Ciambellone 2

I posted a recipe for this Italian Breakfast Cake a couple of weeks ago, but this is the version that my son cannot get enough of.

This cake is still lemon flavored, as we have some really good, fragrant lemons in the backyard right now. For this recipe though, I make use of the lemon juice as well as the zest. Double lemon goodness!

The sun was out when I was preparing the batter so I got out the #SunOven to bake it in. I had nowhere to be so I just enjoyed preparing this cake and being in the moment instead of rushing because I had to be somewhere soon.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Powdered sugar to garnish, optional
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spray the a 10 – 11 inch donut/bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl beat together the eggs and sugar using a hand mixer for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the oil, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract and beat until well.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the liquid ingredients and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Level the batter with a spatula.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Run a plastic knife along the edges and the middle tube, and carefully invert the cake onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  • If desired, turn cake over onto a serving dish, and dust top with powdered sugar and serve.

Ciambellone 1

First off, Happy Birthday to my beautiful mom!!!! Found time to type this up to greet her here with a cake delicious enough to be served on a birthday!

Breakfast Cake!

I mean, that totally got my attention! Italian food is one of the best food in the world, hands down, but did you know they actually have a breakfast cake? As in a cake traditionally eaten for breakfast?? 😋 The few Italians I know who grew up in Italy remember eating a citrusy cake for breakfast. Must be so nice!

I can’t wait to try this as when I mentioned it to my son, he was equally excited to try it too. He said “why can’t WE eat cake for breakfast too?” And I told him I’ll make sure we will have it for breakfast one day!

So here! I actually made a whole cake to take to work for my coworkers at Quest on my last week there too. It was good enough to be next to my famous Rum Cake https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/05/29/bacardi-rum-cake/

You’ll need a tube pan, and for this one, I used a traditional tube pan used for angel food cake as I’m quite sure most bakers have this pan.

I’ll be sharing a couple of recipes with you as I did make several but was happy with 2 experiments. This is the first one.

I hope you’ll like this cake as much as we did! It’s easy to make and will bring a bit of sunshine to your breakfast menu!

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Ingredients:

4 eggs

250g sugar

5g salt

Zest of 1 large lemon

120ml vegetable oil

75ml milk

300g all-purpose flour

7g baking powder

Procedure:

1. Separate the eggs, placing the egg whites in a clean, medium sized bowl. Set egg whites aside.

2. Place the yolks into a large bowl.

3. Add in the sugar,

4. the salt,

5. and the lemon zest.

6. Beat well, using a hand mixer or a wire whisk.

7. It’ll look like bight yellow granulated sugar.

8. Add in the vegetable oil,

9. and the milk. Beat well.

10. Add the flour,

11. and baking powder and mix everything together until it is well combined.

12. Go back to the egg whites we set aside earlier. Using a clean hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

13. Fold in half the egg whites into the yolk mixture.

14. Fold everything together carefully until blended.

15. Fold in the rest of the egg whites until well mixed.

16. Pour the mixture into a greased 10-11 inch(28 cm) ring-shaped baking pan (a bundt pan or angel food cake pan will do in a pinch) and bake at 350F for about 40-45 minutes.

17. Leave the cake to cool before removing from pan.

18. Enjoy with coffee, hot chocolate, or tea!

*can also bake this in the #SunOven!

No Knead Focaccia

Focaccia, specially when fresh from the oven, is one of my favorite things to eat! The topping can be as simple as rosemary and smoked sea salt, or elaborate with za’atar seasoning, olive oil, tomatoes, mint leaves, and cucumbers! 😋

I also tried focaccia with salty, dry cured olives and sun dried tomatoes on it. And to make my son happy – ones with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and lots of pepperoni!

Feel free to top it anyway you like! That’s the fun part of making your own food!

My usual sourdough focaccia (https://athomewiththeresa.com/2021/06/09/sourdough-focaccia/) takes about 8 1/2 hours from start to finish if you used an active sourdough starter, but a bit longer if it is made with a dormant starter. I usually follow the timeline I typed up, preparing it after breakfast and baking either before or after dinnertime.

I got a few requests for an easier, faster recipe. And I totally get it! There is never enough hours in a day! So after a couple of weekends trying to make an easier focaccia recipe without compromising the taste, here we are! It still takes a bit of time, but you need time to allow the dough to develop flavors by slow fermentation.

This recipe makes use of instant yeast and can be done in a little less than 6 hours of mostly hands free time. I use a brand called SAF instant yeast, see photo below.

You’ll just mix everything together until it forms a shaggy dough and set it aside, covered, for about 4 hours. Then, you’ll transfer the dough into a generously greased pan and set it aside for about an hour. After which it’ll be drizzled with more olive oil, dimpled all over, and topped with whatever topping you like. Then it’s going to be baked for 20-25 minutes. Ta-da! Delicious, crisp, and super soft focaccia!

You can also get this ready at night: prepare the dough before dinner, let it sit on the counter while you eat and clean up and let it rest overnight in the fridge. Take out the next day, transfer to an oiled pan, let rise until doubled(about 2 hours or so) and bake. Or reverse it, preparing it in the morning and baking it at dinner time.

Perfect partners! Found this delicious dip at Trader Joe’s.

You likely have all the ingredients needed as this is a very simple recipe: flour, yeast, sugar, water, olive oil, salt and rosemary(or whatever you like) for extra flavor.

I usually make 2 pans at a time to make better use of the oven’s heat. If you like to do that too, just double this recipe and divide the dough into two 13”x9” pans. Bake times and temperature remain the same.

