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Asparagus and Potato Tart with Honey

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Who would have thought that honey would work so well with roasted asparagus, laying lusciously  on a bed of mashed buttermilk potatoes? I did not, but then inspiration struck, and boy am I glad that it did!

I’ve been looking through my french cookbooks, and sadly, while this is something that would come from a french cookbook it was inspired by Jamie Oliver. I believe the book I was looking at was At Home with Jamie, and I saw a photo (that’s all it took), with some white asparagus laying on a very velvety mound of mashed potatoes, encompassed in some puff pastry. I thought to myself, hell, I can do that, and so I did.

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Asparagus Tart with Potatoes and Honey

  • about 16 asparagus soldiers, trimmed of the tough stems
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes ( I added buttermilk when making mine, to make sure it was extra creamy)
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • salt and pepper, to taste (If mashed potatoes are not seasoned)
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • parmesan cheese, approx 1/4 cup
  • clover honey, how much you use is to your taste, or omit

Season mashed potatoes with salt and pepper, or wait to season (if not already seasoned) till it’s laid out on the pastry sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and grease. Lay out the puff pastry sheet (store bought is perfectly fine). Score the sheet so you get a 1/2 inch border. Make sure you use a sharp knife but don’t cut all the way through the pastry sheet. you can also use a fork to prick the sheet in the  middle to ensure it doesn’t get puffy with the ingredients on it.

Dollop the mashed potatoes on the sheet, making sure not to go over the border line. Smooth it out to an even layer of potatoes all around the pastry sheet.

Add the asparagus, laying them gently and closely together to make a line across the potatoes. You can add these in any lines you like: vertical, horizontal, or even diagonally. I did mine horizontally, but I rotated from left to right so it so that every other spear touched the left or the right side of the border (to get asparagus in every bite, essentially).

Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15-17 minutes. Make sure the pastry boarder is puffing but isn’t get golden. Turn up the temperature up to 400 degrees F and bake for another 5 minutes or so. Checking to make sure the edges don’t burn.

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Take out and let rest two minutes. Drizzle with honey (I used organic clover honey, but any honey flavor will work here. I expect avocado honey will be especially amazing here), then let sit for another 4-5 minutes to allow honey to get slightly absorbed. Cut into squares and serve.

Don't mind that shiny thing in the corner, that's my knife. I couldn't resist a bite!

Don’t mind that shiny thing in the corner, that’s my knife. I couldn’t resist a bite!

A Slow Start to the Holiday Season

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I’m not sure where to begin. But I suppose so people don’t think that I’ve disappeared I had to write a little something. Recently there has been a family emergency that I have had to step up and take care of. Not only for my sake, but for the sake of my mom. Honestly, I haven’t had the strength to do much of anything, including crocheting Boyfriend’s mom’s Christmas blanket (which is about 1/3 of the way done). I have cooked, and sadly, all those lovely apples that I picked  were wasted. I couldn’t bring myself to bake or care about anything under the circumstances.

Slowly, I’m getting back on my feet. I managed to make some ragu this weekend, as well as some ill-fated stuffed mushrooms (I’m sure I forgot to add…flavor? because they were sad little things), and as we speak/ write/ read I’m attempting to make Ranch Roasted Potatoes.

I’m any case, my slow progress is nonetheless, progress. And I promise a  steady turn around of recipes to come for the holiday season. Not to mention a bunch of crafts and home inspirations for the lovely months to come.

Tea Party II: Honey Pistachio Orange Cake on Thursday

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I got this recipe from Baked Bree. I’ve never made a simple cake like this before. The closest I’ve ever come would be coffee cakes, or tarts. In any case, as this was my first go I didn’t alter it at all, however, I think I added a bit more pistachios than necessary, but that’s never a bad thing.

Next time I think I’ll be adding orange juice into the batter, with some cranberries, or some other dried fruits. Anything would be great, which is why the versatility of this cake was as alluring as the promise of honey and pistachio goodness.

I would also recommend you try this with all-purpose gluten free flour from King Arthur as it’s only got 1 cup of flour in it. It shouldn’t change the recipe at all, not the flavor or texture. The cornmeal is gf as well as the rest of the ingredients. So it’s a winner no matter what your dietary needs!

