29 January 2014

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake - Depression Cake - Vegan Cake


My husband often asks me, as he loads the dishwasher, why everything I make takes so many bowls, pans and utensils. So I decided to make a one-bowl cake, using just a bowl, a whisk, a pan, two measuring cups and two measuring spoons. It's a cake, with no eggs or dairy, that was called "depression cake" during the Great Depression when eggs and dairy products were often hard to come by. Now we can just call it a vegan cake. Or, maybe, a recession cake.

Anyway ... If my dad were alive, I would not be making this cake for him or even talking to him about it. Even though The Depression was ancient history, he could still get pretty riled up about it. As I mentioned in my Vegan Applesauce Spice Cake post two years ago, if the subject came up and my mother (whose family had not experienced the same hardships his had) said anything at all, he would have to tell her once again (loudly and at length) that she didn't know anything about it. I can still see that vein popping out ... and me thinking "Here we go again!"

But back to the cake ... Back then, a dusting of powdered sugar might have been quite extravagant. But since this is just the Great Recession rather than the Great Depression, maybe we can splurge on a little whipped cream or buttercream frosting (unless you're vegan)? Please leave a comment about the cake, that era, vegan cooking, stuff your parents argued about, anything at all! 


PS I saved a piece for three days, just for test purposes, and it was still fresh and fabulous! I had thought it might dry out since it has no eggs.




One-Bowl Chocolate Cake - Depression Cake - Vegan Chocolate Cake

(Makes one 8-inch round layer)

1 1/3 packed cups (6.67 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water (or cold coffee, if you have it)
1/3 cup organic canola oil (I know, I know, they didn't have organic canola oil back then!)
1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 Grease, grease and flour, or spray with cooking spray one 8-inch round 2-inch deep cake pan (Don't even bother with shallow cake pans!). And a circle of parchment paper in the bottom will ensure successful removal from the pan, if you have that concern. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Note: If you want to get fancy and make a sweet little layer cake (the size I make for an afternoon tea), divide the batter between two 6-inch round 2-inch deep cake pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

2 In 2-quart bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously for about a minute, or until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Run a knife through the batter a few times to break up any large air bubbles. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until it tests done with a toothpick.

3 Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto the rack to cool completely.

23 January 2014

Rustic Apple Tart - Sour Cream Pastry



Homemade apple pie is one of my favorite winter desserts. But sometimes it just seems like too much trouble. You know what I mean? Rolling out two crusts, peeling and slicing all those apples, making a pretty crimped edge. I just wasn't up for all that today. 

The solution? A little rustic tart. The rustic tart is quicker and easier than a double-crust pie or tart. You can make it free-form on a baking sheet, as I did for my Rustic Peach Tart, or make it in a 9-inch glass pie plate.

Just make the same amount of dough you would for any 9-inch single-crust pie, but roll it a bit larger to about 14 inches. Center it in the pie plate, not worrying about evening up the ragged edges, pour in the filling, and then bring that raggedy overhanging pastry up over the apples.

I hope you'll leave a comment and perhaps explore more of Delightful Repast while you're here. If you see something you like, be sure to Pin It, tweet it, whatever-social-media-you-have it.   

Apple Galette / Crostata / Rustic Tart

(Makes one 8.5-inch round tart, 6 servings)

Sour Cream Pastry 


1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream, plus a little more if needed 

Filling

1 1/2 pounds (about 4 medium) apples*
1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

Pinch salt 

*I usually use half each of two varieties; such as, Fuji and Pink Lady, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious, or Braeburn and Pippin. 

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. With coarse grater over bowl, shred the butter over the flour. (Don't try to shred the very last--you'll shred your fingers; just cut it up.) Stir with a large dinner fork, making sure all the shredded butter is coated with flour. Mixture should be very chunky.



2 With the fork, stir in the sour cream. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together and there isn't a lot of dry flour in the bowl, you've used enough sour cream. If not, either add a bit more or sprinkle on up to a tablespoon or so of cold milk, a teaspoon at a time.

3 Turn the crumbly dough out onto a square of plastic wrap and shape it into a 5-inch disk. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days. 

4 If you've chilled the dough for just 30 minutes or so, you can roll it out without waiting. You'll need to let thoroughly chilled dough stand at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling. Save the square of plastic wrap; you'll be using it again. (I'm very sparing in my use of plastic wrap and like to get as much use out of a piece as possible!) 

5 Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare the filling just before you roll out the pastry. In tiny bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Peel and core the apples, and slice them into a medium bowl. I slice them like this: Peel the apples, cut them in half through the stem end. With a melon baller, remove the core from each half; with paring knife, trim away the peel from the ends. Cut each half in half lengthwise and slice thinly crosswise. You should have about 4 cups. Stir in the sugar mixture. 

6 Lightly flour a square of parchment paper on the counter. Place the disk of dough in the center and sprinkle it lightly with flour. If you like, place the reserved piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough. With floured rolling pin, roll out the disk, rolling from center to edge and rotating by quarter-turns to make a round shape, to a 14-inch circle. Don't worry about ragged edges; this is a rustic tart. 

7 Butter a 9-inch glass pie plate, using about 1/2 teaspoon of butter. Transfer dough to pie plate, paper side up; remove paper. Press dough into the pie plate without stretching, leaving the raggedy-edged overhang untrimmed.



8 Pour in the apple filling in an even layer. Bring the overhang up over the apples a little at a time, sort of "pleating" as you go. Don't try to be cute -- we're going for rustic here! Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 minutes. Can be served from the pie plate or lifted out and placed on a serving plate.


16 January 2014

Classic Cream Scones - No Butter, No Milk, No Egg


Classic cream scones, with heavy cream (also called double cream or whipping cream) replacing the butter and milk, are incredibly light and airy. Since you don't have to spend time working the butter into the flour, these scones come together quickly.

Scones have infinite variations, which works well for me because when I want a scone, I want it now! If I have buttermilk and an egg on hand, I like to make these Scones. If I have gluten-free friends in for tea, I make these Gluten-Free Scones.


The ideal time to make these classic cream scones is after I'm made my Homemade Clotted Cream, which leaves you with a cup of cream that can't be whipped but is perfect in any recipe calling for cream.

Whenever I go out for afternoon tea, there are always two scones, one plain and one with dried fruit. I'm listing the fruit in the recipe, but today I made them without. Last time I made them with dried blueberries and a bit of Meyer lemon zest, other times with dried cranberries and orange zest.


My husband likes it when I brush the tops with a little milk or cream and sprinkle on some coarse organic sugar mixed with lemon or orange zest. How do you like your scones?

Update 12/07/16: For how to throw an afternoon tea party and a roundup of afternoon tea recipes, see Afternoon Tea Party Tips.

Classic Cream Scones - No Butter, No Milk, No Egg


(Makes 12 scones)

1 2/3 dip-and-sweep cups (8.33 ounces/236 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 to 4 tablespoons (1.25 to 1.625 ounces/33 to 46 grams) sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange or Meyer lemon
1/2 cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) currants or other chopped dried fruit
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/236 ml) heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional: Zest of one orange or Meyer lemon mixed with 1 tablespoon coarse sugar to sprinkle on top

1 Preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. In medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in orange zest and dried fruit to coat and separate.


2 Make a well in the center of the flour; pour in the cream and vanilla. Combine with just a few stirs with a fork. With one hand, press dough against sides of bowl, gathering up the loose flour and bringing the dough together. Cut dough into two equal pieces.

3 Line a large baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle two 5-inch circles lightly with flour. Place the two pieces of dough onto the two floured circles on the parchment and gently pat the dough, dusting with flour as needed, into two 5-inch rounds.


4 Cut each round into 6 wedges, dipping your knife or bench scraper in flour between cuts. Pull the wedges out and space them an inch or two apart. Brush the tops with a little milk, cream or melted butter; sprinkle with zest/sugar mixture, if you like. Bake for about 13 minutes, or until golden brown.

Note: To reheat room temperature scones, wrap loosely in foil and heat at 300F/150C/Gas2 for 10 minutes.

09 January 2014

Chicken Enchiladas - Enchiladas de Pollo y Queso


The most memorable chicken enchiladas I ever had were made by my friend Julia many years ago. Unfortunately, she and I have long since lost the recipe. But every couple of years I experiment in hopes of recreating the flavor.

