Lemon Cake, Lemon Bars, and Love

The doorbell rang a Sunday or two ago. I opened it to find our new neighbors smiling, wearing white linen, and holding a plate of lemon bars.

We’d been told we had inherited the dream neighbors – which was welcome, since we adored our previous neighbors, too. (Tom and Lou: Xoxo.) We’d also been told how much our neighbors loved Betty and Bunny — and so I already loved them back.

Love Bunny = Love me.

The lemon bars were diabolically good, and they came with a large bag of lemons from our neighbors’ tree. The next Sunday, I turned those lemons into cake to take to our friends’ house for dinner, and to share with our new neighbors, who made us feel so welcome and good.

Find the lemon yogurt cake recipe here. I always double it and tuck an extra cake into the freezer for “emergencies,” like when company comes over, or a sweet tooth strikes on a Wednesday night. It tastes really good while frozen. Oink.

My favorite lemon bar recipe is here — and I also suspect it was the one used by my neighbor, because I can tell she’s an Ina Garten kind of girl.

Meanwhile, what’s your favorite lemon recipe? There are lemons everywhere in our new neighborhood and I want them to have happy fates.

By | 2015-03-09T07:27:40+00:00 March 9th, 2015|Recipes|0 Comments

A little something new

As of last night, we have a working oven.

To reward my hard-working husband, who brought this glorious moment to fruition, I am going to crack open a new cookbook.  I bought it because the Barefoot Contessa said that it was her favorite new cookbook. In the kitchen, I do what she says.  Success inevitably follows.

Huckleberry Cafe is a beloved Los Angeles hotspot, and the new Huckleberry cookbook from owner Zoe Nathan gives up the goods. It’s all fruit-filled crumbles and egg-topped melanges and brioches rolled around oozing blueberries.

Every page looks utterly diabolical. I cannot wait.

I also now require a trip to the Santa Monica bakery itself — a favorite of Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner, to boot.

I believe I am going to start with the Blueberry Cornmeal Cake, reputed to be one of Huckleberry Cafe’s best-sellers. Look at this thing.

Recipe here.

And then next week we can discuss the diet and exercise program I will begin, because this stress-eating comfort-food business is going to make for an unhappy summer.

But first, cake.

 

By | 2015-02-19T07:03:58+00:00 February 19th, 2015|Recipes|0 Comments

Peach and Raspberry Crumble Cake with Cherries on Top

This perfect little summer crumb cake wants to be filled with all those glorious things from the market that beg for attention each time I go.  Peaches with raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or cherries – whatever you love. (Keep the peaches intact.) In my mind, I baked it and had my girlfriends over for tea. Except it’s too hot to drink tea, or to ask people to leave their houses.  So Tyson and I  ate it for breakfast. Also: it was a little too luscious to share.

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I made it with peaches, raspberries, and cherries — because I love cherries and almonds together, especially.

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And it’s summer, so I get to use my seashell measuring spoons. (It’s weird that I have summer measuring spoons.)

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The cake starts with a buttery sour cream batter pressed into a springform pan.

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Which is then topped with a stewed fruit mixture that is just as delicious eaten with a spoon, or served over ice cream. It  really doesn’t need the cake.

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Then more batter, almonds, and raw sugar are piled on top.

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Oh, baby.

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Summer distilled.

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ryCrumbleCakewithCherries

Raspberry Peach Crumb Cake

(Recipe from Seven Spoons, via Simple Pleasures. It was originally adapted from Inn Cuisine.)

Ingredients

4 ounces fresh raspberries

4 ounces fresh cherries, pitted and halved
2 medium peaches, peeled and sliced into chunks
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, cold and diced
1/3 cup sliced (flaked) almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
coarse sugar for dusting

Preheat an oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter and flour a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, or a 10-inch springform pan.

In a medium saucepan, toss the raspberries, cherries and peaches with the cornstarch to coat. Stir in the sugar and cook over medium heat until bubbling and thick. Remove from the heat and mash the fruit slightly. Set aside to cool slightly.

For the cake, in a medium bowl stir together the sour cream, milk, egg and vanilla. Set aside.

Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Using fingers, two knives or a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until you have a texture that resembles coarse meal. Remove 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture to a small bowl and stir through the almonds. Set aside.

To the remaining flour mixture, whisk in the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquids. Using light, quick strokes, stir until only just combined. The batter should be thick, but smooth.

Take about 2/3 of the batter and spread it across the bottom and up 1-inch of the sides of the prepared pan. Damp fingers or a wet palette knife make easy work of this. Spoon the reserved raspberry filling over the batter, gently spreading to cover and leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edge. Dollop irregular mounds of the remaining dough over the fruit layer, again using damp fingers or a wet palette knife to coax the batter to almost cover – some gaps are good. Top with the crumb topping over all and then sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons or so of coarse sugar.

Place on a sheet pan and bake in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool, in pan on a rack, for 15 minutes. Remove from the tart pan and serve at warm or at room temperature.

Makes one 10-inch cake.

 

By | 2013-07-15T08:32:33+00:00 July 15th, 2013|Recipes|1 Comment

The Best Maple Oatmeal Scones

My Phoenix friends will remember the particular glory of a cafe called Chestnut Lane that closed a few years ago after ruining all of our lives with the world’s best chocolate chip cookies, chopped chicken salad, and maple oatmeal scones.

I’m still mad at owner Polly Levine about it, but was thrilled to discover that the maple oatmeal scones I remember likely came from this Barefoot Contessa recipe. Same scones, at home, and they’re easy. Hooray.  I like to keep uncooked frozen scones in my freezer for emergency weekend breakfasts — or Saturday afternoon sweet tooth pangs, depending.

JaimeeRose_MapleOatmealScones

JaimeeRose_MapleOatmealScones

Make extra glaze, and glaze them twice. It’s great stuff. (Add salt to the glaze, though.)

JaimeeRose_MapleOatmealScones

JaimeeRose_MapleOatmealScones

I like to bring these to friends in need of comfort. It’s sophisticated nursery food combination: oatmeal, maple syrup, but so much better.

By | 2013-06-18T08:12:09+00:00 June 18th, 2013|Recipes|1 Comment

Salted Caramel Brownies from a Mix (Quelle Horreur)

I’m cheating on The Barefoot Contessa. I made her salted caramel brownies for Tyson, and they were easy and glorious and wicked.

And then I got really lazy and made salted caramel brownies by pouring caramel sauce over my favorite brownie mix. And that was even easier. Want to make them? (You do.)

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First, you bake this:

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When the pan has cooled, pour this over the top:

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Then add a sprinkle of this:

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OK, good. Now eat.

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JaimeeRose_SaltedCaramelBrowniesfromAMix

It will feel naughty, but cheating always does.

By | 2013-05-30T05:15:27+00:00 May 30th, 2013|Recipes|1 Comment

Lemon Yogurt Cake of Doom

I suspect that the universal adoration of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, has something to do with her gift for making  us all feel like everything is going to be OK. These are the lessons of reading her cookbooks and watching her show: if you roast a chicken for your husband every Friday, the weekend will contain joy.  If you have lemon cake waiting in your freezer, you can handle unexpected guests and unexpected things. The Barefoot Contessa calms me.

And I now have a freezer full of lemon-yogurt cake, so bring it on, world.

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This is the recipe. Do not depart. It’s the best lemon cake imaginable. Better than Starbucks lemon loaf, for sure.

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Yes, you need all of this lemon zest. It tastes like sunshine and is always my favorite thing to add to anything in the kitchen.

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#Prettytrash. Send the lemon rinds down your disposal to clean it and fragrance the house.

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One recipe departure: poke holes all over your cake to help it better absorb the lemon syrup. Not the icing — the syrup. Yes, there’s a reason this is so moist.

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 JaimeeRose_BestLemonCakeEver

I’m ready.

And speaking of lemons, have you tried my lemon crepes? Or lemon bars? This lemon cake is also fantastic — another Barefoot Contessa iteration, sans yogurt. I like the yogurt cake even more.

By | 2013-05-15T05:29:40+00:00 May 15th, 2013|Recipes|1 Comment

The Best Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

I love going to the grocery store just as the seasons change. I am thrilled to see watermelon, peaches, cherries, piles of artichokes and asparagus, and, for a few short weeks, rhubarb. Someone needs to use this pretty stalk in a flower arrangement.

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Tyson loved his grandmother’s rhubarb pie. I love Tyson. And so Sunday in our house meant homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie.

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I followed this recipe for the filling, and made my favorite Martha Stewart all-butter pie crust. It’s fabulous. (Add a teaspoon of sugar to the flour, which is what Martha did in her original cookbook.)

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On this Tuesday morning, this is all that’s left of the pie, which is sweet-tangy-buttery-floral and a really great breakfast, if you’re feeling naughty.

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Grandmothers are always the best inspiration.

 

By | 2013-05-07T07:34:43+00:00 May 7th, 2013|Recipes|1 Comment

The Best Popovers Ever (with Neiman Marcus Strawberry Butter) for Easter

I get grumpy about Easter. In Arizona, it marks the end of all the nice weather. The days of sweat and suffering are on the way. Also, I’m expected to wear pastel clothing. I get grumpy about that, especially.