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup honey, separated into 1/2 and 1/4 cups respectively
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, ground (I chopped mine up to add some more texture, and I added double the amount of pistachios)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • orange zest (about half an orange)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk, it was all I had and it turned out just lovely)
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice (to go with the 1/4 cup honey for a glaze)

**For the cream (optinal):

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese or mascarpone (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 pint berries (raspberries or strawberries)

Cream together butter and 1/2 cup honey until light and fluffy. While the butter is creaming, combine flour, cornmeal, pistachios, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, and add the orange zest. Add most of the flour mixture to the bowl. Add the milk, and then add the rest of the flour.

Pour the batter into a 9-inch cake pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

For the glaze: melt together the remaining 1/4 cup honey and orange juice over low heat. Using a toothpick, poke holes in the cake while the cake is still warm, and brush the honey mixture over the cake.

**To make the cream, beat the mascarpone or cream cheese for 30 seconds. Add the cream and honey. (I added a little more orange zest, I can’t resist zest.) Whip until soft peaks form.

Sour Cream Chocolate Coffee Cake for Weekend Mornings

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I’m having more time than usual with Boyfriend and I thought in case we’re going to be hiking, or running like mad men around the block, a burst of sugar in the morning could only help us in terms of energy.

This is were this coffee cake comes in. Not only does it have a full 12 oz of chocolate chips but it’s got over 2 cups of sugar in it (including the topping) and the hearty carbs in the cake part of the coffee cake will surly be a help when we’re out and about. At least that’s what I read happens to carbs and sugars when you’re active.

This is my first time experimenting with it in such a way. Usually, I go to my sofa and watch a good episode of  Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Either way, I think I’ll be happy.

Onto to recipe, which was taken from The Cherry On Top blog. I followed the recipe completely because I’ve never been one to experiment with coffee cakes, and in fact have only made 3 total.

 

Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt

Filling and Topping

  • 2 cups or 12 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan. If not nonstick coated, cover the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper. Set pan aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together into a separate bowl. Alternately mix in sour cream and then dry ingredients into butter mixture until both are used up and the batter is smooth and very thick. In a medium bowl, beat eggs whites until stiff, then fold into batter.

In a small dish, whisk together sugar and cinnamon for filling and topping.

Spread half the cake batter in the bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of cinnamon-sugar mixture and 1 cup of chocolate chips. Dollop remaining cake batter over filling in spoonfuls. Use a rubber or offset spatula to gently spread it over the filling and smooth the top.

Sprinkle batter with remaining cinnamon-sugar and remaining chocolate chips. With the palm of your hand, ever-so-gently press the chocolate chips a bit into the batter. No need to submerge them, you just want to make sure they adhere bit.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

That’s not overcooked cake, I just overdid it on the cinnamon.

 

Sunday Cinnamon Rolls

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This was my first attempt at cinnamon rolls. I have a recipe for the Pioneer Woman’s Maple Rolls but I just felt like before I try her recipe out (that calls for enough rolls to feed the entire parish!) I decided a smaller recipe would be better.

Making the dough was probably the most fun for me. I don’t know how I would have done it without Kermit (my Kitchenaid). In any case, it was soft, and gooey, and sweet and amazing.

The lack of pictures is simply because you can’t really accurately show the dough rising unless it’s in a glass bowl, which I don’t own. Other than that, the kneading is self explanatory. If you’ve made any sort of bread before that required lots of patience and rising time, you’re already half way to knowing how to complete this recipe.

This recipe came from Dulce Dough, and for me yielded about 15 rolls.

Rolls

  • 3 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Attach dough hook to stand mixer and in the mixer bowl combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.  Heat milk at a low power in the microwave until lukewarm (120°F-130°F). Add the warm milk, 1/4 cup butter and egg to the flour mixture and mix at a low speed until ingredients are combined, scraping sides of bowl frequently.

Continue to add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Spray bowl with cooking spray and place dough in bowl, turning once to bring greased side of dough up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour).

Punch down dough, pull edges into center, and turn over in the bowl; let rise again until almost double in size (about 20-30 minutes). While dough is rising, combine sugar and cinnamon for filling.

