Frangipane Tart

My husband and I watched a lot of the Great British Bake-off when it was put on Netflix and it inspired me to try out some of the recipes! One dessert that looked really delicious was the frangipane tart, which is a French tart with almond filling (called frangipane) that typically includes pieces of fruit. The best part is that you can choose whatever fruit you like or whatever is seasonal without modifying the base recipe. The finished dessert also looks gorgeous!

The tart was actually easier than I expected but there are many different steps and took a long time to make overall. I chose to put blackberries in my tart, but any sort of berry or sliced stone fruit (like peaches or apricots) would work really well.

I followed this recipe from Food 52, since it had a lot of great pictures to guide me. I pasted the recipe below for convenience. The recipe also explains how to make several small tarts but I made one big tart.

 

Ingredients (Crust)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 9 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Instructions (Crust)

  1. In a food processor, add flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine.
  2. Add butter and pulse until butter is the size of small peas.
  3. Add yolk and pulse until evenly distributed.
  4. Add cold water and pulse until the dough starts to form.
  5. Lightly butter your tart pan. Gently press dough into the pan, making sure to evenly coat the bottom and sides. (You may have some leftover; use this to patch cracks in the crust later)
  6. Freeze the tart shell for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat your oven too 375 degrees F.
  8. Bake the tart shell until lightly golden brown. This took about 10-12 minutes for me. If the shell puffs up while baking, just use a spatula to gently push it down.
  9. Cool the shell while you prepare the filling.

Ingredients (Filling)

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds (blanched or unblanched)
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Your choice of fruit
  • Confectioner’s sugar, to finish

Instructions (Filling)

  1. In a food processor, add butter and sugar. Pulse until smooth.
  2. Add almonds and pulse until well combined.
  3. Add flour and cornstarch and pulse.
  4. Add egg and egg white and pulse.
  5. Add vanilla extract and salt. Pulse until just combined.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Spread the frangipane filling into the cool tart shell so it comes up just below the edge. (You may have leftover)
  8. Arrange your fruit how you like on top of the filling. (Make it pretty!)
  9. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake until crust and frangipane are golden, about 45-50 minutes.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.
  11. Dust with confectioner’s sugar right before serving.

 

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Polish Stuffed Cabbage (Gołąbki)

I grew up in a Polish family and one dish my mom always made was gołąbki (pronounced like goWUMPkee), or stuffed cabbages. They are a huge comfort food for me, but they are both labor and time intensive. (At least 2-3 hours to prepare and cook) My mom would surprisingly make them for weekday dinners! However, I save them for the weekend and make a big batch. (Plus, they reheat great as leftovers)

My mom made them with minced meat and rice filling and a tomato sauce on top, but there are other variations. For example, for Wigilia (Polish Christmas Eve), my aunt makes a vegetarian variation with mushroom and rice filling. However, I much prefer the tomato and meat version!

See the recipe below. My recipe is mostly from my mother, but I’ve also taken inspiration from other Polish recipes I’ve found. You can also cook these in a deep pan if you want but I find it comes out best in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1/2 lb ground beef & pork mix (like meatball mix or just ground beef)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups cooked white rice (from 1 cup dry rice)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Boil the cabbage in a large pot of water until it is soft, about 5-10 minutes. Take out and allow it to cool.
  3. In a frying pan, heat up a small drizzle of oil or a small pat of butter. Fry the ground meat and onion until browned.
  4. In a bowl, mix the cooked rice, ground meat, onion, egg and salt and pepper. Feel free to add more seasoning if you want to taste.
  5. After the cabbage has cooled, peel off the cabbage leaves.
  6. Grease a baking dish and cover the bottom with the outermost leaves.
  7. Put a small amount of meat and rice mixture into the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold two opposite sides toward the center and roll up from the bottom to create a small cabbage roll.
  8. Put each cabbage roll into the baking dish, creating tight rows of side-by-side rolls.
  9. Pour the tomato sauce over the rolls. You want the liquid to fill about halfway up the dish. Add some vegetable broth or water if you need more liquid
  10. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  11. Serve each roll with a bit of tomato sauce on top.

Maple Glazed Pork Chops with Apples, Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts

I love watching the Domestic Geek on YouTube and recently she posted a video outlining 3 easy recipes that only use one sheet pan. I thought all of them looked delicious, but I especially wanted to try the pork chop one. I’m happy to say it was incredibly easy to make and super tasty! It was so good, my husband literally licked some off his plate. I think the combination of ingredients is perfect; you can’t go wrong with some squash, Brussel sprouts and apples. A nice and satisfying (and easy!) dish to make.

This recipe (and the other two) can be found on this blog post. I’ve pasted it below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops, center loin cut
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp grainy or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (I used a little extra)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 apple, diced (I used honeycrisp)
  • 2 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 1 cup Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, mustard, thyme, garlic, oil and some salt and pepper.
  2. Put pork chops into a large plastic zipper bag. Pour glaze into the bag and evenly spread it all over all the pork.
  3. Put the bag into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 10 minutes. A few hours or overnight would be better.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the apple, squash and Brussel sprouts.
  5. Season the mix with salt, pepper and a drizzle of oil. Toss to combine.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the squash mix onto it.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven. Push the squash mix to one half of the pan and place the pork chops on the other half of the pan.
  10. Pour the remaining glaze over the squash mix and toss to evenly coat it.
  11. Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until pork is cooked through.

Italian Meatloaf with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Green Beans

This was another Hello Fresh recipe that I enjoyed and it was easy and quick to put together. The recipe also included mash potatoes but you can prepare them however you like. My husband and I enjoyed it, even though I don’t usually like meatloaf. I think the sun-dried tomatoes made it taste different enough that I liked it.

I don’t think there is an online version of the recipe so I’ve pasted it below for convenience. This recipe is meant for 2 people, but you can adjust it for the size of your family.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 oz sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 8-10 oz ground beef
  • 6 oz green beans
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, soak break in chicken stock, then break up the bread with your hands.
  2. Add beef, sun-dried tomatoes, shallot, garlic, rosemary and a large pinch of salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix with hands until combined.
  3. Form two oval loaves from the meat and place onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through.
  4. Mix a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper with the green beans.
  5. With 15 minutes left of cooking, add the green beans to the baking sheet around the meatloaves.

Balsamic-Fig Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

My sister sent me a coupon for a free week of Hello Fresh, and since I had decent success with Blue Apron, I decided to try it out. In general, I think Hello Fresh meals were quicker and easier to put together, but Blue Apron meals felt more interesting and more “gourmet”. Blue Apron had more recipes I would’ve never attempted on my own, while Hello Fresh had recipes that were very accessible and closer to my everyday set of recipes.

This recipe was our favorite from the week. I don’t think there’s an online version so I’ve just written the recipe below for convenience. This recipe is specifically for 2 people, so adjust for your family size. The recipe also included an arugula salad but it was “meh” so I’m leaving it out.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsbp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fig jam
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss diced sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Put sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Season chicken breasts on all sides with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook chicken in pan, about 5 minutes per side, until center is no longer pink.
  7. Remove chicken from pan to rest.
  8. To the same pan, add shallot, rosemary and olive oil over medium heat. Cook until softens, about 2-3 minutes.
  9. Stir in balsamic vinegar and fig fam and simmer for about 1 minute.
  10. Add chicken stock and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  11. Remove pan from heat and swirl in the butter until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Serve chicken with sauce drizzled on top and sweet potatoes on the side.

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

The fall and winter really awaken my desire to bake! I think chocolate and peanut butter are an excellent combination in desserts and usually a big crowd pleaser. I tend to make peanut butter-chocolate kiss cookies the most but wanted to try something new. These were great because you get nice big chunks of chocolate in addition to your peanut butter taste.

My one piece of advice is that your dough consistency may turn out differently depending on the type of peanut butter you use. My dough was a little oily, probably because I used a natural peanut butter that usually separates from its oils. If you used something like Skippy, it may turn out better.

This recipe is from Home Cooking Adventure and I’ve pasted below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 7 oz semi-sweet chocolate, cut into chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.
  3. In a separate large bowl, add peanut butter, butter, sugar and dark brown sugar. Mix well with an electric mixer until creamy.
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Slowly add in dry ingredients, in increments, to the wet mixture. Mix until just combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  7. Using a cookie scoop, drop cookie dough on a baking sheet, spaced 1 inch apart.
  8. Using the bottom of a glass dipped in the sugar, press down each cookie to flatten it slightly.
  9. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Pan-Seared Chicken with Roasted Squash and Apple

As a wedding gift, my husband and I received a month long Blue Apron subscription. It’s a little expensive but super convenient, since it gives you the exact ingredients you need and a recipe. It’s been fun because we cook things we wouldn’t have cooked otherwise, but there were only a few recipes I would want to try again on my own. Still debating if we’ll continue with a subscription.

This recipe with chicken, squash and apples was really delicious and easy to make! Plus all the ingredients seem easy to find. The sage-brown butter sauce with almonds was really delicious. A perfect meal for fall.

The website has more detail but I’ve pasted the recipe below for convenience. Also, please note this was intended for 2 people only, so adjust accordingly.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 1 gala apple, medium diced
  • 1 honeynut squash, peeled and medium diced
  • 1 Yukon gold potato, medium diced
  • 1 bunch of sage, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp roasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Place squash and potato on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss to coat and spread in an even, single layer. Roast for 16 to 18 minutes.
  4. Add apple and shallot to the sheet pan of vegetables. Stir to combine and roast for another 9 to 11 minutes.
  5. While vegetables are roasting, season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat.
  7. Add chicken, skin side down, and cover loosely with foil. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until brown and cooked through.
  8. Remove chicken from pan, leaving behind any browned bits.
  9. Add butter to pan and heat on medium-high until melted. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until deep golden brown and fragrant.
  10. Add the sage, almonds and vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, up to 1 minute. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Split the vegetables and chicken between your dishes. Top with a few spoonfuls of the sage-brown butter sauce.