Friday, September 30, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes with Molasses Buttercream

Moist pumpkin cake, creamy cheesecake filling and fluffly, spicy molasses buttercream.
It was amazing, I only got a half of one, and I need more.

The bartering system is alive and well.
I actually traded cupcakes for New York steaks yesterday... oh yeah, I was happy.
I think I made the better deal, but as we made our "exchange", we shared one cupcake to ensure the quality of my goods was top notch.
It didn't matter that it was 10am... what, you can't eat cake that early? 
We pretended they were muffins, problem solved!

For some reason this recipe seemed to make only 12 cupcakes instead of my usual 18. It may be that I got too generous with the batter. You may have a bit too much leftover cheesecake filling after filling your cupcakes, I could't really reduce the recipe, because 1/2 an egg in a recipe just isn't done!.  You could use the extra filling on some graham crackers, in muffin paper liners and bake them while you are baking your cupcakes... now would that be a good leftover!?!

P.S. The decorations on top of the cupcakes is candied ginger from Trader Joe's.  It is my favorite thing, but might be too spicy for kids. 

(I only photographed the pumpkin cupcake ingredients...
Missing is cream cheese, one egg, powdered sugar, butter, molasses & cream)

Cheesecake filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
Mix filling together thoroughly with a mixer. Set aside.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
(NOTE: There are NO eggs in this recipe, there is no mistake!)
Makes about 12 cupcakes
2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or cinnamon
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vinegar, white or Apple Cider

Preheat oven at 350.
Mix together all dry ingredients, then the liquid including the pumpkin, oil and extract, then add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until uniformly moistened.  Line your muffin tin with papers and fill each one about 1/2-2/3 full.  

Bake for about 8 minutes, then fill with cheesecake filling (above).  Using a pastry bag with a large tip, or even no tip, squeeze about 1 tablespoon into each partially baked cupcakes.

Return to the oven and back another 14-15 minutes. Let cool completely.

Molasses Buttercream
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp cream
3 cups powdered sugar

In a standmixer, or whip a hand mixer, beat butter, pumpkin pie spice and molasses together. Add one cup of powdered sugar, beat well. Add the additional 2 cups of powdered sugar slowly, using a tablespoon of whip cream to moisten the buttercream.  Beat for about 5 minutes until the buttercream is light and fluffly.

Here's what the cupcake looked like shortly before we shared it. 

Here are some other popular cupcake recipes:
Boston Cream Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache
Coconut Cream Filled Cupcakes
Basic Vegan Cupcake Batter- Collection of Recipes
Junior Mint Cupcakes
Margarita Filled Cupcakes
Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes
Reese's Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Black & White Salmon

About 4pm yesterday, I was wondering what we were going to have for dinner.  I considered making reservations and not making anything at all. Yes, I too sometimes have zero inspiration for dinner.

But if I don't cook dinner, what will I blog about?
The things I do for you...

I figured I could do fish, because it thaws so quickly and you can even cook it partially frozen without too many issues.  So I started thinking about what I had, and what sounded good (besides someone else doing the cooking...).

I've had these black and white sesame seeds for a while. I can't even remember where I got them, but even using them about every couple weeks, I still can't get to the bottom of them.  So, I quickly made a marinade for my salmon, pressed the salmon into the sesame seeds on both sides and quickly oven roasted the fillets.  Problem solved, and a good looking, and tasting, dinner is served.

Serves 4
4 salmon fillets, skinless
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp chili paste (optional)
1 Tbsp honey
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/3 cup sesame seeds, black & white, or all white

Preheat the oven to 400, or grill on a medium hot barbecue.

In a ziploc bag, add the salmon fillets and all the marinade ingredients, except the sesame seeds.  Massage the marinade into all sides of the salmon. Let sit for about 30 minutes. 

On a baking sheet, add a piece of foil with the edges crimped..
- - This is my way of avoiding washing another pan, it keeps the pan clean and I crumple up the foil and throw it away when I am done. Smart, huh?

