Friday, July 29, 2016

Cake Everyday: Lemon Ricotta

I found this recipe at Food 52; it's fabulous! A perfect cake to enjoy in the summer.


1-1/4 unbleached AP flour
Pinch of salt
1 Tbs. aluminum-free baking powder
9 Tbs. unsalted, best quality butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 Tbs sugar
3 eggs (I prefer organic)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup ricotta cheese. I used part-skim ricotta.
1 to 2 apples, peeled and grated; enough to make about 1 cup. I used Pink Lady.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour a 9" springform pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the AP flour, pinch of salt, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. (King Arthur Flour has a good article on softening butter and creaming it with sugar). With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar. Then add the lemon zest, ricotta, and grated apple.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake is golden and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Cool the cake on top of a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the circular form and finish cooling on the rack.

Finish the cake with a dusting of confectioners sugar.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fro-Yo and Lemon-Cream Custard Torte

This frozen treat is a yummy trio of flavors: A graham cracker crust, topped with a layer of frozen vanilla yogurt, and then a rich, lemony custard. The key to getting the best flavor from this dessert is to take it out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving (it can even sit a few more minutes on the counter).


1.5 cup finely crushed graham crackers
6 Tbs. butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

1 pint of frozen vanilla yogurt (you can add another 1/2 pint for a thicker layer)
3 eggs (1 whole egg, 2 yolks, 2 whites)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream


Make the Graham Cracker Crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the crushed crackers, melted butter and sugar. Press the crumbs into an 8-inch square pan; push the crumbs up the side of the pan a bit to help contain the next layers of torte. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly brown. Let cool.

Make the Frozen Yogurt Layer: Carefully cut away the container from the frozen yogurt. Cut the yogurt into slices and lay on the bottom of the graham cracker crust. Arrange the slices around the pan as needed to cover the surface. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the layer. Freeze.  

Make the Lemon-Cream Custard: In a sauce pan, beat together 1 whole egg and 2 yolks. Add sugar, salt and lemon juice. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly until thick. This could take 20 minutes, so get comfortable before starting to make this custard.

When the custard is thick, pour it into a large bowl and allow it to cool.

Two more bowls are needed for the next steps. In one bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. In another bowl, whip the cream.

Fold the cream into the lemon mixture. Next, fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour everything into the pan with the crumb crust and yogurt. Smooth the top and freeze.


Sassy, Flavorful Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

This roasted chicken dish is great all year long, but the flavorful marinade combined with crisp potato slices, crunchy arugula and cool yogurt sauce makes this dish perfect for a hot day in July or August.

Recipe Adapted from the New York Times

Ingredients for 4 Servings

1.5 pounds chicken drumsticks and chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
1.25 pounds small, round potatoes cut into 1/2" slices or coins
2 tsps. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste (a thick hot sauce)

1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Olive oil
2 leeks
1/2 cup plain yogurt (not Greek yogurt)
1 small garlic clove


Marinate the chicken and potatoes for 6 to 8 hours before you plan to cook. Place chicken and sliced potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the 2 Tbs. Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste with 3 Tbs. olive oil and 1/2 tsp ground cumin. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the chicken and potatoes and stir/toss to distribute it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Prepare the leeks. Using only the white and light green part of the leeks, cut the leeks lengthwise in half, and then cut each half into thin "sticks". You want long, thin pieces of leek, not round coins or half-moons. Set aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook

Cook the dinner! Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. While the oven is heating, remove the chicken and potatoes from the refrigerator. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (this helps with cleanup). Place the chicken on the foil-lined pan. Scatter the potatoes around the chicken. When the oven is hot, bake the chicken for about 15 minutes. Pull the pan out of the oven and flip the potatoes around a bit to prevent sticking. Continue baking another 10 minutes. Now add the leek strips by scattering them over the pan. Continue roasting another 20 minutes or until chicken and potatoes are well-browned and the chicken has an internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.

Note: I've had to experiment a bit on deciding when to add the leek strips. A little charring is fine, but if they are added too soon, the leeks burn completely. So just be aware of this as your oven may perform differently than mine.

While the chicken is cooking, grate the garlic clove over the yogurt, add a pinch of salt and a little pepper, and stir to combine.

Plate and serve. Scatter a layer of arugula over each dinner plate.  Place chicken pieces and potatoes on top of the arugula, then drizzle the garlic yogurt sauce over everything. Serve with a cold glass of wine.