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Ingredients for dough:

1 2/3 cups water

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1-2 tablespoons good quality olive oil

3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for topping:

Extra Olive oil

sea salt

rosemary

Whatever else you like(pickled jalapeño and cheddar, mozzarella and pepperoni, olives, etc)

Procedure:

1. In a large bowl (specially if you’re doubling the recipe), mix together the water, yeast, and sugar.

2. Add the olive oil and give it a stir.

3. Pour in the flour and salt. I use a Danish whisk to mix everything together until you have a rough dough. As long as there is no dry patches of flour, you’re good. *Remember, we do not need to knead this dough!

4. Cover the bowl and set aside for about 4 hours. I use a clean shower cap to cover the bowl – it’s reusable unlike a sheet of plastic wrap. The dough should double in size in this time.

5. In the meantime, grease a 13”x9” pan with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Smear it all over the bottom and sides of the pan.

6. Pull the dough in from the sides of the bowl using a spatula and transfer into the prepared pan. Touch the greased pan with your finger tips to pick up some oil, and gently stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan.

7. Cover the pan and let dough rise 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.

8. Preheat the oven to 450F about 20 minutes before second proofing is over.

9. Uncover the dough and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Using your fingertips, poke the dough multiple times, touching the bottom of the pan each time. The oil will pool into the little grooves you created.

10. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves and smoked sea salt. This is my favorite topping. Feel free to use what you have or what you like!

11. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.

Perfectly crisp bottom!!!

12. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. Enjoy warm!

Electric Lunchbox #90: Polenta

Polenta….in the ELB! 😱 I know, I know, but hear me out…

Polenta is a creamy cornmeal porridge that is commonly served in Italian homes and delicious served with meats and stews. I also like it with some cheese stirred in, or let it cool and harden, then slice it and fry! Any way you eat it, it is delicious!

But if you were ever taught how to make this “properly”, you might just not make it. Too many rules, too many “you HAVE to this and you MUST that”

First off, know that you can use any medium or coarse cornmeal, no need to search for one that is labeled “Polenta” – specially if you already have cornmeal in your pantry. No harm in using actual “polenta” but just letting you know that you do not have to.

You don’t have to use water if you want it more flavorful. Here I used chicken stock. of course you can use water if you want to.

Also, you do not need to keep stirring constantly. Something I am happy to discover while making this recipe as I have a lot of arm issues. So I only ask you to stir this recipe twice! Easy!

You also don’t need to add the polenta slowly, into a pot of boiling water, nor have to stir in only one direction. And you do not have to use a wooden spoon…😊

All these rules are things I’ve learned but I’ll happily share with you that I found out it’s all unnecessary. Maybe my polenta will be frowned upon by purists, but I am okay with that if more people will try it because it’s easy and accessible. Which this recipe is! I hope you try it and I also hope you’ll like my “short cut polenta” made in the ELB! No constant stirring required.

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup corn meal

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

3 ELB cups water for the base

Procedure:

1. In the big or medium ELB bowl, place the chicken stock,

2. Cornmeal,

3. Salt and pepper.

4. Stir until mixed and cover with foil.

5. Place bowl in the ELB. Add 3 ELB cups water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

6. Carefully open the ELB and remove the foil. Stir the polenta and serve hot. It will thicken as it cools so cool slightly if you prefer it a bit thicker.

* This is the texture I like for polenta. It is not gritty at all, just smooth and creamy. But if you want it thinner, increase your chicken broth or decrease your cornmeal. If you want it thicker, decrease the broth or increase the cornmeal.

*Feel free to stir in some cheese or herbs if desired. You can also add a dab of butter to make it taste richer! Yum!

Electric Lunchbox #87: Minestrone

It’s been cold this week here in Southern California so when I told my husband that I do not have any ideas on what else to make in the ELB, he said “soup!”

He went on naming different soups he grew up eating in Peru…and I stopped him when i heard Minestrone. I love Minestrone and I haven’t made it in a long time!

When I was a high school student at Herbert Hoover High in Glendale, CA, I chose a cooking/baking as my elective class. Not only as a way to nurture a life skill/hobby, but also to rest my brain between classes. And the basic Minestrone I make all these years always comes back to the recipe I learned in Mrs. Baker’s class.

So here it is! The original recipe I scribbled down when I was 15 years old – sure brings back a lot of memories! I didn’t even have to scale it down for the big ELB bowl as it fits perfectly!

Do not feel like you have to follow the recipe to the letter. Any bean or veggie you want, or have on hand, can be used instead of the ones listed in the recipe but I do encourage you to try the recipe as it is at least once. Then you can make adjustments after you’ve tried the recipe as is.

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons onions

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon rice

1 tablespoon small pasta

1 tablespoon canned beans

1/2 cup peeled and diced potatoes

1 tablespoon green peas (used celery as I was out of green peas)

Salt and pepper

A few rosemary leaves

3/4 cup beef broth

2/3 cup water

Procedure:

1. Place the chopped onions in the big ELB bowl.

2. Add the butter,

3. Cornstarch,

4. Tomato paste,

5. Rice,

6. Pasta

7. Beans,

8. Potatoes,

9. Celery or green peas

10. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and the rosemary leaves,

11. Add the beef broth and water. Stir to mix everything together.

12. The butter will be a big blob but it will melt as the soup cooks the pasta and rice. It makes this soup rich and velvety!

13. Place the bowl in the ELB base. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

14. Carefully open the ELB. Stir the soup and check the pasta and rice if it’s cooked through.

15. Serve hot! Enjoy!