Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte


This week’s recipe (which you can find at Food, Family, and Fun), was for a grown-up version of ice cream cake, and grown-up it was. There are three layers of chocolate ganache (involving eight — count ’em, eight — eggs) sandwiching ice cream, in my case coffee ice cream.

This was easy enough to make, although waiting for each layer to freeze before adding the next ate up a huge chunk of my morning, and then it has to sit for six hours before you unmold it, and then another half-hour after that. It’s not a last-minute dessert, that’s for sure.

But it was so totally worth it. I candied some pistachios, using Dorie’s Candied Nuts recipe, and chopped them up a bit to sprinkle over the top of the torte to make it look pretty. But what really turned out to be sublime was coating each bite of the torte in crushed nuts as if they were jimmies (or sprinkles, depending on where you’re from). It was amazing, easily the best Dorie recipe so far (well, tied with the pudding, anyway).

The original recipe called for puréeing raspberries and mixing them with vanilla ice cream. I think I’ll do that next time I’m going to a party and need a knock-’em-dead dessert. I bet it would be great.

Check out what all the other TWDers did with their tortes — I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there will be some highly creative variations on this one.




bread food Friday dinner

Fishy Friday

This week’s Dorie recipe was a killer nutritionally, and so I went light on dinner. And since I also kept it simple, I can give you recipes!

First, I bought some frozen salmon fillets at Trader Joe’s. We don’t eat nearly enough fish, and I keep trying to slip some into the recipe rotation. And with preparation this simple, there’s no reason not to. It takes almost no time or effort (or skill!), and the fish comes out moist and flavorful.

Baked Salmon

  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 pound salmon fillets
  • dried dill
  • kosher flake salt

Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Melt the butter (or heat the olive oil) in a baking dish just large enough for your fish. When it’s hot, add the fish, skin side up, and bake for 5 minutes. Flip it over (it will fall apart!) and bake for another four minutes or so, till done. Sprinkle with dill and salt to taste.


For the side, I used one of those rice mixes with brown rice and wild rice and all sorts of other rice. Lundberg makes several varieties, and Trader Joe’s has its own version. While the rice was cooking in chicken broth, I sautéed a couple of stalks of celery, three scallions (including some of the green part), two cloves of garlic, and a shallot I found at the bottom of my onion basket. When it was all soft and yummy, I added a thawed and drained (and squeezed dry) bag of frozen chopped spinach. When the rice was done, I mixed in the vegetables, and voilà. The rice was excellent with the salmon.


And then there was the bread. There’s always bread on Friday. This week, in keeping with the light theme, I went with focaccia. It also had the added benefit of being incredibly easy, and for bread, fairly quick.

Rosemary Focaccia

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon yeast (active dry or instant, not rapid rise)
  • sprig of fresh rosemary, as large as you like
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2½ to 3 cups bread flour
  • coarse salt

Strip the rosemary leaves off the stem and set aside. Put the water in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface and let sit for a minute or so, then stir to dissolve. Add the rosemary, the salt, the oil, and 2½ cups of flour and mix well. I used my Kitchenaid mixer and the bread hook. Once all the flour is incorporated, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 or 15 minutes. Then knead for 10 minutes or so, by hand or machine, till the dough is elastic but still sticky. Add more flour a little at a time as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl.

Put the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to oil the top. Cover and let rest for about 45 minutes. Gently deflate and re-cover, then let rest about another 45 minutes, till doubled. Somewhere in the middle there, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, putting an old baking pan or cast iron frying pan on the oven floor.

Shape into a ball and let rest on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes. Then stretch into a random flat shape, about half an inch thick (although it’s not crucial that it be exactly the same thickness overall), and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes, then make dimples all over the top with your fingers. Brush with olive oil, letting some pool in the dimples, then sprinkle with coarse salt.

Pour a cup of hot water into the pan on the oven floor (BE CAREFUL — the steam is wickedly painful) and bake the focaccia for about 25 minutes, till it’s nicely browned.

Let cool on a wire rack for a little while, but eat while it’s still warm. This is fabulous bread, better than anything you’ll get from a bakery.


And then there was dessert, but for that, you’ll have to wait till Tuesday!

baking Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Granola Grabbers

We eat a lot of granola around here, and I make it myself. (Buying it would cost hundreds of dollars a week — only a slight exaggeration!) I generally use Nigella Lawson’s Andy’s Fairfield granola from Feast (online at Food and Thoughts); it uses applesauce for fat and part of the sweetening rather than oil and a ton of sugar, and it’s pretty healthy as these things go — and we all like it. It’s not easy getting Husband to eat breakfast, but mix some Greek yogurt with fruit (frozen or fresh, whatever’s on hand) and some granola, and he’s a happy boy.

We ran out of granola this morning, and faced with the need to make more before I could make this week’s Granola Grabbers, I decided to try something new. I’ve had Melissa’s Seven-Year Granola bookmarked for ages, but I could never find the right excuse for making a breakfast cereal that includes large amounts of butter and brown sugar. These cookies provided that excuse.

I did not take a photo — I couldn’t trust myself around it long enough — but believe me when I say that butter and brown sugar are just the ticket. I used less than half the recipe for the cookies, so breakfast this week is going to be a bit less responsible than usual.

Then #1 Son wandered by and offered to make the cookies (well, the dough at least; he doesn’t trouble himself with “the boring stuff” — i.e., the actual baking). So I left the room, although I did return long enough to start shooting photos, and annoying the professional trying to do his job.

He had his own mise en place:


And he wasn’t amused when I placed myself between him and it to shoot some photos:

exasperated Alex.JPG

But, at last, the batter was made:

granola grabber dough.JPG

He added raisins to about a quarter of the dough — the quarter he was going to eat.

The dough for these cookies is delicious; between the two of us, we must have eaten 10 or 12 cookies’ worth. Baked, though, they lost something. They’re fine, good with milk and awesome with iced coffee (and probably with hot coffee, too, but we didn’t have any of that). But there was nothing terribly special about them. I don’t see myself making them again.

granola grabbers.JPG

Husband: “I enjoyed them. I thought they were a little dry, but I like gooey cookies. The peanuts were a nice surprise.”

#1 Son: “Good with tea or coffee or something, but not much of a stand-alone dessert.”

#2 Son: “I liked them when they were soaked in milk, but they were too dry when they weren’t.”

To be fair, the recipe recommended them as an after-school snack, not a dessert. I think they’d be just the thing after a long day at school, but we don’t do that here; if it doesn’t work as Friday dessert, it doesn’t make it onto the roster.

If you’d like to see what other TWDer’s did, check out the website. And if you’d like the recipe, head on over to Bad Girl Baking, where Michelle has it all laid out for you.

food recipes

I Made One Up!

I finally have a recipe to offer here, one that’s all my own. This is so exciting.

Farmers Market Pasta

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 pound green beans (or however they sell them at farmers markets; I forgot to weigh them before I cooked them)
  • 8 ounces ground meat of some sort (I used the leftover burger mix from yesterday, which was equal parts beef, pork, and lamb)
  • 8 ounces pasta of some sort (I used whole-wheat penne)
  • kosher flake salt to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • fresh basil to taste, chopped
  • parmesan (if desired)

Chop the tomatoes and green beans however you like them; keep them in separate bowls. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat and add the tomatoes, stirring occasionally. They’ll get really watery, and then the water will cook off, leaving you with a lovely sauce. At some point while they’re still watery, add the wine; when they’re closer to done, add the garlic powder and salt. The whole process took me about 10 minutes, but it will vary depending on how high your flame is and how watery your tomatoes are.

Meanwhile, brown the ground meat in a large frying pan or wok; I used a wok because I tend to slop food over the side when I try to stir-fry in a frying pan. When it’s done, remove it (leaving the fat behind) and set aside. Add the green beans to the fat in the pan or wok and stir-fry till they’re as tender as you like. It helps near the end to turn the flame down and cover the pan to let them steam a bit. When they’re done, throw the meat back in to warm up.

Meanwhile (yes, there are a lot of steps, but it’s worth it!), cook the pasta in boiling salted water till done. Drain.

Mix everything in a big bowl, then mix in the basil. Serve immediately, with parmesan if desired.


This was really good. Son #1, who tends to disdain anything with tomatoes and/or most green vegetables, took seconds. Son #2, who in fairness likes almost everything (he’s a very happy child), said it was very good. Husband liked it quite a bit; he said the proportions of everything were excellent, and the snappiness of the green beans were a nice contrast to the pasta and tomatoes. I will definitely do this again — I got two different kinds of vegetables in there!

bread Friday dinner meat

Just Like Friday, but on Saturday!

