Pizza with New Potatoes, Rosemary, and Blue Cheese

Visiting Cathleen’s blog a few weeks ago, I discovered about a new bloggers cooking club by the charming name of Cottage Cooking Club. It is based on the book River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

I have never heard about Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and needless to say I was curious to discover his cooking style and vegetable philosophy. After undergoing a major shift in his own eating, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall shares his joy and passion when sharing a plethora of veggie-based meals that are simple, elegant, and deliciously looking thanks to the stunning photography by Simon Wheeler. Vegetarians and vegans rejoice!

For the month of June, one of the recipes that was chosen by our host, Andrea, was for Pizza with New Potatoes, Rosemary, and Blue Cheese. I intended to also make a cucumber and lettuce vichyssoise and honey-roasted cherry tomatoes but I discovered that one of the ingredients in the soup is boiled cucumber and that was enough to put a halt on that project. Screeching halt! No excuses for the honey roasted cherry tomatoes!

potato pizza slice

The pizza dough is based on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s magic bread dough recipe that combines equal amounts of all-purpose and bread flour. The dough is super easy to make and also rolls thinly without causing any frustration on the pizza dough maker. This pizza packs a punch by using new boiled potatoes, caramelized onions with fresh rosemary, and sharp and salty blue cheese.

We enjoyed the pizza with some extra chopped walnuts! However, in my humble opinion it could take way more onions and potatoes that the recipe calls for. I would have preferred to use raw potatoes instead of boiled potatoes – the taste once the pizza is baked is better. My go to potato pizza is David Rocco’s Pizza Patate e Rosmarino and he uses super thinly sliced raw potatoes. It would be cool to combine the two recipes for a turbo-charged flavorful pizza!

Phylloccine Ice Cream Sandwiches

This week our Tuesday with Dorie baking group is making ice cream sandwiches with phyllo. The name is quite fancy but the dessert is a snap to assemble. The recipe is by contributing baker Gale Gand.

All you need to do is to make phyllo fettuccine aka phylloccine, layer your favorite ice cream, and top everything with some sliced berries. Since my phyllo layers ended up being on the puffy side, I served half an ice cream sandwich with vanilla ice cream and finished it with some baked figs with honey and pistachios.

Hmmm…Not sure I was crazy to eat this particular combination of flavors and textures, but it was fun to make this dessert. My mom actually makes baklava with phyllo fettuccine and it works out quite well!

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Savory Wheat Crackers

When I think about crackers, almost instantly I hear in my head: “Snackers crave crackers!” repeated gazillions of times. This week our Tuesday with Dorie baking group is cracking it up with Savory Wheat Crackers by contributing bakers Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

The ingredients for the recipe are the usual basic suspects: whole wheat flour, water, and salt. The seeds that are sprinkled on top of the crackers: sesame, anise, and nigella, are the more intriguing ones.

savory_crackers

If you are wondering what the heck are nigella seeds, they are not Nigella Lawson’s signature creation but a part of the nigella sativa plant and also known as black cumin. I had tasted nigella seeds in the past, typically sprinkled on flat breads but I had never purchased any.

So off I went to my favorite Iranian store where I presumably bought nigella seeds. I found a little box with tiny black things inside with no labeling or anything on it. At the cash register, I asked about the contents of the box, but in return I only got the Farsi name of the product I was buying. I was worried I am buying coal! The lady I spoke with kept pointing towards her eyes when she was trying to craft a story about that mystery ingredient. And I gave in…I bought the box and kept thinking that if we ingest some coal it won’t be that bad. Activated carbon is used to treat poisoning after all. So after I mixed the dough for the crackers, I assumed the role of the test subject and chewed a few of the black thingies. I enjoyed the taste so I topped the crackers with them. I am still not 100% sure they were nigella seeds but they sure looked the part :)

savory_wheat_crackers

If you have a pasta machine, rolling the dough for the crackers is super fast and efficient. The baking time for my crackers was around the 7 min mark. We enjoyed the crackers with soup and for some late night snacking on their own. Taste-wise they are similar to toasted pitas. Not a bad recipe but nothing worth a wow either.

Follow the link to the recipe.

Tropical Napoleons

This week our TWD baking group is having a Tropical stay-cation. We are baking Tropical Napoleons by contributing baker Charlotte Akoto.

