Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blackberry Skillet Cake

Fresh blackberries are an amazing treat. They are only around for a short amount of time, but when they are in season they are wonderfully sweet and there's nothing like them. (high in fiber too). And who's foolin' who?!!   Add a little cake batter and viola! You're in heaven.

Here's how to make this easy and satisfying beauty of a cake:


1 1/2 C flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
10 TBL unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 C whole milk, room temperature
1/3 C dark brown sugar
3 C fresh blackberries (if using frozen, defrost completely and drain on paper towels until very dry)


1. Preheat oven to 350.  

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a medium/large bowl with a mixer (or a stand mixer), beat 6 TBL of the butter with the granulated sugar on high until light and fluffy.
Then beat in the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest.

3. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the milk. Beat until just combined.

4. In a 10 inch skillet, over medium heat, melt the remaining 4 TBL butter. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and arrange the blackberries evenly in the skillet.

I just want to say right here and now that I forgot to take my own picture of the berries in the skillet with the brown sugar/butter mixture. This picture is from a magazine....and if they reprimand me for having it here, I will take it down. Until then, this is their picture.....
but my skillet looked JUST like this.  Really it did.

5. Pour batter gently over the berries and smooth the top. Bake until cake is deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 35 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

6. Let the cake cool in the skillet on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen. Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Lasagna

It's hotter than blazes outside right now (side note: "Hotter than blazes" - an old phrase used back when no one in polite society cursed) and the LAST thing I feel like doing is turning on the oven. However, my desire for lasagna continues in spite of all that. 

If you've read any of my blatherings here at TrebleClefChef, you'd have noticed that I tend to prefer simple recipes (simple pleasures for the simple minded).   *ahem*

To say this recipe is simple is a grand understatement, so listen up oh you "I can't cook" types - YOU CAN DO THIS!  I dare you. I double dog dare you. get the point.

Here's how you do it:


1/2 C ricotta (note: making your own ricotta is as easy as boiling some milk, and the flavor and texture is unmatched! I have the directions here on my blog, but you can buy ricotta if you don't want to go to the trouble)
3 TBL grated Parmesan
3 TBL plus 2 tsp olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
8 lasagna noodles, broken in half crosswise
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
2 zucchini (about 1 pound) thinly sliced
1 TBL torn fresh basil leaves plus more for garnish


1. Fill a large pot with water and 1 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover the pot to keep the water ready for the noodles.

2. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan and 2 tsp of oil. Season with salt and pepper. 

3. In a large skillet, heat 2 TBL oil over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, then the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until broken down, about 3 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

Bad picture......good tomatoes.  

4. Put the skillet back on the heat, and add 1 TBL oil and the zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, stir in basil, cover to keep warm.

5. Turn the water back up to high to resume boiling. Add the broken noodles and cook about 11 minutes, then drain the noodles.

6. To serve: place some tomatoes on the plate. Top with a noodle, a spoonful of ricotta, zucchini and more tomatoes. Repeat layering twice. Top with one more noodle then some tomatoes and garnish with some basil and a bit of grated Parmesan.