Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Words and Flavors

I'm languishing in a sea of flavors and words. Presently I'm working on the two articles due on friday- after a fair bit of flips and flops I ended up with a Broiled Fig Salad (with tart green apple slices and toasted pine nuts , arugula-butter lettuce mix, and drizzled with a balsamic honey vinaigrette). Roasted Chicken in a pomegranate barbecue sauce on Israeli Couscous for the main. Ending off with a Greek Honey Cake which is super sweet due to the honey syrup the cake soaks in. I added orange extract to the syrup for a bright and sunny finale. This is my Jewish New Year menu.
For the After School Snacks piece I included the Honey Peanut Butter Cookie recipe, an Apple Oameal muffin recipe, and a Yogurt Ranch Dip for crudite- tasty, wholesome, homey fare that aims to soften and sweeten the sharp and pointy edges of a long day at school.
I've started my marathon baking for the Cake Party on Saturday. I'm going with the southern motif of a Cake Party on a hot summer's afternoon, by complementing the cakes and pies with homemade lemonade and sweet tea. I can cross the banana cupcakes, the buttermilk pound cake, and the Caffe Latte cheesecake off of my list. Tomorrow's baking roster includes whipped key lime pie, a dense chocolate tart, and a pecan peach upside down cake.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's Already August?

The pace is picking up as back-to-school and the Jewish High Holidays are coming up on us. Can't believe that more than half of summer is over, gone, done with. I was assigned 2 articles for the September issue- One on afterschool snacks (peanut butter cookies, lemon cornbread with honey butter, and a yogurt ranch dip for cut-up veggies)- I have already tried all these recipes, except I made lemon cornmeal cookies which were sunny and sweet and simple and summery. I'll give it an Autumnal makeover by making it into lemon cornbread and the honey butter will be seasonally relevant.
The other piece is on a Rosh Hashana - New Year meal. I've been thinking quite a bit about this menu, and honestly- I feel slightly out of my league. Moving forward: I'm thinking a vaguely middle eastern/sephardic flavored/early Autumn meal. A salad of roasted figs and pear chips and pomegranate kernels in a honey balsamic vinaigrette, to begin with. Then pomegranate glazed chicken with a moroccan toasted couscous with a honey citrus dressing (adapted from the wholefood's recipe). Dessert will be a citrus scented Baklava. Great- now get busy and start testing.
Closely following the articles' deadline comes the CakeQuake for McMunch's b'day. I decided to make it an open house and have sort of narrowed down the cake list to: Banana cupcakes with a chocolate frosting and decorated to look like Monkey's with strategically placed cookies and M&M's. Cafe Latte Cheesecake. Coconut Layer Cake (More about this in a future post). A good old fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake (3 layers). Peach Pecan Upside Down Cake- because the idea of a Saturday afternoon Cake Party just feels so southern. Whipped Key Lime Pie for the non-phonies. A Buttermilk Pound Cake- ripe raspberries and strawberries and fresh whipped cream served alongside. Butterscoth pudding in shot glasses.
Also been working on The Cookbook. Had a few winners in the past couple of weeks: Cornflake Chicken, a really refreshing watermelon feta salad, a reduced fat but full flavored Tuna Noodle Casserole, Ground Turkey Bimbimbop (The Korean take on the composed salad), an applicious fresh berry terrine. OK- back to my kitchen unorder.

Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp.baking soda
1/4 tsp. groung ginger
6 tbsp. softened butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. In medium bowl whisk together first four ingredients. In separate bowl, beat on med. speed butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix well. Beat in lemon juice, zest, and vanilla. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until just incorporated. Spoon batter with a kitchen tbsp. onto parchment lined bake sheet about 3 inched apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges.