Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lemon Turmeric Tea Cake

I wanted to make a dessert that was lemony, but not intensely so, and unfussy. This lemon turmeric tea cake fit the bill! I changed the recipe a bit because it was originally topped with very thin lemon slices before being baked, and I know from experience that I don’t like that, so I omitted that part. I’d bake the cake less next time. Otherwise, this was great! Not too sweet, great as a snack or even a breakfast as well as a light dessert (though you could serve it with lactose-free whipped cream or ice cream if you wanted).

1 ½ cups (215 g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ tsp. ground turmeric
1 lemon
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
¾ cup lactose-free sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt
2 large eggs
½ cup (1 stick) lactose-free butter or margarine, melted

Heat the oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease a 4-by-9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter, and line it with parchment, leaving some overhang on both of the longer sides so you’re able to easily lift the cake out after baking.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and turmeric in a large bowl.

Grate 2 tablespoons zest from 1 lemon into a medium bowl. Halve the zested lemon and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice into a small bowl.

Add 1 cup sugar to the lemon zest in the medium bowl; rub together with your fingertips until the sugar is fragrant and tinted yellow. Whisk in the sour cream, eggs and the 2 tablespoons lemon juice until well blended.

Using a spatula, add the wet mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just to blend. Fold in the melted butter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown, the edges pull away from the sides of the pan, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes (I would check at 45 minutes). Let cool before slicing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Green Risotto with Pistachio Pesto

This green risotto with pistachio pesto was really good! There are two main steps: the first is to make a standard risotto (though it’s finished in the oven rather than on the stovetop). The second step is to make a pesto, and because it’s added at the last minute in the risotto, it stays bright green (instead of wilting in the heat).

1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 Tbsp. lactose-free butter or margarine, divided
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth, divided, plus more as needed
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley and tender stems
1 cup fresh basil leaves
6 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 cups fresh baby spinach, divided
3 oz. parmesan cheese, grated (about ¾ cup), divided
¾ cup roughly chopped roasted unsalted pistachios, divided
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Cook onion, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large oven-safe pot over medium, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add rice; cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Add 4 cups hot broth to pot. Bring mixture to a simmer over high. Remove from heat; stir once and cover. Transfer to oven and bake until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes (rice won't be cooked through).

Meanwhile, make pesto: Process parsley, basil, oil, garlic, 2 cups spinach, ½ cup cheese, ½ cup pistachios, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a food processor until smooth.

Return risotto to stove over medium. Stir in remaining 1 cup broth; simmer, stirring often, until rice is al dente and risotto is creamy, about 6 minutes, adding more broth as needed to reach desired consistency.

Fold in remaining 1 cup spinach, pesto, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Top with remaining ¼ cup each cheese and pistachios.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I made these sour cream bran muffins that my kids actually ate, which is a win, but of course they were disappointed that the dried currants weren’t miniature chocolate chips. So I made these banana chocolate chip muffins and they were a hit! I’m making two small modifications below (adding vanilla and reducing the baking time), as well as putting the oil before the honey to facilitate things. I’m wondering if the oven in the Weelicious kitchen is just weaker than mine, because I found their chocolate muffins too dry as well. Also, the original recipe didn’t say so, but I’d recommend saving a few chocolate chips to put on the top of the muffins before you bake them – or maybe even chocolate chunks if you have them. These are great either way!

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 Tbsp. honey
1 large egg
2/3 cup lactose-free milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (plus more for decorating)

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Grease a muffin tin or line the mold with paper cups.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, honey, egg, milk, mashed bananas, and vanilla.

Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet, and then stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into the muffin cups, about 2/3 of the way up, and top with remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Coconut-Lime Crumble Bars

I made pink grapefruit bars recently that were good, but not great. I think they didn’t taste enough like grapefruit to me, given that half of the citrus juice was actually lemon… But then I made these coconut-lime crumble bars that were more nuanced. And also not unlike the coconut-lime cookies I made recently. They’re just two flavors that go really well together!

Note that the original recipe called for 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk. That’s obviously not lactose-free, so I used sweetened condensed milk instead. I knew that the cans are smaller (7 ounces vs. 14 ounces), so I got two and I was sure I was fine. It’s only as I reread the recipe when I was typing it here that I realized that the recipe called for a total of 28 ounces (TWO cans), and I used only 14 total… Oh well, what can I say, it was still delicious! It also calls for the non-standard 9” square pan; I used my 8” square one and added 20 to 30 minutes to the baking time to compensate. Again, my bars turned out great and I love them as is, but I thought you might want to know about these differences!

