You are talented.
You and your friends are creative and fun and wacky.
A birthday cake with balloons just didn't seem to fit.
So your sister and I went to work.
UPDATE: Made some peanut brittle for a holiday gift exchange at work. Tip 1: don't use spray oil on the cookie sheet. Way too oily with this buttery brittle. Tip 2: If you put the peanuts in while it boils instead of waiting until the end, just make sure you stir often or else some will burn. But it's hard to mess this up, no matter what you do.
You just started school the other day and you already have a science project. You are to make peanut brittle at home and take it to your science teacher. Hmmm. That sounds suspect.
Well OK. If it's for higher education. Let's do it!
I did have a tiny taste of the peanut brittle and it was very good. Very buttery.
Compliments of JennaDish
from Amanda on allrecipes.com under "Mom's Best Peanut Brittle"
Measure all your ingredients ahead of time, as you have to work quickly at the end.
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup peanuts
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.
In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, corn syrup, salt and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees F. or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.
Remove from heat. Immediately stir in butter and baking soda. Pour onto cookie sheet and spread into a rectangle. Let cool completely then break into pieces.
I should call this the Ugly Duckling Pie because it started looking pretty sad but turned out beautiful. Yes, this is actually an apple raspberry pie, but the recipe came from England, and you know how that goes. Biscuit for cookie, potato crisps for chips, cooker for stove, and all that. So we'll just go along.
This recipe is from here: The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics. I have the previous edition from 2000. Seriously, if I had to get rid of all my cookbooks except one, it would be this one. I don't care if she was knitting shawls in the "Big House" for awhile. This lady knows how to find that middle of the road between American cheesy casseroles and the obscure stuff like Roasted Eel Eyes with Briacietello Reduction. Yes I made that up to make a point. If you want a classic, dependable, doable recipe, this is the go-to cooking Bible. Absolutely EVERYTHING I've ever made from this cookbook has been PERFECT.
Did you know you could make a pie on a plate? I found that very curious. I just had to try it. I halved the recipe and used a 6 3/4" oven-proof Corelle plate (saucer, really) instead of a 9" plate. Tricky huh?
Here's the overview.
Make a pate brisee, or pie dough, with butter, flour, sugar, salt and water in a food processor.
Put it in the oven and go bribe your kids to clean the kitchen and mow the grass while you rest. Pull your beautiful pie out of the oven and take lots of pictures. Or just eat it. That's an option too.
Then treat yourself to some bologna and cheese on a pita. Especially if you haven't had bologna in 10 years. You deserve it.
Apple Raspberry Plate Cake
compliments of JennaDish
from Martha Stewart Living under Mrs. Dunlinson's Plate Cake
The following recipe is a full recipe, served on an 8-9" plate. To halve this recipe, which will yield 3-4 servings, use a 6-7" plate and simply halve the ingredients. If you have a little less of one fruit and more of the other, that's fine. Just make sure the overall amount of fruit is as directed. Pie dough requires minimum of 1 hour to chill. Recipe follows.
2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into chunks
Juice of a lemon
1 pound raspberries
1 teaspoon unsalted butter for plate
1 patee brisee (pie crust, recipe below)
1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling top of pie
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss apples with lemon juice. Fold in raspberries gently. Set aside
Butter your oven-proof plate. Flour your rolling pin and roll 1/2 your pie crust on a lightly floured surface to about 1" larger than your plate. If dough is sticky, sprinkle it with a little more flour but don't overwork it. Place the round on your plate and trim if needed.
Mound fruit on plate, sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar and roll out the other 1/2 pie crust to the same size as the first. Place over the fruit and pinch the two edges together, using a small amount of water on your fingertips, if necessary, to seal. Cut about 3 slits in the top crust near the center. Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with a Tablespoon of sugar.
Place the pie on a baking pan to catch any drips and bake until fruit is bubbly and crust is golden brown, about 40-50 minutes. Cool on rack about 10 minutes before serving.
Pate Brisee or Pie Dough
MAKES TWO 8-10" CRUSTS
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube with the machine running, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide into 2 equal pieces, and place on 2 separate sheets of platic wrap. Flatten, and form two disks. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.
This is such an understated dessert. Great for the summer. Fun for small kids to make because there are no knives or stoves involved. The espresso dessert tastes almost like a light tiramisu. The blueberry and fresh ginger will make people think you're a cultured foodie who uses the words "infused" and "deconstructed" a lot.
Your'e going to mix coffee and sugar, place it in a metal pan in the freezer, and watch it closely to start scraping the ice crystals before they become too frozen to break up. You will see these stages…
from Cook This! Not That!
2 cups espresso or very strong coffee, warmed
1/2 cup sugar
Light whipped topping (recipe below, or use prepared topping)
1/2 cup shaved dark chocolate
Combine the warm espresso with the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture into a shallow metal baking pan and place in freezer. A 13 x 9 pan will freeze the contents faster.
After 15-40 minutes, depending on your freezer and how warm your espresso was, crystals will just start forming in the corners and sides. Take out of the freezer and scrape them off with a fork into the middle. Do this in stages as the whole pan freezes so that you will wind up with a frozen slushy consistency.
To make whipping cream, beat a cup of heavy cream in a cold metal mixing bowl to which you've added 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Beat with a hand mixer until soft peaks form.
Layer the granita in a glass with the whipped cream. Shave chocolate on the top.
Blueberry Ginger Granita
Blend 2 cups blueberries, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger.
Follow the steps as the above recipe.
I'm a little bit country…
It's Donny and Marie Banana Bread Puddings. Brother and Sister. I just wanted to see how different this dessert would look in glass vs. country crock. The crock is 8 oz. (1 cup) and the glass oven-proof dish is slightly larger.
Donny Osmond and the Osmond Brothers, before Marie butted in, were really big in the 70s when I was about 10 years old. I can even name the whole group from memory. Donny Jay Merrill Wayne and Alan. Also popular at the time were the DeFranco Family and some fly-by-night group called the Jackson 5.
Look up the Osmonds, especially "Yo Yo" or "Puppy Love". "Go Away Little Girl" still pops up in my head nearly 40 years later. I bet you'll love them now like I did then. Especially those dance moves and bell bottoms.
While you're groovin' to the beat, get out your dark rum and peasant bread and let's make a sinfully good dessert.
Then I'm going to show you how to make the same thing with lower calories.
I'm sure your first question is Can I drink some of the rum now? I'll let you decide that one. And your next question is What the heck is peasant bread? It's just a coarse bread with a hard crust. Even the ridiculously large mega international supermarket by me, Jungle Jim's ….
Classic Banana Bread Pudding and It's Lower Calorie Cousin
compliments of JennaDish
You can use four 6-oz ramekins, or use three 8-9 oz oven proof bowls.
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 large eggs
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (light brown is ok too)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons dark rum
3 small bananas (or 1 lb), sliced in 1/4" thick rounds
8 oz. peasant bread (or similar), crust removed, torn into 32 small pieces
Preheat oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the center. Place a baking pan filled with 1/2 inch of water in the oven. (Use a baking pan or roasting pan and measure the water with a ruler. 1/2" of water may be more than you think and it will evaporate.) Butter four 6-oz ramekins; set aside. Whisk together the cream, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, vanilla and rum; set aside.
Cut the butter into 8 pieces. Place 1 piece of butter and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in each ramekin. Place an eighth of the banana slices in an even layer over the butter and sugar. Cover the banana with 4 pieces of bread; sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Pour about half the cream mixture among the ramekins to soak the bread. Divide the remaining banana slices among the ramekins, sprinkle each with remaining sugar, and top with the remaining bread; pour the remaining cream mixture over. Press to soak bread. Place 1 piece of butter in each; sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
Cover each ramekin loosely with aluminum foil; bake in the hot-water bath 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 30 minutes more. Transfer ramekins to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before serving.
Now for the lighter version. Instead of heavy cream, use half and half or whole milk. Use less sugar (about 1/2 was fine with me) or replace it with agave nectar, except you may want to still sprinkle the top with brown sugar for the slight crunch.
In my quest to show you so many options, I actually forgot the bananas in this lower calorie banana bread pudding, and it was still wonderful. Then I couldn't leave well enough alone and I threw some of the leftover cooked berries from my Summer Berry Pudding over it…
I'm going to explain to you why Cornmeal Pancakes remind me of you. Hang with me.
Everyone loves cornbread. Cornbread is grainy and corny and bready.
Everyone loves pancakes. Pancakes are soft and um pancakey.
Cornmeal pancakes are a perfect blend of two things we love.
Cornbread is your dad on the left and the pancake is your mom (me) on the right.
You're the cornmeal pancake in the middle. A perfect blend.
compliments of JennaDish
from Martha Stewart Living
MAKES ABOUT NINE 5-INCH PANCAKES
To make these more quickly in the morning, you can mix all the dry ingredients ahead and store in an airtight container or plastic bag. Keep in the refrigerator, or for later use, the freezer. Combine with liquid just before cooking.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk (any kind)
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
Canola oil or olive oil for griddle (or large non stick pan)
Quick Blueberry Syrup/Sauce: Heat 1 – 2 cups blueberries and about 2-3 Tablespoons sugar per cup or to taste. Cook over medium low heat while preparing pancakes.
