Archive for September, 2012

Friday  September 21, 2012

Sometimes I have a yen for something special which must be satisfied specifically other wise I work my way through odd food items attempting to achieve fulfillment.  The quest can present a challenge at times when I know the refrigerator  shows more wall space than food items.      I have never had a cluttered refrigerator.  The species where you open the door and all manner of food, boxes, jars, bottles, packages, stray food seem to fly out at you.   There are odd colored versions of what may have been normal a few weeks back.  Not me, not my refrigerator.  Now,  you may find the occasional moldy cheese, leftover food container or a very tired vegetable shoved to the back of a drawer  in the frig but it usually is not overloaded until we get to the brief period surrounding Thanksgiving.

Anyway, I digress.   Lunch.   I am looking for a departure from the HO HUM or the rigid regime.     What can I conjure up from my odd collection?   Well I had one whole wheat pita, a few slices of bacon and part of an avocado….. voila …  a BLT.   Apparently the tempting  Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich is the second most popular sandwich in the USA,   runner up to the basic Ham Sandwich.  The ingredient combination in a BLT, evolved from the crust-less  & delicate tea sandwich popular during the Victorian era   and as you may have guessed followed down the ancestral line of the amply built Club Sandwich.    It is believed that for the ease of ordering, the long winded sandwich was shortened to the ‘BLT’.   The bacon laden sandwich became popular after World War II due to the rapid expansion of supermarkets, making the ingredients available all year.  Mayonnaise, of course is a French concoction and really splendidly wraps up all the flavors in the BLT.  On to the production.

There were 3 gorgeous garden fresh tomatoes sitting on the counter, waiting to be sliced.    I love bacon;  the ultimate in salt and fat.   I don’t indulge often but I do enjoy it, the real thing much more so over the recently touted turkey bacon.    A satisfying BLT , turkey bacon, does not make.     Perhaps a BLT holds a special place in my memory bank, a warm fuzzy filed away alongside a good grilled cheese and yes even the pedestrian P & J.     So I slightly toasted the pita, slathered it with a well known ‘salad dressing’, I am not a mayonnaise lady,  added sliced avocado, about 5 slices of properly cooked bacon, not too crisp with a bit of spongy fat, splash of pepper, herbs, freshly sliced tomato and some colorful spring mix to top it off.    The pita allowed me to amply fill the space and made one heck of a satisfying sandwich.

November 3 rd is National Sandwich Day, a new one on me.   We’ll have to see how many sandwiches pop up on Facebook that day!

Lovely, lots of bacon, yummy tomatoes

serve with pickle and a few cherries

very satisfying!

To finish off the meal,  I’ll rob my bakery stash of a cocoa sugar cookie or perhaps a Jaded Jammie and a cup of tea or almond milk, unsweetened!

And until next time we meet … Mangia!


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Sunday   September 16, 2012  ( My Grandmother’s birthday! )

I looked longingly at the recipe & photo that I had printed last night but exercised control  (or took charge as the book I am reading on weight loss efforts would suggest) and waited until this morning to whip up the Chocolate Streusel Apple Bread.   Obviously,  knowing myself as I do, I would have eaten too much of it upon it’s completion, thus rendering me overstuffed for bedtime!  As I have mentioned in an earlier post,  Sunday, historically for my family, usually must have a bigger breakfast, brunch type spread or at the very least a special sweet to embellish an ordinary meal.   Tradition,  a love of food, relaxed eating, lingering around the table in conversation and perhaps just the desire to have one extraordinary day  for food lends itself to brunch in our house.    I never really transitioned into the big family dinner on Sunday, I guess because I am a breakfast person and everyone expects it that way!   And as I say if you consume in larger quantity early in the day you will burn it off faster.  You don’t have to worry about going to bed , ah hem, overstuffed!!

