I'm an Emmy-nominated television producer and a scuba diving/travel junkie. I have no formal culinary training but the kitchen is my happy place, baking is my therapy and I enjoy the exchange of ideas and creativity food blogging provides. I have created recipes for the Duncan Hines website, was the German Food Expert for About.com and am a member of The Daily Meal’s Culinary Content..
Here on the East Coast of the USA, we're ramping up for a three day Memorial Day weekend celebration. (haha, see what I did there?) It's time to bust out the barbecue for the season. People will be gathering in homes and on decks and patios all across America with family and friends and consuming delicious food.
So I may or may not have a few more ramp recipes up my sleeve this season. We had such a long winter here in the USA. It seemed to take forever to get spring produce in our farmers' markets.
For weeks I went looking for ramps. There were none and then the ones that were available were well, just say they were sad. When I finally spotted big pretty beautiful ones I couldn't resist. Maybe I couldn't resist a few times. More Madness...
If you are throwing or attending a BBQ or party, I got you covered for your Memorial Day weekend dessert with this fluffy and flavorful yogurt semolina cake. Yes, I said fluffy and semolina in the same sentence. The cake is made with half semolina flour and half all purpose flour. The result is one light, silky tasty cake.
Once out of the oven, the cake it is soaked in homemade lime ginger syrup. After cooling, a thick layer of sweet yogurt whipped cream is spread over the top.
The cake itself also contains yogurt. Plain yogurt. The whipped topping has the fancy Greek kind because it has a thicker consistency. Oh, and both are full-fat versions. Don't judge.
Mini Vegetable strudel is a perfect for an appetizer, snack or for a light meal. This recipe uses a mixture red onion, baby spinach leaves and peas accented with Emmentaler cheese. These are also perfect to make for or bring to a Memorial Day party.
The recipe has three steps. First, make and chill the dough, Second, sauté the vegetables in butter and third assemble the strudels. For party throwers or busy moms, the first and second steps can be done a day ahead.
You can also make the strudels a week ahead and throw them in the freezer after they are completely cooled. Skip the egg wash before you freeze them. Defrost the strudels the day you want to serve them. Brush them with the egg wash and heat them up in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or until they are warm to the touch and serve. More Madness...
Savory tarts have become my go-to fridge cleaner. If you have flour and butter in the house, you can assemble a crust. If you have eggs, cream, milk, cream cheese, hard or soft cheeses, ricotta, sour cream, you can use any combination to make a creamy tart.
The rest of the ingredients depend upon what you have left in your fridge. Looking at the bits and bobs hanging our give me inspiration for new recipes and clean out the fridge and pantry at the same time.
I had some really sad leftover leeks in my fridge. I always think of leeks as a winter vegetable. Leftover ones depress me so I had no choice but to caramelize them. Who doesn't love caramel anything? Encased them in a bright lemon cream inside a healthy spelt crust turned out to be a fantastic idea.
Normally, I would make this bread in the fall or winter. However, since there still is a persistent chill in the air on some of the Spring days here in the New York area, I found it to be the perfect recipe for the weather. Nevermind how delicious it is. OK. Mind a bit.
This dense and crusty bread has a hint of coffee flavor and is studded with sweet, juicy dates. The bread is practically a meal in itself. Spread it with butter or cream cheese for breakfast or snack. Or serve it at brunch.
I found the original recipe in a German cooking magazine years ago and it's been waiting patiently its turn for a go on this blog. The original recipe used three types of flour. I went straight up for the whole wheat version. Maybe the mix of flours would have made the bread less dense. What do I know? I'm no bread baking genius.
If you want to be super fancy and have time, add spices or citrus flavor to the butter or cream cheese to top the bread. Butter or cream cheese with cinnamon or orange flavor would take the taste to the next level.
Be mindful this recipe has a three-hour total rise time. So be sure to schedule your other daily tasks around that. No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen because they forgot to check how long the dough needs to rise. #dontlookatme.
