Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lemon Cake – Ina Garten is always good.

I have a bit of a cookbook problem. . . or according to my husband – a real problem.  Just this week my dad built me a custom bookshelf for my cookbooks (it matches the kitchen he built for me last year – no he’s not a carpenter, he’s a doctor – don’t ask.  But yes, in case you were wondering, I am spoiled).  Looking at my beautiful tower of cookbooks makes me feel very contented.  It also motivates me to cook.  As much as I love pulling recipes off the computer there’s something about the heft of a cookbook that delights me. 
Isn’t it pretty?  Those cookies in the jar are these if you were wondering.
That said I actually somehow don’t own any of Ina Garten’s many cookbooks.  I’m not sure why.  Some of my best dishes actually come from Ina, she never seems to let you down.  Her recipes are usually easy, and always work, usually spectacularly.  My favorite coconut cupcakes (oh are they good), a really great chocolate cake, the salmon dish that my four year old requests  almost every week,  all Ina.  This recipe is a new Barefoot Contessa recipe (to me, it just took me forever to make it, I realize that it’s an old favorite to many).  This is her Lemon Yogurt Cake.  You can click here for her recipe, but I’ll put it here on Teresacooks for you too.
My kids kept going “oh, it’s so tangy sweet!”  They were also pretty annoyed when my youngest ate all the glaze off the last hunk of cake.  The glaze is really good.  I made 2 of these and gave one to a friend.  It’s kind of perfect for that sort of thing, I wrapped it in wax paper like a present and gave it away, it’s sturdy enough to do that and not break in half. 
DSC_0025 DSC_0030
You’ll need fresh lemons and whole milk yogurt.

DSC_0031 DSC_0038
The lemon zest goes into the wet ingredients. . . this is what happens when a 4 year old is your assistant.
DSC_0044 DSC_0056
Then you soak the hot cakes with lemon syrup.  Glaze the cooled cakes.  Pretty.
Note the cakes are on a rack over a cookie sheet, and the syrup and glaze is puddling underneath them.  Don’t forget to put them on the rack or you’ll be sorry.  I love the simple beautiful appearance of these cakes.
Lemon Yogurt Cake by Ina Garten


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm,take a skewer and poke some holes in the cake so the syrup can sink into the middle.  Then pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shrimp pizza with lemon cream sauce

shrimp pizza

This pizza is my attempt to recreate the last remaining pizza that I actually want to go out for.  Bertucci’s shrimp bella venezia (or maybe it’s the other one, I get the names confused).  It’s not exact, but boy is it good.  I always use Artisan Bread in 5 dough for my pizza crust.  Either the master recipe or the semolina dough are usually what I have on hand.  It makes making pizza quicker and easier than ordering out (not to mention better and cheaper).  I go through phases with different favorite pizza’s, and they’re a great way to use up leftovers, a little bit of this, a little bit of that can turn into a perfect pizza.  This is my current pizza of the month.  It’s nice with white wine (though not the fizzy disgusting wine we opened last night – that wouldn’t be good with anything).

shrimp pizza raw 

Before going into the oven: note the chili brine all over the shrimp.  That’s good.


shrimp pizza 2

4 oz. cream cheese

1Tbsp. cream or milk

2 Tbsp. sour cream

2 cloves garlic crushed

juice of 1/4 lemon (juice the half and then put it in to taste)

zest of one half a lemon

Pepper – more than you think you want (lemon pepper is good too)


2 tbsp. grated romano cheese (optional)

mozzarella cheese

15-20 brined shrimp*

1 jarred roasted pepper (I used piquillo peppers)

Pizza dough


Brine the shrimp and preheat the oven to 425 or 450, with a pizza stone in the bottom if you have it. 

Mix the cream cheese, cream,sour cream, garlic, lemon zest and juice, romano cheese, pepper and salt together with a hand mixer. 

Heat some olive oil in a pan and briefly toss the drained (but not rinsed) shrimp.  They won’t be fully cooked, you still want them a little translucent.    They’ll finish cooking on the pizza.  The shrimp will give off some liquid.  You can either stir this into the cheese mixture or drizzle it over the top.  You want this to be used, it’s fantastic flavor. 

