Friday, August 26, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie- Cafe Salle Pleyel Hamburgers

Because I was peeling grapes all day,  I didn't get any great photos. However, the burger was great with my roasted veggies! Yum!

French Friday is here again and this week we are asked to make hamburgers...What? French hamburgers? Yes! Dories' friend Helene has a cafe in Paris's renovated Salle Pleyel concert hall, and she decided to put a hamburger on her menu. This is not your typical American hamburger, not that there is anything wrong with our American hamburger. I love hamburgers.  When I choose to go meatless for a few days, the thing I crave most is a hamburger.
Yesterday I was making concord grape jam. A very time consuming job! You have to slip the skins off of every grape! I guess it could be called occupational therapy.  So I was thrilled to make the hamburgers for dinner. Something that wasn't going to impact my day with hours of prep. I made the onion marmalade early in the day, so that when dinner time rolled around, I only had to mix the meat and grill. That's pretty much how it went. I added the sun-dried tomatoes, cornichons, capers, tarragon and parsley to my food processor. Mixed it into the beef and made my burgers. My husband grilled them...and I forgot the cheese! We really enjoyed these burgers and because my husband is on South Beach this week, it was a great choice! These hamburgers are really tasty with plenty of flavors going on and they all go quite well together!
Onion marmalade

Mixing the burgers
I made these wonderful roasted veggies to accompany my burger

I forgot the cheese! Not multi tasking very well! This does not look appetizing but it was great.

If you would like to make these burgers they can be found in Dorie Greenspan's cookbook "Around My French Table" or you can find it here at the New York Times.

Gourmets 50 Most Influential Women in Food...#12 Lidia Bastianich and Baked Stuffed Shells

Buon Appetito!

This weeks pick by Gourmet magazine is Lidia Bastianich. She is number 12 on the list of Gourmets 50 Most Influential Women in Food. Lidia, Oh Lidia, what can I say about Lidia! She is one of my favorite chefs on TV. From the moment I first saw her on PBS we clicked!  Her relaxed, comfortable manner is what kept me coming back week after week.  It was like being in the kitchen with a sister, mother or friend. She would take us on the journey of creating authentic Italian cuisine. She made it all look so easy, and at the end of each show she would say "Tutti a travola a mangiare!" her signature line which means "Everybody to the table to eat!" It is something that has been said in Italian homes through the ages.  A common phrase and yet one that shows just how Lidia feels about how food, is only as important as the people who gather to eat it.
It all started in 1981, when she and her husband Felise opened their first restaurant in Manhattan called Felidia. It was a huge success and was loved by all the food critics, including the New York Times. In 1993 they opened Becco with their son Joseph. Becco is in the heart of the Theater District, on restaurant row. (I had the pleasure to dine at Becco on my last trip to the city. We really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere.)  Also in 1993, Julia Child invited Lidia to appear in an episode of her PBS series "Julia Child: Cooking With Master Chefs", which featured chefs from around the country, preparing dishes in their own kitchens. Then in 1998, PBS offered Lidia her own TV series "Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen". She became very popular among the network's lineup of cooking shows. Since then she has hosted two other series "Lidia's Family Table and Lidia's Italy".
I decided to make Lidia's Baked Stuffed Shells. They were from her book "Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen". Stuffed shells happen to be a "go to" recipe in my home. I altered Lidia's recipe just a bit by adding grated zucchini to the cheese mixture. 

Baking dish with sauce

Cheese mixture with grated zucchini

Shells cooked al dente 

Ready for the oven

"Tutti a travola a mangiare!"

Baked Stuffed Shells

1 1/2 pounds fresh ricotta
1 35-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
1 pound fresh mozzarella
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
⅓ cup Italian parsley, freshly chopped
fresh ground white pepper
1 large egg
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, crushed
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
10 fresh basil leaves
1 pound jumbo pasta shells

Place the ricotta in a cheesecloth-lined sieve and set the sieve over a bowl. Cover the ricotta with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours up to one day. Discard the liquid in the bowl.

