Monday, October 27, 2008

Sugar High Friday - Yorkshire Parkin with Lemon Neufchâtel Frosting

Yorkshire Parkin with Lemon Neufchâtel Frosting
A sturdy, oatmeal gingerbread of northern England,
Yorkshire parkin is a warming treat even if you aren't
in the neighborhood to watch the burning of the Guy.

Yorkshire Parkin
Traditionally served without frosting, it is best
cut with a very sharp knife after it cools, but you
will want to tear into it fresh from the oven.

Yorkshire Parkin with Lemon Neufchâtel Frosting
(Parkin adapted from The Argenta Cookbook recipe; frosting, my own recipe)


2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons very fresh ground ginger
1 cup quick-cooking oats (also known as thin oats)
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
½ cup golden syrup (or honey or corn syrup)
½ cup treacle (or molasses)

(N.B. – There is no egg in this recipe.)

8 ounces American Neufchâtel or cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1-2 cups confectioners sugar (according to your texture preference)
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice with 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel)

Candied lemon peel for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, soak oats in milk for one hour. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and ground ginger. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add melted butter to oatmeal along with golden syrup and treacle. Mix well to combine, then add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Beat with a large spoon until very well blended. Pour batter into a greased 13-inch by 9-inch cake tin or glass baking dish. Position on middle rack of oven to bake for 30 minutes or until cake is lightly browned, and a knife inserted into its center comes out clean.

In medium bowl, beat cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Incrementally add confectioners sugar, beating very well, until desired consistency is reached. Beat in lemon flavoring. Adjust consistency one last time, if necessary. Dollop or pipe frosting onto cut squares of fully cooled cake. Garnish with candied lemon peel. Well-wrapped, leftovers without frosting will keep beautifully for days. Leftover frosting must be refrigerated. Serves 12. --
Yorkshire Parkin with Lemon Neufchâtel Frosting

This is my zero-hour contribution for Anita of Dessert First, hosting the October edition of Sugar High Friday - Spices - for Jennifer, The Domestic Goddess, the creator of Sugar High Friday, the long running and popular monthly sweet event. Anita will have her beautiful round-up online this Friday, October 31. I will have the pleasure of hosting Sugar High Friday for November. Please stay tuned for the announcement on November 1.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Pizazz of Piyaz - Turkish Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Pomegranate, Walnuts & Zahtar Dressing

Piyaz - Turkish Bean Salad

One of Turkey’s classic, spectacular salads, piyaz highlights any
kind of bean as its main ingredient. “Meaty” black-eyed peas,
tiny ephemeral bursts of pomegranate, and the sweetly
woodsy taste of zahtar tease and please the palate.

Dried Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas. So cute, I could eat 'em up.

Turkish Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Pomegranate, Walnuts and Zahtar Dressing – Based on the Food Down Under recipe


4 cups cooked and drained black-eyed peas (comprehensive directions for various soaking and cooking methods here; 2 cups dried will yield about 4 cups cooked)
1 bunch scallions, chopped (use both white and green parts)
½ cup broken walnuts, toasted by tossing in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 8 minutes
½ cup fresh pomegranate arils (the fleshy, juicy seeds)
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped (or keep whole if leaves are small)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 3 large lemons
4 teaspoons zahtar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper


Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, zahtar, salt and pepper to combine. In a separate large bowl, tip in black-eyed peas, scallions, walnuts, pomegranate arils and parsley. Stir carefully to avoid crushing the pomegranate arils. Pour dressing over salad, stirring once more before serving. Serves 4 as a side salad; 2 as a main course. --

Piyaz - Turkish Bean Salad

This post is for Sra of When My Soup Came Alive, hosting My Legume Love Affair - Fourth Helping. Sra is accepting recipes through October 31, the more the merrier. Please stop by her site early November. The round-up is sure to be a bountiful array of extraordinary bean dishes from around the world.

I am also sending this on to Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen, co-creator and January 2011 host of No Croutons Required, the monthly soup-and-salad event which she and Jac of Tinned Tomatoes collaborate on.  This month's theme is Black-Eyed Peas.

Been There, Done That ~

Persian Lentil Pomegranate Soup
Cannellini, Fennel and Olives

Other People's Eats ~

Turkish Garbanzo Salad

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekend Herb Blogging #153 - The Round-Up

Another gorgeous collection of recipes. Thanks to everyone who made this feast possible with your amazing culinary gifts, whether you prepared a tried-and-true tradition or ventured into uncharted territory. Every recipe is a winner. It was great to play hostess again. Special thanks to Kalyn who makes these gatherings possible for all of us.

Please contact me if there are any errors or omissions that need tending to. I'll correct them right away. In the meantime, let's get wined and dined!


A simple meal of bread and oil, rich in historical
significance, is made richer still with the addition
of "the poor man's fruit," the tomato.

Tomato and Oil Dip
Maria - Organically Grown
Hania, Crete, Greece


The shiitake mushroom contains compounds known to
improve the immune system. One taste, though,
and you will not be immune to its culinary charms.

Grilled Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms
Ning - Heart and Hearth
Manila, The Philippines


Hate the price of store-bought baked buns, but
dread the idea of baking them on your own?
Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Baked Red Bean Buns
Nate and Annie - House of Annie
San Jose, California, U.S.A.


Tiny, crispy potato matchsticks cradle a crusty slab
of tender, herb-pressed beef for a meal fit for a king.

Beef Rib Eye Steaks on Potato Nests
Marija - Palachinka
Belgrade, Serbia


Plucked straight from a sunny kitchen window, the
freshest, most aromatic fenugreek further enlivens
a spice-tempered dish of cubed potatoes.

Methi Aloo (Fenugreek Potatoes)
Padma - Padma's Kitchen
New Jersey, U.S.A.


Ancient Chinese medicine recommends ginger for assorted
conditions which might ail you. Once you cook with it, you'll
be recommending it for its flavor and fragrance.

Braised Chicken Wings with Ginger and Garlic
Lesley - Beachlover's Kitchen
Long Island, New York, U.S.A.


Does the current economic climate have you in a pickle?
Doff your woes for the real deal, a mustard-spiked
condiment guaranteed to be a delicious distraction.

Mauritian Pickles
Another Outspoken Female - Confessions of a Food Nazi
Melbourne, Australia


An October bumper crop of tomatillos arrives just
in time for a slow broth of black beans bobbing
in earthy and tangy Southwestern seasonings.

Crockpot Vegetarian Black Bean and Tomatillo
Soup with Lime and Cilantro
Kalyn - Kalyn's Kitchen
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.


Low in fat, but loaded with flavor, a West African recipe owes
much of its healthy beauty to the often-maligned okra pod.

Enhanced with sultry olives and resinous juniper berries,
the skin of the grape makes the most exquisite elixir.

Olive Grappa
Cinzia - Cindy Star
Bardolino, Lake Garda, Italy


Studded with raisins and massaged with rosemary-infused
oil, tender rolls from Tuscany keep a sleepy baker alert.

A crush of coriander, mint and sumac boldly dress a whole
salmon in a brilliant coat of many colors and flavors.

A complex and dreamy dessert compote celebrates
chestnut season in the bucolic splendor of one
of Italy's grandest lake districts.

Pears in Vanilla Cream with Chestnuts and Sesame
Brii - Brii Blog
Valsorda, Lake Garda, Italy


Kernels of corn cook up into the sweetest,
freshest polenta, a perfect bed under a glistening
and rich blanket of aubergine and tomato.

Sweet corn and its cob simmer with
milk for a creamy, pale stock, as
sophisticated as it is simple.

A bountiful home harvest of tiny tomatoes
are slow roasted to burnish their flavor in
a lively sauce over broad ribbons of pasta.

Pappardelle with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes,

Sage and mushrooms luxuriate in warm Italian
cream cheese to nap dense and rustic cornmeal wedges.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Weekend Herb Blogging # 153 - Fried Polenta Tart with Sage, Mushroom and Mascarpone Sauce

Polenta Tart Wedges

Tiny flecks of pungent sage cut through the cream to
dominate a dish rich in woodsy flavor and hearty texture.

Sage Leaf

Common sage - not as innocent as it looks.

Botanically a salvia and a member of the mint family, sage has enjoyed a reputation through history as a panacea. Though it is high in antioxidants, its true calling is culinary, where it shines in unctuously rich recipes. It is especially prized in meat and poultry dishes, and is the key ingredient in traditional Thanksgiving stuffing.

Fried Polenta Tart with Sage, Mushroom and Mascarpone Sauce – My own recipe


1 cup yellow stone-ground cornmeal
3 cups water, salted with 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine
6 ounces mascarpone cheese (substitutions not recommended)
3 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
Ground pepper
Parsley for garnish (optional)


In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring salted water to a boil. Add the cornmeal, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer mixture for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent lumps. Stir in olive oil. Simmer another 10 minutes. Mixture will thicken and somewhat dry, enough to leave the sides and bottom of the pan. Turn out mixture into a greased 8-inch tart tin (the kind with a removable bottom works best). Use a cake spatula to level mixture. Leave to cool and set in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Once set, the tart will easily release in one solid, heavy piece. Cut tart into wedges. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, grill the wedges on each side until browned. Transfer wedges to a cookie sheet and place in a warm oven (under 200 degree F) until ready to plate and sauce.

15 minutes before serving, prepare sauce. In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms in olive oil over low heat until they are half their original size. Add garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant, but not overly browned. Add vermouth or white wine. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Carefully stir in mascarpone. It will liquefy as it heats. Add sage leaves and barely simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add salt, and pepper to taste. Spoon over polenta wedges. Garnish with optional parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6 as a starter; 2 as a very filling entrée. --

Polenta Wedge

This week I have the pleasure of hosting my third stint of Weekend Herb Blogging for Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen, creator of this wildly popular event. There is still plenty of time to create, post and submit your recipe to me (thewellseasonedcook AT yahoo DOT com). Latecomers are welcome as long as I have not published the round-up, scheduled for Monday night, October 13, New York time. In case you are new to Weekend Herb Blogging or haven't participated in a while, Kalyn revised her rules for participation effective on July 20, 2008. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with them. For additional reference, including links to all the previous round-ups, as well as who is slated to host in the coming weeks, Kalyn has a convenient one-stop page full of information.

Thanks to those of you who have already sent in your recipes. I look forward to receiving others along the way to the round-up! See you then!