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Top 10 Kitchen Tools I Can’t Live Without

Top 10 Kitchen Tools I Can’t Live Without

Heyyyy guys!

Hows your week going so far?? We still have a few weeks to go, but guess what? Fall is right around the corner, which means lots of baking, cozy family dinners, and loads of great fruit and veggies from the farmers’ markets. I cook and bake a ton, and I’m kind of a fanatic about quality tools that make my time in the kitchen efficient, safe, and fun. I get asked a lot about the kitchen tools that I use, and why. Here’s my round-up of indispensable tools that I use over and over again. NO appliances are mentioned, that’s another post 😉

Having a well equipped kitchen inspires me to make more creative dishes, and motivates me to bake and cook for my family OFTEN. The truth is, you really don’t need a million spatulas or 10 different sizes of mixing bowls. In fact, clutter is a good cook’s worst enemy. Choosing well-made quality tools, over quantity, makes all the difference!

Quite simply, 1 board for garlic and onions, 1 board for everything else! You don’t really want your freshly cut fruit smelling like garlic, right?? I like to buy bamboo boards because they are made of sustainable, durable wood that is easy to care for.
Top 10 Kitchen Tools
A good set of stainless steel cups and spoons will literally last forever. The ceramic and plastic choices are decorative and cute, but aren’t practical.

Top 10 Kitchen Tools3. INSULATED BAKING SHEETS 
These are a secret weapon that you never knew you needed! The insulation in these baking sheets delivers even baking and browning of cookies and desserts. No burnt bottoms 🙂

Save yourself a tetanus shot here, guys. Leave it to the Swiss for engineering that just makes everything easier and more efficient.
5. MICROPLANE ZESTER
I use this multitasking tool ALL THE TIME! I’ve had mine for almost 10 years, and it’s still super sharp, perfect for citrus fruit, hard cheeses, ginger, and garlic. Dishwasher safe.
Top 10 Kitchen Tools
6. A GOOD CHEF’S KNIFE, PARING KNIFE + KITCHEN SHEARS
Quality made, SHARP knives are the backbone of the kitchen. There are tons of options, but a safe place to start would either be with WUSTOF, HENKEL, or GLOBAL brand knives. Remember, a sharp knife = a safe knife. 
*Kitchen shears are my everything! I sanitize over and over and use them to cut up food for my toddlers, trim raw chicken, trim asparagus and artichokes, endless uses!
Top 10 Kitchen Tools
Why wood vs. plastic/rubber? They won’t melt and crack. They’ll last a lifetime. They won’t scratch your lovely pots + pans. They are more threatening when kids are getting rowdy.  

Top 10 Kitchen Tools

This may seem obscure, but I find the design of this spatula realllly useful for most of my flipping needs. If it is delicate enough for fish, it is suitable for over-medium eggs, pancakes, delicate meatballs, or flipping palmiers. A real workhorse.
Top 10 Kitchen Tools9. WIRE WHISK (STAINLESS STEEL) 
Duh. 1000x better than the plastic or rubbers ones.
 
A set of 2 or 3 different sizes are easy to store, and really comes in handy when the recipe says to rinse the quinoa, strain the pulp, or drain the beans.
Top 10 Kitchen Tools
 EXTRA ONE!
* Never get stuck. In life or in baking. Parchment paper (or a silicone baking mat) is a miracle, and I basically bake every cookie on a sheet lined with parchment. 
* You want a golden crust on your bread/cookies/cake? Get a $2 small paintbrush from the hardware store for the egg wash or glaze.

Keep cookin’ and remember to tag your photos with #lionsbread so I can see how you’re using your new kitchen tools!

-L xxoo
Classic Basil Pesto

Classic Basil Pesto

Hi guys! I know what you’re thinking. Really? Is this 1995? But hear me out. My love for Classic Basil Pesto runs deep. Of course you can buy pesto at the store, but nothing compares to the summery, bright flavor of the homemade stuff. My Mom has been whipping up batches of this pesto for almost 30 years, and every.single.time I’m amazed by the simplicity, complexity, and deliciousness. Basil Pesto is incredible with everything, but it is particularly good on pasta, fish, chicken, toast, steamed vegetables, and drizzled into soups.

Growing up, my brother and I were in charge of picking the basil leaves off of the stems. Every time I make pesto I think of the two of us sitting at the kitchen sink, joking around, picking away, gladly helping my Mom because a little manual labor was worth it, if pesto was the end game. Now, I make a few batches in the summer time when huge bunches of fragrant basil are available at the farmer’s market, then freeze, so that we ALWAYS have a jar in the freezer.

Over the years, a lot of creative license has been taken to the good ol’ ‘pesto alla genovese.’ Ingredients like arugula and peas have been added, but for me, Classic Basil Pesto is not to be messed with. Don’t get me wrong, I like the variations, but if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Call me basic.

To make the best pesto, I like to use high quality extra virgin olive oil, REALLY fresh leafy basil, toasted pine nuts, and nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano. Each batch will make about 2 cups, so I usually divide the pesto into a few glass jars, and store them in the freezer. You can keep a small container in the fridge, but be sure to use it up within 5-7 days (not difficult).

*PRO TIP: Only use the basil leaves for pesto, and be sure to wash and dry them thoroughly. To make sure that the basil leaves are really dry, I use a salad spinner like this one!

I feel like there are SO MANY recipes that I want to share with you all right now, during the summer, and I probably won’t get to them all because, life, but this Basil Pesto is a must!!

I want to see what you’re making, so when you make a recipe from the blog, tag your pics with #lionsbread 🙂

Classic Basil Pesto

Classic Basil Pesto

August 6, 2017
: 2 cups
: 15 min
: 5 min
: 20 min
: Easy

Homemade Basil Pesto > Everything else | Bright, summery, and incredible on pasta, toast, chicken, fish, and veggies

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 c lightly packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried (I use a salad spinner to dry the leaves!)
  • 1 c freshly grated Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 medium size garlic cloves
  • 1/3 c toasted pine nuts (toast in a dry skillet for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat, set a timer!)
  • 2/3 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Directions
  • Step 1 In a food processor, with the machine running, drop the garlic cloves in, and process until finely chopped.
  • Step 2 Add the basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, and salt, and process until leaves are finely chopped.
  • Step 3 With the machine running, pour the olive oil in through the spout in the lid, and process until the mixture is smooth.
  • Step 4 Add the Parmigiano cheese, and process briefly, just until combined. Store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Enjoy!
Nectarine Frangipane Tart

Nectarine Frangipane Tart

Nectarines, good. Frangipane, goooood. Tart, REAL good! I’ve never been great at math, I’ll admit, but this equation is a winner, any way you look at it! Here’s another one for you: summer fruit desserts > fruit desserts > desserts. You get where I’m going with this??! I’m holding onto summer for dear life. Also, my parents are coming for a visit next week from CA, and you know what they’re bringing me? Hand-carried nectarines straight from the farm. Please, and thank you.

I made this Nectarine Frangipane Tart last week, and guys, it just didn’t last. Everyone wanted a slice!! I’m kind of obsessed with flaky crust and anything almond. If you’re like me, you’re going to fall in love with frangipane, also known as Almond Cream. It is sweet and earthy, and tastes incredible with the tangy nectarines.

I made this tart in a 14″ x 5″ long rectangular tart pan because I love lining up the nectarines like little soldiers and it is really easy to serve. However, you could easily use a 9″ round tart pan that has a removable bottom, and fan the peaches out, like a lotus flower.

I can’t wait for you all to make this tart! I love hearing from you, so comment below with all of your feedback and any questions you have, and remember to tag your photos with #lionsbread so I can see what you’re making!

-LeAnne xo

*NOTE in the photos, the frangipane is crumbled into the pan, because I had to refrigerate it… since one of my kiddos needed sommmmething 🙂

Nectarine Frangipane Tart

Nectarine Frangipane Tart

Nectarine Frangipane Tart

Nectarine Frangipane Tart

August 4, 2017
: 5-6
: 30 min
: 40 min
: 1 hr 15 min
: Medium

A delicious summer tart made extra luxurious with tangy nectarines and creamy almond frangipane

By:

Ingredients
  • Tart dough:
  • 1 1/4 c AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • 8 T (1 stick) salted butter, very cold, cubed
  • 1/4 c ice water
  • Frangipane:
  • 1/2 c finely ground almonds
  • 4 T granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Fruit:
  • 4-5 ripe but firm nectarine, each cut into 6 slices
  • 2 T butter melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Directions
  • Step 1 Dough: In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, granulated, and pulse to combine.
  • Step 2 Add the cold, cubed butter, and pulse 6-7 times until the pieces of butter are the size of peas.
  • Step 3 With the machine running, stream the ice water in through the spout in the lid, and process until the dough JUST begins to come together. Do not over mix.
  • Step 4 Dump the dough out onto a floured work surface. It will still be crumbly. Use your hands to pull the dough together quickly into a ball, then flatten out into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 25-30 minutes.
  • Step 5 Meanwhile, in the food processor, add the almonds and sugar and process until the almonds a very fine meal consistency. Add the egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Blend until thoroughly combined. Pour into a medium size bowl, and set aside.
  • Step 6 Preheat the oven to 400*F. Spray a 14″ x 5″ rectangular tart pan (with a removable bottom) very well with nonstick cooking spray. Dust flour lightly onto your work surface and on a rolling pin. Remove the dough from the fridge, and roll it out into a rectangle, about 16″ x 7″.
  • Step 7 Gently lift the dough and place it in the tart pan. With your fingertips, gently pat the dough down into the corners and up the sides. Trim off excess dough with a knife.
  • Step 8 Pour the frangipane on top of the dough, and use a spatula to spread out and cover the dough in an even layer. (*NOTE in the photos above the frangipane is crumbled into the pan, because I had to refrigerate it, since one of my kiddos needed something.) Place the sliced nectarines on top of the frangipane in a single layer.
  • Step 9 In a small bowl, mix the 2 T of sugar with the 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Brush the melted butter on the nectarines, and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Step 10 Bake at 400*F for 30-35 minutes, until the nectarines begin to slightly caramelize.
  • Step 11 Cool on a baking rack for 15 minutes. Then, remove the tart from the pan, by pushing up from the bottom, and removing the outer metal rectangle.
  • Step 12 Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or creme fraiche Enjoy!.