Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Peapods with poppy seed dressing

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 2, 2014

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Poppy Seed Dressing This poppy seed dressing (from Saveur via the cookbook author Helen Corbitt) is one of the best I have ever had and it goes well with everything from peaches and strawberries, to salads to pea pods.   I made the following changes to the original recipe.  I substituted the grated onion for 1 tsp of powdered onion, since I did not see myself grating an onion by hand (do not grate with a food processor, the onion and juice will be bitter).  I figured this would also give the dressing greater shelf-life.  I also skipped the canola oil and went with all olive oil, but I don’t think it makes a big difference here. Do not omit the onion or the mustard,  these are key ingredients.  If you want a well-emulsified dressing,  you are going to have to make it in a bottle and shake it like the devil.  Or you could whisk it.  Even if you don’t do either, the dressing will taste divine.  MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

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2 tbsp. poppy seeds

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

2 tsp. dry mustard powder

2 tsp. kosher salt (Diamond Crystal.  Adjust to taste for all other salts).

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp powdered onion  (the original recipe calls for 1 small yellow onion, finely grated, juice reserved)

3/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup olive oil

Method: 1. Lightly toast the poppy seeds, swirling pan constantly, about 3 minutes. Add sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and onion powder, and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to simmer. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Add oil, and blend until smooth.  Keep refrigerated. I have no idea how long it will last in the fridge,  but I have been using it for 3 weeks.

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Pea pods 


2 tbs. oil



Poppy seed dressing


1. Heat 2 tbs of oil in a heavy (cast-iron) pan.

2.  Add the pea pods in one layer to the pan.

3. Wait to stir for a couple of min till one side develops flecks of brown.

4. Now turn over and cook for a few minutes till browned to your liking.

5. Remove from heat and add the desired amount dressing.  Adjust the salt to your taste.

Posted in condiments, salads, Side Dishes, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Muhammara (roasted pepper and walnut dip)

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 14, 2014

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A lot has happened since I last posted a recipe.  We  moved and renovated and the renovations made it impossible to cook anything fun.  But we are done and the house looks lovely.  So here I am with Muhammara, a roasted red pepper and walnut  dip.  Except I did not have red peppers and used  yellows ones instead.  The original recipe is from Saveur,  but I made several changes:  I switched out the pomegranate molasses, which I rarely have in the pantry for 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tsp of sugar.  I also added 2 garlic cloves instead of one and one thai bird pepper for zing.  Finally I did not fry the bread,  I figured the bread was stale and hard and would do just fine without toasting.  In a separate batch I omitted the bread entirely,  this tasted great as well.  My favorite way to eat this is with pita chips.  Health food,  I know.


2 red bell peppers  (or any other color bell pepper)

1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 slice white bread

1 cup toasted walnuts

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 1⁄2 tsp. Aleppo pepper or hot paprika (I used Hungarian sweet paprika)

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar (the original called for 2 tsp pomegranate molasses)

1/2-3/4 tsp sugar or to taste

2 cloves garlic, peeled

salt to taste


1.  Stem and broil peppers (4″ away from the heating element) until charred all over (you will have to turn them 2-3 times).  The original recipe says this will be done in 15-20 min.  Mine took 30 min.

2.  Transfer peppers to a bowl, cool and peel (you could seed them if you want, but I don’t).  The peeling goes faster if you place the peppers in a ziplock bag and sweat the peppers for a bit.  I never do since I hate wasting plastic.

3.  Put all ingredients in a food processors and pulse till smooth.  Taste and adjust salt.

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Lemon Cheesecake

Posted by fourclankitchen on June 2, 2013

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I am not a great fan of cheese cake, but my son is.  The only kind that I like making is the lemon/lime cheese cake out of the Philadelphia cream cheese cake cookbook that a friend of mine unloaded on me a long time ago. This recipe on Food52 caught my eye, because it is very similar to the one I make,  but instead of using the standard graham cracker crumb crust, it uses a Biscoff cookie crust.  These are awesome cookies,  especially if you are the type of person who likes a little something with their coffee or tea.   A crust made of this sounded pretty good to me and it was.  So here is the recipe.  The original recipe calls for Meyer lemons,  I used regular lemons.  It also called for a sour cream icing/topping which I skipped, this cake is rich enough.  When I tasted  the filling (yes it has raw eggs and I lived to tell),  it seemed to want more salt,  so I added some (I am guessing I added about 1/2 tsp).  Those are the only changes I made.

