Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

Of Strawberries and Sweet Memories

Strawberries get blanketed by a super crisp topping.

Strawberries get blanketed by a super crisp topping.

 

Strawberries hold a trove of memories for me.

Of whipped cream-slathered, fresh strawberry layer cakes that my Dad toted home from Chinatown bakeries for a special treat.

Of bowls of berries hidden by a mountain of aerosol-spurted whipped cream my parents would sometimes indulge us with for dessert in summer.

Of aching quads after my girlfriends and I once spent an afternoon at a u-pick, plucking our own super ripe, juicy berries from rows of lush, low-lying plants.

And of the consternation my older brother felt when he tried to grow them in our own backyard, only to have the bugs gnaw away at most of them.

But in many ways, one of the most profound remembrances I have is not of the berries themselves, but of the small, green crisscross plastic baskets they come in.

Strawberries from the farmers market in their iconic basket.

Strawberries from the farmers market in their iconic basket.

Whenever I bring the berries home now from the farmers markets and empty them out of of their containers, I can’t help but think of those baskets.

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Yo, Yo, Yo — Fro-Yo at Home

Greek yogurt sorbet -- crazy easy to make.

Greek yogurt sorbet — crazy easy to make.

 

You may never trek outside to buy fro-yo again.

Not if you have an ice cream maker and this recipe for “Greek Yogurt Sorbet” from the new cookbook, “Yogurt: Sweet and Savory Recipes For Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner” (Ten Speed Press) by award-winning, veteran cookbook writer Janet Fletcher, of which I received a review copy.

The slender book not only includes directions for making your own yogurt and yogurt cheese at home, but 50 recipes for incorporating yogurt in just about everything. Enjoy it in “Cherry Tomato Raita” to “Chilled Golden Beet & Yogurt Soup” to “Orzo with Spicy Lamb, Chickpeas & Yogurt” to “Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce.”

Transforming store-bought Greek yogurt into an ice cream-like treat is ridiculously easy. Get out a big bowl, dump in the yogurt (whole milk, please), sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt; stir. That’s the extent of the heavy lifting.

No eggs are involved. No cooking, either. Just chill down the mixture either in an ice bath or in the refrigerator overnight. Then, spin in an ice cream maker. And prepare to go to town on it.

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Meet Chocolate Butter Mochi — Your New BFF

Sweet rice flour is the secret to this unusual -- and unusually good -- chocolate creation. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Sweet rice flour is the secret to this unusual — and unusually good — chocolate creation. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

 

Ever since discovering the joys of butter mochi on a trip to Honolulu a few years ago, I’ve become rather obsessed with it.

Made with copious amounts of butter, eggs, whole milk or condensed milk, what’s not to adore?

It bakes up so easily into buttery, bouncy brilliance, too.

In supermarkets and mom-and-pop grocery stores in Hawaii, you’ll find that basic version, plus loads more — coconut butter mochi, chocolate-chip butter mochi, even peanut-butter butter mochi.

And of course, the piece de resistance, chocolate butter mochi. Oh, yes!

After getting rather hooked on baking regular butter mochi at home, I couldn’t wait to turn my attention to the chocolate version, especially when I spied a recipe for it in the new “Flavors of Aloha: Cooking with Tommy Bahama” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. The recipes are by veteran cookbook writer, Rick Rodgers.

(Photo courtesy of Tommy Bahama)

(Photo courtesy of Tommy Bahama)

I admit that I’ve always associated Tommy Bahama with its tropical print shirts. I didn’t even realize the company had restaurants, too.

Featured in this cookbook are more than 100 recipes with true island flair, from “Crispy Sriracha Shrimp” to “Kalua Pulled-Pork Sandwiches” to “Pina Colada Cake.”

But back to chocolate butter mochi, shall we?

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Prune’s Cold Candied Oranges

Dessert -- Prune-style.

Dessert — Prune-style.

 

Some cookbooks possess that magical gift that makes you feel as if the author is actually speaking directly to you in your very own kitchen.

“Prune” (Random House) takes a different tack. In her new cookbook of which I received a review copy, Chef Gabrielle Hamilton, owner of New York’s beloved Prune restaurant, gives you the impression that she’s talking directly to her crew in the kitchen. The delightful part is that you feel as if you’re scrunched in a corner, ease-dropping on everything that goes on there, from the prep to the service.

prune-gabrielle-hamilton-cover

Possessing an MFA in fiction writing, Hamilton is a proven storyteller. Besides her singular voice, the recipes come with drip spots on the pages, as well as notes scribbled on torn pieces of tape that look as if they’re stuck to the pages.

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A Lemon Tart For When You’re Feeling Lazy

You can be a bit of a lazy bone when making this tart. Just a little.

You can be a bit of a lazy bone when making this tart. Just a little.

 

Have you ever rolled a vacuum cleaner over and over and over a dust ball on the carpet, knowing full well if you just bent over to pick it up with your fingers, it would be a whole lot quicker?

Oh yeah, been there, done that. I bet you have, too.

“Lazy Mary’s Lemon Tart” is made for times like that — when you’re feeling lazy. But only a tad.

After all, you still have to put the tart together and bake it.

But it does have an ingenious step-saver when it comes to making the filling. It’s all blitzed in a blender. That includes an entire Meyer lemon. Yup, rind, seeds and all. The whole kit and caboodle.

The recipe appeared in Food & Wine magazine’s January 2015 issue. The recipe is by Mary Constant, a Food52 member and winemaker of Napa’s Constant Diamond Mountain Winery, who adapted the crust from the “The Joy of Cooking.”

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