Friday, May 20, 2011

FFWD Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad

When I was a child my grandmother made salads quite often during the summer. Fresh vegetables were always part of our diet. She always put blanched green beans, boiled potatoes and hard cooked eggs on a plate, with a wedge of lettuce. However, what I remember most of all were the picnic baskets she would pack for our trips to the Jersey Shore. The basket was always full of wonderful food. There would be boiled potatoes, hard cooked eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers and beans from my grandfathers garden. There would also be some cooked chicken and freshly picked peaches from our peach trees and watermelon! Wonderful memories of day trips to the Jersey Shore, a time when it was quaint and charming! My grandmother would pack the food and we would caravan to the shore with my three aunts and 10 grandchildren. There would be three cars and my Aunt Louise and Aunt Lillian would always drive. Halfway through our trip we would pull over at the same picnic place, where my grandfather would buy all the kids sodas. My grandmother would throw a tablecloth over the old wooden picnic tables and we would run around and let out some energy and of course eat a wonderful lunch. Life was so much slower then..the trip was part of the wonderful day! For some reason this salad brought back so many of those memories. Funny how some foods have that effect. I think it was seeing those cooked eggs on top of the salad.

One of the changes I made to my salad, was to add boiled potatoes. This salad was so simple and yet so good!  I actually planned on leftovers for dinner tonight, until I remembered it was Thursday and that meant I needed to make my French Friday recipe.  Luckily, it was easy to assemble and I had everything I needed in the house. I had bacon in my fridge because of the quiche we made last week.  So I boiled the potatoes and eggs. I then cooked the bacon and asparagus. I pulled out my baby spinach, and had a red pepper that I wanted to use, so I cut that up too. Then to the dressing...Olive oil, walnut oil, sherry vinegar (I used balsamic because it's what I had) and some Dijon mustard. Yum! All I can say is this salad will be making many appearances on our summer table!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan cookbook "Around My French Table".  It's a nice addition to your cookbook library.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yogurt Cake

Satisfying my munchies!! Yum!

This afternoon I had a bad case of the munchies! I browsed my kitchen for something sweet to eat, to no avail! I decided to bake a cake…nothing too sweet, nothing too fussy just a simple cake. Something I could put together quickly! Something I could have with my cup of tea and, maybe a piece for breakfast tomorrow morning. That's when I remembered a very lovely cake that I had made several times before.  It would definitely fit the bill! I first read about this cake several years ago on one of the blogs I follow Chocolate and Zucchini. The cake is a French favorite, and is called "Gateau au Yaourt" or Yogurt Cake. This is a fluffy, moist type of cake. It doesn't need any embellishments.  It's fine just the way it is!  Maybe a little powered sugar sprinkled over it or some fresh fruit on top! Or how about some whipped cream and berries served for dessert. It doesn't need more then that! Simple, sweet and satisfying!!

Yogurt Cake
adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini

2 eggs
1 cup whole milk plain unsweetened yogurt (I used low fat banilla yogurt and it worked just fine)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon light rum

Preheat oven to 350°, line the bottom of a round ten-inch cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. In a large mixing-bowl, gently combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil and rum. In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture, and blend together--don't over work the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let stand for ten minutes, and transfer onto a rack to cool.

Batter poured into 10 inch pan

Yogurt Cake just out of the oven

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Coffee Can Honey Wheat Bread and Award

Wonderful Fresh Bread…Yum! 

Long before there were kitchen appliances, that helped make some of our cooking chores easier…there were innovative cooks that found ways to cut time and still turn out a phenomenal product. Long before there were bread machines…there was coffee can bread! This is a very interesting concept. You mix all your ingredients into a bowl and pour into a coffee can with a plastic lid. The rising of the dough pushes the lid off and then its time to bake. No kneading, no punching down, just wait for the lid to pop off! It's that easy to make a great tasting loaf of bread. The bread comes out with a very nice crumb and is delicious! It makes great toast and the kids will love their sandwiches on round bread. In fact, your kids (depending on their age) would probably enjoy making this themselves, with a little help. The first thing you need are two, 1 pound coffee cans with plastic lids or one, 2 pound can. Make sure the cans are tin or steel and not lined with any plastic. If your cans have a ridge on the inside you should remove it with a can opener before you start. Wash cans with soap and water and dry well. Grease cans with Crisco or spray with a cooking spray such as Pam.  I've had this recipe for years and think it's worth the time to blog about! Hope you agree and give it a try!