Most definitely the chocolate chip streusel aspect of this concoction inspired me to create it.    This morning I eagerly assembled the ingredients, having already made up my mind how I would adapt the recipe, and had it in the oven in record time.   I discovered this recipe through a Mary Mary Quite Contrary FB post of a dinners, dishes and desserts  recipe.    The recipe below reflects my changes in blue.   I used Cripps Pink apples and found that 1 large apple diced, yielded 2 cups.   Next time I might leave the peel on.    I substituted white whole wheat for half the flour, used almond milk with a splash of vinegar rather than the buttermilk, added nutmeg, and also a little quick oats to the streusel.   Oh yes, I used 1/4 c oil &  1/4 cup butter.    If this is made again I will put half the batter in the pan, cover with the 1/3 streusel, add the rest of the batter then top off with the remaining streusel.   I toyed with the idea of adding chocolate chips to the batter but restrained myself, deciding to keep it pure!!


Thanks to Mary Mary Quite Contrary for the inspiration!

1/2 cup butter, softened    ( 1/4 c butter & 1/4 c oil)

1/2 cup each brown and white sugar

1/3 cup buttermilk    ( 1/2 c almond milk with 1/8 tsp vinegar – I used more milk because of using the white whole wheat flour)

2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 cup flour     ( 1 c white whole wheat & 1 c unbleached )

1 tsp cinnamon   ( + 1/4 tsp nutmeg )

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups apples, slightly tart, peeled & diced

Preheat oven to 350° F.   Grease bottom and sides of a 9×5″ loaf pan.  ( I used parchment for easier removal).

In mixing bowl beat the butter and sugars  together until well combined.  Pour in buttermilk and baking powder, mix until fully blended.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Slowly add flour, cinnamon, and salt.

In separate bowl mix diced apples with a little flour, to keep them from sinking to the bottom.  Using a spatula, fold them into batter.  Pour into baking pan.

For the streusel, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl.  Using your hand or mixer blend in butter until the texture resembles coarse sand.  Sprinkle over the top of batter.

Bake for 60 – 75 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.  Important to avoid crumbling!

I put parchment in the pan to facilitate the removal

cooled for about an hour before slicing

Plated with chocolate mint from the garden! … 

Do you think I tasted it before photographing it? !

This was an easy bread to make, the result was good, the streusel definitely made the bread special.   I think it had more flavor after I refrigerated it, so I would give it a little more time to allow the flavors to meld, at room temperature.  I might add a bit more cinnamon and / or nutmeg.    It is a lovely bread, perfect for tea time, breakfast or snacking anytime.

So until next we meet, enjoy life, food and baking.   Mangia!!

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While perusing the pages, blogs and posted baked good entries last night, I happened upon another microwave cake.  In my previous posted trial I poo pooed the use of the microwave, expressing dissatisfaction with my attempt at the 5 minute mug cake, ( in a previous post ) I tried a week or so ago.   So, you may ask, why did I so quickly jump on this new find?   I could certainly get a chocolate fix by diving into a bag of chocolate chips or mixing some cocoa in my yogurt but this recipe from   Seasaltwithfood  might have a higher success rate, no egg, no cow’s milk, it calls for almond milk;  right up my alley.

The first attempt, let’s call it “the 5”  baked up heavy and dense,  possibly due to the egg in it.   I thought perhaps I fouled it up because I used less oil than was called for but this new recipe, call it “the 2”  ( the cake is baked for 2 minutes on HIGH) uses only 1 1/2 Tbsp of oil, similar to my previous adaptation.   The resulting cake was much lighter, fluffier, actually cake like,  I yearned to plop it off with a good frosting but restrained myself and dusted both with confectioners sugar.    I probably will add a little bit more sugar if I make this again.

Here is the recipe          Makes 2 cups or mugs

4 Tbsp unbleached flour   ( I used 2 Tbsp unbleached white whole wheat + 2 Tbsp unbleached regular )

3 Tbsp sugar ( maybe add an extra 1 tsp )

2 Tbsp cocoa, natural, unprocessed

pinch of salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup almond milk

1 1/2 Tbsp oil

3/4 tsp cider vinegar

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 Tbsp raspberry jam ( I used blackberry cause it was handier )

handful of chocolate chips

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda in a small bowl.   Add milk, oil, vinegar, jam and vanilla, blend then add chips.   Pour into 2 greased cups or mugs, place in microwave and bake for 2 minutes on HIGH.  Cool, dust , dollop with your choice  & indulge!