Sprinkle about a couple tablespoons of sesame seeds on the foil, lay the marinated salmon fillets on top of the seeds, making sure to get seeds on the entire bottom of the fillets.  Press the remaining sesame seeds on the top of the salmon.  Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes.

I give my salmon fillets a poke with my finger in the center to see if they are done... the edges are firm and the center is still somewhat soft.  By the time you take it out of the oven and get it ready to put on the plate, your salmon will be perfectly cooked!

Here's some more of my favorite salmon recipes!
Lemon Rosemary Salmon
Maple Dijon Salmon Fillets on Spinach Salad
Salmon, Spinach & Garbonzos baked in foil

Salmon with Asian Ginger Lime Sauce

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Plum Kuchen

I grew up eating Plum Kuchen.  Kuchen just means cake in German, but really it's sort of a coffee cake, made all the more succulent with the addition of plums.  The cake part is dense and satisfying, and the plums add sweetness and tartness both.

In our childhood yard, we had 2 Italian Plum trees.  If you've ever had one of these trees, or lived close to one, you know that they produce a BUNCH of plums.  My Mom had us all go out every morning when these were ripe and pick up the windfall fruit and pick any of the ripe ones from the tree.  Yuck, what a job... some plums are good, some of smashed & rotting and some have bees swarming around them. If you throw one at your sister, you better make sure you are a faster runner. Until you've picked up bags and bags of these things, you are not yet in my league.  I hated doing it, but I do love these plums. The cake was our reward.  Thanks Mom, for the cake, not all the yard and garden chores.

Makes 10 to 12 servings
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
1 cup flour
10 to 12 Italian plums
2 to 3 tbsp. brown sugar
Powdered sugar for serving

Cream butter with sugar until smoothly blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla and flour until batter is well mixed. Butter and flour an 11 inch round quiche dish, or shallow pan (removable bottom is best). Spread batter evenly in pan and arrange fruit over the surface. Cut the plums in halves, remove pits.

Place cut side up over unbaked Kuchen, placing close together.

Sprinkle fruit with brown sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until cake feels firm when touched in the center. The fruit may not look done, but if the cake is firm, then it is ready to remove from the oven.
Cool 30 minutes. Remove pan rim and serve, warm or cold.

About 30 minutes before serving, dust the surface liberally with powdered sugar. This allows sugar to dissolve on fruit, making a distinctive pattern on cake.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beef & Veggie Sheperd's Pie with Mushroom Onion Gravy

I never was a fan of Sheperd's Pie.
It was something to do with the texture... and the ugliness.
Until I was inspired by the Sunny Anderson Food Network show where she made a spicy version with a layer of veggies and an onion & mushroom red wine gravy! Oh yeah.
I was hooked, I wanted to try it. These veggies add some needed texture, some healthy vitamins and some great flavors from the spicy smoked paprika.  This pie now has it all, spicy veggies, flavorful meat, creamy potatoes and a delicious mushroom onion gravy.  Now, I am a fan.

I do like potatoes, but I'm not the biggest fan of mashed potatoes. Well, maybe I'm not a fan of peeling, chopping, cooking and mashing scalding hot potatoes. Whew, I feel hot just thinking about it. Of all the things my Mom made, homemade mashed potatoes was not one of them. She always used instant, and frankly, I agree. I am not sure that the end result warrants all that extra work.

I do something very naughty at Thanksgiving every year, I threaten to make instant for the feast. My husband and son, both potato loving fanatics, immediately offer to do all the work; peeling, cooking, mashing. If they read this, then I guess my secret is out... but I can still serve instant and they'd never allow that, so it's a win-win situation, huh?

The instant potatoes I purchased at Costco the other day are tremendous... I mean, really, really good! I am so glad I got them.  Look for them, you will want these. Honest Earth All Natural Potatoes.... can't go wrong with that!