For the crust
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup salted roasted macadamia nuts
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) lactose-free butter or margarine, softened
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. kosher salt

For the filling
14-oz. sweetened condensed coconut milk (see note above)
3 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp. lime zest plus 1 cup fresh lime juice (from 8 limes), plus more zest for serving

For the crust
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper (I used my 8-inch square pan).

Combine flour, coconut, nuts, sugar, butter, baking soda, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until crumbly but beginning to clump together, about 15 pulses. Set aside 1½ cups flour mixture for topping. Firmly press remaining flour mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until crust begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

For the filling
Whisk condensed milk, yolks, lime zest, and lime juice in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour over crust and sprinkle with reserved flour mixture.

Bake at 350 °F until filling is just set and topping is light golden brown, 22 to 24 minutes. (For the 8-inch square pan, add 20 to 30 minutes to the baking time.) Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. Cut into 12 bars and garnish with lime zest.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Curried Chickpea-Lentil Stew

I saw this recipe in Bon Appétit, where it was called a curried chickpea-lentil dal – but suddenly in the online version, it’s a coconut-ginger chickpea soup. I can only assume it’s because it wasn’t an authentic dal? It was part of a spread on stews. Originally, it called for 2 whole heads of garlic and a 3-inch piece of ginger, used to flavor the broth and then removed before eating. I didn’t have enough garlic or ginger to do that (#pandemicproduce), so I took some inspiration from this recipe. I ended up using 4 cloves of garlic and a 1 ½-inch piece of peeled ginger, which I grated and left in the broth. The result was good, but admittedly a bit bland; maybe some vegetable broth instead of water would do the trick. I also don’t think it was worth the trouble of using dried chickpeas; I’d just used canned chickpeas and less liquid next time. The recipe made A LOT, though, so I have some in the freezer for future lunches.

I served this over rice, with delicious cilantro-raisin chutney (recipe below) as well as toasted coconut flakes and fresh cilantro. It was really good, despite what the kids might think.

For the cilantro-raisin chutney
1 small shallot, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped golden raisins
2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro stems
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix shallot, raisins, cilantro stems, lime juice, and oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (The chutney will keep, covered, in the refrigerator.)

For the stew
3 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 heads garlic, top third removed (see note above)
a 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (see note above)
1 Tbsp. curry powder
½ tsp. cayenne pepper (I used 1 pinch of Korean pepper)
1 ½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained (see note above)
2 13.5-oz cans of coconut milk
1 ½ cups split red lentils
toasted coconut flakes, fresh cilantro leaves (for serving; optional)
cooked rice (for serving; optional)

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Cook onions and garlic, cut side down, and ginger, stirring onions and ginger occasionally, until onions are translucent and garlic is golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Add curry powder and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add chickpeas and 5 cups water (or broth; see note above), stirring to release any bits stuck on bottom of pot; season with several pinches of salt. Bring to a simmer; cover with a lid, leaving slightly askew so steam can escape. Cook, adjusting heat to maintain a very gentle simmer and skimming foam from surface as needed, until chickpeas have swelled about 50 percent in size but are still crunchy, 25–30 minutes.

Add coconut milk and lentils to pot; season with more salt. Return to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until chickpeas are tender and lentils have broken down to form a thick broth, 30–35 minutes. Pluck out and discard garlic heads (don't worry about any cloves that may have escaped into stew). Taste and season with more salt if needed. Ladle dal over rice into bowls and serve with cilantro-raisin chutney, coconut flakes, and cilantro.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Sweet Potato Frosting

Okay, so I was really curious about chocolate sweet potato frosting. I somehow never got around to making it when it became popular in 2016, I think, with Genevieve Ko’s Better Baking (it’s possible she didn’t come up with it, of course, but this is her recipe below). It’s obviously healthier than buttercream, because not only does it have all the nutrients of the sweet potato, but it also lacks most of the fat and sugar that typical buttercream frosting has. I wondered what I should put it on, and realized that I had also bookmarked the recipe for this chocolate zucchini cake with sweet potato frosting, which, as it turns out, is the one that was referenced in the original post. So here I am, almost 4 years late to the party.

The recipe calls for a can of sweet potato purée, the contents of which are then heated to help moisture evaporate. I couldn’t find any at the store (or, more accurately, my husband couldn’t, since he was the designated shopper), so I made the frosting with a sweet potato that I baked and puréed myself. According to the frosting recipe in the first link, homemade purée helps you skip the step of heating it on the stovetop; you just have to make sure that it’s still hot enough to melt the chocolate when you mix the two in the food processor. I used a sweet potato that was roughly 18 ounces, with 12 ounces of chocolate.

My impressions: The frosting has a nice, glossy sheen immediately after it’s made, but you do have to apply it quickly, as it will stiffen. It’s an okay frosting – even though the Little Prince absolutely loved it, I wasn’t too keen on it once it was stiff. As for the cake, it was fine, perhaps unremarkable, and since I already have a great recipe for chocolate zucchini cake, I don’t think I’ll keep this one. But it was a nice experiment.

For the chocolate zucchini cake
1 lb. zucchini (about 4 small), trimmed
2 ½ cups (360 g) white whole wheat flour
½ cup (48 g) cocoa powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cups sugar
1 cup lactose-free buttermilk (lactose-free milk with 1 Tbsp lemon juice), at room temperature
½ cup grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (180 g) semisweet chocolate chips

For the sweet potato frosting (see note above)
1 15-oz. can of sweet potato purée
10 oz. (1 ½ cups) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the cake
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 °F. Coat a 9-by-13-by-2-inch cake pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray. If you’re using a metal pan, line the bottom and sides with foil or parchment paper and spray again.

Set a box grater on some paper towels and grate the zucchini on the large holes. Spread it out on the paper towels, top with more paper towels, and press gently to remove excess moisture.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.

Whisk the sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl until very smooth. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Whisk, gradually drawing in the dry ingredients, just until smooth. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips with a silicone spatula until evenly incorporated. Spread the batter in an even layer in the prepared pan.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top springs back a little when lightly pressed with a fingertip, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

For the frosting
Bring the sweet potato purée to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Cool, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is at room temperature and the consistency of canned frosting. It should hold soft peaks when you lift the spatula from the pan but not be stiff. Spread the frosting all over the top of the cake, creating swoops and swirls.

Monday, June 08, 2020

Chicken and Rice Meatballs

You read that right – it’s chicken and rice meatballs, not chicken meatballs and rice. That is to say, the rice is IN the meatballs! The original recipe served this with hummus, pickles, and cucumber, but I opted for broccoli slaw this time. I think this would also work well with this cucumber and onion salad or these steamed sweet potatoes with tahini butter (but next time I make them, I’ll omit the soy sauce, which I felt had no place here).

I doubled the recipe below to make a total of 41 meatballs, each slightly smaller than a golf ball. This means I needed 3 cups of cooked rice, which I got from 1 cup of jasmati rice and 1 ½ cups of water. We really liked these!

6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a 1”-piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 lb. ground chicken
1 ½ cups cooled cooked white rice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 °F. Gently mix scallions, garlic, ginger, chicken, rice, oil, curry, and kosher salt in a medium bowl (don’t overwork). Form mixture into 12 balls (about 1½" in diameter). Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until lightly browned and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Sweet Potato Waffles

It’s been a while since I made waffles because, as it turns out, my waffle iron was at the end of its life span. (I say “my” waffle iron, but really, the Engineer bought it when we started dating, so I suppose it’s lived a while.) I had made whole wheat chocolate pumpkin waffles last fall and even though I sprayed the iron again between each waffle, they stuck to the iron and crumbled apart and it was a mess. And, you know, they were good, but didn’t taste at all like pumpkin or cinnamon (which might be a plus, depending on how you see things). But I was starting to doubt my waffle iron by then, so I made my coconut waffles again because I know they work. Turns out, the waffle iron was the culprit! It just didn’t want to release any more waffles, ever. And then it took me a long time to get a new one, mostly because I couldn’t find the type of waffle iron I wanted (i.e., something small that I can easily put away, not a $200 counter ornament). I finally ended up buying another iron, made by a brand that I usually don’t like and won’t name, coincidentally the same brand as the first waffle iron, but it works fine. And to celebrate, I made coconut waffles again and served them with a rhubarb-strawberry quick jam that was finger-lickin’ good.

Then it was time to try a new recipe again, so I made these sweet potato waffles. These were really good! I ended up making them ahead of time, because I don’t really want to whisk egg whites at 6:30 in the morning with a hungry kid whining about when it’s going to be ready. I kept them in the fridge and reheated them before serving them with maple syrup, but they freeze well, too. I got a total of 8 waffles.

2 cups peeled, ½” cubes red-skinned sweet potatoes
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup lactose-free whole milk
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
¼ cup (1/2 stick) lactose-free butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp. freshly grated peeled ginger (I used ½ tsp. ground ginger)
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
nonstick vegetable oil spray, for the waffle iron

Place sweet potatoes in a steamer basket set in a large saucepan of simmering water. Steam potatoes until tender, about 17 minutes. Set aside to cool a bit.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.

Preheat waffle iron. In a medium bowl, mash the sweet potato cubes well, then add the milk, egg yolks, brown sugar, butter, and ginger and whisk to blend.

Add potato mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk to blend.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until peaks form. Add 1/3 of whites to batter; fold just to blend. Add remaining whites in 2 batches, folding just to blend between additions.

Coat waffle iron with nonstick spray. Working in batches, add batter to waffle iron (amount needed and cooking time will vary depending on machine). Cook until waffles are lightly browned and set.

Strawberry-Tropical Smoothie

I don’t often post recipes for drinks, but I had canned pineapples to use up, so I decided to make this. It’s a bicolor smoothie where the bulk of it is strawberry pink, but there’s a green part made with tropical fruit and, in the original version, kale. I didn’t want to buy a whole bunch of kale just for this, so I used some baby spinach that I had on hand. I didn’t tell the kids it was a spinach smoothie (it doesn’t taste like spinach anyway), so I just said the green part was “tropical flavor” and, turns out, that was the Little Prince’s favorite part of it! This was really delicious. It makes 4 smallish servings, but if you’re going to put them in Bonne Maman jars like I did, you’ll get closer to 2 servings, maybe a tad more.

1 ½ cups strawberries
½ cup lactose-free milk
1 Tbsp. honey
1 cup chopped kale, ribs and thick stems removed (I used baby spinach)
½ cup chopped pineapple
1 banana
½ cup apple juice

Combine strawberries, milk, honey and ½ cup ice in blender until smooth; set aside and rinse blender.

Combine kale, pineapple, banana, apple juice and ½ cup ice in blender until smooth; set aside.

Serve strawberry mixture immediately, topped with kale mixture. The best way to achieve this is to gently pour the green mixture in a spoon set over the pink mixture and let it overflow, that way it won’t all sink to the bottom (though part of it will, inevitably).

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Lemon Raspberry Scones

I had three Meyer lemons in my garden this year, and I used two of them to make these Meyer lemon and cranberry scones. Sadly, the dough was much too wet and they spread way too much, so even though they were good, I’m not keen on the recipe. To be honest, it felt a bit like I had wasted my Meyer lemons on this – I mean, look at that gorgeous zest!

Then I found these lemon and raspberry scones that had a higher flour-to-liquid ratio. The dough was still hard to with, but overall they were *much* better. The folding technique is really important here; I did it several times and love the layers that it created. I’m sure this would be delicious with Meyer lemons as well. That being said, the dough has no sugar whatsoever, so if you were to add cranberries instead of raspberries, I think you should add a few tablespoons of sugar. Then again, because there’s a glaze, this was fine with raspberries and no other sweetener, but just barely. The kids were happy, and the Engineer loved them and still called them “fluffy”, even though they were denser than the previous ones.

For the scones
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ sticks cold lactose-free butter or margarine, cut into small slices
¾ cup lactose-free buttermilk (milk with a splash of lemon juice)
¾ lactose-free cream (or coconut milk)
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
12 oz. fresh raspberries or 1 ½ cups frozen berries

For the glaze
1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. poppy seeds

For the scones
Preheat the oven to 425 °. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper, or grease it.

Mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Add in butter and mix on low until small pea-sized clumps form.

In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, cream, egg, and lemon zest.

While the mixer is on low, slowly pour in the milk mixture. Mix briefly to combine; do not overmix.

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough about 4 or 5 times.

Sprinkle raspberries over half the dough and fold the over half of the dough over them. (At this point, I folded it and patted it out a few more times, putting any raspberries that fell out right back into the dough.)

With a floured rolling pin, roll out into a circle about 6 inches wide. Fold dough in half again, then roll it out to a circle about I” thick.

Using a knife, pizza roller or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place them onto the baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cool only 5 minutes while you start the next step.

For the glaze
In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and poppy seeds. Drizzle half of the mixture over the warm scones and let them cool completely. (I missed this in the original instructions, so I rewrote them to be a bit clearer. Admittedly, with some of the glaze absorbed into the scone, it would offset the lack of sugar in it!)

Drizzle remaining glaze over the scones, let dry, and serve.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Pistachio Bundt Cake

Okay, I think we’re one of those families that just really likes bundt cakes. I made a delicious marbled bundt cake with poppy seeds and cinnamon that we all enjoyed – it even prompted the Fox to pick up a piece with his hands and eat it straight, whereas he typically doesn’t want to get dirty and insists on everything being cut to bite-size so that he can pick it up with a fork. Times are changing!