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  • 1/2 of  an 8.8 pack of  Biscoff cookies, crumbled
  • 1/3cup sugar
  • 1/8teaspoon salt
  • 5tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled somewhat


  1. Heat oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter.
  2. In a food processor, pulse Biscoff cookies until finely ground. Add sugar and salt and  melted butter and process again.
  3. Press mixture into bottom and about a 1/3 of the way along the sides of springform pan (I got lazy and just pressed it to the bottom of the pan). Bake  for 10 minutes and let crust cool while you put together the filling.

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Lemon cheesecake filling
  • 3 (8 oz.)packages cream cheese (I used 2 full fat and one low fat packages).  Bring to room temp. before proceeding.
  • 4large eggs
  • 1cup sugar
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 lemons, zest removed and juice reserved
  • 1/2 tsp extract (I omitted)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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  1. In a mixing bowl, place cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. This is a real pain if your cream cheese is not soft and at room temp.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sugar and mix well.
  2. Add the zest to the  batter. Add all of the juice and the extract (if using), and continue to mix. Pour batter into prepared  crust. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until cake is just set in center.  You must place the baking sheet under the pan.  The Biscoff releases oil which could mess up your oven. Line sheet with foil if desired.
  3. Remove cake from oven and let cool.  Store cheesecake, well-wrapped in refrigerator. Its better when eaten cold.

Posted in baked, Dessert | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »


Posted by fourclankitchen on May 18, 2013

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I used to have a go to recipe for popovers, the one that came with the pan.  But my sister in law turned me on to this simpler 5 min  recipe from Ina Garten.  Really the taste:effort ratio here is high,  really high.  There are no major tricks either. Just a few pointers:  These are best made in a popover pan, although a muffin tin will do (if you do use a muffin pan,  then you have to reduce the cooking time: I made it once in a mini (24) muffin tin and remember it taking around 5-10 min).  Make sure you preheat the  pan and have the milk and eggs at room temperature (You can bring eggs to room temp, by immersing them in luke warm tap water for a few min). Finally, eat them pronto because they  deflate quickly.

How to eat them?  Well let me count the ways.  We like to eat them with honey or jam and butter.  David Lebowitz has a cinnamon sugar variant which I am posting below but have not yet tried.  Also, they are wonderful served with a stew for dinner.  Really.

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1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for greasing pans
1 1/2 cups flour

1 tbs. sugar (not in original recipe)

3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Generously grease  popover pan (12 popovers) with  butter.

3. Place the pans in the oven for exactly 2 minutes to preheat.

4.  Using a food processor, whir together  flour, salt, sugar if using.

5. With the motor running add the eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth.

6. Fill the popover pans less than half full and bake for exactly 30 minutes. Do not peek.

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Cinnamon sugar coating  (optional)


2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup  melted butter


1. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Brush each popover all over with the butter

2. Roll each popover  in the sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat  completely.

3. Cool on a wire rack.

Posted in baked, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Rosemary Shortbread

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 9, 2013

photo 4I love shortbread and I really  loved this one.  I normally don’t like faddish foods which combine odd flavors together, just because they can be combined.   So when I read about this rosemary shortbread on Melissa Clark’s blog,  it smelled faddish to me.  But then I started to see praise for this on other blogs and this recipe just stayed on my list of things to try.  Well,  I just did.  I have to say that the sweet-salt combo with the rosemary is really amazing.  Ms.  Clark’s blog suggests other shortbread variations.  If you are interested, head over there and find out for yourself.  Meanwhile, make this and hoard it away from your evil children and spouses who will eat it till it is gone!


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1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
2. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
3.1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
4. 1 teaspoon plus 1 pinch kosher salt
5. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted cold butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
6. 1 to 2 teaspoons rosemary, chestnut or other dark, full-flavored honey (optional).

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1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Stem the Rosemary leaves and cut into fine pieces by rocking your sharpest knife over the leaves.

2. In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, rosemary and salt. Add butter, and honey, and pulse  until the dough just begins to come together, but still looks shaggy. Do not  overprocess.
3. Press dough into an ungreased 8-or 9 inch-square baking pan. Prick dough all over with a fork.

4. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes for 9-inch pan, 45 to 50 minutes for 8-inch.

5. Cool for a bit and cut  into squares while still warm.

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Posted in baked, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »


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