Monthly Archives: June 2012

Rubuarb-Ginger Spritzer

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The other day I took a trip to a lovely farmers market and purchased some rhubarb. Confession: before today, I had never tasted or cooked with rhubarb. Ever. Rhubarb seems like the quintessential spring fruit (is it a fruit? Or a vegetable? Root? I don’t know!) and I was excited to try it. Unfortunately, it’s hot out. Really hot. As much as I wanted to bake something nice with my rhubarb, I couldn’t bring myself to turn on the oven.

So I chose to make a drink, which is what started this blog last summer. I combined rhubarb, ginger and mint (also from the farmers market!) with sparkling water to create a refreshing summer beverage. It’s a sophisticated drink that can be sweetened to your liking. Feel free to reduce the sugar in the simple syrup mixture and dilute the finished drink as much as you’d like.

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Rhubarb-Ginger Spritzer

1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 sprig of mint, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 cups club soda

  1. For the syrup: In a medium saucepan, cook water, sugar, rhubarb, ginger and mint over medium heat until the mixture thickens, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the solids and mix lemon juice into the syrup. Let cool.
  2. To prepare the spritzer, mix 1 cup syrup with 4 (or more) cups of club soda. Garnish with mint.

Strawberry Balsamic Bacon Pizza

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Okay, it might sound a little weird. Strawberries? Bacon? Cheese? Balsamic? What is this nonsense? You expect us to dump it on a pizza and consume it?

YES, my friends–the answer is yes. In this fabulous kitchen of Wright Time for a Schnack, we do not judge. We don’t judge ingredients when they are strange, or me when I drop dishes and food on the floor. (My most recent victim was a cake.) We might judge a little bit when we see Caty’s spastic dancing, but we love it and her all the same.

This pizza is especially delectable when you have picked the strawberries yourself. Caty and I had a lovely time scouring the fields of a local farm for the perfect berries, and once picked and purchased I myself consumed upwards of thirty of the strawberries on our ride home, until Caty told me to stop. So then I had my last one. And then six more.

We devoured this pizza for breakfast, but it could be eaten any time of the day. Caty decided to make the dough and the strawberry jam from scratch, but if you’re not feeling quite so ambitious you can always go with storebought. (Like I said–no judgement.) It somehow has the right amount of all the flavors. The salty bacon, the sweet strawberries, and the toasty bread are a perfect (if unconventional) combination. So go forth, with no judgement whatsoever, and make this pizza. Trust me on this one. You will not regret it.

Strawberry Balsamic Bacon Pizza
From Annie’s Eats

For the sauce:

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup strawberry jam or preserves
For an easy strawberry jam, cook 2 cups strawberries, crushed and 4 teaspoons sugar over low heat until syrupy
1 tsp. sriracha chili sauce (optional)

To assemble:
1 ball pizza dough
Olive oil
1 cup shredded or diced cooked chicken
4 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked until crisp
½ cup thinly sliced yellow onion
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
½ cup hulled strawberries, sliced

  1. Cook the balsamic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook 4-5 minutes or until reduced by about half with a thick, syrupy texture.  In a small bowl, combine the balsamic reduction with the strawberry jam and sriracha chili sauce.  Set aside.
  2. To make the pizza, heat the oven to 500˚ F and preheat a pizza stone for at least 30 minutes.  Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round.  Lightly brush the crust of the dough with olive oil.  Spread the balsamic-strawberry mixture in a thin layer over the crust.  Layer with the cheeses, chicken, bacon, onion, cheeses, cilantro, and strawberries.
  3. Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 11-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

White Chocolate Coconut Cake with Pineapple Filling

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We’re getting so old. Georgia and I recently graduated from high school and one of our very best friends Sophie turned 19 yesterday. In honor of her birthday, we created a delightful white chocolate coconut cake with pineapple filling, inspired by her request for something “coconutty.” Coconut, white chocolate and pineapple combine to create the loveliest birthday cake ever. It’s perfect for a summer party because it tastes like you’re on a tropical vacation.

One of the best parts of this cake is the dried pineapple “flowers” on top. I’ve seen this little trick on various food blogs and was excited to try it for myself. Pineapple flowers are just so pretty, and easy to make. Basically, all you have to do is cut the sides off a pineapple then scoop out the “eyes” (those little black things) and slice the pineapple really thin. Then, pop the slices in the oven for an hour or so. And voila! You’ve got edible flowers. For a great step-by-step lesson on how to make dried pineapple flowers, check out Annie’s Eats.

We chose to fill the cake with a pineapple filling–which is actually called pineapple curd. But I have been told not to use this word because it sounds disgusting. I assure you, readers, that pineapple curd is merely pudding, made from egg yolks, sugar and pineapple juice. It’s seriously delicious.

This cake is a bit involved, but it’s completely worth it. Did I mention it looks really pretty?

White Chocolate Coconut Cake with Pineapple Frosting

Pineapple Filling
Adapted from Eating Well
It’s best to prepare this in advance; store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

6 large egg yolks
3 6-oz cans of pineapple juice (2 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat about 5-10 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool. For a smoother filling, pass the filling through a fine-mesh sieve before storing. To avoid forming a film, place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the filling.

White Chocolate Coconut Cake
Adapted from La Mia Vita Dolce

14 oz good-quality white chocolate
2 3/4 cups cake flour
2 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 2/3 cups (1 400 ml can) coconut milk
3 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs at room temperature, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottoms of 2 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, then lightly coat the paper and sides with cooking spray and flour.
  2. Melt the chocolate the microwave, cooking on 30-second intervals and stirring in between, until melted. Set aside to cool.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk and milk until fully combined.
  4. With an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 more minutes.
  5. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.
  6. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Add the melted chocolate and shredded coconut and beat to combine.
  7. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, then add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually increase the speed and beat until stiff peaks form.
  8. Using a large flexible spatula, fold 1/3 the egg whites into the cake mixture. Repeat twice more, but do not overmix.
  9. Divide the cake batter evenly between the 2 baking tins. Tap them lightly against the counter to ensure there are no air bubbles.
  10. Bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, for 45 minutes. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and allow to cool in pans 10 minutes.
  11. Run a thin knife around the sides of the cake and invert onto the wire racks, tops facing up. When the cakes are completely cooled, place the layers in the freezer for 30 minutes. This makes it easier to cut.

7-Minute Frosting
Adapted from La Mia Vita Dolce

1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup water
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

  1. Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, water and egg whites in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and  cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes.
  2. Remove the bowl from heat and beat on high until glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
  3. Beat in vanilla extract.

To assemble the cake:

  1. With a long serrated knife, trim the darker pieces off the cake (sides and bottom of 1 layer). Cut each layer in half horizontally to create 4 individual layers.
  2. With a pastry brush, brush the cooled simple syrup (combine 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan, cook over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar is fully dissolved) on the cut sides of the cakes and refrigerate 5 minutes.
  3. Prepare the cake by spreading pineapple filling between each layer. Spread frosting on sides and top of cake, then top with pineapple flowers.

Strawberry Peach Scones

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We are officially high school graduates! Last Friday both Georgia and I received our much-anticipated high school diplomas, our ticket to the future. We’re not sure what will happen to Wright Time for a Schnack this fall when we’re not together, but rest assured, we will be cooking and baking up a storm this summer.

This morning we baked a batch of strawberry peach scones. You may remember our chocolate and ginger scones from the winter. We used the same recipe, from The Best Recipe cookbook, and added sliced peaches and strawberries for a summery treat. These scones are quick enough to make and eat in the same morning and can easily be adapted to suit your needs. Feel free to substitute your favorite fruits, vegetables and cheese for a savory scone, or spices to make them your own.

Happy summer!

Peach Raspberry Scones
Adapted from The Best Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup chopped peaches
Turbinado sugar (optional)

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 450.
  2. Whisk flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl. With your fingertips, a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the milk. Add the strawberries and peaches and blend with rubber spatula until combined.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle more flour onto the surface. Using a lightly greased and floured 3-inch biscuit cutter (or the rim of a glass), stamp scones out of the dough. Place the dough rounds 1 1/2 inches apart on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if desired. Bake until scones are lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.