Coffee Can Honey Wheat Bread
 350° oven
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons of honey
13 oz. can of evaporated milk(can use skim evaporated milk)
2 tablespoons salad oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ

 Grease either two, 1 pound cans or one, 2 pound can. Mix all ingredients together by hand or in bowl of stand mixer. Pour batter into each can about 1/2 full. Put the lids on cans and let rise in warm place. When lids pop off bake in a 350° oven for 45 minutes.  Let cool then slide out of the can.

one pound coffee cans…you can see I forgot to take out the rim in one 


Everything mixed and ready to put into the coffee cans

Pour batter into cans, fill half way

It's Rising!

Lids popped, ready to put in oven

Baked! Cool and remove cans

Lovely Honey Wheat Bread


                                                            An  Award   
    Someone was very ingenious to combine all these awards and I am very happy to pass them on. Eight awards in one!

I also want to thank Elizabeth of 
Food and Thrift Finds for again honoring me with an award. She has a wonderful blog and you should check it out. I would love to pay this forward by awarding it to 15 very deserving bloggers. Actually, I would love to award it to everyone I follow but, I would never have the time…I hope you check out these wonderfully talented ladies!

  1. Megi at Linden Tea
  2. Ryan at Ryan Bakes
  3. Cher at The not so exciting adventures of a dabbler…
  4. Kris at Miss Kris Kitchen
  5. Susan at Create Amazing Meals
  6. Betsy at A Plateful of Happiness
  7. Adriana at Great Food 360°
  8. Elaine at California Living
  9. Patty's Food
  10. Karen at From Scratch
  11. yummy chunklet
  12. Josefa at Eat In The Middle
  13. Tricia and Nana Cooking with Dorie
  14. Frankly Entertaining
  15. In the Pursuit Hobby

Friday, May 13, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie Spinach and Bacon Quiche

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

Spring has finally come to our part of New Jersey. With spring comes lots of spring clean-up. I have been working on my flower and vegetable gardens for the last 2 weeks. Today, I finally have most of the work behind me. I spent this morning putting seeds in the ground and tomorrow I will be planting my tomatoes and zucchini plants. In a short time, we will be enjoying the fruits of our labors. The best part!!
But, today is friday and that means FFWD! This weeks recipe was Dories Spinach Bacon Quiche. Quiche, is usually a "go to" in my house. I make quiches for brunch, lunch or sometimes even dinner on a warm night with a nice salad.  I have made quiches with crusts and without. Dories recipe called for her Tart Dough Crust. I've made it before and find it to be a delicious pastry. I did add an extra teaspoon of ice water to the food processor. I always find the tart dough in this book a little dry. When ready to use I rolled it out and had no problems. I did not bake it first...because I didn't read that part of the instructions. It came out wonderful, regardless of my failure to read through. I did make a few changes to the recipe.  I chose to cut back on the spinach. My husband eats quiche but he is not fond of cooked spinach or onions. So…I added mushrooms to take the place of about half the spinach and I replaced the onions with green onions. I did not cook my spinach the way Dorie suggested. After I cooked the bacon, I sauteed my garlic and mushrooms together, when they were cooked through, I added the spinach and green onions to the pan to steam.  I then sprinkled the bacon on the bottom of the pie crust and about half a cup of grated swiss cheese on top of that. At this point I added the sauteed veggies. I made the custard with 3 eggs and the 2/3 cup of heavy cream. Poured it over the veggies and sprinkled on the parmesan.  Then to the oven to bake. It came out great! This recipe has now been added to my "Go To" file for quiche! My husband enjoyed it, too!
This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook "Around My French Table". You can buy it here, Around My French Table

Making my tart dough

Rolled out and placed into tart pan

Tart dough, placed into tart pan….I took my rolling pin and rolled it over the
edge of the pan to cut the dough evenly,  "It's a Good Thing"

Bacon cooking

Mushrooms and garlic ready for the fry pan

Tart waiting for the custard

Custard and cheese, ready for the oven

Bon Appétit!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tomato Soup Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS                                                    


Tomato Soup Cupcakes

When I was in grammar school my mom used to make a "Tomato Soup Cake". It was our favorite lunch box treat. She usually baked it once a week. It was either that or a "Chocolate Salad Dressing Cake" ( I will have to post about that cake some day). This recipe brought back so many memories of my mom, baking at night after she got home from work. She would be so tired but, she still made dinner and managed to do all the other things that would need to be done like dishes, help with homework, getting everyone off to bed and then bake a cake for school lunch.  She never bought Twinkies or Ring Dings…not that there is any thing wrong with them. More then likely, she baked because she couldn't afford to buy all those prepackaged cakes. So, when I saw this recipe, slated for my first post for "Baked Sunday Mornings" which happens to fall on Mother's Day, I thought how appropriate!
This is a very tasty cake. You would never know there was tomato soup in it. It actually tastes more like a spice cake. The batter for this cake was easy to assemble. Open the soup and put it into a bowl and sprinkle with baking soda and let sit. Sift flour and spices together. Beat butter and sugars together then, add eggs one at a time. Next, alternate adding flour and tomato soup to the butter mixture. Every once in awhile have a taste!! Oh sorry…we're not supposed to do that because of the raw eggs! Oh well! I have an antique pan that looks like little tarts. I baked some in that pan and some as regular cupcakes.  I made my frosting is haste when I returned home from Church this morning, in between phone calls from my kids…so my frosting leaves something to be desired in texture but, oh so delicious!!

cupcakes ready for oven

Happy Mother's Day Everyone!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie Tourteau de Chèvre

My beautiful Tourteau de Chèvre

My daughter had a best friend when she was in high school, whose mother was a French teacher. Just about every summer they would host a French exchange student. There was one summer she hosted a lovely girl, that was quite taken with our family and American cheesecakes. All summer long the 3 girls hung out at our house. It was the summer that I wore a cast on my leg, due to a broken ankle! I remember this because this lovely french girl wanted to make a cheesecake. She said there was nothing like it in France. So, on my crutches, I guided the three girls in the process of making a cheesecake. When she went back to France she took my recipe with her. I don't know if she ever got to make my cheesecake but, last night I got to make a French cheesecake called "Tourteau de Chèvre". She and Dorie are right. Nothing like an American cheesecake….but oh so delicious! Dorie said she hesitated calling it a cheesecake because it is not soft, creamy, moist or rich! Not what most americans think of when they think cheesecake.  But, rather much like a spongecake. This delectable cake can be eaten out of your hand.  It is firm and not very sweet. Dorie suggests you try serving this as an aperitif with a glass of white wine, for a snack with tea, or dessert! I think I'll probably be serving mine as a dessert! Like most of the recipes I have made in this book, the names make them sound stuffy and difficult to make. It was incredibly easy! It is made with 5 eggs separated, and 9 ounces of goat cheese with a tart dough crust. I chose to make the sweet tart crust. As I was mixing it in the food processor, I thought it was way too dry. This was a problem I ran into the last time I made this crust.  I added 2 tablespoons of ice water to the food processor until it started to form a dough, and hold together. When it was time to roll out, it rolled effortlessly. I placed it into the 8 inch springform pan and refrigerated it while I made the cake.  I separated my eggs and beat my egg whites till they formed soft peaks. I then added 2 tablespoons of sugar. When they formed stiff peaks I set the bowl aside. I then beat the egg yolks, goat cheese, sugar, cornstarch and flavorings. I chose to use the orange blossom water and brandy.  I then folded it into the egg whites and poured this into the refrigerated tart crust.  I baked mine about 40 minutes. I checked it at 35 minutes however, the knife did not come out clean and it seemed to need a bit more time.  That was last night before I went to bed. When I woke this morning, there it was sitting on my counter. Beautiful, calling out to me to take a piece. After I took my pictures...I took a bite. All I can say is OMG absolute deliciousness!! We are asked not to publish the recipe but, this one has already been published and you can find it HERE!!
You can also find it in Dorie Greenspans cookbook "Around My French Table".

