There’s something magical about desserts made with pumpkin. Maybe it’s the spices as I feel that way about carrot cake too. These brownies are perfect for a cozy evening, especially with a good cup of vanilla tea.
What’s not to like about good food? And who doesn’t want culinary news and tips as we celebrate a renaissance of delicious, healthy, well prepared foods. With farmers markets opening all over our country and fascinating new foods arriving from around the world and onto grocery and specialty food store shelves, our options are phenomenal. Problem is, there’s so much going on there isn’t time to keep up with all that’s out there.
In redesigning my site I decided I should create a spot where I can write about some of the pros I know or discover in the culinary circles I move in. The ones who open doors of knowledge and instruction for us as well as offer practical how-tos for everything from artisan chocolates and cheese to introducing us to a colorful palette of exotic ingredients and cuisine.
Are you a culinary pro? Do you have a favorite instructor, writer or blogger you think should be part of this section? Please let me know about blogs, classes, publications and articles and classes that deserve mention. I’m happy to share your news and I invite you to send articles to be posted in this section. It’s a great way to share your expertise with an appreciative audience. Bon appetit!
Courtesy of Beth Hensperger
Most coffee cake recipes, especially ones for winter, call for canned pineapple, but here the glistening fresh fruit layer is made from scratch and accented with pure vanilla, a most complementary culinary pairing. To choose a ripe pineapple, look for a strong sweet fragrance and yellow-brown skin that is not too green; the leafy crown will be a bright green and an inner leaf will detach easily when plucked from the center. Adapted from an old recipe clipped from Bon Appétit magazine decades ago, it is quite perfect in flavor and texture, and easily serves a large crowd. This is simply one of the best homemade coffeecakes.
Courtesy of Chef Stephany Buswell: www.chefany.com
Stephany says about this recipe: “When I was a child my mom made this cheesecake for every holiday or special occasion. My mom died when I was 17 and I forgot about her cooking until I became a serious baker in my 20s. I began searching for a recipe like the one my mother had made but could never duplicate the recipe.
Courtesy of Rose Levy Beranbaum
This cake was inspired by the height of the apple season, fall of 1991. It is reminiscent of Tart Tatin with cake instead of pastry (one could call it Gâteau Tatin!). The caramelized apples and walnuts, topping a velvety tender butter cake is a fabulous combination. I brought it, hot from the oven, to my cousin Marion’s house in Westchester for dinner, along with a special treat: Glensfoot cream, which is high in butterfat and not ultra pasteurized. She whipped it in a copper bowl, right at the table, perfuming it with Jack Daniel’s bourbon, and spooned a little onto the top of each portion of cake. It was perfect to temper the sweetness of the cake. We all loved it. This is truly a dessert made in heaven.
This is a cake I sell at special events as well as give as gifts year-round. The closeup of the freshly baked cake above, shows how attractive the glaze makes the top. It has an almost lacquered look to it. After a couple of days of resting, the cake is incredibly flavorful and moist and lends itself perfectly to use as a base for berries and whipped cream or for a more complex dessert, including a luscious bread pudding.
The original recipe called for the use of a vanilla bean plus vanilla sugar and extract. I’ve now updated it, so that you can either use extract and ground vanilla bean powder or vanilla paste.
As per making a glaze, you don’t need to use rum (or Brandy) if you don’t want. I just did a show and made a glaze with the Tahitian vanilla extract so that people could see how different the flavor profile is from that of Mexican or Madagascar. Because you’re working with a simple flavor pallet, feel free to substitute citrus or other flavors.
Courtesy of Janet Johnson
Janet has a touching story about this pound cake which is a little too long to share here in its entirety. Briefly, she has a friend who was born in Austria whose father worked for the railroads. Each day he walked 12 miles, inspecting the condition of the rails. While he walked, he gathered the wild hazelnuts growing alongside the tracks, and brought them home as a treat to his family.
Courtesy of Carole Bloom
Bourbon vanilla buttercream is the perfect accompaniment to this classic American chocolate cake. Be sure to use natural — not Dutch-processed — cocoa powder, which provides deeper flavor and darker color to the cake.
Courtesy of Pat Sinclair
Warm cinnamon aromas drifting from the kitchen will call everyone for breakfast.
Courtesy of Carole Bloom: www.carolebloom.com
Pure vanilla is used in three forms – beans, extract, and and ground vanilla bean powder – to contribute its rich, full-bodied flavor to this yummy tart. The filling is soft and chewy yet crunchy with the texture of tropical macadamia nuts.
Makes one 11-inch round tart, 14 to 16 servings.
Courtesy of Flo Braker
Flo Braker is a very talented baker, specializing in desserts. The author of “The Simple Art of Perfect Baking,” and one of the original members of The Baker’s Dozen, a national group of culinary professionals, Flo has assisted thousands of bakers with simple secrets that bring spectacular results. Her angel food cake has been featured in culinary magazines and newspapers as the definitive recipe. Need I say more?
Courtesy of Elinor Klivans
This Baked Blintz has a traditional filling that cooks between two layers of a batter that becomes soft, crisp and crepe-like when baked. It was the main dish at our daughter’s wedding brunch—need I say more?
Research has shown that mushrooms contain components that help to prevent cancer and stimulate the immune system. At first it was believed that only Asian mushrooms such as shitake and maitake contained cancer-preventing ingredients, but it appears that even domestic mushrooms are powerful healers. Combined with other healthy ingredients and a bit of vanilla, this is a Power combination that tastes delicious!
Creamy hot polenta is a delicious alternative to standard breakfast cereals. The infused honey can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Serve it over hot cereals, pancakes, French Toast or cornbread.
Courtesy of Beth Hensperger
Yeast adds a dimension of flavor and texture by allowing the batter to develop overnight before baking. Remember that a high temperature, in either a regular grid or Belgium-style waffle maker, tends to make a crisp waffle, while a lower temperature produces a waffle that is moist and tender. Serve with your choice of a dazzling array of accompaniments: raspberry puree and crème fraîche, a fruit butter, sliced bananas or fresh berries and vanilla yogurt, sautéed apples, or lots of pure maple syrup and sweet butter.
Courtesy of Stephen Block: www.kitchenproject.com
Steven says, “Stollen is nice because it is not too sweet, and has a nice soft buttery texture with hints of lemon and candied orange, toasted almonds, and wine soaked raisins and currants.”
This sweet, moist corn bread has a delicate aroma paired with the grainy texture of the cornmeal. Utterly divine served piping hot with sweet butter and maple syrup, toasted with honey or jam, or for sopping up stews or barbecue.
Courtesy of Chef Stephany Buswell
(My favorite Sunday morning breakfast that I’m sharing just because it’s soooo good!)
Served as a dinner party appetizer or on a picnic in the park, Vanilla Cheese Spread with Roasted Peppers and Pistachios is a lively appetizer that your guests will not forget!