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill fitted with the fine disc. (If you don't have a food mill, seed the tomatoes and place them in a food processor. Process the tomatoes, using quick on/off pulses, until they are finely ground. Don't overprocess or you'll incorporate air into the tomatoes and change their texture and color.) Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.

Slice half the mozzarella thin and cut the remaining half into 1/4-inch cubes. Turn the drained ricotta into a mixing bowl. Mix in the mozzarella cubes, grated cheese and parsley. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Beat the egg well and stir it into the ricotta mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Scatter the garlic over the oil and cook, shaking the pan, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Lower the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully pour them into the skillet. Add the crushed red pepper and season lightly with salt. Bring the sauce to a quick boil, then adjust the heat to simmering. Cook until the sauce is lightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir the basil into the sauce a few minutes before it is done.

Meanwhile, stir the shells into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, but still quite firm, about 7 minutes. Fish the shells out the water with a large skimmer and carefully lower them into a bowl of cold water. Drain them carefully.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 15 x 10-inch baking dish with about 3/4 cup of the tomato sauce. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture into each shell. The shell should be filled to capacity but not overstuffed. Nestle the shells next to each other in the baking dish as you fill them. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells, coating each one. Arrange the slices of mozzarella in an even layer over the shells. Bake until the mozzarella is browned and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Remove and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

These are the other bloggers that are involved in cooking through  Gourmets list of the 50 Women Game-Changers in food. Thank you Mary of One Perfect Bite for organizing this group.  Check out these other talented ladies to see what they have come up with for this challenge!

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets 
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Roasted Cherry Tart

Beautiful Roasted Cherry Tart

The summer is coming to an end...I can feel it in the air! All the beautiful fresh produce that comes from  our local farms will soon be gone. My garden has not been as fruitful as usual. I think it may have been the very hot weather we had for several weeks this summer, with no rain. And let's not forget our chipmunk friends. They seemed to really like my tomatoes. So far we relocated seven!  I actually had to  pick some green tomatoes and put them on my window sill to ripen, just to get a few for myself. It has not been a good summer for tomatoes.  I've been trying to get some things made and put away for the winter. This past week I made some Spicy Peach Jam. So yummy! I froze several bags of green beans, one of the things that have been thriving in my garden. I've also been getting quite a few blackberries and red raspberries. More jam and hopefully some pie.
Last week, I found a beautiful bag of cherries at the farm stand. I bought them thinking they would be great to snack on. Then, as I was browsing some of the blogs I follow I came upon Teresa at One Wet Foot. She had posted about roasting cherries. Those cherries were calling to me. They looked so delicious. I knew I had to try them. As it happened, we were having some weekend company and I thought my cherries would make a great tart.  I pulled out my fruit tart cookbook. Yes, I have a cookbook just for fruit tarts! I found a Cherry Tart Recipe that called for pitting your cherries and putting them on a baking sheet and baking them for 5 minutes. I chose to roast them as Teresa did. I did not add any of the spices...just the olive oil, maple syrup, some sea salt and cherry brandy.  I left mine in the oven for 10 minutes. I didn't want to overcook them. The results were very nice and the tart was a success. My company thought it was delicious and it looked quite pretty.

Cherries with Amaretti ready for the tart
Jam brushed onto the tart shell and sprinkled with the crushed Amaretti

My Cherry Tart ready to be looked prettier on the serving plate, but I never got a picture

Roasted Cherry Tart                                                                               Adapted from Fruit Tart Cookbook by Pamella Asquith 

1½ pounds fresh cherries
1- 9-inch baked pastry tart shell
¼ cup raspberry jam
¼ cup crushed Almond Macaroons
1-2 teaspoons kirschwasser or brandy (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Stem, wash and pit the cherries. Put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Stir together a few tablespoons of each maple syrup and olive oil in a small bowl with a little bit of sea salt. Bake for 10 minutes. Then add the kirschwasser or brandy. Let cool. These may be done ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for a day or two.

