Thursday, January 26, 2023

Anytime Orange Muffins

This recipe is from Bon Appétit, though I don’t see it on their website. It’s from Café Mutton, one of their best new restaurants of 2022. The original instructions specify that you need the tall paper liners here for the muffins to rise properly, and that you must use regular granulated sugar for the top instead of trying to go fancy with demerara or turbinado. The sugar just helped the top get nice and crisp, but wasn’t otherwise detectable. These muffins should NOT be stored in an airtight container, or they will look their charmingly crisp top! As for the paper liners, I used the kind pictured below (tall tulip liners rather than the short crinkly kind), but I think that it wasn’t necessary to grease the top of the muffin tin since the batter was contained. 

2 1/3 cups (292 g) all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat flour) 
2 tsp. baking powder 
1 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt 
1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest 
1 ¾ cups (350 g) sugar, plus more for sprinkling 
1 cup (2 sticks) lactose-free butter, at room temperature 
2 large eggs 
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
1/3 cup fresh orange juice 
1 cup lactose-free (or vegan) half-and-half 

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with tall paper liners. Grease flat top of pan to prevent sticking (I did this, but didn’t find it necessary – adjust based on what type of paper liner you are using, I guess). 

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. 

Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, mix orange zest and 1 ¾ cups (350 g) sugar in a large bowl until combined and vert fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high, add butter, and beat until combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Beat in vanilla. 

Reduce mixer speed to medium-low and alternate adding orange juice, dry ingredients, and half-and-half, one third at a time, mixing until incorporated after each addition. Let batter sit at room temperature 10 minutes. 

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (batter will come to the very top) and sprinkle with sugar. Bake muffins until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes (I baked mine for 25 minutes, but should have left them in the oven a few minutes longer). Let cool in a pan 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Omelet Wraps

This dish from Delish made for a delicious lunch! I must have made my omelet a bit too thick because it wouldn’t stay closed, but I was going to eat this with a fork anyway so it’s not a big deal. My wraps weren’t perfectly round, either – maybe add more milk if this is a concern to you, but I was fine with it. Note that while this is low-carb, it is definitely not low-calorie! Replacing the sausages with black beans would be an option. The quantities below yield 3 wraps. 

4 large eggs 
¼ cup lactose-free milk 
1 Tbsp. lactose-free butter 
6 small breakfast sausages, cooked according to package instructions 
1 ½ cups shredded lactose-free cheddar, divided 
1 avocado, cut into thin slices 
½ cup grape tomatoes, quartered 
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
1 Tbsp. chopped chives 

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. 

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Pour 1/3 of the egg mixture into the skillet, moving to create a thin layer that covers the entire pan. 

Cook for 2 minutes. Add ½ cup cheddar and cover for 2 minutes more, until the cheese is melty. 

Add sausage, avocado and tomatoes to the center of egg wrap. Using a spatula, fold both ends over filling and "glue" shut with melted cheese. Remove from pan. 

Garnish with chives and serve.

Pastéis de Nata

I did it – I made pastéis de nata! I’ve never been to Portugal, but what can I say, I really wanted Portuguese egg tarts! I got this recipe in Bon Appétit; the dough was a bit finicky, but it was worth it (and it yields enough for two batches, so I’ve got some in the freezer, and the next batch of pastries should be that much easier). There are also a lot of steps, but I didn’t find it overwhelming as I was making it, though I did make the dough one day ahead. And the pastries were delicious! The dough ended up crisp and flaky, and it is not quite like pâte feuilletée or pie dough. The egg filling had a golden-brown top that also made it unlike custard or Hong-Kong-style egg tarts. I really liked these! 

I’ve inserted my observations directly in the instructions below. I used a silicone muffin pan and would not recommend anything else, given how much eggs will stick to a metal pan if the filling spills. 

