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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.

Home Canning – Fruit Preserves and Scones

24 Feb

At some point during the day, no matter how crazy the day is, I realize how lucky I am to be able to teach what I love.  Not only am I lucky enough to teach cooking at a school with a wonderfully supported program, I am also surrounded by equally food obsessed colleagues that are talented chefs in their own right. Besides the several food competitions for charity and amazing luncheons with homemade items that co-workers run, there are people who bake and cook for no reason, often for the whole staff. Last week, two very talented cooks provided scones and homemade jams for the staff to sample.  It was such a beautiful spread of colorful fruits, it was hard to pick just one. I ate mine like a tasting flight, a little of each on a plate with a bite of scone.

The scones were provided by Patti, one of the most amazing bakers I have ever met. Every pay day, in addition to every holiday or teacher appreciation day, the 100 plus mailboxes are filled with some sort of amazing treat, everything from homemade caramel corn to giant cookies. I’ve heard she’s got a double oven and a pretty nice counter set-up at home but I cannot understand how she pulls it off. I do this professionally and I still can’t understand how she whips up hundreds of biscotti, muffins, cupcakes or brownies every other week in a home kitchen, by herself. Not to mention the time, money and care that goes into it. Ellen, another talented co-worker, was responsible for the preserves. Since the second I saw them I’ve had extreme jam envy! This stuff is seriously delicious and the way she packages them is so adorable and clever, they were just screaming out for a photo shoot. 


Of the strawberry, raspberry, plum, peach, blueberry and orange marmalade varieties I tried, I couldn’t tell you which was my favorite. They were all equally delicious with different textures and tartness. I got to take home a special jar of pear, which I can’t wait to try. Although I’ve had all the jars and supplies for canning for years now, I use them all to freeze my garden goodies instead of really canning them. Seeing Ellen’s gorgeous jams has given me the caning bug again and this summer, I think I’m going to give it a try. Between my u-pick obsession and my backyard container garden, it’s going to be a busy Spring. Here’s a recipe from Ellen to get you started, I will be posting Patti’s scones next week. The preserves are the perfect excuse to eat 3-4 scones in one sitting!

Ellen recommends following any canning recipe exactly and to be very careful to keep your cooking equipment and area sterile to ensure safety.

SURE.JELL Peach Jam – Kraft Foods

4 cups prepared fruit (about 3 lb. fully ripe peaches)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. EVER-FRESH Fruit Protector (optional)
1 box SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine (optional)
5-1/2 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl (See tip below.)
BRING boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

PEEL and pit peaches. Finely chop fruit. Measure exactly 4 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-quart saucepot. Add lemon juice and fruit protector; stir until well blended. Stir in pectin. Add butter to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.

STIR in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

Kraft Kitchens Tips

How to Measure Precisely
To get exact level cup measures of sugar, spoon sugar into dry metal or plastic measuring cups, then level by scraping excess sugar from top of cup with a straight-edged knife.
Altitude Chart
At altitudes above 1,000 feet, increase processing time as indicated: 1,001 to 3,000 feet – increase processing time by 5 minutes; 3,001 to 6,000 feet –

Real Bagels

25 Nov

As a New Yorker, I feel privileged to be able to enjoy the best bagels in the world, anytime I want. (Is it wrong to say “in the world” even though I can’t back that up?) I guess if you have never had the real thing, you probably don’t mind a frozen supermarket bagel, but once you’ve have a New York bagel, I’m pretty sure you’ll be disappointed by everything else forever. With a bagel store available 5 minutes in every direction of any town here on Long Island, there has never been a need or desire to make my own bagels. But when I saw the recipe for “Real Bagels” in last month’s Cooking Light magazine, I saw it as a challenge. Real bagels? That’s quite a claim…what do the people at Cooking Light consider a “real bagel”? Could this super simple, one page recipe even come close to being anything like a good bagel? But just like any true Southerner knows how  to make their own fried chicken or how every Maryland chef  has their own secret crab cake recipe, shouldn’t I, a proud Long Islander, have a recipe for true New York bagels in my repertoire?

