Beach Town Baking

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Blueberry Pancakes

I woke up this morning with an impossible to ignore blueberry craving. Luckily I had some blueberries on the counter that I picked up over the weekend at the farmer’s market. I thought about making blueberry muffins, but the growls from my stomach convinced me that something more substantial was needed. Something like BLUEBERRY PANCAKES!

I loaded the pancake batter with a bowlful of macerated blueberries. I chose to make them with whole wheat flour, but all purpose would have been fine, too.  I normally like to use buttermilk in this recipe, but sadly didn’t have any. I substituted with whole milk and couldn’t tell a difference. Finally, I added a little baking powder and baking soda to make them super fluffy and light. The end result?  Blueberry Whole Wheat Pancakes (aka Perfection).

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BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1.5 cups whole milk or buttermilk
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat or AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • maple syrup for serving

Directions

In a small bowl, use a fork to slightly mash the blueberries with 2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, remaining sugar, butter and vanilla. Stir in the blueberries. Mix in the flour, baking powder, soda and salt until just combined. Batter will be thick.
Heat a griddle or a nonstick skillet. Ladle 1/2 cup of batter onto griddle and spread of batter. Cook for a couple minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip and cook for another minute. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with maple syrup.

 

beach town baking

Chicken with Garlic and Tomatoes

chicken tomatoes

I received a boat-load of cherry tomatoes from a friend over the weekend and decided to use some in a dish I had on my mind – chicken with garlic and tomatoes. It’s super simple to make as it’s all made in a large Dutch oven. The chicken is first browned in the pot, sautéed with garlic and tomatoes, deglazed with red wine and baked for 30 minutes in the oven.

The sauce is absolutely divine. Serve it over some white rice to sop up all the delicious flavors.

Oh, next time I make this I’ll be adding some mushrooms which I think will make a nice addition.

Enjoy!

 

Chicken with Garlic and Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Large Boneless Chicken Thighs (with or without skin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 Large garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (whole)
  • 1 cup red wine (I used Gascon Malbec 2014)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 rosemary sprig

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat the butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cut the chicken into small pieces and add to the pot. Stir in the seasonings and cook until chicken is nicely browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cook for 3 more minutes.
Stir in the red wine and chicken broth. Add the rosemary, cover the pot and place in oven for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with warm rice or pasta.

beach town baking

Sauteed Kale

photo (29)

 

Happy 2016!

If you’re like me, you’ve made a resolution to eat healthier this year. Who knows how long that will last, but for the moment I’m going to try.

Packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, kale is a superfood that should be a staple in your diet. It’s a budget friendly vegetable, too. For suppers, I like to saute kale as it’s quick to prepare and it pairs well with many different proteins. In addition to garlic, salt and pepper, I like to season kale with dried basil which pairs really well with the green, leafy vegetable. Try out my recipe and you’ll see!

Enjoy!

beach town baking

Sauteed Kale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 bunch kale (washed and de-stemmed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Small chop/ chiffonade the kale leaves and add them to the pan. Cover with lid and cook for 1 minute undisturbed. Remove lid and stir. Cover with lid and cook for 1 minute. Remove lid and stir as leaves wilt.
Stir in the dried basil, salt and pepper. Continue cooking over low to medium heat for another minute. Stir in the stock. Let cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the red wine vinegar and cook for 30 seconds more. Cover. Remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

Best Pancake Recipe

bananasfosterpancakes (6)

It’s Christmas morning and excitement is in the air.

But wait, somebody has to make breakfast.

It has to be quick, easy and delicious.

What about pancakes?

Too hard, you say?

Oh no, not at all.

I developed these pancakes for my second book, Beach House Brunch, which comes out in June (yippee!). They are great with a banana rum sauce (see pic) but on a regular basis I enjoy them with butter, maple syrup and fresh fruit.

The batter comes together easily and you likely have all the ingredients in your pantry already. Many pancake recipes call for separating the egg whites from the yolks and then folding in the whites at the very end. I’ve found that to be an unnecessary step with this recipe. These pancakes turn out light, fluffy and delicious every time. You will soon discover why I call this the best pancake recipe.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Best Pancake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled)

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, water and melted butter. Add the dry ingredients and briskly fold in with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Lumps are okay.
Heat a griddle or a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Ladle 1/4 cup of batter on the griddle. Cook for a couple minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake. Flip over and cook for another minute.
Repeat with remaining batter. Keep pancakes warm wrapped in foil.

