Accidental Grape Jelly

We received a few bunches of beautiful looking concord grapes a while back from some friends’ CSA.  Not knowing what to do with them besides munch away, I though to make a grape syrup to use with our counter-top seltzer maker.  I combined the grapes with a cup or so of sugar and a cup or two of water and waited for the magic to happen.

 

I think I waited too long for aforementioned magic.  When I pressed the grapes through a fine sieve and then transported the contents into a jar for cooling, the next day I found the seal clamped tight.  Laboriously trying to open the jar, I found out that my “syrup” had really turned to grape jelly.  I’m not complaining.  We’ve had some with PB on sandwiches and, even better, using a tablespoon of jam and a tablespoon of peanut butter mixed in with frozen bananas to create a type of vegan “ice-cream”.  Jam all that into a food processor until smooth and then enjoy with a big spoon.  Happy accidents.


Fast Banana Pudding

Craving something sweet the other night and looking at some over-ripe bananas, I thought: banana pudding!  Using a simple ratio formula (1 cup milk, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon sugar = eggless pudding) and a banana resulted in some sweet and creamy pudding goodness.

The above ratio will give you 2 servings (just add 1/2 banana or the whole thing if you love bananas), but feel free to make more!

Put the milk, cornstarch and sugar in a pot and stir vigorously over medium heat.  Let it bubble and turn the heat down while continuing to whisk.  When the mixture thickens, add 1/2 ripe banana and a teaspoon of vanilla (if you like) and whisk away.  If you don’t like banana lumps, strain the mixture through a sieve.  Pour into individual ramekins and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill in fridge or eat warm.  Sprinkle with cinnamon for some fall flavor.


Apple Crumble

The fall brings brisk weather, beautiful leaves and crunchy APPLES.  We made this last night as a quick dessert for dinner with friends and had the leftovers today with some oatmeal for breakfast.

This got thrown together at the last minute, so please bear with the haphazard directions.  You can’t go wrong with a crumble!

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Chop up two apples (if you have 3, go for it), sprinkle lemon juice over the pieces and throw in a pie dish.  Mix together about a 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour, a pinch of salt, a generous handful of brown sugar, a teaspoon or two of honey (or sugar) and a whole bunch of oats – probably 3/4 cup.  Take 4 (or more) tablespoons of butter and massage into the flour mixture until everything is crumbly.  Put on top of apples, add some maple syrup or other syrup on top of the whole mess and bake at 350F for about 40-45 minutes.  Serve warm!


King Arthur’s Chocolate Cake Pan Cake

Thank you King Arthur Flour for this amazingly moist, easy and delicious cake!

I made this in celebration of Phil’s return from a work retreat and it is super simple.  The King Arthur’s Baker’s Banter Blog runs through the recipe, step-by-step, so head over there for great instruction.

I also whipped up a peanut butter frosting – a bit of peanut butter, some powdered sugar and coffee – whipped until smooth, spread on top and then saved for later use.

easy PB frosting


Blueberry Syrup

I recently came into an snow-cone machine, or more appropriately, an ice shaver.  Visions of icy treats immediately ran through my brain.  The weather in NYC has been unbearably muggy and our 6th floor apartment constantly feels like an oven.  The first ices simply had some lemon juice and simple syrup poured over them – divine.  We then decided to make a simple syrup with blueberries…WOW!  Very easy, very delicious.  Can be used with some seltzer for a fruit soda (see above pic), mixed in a cocktail or poured over shaved ice.

Blueberry Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup (or more) of blueberries

To Do:

  1. Put everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Let simmer until it thickens, about 10 minutes.
  3. Cool and strain using a fine mesh strainer.  Save sugared fruit.  Put on icecream, yogurt, biscuits or eat with a spoon.
  4. Pour syrup in a jar and store in the fridge.  Use for syrup-y goodness.

Blueberry & Peach Bread Pudding

Yes, I turned on the stove and then retreated to the air conditioned bedroom while this monster baked on Monday night – prepping for Tuesday’s dinner party.  This came out like a dream.  Topped with vanilla ice-cream brought by a guest, it was delicious and a great way to use up blueberries.

