Buckwheat polenta

polenta3 cups water
2/3 cups polenta
2 tablespoons cracked buckwheat, ground in a mini food processor
scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup (2 ounces) grated freshly grated Parmesan, pecorino or asiago cheese

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the polenta in a thin, steady stream and stir with a whisk to avoid lumps. Add buckwheat and salt. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and creamy. Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the butter and grated cheese. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Adapted from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

Gin and tonic sorbet

This sorbet is perfect on a hot summer evening – cold and a bit tart. Due to the 1/2 cup of gin, it does not freeze solid, it retains a bit of a slushy consistency. If you like your sorbet more icy, reduce the gin to 1/4 cup.

1/2 c water
1/2 c sugar
Juice & zest of 2 limes
2 1/2 cups tonic water
1/2 cup gin
1 egg white

Prepare the simple syrup by boiling the water and sugar in a saucepan. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat. You could also use 3/4 cup pre-made simple syrup. Add the lime zest and juice to the simple syrup and allow to cool completely.

Once cooled, add the gin & tonic water and process in an ice cream maker. Froth the egg white with a fork. Combine with the sorbet mixture. Using either a food processor or immersion blender, pulse the mixture quickly to attain desired consistency. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Recipe adapted from authenticsuburbangourmet.com

Pumpkin oatmeal cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter; softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries; roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice (or spice mixture) and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture; combine until all ingredients are incorporated. Fold in white chocolate chips and dried cherries or cranberries.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from mybakingaddiction.com

Pear, Riesling and ginger sorbet

_MG_23073 ripe pears (about 1 1/4 pounds, 2 1/4 cups chopped)
1 1/2 cups Riesling
3 tablespoons ginger, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium saucepan, combine pears, Riesling, and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to very low heat and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Carefully transfer pears, wine, and ginger to blender and add sugar. Cover very tightly and purée until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour through a strainer into an airtight container and stir in lemon juice and salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, about 4 hours.
Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer ice cream to airtight container and chill in freezer for at least 4 to 5 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from seriouseats.com

Whole wheat and rye bread

_MG_22521 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon bread machine yeast
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (optional, but helps with rise)

Add all ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Process on whole wheat setting.

Cheese sticks with caraway seeds

It was Sunday, the World Cup final – Germany vs. Argentina at 4PM. We had two bottles of beer lined up to accompany the match, and I wanted to have some snack to go with the beer. These cheese sticks with caraway seeds are often served in Hungary to munch on with beer – so I looked up a recipe that sounded like it was close to what I remember my mom baking. They were actually really quick and easy to make – much more simple than I expected. And they went really well with the beer. And Germany won. :-)

_MG_44873 tablespoons warm milk
a pinch of sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
4 ounces all-purpose flour (a little less than 1/2 a cup)
4 ounces butter (1/2 a stick)
4 ounces farmer cheese or ricotta
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, whisked with 1 tsp water and a small pinch of salt, for washing
coarse salt, caraway seeds

Sprinkle yeast grains and pinch of sugar on top of the warm milk in a cup and let sit while you are working the dough. In a bowl, cut butter, cheese and flour with a pastry cutter, until uniform fine crumb forms. Make an indentation in the middle of the crumb mass, and pour mil-sugar-yeast mix into it. Aiding yourself with the pastry cutter, mix everything together. Don’t over knead — you want the ingredients just combined to form the dough. Resist the urge to add flour, unless the cheese is very wet. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. The short side of the rectangle should be about 6-7 inches long (the desired length of the stick). Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut off uneven edges of the rectangle and reserve the scraps. Spread the egg wash carefully over the dough. Sprinkle caraway seeds and coarse salt (if desired) evenly over. Using the knife or pizza cutter, cut the sticks to about 3/4 inch wide. Transfer the sticks onto a parchment covered baking sheet, leaving about 3/4 inch interval between them. Roll the dough scraps into a sheet and proceed cutting as before, until all the dough is gone. You want to cut off the uneven portions before egg washing every time, to keep the dough nice and clean. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Bake the sticks for about 15 minutes, until puffy and nicely golden. Cool on rack until manageable and enjoy.

Adapted from Food52.com