Archive for September, 2010

Fresh Tomato Tart

September 28, 2010

Fresh Tomato TartIn the previous post I mentioned that zucchini season seems to be over in our garden. Fortunately we’re still getting fresh tomatoes. Years ago I would can some of them, and one year we froze them, but really, we like them best fresh, in salads, on sandwiches or sliced right onto the plate. Occasionally we roast them, which I love, and once in awhile we use them in a dish like this Fresh Tomato Tart.

The crust for this tart is super simple but delicious. It makes enough for two tarts which we didn’t need so I double wrapped the extra dough and used it a few days later for another recipe.

Instead of retyping the recipe I’ll link directly to the recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. As you read the recipe you’ll see they have filling instructions for two large tarts or for individual tarts. I made the recipe for the large tarts but halved it.

Both my husband and I liked this recipe a lot. It lends itself to a lot of variations so I think we’ll be making it again with other seasonal vegetables throughout the year. Speaking of variations! I just remembered that instead of using the spices indicated in the recipe I used an Italian Seasoning Blend that I had on hand. You could substitute the herbs you like best

Zucchini Cake

September 27, 2010

Zucchini Cake

The leaves are changing here in the upper Midwest, and as much as I don’t want to admit it summer truly is behind us. If you live in a warmer area you might still be harvesting zucchini and if you are, this recipe is for you. If you don’t have zucchini growing in your backyard this cake will be worth their purchase from your local grocery store.

When I made this cake I was very doubtful that I would like it. I was willing to make it, learn from it and toss it. I don’t like throwing out food, but I was willing to this one time just for the sake of learning.  Rest assured none of this cake went to waste, but rather to “waist”. My husband and I both loved this cake.

You might be wondering what about the recipe made me doubt it’s tastiness? The fat in the cake comes from olive oil. I thought for sure I wouldn’t like olive oil in this type of baked good, but I was so wrong.  The original recipe comes from Gina DePalma’s book Dolce Italiano. I don’t own the book, but I’d like to get my hands on it to discover what other gems are waiting between the covers. If this cake is representative of the rest of the book, it may become a must have book, because this cake is genius.

The cake is super moist, and the lemon glaze gets a little crunchy when it sets. The lemon compliments the zucchini and olive oil in such a way that you don’t think of the zucchini and olive oil as individual components. They come together in an interesting and delicious way that I wouldn’t have guessed. I wanted to share this cake with everyone and make believers out everyone that zucchini and olive oil could come together in a cake without being covered up with chocolate. I want everyone to taste it and love it the way my husband and I do. Unfortunately the cake didn’t make it far. A few slices went to the neighbors, and we ate the rest of it over the course of a few days. Seriously! Two of us ate almost the entire cake. It’s that good.

Zucchini Cake with Lemon Glaze (adapted from the web, where is was adapated from Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano)

1 c. pecans or walnuts toasted and chopped (I used toasted walnuts)
2c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. kosher salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/2. t. nutmeg
3 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. finely grated zucchini

For the glaze:
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 c. powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 c. bundt pan with non-stick spray and dust with flour.
Sift together: Flour, leaveners, salt and spices. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer beat the eggs, sugar and olive oil for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and stir in the vanilla.
Mix in the dry ingredients, and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.
Stir in the chopped nuts and zucchini.
Pour the mixture into the bundt pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake has started to pull away from the sides of the pan.

While the cake is baking stir together the granulated sugar and lemon juice. Stir it well and let it sit while the cake bakes.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.

Add the powdered sugar to the lemon and sugar mixture. Use a brush to apply the glaze to the cake while it is still warm/ Let the cake cool completely. A silicone brush works well for this but a pastry brush will also work.

Cheesecake Brownies Day 2

September 25, 2010
Cheesecake Brownies


Instead of replacing the photo in the previous post I decided to put new photos in a new post. The photos aren’t that much better but they’re enough better to share. As usual the photos don’t do these justice.

Cheesecake Brownies Day 2

The brownies were great yesterday. They’re even better today. Much like the way cheesecake is better on Day 2. The cheesecake part is smoother. If you haven’t made these and you’re looking for a recipe, make these. You’ll find a link to the recipe in the previous post.

Cheesecake Brownies

September 24, 2010

It’s time to clear the cobwebs, and post something on this much neglected blog. I have a good excuse for the neglect. This summer I fell in love again with bicycling. I used to bike a lot but got away from it and haven’t biked much  in at least 15 years. I fell hard, bought a new bike and get out whenever the weather and my schedule cooperate. That leaves less time for baking and even less time for blogging, but the biking is really good for me and I love it.

Yesterday Anna at Cookie Madness got my attention with some cheesecake brownies. It occurred to me as I was reading her post that I’ve never made cheesecake brownies. Say what!? How can that be? Brownies, yes! Cheesecake, yes! Why haven’t I put them together?

There are a lot of recipes out there for cheesecake brownies. After some surfing around the web, and leafing through some cookbooks from my shelves I decided to give David Lebovitz’s Cheesecake Brownies a go. I think this combination is a culinary marriage made in heaven.

The real hoot is I that I didn’t use high end chocolate for these. I used Baker’s Semi Sweet chocolate, Penzey’s Dutch Process Cocoa, regular butter, and Nestle’s Chocolate Chips. I haven’t purchased Nestle’s chips in years but they were dirt cheap last week and I figured what the heck. They’d be convenient to have on hand and to save a few bucks I could use them for awhile instead of my favorite Guittard chocolate chips. Since I used salted butter I omitted the salt all together.

I thought for sure I had a 9×9 inch baking pan, but it turns out that all of my square pans are 8×8 inches. By the time I dolloped the cream cheese on top of the brownie mixture it was completely covered in my too small pan so swirling became almost impossible. You’ll notice that mine look more like cheesecake topped brownies. Do not let this stop you from making these. The texture of the cheesecake is smooth and satisfying and the perfect foil to the rich, sweet, dense brownie. Next time I will be sure I’ve added a 9×9 inch pan to my bakeware arsenal, but if all I had was the smaller 8×8 pan, I wouldn’t let it stop me from making these.

Cheesecake Brownies

Cheesecake Brownies

The photo above was taken out on my porch in the waning light of the day. I hope to get a chance tomorrow to take better photos.

If you’re looking for a great cheesecake brownie recipe, look no further than page 195  in David Lebovitz’s book, Ready for Dessert. You can also find the recipe on his blog.  This is the third recipe I’ve made from Ready for Dessert and each of the recipes has been absolutely excellent. The caramel ice cream redefined caramel ice cream at our house, and the chocolate chip cookies are one of the most excellent chocolate and pecan delivery systems I’ve had the pleasure to eat.