Tag Archives: Dessert

Peach and Blueberry Turnovers

26 Aug

When I was growing up, my family often had fruit turnovers for breakfast or dessert.  It was a quick, flaky and it was straight from the freezer.  Perfect for two busy parents to feed two little girls with big sweet tooths!

I kept Mom and Dad in mind while creating this recipe, and saved them leftovers.  It was the daughterly thing to do.  This recipe combines buttery frozen puff pastry and a cinnamony fruity filling with the last of my ripe peaches and blueberries.  [Side note, always keep puff pastry in your freezer.  You can use it a zillion different ways for quick appetizers and desserts.]

Peach and Blueberry Turnovers

  • One box of puff pastry (2 sheets); make sure to thaw but keep cold in the fridge
  • 2 cups fresh peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • flour to use for counter and rolling-pin
  • one egg white to brush on top of pastry at the end

Move puff pastry from the freezer down to the fridge the night before you make these turnovers.  This will allow the puff to thaw gradually and still remain cool, very important!

The morning of, peel and chop your peaches, and put in a medium mixing bowl.  I used three large peaches to yield two cups of chopped peaches.  Then add your blueberries to the bowl.  Add cinnamon, brown sugar and corn starch to the bowl and stir until combined.  You don’t need a lot of sugar here because you are using your last ripe and juicy peaches!  Speaking of juicy, the corn starch will help thicken up your filling so it stays put (hopefully) in your pastry.

Preaheat your oven to 400.  Sprinkle flour on a clean counter and roll out puff pastry.  Make sure to also flour your rolling-pin so that it doesn’t stick to the top of your pastry.  Cut the pastry into three sections, I used a pizza cutter to cut through the dough.  You need to do this rather quickly as the butter in the pastry gets a bit sticky as it melts.  Place your filling in the center of your pastry and fold the top of pastry over your filling.  Make sure to seal all of the edges with a fork so your filling doesn’t escape in the oven.

I repeat make sure to seal your edges properly unlike my photo below.  I made the textbook error of over-filling my pastry.  I recommend using two spoonfuls instead of my three. 

After you’ve stuffed your turnovers, separate an egg and lightly brush the egg white over the top of your pastry.  This will turn it a beautiful golden-brown.  Pop these into the oven for 10-12 minutes. 

Check out these beauties!  A perfectly delicious way to use up the last of that summer fruit.  Actually, it could also be perfect for the Fall with some apples.  Well what do you know, the recipe that keeps on giving.  AND it’s Mom and Dad approved.  They earned it, right! 

Oatmeal Cream Pies and Easter Feasts

8 Apr

Happy Easter all!  When I was a kid, we would always get dressed up and go over to my grandparent’s house for an egg hunt, and afterwards eat deli ham, deviled eggs, and drink fizzy green punch (it’s a McG family thing-don’t ask).  Then my Mom took over, and turned Easter into one of my favorite feast days.  Now I can look forward to fresh seafood, tomato and burrata salads, spinakopita, Maryland deviled-eggs (Old Bay of course)!

I’m convinced my Mom can cook anything, and man can she create a table-scape.  She’s just not that into baking, which is where I come in.  This year, I wanted to find a recipe that would appeal to kids and grown up kids alike.  Something sweet, portable, and to appease the non-chocoholics in my life.  I bring you my take on Oatmeal Cream Pies just in time for Easter!

Oatmeal Cream Pies (makes about 40 cookies, 20 sandwiches)

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 12 oz Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Frosting

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix the oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda together with a spoon.

In a large bowl, mix the softened butter and brown sugar with a hand-held mixer for about 2 mins.  Add your eggs and vanilla to the wet mixture, and mix on medium speed until all of the ingredients are combined.  Slowly incorporate the flour and oat dry mixture into the wet ingredients, I added a quarter of the mixture at a time.  Combine dry and wet ingredients with your mixer on low until completely blended.  Stir in your raisins with the spoon.

Ok decision time!  Large or small cream pies?  I say go big or don’t eat, so went with the large size.  If so, put heaping tablespoons of the batter onto a silpat (can also use parchment paper) on top of your baking sheet.  If you want the smaller hand-held variety cookies, use a regular cereal spoon to dole out your batter.  Make sure to leave at least an inch to 1 1/2 inch between batter.  It will spread out while cooking.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for 14-16 minutes, rotating your cookie sheet half way through to ensure evenly-browned goodness.

Let your cookies cool on a wire rack for 5-10 mins.  Once they are cooled, use a spoon to spread about a tbs of the frosting between two cookies.  You guys will love these!  They have a melt in your mouth brown-sugary goodness quality and are easy to transport today’s Easter feast.

Luxurious Chocolate Chip Brownies for Liz

30 Jan

Have you ever had a celebrity crush?  You know, the kind where you will watch (or dvr) every single episode, movie, or interview?  While this will surprise none of you, I find that most of my “crushes” tend to involve food personalities.  And right now I cannot get enough of Nigella Lawson.  She is effortlessly witty, and manages to create sumptuous and stress-free recipes. 

The inspiration for this recipe starts with premium grey sea salt and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I was dying to use both of these in a birthday treat for my co-worker Liz, and knew Nigella would steer me in the right direction.  The following recipe is tasty and muss-free.

Chocolate Chip Brownies with Grey Sea Salt (based on a recipe by Nigella Lawson)

  • 1 1/4 sticks of butter
  • 1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups Godiva Dark Hot Chocolate mix
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of grey sea salt, plus 1 tsp
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chips
  • 1 tbs powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium-sized pot, gradually melt butter over low heat.  Once the butter is melted, add in the brown sugar and gently stir until both ingredients are combined.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and hot chocolate mix.  Add a pinch of the grey sea salt, and gradually add the dry ingredients to the pot of butter and sugar. 

Once all of the dry ingredients are combined with the wet mixture remove pot from the heat.  At this point your mixture will look a bit grainy and dry. 

In a another small bowl, whisk together the four eggs and the vanilla extract.  I’ll tell you one more time to take your pot off the heat and switch to a cool burner.  Now, pour your egg mixture into the pot and incorporate all of the ingredients.  If you did not remove the pot from the burner you may end up with an unappealing scramble at this point.  Add in your mini chips and stir until just mixed.

Line a 9 x 13 dish with foil, making sure to either spray or grease the foil with butter.  This will prevent the brownies from sticking to your dish (good one Nigella!).  Pour your chocolatey goodness into the dish and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.  It’s ok if these brownies are a bit gooey since we all know they taste best this way.  If you like yours minus the gu, just cook them a few minutes longer until a toothpick comes out clean.  Sprinkle with remaining sea salt and powdered sugar.  You can leave this step off, but why not go for gold and enjoy the extra flavor?  Liz is worth it and so are you!

Happy early birthday Liz!   Also, don’t hate me for keeping a few “reserve” brownies.  I simply couldn’t wait an entire day to sample them!  Picture me sneaking samples from the fridge Nigella-style ;).

Basic Banana Bread

18 Jan

I love bananas don’t you?  Kinda sweet, filling and healthy.  Unfortunately, I rarely get through an entire bunch before they start to look like this.

Basic Banana Bread

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg beaten with a fork
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mash the melted butter and bananas together.  It’s ok to still have a few lumps but keep em small!  Afterwards beat one egg (I just used a fork to scramble) in a small bowl.  Add sugar, egg and vanilla to your banana mixture.  Sprinkle the baking powder and salt over the mixture and stir.  Add in your flour and incorporate it into the rest of the batter.  Now butter a 4×8 loaf pan and pour batter into it.  Bake the batter at 350 degrees for one hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of your bread. 

Waste not, want bread!  Plus it just happens to look absolutely adorable in my new cake pedestal.

Volt Review

16 Jan

Are you all enjoying this lovely three-day weekend?  I know I am!  It’s been so nice to have an extra day to relax after several days of events and errands.  It also gave me time to catch up on my blogging for Imperfectly Delicious and Pamela’s PunchAnd boys and girls, I have a rave review for you! 

First let me preface this review by saying I grew up in a family of foodies.  My parents always used fresh ingredients in the kitchen and on the grill.  Which makes me appreciate restaurants like Volt, who really focus on using seasonal produce and local farmers.  That might make me sound snobby (my nose is in the air as I type), but I think you’ll all agree that at least 90% of the time fresh food just tastes better.  All of this is to say that my family was pre-disposed to like Volt for this reason, oh and because of the unbelievably positive press surrounding the restaurant. 

My family arrived about 30 minutes early to the restaurant, shocking given DC traffic on a holiday weekend.  The friendly hostess team took our coats and seated us immediately in a simple and chic dining room.  The dining room had cream-colored artistic lights, bright white table cloths, and vivid orange menus.  The multiple servers brought us drink and wine menus and enthusiastically described the artisanal cocktails.    I was freezing, so ordered a Hot Buttered Rum and my parents both settled on the EnclaveBoth drinks packed a punch and warmed us up quickly!

We stalled and snacked on house-made bread sticks dusted with fennel pollen, as we waited for my sister to arrive.  The servers were pleasantly patient and didn’t rush us in the slightest.  Once she arrived one of our servers (we had many) described the menu ordering options in detail.  At Volt you can either order a seven course protein-based tasting menu, a seven course produce-based tasting menu, or a four course menu that combines the two.  Our table opted for the four course tasting menu.

My first dish was the Oyster, Smoked Potato, Truffle and Bacon chowder.  This deconstructed soup was creatively displayed, and once combined, all of the ingredients formed the best chowder you ever ate.  Light and creamy with pleasant bite from the potatoes.

My second course was a recommendation from a friend.  I ordered the tangy Goat Cheese Ravioli with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Parsley Root Ash, and Sage Foam The pasta was spectacular!  I would have probably left the restaurant happy just by ordering this one dish.  The goat cheese was tart and creamy, and the mushrooms and sage gave the dish a deliciously woodsy flavor.  If you go to Volt this dish is a must-order item.

At this point the restaurant sent over their Wine Director to assist us with the expansive list.  Jill enthusiastically guided us through the menu, and helped us to select the perfect bottle for our tastes.  I loved talking to her and listening to all of the stories behind the different wines. 

For my third course I went against the table and ordered the Pork Shoulder, Sunchoke, Onion, and Cabbage.  As you can see from the image above, this dish way exceeded my expectations in terms of types of pork on the plate.  I not only had a nice portion of the pork shoulder, but also some pork belly and a sparerib.  The onions were the perfect complement and added a bit of sweetness to the dish.  The rest of the table ordered the Lobster, which was also outstanding.  I sampled a bite because it looked so pretty!  The lobster was perfectly cooked with just a touch of sweetness

My fourth course was dessert (yay), and I selected the Chocolate Marshmallow with Caramel and Peanut Ice Cream.  Oh heavens, my mouth is watering just thinking of it now.  I loved the rustic look of the dish and the playful touch with the gourmet marshmallow fluff.  I wanted to lick the plate. 

I would have too if I wasn’t so busy staring at the gorgeous plates around me.  Check out my dad’s striking dessert of the Peppermint White Chocolate and Eggnog Gingerbread.  How clever to take traditional flavors from the Holidays and reinterpret the presentation to invoke thoughts of Spring.

Oh but we weren’t finished yet!  Our four-course meal also included Volt’s complimentary tray of sweet bites to round out the meal.  These included chocolate and coffee macarons, house-made gelee, a fennel marshmallow, and hazelnut espresso truffles.  Two trays were delivered for our table of four!

This meal was absolutely divine.  In fact, it doesn’t even seem fair to call it a meal, it was more of a dining experience.  This dinner ranked up with the top five meals of my life.  The food was superb, and Chef Bryan Voltaggio elevated classic flavors with his witty, artistic presentation.  I would also like to say the entire staff at Volt were knowledgeable and welcoming.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been rushed through a dinner, but they let us truly enjoy our meal at a relaxed pace.  Hands down the best service I’ve ever experienced at a restaurant.  Finally, I know that $80 can seem like a lot to spend on a four-course dinner.  Our dinner was actually more like a seven-course dinner, and included the four courses described above with the bread course (bacon brioche!), complimentary dessert bites, and house-made granola togo delivered with our check. 

My overall rating is an A+ for Volt. Truly inventive and delightful food and worth every bit of traffic.   Thanks to my fabulous family for the reservation, meal and company!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

2 Dec

Today my sweet tooth won out, sigh.  I’ve been eating healthy all week to recover from my  turkey bender last week.  I was cleaning my kitchen and putting away my groceries, when I noticed a lonely little can of pumpkin left in my cabinet.  Actually, a bag of mini chocolate chips hit me in the head when I opened my cabinet as I attempted to restock my olive oil, and I then spotted the pumpkinI took the not so subtle hint that I deserved a reward and whipped up this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (adapted from Alton Brown)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1/2  cup mini semi-sweet baking chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Whisk the flour, cinnamon, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.

In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Combine both mixtures, and add the pumpkin. Once combined, add the chocolate chips to the batter, and stir. 

Pour batter into a non stick 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan.  If your pan is not non stick coat it with butter and flour.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 mins.  At this point a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean.  Cool for 15 minutes if you can wait, and turn out onto a cooling rack.

You could also turn this recipe into adorable muffins.  Prepare the same batter and bake in muffin tins for 30 mins at 325 degrees.

So have a slice!  You know you earned it ;).

Flourless Chocolate PB & Choc Chip Cookies

21 Nov

Are you a planner or someone who does things on the fly?  I ask because there may be some of you who are still trying to figure out something easy and portable to bring to the fam’s house for Thanksgiving.  Sure you could bring something classic like this, or this and then afterwards turn it into this.  

Somehow I think you all are more like the most interesting man in the world, and therefore, anything but traditional!  Why not try something different and a little outside of the box?  How about some Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies?  These cookies are quick, include just a few ingredients, and are oh so portable for those of you on the go.

Chocolate Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from a Claire Robinson recipe)

  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter from Peanut Butter & Co
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg beaten
  • sea salt to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix the dark chocolate peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla, until well combined. 

Spoon 1 tbs of dough mixture about 1 inch apart onto ungreased baking sheets (I know, you don’t even have to grease them). Flatten the mounds with a fork, making a criss cross pattern on the cookies. Sprinkle coarse salt on top of the cookies.

Bake until the edges firm up, about 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway thorough baking. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Couldn’t be easier right?  If this is too chocolately, then feel free to use regular peanut butter.

Stay hungry my friends.