Throwback Thursday: Lemon Sugar Cookies from Dorie’s Cookies

Throwback to the very start of Food52’s Baking Club, April 2017, when we were all baking from Dorie’s Cookies, a compendium of every possible cookie you could imagine, beautifully photographed and equally beautiful tasting. I fell in love with what looks like a Plain Jane cookie but are probably one of my top 3 cookies of all time…Dorie’s lemon sugar cookies.

The recipe can be found on Dorie’s website, so head over there to try them out to see what I’m talking about. They are super simple to put together, if you’re a regular cookie baker and are fairly organized, you can knock them out in about an hour.

It’s basically creamed butter, sugar and lemon zest, add eggs and vanilla, your mixed dried ingredients (flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt) and lemon juice. Dorie says 1-2 lemons…my average Australian lemons that you get from Woolworths (oh to have a lemon tree or a friend with one!) are small so I always need 2, and I make sure to add the zest from both for a bit of extra zing. I set aside 1/2 cup of sugar for dredging and I use my #60 cookie scoop to portion the dough and get 64 cookies every time.

I took a container full of these to a P&C (PTA) meeting this week and watched as they slowly but surely got sampled, then another and another disappeared. They are deceptively delicious!

Marmalade Meatballs from Dinner: Changing the Game

One of the things that I’ve absolutely loved about being a part of Food52’s online cooking clubs is discovering recipes that we would never have found otherwise that have become a family favourite.

Take the marmalade meatball recipe from Melissa Clark’s Dinner: Changing the Game that we found when the Cookbook Club was going through her book last August. We make a double recipe of these meatballs quite regularly and they are devoured by everyone in our house. And at first glance, the meal does not sound all that normal.

The recipe itself is fairly straight forward: beef mince mixed with breadcrumbs (we use wholemeal breadcrumbs made from leftover bread ends rather than panko), green onions, egg, garlic, ginger, allspice, salt and pepper…and anchovies…we don’t buy anchovies regularly so haven’t bothered to put them in yet, but we do eat them on pizza or in caesar salad so we aren’t opposed to them, it’s just a convenience thing. Ball them and cook them then pour over a glaze made from orange marmalade, cider vinegar, soy sauce and red chile flakes that literally takes 2 minutes to make. And the flavours just sing together.

We like to serve them with mashed potato as suggested by Clark alongside some sort of green vegetable, usually peas and green beans. We seriously have this at least once a fortnight and afterwards we’ll say we should make it more often still. I think one of these days I’ll have to branch out and try some of her other meatball recipes – there are at least 3 others!

Made in India: Vegetarian Curries and Naan

Tonight we feasted! And I really do mean feasted. It’s been a while since I’ve had my hands on Made in India, I checked it out from our local library in October when Cookbook Club was working through it, but haven’t been able to get it back out since. Now that it’s finally come back around to me at the library, it seemed appropriate that I do a bit of cooking from it, and what better way to start than a vegetarian curry feast.

What we made:

Junjaro – this is a kidney bean curry and when I saw how simple it was to make it seemed like a no brainer, especially since my daughter loves chilli con carne, especially because of the kidney beans. But of course she wouldn’t try it…she’s contrary like that…but the rest of us really enjoyed it. You fry an onion with some cumin seed and a cinnamon stick, and some garlic, ginger, chilli and spices, tomato paste, the kidney beans (I used cans) and some water and let it get saucy.

Inda nu shaak – this is a coconut milk egg curry and it was the most complex of the 3 curries we made because we had to hard boil eggs. Yeah, it was really that hard. You fry off some onions, add garlic, tamarind paste and some spices, dilute it with coconut milk and water (I used a 400 mL tin of lite coconut milk rather than 300 mL of coconut milk and 100 mL water) and add the eggs when they’re boiled and peeled and sliced. The sauce in this one was lovely and sweet and was so nice to soak up with a piece of naan or a spoonful of rice.

Chana Masala – chickpea and tomato curry. Similarly you fry off onions, add garlic, ginger and chilli, this time a can of tomatoes and tomato paste, the spices and then the chickpeas (again from cans). This was probably my least favourite of the 3 curries, but I think that’s because it wasn’t very saucy.

Aunty Harsha’s Naan – the naan, oh my goodness, the naan. So when I got home from picking the kids up from school, I mixed the dough which is a basic bread dough in terms of ingredients, but with yogurt and milk in it, and then after it was kneaded I put it in a covered oiled container to rise until doubled. Then we just split it into 12 portions, flattened it with our hands and used our flat electric grill to cook them. I was so shocked that it actually worked and was distinctly naan bread. Aaron asked if we’re planning to make naan everyday when he found out that the prep time before cooking was only about 5 minutes.

