Reader Uri Barkai let me know that in the Kindle version of A LA CARTE that Lainey’s recipes are really hard to see. I can see why – they’re handwritten, and the Kindle folk probably put them in as a picture instead of text, so there’s no way to enlarge. However, that’s totally unacceptable for we who are fledgling cooks and bakers, so what follows is ALL the recipes from the book. Please keep in mind that Lainey’s notebook is experimental – so test and fiddle and expect good results, but yours may vary from hers. And now: to the recipes!
Super Simple French Bread
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
1 package active dry yeast (about 1 1/2 tsp.)
1 c. warm water (100°F to 110°F)
3 c. all-purpose flour, divided (Experiment with Whole Wheat Pastry?)
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
2 tsp. yellow cornmeal (totally unnecessary, but people like it)
1/4 c. water
Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a large bowl, according to the instructions on the packet. Let it bubble for 5 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour to dry measuring cup, leveled with a knife (don’t pack it). Add to yeast. When the flour is mixed, add salt. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Make sure your hands are clean under the nails (!), Knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Really pummel it, because you can’t over-knead bread by hand. Add enough of remaining flour, 1 tbsp. at a time, to keep the dough from sticking to hands.
Place the dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel, and let it rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into the dough. If the dent stays, the dough has risen enough.) Knead the dough again for another five minutes; then cover and let rest for 5. With a knife, split the dough in half, and leave the other half in the bowl, under the towel. Roll each portion into a 16-inch rope on a floured surface. Place ropes on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. (You can put parchment paper on it so you don’t have to wash the pan later.) Cover and let rise 20 minutes or until doubled in size. Uncover dough. Cut 3 slits in top of each loaf to allow dough to rise higher. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when they are tapped on the bottom. Remove from pan, and cool on wire racks. Cut each baguette into 12 slices. Try not to eat both of them.
**St. Julia Trick: Throw about 1/4 cup water on the floor of oven (avoiding heating element) to make steam for a really crackly crust. Put bread in the oven and close the oven door QUICK so you don’t lose steam!
MaDea’s Gingerbread (Lowfat Version 1)
Cook Time: 35 minutes
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon (Add cardamom sometime?)
2 tbsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. powdered mustard
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. white pepper (Try cayenne, maybe?)
¼ c. chopped crystallized ginger (Add about same of fresh plane-grated ginger – yum!)
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter (4 tbsp. Canola oil, 3 tbsp. plain yogurt – cut fat, add moisture)
¾ c. light brown sugar (Try 1/2, or sugar substitute – or maple sugar?)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 c. molasses
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour (Try using spelt flour for more fiber?)
2 tsp. baking soda (Try one powder, one soda to cut weird metallic soda flavor)
1 c. boiling water
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix first 9 ingredients. Add the butter and brown sugar and mix well. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the molasses, and keep stirring until a decent dough forms.
Thoroughly combine flour and baking soda in a small bowl. Next, add half the flour mixture to the molasses spice mixture, and stir in well. After that, add half of the boiling water to the remaining flour mix, and stir, then add that to the larger bowl. Finally, add the last of the boiling water to the mix, and stir well into a loose batter.
Bake until the top is dry, shiny, and springs back to the touch, about 25 to 35 minutes. Cover and store at room temperature up to 2 days.
Rouge Vif Pumpkin Curry Soup
6 c. water
2 cubes vegetable bullion
4 c. pureed pumpkin (Kabocha squash is awesome, butternut will work)
1 large leek, halved & sliced crosswise
4 tbsp. curry
12 oz. evaporated milk
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream **Use Half and Half to lower fat
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
5 threads saffron
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. salt
Bring water, bullion, and leeks to a boil. Add pumpkin and spices. Return to boil and then simmer for forty minutes until leeks have softened. Add cream and condensed milk. **DO NOT BOIL AFTER ADDING CREAM ** or cream will curdle.
**Saint Julia once said Jacque Pépin was a “garlic freak,” but using a clove of crushed, minced garlic with this in addition to the leek is pretty tasty too. Saint Julia also said that using a garlic press is a no-no! Lay a clove down on your cutting board, lay the flat of your big knife on it, and whack it with the heel of your hand. You can then pick out the peel and either mince it, or add a little salt and rub your knife in it; it will sort of crush and mince all by itself.
**Wash your hands with table salt to take away the smell. This works!
The Best Banana Bread
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour (Adds fiber, cut carbs)
1 c. white flour
¼ c. brown sugar
1 c. chopped pecans, (TOTALLY optional)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda (Necessary – otherwise it won’t rise right)
½ tsp salt
1 ½ c. smashed bananas (about 3)
2/4 c. applesauce (replaces the oil)
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. allspice (You can exchange for cinnamon, but – live a little. Try a new spice!)
In a medium sized bowl, pull together the first 8 (dry) ingredients. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and stir. Mix together the dry and the wet ingredients, a little at a time. Pour into (2) 8x4x3 inch loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake at 350º for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes about 12 slices.
**Saint Julia tip: You can use lemon juice instead of lemon zest, if you don’t have it. Also, adding chopped dates or raisins can make up for leaving out the nuts.
MaDea’s Pecan Bark
1 c. unsalted butter (NOTE: this is already NOT a health food item!)
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 ¼ c. pecans, chopped
1 tsp. cinnamon, optional
Dash of salt – maybe ¼ tsp.
Dash of cayenne, optional
Preheat oven to 350º.
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper, and grease it thoroughly. Evenly sprinkle pecans over the pan.
In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt the unsalted butter. Add brown sugar little by little to the pan, stirring thoroughly, until all the sugar is added, and the mixture begins to bubble.
Using a heat-proof spatula, *carefully* pour the lava-sugar mixture over the nuts. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool on the counter for ten minutes. Place pan into the FREEZER for one hour. Break into bite-sized pieces when cooled.
**For Pecan Bark Bars: Line the pan with graham crackers squares or pecan shortbread, then add nuts and sugar mixture. Tasty!
Quick and Easy Cheesecake with Lemon Sauce
24 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. lemon rind
Graham cracker crust (store bought)
Blend cream cheese, sugar eggs and lemon rind until smooth. Pour into pre-made graham cracker crust and bake in at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until barely firm (it’ll firm the rest of the way on the counter). Serve with store-bought lemon curd, or you can make your own:
Easy Lemon Sauce
1 c. boiling water
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch (plus 1 tbsp. Cold water)
1/4 c. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. lemon peel, finely grated
1 tbsp. butter
In a saucepan, combine sugar and salt. Add boiling water. Mix cornstarch and cold water, and add to the mix. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and clear. Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice, and butter. Serve warm over cheesecake slices.
** Melted orange marmalade is good on cheesecake too.
Lainey’s Carrot Macaroons
(RECIPE IN PROCESS!)
1 ½ c. grated raw carrots, packed; (SQUEEZED DRY – See note below)
½ c. water (made out of the water squeezed out of the grated carrots!! Don’t waste that!)
1/3 c. real maple syrup OR equivalent sugar substitute –
(dry sugar substitute needs more liquid somewhere – if using dry, ADD 3 tbsp. water)
½ c. coconut
½ c. of whole wheat or oat flour and ½ c. of oats
½ tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla, grated orange rind to taste OR ginger
Grind dry, (quick or rolled – no steel cut!) oats to make a coarse flour. (Could use oat flour, but rough ground gives it more body.) Mix well all ingredients. Let sit 10 min. (or more, if you have time.)
Firmly pack dough into a tbsp. then drop on an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 325 F for 30 min
**Mom thinks the coconut can be dropped;
**Pia says to serve with a granita – can be made sweeter…
Viv’s Veggie Latkes
2 c. grated yellow squash and/or zucchini
½ c. grated onion
2 eggs (or 4 egg whites, beaten)
½ tsp. dash of salt, and ground pepper, or chopped sage, or summer savory, or whatever
Olive oil sprayed on a nonstick pan
Squeeze excess water from squash. *Too much liquid, the latkes fall apart!
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, then heat a large non-stick griddle over high heat; it will be hot enough when a drop of water sizzles when dropped on the surface. Carefully drop 1 heaping tbsp. of latke batter onto the hot griddle and flatten with a spatula to form pancake shape. (Don’t put too many – don’t crowd them.) Cook for a couple minutes on each side or until golden brown. Repeat until no batter remains.
