A Sarcastic Appetite

Raspberry Streusel Bars
December 14, 2010, 10:06 pm
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I spent Sunday morning flipping through cookbooks again, hellbent on finding a recipe for which I already had everything I needed. I wanted something mildly breakfast-y – or at least something I could vaguely justify eating all day long. This is really none of those things; I had to run out to get the butter, sugar, and the jam – and because it contains so much butter, sugar, and jam. (Not that it has stopped me from stealing bites every chance I get.) It reminds me of those Pepperidge Farm cookies – remember those? The sandwich cookies with jam in the middle and powdered sugar on top?  They were always far too dry and crunchy for my liking, not that it ever stopped me from downing 4 at a time. These are softer and slightly chewier. I am a fan.

Actually, the Ninja and I are both avid fans, as evidenced by the photo above. I have only myself to blame for the bizarre swath of sugary destruction I cut out of the pan. (The middle is always the best part!)

If I made these again, I’d slather even more raspberry jam on top – and I went overboard as it was. I’d also swap out the sugar in the streusel topping for brown sugar, since brown sugar makes everything better.

Raspberry Streusel Bars

From Joy of Cooking. Makes 20 bars…so they say.

For the shortbread:

2 c. all purpose flour

1/4 c. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces

3 tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375º and butter a 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Pulse the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix the milk and vanilla in a small dish and add to the flour mixture, bit by bit, until the dough starts to hold together. Press the dough into the baking pan, evenly. Bake about 12 minutes, until just firm in the center. Put on a cooling rack but leave the oven on.

For the topping:

1 1/2 c. seedless raspberry jam

1 3/4 c. flour

2/3 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats

1 large egg

2 tbsp. milk

Once you take the shortbread out of the oven, slather the jam over the still-hot crust. Meanwhile, pulse the flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter in a food processor until it’s blended. Turn out into a small bowl and add the oats. Mix the milk and egg together and beat lightly. Add that to the flour mixture and blend until the streusel is moistened and forms small crumbs. Scatter these crumbs across the raspberry jam, spreading evenly. Bake another 25ish minutes, until the raspberry jam is bubbling and the streusel is lightly browned. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Turkey Chutney Burgers
October 2, 2010, 10:16 am
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When I first started cooking, I spent a lot of needless time winging things. “I can just pick up a few things and throw something together,” I’d think, and head to the store. Of course, this approach didn’t factor in my own indecisiveness, so halfway through picking up the ingredients for, say, pesto pasta, I’d find some beautiful eggplant, and suddenly dinner would be in serious jeopardy.

I thought I was quite clever about these things, but the Ninja always knew: he’d take a bite, chew it suspiciously, and then ask delicately, “Did you follow a recipe for this?”

In short, I finally realized I needed to get a better handle on the basics before I could start flinging pots and pans around the kitchen willy-nilly. That year I got Joy of Cooking for Christmas, and a whole winter of boring beef stews followed. The Ninja still hasn’t recovered.

Even the updated version is still straight out of the 50’s, but there are several gems I’ve come to rely on. Buried in the Poultry & Wildfowl section are these burgers, and they’ve become a favorite standby. I up the seasonings a bit – more cumin, coriander, and scallions are always in order, I figure. Quick to prepare, and delicious, their only downfall is that it uses up the mango chutney all too quickly. But maybe that’s a good thing.

Turkey Chutney Burgers

Serves 4. Adapted from Joy of Cooking.

1/2 c. mango chutney

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 lb. ground turkey

3 tbsp. mango chutney

3 scallions, minced

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

1 1/2 tsp. coriander

lots of salt and black pepper

2 tbsp. butter

4 slices red onion

4 slices pepper jack cheese

4 hamburger buns

In a small bowl, stir together the 1/2 c. chutney, Dijon, and lemon juice. Add a bit of salt and pepper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, the 3 tbsp. chutney, scallions, cumin and coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Combine, but be careful not to over mix. Shape into four patties. Melt 1 tbsp. of the butter in a pan on medium-high heat; pan fry the patties, about 5 minutes on a side. Melt the other tbsp. of butter before flipping and pan frying the other side. In the last minute or two, melt the pepper jack over the patties.

Serve on buns with the chutney mixture and a slice of red onion.