3. Put tart shell on serving plate. Brush the bottom with some of the melted jam. Then sprinkle with the crushed Almond Macaroons. I used Amaretti Lazzaroni.

4. Arrange the cherries on the macaroons, starting at the outside edge and working toward the center. Pack the cherries together as tightly as possible, concealing the pit shafts.

5. Brush with the melted jam…you could also use currant jelly. You don’t want too many seeds in the glaze.

6. Serve within a few hours.

Friday, August 19, 2011

FFWD Eggplant Caviar and a Little Catch Up with Slow Roasted Tomatoes

So good on the rustic bread

I have missed two weeks with Dorie and I am so glad to get back into cooking with this wonderful group. The first recipe I missed was the Slow Roasted Tomatoes. I was really looking forward to making these. Everyone else's looked fantastic, so last week I finally got them made. They were awesome. I used mine in pasta...such a nice addition. These flavorful, delicious tomatoes will be making many appearances on our dinner table in the future.  I was singing the praises of these delicious tomatoes to my son and he decided to make them for his dinner last weekend. I think they might just become a family favorite.
My lovely roasted tomatoes...I just had to share

I added them to my pasta with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce mixed in...Yum!

Well last friday I chose not to make the Salmon in a Jar. I am a fan of most fish, but not raw, pickled or brined.  Even though everyones' looked quite nice, I just couldn't get past the raw thing.

So here we are with Eggplant Caviar!  Eggplant is definitely a favorite of mine! I grew up with it. There were always eggplant dishes on our table. This reminded me of baba ganoush. I had an aunt that made the best baba ganoush...and she made it every time you went to visit.  Dorie actually mentions how this caviar is closely related to baba ganoush. The only thing missing, I think, was the tahinni. This was relatively easy to put together. Roast your eggplant for 45 minutes. Scoop it into a bowl and mash with the garlic and olive oil. Then add lemon zest and lemon juice, onion and herbs. I chose to leave out the onion. Other then that, I made it as written by Dorie. I really enjoyed this recipe. It was very tasty. I served it with crackers and rustic bread. This was a really wonderful appetizer or just nice for an afternoon snack.

My delicious afternoon snack

These recipes can be found in Dorie Greenspans' Cookbook "Around My French Table". You can also see what other Doristas are doing here. For the Slow Roasted Tomatoes, you can get the recipe here on Dorie Greenspans' blog

Gourmets 50 Most Influential Women in Food...# 11 Patricia Wells and Chicken Salad with Green Beans

Some of my many cookbooks!
I have been collecting cookbooks for more than 20 years...I have upwards of six hundred. I only know this because my husband and I had a bet on how many I have stashed away on my many bookshelves. So, I was quite surprised when this weeks pick of the 50 Most Influential Women in Food was Patricia Wells. I've seen her recipes in Gourmet Magazine. I've heard her name many times but, I still didn't know much about her. She has written 13 cookbooks and yet, I do not own one of them. How can that be? How did I miss such a contempoary talented cookbook author? A cookbook author who has won the James Beard award several times.
She moved to Paris in the 1980's and has lived there, with her husband, ever since. She is a journalist, author, cook and she runs a cooking school "At home with Patricia Wells" in Paris and the Provence.  She was the first woman to serve as restaurant critic for the French publication L'Express. She was a writer and editor for the Washington Post and the New York Times. She also served as restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune. Researching Patricia Wells let me know how much I've been missing so, I will soon own one of Ms. Wells cookbooks. I ordered the Trattoria from Amazon last night. 
The recipe I chose to represent Patricia Wells is a very simple Chicken Salad with Green Beans. I chose this dish because I have an abundance of green beans growing in my garden right now. It also sounded like something my husband and I would both enjoy. It has been very hot here and this was a wonderfully light dinner. We both had a glass of white wine and a very enjoyable evening! 

Fresh from the garden

A light summer meal

Totally delicious! 

