Tag Archives: Recipes
Post by Alison Hein.
Fleeting things are special – the rosy, amber hues of the setting sun; long, balmy summer days; and puffed-up, golden soufflés, just waiting to be devoured.
Soufflés are a little tricky, but perhaps not as complicated as you think. Try to follow these rules when making them:
- Be gentle when folding the beaten egg whites into the batter. The aerated whites are what give you the rise. Just go slowly – lift and fold, lift and fold – and suddenly your batter will be mixed and light.
- Do not open the oven door to peek at your soufflés until they have been baking for at least 20 minutes. The sudden change in temperature may cause them to drop.
- Have everyone ready and waiting at the table with spoons in hand. When finished baking, the soufflés will only stay puffed up (and super impressive) for a few minutes. This is the part you want everyone to experience (and admire).
Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, soufflés are immeasurably variable – sweet or savory, spicy or mild. Try using different cheeses for a quick change. I used a quattro fromaggio blend which gave the soufflés a little kick. Swiss provides a lovely mellow flavor, and tangy cheddar turns a beautiful orangey gold.
Whip some up. Indulge in the pleasures of a fleeting (and impressive) breakfast in bed.
2 tablespoons unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs, separated
¼ cup grated cheese
6 4-inch ramekins
Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly spray each ramekin with cooking spray. Sprinkle breadcrumbs in ramekins, tapping and turning to lightly cover bottom and sides, discarding any excess.
Melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Beat in egg yolks one at a time.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into egg batter, then fold in grated cheese. Fill each of the ramekins with batter – they should be about ¾ full. Tap the bottoms of the ramekins lightly on the work surface so batter fills the bottom, then smooth the top with a butter knife.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until soufflés are puffed up and lightly browned. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
Post by: Alison Hein.
Profiteroles (aka cream puffs) are a divine bite of sweet something encased in an airy puff of a shell. Filled with the delight of your choice (ice cream, fruit, whipped cream, etc.), they make an impressive dessert, and sometimes an exceedingly decadent, melt-in-your-mouth breakfast in bed.
In this recipe, the airy, crêpe-like shells are filled with homemade Vanilla Pudding and topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Tiny lids are propped upon the cream and dusted with a fine powder of confectioner’s sugar. Tangy, colorful raspberries and blueberries balance and garnish the dish.
½ cup water
¼ cup butter
½ cup flour, sifted
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
Add water and butter to small, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Mix in flour all at once. Stir continuously, until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball, about 1 minute. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Beat eggs into flour mixture one at a time. Continue to mix until batter is thick and smooth. Drop onto prepared sheet into 12 equal portions. Bake until puffed up and golden, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.
To assemble, gently slice profiteroles in half. Spoon some Vanilla Pudding (see recipe below) on top of one half. Cover with a spoonful of whipped cream. Place the top of the profiterole on the whipped cream. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with fresh berries, if you like.
Makes 12 profiteroles.
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
1 cup heavy cream (optional)
Combine sugar and flour in a heavy saucepan. Add milk, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk about one half of the milk mixture into the beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Return egg mixture to the saucepan. Bring again to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and cook for a few minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and salt. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours.
If you like, whip heavy cream, sweeten, and place on top of Profiteroles when ready to serve.
Post by Alison Hein.
Buckwheat, despite its name, is more closely related to sorrel and rhubarb than to wheat. In the usual way of confusing food etymology, the plant’s misleading name is derived from the Dutch “boecweite” or German “Buchweizen,” meaning “beech wheat.” The triangular seeds resembled the much larger seed of the beech nut, and the plant was used as a substitute for wheat in cooking and baking.
Cultivated and popularized around the globe, buckwheat was a common crop in the USduring the 18th and 19th centuries. The introduction of nitrogen fertilizer in the early 20th century led to an increase in corn and wheat production, and a sad but equal decrease in buckwheat cultivation. According to Wikipedia, more than one million acres of buckwheat were harvested in the United States in 1918, and by 1964, only 50,000 acres were grown.
Buckwheat is gluten-free and has an earthy, nut-like flavor and a deep richness. This good old-fashioned recipe for Buckwheat Pancakes calls for a cup of white flour – simply use two full cups of buckwheat flour if you want to keep it gluten-free. I like to separate the eggs and fold the beaten whites into the batter for a fluffier texture. If you’re in a hurry, simply beat the eggs into the batter. The cakes may be a little flatter but their griddled goodness will remain for an old-fashioned breakfast in bed that’s due for a revival.
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus additional butter for cooking
2 tablespoons honey
Combine buckwheat flour, white flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. In separate bowl, stir together milk and egg yolks. Pour melted butter and honey into liquid mixture and stir well. Using a wooden spoon or hand mixer, gradually add liquid mixture to dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into batter.
Place pan or griddle on burner over medium to medium-low heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan for the first pancake. Ladle batter by ¼ cupfuls into pan and cook until small bubbles appear throughout pancakes. Flip once with spatula and continue cooking until rich brown, one to two minutes, adding more butter and adjusting heat as necessary. Keep warm while making the remainder of pancakes. Serve hot with real maple syrup.