Preheat electric griddle to 375 degrees if using. If using a skillet, you will turn on medium heat later in the recipe once the warmed butter cools to room temperature.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
Combine the milk and the butter in a small sauepan, and warm over low heat until the butter melts. Let cool to lukewarm, then beat in the eggs. (Heat skillet now.) Whisk the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and combine. The batter should have small to medium lumps.
Preheat oven to 175 degrees for warming batches of pancakes (or use warming tray). Test the griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If the water bounces and spatters off the griddle, it's hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush a small amount of oil onto the griddle.
Using a 1/2 cup or 1/4 cup measuring cup (I like small pancakes made with 1/4 cup batter), pour the batter in pools with space in between to spread. When the pancakes have bubbles on top and are dry on the edges, flip over. Cook until golden.
Note: With each new batch of pancakes poured, if you add a bit more oil to the pan before pouring the batter, the pancakes will have those circles that most people prefer. Otherwise the finish will be more solid and dry.
It's a hot August day. Like the one a few days ago when I made this Summer Pudding. Heat index of 103 degrees. You have guests coming over to sit on the porch and fan themselves and gossip about the new tart in town. There's no way in heck you're turning that oven on. Maybe it's 1920 or 1962 or the 2000sies.
Can't you just see yourself coming out onto your porch and presenting them with little Individual Summer Pudding desserts just like this one?
This is one of those things that, today, although it's simple and classic, you don't see much anymore. Therefore it's different. Therefore you should make it.
Can you make it al a mode instead of with whipped cream? That's a silly question. Is there anything you can't make al a mode?
Let's get started. You'll need six 4 oz ramekins. No this is not a picture of six 4 oz ramekins. This is a display of just how many sizes there are available. They're not like a standard bread pan or cake pan.
If your ramekins are a bit larger just figure out what would be equal. For example, if your ramekins are 6-7 oz, then you'll just need 4 (but of course you'll need to put more berries and bread in each right?) These will be used as molds, so don't use a shallow one like the white one on the front right. I used the front left.
Here's an overview of what we'll be doing. The recipe is at the end.
Put something heavy across the tops of the ramekins and refrigerate overnight.
Individual Summer Berry Puddings
compliments of JennaDish
Use firm homemade or bakery bread for this classic English dessert.
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4" thick
3/4 cup sugar
1 pint blueberries
1 1/2 pints raspberries
1/2 pint blackberries
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of kosher salt
1 large loaf fresh white bread, cut in 18 slices
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
Combine the strawberries and sugar in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until the berries release their juices and the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add the blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, and cook until they release their juices but still hold their shape, about 5 minutes; the mixture will look like a thick soup.
Remove from heat, transfer to a mixing bowl to cool. Stir in the lemon juice and salt.
Line six 1/2-cup ramekins with plastic wrap. Cut 1 circle from each slice of bread to the same size as the ramekin's diameter. Spoon 2 level Tablespoons (not heaping) of the berry mixture into each ramekin. Dip 6 circles of the bread into the bowl of berries one at a time, saturating them, and place one in each ramekin. Cover wtih 2 level Tablespoons more of the berries. Continue until you have 3 layers of bread and berries, ending with the bread. When finished, the ramekins will be brimming over the tops.
Set the ramekins on a shallow baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and place a cutting board or similar on top, large enough to cover tham all. Weight the board with heavy cans of about 5 lbs. and refrigerate overnight.
To serve with whipped cream, combine the cream, vanilla and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl; whip until stiff but soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Invert the puddings, removing the ramekins and plastic wrap, onto serving plates. Top with whipped cream.
Pasta Con le Sarde. Pasta with sardines. This is a wonderful……
Wait a minute, I'm having a thought about what I should have said in a restaurant the other night. We'll get back to this lovely Italian dish in a moment. Commercial break.
Dear Waitress Lady in a Fancy Asian Restaurant:
This spicy peanut cold noodle dish is to die for. I’ve been sharing it with my sweet daughter and talking up how wonderful it is to mix it with the raw carrots and bean sprouts it comes with. Gives it a nice crunch.
It’s on a white plate. That’s nice. And my bean sprouts are kind of white, too. I'm leading up to something here.
How do I put this delicately?
You see that little grain of rice there in my plate with a little black tip? Yeah. The one that’s heading northbound on my plate? Yeah. Are you thinkin what I’m thinkin?
OH MY FREAKING GAWD.
THAT’S NOT A PIECE OF RIIIIIIIICE!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, that happened last Saturday night. Well, not exactly that way. Yes, there was a critter that probably came from the raw sprouts, but not the drama. That was only happening in my head. We don’t ever spaz out like that in public. It’s not our family's style. We sent the dish back, and we went on and ate our COOKED dinner. But boy did we eat the rest of our food with laser vision!
I feel another speech coming on.