Chicken Salad with green beans 

  • Chicken salad with green beans
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed at both ends and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced celery (1/4-inch slices)
  • Tahini-lemon-yogurt dressing (see below)
  • 1/2 cup finely minced fresh cilantro or parsley leaves
  • Coarse, freshly ground black pepper

  • Tahini-lemon-yogurt dressing
  • 2 plump, moist garlic cloves, peeled, halved, and green germ removed
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Chicken salad with green beans1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
2. Fill the pasta pot with 3 quarts of water and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the salt and the beans and blanch until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. (Cooking time will vary according to the size and tenderness of the beans.) Immediately remove the colander from the water, letting the water drain from the beans. Plunge the beans into the ice water so they cool down as quickly as possible. (The beans will cool in 1 to 2 minutes. If you leave them longer, they will become soggy and begin to lose flavor.) Drain the beans and wrap them in a thick kitchen towel to dry. (Store the beans in the towel in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.)
3. In a large bowl, combine the beans, chicken, and celery. Toss to blend. Add just enough dressing to coat the ingriedents lightly and evenly. Add the cilantro and toss again. Taste for seasoning. At serving time, season with pepper.
Tahini-lemon-yogurt dressingIn the food processor or blender, mince the garlic. Add the tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, and salt and puree to blend. Taste for seasoning. The dressing can be used immediately. (Store the dressing in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shake to blend again before using).
These are the other blogs that are involved in this project of  Gourmets list of the 50 Women Game-Changers in food. Thank you Mary of One Perfect Bite for organizing this group.  Check out these other talented ladies to see what they came up with for this 

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets 
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Three Tomato Tart and The Adventures of Gardening!

My beautiful Three Tomato Tart
One of my fondest memories of childhood was of my grandfathers' garden. My mother used to say he just looked at a plant and it grew. My grandmother, her friends and my mom used to do canning all summer long. The peaches and tomatoes seemed to ripen at the same time and we would pick baskets and baskets of them. That's when my grandmother and mom would get to work prepping all that fruit. They also made plenty of jam. Peach, raspberry, and quince. My grandfather gardened about a half an acre. He also planted corn on a neighbors lot next to ours. In addition, he had a small peach orchard, which I've mentioned before. Recently my brother and I were discussing the peach orchard and I told him our grandfather had well over a 100 trees....well, that's what it seemed like to my 10 year old self. In reality, it was probably more like 30 or 40.  Lately, I've been thinking of my grandfather and how he would handle a pesky chipmunk, who happens to beat me every morning to the best of my tomatoes and blackberries.  I have been battling him all summer and I can't win! I've covered my berries with netting but he still seems to find a way in.  Now he has moved on to my tomatoes. For the last 2 weeks, he has gotten every tomato just as they started to ripen. I've started to pick the tomatoes while still green and let them ripen on my window sill.  Last night he had gotten at least 3 very large tomatoes, that were just about ready to be picked and a handful of cherry tomatoes. Now here is the kicker...We have set a humane trap to capture him. I use the parts of the tomatoes he has left behind as bait. I place it right near the hole that he burrowed in between my rows of carrots. For 3 days straight he has somehow taken out the tomato and managed to not get trapped. My husband thinks the chipmunk is so clever that he deserves whatever gets...I want to kill the little beast! Don't get me wrong...I am a non violent person. And chipmunks are very cute! That's why I have a humane trap and not a rat trap...but this little creature is out smarting me and I feel like Mr. McGregor with Peter Rabbit.

Note the two big tomatoes...partly eaten
His hole between my rows of carrots
Little bites out of many tomatoes
P S...Gotcha...finally! When I woke this morning there he was in the trap...he has since been moved to an undisclosed location!

Well, I'm here to share my tomato tart recipe. I know you'll really enjoy this tart. It is a lovely side dish or just great for a light lunch or appetizer.  I found this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens years ago and it is still a stand by! I really enjoy eating vegetable tarts or pies for lunch...add a lovely salad and you have a wonderful meal. Hope you enjoy!

