Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Old Fashioned Blueberry Bars

One of my favorite summer treats from one of my favorite blogs, A Perfect Bite.  Perfect for barbecues and picnics.

Blueberry Crumb Bars


3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup + 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided use

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup cold butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest and juice of one lemon

4 cups blueberries

4 teaspoons cornstarch

Optional: Confectioners' sugar for dusting


1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan.

2) In a medium bowl whisk together 3 cups of flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut in butter until mixture is in pieces no larger than a pea. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Dough will be crumbly but stick together when squeezed. Pat half of the dough into the pan.

3) In another bowl, mix reserved 1/4 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Add blueberries and gently toss them to coat. Pour blueberry mixture on top of the dough in pan. Then crumble remainder of dough evenly over surface of berries.

4) Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned. Cool completely, then cut into squares. Dust with powdered sugar if using. Can be refrigerated for several days. Yield: 15 bars.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On The Grill...Soy Marinated Flank Steak

This weekend marks the official start of summer and barbecue season. Ladies and gentlemen rev up your engines and fire that grill!

 Prep Time 25 minutes

Total Time 25 minutes, plus marinating

Yield Serves 6


1 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 flank steak (about 2 pounds)

Vegetable oil, for grates


1. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, red-pepper flakes, and pepper. Place steak in dish and cover dish tightly with plastic wrap. Swirl dish so that marinade coats the top of steak. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, turning steak occasionally.

2. Heat grill to high. Remove steak from marinade, letting excess drip off. Pour marinade into a saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

3. Clean and lightly oil hot grates. Grill steak, covered, 6 minutes; turn, brush with glaze, and grill until medium-rare, 6 minutes more. Let rest 8 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Everyday Food, July/August 2009

Monday, May 21, 2012


If I hadn't overslept this morning I wouldn't have caught this little devil, the culprit of the bare patches in my front lawn.  I have been wondering for days now why these patches keep getting bigger in spite of all the money I'm spending on getting the lawn weed free.  Well, it turns out that Mr. Bunny has set camp inside the bushes that surround the cherry trees, just a couple of hops from the grass.  And he doesn't just pick here and there, he grabs huge chunks!

Look at that chunk!

In the meantime, the squirrels were continuing their feast under my neighbors's oak trees!

....and I am standing in the front door, in my nightgown, taking pictures and shoooing a rabbit.

Of course, none of this would happen if I were allowed to patrol the front yard....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Basic Pizza Dough In Minutes!

If you have been a follower or subscriber of Lindaraxa, my main recipe blog, you know how much I have always hated to bake crust.  Well, not anymore.  I have become a master dough maker simply by plunging right in and making one right after the other until I finally got the hang of it.  The fear is gone! Not only that, after years of buying ready made pizza dough,  thanks to this recipe,  I am now a very decent pizza dough baker. 

Summer is coming and the possibilities are endless.  Watch this video and go for it!

Time: 2 to 3 hours, mostly unattended, or less in a pinch
Yield: 2 pies, 4 to 6 servings.


3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, or more as needed, plus more for kneading
1 teaspoon fast-rising yeast (2 teaspoons if you’re in a hurry)
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as necessary
Rosemary, optional.


1. Put the 3 cups flour, yeast, 2 teaspoons salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water through the feed tube. Process until the mixture forms a slightly sticky ball, about 30 seconds. If the mixture is too dry, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time and process for 5 to 10 seconds after each addition. If the mixture refuses to come together, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time and process until it does.

2. Rub a little olive oil or sprinkle a little flour onto your hands and shape the dough into a ball; wrap in plastic. Let rest at room temperature until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. Or, if time is tight, let it rest at least 20 minutes before proceeding. Or refrigerate for several hours, deflating if necessary if it threatens to burst the plastic. (Or divide in half, wrap each ball in plastic, slip into a plastic bag and freeze.) Let it return to room temperature before proceeding.

3. Reshape the dough into a ball and cut in half, forming 2 balls. (From here on, use olive oil if you’re cooking on baking sheets, flour if on a pizza stone.) Put them on a lightly floured surface (a pizza peel is ideal), sprinkle with flour and cover with plastic wrap; or brush then with a bit of oil and place on a lightly oiled sheet. Let rest for about 20 minutes, while you heat the oven to 500 degrees.