To My Children and Grandchildren:
We live in a world with critters. Sometimes things happen that can't be helped. It's not all about us and our feelings and what we can get from people. Treat others like you want to be treated. Restaurant life is hard. If they're dirty, that's one thing. But if they have a good reputation and a mistake was made, don't pounce on the opportunity to be a victim. If you choose to leave, that's totally cool and understandable. Explain to your waitress what your plans are, excuse yourself quietly and keep it classy. If you do stay and you are kind and understanding, realistic and humble, then good things will likely come your way. Like a fully comped $60 dinner….and peace in your life.
That said. Let’s eat in tonight, shall we?
This is a DELICIOUS dish. Spaghetti with vine-ripened tomato sauce, sauteed bread crumbs mixed with fresh parmesan. And sardines.
If you don't like sardines, use capers or something salty like that. You'll still love the deep flavors of the bread crumbs and fennel.
Pasta Con le Sarde
Compliments of JennaDish
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 fennel bulb, diced (I use a yellow onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
2 cans (4 3/8 oz) boneless, skinless sardines, drained
1/4 cups chopped fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti
In a large frying pan, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and sautee until golden, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the crumbs from the pan and toss with the Parmesan. Wipe the pan to reuse.
In the same pan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil over medium high heat. Add the fennel or onion and sautee until golden 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and sautee 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes. Break up the drained sardines while still in the can. Add them and the parsley, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti al dente or as preferred, according to package directions. Drain. Toss spaghetti with the sauce and half the bread crumbs. Top with remaining bread crumbs.
Fresh Sardines Variation: Substitute one pound filleted, fresh sardines. Add them to the pan along with the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes before adding the tomatoes.
It's back to school time. I just counted how many years in a row that I have been sending a child off to school. 21. Yes that's what I said.
How can that be when I'm only 29?
Jill Pill turns 16 soon and she mentioned she may want Tiramisu as her birthday "cake" this year. I'd better practice cause man she's picky!
And they loved it. The End.
When Jill went to Italy with her school last year, she took this picture.
I adapted two recipes and came up with this.
I decided to use shaved bittersweet chocolate instead of cocoa powder. I think either one would do.
compliments of JennaDish
Inspired by talkoftomatoes.com and Ina Garten
You can use an 8×8 dish or a 1.5 qt bowl. This recipe uses raw eggs which is not recommended for certain people. Please research this topic before choosing to consume.
5 egg yolks (fresh, organic)
2 8-oz pkgs mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz. cup of espresso (you can purchase at coffee shop or use instant espresso powder)
1/4 cup Marsala wine (or more because you're just dipping)
16 ladyfingers, or savoiardi (give or take)
Unsweetened cocoa for sprinkling or small chunk of bittersweet chocolate for shaving
Beat eggs yolks and sugar until creamy and smooth, about 3-5 min on med speed with mixer.
Add mascarpone and beat until smooth and light. Set aside.
Mix espresso and Marsala wine in a shallow bowl for dipping Ladyfingers.
One by one, quickly dip Ladyfingers into the liquid to coat on both sides, laying them in the bottom of your dish. Drizzle a little of the liquid onto each Ladyfinger. About 1/2 to 1 tablespoon each.
Next place a layer of the cheese mixture over the Ladyfingers. If you are using a 5-cup bowl, only use about 1/3 of the mixture or less for the first layer because you'll need 3 layers each of the cheese and Ladyfingers, ending with the cheese mixture.
Using an 8×8 dish, because it's more shallow, you will likely only wind up with 2 layers of each.
Repeat the layers according to your layering plan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours. Overnight will allow the biscuits to soften and absorb the moisture properly. Before serving, sprinkle with chocolate shaved with a cheese grater or dust with cocoa powder.
Cold Fresh Tomato and Basil Soup
compliments of JennaDish
Chilling this dish, like most tomato recipes, is important to the development of the taste. Keeping the seeds in the tomatoes works perfectly fine with this soup. They go unnoticed with the bits of onion and basil, and only add to the nutrition and flavor.
6 ripe tomatoes (I used plum but any would do)
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons sugar
small handful fresh basil (about 12-16 leaves)
sour cream or Greek yogurt for garnish
Peel tomatoes (instructions in footnote).
Place tomatoes and basil in food processor and pulse a few times. Add chopped onion, salt, pepper and sugar. Pulse until well blended but still chunky, being careful not to overblend to a juice consistency.
Chill in covered bowl for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Serve with dollop of sour cream or yogurt. Use a squirt bottle to achieve the effect in the photo.
To peel tomatoes, cut a slit in the skin at least 1" long. Drop in boiling water until the slit breaks open, about 1-2 minutes. Immediately place in ice bath (bowl of water with ice cubes) to hasten cooking. Peels will come right off.