Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lemon Blueberry Cake


So I had this whole brilliant, funny post written to go along with this lovely lemon blueberry gluten-free, date-sweetened cake. It talked about how lemon always brightens up a gray, dull winter like the one we're having in New York this year, and about how wonderful it is that citrus season is winter when nearly all the other fruits are off-season. 


But then, even though I had saved the draft, and even confirmed that it was still there later, this morning the great google machine blogspot had swallowed it up into the infinite abyss of lost posts, and it was gone. 


A true tragedy. There's nothing that ruins your morning quite like finding out you have to redo something that was already done. Not to mention remembering the details of what I wrote yesterday. Lets see, I wrote about the grayness of winter, and about how winter is thankfully citrus season, oh, and I told a really embarrassing winter story so maybe it's for the best that the post was lost...


Oh, what's that? You still want to hear my embarrassing story? Ok, fair enough. So I was out for my morning run on Sunday, and it was very rainy so I was running on a path beneath a roadway by the river, I was running down to my bank to deposit some checks at the atm and then back up to the apartment, a bit over a 3 three mile round trip. 


At one point on the run, I have to cross out from under the highway, and on my way down I noticed that the ground exposed to the rain was a bit slushy with melting snow from a recent snowy day. I was careful across it, but it didn't seem that slippery anyway. So I continued on to the bank and then looped back on the same route.


As I approached the corner right before the slushy area I reminded myself to be careful, but from my first step into the slush I knew it was going wrong. My toes started to slide around in the inch of clear melted ice coating the asphalt. I took another step and this time my left toes slid wildly to the right, while my elevated right foot came down towards the ground my left foot slid even further, completely crossing over my right causing me to trip myself with my own right foot. 


I windmilled my arms around wildly, yelping and whooping in fear, imagining my knees and elbows slamming into the asphalt, the cold slush rising up to soak my clothes, my socks, my phone. I stumbled  a few more steps before managing to come to a stop in a twisted, cross-legged version of chair pose, and as I regained my balance I chuckled to myself. 


And then I heard my laughter echoed back at me from an overhang near the river. I looked up to see three guys taking shelter from the rain while laughing enthusiastically at my struggles. They were positively cracking up. One of them was even a little doubled-over laughing at my near-miss with the pavement. 



Needless to say, I jogged off slowly, with my head hung in shame. I jogged home and whipped up this cake, so I could eat way my embarrassment. And it is a lovely cake. I'm just crazy about these date cakes. This is the third one I've made for this blog (Chocolate, Spice Cake), and I just don't get sick of them. They have such a brilliant texture- dense, but not heavy. And they're pretty darn simple to make, too. 



I love that this cake is decadent, rich, and very flavorful, yet it's totally gluten and sugar free. It has a lovely consistency that reminds me a bit of a clafoutis. It's sturdy enough to hold together just fine, but has a light custardy texture that I adore. It makes a lovely dessert on a cold blustery winter's night, but would also be delightful as a sweet note to round off your brunch, and is just perfect eaten as a little afternoon pick-me-up!


Cake: 

8 oz dates, pitted
1/2 C butter, melted* (butter-free option below)
3 tbsp honey
5 eggs, separated
1/3 C coconut sugar
1 C ground almonds/almond meal
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 lemons
1/2 C blueberries

Blueberry Honey Sauce:

10 oz blueberries
1/4 C honey

*If you don't eat butter, feel free to use about 1/4C melted coconut oil, mixed with 2tbsp melted coconut butter/manna.


Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit, and grease a 10 inch springform pan, (if you don't have a springform line a pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper to make removing cake easy.) I also like to cut a circle of parchment paper to match the bottom of my springform pan, and line it with it, to make cake removal a snap.


Zest all three lemons, set zest aside. Juice 1 lemon, pour the juice into a small skillet, add the pitted dates, and heat over medium low heat, stirring dates occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, until dates are plump and have absorbed some of the lemon. 
Pour dates and any remaining lemon juice into the bowl of a food processor, add the honey, and blitz until a thick paste forms. Using a spatula, scrape puree into a medium sized bowl, and add the melted butter to it. Mix until butter is well incorporated. 

Juice the remaining two lemons, set aside.
In  a second medium sized bowl beat the egg yolks and coconut sugar until creamy and slightly foamy. Stir egg yolk mixture into date mixture and mix until well combined. Mix in the ground almonds, lemon juice and lemon zest. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter gently. Do not be over aggressive mixing in the egg whites quickly, take time and fold them in slowly and gently until they are well mixed in to the batter. 