The Napoleon is made by layering paper-thin meringue wafers, rum flavoured whipped cream, and tropical fruits. Since there is quite a bit of coconut in the wafers, I decided to stay true to the coconut theme. Instead of using whipped cream (not a fan as you know), I whipped some full fat coconut milk. I also replaced the sweetened flaked coconut with regular flaked coconut and the desert was still on the sweet side.

tropical napoleon

The challenge with this recipe is shaping and baking the meringue wafers. You do need to make your own plastic template so you could spread the meringue batter in concentric circles on the baking sheet. Here is a link to the video showing this interesting technique. I simply loved doing that!

napoleon

I baked the wafers on parchment paper – no flouring and buttering, that is. The challenging part was trying to remove the wafers once they were baked. You need to slip a metal spatula under each wafer and push the spatula against the baking sheet, not the wafer. Two slightly broke. I blamed it on the late night baking…So I left the wafers on the baking sheets in the still slightly warm oven and I started imagining what am I going to do with crumbled meringue wafers. When I got ready to assemble the Napoleons, the wafers pulled out from the baking sheets as magic!

napoleon layers

Tropical Napoleons with whipped coconut milk, mangoes, and kiwis were our special desert for Victoria Day! The wafers tasted more like macaroons than like meringue cookies but we loved the sesame seeds and extra coconut on top.

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

Scallop and Pesto Purses

If you are looking for a fancy appetizer, you might be in luck with this week’s recipe of our TWD baking group. How does Scallop and Pesto Purses sound? The recipe is by contributing baker Gale Gand and it is for a crispy buttery phyllo dough with a savory filling. Kinda like tiny spanokopitas.

Phyllo Purses

The original recipe is using scallops and pesto. Not fans of scallop here so I went with a vegetarian option and made the purses with a thick paste of sun-dried tomatoes (sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, parmigiano, and basil), roasted eggplant, green onion, and creamy goat cheese. Hello Mediterrenean Purses! Eaten hot from the oven, the purses were delicious!

And  a view from the top

Phyllo Purse

The only con is that the purses were not bite-sized. I counted at least three bites ☺ Not sure how well this will fare off at a cocktail party when the crispy phyllo starts flying around. Just saying…

The recipe could be found in Baking with Julia. If you decide to try the recipe, I would recommend:

1. Buttering well the phyllo dough with a pastry brush.
2. If you are using any pesto for the filling, go with a really thick one, otherwise you will end up with soggy purses.
3. Baking the phyllo purses at lower oven temperature – 325F or 350F for a shorter amount of time. Mine were ready in less than 10 minutes.
4. Skipping the string to tie the purses. Maybe using chives instead?
5. Clarifying the butter is also optional, at least for me.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Cantuccini

It is time to test a classic Italian recipe by contributing baker Nick Malgieri.

On Sunday I was hoping that after I do all the food prep for the week, I will get myself a glass of vino and enjoy a marathon of Scandal. Midway through veggie chopping, I was imagining how I have to measure ingredients, wash mixer bowls and mixer attachments after making this week’s cookie recipe. No, I had not read the recipe just yet and this is what happens when you are pre-programmed from your previous biscotti baking experiences. I was in for a pleasant surprise!

No matter if you call them cantuccini or biscotti di Prato, these cookies are super fast and simple to make. In less than five minutes you could have them in the oven with only one mixing bowl to wash. Although the recipe states to knead the dough on the counter, I did that in the mixing bowl.

It would be interesting to try the original recipe used by Antonio Mattei when he first made these in the nineteenth century in the small city of Prato. Nowadays the dough is made with cake pastry flour, 18% of the dough is almonds, 1% of the dough is pine nuts, and more egg yolks than egg whites.

Cantuccini by Nick Malgieri

I subbed the white sugar for raw coconut sugar and the cantuccini are deliciously crunchy! The first baking took around 20 minutes and the second baking – less than 10 minutes. So good!

Here is the recipe. All proportions are the same except for the baking powder. In Baking with Julia, Nick calls for 2 tsp baking powder.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Potato Lefse

Happy Tuesday! Potato Lefse by contributing baker Beatrice Ojakangas is on the menu today for our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group.