Beyond Cheesecake

Every now and then a weird idea turns into something delicious.

A lovely lady shared with me her sister’s recipe for Chess Pie, something I had always heard of but never tried. I went home and made the pie that evening only to be stricken by sugar overload with every bite. However, I did enjoy the flavor and texture very much and knew this was a recipe to be kept. As I came down from my sugar high I had a thought that perhaps a creamy cheesecake top layer would help to tone down the sugar and complement the custardy lemon filling of Chess Pie. So I gave it try the next day making a graham cracker crust and modifying the Chess Pie recipe with less sugar and less yield. After baking the filling in the crust, I let it cool for 10 minutes and then added a thin layer of cheesecake batter on top and let it bake slowly in a water bath. The next day after letting it setting overnight I was treated to the most delicious treat that went beyond cheesecake. It was a creamy cheesecake with a surprising lemon bar-ish bottom layer and crust. Please, please try out this recipe. You will not be disappointed!

 photo (24)

Beyond Cheesecake awaits you!

photo 1

Beyond Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3oz unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 8oz cream cheese (soft at room temp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment.
Combine graham crumbs and sugar in a small bowl. Stir in the melted butter and press into a 9-inch round cake pan. Let chill in refrigerator.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Add in the remaining ingredients until combined and pour into crust. Bake for 25 minutes.
In a KitchenAid bowl with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the sugar on low speed, followed by the eggs, one at a time, and the sour cream and vanilla.
Remove chess pie from oven and let rest 10 minutes in refrigerator. Place a water bath in the oven. Reduce heat to 325 degrees.

Carefully pour cheesecake batter over lemon layer. Bake in the water bath for 80 minutes. Let set up overnight in refrigerator. Next day flip out cheesecake and serve.

beach town baking

Roasted Strawberry Jam

photo 1

Hello my Friends! I must apologize because I have been a total blog slacker these days. The thing is, I got a second book deal (yippee!) and I’ve been developing recipes for Beach House Brunch like a mad woman. It’s going to be released May 2016, but of course that means I only have a few months to write it before it goes through final recipe tests, photographed, edited, designed and sent off to get printed overseas.

No pressure, right? Geez Louise.

Anyhow, enough with the excuses.

Here in southern California, freshly picked strawberries are just starting to make their appearance. While their taste isn’t anything to rave about just yet, they are still the first of the season so that in itself is pretty exciting. One way to brighten up their flavor is to slowly roast them with some sugar. The result? A delicious roasted strawberry jam that will blow your mind. The strawberries cook in their own juices and turn into a sweet jam that I love to serve with everything from pancakes to scones to biscuits.

In addition to sugar, I like to roast strawberries with balsamic vinegar, Cointreau and black pepper. The balsamic adds a nice acidic touch while the pepper provides a lingering heat on your palate. And while the Cointreau can be an optional ingredient, it is quite complementary to strawberry.

photo 2

 

Enjoy!

beach town baking

 

 

 

 

Roasted Strawberry Jam

Ingredients

  • 1lb strawberries (hulled and halved)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cointreau
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until juices thicken and fruit cooks down. Stir every 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on counter. When completely cool, stir to break up larger chunks of strawberry and store in a container in refrigerator.
Enjoy on toast, scones or biscuits!

Easy and Delicious Baked Manicotti

 photo (24)

 

 I’ve been on an Italian food kick this month and this recipe for baked manicotti wins hands down. Nothing fancy here, just simple good food that is easy to prepare. This recipe uses some key store bought ingredients that make this dish a breeze to make.

Instead of manicotti pasta, I use oven ready lasagna noodles. They’re so easy to use. Just make sure to soak them in hot water for a few minutes beforehand to make them pliable. Then, spread some homemade cheese filling on them and roll them up like tubes. It’s so much easier than trying to fill a hollow tube of pasta!

photo 2 (2)

This recipe makes one 9×13-inch pan and about 4 to 6 servings.


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Enjoy!

beach town baking

Easy and Delicious Baked Manicotti

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 box BARILLA oven ready lasagna noodles
  • 2 - 24 ounce jars PREGO traditional italian sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley (chopped)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1 cup parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, basil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Pour some boiling water into a 13- by 9-inch baking dish to about 1-inch high. Add the lasagna noodles one at a time and submerge them. After 5 minutes, carefully remove noodles from water and lay them on paper towels to dry.

