Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Flip Over Pluot Cake

Time for Tuesdays with Dorie! I haven't posted a TWD treat in way too long, but I wanted to jump back in and try to finish with the group. The TWD bakers are so supportive and creative and I've truly enjoyed baking with everyone since I started this blog in 2008. The featured Tuesday treat of the day is called Flip Over Plum Cake, picked for us to try by Becky at Project Domestication, thanks, Becky!

I love fruit desserts and this just seems like the perfect season for a plum cake. I happened to have some Pluots (plum / apricot hybrids) that I picked up at Sam's Club and decided to use those in this cake.  While I was cutting them up I had to give a piece a try and they were the tastiest pluots or plums I've ever had, they were so sweet and flavorful! 

I almost thought 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar would be too much for them in the cake but went ahead anyway.  In the end I thought I probably could have decreased the sugar without any problems, but I know that would always depend on the sweetness of your fruit.  I have had some super tart plums in my day and know those would probably need the full 1 and 1/2 cups.

My sweet five year old was not getting along with his siblings playing outside, so he came in with a frown and I let him help me make this.  He did a wonderful job mixing and was so proud.  This is the perfect easy dessert to bake with a kid :)  After baking and cooling we all enjoyed some of this delicious fall Flip Over Plum Cake as dessert.  It was a hit and for me the texture reminded me of a cobbler, but cake or cobbler, what ever you want to call it, it was good! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Spinach and Mushroom Calzones

Doesn't this look just delicious?  I made these a while ago and uploading the photos for this post made me instantly crave a spinach and mushroom calzone! I made these using Jamie Oliver's Calzone recipe, which I had wanted to try ever since I Heart Cooking Clubs featured Jamie as their current cook along chef.  This is the last week of Jamie cook alongs, they are on to a new chef next week, so sliding in as a last minute entry are these yummy packets of cheesy veggie goodness. 

I know this post and the recipe are really long, but they are simple, don't worry :)


Spinach and Mushroom Calzones
slightly adapted from Jamie Oliver (my changes in italics)

1 pizza dough recipe, recipe follows (I used Jamie's recipe but mixed it in my bread machine, I'm sure you could use your favorite dough recipe and it would work just as well)

Dough Recipe

7 cups strong white bread flour or Tipo "00" flour or 5 cups strong white bread flour or Tipo "00" flour, plus 2 cups finely ground semolina flour
1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dried yeast
1 tablespoon raw sugar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Sift the flours and salt onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a large measuring cup, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.

Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.

Calzone Ingredients

Flour, for dusting
Olive oil
1 pound mixed mushrooms (such as chanterelles, shiitake, enoki and cremini), cleaned and torn up (I just used white button mushrooms)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced (I used about 1 head of roasted garlic, smashed)
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked (I used a pinch of dried thyme)
1/4 cup butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup tomato sauce
11 ounces spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
2 (4-ounce) balls good-quality mozzarella, torn into pieces (I used freshly shredded mozzarella)

First, make your pizza dough. Preheat the oven to 450 to 500 degrees F, then tear the punched-down dough into 4 pieces and roll each out on a floured surface. You want to get them roughly circular, about the thickness of a silver dollar, and 12 inches across. You can now either keep these in the refrigerator, stacked and separated with olive-oil-rubbed and flour-dusted aluminum foil, until you're ready to cook them, or you can put your topping on and cook them straightaway.

Pour a large glug of olive oil into a hot frying pan. Add the mushrooms and toss briefy in the hot oil before adding the sliced garlic and the thyme. Fry until the mushrooms are cooked and smell fantastic. Drop in the butter and toss the mushrooms in it to make them tasty and shiny. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Add the tomato sauce to the pan and stir.

Cook for a few minutes, then add the spinach (in batches if you need to) and stir again. Simmer away the liquid until you're left with a thick, tasty mixture that's not too moist (otherwise it will burst through the dough when you're cooking the calzone).

Divide the mushroom and spinach mixture evenly between the 4 pizza bases and spread it out nicely.

Top with pieces of mozzarella and season with salt and pepper.

To make your calzone, carefully lift the far edge of the pizza dough and pull it over the top toward you - you basically need to fold it in half (imagine it looking like a big Cornish pasty!). Crimp the edges so none of the filling can spill out. Place the calzone side by side on a floured baking sheet, (use 2 if needed), pizza stone or granite slab.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes on the bottom of the preheated oven until the dough is puffed up and golden on top and the filling is hot.


And that's all there is to it!  These were so good, probably my favorite calzones ever!  I made them as dinner for me and my kiddos while picky husband was working late one night.  The kids were a little apprehensive about trying these, since they watched me make them and they are a little weary of spinach, but everyone ended up loving these, score one for Jamie Oliver :)  

Picky husband hates mushrooms and really doesn't like spinach, mainly why I made them while he was working, but calzones are great for picky family members because you can really personalize them any way you want.  Give these a chance if you are on the prowl for a new calzone recipe, especially if you are a spinach and mushroom fan, you will not be disappointed!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Honey Spiced Madeleines

I haven't posted a French Fridays with Dorie recipe since last March when we made the oh so delicious Beggar's Linguine. I can't believe it's been so long. I know I've missed a ton of yummy recipes but really wanted to jump back in with these Honey Spiced Madeleines, and here they are!

Above is the "before baking" shot. I was happy to take out my madeleine pan and put it to good use, the last time I baked madeleines was for Tuesdays with Dorie when we made Chocolate Fluff Filled Madeleines back in January 2011, and boy were they delicious! I only made them the one time, but as soon as I took my madeleine pan out, my daughter said, "remember when you made those chocolate ones with sprinkles, those were so good!" I was surprised she remembered just what pan I had used to bake those, and will definitely be making them again for her since they made such a big impression!

Above is the "after baking" shot. I baked them at 400 for exactly 11 minutes, the minimum amount suggested in the book. I think they were almost perfectly done, maybe a touch overdone, next time I think 10 minutes would be spot on for my oven.

These babies had some huge humpage going on! They looked just like I'd hoped they would. The aroma while baking was just spicy enough to get you into the holiday baking mood. My only change to the recipe was to use the zest of one small lemon instead of the orange, since I had just used my last orange earlier in the day packing my kids' lunches for school. Will have to add oranges to the Sam's Club shopping list! All in all these were a huge success, even picky husband liked them, and we all thought they would be perfect served with tea! So glad to be back cooking with FFwD this week :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bananas Foster Fritters

Sorry it has been forever since I posted last!  I don't know what to say.  Things have just been so busy and I decided to take the summer off from blogging. Well, it wasn't really that I decided to take it off, it just sort of happened, and now it is September and I just can't believe how fast the past few months have flown by.

Just about every day I thought of something fun to blog about, or wondered how some of my fellow food bloggers were doing, or wondered what recipe my "groups" were doing this week and felt so behind that I just would never catch up and I should just "hang up the towel," but in the end I really missed Nummy Kitchen and sharing with everyone, so what better day than today to just jump back in?

These delicious treats are the current selection for Club: Baked and they are delicious!  I made them as a mid morning treat and they were eagerly gobbled up by picky husband and all three kiddos.  You can find the recipe here at Stephanie's site if you do not have the book Baked Explorations, thanks for hosting Stephanie :)  They reminded me of banana bread and I'm sure will be requested again here soon! 

That's all for today, folks! Not a lot of photos or anything fun like that, I think my food photography "skills" (and I use that term ever so lightly) need a little more polishing than usual since my hiatus...bear with me :) 

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