Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lemon-Glazed Madeleines

The interesting thing about madeleines is that most store bought ones taste like stale cake.  Other than the very pretty shape, I never really knew what all the fuss was about.  Until I made my own.  Specifically, until I made my own lemon glazed madeleines.  The buttery, lemony sweet little cake (really, it is not a cookie in the true sense of the word) is a confection unto itself.  And I don't really dig cake all that much, so that is a high compliment indeed.
This recipe, from blogger extraordinaire David Lebovitz is pretty foolproof as long as you follow the directions.  Use madeleine molds: I tried both the metal and silicone versions...the metal is slightly better and there is so much butter involved that the cakes come out clean.  And you may need to double the icing...I did. They are a big hit, both in the looks and taste departments.  The only thing is that they don't keep super well, so you better eat them shortly after you make them.  Or you can invite my daughter over and she will make sure they are gone for you.  She does it for me every time.

3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
zest of one small lemon
9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds

3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water


1. Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.  (I was totally lame with this step...forgot to dust with flour, forgot to put in fridge, but then again it was a cold day.)

2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.

3. Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. (Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.)

4. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.

5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)

6. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

8. Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter which you think will fill it by three quarters (you'll have to eyeball it, but it's not brain-surgery so don't worry if you're not exact.) Do not spread it. I used a small ice cream/cookie dough scoop thingy.

10. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.

11. Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they're cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.

Storage: Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they're best eaten the day they're made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking, if necessary. I don't recommend freezing them since the glaze will melt.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip Steak

So this is my NEW favorite meat recipe that I pulled from the blog, Simply Recipes. You can keep your filet mignon, your rib eyes and your giant roast beast.  This recipe is easy and pretty foolproof.  I had posted another tri tip recipe using a red wine  marinade, but that requires forethought and planning and marinating.  This recipe is easier and, frankly, better.  And requires only the forethought of having an awesomely stocked spice collection and catching the tri tip sales at your local market.  

My family likes it rare, hence the "dead cow walking" look to the photo, but you can cook it longer if you like.  This is one of the few recipes that my entire family gets happy about...can you imagine this universal enthusiasm for the sweet potato recipe I posted earlier?  Clearly a carnivorous crowd.


1 Tri tip roast, 2 1/2 to 4 lbs, well marbled with fat
Santa Maria Rub (enough for a 4 pound roast)
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp finely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 teaspoon dry rosemary (or fresh, finely minced)
1/2 teaspoon dry sage


1 Mix the rub ingredients together in a bowl. Sprinkle the rub on the meat on all sides, and massage the rub into the meat. Cover and let sit at room temperature for an hour.

2 Prepare your grill for hot direct heat on one side, and indirect heat on the other. Sear the roast on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Carefully watch the roast during this process as one side of the roast is typically quite fatty and as the fat heats up it can drip down and cause flare-ups. Keep moving the tri tip away from the flame if flare-ups occur.

3 Once the tri tip is seared on all sides, move it away from direct heat and place it fat-side up on the grill rack.  If you are grilling on charcoal or wood, you may want to turn the roast over every few minutes, for more even heating. Try to maintain a grill temperature of 250°F to 300°F.

4 Cover the grill and cook until the temperature of the interior of the tri tip reaches 120°F for a rare roast, 130°F for medium-rare and 140°F for medium. At this point the meat will take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to cook, depending on how hot your grill is, how well done you want it, and the size of the cut. Note that the interior temperature will continue to rise at least 5°F after you take the roast off the heat.

5 Once the roast reaches temperature, remove it from the grill and let it rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve.