Sunday, March 30, 2008

Coffee Cake

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, thawed, chopped (see Tip)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped peeled tart apple, such as Granny Smith
1/2 cup cranberry juice cocktail, orange juice or apple juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons butter, slightly softened
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar for sprinkling
1 large egg
3/4 cup low-fat milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cooking Ingredients:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
To prepare topping: Whisk brown sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a medium nonreactive saucepan (see Kitchen note) until combined. Stir in cranberries, apple and juice. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring. Continue to cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and the berries soften, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
To prepare cake: Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.
Beat oil, butter and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, first on medium speed, then on medium-high, until well combined, about 11/2 minutes. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, beating until the mixture is light in color and well blended. Add egg and beat until the batter is smooth, about 1 minute longer. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half the flour mixture until just incorporated. Gradually beat in milk and vanilla until just incorporated. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until a smooth batter forms, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading to the edges. Spread the topping in an even layer over the batter; do not stir.
Bake the cake on the middle rack until the top is puffed in places and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (the fruit topping will still be moist), 40 to 50 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over the top. Transfer the pan to a wire rack; let stand until cooled to warm, about 20 minutes. To serve, run a knife along the edge of the pan, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into wedges.
Yield: 12 servings

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sauteed Chicken Breast

2/3 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 whole clove of garlic
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced

Cooking Directions:
Put the parsley, capers, the whole garlic clove, the lemon juice, anchovy paste, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper into a food processor or blender. Pulse just to chop, six to eight times. With the machine running, add the 1/2 cup oil in a thin stream to make a slightly coarse puree. Leave this salsa verde in the food processor; if necessary, pulse to re-emulsify just before serving.
In a large frying pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over moderate heat. Season the chicken breasts with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and the thyme and put them in the hot pan. Cook the chicken until brown, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until almost done, about 3 minutes longer. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let steam 5 minutes. Serve the breasts with their juices and then the salsa verde poured over the top.
Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


1/2 cup salted roasted macadamia nuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Cascadian Farm(R) organic frozen raspberries, thawed as directed on bag, drained and liquid reserved
1 (16.3 ounce) can Pillsbury(R) Grands!(R) Flaky Layers refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/3 cup flaked coconut

Cooking Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 16 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray. In food processor, process macadamia nuts with on-and-off motions until coarsely chopped. Add brown sugar; process until combined. Place in small bowl; set aside.
In same food processor, process cream cheese, 2 tablespoons nut mixture and 1 to 2 tablespoons reserved raspberry liquid until smooth.
Separate dough into 8 biscuits; separate each into 2 layers, making a total of 16 rounds. Lightly press each round in bottom and up side of muffin cup. Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon cream cheese mixture into each dough-lined cup. Top each evenly with raspberries, 1 tablespoon remaining nut mixture and 1 teaspoon coconut.
Bake 14 to 22 minutes or until coconut is lightly browned. Cool in pan 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 16 servings

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Red Velvet Cake with Cream

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons cool unsalted butter, cut into chunks (see Cake-Baking Tips)
2 large eggs, at room temperature (see Cake-Baking Tips), separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 ounce red food coloring, (see Ingredient note) (optional)
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
12 ounces soft light cream cheese
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 ounce chocolate, grated, for garnish (optional)

Cooking Directions:
To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray.
Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks one at a time, then vanilla and food coloring (if using) until smooth.
Beat in half the buttermilk on low speed until smooth, then half the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the remaining buttermilk. Beat in the remaining flour mixture just until combined.
Clean and dry beaters. Beat egg whites in a clean medium bowl at high speed until soft peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter until just incorporated, using long, even strokes. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading to the edges. Gently rap the pans against the counter once or twice to settle the batter.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the layers onto the rack, remove the pans and let cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes more.
To prepare frosting & assemble cake: Beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Place one cake layer top-side down on a serving plate; cover with half the frosting, spreading just to the edges. Set the second layer on top, top-side down. Spread the remaining frosting on the top only. Sprinkle with grated chocolate, if desired.
Yield: 12 servings

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Orange Cheese Cake

20 vanilla snaps or wafers (see Ingredient note)
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 1/2 cups low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (not nonfat), cut into pieces
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
4 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 tablespoons orange liqueur or orange juice
1 seedless orange, scrubbed and thinly sliced
Mint sprigs

Cooking Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath. Wrap the outside of the pan with a double thickness of foil.
To prepare crust: Grind vanilla snaps in a food processor. Add oil and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press crumbs evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
To prepare filling: Puree cottage cheese in a food processor (use a clean workbowl ) until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice. Add cream cheese, granulated sugar (or Splenda), brown sugar and cornstarch. Process until very smooth. Add egg, egg whites, yogurt, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla; process until smooth. Pour over the crust.
Place the cheesecake in a shallow roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come 1/2 inch up the outside of the springform pan. Bake until the edges are set but the center still jiggles when the pan is tapped, 50 to 60 minutes.
Turn off the oven. Spray a knife with cooking spray and run it around the inside edge of the pan. Let the cheesecake stand in the oven, with the door ajar, for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and remove the foil. Refrigerate, uncovered, until chilled, about 2 hours.
To glaze & garnish cheesecake: Shortly before serving, combine marmalade and orange liqueur (or juice) in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring, until melted and smooth. Place cheesecake on a serving platter and remove pan sides. Brush glaze over the top of the cheesecake. Make a slit in each orange slice, then twist and wrap it into a rosette. Garnish cheesecake with the orange rosettes and mint.
Yield: 16 servings