Roll out the pizza dough to the desired shape, drizzle with olive oil and spread on the cheese mixture.  Top with mozzarella cheese and shrimp.  Tear the roasted red pepper into small pieces and scatter them atop the pizza.   Grind some more pepper over the top.

Bake for about 10 minutes until bubbling and crisp. 


*brining shrimp:  I always brine my frozen shrimp in a mixture of 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup chili powder (mc cormack's in a giant bottle from BJ's) and 1/2 c. diamond kosher salt in my big white bowl (I think it holds 10 cups of water) Use hot water, throw in the frozen shrimp and wait 20 min. Drain, but don't rinse. . . there will be chili powder left on the shrimp.  For this recipe you can scale it down a bit, you only need about 15 or 20 shrimp.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Raspberry Cream Cheese Braid


This was an on the fly recipe.  My kids had asked me to make brioche for breakfast, since I had a bucket of Artisan Bread in Five’s fabulous Brioche dough in my fridge that was no problem.  While I was making them I suddenly realized that I had to either use or freeze the dough this morning.  So I rolled it out figuring I’d spread it with Nutella and make a Nutella swirl brioche in honor of World Nutella Day.

  Then I looked in the jar of Nutella.   Not enough to spread on the brioches if I did that.  So I grabbed a block of cream cheese that only had a little taken out of it and softened it in the microwave.  Then I beat in a few tablespoons of sugar and an egg yolk and spread it down the center of the rolled out dough.  I then took dollops of raspberry jelly and spooned them down the center and braided it up.  I actually remembered to put egg wash on it (gasp) and I baked it and let it cool.  I think this is my daughter’s new favorite breakfast.  It turned out really well.

If you haven’t made the dough yet, try it today.  I’m going to post about the sticky buns soon. . .

raspberry cream cheese braid1 DSC_0027

raspberry cream cheese braid2 raspberry cream cheese braid3




A grapefruit sized ball of Artisan Bread in 5 Brioche Dough

one package of cream cheese

2-3 tablespoons of sugar

one egg yolk

raspberry (or cherry or whatever you like ) Jelly


Roll out the dough to a large rectangle. 

Mix together the cream cheese and sugar, then add the egg yolk.

Spread this mixture over the center of the dough, and top with jelly.

Cut strips into the dough on either side of the filling and criss cross – it will form a braid.

Brush with eggwash and bake at 350 for about a half an hour – until golden and bubbly.

Cool and slice.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pioneer Woman’s Doughnuts - It’s Shrove Tuesday

doughnut edited
Every year on Shrove Tuesday my kids and I make homemade doughnuts, ditch most of the schoolwork and have my parents over to eat doughnuts, drink coffee and play cards.  Since I only make doughnuts once a year I’m always looking for a great recipe (but never test more than one a year), I’ve found a few I liked, but I think I like this one the best.  It’s from Pioneer Woman (of course it is, PW never lets you down).  Check out her post, she takes the best pictures of things,  I love, love, love the Pioneer Woman.  These were straightforward as far as making doughnuts go.  Put all the ingredients in the mixer.  Mix it up, throw it in the fridge overnight.  Roll and cut in the morning, let them rise then deep fry them, throw them in some glaze and eat them up. 

I couldn’t find my kitchen aid dough hook, so I pulled out my other mixer.  Which, frankly handles dough way better than the kitchen aid anyway.  This mixer is a Bosch Universal, and if you want to make 6 loaves of whole-wheat bread at once without breaking a sweat or burning out a motor, this is the machine for you.  That said, I really don’t use it as an every day mixer.  I may just be falling in love with it all over again though.   This mixer is much more powerful than a KA, so I just dumped everything in and let it go for 10 minutes.  If you have a KA, you’ll want to follow PW more detailed directions though (probably, I wouldn’t know).   Also, through the years I have finally located a donut cutter (it was at Wal-Mart of all places  - you can get them at Williams Sonoma too, but who wants to spend that much on something you use once a year?)  If you don’t have one, go with PW.

backsplash edited I did the deep frying in my dutch oven (beautiful thing that it is, note how it matches my backsplash and gives me little thrills of happiness when I use it), this required millions of gallons of oil, so I was forced to  call my impending guests and ask them to bring some  with them because of my lack of planning.  Apparently that’s the kind of hostess I am.  You can get away with this kind of thing, though when your guest is your mom. 
One quick note:  When you cover them with a towel make it a dry one, not wet (and never a terry cloth towel, ugh)  I used a dry flour sack and a damp flour sack, and the wet one stuck to the doughnuts and I had to deflate them all pulling it off.  Those doughnuts were noticeably less puffy than the rest.

DSC_0065 DSC_0066
This dough is sticky, don’t be shocked.  It will be fine, don’t add more flour.
DSC_0071 DSC_0070
This is the dough ready to be rolled and cut, and this is what a doughnut cutter looks like.
DSC_0073 DSC_0072
Rolling and cutting.
DSC_0074 DSC_0007-1
Doughnuts going in for a rise.                                 After the rise.
DSC_0012-1 DSC_0013-1
Frying on one side.                                                      All done frying.
DSC_0016-1 DSC_0014-1
Glazing the doughnuts.
All done and ready to eat.

Home Made Doughnuts
printable recipe
  • Doughnuts
  • 1-⅛ cup Whole Milk, Warm
  • ¼ cups Sugar
  • 2-¼ teaspoons (one Package) Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 whole Large Eggs, Beaten
  • 1-¼ stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Canola Oil for frying
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla
  • ½ cups Cold Water Or Milk ( I used water because someone had used all the milk)
Preparation Instructions
To Make the Dough:
1. Make sure milk is nice and warm, but not overly hot.
2. Add sugar to milk. Stir to dissolve.  3. Add yeast into a small bowl.
4. Pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Melt butter in separate bowl until butter is almost melted. Stir to finish melting so butter won’t be overly hot.
6. Add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly to make sure the butter’s not too hot for the eggs.
7. Add the egg/butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
8. With the mixer on 3 or medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture.
9. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, making sure it’s thoroughly combined.
10. With the mixer still going, add helpings of the flour mixture in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all the flour is gone.
11. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on the same speed for five whole minutes.
12. After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl.
13. Turn on the mixer for 30 seconds.

Or: instead of steps 1-13  just put it all in the mixer and let it go for 10 minutes and don’t worry about the rest.

14. Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes.
15. After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Toss the dough to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place straight in the fridge.
16. Refrigerate dough for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
To Make the Doughnuts:
1. Remove bowl from fridge and turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
2. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness.
3. Using a 3-inch cutter, cut as many rounds as you can, then roll out remaining dough and cut as much as you can, etc.
4. Cut holes out of each round using a 1 1/2-inch cutter. Or use a doughnut cutter.
5. Place both doughnuts and holes on a floured baking sheet, or a silpat lined cookie sheet.
6. Cover with large tea towel and place in a warm place in your kitchen; I put it in the oven that had been heated to warm.  Also, don’t use wet tea towels, they will stick and deflate your doughnuts.
7. Allow doughnuts to rise undisturbed for at least 1 hour; 1 hour 15 minutes if necessary. Doughuts should be visibly puffier and appear to be airy.
To Fry the Dougnuts
1. Heat plenty of canola oil in a large pot until the temperature reaches 375 to 380 degrees—do not let it get hotter than 380 degrees! 375 is ideal; keep the thermometer in the pan to continually monitor.
2. One to two at a time, gently grab doughnuts and ease them into the hot oil. Allow them to cook 1 minute on each side; they will brown very quickly.
3. Remove doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon, allowing all oil to drip off.
4. Place doughnut immediately on several layers of paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over onto a clean part of the paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over again; the purpose, obviously, is to drain as much grease as possible before it soaks into the doughnut.
5. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and holes. The holes will cook more quickly than the doughnuts; about 30 seconds per side.
6. Allow doughnuts to slightly cool.
To Glaze
1. Mix all glaze ingredients in a bowl until completely smooth.
2. One by one, dip doughnuts into the glaze until halfway submerged. (Note: completely submerge doughnut holes, then remove with slotted spoon.)
4. Remove from glaze, then turn right side up on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (to catch dripping glaze.)
5. Serve warm if possible, or room temperature.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chocolate Cake with Rosewater Buttercream

My alternate title for this was My Own Personal Cakewreck.  But as usually happens others were not nearly so critical of the decorating as I was.   I am, however a big fan of the Cakewrecks blog.  It always makes me laugh. While not happy with my cake’s appearance, it too made me laugh a little.   A while back I took a cake decorating class, and I enjoyed learning the techniques and getting the tools of the trade.  Since then my cakes have looked markedly better. . . until today. 
pink and hearts_edited-2
I blame the pan.  My pink and hearts obsessed daughter  spotted the pan the other day and we picked it up with this Valentine’s day event in mind.  Because  the pan was so deep the cake took forever to bake (like an hour or so) and the edges were dry and crispy, and I wasn’t sure but I thought maybe burnt.  So I cut them off (thereby butchering the shape of the cake).  Of course when my kids swarmed down on the cake cuttings I realized that they weren’t burnt at all and would probably have been just fine once covered with frosting.
Oops, too late.  I’ll fix it with frosting I figured.  So I made a double batch, just to be on the safe side.  Yeah, you can’t really fix an asymmetrical heart with frosting.  Now we know. 
butchred cake
The kicker is that I have to take this cake out in public and offer it up at an event.  (an event that includes me playing the violin in public – as if the cake wreck weren’t bad enough)   Ugh.  I’m sure it will taste good(note from after the party – it sure did taste good). . . I’m not vain enough (and far too thrifty) to re-make the cake. 
I’ve been hearing a lot about this book called organic and chic by Sarah Magid.  I happened to have it checked out of the library and decided to make this cake from it.
Here’s a pet peeve – organic cookbooks that just list every single ingredient as organic: 1 cup organic butter, 2 cups organic flour etc. . . Just tell me to use organic at the beginning of the book (I’m going to ignore you because I want to be a stay at home mom and not get a high powered job so I can afford organic everything) . I omitted the organic tags at the beginning of all the ingredients for you.  If you want to make this cake organic I think you know how.
It’s very similar to my g0-to chocolate cake recipe which can be found in The Passionate Vegetarian – I’ll post this one day, promise. But I am well known for never being able to leave well enough alone, so I have to try new recipes when I already have a perfectly delicious one at home.  Oh well, I have to love myself for who I am. 
 Joy the Baker made this cake into cupcakes and added rosewater to the frosting. . . sounded good to me.  The frosting was very intriguing to me, I’ve always wanted to make a buttercream that uses a cooked flour and milk base – I have to say it turned out quite well, smooth, creamy, easy to work with (the wreck is not the icing’s fault) and tasty – not overly sweet either.  I couldn’t really taste the rosewater, but I think it added something to the overall deliciousness of the frosting.   You could also leave it out, or use espresso, chocolate or whatever floats your boat.
DSC_0129 DSC_0133
this is how thick the flour/milk mixture should be.   This is the fluffy butter and sugar.

DSC_0136 DSC_0138
since there was so much vanilla in it the frosting turned brown and I had to tint it pink.  This was not my original intent.
I think the cake may have looked best at this point, but I carried on.
Here is the final product. . . I know, I know, you want me to make you your very own homemade cake board covered with puffy plastic wrap.   If you insist.  Don’t you like how I tried to make the heart look better by going off the edge with my border.  Yeah, it looks worse, i know.  I’m thinking about claiming my daughter actually MADE the cake. . . then people will be like “oh how cute, she did a great job for a 7 year old!”  That would probably be wrong huh?   Lying and all.
Here’s where I didn’t realize how tiny my dots border would be and left a huge amount of cake unfrosted at the bottom.   Looking good.   Live and Learn.

Printable Recipe

The Easiest Chocolate Cake
     makes 24 cupcakes or 2 8-inch rounds or one deep and messed up heart cake
     from Organic and Chic
2 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
2 cups  cane sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon  vanilla extract
2/3 cup  canola oil
2 teaspoons  white vinegar
2 cups cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. 
In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.  Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, water, vanilla extract and vinegar. 
Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients being careful not to overmix. 
Pour into your pans (don’t go over 2/3’s of the way full in general unless you love cleaning your oven)
Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, apparently that’s anywhere from 24 minutes for cupcakes about 30 for a normal cake and 2 days for the deep pan I used.
Vanilla Whipped Buttercream Frosting with Rose Water (the rose water was Joy the Baker’s idea)
makes enough to fill and frost one 8-inch layer cake or frost 24 cupcakes  (if you want to decorate with it too, I would make 1 1/2 recipes – I doubled it and had a lot leftover)
     from Organic and Chic
2 sticks (1 cup)  softened
1 cup cane sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sifted  all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract – if you don’t want weird beige frosting make it clear.
1 teaspoon rosewater
Cream the butter on medium speed, 3 to 5 minutes, in a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer until soft, adout 30 seconds.  Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again. 
In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup mil with the flour and vanilla extract.  Whisk together until there are no lumps.  Over medium heat, slowly add the remaining 3/4 cups milk, whisking constantly and cook until the mixture comes to a low boil. 
Reduce the heat to low and continue mixing until the mixture starts to thicken slightly. 
When the mixture starts to thicken, immediately remove the pan from the heat but keep stirring.  After you have removed the pan from the heat, the mixture will continue to cook for a minute or two on its own. 
If you overheat the mixture and find that you have some lumps, try to whisk them out with a little elbow grease, or pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.  Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.  Place the mixture in the freezer for a few minutes to speed up the process. 
With the mixer on low speed, slowly poor the milk mixture into the butter and sugar mixture.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the rose water during this final mixing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars

millionaire bar_edited-1

I had these once at a homeschool fair and they were so yummy, but I didn’t know what they were called.  I found them the other day on une gamine dans la cuisine – lovely blog that it is, and knew I had to make them.  Basically these are a homemade Twix bar.   Buttery shortbread cookie, dulce de leche caramel and dark chocolate top, need I say more?  My kids are LOVING these. . . because of course I never would have bought them a pan full of Twix bars.  I will, however make them a pan full of homemade candy bars apparently. 

These are not difficult cookies to make, but they take a long, long time to make.  Don’t leave these until the last minute if you need to bring them someplace.  Mixing up the dough takes like 5 minutes.  Making the dulce de leche took like 1 hour, and I think next time I would leave it longer so it was darker and even more caramel-y.   Maybe I’ll try making it in the crockpot, I am so determined to find a good use for that blasted appliance .  After that melting the chocolate took a few minutes but it took overnight for it to harden (and the kids couldn’t wait that long and made a mess of themselves way before with the chocolate).  But today they’re beautiful and luscious cookies. 



crumbly shortbread dough, it’s supposed to be like this, don’t worry.  All patted in the pan.


DSC_0018 DSC_0019

Looking at this now it’s so clear it should have been darker.   Pour the caramel over the shortbread.

DSC_0023 DSC_0026

chopped chocolate waiting to be melted.           Pour the chocolate over the caramel.




This is what will happen if you don’t let the chocolate harden – don’t say I didn’t warn you.



Millionaire's Shortbread Bars

(recipe adapted from Joy of Baking and une gamine dans la cuisine)

Printable Recipe

Shortbread ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks of butter, at room temp.

1/4 cup of sugar

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of kosher salt

Dulce de Leche Filling ingredients

1-14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

Chocolate Topping ingredients

5 ounces of coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate

1 scant  tsp. of butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9x9 inch pan with aluminum foil and butter or spray it.
  2. Make the Shortbread: In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and beat on low until the dough just comes together. Gently press onto the bottom of the prepared pan.  You can make it flat with the bottom of a flat measuring cup.   Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the it turns a light gold. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Turn the oven off, you’re done baking.
  3. Dulce de Leche: Prepare a double boiler. Pour the sweet milk into a heatproof bowl and place the bowl (snugly) over a saucepan of simmering water. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. The process may take anywhere from 60-90+ minutes. What you are aiming for is for the milk to become thick and caramel colored. When you first start to cook it, the milk will thin out but it will  thicken.   Once you have a beautiful caramel, remover it from the heat and beat with a whisk to smooth out any lumps. Pour the caramel over the baked shortbread and allow it to set for about 20 minutes.
  4. Chocolate topping: Place to chocolate and butter into the cleaned bowl from the dulce de leche.  Melt over the water.  Pour over the caramel in an even layer. Allow the chocolate to set for an hour or so before cutting into bars.  Then let them set until the chocolate has hardened, a few hours before serving. . . unless you want chocolate covered people when you’re done.
Related Posts with Thumbnails