Potato Salad with 7-Minute Eggs & Mustard Vinaigrette

Potato Salad with 7-Minute Eggs & Mustard Vinaigrette There must be a million different potato salads out there in recipe land.  This one, with perfectly boiled eggs caught my attention immediately. It is truly a meal in itself.

Upland Cress Our local Whole Foods market carries this delicious Upland Cress.  You snip off just the amount you want to use and store the remainder in the crisper section of your refrigerator.  Because it is sold with its roots still attached, it stays nice and fresh for up to a week.  The tender leaves are delicious in any type of salad.  I especially love tossing them into vinegar based potato salads just before I serve them.

Whole Grain Mustard My sister Mie gave us this crock of whole grain mustard from France.  Lately I’ve been using spoonfuls in this potato salad.

Potato Salad with 7-Minute Eggs & Mustard Vinaigrette

Potato Salad with 7-Minute Eggs & Mustard Vinaigrette

Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine

4 generous servings

1 1/2 pounds baby gold potatoes, scrubbed

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1/3 cup olive oil

kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

handful of Upland Cress (optional)

1 1/2 tablespoon chopped dill pickles

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Preparation

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, about 15 – 20 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of your potatoes.  Transfer cooked potatoes to a plate to cool.

Place eggs in a small pot, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  As soon as the water boils, turn the heat down to medium and simmer the eggs for 7 minutes (set the timer).  Drain cooked eggs and cool in a bowl of ice water. Peel eggs and set aside.

Whisk vinegar, mustard, and honey in a small bowl.  Whisking constantly, gradually add oil and whisk until emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper.

Halve potatoes and place in a large bowl.  Season with kosher salt and pepper.  Add parsley and a generous amount of dressing. Toss to coat potatoes well.  Add Upland Cress if using, and lightly toss again. Transfer potato salad to a platter.  Halve reserved eggs and tuck in between the potatoes.  Season eggs with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle salad with some of the reserved vinaigrette.  Top with pickles and chives.

*If you are not serving the salad right away, hold back on adding the Upland Cress, eggs, pickles, and chives until just before you serve the salad.  You will have extra dressing.  I use it over salad greens or bean salads.

 

 

 

Posted in Eggs, Lactose Free, Potato Salad, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Best Carrot Cake

Best Carrot Cake “The New Basics Cookbook” published 16 years ago, is still one that I turn to for reliable, delicious food.  Authors Julee Rosso and Shelia Lukins are also the authors of the well-known Silver Palate Cookbook. With 849 pages it’s a treasure trove of recipes. This carrot cake recipe was created by Sheila’s mother Berta, and it’s now one of my favorite desserts.  You can prepare it a few days in advance which means it’s perfect for a party or potluck gathering.  It seems everyone loves carrot cake.

Raw Carrots Instead of using raw, grated carrots, the recipe instructs you to cook the carrots and purée them before adding them to the batter.  Worth the extra step, it brings out the carrot’s natural sweetness and ensures the cake is going to be moist and delicious.  To me, there is nothing more luscious than Berta’s carrot cake.

Cooked Finely Shredded Carrots Drain the cooked carrots and with quick pulses finely mince the carrots.  I don’t process the carrots to a fine purée as I prefer to keep a little texture to them.

Sweet Coconut A cup of shredded coconut is called for in the original recipe.  I use a lesser amount, but go ahead and use a cup if you want to.  The recipe doesn’t state whether to use unsweetened or sweetened coconut.  I use the sweetened type.  As you’ll notice in the photo above, the coconut I had on hand has some fairly long strips.  I used my kitchen scissors and snipped the coconut into small, even pieces.  Instead of adding the cup of chopped walnuts to the batter, I left them out but toasted some coarsely chopped pecans and sprinkled them over the frosting.

Best Carrot Cake

Best Carrot Cake

Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook

Serves 12

Ingredients

Cake:

1 1/3 cups finely minced cooked carrots (about 3 medium carrots, 14 ounces)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup canola oil

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice (not heavy syrup), drained well

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Green Valley lactose free cream cheese)

3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)

2 cups + powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

juice from 1/4 lemon

Preparation

Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper, and grease the paper and sides of pan.

Cut peeled carrots into 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Place in pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat and cook carrots until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain and cool carrots.  Once carrots have cooled slightly, place them in a food processor and with quick pulses (about 17 pulses), finely mince the carrots scraping down the sides of the bowl now and then.

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl.  Add the granulated sugar and stir to combine.  Add the oil, eggs, and vanilla, mixing well.  Fold in the carrots, coconut and pineapple.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Place it on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the edges have pulled away  slightly from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Check the cake to see if it is done after it has baked for 35 minutes.  If it needs more time, bake a little longer, checking every few minutes to ensure it does not over bake.

