Apple, Persimmon, Cranberry Crisp

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Apple Persimmon Cran Crisp
Apple, Persimmon, Cranberry Crisp

I made this crisp for Dave & Phil's Friendsgiving dinner. Rain was falling in Los Angeles so it was definitely fall. Combining my favorite fall flavors with a oatmeal topping was just the ticket.

Fall Crisp collage
Fuyu persimmon (make sure it is a FUYU and not a Hachiya persimmon - Fuyu can be eaten firm, but the Hachiya has to be soft and gooey - you can't sub them in this recipe), apples, and fresh cranberries are perfect fall flavors. I was inspired by Dorie Greenspan's Cran-Apple Crisp recipe. I omitted the coconut and added the kaki (persimmon in Japanese).

Warm fruit is one of my favorite foods in the world. I hope you try this crisp on a cold day this winter.

Apple, Persimmon, Cranberry Crisp
Fruit filling:
2 Gala Apples
1 Fuji Apple
2 Fuyu Persimmon (Must be fuyu - cannot use the hachiya variety of persimmon)
1/2 - 1 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 stick (8 T/4 oz) cold butter

1. Lightly butter 8-9 ramekins. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
2. Make the topping by hand or in a food processor until large clumps form.
3. Peel and chop fruit to bite size pieces. In a large bowl, mix the fruit with sugar and flour. 
4. Fill ramekins with fruit (almost to the top).
5. Squeeze the topping with your fingers as you place it on top of the fruit, making little clumps.
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden and the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges.
7. Remove from oven and let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.
9. Serve alone, with ice cream, or whipped cream.
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Bocce Friday!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bocce Ball
Bocce Ball, Souplantation, and Visiting...

My Black Friday was actually a Bocce Friday! Much better than waiting in line, getting pepper sprayed and fighting for stuff in the store. :)

My high school friend Sonny was in town with his son F from the east coast to visit his family. Yes, high school. We go way, way back. When we didn't have gray hairs. What?! How did we get so old?

Sonny visit - Thanksgiving 2012
We went to the beach with his family but it was totally foggy. I'm a native Southern California girl and complained about the fog and chill...and Sonny laughed at us poor fragile Angelenos. He then described icicles in his nostrils from the New England winter. Okay, he wins.

Sonny's niece A taught me how to play Bocce. Somehow, I've never played before. I got an excellent lesson, and it was a ton of fun. Sonny's family is serious about their Bocce Ball! Check out their form!

F's favorite restaurant is Souplanation (can't find it in New England) so we headed there for lunch. I know foodies may bag on Souplanation, but I have always loved the place. Fast, hella choices, and I love that chicken noodle soup!

Sonny visit - Thanksgiving 2012
Father and son. It's an awesome day after Thanksgiving! Hope you guys come back for a So Cal visit again soon!
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Torrance Turkey Trot 2012

Torrance Turkey Trot 2012
Torrance Turkey Trot 2012

I woke up early on Thanksgiving not with visions of pie in my head, but with running in mind! (well, that's not true, I'm pretty much always thinking about dessert ;)

Thanksgiving morning started with the Torrance Turkey Trot! My friend Dave ran by my side for the third year running this 3-miler (just a wee bit short of a 5K). As you may know, I picked up running a few years ago and the 2010 Trot was my first race. I've gone in and out of running since, and never finished a 5K without walking part of it. But this time? I ran the entire thing! Woo hoo. And my time was a personal best!

Torrance Turkey Trot
Phil (see his turkey presentation at Friendsgiving) ran the race for the first time and ran it in 22 minutes! He then waited for near the finish line and helped me sprint to the finish! Thanks Dave and Phil for running with me.

And what does running/walking a Turkey Trot give you? Oh yes, the golden ticket to eat all day. :) I'm sure the few rolls I ate replenished those calories and more...but who's counting on T-Day? :) I hope you had a wonderful and joyful Thanksgiving Day too!
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Pumpkin Pie (with Trader Joe's Shelf Stable Whipping Cream)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving! I still can't believe it's already Thanksgiving and the whole holiday season. Has this year been flying by? I think it's on overdrive or something.