To add new flavor, add fresh rosemary to zucchini, or oregano fresh parsley to summer squash.
**Try plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Flavor yogurt with dill ?
**Add cumin to both – about ¼ tsp. – good flavor/
**Note** Try this with carrots? *Squash watery if not well drained – add 2 tbsp. herbed breadcrumbs to sop liquids?>
Basic Baked Apples
2 Fuji apples
2 tsp. butter
Plane grated fresh cinnamon, fennel seeds and cloves (Cardamom is a winner. Star anise?)
1/3 c. quick cooked oats, or instant oatmeal. (Substituting crushed dry cereal works too.)
2 tbsp. raw sugar plus 1 tsp. honey OR 1 heaping tbsp., plus 1 tsp. dark brown sugar
Set oven to 350°F.
Mix together butter, spices, oats and 2 tsp. sugar. Using an apple corer, bore out the center of your Fuji apple, and pack sugar mixture inside. (Maybe add raisins or 2 tbsp. chopped dates for variety.) Wrap in foil, and bake for about forty minutes. Apples should be somewhat firm, but soft and fragrant. Top with drizzle of honey or brown sugar. Serve with ice cream and a sprinkling of chopped nuts, or whipped cream and powdered sugar.
**Use Granny Smith for a more tart and juicy flavor, and add 1/3 tsp. lime zest. Cut sugar to save calories. Sugar is 50 calories per tbsp. – and if the apple’s ripe, it’s sweet enough.
**Use fennel sparingly – can be too strong.
Saint Julia’s “Perfectly Hardboiled” Egg Salad
4 *Hard-boiled Eggs, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
5 or 6 Pimento-Stuffed Green Olives, chopped (Or 2 tbsp. olive tapenade)
1 small shallot (optional), finely chopped
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. Paprika
1 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped *(Or cilantro)
1 tbsp. Sweet Pickle Relish (Or sundried tomato, or tapenade)
To taste: Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper (about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of each)
Peel your eggs – in the sink, to keep the shells close to the disposal. Carefully take out your yolks, and set the whites aside. Add to your yolks the mayonnaise, your chopped olives, the mustard, paprika and pickle. Then chop your whites, and add. Add parsley, salt and a little fresh-ground pepper to taste. *You can use cilantro and sundried tomatoes as a variation. Some people like their bread cold for cool egg salad – for a fresh egg salad, you might use warm rolls. Yum.
** Saint Julia’s notes on boiling eggs are easy. All you have to do is make sure your eggs are covered at least an inch deep in cold water in the pot, so make your pot deep, not flat and wide. Boil for exactly 17 minutes. Transfer the boiled eggs to ice water immediately to chill for 2 minutes. Take them back into the boiling water for 10 seconds, this will make sure that your yolks aren’t green, and that the eggs won’t stick to the shells. Now, move them back into the cold, and let them sit – if you can – for fifteen minutes. If you can’t, it doesn’t matter, but cold eggs peel better.
¼ c. granulated sugar OR 4 tbsp. sugar substitute
¼ c. Dutch Process cocoa powder, unsweetened (Would ground cocoa nibs or microplaned baking chocolate work?)
Dash of salt
¼ tsp. fresh ground cinnamon (real Vietnamese Cassia is best)
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (Experiment with more if you’re feeling adventurous!)
3 c. milk (you can use skim, if you want)
½ tsp. vanilla extract (try almond extract – YUM)
Combine sugar, salt, cocoa and spices in small, heavy-duty saucepan; gradually stir in milk. Warm over medium heat, stirring constantly, until hot (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in vanilla or almond extract.
**If you use whole or 2% milk, beating it with wire whisk will make it frothy!**
**Use 1 tbsp. sugar substitute, 2 tsp. cocoa powder, 1 c. milk and for individual serving. Season with vanilla, cayenne and salt to taste.
**To make powdered mix for camping, use 1 c. dry milk, mix adding 4 c. hot boiling water.
Awesome Cabbage Slaw – Pia’s Recipe!
2 c. cabbage (Use both red and green for extra color…)
1 tsp. (or more) Mae Ploy sweet pepper sauce (Ask Pia which kind -Tabasco works?)
1 green onion (chiffonnaded – chives snipped into bits works too.)
2 tbsp. (or more!) Ginger-Habenero salad dressing
¼ c. fried chow mein noodles
¼ c. honey roasted soy nuts
scattered handful of raisins, or dried cranberries or dried pineapple
Using a box grater or a mandolin grater, shred cabbage finely. Add to bowl containing finely sliced onions. Dress cabbage and onion with Ginger-Habenero dressing; add Mae Ploy sauce to taste. Garnish with crunchy noodles and soy nuts.
**Watch out for the pepper sauce; this can get too spicy fast. Add another cup of chopped cabbage if that happens. Or 1 c. fresh medium tofu chunks, lightly stir-fried. Or mushrooms. And more cabbage…
East-West Hummus Burgers
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 1/4 c. veg. stock
1 c. coarse bulgur wheat OR quick cook rolled oats
2 tsp. each coriander seed and cumin
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzos), drained and rinsed
6 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped (try cilantro!)
Pinch kosher salt
1/4 c. grated mozzarella or parmesan, for flavor
OPTIONAL: 1 egg, to bind
Add onions into a 3-quart sauce pan with the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Add bulgur, chickpeas, stir until combined. Turn off heat, cover and let stand 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove pot from heat, and, with a potato masher or spoon back, mash ingredients together making sure all chickpeas get smashed. Add in cheese, or 1 egg as an option. Form into four patties. Lightly coat a 10-inch non-stick pan with cooking spray and turn heat to medium. Place all burgers in pan when hot and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until heated through and golden.
**Try taco seasoning in the mix or zaatar spice for a more Mediterranean/Moroccan flavor**
**Serve with grilled portabella mushrooms or tahini sauce and regular burger fixings. Lots of grilled red onions are primo! Really good with a mango lassi on the side!
Peach Apple Crisp
Dessert Recipe: In Progress!!!
1 10. oz. bag of frozen peaches,
2 medium Apples, tart, peeled, sliced
½ tsp. Vanilla
¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
¼ tsp. Nutmeg
¾ c. +3 tbsp. All Purpose Flour (whatever flour is available will work)
¼ c. Brown sugar, packed (raw sugar works also, but also add 1 tbsp. molasses)
3 Tbsp. butter, chilled
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease 9-by 9-by 2-inch casserole dish.
Combine peaches, apples, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl. Toss well and spread evenly in greased casserole dish.
Combine flour and sugar in small bowl. Cut in butter with two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over fruit.
Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
**Canned pears don’t work well for this, but fresh pears do, and fresh peaches – DEFINITELY! If using fresh peaches, use five (large) and skip the apples. If using fresh pears, SKIN THEM. Canned peaches taste … like cans. Frozen fruit, any kind= better.
Basic Breakfast Crêpes
Makes about 10 Servings
2 c. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 c. granulated sugar (Not really necessary? Makes them brown better… Optional)
1 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. butter (Okay using 2 tsp.)
In a bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Mix in eggs, stir until lumps dissolve. Mix in milk, then melted butter.
Heat non-stick sauté pan, spray with vegetable pan spray. Place 4 tbsp. batter in pan, cook over low flame until crêpe appears dry.
Remove crêpe from pan and allow to cool before handling. Repeat to make 10.
**Saint Julia says French chefs let the crêpe batter sit for at least an hour before using it.
**Rotate the pan a little if you’re cooking on a weird stove or an electric with uneven heat!!! Don’t mess with the crêpe until it’s dry, or it’ll come apart. (It might come apart anyway.)
** The first crêpe is for the dog. First crêpes never turn out right.
6 tbsp. juice-sweetened berry jam (loganberry is really good!)
6 tbsp water
(3/4 c.) fresh berries (frozen works too. If you use frozen, SKIP THE WATER)
Add jam and water and berries and cook over a low flame until jam and water combine and thicken and berry juice cooks down a little. (Don’t use microwave.) This takes about ten minutes or so. It’s basically berry syrup with chunks. If you use frozen berries with little seeds, you might want to strain it – ?
Plop about two tbsp. of filling into every crepe, fold in half.