I made them immediately, even though it was 9:30 at night. The folks over at Cooking Light don’t lie. This wasn’t a roll masquerading itself as a bagel, it was truly the real thing… chewy, dense, crusty on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. I don’t think I have ever been so amazed at the authenticity of something I made. I really expected the recipe to fail on some level…. how could it be that easy? If it was that easy, why, when I take a road trip to another state, are the bagels so bad different? Maybe it’s the water. Maybe you have to be born here to be able to do it. I don’t how it happened, but once it did, I made sure everyone I could get my hands on tried one. I challenged them, “Eat this bagel, I MADE it. It tastes like a bagel. Really.” They were equally amazed. “You MADE a bagel…? ( Bite ) This is a real bagel…it tastes just like a really good bagel.”  This went on, pretty much word for word, with each of the 11 people I gave them to. As the recipe describes, “these are a revelation”. As a teacher, my favorite thing is seeing the excitement of my students when they create something amazing that they never thought they could make at home. I knew I had to make them with my classes but I had to find a shorter way to break the time up, so the second time I made them, I made the dough and popped it in the refrigerator overnight. I am glad to say it was a success. This dough is perfect for making Saturday night and then rolling, boiling and baking fresh on Sunday morning. My fellow New Yorkers, I challenge you, for the sake of your heritage, to make these immediately. For those of you who live elsewhere, you now have a way to enjoy something wonderfully authentic and awesome.

No 1 rule to follow with this recipe: Weigh your flour, don’t measure it. When I weighed it, it came out to about 4 cups rather than the 6 1/4 stated. I did not have barley malt syrup, which the recipe said could easily be omitted, so I left it out. The bagels were perfect, but I ordered the stuff on Amazon just to see if they could become any more perfect, just in case.

Real Bagels – adapted from Cooking Light Magazine – November 2011 issue

For the bagel dough:

2 cups warm water- 100- 110F

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

28.5 ounces bread flour – divided

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 Tablespoon barley malt syrup ( can be omitted )

To Boil in:

12 cups water

3/4 cup sugar

To Sprinkle on top: ( Optional )

Sesame seeds, dehydrated onion, garlic salt, sea salt, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, oatmeal etc.


Combine the warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Proof the yeast by stirring it together and waiting for bubbles to form to see if the yeast is alive. ( Both times I didn’t get bubbles but the yeast was alive. My kitchen was cold and with no sugar to feed the small amount of yeast I didn’t see much bubble action)

Weigh 28.13 ounces of bread flour into a separate bowl and stir in salt. Add flour mixture and malt syrup ( if using) into yeast mixture.

Mix on low speed for 6 minutes. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic. Add remaining ( .37 ounces)  of flour if mixture is too sticky. ( I didn’t measure that part out, I just sprinkled a little down on work surface and my hands as needed.)

Place in a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm ( 85 F) spot for 30 minutes. ( Or overnight in the refrigerator) Test to see if two fingers inserted in the center leave an imprint. If it springs back, let it continue to rise.

If dough was refrigerated overnight, let it come to room temperature. Turn out onto a floured work surface and and divide dough into 12 equal portions.They make smaller bagels than compared to the over sized ones seen more often. For larger bagels make 10 instead of 12.

Pinch dough together at the bottom and roll each section into a smooth ball. Cover with a towel to prevent drying.

Using both hands, gently stretch a 1 1/2 inch hole in the center of  each ball of dough to form the bagel shape. If hole is too small it will close up completely when cooked.

Set bagels on a lightly greased sheet pan and cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm place for 10 -15 minutes. Bagels will only rise slightly.

While the bagels rise, pre-heat oven to 45oF. Prepare two greased cooling racks set over a sheet pans to place the bagels on after boiling. gather any toppings for the bagels and prepare another two sheet pans with parchment paper for baking the bagels.

Bring 12 cups of water and sugar  to a boil in a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot.

Gently lower 3 risen bagels at a time into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, gently bobbing them under the water occasionally.

Remove and place on greased cooling racks. Sprinkle with any toppings at this point.

Transfer boiled bagels to lined sheet pans and bake for 7 minutes. Rotate pans and bake another 7 minutes.

Make sure you are out of your pajamas by now because once you are finished you will be so proud and excited that you will knock on your neighbors doors and get in the car to deliver them to people. They are amazing right out of the oven but if that’s not possible make sure to heat them in the oven before sharing. DON’T MICROWAVE a bagel, that’s a sin, and remember to check your teeth before you head out…

3 Pumpkin recipes to share this Fall: Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles and Pumpkin Chai Latte

2 Nov

Food and cooking is about sharing…

It’s why tea cups come in sets of 4.