4. Press a dough ball into a 1/2-inch-thick flat round, adding flour or oil to the work surface as necessary. Press or roll the dough until it’s as thin as you can make it; let it rest a bit if it becomes too elastic. (Patience is your friend here.) You can do two baking sheets at once, or one after another, as you’ll have to if using a peel. If doing the latter, slide the dough from the peel onto the stone.

5. Sprinkle the pizzas with olive oil (just a little), salt and rosemary. Bake for at least 10 minutes, perhaps rotating once, until the crust is crisp. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

A version of this recipe appeared in print on April 18, 2012, in the New York Times
Recipe Mark Bittman, How To Cook Everything, The Basics

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tagliolini Gratineed With Prosciutto And Parmesan Cheese

According to The Harry's Bar Cookbook (Bantam, 1991)—in which a version of this recipe appears—this dish is "one of the few combinations of French and Italian cuisines on our menu … The pasta and the ham are Italian; the sauce and the cooking method are French." The recipe may also be made with dried pasta, which takes longer to cook.

Serves 4-6


7 tbsp. butter

1⁄4 cup flour

2 cups hot milk

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

2 oz. 1⁄4"-thick sliced prosciutto, diced

3⁄4 lb. fresh spinach or egg tagliolini or linguine

1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, make a b├ęchamel sauce by melting 4 tbsp. of the butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and gradually whisk in milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper, return pan to medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick and smooth, 5–7 minutes. Remove pan from heat, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of sauce (to keep a skin from forming), and set aside.

2. Preheat broiler and set rack about 4" from the heat. Melt 1 tbsp. of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and crispy, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking very slowly while pasta cooks.

3. Season boiling water generously with salt, add pasta, and cook, stirring, until just tender, 1 1⁄2–2 minutes. Drain pasta, then add to skillet containing prosciutto. Add 1 tbsp. of the butter and 1⁄4 cup of the parmigiano-reggiano. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to mix well.

4. Spoon pasta into a 2-quart baking dish and tamp it down lightly with the back of a spoon so that its surface is even. Spoon b├ęchamel over top, and sprinkle with remaining 1⁄4 cup parmigiano-reggiano. Cut remaining 1 tbsp. butter into small pieces and scatter over top. Place dish in oven and broil until golden and bubbling, 2–3 minutes. Serve with additional parmigiano-reggiano at the table, if you like.

Photo Christopher Hirscheimer, Saveur

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Picnic Fare...Shrimp And Deviled Egg Salad Rolls

I am always looking for new things to make for our weekend picnics on the lake.  If it's just us, which it never is, I try to keep it simple.  It's always nice, though, to add a new twist to an old favorite.

These can be split in half if you are cooking on the grill, or they can be kept whole if it's the only thing you are bringing along.  Frankly I think that if you pack some chips, fruit, cheese and brownies, you would have ample fare for a no-fuss picnic.

Makes 8 mini rolls


Kosher salt
1 pound large shell-on shrimp, deveined
6 large eggs
2 ounces slab bacon or 2 strips thick-cut bacon, finely diced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper
4 butter lettuce leaves, halved
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 8 slices
4 top-loading hot-dog buns, halved crosswise
2 scallions, finely sliced


Fill a large pot with 2 quarts water, add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat; add the shrimp, and let sit (off the heat) until the shrimp is pink-orange and slightly firm, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a colander with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.

Return the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Gently lower the eggs into the water with a large ladle, two at a time, and let simmer exactly 14 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the shrimp and put them in a large bowl. Saute the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until firm and just turning golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

When the eggs are done, transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle, about 2 minutes. Peel the eggs and halve lengthwise. Separate the whites from the yolks; coarsely chop the whites and add them to the bowl with the shrimp. Press the yolks through a mesh strainer into a separate bowl. Add the mayonnaise, hot sauce, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the yolks and whisk until the mixture is the consistency of cake batter, about 1 minute.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the yolk mixture into the shrimp mixture until the shrimp is evenly coated with the deviled-egg dressing. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. (The shrimp and deviled-egg salad will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for 2 days.)

To serve, load 1 piece of lettuce and 1 tomato slice into each of the bun halves; spread about 1/2 cup of the shrimp and deviled-egg salad in each. Garnish with the bacon and scallions.

Recipe Food Network
Photograph by Mark Peterson


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