Discard the water, clean the baking dish and dry completely.
Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with some sauce (about 2 cups).

On a cutting board, lay out one noodle. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture evenly onto 3/4 of the noodle, leaving the top 1/4 of the noodle exposed. Starting at the short end with cheese on it, roll the noodle into a tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. I fit 8 manicotti in each row. Top evenly with remaining sauce (I like a lot of sauce), making sure to completely cover pasta.
Cover pan with foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup parmesan and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving. Top each serving with some chopped fresh parsley.
Note: recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Pumpkin Whoopee Pies

Happy November, everyone! Tis the season for pumpkin treats so I’m happy to share with you my recipe for pumpkin whoopee pies. These whoopee pies are made with soft and squishy pumpkin cookies and are filled with a vanilla mousse made from cream cheese that is lightened with some sweetened whipped cream.

My recipe is for 20 mini whoopee pies.  Feel free to make them larger, but make sure to increase the baking time. A 1-ounce ice cream scoop works well for portioning the dough.

Pumpkin Beach Ball Whoopie pies (2)

 

I like to coat the pie edges with colored sprinkles to make them look more festive.

 

Pumpkin Beach Ball Whoopie pies (1)

 

Not in the mood or don’t have the time to make whoopee pies? Just make the cookies! They are fabulous on their own as pumpkin cookies.

 

Enjoy!

 

beach town baking

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (soft)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups pure pumpkin (canned)
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream (chilled)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 8oz cream cheese (soft)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar and or colored sprinkles (for garnishing, if desired)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a couple sheet pans with aluminum foil.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients on low speed.
Scoop the dough onto the prepared sheet trays with a 1-ounce ice cream scoop about 1-inch apart. Flatten dough slightly with palm. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until tops of cookies are set. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Make the mousse: In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and sugar to medium peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a clean bowl. Add the soft cream cheese and vanilla to the mixer and using the paddle attachment, beat until smooth. Remove bowl from mixer and hand whisk in the whipped cream.
Transfer the mousse to a piping bag fitted with a medium smooth tip. Pipe a dollop of filling in the center of one cookie and sandwich with another, pressing down gently. Coat edges of mousse with sprinkles and coat with powdered sugar if desired. Let set in refrigerator for about 10 minutes before serving.

Glazed Chocolate Donut Holes

photo 3

Did you hear the big news? Are you ready for this? Yup, Dunkin’ Donuts has arrived in Los Angeles!  As soon as I heard this, I had to go by to their new Santa Monica outpost and celebrate along with hundreds of other donut and coffee obsessed east coast transplants.

photo (14)

I thought I had purchased enough chocolate donut holes to last me for at least a week, but boy was I wrong. I finished the last of the 2 dozen the next morning :/

So I pretty much was left with no choice but to bake them up myself. I did worry if I could replicate that same Dunkin’ Donuts Amazing-ness that they put into their donut holes, but I’m pretty happy with the outcome! I think my recipe yields about 20 holes. I confess I neglected to pay attention to the final yield because while the second batch was baking I had already begun eating the first batch.

I used a cake pop pan to bake the donut holes and they baked perfectly round and moist!

photo 1photo 2

Voila! Glazed chocolate donut holes for the week!

photo 4

Happy Baking you guys!

beach town baking

Glazed Chocolate Donut Holes

Ingredients

  • 1 Large egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder (Valrhona preferable)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pan spray both cake pop pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, oil, milk and sour cream. Whisk in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Don't overmix.
Fill the indentions of the cake pop pan (the one without the holes). Place the other pan on top and lock securely.
Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing donut holes.
Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a bowl and transfer to a small saucepan.
Warm over low heat. Remove from heat and dip donut holes. Set holes over a cooling screen.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway Contest

 

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to let you all know about the giveaway I’m running on Goodreads for my book Beach House Baking which comes out next month (yipee)! It takes less than a minute to enter and it’s totally free. The contest runs till the end of the month so make sure to enter as soon as possible. Good Luck Everyone!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/83524-beach-house-baking-an-endless-summer-of-delicious-desserts

Beach House Baking cookbook

 

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