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Friday, April 22, 2022

Beet and Carrot Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

 A truly beautiful salad. 


Beet and Carrot Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Serves: 6-8

This salad stores well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, I added the herbs, pistachios, and feta just before serving. 

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T maple syrup
1 teas table salt (or to taste)
1/2 teas freshly ground pepper
1 teas grated orange zest plus 2 T juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teas ground coriander
8 oz raw beets, trimmed and peeled
1 pd carrots, peeled
4 oz  (1 c) goat cheese, crumbled or feta, divided
1/2 c salted, shelled pistachios, chopped, divided (I used roasted, unsalted pistachios)
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 c fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped

Place the olive oil, shallot, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, pepper, orange zest and orange juice, garlic, and ground coriander in a small jar and shake vigorously to emulsify. Set aside and shake again before adding to salad.

Shred the beets and carrots. This is easiest if you use a food processor but can be accomplished with a box grater. Place beets and carrots in a bowl and mix until combined. Pour over the amount of dressing you prefer. The original recipe uses the entire amount. I used about 3/4 of what I had and saved the rest for a green salad later. Mix well and allow to sit for 30 minutes. 

Top with the cheese, pistachios, cilantro, and mint, either over the entire salad over individual servings, especially if you are planning to refrigerate leftovers. 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

What is it about ricotta that makes everything taste magical? I generally don't like pancakes but these are light, bright, and tender. Also, it's spring and my grocery store has had cheap flats of strawberries. I pureed some and added a bit of sugar for a thick fruit syrup, which was a perfect complement to the lemon. I think these will be my Easter breakfast tomorrow. 


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Source: New York Times Cooking

The amounts are doubled from the original, because I'm cooking for a crowd every day.

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3 teas baking powder
1 1/2 teas fine salt
1/2 c sugar
2 lemons
3 teas vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1 1/2 c ricotta (whole-milk is preferable)
1/2 c buttermilk
2 T unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking and serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Place the sugar in a large bowl. Use a microplane to grate the lemon zest right into the sugar. Gently rub the zest and sugar together using your fingers. Using your fingers, gently rub the zest into the sugar. Then add the vanilla and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and whisk until foamy. Add the ricotta, buttermilk, and butter, then whisk until blended. Mix in the dry ingredients and stir lightly until the flour is incorporated. 

Melt some butter in a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Cook pancake batter until the tops are bubbling, then flip to finish the other side. I had some trouble with the pancakes being undercooked in the middle, but I used more batter than the recommended 1/4 c so make sure you cook bigger pancakes longer. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Cast-Iron Skillet Brownies

Made with melted whole marshmallows and baked in a skillet, these brownies have a chewy edge and a fudgy point. When baked in a muffin tin, there's lots of chewiness for those on a chewy brownie quest.


Cast-Iron Skillet Brownies

Yield depends on how wide you cut the wedges. I cut 14. Baking in muffin tins yielded 21.

Adjustments for altitudes of 4,000-6,000 ft:

Subtract 2 1/2 T sugar
Add 2 T flour

2 oz. marshamllows (about 8 large marshmallows)
1/2 c plus 2 T warm tap water
4 T unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 c Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 3/4 c AP flour
1 teas table salt
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (You may substitute bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips but they won't melt as much inside the brownie.)

Place your oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350F. Use butter or baking spray to grease a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.

In a large bowl, combine marshmallows, warm tap water, butter, unsweetened chocolate, and cocoa. Place in the microwave and  run at 50 percent power until chocolate is smooth and fully melted. Stop microwave and stir occasionally. Let sit on counter and cool for 5 minutes.

Mix in sugar, oil, eggs and yolks, and vanilla with a whisk until completely combined. Gently stir in the flour and salt until just incorporated. Stir in the bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips.

Use a rubber spatula to place the batter into the prepared skillet. Smooth the top and place into the oven and bake for 33-38 minutes until a toothpick test into the center of the brownie comes out with just a few moist crumbs and a little batter. Try not to overbake since the skillet will be so hot after removal that the brownie will continue to cook. Rotate the skillet approximately halfway through baking. Place the skillet on a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. You may want to place a kitchen towel or a hot pad over the handle so someone doesn't accidently grab it while the skillet is still hot.

Let cool for 30 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream while the brownies are still warm. Or allow to cool completely for more precise wedges. These brownies are very tasty on their own.

If you prefer round brownies (and I do) grease the cups of two muffin tins and fill the cups about 2/3c full. These will cook faster, so start checking at about 25 minutes and remove when the toothpick test shows just a few crumbs. 

I found the brownies seemed to soften up during storage. Freezing and using them as needed helps with this, if you see it as a problem. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Kale, Clementine and Hazelnut Salad

Technically a quick and easy winter salad, this recipe will work year round using any citrus that's available.


Kale, Clementine, and Hazelnut Salad

Source: The Washington Post who adapted it from The Asheville Bee Charmer Cookbook
Serves 6


1 pound curly kale, stemmed, washed and dried (you may sub other types of kale)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1T fresh lemon juice
1 teas kosher salt
4 clementines or mandarins, peeled and segmented
1 c hazelnuts (walnuts would work, too)


3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T honey, can be reduced (orange blossom honey is recommended but any will be fine)

Tear the kale leaves into bite-size pieces and drop into a large bowl. Add the oil, lemon juice and salt and massage, gently, into the kale for a couple of minutes. It will look like you've got half as much as you started with. Add the fruit and the nuts and toss.

Mix the dressing with a whisk or shake in a small mason jar until emulsified. Drizzle the dressing over all and toss to coat completely. I had a bit of dressing left over because I prefer a lighter coating.


If you can't find clementines or mandarins, use oranges cut into chunks.