Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chocolate Raspberry Clafouti

Chocolate Raspberry Clafouti
What do you do when Mother Nature gives you raspberries…make cake…of-course!

Despite the terrible heat we’ve been having in NJ, for the past two weeks, my garden is doing remarkably well.  This year I’m enjoying  an abundant harvest of red raspberries. In fact, I picked several quarts just yesterday.  Beautiful, ripe, sweet red raspberries. So when mother nature gives you raspberries…you find ways to use them up.  I washed and froze several quarts, so that I could make jam when I had some time. That still left quite a few for desserts, and eating with our breakfast.  I searched online for recipes that used raspberries and, I can attest to the fact that there are oodles!!  Then I found it!  A recipe for  Chocolate Raspberry Clafouti!  It sounded so good to me. I recently made Cherry Clafoutis, and it was a hit with everyone! I adore custard desserts. So, why not chocolate, loaded with raspberries?  Doesn’t that sound delectable?

The batter poured over the berries
Beautiful garden fresh raspberries and blackberries

Just baked!
I couldn’t wait to try a piece
Utterly devine….yum!

Chocolate Raspberry Clafoutis

Gourmet | March 2009

Makes 6 servings
active time: 15 min
total time: 1¼ Hr


12 ounces fresh raspberries (2 3/4 cups)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter a 1 1/2-quarts shallow baking dish.

Toss berries with granulated sugar and let stand 15 minutes.

Blend milk, butter, eggs, brown sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt in a blender until smooth. Scatter berries (with juices) evenly in baking dish, then pour batter over top.

Bake until slightly puffed and firm to the touch, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chopped chocolate. Cool to warm, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, July 19, 2013

FFWD~ Mediterranean Swordfish with Frilly Herb Salad

Mediterranean Swordfish with Frilly Herb Salad

This weeks French Friday recipe is for Mediterranean Swordfish, with Frilly Herb Salad.  Fish dishes are always winners in my house so, I was enthusiastic about making this recipe.  I knew it would be a winner with my husband!
My husband loves fish. I think it’s in his DNA.  His family comes from Holland, and the Dutch are big fish eaters. His parents and brother were stranded here, during the second world war.  My husband often tells stories of his father’s brother coming to visit ( he was a steward for Holland America Lines ) and always brought a huge jar of pickled herring. The Dutch love their pickled herring!  His father and uncle would break that jar open, sit around the kitchen table, reminiscing, laughing, and eating that very stinky fish all evening. My husband said the house would smell of pickled herring for days! Thank goodness this recipe is for Swordfish and not pickled herring!

A wonderful dinner…with very little fuss
Since this week has been excruciatingly hot in N.J. ( my thermometer read 100 degrees this afternoon ) I went with the grilling option for the Swordfish. Making the marinade should have been easy.  I got out all the ingredients, then realized I didn’t have any capers.  I wasn’t making a trip to the grocery store an hour before dinner so, I searched my pantry and found a jar of Kalamata olive spread.  Not capers, but with a salty briny taste. I thought it would work just fine in the marinade.  It did!  I mixed up the marinade using the olive oil, fresh lemon juice, grated lemon zest, capers Kalamata olive spread, and onions. It was quite easy. I then placed the fish and some rosemary into the marinade.  The fish should marinate for at least one to  four hours, turning the fish often. While the fish was marinating, I made my salad.  The lettuce and arugula in my garden have been very productive this week. I knew I had to use those lovely greens. I also threw in some herbs, parsley, tarragon, thyme and oregano. I  served my swordfish with the salad and some oven roasted potatoes.  This fish took very little effort to prepare and grill.  Perfect for the heat wave we’ve been having!  Simply delicious!
Happy Friday everyone!  Stay cool!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table” or here. To see what other Dorista’s are doing check it out here.

 Marinating the swordfish

Bon Appetit!! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

TWD~Summer Vegetable Tart

The lovely Summer Vegetable Tart
This week, for TWD-Baking With Julia, our recipe was for Summer Vegetable Tart, from contributing baker Gale Gand.  This tart was a big hit in my house.  The most consuming part was working with the phyllo pastry; taking four sheets of phyllo, and cutting them in half to make eight 8½ x 13 inch pieces.   My phyllo was not long enough to make two pieces, so I just cut eight sheets to the right size.  I have been working with phyllo since I was very young, and usually don’t have a problem with it.  However, I do remember the days when I struggled.  Using fresh is the best, it never sticks.  For most of us, we have no choice except to buy frozen.  Leave it in your refrigerator overnight or a few days to defrost.   If you try to defrost this very sensitive dough quickly, it will stick.  I say this from experience.
Start by layering the phyllo into your tart pan, brushing each sheet with melted butter and sprinkling with black pepper.  As you layer, press the sheets into the tart pan and up the sides of  the pan,  leaving a corner overhang. Rotate the pan as you layer, producing a pattern of jagged triangles.   My problem came while this baked.  The cookbook clearly states "watch while baking because it could puff"…it should say it will puff! I wasn’t watching very closely and, when I finally did peek, it was puffed up.  I used my spatula and pushed it down, but it had already started to crisp up, and the top layer cracked.  All in all it came out pretty well.