Transfer cake pan to a cooling rack.  Let cool completely.  At this point, you may cover the pan tightly and refrigerate the cake until you are ready to frost it.  When the cake is completely cool, transfer to a cake platter.  I find it easiest to line a cutting board or other flat tray with aluminum foil, place over the cake pan, invert the cake on to the foil and discard the parchment paper.  I then place my cake platter over the bottom of the cake, and invert right side up.  Do this right away as the cake has a tendency to stick to the foil.  Now you’re ready to frost the cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Cream the cream cheese and butter together in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer.  Do not over beat.  Slowly sift in the confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until frosting is smooth.  Stir in the vanilla and a teaspoon of the lemon juice at a time.  Adjust consistency by adding more powdered sugar or lemon juice.  The frosting should not be runny or it will not set properly.  Frost top and sides of carrot cake.  If you are not serving the cake right away, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Posted in Dessert, Lactose Free, Recipes | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad I have yet to find any type of potato salad I don’t like.  This, however, is one of my favorites.  It features a slightly tart vinegar dressing, and that magic ingredient: bacon!  I stash a bit of the dressing on the side and toss it over the potatoes as they soak up the delicious sauce.  One thing to remember is to make plenty so that you’ll have leftovers. It compliments many dishes and makes the best snack.

Red Onion To mellow the sharp taste and bring out the sweetness of the red onions, I sautéed them for 5 minutes in a few teaspoons of bacon fat before adding them to the salad.

Celery, Parsley, Red Onion, Dill A little fresh dill and parsley give the salad a fresh flavor that is subtle and not overwhelmingly “herby.”

Crispy Bacon Bits Is there such a thing as lean bacon?  I look for bacon that has nicely balanced meat to fat ratio.  This guarantees tasty bits of goodness in each spoonful of potato salad.

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch thick slices

6 ounces bacon, chopped

3/4 cup diced red onion

1/3 cup thinly sliced celery

2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons water

3 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1/3 cup canola oil

salt and pepper

Preparation

Place potatoes in large pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to medium and simmer until just done, about 6 minutes.  Check the potatoes often to make sure they do not over cook. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large wide bowl.  Season generously with kosher salt and pepper.  I use a flexible spatula to gently toss the potatoes being careful so they don’t fall apart.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  Remove all but 2 -3 teaspoons of bacon drippings from the skillet.  Over medium heat, cook the onions in the drippings for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Do not brown the onions.  Transfer the onions, bacon, and celery to the bowl of potatoes.  Scatter dill and parsley over potatoes.

Combine the apple cider vinegar, water and sugar stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Whisk in the mustard.  Pour vinegar mixture in skillet and warm over medium heat for a few minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the canola oil.  Pour some of the dressing over the potatoes, tossing gently to combine.  Season with salt and pepper. The potatoes will absorb quite a bit of the dressing.  Add more dressing before serving.

Posted in Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Cranberry Orange Scones

Cranberry Orange Scones I’ve been searching for a “perfect scone.”  After trying numerous recipes, I’ve concluded that there is no single “perfect scone.”  There are a number of them!  I discovered this delicious recipe on Nicole’s blog, Pinch My Salt.  She has come up with a streamlined recipe for these little treats. Freshly baked scones in under 30 minutes? With that thought in mind, I’ll be making them very often.

Dried Cranberries Dried cranberries, sweet and tart, are perfect in this recipe.  Sometimes I swap out the cranberries for dried, tart cherries.

Orange Zest

Cranberry Orange Scone Dough The dough is quite sticky so be sure to flour the countertop and your hands. Handle the dough as little as possible for tender scones.

Cranberry Orange Scones

Cranberry Scones

Adapted from Nicole’s  recipe

Makes 10 – 12 medium scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon if using unsalted butter)

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

scant 1/2 cup half and half (I used Organic Valley lactose free half and half)

zest of 1 orange, divided

1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks or unsalted butter (cut into small pieces and well chilled)

1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Glaze

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/2 teaspoon orange zest (reserved from above)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt , and sugar.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg, half and half, and most of the orange zest (reserving 1/2 teaspoon for glaze).  Set aside.

Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles course crumbs.  Alternatively, you may use two butter knives or rub cold butter pieces into the flour with your fingertips.  Stir in the chopped cranberries.

Add egg mixture to the flour mixture all at once and stir until the mixture clumps together.  Dump mixture onto a floured countertop and, with floured hands, gather into a ball and knead once or twice to combine everything.  The dough will be quite sticky.  Sprinkle a little extra flour on the counter and on top of the dough to keep it from sticking (not too much or the dough will be dry). Pat dough into a circle about 3/4 – 1 inch thick.  Cut 10 – 12 circles using a 2 1/2 – 3 inch biscuit cutter.  Arrange scones on the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12 – 13 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

While scones are cooling, make the glaze.  Combine sifted powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons orange juice and the reserved orange zest.  Whisk until smooth, adding more orange juice or powdered sugar to reach the desired consistency.  Glaze scones using a small silicone pastry brush or dip scones directly into the glaze.

The scones freeze beautifully so go ahead and make a double batch.

 

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Lactose Free, Recipes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pickled Egg Salad Crostini with Prosciutto

pickled egg sandwich - 1 (2) Bon Appetit’s February 2015 issue shared a story about SHED, part market, part café, part events center in Healdsburg.  I love wine country and visited Healdsburg some years back, but unfortunately it was an overnighter and we had little time to explore the town and look for interesting places to dine.  Next time, however, I’ll be sure to visit SHED.  The article featured a brief story about this lovely place as well as several recipes.  As one who loves eggs, this one caught my attention immediately.  It’s delicious.

eggs for pickling - 1 (1) Hard boiled eggs are pickled for 12 hours then chopped up with herbs and mayonnaise added to it. Good country-style bread or ciabatta is toasted until golden brown then topped with the egg salad and a paper-thin slice of prosciutto (or Serrano ham).  It’s really perfect for lunch.  I’m planning to make it using small pieces of bread, and serve it at my next dinner party as an appetizer.

eggs pickling - 1

pickled egg sandwich - 1 (8)

Pickled Egg Salad Crostini with Prosciutto

Adapted from Bon Appetit February 2015 Issue

Serves 2

Ingredients

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup distilled white vinegar

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more

4 extra-large eggs

1/4 cup or more mayonnaise

1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

4 1/4″- thick slices country-style bread or ciabatta

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove

chervil or parsley leaves with tender stems (for serving)

4 slices prosciutto or Serrano ham

Preparation

Bring vinegars, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/3 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Let cool.

Meanwhile, place eggs in a small saucepan and add water to cover by 2″.  Bring to a boil, immediately turn down heat to medium and let eggs simmer for 10 minutes (set your timer!). Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool.  Drain, peel, and return to a small bowl.  Add cooled pickling liquid; cover and chill at least 12 hours.  Remove eggs from pickling liquid. Coarsely chop; mix with mayonnaise, chives, and parsley in a medium bowl.  Season with pepper.  I found the eggs to be perfectly seasoned from the pickling liquid so I didn’t add any additional salt.

Preheat oven (I used my toaster oven) to 425°. Place bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Toast until golden brown, 6 – 8 minutes.  Rub with garlic.  Top each toast with pickled egg salad, some chervil or parsley, and a slice of prosciutto.

 

 

Posted in Appetizers, Bread, Eggs, Recipes, Sandwiches | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Salted Chocolate Rye Cookies

Salted Chocolate Rye Cookies Tartine Book No. 3 is devoted primarily to rustic naturally leavened whole grain bread.  It is one of John’s two “bread bibles.”  However, tucked away in the back of the book are a few delightful dessert recipes including these unusual “Salted Chocolate Rye Cookies.”  Rye as a dessert flour doesn’t immediately come to mind, but we were intrigued.  There’s just three words that best describes these cookies.  To die for.  With a pound of chocolate, this recipe produces rich, fudge brownie-like cookies.  To top it off, a sprinkling of flaky sea salt?  A perfect combination.

Bittersweet Chocolate

Muscovado Sugar The recipe calls for Muscovado sugar which I found at Mana Foods.  Muscovado sugar is unrefined which gives this sugar a rich, molasses flavor.  Brown sugar is refined sugar with molasses added to it.  In a pinch, you could substitute brown sugar in the recipe however reading other comments about Muscovado sugar, well it seems its superior flavor makes it a bakers dream come true.  So go ahead and seek it out.  It’s readily available on-line.

Salted Chocolate Rye Cookies out of the Oven For chocolate lovers….

Salted Chocolate Rye Cookies

Salted Chocolate Rye Cookies

Tartine Book No. 3

Makes about 4 dozen small cookies

Ingredients

454g (four 4-ounce bars) chopped, bittersweet chocolate (70%)

57g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, lactose free and reduced the salt to 1/4 teaspoon)

85g (3/4 cup) whole-grain dark rye flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

200g  eggs (4 large) at room temperature

340g (2 cups very tightly packed) Muscovado sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

good quality sea salt such as Maldon or flaky fleur de sel, for topping

Preparation

Note: I strongly recommend weighing your ingredients for this particular recipe for the best results.  The book has an apparent error in the sugar amount.  The gram measurement in the book is correct, however, the cup measurement is incorrect.  It should be 2 very tightly packed cups to more or less equal the gram measurement.

Place a saucepan filled with 1 inch of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer.  Set a heatproof bowl over simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water).  Melt together the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally.  Remove bowl from heat and let cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

Place the eggs in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium high-speed, adding the sugar a bit at a time.  Turn the mixer to high and whip until the egg mixture has nearly tripled in volume, about 6 minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the melted chocolate butter mixture and the vanilla.  Mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, then mix in the flour mixture just until combined. At this point the dough will be very soft which is normal.  It will firm up as it chills.

Refrigerate the dough in the mixing bowl until it is just firm to the touch, about 30 minutes (the longer you chill the dough, the harder it is to scoop).

Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and scoop with a rounded tablespoon onto the baking sheets, spacing the balls of dough about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Top each mound of dough with a few flakes of sea salt, pressing gently so it adheres.  Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until the cookies have completely puffed up and have a smooth bottom and rounded top.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack and let cook completely.  The cookies will keep up to 3 days in an airtight container.  They can also be frozen for longer storage.

 

 

Posted in Cookies, Dessert, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment