Cinnamon Crumb Cake

This old timey crumb cake is uber easy, delicious, and time tested.
crumb Cake
Crumb Cake crumbsIt is a treat that you can whip up fast, and enjoy for dessert, or even as a brunch coffee cake.  It’s college student friendly, as the short ingredient list is inexpensive and the cake feeds a party.  It’s a great late night snack.  I was given this recipe by my mother in law and it has been a family favorite ever since.  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Crumb Cake

15 oz (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
14 oz (2 cups) white sugar
1 TB ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
7 oz (1 cup) vegetable oil
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
12 oz (1 1/2 cups) buttermilk

Heat your oven to 350.  Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vegetable oil until combined.  Set aside one cup of this mixture for the crumb topping.

To the flour mixture remaining in the mixing bowl, add the baking soda, buttermilk, and eggs.  Blend on low, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice, until combined.  Then beat on medium for two minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared 9 X 13 pan.  Sprinkle the set aside crumb mixture evenly in little clumps over the batter.  Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until done.  The cake should gently spring back when you touch it in the center, and the top of the cake should be a little golden.  The crumbs won’t brown very much.

(for Jack)

Miso Broth Chicken or Tofu

This rich, brothy dish tastes much richer and more complex than it should, as it takes just 15 minutes to get together.
Miso Broth Chicken
Why?  The umami-bomb flavors of miso, soy, and shitaki create instant depth.  Sauteed onion gives this dish backbone, while fresh grated ginger adds sparkle.  Use sliced chicken breast or tofu for substance, and serve with cooked brown rice for a surprisingly easy yet satisfying meal.  Is it winter where you are (Boston? New York?) and are you on a limited food budget?  Good.  This is the recipe for you!

Miso Broth Chicken
(This is one of those dishes where exact measurements aren’t helpful.  Just aim for a rich, savory broth in which to poach chicken breast or tofu.  Use your best judgement as to how much miso, soy and water to use – just taste the broth and adjust to what your mouth says.  This recipe doubles easily and makes great leftovers.)

2 TB oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced against the layers
1 cup fresh shitaki mushrooms, sliced into bite size pieces
3 – 4 cups water
miso paste – about 1/3 cup
Soy sauce – to taste
1 TB grated fresh ginger
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin bite size pieces
or
1 tub firm tofu, drained and cut into bite-size pieces
(2 cups baby spinach – optional)

Heat a large sauce pan on high until medium-hot, then add oil and onions.  Saute onions until wilted and beginning to brown.  Then add shitaki mushrooms and saute for another few minutes.  Add water, miso paste and some soy sauce, and fresh ginger.  Bring to a simmer and simmer, covered for 5 minutes.  Add chicken or tofu and bring back to a simmer.  Allow to cook, covered, for another 4 – 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  If desired, through in a the baby spinach now)

Taste for seasoning, and add more miso or soy sauce until the broth tastes just right.  Serve in bowls with spoons for slurping, with rice in a separate bowl.

Lemon Rosemary Butter Cookies

Crunchy, buttery, pine nut-studded cookies with the fresh scent of lemon and rosemary.
Rosemary Lemon cookiesLemon rosemary pinenuts
This is a classic butter cookie recipe, but with some of the flour swapped out for cornmeal to add a bit of texture.  Lemon and fresh rosemary compliment each other in this cookie.  The dough for these cookies comes together quickly.  After some chill-out time in the fridge, just slice and bake for a fabulous cookie with a sophisticated flavor.

Lemon Rosemary Butter Cookies

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
5.5 oz (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
6.5 oz (1 1/3 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 oz (1/2 cup) cornmeal, fine grind
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, fine mince (detail photo below)
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest, fine mince (detail photo below)
1/2 cup raw pine nuts

Cream together the butter, sugar, and egg yolk until light.  Add all other ingredients except the pine nuts and mix on low until combined.  Use a spatula to gently mix in the pine nuts by hand to avoid breaking them.

Roll the dough into a log, approximately 2.5 inches in diameter.  Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, or until firm. (Make ahead note:  you can freeze the dough log, and slice and bake the cookies when you want them.  Be sure to wrap well in plastic wrap before freezing.)

Heat oven to 375.  Remove the dough log from the fridge.  Using a sharp knife, slice rounds of dough about 1/4 inch thick.  The key is to keep all the cookies the same thickness so that they bake evenly.
rosemary lemon cookie unbakedSpace the rounds about 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until edges begin to turn light brown.  Remove from pan while hot and let cool on a cooling rack.  Store any uneaten cookies air-tight for best texture.
Lemon rosemary minced

Lime-Chipotle Chicken

It’s winter in California, which means spicy, tart, ripe limes.  This recipe is my go-to marinade for chicken thighs.
lime chipotle chicken 2lime chipotle chicken 1It stars a threesome of flavor all-stars:  lime, garlic, and chipotle.  These three are bold individually, but there is special magic when they get together in this marinade.  Whip up some Lime-Chipotle chicken, and then use a few more of those juicy limes in a Margarita.  Even if it’s cold and dark where you live, you’re sure to have an evening of warmth with this on the menu.

Lime-Chipotle Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
juice and zest of two limes
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp. chipotle powder (depending on how spicy your like your chicken)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cloves garlic, pressed

At least two hours prior to cooking, mix together all the ingredients in a 1 gallon zippered plastic bag.  Press the air out of the bag so that the marinade and the chicken are in good contact.  Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Heat your grill, grillpan, or frying pan until hot.  Take the chicken out of the marinade, but don’t worry about too much of the liquid clinging to the chicken.  Discard remaining marinade.

Grill or fry the chicken until done.  How to tell when it’s done?  The meat should tender, and not rubbery.  Any juices that come out should be clear rather than pink.  Chicken thighs take longer to cook than chicken breast meat of the same thickness.

Serve with a couple of lime wedges on the side.  Add cooked rice and a salad for an easy, tasty dinner.