This time I remembered that she had used chicken legs (thigh and drumstick together), so I opted for boneless skinless thighs (organic, of course). This made all the difference. If you always make your enchiladas with chicken breasts as I did, I'm here to tell you, you are missing out on some flavor.


I made these with flour tortillas (Julia's husband doesn't like corn tortillas), but I'm going to make them with white corn tortillas next time just to see how we like them.

Serve these with the classic "combo plate" sides, refried beans and Mexican Rice, along with some hot sauce to heat 'em up and sour cream to cool 'em down. Customizing the flavors and using organic ingredients makes it a meal you can't find in a restaurant.  

Chicken Enchiladas

(Makes 10, 5 servings)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper, any color
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles, drained
8 ounces coarsely shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided
10 9-inch flour tortillas or 12 6-inch corn tortillas

1 Heat skillet and add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to it. When oil is hot, place chicken thighs in skillet and season with about 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, covered loosely, for 12 minutes. Turn chicken and season second side with about 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, covered loosely, for another 12 minutes. Check for doneness; larger thighs might require a few more minutes.

2 Remove the chicken to a dinner plate. Reserve the pan juices to make up part of the 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth. Using two forks, shred the chicken; place in a 1-quart glass measure. You should have 2 to 2 1/2 cups of shredded chicken.

3 In the same skillet (no need to clean it), heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and cook onion for 5 minutes (or longer, if you like). Add bell pepper and continue cooking until tender, about 5 minutes. Add to shredded chicken.

4 In the same skillet (again, no need to clean it), melt the butter and blend in the flour, chili powder, salt, pepper and cumin. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the broth. Return the skillet to the heat and bring the sauce to a simmer. When it begins to bubble, continue cooking and whisking for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

5 Stir 1/2 cup of the sauce, along with the sour cream, diced green chiles and 3/4 cup of the cheese, into the chicken. Taste and adjust seasoning; you might want to add about 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Lightly oil or spray a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Spread 1/2 cup of sauce over the bottom of the oiled baking dish. 




Note: Pictured is the 13x9x2-inch Pyrex baking dish I've had for many years. Unfortunately, unless you find a used one at a garage sale or thrift store, you can't get one of these. For some reason, Pyrex very foolishly switched over to a slant-sided design that is simply not practical. But here is the Anchor Hocking 13x9x2-inch baking dish with lid.

6 Lay out the tortillas and divide the chicken mixture evenly among them (about 1/3 cup each for the 9-inch tortillas and 1/4 cup for the 6-inch). Roll and place them seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Rolled tightly, they will all fit in the dish; you might have to give them a squeeze to fit the last one in. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until an hour before serving time.

7 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with sour 
cream and a squeeze of lime; garnish with cilantro or sliced green onions.


02 January 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins


So many muffins you buy, lemon poppy seed or any kind, are actually cupcakes, loaded with sugar. The reason I often prefer a muffin over a cupcake is that it is supposed to have a lot less sugar. And jumbo muffins? Uh uh, not in my house. If anything, I'll downsize to mini muffins just because they are so cute on the tea table!

I love poppy seeds. Not sure why. I couldn't describe their flavor to save my life. But I love the crunch. Every time I make something with them I think of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine's poppy seed bagel habit made her test positive for opium. Wonder if that could really happen?

If you're not a poppy seed fan, you might like my Blueberry Muffins. Either one is great for breakfast or elevenses. Excuse me while I put the kettle on!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

(Makes 12 muffins)

1 3/4 dip-and-sweep cups (8.75 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon (3 to 4 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a standard 12-muffin tin or line it with paper bake cups. (I prefer to bake muffins in a greased tin, but I just happened to have a dozen of these pretty yellow bake cups.) In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds.

2 In 2- or 4-cup glass measure, melt the butter in the microwave; cool slightly. Whisk in milk, eggs, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add thoroughly mixed wet mixture to thoroughly mixed dry mixture. Mix as little as possible, just until dry ingredients are moistened.

3 Spoon the batter evenly into twelve muffin cups (I use a 1/4 cup measure to fill all the cups, then go back with a spoon to divide the remaining batter). Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in a center muffin comes out clean. Serve warm.

Optional: Make a simple glaze with 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Drizzle over slightly cooled, but still warm, muffins.

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