We served everything with plain basmati rice and still have plenty of leftovers for Aaron to take to work for lunch over the next few days. I’m so glad we powered through to make this meal, because to be honest today was an exhausting one, but when you look at everything we made, the hands on time was really not that long at all. This book continues to impress me and next time I think I’d really like to try some meat curries and some of the chutneys…oh and did you know there are some really interesting sounding desserts in there, too?!!

Chocolate Mousse Cake Bakealong

For the longest time chocolate cake was my baking nemesis. I could never seem to get it right. Either the cake would be too dry or the icing wouldn’t work, and after many attempts I remember years ago making a vow that I would never try to bake a chocolate cake again.

Well, then my daughter declared chocolate cake to be her favorite so I knew I had to make amends. Thanks to Tessa Huff (Style Sweet CA/The Cake Blog) and this Ghirardelli devils food cake that I have made so many times now I probably could bake it without the recipe, I have found that I can in fact make a good chocolate cake, so when King Arthur Flour posted the 18th Bakealong challenge – Chocolate Mousse Cake – I was super keen to give it a whirl.

Technically the challenge is Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberries, but you can plainly see I’ve used strawberries – they are just so much cheaper at the moment, and I didn’t have a birthday or guests coming over to excuse spending $12 on raspberries for this cake. I actually made it as sort of a celebration of the finishing the first week back at school. Hey, any excuse for cake, right?!!

It was a very straight forward bake really – only changes I made to the cake were I used three 8 inch pans and the batter divided into 2 cups each and I added 2 teaspoons of espresso powder to the boiling water. I also used Greek yogurt over buttermilk, because I had more of it to spare.

For the mousse I didn’t use the Instant ClearJel stuff as I’m not sure where I’d find it in Australia – I did refrigerate the mousse before I filled the cake for a couple hours though. The frosting is full butter rather than half shortening because it is horrendously expensive here.

It was a hot day and I still managed to get everything together without it melting apart as I went, so I was pretty impressed given the recipe left me fearing the worst.

Aaron’s comment was that it’s one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever made. The cake itself was great and I loved the mousse filling, but I must admit that I found the frosting too rich. Think I’ve become so used to Tessa Huff’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream or Ghirardelli’s Sour Cream Chocolate Ganache that it’s weakened my chocolate frosting tolerance levels.

The strawberries were nice, but I wish I could’ve gotten ahold of raspberries cheaper or had the foresight to go foraging for some wild blackberries instead, because I’ve been really into blackberries lately.

Not that I’m complaining though…this was the perfect way to end a big week!

Throwback Thursday: Ham, Pear & Blue Cheese Quiche from My Paris Kitchen

Throwback to July 2017 when Food52 Cookbook Club was going through David Lebovitz’s book, My Paris Kitchen. It was such a pleasure to cook through this book and every recipe I try has been mind blowingly delicious. I checked it out from the library again recently (although I do own the Kindle version) and couldn’t believe I had not thought to look there for apricot recipes, including a recipe that uses the apricot pits that littered our house and backyard for over a month. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to try that next summer! I think this may be one of those books that you pick up and find something new each time you read it.

But today I’m going to share with you one of our favourites, that I could eat any day of the week – David Lebovitz’s ham, pear and blue cheese quiche. I’m only a recent convert to blue cheese so have been quite keen to try any recipe that features it. The flavour combination in this quiche really intrigued me and it is such a happy feeling when you try something that you are curious but skeptical of and it turns out brilliant. That is this quiche for me.

The pastry is a combination of cornmeal and flour with butter and egg. It’s mixed in a mixer then formed into a disc and refrigerated. When I rolled it out the first time it fell apart and so in future attempts I always just shape it into the tart pan with my fingers and then refrigerate it, no rolling needed.

The filling is pretty much as the title of the recipe suggests along with the basics of a quiche – eggs, cream, blue cheese and cream cheese, some cooked shallots (lately I’ve taken to just throwing in a cup of fried shallots because I bought too many at the Asian grocer and have no other use for them), seasoning, herbs, chopped ham and pear.  Bake it for about an hour until it’s set and eat up! (One thing I need to remember but always seem to forget is that the quiche seems to brown on top really quickly and so never looks as nice as the picture in the book – I think it should probably be covered with foil until the last few minutes of cooking to prevent that.)

I usually choose nights to make this based on what leftovers we have in the fridge. My younger two aren’t too keen on this dish but us older 4 love it so we easily eat the whole thing between us. Is it weird if I want to make this two nights in a row?!!


Some better photos (having covered the dish in foil for 3/4 of the oven time):

Baking: From My Home to Yours: Traditional Madeleines

Food52 Baking Club is going through Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours this month so expect many many treats to be hitting the blog and Instagram. I have loved everything of Dorie’s that I have made so far from her two previous books that we’ve gone through and I am pretty sure this book will follow suit.