Roll dough into 9″x18″ rectangle then spread 2 tablespoons softened butter over dough and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Roll up tightly beginning at wide side and seal well by pinching edges of roll together. Cut roll into 1″ slices by placing a piece of dental floss under roll, bringing ends of floss up and crossing at the top and pulling the ends in opposite directions, cutting through the dough.

Spray 9″x13″ pan with cooking spray and place rolls in pan a little apart from each other. Cover pan and let rise until double in bulk (about 20-30 minutes).

Bake in a 375°F oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and completely baked through.

To make glaze, combine powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, and vanilla in a small bowl; gradually stir in milk until desired consistency.

Cool rolls for about 5 minutes, then spread or drizzle glaze over rolls and serve warm.

Thursday’s “Meatless Monday” Inspired Breakfast Treat

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As you may know I’m in love with blueberries, lately. I know once blackberry season starts back up then I’ll be “in love” with blackberries, and forgot about my blueberries till I go into my freezer around Fall.

I got this lovely post in my email about “meatless Monday” from Prevention RD. I bookmarked the link to make this delicious breakfast food as soon as I got home but I couldn’t move.

Over the weekend I got a sunburn, I felt weak, and hot, and my legs were on fire, and I couldn’t even do my daily pilates routine before dinner. I was craving anything but homemade baked goods. Instead, I really wanted frozen pizza.

Luckily, I didn’t have that, and as I’m feeling much better (thanks to time, and aloe vera), Thursday will have to be the day to make this Monday dish.

Lemon Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

  • 1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced (or whatever lemon you have handy)
  • 2 cups nonfat milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (FRESH! for me)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray.

Zest lemon; set zest aside. In a bowl, combine milk and juice from the zested lemon to make “buttermilk”.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, salt, spices, and lemon zest. In a small bowl, whisk together the “buttermilk”, butter, egg, and sugar.

Spoon half of the oat mixture into the baking dish, and then half of the blueberries. Add the remaining oat mixture and scatter the remaining blueberries on to the top, pressing them in slightly. Pour in the milk mixture and place in oven.

as you can see the milk mixture doesn’t cover both layers of the oatmeal. That’s completely fine.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the mixture is a light golden brown along the edges, and the center has set up.

The blog was nice enough to provide some nutrional information… though mine came out to be 200 calories because I used the almond milk.

 

 

original from site:

Nutrition Information (per serving): 399 calories; 10.5 g. fat; 49 mg. cholesterol; 486 mg. sodium; 67 g. carbohydrate; 7 g. fiber; 12.3 g. protein

Indian Roasted Potatoes

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I was flipping through Nigella’s Kitchen, and I saw that  it’s been a good long while since I’ve made my favorites from her collection. I’m usually inspired by her recipes and while I’ve made her Indian Roasted Potatoes in their original state before, I’ve decided to take my own spin on her classic.

  • 2 lbs yellow potatoes (washed and cut into cubes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oils
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • salt
  • half a garlic head
  • 1 lime
  • 1 medium leek

Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with foil, and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Take a simple ziplock bag and add the oil and spices.

Add the potatoes to the bag. Close the bag and shake and roll it around to coat all of the potatoes in the aromatic mixture.  Dump the whole thing onto the roasting dish you’ve prepared along with the garlic (you can bruise the garlic, or leave it whole with skins intact, regardless,  it’ll be delicious), season with salt to taste, and place into the oven for about 50 minutes.

If you’ve never worked with leeks before, they’re the easiest way to get an onion flavor into the dish, with great green color, and no stinging juices in the air. First, you take off about 1/2 the white roots, leaving the rest of the white part in-tact.  Then you cut off the bulk of the green, tough, and dry bits. You should be left with about 4-5 inches of greenery. You take the first layer and chuck in the garbage.

Leeks are dirty because they grown in the ground, don’t worry, just have the faucet ready as you strip each layer down and rinse it at you go. Then you line them up and cut into 1/4 inch rings.

Place the leeks in a bowl with the juice of one lime and let marinade till the potatoes are ready.

When it’s time to take the potatoes out stir in the leeks and leave in oven with the temperature off for 10 minutes. Stir once more before serving!

 

 

For Dessert I made my lovely Blondies (also from Nigella’s Kitchen, and which I’ve already blogged about in previous months).