Friday, April 29, 2011

Berry Pancakes with Riccota and Boysenberry Syrup

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs and have been dying to try it ever since. In fact, we tried them last night for brinner. They were delicious!

Berry Pancakes with Riccota and Boysenberry Syrup
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pint fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 11/4 cup milk
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Maple syrup, for serving (I used boysenberry)
1. Working over a bowl, use a grater to zest the lemon, being careful not to remove any of the bitter white pith. Cut the zested lemon into wedges, and set them aside.
2. Add the raspberries to the bowl containing the lemon zest. Stir in 1/3 cup sugar, gently crushing the raspberries with a wooden spoon. Set aside while making the pancake batter.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, 1 tbsp. sugar and baking powder. In another bowl, beat the ricotta cheese with milk and egg yolks. Add the flour mixture to the ricotta mixture, and stir until just combined. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.
4. Beat egg whites with a handheld mixer until they hold soft peaks. Next, gently fold the raspberries with their juices into the batter, and then fold in the egg whites. (You want little clumps of whites in the batter. The important thing is not to overmix it.)
5. Heat a large nonstick skillet over moderately low heat. Melt 1/2 tbsp. butter at the center of the skillet, where you will spoon the batter.
6. Spoon batter into the hot skillet, directly onto the melted butter.
7. Cook each pancake until the bottom is golden brown and the bubbles on the surface begin to break, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the pancake quickly. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute longer.
8. Serve finished pancakes with maple syrup and lemon wedges. (or substitute bacon for the lemon wedges. That's what I did.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Strawberry Cake

Strawberries were super cheap at the Berkeley Bowl last week so I decided to make a yummy strawberry cake. Then I couldn't find my mom's recipe. So after many hours of blog surfing I found one that I was sure would be delicious (you can't go wrong with a Paula Deen inspired recipe, right?). It was the perfect addition to our Easter celebration.

Homemade Strawberry Cake

Adapted from Paula Deen’s Hummingbird Cake

Nonstick vegetable spray
All-purpose flour, for pans
3 cups self-rising flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup pureed strawberries, strained* (I didn't strain the strawberries and the cake turned out great.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 large eggs, beaten
red food coloring**


- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray and flour three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, tapping out excess flour; set aside.
- Prepare the cake batter; in a large bowl, stir to combine self-rising flour, sugar, oil, pureed strawberries, vanilla, lemon zest, and eggs.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertips, 26 to 28 minutes. I used one large bundt pan and baked it for around 50 minutes. I didn't get an exact time but keep checking to make sure it is cooked all the way. A knife test works fantastic.
- Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.
- Prepare the cream cheese frosting (recipe below); frost as desired and refrigerate until ready to serve.

* You can use fresh or frozen strawberries. If you use frozen, let them defrost on a cookie sheet. Then place in a food processor and pulse until pureed. Run through a medium-sized strainer to remove the seeds. If you have some extra strawberries, try whipping up a quick batch of strawberry scones!

** While I did manage to avoid using red colored gelatin, I did add some food coloring to achieve that perfectly pink color. If you don’t care about getting the pink color, feel free to leave it out. I used about 5 drops, but you should add them one at a time until you achieve the color you are looking for.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
~ 3 cups (approx. 1 box) confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
1 TBL milk (if needed)


- Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
- Slowly add the sugar in 1 cup batches until desired sweetness is achieved. You may need less than 3 cups if you like your frosting less sweet.
- Stir in vanilla. Add milk slowly if you need a looser consistency.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Baked Manicotti With Meat Sauce

Wow, 6 months huh? I'm a slacker! And to be honest, I haven't really been trying a lot of new recipes. But I have just gone through all my cooking magazines and I have pulled out the recipes that I want to try and so my goal is to try a new recipe a week. Probably won't happen that smoothly, but it is worth trying! So for the first one, from Cooks Country, 2009 {I have been holding onto these for a LONG time!}

This is the picture from the magazine, looks yummy huh?
Meat Sauce: I will put this up there, but I actually just used some of my homemade spaghetti sauce and it was great with that. But here is their recipe:

1 onion
6 oz sliced deli pepperoni
1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 garlic cloves minced {precut ones fine}
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cans crushed tomatoes

pulse onion and pepperoni in food processor until coarsely ground, add beef. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink. add tomato paste, garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3 cups ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cup shredded provolone
1 large egg-beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
16 no boil lasagna noodles

I wanted to keep it as simple as I can, so like I said before, it worked great with my own sauce. Unless you are feeling ambitious, I would just use your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce and add some ground turkey or something. The rest of it is so simple!
Combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, 1 cup provolone, egg, salt, pepper, and basil in a bowl. Pour 2 quarts boiling water into a 9x13 pan, soak noodles until pliable, about 5 minutes. Drain noodles on a towel, pour off water and dry baking dish.

Spread half the meat sauce on the bottom of the dish, then top each of the soft noodles with 1/4 cup cheese filling, roll it up into a nice "manicotti" looking roll, then place seam-side down over sauce. Spread remaining sauce over the top, cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. Remove foil and add remaining mozzarella and provolone. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes then serve.