By all means, go nutty. Add your favorite nut variety to the bread or favorite nut mix. You can also swap out the dates for other dried fruits. Dried cherries would work well.
This whole wheat bread recipe is now officially added it to my "favorite bread recipes to make" list. I will put it on my Thanksgiving menu options as well.
Whole Wheat Espresso Date Bread
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rise Time: 3 hours
Bake time: 45 Minutes
Yield: 1 large loaf - 12 slices
3+3/4 cups (17.6 oz) whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
5 oz lukewarm espresso
3/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup pitted dates, chopped into small pieces
In a large bowl place the flour, brown sugar, yeast, salt and ground ginger.
Mix in the milk, espresso, and butter and use the dough hook of your mixer or knead by hand into a smooth dough, about 10 minutes.
The dough should be soft but not sticky.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel and stow in a warm place for 2 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a large rectangle.
Arrange the dates on top of the dough then fold it in half, enclosing the chopped dates and knead for another 5 minutes.
Pat the dough out into a large oval and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Re-cover with the dish towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 465 degrees F.
Place a small cast iron pan on the bottom of the oven with 1/2 cup water in it.
Use kitchen shears to snip a large cut lengthwise down the middle of the bread and then make 3 smaller diagonal cuts on each side of the large cut.
Sprinkle with flour and place in the oven.
Bake for 3 minutes, then prop the oven door slightly open and bake for another 12 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 410 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes.
Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve.
Try these other delicious whole wheat bread recipes:
Last year I joined a great organization, The New York Women's Culinary Alliance. The group produces wonderful events for members like happy hours in different venues, wine and spirit tastings, community outreach projects, professional panels and culinary outings.
Twice a year in the spring and fall, the organization presents a potluck dinner sponsored by a beautiful Manhattan venue, this year at the stunning Fischer & Paykel Experience Center.
For this event, a theme is picked and members not only bring dishes and drinks but also invite other nonmember women who are involved in the culinary world who might be interested in joining. More Madness...
If you are planning a celebration for Mom or a mother you love this Sunday, I got you covered for Dessert. Some feed an army, some a small or large family. Some take some time to create (you may want to start the day before) and s others come together within an hour and a half.
From Bee Sting cake to bundt cakes, pretty ganache-covered brownies or cheesecake, there is plenty of sweet inspiration below. With flavors that range from strawberry to lemon, lavender minneola, rhubarb, sweet milk, and grapefruit, it's not too late to impress your guests with great flavor and style.
In Germany, potato fritters are often found at street fairs with names like reibekuchen or Kartoffelpuffer. For this homemade version, I added sauerkraut and onion into the mix to pack this version with more flavor.
There are two important steps to remember when making these fritters. The first is to make sure the butter is extremely hot before frying them.
The second is to make sure you wring as much liquid out of the sauerkraut as you can before adding it to the batter. More Madness...
This past weekend I was invited to a Kentucky Derby/Cinco de Mayo Party. I had already made those delicious fresh guava mint frozen margaritas so I decided to do with the southern theme for a dessert to bring the host and hostess.
I googled southern desserts and came upon something I have never heard of before, a jam cake. After going google deeper, I read several recipes for Jam cake which seems to be a southern specialty. I knew I had to make one.
Most of the recipes called for blackberry jam. I had a jar of black raspberry flavor. Close enough. What intrigued me about the recipe is that the jam is completely mixed in with the cocoa powder spiked cake batter. More Madness...
What kind of monster passes up a container full of fresh guavas in the market? That's the thought that went through my head as I was perusing the produce aisle searching for margarita flavor inspiration when I spotted the guavas.
My gut (or my imaginary palate) told me the guavas were not enough. Something else needed to be added to the mix. Mint, of course. The first tender shoots are sprouting in my gardens but not enough to harvest for a cocktail combination. So I caved and bought a packet of fresh mint as well.
When you grow your own herbs, buying them in the supermarket is almost painful. It's not just about being economical, there is something special and more satisfying for me about creating dishes and drinks with plants you have grown yourself.