Are You Waffling?

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Today is one of those days of indecision. It happens from time to time. Soooo many recipes soooo little time. I frequently change my mind, but hedge my bets that you’d prefer two recipes brought to the table instead of one. Having options is a good thing! Both recipes are a bit twisted and are brought to you by a tasty gift sent from my friend, Maryann.

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As a side note, Maryann is one of the dear friends and colleagues I miss most since leaving my job at The Taft School in Connecticut. As a physical therapist and director of the athletic training room Maryann and I worked closely together caring for injured athletes. Smart as a whip, selfless and caring she did whatever it took to get the students well and safely back in the game. Mutual respect and our love for the kids we cared for made us fast friends on and off the field. William adored her.

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Maryann and her husband, Kennie, winter in Arizona. When they came across Queen Creek Olive Mill luckily she was missing me, too. ❤ She sent me a gift box of liquid gold. Pesticide free and non-GMO fruits like blood oranges, meyer lemons and Mexican limes are cold pressed with hand-picked fresh olives to create the most flavorful and aromatic oils I have ever had the pleasure to bake with. Perfect for savory dishes, as well, the oils impart a fresh fruity flavor without any bitterness. These oils are now pantry staples.

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First up are these waffles. Made with ricotta cheese and buttermilk they bake up fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside with a twist of blood orange flavor.

Blood Orange Ricotta Waffles

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon fresh orange zest

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons blood orange olive oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup part-skim milk ricotta cheese

1 cup buttermilk

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.In a small bowl, mix sugar and orange zest until the zest is coated in sugar. Add the orange sugar to the bowl with the dry ingredients. In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together butter, eggs, vanilla, ricotta, and buttermilk. Whisk until combined well. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Don’t overmix. It’s ok if a few lumps remain. Heat waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Drop batter into the waffle iron; cook until golden brown.  Serve immediately.  These waffles can also be individually wrapped and frozen.  They’re great heated up in the toaster directly from the freezer.

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You can thank this photo on IG for this banana bread recipe. Too many requests for the actual recipe, so thought it best to share it here. What’s the sign of a perfectly baked quick bread? It’s that crack down the center! Moist on the inside with a bit of crunch on top its a flavor bomb of banana, lime and a touch of ginger. Don’t like ginger or almonds? Use any warm spice or nuts you prefer. No waffling!

Banana Bread with a Lime Twist

2 cups all purpose flour

1-teaspoon baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt

½ teaspoon ground ginger (or if you prefer, cinnamon)

2 eggs

2/3-cup sugar

¼ cup sour cream

½ cup Mexican lime olive oil*

2 large over-ripe bananas, peeled and smashed

1/3-cup chopped or sliced nuts of your choice

2 teaspoons turbinado or demera sugar

Heat oven 375F. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with baking spray (or grease and dust with flour). In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger; set aside. In another bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, sour cream, oil and banana; set aside. Using a rubber spatula, stir wet ingredients into flour mixture until blended and dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with nuts and then sugar. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. There should be the classic quick bread crack down the center. Transfer loaf to wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

*½ cup light olive oil plus the juice and zest of ½ lime can be substituted

Note: if you prefer your quick breads sweeter up the sugar to 1 cup

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View from Will’s Bench & Holiday Gifts

cranberry apple relish

cranberry apple relish

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but before we head into the dead of winter lets take one last look at autumn. The view from Will’s Bench in the fall is glorious. It is the best time of year to visit New England.

Will's Bench Middlebury, CT

Will’s Bench Middlebury, CT

Who doesn’t like rainbows and a pine forest? I can’t help but think of my boy when I see the sun shining down on the water in such a colorful way. He’s out there, casting a line just happy to be. I can almost see him. There is a scent of pine still on his sweatshirt.

the rainbow shot

the rainbow shot

And to the one who always leaves flowers I wish you peace and hope always, but especially during this holiday season. Thank you.

peace and hope

peace and hope

Whew! I feel much better now that I have put the fall season behind us…and you have to believe that I really do actually enjoy the Christmas season. I miss William terribly, but I have to rejoice in the thought that I had his bright light in my life for 23 years. How lucky am I to have loved such a son. And to have so many in my life who continue to love and honor him, too. William is the gift that keeps on giving.

can't have an empty jar

can’t have an empty jar

Do you love a homemade gift as much as I do? Nothing better than a gift from someone’s heart. Homemade means someone has given you their precious time. It can’t be bought. It’s priceless. So, this recipe for cranberry-apple relish was born because I was feeling guilty about simply opening up a jar or can of cranberry sauce and tossing it on the table at Thanksgiving. Pressed for time I just didn’t think anyone would care about cranberry sauce, but the thought of not doing something homemade for such a special event got the best of me. Thankfully, I got it done. The jar was practically licked clean by my guests and my darling daughter announced it was the best cranberry sauce she had ever eaten and could I make more. So I did and so should you.

honey to your taste

honey to your taste

Cranberry-Apple Relish

  • Servings: 2 1/2 cups
  • Print

1-cup water

½ cup sugar

1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries

1 Meyer lemon or medium-size orange, grated zest and juice

1 large honey crisp apple, peeled, grated

½ cup honey

pinch of Alaskan alder smoked salt or finishing salt of your choice

½ cup toasted chopped pecans, optional

In medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine water, sugar, cranberries, lemon (or orange) zest and juice, apple and half the honey; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring mixture occasionally, pressing cranberries with the back of your spoon against the side of the pan insuring all have popped. Taste and add additional honey to your desired sweetness. (I use the whole half-cup if using the Meyer lemon instead of an orange). Simmer until the mixture is thickened. Cool. Stir in salt and pecans, if desired.

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For a nice gift pour into sterilized jars while still hot. Seal and wrap with a decorative ribbon.

Resolving the Sharp Edge with Naan & Meyer Lemon Zahtar

fresh zahtar topped naan bread

fresh zahtar topped naan bread 
This is my entry to the CuttingBoard.com photo contest

By the lack of comments on my last blog post I truly made you all uncomfortable with my “angry” post. It’s OK. I get it. Anger is socially unacceptable. No one wants to deal with an angry individual. Please understand: for anyone who has suffered a loss, especially of a child, anger will be a strong component of their grief process. Don’t abandon them. Help them work through it. Here are a few tips to assist in sorting out the feelings.

  • Understand that the griever may be feeling betrayed by their God
  • Understand that the griever may feel responsible for not being able to save and protect their loved one
  • Understand that something was stolen from them and they will never get it back
  • Understand the injustice of random acts and not needing to find blame

    zahtar ingredients

    zahtar ingredients

Kneading dough, I am told helps release aggression, but, I am all about “not kneading” when it comes to homemade bread. Naan is a traditional no-knead Indian flat-bread baked in a special brick oven called a tandoor. A heavy skillet is a fine substitute for the more authentic tandoor. Shallow fried golden and light, naan can not only be used to scoop up delicious curries, but also makes a perfect pizza crust or base for a sandwich. Here I top it with a zesty zahtar made with my homegrown Meyer lemons slice into strips for an unexpected appetizer.

Meyer Lemon Zahtar

1 Meyer lemon, grated zest and juice

1 clove garlic, mashed and minced

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon fleur de sel (or kosher salt)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon dried sumac, optional

Combine all ingredients; cover and set aside.

fresh meyer lemon zahtar

fresh meyer lemon zahtar

Naan Bread

¼ cup hot tap water

1-tablespoon sugar

1-teaspoon active dry yeast

3 cups all purpose flour

1-cup whole wheat flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

1-teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup warm milk

1-cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup olive oil

In 1-cup measure combine water, sugar and yeast, stirring, until yeast dissolves. Let yeast proof for 10 minutes or until mixture looks foamy. In large bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In medium bowl, whisk milk, yogurt and yeast mixture until blended. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture; mix by hand until dough comes together into a slightly sticky ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 1 hour or as long as overnight in the refrigerator. Divide dough into 12 balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into an oval shape about ¼-inch thick. Heat a heavy skillet, over medium heat. Brush both sides of dough lightly with olive oil and place in skillet. Cover and cook for 1 minute or until brown and dough begins to bubble up. Flip bread over. Spread some zahtar over top. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bread is cooked through. To serve: cut on the diagonal into strips.

naan bread

love the colors matching the cutting board

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