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Pumpkin Apple Bread

Pumpkin Apple Bread with Streusel Topping

December 17, 2014

All I can say is, yum, yum!

  • 1½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • 1 large Pink Lady apple, chopped

Streusel

  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened

Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter with a fork in a small bowl. Keep aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 9X5 pan.

Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon powder in a medium bowl. Whisk well and keep aside. In the meantime in a mixer, add the sugar and butter. Beat till the mixture is creamy. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and apple cider. Beat well and slowly add the flour mixture. Mix well and fold the diced apple. Transfer the batter to the pan and top with the streusel mixture. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes till the cake is done.

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Roast Chicken Quarters with Thyme

Roast Thyme Chicken Quarters with Gremolata

December 16, 2014

This is a traditional chicken dinner with a kick- I topped the roasted chicken quarters with a delicious mixture of lemon zest, cheese, parsley and olive oil…. so good and decadent. I served the chicken with roasted broccoli and potatoes!

  • 4 chicken quarters
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Compound Butter

  • ½ stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced

Mix the butter, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Loosen the chicken skin with fingers and add half of the butter inside the skin of all four pieces and the other half on top. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and sprinkle some salt and pepper. Marinate for 2 to 3 hours.

Heat a large frying pan. Brown the chicken pieces skin side down on medium high heat for 3 to 4 minutes.  Take out and place into a baking pan on top a layer of sliced onions. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the leg quarters. Take out and let them sit for 10 minutes. Keep the onions for later.

Gremolata

  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • Zest of one lemon
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together.

Serve chicken with a spoon of the gremolata on top and some onions on the side.

 

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Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese with Pancetta and Roasted Jalapeños

December 15, 2014

OMG, these are the most delicious grilled cheese sandwiches ever! The combination of pancetta and roasted jalapeños is divine! Obviously eliminate the pancetta if you want to make them vegetarian.. otherwise definitely make this sandwich- it is awesome. Make sure you make the soup as well from yesterday…

  • 5 to 6 fresh jalapenos, sliced in half
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the jalapenos onto a lined cookie sheet. Drizzle the oil and add a pinch of salt. Roast in oven for 30 minutes. Let cool and keep aside.

  • 6 to 8 pancetta slices

Heat a frying pan and add the pancetta slices. Cook on medium heat till pancetta is golden brown and crispy. Take out and keep aside.

  • Loaf of Italian bread, sliced
  • Butter, room temperature
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated

Butter one side of each of the two slices. Put the two slices butter side down onto a frying pan. Add both the cheeses, as many jalapenos as you want and a slice or two of the pancetta. Cook the grilled cheese and serve with tomato soup.

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Roasted Tomato Cream Soup

Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup with Basil

December 14, 2014

This is a quick, delicious soup to make in this weather. Don’t buy the canned variety- this is much better and yummier… Wait till you see what I served with the soup.. yup, grilled cheese sandwiches- a kicked up version!

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, skin on
  • 1 large yellow onion, skin on, cut in half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the tomatoes, garlic and onion onto a lined cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and salt. Mix well and roast in oven for 40 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool.

  • 1 28 ounces San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup basil
  • ½ cup half and half
  • Salt

Transfer the roasted vegetables, canned tomatoes, broth and basil to a powerful blender. Blend till a smooth consistency is reached. Take out of the blender and transfer to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer with lid closed for 20 minutes. Take the lid off and check for seasoning and add salt. Turn heat off and add half and half. Check for seasonings and serve warm.

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Chocolate Applesauce Cake 1

Applesauce Chocolate Cake with a Spiced Icing

December 10, 2014

Another favorite…

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered nutmeg
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • ½ cup extra light olive oil
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup homemade or store bought applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 9” round pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large bowl of a mixer, add the melted chocolate and the oil. Add sugar and beat until mixture is creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add the applesauce and vanilla and mix well. Stir in dry ingredients and pour into the round pan.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until tester is clean. Let cool and then top with the spiced icing.

Spiced Icing

  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
  • ¼ unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons milk

In a small mixing blow, combine the sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg and milk. Whisk well until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Add more milk if needed to reach the desired consistency.

Pour on top of the the cake and spread to the sides evenly.

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

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Hazelnut and Cherry Italian Cookies2

Hazelnut and Cherry Italian Cookies

December 9, 2014

These are absolutely yum!

  • 1 cup soft unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • ½ cup evaporated cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups white whole-wheat flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, chopped fine
  • ½ cup hazelnut liquor
  • ½ cup confectionery sugar in a small bowl

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the butter and sugar until fluffy in a mixer. Add the salt, vanilla extract, flour and liquor. Mix well and add the nuts and cherries.
Mix with both hands until well incorporated. Form a ball and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on the cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool and roll in confectionery sugar.
Hazelnut and Cherry Italian Cookies

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Mango Cardamom Cookies

Mango Cardamom Cookies with a Mango Glaze

December 8, 2014

How about some cookies?

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • ½ cup mango puree
  • 1½ teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 cardamom pods, crushed and the green skin removed (equivalent to 1 teaspoon cardamom powder)
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ cups white whole-wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degree F.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together in an electric mixer. Add the mango puree, lemon zest and egg; mix well. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Carefully fold in the dry ingredients and buttermilk into the wet mixture with a rubber spatula. Drop a small scoop full of dough onto 2 parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or till golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Drizzle the mango glaze with a fork on the cookies.

Mango Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons mango puree

Whisk the powdered sugar with the mango puree until smooth. Drizzle on the cookies.

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