Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chiken and broccoli pasta

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch dried oregano
18 ounces dry penne pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil and add chicken; cook until slightly brown. Add onion and garlic to cook for about 5 minutes or until garlic is golden and onions are translucent.
Add tomatoes, broccoli, salt, pepper and oregano; stir well and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender; drain and add back into pot. Pour chicken sauce into pot and mix well.
Add basil and toss well; top with Parmesan cheese. Serve.

Ground Chiken Basil

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 pound ground chicken breast
12 Thai chiles, sliced into thin rings
2 teaspoons black soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup fresh basil leaves

1. Heat a wok over high heat until smoking. Pour in peanut oil, then immediately add garlic. Stir-fry garlic until it begins to turn golden brown, about 20 seconds. Mix in the ground chicken and continue cooking and stirring until the meat is crumbly and no longer pink, about 2 minutes.

2. Stir in the sliced chilies, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Cook for about 15 seconds to soften the chilies, then add the basil, and continue cooking until the basil has wilted.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Roasted Vegetables

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see Ingredient note)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1 1/2 cups diced peeled carrots
1 1/2 cups diced peeled parsnips
1 1/2 cups diced peeled butternut squash
1 cup diced peeled beet
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 head garlic
1 cup crumbled creamy goat cheese, divided
1 egg mixed with
1 tablespoon water for glazing

Cooking Directions:
To prepare crust: Combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a food processor; pulse several times. Mix water and oil; sprinkle over the dry ingredients and pulse just until blended. Add olives and pulse to mix. (Alternatively, combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the water-oil mixture, stirring until well blended. Stir in olives.) Press the dough into a disk; if it seems dry, add a little more water. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
To prepare filling: Combine carrots, parsnips, squash, beet, 1 tablespoon oil, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread the vegetables on the prepared baking sheet. Cut the tip off the head of garlic. Set on a square of foil, sprinkle with a tablespoon of water and pinch the edges of the foil together. Place the packet on the baking sheet with the vegetables. Roast, stirring the vegetables every 10 minutes, until they are tender and beginning to brown and the garlic is soft, about 35 minutes. (The garlic may take a little longer.)
Transfer the vegetables to a bowl. Unwrap the garlic and let cool slightly. Squeeze the garlic cloves into a small bowl; add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and mash with a fork. Add the mashed garlic to the roasted vegetables and toss to mix. Add 3/4 cup goat cheese and toss to coat.
To assemble galette: Roll the dough into a rough 14-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the dough on it. Arrange the roasted vegetables on the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Fold the border up and over the filling to form a rim, pleating as you go. Scatter the remaining 1/4 cup goat cheese over the vegetables. Stir egg and water briskly; brush lightly over the crust.
Bake the galette at 400 degrees F until the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Yield: 8 servings

Saturday, April 19, 2008


1 pound lean ground lamb
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup beef broth
1 cup tomato puree

Cooking Directions:
In a bowl, mix the lamb with the egg, bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon of the mint. Season with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls.
Heat the olive oil in a very large skillet. Add the meatballs and fry over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 4 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a plate.
Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of mint and puree.
Return the onion puree to the skillet. Add the broth, tomato puree and meatballs and simmer over low heat until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Yield: 4 servings

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fudge Torte

1/3 cup low-fat sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 (18.25 ounce) package Pillsbury(R) Moist Supreme(R) Devils Food Cake Mix
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup oil
1 (15 ounce) can sliced pears in light syrup, drained
3 eggs
1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans
2 teaspoons water
1 (17 ounce) jar butterscotch caramel ice cream topping
1/3 cup milk

Cooking Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9 or 10-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. In small saucepan, combine filling ingredients; cook over medium-low heat until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally.
In large bowl, combine cake mix, cinnamon and oil; blend at low speed for 20 to 30 seconds or until crumbly. (Mixture will be dry.)
Place pears in blender container or food processor bowl with metal blade; cover and blend until smooth.
In another large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of the cake mix mixture, pureed pears and eggs; beat at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Spread batter evenly in sprayed pan. Drop filling by spoonfuls over batter. Stir nuts and water into remaining cake mix mixture. Sprinkle over filling.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool 10 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Cool 1 1/2 hours or until completely cooled.
In small saucepan, combine sauce ingredients; cook over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until well blended, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, spoon 2 tablespoons warm sauce onto each individual dessert plate. Top each with wedge of torte. If desired, serve with ice cream and garnish with chocolate curls.
Yield: 12 servings


8 graham crackers (about 5 inches x 2 1/2 inches)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Cooking Directions:
Make the crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Crimp overhang under rim of pan.
In a food processor, blend graham crackers with sugar until finely ground; add butter and pulse until moistened.
Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan, and pat in gently (wipe processor bowl clean, and reserve for making filling). Bake until beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. While crust is baking, make filling.
Make the filling: Place cream cheese in food processor; blend until smooth. Add sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice; blend until smooth.
Pour mixture onto hot crust in pan; smooth top. Return to oven, and bake until set (filling should jiggle only slightly when pan is gently shaken), 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool completely in pan. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap; chill until firm, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days). Use foil overhang to lift cheesecake out of pan. With metal spatula, lift cheesecake from foil; cut into 16 squares.
Yield: 16 servings


3 slices white bread
1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 stalk celery, strings peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, loosely packed
1/2 cup ketchup
4 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
8 ounces ground pork
8 ounces ground veal
8 ounces ground round
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus more needles for sprinkling
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4 inch-thick rings

Cooking Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove crusts from bread, and place slices in the bowl of a food processor. Process until fine crumbs form, about 10 seconds. Transfer breadcrumbs to a large mixing bowl. Do not substitute dried breadcrumbs in this step, as they will make your meatloaf rubbery.
Place carrot, celery, yellow onion, garlic, and parsley in the bowl of the food processor. Process until vegetables have been minced, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. (Chopping vegetables this way saves time and ensures that vegetables will be small enough to cook through and not be crunchy). Transfer vegetables to bowl with the breadcrumbs.
Add 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, pork, veal, beef, eggs, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and rosemary. Using your hands, knead the ingredients until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. The texture should be wet, but tight enough to hold a free-form shape.
Set a wire baking rack into an 11-by-17-inch baking pan. Cut a 5-by-11-inch piece of parchment paper, and place over center of rack to prevent meat loaf from falling through. Using your hands, form an elongated loaf covering the parchment.
Place the remaining 3 tablespoons ketchup, remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons mustard, and brown sugar in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the glaze over loaf. Place oil in a medium saucepan set over high heat. When oil is smoking, add red onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and golden in places. Add 3 tablespoons water, and cook, stirring, until most of the water has evaporated. Transfer onion to a bowl to cool slightly, then sprinkle onion over the meatloaf.
Bake 30 minutes, then sprinkle rosemary needles on top. Continue baking loaf until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 160 , about 25 minutes more. Let meatloaf cool on rack, 15 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 ounces butter, slightly softened at 65 degrees
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
2 egg yolks, room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 fluid ounce water
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons Jack Daniels
1/4 cup heavy cream

Cooking Directions:
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the butter and blend until the dough comes together.
Line a 9 inch by 12 inch baking sheet with parchment and spray with pan coating.
Press the dough into the sheet tray, even and flat. Prick with a fork.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake 10 minutes. Turn the sheet and bake another 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
Place the pre-baked cookie sheet on a work surface.
Melt chocolate in a microwave at 50% for 1 minute. Stir. Continue melting in microwave until the chocolate is completely smooth. Pour into the bowl of a food processor and reserve.
In a medium heat proof bowl, add the egg yolks and whip until broken up.
In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. While whipping constantly, slowly stream in the hot sugar syrup into the egg yolks, and continue to whip for 30 seconds. With the food processor running, add the yolk mixture to the chocolate, scrape down.
Add the sugar, water, milk, Jack Daniels and heavy cream and mix well. Pour over pre-baked shortbread and spread evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut into Oscar shapes or 3 x 1-inch rectangles.
Yield: 36 servings


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon salt
20 ounces prepared whole-wheat pizza dough, thawed if frozen (see Ingredient notes)
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (15 ounce) can white beans, rinsed
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup finely shredded smoked Gouda or Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons pepitas (see Ingredient notes) (optional)

Cooking Directions:
Place oven rack in the lowest position; preheat to 450 degrees F. Coat a large non insulated baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine oil, onion and salt in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and golden, 5 to 8 minutes more.
Meanwhile, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to the size of the baking sheet. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake until puffed and lightly crisped on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir oregano and pepper into the onion. Transfer half the onion to a small bowl. Add beans to the remaining onion; cook over medium heat, stirring often, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the bean mixture to a food processor, add water and vinegar and pulse until a coarse paste forms.
Spread the bean paste over the pizza crust. Top with the reserved onion, tomatoes, cheese and pepitas, if using. Bake on the bottom rack until the crust is crispy and golden and the cheese is melted, 11 to 13 minutes. Slice and serve.
Yield: 6 servings

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Grilled Tofu with Greens

1 small carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup prepared carrot juice
2 tablespoons white or yellow miso (see Note)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 (14 ounce) packages water-packed firm tofu, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon black bean-garlic sauce (see Note)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
10 ounces mixed Asian greens or baby spinach

Cooking Directions:
To prepare dressing: Puree carrot, carrot juice, miso, vinegar, oil, ginger and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth.
To prepare tofu: Slice each tofu block crosswise into 5 slices; pat dry with paper towels. Combine honey, oil, soy sauce, black bean-garlic sauce and garlic in a small bowl. Spread half the marinade in a large baking dish and top with the tofu slices. Spread the remaining marinade over the tofu, covering completely.
Preheat grill to medium-high. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the tofu until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. To serve, toss greens with the dressing. Divide among 6 plates and top with the tofu.
Yield: 6 servings

Raspberry Mousse

6 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar or Splenda Granular (see Ingredient note)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
8 teaspoons dried egg whites (see Ingredient notes), reconstituted according to package directions
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 cups fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and/or strawberries for garnish
Mint sprigs for garnish

Cooking Directions:
Place a small mixing bowl in the freezer to chill for Step 5.
Puree raspberries in a food processor until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve set over a large bowl; discard seeds. Measure out 1 cup raspberry puree, whisk in confectioners' sugar (or Splenda), cover and set aside in the refrigerator for sauce.
Place orange juice in a small saucepan. Sprinkle in gelatin. Let soften for 1 minute. Place over low heat and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat reconstituted egg whites in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Beat cream in the chilled bowl until soft peaks form.
Add the melted gelatin to the remaining raspberry puree and whisk until blended. Set the bowl over a bowl of ice water and stir just until the mixture starts to thicken slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Add one-fourth of the meringue to the raspberry puree and whisk until blended. Using a whisk, fold in the remaining meringue. With a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream. Scrape the mousse into a 6-cup metal bowl (or other decorative mold) or a 9-by-5-inch metal loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and foil and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.
To serve, fill a bowl or basin (large enough to hold the mold comfortably) with very hot water. Run a knife around the edges of the mold. Quickly dip the mold in hot water, then invert a serving platter over the top. Grasping the mold and platter, jerk downward several times. If the mousse does not release, dip in hot water again and repeat. Cut the mousse into wedges or slices. Serve with the reserved raspberry sauce and garnish each serving with a scattering of berries and a mint sprig.
Yield: 8 servings

Tea Granita

2/3 cup sugar
4 Lemon Zinger tea bags
3 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cooking Directions:
Place sugar and tea bags in a heatproof bowl. Pour in boiling water; stir until sugar has dissolved. Let steep until cooled to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Remove the tea bags, squeezing out liquid. Stir in lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour or overnight.
Pour the tea mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers directions. (Alternatively, freeze the mixture in a shallow metal pan until solid, about 6 hours. Break into chunks and process in a food processor until smooth and creamy.) Serve immediately or transfer to a storage container and let harden in the freezer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve in chilled dishes.
Yield: 8 servings

Frozen Yogurt

3 cups fresh or frozen and partially thawed blackberries or raspberries or a mixture of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries (see Tip)
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt

Cooking Directions:
Combine berries, sugar and lemon juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Add yogurt and pulse until mixed in. If using fresh berries, transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Transfer the berry mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. (Alternatively, freeze the mixture in a shallow metal pan until solid, about 6 hours. Break into chunks and process in a food processor until smooth and creamy.) Serve immediately or transfer to a storage container and let harden in the freezer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve in chilled dishes.
Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Salad with Potato Pancake

1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or scallion tops
1/4 teaspoon wine vinegar
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons fresh-ground black pepper
1 pound baking potatoes, peeled
3 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, cored
1 small onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, beaten to mix
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3/4 pound curly endive, torn into bite-size pieces
1 head red- or green-leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