Call it childhood programming but I like my pancakes on Sunday. One of my favorite pictures of my mom is in our kitchen holding the crepe spatula :) I like crepes, I like pancakes and I looooove waffles! I can’t deny it but I am always up for experimenting and trying a new recipe. OK, I am getting up the couch and confession time is over…

potato lefse

If you are new to lefse, try not to get discouraged after reading an authentic Norwegian recipe and counting the number of rarely used kitchen utensils that you need to have in order to enjoy potato pancakes. Potato ricer, griddle, grooved rolling pin, lefse stick, and lefse cozy are all part of the lefse batterie de cuisine. Making the rich mashed potato-based dough is easy by using a potato masher for the potatoes, rolling pin for transferring the rolled out pancake to the pan, and a cast iron skillet to bake the lefse.

The lefse ingredients are easy to find in each kitchen: potatoes, butter, cream, sugar, and flour. If you feel like experimenting, try equal amounts of oat flour and all-purpose flour – it is really tasty, believe me!

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Transferring the lefse to the pan. You could still see tiny potato pieces in the dough.

Traditionally , lefse are enjoyed heavily buttered and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. We enjoyed them for lunch with roasted eggplant and tahini dip, crumbled feta, green garbanzos, lettuce and tomatoes. Next day they still tasted good after being warmed up in a skillet. And I am not explaining why the peanut butter jar is e-m-p-t-y!

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More like a tortilla than a pancake but still good!

Here is Beatrice Ojakangas in action.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Mocha Brownie Cake

This recipe for Mocha Brownie Cake is from Marcel Desaulniers, the world-renowned guru of ganache and the author behind ‘Death by Chocolate’. It takes a bit of a commitment to make this cake, but the resulting chocolate blackout is amazing!

Mocha Brownie Cake

I might be a bit too late to join the small dessert party. I still don’t know if I will ever claim that I have had a life-changing experience eating a cupcake that would throw me in baking cupcakes in all imaginable colors and flavors for years to come. Never the less, small cakes are perfect serving size and you do not have to worry about dirtying a knife and figuring how to best cut a cake sans a cutting guide…

Mocha Brownie Cake

Can you believe this cake is gluten, grain, and dairy free? So delicious and so mini and without any resemblance to a cupcake! The original recipe makes a 9-inch cake and uses dairy and all-purpose flour.

 
Mocha Brownie Cake
Adapted from Baking with Julia

Makes a 3.5 inch cake.

Ingredients

Cake

2 tbsp and 1 tsp Bob’s Red Mills hazelnut meal
1 ml baking powder
pinch of salt
25 gr dark chocolate, melted
15 gr unsweetened chocolate, melted
15 gr coconut oil
1 egg
50 ml coconut sugar
1 ml pure vanilla
2 tsp coconut yogurt

Ganache

70 grams dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
¼ cup coconut milk
1 tsp strong espresso

Directions

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of three generously buttered (use coconut oil, if you would like) ramekins with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together hazelnut meal, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Melt together the dark chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and coconut oil.
  4. Mix the egg, coconut sugar and vanilla until the mixture doubles in volume. Slowly add the melted and cooled chocolate.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients into the melted chocolate mixture.
  6. Add the yogurt and mix until well incorporated into the batter.
  7. Divide the batter into three ramekins.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of cakes come out clean.
  9. Cool the cake completely.
  10. For the ganache, combine the coconut milk, chocolate, and espresso in a small pan. Heat over very low heat until the chocolate has melted.
  11. To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake and spread it with one 1/3 of the chocolate ganache. Refrigerate the cake until ganache is set, about 5-10 min. Repeat with the remaining layers. Pour the remaining ganache over the top and the sides of the cake. Allow the icing to set in the refrigerator for an hour.

Buttermilk Scones

Time for buttermilk scones by Marion Cunningham! Sounds like a high-tea snack, does it not? If you are wondering what are the tender secrets shared between British scones and Southern biscuits, you might enjoy reading this article in the New York Times.

Buttermilk Scone with Caramelized Onion and Parsley

Call it a coincidence, but I just finished reading Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone. Ruth shares the story how she had met Marion Cunningham for a first time at a party honoring James Beard. She describes her as a tall blonde with turquoise eyes, silvery blonde hair pulled in a low ponytail and goes on to exclaim that Marion is “the most beautiful old person” she had ever seen. If you would like to see Marion in action preparing the buttermilk scones, please visit PBS.

Buttermilk Scone with Caramelized Onion and Parsley

I reduced the sugar in half from the original recipe and I added some spices, fresh herbs, and caramelized onions. We enjoyed scone sandwiches for lunch on the weekend with avo, turbo stinky goat cheese, walnuts, and red peppers. The recipe is super easy and forgiving and you could add whatever extra ingredients (nuts, seeds, dried fruits, chocolate, herbs, cheese) you are in the mood for.

Buttermilk Scone with Caramelizef Onion and Parsley

 Happy Birthday, Mom!

 Buttermilk Scones with Caramelized Onion and Parsley

Adapted from Baking with Julia

 Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 ½ tsp non-aluminum double acting baking powder ( I use Bob’s Red Mill Baking Powder.)
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
1 ½ sticks (6 oz) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup + 2Tbs buttermilk
1 tbs lemon zest
½ cup caramelized onions
½ cup parsley, finely chopped

 Directions

  1. Position the oven rack in the middle and heat the oven to 425 F.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, black pepper and mustard powder.
  3. Add the cold butter pieces and using your fingers work the butter into the dry ingredients until the largest pieces of butter are about the size of peas.
  4. Add the buttermilk, lemon zest, caramelized onions, and parsley. Mix with a fork until the ingredients are just moistened and the dough holds together into a ball.
  5. Knead the dough very briefly on a floured surface and cut the dough in half.
  6. Shape one piece of dough into a 7-inch circle, ½ inch think. Cut the circle into six triangles and place on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake the scones for 10-12 minutes until golden.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Caramelized Onions – Slow Cooker Method

*This is the best method! I put the slow cooker on the patio and all the onion smell is eliminated.

 Cut onions thinly in half moons. Toss gently with 2 tbs of grapeseed oil/olive oil and cook on high for 10-12 hours. Stir the onions a couple of times during cooking.

Chocolate-Mascarpone Mini Cheesecakes

This week our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group is trying to seduce the most serious cheesecake lovers with a scrumptious dessert! The recipe for the Chocolate-Mascarpone Cheesecake is by contributing baker David Ogonowski and it contains cream cheese, mascarpone, sour cream, and dark chocolate.

choco mascarpone cheesecake

Is your heart starting to beat a little bit faster after reading the ingredients list?

This cheesecake contains all-purpose flour. Since I was on a mission to make this beauty gluten-free, I used Bob’s Red Mills Hazelnut Meal. When prepping the cake I was also getting dinner ready. The joys of multitasking! Beets, fennel and orange salad was on the menu that night. So no surprises here that the orange zest ended up in the cheesecake batter. The decision to use full-fat ricotta instead of mascarpone cheese was made when grocery shopping the previous day. Hello, Scrambled Eggs with Ricotta and Caramelized Onions!

The original recipe makes an 8-inch cake and it encourages you to use your favorite type of cookie crumbs for the crust. My gluten-free crust was from ground hazelnuts, coconut sugar, and coconut oil. I used 1/3 of the recipe and ended up with 12 mini cheesecakes baked in a 12-cup muffin pan.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Chocolate-Mascarpone Mini Cheesecakes

Adapted from Baking with Julia

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup hazelnuts
1 tbs coconut sugar
3 tbs coconut oil, melted

Filling

230 gr cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup Bob’s Red Mills hazelnut meal
¼ tsp vanilla
orange zest from one orange
75 gr full-fat ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
40 ml sour cream
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Directions

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts with the coconut sugar until finely ground. Add the coconut oil and pulse until the mixture resembles moist sand. Press the crumbs into the muffin pan (approximately 2 tbs per cup). Bake for 10 minutes.

3. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at low speed for 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating for another 3-4 minutes. Add the hazelnut meal, vanilla, orange zest, and ricotta and beat just until incorporated.

4. Add the egg and beat the mixture until well mixed. Add the sour cream and mix until well incorporated.

5. Melt the chocolate and add 1 cup of the cheesecake mixture into the warm melted chocolate. Then mix the chocolate into the cake batter.

6. Place the muffin pan into a roasting pan and place on the center rack of the oven. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the muffin pan. Bake the mini cheesecakes for 15 minutes.

7. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and cool to room temperature. Chill the mini cheesecakes for at least 6 hours before serving.

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