Three-Tomato Tart

Bake: 35 min.


Pastry for Single-Crust Pie

tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
egg whites
cup low-fat ricotta cheese
cloves garlic, minced
tablespoon snipped fresh lemon thyme or thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
large tomatoes, sliced
 yellow or red cherry tomatoes, sliced
red cherry tomatoes, sliced
tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
teaspoons snipped fresh lemon thyme or thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

Prepare your favorite Pastry for Single-Crust Pie. On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer to a 10-inch tart pan; ease pastry into pan. Trim pastry even with rim of pan. Do not prick pastry. Line pastry shell with a double thickness of foil. Bake pastry in a 450 degree F oven for 5 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes more or until pastry is set and dry. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Sprinkle tart shell with Parmesan cheese. I used an Italian 3 cheese blend for the bottom of the crust along with some grated mozzarella.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl beat egg whites slightly. Stir in ricotta cheese, garlic, and the 1 tablespoon thyme; spread over pastry.
Overlap large tomato slices in a circle around edge. Arrange yellow cherry tomato slices in a circle within the tomato ring. Fill center with red cherry tomato slices. Stir together olive oil or cooking oil and the 2 teaspoons thyme. I also used some chopped fresh basil.  Brush tomatoes with oil mixture.
Bake tart in a 325 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through and nearly set. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover tart. Makes 10 to 12 appetizer servings.

My pie crust
Rolled out and placed into quiche pan
Baked crust
Cheese added to the bottom of crust
Ready for the oven
This is a really delicious tart

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings...Grasshopper Bars

Delicious Grasshopper Bars
After being absent from Baked Sunday Mornings for far too many posts, I am back! Making these lovely bars was a bit time consuming but,  definitely worth the effort! Years ago I had a recipe published by Hershey's for a brownie that looked exactly like this. It called for a can of Hershey's syrup to make the brownie part. It made a delicious brownie.  It also called for a chocolate topping similar to this one but, that is where the similarities end! This had such a lovely butter cream...light, fluffy and not at all too sweet. I actually had to make mine twice, because I messed up the first time (maybe that's why it was time consuming, ha!) No matter how long I beat the first batch, it was loose and liquid. It also looked curdled. The secret is to make sure when you have it on the stove top, to let the mixture cook until quite thick. I didn't do that the first time. Also make sure when you add the butter, you do it at low speed and mix till well incorporated. This takes a few minutes. So, try try again! Success! These bars look wonderful and taste even better.
To see how other bakers did and for the recipe go to Baked Sunday Mornings.

These were just so yummy...wish I could share them!

Grasshopper Bars
Makes 24 brownies, adapted from Baked Explorations

For the Brownie Base:
3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
5 oz good quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325.

2. Grease the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9x13 inch pan.  Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper and butter the parchment.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.

3. Configure a large-ish double boiler.  Place the chocolate and the butter in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined.  Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add both sugars.  Whisk the sugars until completely combined.  Remove the bowl from the pan.  Wait until the mixture is at room temperature (i.e. you can stick a finger in it for ten seconds without writhing in pain).

4. Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined.  Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter or your brownies will be cakey.

5. Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate.  Using a spatula (do NOT use a whisk) fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with an offset spatula, and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. The brownies should be just a tad underdone (about 1 minute from being cooked completely).  A toothpick inserted in the brownies at an angle should yield a few loose crumbs.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan while you make the creme de menthe filling.

For the Buttercream
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk (I used low fat)
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 stick butter, softened but still cool, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp creme de menthe (easily purchased at your local liquor store)
1 tsp peppermint extract

1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together.  Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, 5-7 minutes.

2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on high until cool.  Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and mix until thoroughly incorporated. increase the speed to medium-high and beat until filling is light and fluffy.

3. Add the creme de menthe and peppermint extract and mix until combined. If the filling is too soft, chill slightly in the refrigerator and then mix again until it is the proper consistency.  If the filling is too firm, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and re-mix to proper consistency.  Spread the filling evenly across the top of the brownie layer and place the pan in the refrigerator, for a minimum of 45 minutes while you make the chocolate glaze.  **I put mine in the freezer because we had no room in our refrigerator.

