Archive for ‘iCook’

July 22, 2011

Berry cake

This cake is fucking fantastic and easy to make! If you make this, people will love you forever. You can substitute the raspberries for any berries you want or go even out of the berry family and visit the “pit” family such as cherries or peaches. I like to do combination of multiple fruits just for fun.

NOTE
If you make this cake and you are by yourself, you will likely find yourself eating the whole thing, so it’s best made with and for friends, just like everything in life.

RECIPE
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh berries of your choice

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.  You can either butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan, or I use a non-stick oil spray instead.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, cream butter and 2/3 cup sugar, then add in vanilla and zest, if using. Beat an egg in a cup and add to the mix as well. This all can be done using an electric mixer on medium-high speed as well if desired.

Mix in flour in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

LUCIE’s TIP:
If you don’t happen to have buttermilk on hand, you can easily substitute with kefir or yogurt, or you can make your own by adding 1tbs of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk. Let it sit until it clabbers, about 10 minutes and  voila, almost-buttermilk is born.

 

June 1, 2011

Kale-potatoes-tomatoes soup

I know it’s Summer time, but it has been kind of rainy here and I can never resist a good soup recipe, no matter what time of the year it is. This one exceeded my expectations. It’s super easy to make and so delicious. I didn’t have celery, so I just used carrots instead and I doubled the amount of garlic to ward off vampires.

Next time I make this soup, I want to try adding large white beans to it for even heartier dinner.

INGREDIENTS

4 yukon gold potatoes
1 bunch of kale – cut into 2″ pieces
5 cups (1 container) of vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup of wine
4 stalks of celery
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 yellow onion
1 large can of fire roasted tomatoes
4 sprigs of rosemary
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
bread for croutons
olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper

 

 

PREPARATION

Peel and dice all your vegetables. In a large stock pot heat up 3tbs of olive oil on medium heat. Stir in garlic, onions and celery, rosemary and thyme (leaving them on the stem, you will remove them later). Pour in a cup of white wine. Cook till tender and add your potatoes. Season with fresh ground pepper and salt. Add your can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes, broth of your choice (about 5 cups) and an additional cup of water. Simmer on medium-low heat until your potatoes are almost done, stirring occasionally and adding extra seasoning or water if necessary.

Remove the sprigs of herbs and add in your kale. I like it better when the kale is vibrant and still partially firm. If you put in the kale early in the cooking process it turns to mush and looses flavor. Cook until kale is to your liking of softness.

I made my own croutons by cutting up some sourdough bread into quite large cubes, mixing them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and putting them in the oven on around 320° until golden brown.

Pour into bowls, drizzle with some olive oil and top with croutons. Enjoy the goodness!

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April 12, 2011

Strawberry coffee cake

This is an easy peasy recipe for delicious fruit coffee cake that is a sure crowd pleaser.

LUCIE’s NOTES:
– The original recipe calls for strawberries, but it would be delicious with a mix of any berries to make it more fun, or even apricots, peaches or pears would be great. I like to use a bit more fruit than the recipe calls for and a little bit less sugar.
– The recipe also calls this a cake, but since I’m obsessed by making anything into muffin-like shapes, I bake it in a muffin pan. If you want to go fancy, adding a cupcake liner would be fun and definitely would help getting these bad boys out of the tin pan as that can be quite tricky.
– If you go the muffin tin route, to get the muffins out; I let them cool down and then use the handle on a thin, flexible plastic spoon to gently separate the muffins from the pan and then scoop them out.
– Oh, also, this recipe calls for pecans, which I’m sure is great, but I use chopped almond slices, which are fabulous.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

TOPPING
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans (or substitute chopped almond slices)

DIRECTIONS
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the egg, milk and butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Top with strawberries.
2. For topping, combine flour and sugar in a bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Work the ingredients with your fingers until evenly mixed together. Stir in pecans (almonds) if desired; sprinkle over strawberries.
3. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares; serve warm.

February 2, 2011

Chard & white bean “stew”

This is a tasty, healthy main dish that would make a fantastic side dish to a white fish or chicken as well.

LUCIE’s UPDATES:
1) The original recipe called for kale, but given that I’m partial to chard, I decided to use the pretty rainbow chard. I didn’t want to waste the chard stems, so I cut them up and then put them into the pot with the carrots and celery.
2) I used dried beans that I soaked and cooked myself, rather than using canned beans. I think that given that the beans are the star of this dish, you can taste the difference.
3) I really wanted to use parsley as my herb of choice at the end, but they were out, so I opted for chives, and it tasted fine, but I know that the parsley would have taken it to the next level.
4) I served the dish with a couple of large crostinis that I made from sourdough bread by simply frying it in a little bit of olive oil. This dish would also be fab with a poached egg on top.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 pounds rainbow chard leaves, center ribs and stems removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped shallots (about 4)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 15-ounce cans white beans (preferably organic), drained
4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
2 tablespoons assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as tarragon, parsley, and chives)

PREPARATION
Cook kale in large pot of boiling salted water 1 minute. Drain. Transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain. Squeeze out excess water. Coarsely chop kale.