It’s why a sheet cake feeds 20.

It’s why coffee urns can brew for up to 40.

It’s why a pie is meant for more than 1.

Great recipes are also just as important to share. The way I figure it, the more people who know how to make it, the more there is to eat of it.

This simple, moist, perfectly spiced Pumpkin Bread was given to me by my amazing co-operating teacher, Vanessa, when I was student teaching with her. The first time I made it with her class, it was a disaster. The over zealous new teacher in me had decided to re-type the recipe in a new program and in the process, switched the baking soda amount with the cinnamon. Kind of funny now, not so funny then. The second time we made it, with the correct measurements, it became one of my favorite recipes of all time. I make it each October with my students and it never fails, the kids love it and it has become the number one recipe other teachers come knocking on my classroom door for.



•    1¾ cups sifted flour
•    1¼ cups sugar
•    1 teaspoon baking soda
•    ¾ teaspoon salt
•    1½ teaspoon nutmeg
•    1½ teaspoon cinnamon

•    ½ cup oil
•    2 eggs
•    1 cup pumpkin


1.    Pre-heat oven to 350 F degrees.
2.    Prepare a large loaf pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.
3.    Cut a piece of parchment paper to fix the bottom of the pan.
4.    Line pan with parchment and spray again.
5.    Sift all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
6.    In a separate bowl, whisk pumpkin, eggs and oil together.
7.    Make a hole in dry ingredients and pour in the pumpkin mixture.
8.    Mix just until smooth.
9.    Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.
10.    Bake loaf 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

This recipe was something Annie, from, shared on her beautiful blog. They are my new favorite cookie, a must try.

For the cookies:
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the coating:
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger


1.    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
2.    In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
3.    Beat in the pumpkin puree, egg and vanilla until incorporated.
4.    Add in the dry ingredients and beat just until incorporated.
5.    Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
6.    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.
7.    Spray baking sheets with cooking spray.
8.    Combine the sugar and spices for the coating in a bowl.
9.    Remove dough from the refrigerator and scoop 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball.
10.    Coat the dough ball in the sugar-spice mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart.
11.    Flatten the balls of dough slightly with your hand or the back of a glass.
12.    Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes.
13.    Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
In my big crazy family, when its time to see who wants coffee, the hostess asks, “who’s playing grown – up?” I don’t drink coffee, but I like to play grown- up. This is my version of the Chai Tea Latte with Pumpkin Spice Syrup from Starbucks.

•    1 gallon  milk
•    2 1/2 cups sugar
•    5 chai tea bags
•    1 cup pumpkin puree
Combine the milk, pumpkin puree and sugar in a heavy bottom pot.
2.    Whisk over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture begins to simmer.
3.    Wrap tea bags in cheesecloth and place into simmering mixture.
4.    Shut the heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
5.    Remove tea bags and whisk to bring up any pumpkin from the bottom of the pan.
6.    Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Tuscan Lemon Muffins with Olive Oil and Ricotta Cheese

23 Aug

I have a thing for writing lists. My weapon of choice is the large, yellow, lined Post-it pads and a new mechanical pencil. Nothing beats the feeling of crossing things off a list. But today I have a little “to do list” guilt going on. I started an exercise routine that has only happened 2 out of 5 planned days and usually started with a handful of chocolate covered raisins to get me motivated and a cup of Italian ices to reward myself for working so hard.

I also planned to get some serious paperwork finished this afternoon.  That was 6 snacks, 4 episodes of Food Network Star, 1 nap and 5 hours ago. Not a single thing has been crossed off the list and I’m already in pajamas at 5pm. Things arent looking good. To procrastinate more,  I have decided that I need to share these really great muffins with you.

These muffins are great to eat while you are making to-do lists.  They are also suitable for motivating  or rewarding yourself for a workout because they have heart healthy olive oil and low-fat, protein rich ricotta cheese.  You can eat them while watching TV or mindlessly surfing the internet. You should not eat them while attempting a nap. You can even eat them when your working. They taste best when crossing things OFF your to-do list. Which is maybe what I will be doing soon… 

 Tuscan Lemon Muffins – adapted from Maureen Callahan, Cooking Light  MAY 2011

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons  coarse sugar
  • 12 muffin cup liners


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together ricotta, water, olive oil, lemon juice, zest, and egg. Add ricotta mixture to flour mixture and stir just long enough to moisten dry ingredinets. Do not overmix.

3. Line muffin tins with muffin liners and spray with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.  Sprinkle muffins generously with coarse sugar. Bake at 375° for 14 minutes. Raise heat to 400 for a remaining 2-3 minutes to caramelize the sugar on top slightly. ( I have used my broiler which takes 1 minute but you must stay close by watching it or they will burn) Test with a wooden pick inserted in the center to see if it comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.

Finding the Best Banana Bread – A 3 recipe trial

16 Aug

Currently, you can not walk through my living room. There are approximately 50-60 piles of magazine recipes in the process of re-organization. My huge super-nerd binders of plastic, sheet protected clippings have gotten out of control. With no rhyme or reason to where things are placed, it can take me a half an hour to hunt through them for a recipe, which usually leaves me too tired to even cook. With a laundry list of way more important things to do, I decided to forgo daily duties and start an insane project by categorizing them by ingredient, which is the way I tend to cook. If I go to the farmers market and pick up some beautiful golden beets or baby artichokes, I want to take the opportunity to make recipes I had torn out at a time when I didn’t have those items on hand. At the top of my “banana pile” was a series of recipes from Cooking Light on banana bread. I have had them for a while and yet I never seem to make them because I already have a great family recipe for banana bread that I love. This week I just happened to have about 23 super ripe bananas on hand leftover from a recent camp class I did and it just seemed about time to challenge the classic and try a new healthy version out. Why not start two crazy projects at once? With all the piles around the house there isn’t much room anyplace else but the kitchen anyway.

Scroll down to see the results of trial!

Aunt Linda’s Original Banana Bread

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together 1 stick of butter with 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Beat in 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Mix in 4 mashed ripe bananas.

Combine 2 cups flour with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp baking soda in a separate bowl; then mix into creamed mixture until combined.

Bake as  2 large loaves for 45 mins to 1 hour or 25/35 mins for 24 muffins until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Substitutions and alterations:

add chopped nuts

sub 2 bananas for 2 chopped apples

sub 1/2 cup oil for butter

Basic Banana Bread – slightly adapted from Maureen Callahan, Cooking Light Magazine Oct 2010


  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup vanilla fat-free yogurt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine banana, yogurt, butter and eggs  in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until combined.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour,flaxseed,baking soda,salt, cinnamon and nutmeg . Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended.

4. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

5.Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool completely.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread – slightly adapted from Maureen Callahan, Cooking Light Magazine Oct 2010


1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana

  • 1/3 cup vanilla fat-free yogurt
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare bread, combine banana, yogurt, peanut butter,butter and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until blended.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, flaxseed,baking soda,salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts.

4. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.

The original recipe is still the best, sweet, buttery and delicious with great banana flavor. It is also the easiest and quickest to put together. Unfortunately it is not low-calorie or low-fat. The Cooking Light basic banana bread was a close runner-up. It tasted the best when cool. It was slighter drier and tougher but for a low cal bread with heart healthy flaxseed and nutritious yogurt, I thought it was great and definitely company worthy. The peanut butter bread fell short on the peanut flavor for my husband, I don’t really like peanut butter to begin with so I let him be the judge. I would try this again with the peanut butter glaze Cooking Light posted( see the website ) and possibly add more peanuts.

Do you have a banana bread that you think might be better? Please share and I would love to do the trial again!

Peach Clafouti – The best dessert EVER

9 Aug


There are certain words I hate pronouncing because I know, no matter what, I am saying them wrong. For example, ricotta.  I grew up in a  family where they pronounced it as if it had a G in it, if your parents grew up in Brooklyn or Queens they probably say it the same way.  If I had to spell it phonetically it would be Ra – Gut , with no signs of an A at the end. The emphasis is on the GUT and it’s not said delicately, instead with a slight toughness in the voice as if you may actually be gutting something.  I didn’t grow up in Brooklyn or Queens and I just can’t pull that off without feeling like an idiot. Now on the other end of the spectrum, there are people who really butcher it and say   Ra- caata, and in my eyes, that is just as embarrassing. Unfortunately I’m not Italian enough to say it as beautifully as it should be pronounced, like Ms. Giada DeLaurentis’ Re – coata, so I just avoid the word at all costs.

