I’ll keep this short and sweet as many of us will be gathering to celebrate Easter this weekend, and the point is to have something easy but amazing to serve at brunch or breakfast. Predictably, it’s another favorite scone recipe from Kim Boyce’s Good To The Grain, and I’ve adapted it as a tender and rustic grain-free version.
Rosemary, chocolate, and olive oil. It’s an amazing combination of flavors that I first came across several years ago in Kim Boyce’s “Olive Oil Cake” from her inspiring and innovative cookbook, Good To the Grain. It’s also a combination that I’ve used before for a favorite brownie recipe which one of these days I’d like to re-do as grain-free. But more to the point, let’s talk about this cake.
Though I really enjoyed the Thanksgiving meal we made this year, I had much more fun re-purposing the left-overs afterwards. On Friday morning I made pumpkin purée waffles. On Friday evening I made a pizza using just about everything from our Thanksgiving dinner, which included short ribs, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce. Finally, on Saturday morning, I made sweet potato scones.
To follow the Pastel de Medianoche I posted last week, I give you Tocino de Cielo, with its short but magical ingredient list of egg yolks, sugar, water, vanilla and lemon juice. According to The Heritage of Spanish Cooking, Tocino de Cielo was one of many desserts made with egg yolks leftover from the process of making sherry, which uses egg whites for clarifying the fortified wine. In Jerez, the region of Spain famous for its sherry, the egg yolks were donated to the local convents, where the sisters used them to make a selection of sweet specialties.
Technology, when it makes life simpler, is a very helpful thing. I’ve finally, at long last, gotten the latest version of that phone, the one that when first introduced proceeded to revolutionize the world’s mobile habits, and I’m so very happy with how much easier it is to organize my life with it. And because it is so much easier, that underlying frustration that comes with having to tolerate something that didn’t work well is gone, gone, gone; and good riddance to it.
If there was one thing I was reminded of this week, it was this: I don’t have as much experience as I’d like as a cook. Because of this, I sometimes end up testing recipes much longer than a very experienced cook would, and I try things a seasoned chef wouldn’t bother with. What I lack in experience, though, I make up for in creativity, and in sheer determination to keep at it until I achieve what I had in mind. I love it when an idea works, and somehow in the long process of getting there, I wasn’t completely exhausted. I’m guessing it may have been the small doses of sugar I had from testing this recipe that kept me going.
Some of you who use sweetened condensed milk on a regular basis for baking are probably quite familiar with its rich, glorious and transformational flavor. Until this past week, I was not fully aware of this, and so I’ve had some fun experimenting with it while working on the recipe for this post. More specifically, I’ve made homemade versions of both a dairy-based and non-dairy based sweetened condensed milk, both of which are incredibly luxurious and addicting. Just like the song, I’ve got visions of sweet things dancing in my head, imagining what can be made and vastly improved by using this amazing nectar.
When my husband was in high school, his father owned a grocery store with a bakery that made many traditional Cuban desserts. Among those was bizcocho, a cookie very similar to Italian biscotti, but lighter in texture. Cuban bizcocho is essentially a sponge cake baked twice until it dries out and becomes crunchy. Typically, a sponge cake doesn’t use any leavening, but in this recipe I added baking powder to give some lift without the trouble of whipping the eggs or egg whites for volume.
You can’t see it from this angle, but as I shot these pictures I had a small dog nudging my arm, jockeying to get a lick of the spoon just out of sight, and clinging to my leg for a better view of these little treats. Seems Hiro likes the smell of these tarts as much as we like eating them, and their tantalizing aroma is a good indicator of their great taste. I’ve made use of the jumbo muffin pan again and the triple sec cranberry sauce to throw together a quick dessert, using a purchased puff pastry dough as the base and goat cheese sweetened with honey in between. The presentation isn’t fancy or particular, but to paraphrase one of my favorite movies, the excellent flavor of these cranberry goat cheese tarts is bonafide. Come on in, folks, this pastry is fine.
On the morning or weekend after Thanksgiving, you may have some extra people hanging around to feed, and these egg muffin sandwiches are an uncomplicated way to do that. The base of the recipe is simply a seasoned whisked egg, and although I’ve added goat cheese, roasted red bell pepper and Herbs de Provence, feel free to flavor the egg base however you want. An inexpensive jumbo muffin pan creates a nicely shaped baked egg filling that fits a standard english muffin perfectly. Though these egg muffin sandwiches are best eaten right after baking, you can make them ahead of time and reheat them later for a quick breakfast during the work week, or even for a day of braving the shopping crowds. Hopefully, it’s an easy way to keep yourself nourished during the busy holiday season.