Monday, August 30, 2010

Apple-Bread Pudding Cake (made with Raisin Bread)

This is so autumnal. I liked it and am looking forward to trying it again when I can make my own chunky applesauce.

I used my bread machine to make cinnamon raisin bread for this recipe, so I'll include that recipe as well in case you have a bread machine. And if you don't, I highly recommend getting one. Toasted cinnamon raisin bread with butter is reason alone.

Apple-Bread Pudding Cake
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
2 1/2cups chunky applesauce
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs, separated
1 1-pound loaf sliced whole-wheat or cinnamon-raisin bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup apricot preserves

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan and line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; butter the foil.

Mix the applesauce, raisins, lemon zest and cinnamon in a bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter, milk and egg yolks in a shallow dish.

Dip half of the bread slices in the egg mixture and layer in the prepared pan, trimming as needed. Spread the applesauce mixture over the bread. Dip the remaining bread slices in the egg mixture and layer on top. Bake until the egg mixture is set and the bread is golden, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the egg whites and confectioners' sugar in a bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread the apricot preserves on top of the cake. Spread the egg-white mixture on top of the preserves, forming peaks with the back of a spoon. Return to the oven until the meringue is golden, 5 to 7 minutes.

Let the cake cool in the pan, about 1 hour. Lift out of the pan using the foil and slice into squares.


Raisin Bread
Courtesy of Oster

1 and 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dry milk
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup raisins (see note below)

Measure and add liquid ingredients to the bread pan. Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to the bread pan. Use your finger to form a welt (hole) in the flour where you will pour the yeast. Yeast must NEVER come into contact with a Liquid when you are adding ingredients. Measure the yeast and carefully pour it into the welt. Snap the baking pan into the bread machine and close the lid.

Press “Select” button to choose the Basic setting. Press the “Crust Color” button to choose light, medium or dark. Press the “Start/Stop” button.

When adding fruit ingredients like raisins. the bread machine will make a beeping signal during the kneading cycle (about 35 minutes into the cycle). When the bread machine beeps during the kneading cycle, raise the lid and sprinkle the raisins in, a few at a time, until they are kneaded with the dough.

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice

Tasty and easy.

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice
Courtesy of Cooking Light


1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups rinsed, drained canned black beans (1 [15-ounce] can), divided
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup cornmeal
Cooking spray
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

To prepare rice, cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; place rice in a large bowl. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pineapple; sauté 4 minutes or just until pineapple begins to brown. Add pineapple mixture, cilantro, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to rice in bowl; cover and keep warm. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.

To prepare patties, place 1 1/2 cups beans, garlic, cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl; partially mash with a fork. Place 1/2 cup remaining beans and egg white in a food processor; process 30 seconds or until well combined. Add bean puree to mashed beans in bowl, and stir until combined. Add cheese and onion to bean mixture; stir until combined. Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Place cornmeal in a shallow dish. Dredge both sides of each patty in cornmeal.

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Spoon about 1/2 cup rice onto each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 patty and 1 tablespoon sour cream.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Raisins

I had a lot of leftover rotisserie chicken from making the Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken, so I thought I'd try out this recipe. It's super tasty and a lovely alternative to my normal chicken salad.

Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Raisins
A variation on this recipe from Cooking Light

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons water
1 cup chopped or shredded rotisserie chicken
3/4 cup chopped apple (about 1 small)
1/3 cup diced celery
3 tablespoons raisins
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine mayonnaise, curry powder, and water in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add the chicken, chopped apple, celery, raisins, and salt; stir mixture well to combine. Cover and chill.

Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken

This is a great summer dish for a lighter dinner or a super contribution to a picnic. Using rotisserie chicken makes the prep really easy.

Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken
Courtesy of Cooking Light


3/4 cup uncooked orzo
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1/2 cup English cucumber, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain and place in a large bowl.

While orzo cooks, combine lemon rind and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper), stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle juice mixture over orzo; toss to coat. Add chicken and next 4 ingredients (through dill); toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with cheese.

Spiced Peach Muffins

Mmmm... The best of August and a taste of Fall all in one muffin.

Spiced Peach Muffins
A variation on this recipe from King Arthur Flour


4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups milk
4 peaches, diced
Granulated sugar

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, brown sugar, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in eggs, vegetable oil and milk, then gently stir in fruit. Grease 24 muffin cups (or line with muffin liners), and use ice cream scoop or spoon to pour batter into cups. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake at 400°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until muffins test done.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lavender Tea Lemonade

If you can find dried lavender, or if you have some lavender in your garden and want to dry it, this tea lemonade is awesome. It smells fantastic and tastes really good.

And I don't know if this is totally psychosomatic, but I also feel noticeably calmer whenever I drink it... Well, except when I'm dealing with two small children who are more than ready for school to start. Only 3 more weeks...

Lavender Tea Lemonade
Courtesy of Carole Braden

2 tablespoons organic lavender buds
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 3 lemons

In a large saucepan, bring 7 cups water to a low boil. In a bowl, carefully pour 4 cups of the water over the lavender and let steep for 10 minutes before straining. Pour the remaining 3 cups water over the sugar and stir until dissolved.