**You can add ricotta, but if you’re out, you can eat it with cottage cheese. Or plain.
Shredded Vegetable Mu-Shu Style Rollups
SAUCE (Or use store bought hoisin, but this is quick and good.)
¼ c. soy sauce
2 tbsp. dry cooking sherry
1 tbsp. sugar or sugar substitute
1 tbsp. sesame oil
black pepper, freshly ground
1 tbsp. oil, vegetable
2 tbsp. ginger, peeled and minced (smash on cutting board with broad knife, then chop)
3½ ounces mushrooms, fresh (Shitake is good, but whatever you can find will work)
1 pound cabbage
15 tiny carrots, prepackaged washed and peeled
8 medium scallions, bottoms only, washed and julienned
Store bought wheat flour Asian pancakes, or if you’re desperate, use thin burrito shells.
Make the sauce first. In a measuring cup, mix the soy sauce, sherry, sugar, sesame oil, and some pepper.
Cut stems from mushrooms, and wipe them clean. Slice thinly. To save time, use food processor to shred the cabbage and carrots, but cut up the cabbage first, in chunks that will fit.
When all the ingredients are prepped, and you’re ready, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the ginger, mushrooms, cabbage, and carrots when oil is hot. Stir fry briefly, then add scallions and soy-sherry sauce. Lower the heat to medium and continue to stir. It should take only another two minutes before vegetables are tender. DO NOT STOP STIRRING. It’s STIR-FRY.
Heat your Asian pancakes or the tortillas in the microwave on a dinner plate between dampened paper towels for 45 seconds. Spread a thin layer of hoisin sauce, top with a tbsp. of mu shu, and roll up. It’s messy, but it’s worth it.
**Keep the Asian pancakes covered with the damp paper towel, or they’ll dry out and be useless.
**Don’t overheat tortillas, if you use them – they get crispy.
MaDea’s Lemon Loaf (Original Recipe, NOT lowfat!)
2 c. Granulated Sugar
1¼ c. Buttermilk
3 c. White Flour
1¾ tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
¼ tsp Salt
¾ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, while mixing with a hand mixer. Set mixture aside.
Process lemon peels in food processor until the pieces are smaller than grains of rice – they should almost seem like a coarse flour. Add remaining dry ingredients to the peels.
In a larger bowl, combine one third of the dry mixture into the creamed, then mix in one half of the buttermilk, then one third of the dry mixture again, then the remaining buttermilk followed by the remaining dry mixture.
Pour into 2 greased 9″x5″ loaf pans. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes.
Allow to cool in the pans before removing to a platter, not to a cooling rack.
Juice some of the lemons and mix juice with some sugar. Glaze cooled, sliced cakes with this mixture to taste.
**This is a suspension cake. Saint Julia says that failure to follow the steps will result in utter failure! All the ingredients mixed out of order will result in something far from edible! It is important that each grain of sugar be coated in butter and then egg, and that each granule of lemon is coated with flour. In this manner, the particles are suspended. Over-mixing will destroy this suspension, as will trying to rush the thing together. Follow. The. Directions.
The Gingerbread House
5-1/2 c. unsifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. freshly ground cinnamon
3 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1-1/4 c. molasses
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in molasses, egg and vanilla until smooth. In another bowl, sift dry ingredients. Gradually stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture. When mixture becomes too hard to stir with spoon, wad up the dough with your hands until it’s completely mixed. Separate dough into 4 balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour, or up to 2 weeks.
**When you make your house, do it in steps. Bake your house shapes one day, decorate them the next, and build your house on another day. It’s easier that way, trust me.
3 large egg whites at room temperature (be careful – no yolks, or it won’t work!)
4-3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Place egg whites in bowl. Add cream of tartar. Sift sugar directly onto egg whites. Beat 4 minutes with electric mixer on high speed. The mixture will thicken as you beat it and when finished should be the consistency of mashed potatoes. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over icing while using, to prevent air from drying it. If storing for use at another time, store icing in an airtight plastic container in the refrigerator. If icing becomes too firm, simply beat a little water into it.
**Use the icing as “cement” to put the house together, attach decorations and make icicles and decorative trim. Two 2 to 3 batches are needed to complete 1 house; make each batch separately.
Happy Cooking, my dears.