For the dough 
½ tsp. kosher salt 
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 
½ cup (1 stick) lactose-free butter, softened 

For the filling and assembly 
1 lemon 
1 3-to-4-inch cinnamon stick 
¾ cup sugar 
1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
1/8 tsp kosher salt 
1 ½ cups lactose-free whole milk, divided 
6 large egg yolks 
1 tsp. vanilla extract 

For the dough 
Using your hands, mix salt, 1 cup flour, and ½ cup water in a large bowl until a shaggy dough forms. Knead until dough is elastic but still very sticky, about 5 minutes (alternatively, do what I did: beat on medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 3 minutes). Wrap in plastic and let sit 30 minutes to relax gluten. 

Make sure your butter is softened to the consistency of sour cream (you can put it in a bowl and give it a stir). Generously flour (really, use a lot of flour) a clean work surface. Place dough on surface and dust with flour; lightly coat rolling pin with flour. Roll dough out to a 12" square (it will be quite thin), flouring surface as needed to prevent dough from sticking. 

Brush excess flour off dough. Imagine dough is made up of 3 equal columns. Using a small rubber spatula, spread 2½ Tbsp. butter over the left and center columns, leaving a ½" border around the edges (it should look like a slice of toast that’s been buttered on the left two-thirds). Lift up the right, unbuttered column and fold it over the middle column, then fold the far-left column over the middle, as though you were folding a letter into thirds. Rotate dough 90° counterclockwise; the sides and top edge will be open. 

Generously flour work surface and dough. Roll out again to a 12" square. Repeat buttering and folding process. Again rotate folded dough 90° counterclockwise, flouring surface as needed. Roll dough out a third time to a 12" square (it’s worth it, I promise!). Spread remaining butter over surface of dough, leaving a ½" border. Starting with the long side closest to you, tease up edge of dough with a bench scraper and tightly roll it away from you into a log, brushing excess flour from the underside as you go. This dough is very forgiving—if there are any small holes, don't worry about it. When you get to the end, wet edge of dough just before you roll it so that it sticks. Trim both ends to clean up the edges, cut log in half crosswise, then wrap both pieces in plastic wrap (you should have two 6"-logs). Chill 1 log at least 3 hours (or until the next day); transfer remaining log to freezer for another use. (Each 6”-log of dough makes enough for 12 tarts; freeze the extras for your future crispy tart needs). 

For the filling and assembly 
Peel zest from one half of lemon into wide strips with a vegetable peeler, leaving white pith behind; set aside. Bring cinnamon, sugar, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan fitted with candy thermometer over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until thermometer registers 225 °F (I recommend less). Remove from heat and stir in reserved lemon peel. Let sugar syrup sit 30 minutes (again, I recommend less). 

Position a rack in top third of oven; preheat to 500 °F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven to heat. 

Whisk flour, salt, and ½ cup milk in a medium bowl until combined and no lumps remain. Heat remaining 1 cup milk in a large saucepan over medium-high until it begins to boil, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk into flour mixture. Return mixture to saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, creamy, and smooth, about 5 minutes. 

Strain sugar syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into hot milk mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk in egg yolks and vanilla. 

Cut chilled dough crosswise into twelve ½"-thick slices. Place 8 slices on a plate and chill; place remaining 4 dough slices in 4 cups of a standard 12-cup silicone muffin pan on a baking sheet. (Here’s the thing: I will never again put eggs of egg tarts in a metal muffin pan because this will stick, but a silicone pan is perfect here. I use a baking sheet underneath to give it some structure and make it easier to handle, but this has to be separate from the baking sheet that is already getting hot in the oven.) Using your thumb, firmly press the center each piece against bottom of cup, forming a wall of dough around your thumb. Using your thumbs and fingers, press edges of dough against sides of cup, turning pan as you go, until dough comes halfway up sides of cup and is about 1/16" thick (or as thin as you can get it). Repeat twice more with remaining dough slices. (This seemed persnickety to me, but when I attempted to roll them out and place them in the wells, it was just a disaster. Follow the instructions.) 

Fill each pastry shell with about 2 Tbsp. filling (it should come about three-fourths of the way up the sides). Try not to get any on the pan itself; it may burn and stick during baking. 

Carefully place muffin pan on heated baking sheet in oven and bake tarts until custard is slightly puffed and browned in spots, and crust is golden brown and bubbles of melted butter are popping around it, 14–16 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, then carefully transfer each tart to a wire rack with an offset spatula. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Grilled cheese au bacon et aux pommes

 Qu’est-ce qu’on fait quand il nous reste deux tranches de bacon à passer? Un grilled cheese au bacon et aux pommes! On s’entend que je ne mange pas comme ça tous les jours, mais une fois de temps en temps, c’est vraiment bon! 

2 tranches de pain 
2 tranches de bacon 
1 tranche de cheddar mi-fort sans lactose
1 tranche de fromage suisse sans lactose
1 petite pomme (ou ½ même) 
1 c. à soupe de mayonnaise 
1 c. à soupe de moutarde de Dijon (ou un peu moins) 
un peu de gras de bacon! 

Faire cuire le bacon. On peut le faire dans une poêle ou sur une plaque au four (15-20 minutes à 375 °F). Réserver et, dans les deux cas, conserver le gras de bacon! 

Étendre la mayonnaise et la moutarde sur les tranches de pain. 

Ajouter une tranche de fromage sur chaque tranche de pain. Sur l’une des tranches, poser les tranches de bacon. 

Avec une mandoline (ou un couteau bien aiguisé), faire de très fines tranches de pommes. Déposer 4 ou 5 tranches de pommes sur le bacon, puis refermer le sandwich. 

Avec un pinceau, récupérer un peu du gras de bacon et badigeonner l’extérieur du pain, des deux côtés. 

Faire cuire le grilled cheese, soit avec un gril à panini ou dans une poêle à feu moyen, en écrasant le sandwich avec une spatule et en le retournant après quelques minutes, jusqu’à ce que le pain soit bien doré, et le fromage, fondant.

Muffins au cœur coulant


Il n’y a pas longtemps, je vous disais que même si j’aimerais bien essayer de la vanille en poudre, je ne me voyais pas vraiment en acheter dans un avenir rapproché, n’est-ce pas? Bon ben, j’en ai, maintenant. Vite de même. Et je ne regrette rien! J’en ai acheté pour faire ces muffins au cœur coulant. Non seulement ils ne contiennent pas trop de glucides, mais avec ce cœur coulant au chocolat, les enfants avaient aussi hâte d’en manger que moi! 

J’ai remis de l’ordre dans les ingrédients et les étapes et j’ai adapté pour l’Amérique du Nord. À noter qu’on pourrait remplacer la vanille en poudre par de l’extrait de vanille dans les ingrédients liquides, si on voulait, mais ça me donnait une excuse d’en acheter! 

100 g de farine 
50 g de poudre d’amandes 
2 c. à thé de poudre à pâte 
1 c. à thé de vanille en poudre 
2 œufs 
40 g de cassonade 
8 oz. de fromage à la crème sans lactose (j’ai pris du Daiya), à la température de la pièce 
4 oz. de chocolat noir, cassé en 12 petits carrés 

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Mettre des papiers dans un moule à muffins. 

Dans un bol de taille moyenne, mélanger la farine, la poudre d’amandes, la poudre à pâte et la vanille en poudre. 

Dans un grand bol, fouetter les œufs avec la cassonade. Ajouter le fromage et mélanger. Incorporer les ingrédients secs et mélanger. 

Verser de la pâte dans les moules à muffins, de manière à remplir chaque caissette environ au tiers. Mettre un carré de chocolat au milieu de chaque moule. Recouvrir du reste de la pâte, de manière à ce que chaque caissette soit pleine environ aux deux-tiers. 

Faire cuire environ 14 minutes au four; vérifier la cuisson à l’aide d’un cure-dent et prolonger si nécessaire. 

Ces muffins sont meilleurs tièdes que froids selon moi, alors on peut les remettre au micro-ondes un peu si nécessaire avant de les manger. Bon appétit!

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Lidia Tee

Last spring, I bought a strappy chambray dress (with pockets!) and I wanted to knit a short-sleeved cardigan to wear with it. I chose two skeins of Malabrigo Sock Yarn in Lotus and, after hours looking over patterns on Pinterest and Ravelry, I set out to knit Fleurette, a bottom-up cardigan described as having a lace pattern. I wasn’t too far in when I realized that I really didn’t like the look of it! I think you’d need a solid color for proper stitch definition, but the variegated purple I had just wasn’t working.

 So I set it aside and made a few small items, one of which I’ll discuss later, and the others were two baby gifts: an Yngrid cardigan for a colleague’s baby boy and a hat with a wave pattern for the baby boy of someone I follow online. (Both were knit with yarn from my stash, and the first with buttons from my stash but originally from Etsy.) And then I made more ornaments for my shop because why not. 

Then I got back to my Lotus yarn, and while searching for a two-skein pattern on Ravelry, I was drawn to the Lidia tee. It is made to be worn two ways, with either the scoop neck or v-neck in front, and one version has a shallow v-neck while the other version has a very deep v-neck. I made the version with the shallow one, though I plan to wear a tank top or camisole under this anyway because of the eyelet pattern down the center. The shoulders are knit first; stitches are picked up from both to work the scoop-neck side down to the underarms; stitches are picked up from the other side of one shoulder at a time to work the v-neck side down to the underarms; finally, all pieces are joined and worked in the round down to the desired length, and the hem is worked on the sleeves and neck. 

At one point, I realized that my stitches looked crooked, and it turns out that my yarn was too tight and twisted from the previous knitting project to look right. So I frogged it and steamed it to relax the fibers again – this worked even better than I had hoped! I just got some steady steam going from my kettle and held a length of yarn in it; it wasn’t long before it visibly relaxed and I could move on to the next length of yarn. The knit tee looked much better after that! 

I recommend deviating from the pattern a bit: once you have finished your first skein (this took me to the end of a pattern repetition once I was working in the round), before joining the second skein, stop and work the hems. Finishing the sleeve and neckline ribbing will allow you to then focus only on the remaining body of the shirt, thus finishing your yarn cleanly. I ended up coming in a little short while knitting the bottom hem, but since that was the only thing I had left to do, I was able to just go back half a dozen rows or so and start my ribbing earlier, thus leaving me with less than a yard to spare. I mean, imagine how frustrating it would be otherwise to run out while you are hemming a very visible part! 

It's not warm enough yet to wear it, but I look forward to debuting it!

Monday, December 19, 2022

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Several years ago, I found a recipe for Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite cake: chocolate biscuit cake. The recipe is by her former personal chef, Darren McGrady, who says that this was the one cake that she would eat until it was all gone – he even used to travel with her on the train from London to Windsor castle with the leftovers in a tin. I knew I’d have to make it someday, but it calls for Rich tea biscuits, which are not readily available in South Texas. After the Queen died, though, I decided to order them online and make this cake. I had two packages of biscuits, and you need slightly less than one package to make the cake. I’m glad I had two, because the first time, I broke them into pieces that were a bit too big, so I rectified that the second time around, and that’s why I’m only posting about it now. This is an unusual cake, richer and sweeter than I expected, but I’m really glad I made it, and I think I’ll adapt the recipe to use local biscuits at some point. 

(Note that this cake contains a raw egg, so manage your risk based on your personal situation.) 

For the cake 
½ tsp. butter, for greasing the pan 
8 oz. Rich tea biscuits or sweet cookies (a sleeve is almost 10 oz., and you’ll need all but 7) 
4 oz. (1 stick or ½ cup) lactose-free butter, softened 
4 oz. (½ cup) granulated sugar 
4 oz. dark chocolate 
1 egg 

For the icing 
8 oz. dark chocolate, for coating 
1 oz. chocolate, for decoration (I did not use it) 

Lightly grease a 6-inch-by-2½-inch cake ring (I used a springform pan) with the butter and place on a tray on a sheet of parchment paper. 