For my first bake, I finally tried out my new madeleine pan that I got for Christmas by attempting Dorie’s traditional madeleine recipe. It was really quick and simple to put together. Beating eggs and sugar with lemon zest and vanilla, then carefully folding in a flour mixture and then cooled melted butter. Refrigerate the batter for several hours and then bake in a hot oven for 11-13 minutes. Easy right?!

Well, I think madeleines are actually deceptively tricky, because I didn’t achieve the characteristic hump that you get from refrigerating the dough and I don’t yet know what I did wrong. Maybe the oven wasn’t hot enough or too hot? Maybe I overfilled the pan? But what I do know is that the recipe was yum (gobbled up in no time with our big family) and easy and I will try again to see if I can get it to work properly.

Dorie, I’m trying my best not to fail you!

 

 

The Food Lab: Eggs Florentine

Today’s Meatless Monday post is from my husband Aaron. Just FYI there will be a lot of Throwback recipes this month as it’s the 1 year anniversary of Food52 Cookbook Club.

There is a confession I need to make – I absolutely LOVE The Food Lab, and everything Kenji does, so I am biased. But I’m biased because his recipes (and ideas behind them) make good sense. There are a bunch of videos of his on YouTube for various things, including one that talks all about eggs. Just ask Jen. After watching said video, I spent the next hour or so telling her all about what Kenji had to say about eggs!

Eggs Florentine is basically a poached egg with cooked spinach instead of ham or smoked salmon on an English muffin covered in Hollandaise sauce. Kenji shows you how to ensure your mayonnaise or Hollandaise sauce doesn’t split. It is probably the easiest Hollandaise I’ve made (and one of, if not THE tastiest). And out of the kindness of his own heart, Kenji gives you two methods to make the sauce – one for if you have an immersion blender, and another for the rest of us with standard blenders/food processors. Basically, you blend egg yolks, lemon juice and hot water, then slowly add melted butter to the blender/food processor to mix all the ingredients, and then season with salt and cayenne (optional). So easy and so nice!  The spinach for the Florentine was cooked with garlic and seasoned with salt and pepper – nice and easy, and nice and quick…and again, very tasty.

As an aside, an awesome tip I got from Kenji on poaching eggs is, if you’re having more than a few friends over for brekky, you can poach the eggs the day before (he may have even said up to 5 days before, but I’d check that before trying it!), put them in iced water and keep them in the fridge, then on the following morning, pop them back into the simmering water for about 30 seconds and they will be right to go! Very handy instead of trying to evenly poach a dozen eggs at the same time.

I’d highly recommend The Food Lab’s Eggs Florentine for a very nice brekky, or in our case, for brinner (breakfast for dinner), as it was fairly quick, easy and VERY tasty.

Two Eggs Florentine

 

In My Kitchen: February 2018

January we were in full swing school holiday mode, with lots more busyness about the house for a change!

Anybody else have an odd cheap container that you have in multiples?! We picked up 10 of these from Kmart for $2 each last year for a Year 9 science project and I’ve found that they make the best containers for proofing bread doughs. Now I wonder how I lived without them.

Zucchinis and more zucchinis from work friends and playgroup friends. We love zucchinis so will never refuse!

Another generous gift, a small jar of raspberry rhubarb jam. Had this on toast for breakfast quite regularly this month.

Sick company while making a birthday cake for my now 12 year old. Our poor gorgeous daughter refused to lie down anywhere more comfortable unless Aaron or I were with her.

Speaking of birthday cakes – this special boy of mine chooses the same flavour every year, caramel apple, no matter that it’s January and that’s more of an autumn flavour, his wish is my command. (Notice that 24 hours later, the princess is smiling again!)

And here she is with her morning cup of tea…what is this habit that we have started (don’t worry, it’s camomile)?!!

Every time I grab a recipe from this card file I want to smile and cry at the same time. These ladies gifted me this at my bridal shower almost 17 years ago and I wish we weren’t separated by a great big ocean all the time.

The 2 year old sampling the results of that previous recipe. We picked up this learning tower second hand a few months ago from a lady who made it but it didn’t suit her kitchen – and it even matches our bench tops!

Care package from my mom included this cute little packet of gingerbread peeps. I love marshmallows more than just about anything so these were a lovely afternoon tea treat one day. Nevermind that they’re like 100% sugar.

A present given to one of the kids that graces my kitchen window. To me it’s a little piece of home.

Teenage invaders. We found these recliners on gumtree for a steal and bought them to go in their bedroom under their loft beds so they had a place to sit and chill and read. They spent a fair bit of time this month playing Mario Odyssey in front of the aircon instead, well, until the tennis started and they got kicked out.

My current cookbook spot with library books, food magazines and a few extra books from home.

 

Thanks to Sherry’s Pickings for hosting the In My Kitchen link up for this month. To learn more, click on the logo to the left.