Wonderfully yummy!!
The filling was very easy to put together.  The time consuming part was, cutting all those veggies.
Heat your olive oil in pan, then add onion and garlic and cook till softened and translucent.  Then add your mushrooms and peppers. Cook until tender. Add the crumbled goat cheese and give it a quick stir. You don’t want to melt the cheese. Season with thyme, salt and pepper and pour into the baked shell. Serve this tart warm or at room temperature.

You will love this tart! I served mine with some grilled salmon for dinner. It was luscious! Will definitely be making it again.  This filling would be great in any baked pie shell, although I really enjoyed the phyllo crust.  I could also see adding some other veggies to the pan.
Happy Tuesday everyone!

If you would like to see how others in the group did with this recipe, check it out on Tuesdays with Dorie’s webpage.  The recipe is from the book Baking with Julia and was contributed by Gale Gand.

The phyllo lined tart pan ready for the oven
It was quite easy to put together
And it looks pretty impressive 
It went so well with my grilled salmon


adapted from Baking With Julia recipe by Gale Gand


4 sheets of phyllo (I used more)
1/2 C melted butter 
freshly ground black pepper
3 T olive oil
1 sweet onion, sliced (I used shallots)
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 pound of mushrooms, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled goat cheese (I used a 4 oz. log and it was enough)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the four sheets of phyllo in half, they should measure about 8½ X 13 inches. Working one sheet at a time, brush with the melted butter, then sprinkle with fresh pepper. Place the sheets into a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom that has been placed on a parchment lined baking sheet. Continue with each sheet, rotating the pan slightly each time, allowing the edges to hang over the pan, creating a jagged triangle. Making sure to butter and season each sheet.

Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 7 to 12 minutes. Make sure you check…so that if it starts to puff, you can push it down gently with a spatula.

Cool on the sheet pan on a rack.
The shell can be made a few hours ahead and left at room temperature.


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium to high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft and somewhat translucent, but not browned.

Add the mushrooms and peppers and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are cooked through.

Add the thyme, salt, and pepper, and stir.

Add the goat cheese, stir until heated but not melted, and immediately spoon the mixture into the tart shell. Spread with spatula.

Serve the same day the tart is made, either warm or at room temperature.

Friday, July 12, 2013

FFWD ~ Whole Cherry Clafoutis

FFWD~ Whole Cherry Clafoutis
The first time I tasted Clafoutis was years ago, when we had a french exchange student staying with us for the summer. His mother had sent him off with a recipe in hand, so that he could make a Clafoutis, for his American host family. I loved this delicious cherry custard dessert, from my very first bite. So this week, I was quite delighted when I found that the Whole Cherry Clafoutis, was our French Friday’s pick. It also happens that, this week I was hosting a Luncheon for several of my Bunco friends. Now I had my dessert!

Black cherries are the traditional fruit used in Clafoutis. The French do not pit their cherries.  The pits are believed to add a more intense flavor to the batter, as it is baked.  They serve it along with little dishes to spit the pits into.  However, I was serving this to my very American friends. I wasn’t willing to take a chance on one of them choking on a pit.  I pitted my cherries!  I have made Clafoutis many times, since I first tasted it those many years ago.  I have made it with blueberries, raspberries, peaches, and of course cherries.  I think this custard filling works well with just about any fruit.
Clafoutis is surprisingly simple to prepare.  Rustic and utterly unpretentious, it is served with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar. I made mine in a 9 inch deep baking dish. The ingredient list is simple.  Eggs, cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, flour and ripe cherries. That’s it, and the end product will leave you swooning!  Heavenly!   A great way to end a lovely lunch with the ladies!  It was enjoyed by all!  Happy Friday everyone!
This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook, "Around My French Table”. It is also posted on several blog sites or here.

Pitting the cherries
Place cherries in one layer in baking dish
Add the custard filling and bake
Sprinkle with powdered sugar 
Très lovely
A delightful afternoon lunch with great company!   Sangria anyone? 