For the Chocolate Glaze
6 oz good quality dark chocolate (60-72%) coarsely chopped
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

1. In a large non-reactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.  Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth.  Remove the bowl from the pan and stir vigorously for 1 minute to release excess heat.

2. Pour the mixture over the chilled creme de menthe layer and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer.  Place the pan back in the refrigerator (or freezer) for 1 hour (or less), until the glaze hardens.

3. Remove the pan from the fridge, wait about 15 minutes for the glaze to soften slightly and cut the bars with a warm knife.  Cut into squares and serve immediately.  For long term storage (up to 4 days), cover with saran wrap/aluminum foil, make room in your fridge, and store it in there.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gourmets 50 Most Influential Women in Food...# 10 Hannah Glasse and Mrs. Isabella Beeton

Bakewell Pudding
Gourmet picked two women to share the number 10 spot. Both from England and both, I have to admit, I knew nothing about. Both come from a different time in history, a different century. Long before Martha Stewart there was Hannah Glasse.  She was known as the first domestic goddess; the queen of the dinner party. She was one of the most important cookery writers of her time. She was born in London in March 1708 and died September 1st 1770. She is best known for her cookbook, "The Art of Cookery" published in 1747. 
Then there is Isabella Beeton, universally known as Mrs. Beeton. She was also born in England in 1836 and died at age 28 in 1865. She actually died after giving birth from puerperal fever. Her husband had a publishing company and she started out publishing articles for his magazines. A women ahead of her time, commuting with her husband to work each day by train. Her cookbook is called  "The Book of Household Management" and,  was published in  1861 when Isabella was just 25.  These women were fascinating to read about however, I can't do their stories justice in one short blog post.  
Finding the recipes was a bit of a challenge. Trying to make sense out of them was intriguing. Most of the recipes had ingredients that are foreign to people of this century. Reading through the recipes was interesting and amusing. The pound cake had instructions that read  "beat with wooden spoon by hand for 1 hour". These women  did not have to go to a gym to get their exercise. We are just so lucky to have all the wonderful appliances that make our lives so much easier. What would I do without my trusty Kitchen Aide mixer? Oh, and  I can't tell you how much I rely on my food processor.
The recipe I chose to represent Hannah Glasse is "Another Sort of Little Cake". This is actually a little butter cookie similar to shortbread. I cut this recipe in half and it made about 2 dozen cookies.

Another Sort of Little Cake
Modern Redaction 
450g plain flour 
225g granulated sugar 
450g butter, softened 
Method: Beat the butter until creamy then cream together with the sugar. Add the flour, a little at a time, beating thoroughly to mix. Form into little cakes and place these on a greased baking tray. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180°C and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack and serve warm. 
These are called "Another Sort of Little Cake"
Perfect for an English Tea

A delicious little butter cookie

I picked Bakewell Pudding to represent Isabella Beeton. This was really delicious and was more like a bread pudding.

Bakewell Pudding

450ml/3⁄4 pint breadcrumbs
600ml/1 pint milk
3 eggs
55g/2oz sugar
80g/3oz butter
25g/1oz ground almonds

Butter a pie dish, add the breadcrumbs, covering them with a layer of strawberry or any other kind of jam.

Mix the milk with the beaten eggs, the ground almonds, and the butter and sugar.
Beat all the ingredients together, pour into the dish and bake for 1 hour in a 350 oven.

The bread crumbs were actually little pieces of day old bread

Just out of the oven

Really could have used some ice cream on the side
These are the other blogs that are involved in the project of  Gourmets list of the 50 Women Game-Changers in food. Thank you Mary of One Perfect Bite for organizing this group.  Check out these other talented ladies to see what they came up with for this challenge! 

Val -  More Than Burnt Toast  
Joanne - Eats Well with Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey   
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
 Mary - One Perfect Bite
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island