My Kitchen View

I’m getting back in the cooking groove. I had some apples starting to get a little soft, so I made a big batch of unsweetened applesauce and planned to freeze it but we’ve been eating it instead. It is probably one of my kids’ top favorite side dishes!

We recently enjoyed pasta with a homemade creamy tomato parmesan sauce.

I love apple season so we had Apple Crisp for Sunday dinner. Topped with vanilla ice cream, of course!

And I made a roast in the slow cooker cooke with apple cider.

Advertisements

My Kitchen View

Welcome to the first edition of My Kitchen View. My hope is to include recipes, garden reports and produce pictures, food or restaurant reviews, and more. It’s literally my view from the kitchen and figuratively my perspective on the happenings in and around the kitchen.

The kitchen is truly the heart of our home. We spend a lot of time there preparing food, eating, and sharing around the table. It is where the delicious smells emanate from and my creative juices flow. When the weather is warm, we eagerly move out to the deck and enjoy the outdoor table and grill overlooking the backyard and neighborhood pond. 

Garden Report:
I’m a little late on starting to plan our garden but time has gotten away from me! I’m looking forward to my annual plant purchasing trip – something about wandering through the rows of plants, gazing at the packets of seeds, and just smelling the dirt is incredibly motivational. This year, I’m planning 3-4 varieties of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, onions, green beans, cucumbers, zuchini, and yellow squash as well as a several different herbs. I’m sure there will be a few more things added to that list.  

My favorite part is the herbs! I love cooking with fresh herbs and most of them are fairly easy to grow. I get so excited to plant them. I’m not sure what all I will grow but it will definitely include cilantro, rosemary, basil, mint, parsley, and oregano. My chives and thyme have come back every year. I may also add sage and dill to that list. I can’t wait to add the fragrant plants to my backyard garden!

What’s Cooking:
A couple of weeks ago, I shared a recipe for Key Lime Coconut Cupcakes which I loved but I couldn’t help but continue developing that recipe in my head. And so for Easter, I made a 4 layer Key Lime White Chocolate Cake. I filled two of the layers with homemade lime curd and I filled the middle layer with white chocolate lime frosting. I iced it in a lime buttercream and garnished it with lime zest and white chocolate curls. It was a bit of work but it was completely worth it! Everyone enjoyed it and I discovered how much I like making cakes from scratch!

KEY LIME WHITE CHOCOLATE CAKE
Print This Recipe

1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c. granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tb. grated key lime zest
1/4 c. fresh key lime juice
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 oz. white chocolate, finely grated

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 2 – 8 inch cake pans and if desired, line bottom with parchment paper.

Using an mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, key lime zest and juice and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 5 parts total, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate.

Divide batter between two greased 8-inch cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the tops begin to brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out on a baking rack to cool completely. Makes 2 – 8 inch layers.

WHITE CHOCOLATE KEY LIME FROSTING
(you may not need all of this)

3 oz. white chocolate
1/4 c. butter, room temperature
 2 – 2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. fresh key lime juice
1/8 c. sour cream

In a small bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave. Let cool until just slightly warm. Meanwhile, using a hand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Add the salt, vanilla extract, key lime juice, and sour cream and mix until very smooth. Add the melted white chocolate and mix just until incorporated.

KEY LIME CURD 
I wanted to eat this lime curd with a spoon. It was absolutely delicious! I adapted a lemon curd recipe from Ina Garten into this wonderful, creamy lime curd. (Note: This makes a lot – I cut the recipe in half and had more than enough for the cake!)

4 limes 
3/4 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 c. lime juice (about 3 to 4 limes)
1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Completely zest all three limes – avoiding the white pithy areas. Stir into sugar. Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lime mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lime juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lime curd will thicken just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd before refrigerating.

KEY LIME BUTTERCREAM1 1/4 c. butter, room temperature
2 1/2 lb. (about 10 c.) powdered sugar
1/2 c. key lime juice
2 Tb. grated key lime zest

Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar alternately with key lime juice until light and creamy. Add lime zest and beat until combined.

To Assemble:
– Cut the two layers in half crosswise so you have 4 equal layers.
– Place the bottom layer on a plate and spread with lime curd.
– Top with the next cake and spread with white chocolate lime frosting.
– Top with the final layer and spread with lime curd.
– Frost the cake with lime buttercream icing.
– Swirl the frosting and top with white chocolate curls and fresh key lime zest.

Counter Culture

I’ve decided to name my bi-weekly post Counter Culture for several reasons. First off, these posts are meant to be about what is going on in my kitchen, and thus on my counters. Second, I often feel as though what does go on my counters is often very counter-culture to the way the general population of America is eating these days. So what is happening in my kitchen at the moment?


(Homemade bread from the freezer and ranunculus to adorn the dining table)

I’ve signed up for my very first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). For those unfamilar with that term, what it essentially means is that I’ve paid a certain amount to a local farmer and in return I will be getting a share of what his farm produces over the 25 week growing period in our area.

I’m really excited about this new adventure. “My” farmer provided a list of all the vegetables, herbs and fruits he grows and when I might expect to receive them. I cannot wait until the season starts in May and I begin to collect fresh greens, herbs like applemint, organo and peppermint, as well as asparagus. I’m planning to keep you up-to-date with how the CSA works for our family and what ideas we come up with for using our produce.

I’m also planning to get some peas, swiss chard and spinach planted in my garden any day now. We don’t have a very big plot, since we live in the suburbs and our yard is small. But, having a garden of any size is a great way to help the children learn where our food comes from and how much hard work it takes to actually grow it!

This week I’ll leave you with my new favorite recipe: a spring salad made with fresh, mixed berries. A friend brought it to our spring tea and we all couldn’t get enough of it. Admittedly, it is a rather expensive salad, but if you are having a special occassion, and need something stunning, this is the salad to make!

SPRING BERRY SALAD
(Heather, as passed on to me from Heidi and Michelle; dressing is from Country Living)
Print this recipe

spring salad mix
arugula
romaine lettuce

fresh blueberries
fresh strawberries, sliced
fresh raspberries

pecans

Mix salad ingredients in whatever proportions you prefer. Toss with dressing just before serving.

Dressing:
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or canola oil if you prefer a milder taste)

Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl or jar and mix well. Remove garlic and serve. Store refrigerated up to one week.