Tag Archives: cooking

Tomato and Sharp Cheddar Whole Wheat Tart

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When I was in high school my parents used to make me see a nutritionist because they were so worried about the amount of sugar I ate. I had to make a deal that I would eat at least one real meal a day consisting of no sugar and some protein. I had eating habits resembling that of 8 year olds and the Easter Bunny, and my parents were determined to change me. I’d like to think that since high school my diet has changed, although this blog has not helped my case. I no longer carry Gobstoppers at all times, and my one real meal a day has even increase to two. Making the parents proud.

I typically don’t include savory dishes, but this tart was too pretty to pass up. And the whole wheat crust was pretty life changing, so I decided to make an exception.

 

Whole Wheat Crust

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus more as needed

 

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and stir until evenly incorporated.
  3. Add the measured flour and stir until just combined and a soft dough forms.
  4. Sprinkle the dough over the bottom of a well buttered 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using a measuring cup or your fingers, evenly press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan (flour the cup occasionally to prevent sticking).

 

Filling

  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 7 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 finely sliced large tomato

 

  1. Beat eggs, thyme, salt and pepper until eggs begin to froth.
  2. Sprinkle the cheese on the bottom of the tart evenly.
  3. Arrange the slices of tomato over the cheese.
  4. Gently pour the egg mixture over the tomato.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 35 minutes or until egg mixture is set.

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Individual Peach Crisps

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I mentioned a few posts ago that I was going to be teaching with Just Simply Cuisine, and I’m happy to report back that everything went well. The only time my nerves showed, and broke my teaching facade, was when I started to shake while cutting the lemon bars. With cooking you can taste and modify, but with baking once the thing goes in the oven you are sh*t out of luck. As I cut the lemon squares I was flooded with all of the potential mistakes I could have made. They could be overcooked, too tart, not have enough sugar and did I even remember to add the flour?! At this point I’m pretty sure physical beads of sweat were dropping on to the squares and intermingling with the glaze. I didn’t even have a chance to try them before they were plated and passed to the students. Luckily people did not immediately upchuck, and if they were insulted by the flavor, they convincingly disguised it. Chris, the instructor, even invited me to teach again, which was the best compliment. Although now I know anxiety medicine is a prerequisite to teaching.

I have been experimenting with recipes and started with individual crisps. I figure there isn’t much room for error here, and plenty of room for creativity. I used this recipe as a base, but plan to modify it to include other stone fruits, and maybe even some berries. The great thing about this dessert is I can actually make one at a time. So the issue I faced with the excessive amount of lemon bars will not be repeated.

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Salted Caramel Brownies with Pretzel Crust

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When it comes to desserts, I am always trying to up the anti. Rice Krispies aren’t complete until they are doused in sprinkles and every quick bread needs dozens of add ins and some sort of glaze. Maybe one day I’ll be a purest but for now I want each dessert to be more extravagant than the last. Besides, plain chocolate chip cookies are not overly interesting to photograph… I want something with layers and textures and variety. Mission accomplished with these brownies. Find the recipe here.

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Lemon Bars with Thyme Crust

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I have been apprenticing at Just Simply Cuisine since January, and it has really been such an impactful experience. Chris Coppola is one of the best home cooks and I’ve learned endless tips and tricks from her. One of her best tricks is to store your fresh herbs in jars of water in your fridge. Honestly my herbs have outlasted everything from pad thai left overs, to horse radish hummus- really the works. My fridge looks like an overgrown garden and at the request of my roommates to tame the beast, I decided to put the herbs to good use in a dessert.

This Saturday I will be teaching her cooking class how to make Lemon Bars with Thyme Crust, and although I’ve been practicing, I have to admit I’m pretty nervous. I’ve made about a hundred squares  to prefect the recipe, so please stop by my apartment any time  and take them off my hands! My roommates are lemon squared out, so to the lobby  they go.

Lemon bars are obviously delicious on their own, but the thyme crust is a simple step that adds so much elegance. I don’t think any of my Oreo stuffed creations can be described as elegant, so I’m feeling semi sophisticated. Send good thoughts my way Saturday morning- screwing up in front of a big group of strangers does not sound ideal, so cross your fingers for me.

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Crust:
1 cup salted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar 
2 cups flour
1 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt

Lemon Layer:
7 large eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup flour
Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish

Lemon Glaze:
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 baking pan.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light. Combine the flour, thyme and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Pour the dough into the greased pan and press it into an even layer. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned.

For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the filling is set. Cool to room temperature.

For the lemon glaze, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice.  Add more or less sugar and/or juice for desired consistency.  Pour glaze over lemon bars and spread with a spatula to cover evenly. Cut into squares and garnish with fresh thyme. Enjoy!

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Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

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When your only grocery store options are the wildly overpriced Whole Foods and your corner Walgreens, a love affair with Trader Joe’s comes pretty naturally. The cashiers are usually all dime pieces, and they give out the most delicious samples. Just today I did a meatball tasting competition, and if you even had to ask if it they were delicious, you’ve clearly never been to TJ’s.

Whenever I want to bake but am feeling too lazy (let’s be honest, hungover) to do any grunt work, I rely on a TJ’s baking mix. This past weekend, after a particularly rough night singing karaoke, I picked up the coffeecake mix and a pint of blueberries. Can’t get much easier than that, and it’s about a quarter as much money as a reparative breakfast out.

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Rice Krispies Treats

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I often experiment with recipes, which can either end deliciously or with inedible crap and wasted time/ materials. I used to be bitter about failed experiments but after endless batches of failed bread puddings and cheesecakes you tend to get used to it. In fact, I just pulled a treat out of the oven that started off as chocolate chip cookies and ended in a dark chocolate, date fruit cake, so we’ll see how that turns out tomorrow. I ran out of butter, milk, and white sugar during the composition process so cross your fingers for me.

Rice Krispies Treats happen to be one of the sweets that are fool proof. You can’t go wrong melting butter and marshmallows and then adding cereal. And the beauty of Rice Krispies is that it allows some room for creativity. You can sub in Raisin Bran (although please don’t) and other cereals; or mix in sprinkles, chocolate chips or other candy. For this batch I stuck with two classics, Fruity Pebbles and peanut butter chip. Find the recipe here and feel free to express yourself through cereal.

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Espresso Brownies with Hot Chocolate Frosting

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For as long as I can remember I’ve always been obsessed with soda. It all started with the the invention of Pepsi Blue. I had never really been allowed soda before Pepsi Blue but for some reason was allowed to purchase this at any connivence store stop. Maybe my parents thought it was so disgusting and toxic looking, that we would be turned of soda forever. Or because it was limited edition, my brother and I would not be able to get addicted. How wrong they were. Nothing is more satisfying then drinking a liquid that closely resembles toilet cleaner in color, and battery acid in taste. Through my childhood this developed into a sickly obsession with overly sugary sodas. It took reaching the point that I couldn’t get out of bed without a Mountain Dew, to realize I needed to change.

Although it was hard to quit cold turkey, I switched my caffeine dependency to a healthier vice, coffee. I may over load my coffee with creamer and Stevia, but hey it’s better than Dr. Pepper right. I still have not mastered how to brew the desired amount of coffee, and decided to put the extra to good use in some brownies. As for the frosting, there are complimentary packets of hot chocolate in my apartment lobby. Best explanation I could come up with, but trust me it’s delicious…

Brownie recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/deep-dark-fudgy-brownies-recipe

Frosting recipe: http://cookiesandcups.com/hot-chocolate-frosting/

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