Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkin Cake Roll

Pumpkin Roll is a big thing here in Pennsylvania. It's everywhere this time of year. It's a spongy pumpkin sheet cake, rolled up around a cream cheese filling. I decided to try it last weekend because I felt inspired and I had all the ingredients available. It turned out surprisingly well and didn't fall apart! I was pretty proud of that. I did have some feelings though: the spices just weren't right, and the nuts did not belong at ALL. I had asked my gentleman prior to baking it if he wanted me to add nuts, and even though he'd never seen a pumpkin roll with nuts, he said we should try it out. Well, don't. Why mess with a good thing? It isn't that the nuts didn't taste good. They were just really odd and out of place. I'd love to try making another pumpkin roll but it will need to be a different recipe.


Pumpkin Cake Roll
Better Homes & Gardens

3 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with waxed paper or parchment paper; grease paper. Set pan aside. In a small bowl stir together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon color. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on medium speed until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. Beat in flour mixture on low to medium speed just until combined. Spread batter evenly in the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Bake about 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately loosen edges of cake from pan and turn cake out onto a clean kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove waxed paper. Roll towel and cake into a spiral, starting from a short side of the cake. Cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, for filling, in a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.

Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cake with filling to within 1 inch of the edges. Roll up cake; trim ends. Cover and chill for 2 to 48 hours.

Yield: 8 servings

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sweet Potato Bowl with Chimichurri

This week, I again felt inspired to make myself dinner. This didn't take as long as I'd expected it to, which was nice. It was a good way to use up the last of my parsley from the garden (SO SAD). The chimichurri was a little strong, but that's likely my own fault. And my sad attempt to toast the quinoa did result in it being stuck to the pan, but it was still edible and tasty. Otherwise this was a very simple, yummy meal.


Sweet Potato Bowl with Chimichurri
Vegetarian Times (Still one of my favorite magazines!)

Chimichurri has its roots in Argentina, where it is usually slathered over grilled meat. Here, it lends spicy, garlicky goodness to a hearty bowl of sweet potatoes and quinoa.

2 large sweet potatoes, finely diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 small ripe avocados, sliced

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups loosely packed torn fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

To make Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa: Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss sweet potatoes with oil on large baking sheet, and spread in single layer. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and roast 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil in small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook
15 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt, if desired.

To make Chimichurri: Warm oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Blend parsley, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and red pepper flakes in food processor until coarsely chopped. Pour in warm oil, and pulse quickly until blended.

Divide sweet potatoes and quinoa among 4 bowls. Top each serving with 3 Tbs. Chimichurri, and garnish with sliced avocado, if using. Drizzle with extra Chimichurri, if desired.

Servings: 4

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpea Tacos

I actually planned and put forethought into making dinner for myself last night. Hooray! I made a couple of changes: I ignored the lime crema and subbed in some feta, because that's what I had available. I kind of regret that decision because it needed something saucier to make it less dry. I also used flour tortillas instead of corn because I dislike corn tortillas. These were okay but they weren't the greatest thing I've ever made. It was a nice change for taco filling, though.


Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos
Two Peas & Their Pod

2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small head cauliflower, separated into bite-sized florets
Corn tortillas
1 cup finely chopped red cabbage
1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
1 large avocado, diced
Chopped-up cilantro

For the Lime Crema
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/8 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, lime juice, olive oil, and water. Stir in chickpeas and cauliflower florets. Place seasoned chickpeas and cauliflower on a greased baking sheet. Roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally during cooking, until chickpeas are slightly crispy and cauliflower is tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

To make the lime crema, place the Greek yogurt or sour cream in a small bowl. Add fresh lime juice and cilantro. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Take a corn tortilla and place roasted cauliflower and chickpeas on top. Top with red cabbage, jalapeño slices, avocado, and cilantro. Drizzle lime crema over the tacos and serve!

Servings: 4

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oh Hello There - Jalapeno Popper Dip

To answer the question my friend Denise has asked me a million times since August, no, I really haven't made anything recipe-ish since then. Nothing. I haven't cooked. You don't need to know how many bagels or packets of ramen I have eaten. I did go on a cruise at the beginning of the month but I barely took pictures of the food. I know. This is shocking.

BUT! Last weekend my jalapeno plant went crazy and I had a million jalapenos and Anaheim peppers that I needed to find a use for. I combined them all into this Jalapeno Popper Dip I made a few years ago, completely omitting the pickled jalapenos. And you know what? It's WAY better with fresh peppers. The pickled jalapenos only added an acidity and liquidized the dip a little bit, in a unpleasant way. I really liked it a lot better this time around.

We originally started eating it with tortilla chips, because that is convenient while watching football. I used some pretzels at one point, and that wasn't as great. But the real winning use of this is: I used it as a bagel spread. Oh my goodness. It's lovely. I added some sliced tomatoes (that I also grew!!) on top and it was wonderful.

So! Make the jalapeno dip, but make it without pickled jalapenos. Ok?