Cooking Directions:
In a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the sour cream, milk, chives, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Mix well and set aside.
In a food processor with a grating attachment, grate the potatoes, 1 1/2 of the apples, and the onion. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the parsley, eggs, bread crumbs, and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Form the potato mixture into twelve pancakes about 21/2 inches wide and 1/2-inch thick, using about 1/4 cup of the mixture for each. Cook the pancakes in batches, turning once, until crisp and golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Keep the cooked pancakes warm in a 200 degrees F oven on a baking sheet lined with paper towels until the last batch is done. Use 1 tablespoon of oil for each batch.
Cut the remaining apples into thin slices. Put them in a large bowl along with the greens. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the dressing and toss. Arrange the salad on plates and top with the pancakes. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the pancakes.
Yield: 4 servings

Baked Chicken Wings

4 pounds chicken wings
3 tablespoons cooking oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled
2 scallions including green tops, chopped
5 teaspoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
8 ribs celery, cut into sticks

Cooking Direction:
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the wings, oil, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and the cayenne. Arrange the wings in a single layer on two large baking sheets. Bake until just done, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, blue cheese, scallions, 1 teaspoon of the vinegar, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the ketchup, the remaining 4 teaspoons vinegar, and the Tabasco sauce. Add the wings and toss to coat. Serve the wings with the celery sticks and blue-cheese dressing alongside.
Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Plum Tart

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
2 teaspoons water
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
10 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 cups fruity red wine, such as Beaujolais
1/2 cup sugar
6 whole cloves
6 black peppercorns
1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick, broken
1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise, seeds scraped
6 medium purple or Green Gage plums, pitted and cut into eighths

Cooking Directions:
MAKE THE PASTRY: In a food processor, pulse the flour with the salt. Add the butter and pulse just until pea-sized clumps form. Sprinkle on the ice water and pulse just until the pastry comes together. Turn the pastry out onto a work surface and flatten it into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Turn the pastry out onto a floured work surface and roll it out to a 12-inch round. Transfer the pastry to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; gently press the pastry up the side of the pan and trim any overhang. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
Line the pastry with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 40 minutes, until dry and lightly golden. Remove the foil and pie weights and bake for about 15 minutes longer, until the shell is golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool.
MEANWHILE, MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM: In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in an even layer. Let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, warm the milk. In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks with the sugar until thick and pale. Whisk in the flour, then gradually whisk in the hot milk until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and the salt. Scrape the mixture into the medium saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until bubbling, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until no floury taste remains, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.
Warm the gelatin over low heat, swirling the pan until melted, about 3 minutes. Stir the gelatin into the pastry cream. Scrape the pastry cream into a bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
POACH THE PLUMS: In a large skillet, combine the wine, sugar, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon and vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Add the plums and simmer over moderate heat, stirring until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the plums to a plate; let cool to room temperature. Boil the liquid until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 6 minutes. Strain the syrup into a bowl. Pat the plums dry.
Spread the pastry cream in the shell. Arrange the plums in concentric circles over the cream. Brush some of the syrup over the plums. (If the syrup is too thick, reheat it gently.) Refrigerate the tart until just set, about 1 hour. Cut into wedges; serve the remaining syrup on the side.
Yield: 8 servings

Berry Crumble

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 cups plain granola
1/2 cup sugar
6 ounces chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 pound blackberries
3/4 pound blueberries
3/4 pound raspberries
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Devonshire cream, vanilla ice cream or lightly whipped cream, for serving

Cooking Directions:
MAKE THE TOPPING: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a food processor, combine the flour with the oats, granola and sugar and pulse until coarsely ground. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine meal.
MAKE THE FILLING: In a large bowl, toss the sugar with the lemon zest, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Add the blackberries, blueberries and raspberries and toss well. Carefully spread the berries in a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and dot with the butter. Spoon the crumble topping over the berries and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is browned. Let the crumble cool slightly and serve warm with the Devonshire Cream.
Yield: 12 servings