Heat olive oil in medium pot over medium heat. Add chopped carrots, celery, shallots, and garlic; cook until soft, stirring, about 15 minutes (do not brown vegetables). Add white wine and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 7 minutes. Add white beans, 4 cups broth, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes. Add kale and simmer 5 minutes longer. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Add more broth by 1/2 cupfuls to thin stew, if desired. Mix in Sherry wine vinegar and chopped fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Original recipe is from Epicurious.
January 23, 2011

Lucie’s lentils

This is a super easy, slightly spicy, one-pot wonder that I came up with once I realized that lentils can taste good if you cook them well. Beware that even people who claim to hate lentils will eat and enjoy this dish.

RECIPE
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 white or yellow onion halved and thinly sliced
1 pack of vacuum sealed ready-made lentils from Trader Joe’s, or you can make your own lentils. If you make your own, use the small black lentils and cook them al dente, so they don’t get mushy once you add them to your dish.
1 POMI or any other marinara sauce
1 small or 1/2 large cauliflower cut up into 1″ – 1.5″ even-sized pieces
1/2 – 1 pack of spicy chicken sausage sliced into 2/8″ rounds. I use Aidells chicken habanero green chile sausages, but you can use even tofu sausage or substitute ground turkey for a healthier option.
salt – you might like to add some salt at the very end to suit your taste. When I make this dish, I generally don’t feel that it needs any more salt or spices as it gets all the amazing flavors form the sausages. If you use ground turkey, you will want to salt the mean once you add it into the pot, and add some pepper or chili flakes too to give it some kick.

1) Heat olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat.
2) Add onion and sausages and saute for about 10-15 mins stirring as needed
3) Add your marinara sauce, lentils, cauliflower and about 1/2 cup of water.
4) Cover with a lid and simmer for 30 – 45 mins. If your dish seems to be too watery at the end, turn up the heat to high, remove lid and let water evaporate while stirring.

I love eating this dish as is, or with toasted flat-bread or even naan.

Serves about 4-8 people based on how hungry they are. :-)

January 21, 2011

Egg in a heart

I love having breakfast at any time of the day. Kaleb tends to agree as his response of late to what he would like for dinner has been “eggs and toast, mommy”… and “pancakes!”

I have been making this dish ever since I saw the Friend’s episode ( The one where Eddie moves in ). It’s basically egg in a hole, but I like to use a fun cookie cutter to cut out the hole for the egg. This time I used a heart as Valentine’s day is coming and it would make a nice breakfast in bed for your loved one.

RECIPE

1 slice of bread – sourdough or any other, larger is a little bit better to be able to cut out a nice size hole for the egg
1/2 all-cooked sausage cut up free style. I like Aidells organic sausages, especially the spicy ones go nicely with this dish. Sausage can be omitted for a vegetarian option.
1/2 sliced regular tomato or 10 sugar plum tomatoes cut in halves
1 egg
1/4 avocado
salt
pepper
butter
1 tbs olive oil

1) First, slice your tomatoes and sausage.
2) Butter both sides of your  bread slice and then cut out a hole with the cutter of your choice. If you don’t have a cookie cutter, you can just simply use a small glass instead.
3) Break your egg into a cup add a pinch of salt and pepper.
4) Heat up a large teflon pan on medium high, put your toast in and the cut out piece of bread as well, if you wish. Brown the toast on one side, then flip and slowly pour the egg in. Take care to lift up the bottom sides of the toast, so the whites run out a little bit and the yolk can settle nicely inside the hole in your toast. If you were using the cut out part as well, don’t forget to flip that toast as well.
5) Pour the olive oil to the other side of your pan and add the sausages and tomatoes. Sprinkle some salt on your tomatoes. The sausages and tomatoes should brown slightly. Turn them over or stir as you see fit.
6) Gently turn your toast over when the whites are getting done on the bottom side. Keep cooking for about 1 more minute on the other side. If you like your yolk less runny, cook a little bit longer, or if you don’t like any runniness, you can just break the yolk, so it mixes in with the whites.
7) Slowly transfer your toast, sausages and tomatoes to a plate, add the avocado and  you have yourself a feast!