And as a side note: I'm currently on hiatus from Cookie Monday. I'm just too tired to do it right now. Maybe later on in the winter.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Peach Streusel Crisp

The first peaches appeared at the farmers' market this past weekend so I stocked up with the goal of making a nice cobbler. My gentleman is particularly fond of streusel toppings on these things, so I found this peach streusel crisp recipe from Penzeys. I used THIS TUTORIAL from KAF to peel the peaches, and discovered in the process that several of my peaches were not yet fully ripe. Oh well. Eventually I got them all in the baking dish.

I normally don't say things like this, but there was WAY too much topping. The peaches were covered up with floury crisp and it wasn't as bubbly or juicy as the recipe suggests. I poured a little bit of cream on top before serving so it wouldn't be so dry. With the cream, it was quite lovely, but the leftovers have thickened even more and it isn't as great as I'd hoped. I will have to try out a different recipe in the future.


Peach Streusel Crisp

9 good-sized ripe peaches
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon china cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flour (for juicy peaches; 1 tablespoon for firm peaches)
1 stick cold butter
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon china cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease the bottom only of an 8x8 glass pan or medium casserole dish. Peel and pit the peaches, slice and place in a large bowl. Top with sugar, flour, CINNAMON and VANILLA, toss to coat. Set aside while preparing topping. Make the streusel by cutting the cold butter into a bowl, adding flour, sugar and CINNAMON, and rubbing it through your fingers until the streusel is a coarse, sandy/pebbly texture. Put the seasoned peaches into the pan, top generously with the streusel, and bake at 350° about 30 minutes, until the streusel is golden brown and the peach juice is starting to bubble up through the topping.

Yield: 3-4 servings (Enough for an 8x8 pan, double the recipe for a 9x13 pan.)

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Baked Eggplant Parm

My coworker came in the other day and said, "Lauren. You have to make this. You don't understand. It's perfect." Right, right. I LOVE eggplant parm so I figured I'd try it out, but my expectations were low. Homemade eggplant parm is so temperamental. The eggplant gets bitter. The eggplant gets soggy. The breading comes off and separates from the eggplant entirely once you've put it on your plate. It just never is quite right.

Well, this one is. This is the best parm recipe I've ever made and I don't plan to make any other one ever again. This involves roasting the eggplants, layering with cheese and sauce, and then adding a panko breadcrumb topping towards the end. Oh my gosh. No, seriously. It's perfect. I will absolutely make this again.


Baked Eggplant Parm
Lick My Spoon

1/2 cup olive oil
3 pounds eggplant
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
5 teaspoons minced garlic -- divided
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup plus 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment with olive oil.

Cut the eggplant into ¼-inch slices and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Flip the slices over and repeat, so now both sides of the eggplant are oiled and salted. Roast until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes, flipping the eggplant halfway through. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool while you prepare the remainder of the ingredients. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F.

In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with 3 teaspoons of the garlic over medium heat. Let cook until the garlic is fragrant and starting to toast. Add the tomatoes to the pan and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then add the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1 cup of parmigiano, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Assemble the Eggplant Parm: spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, followed by half of the roasted eggplant, 1 cup more tomato sauce, half of the ricotta mixture and half of the mozzarella. Repeat: eggplant, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons garlic, 1/4 cup parmigiano and panko. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the filling is bubbling, take the casserole out of the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle the panko mixture evenly over the top. Continue baking, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown and crisp, about 20-25 more minutes. If the topping is not browning, drizzle a little olive oil over the top and place under the broiler (keep an eye on it, it'll brown quickly under there). Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Servings: 6

Make Ahead: This is a great dish to make ahead. Make everything through Step 5. Cover the assembled Eggplant Parm with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator up to two days before serving. I usually prep the panko topping as well and keep this in an airtight container in the fridge. When you're ready to bake the dish, bring it to room temperature and continue with Steps 6 and 7.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Margarita-Lime Cookies with Tequila Glaze

Cookie Monday turned into Margarita Monday this week! How? Magic.

Also because my friend Lisa challenged me to make something utilizing "Salgar," a combination of salt & sugar invented by Leslie Knope, a character portrayed by Amy Poehler on the television situation comedy Parks & Recreation.

{Image from Tumblr}

When I first thought of salt/sugar, I thought of salted caramel. But that's so overdone. My next thought was, shockingly, booze. There MUST be some kind of margarita cookie out there, right? So I did some searching and found this recipe. It's an icebox cookie so you could easily make the dough ahead of time. Mix up the lime dough, roll the log in some "salgar," slice it, bake it, drizzle it with tequila glaze.

Seriously though, these were amazing and they made my coworkers VERY happy.


Margarita Cookies with Tequila Glaze
Love from the Oven

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
Green food coloring (optional)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 cup sanding sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon tequila

Mix flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, lime peel, extract and food coloring if using; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a log about 9 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in wax paper.

Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat oven 350°F. Mix sanding sugar and kosher salt. Roll each cold dough log in mixture to coat evenly. Cut dough into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place on ungreased baking sheets. If desired sprinkle a bit of additional sugar and salt mixture on tops.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Drizzle Glaze over cooled cookies. If desired sprinkle lightly with salt/sugar mixture. Let stand until glaze is set.

To make the glaze: Mix 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, and 1 tablespoon each water and tequila in small bowl until smooth. (Or omit tequila and use 2 tablespoons water.)

Yield: I doubled the recipe and got about 6 dozen