Friday, April 29, 2011

Vegetable Enchiladas

I have a serious love for enchiladas.  Ironically enough though, I never order them out at restaurants.  Since I have winning recipes for both enchiladas in red chile sauce and salsa verde enchiladas, I don't feel the need.  But lately I have been wanting to come up with a recipe for a vegetarian enchilada recipe. 

I found this recipe and thought it looked promising, but I added some of my own tweaks and additions.  I usually plan a few meatless meals per week, but I'm always unsure as to how they will be received by Joey. Every now and then he admits that he misses it, but not with these enchiladas.

For enchiladas, these are surprisingly healthy and chock full of veggies:  onions, bell pepper, zucchini, corn, spinach, and tomatoes.  I think there are so many variations and vegetables you could add as well.  And it uses a homemade red chile sauce that is very similar to the one from my favorite chicken enchiladas.  The most interesting ingredient however, is the queso fresco (or feta if you can't find it).  I loved the slightly salty and tangy addition to the filling. 

If you're looking for an enchilada recipe for Cinco de Mayo, these would be a great option - healthy, vegetarian, and most importantly, delicious!  The only downside is that now when I make enchiladas, I have no idea which recipe to use!

Vegetable Enchiladas
adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
serves 6
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
  • 1 zucchini (8 oz) halved lengthwise, seeded, and chopped small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup finely crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup drained, canned chopped green chiles
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (about 4 oz)
  • lime wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

Mash half the beans in a bowl with fork until mostly smooth; set aside.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, jalapeno, and bell pepper and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in the zucchini and cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and corn, and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the mashed beans and remaining black beans and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. 

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, queso fresco, cilantro, green chiles, spinach, and tomato.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Place the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.  Cook 30-60 seconds, until warm and pliable.  Spread them out over a clean surface and top each one with a scant 1/3 cup of the filling.  Working quickly, roll each torilla tightly and lay them seam-side down in the baking dish. 

Spray the enchiladas lightly with cooking spray, and cook 5-7 minutes.  Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top, sprinkle with cheese, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until the enchiladas are heated through and the cheese has melted.  Allow to cool 5-10 minutes, then serve, passing lime wedges separately.

Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbs chile powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, chile powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato sauce and water, and bring to a simmer.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Individual Danish Pastries (Cream Cheese & Apricot)

I have a long list of baked goods that I want to tackle, and croissants have been near the top for quite some time.  And while I'm typically pretty fearless when it comes to trying out new recipes, I have been intimidated by croissants - all those turns, chills, etc.  And if they were a big flop, I would have wasted so much time and energy.  But one day I decided to just dive in, and I studied the recipe I planned to use.  As I continued to flip through the cookbook, I happened upon Individual Danishes, which uses the same dough as croissants.  Suddenly the croissants were forgotten, and I found myself planning for these instead.

Just as I expected, once I got started, these really weren't terribly challenging.  Time consuming, yes.  But not necessarily from a labor standpoint.  Most of the time is spent waiting and chilling the dough.  But man oh man are they worth it in the end!  Flaky, buttery, sweet - these were everything a coffee shop Danish tries to be but falls short of.  See?  Look at those flaky layers!

As long as it was well-floured, the dough was a dream to work with.  Silky and smooth, with good elasticity.  But the most fun part was shaping the pastries.  I was really intrigued by the pinwheel shapes, but I actually ended up liking the "S-shaped" ones (called Schnecken) better.  I meant to take step-by-step photos of the process to better explain the recipe, but I got so involved in the process that it didn't really work out.  The instructions are so clear that photos aren't really necessary anyway (I hope). 

I couldn't decide on a filling, so I did half with cream cheese filling and the other half with apricot.  The cream cheese ones were hands down mine and Joey's favorite.  I also only made a half-batch, which was wise given the fact that I ate an embarrassing number of these within the first hour of them being baked.

Individual Danish
barely adapted from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day
filling from Baking Illustrated
makes 2-4 dozen, depending on the size

Laminated Dough

  • 4 2/3 cups (21 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbs cold milk
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs room temperature water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
Butter Block
  • 1 1/2 cups cold unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces and softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Apricot Filling
  • 1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
Hot Glaze
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 heaping Tbs apricot preserves
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 lemon
White Fondant Glaze
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2-3/4 cup milk
 To make the detempe, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a stand mixer bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the milk, water, egg, and butter, and using the paddle attachment, mix on the lowest speed for 1 minute.  The dough should be come coarse, wet, and shaggy.  If it's very wet, like a batter, add a little more flour.  If it's firm like regular bread dough, drizzle in a little more water.

Resume the mixing on the lowest speed for another 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium-high for 10-15 seconds.  The dough will begin to smooth out but should be very soft, supple, and sticky, but not batterlike.  Add more flour or water as needed, but only mix until the dough has formed.  It should still be somewhat sticky.  If it's dry to the touch, it needs more water.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and, with floured hands, form it into a ball.  Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.

On Baking Day:

To make the butter block, cut the cold butter into 16 pieces, and combine with the flour in a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on the lowest speed for about 1 minute to break the butter into smaller pieces.  Scrape down the bowl as needed, and mix until the mixture is no longer lumpy.  Increase the speed to medium-high as the butter pieces smooth out, and continue mixing until all the lumps of butter are gone and you have a smooth paste.

Spray a piece of plastic wrap lightly with cooking spray, and transfer the butter to the center.  Spray the top of the butter, then using the plastic, gently form the butter into a 6-inch square.  Using a bench scraper will help achieve even edges.  The butter block should be about 1/2-inch thick and smooth across the top.  Place it in the refrigerator to chill briefly.

To incorporate the butter block into the detempe, generously flour a large work surface.  Transfer the detempe to the work surface and sprinkle more flour over the top of the dough.  Roll the dough to a rectangle about 12 1/2 inches wide by 6 1/2 inches long.  Roll from the center to the four corners, and then roll to the four sides to even it out.  Check under the dough frequently to see if it needs more flour.  Square off the sides and corners with a bench scraper.  The dough should be about 1/2-inch thick, the same as the butter block.

Check the size of the dough by setting the butter block on the left side of the dough.  The butter should only cover half of the dough, with just a 1/4-inch border on the left, top, and bottom.  If it covers more or less than that, adjust the dough accordingly.

Remove the plastic wrap and flip the butter block onto the left side of the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border.  Lift the right side of the dough and fold it over the butter to envelop or sandwich the butter.  Stretch the dough along the top rim to seal the butter inside by pressing the top rim of the dough to the rim of the underside and pinching them together to form a seal.  You now have three layers - dough, butter, dough.

To laminate the dough, lift the dough, one side at a time, and dust more flour underneath it, using a pastry scraper to lift it if the dough sticks.  Lightly flour the top of the dough, then tap with a rolling pin over the top to work out any air bubbles and spread the butter evenly into all four corners. 

Working from the center to the four corners and then to the four sides, gently roll out the dough into a rectangle, dusting under and on top of the dough with more flour as needed.  Roll into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle that's about 16x9 inches.

Square off the sides and corners, then fold the dough as if you're folding a letter:  Fold the right 1/3 of the dough to the left, then fold the left 1/3 to the right.  Use the rolling pin to press out any air pockets, hen gently transfer the dough to a lightly floured sheet pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let the dough chill in the refrigerator 10-15 minutes so the gluten can relax.

Transfer the dough back to the floured surface, with the open seam facing away from you, and the closed side facing you.  Gently roll the dough into another 16x9 inch rectangle, and once again fold into thirds.  Transfer back to the baking sheet, and chill another 15 minutes. 

After the second resting period, once again transfer the dough back to the floured surface, closed side facing you, and gently roll it out and fold it as before.  Refrigerate another 15 minutes.  You have now completed three "turns," and have created 81 layers of butter and dough.

For the final roll-out and shaping, transfer the dough back to the floured surface and gently roll it out until the dough is just under 1/4-inch thick and forms a rectangle 24 inches wide and 9 inches long.  Be careful not to put too much presure on the dough as you roll it out, or the layers could break.  If the dough starts to shrink back or resist, add more flour underneat.  Square off the sides and corners with a bench scraper.

To make Schnecken, use a straight edge (such as a ruler), to cut 1-inch vertical strips, so that you end up with strips that are 8-9 inches long.  Lift each strip at both ends and twist in opposite directions to form the strip into a spring-like coil, then lay the strip down on the work surface and coil from both ends to form an S-shape.  Tuck the outer end of the coils underneath to close off the circle. Place the pastries about 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

To make the pinwheels, cut the dough into 3-inch squares.  Working one piece at a time, use a pair of kitchen shears to cut a notch at each corner, cutting from the corner toward the center, without connecting the cuts.  Leave an uncut center about 1/2-inch wide for the filling.  Take the same side of each corner and fold it over to the center, pressing it into the uncut platform. When all four corners are folded, use your thumb to press the ends into each other and seal them in the center of the pinwheel.  Place the pinwheels about 1-inch apart on the baking sheet.

Cover the pastries with plastic wrap.  Proof at room temperature for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the dough has swelled noticeably.

To make the cream cheese filling, combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine until smooth.

To make the apricot filling, combine the apricots and orange juice in a microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Microwave about 1 minute, until the juice is simmering.  Let stand, covered, about 10 minutes, until the apricots have absorbed most of the juice.  Place the apricots, any remaining juice, sugar, and salt in a food processor and process until a puree forms, about 20 seconds.  Scrape into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

To bake and glaze the pastries, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Fill the pastries by using your thumb to make an indention in the center of each coil (or the center of the pinwheel), and add about 1 teaspoon of the filling to the pockets.

To make the fondant icing, stir the sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla together.  Gradually whisk in the milk, adding just enough to make a thick but creamy glaze.  The more milk you add, the thinner the glaze will be.

Just before baking the Danish, prepare the hot glaze.  Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Lower the heat and stir in the apricot preserves, then add the entire lemon half.  Maintain a gentle simmer as the Danish bake.

As the syrup is heating up, place the pan in the oven and lower the temperature to 400 degrees.  Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake an additional 5-6 minutes, until they are a medium golden-brown.

As soon as the Danish come out of the oven, brush with the hot syrup (including over the filling).  Allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then drizzle streaks of the fondant glaze over them.  Allow the glaze to set up for 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pasta with Mascarpone and Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Sometimes I plan dinners based on cravings or recipes I've found, but some dinners are born out of necessity.  Like I have an ingredient that I need to use before it goes bad.  I bought some mascarpone for a Project Pastry Queen recipe that I never made, and I had some grape tomatoes that were about to turn as well.  I actually wasn't sure if I wanted to use the mascarpone in a sweet or savory application, but when I found this recipe for pasta with mascarpone and roasted grape tomatoes, I knew it was meant to be.

This is a really simple dinner. Grape tomatoes are halved, roasted, then tossed with cooked shells, mascarpone cheese, and chives.  The dish is then topped with some parmesan and baked briefly.  This is truly one of those dihes where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  I love the flavor of roasted tomatoes - rich and sweet, and they pair perfectly with the rich and creamy mascarpone.  I made a few minor tweaks and additions, but the nice thing about this recipe is that it is open to so many adaptations:  add some Italian sausage, try out different herbs, add some extra veggies... the possibilities are endless.  I served this with roasted asparagus and bread, and we enjoyed a lovely spring meal.

Pasta with Mascarpone and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
adapted from Gourmet, February 2004
serves 6
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb pasta shapes, such as shells
  • 1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.

Toss the tomatoes and garlic with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet, and roast until slightly plumped, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through the baking time.  Remove the garlic cloves and mince.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water, until just shy of al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.  Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.  Transfer to a large bowl.

Mix the pasta with the mascarpone, stirring until melted.  Add the cooking water, a little at a time, until the sauce looks thinned but not watery.  Stir in the wine, red pepper flakes, garlic, tomatoes, half the Parmesan cheese, 3 Tbs of the chives, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. 

Lightly grease 6 individual gratin dishes, or a 9x13 baking dish.  Divide the pasta evenly among the dishes, then top with the remaining Parmesan. 

Bake 15-20 minutes, until the pasta is golden and bubbly.  Sprinkle with remaining chives and serve.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blueberry-Goat Cheese Focaccia

I've mentioned before that Caroline loves to help me in the kitchen.  However, due to her egg allergy, she is limited in what she can actually eat.  So I feel bad for her to help me bake cupcakes, only to tell her later that she can't have one.  Which is why bread is such a perfect thing for us to bake together.

There are several fun steps for her to help me with in this focaccia recipe. It is kneaded by hand, and while I know I could just use my stand mixer, I think it's a lot more fun to do it by hand.  Especially a 2 year old's tiny hands.  :-)  She also thought it was great fun to punch down the dough and spread it in the pan, and then to make the little "dimples" with her fingers.  Finally, we scattered some blueberries on top.  And then of course the best part:  the taste testing!

And the verdict?  We both really liked it!  It was a bit of an experiment.  I had actually never heard of blueberry focaccia, nor did I have a real recipe to follow.  I just took my favorite focaccia recipe, decreased the salt, added some sugar, and used butter instead of olive oil.  I simply sprinkled some blueberries on top, followed by some sugar and lemon zest, and baked it as usual.  I actually had some blueberry goat cheese that I'd picked up from Trader Joe's, so I used that on half just for fun.  It added a really great flavor to the bread, and I loved the contrast with the sweet berries.

This makes a great breakfast or snack, and I think it would be a fun addition to an Easter brunch.  And it's 2 year old-approved!

Blueberry Focaccia
Pink Parsley original, basic focaccia dough adapted from Williams-Sonoma
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water 
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs melted butter
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs sugar, divided
  • zest of 1 lemon, divided
  • 1 heaping cup blueberries (fresh, or frozen that have been rinsed and dried)
  • goat cheese, for sprinkling (optional)
 Add the yeast to the water and stir to combine.  Stir in the milk and 1/4 cup of the butter.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, half of the lemon zest, and salt, and add the yeast mixture.  Use a wooden spoon to stir, and mix until a soft dough forms, about 2 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  Shape into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Oil a 15x10x1 inch baking pan, and punch down the dough.  Transfer to the pan and press down with your hands to flatten the dough and cover the bottom of the pan.  Cover with a clean, lint-free kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise again until puffy, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Using your fingertips, press dimples in the dough about 1-inch apart and 1-inch deep.  Scatter the blueberries over the top, then drizzle with the butter and sprinkle with the remaining sugar and lemon zest.  Top with goat cheese if using.

Bake 15-25 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown.  Slide the focaccia onto a wire rack to cool, then cut into squares and serve.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Fudge Oatmeal Bars

I really love both oatmeal and peanut butter.  In fact, one of my favorite breakfasts is oatmeal with peanut butter.  It's a nice and healthy breakfast, and it's filling enough to keep me satiated until lunch.  So let me be obvious here:  these are not healthy.  Nor will one bar keep you full until lunch.  But 3 bars might - not that I tested that or anything...

So here's what we have:  an oatmeal cookie base, topped with a thick layer of peanut butter fudge, and then topped with crumbled oatmeal cookie dough and Reese's pieces.  Pretty intense.  I  made several changes from the original recipe based on my own preferences and what I had on hand.  I added peanut butter to the chocolate fudge layer, because I wanted more peanut butter flavor.  I also didn't have either M&Ms or Reese's cups on hand, though I did have almost a full bag of Reese's Pieces to use up.  Perfect!

I made these to send to a friend who had just had a baby, and I sent the rest to work with Joey (after taste-testing a few myself, obviously).  He told me they were gone before lunch, so I'd say everyone else enjoyed them as much as I did!

Peanut Butter Fudge Oatmeal Bars
adapted significantly from Pinch of Yum
makes 16 large bars, or 32 smaller ones
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Reese's pieces, for the topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on 2 sides.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 1/2 cup of the butter with the sugar until well-combined.  Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well.  Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredient (flour through oats), and mix at low speed until just combined.

Press two-thirds of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of the pan, and set aside the rest for the topping.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, condensed milk, chocolate chips, and peanut butter.  Cook over medium heat until the chocolate and butter are melted, stirring often.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Spread most of the chocolate fudge mixture over the oatmeal layer, using a spatula to spread evenly.  Save the remainder for hot fudge sauce, or use it all for a thicker layer.

Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the fudge, then sprinkle with the candy.

Bake 15-20 minutes, until the topping is starting to brown.  They won't seem cooked all the way through yet at this point.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 12 hours to set completely.  Cut into squares and serve, or store at room temperature.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shrimp Rolls

Not to be all "neener neener," but as you are reading this, I'm lounging on the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Mexico sipping a (non-alcoholic) frosty drink.  So instead of rubbing it in, I thought I'd share a fun, summery, and beachy dish.

A few weeks ago I got a major craving for a lobster roll.  Which is funny considering that I've never even eaten one.  I actually had everything I needed on hand, except for well, the lobster.  And to be completely honest, I am not jazzed about doing the whole live-lobster thing.  So I decided to just adapt and make shrimp rolls instead. 

Even though I've never had a lobster roll, I have read about them, so I know that they are very simple and only have a few ingredients.  The idea is to let the lobster shine, so I took the same approach with shrimp.  I served them with fresh fruit and potato chips, and we enjoyed a refreshing and low-maintenance meal.  I only made enough for 2 rolls, but I'd imagine this would keep well for a few days in the refrigerator.  In fact, it would make a great lunch... and since I have access to beautiful Gulf shrimp, I may have to run into town and pick up some shrimp to make some today...

Shrimp Rolls
Pink Parsley Original
makes 2 sandwiches
  • 8 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1/2 shallot, minced finely
  • 1 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs minced fresh parsley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • tabasco sauce, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
To serve:
  • 2 top-split hot dog buns
  • butter
  • lemon wedges
Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add the bay leaf, salt, lemon, and peppercorns.  Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.  Add the shrimp to the boiling water and cook 1-3 minutes, until they are pink, opaque, and the tail curl in.  Remove from the pot and plunge into the ice water to stop cooking.  Allow to cool.

Drain the shrimp and spread out on a clean, lint-free kitchen towel or paper towels to dry.  Remove the tails and chop the shrimp into bite-sized pieces.

In a medium bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, parsley, shallot, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Add the shrimp and stir well to coat.  Season with additional salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce if desired.  Chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the buns, or for several hours.

To prepare the buns, butter the outer sides.  In a nonstick skillet, toast the buns on both sides until golden-brown and crisp.

To serve, pile the shrimp into each bun and pass additional lemon wedges.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

PPQ: Caramel-Filled Brownies

In the ever so eloquent words of my sister, these brownies are "the shizz."  I have to say, I agree.  A thick layer of caramel  is sandwiched between two layers of rich and chocolately brownies.  It is intense and wonderful.  A little more work than a typical brownie, but these are so so worth it.  First, the brownie batter is mixed up.  Half is baked briefly, then a layer of caramel is poured over it.  The rest of the batter is layered on, then topped with chocolate chips and baked to chocolate perfection. 

I used half butterscotch chips instead of all chocolate, and I think the butterscotch was really great with the caramel filling.  I also omitted the pecans, as usual.  Other than that, I stayed true to the recipe, though I was tempted to add some sea salt to the caramel to make these salted caramel-filled brownies.  Maybe next time.

This recipe was chosen by Beth of The Powdered Plum.  She has the full recipe posted on her blog.  Next week:  Buttermilk Pecan Pie!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Grilled Hot Dogs with Poblanos, Pepperjack, and Tomatillo Salsa

I don't know if I should blame the warmer weather or my pregnancy, but out of nowhere I recently had an intense craving for hot dogs.  Luckily I was actually at the grocery store at the time, since that's not something I typically keep on hand.  So I grabbed a pack of nitrate-free-all-beef-organic hot dogs, and as I shopped for the rest of my groceries I thought about how I wanted to prepare them.

A few summers ago, Bon Appetit did a feature about hot dogs, called Around the World in 80 Hot Dogs.  Several countries, regions, and states were featured, and I actually remembered there being one with poblanos and salsa verde.  So I bought what I thought would be included, and then looked up the recipe when I got home (though in retrospect I totally could have looked it up on my epicurious app on my iphone!).  And I actually wasn't too far off.  However, I didn't really like their method of prep - I firmly believe a hot dog should only be enjoyed from the grill - boiling hot dogs kind of grosses me out.  So I adapted the recipe to grill everything, and put my own spin on it.

Yes, there is a lot going on here for just a hot dog, but considering that it's all stuff I love, I don't mind at all. Roasted poblanos and tomatillo salsa can adorn pretty much anything and I'd be happy.  When I served this, I kept it simple and just grilled some corn and chopped up some fresh fruit.  This would be a really fun way to serve hot dogs to company though, and the sides would be so easy - chips, salsa, guacamole, cold beer, and margaritas - you've got yourself a party!

Grilled Hot Dogs with Poblanos, Pepperjack, and Tomatillo Salsa
inspired by Bon Appetit, July 2009
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch rings
  • vegetable oil, for brushing
  • 1 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 hot dogs
  • 4 oz Pepperjack cheese, thinly sliced
  • tomatillo salsa
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • lime wedges, for serving
Prepare grill.

Grill the poblano whole, turning often, until blackened and charred all over.  Brush both sides of the onion slices with oile, and grill until softened, turning once.  Remove both from grill.  Set the onion slices aside, and place the pepper in a bowl, then cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to steam 5-10 minutes, then carefully peel off the skin, rinsing under cold water to remove all the charred pieces.  Remove the seeds and stem.  Slice the onions and pepper into 2-inch strips, toss with cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Grill the hot dogs, turning every few minutes, until heated through and charred in spots.  Meanwhile, toast the hot dog buns until warmed through and starting to brown.  Carefully top the hot dogs with the slices of pepperjack, then close the grill to melt the cheese.  Remove from grill and place in the hot dog buns.

When ready to serve, top the hot dogs with the poblano-onion mixture and tomatillo salsa.  Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired, and serve with lime wedges.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

I few months ago I shared my favorite recipe for fluffy buttermilk biscuits.  And they are still my favorite.  But recently I was making a frittata for dinner, and I decided that I wanted to serve biscuits with it.  I was feeling kind of lazy, so I didn't feel like dragging out my food processor, rolling out and folding dough, etc, so I made drop biscuits instead. 

Being that they are from Cook's Illustrated, there is a step that seems crazy and unorthodox.  As I read through the recipe, I noticed that melted butter is used.  Melted butter in biscuits??  Cold butter is what MAKES a good biscuit.  But the science behind this claims that mixing melted butter with cold buttermilk will create clumps that will then act like cold butter, creating a light and fluffy interior.  I was a bit skeptical, but I forged on since I trusted the source.

While these don't have quite the same fluffy layers as traditional biscuits, they are still nice and tender on the inside and crisp on the outside.  And they are soo incredibly low-maintenance that it is a trade-off I'm willing to take in a time crunch.

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
makes 12 biscuits
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • 8 Tbs butter, melted, plus additional for brushing the tops of the biscuits
 Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.  In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter and buttermilk, stirring until small clumps are formed.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and use a rubber spatula to stir, until they are just incorporated, and the batter starts to pull away from the sides. 

Use a greased 1/4-cup measuring cup to scoop out the dough and drop on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing the biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Each biscuit should be about 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch high.  Brush the tops with additional melted butter, reserving some for when they come out of the oven.

Bake until the tops are crisp and golden-brown, 12-14 minutes.  Brush with the remaining butter, and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Ever since she was probably 6 months old, I always find myself saying "Caroline is just at the best age right now."  It is true that every month seems to be better than the last.  And I really do think she is at the best age right now - for real this time!  Even though she's learned the meaning of the word "no," and has realized that she can in fact do what she wants instead of always listening to us, it is so amazing to see her little personality shine through.  She is definitely strong-willed and opinionated, and then right when I feel like I've reached my limit with her, she says something like "Mommy, I love you sooo much."  She is so funny and sweet, and I want to always remember every little thing she does and says - like being totally in awe of the "princesses" out at dinner a few weeks ago (high school girls going to the prom).  Or when she told me that daddy is her very best friend.  Or when she "calls" my grandpa on her play phone just to tell him she loves him.  Or most recently, when she kisses my growing belly every day and tells the baby good morning.

Though selfishly, I have to say my favorite thing that she does these days is help me cook.  Almost every night she pulls a chair up to the counter to help.  Even though sometimes she hurts more than helps - like when she dropped the rolling pin on a pan of rising rolls.  But I'll take it all because sharing this passion with her is truly one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. 

This pizza was one of our joint endeavors.  She helped me pat out and stretch the pizza dough, then we scattered the cheese, and finally, dropped handfuls of shaved asparagus on top.  She thought it was great fun to "drop it on the pizza," and what's better, she loved eating this! 

As did we.  I shaved thick asparagus spears into thin slices with my vegetable peeler, then tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and minced garlic.  The pizza is topped with Parmesan and mozzarella, and then finished with the asparagus.  After a brief stint in the hot oven, the asparagus gets nicely charred in spots, and a squirt of lemon juice and smattering of scallions brighten the whole thing up. 

We all really enjoyed this pizza, and with 10 minutes of prep followed by 10 minutes or so of cooking, it is perfect for a busy weeknight.  I served this with strawberry spinach salad, and we all loved this light and springy meal.  And Caroline still walks around saying "Drop it on the pizza."

Shaved Asparagus Pizza
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
  • 1 pizza dough
  • 1/2 pound fresh asparagus
  • 2 tsp olive oil + more for brushing
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 scallion, sliced thinly
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, with the pizza stone, for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus.  Lay each spear flat on the cutting board and hold by the woodsy end.  Moving from the base of the stalk to the tip, shave thin slices.  It's okay if they are different thicknesses.  In a medium bowl, toss the shavings with the olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, and pepper.

On a piece of parchment paper dusted with cornmeal, shape the pizza dough into a 12-inch circle, leaving the outer edges a little thicker than the inside. Brush the outer edge with olive oil, then scatter the Parmesan over the crust, followed by the mozzarella.  Drop the asparagus over the pizza in small piles.  If there is any oil left in the bowl, drizzle it over the top of the pizza.

Transfer the pizza + parchment to the pizza stone, and bake until the crust is golden-brown and the asparagus is charred in spots, 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with scallions, and allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Monday, April 11, 2011

PPQ: Strawberry-Ricotta Cake

This week's Project Pastry Queen recipe was chosen by Amanda of Fake Ginger.  This was actually one of the first recipes that caught my eye when I first flipped through The Pastry Queen, but I was a little put off by the method she uses to assemble the cake.  First, an angel food cake is baked and sliced into 3 even layers.  Then comes the weird part.  It's layered in a mixing bowl with a sweetened ricotta filling, then inverted and iced with freshly whipped cream and topped with fresh strawberries.  The mixing bowl step is what threw me off.  I just couldn't envision the finished product.

I considered making cupcakes instead, but in the end I was really just curious to see how this would turn out.  And guess what?  It wasn't as weird or difficult as I expected!  I have several mixing and serving bowls, so I just took a look and estimated  which one looked the best.  The layers fit perfectly in the bowl, and after chilling the cake for about an hour, it unmolded perfectly!

The ricotta filling is really what makes this cake special.  The combination of the light and fluffy angel food cake with the sweet and creamy ricotta is really wonderful.  I enhanced my filling a bit by adding a few tablespoons of strawberry preserves, and I also halved the heavy cream to keep the filling nice and thick. 

After it was assembled, it was almost too pretty to slice into - almost.  The cake almost tastes like a trifle - the ricotta filling is partially absorbed by the cake, and the fresh strawberry slices and whipped cream tie it all together.  This is really just a fancy version of strawberry shortcake.  And a delicious one at that!

Amanda has the full recipe posted on her blog.  And check back next week for caramel-filled brownies!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Banana-Chocolate Upside Down Cake

I'm not really one to advocate "healthy" desserts.  I say, if you are going through the trouble to make a dessert, or if you are really craving a dessert, then just eat something worth eating.  Eating low-sugar or low-fat desserts rarely satisfies my craving, so I'd much rather eat sensible meals and reasonable portions of real desserts.

However, if I happen to come across a dessert that is appealing, and it just so happens to be on the healthier side, then I'll give it a try.  I actually saved this recipe over a year ago, and only when I went t bake this did I realize that it is actually relatively healthy/not terribly bad for you.  The banana puree and light sour cream keep the cake moist without adding too much fat, and the bananas also sweeten the cake enough to where cups and cups of sugar aren't necessary.  And the sliced bananas cooked in brown sugar give the cake a wonderfully sweet caramel flavor.  Chocolate and bananas are just meant to go together, so the addition of chocolate chips just seems natural as well. The recipe gives several options to make it healthier, but I pretty much ignored them all.  :-)

This cake is best enjoyed straight from the oven - with a scoop of ice cream, if you're feeling decadent.  But it is great at room temperaure as well.  I couldn't stop myself from cutting off slices all day.  And being that it is ridiculously easy to throw together - you don 't even need to break out the mixer - this is a dangerous cake to have in your repertoire.

Banana and Chocolate Upside Down Cake
adapted from David Lebovitz

For the topping:
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tbs packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
For the cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs low fat sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the topping, place the brown sugar and butter in a 8-inch square baking pan.  Set the pan over a burner set to medium-low heat, and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter melts and the brown sugar is thoroughly moistened.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Arrange the banana slices over the bottom of the pan, overlapping them slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar.  In a small bowl, mix together the butter, banana puree, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add pour the wet ingredients into the well.  Stir until just combined, then gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the cake pan, being careful not to disturb the banana slices.  Smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake until the center is just set and firm to the touch, about 40 minutes.  Allow to cool 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the cake pan, and invert onto a serving platter.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oven-Fried Onion Rings

I really love onion rings, and if I had to pit a good onion ring against a good french fry... well it would be a hard decision.  But the problem with onion rings is that so often the are sub par and disappointing.  Either the breading is too thick, the onions are too thick or thin, or the onion is undercooked.  Biting into a crispy piece of breading only to be met with raw onion is the worst.

For several years now I have been wanting to make onion rings at home.  And while I have recently become more comfortable with frying (as in, I'm not afraid I'm going to burn my house down comfortable, not I think it's great and healthy and I do it all the time comfortable), I would still prefer a baked version if it lives up to the classic fried onion ring.

Leave it to Cook's Illustrated to come up with just that.  After experimenting with dozens of coatings, they settled on a combination of potato chips + saltines.  Since the chips have been fried, they give the onion rings that deep-fried taste, but without the mess.  The saltines help absorb the grease from the chips, as well as give the onion rings a nice salty kick.  Other than that, you have a pretty basic dredging technique, and the  onions are baked to crispy perfection.  Even though these are baked instead of fried, they are admittedly still not healthy.  But who eats onion rings to be healthy anyway?

In case you are wondering about the dipping sauce I have pictured, I tried to recreate the dipping sauce served at Outback (or Longhorn?), but it was only okay to me, so I won't be sharing it.  It has actually been years and years since I've had it though, so perhaps this recipe was a copycat but I just didn't care for it?  In any case, I really like dipping onion rings in honey mustard, so I think the next time I make these I will opt for that instead anyway :-)

Oven-Fried Onion Rings
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Summer Entertaining 2010
makes 24 rings
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • salt and black pepper
  • 30 saltine crackers
  • 4 cups kettle-cooked potato chips
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 6 Tbs vegetable oil
Adjust the oven racks to the lower-middle and upper-middle positions and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a shallow baking dish, spread 1/4 cup of the flour.

In another shallow dish, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, remaining 1/4 cup flour, cayenne, paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Pulse the chips and saltines in the food processor until finely ground.  Spread the crumbs in a third shallow baking dish.

Slice the onions into 1/2-inch thick rounds.  Separate the rings, and discard any rings smaller than 2 inches in diameter.

Pour 3 tablespoons of oil onto each of 2 rimmed baking sheets.  Place the sheets in the oven and heat until just smoking, about 8 minutes. 