Their favorite, though, was this pistachip bundt cake. I don’t usually buy cake mixes, or pudding mixes for that matter, but I made an exception for this. The cake turned out light and fluffy, of course, and the pistachio flavor was great! I’m now wondering what other flavors I could make…

The original recipe called for food coloring, but I didn’t add any – the cake was already light green from the pudding mix, and that was enough for me. This was a really nice treat! I dusted it with powdered sugar at the end.

1 (18.25 oz.) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 oz.) package instant pistachio pudding mix
4 eggs
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, water, oil, and almond extract. Blend ingredients, then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.

Pour into prepared 10-inch tube pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Stovetop Bacon Lasagna

Whoever heard of stovetop lasagna? This Real Simple recipe is actually pasta that is cooked directly in the sauce, in a pot on the stovetop. And it is (predictably) delicious. I’m going to recommend against thick-cut bacon, though, because I didn’t like its texture when it was cooked but no longer crisp; that being said, I’m increasing the quantity. I used 9 ounces of pasta instead of 8 (because I had leftovers of two packages to use up instead of buying anything). Also, while I admit that this dish would have been much prettier, and slightly better, with basil, there were simply no fresh herbs to be found anywhere at the store. This crowd-pleaser recipe makes 4 generous servings, or 6 smaller servings; it would be perfect with a green salad or bread on the side.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. bacon slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp. crushed red pepper (I omitted that)
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 8-oz. package no-boil lasagna noodles, broken into large pieces
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup torn fresh basil, plus more for serving
½ cup lactose-free ricotta cheese (see here)
4 oz. shredded lactose-free cheese (such as mozzarella or even cheddar)

Heat oil and bacon in a deep oven-safe skillet with a lid (I used a Dutch oven) over medium-high; cook, uncovered, stirring often, until bacon is just crisp, 8 to 12 minutes (or less if you’re not using thick-cut bacon). Stir in onion; cook, stirring often, until onion is softened, 5 or 6 minutes. Add garlic, crushed red pepper, and salt; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir to coat.

Scatter noodle pieces over onion mixture in skillet (do not stir). Pour crushed tomatoes and stock over mixture; sprinkle with basil (do not stir). Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, undisturbed, until noodles are al dente, about 10 minutes. Uncover; continue simmering, gently stirring and separating any noodles that are stuck together, until noodles are tender and tomato sauce is slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat broiler with rack in upper third. Dollop lasagna with ricotta and top with shredded cheese. Transfer to oven and broil until cheese is browned in spots and melted, 3 or 4 minutes. Top with fresh basil.

Monday, June 01, 2020

White Chocolate Pudding with Blackberry Curd

Blogger informs me that this is my 2000th post. Huh. It really doesn’t feel like I’ve had the blog *that* long, but there you go. I’ve paid for an online food photography class for myself, 6 months ago, and now I just need to find the time to actually take it. (Those of us with young children have had LESS time during confinement, not more!) And maybe spruce up the site a bit? Blogger is updating its posting interface this month; there are still a lot of bugs in it, and I’m wondering if I just need a new template. All this to say that sometimes I look at this blog and only see how far it is from what I would like it to be. But then again, most things in life are a work in progress.

So anyway, I want to share with you this recipe from the first Smitten Kitchen cookbook. It’s for white chocolate pudding with blackberry curd, and it is absolutely delicious! I would consider doubling the quantities below next time, as this gave me 8 quite small servings, but I think we would all have wanted more. Well, except maybe the Fox, who even though he likes white chocolate and blackberries, somehow decided that instead of actually tasting this, it would be more fun to mix it together to make a new color. Everyone who DID taste it loved it. The blackberry curd’s acidity is a great complement to the richness of the white chocolate here. Of course, I recommend you use quality white chocolate, and ideally not chocolate chips.

For the pudding
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. table salt
2 ¼ cups lactose-free whole milk
6 oz. white chocolate, chopped
½ tsp. vanilla

For the blackberry curd
½ cup fresh blackberries
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. lactose-free butter or margarine, cut into small pieces

To make the pudding, combine the cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a heavy bottom saucepan. Whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a heatproof spatula (I used a wooden spoon) to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over low heat and stir constantly, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary, should lumps begin to form. After about 15 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Strain the pudding through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes (you can skip the straining step if you don’t mind a few lumps in the pudding). Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Meanwhile, purée berries in a food processor or blender until as smooth as possible. Press through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds. You should have between 3 and 4 tablespoons of purée.

Whisk together the blackberry purée, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and egg in a heavy 1-quart saucepan. Stir in the butter, and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until the curd is thick enough to hold the marks of the whisk, and until the first bubble appears on the surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Divide the curd among prepared cups, gently spreading it on pudding surfaces. Let chill for 1 hour before serving.