Saturday, May 18, 2013

Strawberry Coffee Cake

I got this via Joy the Baker who received the recipe from a good ol' southern cookbook, Panache at Rose Hill.  Either way, it's now in my hands.  Thank you, Universe!

The original recipe called for only one cup of strawberries.  I scoffed at that and made it two cups, with an extra tablespoon of butter in the crumble topping.  The adjusted version is below.


2 heaping cups sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a few drops of almond extract (optional)

4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, water and cornstarch in a small saucepan.  Cook over low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and strawberries are soft and a little broken down.  Set aside to cool.

Grease and flour a 10×10-inch or 11x9 (what have you) baking dish, knocking out excess flour, and set aside.

To make the coffee cake:

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla extract, and almond extract if you’re using it.

Sift dry ingredients together.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter in 3 parts alternating with the sour cream in 2 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat just until combined.

To make the streusel topping:

Combine all the topping ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly.  Set aside.

Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan.  Spread the cooled strawberry mixture over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter onto the strawberries and spread evenly.  Top with streusel topping and bake in the upper third of the oven.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Garden Pesto

Ok guys.  This is one of those recipes where you're going to have to trust your own taste.  Make it to your own liking, and the more leafy greens you can find and throw in, the better!

It's best if you can find a variety of greens:  kale, chard, parsley, basil, chives, garlic scapes, broccoli leaves, almost anything will work.  Just don't throw in lettuce because that would be boring and soggy.  If you do use kale or chard, strip the leaves from the tougher stems, and toss the stems (or compost, as I'm now learning!)


Handfuls of your favorite greens, which can include any of the above-mentioned greens
Couple cloves of garlic
Parmesan or Romano, grated
Olive oil


Toast the walnuts lightly in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Keep an eye on the walnuts and move them around the pan regularly to barely-toast them, and remove from heat when done.  Set aside.

Place the peeled garlic cloves in the food processor, add in the toasted walnuts, and pulse to chop.  If they're getting stuck, drizzle in a little olive oil to loosen.  Add in the greens, a handful at a time.  Drizzle in the olive oil, and add a little salt until the greens, walnuts, and garlic are full blended together, and the sauce is loose enough to spoon over veggies, pasta, or some grilled chicken.  Use your own judgement here, and add just enough oil and salt till you're satisfied and proud to show off your awesome alternative-pesto making skills to friends and family!

When using the pesto for pasta, keep a cup of pasta water around, and after the pasta drains, place the pasta in a bowl and loosen the noodles a bit with the pasta water, then toss with the pesto and shave some fresh Romano or Parmesan on top.  The pasta water is key here to help spread the pesto-loving to all noodles.