Batter Licker

November 17, 2011

roasted butternut squash, caramelized onion and goat cheese tart

Hi, my name is Kristen, and I’m a butternut squashaholic. When those beautiful, light orange gourds start showing up at the market, I can’t help myself. I pile them into my shopping bag, week after week. And when Trader Joe’s offers up pre-cut squash, I stock up, knowing that makings for a quick, satisfying soup will be waiting in my fridge.

Sometimes, I just roast cubes of squash and pop them into my mouth straight out of the oven. Other times, I turn them into soup, lasagna, pizza, and gnocchi. I’ve even taken to converting my pumpkin curry to a squash curry. As if that weren’t enough, for this coming weekend’s Friendsgiving dinner, I’ll be bringing not one but two squash dishes: a poblano pepper and butternut squash soup, and butternut squash cupcakes with goat cheese frosting.

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But what I really want to share right now is a tart so good that I actually made it twice last week. The tart made its debut at girls’ night last Thursday. Although it emerged a success, I had admittedly rigged the game by serving it to two goat cheese- and caramelized onion-loving friends. (more…)

December 25, 2010

pizza dough cinnamon rolls with vanilla-espresso cream cheese glaze

Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 2 6-inch pans (about 12 mini rolls 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch deep)

1 package Whole Foods fresh pizza dough (about the size of a softball)
8 Tbsp. butter, divided and softened
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
flour for rolling out dough

Remove dough from refrigerator, cover lightly with a towel, and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F, and butter bottom and sides of two 6- or 7-inch round baking pans with 1 Tbsp. softened butter per pan.

Sprinkle counter with flour, and roll out dough into a rectangle until 1/4-inch thick. Spread 4 Tbsp. softened butter over entire surface of dough. Sprinkle sugar and salt evenly over the butter, and then sprinkle cinnamon generously over the sugar.

For mini rolls, tightly roll the long end of the rectangular dough over itself, and pinch end of dough against body of dough to seal, using a little warm water on your fingertips to seal the edges as needed. (If you prefer larger rolls, roll the short end over itself, and seal in the same fashion.)

Using a pastry cutter or very sharp knife, slice cinnamon log into 1-inch thick rolls. Do ahead: cinnamon rolls can wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen at this point; defrost in refrigerator one day prior to baking.

Place rolls in buttered round baking pans, leaving a little space between each roll to give it room to rise. Top each cinnamon roll with a small bit of softened butter, evenly distributing the remaining 2 Tbsp. softened butter between the rolls.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until top of rolls is only slightly golden. Remove from oven, and top warm rolls with Vanilla-Espresso Cream Cheese Glaze (recipe below). Serve immediately.

Vanilla-Espresso Cream Cheese Glaze

4 oz. cream cheese or neufchatel cheese (lower in fat and calories, but works equally well in frosting), softened
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. finely ground espresso or coffee beans

Mix together all ingredients until combined. Zap in microwave for 15 seconds if needed to further soften the cream cheese and make the mixture more pourable. Spread over warm cinnamon rolls.

November 1, 2010

pear tart with gorgonzola-walnut crust

Sweet and salty, refreshing but buttery – this tart takes all the wonderfully complex flavors in a traditional pear, gorgonzola, and walnut salad topped with balsamic vinegar, and turns them into a baked treat appropriate for the warm holiday season and cold weather ahead.

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I always look forward to the end of summer, as it marks the beginning of the season for speckled, golden yellow-skinned, slightly red-flushed Bartlett pears. The creamy, tender white flesh of Bartletts tastes refreshingly sweet when consumed raw in salads or bruschetta, but also holds its shape well in cooked dishes, whether baked in cinnamon butter or poached in red wine.

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(more…)

August 17, 2010

tomato and goat cheese tart

Filed under: cheese,pastry,veggies — Tags: , , , , — Kristen @ 7:44 pm

After more than seven years together, I have discovered that Jay has one truly deep-seated flaw: he hates tomatoes. I, on the other hand, think that big, beautifully colorful, late summer tomatoes are just about the best food that all seasons of fruits and veggies have to offer.

Luckily for me and for our relationship, he took a trip to Boston earlier this summer, which finally gave me the opportunity to make this gorgeous full-sized French tomato and goat cheese tart.

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Truth be told, I had been lusting after this particularly simple tart ever since David Lebovitz first shared the recipe back in May. But the tomatoes in San Francisco weren’t quite at their peak yet, and I soon found myself buried in outlines and practice exams covering the 17 subjects that are “fair game” on the California bar exam.

Nevertheless, once Jay took off for Boston, I splurged on some particularly red and fragrant tomatoes and knew it was tart time.

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But first, I snacked. The tomatoes were too tempting. (more…)

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