Food Buzz


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Baking and motivation

I have had a hard time getting motivated to write this blog the last few weeks.  I have had finding work on my mind, as well as oh just a few current world events...  I've also been kind of frustrated with my photo taking ability.  I've been submitting some of my "good" photos to such sites as and but nothing is getting published because of "composition" issues (way to be vague!). Compared to some of the better food blogs, my pictures are fine but not exceptional and this is because they are not taken by a SLR camera so... I get it.  But I am allowed to stew and bake goodies to cheer myself up, right?

So, I have been baking a lot and wanted to share some of my favorites.  Baking has gotten me motivated to eat really well, go running and hiking and to give away most of my baked goods to friends, family and even prospective employers. So, I am feeling great.

Here are some of the delicious treats I've come up with in the last couple of weeks:

William Sonoma overnight cinnamon rolls

Made these when I stayed over at my sister's place - we finished 6 of them between three of us.  They were darn good!
before icing....

...after icing.
Blueberry muffins

And finally, I will share a recipe I adapted from The Naptime Chef for Oatmeal chocolate chip coconut cookies.  I have made two versions of these in the last week - one to share with some friends who needed a "pick me up" (made with cranberries instead of chocolate chips) and one to wow a prospective employer (chocolate worked here)!  They are really good, on the healthy side (I played around with adding applesauce instead of LOADS of butter and limiting granulated sugar...also substituting some whole wheat flour for the all purpose.)  They are still really good and virtually guilt free.  So enjoy!

Oatmeal chocolate chip coconut cookies:
1 c all purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda
½ c room temperature unsalted butter
½ c unsweetened apple sauce
1 c light brown sugar, packed
¼ c granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 c mini chocolate chips (or dried cranberries or raisins or nuts)
1 c sweetened shredded coconut
1 c oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets w/parchment paper or a silpat.

Blend flours and baking soda in a small bowl, then set aside.

In a mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add salt.  With mixer on low, add eggs one at a time until each is blended.  Add vanilla.

Add flour in thirds until incorporated (scrape bowl as needed). Using a spatula, fold in chocolate chips, coconut and oats (separately).

Place rounded tablespoons full of batter 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.  Bake for 16-18 minutes until edges are golden brown (don’t overcook – they will firm up after cooking).

Makes 40-45 cookies.

What are some of your favorite sweet treats?  What gets YOU motivated - I'd love to hear your thoughts so feel free to share.

Chow for now!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What?! You've never had a Meyer lemon?

I saw gorgeous Meyer lemons at the farmers market this past week and knew I had to use them to make something amazing in honor of my mom's visit all the way from freezing cold NY -- I wanted to give her a little bit of LA sunshine.  Little did I know just how much sunshine she would need while she was here.  Between the snowflakes falling in Studio City and the nasty cold bug going around, I realized it would take a very special dessert (made with mom's favorite ingredient) to bring her some warmth.  Stuck on what delicious Meyer lemon-y dessert to make, I of course asked the "twitterverse" and my favorite bloggers for help.

Luckily @squirellbread came through - Heather provided me with the first recipe idea and I loved it because I would be going outside my usual comfort zone of plain old cookies or cakes.  This recipe would require I make lemon curd...from scratch.  Never did it before and will definitely do it again!

Meyer Lemon Kisses
makes 14-16 kisses

For the kisses:
2 eggs
1/4 c superfine sugar
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1/4 c AP flour
1/2 t baking powder
additional sugar, to sprinkle*

7 fl oz heavy whipping cream

Meyer Lemon Curd (recipe below)
For the Meyer lemon curd:
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 T cornstarch
1/2 c water
1/2 c freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
2 egg yolks, room temperature
zest of 2 Meyer lemons
1 1/2 oz butter, cubed

For the Kisses:

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric hand or stand mixer on high until the mixture resembles a thick stable foam and a mark from a spoon dragged through the middle doesn’t disappear [mine took fifteen minutes]. Add the lemon zest and continue beating until well combined. Sift in the flour and baking powder and very gently fold the flour in with a large spoon.

Gently drop tablespoonfuls of mixture onto the lined baking sheets to form approximately 28-32 even sized rounds, leaving some room for spreading. Sprinkle the tops with a little sugar (*I used sparkling sugar for a little crunch, but you can use what you have on hand).

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until light golden and spring back with a light touch. Remove to a rack covered with clean dry paper towels and allow to cool.

Whip the cream and combine with a couple tablespoons of lemon curd to taste.

A few minutes before serving place two of the halves together with a spoonful of the lemon curd-flavored cream and a little extra lemon curd.

For the Meyer lemon curd:

Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1 up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine sugar, cornstarch, water, juice and yolks in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. [Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of and slightly in the saucepan without touching the water.] Stir mixture until all the sugar has dissolved. Continue to heat gently until the mixture has thickened somewhat. (this step took me a while because my bowl was resting just on top of the pot... it's important to get your curd to reach 160 degrees in order to cook the eggs safely, so do check the temperature occasionally.)

Remove from the heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Whisk in the lemon zest and butter cubes, and continue to cook in the bowl until a fairly thick consistency has been reached.

Pour into a plastic container and use as required above. Extra lemon curd keeps well in a tightly sealed container up to two weeks in the refrigerator. It will keep even longer in the freezer, and bonus: it doesn’t freeze solid, so you can scoop out what you want, when you want!

They came out really good - however, I realized that the cookies should be eaten soon after making them, as I transported mine in layers of parchment in a plastic container and they got too soft.  I would prefer my cookies to be a little more stiff to hold up to the whipped cream and curd filling.  Next time I will cook them a minute or two longer for more crunch and if I must, eat them immediately. :)

My curd did not get as thick as I wanted. It was less the consistency of lemon pudding and more like a lemon sauce.  But since it wasn't going into a lemon meringue pie, I didn't care. AND it tasted really delicious.  Meyer lemons have the flavor of a regular lemon mixed with an orange - a little sweeter flavor, a softer skin and very juicy.  Using a Meyer lemon instead of a conventional lemon meant tangy lemon goodness with a sweet edge. The curd that I have left will taste great over pound cake, ice cream or just by itself!  The Meyer lemont just screams summer, which is a lovely thing to "hear" in the winter, even in LA.  I think mom can attest to this.

What are some of your favorite uses for lemon?  Please share with me!

Chow for now! :)