There are many other words, especially in the world of food, that pose the same problem. Clafouti is a French word that I didn’t hear until I was in culinary school. I don’t know anyone French, nor have I been to France, nor have I ever even heard this pronounced on TV by a reputable source such as Jacques Pepin. So, I’m sure I ruin the word every time I attempt to pronounce it. The name, at least the way I say it, does not sound nearly as luxurious and sensuous as the dessert really is. Although it doesn’t sound as inviting as lets say a Creme Brule or a Souffle au Chocolat , I assure you it is one of the best French desserts you will ever have.

It’s a light and airy baked custard that gently hangs on to barely cooked seasonal fruit, such as cherries or in this case, peaches. It’s not too sweet and only needs a quick dusting of powdered sugar to dress it.

It’s not something you can cook ahead of time, as it is at its best fresh out of the oven, served warm. Like many of my other favorite French recipes, it’s surprisingly simple to put together and incredibly impressive as it emerges from the oven.  Make this NOW, trust me, it will be one of the best things you ever eat, no matter how you pronounce it.

Peach Clafouti – adpated slightly from


  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-fat yogurt  ( original recipe calls for sour cream, I have also used Ricotta )
  • 1 cup low-fat milk ( original recipe calls for whole milk )
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla ( I prefer vanilla bean paste syrup )
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 large peaches or nectarines – sliced into 6 pieces
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and flour until combined.
  3.  Then whisk in yogurt, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt until the mixture is smooth.
  4.  Pour mixture into four individual custard cups or 1 large baking dish ( custard should come 3/4 of the way up).
  5. Place peaches on top of batter.
  6. Bake until custard is browned at edges and center is set about 30-35 minutes.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes, dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.

What to do with leftover Thanksgiving Cranberry “Sauce”? Sweet Cranberry and Tangerine Bread

27 Nov

What to do with leftover Thanksgiving Cranberry “Sauce”?

Sweet Cranberry and Tangerine Bread

When I say cranberry sauce I’m NOT talking about the canned jelly sauce, I’m talking about the homemade whole berry compote,chutney,preserve, conserve, whatever you want to call it cranberry “stuff” you may have leftover after Thanksgiving.  This time of year a lot of websites and cooking shows feature recipes that morph your leftover turkey and all the fixings into totally different tasting dishes. I have to admit, I have never been interested in it because I think the best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers and I want them to be exactly like they were on the day of, but that’s just me. However, the one thing  that I often do have too much of, is cranberry sauce. Once the turkey and stuffing leftovers are gone, the cranberry sauce has no purpose for me, but it’s just too delicious and I can’t throw it out.  This delicious bread serves as the perfect vehicle for it, as well as a well to use up the leftover buttermilk you may have from mashed potatoes or biscuit recipes. If you don’t have any homemade whole berry cranberry sauce, don’t substitute the jelly kind, just use the following directions to whip up a 5 minute batch just big enough for this recipe. If you are feeling the same way I am, in that you are so huge right now you couldn’t possibly allow yourself to indulge anymore, make the bread and freeze it for the upcoming holidays, when your waistline has recovered slightly.

Happy Leftovers Everyone!

( Follow muffin method)

Sweet Cranberry and Tangerine Bread original recipe

Sift together in a large bowl:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Whisk together in a separate bowl:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Stir in:

1 1/2 cups homemade whole berry cranberry sauce

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Mix together until just combined. Stir in about cranberries.  Pour into mini loaf pans and bake for 30- 45 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For Cranberry “sauce“: Boil all ingredients together until thickened and almost no juice remains, mixture should become gelatinized.  Remove large peels and tangerine slices. Let cool.

