Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer cooler


Light, bright and cooling: that's what we look for in an adult beverage for a summer afternoon.

It was a summer afternoon in Mammoth Lakes, CA., when I had my first Eastern Retreat but it was hardly hot on Pokonobe's deck above Lake Mary. Actually we flatland-dwelling East Coasters were cold at the 8,000-foot Eastern Sierra mountain elevation.
















Nonetheless, I opted for the Eastern retreat, which is saying a lot, especially as my fingers took on a blueish tinge while holding the glass. it was that good, kind of like a California Pimm's Cup created by the mixologists at the local Shelter Distillery with their Gin the Third.

While I obtained the recipe for an individual serving, many thanks to my friend and fellow travel writer Susan Katzman who thought to ask for the party-sized proportions.

                        Eastern Retreat


Ingredients
Gin
Mint simple syrup
Lemon juice
Cucumber juice
Cucumber garnish



For one serving
1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz. Cucumber juice
1/2 oz. Mint sauce
1 1/2 oz. Lemon juice

Mix together in a blender.
Serve over ice with a thin slice of cucumber.

For 50 servings (4 oz. liquid over ice in an 8 oz. glass)
Mix together:
3 bottles of Gin
1 bottle Mint syrup
1 bottle Lemon juice
2 bottles Cucumber juice

Garnish each serving with a thin slice of cucumber





IMG_1163.jpeg
IMG_1163.jpeg
IMG_1163.jpeg

Thursday, July 5, 2018

No leftovers with Muhammara Spread

Do you hate dealing with leftover spreads and dips at the end of a party? Too  good to waste, but too mauled to want.

There will be no leftovers with this one.

I discovered it recently at Jimmy's Taverna in Mammoth Lakes, California. With its blue and white brightened with yellow star light fixtures, the restaurant is one of the most tasteful and best decorated Greek eateries ever encountered.












Executive Chef Jeremy Graham, an alumni of The Phoenician in Scottsdale and The Westin in Mammoth Lakes, oversees two other restaurants in the same suburban complex.

But on to his Turkish inspired dish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muhammara

1 32-ounce can roasted red peppers
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped (reserve a few for garnish)
.5 oz. roasted garlic
1 oz. lemon juice
3 oz. panko
.75 oz. pomegranate syrup (available at Middle Eastern stores), add a bit more for garnish
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. urfa pepper flakes or dried chipolte
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1//2 oz. Extra virgin olive oil,  plus some for garnish

Place ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Top with toasted walnuts, pomegranate syrup and olive oil. Serve with triangles of warm pita bread.

Do not plan on leftovers.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Bubbe would be proud of this, too


For several years, I have judged the annual Bubbe's Bake Off competition at Congregation Ahaveth Chesed's Jacksonville Jewish Food Festival.

This year's, the seventh, the judging panel was particularly impressed with entries in the children's category. Both first- and second-place-winning young bakers found their recipes on line but they prepared the entries themselves; no adults are allowed in the kitchen during prep and baking.

This, the second place winner by 13-year-old Ellie Pinnar, will be first in the hearts of chocolate and peanut butter lovers.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Chocolate Cake
Inspiration: "This peanut butter chocolate cake reminds me of my grandpa, who passed away in January of 2018. He LOVED all desserts, but the combo of chocolate and peanut butter was definitely in his top favorites. I got the inspiration from my dad. We were talking about cake flavors for the bake-off, and he reminded me of my grandpa and his favorite desserts. That's when it hit me to do this cake. Thanks, Daddy!"

INGREDIENTS
Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups hot water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbl distilled white vinegar
1 Tbl vanilla extract

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cheesecake Filling
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache
16 oz. milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 8.5-ounce bags Dove Peanut Butter Promises, divided

DIRECTIONS
Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9×2-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray with flour.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
In a large measuring cup, whisk together water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and whisk just until combine.
Divide batter between pans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in the pans on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert them onto the rack. Leave cakes upside down (this flattens domed cakes) to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Filling
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream until it forms soft peaks. In another large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar until blended and smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream a little at a time. Fold in 1 cup Dove chocolates, finely chopped.

Chocolate Ganache
Place half of the chocolate in a mixing bowl. Heat heavy cream on medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add remaining chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool until ganache is thickened but still thin enough to drip down the sides of the cake.

Assembling Cake
When the cake layers are cool and ganache has thickened, evenly spread filling on bottom layer, carefully stack the second layer on top of filling. Spoon chocolate ganache on top of the cake, spreading to edges and letting the ganache drip down the sides. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Pile remaining coarsely chopped Dove chocolates on top.
-->

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Bubbe would be proud

Children's division entries
For several years, I have judged the annual Bubbe's Bake Off competition at Congregation Ahaveth Chesed's Jacksonville Jewish Food Festival.

This year's, the seventh, the judging panel was particularly impressed with entries in the children's category. Both first- and second-place-winning young bakers found their recipes on line but they prepared the entries themselves; no adults are allowed in the kitchen during prep and baking.

Here is the first place winner so you can taste for yourself. Second place will follow later.

First place: Hannah Brown, 13, said summers with lemons and picking blueberries with her grandmother was her inspiration for choosing this recipe from https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/02/09/lemon-blueberry-layer-cake/

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake


INGREDIENTS
Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 TBS vanilla extract
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, (spoon and leveled)
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
zest plus juice of 3 medium lemons
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
1 TBS all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 - 2 TBS heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
lemon zest
DIRECTIONS
Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour three 9x2-inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy -- about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is completely combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

In a large-sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick. Do not over-mix at any point. Over-mixing will lend a tough, dense textured crumb.

Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting
Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired. Recipe is enough for a light frost.

Using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. Top with blueberries or lemon garnish if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting, or the cake may fall apart as you cut.

Tip: Prepare cakes and frosting 1 day in advance. Keep cakes at room temperature, covered tightly. Refrigerate prepared frosting in an airtight container until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cakes may be frozen up to 2 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature if desired before serving.