Meanwhile, prep the onion rings.  Working 1 at a time, dredge each onion ring in flour, shaking off the excess.  Dip the rings in he buttermilk mixture, and allow the excess to drip back into the dish (I used a fork for this step, and it worked wonderfully).  Drop the onions in the crumb mixture, turning rings to coat evenly.  Transfer the coated rings to a large platter or baking sheet.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and carefully tilt them to coat evenly with the oil.  Arrange the onions in a single layer on the sheets.  Bake, flipping he onion rings and switching and rotating the position of the sheets halfway through baking, until golden-brown on both sides, about 15 minutes.  Briefly drain the onion rings on paper towels before serving.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Herbed Turkey Burgers

Was anyone else obsessed with Top Chef All-Stars?  I was sooo excited to see some of my old favorites return for a chance at redemption.  And since we always watch with my best friend and her husband, we decided to make things interesting and create a fantasy league.  Sadly, my team didn't fare so well (even though I really chose what I thought would be a solid team), but we had so much fun watching every week - especially when Atlanta's own Richard Blais took the title!  Anyway, thanks to Fabio and his broken English, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat a burger again without pronouncing it "boooger."

I'm always on the lookout for fun and unique burger recipes, but sometimes a simple and straightforward dinner is what I'm looking for.  These burgers are pretty basic, but they are gussied up a bit by the addition of fresh herbs.  I added sliced Havarti cheese to mine, and we loved the addition - cheese is always good, right?  I actually grilled these burgers the first nice weekend we had here, and while I didn't photograph them, I loved them so much I added them back to the menu shortly thereafter.

I served these burgers with the asparagus with rosemary and goat cheese, and I felt like we were enjoying an upscale burger dinner.  And one that we definitely plan to repeat again this spring. 

Herbed Turkey Burgers
adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Simply Recipes
makes 4 burgers
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 3 Tbs finely diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp minced fresh sage
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 slices Havarti cheese
  • For serving, tomato slices, onion, lettuce, and buns
Prepare grill for cooking over medium high heat.

In a small saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until soft and transluscent, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl combine the turkey, onions and garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, rosemary, sage, mustard, and red pepper flakes.  Mix in the remaining tablepsoon of oil. 

Shape the meat into 4 equal-sized patties.

Oil the grill and cook the burgers 4-6 minutes per side, or until they are evenly browned and cooked through.  Add a cheese slice to each burger, close the grill, and cook just until the cheese has melted.  Toast the buns if desired.  Serve with lettuce, tomato, and onion.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Grilled Asparagus with Rosemary and Goat Cheese

Now that it is spring, I am taking full advantage of all the beautiful produce that's starting to pop up in the grocery store.  I look forward to asparagus more than almost any other veggie, and I cook with it at least once a week in the spring.  Depending on what else we're eating, I either grill or roast it, as I think those preparations bring out the best flavor.  No matter what we're eating for dinner, chances are I'm serving it with some sort of roasted or grilled vegetable.

Normally, I wouldn't share such a simple recipe, but the rosemary dressing and goat cheese really make this special.  The asparagus is tossed in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and rosemary, grilled, then topped with more of the rosemary vinaigrette and crumbled goat cheese.  The mild and creamy goat cheese mellows out the assertive flavors of the rosemary and lemon, and the crisp-tender asparagus has a nice smoky flavor thanks to the grill.

This is a quick and easy side, but it's elegant enough to serve to company.  I also think it would make a great addition to your Easter menu.  But I for one won't be waiting until Easter to eat this again!

More Asparagus Recipes:
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Pasta
Spring Vegetable Risotto
Pasta Primavera
Spring Vegetable Soup
Champagne Risotto

Grilled Asparagus with Rosemary and Goat Cheese
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Summer Entertaining 2009
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely minced 
  • 3/4 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs asparagus, tough ends snapped off (avoid super thin or thick spears)
  • 1 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Prepare grill. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of the dressing.

Grill the asparagus, turning once, until tender and streaked with grill marks, 5 to 7 minutes.  Transfer to a platter, drizzle with remaining dressing, and top with goat cheese. 

Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chocolate Malted Blondies

It seems like every few months, the food blog world goes through ingredient trends.  Chipotle chiles were popular for a while (and still are as far as I'm concerned!), matcha was trendy as well, and most recently, malted baked goods have been popping up all over the place.

 My mom made blondies quite often when I was growing up, and I've always enjoyed them.  And in true Baked fashion, the guys take a traditional dessert and put a fun and different spin on it.  These blondies are amped up by the addition of malted milk powder, whoppers, chocolate chips, and walnuts (which I actually omitted).  Straight from the oven, they taste like chocolate chip cookie cake.  But after several hours (or the next day), the malted flavor really starts to come out.

And if you make these, I HIGHLY recommend that you serve them warm, topped with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce.  Heaven.  Pure heaven.

Chocolate Malted Blondies
makes 24 bars
barely adapted from Baked:  New Frontiers in Baking
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs malted milk powder
  • 14 Tbs unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup malted milk balls (like Whoppers), coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and malted milk powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until completely combined, and light and fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.  Beat in the vanilla until combined.

Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, at low speed, mixing until just combined.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the malted milk balls and whoppers.  The mixture will be very thick. 

Turn out into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly.  Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.  Cut into squares to serve immediately, or they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days.