Apple Tart

I spent this afternoon making this for dessert tonight! Oh, how I miss lazy days in the kitchen. New goal: once a month I’ll tackle something interesting in the culinary department during nap time or father/daughter time at the park!



Damp Lemon and Almond Cake

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It’s been several months since I’ve posted so I figured I’d jump back on the wagon with this cake. My mom brought me a box of 50+ lemons from her new orchard (congrats!) on Monday so I’m experimenting with all sorts of ways to use them up. So far I’ve tried lemonade, lemon thyme risotto, and lemon almond cake. I might even try lemon pudding a girl’s dinner on Saturday. This recipe comes from the How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook by Nigella Lawson. It’s probably my favorite cookbook for desserts and my go-to resource when I need to make something special. This recipe did not disappoint – and it took less than 10 minutes from the time I grabbed the ingredients to putting the pan in the oven!

Damp Lemon and Almond Cake, courtesy of Nigella Lawson

1 cup softened unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup of sugar (I used slightly less since I had Meyer lemons which tend to be sweet.)
4 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups ground almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
8 inch cake pan lined with a piece of buttered parchment

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together butter and sugar until almost white. Add eggs one at a time, with a quarter of the flour mixed in after each one. When everything is incorporated, gently stir in ground almonds, almond extract, lemon zest, and juice.

Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check on it after 30 minutes to make sure the top isn’t burning – if it is, cover it with foil. The cake is done when a skewer comes out cleanish – “you want dampness but no battery goo”. After you remove it from the oven, let it cool for five minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.

Nigella recommends wrapping it in a tin foil and leaving it for a few days to get it really nice and dense. Yeah right…

Chili and cornbread muffins

To celebrate our first storm of the season, I made a large pot of chili and cornbread muffins for a dinner party last night. It’s so dreary outside today that I wish I had doubled the recipe for leftovers.

 Chili recipe courtesy of Epicurious

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder (Penzeys Chili 3000)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can beef broth
  • 2 medium white potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup chili sauce (I love the Trader Joes chili sauce)
  • 1 15 1/4-ounce can kidney beans (I always used dried heirloom beans from Zursun or Iacopi beans)
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until almost golden, about 8 minutes. Add beef and cook until brown, breaking beef up with fork, about 10 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin and cayenne and continue cooking 3 minutes. Mix in tomatoes, broth, potatoes, carrots, bell pepper and chili sauce. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Stir in beans. Simmer until beans are heated through and vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Serve with diced avocado, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and salsa on the table.

Cornbread Muffins, recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup frozen corn kernels

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, if you’re using it. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, egg and yolk together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – the batter will be lumpy, and that’s just the way it should be. Stir in the corn kernels. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes (12 minutes for minis), or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.

I also made these beauties with some frozen wild huckleberries from WA but we ate them too fast to take photos. Yum!


Almond Flour Banana Muffins

I took advantage of Genevieve’s nap this morning and made some “healthy” muffins. They don’t have any oil or butter and are actually delicious! It also helped me use up a huge bag of almond flour that has been sitting in the pantry for over a year.


Almond Flour Banana Muffins, recipe adapted from Honest Fare

  • 9oz almond flour + some extra for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 bananas (approximately 1/2 lb peeled) + extra slices for topping
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of coarse sea salt (optional for topping if you like)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (if doing cocoa center)
  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Grease baking pan of choice (either an 8-9 inch fluted flan tin, a bread dish or muffin tin) and dust with flour OR lightly moisten baking paper and line tin.
  2. Whizz 9 oz almonds and baking powder in food processor until finely ground, but be careful not to go too far or you’ll end up with almond butter. Set aside in bowl.
  3. Whizz eggs, sugar, bananas and cinnamon for about 5 minutes or until pale and really fluffy. Pour over almond meal and stir through.
  4. If adding cocoa powder, place 1/3 of batter into separate bowl and stir in 2 tbs of unsweetened cocoa powder. To create the chocolaty center, first pour 1/2 your original batter into baking tin, then do your dollop of cocoa batter and then pour remaining original batter to cover cocoa. Top with thinly sliced bananas and almonds. Bake about 40-45 minutes for bread and 30-35 minutes for muffins (or until top is browned and skewer comes out clean). You just don’t want to overcook in the oven because they’ll continue to cook a little as they cool. Sprinkle on sea salt immediately after removing from oven.

Peach Blackberry Cobbler

Another peach blackberry dessert – it’s a constant theme for me this summer. It’s my favorite fruit combination and will soon be a distant memory.

Yesterday my mom and I made a cobbler using a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Like most everything on her website, this was a winner.

Peach Blackberry Cornmeal Cobbler (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

For the fruit
1 1/2 (about 4 cups) pounds peaches, pitted and cut into slices
1 pint (about 2 cups) blackberries or blueberries, rinsed and dried
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the biscuit topping
3/4 cup (3 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine stone-ground cornmeal (yellow or white)
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk

(We halved the recipe and it was enough for 4 healthy servings.)

Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Toss peaches with berries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in the bottom of a 2-quart ovenproof dish (or if you’re using individual ramekins, stir together in a bowl).

Make the biscuit dough: Stir together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the dry mixture with your fingertips, a fork or a pastry blender. Stir in buttermilk with a rubber spatula until a wet, tacky dough comes together.

Plop spoonfuls of the biscuit dough over the filling; don’t worry about covering entire surface. Bake until the cobbler’s syrup is bubbly and the biscuit tops are browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly and scoop it into bowls. Top with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, of if you’re having an accidental run-in with this cobbler before noon, plain yogurt. Enjoy!


Peach & Blackberry Galette

Yesterday my mom came to visit and brought us another bag of fresh peaches (and blackberries) from the valley. Nothing beats orchard fresh produce in the summer! Since I had another set of hands to care for G for the day, I decided to take advantage of the help and make dinner. I made basil chicken, a beet and orange salad with goat cheese, and a galette with peaches and blackberries. I think the galette might just be the best dessert I’ve ever made. Yum!

Crust (courtesy of First Class Cooking)

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick + 1 TB cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2-4 TB ice water

Mix the flour with the sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle water over the dough (start with 2 TB) and mix until everything is just moistened. Transfer the dough to a floured board and knead 2-3 times. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Dough can be stored in the fridge for 3 days or frozen wrapped in foil for 1 month.)

Filling (courtesy of First Class Cooking)

  • 1.5 lbs peaches, sliced into wedges
  • 6 oz fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1 TB fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 TB sugar for crust (I used less)
  • pinch ginger
  • pinch salt
  • 1 TB milk, for glazing crust

In a large bowl, stir together all the filling ingredients (not the milk).

On a lightly floured surface or silicone mat, roll out the pastry dough to a 14-inch round (it does not need to be perfectly round). Transfer the entire silicone mat atop a baking sheet or the pastry round onto a parchment lined sheet.

Pour filling onto the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the dough over the fruit, pleating and overlapping to secure the filling. Distribute slivers of butter atop the filling. Brush the edges of the batter with the milk and sprinkle with remaining TB of sugar.

Bake until the crust is golden and the fruit filling is gently bubbling, about 35 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on a baking sheet before transferring to a board. Slice into wedges and serve.