But homemade popovers with Neiman Marcus strawberry butter? This could mitigate the email I received from my mother specifying “spring-like Easter hues” for an 8 a.m. family photo on Saturday morning. Ugh.

I had huge, billowing popovers at the Arlington Club on a recent trip to New York City, and the entire table swooned. I need those for Easter, I thought, and oh, my, YES. For all future parties, brunches and breakfasts at home — YES.

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The strawberry butter is key. (I’ll take my butter in spring-like Easter hues, as long as my dress can be black.)

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You need a popover pan for proper puffed results. Mine was $20 at Williams-Sonoma.

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The kind people at The Bitten Word tried a few popover recipes, and pronounced this concotion from Martha Stewart’s Twitter feed supreme. I agree. (Omit the Gruyere cheese if you want to serve with strawberry butter.)

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Best Popovers Ever
From Martha Stewart’s Twitter Feed

Place popover pans in oven. Heat to 350 degrees.

Sift 4 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoons salt.

Heat 4 cups of milk.

In a separate bowl, whisk 8 eggs.

Slowly add milk and flour, alternating and whisking until smooth.

Remove pans from oven. Spray the hot pans w/cooking spray. Fill each cup half full with batter and top with Gruyere cheese. (You’ll need 10 ounces cheese total — omit if serving strawberry butter.)

Bake 15 minutes. Turn pans, and bake 35 minutes more. Invert to remove.  Makes 22-24.

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These are best served warm, so try this: if you poke a hole in them immediately after they come out of the oven, the steam will escape and they won’t deflate. Just warm them when you want to serve.

For the strawberry butter — which is served with the popovers at Neiman Marcus restaurants, just mix one cup butter with 2/3 cup strawberry preserves and a pinch of salt. I used my homemade strawberry jam to devastating effect.

I recommend using a food processor to get the strawberries properly incorporated into the butter. I first tried mixing by hand but heard Shirley MacLaine in Steel Magnolias in my mind: “That looks like an autopsy.”

Indeed:

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This is better:

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The insides of the popovers are craggy and hollowed, perfectly structured to encourage rivulets of melting strawberry bliss.

JaimeeRose-BestPopovers-StrawberryButter

JaimeeRose-BestPopovers-StrawberryButter

Happy (grumpy) Easter.

P.S. Isn’t this the cutest (little black) Easter dress you’ve ever seen?

By | 2013-03-29T08:10:53+00:00 March 29th, 2013|Recipes|0 Comments

Israeli Salad for Being Good, Semi-Good, and also Bad

This is a salad that begins innocently, like meeting your best girlfriend for a drink on a Thursday night. And then she might find herself on your rooftop, without shoes, dialing questionably and being tucked in for the night on your couch.

Both options are enjoyable.

One is much better.

JaimeeRose_IsraeliSalad

I had this salad with my friend Shanna in New York during the hurricane at our beloved Hummus Place on the Upper West Side, where we found power and olives and girlfriends and laughs. It’s a virtuous pile of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and parsley, with olive oil, lemon juice, and Za’atar. And it is fantastic, just like that.

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To be very good, you can eat it alone or over righteous grilled chicken.

To be semi-good, you can spoon it over an omelette made with feta.

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To end up on the roof without shoes, you can pile it on top of falafel, feta, tahini, and kalamata olives then roll the entire assemblage into grilled pita bread.

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I’m for the rooftop, every time.

Recipe here.

 

By | 2013-03-13T05:31:59+00:00 March 13th, 2013|Recipes|0 Comments

My favorite (healthy) homemade granola

My clothes don’t fit, and I’m on a January diet. Oink to the world. I made my favorite healthy homemade granola for Tyson and myself as a Sunday breakfast treat. It’s a 15-minute job, and the house smells like cinnamon for hours. Layer it with fruit and Greek yogurt — and maybe just a bit of naughty honey, and it’s ready for Sunday morning with the Times.

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I’ve used Ellie Krieger’s recipe for years, but I like to substitute chopped hazelnuts for the walnuts. I also double the cinnamon, line the baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray it with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

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It’s sweetened only with maple syrup, and contains zero oil. The flavor balance comes from the nuts. (Hint: you can use whatever nuts you have on hand.)

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Try it with Fage Greek Yogurt and Arizona clover honey.

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I consider this a Sunday morning sundae. See you at the gym. (And ugh.)

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By | 2013-01-10T08:32:20+00:00 January 10th, 2013|Recipes|0 Comments