Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chilled Strawberry and Greek Yogurt Soup

Chilled Strawberry Soup with Greek YogurtWhat do you do when you have a plethora of strawberries and Greek yogurt in the fridge?

Make Strawberry Soup!

Chilled Strawberry and Greek Yogurt Soup
makes about 7 cups

1 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries, cleaned and diced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place diced strawberries in a large bowl and sprinkle with sugar; stir to coat. At this point you can proceed with the recipe right away, but I usually allow the strawberries to macerate for about an hour until they exude their juice (don't discard the juice). Put everything in a blender (juice included) and puree until smooth. Chill before serving.

Now for the design. This is how I made it:
(sorry - no photos, but I'll attempt to draw a diagram for you)

I used a squeeze bottle to add a circle of heavy cream to the top of my cold soup.

Then I swirled a toothpick through the cream in a circular pattern like this. In reality my swirls were much bigger - sorry, I can't draw to save my life, but you'll figure it out.

Voila! Now you try - prepare yourself for all the oooh and ahhhs.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

10 Secrets for making Pizzeria Quality Pizza at Home

ButterYum's Pizzeria PizzaI know, I know... you can't make pizzeria quality pizzas in your humble home oven, right?

Wrong.  You can!!

The best pizza at home, ButterYumLook, no soggy bottom crust here. Oh yeah baby!

You want to make some, don't you? Uh huh, you know you do.
Okay, wipe the drool off your keyboard and pay attention. I'm going to share some of my pizza making secrets with you.

You can thank me later :).

Using a pizza stone, ButterYumSecret #1
Start by placing a baking stone on the 2nd lowest rack position in your oven and preheat it at 475F for an entire hour. I know that sounds like a long time, but trust me, you won't be disappointed when you bite into that crisp bottom crust.

A note on baking stones, aka pizza stones - this particular one is sold by Pampered Chef, but they're available online (see link above), in kitchenware stores, in department stores, and sometimes in grocery stores. They start off very light in color and darken with use. The darker they get, the more "seasoned" they become; developing a non-stick patina - like a cast iron pan. These stones are great for baking bread and cookies too. I highly recommend one for every kitchen.

How to make the best pizza at home, ButterYumSecret #2
I take my blob of risen pizza dough (recipe below) and press it into a 12-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper. This eliminates the need for cornmeal or flour on the bottom of your crust (which I find very icky).

Secret #3
Use a pizza peel to easily transfer the wet, sticky dough to the searing hot baking stone. To easily remove the crust from the oven, just grab a corner of the parchment and pull off the oven shelf, back onto your peel.

Secret #4
I "dock" my dough to keep from developing big air bubbles during the baking process. I use a fork to do this - poking holes all over the portion of the dough that will hold the toppings.

Prebaked Pizza Dough, ButterYumSecret #5
I prebake the naked crust for 7-10 minutes. Note how the undocked edges rose during baking, while the docked center did not.

Secret #6
I brush the edges of the crust with olive oil (I love Boyajian Garlic Oil).

Making pizza at home, ButterYumAdd your favorite jarred or homemade San Marzano Tomato Sauce and toppings. You'll add whichever toppings you like, but I'm a purist - plain ole cheese pizza for me. I do, however, have to doctor it a little bit to mimic the nyc pizzeria pies of my childhood (which just so happens to be my next secret).

NYC Style Pizza at Home, ButterYumSecret #7
I sprinkle a good healthy dose of dried oregano on top of that cheese. Again, trust me, this takes the pizza to an entirely new level. Now back into the 475F oven for another 7-10 minutes.

The Best Pizza Pie, ButterYumSecret #8
Oops, I forgot to get a picture of this step, but when you take your finished pizza out of the oven, brush the edges with a little more olive oil and a light sprinkling of garlic salt. In this particular case, I used garlic flavored olive oil and a sprinkling of Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt (great stuff). Don't worry, the crust will absorb the oil so your fingers won't get too greasy, and it helps to keep the edges from being too dry.

