Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

       To prepare these muffins, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

                                                Delicious and so easy to prepare. Serve warm....

For the filling:
Combine 1 8 oz. softened cream cheese with 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix and blend until smooth.

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. each of ground nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, salt and baking soda
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice
4 large eggs
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups of vegetable oil

For the Topping:
1/2 cup of sugar
5 tbsp.flour
1 1/2 tsp.ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Directions :
In a medium bowl, combine all the spices, flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well. In another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Mix on medium speed with blender until ingredients are well blended. Add all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed, just until incorporated.

To make topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the butter in pieces and cut into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is course and crumbly.

To each muffin tin, fill well with a small amount of batter. Taking a teaspoon, drop small amounts of cream cheese batter on top of muffin batter. Now add more muffin batter to cover the cream cheese completely. Sprinkle the prepared topping on each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Monday, July 11, 2016

More fruit fun ~ Roasted Pears with Almond Crunch

Halve 3 Bosc Pears, core out seeds and bake cut side up in buttered baking pan ( about 3 tablespoons of  melted butter) at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Bake uncovered.  Before placing in oven, sprinkle pears with 1/4 cup of sugar. Add 1/2 cup of water to pan for the last 10 minutes. I basted the pears twice with all the pan juice!

For the almond crunch I used one egg white. Whisk the egg white until quite foamy with three tablespoons of sugar. Add 3/4 cup of sliced almonds, preferably with skins until almonds are coated with egg wash.  Spread  the almonds in a thin layer on a greased baking sheet and bake until golden, about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool completely and then break into pieces. That is all there is to it........of course, I had to add some heavy whipping cream for the final touch!

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Embrace fruits in season~

The peaches are wonderful this season! Try whipping up a sensational dessert with very few ingredients along with very little effort!

The tart is made from 3 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced and tossed with heated peach preserves.

The crust is: 1 1/2 cups of flour.
                     7 Tablespoons of cold, unsalted butter.
                     1/2 Cup of ice cold water.
                     A dash of salt, extra flour for rolling out on your surface.

All prepared using a food processor~ processing the flour and slowly adding the chunks of butter until it looks like cornmeal, then streaming in the cold water until the dough forms into a ball shape from the processor. Remove the dough and place on a floured surface and roll into an 8 inch disc. Chill the dough disk for 1 hour. Remove and roll out a few inches more giving you enough room to fill with all the sliced fruit. Add  the peach filling, turning in the edges of the pastry and bake on cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper for 40 minutes at 350 degrees or until  crust is lightly browned.... not much to it! Enjoy!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Glorious Eggs

There are endless ways, combinations and recipes for whipping up the incredible egg! Just thinking for example: a beautiful egg omelet or poached egg for breakfast. For lunch or dinner we can whip up a range of frittatas. Then moving on to dessert, probably my most favorite, creme brûlée ....oh, I forgot, endless ways to prepare a souffle. The list goes on and on!

The photos here were taken from eggs purchased from a local farmer, pasture raised. They appear to me to be much richer in color and remarkably tasty in flavor.  Now that it is springtime, the hens are in full production having more daylight to run around in the  green pastures dropping these remarkable gems!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mongolian Crunchies

As you can see, these crispy snacks are made from a  simple dough and then deep fried to a golden color.  Every family I visited always served these to us.......part of their welcoming tradition along with the milk tea. They may look like french fries, but had a bland cookie taste. Delicious when served warm.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Great Harvest Indeed!

Tuscany 2015 Tour.
 From the looks of things throughout the countryside, it appears it is going to be a great year for wine and olive oil. 

Unfortunately, we missed most of the grape picking due to an extraordinary hot summer! Sometimes we hit it just right, something we can not predict! Nevertheless, beauty surrounded us!

One of our favorite white roads where we are able to enjoy the groves. These tree branches were bursting with weight and promises of liquid gold. Such a gorgeous site as the wind whips the leaves  into their silver shimmering state.

Just from looking, it is going to be a great year for wines! We wish all our friends a bountiful harvest!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer Rustic Peach Galette

The fun of preparing a rustic tart is you really can't mess it up! You just pray the crust will hold together! Well, fear not. This is an easy one!
 A few years ago I had a class with Susan Hermann Loomis On Rue Tatin in Paris. We have remained friends on FB through the years and recently she posted a video on making the pastry for a tart, similar to what I used. Susan did bake hers in a tart pan and her crust was perfectly executed! She has a great recipe on that video. One thing she mentions several times is how necessary it "is not to handle the dough too much" because you do not want to melt the butter or rather warm it with your hands while kneading the dough. I was so careful in handling the dough.  Most likely this was the reason  I had such success with this tart. Using the food processor was a lifesaver as well.

CRUST: a very simple butter crust~

1 1/4 cup of flour~a tad more for when rolling it out flat
1 3/4 teaspoons of sugar
1/8 teaspoon of salt
8 tablespoons of butter, cut into very small cubes/pieces. My butter was actually frozen.
4 - 6 tablespoons ice cold water


3 large peaches, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon of butter~you will use this to dot the top when all compiled
1 tablespoon of flour
3/4 teaspoon of vanilla

1 egg beaten, and maybe if you desire, course sugar to sprinkle on top.

Using a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients. Add the chilled butter slowly and pulse. Add the water a few tablespoons at a time, pulse until the dough clumps together. Turn out on hard surface, spread a tad of four down first. Form the dough into a disc shape. Do not over- knead the dough. Sprinkle the dough with a little more flour on both sides and wrap in plastic then chill for about one hour.

Place the flour and sugar on the sliced peaches and gently toss to coat. Add the vanilla gently over the peaches and toss again. Mix the egg and have it ready to apply on the crust as a final touch.

After the dough has chilled, roll it out into a 12 inch circle. Carefully remove and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange your peach slices however you like in the center of the dough, using about a 6-7 inch circle area to arrange the peach mixture. Dot the top with the teaspoon of butter.

  Fold the outer edges of the dough over the filling all the way around. Use pastry brush to apply the egg wash and now add the course sugar, if desired.

Cook in oven at 425 degrees, 15-25 minutes or until browned. Let cool before cutting.