Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Beet, Spinach + Goat Cheese Salad

This a great summer salad - very light but very nutritious! Roast the beets ahead of time if you can. It will be easier to peel them when they're cool. I like to peel them after they've been roasted, but either way it will be a big mess, so it's up to you. Yummy beets!!

If you want to buy the sherry vinegar and have no idea what else you could use it for, it makes a wonderful dressing for salads with any kind of roasted vegetables involved. 

Beet, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Salad
serves 2 as a large side (aka add protein)

2 cups of washed spinach
4 medium sized beets, roasted, peeled, and sliced
4 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese
Olive Oil
Sherry Vinegar
Kosher Salt

Divide ingredients evenly between two plates, and drizzle lightly with oil and vinegar (it's better to start with too little vinegar - it's strong stuff!) and sprinkle with salt.

Lavender + Honey Cupcakes

Lavender is one of those really trendy things in the world of baking right now. Usually I stay away from trends, but when flowers and baking meet I can't stay away. I'm a floral girl - I love having flowers in the kitchen, in my bedroom, outside my window, given to me for no reason, and printed on my dresses. Naturally, when people started baking and cooking gorgeous things with flowers I was drawn in. I'm hoping this will be the first in many floral recipes I post, but my to-do list is long and summer is short. 

I made these cupcakes for a bridal shower and not only are they gorgeous, sloppy roses aside*, but they are delicious. Truthfully, they do taste mostly like butter since lavender is quite a subtle flavor - but butter has always been the perfect vehicle for subtle flavors, right? Here they are, Lavender + Honey Cupcakes.

*if you ever find your baking turns out a little bit messy and not quite "perfect" just call it RUSTIC! Works every time*

Lavender + Honey Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting
makes 12
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon dried lavender (make sure it  was meant for culinary use, or grown by you!)
185g unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons honey (floral is great)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

1) Preheat the oven to 350. Put the lavender and sugar in a food processor or blender and pulse until well combined and the lavender has been chopped up a bit.
2) Put the butter, lavender sugar, and honey in the bowl of a mixer and beat until creamy and light. (If at this point you're saying "AGH I forgot to put the butter out to soften! Don't worry, I forget all the time - just cut it into big cubes and zap it in the microwave for 5 seconds at a time. Really, only 5 at a time - and please make sure you stop before it's actually melting)
3) Slow the mixer and add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Add the flour and baking powder and gently fold/mix until well combined, but don't overmix. It should be a fairly stiff batter.
4) Scoop into muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 18 - 22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.

For the frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 - 6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey

1) In a mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and honey.
2) Slow the mixer and add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. You may have to add more sugar than the recipe calls for, but keep in mind that if you put the frosting in the fridge for about 30 minutes it will firm up a bit.
3) Fill a piping bag, or simply spread the frosting on the cupcakes. To make roses better than the ones shown below, try this:
4) Sprinkle with a few buds of lavender, or drizzle with more honey, and enjoy!

The rose needs some work, but it's not bad!

*sigh* they're so pretty

I love it when a recipe turns out pretty AND tasty!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Rhubarb Platz

Don't freak out. It's just a Mennonite term for a kind of Coffee Cake thing. And you must know that Mennonite + Coffee + Cake = The best things you've ever tasted.

I'm going to share with you my favorite recipe for Platz. You can use any kind of fruit you want, and I strongly encourage combining and experimenting. But my favorite is Rhubarb with a smattering of Raspberries. Peach is a very close second. Really, platz is the perfect canvas for whatever fruit is currently in season! That's why it's so great!

This recipe is super easy, and pretty quick if you know your way around the kitchen even just a little bit. This cake is the perfect addition to breakfast, brunch, snack time, coffee time, dessert time... I think you see where I'm going with this. There's really nothing more to say, so here you go. Happy baking!

Oven to 350. Grease a 9x9 (or 8x8) pan.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter

1/2 cup milk (almond or soy milk works fine, too)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1) Whisk dry ingredients together, and cut in butter with a pastry blender, or process in a food processor.
2) Add in the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Spread into prepared pan
3) Top with 1-2 cups of chopped fruit. It's up to you how full you want it to be.
4) Make topping:
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 melted butter
Sprinkle evenly over the top.
5) Bake in oven approximately 30 minutes, until bottom layer is baked and topping is just starting to get golden.