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Author: Rebecca

Real Caramel Sauce for One

Real Caramel Sauce for One

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I know there are lots of ways out there to make ‘easy’ caramel– usually involving sweetened condensed milk alone (dulce de leche) or with brown sugar (cooked to just a high-enough temp to taste like caramel.)  I’m not here to knock either of those two methods– they certainly have their places.  I love to use dulce de leche in this icing, and when I lived in South America, we ate it daily on bread for breakfast.  It was heavenly.  Likewise, the brown sugar stuff is great for caramel apples in the fall, and for an easy chocolate-fondue alternative.

But today I’m back from a long vacation, and ready for the real thing:  pure sugar with a bit of water (and Karo to avoid crystalization), brought almost to the smoke-point. Combine this with heavy cream and a little butter, and it is caramel perfection.  Don’t be scared.  Throw fear (but not safety) out the window, and follow these directions closely.  There is nothing like pure sugar after that beautiful, fragrant and fast-moving process of caramelization!

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Speedy Polenta for Breakfast

Speedy Polenta for Breakfast

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Since I was little, I have loved pretty much all foods made from corn.  Cornbread, corn on the cob, popcorn, kettlecorn, cornmeal tart crust.  The only exception in all these years has been polenta.  I have seen beautiful photos of lamb ragout over cheesy polenta and creamy polenta with chicken and mushrooms, but somehow these don’t tempt me.  Then a few weeks ago, I had somewhat of a corn-piphany:  I love the sweetness of corn, so a savory application just doesn’t sound as good– no matter how gourmet.

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Quickest Little Birthday Cake

Quickest Little Birthday Cake

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Here at the Small Table, I often need a downsized dessert on the fly.  While none of the recipes on this site take a crazy amount of time, this Quickest Little Birthday Cake wins for being fastest, impressive, delicious, and thoughtful.  You may have friends coming over for games, neighbors stopping in, or it’s your turn to host the playdate– on those days, leave off the candle and just serve cake!  The best-case scenario, of course, is that it actually is someone’s birthday:  when that happens, this cake comes beautifully to the rescue.

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The 6-Inch Quiche: Endless Change-Ups!

The 6-Inch Quiche: Endless Change-Ups!

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Today’s post is another favorite use for the 6-inch tart crust.  This time we’re going savory with an easy quiche recipe to which you can add any fillings you like.  The one I made this morning was ham and parmesan, because that’s what I had handy, but you could do any combination of meat/ cheese/ veg that sounds good to you.  My personal favorite is baby spinach and artichoke hearts, followed closely by bacon and caramelized onion– too bad I didn’t have any of those in my fridge today…

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Small Batch Rosemary Mozzarella Quick Bread

Small Batch Rosemary Mozzarella Quick Bread

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It is hot, hot, hot here at the Small Table, and maybe where you live, too!  Are you having salad for dinner tonight?  I admit that I don’t feel like eating much else these past few days, with our temps heading into the 100’s before the weekend.   A good salad can be made great, however, with the right bread-addition.  And so today I offer you one of my favorites:  Rosemary-Mozzarella Quick Bread.  It comes together in a snap with no yeast or rise-time, and is kept moist by olive oil, sour cream, and a relatively low baking-temperature.  Break out the 6-inch cake pan!

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S’mores Cones: Big, Big Pinterest Win

S’mores Cones: Big, Big Pinterest Win

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Little S and I were alone for dinner last night, and so we ate, umm…these.  (OK– we also had carrots, broccoli and hummus.  But still.  We lived wild.)  This was a great idea that I picked up on a stroll through Pinterest, and comes from a post last year by Lina at Hip2Save.  (I could have been making these for a whole year and didn’t know it!)  Such a s’mores upgrade– since it’s in a cone, you can fit in more stuff without worrying that it will fall out the sides.  It is as easy as it looks.

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6-Inch Blueberry Cheese Tart

6-Inch Blueberry Cheese Tart

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There are so many ways to fill the tart crust from Thursday’s post.  This is one of my favorites for breakfast or dessert during blueberry season (now!)  Delightful at room temperature or cold, it can be made the day-of, or the night before and stored in the fridge.  The blueberry cheese tart makes a wonderful small brunch with ham, fruit and orange juice.  Or use it as a light dessert after a heavier meal.

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My Favorite (Quick!) Tart Crust

My Favorite (Quick!) Tart Crust

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I admit that I love cute little pans, and I have many of them.  But, oh, what you can do with a 6-inch tart pan!  If you only have a 6-inch cake or pie pan, this will still work, it just won’t have the cute tart shape.  In any case, tart pans are not expensive (Sur La Table), so I would encourage you to get one if you are inclined.

This crust is easy, quick, cholesterol free, and can be used for a million fillings– from sweet to savory and back again; from baked to fresh to chilled to frozen– this is your baby! (Or at least it’s my baby, haha.)  Just think of the possibilities!  But you have to start somewhere, and today we start with the crust.

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Secret of Summer Cheese Burger

Secret of Summer Cheese Burger

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It’s time.  Maybe past time.  The Secret of Summer Cheeseburger is smoking on my (little) grill, and the fireflies are out here at the Small Table.  Perfect summer nights require perfect summer food, and this burger is #1 on that list.  A few years ago, I was watching my favorite guy-who-wears-a-bowtie, Chris Kimball (formerly of America’s Test Kitchen on PBS).  He was talking about how you may not want to grill a burger that is not all the way cooked through for a child.  I had to agree.  His answer to this was simple and awesome, and even though I like a good medium-burger sometimes, I have found the Chris Kimball method rocks the taste and texture, as well as the moisture content of a well-grilled burger.

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Smallest Batch Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Smallest Batch Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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OK!  Time to use that egg white left over from Tuesday’s cupcakes.  If you have never tried Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMB), you are in for a delightfully different type of icing.  It is less sweet, and much richer than usual buttercream– it truly melts in your mouth.  To me, this equals a much more sophisticated taste, and I am a huge fan.  Some people think it is hard to make, but if you follow these directions carefully, you will finish with a splendid new icing that you will use over and over.  Keep an open mind, and this may become your new favorite way to top a cake.

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Small Batch Luscious Chocolate Cupcakes

Small Batch Luscious Chocolate Cupcakes

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Holiday…coming…up…must…celebrate…with…color-coordinated…food!!!  I try not to get TOO crazy about food and holidays, but each one has at least some special food that should go with it:  First and last days of school = crazy ice cream flavors.  Thanksgiving = sugar cones filled with candy to look like cornucopias.  Heart-shaped sugar cookies = Valentine’s Day.  You get the idea.   So anyway, these are this year’s offering for the 4th of July (soon to be upon us!)

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Pot de Creme au Chocolat– For One!

Pot de Creme au Chocolat– For One!

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Seriously!  The creation of this recipe required three attempts.  Since I am my own taste tester (someone has to do it!) I can tell you that it was pretty fun to eat all three (different days– don’t worry.)  The little French custards that are Pots de Crème have been famous at the Small Table basically forever.  But how do you make just one Pot de Crème?  Allow me to introduce you to a dangerous recipe– and an excellent use for just one egg yolk.  (Use the white here.)

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Ice Cream to Keep You Busy

Ice Cream to Keep You Busy

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Happy Monday!  Today I’m sharing several links for the ever-popular 2-ingredient no-churn ice cream that is ubiquitous on the internet.  It’s everywhere, frankly, because it’s GOOD!  And EASY!  I know purists are rolling their collective eyeballs at this recipe, but after holding out for a long time (my friend gave me an ice cream maker a few years ago, after all) I have finally embraced it.  To alter these recipes for small batch, use half a can of sweetened condensed milk, and 1 cup of heavy cream as a base.  To make enough for just one serving, use a quarter-can of SCM and 1/2 cup heavy cream.