  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 1 large tangerine -zested and juiced
  • 1 large tangerine – peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Lesson#4 The Creaming Method – Caramel Apple Cider Spice Cake

21 Oct


One of my favorite parts of the day, besides the part where I get to eat my delicious adult gummy bear vitamins ( yes, I know, this is pathetic…but they are really really good ), is when I get to come home and check the mail. Most of the time it is a big disappointment of bills and ads, but a few times a month I receive one of my many food magazines. This month’s Cooking Light Magazine featured a delicious looking Apple Upside Down Cake that I couldn’t wait to make. I followed the recipe word for word last week and brought it to a party. It was so delicious, that today I decided it was time to make it just once more, for the purpose of this creaming method lesson of course, not at all because I plan on eating it all myself.  Now although I resisted napping when I got home from work, I did not resist immediately changing into pajamas. This presented a dilemma when I went to bake and was out of the milk and sugar that the recipe called for. Since there was absolutely no way I was getting dressed to go out to the store, I decided to improvise.  My adapted version uses apple cider instead of milk ,almond instead of vanilla extract, all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, a brown sugar butter caramel sauce instead of a sugar and water caramel and has the addition of spices. The cider and spices add a whole new element and really enhance the apple flavor.  Either way you make it, it’s pretty amazing, totally better than a nap and that’s saying a lot.

This recipe features the creaming method, which requires you to cream room temperature butter with sugar until light and fluffy. This process helps leaven the cake due to the bubbles that are formed when the sugar is beaten into the soft butter. Chemical leavening ( baking soda or powder for example ) in the recipe react with wet ingredients and help to “blow up” the many bubbles formed in creaming process. After creaming the butter and sugar together, eggs and extracts are usually added in, followed by dry ingredients and any solid add-ins, such as nuts or chocolate chips. The creaming method produces a uniform interior texture with many small bubbles and a tender delicate crumb. It is seen in cookies, cakes and quick breads.

This recipe differs from that basic method and features 3 other commonly used baking techniques that I think are important to learn and master.

1 – Making caramel from sugar.

2 – Whipping egg whites and folding them gently into a batter. 

3 – Alternating dry and wet ingredients when mixing, to help incorporate ingredients faster without over mixing and developing gluten, which will toughen the cake.

Adapted from Oct 2010 Cooking Light MagazineApple Upside Down Cake

Caramel Apple Cider Spice Cake

For the caramel

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBL butter

For the cake

  • 1 large Honey Crisp apple – cored and sliced  
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 3 egg whites

Grease a 9 inch cake pan.

In a saucepan melt 1 tbl of butter for caramel topping. Add in brown sugar and cook 3-4 minutes until sugar dissolves and is thickening. Pour into prepared pan. Lay sliced apples in a decorative pattern over the caramel topping. Be careful not to burn the sugar. With white sugar you can visibly tell when it turns golden and it is time to shut the heat. When using brown sugar you get more of a caramel flavor but you can’t tell as easily when its beginning to caramelize, so watch it carefully for thickening and keep an on the time. Never walk away from caramel, it will burn on you in a second.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. ( except sugar )

Cream together the 3 TBL butter and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. The mixture becomes lighter in color because the bubbles reflect the light and it becomes fluffy because you are aerating it.

Beat in egg yolks and almond extract until thoroughly combined.

Add dry ingredients and apple cider alternately. Start with part of the dry ingredients and mix, then add cider and mix again. Keep switching from one to the other until everything is incorporated.

In a separate clean bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  If there is any grease present on your tools or any fat from the yolks, the whites will not whip up so make sure to have very clean, dry tools and separate the egg cleanly. It is very easy to over whip egg whites so as soon as you see them firming up, check them often for stiff peaks that hold their shape well.  

Gently fold whipped egg whites into batter.  Folding is the process of incorporating something lighter or whipped into something heavy, like this batter, without deflating it. To fold, first place some of the whipped egg whites on top of the batter and use a rubber spatula to cut down the center of the bowl, pulling some egg whites along.  Slide around and under the side of the bowl and bring some egg whites back up into the center. Repeat slowly and gently, adding more egg whites a little bit a time. The goal is to deflate the whipped egg whites as little as possible.

Pour batter on the caramel apple mixture in the pan.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes.

Loosen the edges of the cake from the pan. Place a serving plate large enough for the cake on top of the pan. With both hands, turn the cake upside down while holding the plate. Remove the cake pan and the caramel and apples should be on top.

This recipe incorporates some tricky baking techniques for the beginner baker. A few of my students had a rough time the first time around but were able to get it right on the second try. Please let me know how yours comes out and as always, feel free to comment with any questions. The reward of this cake is worth the effort, I promise.

Good Luck!  – The Cooking Teacher