Blended batter fills 2 cups or mugs

the batter rose above the cup, overflowed a bit then settled down

light, moist, pleasing though a dollop of ganache would be grand

I now amend my previous assessment of microwaving a single serving quick fix chocolate cake.   I could see myself using this recipe again.   So if you try this ‘2 minute cake’, please let me know what you think!    Until we meet again …. Mangia!

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Tuesday  September 4, 2012

Holiday weekends lend themselves to extra special creations for any meal but I love breakfast and brunch, anytime, anywhere.  My favorite meal of the day and also the best meal to eat generously since you burn it off during the day.  You know the saying …’eat like a king at breakfast, a princess for lunch and a pauper for dinner’!!  Sage advice in my opinion.   The use of orange marmalade seemed like a cheery twist,  creating a light delectable addition to the brunch table spread.    We usually go BIG for brunches with a  varied selection of food, sweets with savory, colorful and healthy.

A partial brunch selection… easy holiday to guess!

I had posted Orange Sweet Rolls, http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/orange-sweet-rolls-recipe, on my Facebook page and planned to use the recipe at some point.   This was the weekend!   As you will see I adapted the recipe a tad.  I can’t help myself!  I  threw some sliced almonds and coconut into the marmalade filling for a little more pizazz. I also indulged myself by filling a small portion of the dough with a cocoa mixture to satisfy my chocolate urge.

Orange Marmalade Buns

1  – 1  1/4 cups lukewarm water

3 cups all purpose or unbleached  flour

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 teaspoons rapid yeast

3 tablespoons sugar

1  teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt


1/4 cup orange marmalade

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup shredded coconut

2 tablespoons orange extract

Icing **

1  1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice powder or orange extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1  1/2 to 2 tablespoons orange juice, enough to make a soft, spreadable icing

**  I made the icing a little lighter, less sweet by lessening the amount of sugar.   The icing is not as prominent or thick, once put on the buns.


Mix and knead everything together — by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle — until the dough is smooth.     If you’re kneading in a stand mixer, it will take about 7 minutes on speed 2, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl,  sticking a little at the bottom.    If using a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a soft, smooth ball.

Place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, until it’s nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.    Rising could take longer, if you’ve kneaded by hand;     give the dough enough time to become quite puffed.

While the dough is rising, lightly grease two 9″ round cake pans.

Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into a 12 x 16″ rectangle.   It’s a soft dough, and pats out easily.

Mix the marmalade,  orange extract, almonds, and coconut together until they’re well combined. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving about 3/4″ of one long side free of marmalade.

Roll the dough into a log the long way, rolling towards the bare edge. When the log is completely rolled, pinch the long seam closed as best you can.

Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 16 slices.   It helps to slice the dough by rinsing the blade in hot water and wiping it off between slices.

Space eight rolls in each of the prepared pans.

Loosely cover the pans, and let the rolls rise until they’re noticeably puffy, about 45 minutes to 1 hour;  they should spread out and crowd one another.

While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the rolls until they’re brown around the edges and beginning to turn golden brown across the center, about 25 minutes.

Combine the sugar, orange extract, vanilla, and enough orange juice to make a spreadable icing, for immediate use.    If you’re not serving the rolls right away, don’t make the icing yet.

Remove the rolls from the oven, and loosen the edges with a knife. Turn them out of the pan onto a rack.     If you are planning to eat  right away,  spread with the icing and serve.

To serve the rolls later, allow them to cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.    Shortly before you’re ready to serve, preheat the oven to 250°F. Unwrap the rolls, place them on an ungreased baking sheet and cover lightly with foil.       Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re nicely warmed.   You may also opt for a quick warm up in the microwave instead.

While the rolls are reheating, make the icing.

Remove the rolls from the oven, and spread with the icing. Serve immediately.

Yield:  16 rolls

Rolled out dough spread with the marmalade filling and 1/3 chocolate filling splurge

All rolled up an snug as a bug in the pan

sweet little rolled marmalade delights

baked and cooling

turned out and awaiting the glaze

glazing complete,waiting to eat

poised for consumption. Yum!

These buns are not quite the rival to sticky buns but they are tasty and a bit simpler to put together, therefore they will be ready for consumption faster!   I do hope you try them, let me know what you think.    Until next we meet ……….. Mangia!

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