What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: No Yeast Beer Bread! Never in my wildest dream did I ever realize there would be a shortage of all-purpose flour and yeast. Yet, the grocery store shelves were bare. I don’t know if it had anything to do with panic-buying during the coronavirus quarantine or if people were baking up a storm in isolation. Homemade bread is a comfort food, after all. Kneading dough can be a distraction from stay-at-home kids and social media rants. Plus the incredible aroma of bakery bread is soothing and rewarding. So, the obvious answer was to go to the fridge and open a can of beer. Beer acts as a leavening agent, as long as baking powder is included in the recipe. For those who wonder, the alcohol does burn out and evaporate. Now the results are a more dense and heavy bread with a thicker crust, just so you know. Personally, I like the crunchiness of toast better that way. Then again, it could be the result of “bathing” it in butter before baking. Let’s jam with beer bread!
NO YEAST BEER BREAD
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
12-ounces beer, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and sea salt. Stir until mixed. Add the beer, stirring until the dough forms. Set aside. Warm the butter in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Brush the parchment paper on bottom and sides of the loaf pan. Spoon the dough into the buttered loaf pan. The dough will have a rustic appearance. Brush the remaining butter evenly over the top of the dough. Bake for 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. The bread will be a golden brown. Remove pan from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Invert pan to remove the beer bread. Slice and serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Jelly Roll Cake! Sweetness never tasted so good. The best part about this classic cake recipe is the filling can be whatever flavor you wish it to be. I used all-natural Red-Cherry Swiss Preserves for a fruit flavor resulting in a gourmet experience. It created an international glimpse of Switzerland without setting foot on an airplane.
JELLY ROLL CAKE
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup almonds, sliced
2/3 cup jelly or jam, any flavor
Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and line a 10″x15″ jelly roll pan. Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored, about 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar, water, and almond extract. Mix thoroughly. Add flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended and no lumps remain. Pour into pan and sprinkle with almonds. Bake 12-15 minutes. Loosen cake from pan and invert onto a tea towel generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. While cake is hot, roll up. Refrigerate one hour. Unroll cake and top with jelly or jam, spreading to edges. Roll up cake again, sprinkle with powdered sugar, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate two more hours before serving.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Quick-Set Party Cheesecakes! You’re stopping by a friend’s house later on and were asked to bring something delish. These miniature cheesecakes are super-easy and can be whipped up in a few minutes first thing in the morning. They refrigerate while you’re at work or the gym, so no worries there. Top with fresh fruit, seedless jam, chocolate bits, or candied ginger. Dust with powdered sugar for a professional finish. Another one-bite wonderful dessert can be found in the Fruit Tart recipe at the following link.
QUICK-SET PARTY CHEESECAKES
24 mini cupcake liners
24 Nilla wafers
2 8-ounce packages Neufchâtel cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
Fresh Fruit, Chocolate Chips, or Candied Ginger
Preheat oven to 350°. Beat Neufchâtel cheese and sugar. Add eggs, beating well. Fold in lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. Put 1 Nilla wafer in each. Fill with 1 heaping tablespoon of cheese mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours. Garnish with assorted toppings.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Raspberry Pistachio Brie! If you need a reason to make an appetizer, read on. It works beautifully as Brie for brunch, a romantic “date night” for two, or a festive dessert while sipping on espresso. Think about it. The cheese itself is so creamy, with a slight robust flavor. The skin can be chewy. Either you like it or you don’t. The raspberry jam has a remarkable sweetness that pairs well with the nuttiness of pistachios. Everyone wins.
RASPBERRY PISTACHIO BRIE
8-ounce wheel of Brie cheese
1 tablespoon sea salt butter, softened
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350°. Unwrap the Brie wheel. Lightly score the top so the skin can absorb the ingredients. Transfer the wheel to an ovenproof dish. Spread the sea salt butter over the top of the cheese. Layer with dollops of raspberry jam. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and gooey. Remove baked Brie from the oven. Serve warm with slices of lightly buttered baguette toast.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: PB, Bacon & Jam Burger! Let the debate begin over peanut butter on a hamburger or an American cheese slice…because you can’t have both. Bacon gets to stay since everyone loves bacon. Amirite?! Peanut butter’s nutty taste actually compliments the beef patty. And it’s salty enough to take the place of cheese. The strawberry jam, with a sprinkling of hot pepper flakes, tickles the taste buds at the back of your throat making it an insanely good experience. I’m kind of a snob now that I’ve tasted brioche buns. Their buttery flavor, and the fact that they keep everything contained, is worth the cost difference. Are we good? Then carry on without regrets.
PB, BACON & JAM BURGER
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons natural peanut butter, creamy variety
1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
4 tablespoons strawberry jam
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
8 slices bacon, cooked until crispy
4 lettuce leaves
4 brioche hamburger buns
Combine ground beef, sea salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Divide meat into four equal portions. Flatten into hamburger patties. Set aside. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine the natural peanut butter with sriracha sauce. Stir until smooth. Grill burgers for 4 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F. To build-the-burger, layer two strips of bacon on the bottom bun. Place the hot hamburger patty over the bacon. Immediately spread the peanut butter mixture on top. It will begin to soften and melt. Drop a dollop of strawberry jam on top. Sprinkle red pepper flakes into the jam, if desired. Finish with a lettuce and the top of the brioche bun. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Country Casual Cravings: Jam Pockets! Here’s a versatile quick recipe that makes a wonderful dessert, breakfast pastry, or afternoon snack. Prepared pie crusts or pizza dough from the dairy case in the supermarket can be used. Plus, any flavor of fruit jam will complement the smooth creamy filing inside. Although I didn’t add them here, I think sliced almonds would make a nice addition as well. The buttery crust serves as a nice “pocket” for the burst of fruity sweetness inside. Try as I might, it’s a challenge to stop at just one. Perhaps I won’t.
1 refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on package
4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup four-fruit jam
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out refrigerated pie crust to 1/4-inch. Cut into twelve 3-inch rounds. Set aside. In a bowl, combine Neufchâtel cheese, almond extract, and powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. Drop a teaspoon of cheese mixture into the center of each round. Top with a dollop of fruit jam. Brush the inside edges with beaten egg; fold in half. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Brush top and bottom with more egg wash; dust both sides with sugar. Pierce the top of each pocket. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat steps for remaining jam pockets. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet. Cool slightly. Serve the reserve creamed cheese mixture as a dipping sauce.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Juicy Peach Rose Tarts! With the holidays around the corner, take a moment to consider this star attraction on the dessert table. Talk about the “WOW” factor! Peach Rose Tarts work well for morning coffee, family pitch-ins, office parties, social gatherings, birthday celebrations, Date Night, and more. Since they are made in a muffin tin with a few simple ingredients, it’s practically effortless. Once again, the crust is made with prepared puff pastry. You choose the fruit: apples, peaches, plums, pears, or nectarines. No matter the season, no matter the occasion, you’ll come away feeling like a pastry chef.
JUICY PEACH ROSE TARTS
1 box puff pastry, thawed and each sheet cut lengthwise into strips, finishing with 6 strips per sheet
1/3 cup apricot jam
5-6 ripe peaches, thinly sliced into half moons with skin on
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick oil. Set aside. Slice the peaches as thin as possible. Transfer to a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle with a few drops of water. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Microwave on High for 15 seconds. This makes the peaches flexible enough to roll. Take one strip of puffed pastry dough. Spread it with a thin layer of apricot jam. It acts as an adhesive. Layer peaches on left side of each strip, slightly overlapping with the skin edge off the pastry. It will resemble half moons. Fold the other side of the pastry to seal. Beginning at the bottom, tightly roll the stuffed peach pastry into a flower. Transfer to the prepared muffin tin. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly before dusting with powdered sugar.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Vanilla Pineapple Jam! I learn so much by following other foodies. My friend, Lathiya, featured this aromatic recipe on her blog recently. I never thought of adding vanilla to pineapple. The results are amazing! Shout out to her for more photos at http://www.lathiskitchen.org/2018/02/23 and a tasty fruit combination to smear on your morning toast or Greek yogurt. It’s Yumolicious!
VANILLA PINEAPPLE JAM
2 cups pineapple chunks, drain juice if using canned
3/4 cup sugar
3 discs sugared ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Using a 9-inch saucepan, combine pineapple chunks and sugar over medium-high heat to boil. Reduce to low and continue cooking. Gently mash the chunks with a fork as pineapple softens. Add sugared ginger, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Cook until mixture becomes jam, about 20 minutes. Add lemon juice; stir and cook 10 minutes longer. Jam will begin to thicken. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before transferring to a jar. Store covered in the refrigerator.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Chow Down: Buttered Plum Galette! You don’t have to be a perfectionist to create the perfect galette. The whole idea is to make it appear rustic and charming. By forming an irregular pie crust, it conjures images of the bucolic countryside we often yearn for in an unpolished way. This is how plain country kitchens capture that homey feeling. You can, too. Indeed, the Buttered Plum Galette is as delicious as it sounds.
BUTTERED PLUM GALETTE
Ingredients for Crust:
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, cold
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons ice water
Ingredients for Plum Filling:
4 medium-size plums, stone removed and sliced thin
1/3-1/2 cup mulberries, or blackberries
Scant lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/3 cup plum jam, slightly warmed
3 tablespoons butter
1 egg yolk
Recipe makes two individual galettes. Preheat oven to 425°. Using a food processor, pulse cold butter, flour, and salt to the size of small peas. Sprinkle in ice water one tablespoon at a time until dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Remove wrap and place dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut in half. Roll each half into an 8” circle. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Beginning in the center, spiral plums like a fan. Be sure to leave a border. Top with berries. Fold edges of dough toward the center, creating a rustic crust. Press gently to seal. Repeat for second galette. Sprinkle fruit with lemon juice. Cover fruit with sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom. Spread plum jam over fruit. Dot with butter. Whisk together egg yolk and a little water. Brush the egg wash along the edges of the dough. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° but do not remove galettes. Bake an additional 45 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer the buttered plum galettes from the baking sheet by lifting with the parchment paper. Cool on wire rack to keep the bottoms from getting soggy. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.