), SIFTED

To prepare frosting, beat butter and cream cheese together with a mixer at high speed until completely smooth. Beat in buttermilk, vanilla and pureed strawberries. Gradually add SIFTED powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.

To Fill and Frost Cupcakes.

To fill the cupcakes, assemble a piping bag with a small plain round tip. Fill with strawberry filling and insert tip into the center of the cupcake and pipe in filling. If some comes out the top wipe it clean.

Spread frosting evenly over filled cupcakes or pipe on using a large star tip and piping bag.

Top with small strawberries.

Strawberry Mousse Pie with Chocolate Covered Strawberries

18 Jul

The best recipes, at least in my opinion, are ideas or formulas that serve as a standardized base that can be transformed into other things and lend themselves well to interpretation and creativity. Many of my students, who to no fault of their own are stuck in a world of standardized tests and memorization, have trouble getting comfortable with the idea of changing a recipe and making substitutions. This comes with practice and especially when baking, some substitutions can be disastrous. Luckily though, which I like to remind them often, we are not performing surgery and mistakes often lead to new discoveries. If not, there’s a mess to clean up and dinner for the dogs. A few weeks ago for 4th of July I posted a great Martha Stewart recipe for a raspberry mousse pie that I have found to be one of those great base recipes. It was so simple and delicious I made it again the next week with strawberries using the same procedure and just switching the fruit. I also tried it with pumpkin and added some spices but I’ll save that one for you until October. Until then, try making this with any summer fruit you have on hand. You know after peach picking I will be making this again!

  Here’s the post from 4th of July with the recipe:

As I sit down to write these recipes tonight, I’m absorbing all the smells, sounds and sights of this time of year. I can hear and feel a slight rumble of pre-4th of July fireworks in the background, followed by car alarms. Fireflies flicker outside my window and I can see the neighbors kids playing man hunt on the lawn. My skin still has the sweet smell of suntan lotion and sand and as I climbed the stairs to the second floor, I can’t help notice that even in this new house, the upstairs “summer smell” is the same as my childhood home. It’s a smell that flashes me back to summer sleepovers, when my cousins and I ran up the stairs to grab sheets and pillows to bring downstairs to build forts in the air conditioned living room. Then there is taste. What does summer taste like? Salty beach lips… grilled corn in your teeth… burnt marshmallows… ice cream and the mushy bottom of a waffle cone… charcoal flavored everything… and the sweetest, most colorful blue and red berries with bright, white fresh whipped cream. Happy 4th of July :c)

Raspberry Mousse Pie

Adapated from:


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 7 graham crackers
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons powdered gelatin (from one 1/4-ounce packet)
  • 5 cups fresh raspberries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream


  1.  Coat a 9-inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
  2. Arrange graham crackers in 1 layer in pan, breaking them to fit if necessary.
  3. Place lemon juice in a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin on top. Let  gelatin to soften for 3 minutes.
  4. Puree 2 cups raspberries and strain seeds. Discard seeds and collect 1 cup of strained puree.
  5. In a saucepan, simmer raspberry puree and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat until bubbles form at edge. Add gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin dissolves, about 1 minute.  Let cool to room temperature completely otherwise it with melt the whip cream.
  6. Beat cream and 2 tablespoons sugar until firm stiff peaks form.
  7. With a rubber spatula, gently fold cooled raspberry puree mixture into whipped cream.  Pour over graham crackers. Smooth top, cover and  refrigerate until set, about 2 hours (or up to overnight).
  8. Using parchment, gently lift pie out of pan and cut into pieces with a sharp knife, cleaning it in between cuts. Top each piece with whole raspberries and transfer to a serving platter.

Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

8 Jul

Last summer I Googled recipes using buttermilk and stumbled upon  which featured a recipe for oatmeal buttermilk bread that I fell in love with and have made many times since then. I kept returning to the site to find other great recipes and began looking forward to checking the site daily. I eventually figured out that this website was actually a blog, something I had heard about but never read before. I began checking out all of the other food blogs but kept returning to Annie. Her site is clean and easy to navigate with perfect instructions and beautiful step by step recipes every time. The site introduced me to the wonderful world of food blogs and it’s still my favorite. Sometimes I search Annie before Martha Stewart, which says a lot. I use her recipes in my cooking classes all the time and always with much success. I have made many of her recipes but have never photographed them or posted them. These double chocolate raspberry cupcakes were amazing, even though the 90 degree weather didn’t allow for them to be as pretty as hers.  I hope she doesn’t mind me mentioning her site but I had to give credit for this great recipe find!  


Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

adapted from, originally from Gourmet, March 1999

 Raspberry filling:
12 oz bag  of frozen raspberries, thawed
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch

Puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor and  strain all the seeds out using a rubber spatula to push everything out. Pour strained puree into a saucepan and whisk in the sugar and cornstarch. Simmer over medium heat until thickened. Place in a bowl and chill before using.

3 oz. chocolate chips                                                                                                                                             1½ cups hot coffee ( I used instant espresso powder to make mine in the microwave)
3 cups sugar
2½ cups  flour
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder – SIFTED – DON”T SKIP THIS!
2 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
1¼ tsp. salt
3 large eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
1½ cups buttermilk
¾ tsp. vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 cupcake pans with liners.  To make the cupcake batter, add the hot coffee to the chocolate chips in a medium bowl and whisk until all the chocolate is melted and smooth. In a separate bowl combine sugar, flour, cocoa ( did you sift? If you didn’t there will be lumps that don’t break up) baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a third bowl ( or in the bowl of an electric mixer), beat the eggs until thick and pale yellow. Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla to the coffee, chocolate mixture and slowly add this liquid mixture to the eggs and beat. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each ¾ of the way up.  (The recipe calls for 24 -28 cupcakes but I had more, about 32 ) Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Allow to cool completely.

Ganache Frosting:
12 oz. chocolate chips
¾ cup heavy cream
1½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tbsp. corn syrup
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

While the cupcakes are baking, make the ganache.  Pour chocolate chips into a bowl. In a saucepan heat the cream, corn syrup and sugar until just boiling.  Immediately pour the mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the mixture is smooth and blended.  Whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated and let the mixture cool and thicken. To be able to pipe or spread this I found sticking it in the fridge helps. It was so hot the day I made these, it became more of a chocolate glaze as you can see from the pictures. Still delicious. You are not ready to ice yet – we must pipe them full of raspberry goodness first!


To fill the cupcakes with the raspberry filling, assemble a piping bag with a small plain round tip. Fill with raspberry sauce and insert tip into the center of the cupcake and pipe in filling. If some comes out the top wipe it clean.   Spread or pipe ganache frosting on top and top with a clean but dry raspberry while the frosting is still wet enough to hold unto the fruit.

(Boxes and cupcake liners from Michael’s Arts and Crafts Store)