How-To Pepperoni Pizza, ButterYumHubby and the kids are pepperoni pizza fans. If hubby had his way, there would be 2 or 3 times more pepperoni on this pizza.

The Best Pizza Cutter, ButterYumSecret #9
A while back I shared a tip about cutting brownies - you remember, use a plastic knife because the brownies won't stick to it? Same theory applies here - this Oxo Pizza Cutter is designed for non-stick bakeware, but an added bonus is the fact that melted cheese doesn't stick to the wheel.  Nothing worse than using a cutter that pulls all the stringy melted cheese off your pizza, so I purchased this cutter the second I saw it at the store. It works perfectly and leaves all that wonderful cheese in place.

Pizza on Parchment, ButterYumSecret #10
(last one)
If you don't have a pizza peel to transfer your pizza to and from the oven, you can use a flat cookie sheet or an upside down sheet pan like the one I used above.  A splatter screen works well too.

I hope you'll give try some of my secrets the next time you make homemade pizza. Enjoy!

ButterYum's Pizza Dough
makes one 12-inch pie

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons tepid water, if using a bread machine to make the dough (use 110-115F water if using a stand mixer)

To make dough in a bread machine:
Add the ingredients to your bread machine following your manufacture's instructions. Mine says to add the water first, then olive oil, half of the flour, sugar, salt, remaining flour, and finally the yeast. Set the machine for the Pizza Dough cycle (about an hour in my machine).

To make dough in a stand mixer:
Heat water to between 110-115F; add sugar, and yeast. Proof yeast mixture for 5 minutes. Put dry ingredient into mixer fitted with a dough hook; add yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix on low until ingredients are moistened. Increase to speed 2 and knead for 5 -10 minutes.

To make dough in a food processor:
Add dry ingredients, yeast mixture, and olive oil to the work bowl fitted with either the dough blade or metal chopping blade. Mix until a ball forms, turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 -10 minutes.

To make dough by hand:
Combine ingredients in a bowl until a ball forms, turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 10-15 minutes.

To let dough rise: (this is a good time to preheat your oven to 475F) Place dough in a large oiled bowl and allow it to double in size; 30-60 minutes. Place risen dough onto parchment paper and press it into a 12-inch circle. Dock dough with fork. Prebake 7-10 minutes. Brush edges with oil; add toppings. Return to oven to bake an additional 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush edges with oil again; sprinkle with garlic salt (lightly).

You can substitute garlic oil/salt for olive oil/garlic salt.

My 2-pound bread machine can make a quadruple batch of dough. Alternately, my stand mixer can make consecutive double batches.

The unbaked dough will stick nicely to the parchment, but the prebaked dough might slide off, in which case you don't really need it anymore, so don't worry about it.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fiesta Corn Salad

Fiesta Corn Salad, ButterYumThis corn salad is made with just a few simple ingredients, but it tastes like a fiesta in your mouth. It's quick to make too - you can throw it together in under 5 minutes. Be sure to use fresh basil - dried basil just doesn't deliver the same flavor.

By the way, did you notice the size of the basil leaves in my salad? They are the itty bittiest things ever. It's a variety of basil called Boxwood Basil; very tiny leaves on a plant that grows like a boxwood bush; originating in France, it's prized for it's wonderful flavor. I love it - found it at the garden center of my local Wal-Mart.

Fiesta Corn Salad
serves 4-6

2 cans sweet corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup Italian Dressing
Lots of fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Toss ingredients together and serve. Note: In the summer I plan to make this salad with fresh corn that has been roasted.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cold Brewed Iced Coffee - Two Ways

Cold Brewed Iced Coffee, Mocha, Frapuccino, ButterYumRefreshingly Delicious Iced Coffee... Hello!

Truth be known, I'm not much of a coffee drinker (unless I'm staying up all night baking a wedding cake), but every now and then I crave a tall glass of delicious iced coffee. Mmmmm.

There are so many recipes out there - most of which call for leftover hot brewed coffee, but I'll let you in on a little secret - cold brewed coffee is considerably less acidic, resulting in a heavenly smooth brew!

The coffee concentrate used to make this iced coffee is very easy to prepare and can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks (or frozen for longer storage, although I seriously doubt you'll need to worry about that).

Before we begin, there's one little problem I have to share with you guys - I can't decide which flavor I like better, plain or mocha, so I'll share both. Here we go.

To make the cold brewed coffee concentrate, you'll need coarsely ground fresh coffee, cold water, and a covered container. Please note - I'm only demonstrating 1/2 of the recipe listed at the end of this post. Scale it up or down to suit your needs.

Start by pouring a little water in the bottom of a suitable container.

Then add half of the ground coffee.

Don't shake or stir the mixture - tap the container to evenly distribute the coffee grounds.

Add more water - tap, tap, tap.

Add the remaining coffee and last little bit of water and tap again if needed. This is what it should look like.

The next step is the easiest... and the hardest.

It's the easiest because all you have to do is cover it and let it sit for 12 hours.

And it's the hardest because all you have to do is cover it and let it sit,
for twelve hours!!!

Time's up. Not a significant change, but the grounds appear to be darker in color.

We're almost done.

Time to strain. I like to do this in two steps, once using a mesh sieve to quickly remove the large coffee grounds.

And then again using a coffee filter to remove the smaller grounds. Be patient - this part will take 10-15 minutes.

Ta-da! Cold brewed coffee concentrate. Now go and make yourself one of these...


Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate
makes 3 cups of concentrate (enough to make 12 tall servings - recipe below)

1/2 pound fresh coffee beans, coarsely ground
4 1/2 cups cold filtered water

In a large container, without stirring, add the following ingredients in the order listed:

1/4 cup water, 1/4 pound coffee, 2 cups water, 1/4 pound coffee, 2 cups water, wait 5 minutes and add remaining 1/4 cup water. Gently tap outside of the container to evenly distribute coffee grounds. Cover and set aside at room temperature, undisturbed, for 12 hours. Strain. Refrigerate concentrate for up to 2 weeks, or freeze in ice cube portions for longer storage. Recipe for iced coffee below.

Iced Coffee - Two Ways
makes 1 tall glass

4 tablespoons cold brewed coffee concentrate
2 tablespoons cold water
2-4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
tall glass of ice
Garnish - whipped cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or chocolate syrup

Combine coffee concentrate, water, and sweetened condensed milk together and pour over a full glass of ice. Now dump it all into a blender and buzz the heck out of it. Garnish if desired. Kick back and enjoy!

To make a mocha version, add 1 tablespoon of Hershey's chocolate syrup.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quick Lemon Mousse

A variation of Martha's Quick Lemon Mousse with Candied Lemon Slices by ButterYumQuick Lemon Mousse - the mere mention of it makes my mouth water. Wow is this good stuff! I first saw the recipe featured during a cooking segment with Lucinda Scala Quinn on Martha's show a couple of weeks ago. It also appears in the May 2010 issue of Everyday Food.

Not only is this recipe incredibly easy to make, but it's pretty flexible too - the directions say you can vary the amount of fresh lemon juice, as well as the amount of unflavored gelatin used, depending on how far in advance you'd like to prepare it. Additionally, I found the amount of sugar in the recipe is also adjustable.

I made my lemon mouse using farm fresh raw cream given to me by a friend - what a treat that was! I garnished the mousse with wild black raspberries and candied lemon slices.
If you love lemon, you'll really want to give this recipe a try!

Pasteurized vs. farm fresh raw creamCheck out the difference between the store bought, ultra pasteurized cream on the left, and the farm fresh raw cream on the right. Sorry for the poor lighting - the photo was taken at night, but you can still see the amazing color difference. Not only is there a huge difference in color, if you look closely you can see the farm fresh raw cream is much creamier in texture.

