Exciting Happenings in the Kindle Store

Hello readers!
Just a quick post to let you know that I’ve published the e-book from the Modernizing Markham project in the Kindle Store. It has all the recipes, plus lots of suggested readings, information on book and culinary history, and some insights about what I learned from blogging and tweeting about historic materials.
The book will also be available as a print on demand book, in the iBookstore, and in the Nook bookstore in the coming weeks and months as things get finalized through Lulu.

Also, this blog is now available as a Kindle subscription.

Happy reading!

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies

These cookies are adapted from an old Betty Crocker cookbook recipe for butter cookies. I changed it up to wrap the cookies around cherries and dip them in my favorite chocolate spread (you could also use melted chocolate). I make them around the holidays, but they are great any time of year!

 

¾ c powdered sugar
½ cup margarine or butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla
1 ½ c all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 small jar maraschino cherries
1 jar Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)

 

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Place cherries on a towel to drain.
-Cream sugar, margarine, and vanilla in a bowl. Stir in flour and salt until dough holds together (if it becomes dry and crumbly, add 1 to 2 tbsp milk).
-For each cookie, take about a tablespoon of dough and flatten it slightly, and place a cherry inside. Wrap the dough around the cherry, making sure it surrounds the cherry completely.
-Do this for each cookie, until the dough is gone. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake 12 to 15 minutes.
-Remove cookies from oven and let cool slightly. Spread Nutella on top of each cookie like a frosting.

Solstice Jam

I love to make foods that celebrate the seasons, and with the coming of longer days, I thought I would celebrate the sun with two brightly-flavored and floral foods: Meyer lemon and strawberry. Lemons are in season right now (and so are strawberries) so I was able to track down both from local growers. Delicious!

Solstice Jam (Yield: 2 pints)

1 large Meyer lemon
1 cup water
4 c strawberries
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c sugar

-Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
-Meanwhile, cut the tops off the strawberries and cut them into quarters. Add to the pot.
-Add the zest and juice of the lemon.
-Add the salt and sugar, and stir to combine.
-Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired thickness (it took me about 35 minutes).
-Cool and spoon into jars. You can then process it in a hot water bath or, if you’ll be eating it right away, just stick it in the fridge.

Easy Fig and Shitake Pizza

Normally, when I make any bread-y item, I make the dough from scratch. But sometimes, when Chris and I are buying groceries, we look at the pizza dough in the refrigerated case and decide to snag some for a meal. Today, I was at the grocery store and decided I would take shortcut for lunch and get some pre-made dough. You can use your own favorite dough recipe here, or get some from a pizza place or the store. If you go the pre-made route, this whole thing takes about 30 minutes, so is definitely something I’ll be cooking on a weeknight once the semester starts back up! You can adjust the amount of toppings depending on your tastes, or substitute other wild mushrooms in the sauce. I serve this alongside a simple green salad with a glass of wine!

Fig and Shitake Pizza
6 figs, thinly sliced
8 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
16 oz pizza dough (I used 5 grain)

For the sauce:
1/2 c whole milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter
8 0z shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
fresh cracked pepper
salt
1 1/2 tbsp AP flour

-Preheat the oven to 350. Put an upside down baking sheet in the oven to heat up (you can also use a baking stone or tile, which is ideal).
-Roll or toss the dough into a circle or rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick (you can adjust this depending on how thin you like your crust).
-Spread a thin layer of cornmeal on the warmed baking sheet.
-Coat a baking peel (or another upside down baking sheet) with a thin layer of cornmeal.
-Set the dough on the peel, open your oven, and slide it onto the warmed baking sheet.
-As the dough begins to cook, prepare your sauce. Melt the butter and oil together in a skillet.
-Add the mushrooms and rosemary and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the mushrooms just begin to soften. Add the salt and pepper.
-Cook for another minute, then sprinkle in the flour.
-Stir to coat and to ensure that all the flour has combined with the fat. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes to remove the raw flour flavor.
-Add the milk slowly, stirring vigorously to avoid lumps. Cook the sauce until it’s the thickness you want.
-Pull your crust out of the oven and top with the slices of mozzarella.
-Pour the sauce over in an even layer.
-Finally, arrange the figs on top and return to the oven.
-Bake for about 20 minutes or until the crust is golden and the figs are soft and slightly wrinkled.

Nourishing Yogurt and Maple Bread

The winters here are less “wintry” than anywhere I’ve lived before, but I still find that I’m wanting to eat a lot of comforting foods even though it’s 70 degrees outside. I have been making my own yogurt for a little while, so I tend to have quite a bit around. I made a double batch this week since I had a friend coming in to town, but there are so many great places to eat that we ended up only consuming a little yogurt. To use it up, I decided to try making yogurt bread for breakfast. My friend gave me some of our shared love (maple syrup) for Christmas, so I added some as an homage to her. The result=delicious!

Maple Yogurt Bread
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp salt
1/4 c pure maple syrup
3-4 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 c wrist-temperature water
1 tbsp active dry yeast

-In a large bowl, whisk together the water, yeast, and syrup until foamy.
-Add the salt and a little flour.
-Add the flour, 1/2 a cup at a time, beating the first addition or two with a whisk before graduating to a wooden spoon. The exact amount you’ll need will depend on any number of factors including the thickness of your yogurt and the humidity in the air.
-Continue adding flour until the dough just begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
-Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin to knead.
-Knead for 5-10 minutes, dusting with more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and springs back when pressed.
-Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a dish towel, and set in a warm place (I put it in the oven with the oven off but the oven light on).
-Allow to rise for about an hour and a half, or until doubled in size.
-After the dough has risen, press it gently to deflate it, then turn it out on a floured surface.
-Knead a few times, then roll it out into a rectangle that is about an inch narrower than your loaf pan and about 12 inches long. If you feel like making this a cinnamon swirl bread, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on one side of the dough at this point.
-Beginning at one end, roll the dough up, pressing gently to seal after each turn.
-Once it is rolled, press the loose end to seal it, tuck the edges under, and set it in the (lightly oiled) loaf pan.
-Allow to rise (covered) for about 30 minutes.
-Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
-Bake your bread for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
-Enjoy!

Pumpkincello

Inspired by this recipe, I have been infusing pumpkin in vodka for about a week. I thought about using it as-is, but I’ve been on a big limoncello kick lately so I wondered if I could make a pumpkin-y beverage for fall. Indeed, you can! If you remember my previous post on limoncello, I made a creamy version which was delicious (it’s mostly gone now). This pumpkincello is pretty incredible too: I toasted the spices and added them to the creamy simple syrup, but you can also put them in with the pumpkin to infuse if you want your spice flavor to be much stronger. As an added bonus, roast your pumpkin seeds with maple sugar and salt for a tasty snack.

Update: A very good question was raised that I neglected to mention: refrigeration! Definitely store the finished product in the fridge. I let mine steep outside of the fridge and it came out fine, but if you are worried about it you can definitely store it in the fridge for every step. I feel like it will keep longer if you do it this way. I’m starting on another batch and planning to store it in the fridge as it steeps just to be extra cautious!

Pumpkincello infusing. I had two tiny pumpkins, hence the color variation.

1 pie pumpkin
1 liter vodka (depending on the size of your container and your pumpkin, you may have some left over)
12 allspice berries
1 green cardamom pod
1 cinnamon stick
grating of fresh nutmeg
2 c whole milk or soymilk (can replace with water for non-creamy drinks)
1 c sugar

-Cut up the pumpkin. Remove the seeds (I rinse them and toast them, but you do what you want). Reserve the flesh and strings.
-Put the flesh and strings into a non-reactive container, and pour vodka over them to cover.
-Let sit for at least a week (the longer it sits, the stronger it gets).
-After your vodka is infused, pour it through a strainer to remove the pumpkin. You can strain it again through cheesecloth if tiny pumpkin bits in your drinks bother you.
-Toast the spices in a cast iron skillet until fragrant, and put in a saucepan.
-Add the sugar and milk and heat over medium-low to medium (stir occasionally) until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
-Strain the spices from the milk, then add to the vodka. Pour into pint jars for holiday gifts or be selfish like me and hoard it all in a larger bottle in your fridge!

This recipe is on Punk Domestics!

Creamy Pumpkincello