Friday, April 4, 2008

Mushroom Galete

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup 1% milk
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water for glaze
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced leeks
12 ounces cremini or baby bella mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
1 large egg
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Cooking Directions:
To prepare crust: Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Puree cottage cheese in a food processor. Add oil, milk and sugar; process until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and pulse 4 to 5 times, just until the dough clumps together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times, but do not overwork. Press the dough into a disk, dust with flour and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare filling: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. (Add water, if necessary, to prevent scorching.) Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool.
Whisk egg, sour cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add scallions, parsley and the mushroom mixture; toss to coat.
To assemble & bake galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rough 15-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Roll it back over the rolling pin and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Fold the border up and over the filling to form a rim, pleating as necessary. Brush egg glaze over the rim.
Bake the galette until the crust is golden, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Slide onto a serving platter and serve hot or at room temperature.
Yield: 8 servings

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mocha Dessert

1 (8 inch) angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups whipped topping
2 (1.4 ounce) bars Heath bars, crushed
Additional Heath bars (optional)

Cooking Directions:
Place cake cubes in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. dish. Add coffee and toss lightly.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, chocolate syrup and sugar until blended. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cake. Sprinkle with crushed Heath bars.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Garnish with additional Heath bars if desired.
Yield: 16 servings

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Pin Wheel Cookies

1 1/2 cups sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or allspice
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or allspice
1/3 cup canola oil
3 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons low-fat milk, plus more as needed
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Cooking Directions:
To prepare filling: Combine dried and fresh cranberries, honey, orange zest, cinnamon and cardamom (or allspice) in a medium nonreactive saucepan (see Note) over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and cook, stirring, until the fresh cranberries burst and soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor and puree. If the mixture seems dry, stir in up to 2 teaspoons water. Transfer the mixture to a nonreactive container and refrigerate while preparing the dough.
To prepare dough: Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom (or allspice) in a large bowl. In another large bowl, combine oil, butter, sugar, honey, eggs, milk, orange zest, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat the wet ingredients with an electric mixer first on low speed, then on medium speed, until well combined. Add half the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until evenly incorporated. If the mixture is too dry to hold together, stir in up to 1 tablespoon more milk. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 to 45 minutes to reduce its stickiness.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a 6-inch-long log. Working with one log at a time, center it on a 16-inch-long sheet of baking parchment or wax paper. Cover with a second sheet. Press and then roll into a 12-by-15-inch rectangle of even thickness, inverting the dough occasionally to roll out any wrinkles and patching it to make the sides as even as possible. Transfer the dough, in the paper, to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining log of dough and transfer to the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is slightly firm, about 15 minutes.
To prepare pinwheel rolls: Place one sheet of dough on a work surface. Peel off the top sheet of paper. Spread half the reserved filling evenly over the dough (it will be a thin layer). Working from a 15-inch-long side, tightly roll up the dough jelly-roll style, leaving the bottom sheet of paper behind. While rolling, slightly stretch out the center to yield an evenly thick roll. Wrap the roll in a clean sheet of wax paper, twisting the ends to prevent unrolling (see Tip). Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough and place on the baking sheet. Freeze until firm, at least 3 to 4 hours.
To bake cookies: Position racks in the upper third and center of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one pinwheel roll at a time, trim the uneven ends. Cut the roll crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices using a large serrated knife; periodically turning the roll to maintain a relatively round cookie shape. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Bake the cookies until puffed and barely golden brown, 12 to 16 minutes, switching the pans back to front and top to middle halfway through baking. Immediately transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cut and bake the remaining pinwheel roll.
Yield: 90 servings

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


1 (10.5 ounce) package sugar free angel food cake, purchased from bakery
3 1/2 teaspoons instant decaffeinated coffee powder
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 (8 ounce) package fat-free cream cheese
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 cup SPLENDA(R) No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cocoa powder

Cooking Directions:
Cut angel food cake into 1 cubes. Set aside.
Dissolve instant coffee in hot water. Chill in refrigerator.
Combine mascarpone and cream cheese in mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons coffee, dark brown sugar, SPLENDA(R) Granulated Sweetener and vanilla. Mix well. Set aside.
Pour cold coffee into a 9X13 inch pan.
Assemble Tiramisu: Quickly dip half of angel food cake pieces into the coffee. Remove immediately and place in medium glass serving bowl. Spread half of cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle with 1 tsp cocoa powder. Repeat with remaining angel food cake, cheese mixture, and cocoa.
Cover and chill for three hours or overnight before serving.
Yield: 8 servings