Everyday Food Quick Lemon Mousse, Martha Stewart, ButterYum
Quick Lemon Mousse
May 2010 issue of Everyday Food, adapted by ButterYum

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes

Makes four 8-ounce servings

1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained (I used 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup cold water
1 packet (or 2 1/4 teaspoons) unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
Pinch Kosher Salt
1 cup cold heavy cream
Fresh berries and candied lemon slices for garnish

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and water; sprinkle gelatin on top and let sit until softened, about 2 minutes. Fill a medium bowl with ice water; reserve. In a small saucepan, combine gelatin mixture, sugar, and salt over medium heat; stir until gelatin and sugar dissolve, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool in ice bath; stirring occasionally until mixture reaches room temp, about 1 minute.

In a large bowl, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add cooled gelatin mixture and continue to whip to desired consistency. Divide among dessert dishes and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes, or chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Garnish and serve.

Note: This recipe can be made in advance by reducing the gelatin to 1 1/2 teaspoons; chill in the fridge for 1 1/2 hours. Truth be known, I sampled some leftover mousse made with the full amount of gelatin that had been refrigerated for several hours - it was a tad on the firm side, but still quite edible and delicious.

How To Make Candied Lemon Slices

Candied lemon slices, rind, peel, skin, ButterYumHow To Make Candied Lemon Slices

How to thinly slice lemons, ButterYumStart by thinly slicing a lemon. You can do this by eye, but it really works best if you slice the lemons very thinly and very evenly. A mandolin is the perfect kitchen tool, but I don't have one so I came up with this trick.

Mandolin substitution, ButterYumI placed my lemon, cut side down, between two wooden skewers, then rested my knife across the skewers as I sliced.

Making Candied Lemon, ButterYumOkay, now it's time to blanch the lemon slices in boiling water for 5 minutes. This softens the rind and reduces bitterness; drain and reserve. In the same saucepan, add fresh water and sugar (recipe below). Stir to dissolve sugar; add the lemon slices and bring to a slow boil. Reduce to a simmer; simmer for 1 hour.

Candied Lemon Slices, ButterYumSpray a cooling rack with non-stick spray and place the individual lemon slices in a single layer, not touching, to dry for 24 hours. Note - these never really dry; they stay sticky, but they will firm up after 24 hours. Store in an airtight container separated with wax paper.

Candied Lemon Garnish, ButterYumChewy, sweet, and oh so pretty - I used these candied lemon slices to garnish a quick and easy Lemon Mousse.

Candied Lemon, ButterYum
Candied Lemon Slices
Printable Recipe
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 cups water to blanch lemon slices

1 cup water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Thinly slice lemon. Blanch in 2 cups boiling water for 5 minutes; drain. In the same saucepan, stir together 1 cup water and 1 1/2 cups sugar; stir to dissolve sugar. Add blanched lemon slices and heat until the mixture starts to boil slightly. Reduce to simmer; simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Remove from heat.

Spray a cooling rack with non-stick spray and place individual lemon slices in a single layer to dry for up to 24 hours. Store in an airtight container separated with wax paper.

Note - the lemon infused sugar syrup can be used to make sorbet, ice tea, etc.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gateau Breton - A French Pound Cake, Shortbread, Pastry-like Treat

Gateau Breton, ButterYum, BoterkoekIt's been crazy for the past few months since I've taken on some extra responsibilities that have proven to be much more time consuming than I had anticipated. Things will eventually settle down again, but for now the workload has kept me from being able to devote much time, if any, to my blog, which indirectly has kept me from being able to bake along with my fellow Heavenly Cake Bakers. I thank Marie for her patience, and for not kicking me out of the group!

Let's see, it's been about 2 months since my last HCBs entry. I've been watching with great interest, even hoping to find the time to pull off one or two of the recipes myself. Quite a few times I gathered all the ingredients, but my plans were always foiled in some way. Either my bananas would over ripen, or my butter would get too warm, or my eggs would sit out for too long, or I'd get tired of working around a huge pile of ingredients for days on end until I'd eventually give up in defeat and put everything away. Sigh.