Here is a simple Pumpkin Pie recipe. It's adapted from the Libby recipe on the can, but I used some brown sugar and extra yolk.

Friendsgiving Dinner at Dave & Phil's
I topped it with this new Trader Joe's product. It is ultra pasteurized whipping cream. You can keep it on the shelf until you need it (refrigerate for at least 6 hours before use). It contains cream and carrageenan so it's been prepared for shelf stable-ness (sure, that's a word). I whipped it by hand at Friendsgiving (with some super fine sugar and vanilla), and it takes longer to whip than regular cream. The Kitchn has this review of the $1.29 product...I'm definitely going to keep some in the fridge in case I run out of regular cream.

Pumpkin Pie
Pie Crust (for one 9" pie crust)
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1 t sugar
4 ounces/1 stick butter
3 to 4 T ice water

Using your fingers, quickly cut in butter until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Add water until dough just holds together. How much water you use can depend on the humidity in the air. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Then roll out as needed for your pie.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree (NOT the pumpkin pie mix)
1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

Prep: Preheat oven to 425° F oven.
1. Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl.
2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs together.
3. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture into large bowl with eggs.
4. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
5. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Put pie on a cookie sheet for easy transport into oven.
6. Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
7. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
8. Top with whipped cream before serving.
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Friendsgiving Feast

I saw the hashtag #friendsgiving on twitter and instagram and thought is was the perfect name for Dave and Phil's pre-Thanksgiving feast!

Dave made most of the deliciousness including turkey, beans with spicy sauce, salad with dates, fresh bread...and so much more. Everything was fantastic. Phil cuts then reassembles the turkey - a trick he learned from his father who does it with chicken. Looks awesome, right?

Catching up with Dave & Phil's neighbors, co-workers and friends made a great night. Love celebrating the life of Catherine who, literally, almost died last year due to complications from surgery, a few recent birthdays, new stamps in friend's passports, and a newly minted PhD nano-scientist heading off to an exciting post-doc in Switzerland! Thanks Dave & Phil for a great Friendsgiving. Food, friends, and no family drama. Sweet.

I brought a pumpkin pie and apple, persimmon, cranberry crisps. I'll post recipes soon!
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Vanilla Bean Malt Bundt Cake - Happy Bundt Day!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vanilla Bean Malt Bundt Cake - Baked Elements
Vanilla Bean Malt Bundt Cake

Happy National Bundt Day 2012! I look forward to this year all year!

Hope you are making a bundt for your friends and family. I'm sad I couldn't make 30 Days of Bundt again, but I Still Like Big Bundts.

This is the Vanilla Bean Malt Cake from Baked Elements. Love all the Baked books! The recipe makes a 6-cup Bundt. I love the Nordic Ware 6-cup Bundt cute.

Vanilla Bean Malt Bundt Cake - Baked Elements
Nestle Original Malted Milk powder is added to this cake. It is topped with a vanilla glaze. You can use vanilla beans or vanilla paste.

Vanilla Bean Malt Bundt Cake - Baked Elements
Happy Bundt Day!! - mary the food librarian

You can find the recipe on page 126 of the Baked Elements book by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

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Tomorrow is Bundt Day!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cinnamon Chocolate Bundt - I Like Big Bundts
Cinnamon Chocolate Bundt

Tomorrow is National Bundt Day! I'm bummed that I wasn't able to do 30 days of Bundts again this year (life just got a little too crazy for me)...but I leave you with lots of Bundt recipes to make something for this special day!

I hope you and your friends, co-workers and family celebrate the Bundt tomorrow!

Broken Glass Jello Bundt - I Like Big Bundts 2011

Root Beer Bundt - I Like Big Bundts

Big O List of Bundts
Food Librarian Favorites

Best wishes,
Mary the Food Librarian
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Harvest Pumpkin Scones

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Harvest Pumpkin Scones - King Arthur Flour
Harvest Pumpkin Scones

Scones + Pumpkin = I'm so there.

Not much to say here. Um, just break out the canned pumpkin and make these! Harvest Pumpkin Scones from the King Arthur Flour website.

I'm NOT saying they are low-fat or anything, but compared to regular scone recipes made of butter and cream, these have slightly less of the bad stuff. One stick of butter, a couple eggs and the pumpkin (a vegetable!! ;) are the main ingredients.

You choose your add-ins: chocolate chips, crystallized ginger, or cinnamon chips. I threw in about 3/4 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Harvest Pumpkin Scones - Collage
I made 16 smaller scones (recipe yield is 12). I topped mine with my favorite Trader Joe's Cinnamon Sugar grinder, and some sanding sugar.

Click here for the recipe on the King's Arthur Flour website! These would be great for a holiday brunch.
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weSPARK 5K Run at Universal Studios Hollywood

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Universal weSPARK 5K Run 2012
weSPARK 5K Run at Universal Studios Hollywood

Woo hoo! I ran my second 5K of the year. I'm trying to get back into running by running a 5K at least every two months.

I've been wanting to do this run for a couple years and it finally fit my schedule. It was a blast! You should definitely try it if you in Los Angeles. You get to run the backlot of Universal being on the tram, but on foot...your own feet! You pass the Psycho House, Jaws lake, Grinch's winter wonderland, War of the World plane crash, Desperate Housewive's Wisteria Lane among other sets. They had several characters along the way including Phantom of the Opera and Indiana Jones.

And, the race was started by Mark L. Walberg (no, not Marky Mark) - this is the nice guy from Antiques Roadshow and my favorite Schmidt of New Girl, Max Greenfield (love that show!)

The first two miles were pretty flat, but the last part was pretty hilly. My first two mile splits were pretty good for me, but the hills, as usual, slayed me. However, I was busy taking in all the sights too. Luckily, two friends took photos along with route and shared them with me. Thanks Khadijah and Dave (see Dave's post here)

My favorite view!!!!!
Whew! My favorite view of the race! :) Put the weSPARK 5K and 10K on your calendar for next year!
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Potatoes Anna - Everyday Food

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Potatoes Anna
Potatoes Anna

Need something pretty and easy to bring to a holiday gathering? This is the ticket.

I found this classic French dish in Everyday Food's Fresh Flavor Fast book. There are only two main ingredients: potatoes and melted butter. You probably have the fixings for this in your kitchen right now.

Potatoes Anna Collage
Mandolin the potatoes (the recipe calls for six potatoes, but I made mine with four potatoes so it was shorter than it is should be). I use this Japanese mandoline that is pretty inexpensive (from a Japanese store - it's more expensive on Amazon), and it works great. The lady on the box cover looks so happy to slice vegetables too... ;)

Using melted butter, butter the cast iron pan, and layer potatoes in a pretty pattern. Season with salt and pepper and brush with more butter. Top with another layer of potatoes. Cook the dish on the stove for 2-4 get the butter to crisp the bottom layer of potatoes - since the dish is inverted, this will be the top later.

** Update: A librarian came up to me at a meeting and said she made this dish! Love when that happens! However, I wanted to update you...we both though you could easily trim some of the butter on this dish. I thought it was really buttery, but I'm not one to eat much butter on my potatoes. She also thought it was too buttery...and her husband thought it was perfect! So, if you want a less buttery dish, you can cut some of the butter...but if you are serving it to people who like the buttery flavor, then don't mess with it.

Potatoes Anna collage 2
It's baked for about an hour in a hot oven until the potatoes are cooked through. When it comes out of the oven, the tops of the potatoes might be browned. Carefully flip it out onto a platter and enjoy the compliments from everyone! 

According to Everyday Food, you can bake this ahead up to eight hours (let it cool, cover and refrigerate and then reheat at 350 degrees before serving).

Potatoes Anna from Martha Stewart

6 medium russet potatoes (2 3/4 pounds total), peeled
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice potatoes as thinly as possible, 1/4 inch thick or thinner. Do not place sliced potatoes in water; the starch is needed to bind the layers.

Brush bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Starting in center of pan, arrange potato slices, slightly overlapping, in circular pattern. Brush with another 1 1/2 tablespoons butter; season  with salt and pepper. Repeat for two more layers (I only had two layers total because I used four potatoes)

Place over high heat on the stove until butter in pan sizzles, 2 to 4 minutes.

Transfer to oven; bake until potatoes are fork-tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Run a small spatula around edges of potatoes; slide large spatula underneath potatoes to loosen. Carefully invert onto a plate, and cut into wedges.