(Not shown: red wine, chives, milk)

Serves 8

Meat Layer:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1/2 cup low-sodium beef stock
1/2 large onion, finely chopped

Veggie Layer:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 red bell pepper, diced
1-2 leeks, white part only, cut in half, then sliced
2 zucchini, diced
2 carrots, diced
1-2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Potato Layer:
5-6 cups mashed potatoes (thick texture, not too runny)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg, well beaten
1-2 Tbsp chives or parsley (optional)

Mushroom Onion Gravy:
1/2 large onion, chopped
8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large pan on medium-high heat, saute the chopped onions in the olive oil and cook for 2-3 minutes until starting to get limp. Add beef, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook until meat is brown. Stir in tomato paste and saute for a few minutes. Season and remove mixture the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, pressing down with a spatula to pack it in.

In the same pan that you used to cook the meat, add the butter and oil and saute the carrots for 4-5 minutes then add red bell pepper, leeks, zucchini and paprika. Cook for 5-6 more minutes, and add salt to your liking.   Add the veggie layer to the 9x13 pan of meat.  Pack down layer again.
NOTE: There is no need for the veggies to be completely cooked, they will continue to cook when the layered dish is in the oven.

Mix the warm mashed potatoes with the softened cream cheese and the beaten egg.  Add chives or parsley, if using.  Spread on top of the veggie mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes or until edges on potatoes turn golden brown. Serve with Mushroom Onion Gravy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chocolate Smothered S'mores

I'm embarrassed.
Yes, I really am.
These are ridiculous... RIDICULOUS, can't you see that?

I wish these weren't so good.

I was afraid they'd be sucky... yeah, sucky.
Nope, not even close to sucky, closer to awesome.

You know what would even be better?
Make your own marshmallows.... yeah, yeah, I know. Who would do that?
I haven't, but I kinda want to.
My husband, who doesn't even like marshmallows says he'd like to try them with homemade marshmallows. Geez, is he spoiled, or what?

You know what's super funny about these? I delivered a bag of 6 S'mores to my neighbors tonight. They are BIG s'mores fan, hey, they have an August 10th National S'Mores day party every year. So I delivered them as we were running out to dinner, and when I got back in the car, my hubby said, "hey, you got a big chunk of chocolate hanging off your lip...".
Dang it... how embarrassing... at least I knew they tasted good, huh?

You need to make these, they are better than you can imagine.

Makes about 18
1/2 bag of marshmallows
1/2 bag of chocolate chips, or 6 oz. of other good quality chocolate
1/2 pkg of graham crackers
1 tsp vegetable oil

Break up the graham crackers in smallish pieces, a bit bigger than the bottom of a marshmallow. Count up that you have enough graham cracker pieces to match the number of marshmallows. Now, avoid mindlessly eating one, or two, while you melt the chocolate..

Melt the chocolate in a bowl sitting on top of some simmering water on low heat

Dip the bottom of the marshmallow in the chocolate and put on the graham cracker. Chill until the chocolate is firm and the marshmallow and graham cracker are firmly attached together.

Dip each marshmallow in the chocolate.  This is a bit messy, but I found dipping the bottom graham cracker part in first, then holding it dipping the top of the marshmallow in the chocolate.  Let the excess drip off... or not, you could leave it on!  Let the S'mores harden on some wax paper, or parchment paper.

Package into small gift bags, or hide from yourself until ready to share.

Oh, so you like chocolate.... here's what else I suggest:
Intense Chocolate Tart
Chocolate Grand Marnier Pot du Creme
Fudge for Dummies
Merlot Dark Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Grand Mariner Pot du Creme

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Three Citrus Tequila Grilled Chicken

What do you make when you have twenty-five people coming for dinner?
It was a family potluck at my house, which is always fun, but can be quite a crowd of noisy, loud eaters!  Everyone brings something, so it does take a bit of the work off of the hostess... still you do have to provide the main course which can be an overwhelming thought.

I know I could have done hamburgers, but frankly, hamburgers is way more work that grilled chicken! I've been doing this chicken for years, but this was the first time I actually paid attention to, and documented, the ingredients... yes, just for you!. 

