garlic confit toast by Maci Britt

I called this the best garlic bread in all the land last week on Instagram. Possibly a superlative, possibly not. Make it for yourself and decide :)) Either way, it smells and tastes amazing, and never lasts very long. 

The cloves of an entire head of garlic are simmered in butter until soft enough to be mashed easily with a fork. Lots of wispy Parmiggiano-Reggiano (I like to shred it with a Microplane) is stirred in along with salt, pepper flakes, and oregano to create a loose paste. The paste gets spread over bread, the bread gets toasted, and then, in most cases (if people are present), disappears in a flash.  


garlic confit toast
recipe adapted from bon appetit

[ serves 4 or so ]


Melt the butter in a small saucepan with the garlic cloves over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, swirling occasionally. Mash the soft garlic with a fork and stir in the cheese. Add the oregano, salt, and pepper flakes; stir to combine. 

Heat the broiler.

Split the baguette in half, place on a baking sheet, and spread each side with half of the garlic paste. Sprinkle parsley over all the bread. Broil for about 2 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown. Cut into pieces and eat it before it's gone. 

1 head of garlic cloves, peeled

½ cup butter

1 cup shredded Parmiggiano-Reggiano (be generous)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 baguette

Dried parsley

raspberry ricotta cake by Maci Britt

It felt good to bake this morning. Still in pajamas, whisk in one hand, hot cup of coffee in the other. Doing what I love, and making myself useful at the same time. The chillest of Saturdays.

Put in charge of bringing dessert to an Easter lunch this afternoon, I chose this cake. It's tried and true. It's simple and unfussy, in both process and appearance. 

Mainly, it's delicious and it's Spring-y. 

If I wasn't taking the pictured cake somewhere, I'd slice into it and show off its beautiful berry-studded interior, but you'll just have to use your imagination or scroll down and make your own cake. I suggest the latter.


raspberry ricotta cake
recipe from bon appetit magazine, march 2015

[ serves 8-10 ]


Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and lightly coat the entire pan with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. 

In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, ricotta cheese, and vanilla extract together. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 

Pour in the butter and fold it into the batter with a rubber spatula. Gently fold in ¾ cup of the raspberries. 

Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and scatter the remaining raspberries over the top. 

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top is golden. A toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean. 

Allow the cake to cool for about 20 minutes before removing from the pan. 

1½ cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

3 large eggs

1½ cups ricotta cheese

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup butter, melted

1 cup frozen raspberries, divided

 

 

sweet potato pecan pie by Maci Britt

It's bad practice to post a holiday recipe after a holiday, I know.

But hey, until about noon the day before Thanksgiving, I didn't even know if I'd be able to pull off a pie this year. This pie was made possible by a [terrific] boss who walked in on Wednesday morning and said, "We're going home early today." (Bless her.) 

This is the only pie I ate this year, and I like it better than pumpkin. I also might just like the fact that I didn't eat pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and the world is still in orbit. (#nontraditionalist)

Last year after Sunset magazine published the recipe for this pie, I made it on a weekday, just for fun, because that's what I used to do before I was employed. So if you have the time, you don't need a special day. Make it whenever, for no specific reason. 


sweet potato pecan pie
recipe adapted from sunset magazine, nov 2014
crust from smitten kitchen

[ makes one 9-inch pie ]


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet for about 1 ½ hours, until they're very easily pierced with a fork. Let the potatoes cool, then puree until smooth, either in a food processor or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer. Measure 2 cups for the filling (eat the rest). 

While the potatoes bake, make the crust. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingers or a pastry blender until the largest pieces are a little smaller than peas. Add ¼ cup of water and mix with a fork until the dough comes together. Add the extra water 1 tablespoon at a time if needed. Knead the dough a couple of times in the bottom of the bowl just to bring it together. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap it up and flatten slightly into a disc. Pop it into the freezer for about 15 minutes to chill. 