I had been longing to make last week's St. Honore Trifle for a while, but there was absolutely no time in my week to even consider it. However, after reading all the delicious comments about chilboust cream, I thought I could at least make that part of the recipe, but nope... it didn't happen. Then I considered just making the pile of glorious caramel threads. I have quite a collection of whisks, each with its own specific purpose - I admit I have an abnormal fondness for each and every one of them, so the thought of destroying one was out of the question. No problem, I thought - I'll just get a cheap flimsy one at the grocery store, but the cheapest one was 9 bucks. Needless to say, the caramel threads didn't happen either.

But my dry spell came to an end when I read Marie's description of this week's Gateau Breton and how it was featured on the Quick and Easy list, I felt I finally had a chance to get in the kitchen and rejoin the baking group. The timing worked out very well - we had a school function to attend and each family was asked to bring a side dish and dessert. My Gateau Breton looked stunning nestled among the myriad of premade grocery store cakes and cool whip covered casserole dishes on the dessert table. Sadly, only half of the gateau was sampled - I guess people just don't know a good thing when they see it, but those who were brave enough to take a piece were in for a real treat! We were happy to have leftovers, which were even better the next day served with a dollop of whipped cream.

Rose describes this Gateau as a cross between pound cake and shortbread, but I think the egg wash lends a pastry-like quality as well. We absolutely loved the rich almond taste and texture of this pound cake-shortbread-pastry-like creation. I will most definitely be making it again - perhaps varying the nuts for a different twist - hello pistachio! For anyone interested, I found a pine nut version online.

Substitution - I didn't have any Kirsh or Rum on hand, so I substituted 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract which worked out very well.

Oh, I almost forgot... I was describing this Gateau Breton to a friend from the Netherlands and she thought it sounded just like Dutch Boterkoek. I googled it and sure enough, the similarities between the two are nearly identical. Go figure!

Gateau Breton, ButterYum, Boterkoek

I hope all the moms had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Eastern Redbud in Virginia

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Coffee Toffee Mocha Crunch Ice Cream

I've been craving this amazing ice cream, so I thought I'd republish this blog post so you could enjoy it with me!
easy coffee toffee mocha crunch ice creamWarning...

easy coffee toffee mocha crunch ice creamI can't be held responsible for the lack of self control you might display if you try this dangerously delicious ice cream.

Seriously, if you love coffee, toffee, and chocolate, don't say I didn't warn you.

Here's the quick, no-cook version for those of you who must sample this ice cream immediately. But if you prefer to use a cooked custard base, feel free to add the espresso, toffee, and chocolate to your favorite recipe (see the link below for a fabulous cooked vanilla ice cream recipe by David Lebovitz, author of The Perfect Scoop).

You'll need sugar, heavy cream, half and half, milk, toffee bits, mini chocolate chips, and instant espresso powder (please don't be tempted to use instant coffee granules - I tried them and they taste much more bitter than the espresso powder).

Start by combining the sugar, cream, half and half, milk, and espresso powder; stir until the sugar is completely dissolve. Turn on your ice cream machine and pour in the cream mixture; process according to the manufacturer's instructions.

About 2 minutes before the ice cream is done churning, add the toffee bits and mini chocolate chips. You can eat the semi-frozen ice cream right away, or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours. For best results, eat within 3 days, but I honestly don't think there's a chance it will last that long.


Coffee Toffee Mocha Crunch Ice Cream
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/2 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine sugar, cream, half and half, milk, and instant espresso until sugar is completely dissolved. Turn on ice cream machine before pouring ice cream mix into it. Churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add toffee and chocolate about 2 minutes before the end of the churning cycle. Serve soft or transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Use within 3 days.

You can substitute 4-5 broken Skor or Heath bars for the toffee bits and chocolate chips.
If you prefer to use a cooked custard base, add the toffee, coffee, and chocolate to this Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.

Now for a couple of non-food photos that I'd like to share.

I love this photo - the sky is such a beautiful and ever changing gift!

Yes, the moon and sky were exactly this color when I snapped this shot. It was a cloudy evening and the moon had just started to rise above the horizon - it was breathtaking. Five minutes later the orange glow was gone. I don't recall ever seeing a moon like that before, so I'm so very thankful I had my camera with me that night.

Thanks for visiting!!