Blueberry & Peach Bread Pudding (warning, these measurements are given by the seat of my pants – I will explain in the To Do section)

Ingredients:

  • 2 or 2.5 cups of old bread torn into pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk (skim or soy or whatever you’ve got)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (optional, add more milk instead – I am saving some milk for my coffee, hence the bourbon)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 cups blueberries, washed
  • 1 peach, diced
  • 2 packets of sugar in the raw or a tablespoon of turbinado sugar (for topping, optional)

To Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 360F and grease a 9×9″ pan.
  2. Place the torn bits of bread in the pan and use enough to fill the pan almost to the top.  It could be less than 2 cups or more, I’m not really sure.  I just went on a bread tearing frenzy.
  3. Mix up the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, bourbon and maple syrup in a blender and pour over the bread mixture.  If it looks to dry, add more milk.  No big deal.
  4. Add the blueberries and the peach pieces.  Wash your hands.  Mush everything around in the pan.  You want the fruit to be dispersed in the bread bits.
  5. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top and pop into the oven.  Pour yourself a cool drink and relax with a book or watch an episode of the X-Files.  The pudding should take an hour or will be golden brown on top and a toothpick will come out cleanly from the center.
  6. Cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature with some ice-cream or whipped cream.  Excellent on its own for breakfast – could be served for brunch!  Can also be made ahead, wrapped tightly and frozen for another day.

Easy Apple and Peach Gallette

Made this the other night for the True Blood premiere with the last of some pastry dough that has been sitting in the freezer for longer than I can remember.

Easy Apple and Peach Gallette

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet puff pastry (thawed)
  • 2 peaches, sliced
  • 1 large apple, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons jam
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • dash salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pat o’butter

To Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Roll out the pastry dough into a large circle and cover with a clean dishtowel.
  3. Pile the fruit into a large bowl and mix in the sugar, lemon juice and salt.
  4. Spread the jam onto the pastry dough (feel free to add more, I used peach jam, but anything fruity will do).
  5. Arrange the fruit on the pastry dough and arrange the dough loosely over the fruit, leaving a bunch of fruit exposed in the middle.
  6. Dot the fruit with butter and feel free to sprinkle with sugar, but the fruit is plenty sweet enough.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry puffs up and is golden brown.
  8. Cool for a bit and serve (whipped cream and/or vanilla icecream would probably be excellent additions).

I Scream, You Scream for…

BANANAS!  Yes – this looks like icecream, but it’s just frozen bananas processed to ultimate smoothness with a food processor.  I had some caramel and some raisins and whatnot and stuck that in the banana mixture.  Put it all in the freezer for 10 minutes or so and serve.  Quick, easy and excellent for summer.


Chocolate Pudding

This chocolate pudding was ridiculous easy, silky and delicious.  I got the original recipe from an old post from Pietown and just did a few things differently (see below).  A seriously yummy treat for any party, or just to eat from a bowl.

Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 2/3 cups skim milk
  • 4 egg yolks, whisked
  • 1 vanilla bean, split down the middle with seeds scraped or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

To Do

  1. Put sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt in medium saucepan, and mix together.
  2. Add the milk and stir in the vanilla bean seeds and the bean.   Whisk until the mixture begins to come to a slow boil and thickens.  Continue to whisk for another few minutes and remove from heat.
  3. Stir 1/2 cup of the milk mixture into the whisked egg yolks.  Add that mixture to the saucepan and bring it to a boil over continuing to stir.  Continue to whisk as it gently boils for about two minutes.
  4. If you are using vanilla extract instead of the bean, add it now and stir.  Remove the mixture from heat, pour through a strainer and pour into separate cups (or one large bowl).  Cover the pudding with plastic wrap pressed to the top of the pudding and put in fridge to chill.
  5. Serve plain or with whipped cream and berries.

Vegan Chocolate Chocolate Cookies

Last night I had a huge chocolate craving, but we didn’t have anything chocolatey in the house…or so it seemed!

Rummaging in the cupboard, I found some cocoa powder from who knows when and, wait for it, a bunch Hanukkah gelt from last year (actually called Trader Joe’s coins of the world).  Phil and I spent about 5 minutes peeling the wrappers off and then chopping the chocolate.  I then went online to find a good recipe that used flax seeds instead of eggs (need those for something tomorrow night).

Et voila!  I found a Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from The Post Punk Kitchen (thank you Isa).  These cookies came out great and hit the chocolate craving spot!  I did make a few modifications (see below).

Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from The Post Punk Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or use AP flour)
  • 1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut

To Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Blend the flax seeds, vanilla and soy milk in a blender.
  3. In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  4. Use a stand mixer and cream together oil and sugar (or just use a wooden spoon). Add the flax seed/soy milk mixture and mix well.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients in 3 batches.  Mix until incorporated.
  6. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and flatten into a disc that’s about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes (VERY IMPORTANT DO NOT OVER-BAKE). Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, then set them on a wire rack to cool completely.