Make Something New Every Day

This blog is inspired by all those who love to cook, whether experienced or not, and who continue to experiment with new ideas & ingredients, and best of all, share their passion with others.

The first entries are recipes prepared by the students of Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy in Oakland, CA. Fifteen students with varying cooking experience participated in my weekly workshop (via Tutorpedia), and successfully prepared various meals, snacks, and baked goods as part of an after-school program.

Along with the recipes from that class, I will continue to add new seasonal items, spanning every genre of the culinary world, as well as a helpful list of links to recipes, instructional videos, and places to shop and volunteer in your area.

Feel free to ask me questions and share your recipes and ideas as well. I look forward to cooking with you.

October 31, 2015

Triple Chocolate Brownies - ATK

 With just the right balance of cakey & chewy, and three types of chocolate keeping the sweetness in check, these babies hit on all cylinders. They're best eaten the same day as baked (the chocolate chunks stay melty), but keep beautifully in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

Prep the Pan
Make a foil sling for a 13x9" baking pan by folding two long sheets of aluminum foil; the first sheet should be 13" wide, and the second sheet should be 9" wide. Lay sheets of foil in the pan perpendicular to one another, with extra foil hanging over edges of the pan. Push foil into corners and sides of the pan, smoothing the foil flush to the pan. Grease the foil, and set the pan aside. 

Why should I do this? Sounds like a pain. 
The foil will keep the brownies from getting too dry. After cooling the brownies in the pan, you can lift them out by the foil edges, then easily cut them. 

This is one of those recipes that pays to have all the ingredients ready in advance of mixing. 

Get it Together
1/3C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2t instant espresso (optional, but recommended)
1/2C plus 2T boiling water
2oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine 
1/2C plus 2T vegetable oil 
4T melted unsalted butter
2 large eggs plus 2 yolks (use the extra whites to make these!)
2t vanilla extract
2 1/2C sugar
1 3/4C flour
3/4t salt 
6oz bittersweet chocolate cut into 1/2" pieces 
Trader Joe's carries unsweetened baking chocolate, as well as cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate.
Their cold-pressed sunflower seed oil is ideal for baking. 

Preheat the oven to 350'. 
Whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside. 
In a large bowl, whisk the cocoa and espresso powders with the boiling water. Add the unsweetened chocolate and whisk until melted. 
Whisk in the melted butter and oil. The batter may separate. 
Whisk in the eggs & yolks, one at a time. Now the batter should look like chocolate pudding. 
Whisk in the vanilla extract, then the sugar.
Switch to a spatula and stir in the flour, then the bittersweet chocolate chunks.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. 

Yes, you have to do this, or they won't set properly.
In order to get the right balance of chewy and cakey, brownies tend to be slightly underbaked. Allowing them to cool completely before cutting, ensures they set so you get that fudgy center, cakey outside, and crisp crust. 

Cool the brownies in the pan on a wire rack for 1 1/2 hours. 
Then lift the brownies out of the pan by the foil edges, and allow to cool on the wire rack for another hour. 
Cut brownies into 24 pieces and serve. 
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

на здоровья! 

Recipe by America's Test Kitchen

October 24, 2015

Budapest Coffee Cake

I've been making this cake for over 20 years. It's a crowd-pleaser, it's easy to make, and it keeps well (not that it will last beyond a day). The sour cream (undetectable by sour cream haters) keeps the cake incredibly moist. The modest amount of sugar in the recipe garners many compliments that the cake is not too sweet. 

11T Butter (5.34oz), softened 
1.5C Sugar
3 Eggs
1t Vanilla Extract
3C Unbleached AP Flour
1/2t Salt
1.5t Baking Powder
1.5t Baking Soda
2C Sour Cream (1 Pint Tub)

1/4C Brown Sugar
1t Cinnamon
1t Cocoa Powder

Grease and flour a 10" bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350'.

Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition, and scraping down the bowl as needed. Add vanilla. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add dry in 3 parts, alternating with the sour cream in 2 parts. 
The finished batter will be thick. 

Combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl. Spread 1/3 of the batter in the bottom of the bundt pan. Sprinkle with the filling. Add another layer of batter, and another layer of the filling. Top with the final 1/3 of the batter. Spread smooth. Bake for 50-60 minutes til the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a skewer inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. 
Ready for the oven. The cake will rise past the top.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting.
Cool completely before cutting. 
Tip: Store extra filling for next time.

Mad props to my baking femtor, Jule Vranian for the recipe!

October 2, 2015

Mushroom Potato Onion Pirog (Russian Savory Pie)

Whole Foods charges about $4 a slice for something like this. I made two whole pies (10"x5") for about $10 total. And that was using purchased puff pastry, which is both easy to work with and tasty, but you could make your own dough (a traditional pie dough) if you prefer. 

I like to share these (either whole pies or individual turnovers) with friends on camping trips, picnics, concerts, etc. These are for HSB15. Fall is in the air, and the combination of caramelized onions and mushrooms with potato wrapped in a golden pastry is really satisfying.

What You Need
1 box Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets 
1.5# russet potatoes
1 large onion
8oz crimini mushrooms 
olive oil
an egg for eggwash 

How to Make it
The puff pastry comes frozen. Thaw the whole box in the fridge overnight. Keep them cold as you prepare the filling. 

Peel, cube and boil the potatoes (with 2t salt) until soft. Drain and roughly mash them. 
Dice the onion, and saute in olive oil until soft.
Slice the mushrooms and add them to the onions. Sprinkle with S&P. Crank up the heat and saute til the onions are golden brown and the mushrooms are tender. You can deglaze the pan with a little dry sherry if you like. It adds a nice flavor and helps collect all the flavors from the pan. 
Combine the onion mixture with the potatoes and let it cool to room temp. You can also make this mixture ahead and chill it overnight. 

Preheat oven to 425' (you will reduce the heat to 400' after you put the pies in). 
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. 
Flour a work surface and unfold one of the pastry sheets. Keep the 2nd one in the fridge. 
Gently roll the square out a bit making it about 2" bigger all around. Spread half the filling evenly in the center of the dough, leaving about 3" on each side, and 1" at the top and bottom. Join the sides over the center of the pie, pinching the dough together to create a tight seal. Seal and crimp the top and bottom as well. Gently lift the pie and place it in the center of a baking sheet. Glaze with egg wash. Place the baking sheet in the freezer or fridge while you repeat the process with the second pie. 

Bake the pies at 400' for about 30-40 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through. The pies should be deeply golden brown. Cool on a rack. Either serve slightly warm, or cool completely and store wrapped at room temp for up to a day. Beyond that, you should keep them in the fridge, though that will make the dough gunky. Just eat them within a day. It won't be a problem. Trust me. 

на здоровье!