Break each of the biscuits into almond-sized pieces by hand (see photo below; when in doubt, go smaller) and set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar until the mixture starts to lighten. 

Melt the 4 ounces of dark chocolate and add to the butter mixture, stirring constantly. 

Add the egg and beat to combine. 

Fold in the biscuit pieces until they are all coated with the chocolate mixture. 

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake ring. Try to fill all the gaps on the bottom of the ring, because this will be the top when the cake is unmolded. 

Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. 

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it stand. 

Meanwhile, melt the 8 ounces of dark chocolate in a double boiler or saucepan on the stove top over low heat. Slide the ring off the cake and turn it upside down onto a cake wire (cooling rack). 

Pour the melted chocolate over the cake and smooth the top and sides using a palette knife (I used an offset spatula). 

Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature. 

Carefully run a knife around the bottom of the cake where the chocolate has stuck it to the cake wire and lift it onto a plate. 

Melt the remaining 1 ounce of chocolate and use to decorate the top of the cake.

Poulet pané, nouilles de légumes et vinaigrette tao


Ce poulet pané avec nouilles de légumes et vinaigrette tao de Ricardo était vraiment à mon goût! J’ai changé les quantités un peu pour en faire deux repas (les quantités ci-dessous donnent 4 portions) : j’ai doublé la quantité de poulet et j’ai ajouté une carotte. J’ai aussi râpé les deux dernières carottes au robot plutôt que de les spiraliser à la main, parce que bon, chacun gère son temps comme il veut, hein? La sauce est délicieuse, mais j’aurais mis un peu moins de sriracha; par contre, le Petit Prince dit que c’était parfait comme ça! L’Ingénieur n’a pas aimé, je ne sais pas pourquoi. 

Pour la vinaigrette tao 
½ tasse de miel 
1 c. à soupe de gingembre frais haché finement 
⅓ tasse de sauce soya 
1 ½ c. à thé d’huile de sésame grillé 
1 c. à thé de sambal oelek (j’avais de la sauce sriracha, et j’en mettrais ½ c. à thé) 
1 c. à soupe de vinaigre de riz 

Pour le poulet et les nouilles de légumes 
1 œuf 
½ tasse de farine tout usage non blanchie 
1 c. à thé de paprika doux 
2 demi-poitrines de poulet d’environ 225 g (½ lb.) chacune, coupées en deux 
2 c. à soupe d’huile végétale 
2 grosses carottes, pelées et coupées en fines spirales 
2 courgettes, coupées en fines spirales 
1 tasse de fèves edamame écossées surgelées, blanchies 
1 c. à soupe de vinaigre de riz 
½ tasse de feuilles de coriandre 

Pour la vinaigrette tao 
Dans une petite casserole, porter à ébullition le miel et le gingembre, et laisser mijoter 30 secondes. Ajouter la sauce soya, l’huile de sésame et le sambal oelek, puis laisser mijoter 4 minutes. Retirer du feu et incorporer le vinaigre. Réserver. 

Pour le poulet et l’assemblage 
Dans une assiette creuse, battre légèrement l’œuf. 

Dans une autre assiette creuse, mélanger la farine et le paprika. Saler et poivrer le poulet. Tremper dans l’œuf battu et égoutter légèrement. Enrober du mélange de farine. Secouer pour en retirer l’excédent. 

Dans une grande poêle antiadhésive à feu moyen-élevé, dorer le poulet de chaque côté dans l’huile jusqu’à ce qu’il soit cuit. Saler et poivrer. Dans un bol, mélanger les spirales de légumes avec les fèves edamame et le vinaigre. 