Lightly spray a standard 9-inch pie pan with coconut oil. Remove the dough from the freezer, place on a lightly floured work surface, and roll out into a 13-inch circle. Gently fold the crust into quarters and place it over the pie pan. Unfold and ease the dough into the bottom of the pan without stretching it. If there are any major overhangs, trim them off with a knife. Fold the rest under, then crimp however you like. Pop the pie pan back into the freezer for about 20 minutes, or until solid. 

When the potatoes have finished baking, turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Spray a piece of foil with coconut oil, press it into the pie pan over the dough, and fill with pie weights or something like dried beans. Par-bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and set the crust aside while you make the filling. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes until frothy. Mix in the 2 cups of sweet potato puree. Add the sugars, cream, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, allspice, and nutmeg, and beat until smooth and combined. 

Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top. Wrap the edges of the crust in foil and bake for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make the topping. Whisk the sugar, syrup, butter, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Add the pecans and toss to coat. 

Remove the pie from the oven and drop the pecan mixture around the edge by the spoonful. Take the foil off the edges of the pie before it goes back in the oven, unless the crust is already too golden. 

Bake the pie for 15-20 more minutes. The center of the crust should only jiggle slightly when shaken gently. 

Cool the pie for at least 2 hours before serving. You can make the pie up to one day ahead

for the crust:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 stick cold butter, cut into cubes

¼ cup cold water, plus an additional 1-2 tablespoons

for the filling:

2 pounds sweet potatoes

3 large eggs

⅔ cup light brown sugar

⅓ cup sugar

3 tablespoons heavy cream

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated

for the pecan topping:

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon dark corn syrup (ick, but it's only a tablespoon)

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¾ cup pecans, coarsely chopped


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roasted butternut squash soup by Maci Britt

As the weather keeps turning colder, I foresee myself relying more heavily on soup as my go-to desk lunch. They're seriously the easiest ever (I pull mine together on Saturday mornings while making/eating breakfast), but they are also great because it's so easy to pack them full of good-for-you ingredients.

Soup warms you up, too. And if you're anything like me, that's a significant point. 

This roasted butternut squash soup is perfect for fall. I'm resurrecting it from the archives of my old blog, where it has lived for three years and a few days. I visit that post quite a bit and cringe at the photo every time, so I think it's worthy of an update.  

One of the best things about this recipe is how unbelievably simple it is. All of the fruits and vegetables get placed on parchment-lined baking sheets, brushed with olive oil, and get popped in the oven until tender and well roasted. After that, it's just a matter of pureeing with your method of choice (blender, food processor, immersion blender, etc.), seasoning, and simmering.


roasted butternut squash soup 
recipe adapted from the little red house

[ serves 6, maybe more ]


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the squash and sweet potato on one parchment-lined baking sheet and the apples, onion, shallot, and garlic on another. Brush everything with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.

Roast the apple, onion, and garlic for about 30 minutes or until soft, then remove them from the oven. Check the squash and sweet potato, continuing to roast until they can be easily pierced with a fork.

Transfer all of the vegetables and fruit to a blender or food processor puree until smooth. Add a bit of broth if necessary. (Alternatively, add all of the vegetables and fruit to a pot with a bit of broth and puree with an immersion blender.)

Transfer the puree to a large pot over medium heat and stir in the remaining chicken broth and 2-3 cups of water. Stir in the sage and a few pinches of cayenne and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.

To serve, crumble crispy bacon over each bowl and top with gorgonzola.

 

1 large (or 2 small) butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and quartered

1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered

1 shallot, peeled and quartered

A few garlic cloves, peeled

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

4 cups chicken broth

2 teaspoons fresh sage, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)

Cayenne pepper

Crumbled bacon, for serving

Gorgonzola cheese, for serving


Note: Don't stress over exact measurements. If you want to add an extra sweet potato because you have one that needs to be used, add it. If you only have one apple, don't go out just to buy another one. If you want to use all chicken broth instead of chicken broth and water, that's cool. Just don't skip the bacon or cheese. :)