#1 Son went to a concert last night with a friend, so we shifted Friday dinner to Saturday. Because one consequence of the concert was that the friend had to take a train at 8 this morning, and I had to deliver him to the station, #1 Son and I hit the farmers market early, around 8:30. He’s not usually with me, so he leapt at the opportunity to choose the week’s meat. He went with ground lamb, ground pork, and the old standby, ground beef. We bought a pound of each, then cut the pounds in half. That left me with a pound and a half of a yummy meat mush, which I turned into burgers.

I know I promised that I’d start including recipes here, but I don’t think this counts: I put half a pound of ground beef, ground lamb, and ground pork (all free-range organic, as befits farmers market fare) into a bowl. I sprinkled it with garlic powder, dried thyme leaves, and kosher flake salt. I mixed it together, as little as possible. Then I split it into four 4-ounce burgers (saving the rest for a meal later in the week!) and grilled them on my little panini press. Wait! If I make it look like a recipe, then it must be one!

Mixed Meat Burgers (makes 6)

  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • kosher flake salt (to taste)
  • dried thyme leaves (to taste)
  • garlic powder (to taste)

Put all meat into large bowl and sprinkle with salt, thyme, and garlic powder. Mix to combine, handling the meat as little as possible.

Divide into six 4-ounce patties. Grill indoors or out. Put on toasted homemade rolls.

Oh, did I forget to mention the rolls?

It was Friday/Saturday dinner, so there had to be bread. I made Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Best Buns, so I can’t take credit for that recipe. There was also farmers market corn on the cob, which was absolutely perfect. It’s all downhill from here.


Husband spruced his up a bit:

stacked burger

And the corn:


Dessert was, of course, Dorie’s Granola Grabbers. More on that Tuesday!


Tuesdays With Dorie: Blueberry–Sour Cream Ice Cream

More fruit, but this time puréed nicely and then frozen. This week’s recipe, chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, was Blueberry–Sour Cream Ice Cream; you can find the recipe at Dolores’ blog.

I planned to use fresh blueberries from the farmers market, but midway through the week they started looking a little iffy, so I froze them. So I actually used frozen blueberries from the farmers market, and that was close enough. I also used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, because that’s what I had.

This was certainly easier to pull together than the other Dorie recipes I’ve done so far: five minutes, start to finish (except, of course, for letting the mixture chill, churning it into ice cream, and then letting it ripen in the freezer for three hours, but who’s counting?).

From this:

ice cream 1.JPG

to this:

ice cream 2.JPG

to this:

ice cream 3.lpg

I liked this ice cream. It wasn’t my favorite ever, but then again I’m not a yogurt fan. But it was good, and reasonably healthy — certainly healthier than the egg- and cream-laden versions David Lebovitz has enticed me into this summer with his evil tome.

#2 Son put chocolate syrup on his; he puts chocolate syrup on everything. #1 Son and Husband went for the maraschino liqueur. Husband called it “explosively fruity”: “It adds another layer of depth. It’s not just a dessert when you do that. It ennobles the ice cream.” He’s a writer. #1 Son said it was “in-freaking-credible.” Believe it or not, he’s a writer too.

So to sum up, the ice cream was a hit. Thank you, Dorie, and thank you, Dolores. Head on over to the TWD website to see what everyone else did this week.

baking bread

Pretzel Bread?

I have a friend who once had this thing she called pretzel bread. She wanted me to make some. I had never heard of pretzel bread. But through the magic of the internet, I found some at Two Bites in Suburbia. And it was good. I made four loaves for eight people the other day, and they went fast. We couldn’t decide whether it was best to cut the loaves in slices or in wedges or just to rip them apart. We had to find out. It was science.

For the record, wedges were the best.

pretzel bread.JPG

I also made some of David Lebovitz’s Killer App Candied Peanuts. They were incredible, although they do take a bit more time and effort than he indicates in the recipe. But totally worth it. I can make these only to take places, because I can eat the entire batch without even noticing.

candied nuts.JPG

I know it’s bad form for me to always send you elsewhere for recipes. Soon I’ll start posting my own, I promise!


Another Friday Dinner

I owe the success of tonight’s dinner entirely to magic of the Internet.

I had to edit all day, so I needed a low-fuss but still appropriate-for-Friday meal. I had a whole farmers market chicken in the freezer, and I thought I remembered reading a blog post a while ago about a nice, simple way to roast one. Well, I dug through the hundreds of recipes I have saved on Delicious and found it: It was from the lovely blog Use Real Butter, and it was from nine months ago. All I can say is that if you find yourself with a chicken and not much prep time, this is the recipe for you. I left out the lemon, because I didn’t have one, but that’s the only change I made. The chicken was moist and tender and flavorful, and the skin was incredible. Thank you for saving Friday dinner, Jen.