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Pea Party! + Tomatoes & Beans

Pea Party! + Tomatoes & Beans

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I finally had my Pea Party this week: a lovely event that included me and …me.  Because I didn’t get enough peas to share with anyone.  (Sniff.)  Anyway, I was proud enough of myself for just keeping the plants alive until I could harvest something from them.  Next up are tomatoes and (purple!) beans.  I cheated a little on the tomatoes, and bought a plant several weeks ago that already had little green tomato-lets on it.  Aphids keep wanting to destroy the plant, but I have so far been able to keep them from their goal.  As you can see in the photo below, I already have some tomatoes coming ripe.  This time I will have a party for more than just one person!  The last photo is of the purple bean plants.  I have grown these in the past, and am in love with them!  Even the blossoms are a lovely purple, hinting of radiant things to come.  If you haven’t planted anything for the summer season yet, it’s not too late.  Get out there and grow something ♥Tomatoes

Purple Beans

Fine Print @ The Small Table:  Please do not copy images, text, or recipes from The Luxury of a Small Table without linking back to this site.  All content provided on The Luxury of a Small Table is for information/ entertainment purposes only.

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Breakfast Frittata in the 8-inch Skillet

Breakfast Frittata in the 8-inch Skillet

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I love my 8-inch skillet, and this recipe is one big reason.  Breakfast for breakfast or breakfast for dinner– whatever you fancy, this frittata will fit the bill.  I use a couple of ‘convenience products’ so that it comes together quickly:  evaporated milk and frozen shredded hash browns.  I also switch out the mix-ins to match my mood.  Ham can be bacon or sausage.  Green onion can be red or white onion or artichokes or spinach or mushrooms or peppers.  Mozzarella cheese can be ricotta or cheddar or Monterrey Jack.  Today, we’ll stick with the basics.

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Small Batch Almond Breakfast Cookies

Small Batch Almond Breakfast Cookies

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These almond cookies are delicious, portable, and not too sweet– perfect for breakfast on the go.  I have adapted the recipe from cookforyourlife.org, a website dedicated to healthy recipes for those touched by cancer.  They have a wonderful collection that is great for inspiration, and I encourage you to have a look around if you are interested.   I love these cookies, since they are a great use for just one egg white (which I often have in my freezer patiently waiting for its moment to shine.)

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Small Table Garden: Saving the Peas

Small Table Garden: Saving the Peas

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Because we have had so many rainy and cloudy days here at the Small Table, my pea plants survived all the way to June!  I have to celebrate this victory with an exclamation mark, because I have no idea whether they will make it to actual pea-maturity.  The heat which has held off for so long is now coming full-force:  summer is here.  The plant is still alive, and a few pods have even formed.  But the ends of each stem are wilted down and suffering since the heat began– crunchy, like they’ve been fried in oil.

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Marinara #1: Simple & Smooth

Marinara #1: Simple & Smooth

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This is my fastest, simplest marinara– and so much better than store-bought.  It is a real treasure, because it is luscious and slow-simmered, but can still be on the table in half an hour.  I know that sounds like a contradiction, but the truth is that “slow” doesn’t have to mean “all day.”  Generally, flavors can meld with a good 20-25 minute simmer after bringing the sauce to a full boil.  I had the chance to test this theory several months ago when I suddenly got a call that friends were coming to dinner– and would be at the Small Table in 45 minutes.  Yikes!!

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Potato and Greens with Maple-Pecan Vinaigrette

Potato and Greens with Maple-Pecan Vinaigrette

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Throw together this fantastic salad before asparagus season ends.  It has been a favorite at the Small Table for several years; even Little S. will eat it!  The inspiration for this dish came from a photo I once saw in a library book.  I have no idea how that book-salad tasted, but the idea of nuts in a dressing left me with a crazy desire to re-create.  The result is this potato/asparagus/spinach combination topped with my fantasy-version of the dressing I saw.  Delicious and nutritious.  Read on.

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