Friday, August 25, 2006

Herbed Goat Cheese

Herbed Goat Cheese, easily adaptable for what's on hand and what tastes good

For being half lab, my dog’s still half wimp when it comes to water.

She was just four days from the pound when she and 50 other dogs scampered into a local pool that opens up for pooches when it closes for people. When someone threw her in, she threw herself out of the water and onto the safe-looking lap of an unsuspecting stranger. Once. Twice. And then once more.

Later, she was invited to swim with just two dogs. Determined to avoid the water, she hid in the surrounding bushes, up-ending a nest of yellow jackets. YOUCH.

But she’s progressed in three years, thanks to regular romps in shallow water at the park and a little stick-fetching at a nearby lake. She even swims now, and happily, especially with a frisbee or tennis ball in sight.

At last year’s dog swim, my goal was to teach her to leap into the water from the side. Time and again, she threw herself into a shallow, cloudy pool with no sign of a bottom. But when it came to the deeper, clear-as-tap-water pool, off she ran, seeking the safety of some lap.

There’s a lesson there, don’t you think, when a dog unable to see the bottom leaps with abandon but turns timid, afraid even, when she can?

End-of-season dog swims are back on the calendar. Who knows this year’s lesson from a water-wimpy but life-smart dog?

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send an easy make-ahead appetizer to e-mail.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time-to-table: 45 minutes
Makes about 3 cups
  • 8 ounces goat cheese, softened (inexpensive logs are perfect here)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Zest of ½ a lemon
  • ¼ cup flour
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • About ½ cup of color and texture, maybe roasted red pepper, green onion, capers, chopped spinach or even a combination

  • About ¼ cup of minced fresh herbs, maybe rosemary or basil or dill or lavender or tarragon or chive or even a combination

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine goat cheese, butter, cottage cheese, egg yolks, zest, flour and seasonings with a hand mixer (or by hand though the mixture will be heavier). Stir in your choices for color, texture and herb flavor. Transfer to a well-greased quiche pan.

Bake 20 – 30 minutes until just set. Serve warm or at room temperature with crackers or bread. If you like, make in advance and refrigerate, then reheat or return to room temperature.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Tablespoon: 26 Cal (63% from Fat); 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 1g Carb; 0g Fiber; 37mg Sodium; 16mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers ½ point


That's my my dog Lady, in the lead with the soccer ball

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Peach Blueberry Cake

What a dilemma! Is this a peach and blueberry cake? Sort of, there is a sort of cake that lines the pan and cups the fruit. Is it a peach and blueberry tart? Kind of, but not in the traditional sense, there is much more filling. Is it a peach and blueberry pie? Definitely not, even if the proportion of filling to cake is more like a deep-dish pie than a tart. There's just one solution. Make it and decide for yourself what this genre-bending summer dessert should be called.

Peach Blueberry Cake

"I suspended disbelief at the baking time ... it was wonderful! " ~ Mireille
"... it came out like a dream. Really delicious ..." ~ LeLo in NoPo

Come early August, there’s a brief window when the blueberries are still plentiful and inexpensive and the local peaches are ripe and luscious.

Last summer, there was no getting enough of this country-rustic cake. The peach man at the farmers market took notice, grinning each time I stopped by for another lug.

Cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, cherries and apricots are one thing. But peaches are heaven you can hold in your hand.

So hurry, don’t let this year’s peach and blueberry window close without trying this delicious cake. Along with the peach man, your family will soon be grinning.


For a simple summer dessert, mix two tablespoons of brown sugar with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Gently stir in a pound of perfectly ripe sliced peaches, let macerate for about two hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with cream whipped with a bit of almond extract or cinnamon.

ALANNA's TIPS I've mixed the cake batter with a mixer too and it does work. Without a side-by-side comparison, I believe that the food processor yields a lighter, more cake-like crust, where the mixer yields something thinner and denser. Mind you, both are good! When pressing the cake dough into the springform pan, be patient. At times, you'll wonder if there is enough. There is, just gently work it down the sides and across the bottom of the pan, paying special attention to the corners. Pan color makes a difference! If your springform pan is light in color, bake this cake at 375F, if it’s dark, at 350F. The accepted wisdom among expert bakers is to reduce baking temperature by 25 degrees whenever using a dark pan. The term “dry ingredients’ is kitchen shorthand for ingredients such as flour, sugar and spices along with leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda. For a mid-winter taste of summer, make this with frozen peaches and blueberries.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite summer cake recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Oven time: 1-3/4hours
Serves 10
  • 1-1/2 cups (195g) flour
  • 1/2 cup (90g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 113g) butter, diced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (90g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (20g) flour
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pounds (900g) perfectly ripe peaches, peels on, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

CAKE Briefly pulse the dry ingredients (see ALANNA’s TIPS) in a food processor (see TIPS). Add the butter and pulse until mixture becomes a coarse meal with some pea-sized lumps of butter. Add egg and vanilla, pulse just until dough forms a ball. With floured hands, press dough, sides first, into a 9-inch springform pan (see TIPS). Refrigerate while mixing the fruit topping.

FRUIT TOPPING Preheat oven to 375F or 350F (see TIPS). Combine dry ingredients (see TIPS) in a large bowl, then stir in the fruit, zest and lemon juice. Spoon fruit topping evenly onto the crust.

BAKE Cover pan loosely with foil. Bake until filling is bubbly and the crust golden, about 1-3/4 hours. (It’s not a typo, this cake does indeed bake for nearly two hours. If you like, test the cake after an hour and every 15 minutes thereafter. I find it isn't needed but it might make you feel better to check! Do be sure to cover with foil so the top doesn’t burn.) Remove from oven and let rest: not to worry, the fruit filling will firm up as the cake cools.

SERVE Serve at room temperature. Frozen yogurt on the side is excellent, so is a spoonful of softly whipped cream, but really, no topping is needed.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Slice: 291 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 48g Carb; 2g Fiber; 59mg Sodium; 49mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers Old Points 6, PointsPlus 8
Adapted from the much-missed Gourmet magazine, July 2005, which explains that the long baking time prevents the ripe fruit from releasing their juices.

Sugar | In 2008, I accidentally omitted the sugar in the fruit. But it's still plenty sweet and perhaps better if serving, say, for a morning bread, instead of a dessert.
Greasing the pan | To be careful, do grease the pan. I've had no trouble removing the cake from my springform pan, but others have.

Is It Cake? A Tart? A Pie?

Peach Blueberry Pie

You can see, here, that this is "almost" a peach blueberry pie. But somehow, it's still cake. No matter what you call this rustic fruit dessert, it looks and tastes like summer.

FYI, the fruit didn't set up here as much as it usually does. I suspect an hour in the fridge would have made it quite firm but I happen to like the soft, deep flavors of fruit served at room temperature so left it this way.

More Recipes for Fruity Desserts

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Dimply Plum Cake Easy Elegant Fruit Tart First-Prize Peach Pie with Lattice Crust

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Quick Links to This Page

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~ Brown Sugar Peaches ~

Friday, August 4, 2006

BLT Pasta Salad

Some times it's fun to take a classic recipe and turn it on its side. That's what's happening here, with a pasta salad version of summer's favorite sandwich, the BLT, that unbeatable combination of bacon, lettuce and tomato between two slices of bread. That's right, it's a BLT Salad instead of a BLT sandwich!

BLT Pasta Salad ♥, it's a salad, not a sandwich!

If one is mindful, it is possible to observe lessons taught and lessons learned in unlikely settings: at the local Target store, say, on an errand-filled Saturday, perhaps.

In the shoe department, with Mom apparently shopping elsewhere, Dad is charged with a restless three-year old. Insisting to be let out of the cart, she squats to examine a low shelf of bedroom slippers, yes pink! She lines them up on the floor with precision, then stands to tuck pudgy toddler toes into each Mom-sized slipper, one by one. Dad watches in silence, then returns the slippers to their rightful shelf, one by one.

In housewares, another Mom shops with a son and daughter. Just for something to do, the bored boy leans into the cart to rummage in his mother’s bag. "Matthew!" Mom snaps. "Out of my purse."

Meanwhile, the girl caresses a box of slickly packaged drinking glasses. "Aren't they pretty, Mom?" Mom eyes the package and runs her hand across the girl’s. "They’re beautiful, Mel. Wouldn't milk taste good in those?"

Which of the three will grow up to be shoppers? Lessons taught, lessons learned.

ALANNA's TIPS Save the leftover bacon grease in a glass container stored in the fridge. It keeps for months and makes for delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes and sautéed vegetables. To avoid burns, use caution scooping the hot fat out of the skillet. For a more healthful variation of this pasta salad, stir in an extra diced tomato or two. For lunch, I especially like to serve BLT Pasta Salad tucked into a tomato that's been scooped out with a grapefruit spoon and usually leave out the lettuce.


A fresh approach for a summer favorite
Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 1 - 2 hours
Makes 6 cups
  • 1-1/2 cups salted water
  • 3/4 cup mini dry pasta such as orzo or shells
  • 8 ounces bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise (my favorite is Hellman’s Light)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups (about 1 pint) grape tomatoes, quartered or 1 - 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced fine
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced in ribbons
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • About 3 cups thin-sliced iceberg lettuce

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan on medium high. Add the pasta, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until pasta is just done. Drain and let cool briefly.

While the pasta cooks, cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp, scooping out the fat as it accumulates. (See TIPS.)

While the bacon cooks, whisk the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion and basil. Gently stir in the cooked pasta and bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Make ahead this far.) Refrigerate to cool.

Just before serving, stir in the lettuce. Best served the same day.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 251 Calories; 13g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 24g Carb; 2g Fiber; 504mg Sodium; 26mg Cholesterol; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 6 & PointsPlus 6

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite summer tomato recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade via Facebook!

More Great Recipes for Summer's Best Tomatoes

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Panzanella Summer's Tomato Soup Shakshuka (Eggs Nested in Summer Vegetables)

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