I had some tomatoes sitting on the counter. Husband bought them at the supermarket last week because, as he said, “They looked good.” I don’t know what he was thinking. But hey, every other vegetable we’ve tried roasting has been delicious, so why not? The Food Network offered a recipe that conveniently used the same oven temperature as the chicken, and away we went. They were, in fact, delicious — they tasted like my pizza sauce, which is essentially what they were. Thank you, Food Network, whoever you may be.


The bread this week was challah, also from a months-old blog post. This one came from Not Derby Pie, a blog that is chock full of great recipes and mouthwatering photos. I had a question about the instructions, which I posted as a comment, and Rivka answered me within a minute or so, both at the blog and by e-mail, just to be sure I got the answer. That’s service, and it was greatly appreciated. I hope I can be as helpful to a reader someday. The challah was excellent, even though I made the whole-wheat version. I’ve tried whole-wheat challah in the past, and I’ve never liked the results. Rivka’s recipe is quick and easy and makes great bread, which is a rare combination. Thank you too, Rivka.

challah 8-8.JPG

And dessert was Blueberry–Sour Cream Ice Cream. But more on that on Tuesday.


Tuesdays With Dorie: Black-and-White Banana Loaf

Yay! No fruit! (Or, to be precise, no identifiable bits of fruit!) This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie pick (courtesy of Ashlee of A Year In The Kitchen; head on over there if you’d like the recipe) had a much subtler fruit presence than most of the recent recipes. It’s essentially a banana pound cake; half of the batter is mixed with chocolate, then the yellow and brown batters are swirled to make a lovely marble cake.

My ongoing issue with loaf pans (9×5? 8×4? who knows?) led to this being baked in one of those disposable aluminum pans, whose label said quite clearly that it was 8×4 (and was bought for that very reason). But no, when measured (alas, too late), it turned out to be 7×3. There was spillage. (Which wasn’t terrible, because I scraped it up off the foil I had presciently put under the pan and ate it!)

So the finished cake was not the prettiest thing I ever made (although Sunday’s challah may have been), and I don’t think it was entirely baked in the middle. But it was delicious, especially drizzled with homemade chocolate syrup. Husband said it seemed more like a quick bread than a pound cake, but he’s insane. It wasn’t entirely pound cake-y, but I think that’s because it didn’t bake long enough.

A lot of comments on the TWD site mentioned that their batter was too runny for good marbling. I don’t know why that would be; mine was quite thick. (The photo is terrible — I enlisted #1 Son to shoot it, and there’s really no natural light in my kitchen — but it does show the consistency of the batter.)


The finished product was moist and dense and banana-y and chocolate-y and really all you could ask for in a cake. This one’s a keeper. Go and make it. Now. And check out everyone else’s versions at Tuesdays With Dorie.

banana pound cake



Sunday in the Kitchen

We usually have a semi-fancy Friday dinner, our version of a Sabbath dinner. This week, because #2 Son was coming home from camp on Saturday, I postponed it. Then I remembered that #1 Son was going to a concert on Saturday, so I postponed it again. Which brings us to Sunday.

I often bake something for Sunday breakfast, and the presence of some Nova lox in the fridge reminded me that it’s been a while since I made bagels. I keep trying various recipes, seeking the überbagel — the mythical perfection that probably exists nowhere but in my mind. Today’s was pretty good, though; I got it here. I modified it a bit (thanks to the comments on the site), mixing a sponge the night before and adding brown sugar to the boiling water. The bagels were good, chewy and dense and almost right. I would make this recipe again, but next time I’ll make the dough and shape the bagels and let them sit in the fridge overnight like that — I think that might provide the last bit of awesome to the crust.


So then came the challah, for which I’ve also tried many recipes. This time I went for my reliable standard, from George Greenstein’s Secrets of a Jewish Baker (the original edition). I don’t know what the copyright issues are with posting recipes from a book; can anyone out there enlighten me? If it’s legal, I’d be glad to share. I must have been having a good day, because the loaves came out absolutely beautiful. (And the bread tasted pretty darn good, too!)


And then there was dessert, which was this week’s TWD. More on that on Tuesday!