Dans des assiettes creuses, répartir le poulet et la salade. Arroser de la vinaigrette tao. Garnir de la coriandre. Servir aussitôt.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Spero Sunflower Cream Cheese


I was recently sent some sunflower cream cheese by Spero Foods, which is “on a mission to change the way people think about cheese and dairy alternatives.” They make several different flavors of the cream cheese, and since it’s made with sunflower seeds as the first ingredient, it’s quite nutritious in addition to being environmentally friendly! It's also vegan as well as free of major allergens.

While they have dozens of mouthwatering recipes online using their cream cheeses, I opted to taste them plain, meaning spread on various crackers or toast, to get a better idea of how they taste. Let me start by saying that they have the consistency of whipped cream cheese, which makes them very easy to spread, and I very much enjoyed that. 

First, the Original, or plain, flavor: this is the only one where I could taste the sunflower seeds. It was actually quite pleasant! I enjoyed this on crackers. 

Then I tasted the Strawberry cream cheese at breakfast, and it was really good! It’s not normally a flavor I go for, but this one was pleasant. 

The Goat cheese was surprisingly tangy, in the best possible way. Even though it’s not the same as goat cheese, it really does push all the same buttons. I didn’t know what to expect from this one, but I was impressed. 

The Salmon cream cheese is to salmon what pumpkin spice is to pumpkin; I tasted the paprika more so than salmon. That being said, the Engineer liked it, and the Little Prince asked for seconds, even though he doesn’t normally like cream cheese (and does like salmon). I also used some to make “bread sushi” for a school lunch, and the Fox ate most of it, which is a win! 

The Smoked flavor is really what it set out to be. It’s smokey in the same way that artificial bacon is smokey. It contains liquid smoke, and chipotle peppers (without being spicy). What’s not to like? 

The Cheddar was a little too “smokey” for me, what with the paprika and all. It was fine, though it didn’t really remind me of cheddar. I wonder if it’s because there’s already a lot of variation in cheddar and I tend to go for the sharper stuff? 

Finally, the Herb: this was great! It’s got garlic and onion powder as well as herbs, and I love it! 

In conclusion, I’m definitely going to seek these out in stores, both to eat as a spread and to try some of those recipes! It looks like my local Whole Foods stores don’t carry it, but Central Market does.



J’ai tiré cette recette du livre Déjeuners protéinés d’Hubert Cormier. Le mouhalabieh, qui est un dessert libanais, ça ressemble à du blanc-manger, donc une sorte de pouding qui serait un peu plus solide qu’un flan ou une crème caramel. Ici, le plat est parfumé à l’eau de fleur d’oranger, mais je verrai bien ça aussi avec de l’eau de rose! Les quantités ci-dessous donnent 2 portions. (Et ne faites pas attention à mon reflet dans la cuillère de la dernière photo – je voulais juste vous montrer la texture!) 

Pour le mouhalabieh 
1 ¾ tasse de lait 
3 c. à soupe de sucre 
5 c. à soupe de fécule de maïs 
1 c. à soupe d’eau de fleur d’oranger 

Pour la garniture 
1/3 tasse de jus d’orange ou de clémentine, fraîchement pressé 
1 c. à soupe de sucre 
1 c. à thé de fécule de maïs 
¾ tasse de pistaches hachées finement 

Dans une grande casserole, à feu moyen, porter à ébullition le lait, le sucre et la fécule de maïs en remuant constamment avec des mouvements circulaires. Cuire, en remuant toujours, pendant 5 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que le mélange épaississe. 

Lorsque le mélange est épaissi, retirer du feu et ajouter l’eau de fleur d’oranger. 

Répartir dans deux bols et laisser refroidir au moins 30 minutes. 

Pendant ce temps, dans un bol allant au micro-ondes, mélanger le jus d’orange, le sucre et la fécule de maïs. Chauffer à puissance maximale pendant environ 1 minute, en remuant à mi-cuisson. 

Servir le mouhalabieh garni de sirop d’agrumes et de pistaches.