Pour batter into prepared springform pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost entirely clean. Allow to cool for atleast 10 minutes before removing from the pan. 

While the cake bakes, make the topping. In a small saucepan combine the blueberries and honey. Heat over medium low heat, occasionally smushing some berries with your spoon and stirring 10-12 minutes, until the berries have eeked out their juices, and the liquid has thickened some. Sauce will thicken more upon cooling, but you do want it to be beginning to thicken when you remove it from heat. Cool for atleast 15 minutes before serving, to allow it to thicken. 
Enjoy! 





Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pizza Bagels


Happy 100th post to Little Market Kitchen! Seriously, this is it, 100 posts. It took me a while longer to get to than I would have liked, but here we are, a year and a half after I started, with 100 posts! That's 100 recipes, all of them things I would gladly eat again. I hope you've tried some of them too, readers! 


For my 100th recipe I decided to go with a recreation of a food, the mere mention of which makes me nostalgic for my childhood in Ohio. It's a very familiar (and beloved) food for most Clevelanders. In Cleveland, there is an incredible market, known as the Westside Market, and one of the bakers at the market sells an incredible product. Saucy, cheesy, doughy, easily handheld, fabulous for breakfast, lunch, and snacks- Pizza Bagels have it all. 


Everyone who grew up going to the market in Cleveland has fond memories of Pizza Bagels. They're utterly unlike anything called a pizza bagel that I've ever had in any other part of the country. They are not sliced bagels topped with sauce and cheese in place of butter and cream cheese. They are not toasted to melt the cheese. No, Pizza Bagels are whole, unsliced bagels, covered in pizza toppings prior to ever being baked.


These guys didn't start life off as a plain bagel, no sir, before these were Pizza Bagels, they were just lumps of raw dough. The Cleveland Pizza Bagel dough is not standard bagel dough, either. Over the holidays I went to the market the day I left town specifically to get Pizza Bagels to bring back to NYC (and some spicy smoked meat sticks). This was the first Pizza Bagel I'd had in a few years, but it was just as I remembered- the dough was soft, softer and more luxurious than the average bagel, with just a dash of sweetness. 


Pizza Bagels don't have that slightly hard outside regular bagels have, and their insides aren't quite as chewy, so I knew I did not need to boil these bagels. But they're also fluffier than a typical bagel, and a bit sweeter. Their soft, hearty-yet-fluffy consistency is so perfect and lovely and wonderful I spent a while figuring out how to recreate it. Naturally, Frickaccio's the Pizza Bagel bakery, guards their secret recipe closely, and I couldn't find a single copycat recipe out there either. 


I though about the closest dough to a Pizza Bagel I'd ever tried outside of Cleveland, and I came up with Spumoni Gardens, the famous Sheepshead Bay pizza purveyor. If you've ever had their thick, fluffy, slightly sweet Sicilian pizza, then you've come pretty close to a Cleveland Pizza Bagel. 


So, I began by adapting a Sicilian pizza crust recipe so it would rise a bit higher and taste a bit sweeter. Then I tasted my marinara and sweetened that a bit too because apparently everything is sweeter out in the midwest. I tweaked the cooking temperature since pizzas cook fast and hot, but bagels usually cook a touch slower at a lower (but still high) temperature,


The result is fantastic. The bagel is fluffy, the sauce soaked in just the right amount, and stayed just the perfect amount of slightly wet on the outside without making the bagel seem damp, and the cheese melted and bubbled and browned wonderfully. The dough flavor is pretty spot on, with it's touch of sweet and saltiness, and while they're a bit cheesier than their Cleveland counterparts I believe more cheese is never a bad thing!


These pizza bagels were wonderful. S and I ate them for breakfast on Monday when I made them, then again for dinner alongside bowls of tomato soup. I've eaten them as after work snacks as well, and satisfied my late night munchies with Pizza Bagels more than once. I hope you like them as much as we do!


4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbsps oil
2 packets dry yeast
1 1/2 cups of warm water 
1 tbsp + 1/1 tsp sugar (seperated)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2/3 C marinara sauce


In a large bowl, stir together 1/2 C flour, 1/2 C warm water, and the yeast. Cover with a towel and allow to sit in a warm place for 15 minutes. 

In a separate bowl combine the rest of the flour, the 1 tbsp sugar, and the salt. 
Alternating, add the dry ingredients, the oil, and the remaining cup of water to the yeast mixture, while stirring with a wooden spoon, until a dough forms. 

If dough is too sticky add more flour until it is workable. Dump dough out on a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough ball is springy and the dough is not shaggy. 

Place in a well floured bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to sit in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size. 

While dough rises, grate the mozzarella and set aside. In a bowl large enough to place a bagel in, add the marinara and the 1/2 tsp sugar. Mix well. 

Line a half sheet pan or cookie sheet in parchment paper, or lightly oil it. 

Once dough is risen, preheat oven to 400F. Remove dough from the bowl, and divide in half. Divide each half into four equal pieces. Shape pieces into balls, then pop your thumb through the middle to make bagels. Don't be too concerned with neatness, these don't need to be perfectly round like typical bagels.

Dip each bagel into the marinara (completely submerge all sides of it), and place onto the cookie sheet so the bagels edges are just barely, or almost touching. Once all bagels are formed, dunked in sauce, and placed on the pan, brush some extra sauce over top of the bagels so they're all well coated. 

Sprinkle the mozzarella over all the bagels until evenly coated. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned and the bagels are fluffy and lightly golden on the bottom. 

Allow to cool for a few minutes before separating bagels, then serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge and reheated in the oven at 350F for about 5 minutes. Enjoy!




Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cardamom Coffee Cake


Coffee cake is a wonderful dish. It's basically dessert for breakfast, which I can always get behind, and it involves streusel topping, which is certainly one of the great wonders of the world. I decided to mix it up a bit with this coffee cake, so I cut back on the amount of cinnamon and added cardamom instead.


Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. I discovered it when I got into making my own Chai blends in college. It hails from India, Pakistan, and Nepal- all chai making countries, and has a spiced, deep flavor similar to cinnamon or ginger, but also entirely it's own. Though powerful in flavor I wouldn't call cardamom spicy, unlike cinnamon or ginger too much won't give you a bit of a mouth searing. 


I was getting over a nasty virus, hence the lack of posts last week, so I decided to take a bit of an easy way out, and I slightly modified a Pioneer Woman recipe for this cake base. I knew this would be a safe option because I have never tried a Ree Drummond recipe I did not like! 


I cut back on the sugar, and added cinnamon and cardamom to the cake base because I love spices in the coffee cake itself, not just in the topping. What I didn't do was cut back on the quantity, even though I know every Pioneer Woman recipe produces enough food to feed an army. Seriously, sometimes S makes her Mac'n'Cheese, and I tell him to cut the recipe into one-third of it's original quantity, and we still end up with leftovers. Consequently, I ended up with a big 10" coffee cake and a few muffins made of leftover batter! 


Luckily, the cake is delicious. I know most coffee cake is delicious, but this stuff is a step above any coffee cake I've ever tried. The cardamom streusel is really out of this world. I mixed a bit of cinnamon into the butter with the cardamom so there would be familiar notes in the streusel, but the major flavor is definitely the cardamom, which makes a brilliant, sweet, spiced, complex streusel. On the first day, when it cools, it's crispy crunchy, but by the second day it's softened up a bit from all the butter it's soaked in, and then it's really magical.  


The cake has a magnificent texture. Not too dense or too airy, it holds together well but isn't thick or hearty. It's distinctively light and almost melts in you mouth- that's the 3 sticks of butter in action. The cinnamon and cardamom give the cake nice lightly spiced taste, so even a bite without streusel  still tastes lightly of cardamom. 


We ate it for breakfast, and dessert, and occasionally a snack, for about 4 days before we finished it off last night. When I told S we were eating the last slices, he was disappointed. I told him not to worry, I already want to make this cake again, but this time with blueberries and lemon in it! Or maybe apples! Let's make it with ginger streusel next time, I said, and put vanilla bean in the cake! The adaptations and changes you could make to this cake base are endless. Enjoy!

CAKE: 
1 1/2 Sticks Butter, softened
1 2/3 C Sugar
3 C Flour
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/4 C Whole Milk
3 Egg Whites
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Cardamom
Pinch of Salt

STREUSEL:
1 1/2 Sticks Butter, softened
3/4 C Flour
1 1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Cinnamon
2 tbsp Cardamom


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x13 cake pan, or a 10" springform pan (also line the bottom of the springform with parchment paper)
In a medium sized bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In another medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Whisk together. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the sugar and butter. Alternating, add the milk and the dry ingredients in thirds while mixing. Mix until everything is well incorporated, but do not overmix.

In a separate bowl, combine all streusel ingredients with a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands, until thoroughly combined. 

Pour batter into prepared pan, if batter rises above the halfway point, use the rest of the batter to make some tasty muffins* (directions below). Sprinkle half the streusel topping over the batter, and use a butter knife to lightly swirl it into the top of the batter. Sprinkle the rest of the streusel topping on top (reserve some for muffins, if making)
Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool atleast 6-7 minutes before removing from springform pan, or before serving from a 9x13 pan.


*For Muffins: 

If you have leftover batter, grease a muffin tin or line it with paper or silicone liners, and fill each cup just a bit over halfway. Sprinkle leftover streusel topping over the top. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.




Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gingerbread Cake with Chocolate Maple Whiskey Ganache


This time of year there are so many delicious pastries and sweets to enjoy- nut rolls, sugar cookies, peppermint bark, chocolate santas, but my favorite Christmas treat just may be gingerbread. While I like the cookies (and who doesn't like a crisp little gingerbread man?), I love the cake. 


Spiced treats have always been high on my list of sweets- cinnamon chocolate bars, extra spicy hot chai, ginger snaps, mulled cider, spiced eggnog, those winter beers with the ginger and cinnamon in them, these are all things I love. There's something so warming and wintery about cardamom and ginger and nutmeg and cinnamon. 


A cake like this just makes me want to pop a bunch of popcorn and make those popcorn and cranberry garlands, turn on Donny' Hathway's This Christmas and decorate the christmas tree while wearing Christmas stockings. 


You see, in my family, since my (very silly) childhood days, it is a bit of a tradition that I put on two of our (purely decorational) Christmas stockings, and pin the tree skirt around my waist while we decorate the tree. 


This is no longer something that happens every year, as Christmas tree skirts have pretty small openings and I'm worried about the integrity of said Christmas stockings, but for many years I decorated the Christmas tree dressed like a mismatched elf. 



Basically, while this cake cooks your entire house will smell so much like Christmas you'll begin to suspect you're in Santa's workshop. The ginger and cardamom and cinnamon mingling with the molasses will be enough to send you into scent bliss, but then once you begin melting the chocolate, oh, then it's like a whole new level of nirvana.  


S, our roommate, and I were all home while this cake was baking, and we were all getting high of the delightful smell. It's hard to say who was the most impatient for it to be cool enough to pour on the ganache and take the last photos so we could all devour giant slices. 




The chocolate pairs wonderfully with the deep spiced molasses flavor of the gingerbread. The ganache is dark and rich, and the whiskey adds a sharp, earthy note, a lovely contrast to the sweet maple. 


This is a sizeable cake. When I poured it into the spring form pan I initially though it was not enough batter because it was still about three inches from the top of the pan, but while baking it really rises a lot, by the time I took it out it was doming ever so slightly above the top of the pan. It barely sinks at all while it cools, and it has a lovely moist consistency and a nice crumb. 


If you'd prefer to glaze the whole cake at once instead of slice by slice, you can chill the ganache in the fridge until it's thick enough that it won't make a mess, but still thin enough to pour- about 45 minutes to an hour, and then place the cake on a large plate and slowly pour the ganache over the top then chill the cake to help the ganache set in place. Alternatively, you can do what I did and glaze each piece separately with room temperature ganache. Either way is delicious! 
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!



      Gingerbread Cake
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks 
1 1/4 cups Unsulphured dark molasses
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3  teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups whole milk


Chocolate Maple Whiskey Ganache
8 oz semi sweet chocolate
1/2 C heavy cream
1 OZ honey whiskey
1.5 oz maple syrup



Preheat the oven to 350F, line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. Cut the butter into chunks and place in a medium saucepan, melt over medium low heat, add the molasses and the sugars. Reduce heat to low and mix, until all the sugar has all dissolved into the butter and molasses. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and baking soda, mix well with a fork or whisk. Set aside. 

Whisk the vanilla and milk into the molasses mixture in the saucepan, then whisk in the beaten eggs. Pour the saucepan of liquid into the bowl of dry ingredients while mixing, then stir until batter is mostly smooth. Batter will be thick.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the middle omes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a rack. Allow to cool five minutes, then gently run a butter knife around the edge of the cake before removing from the pan. 

While cake is baking, make the ganache. In a small saucepan or double boiler combine the chocolate and a 1/4C of the cream. Heat over medium low heat, stirring, until all chocolate has melted. Add the rest of the cream, the maple syrup, and the whiskey, and cook another 4-5 minutes over low heat. Remove from heat, pour into a jar and let it sit until the cake has cooled and the ganache has thickened. 

Serve slices of cake with thickened ganache poured over top, and enjoy! 
If storing, the ganache may thicken in the fridge. Gentle heating will re-liquify it. 




Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kale Citrus Beet and Burrata Salad


Burrata. One of my favorite Italian cheeses. With it's delicate, globulous mozzarella outsides and its soft, luscious, creamy almost-liquid insides. In the summer I like it with tomatoes and basil, or with strawberries and a bit of balsamic vinegar, but in the winter when citrus is in season I make this salad, it's a perfect mix of wintery earthy beets and summery sunshiny citrus. 
However, this time, the time I decide to document this lovely winter salad, I made a mistake. A terrible mistake. A nearly salad ruining mistake. A mistake it took trips to two different grocery stores to remedy before dinner. I'll start at the beginning, it began on Monday night, at Whole Foods.


Usually I shoot on the weekends, but on Saturday morning I went to Brooklyn to pick up a strawberry plant I'm helping to try to convince to bear fruit by January for a photo shoot, and on Sunday I had to process photos from a Wedding Reception I also shot on Saturday. So on Monday night after I work I hurried over to Whole Foods to grab ingredients to make this salad on Tuesday morning. I was in a hurry, it was nearly 7 and I still had to get ingredients for this and dinner, and walk the two miles back home, and it was cold out and I was hungry.


 I found my way to the cheese case, and spotted the burrata right away, but upon picking it up I discovered it was one large ball of burrata, and I wanted two small lumps, one for each salad (I actually wanted four, to pick out the best looking ones), but right behind the container with one ball of burrata, I spotted a container with two. I grabbed it and inspected the lumps. Indeed there were two, and they were round and plump looking, so I grabbed a second container, which also had two, popped them all in my cart and boogied on out of there thinking that had gone very well. 


The next morning I began to make this salad. As you'll notice, the burrata doesn't come in until the end, so I left it in the fridge, and prepared everything else. At 1PM, with only two hours before I had to leave for a job, I took the burrata out of the fridge, opened it up, and gently lifted one of the lumps of cheese out of the brine. 


The first thing I noticed was how much less delicate than the burrata I usually buy from Alleva dairy it was, but that wasn't much of a concern. I turned the ball over in my hand, and noticed there was no twisty top part. Now I was concerned. I set the ball down, selected a less attractive one, and cut it open. No creamy, curdly cheese ran out of the center. In fact, the center was totally firm, one hundred percent solid, as solid as fresh mozzarella. Fresh Mozzarella. It's always next to the burrata in the cheese case. But I had looked at the container, I had seen it's label saying burrata. 


That's when it hit me. I had only checked the label of the first container I picked up, with the one lump of cheese. I grabbed the lid of the container on my counter and read it. Lioni Mozzarella. My heart sank. But I had no choice, I had to work soon, so I shot the salad with the mozzarella you see in these photos. And then I ate it because I was starving. And then I went to work. On my way home I went to a different Whole Foods, where they were entirely sold out of burrata, but I was not to be daunted. I was eating this salad tonight, darn it. So I went to Fairway, where there were three different types of burrata and a sale on Ritter chocolate bars. So I guess the moral of this story is to always check your labels and that I should go to Fairway more. 


Salad
1 orange or tangerine
1 grapefruit
1 meyer lemon
2 burrata balls
8 oz lacincto kale
3 beets
dash olive oil

Dressing
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp oil oil
salt + pepper


Preheat your oven to 400 degree celsius. Remove the stalks from the beets, drizzle with a dash of olive oil, and wrap in tin foil. Roast for 40-50 minutes, until a fork can be easily poked into them, but they are not super soft. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

While the beets roast, make the dressing. Combine the vinegar, honey, and a generous dash of salt and pepper in a bowl, and whisk until thoroughly combined. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking, and continue to whisk until oil is well incorporated into the vinegar. Stop as soon as dressing begins to thicken. Set aside.

While the beets cool, wash and dry the kale, then stack the leaves up about 5 at a time, roll them up like a long cigar, then slice across the top to produce thin ribbons. of kale. See here for more info. Place the kale in a large bowl. 

Once the beets cool, chop them into wedges of your desired size (I did 1 inch wedges, but 1/2" would work if you like smaller beet bites), and add to the bowl with  the kale. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Set aside. 

Jubilee the citrus by cutting off the top and bottom, then standing the citrus on it's end and cutting vertically to remove the pith and peel. More info on jubilee-ing here. 

Feel free to pause now for 30 or so minutes and allow the kale and beets to marinade in the dressing, which will turn a lovely bright pink. If you'd rather eat sooner, you don't have to let the kale marinade at all. 

Gently toss the citrus with the kale and beets. Split the salad between two bowls, and add the ball of barrata to the center of each.