Makes 8 to 10 4-inch diameter pancakes.
Post by Alison Hein.
My husband and I just took a trip to Washington, DC for a big family birthday celebration. Our party was Saturday night, and we planned to return home the next day, after a quick morning detour to see the flowering Yoshino cherry trees. Upon arriving, we realized the blossoms were mere days away from opening. My heart was set on photographing the flowery pink trees, so Kevin suggested I stay in DC a few days longer.
While the blossoms slowly opened, I took many lovely close-up shots of the airy rose-colored cherry blossoms – completing a slow circle around the Tidal Basin, pausing to capture the unique color and style of every tree. I’ve been home for a week now, and still see lush, pastel blooms every time I close my eyes. And so I was inspired to create luscious cherry pastries for this week’s post. They aren’t nearly as pretty, but they taste much better than the real deal (especially considering that the DC tree blossoms are edible only for birds).
So if you can’t get away this year to visit some cherry blossoms, enjoy some instead for a flowery springtime breakfast in bed.
2 puff pastry sheets (generally sold as 2 in a package)
1 egg, separated
4 ounces whipped cream cheese
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup cherry preserves
½ teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar for dusting flower tops
Thaw puff pastry sheets, per package instructions. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets and preheat oven to 350°. Lightly beat egg white and set aside. Whip together cream cheese and 2 tablespoons sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, flour, cherry preserves and vanilla to the cream cheese mixture and mix until smooth. Set aside.
Carefully unfold a pastry sheet onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll and trim each pastry sheet into a 16×8-inch rectangle. Cut into 8 equal 4 inch-squares. At each corner, ¼
inch from edge, cut a 1inch line in each direction, following the square edge of the corner. Repeat for the remaining three corners (see picture). Pick up each corner cut-away strip and bring to the center creating four loops. Pinch ends lightly to seal.
Spoon 1½ teaspoons of cherry cream cheese filling in the center of each pastry square. Place the pastries on the prepared baking sheet. Brush pastry crust with beaten egg white. Flip flat corners of each flower up to meet filling center and brush with more egg white to seal. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the blossoms are golden brown and filling is set. Transfer the pastries to a wire rack and let cool at least 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Makes 16 cherry blossoms.
Post by Alison Hein.
Some of you may recall Flowerpot Bread as a 70s fad, and right you would be. Baking with terra cotta, however, is an ancient process. The Greeks prized this method for its even heat and durability. Once you go through the fuss of seasoning your flowerpots, you can pull out this fun party trick anytime.
In this version, I’ve brushed the simple white bread loaves with a light egg wash and dotted them with poppy seeds. Any bread dough will work – just remember to fill up the pots only halfway at the first rise, and don’t let them get too tall at the second rise or they may topple over in the oven. The terra cotta holds a steady temperature, which helps keep even heat during baking, and also gives the rising a little boost.
Try it out on a lazy weekend – for a breakfast in bed packed full of surprise and delight.
3 new 4-inch terra cotta flowerpots
Vegetable oil for treating pots
A few days before baking bread, rub flowerpots all over with oil. Heat oven to 300°. Place oiled flowerpots on a baking tray, and bake in the oven for a few hours to seal and season. Let cool before using. Repeat process after use as needed to retain smooth oiled surface.
½ cup tepid water
1 tablespoon (2 packets) dry yeast
1½ cups milk
¼ cup sunflower oil
¼ cup honey
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 egg, separated
5½ cups white flour
Oil for rising
Flour for kneading and shaping loaves
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Add water to large food processor, or large bowl. Gently sprinkle yeast on top to cover surface. Set aside until yeast begins to activate, about 10 minutes.
Pour milk into small heavy pot over medium heat. Cook without stirring until the milk is scalded (tiny ripples begin to form across the top of the milk), about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then add oil, honey, salt and egg yolk to scalded milk. Retain egg white. When tepid, pour milk mixture into food processor or bowl. Gently pulse on food processor dough setting or stir until mixed in. Add white flour, about a cup at a time, until mixed in. If using food processor, gently pulse until dough is compressed and begins to pull away from side of bowl. Be careful not to over mix or dough will become tough. If making bread by hand, turn out onto floured board and knead gently for about five minutes. Add about ½ teaspoon oil to large bowl. Place dough in bowl. Turn and flip so oiled side faces up. Cover with light tea towel and set in warm, non-drafty place to rise. Let dough rise for about one hour, until doubled in size.
Punch down dough. Turn onto floured board and shape into 3 equal-sized balls. Oil flowerpots, and place one ball inside each pot. Dough should fill pot about halfway. Cover loaves with light tea towel and set in warm, non-drafty place to rise. Let loaves rise for about one hour, until dough is one to two inches over the top of the flowerpot.
Preheat oven to 350° about 15 minutes before dough is finished rising. Using a fork, beat egg white with about a teaspoon of water. Gently brush egg wash on top of loaves, then sprinkle each with a teaspoon of poppy seeds.
Place loaves in oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes until browned. Cool for at least 1 hour before removing from pots and slicing.
Makes 3 loaves.