Combine the lavender and sugar mixtures in a pitcher and stir in the lemon juice. Serve over the ice.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Baked Peaches with Amaretti Stuffing

It's peach season, so it was time for me to try out some peach recipes. I had some leftover amaretti cookies from ages ago, which, thankfully, were still good, so this recipe jumped out at me.

It was simple and good. I think it could have been better with ice cream, but I didn't have any, so I whipped up some cream instead. I'm looking forward to trying out peaches in other dessert recipes while they're so tasty and fresh.

I used apple brandy since that's what I had on-hand, and my peaches took a little longer to soften and for the filling to get brown. But, as I've mentioned before, I'm not sure if that's because of my oven running funny these days. It could also have been because my peaches were on the larger side, so just keep that in mind when you're baking them.

Baked Peaches with Amaretti Stuffing
Courtesy of Italian - The Essence Of Mediterranean Cuisine via


4 ripe peaches
Juice 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup crushed amaretti cookies
2 tablespoons marsala or brandy
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a sharp knife, cut the peaches in half and remove pits. Do not peel the peaches. Take a small spoon and scoop out a bit of the flesh to enlarge the hollow. Place peaches in a shallow baking dish, cut sides up. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Place crushed amaretti cookies into a bowl and stir in the brandy or marsala (I used brandy). Let this mix sit for a few minutes to soften slightly. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Spoon the cookie mixture into each of the peach halves, mounding it up as needed.

Place into the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The topping will be slightly brown and the peaches will be fork tender.

Serve warm or at room temperature with freshly whipped cream or a generous scoop of ice cream!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mulligatawny Soup

I'm itching for Fall to arrive (as usual), so I thought this would be a good way to get some Fall flavors without heating up my kitchen too much. And it was a success! It was tasty and surprisingly low in calories. In fact, it's so low in calories that I felt the need to try it with a soft pretzel on the side, which was also quite successful.

This recipe could be easily doubled, which is definitely what I'll be doing next time. I also highly recommend using the chicken thighs. They really have such a deeper flavor, which adds a lot to the soup.

Mulligatawny Soup
Courtesy of


2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup peeled and chopped apple
1 cup chopped carrots
1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried minced onion flake
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons curry
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup long grain white rice (to add later)

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Put the chicken thighs into the bottom of your cooker, and add apple, carrots, the whole can of tomatoes, onion flakes, and raisins. Then add the lemon juice, spices, and broth. Stir to mix the spices.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Thirty minutes before you're ready to serve, shred the chicken with two big forks, and stir in the uncooked rice. Flip to high for 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Ladle into soup bowls.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lulu's Cupcakes

I made a version of these for Benjamin's 5th birthday celebration at school. I'm having a girls' night with a good friend tonight and offered to bring dinner and dessert and thought I'd try out the original recipe. I haven't tasted them yet, so I'll be back with a verdict... But for now, they look almost exactly like Hostess cupcakes, and I'm hoping they taste even better.

Edited to add: These were fabulous. A thousand times better than the Hostess ones, especially since they didn't include all the extra chemicals. YUM.

Lulu's Cupcakes
Courtesy of Lulu's Bake Shoppe, Boston, for Food Network Magazine


For the Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup marshmallow creme

For the Ganache and Icing:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Place paper liners in two 12-cup muffin pans.

Prepare the cupcakes:
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Bring the sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour into a large bowl; add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture has cooled slightly. Stir in the vanilla. Using a mixer, beat in the eggs, then mix in the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (about 1/4 cup batter per cupcake) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for about 25 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling:
Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream; beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream in batches, alternating after each addition. Beat in the marshmallow creme; set aside.

Prepare the ganache:
Place the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl. Heat the cream and 1 tablespoon butter until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate; let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla; let stand until cool but still glossy and liquid.

Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a medium tip. Insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top; fill until the cupcake is heavier (do not overfill). Dip the cupcake tops in the ganache. Chill for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing:
Using a mixer, beat the remaining 1 stick butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, the milk and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip; pipe onto the cupcakes to decorate.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tomato Sauce

I was given some homegrown tomatoes by my in-laws and have a ton of basil in my garden, so I thought it was time to make some tomato sauce. I tweaked an Alton Brown recipe since the reviews mentioned it having something missing from the flavor, and adding some extra garlic and basil seems to have done the trick.

I also kept the onion, garlic, and herbs in larger chunks in order for them not to burn since they were in the oven for a long time. I did end up taking everything out a little earlier than the recipe called for, but I think that had a lot to do with the fact that my oven seems to be cooking a little hotter these days (it's 24 years old and definitely coming to the end of its life).

I used it in the Easy Meatless Manicotti recipe, and it really did pump up the flavors.

Tomato Sauce

20 tomatoes, halved and seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, quartered
1 tablespoon oregano leaves
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 cup white wine
20 basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans place tomato halves cut side up. Sprinkle with oil, salt and pepper, onion, garlic, and herbs. Bake tomatoes for 2 hours. Check the tomatoes after 1 hour and turn down the heat if they seem to be cooking too quickly. Then turn the oven to 400°F and bake another 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and process tomatoes through a food mill on medium dye setting over a small saucepan (or pulse in a food processor). Add white wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Add chopped basil in the last 2 minutes of cooking.