May 30, 2011

Poppy seeds Pound Cake and a missed Food Bloggers Brunch

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Yesterday I was supposed to be at an amazing brunch with some amazing food bloggers of the Bay Area. Jean @Lemons and Anchovies was hosting it. That alone says how amazing the brunch was going to be. Many more amazing food bloggers joined, bringing a dish for the brunch and something else for a food swap. I was supposed to be one of the lucky ones to be there yesterday. But it did not happen. After 15 minutes on the car we stopped to get gas and….the car never started again! The battery was gone, finished, kaput! AAA arrived over 2 hours later to give us a jump start. At that point it was late, we still had 45 minutes to drive to get there and the frosting on my pound cake was totally melting. And we were totally bummed!



Waiting for AAA and seeing how things were going, Wally and I got hungry and we attacked the cookies I had made for the food swap. Well…at that point somebody had to eat all the sweets we had in the car, right? We sacrificed ourselves. That was the only way to cheer myself up for missing the brunch L
I hope another brunch will happen soon. In the meantime, I would like to share the poppy seeds pound cake that I had made to share with the other bloggers. Because it is an amazing pound cake. Because we (Wally and I) think it’s the best pound cake we have ever had. It’s not too sweet, which makes it perfect for a breakfast treat without getting into sugar high. Because you can make it with or without frosting and it is still going to be just perfect for any occasion. Because it’s simple to make yet so different from other pound cakes I had before. I hope I will be able to share this pound cake at the next bloggers brunch. Because, oh yeah…there will be other brunches.



Poppy Seeds Pound Cake
Ingredients
Yields 14 to 16 servings

230 g (2 sticks or 1 cup) butter, softened
240 g (8.6 oz or 1 cup) sour cream
300 g (10.65 oz or 1 1/2 cups) sugar
320 g (6.75 oz or 2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 can Solo Baker Poppy filling*
5 g (1 tsp) baking soda
4 eggs, separated
5 g (1 tsp) salt
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla

confectioners’ sugar or lemon frosting

*NOTE: I was not sponsored or paid by Solo company for this post. I just love Solo brand for poppy seeds because they are really moist and make this pound cake amazingly fluffy and moist.


Method
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan and set aside.

Beat the butter and the sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the poppy filling and beat until blended. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and the sour cream and beat just until blended.

Stir the flour, the baking soda and the salt until mixed, and add to the poppy mixture gradually, beating well after each addition.

Beat the egg whites in separate bowl with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in the pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack. Dust with confectioners sugar or with a light lemon glaze.

Have a sweet day!

Source: Solo

May 15, 2011

Apple Cream Cheese Turnovers

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I always loved apple turnover! I love puff pastry treats in general but apple turnover are on my top 3 list for sure! When I found this recipe in one of my used cookbooks I had mixed feelings. On one side I thought the idea of a cream cheese dough wrap was intriguing. On the other side I wondered whether it could have ever competed in excellence with the traditional apple turnover recipes. Well, when in doubt you just have to test it yourself, right?!

The verdict? Forget about the traditional puff pastry version! This is way better! The dough is so soft, almost creamy. And the taste is very delicate. A perfect complement to the apple and cinnamon flavor of the filling. I’m sold!



Apple Cream Cheese Turnovers
Ingredients
Yields 8

230 g (8 oz) cream cheese
230 g (2 sticks or 8 oz) butter, at room temperature
30 g (2 tbsp) sugar
60 ml (2 fl oz or ¼ cup) heavy whipping cream
pinch of salt
325 g (11.25 oz or 2 ½ cups) flour
15 g (1 tbsp) sugar
5 g (1 tsp) cinnamon
1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the apples
8 medium-sized firm, juicy apples
150 g (5.3 oz or 3/4 cup) sugar
57 g (1/2 stick or 2 oz) butter
2 g (1/4 tsp) salt
30 ml (2 tbsp) freshly squeezed lemon juice


Method

Put the cream cheese, the butter, the 2 tbsp of sugar, and the cream in the bowl of your electric mixer and beat on medium speed until well blended. Add the salt and the flour and mix until just incorporated. Refrigerate the dough for an hour.

While the dough is chilling, prepare the apple filling. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Place them in a pan with all the other ingredients and cook them over medium heat until they are soft but still retain their shape (about 10 minutes). Let them cook down completely before using them.

Preheat the over to 350F degrees and prepare a baking pan with parchment paper.

Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out 1/8” thick. Cut the dough into 8 circles.

Mix 1 tbsp of sugar and cinnamon in small bowl and set aside.

To assemble

Put 1/3 cup of the apple mixture on one side of each circle and fold the dough in half, forming a half circle. Press the sides together and fold the edge over to seal the turnover.

Cut three air slits in the top of the turnovers. Brush them with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until they turn golden brown.

Serve warm.

Have a sweet day!

May 07, 2011

Zaleti - cookies to fight nostalgia

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I’ve been a bit nostalgic lately. I have to be honest here. I do not feel much nostalgy for Italy. I don’t miss living there. I do miss Europe and, above all, European people. I work in an Italian immersion pre-school and some of the teachers are Italians but still...we are living in the States. The environment is different. The vibe is different. The cultural entourage is different. I adapt very easily to different cultures. I lived in three different continents and I can adapt fairly quickly. But adapting does not mean conforming. I am and I will always be and feel and foreigner. And sometimes I really get nostalgic and wish I could live without feeling a foreigner.

One thing that usually cheers me up in these moments is to bake something that belongs to my place and people. These cookies are very much so. And very much part of my childhood memories.




Zaleti
Ingredients for about 60 cookies

200 g (7 oz) all purpose-flour
50 g (1.77 oz ) corn flour
150 g (5.3 oz) butter
75 g (2.6 oz) confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
5 g (1 tsp) baking powder
1 pinch salt

chocolate chips and/or raisins (optional)


Method

In a medium bowl, sift the flours and cut the chilly butter in. With the tips of your fingers, gently work the butter until you obtain small buttery crumbs.

Add the sugar, the vanilla extract, the egg yolks, the baking powder and the salt. (If you decide to add chocolate chips or raisins add them now)

Quickly work the dough first with a fork and then with your hands until all the ingredients are all incorporated. The dough is similar to a pasta frolla so you need to work it quickly otherwise you will “burn” it. Wrap the dough into plastic wrap and let it cool in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

Once the dough is chilly, preheat the oven to 350F degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take small pieces of dough at a time (keeping the rest cool in the fridge), roll them out in long thin rolls and cut small chunks of dough (about 1” long).

Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake them for about 20-25 minutes.

Let the cookies cool down completely before serving because they break down easily.


Have a sweet day!



May 02, 2011

Pebble Beach Wine and Food Festival: not to be missed

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Thanks to Foodbuzz I got two tickets to go to the Pebble Beach Wine and Food Festival last Sunday. Oh yeah, I was there! And I loved it! I loved that huge pavillon filled with delicious food and an amazing wine selection. I love meeting up, even if just briefly, with some of the bloggers I got to know along the way in my first year or so of blogging. Some of them, I had met them already at Foodbuzz festival (Jean @Lemons and Anchovies, Azmina @Lawyer Loves Lunch), others I had “met” already on the blogosphere but not yet in person and I was so excited to finally meet them (Lisa @Authentic Suburban Gourmet and Liren @Kitchen Confidante). I have missed many others, I know….but I know they were there and I am so happy for them because it was truly a great event.




For once, I did not take the pictures. This time Wally came with me and I left him take up the role of the photographer (and on this note…sorry if some of the pictures are not great). And if it is true that a picture is worth a thousands words, I’ll leave you with just a few of them. Make sure you check out other bloggers’ posts about them event. I’ve seen amazing foodies at work that day. I’m sure they will amaze you with wonderful pictures and food descriptions…much more professional than mine.







I promise I have many more and they will come as soon as I have time to go through them but I wanted at least give you a taste of what that amazing afternoon was :)