The sweet tart dough
Wrapped to refrigerate

Tart dough rolled out

Egg whites getting foamy

Egg whites thickening

Ready to be folded into egg yolks

Egg yolk mixture

Folding yolks into whites

In the springform pan ready to bake

Just out of the oven

Outer ring removed…lovely

Toureteau de Chèvre

After trying this, I can see serving this all the ways Dorie suggests…I'm sure it's wonderful with a glass of wine!
Maybe tonight!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Apricot-Cranberry Beer Bread

Good Morning Beer Bread!!
 Last night, as I was relaxing in front of the TV, I contemplated what I would have for breakfast! I'm not much for cold cereal, however, I love a piece of coffee cake or sweet bread with some fruit or maybe yogurt. I had fruit and yogurt in the house but, to my dismay, nothing sweet to munch on. That's when my mind started to run a virtual list of sweet breads I could whip up quickly! I decided to make some "Beer Bread"! For breakfast your thinking! My beer bread is a beautiful sweet loaf with cranberries and apricots thrown in. Add a smear of butter and you have a lovely treat for breakfast! The thing about beer bread is you don't need a lot of ingredients. You can decide to make it sweet or savory. It takes one bowl and a little more then 1 hour including the baking time. If you have a bottle of beer in the house, you too can make beer bread. Different types of beer bread can be made by using different beers; for instance, a dark beer will give you a darker bread with a heavier flavor. Using a beer that is spiced, or has a flavor added, will make a bread with a similar flavor. blueberry beer bread. This past summer I made one using blueberry beer and fresh blueberries! Yum!! I can't wait to see what other flavors of beer I can find. So for the recipe…

 Apricot-Cranberry Beer Bread

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 12 oz. bottle beer
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in center and add the melted butter and bottle of beer. Stir just until no streaks of flour remain, then add the dried fruit.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
If you would like a savory loaf, cut the sugar to 2 tablespoons, add herbs, such as dill and some cheddar or parmesan cheese. You can also add sundried tomatoes and herbs, garlic and feta, ect. Experiment using different will change the flavor of the bread.

Beer being poured into dry ingredients.

Mixed with fruit added into batter.

Ready to bake.

Lovely loaf of Apricot-Cranberry Beer Bread.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tag You're It!!!

I was tagged by Elaine of California Living in a game of tag. It started out as a game for Easter, where those tagged were to make a virtual meal with previous blog posts that they would serve for Easter Dinner. Elaine decided to extend this game by tagging me and several other bloggers to make a virtual meal for Cinco de Mayo or Mother's Day!! I have chosen to do a Mother's Day Brunch. I thought it would be a very nice way to spend Mother's Day!!  
I am not sure who would be interested in this, so if you're interested…You're IT!! Here are a few Friend bloggers who I'm tagging! Josefa at Eat in the MiddleMichelle at Flourchild, Allison at French Whisk
and Frolicking Night Owl Have fun!!

So here's my virtual Mother's Day Brunch…I would probably start out with Mimosa's…but I haven't posted about them yet!! And I know I added too many desserts…What can I say? It's my virtual brunch, no calories!

Delectable Canele
Butter Almond Cake

Basque Potato Tortilla

Puff Pancake with Fresh Fruit

Crustless Spinach Quiche
Quinoa Fruit and Nut Salad

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

Chocolate Madeleines