Photos of the Week

I have entered summer mode and have officially lost track of time. Days and nights float by. I am incredibly relaxed and  soaking in the sun and warm temperatures. Sometimes so much so that the day slips away and is gone before I have accomplished anything. That is one reason why I have been absent from my blog for so long. Other contributors are last weekend’s travels and that I have been quite caught up in a book I am reading. But I’m back now. With photos. Inspired from the fresh rhubarb we got in our weekly CSA box, I spontaneously whipped together a few personal size rhubarb crisps. Served with vanilla frozen yogurt that was on hand in the freezer. Enjoy!

 

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Back to Baking. Photos of the week

It has been way too long since I have baked. Or cooked for that matter. The past two nights I ended my cooking drought by putting together quick meals for my self. One night, oven poached salmon with a nice salad and the next night a portobello mushroom stuffed with quinoa, peppers, thyme and cheese that I also baked in the oven. I seem to be loving the oven lately. Today I baked two delicious goodies: white chocolate chip brownies and lemon pine nut biscotti. Needless to say I was neglecting my desires. I photographed my baking as I went along in order to stop neglecting my photography hobby as well. I feel much more like myself again.

White Chocolate Chip Brownies

I adapted the recipe from Matt Bites.

1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup white chocolate chips (my addition)
Preheat the oven to 400˚ and prepare an 8×8 baking dish by either lining it with parchment paper or coating it with butter (like I did because I am admittedly too cheap for parchment paper. Plus it’s wasteful. Butter works great for me.) Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler. If you are like me and don’t have one, put the ingredients in a glass or metal bowl and put that on top of a pot that has about an inch or two of water. Put the entire stack on the stove on a low heat so the water merely simmers. You don’t want it to boil! And make sure that he bowl is bigger than the pot so that it doesn’t fall in and so there is no steam rising around the outside of the bowl.
Once the butter and chocolate are melted and smooth, remove the bowl from the heat. Add in the sugar, vanilla and salt and mix well. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour and stir until everything is fully combined. then you can mix in the white chocolate chips and pour the batter into the baking dish. Put it in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Mine took closer to 30 minutes. I think the addition of the white chocolate chips adds more oil or moisture or something. For a fool-proof check, poke a toothpick in the brownies. If it comes out clean, they are done! Let them cool completely. I know it’s hard (I don’t always make it) but they will cut much better when they are cool. They are equally scrumptious and decadent on their own or paired with some quality vanilla ice cream.
Lemon Pine Nut Biscotti
This recipe I took from Delicious Days.
3/4 c.  pine nuts
7 tbsp butter (softened)
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp lemon juice
zest of one lemon
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
Set the oven to 325˚. Spread the pine nuts out on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for about 6-8 minutes until they are toasted and golden brown. Set them aside to cool. In a bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture and combine thoroughly. Once the ingredients are all combined, stir in the pine nuts. Divide the dough into two equal parts. WIth each part, shape it into a loaf/log type shape and arrange them side by side on a cookie sheet. I brushed my baking sheet (and hands) with flour because the dough can be kind of sticky. Make sure they are not too close to each other or the sides because the dough will expand slightly while baking. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until lightly browned, and take the pan out. Let the logs cool for a minute or two. One at a time, transfer the logs to a cutting board. Cutting on a slant, slice the logs into 1/2 inch slices and lay the slices back on the baking sheet. Put the slices back in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping them after 10 minutes. I added a few minutes to the baking time to give them a nice golden brown color. Remove the pan and let the biscotti cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy them with coffee and tea to soften them up or if you are a fan of crunchy foods like me, chomp away!