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Brownie Cookies - Everyday Food

Monday, November 5, 2012

Brownie Cookies - Everyday Food
Brownie Cookies - Everyday Food

Did you hear the news? Everyday Food, one of my favorite magazines, is on the chopping block! The Kitchn reports that Martha Stewart's company is laying off staff and the magazine "will be cut from 10 issues a year to five, and will now be delivered as a supplement to subscribers of Martha Stewart Living rather than as a stand-alone publication." NOOOOOOoooooo! I love the magazine - it's simply easy recipes. I don't need to know how to make a 100,000 piece tablescape (with glue gun and upholstery nails) nor the best hair conditioners - stuff you find in other magazines. This was just food. And now I'm sad.

So, to honor Everyday Food, I made some Brownie Cookies. You can find the recipe online or in the great compilation book, Everyday Food Light.

Brownie Cookies Collage
These are round, flat brownies. They are very, very chocolaty. I made half the recipe, and the ratio between chocolate and flour shows that the flour just binds the chocolate and sugar together. :)

Brownie Cookies - Everyday Food
These are perfect with a glass of milk (or almond milk) in a UCLA glass. Go Bruins!

From Everyday Food, June 2009

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place chocolate in a double boiler or pan over simmering water. Stir until melted, then let cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until lightened in color.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
With mixer on low, alternately beat in chocolate and flour mixture; mix just until combined. Do not overmix.
Dish dough onto baking sheets. Bake 14-16 minute, rotating trays half-way though. Cool cookies on wire racks.

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Mary's Promenade on the Peninsula 5K - Rollings Hills Estates

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Promenade on the Penisula 5K October 2012

A few Sundays ago (October 14, 2012), I woke up and looked at my Google calendar. Earlier, I noted that a local 5K was happening, but never signed up. That morning, I decided to just do it!

The race is called Mary's Promenade on the Peninsula 5K Run/Walk to benefit the YWCA Harbor Area & South Bay, and the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation (MDF). Mary's family lovingly spoke of her, and I believe gathering so many people together to honor and raise funds in a tremendous effort. I hope they raised a lot of money for services and research!

Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates, and Rolling Hills are hills in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. Amazing views of the ocean as well as the city below. It is a lovely place to live with horse trails, and top ranked schools...and top real estate prices. For sure I'll never be able to live there, but it is great place to visit. :) For this race, the Rolling Hills were freaking LITERAL. As a "beginning" runner (um, for the last three years), I found the course really tough. Seems like the whole thing was kinda uphill!

My time was turtle slow, but I finished, and that's what counts!

P.S. If you want to start running/jogging, I love the Get Running App from Splendid Things (available for iPhone and Android). I wrote about it here. I don't work for them or get anything for this recommendation. I just really like this app - I used it a few years ago, and just recently used it again to get myself back into running. My friends have also used it and found it really encouraging and helpful!
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Pasta with Goat Cheese, Spinach & Peas

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Goat Cheese Pasta
Pasta with Goat Cheese, Spinach & Peas

Here is a simple recipe for a quick pasta dish. My friend Sunshine made a version of this (with roasted zucchini) when I visited her in Duluth several years ago. She only had one child then...and now she has her beautiful daughter, B and twin sons O & S. What makes this dish so easy is that you don't need to make a sauce...just melt some goat cheese with the pasta water!

Goat Cheese Pasta
For this dish, simply boil pasta. In the last minute of cooking, I threw in some fresh baby spinach. Pull out a cup of the pasta water and set aside. While it is cooking, nuke some frozen peas until hot (or throw them into the pasta water).

In a large bowl, whisk together the goat cheese (I used 2 1/2 ounces, but you can add the whole 5 ounce package depending on your taste preference) and about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the drained pasta and spinach, and throw in the hot peas. Toss to combine and add more pasta water if needed.

Goat Cheese Pasta
This is adapted from Everyday Food's Pasta with Goat Cheese and Roasted Asparagus.

To those affected by Sandy, my thoughts are with you, your family and community. The photos are heartbreaking. I hope everyone donates to the Red Cross or assistance organization. - mary 
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