Tag Archives: Recipes
Post by Alison Hein.
Throughout the course of the year, you won’t find much jam in my pantry. Maybe a jar of strawberry in the fridge, perhaps a blueberry variety in the cabinet. But that all changes at Christmas time, when I purchase every flavor and color I can find: blackberry, raspberry, peach, orange….even lemon and lime… in order to satisfy everyone’s favorite cookie craving and my pursuit of a colorful holiday platter.
So just about now, I find myself with a refrigerator full of jam, each jar missing only a spoonful or two. What to do? Bake Jammer Biscuits – simple drop biscuits dressed up and shiny with pretty fruit filling. Lightly sweetened and quick to prepare, Jammers are tasty either hot or cold. Let your kids help you bake – they’ll love making little biscuit craters and filling them to the brim with gooey jam.
Then, in a mere 12 minutes, they’ll be feasting on the fruits (ha,ha) of their labor. Crispy outside, melt-in-your-mouth soft middle, just begging for a tall glass of ice cold milk or a mug of hot, hot coffee. Jammers are just right for a grab and go bite or a mid-morning snack; better yet for a jammy breakfast in bed.
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
¼ cup to ½ cup jam
Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly grease baking sheet and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and mix with flour, using a pastry cutter if you like, until mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir vinegar into milk. (You can also use buttermilk in place of the milk and vinegar, if you like.) Pour all at once into flour mixture, and stir until just mixed.
Drop batter onto prepared baking sheet using a greased ¼-cup measure. Grease the back of a spoon, and use to make crater-like indentations in tops of biscuits. Fill each biscuit with approximately 2 teaspoons of jam. Bake until crispy and golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes 8 biscuits.
Post by Alison Hein.
My husband and I were just leaving our favorite local Italian restaurant recently when the owner stopped us. “Merry Christmas!”, Antoinette said, as she raced after us and thrust a jaunty red-packaged Panettone in our direction. I happily accepted the gift, as the holiday season would be incomplete without at least one of these airy, fruit-filled sweet breads added to my holiday larder.
Sadly, the abundance of homemade temptations during this season – from cookies to chocolate to cheesecake – is often so overwhelming that the poor panettone may be overlooked. In this case, I will make French toast, or what I like to call Italian PaneToast.
Panettone is tall (6 to 7 inches) and is typically shaped like a chef’s toque. Its airy, angel food cake-like consistency comes from the long and slow rising process of the dough which can last several days. Traditional varieties include both dark and golden raisins, candied orange, citron and lemon zest. Less common types may include chocolate, chestnuts, or other types of fruit.
Open the package and a spicy citrus-vanilla scent is released. The panettone is so flavor-filled that only egg and milk are needed for the toast. (Well, maybe just a drop of alcohol, too, as it’s traditional to serve panettone with a sweet cordial. ;-)) Cut the bread in thick wedges – the sweet bread’s dough is so light and airy that the custardy toast browns to perfection in mere minutes.
There are many intriguing legends about the origin of panettone, from a nobleman posing as a pastry chef for love of a baker’s daughter, to a young kitchen assistant inventing the sweet bread when the chief cook had no Christmas dessert to offer. Start your own intriguing legend, with a new holiday tradition of Italian PaneToast breakfast in bed.
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon Frangelico or Amaretto (optional)
8 wedge-slices Panettone
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
Confectioner’s sugar, for garnish
In large, shallow bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add Frangelico or Amaretto if using. Dip panettone slices into the egg mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy skillet. Add panettone and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, adding more butter as needed. Place two slices of Panetonne on each of 4 plates, sprinkle lightly with confectioner’s sugar if you like. Serve warm with maple syrup.
Makes 4 servings.
Post by Alison Hein
I recently picked up a small smoked ham from my favorite German butcher. Perfectly sized for a dinner for two, it needed only half an hour in the oven to bring out its delicious smoky flavor. Roasted baby potatoes and pan-fried Italian zucchini completed the evening menu.
Seeking inspiration for breakfast the next morning, I spied the scant slices of ham in my fridge. That’s when this got stuck in my head:
Do you like
green eggs and ham?
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
I do not like
green eggs and ham.
It was more than 50 years ago that Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) penned this now ubiquitous verse. Many of us have taught our children to read with the help of Sam-I-am, beloved character in one of the most famous children’s books of all time. What better inspiration was I hoping to find behind my refrigerator door? So I went with it. For the “green”, I used a bunch of fresh baby spinach leaves (I probably would have used the pan-fried zucchini, but we had polished that off the night before).
Fortunately, a handful of roasted baby potatoes still remained. Sliced super-thin, tossed with olive oil into a hot pan, and seasoned liberally with salt, pepper and paprika, they were the perfect companion for my green, ubiquitous breakfast in bed.
Of course I like green eggs and ham, and I’m pretty sure you will too. Thank you, thank you, Sam-I-am. ☺
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup loosely packed fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon milk or cream
2 to 3 ounces thick-cut smoked ham, cut into approximately ¼-inch cubes
Heat olive oil in small, heavy pan over medium heat. Place baby spinach leaves in pan and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low. Break eggs into small bowl and whisk well with milk or cream. Add eggs to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently, folding over around wilted spinach. Stir and lift frequently with wooden spoon to avoid sticking. Toward the end of cooking, add cubed ham to the top of the eggs, just to heat through.
Slide green eggs and ham out onto plate. Serve immediately. Add a side of home fries, if you like.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Alison Hein.
There’s an old story about the discovery of butter: a nomad filled his skin bag with goat milk, strapped the bag across his mount, and rode across the desert from dawn to dusk. When setting up camp that evening, he was surprised to see that his forgotten milk had turned into a thick, yellow, tasty substance.
The scientific process of creating butter includes agitating whole cream until the fragile membranes that surround milk fat are broken, allowing fat droplets to form and join. More churning hastens the separation of cream into butter and buttermilk. In other words, if you shake, beat, or whip cream long enough, you will eventually get butter.
Perhaps you think this is time-consuming and unnecessary. All that will change as soon as you taste your first sweet and salty bite of thick, yellow, homemade butter. Have your kids help with the preparation, and watch their eyes widen as white turns to yellow, and cream turns to butter. Slather some on thick, crisped toast, and rediscover the perfect, homemade breakfast in bed.
1 pint heavy cream
1 teaspoon large-grain salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (optional)
Pour heavy cream into large, deep bowl to prevent excess splatter. Using an electric mixer, beat cream on high until whipped cream begins to form. Keep beating, until cream begins to flatten and turns slightly yellow. Continue to beat until butter clumps form, and buttermilk separates from solids. Depending on your mixer, this process will take between 7 and 10 minutes.
Pour butter and buttermilk into colander to drain. If you plan to retain buttermilk for cooking or baking, be sure to drain butter into a large clean bowl. After draining, rinse butter well with cold water, then squeeze and knead by hand until all liquid is removed from butter.
Place a sheet of waxed paper in a 4-inch by 4-inch square dish. Spread butter on top of waxed paper to form an even layer, and fill the square dish. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Trim to desired shape. Sprinkle with salt and fresh thyme leaves.
- Salted butter – add salt to cream before whipping.
- Sweet butter – make Maple Butter or Honey Butter
- Herbed butter – for a savory butter, add a variety of fresh herbs and spices to soft butter. Form into a log on a sheet of waxed paper. Slice into rounds and use to top toasted bread, roasted potatoes, or grilled steak
Makes approximately 5 to 6 ounces butter.
Post by Alison Hein.
Summer has ended. The sweet, colorful heirloom tomatoes we’ve been enjoying all season are dwindling at local farmer’s markets, slowly being replaced by staunch winter squash and hardy pumpkins. Definitely time to make a few last minute heirloom purchases, and showcase some in these lovely, summer-to-fall baked tartelettes.
Make your own pie crust for a real homemade treat, or substitute store-bought if you don’t have time to fuss. I like to make a very plain filling that adds body, but allows the lush, juicy summer heirloom flavors to shine through. Warm, light ricotta plays nicely with the crisp, autumnal bite of homemade crust. Fresh basil adds color and a snap of freshness after baking. Nice for a cozy, summer-to-fall breakfast in bed.
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water
1/3 cup butter
2 cups ricotta cheese
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and white pepper, to taste
2 Heirloom tomatoes, varied colors
Fresh basil, for garnish
To make crust, sift together flour and salt. Remove half of the flour mixture and add to a separate small bowl. Add water to flour mixture and stir to make a paste. Cut butter into small cubes and cut into remaining flour mixture, using a pastry cutter or two forks. Mix all ingredients together until a smooth, uniform dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove dough from refrigerator and cut in half. Gently roll out one piece of dough on a lightly floured board, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Roll dough to form a circle several inches larger than your pie pan, to accommodate sides and edges of pan. Fold circle of dough in half, gently lift, and place on top of pie pan. Trim, and form edges by making a fluted pattern, or you can press the dough down against the rim of the pie pan with a fork. Again using a fork, pierce bottom of dough in several places, which helps to keep dough flat as it bakes. If you like, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit pan, and weigh down with pie weights or dry beans. Repeat for second tartlette. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes, until crust is lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Make filling while pie crusts are cooling. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, eggs, rosemary, salt, and white pepper. Divide filling evenly among pie crusts. Slice heirloom tomatoes about ¼ inch thick. Cut and arrange tomatoes on top of ricotta filling, alternating colors and shapes as necessary. Reduce oven heat to 325° and bake filled tartlettes for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling is set. Let cool at least one hour before serving. Garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy slightly warmed or at room temperature.
Makes 2 6-inch tartelettes.