This chicken is flavorful and moist with just the right amount of flavors... none of the flavors is over powering and this always seem to come out just right.  Combining the three citruses provides tang and sweetness both, which adds to the flavors.  I add plenty of crushed garlic, cilantro and pepper flakes too.  This is the first time I added the tequila, and while you can't taste it per se, it does add something to the dish. This dish is best if you marinate it for at least 4 hours, but overnight is actually best.  Make sure that you add enough salt and pepper, you want to make sure that the flavors meld together and permeate the chicken thoroughly.

Since Fall is now here, and maybe grilling season is over. I might suggest oven baking this as an option. I haven't tried baking this in the oven,  but I am pretty sure it would work out great. I would add it to a 9x13 baking dish, much like in my Marbella Chicken and bake for about 50-60 minutes, uncovered.

I tripled this recipe for my gathering, in case you are wondering from the picture below.  It was quite a party

Serves 6
3 lbs Chicken Thighs, about 12
1 Lemon, juice plus zest
1 Lime, juice plus zest
1 Orange, juice concentrate
3-4 Garlic, crushed
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper, or red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped Cilantro
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup tequila

Mix together all the ingredients but the chicken, and stir to combine.  Add the chicken, making sure that it is completely saturated in the mixture.  I use a large covered bowl, or a ziploc bag for a smaller batch. Marinate about 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

Grill over medium heat for about  15-20 minutes, being sure to salt and pepper each side of the chicken as it grills.

Here's some other Chicken thigh recipes that I like to make too:
Balinese Grilled Chicken
Chicken Marbella
Sticky Coconut Chicken
Easiest Teriyaki Chicken

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tiramisu Martini

A friend requested a recipe for a Tiramisu Martini... I liked the sound of that.  I had some help from another friend who is an expert mixologist and has the biggest, nicest home bar that I have EVER seen.  I think he has 77 different bourbons.... and the low end was Maker's Mark.  I can't share his name, or his hometown, in order to protect him from the hordes that would be beating a path to his door in order to get him to pour one of his amazing cocktails. Even if you sitting on one of his bar stools telling him 'no' to cocktails as you sip your wine, he carefully gets you involved in conversation about your likes and dislikes and before you know it there is an amazing, personally matched cocktail sliding across the bar to your now open and receptive hand. 
He is dangerous. I like that.

He also brilliantly created this cocktail, and then I changed it. 
I know, how rude of me.
I just can't help myself. 
I used rum instead of vodka, because rum is traditional in the Italian dessert, plus I added some cold espresso in order to cut down the sweet factor. Regardless, this is super yummy and it is definitely something to be enjoyed instead of dessert.  If you drink too many  of these, I will not promise to speak quietly tomorrow.

Makes one (easy to double as I did for the picture)
1 jigger rum, white or dark
1 1/2 jigger Coffee Liquor, like Kahlua
1/2 jigger Baileys, or other Irish Cream Liqueur 
1/2 jigger Frangelico, hazelnut liqueur 
1/3 tsp of Vanilla extract
1 jigger cold espresso (I used decaf!)
2-3 tbsp unsweetened softly whipped cream
Chocolate curls

Whip your cream until it starts to become thick, but is still liquid and pourable. If it's too thick, it's hard to sip your martini through!

All all the liqueurs and coffee to the Martini shaker with fresh ice, shake away and strain into a martini glass.

Add the whip cream, if you want to make sure that it "floats'" on top of the martini, pour it slowly on the top of the back of a spoon.

If you want chocolate curls, take a bar of chocolate and microwave for 15 seconds to barely soften it.  Using a potato peeler, rub it along the narrow edge to make small curls. 

I got a text from my neighbor the other day...
It said "what is a jigger?"
It made me laugh... I guess I need to be more specific on my drink recipes!
A jigger is just a unit of measurement, but anything would work.
It's like this... use a shot glass, a 1/4 cup measure, the cap from your martini shaker- - -whatever it is, as long as you do the proportions correctly it'll work out fine.  My husband even suggested a pint jar, but really now folks, that's just too much, unless you've got a big, thirsty group at your house!

Here are some of my other cocktails:
Hot, Skip and Run/Jump Naked Cocktail
Good Night Irene Cocktail
Pineapple Jalapeno Martini Margarita
White Wine Sangria

Pork Piccata

I love piccata on any type of meat; veal, chicken, fish and even pork. Tangy, salty and flavorful.

Piccata is known for lemon, capers, butter and wine, which are definitely some of my favorite flavors.  This is a quick and easy dish to make, using the same pan for frying the meat, then making the sauce. I had a pork tenderloin that I wanted to use up, so I used that for the inspiration on this post. 

Piccata is usually served with pasta (or spaghetti squash, like I did above!) but it would also be a great meal with rice, potatoes or just some bread to soak up the wonderful sauce. The sauces uses a combination of white wine and chicken broth, but you could use only wine, or only chicken broth if desired.

Serves 4
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup white wine, dry
1/2 cup chicken broth
12 Tbsp capers, drained
1/4 cup lemon juice
 Tbsp butter, cold
2 tsp. chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)

Cut your pork tenderloin into 1" to 1 1/2" pieces. Using a sheet of plastic wrap and the flat side of a meat mallet, pound the pork to a uniform thickness of about 1/4".
NOTE: If you don't have a mallet, you can use a rolling pin, or an empty wine bottle!

(Before pounding)

Pound the meat thinner than you actually want it to be, because it has a tendency to shrink back up a bit when it is cooked!
(After pounding)

In a plate, or a shallow pan, season the flour with salt and pepper.  Dredge the pork medallions in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour. Discard any leftover flour.

Fry for 2-3 minutes per side over medium high heat.  You want each piece to develop a little bit of browning on each side.  Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil as you complete the sauce.

After you remove the pork medallions, add a small amount of olive oil and saute the crushed garlic for 1-2 minutes.  Add the wine and chicken stock and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits on the pan as you stir. Add the lemon juice and the capers and continue to cook over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes.  When the sauce is reduced by about 1/3, remove from the heat and add the tablespoon of cold butter. The butter will thicken the sauce and give it a nice flavor. Add the pork back to the sauce and if needed, reheat briefly over the heat. Garnish with chives or parsley and an extra wedge of lemon. Serve immediately.

Here's some other favorite pork tenderloin recipes:
Cuban Glazed Pork Tenderloin with grilled Fruit Salsa
Tequila Lime Pork with Mole Sauce
Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon Sauce

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Junior Mint Cupcakes

I like Junior Mints. I cannot lie.
But I don't even like peppermint, nope, I'm one of those spearmint people.
But I do like Junior Mints.

The cupcakes are dark chocolate and super moist, but the frosting is the thing.
The thing that you want more of.
The thing you want to eat with your fingers, a spoon, a bucket.
So light and delicious whipped cream frosting with a hint of peppermint. 
Cool and refreshing, and totally yummy!

I served these at a family function the other day, I had to make a double batch because I have a big family, and the last thing you want to do is to run out of cupcakes!  These were a hit, but a couple of us thought that you shouldn't eat the candy WITH the frosting, as the textures competed. The frosting is luscious and delicious and by comparison the candy seems waxy. 
It's an OK problem to have, I know, I know.
As we discussed this together, most people said they didn't have that problem  because they picked the candy off and ate it before eating their cupcakes...  Oh, I never thought of that! Probably because I ate half a box of these while making them!

With Cupcakes, I really do feel like it's all about the combining of ingredients, and not so much about the actual recipes.  I know many of you know that I like a certain Vegan Cupcake recipe, I think it's the bomb, therefore, I do not go looking for new recipes. So here it is again...

Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:
Makes about 18 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vinegar, white or Cider
Preheat oven at 350. Mix together all dry ingredients, then the water, oil and extract, then add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until uniformly moistened.  This batter was a bit more liquid than most batters, but it cooks up nice and moist! Fill each to about 2/3 - 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake for 20 minutes.

Let cool completely... and I mean completely, or your frosting is going to melt right off!

1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups heavy cream, very cold
1-2 big boxes of Junior Mint candies, or other peppermint patty candy

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and peppermint extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Scrape down the bowl as you go, if needed, whipping until the frosting can hold a stiff peak.

Here's more popular cupcake recipes!
Boston Cream Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache
Coconut Cream Filled Cupcakes
Basic Vegan Cupcake Batter- Collection of Recipes
Margarita Filled Cupcakes
Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes
Reese's Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blueberry Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Let's see, what does this coffeecake have going for it?
1) Cake 2)cheesecake-like topping, and 30 ooey gooey fruit!
Breakfast anyone?
Yeah, I thought so.
I knew this cake was a keeper from the moment I saw it. 

I got this from a Sunset "gift" cookbook, which was really just a booklet to say thank you for renewing my subscription... but I liked this look of this one, Sunset's Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake. I had intended to make this with blackberries, but frankly couldn't be bothered to go out there and pick this morning, so I used the blueberries in the freezer.  This would be fantastic with any kind of berry, or even peaches or apple filling, but also any kind of jam that you have in the fridge needing to be used up.

This recipe calls for a springform pan, but really, any baking dish would work, like an 8x8 square dish, or even a pie plate.

Serves 10-12
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed, or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup water, or orange juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tsp lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon extract, or vanilla
2 large eggs
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced almonds

 In a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium heat, bring blueberries and apple juice to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until blueberries have released their juices, about 3 minutes. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water. Add to blueberry mixture; stir until it simmers and thickens, about 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature.

In a bowl or food processor, mix or whirl flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Add butter to flour mixture. Cut in with a pastry blender or pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup; pour remaining into a large bowl. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon peel.

In a bowl or food processor (no need to wash from step 2), beat with an electric mixer on high speed or whirl cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining egg, and lemon juice until smooth. Spread over batter in pan, leaving a 1/2-inch border bare.

Gently spread blueberry mixture over cream cheese mixture, leaving some visible. Stir almonds into reserved flour mixture and sprinkle over cake, concentrating most around edge of batter.

Bake in a 350° oven,on a middle rack, until center of cake barely jiggles when pan is gently shaken and top of cake is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove pan rim. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Here are some other great ideas for breakfast baked goodies:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Grilled Peach & Pecan Green Salad

Moving to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches...
I've got to tell you I don't need to move to the country to get a lot of peaches. I have eaten more peaches this year than I ever remember.

Peaches and Nectarines, whew!
I bought a lot, I was given a lot, and I cooked a lot. I made Pepper, Peach & Rosemary Jam which is exceedingly yummy with goat cheese on crackers, there is peach crisps and nectarine crostada tarts, and now, there is Grilled Peach & Pecan Green Salad.

Peaches and Pecans just go together. Except you may notice, this recipe actually shows walnuts.  I thought I had pecans, but I was out. So in the spirit of "Got It, Cook It"....Walnuts are yummy too and I had tons of those! 
I've got to get another 2 lb. bag of pecans next time I go to Costco. 

Serves 2
1 peach
3 cups greens (I used arugula)
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled, or cut into cubes (or Feta)
1/3 cup pecans, toasted (or walnuts)
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Salad Dressing- some sort of vinaigrette- Balsamic, dijon or lemon

Slice the peach into about 12 slices, leave the skin on. Spray with canola oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Grill the sections on a hot grill pan, or outdoor grill. They cook quickly, about 1-2 minutes per side.  Don't over cook, you want them warmed, but not mushy.

Toss your greens in the dressing first, then add the onions, nuts, cheese and peaches. Toss again gently.  Arrange on plates. You might want to retain a couple pieces of the peaches to lay on top and sprinkle with additional nuts.