Friday, July 5, 2013

FFWD ~ Wheat Berry and Tuna Salad

Wheat Berry and Tuna Salad

I grew up on wheat berries, before they had became avant garde, or a popular health food choice.  They are the unprocessed whole grain of the wheat. The term wheat berry refers to the entire wheat kernel, composed of bran, germ, and endosperm.  My grandmother cooked with them all the time. They are a main stay of Lebanese cuisine. My favorite, is a dish called Ameh.  The wheat berries are cooked in sweetened, anise flavored water.  We would eat it for breakfast or as a snack.  It is also served as a dessert in many homes. This dish could also be flavored with orange blossom water, or cinnamon as well. It’s always been a favorite of mine. I just adore the crunchiness of wheat berries.  My mother always added walnuts to hers.  I think my grandmother would be quite pleased to see how popular her very modest, traditional wheat berry has become.
When I read about this weeks French Fridays recipe, I knew I would love it!  Wheat berries are something I always have in my pantry.  One of my favorite salads using wheat berries, is from Whole Foods. Their Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad is absolutely wonderful.
I was delighted to see this wheat berry salad on our July schedule.  Since yesterday was the Fourth, and I was having a barbecue,  I thought this would be a perfect salad to serve to my guests.

This was delectable…everyone enjoyed it 
I cooked the wheat berries the day before making the salad, by boiling them in salted water.  The wheat berries take awhile to cook.  Mine were done in a little over an hour.  I then drained, rinsed and refrigerated them overnight.  The next day I made the dressing consisting of olive oil, white wine vinegar and dijon mustard (I used red wine vinegar). I then added it to the cooked wheat.  The vegetables and an apple are all diced and mixed into the wheat berries.  Garnish this lovely salad with quartered hard boiled eggs, slices of avocado and cherry tomatoes.  This was a truly delicious salad and everyone enjoyed it, including my husband.  I will definitely be making it again…a keeper for sure!
Happy Friday, everyone!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans book, “Around My French Table or  here at Google Books.

A filling salad that can stand alone
Also wonderful to serve as part of a meal
My lunch today! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

TWD ~ Baked Yogurt Tart

Lovely Baked Yogurt Tart
This week, for TWD~Baking with Julia, we are making a Baked Yogurt Tart.  This one is from contributing baker, Leslie Mackie.  The recipe called for a 9 inch cake pan, because the sides should be at least 1½ inches high.  I happen to own a tart pan with 1½ inch sides, and a removable bottom.  Removable being a key factor for me.  I really didn’t want to have to flip this tart out of a cake pan.

I chose to make my favorite pie crust by Nick Malgieri.  It comes out perfect every time. The recipe can be found here. The pie crust gets blind baked, cooled, filled and then baked again. Blind baking is baking without the filling. I place parchment or foil into the pan covering the dough, then place pie weights over that, to prevent the crust from puffing up during baking. I used rice mixed with my pie weights but, you could use dried beans, too. The parchment is used to prevent the weights from imbedding into the dough during baking.  That has happened to me!

Delicious and beautiful…the filling has a  custardy texture

The filling consists of eggs and sugar being beaten till thick and light in color. Then mixing in 2 tablespoons of vanilla (that’s a lot of vanilla), yogurt and flour till well blended.  The filling is then poured into the baked pie crust and berries are scattered over the filling.  To finish this tart, before it goes into the oven,  sprinkle a ring of roasted chopped almonds around the edge.  I baked mine for about 40 minutes.

This tart came out beautiful…I think I’ll have to serve this one for the Fourth of July!  Hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!  Happy Fourth everyone!

Ready to bake
Blind bake with weights…I used rice
Ready for second bake…with the filling
A perfect dessert for the Fourth of July
Or anytime!
BAKED YOGURT TART    Leslie Mackie
For the Pie
Pie pastry for one crust pie
3 Large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries
1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting
Makes 8 servings
Working on a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 1/4 inch thick, 12-inch round circle. Fit the dough into a 9-inch round pan with 1 1/2 inch high sides. Trim dough overhand to 1/2 inch all around. Fold it under itself and press edge to crimp in a zigzag pattern. Chill 30 minutes.
Center rack in oven and preheat to 400°F. Fit a piece of parchment paper into the pan and fill with pie weights or dried beans. bake 25 minutes or until the crust is set and lightly browned. Remove weights and paper and let shell cool. Reduce oven heat to 325°F. Beat eggs and sugar on medium until thickened and pale. Ad the yogurt and vanilla extract, mix just until blended. Add the flour through a sifter, folding gently with a spatula. Pour yogurt filling into the cooled tart shell. Smooth top. Scatter fruit over the top, sprinkle chopped nuts around edge. Place tart on a pan and bake 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack. When cook, cover the top with plastic wrap and a cardboard cake circle. Invert the tart, remove the pan, and invert again onto a cardboard cake circle or serving platter. Remove plastic wrap. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve.