Sunday, August 10, 2008
Instead of using sugar, I used Splenda, and I used what I refer to as "fake butter" (i.e., I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light) for half of the butter called for in the recipe. Using Splenda and half "fake butter" didn't affect the final result in the slightest - in fact, in the future I'll try using all "fake butter." Bryon's mom noted that she often only uses half of the butter called for, and in the future, I'll do that as well, because I found that using the entire amount left the fruit fairly floating in butter. Oh, she also mentioned that this recipe works well with blueberries too.
The recipe was easy enough, and Bryon (as resident expert on how this recipe should turn out tasting) didn't think subbing Splenda and "fake butter" affected the final result in the slightest. Since it's a favorite of his, I know I'll be having to make it again in the future. I'll work on trying to get an accompanying picture up soon.
2 cups sliced peaches
2 cups sugar, divided*
1 stick butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup flour
Pinch of salt
¾ cup milk
¾ cup sweetened coconut
½ cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350. Mix peaches with 1 cup sugar. Place butter in deep pan (an 8x6x2 Pyrex works well) and place in oven to melt.
Stir together the remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, and milk to form a batter. Pour the batter over the melted butter – do not stir! Place peaches on top of the batter and sprinkle coconut and pecans over the top. Bake for 1 hour or until the crust is golden – the batter will rise to the top during baking.
Note: Depending on how sweet the peaches are, typically only ¼ - ½ of the sugar called for on the peaches is really necessary. The amount of butter called for can also be cut in half.
Source: Bryon's mom
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Bryon and I met for lunch during the week at Joseph's recently, and I took the opportunity to furiously scribble down the recipe while Bryon was paying for our meal. Upon closer examination, the recipe is nearly identical to a sheet cake recipe that my mom has been making for as long as I can remember, except her recipe uses shortening, cinnamon, and there's less vanilla extract in the icing.
The cupcakes are rich, fudgey, and wonderful - definitely a winner! And, like my mom's recipe, it can be made as a sheet cake as well. Will I make it again? Probably - but I think I'll add the cinnamon to the batter that my mom's recipe includes. The recipe is very easy - I think even a very beginning baker would have no problem with these whatsoever.
2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350. Grease jumbo muffin tin or rectangular cake pan. Sift dry ingredients together. Add liquid ingredients and mix well. Bake 25-30 minutes for large cupcakes, or 30-40 minutes for cake.
4 Tablespoons cocoa
6 Tablespoons milk
1 stick butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
Begin preparing the icing approximately 5 minutes before the cupcakes or cake is done baking. Bring butter, cocoa and milk to boil. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Pour/spread over hot cake(s).
Source: Joseph's Storehouse Bakery, Grandma Goldsmith
Friday, July 25, 2008
Both recipes were very tasty and easy to follow. The fried rice was very easy to make. The potstickers involved more steps in terms of preparation, and folding the dumplings can be a bit of a challenge, but none of it was too difficult. I didn't pay proper attention to the cooking temperature for the potstickers, so mine didn't turn out quit right - in fact, the bottoms of my potstickers did stick to the pot. They may not have been pretty, but they still tasted great! I think we'll keep both of these recipes.
Shawnda serves her potstickers with an orange sesame dipping sauce. We just dip ours in soy sauce. I made a few modifications to the fried rice recipe. First, I used brown rice instead of white (which worked perfectly). I also added mushrooms to the assortment of vegetables because I really like them in my fried rice. Bryon doesn't eat mushrooms, but he's perfectly capable of picking them out. I also like more egg in my fried rice, so I used 2 eggs instead of the 1 the recipe calls for. Finally, I doubled the amount of soy sauce used in the recipe, and we both ended up putting more soy sauce over the rice on our plates.
Pork Fried Rice
½ lb. ground pork
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups cooked rice, cold
½ cup green onions, chopped
1/3 cup carrots, chopped
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup green peas
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
Brown the pork over medium high heat, drain and set aside. Add vegetable oil to skillet over high heat, stir fry onions and rice. Add carrots and peas and stir fry for 2 minutes. Push rice to side. Whisk egg, pepper, and sesame oil and pour into skillet. Stir until egg is cooked and mix into the rice. Add pork and soy sauce, taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Our annual tubing trip was last weekend, and that meant I needed cookies! I decided to try my hand at two different recipes, but giving each a twist of my own. First, I decided to try out and "doctor-up" my grandmommy's peanut butter cookie recipe. Then I gave my friend Kasey's oatmeal-craisin cookie recipe a go and jazzed it up a little more. Both types of cookies were a big hit this weekend, so I think they'll definitely be made again, and neither recipe was any more difficult than your average cookie recipe.
Grandmommy's Peanut Butter Cookies - With a Twist!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
- Read through the entire recipe at least once before you start. There are always a couple of twists and turns that you might miss if you aren't ready for them.
- You must chop/prep all the ingredients before you start cooking.
I used the entire 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper that it called for. We tend to have somewhat "milder" palates. This amount was just fine, but any more would have been too much for us. Those out there who like spicier Italian dishes will probably want to add more. In the future, I'll probalby use just a little bit less. I may also cut back just slightly on the amount of fresh basil in the future (I was probably a bit heavy-handed with it this time). I love fresh basil, but it almost gave the sauce a slightly licorice-like taste. The allspice gives the sauce a really nice flavor, though. It sort of warms you from the inside out.
You only use half of the meat/tomato sauce in the final toss. The leftover sauce is supposed to be for topping purposes. We found this wasn't necessary. In the future, I'll probably just make a half-recipe of the meat/tomato sauce, since the other half is currently sitting in the refrigerator, waiting for me to come up with a use for it.Not-sagna Pasta Toss
Easier than lasagna, because it's not, this pasta, meat sauce and ricotta toss-up is just as hearty and comforting as the layered Italian fave, but it's ready in a fraction of the time and with much less effort.
1 pound curly, short cut pasta (i.e., campanelle, fusilli, cavatappi)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (2 turns of the pan)
2 pound ground sirloin*
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (eyeball it in your palm)
½ teaspoon allspice (eyeball it in your palm)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce*
½ cup dry red wine (a couple of glugs)
½ cup beef stock
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
**3 teaspoons granulated sugar**
1 cup fresh basil (about 20 leaves)
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (a couple of handfuls), plus some to pass at the table
*I used whole wheat pasta, ground turkey, twice the amount of Worcestershire, and the entire 15 oz. container of ricotta.*
**RR's recipe does not call for sugar in the sauce. My grandmother taught me that almost any recipe involving cooked tomatoes needs some sugar to bring out the flavor, and I found that to be true of this recipe as well. **
Heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente. Heads up: you will need a ladle of the starchy cooking water to help form sauce before draining.
Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add the meat and break it up into small bits as it caramelizes. Once meat has good color to it, 4 to 5 minutes, add garlic, onions and red pepper flakes and season with salt, pepper, allspice and Worcestershire sauce. Cook another 5 minutes, deglaze the meat and onions with red wine, cook off a minute, then combine about 1/2 cup of stock into the meat. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a bubble. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 5 minutes.
Place ricotta cheese in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Add a ladleful of boiling, starchy pasta water to the ricotta and stir to combine. Add a couple of handfuls of grated Parmesan to the ricotta and mix it in.
Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with cheeses. Add half the thick meat sauce to the pasta bowl and combine. Tear or shred the basil and add to the meat and pasta, toss again. Taste to adjust salt and pepper.
Serve bowlfuls of Not-sagna with extra sauce on top and more grated Parmesan to pass at the table.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
If this recipe looks familiar, I've made (and shared) it before, modified into cupcake form
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/2 cup fresh* strawberries, pureed
1 small package strawberry Jello
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift flour, baking powder, soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine evenly. Stir the sour cream, strawberries, jello, and vanilla together in a large liquid measuring cup and set aside.
Beat the butter on high in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating while gradually adding the sugar - it should take a couple of minutes to completely incorporate all the sugar. Continue to beat until very light and fully, about 3-4 minutes more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the sour cream in 2 parts, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix. Blend thoroughly.
Scoop the batter into 2 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Lightly tap the pans on the counter so that the batter settles evenly.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5-10 minutes, then place cakes onto the rack to cool completely.
*Substituting frozen strawberries for fresh works just fine.
Source: Modified from FoodNetwork.com Raspberry Cake
6 - 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
There's no real science to this filling. Let the mascarpone sit out on the counter for a bit to soften so that it will mix easily. Cream the mascarpone, then add sugar, vanilla, and cream until you reach the taste and consistency you desire.
Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar (approx. 1 pound)
2 Tablespoons milk
In large bowl, cream the cream cheese with an electric mixer. Add vanilla and combine. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl often. When all the sugar has been mixed in, the icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Icing can be stored up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Re-whip before using.
Makes 3 cups.
Note: Quantities of confectioner's sugar and/or milk may vary to reach the desired consistency, particularly depending on the weather. Humidity can have a great impact on icing.
Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins
Note: Bryon cut the brine recipe in half, as we were only doing two pork chops, but made the full recipe of spiced apples and raisins. Before we even made it, we suspected that part of the recipe would be good enough to want leftovers. We were right! To prepare four pork chops, double the brine recipe
1/2 gallon water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sea salt
1/2 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 fresh thyme sprig
2 double-cut bone-in loin pork chops, 1 pound each
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the water, brown sugar, sea salt, apple juice, peppercorns, and thyme in an extra-large plastic bag or container. Give it a stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Submerge the pork chops in the brine, seal up the bag, and put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours to tenderize the meat. Do not brine any longer than that or the meat will break down too much and get mushy.
Preheat the oven to 350. Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of the meat with salt and pepper. Put a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a 3-count drizzle of olive oil and get it hot. Lay the pork chops in the pan (if doing 4 chops, put 2 in the skillet at a time) and brown 4 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops to a large baking pan. Put the baking pan in the oven and roast the chips for 30 minutes. The pork is done when the center is still rosy and the internal temperature reaches 140 to 145 when tested with an instant-read thermometer.
Spiced Apples and Raisins:
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced in 1/2-inch-thick wedges
Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of cardamom
Pinch of dry mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
While the chops cook, melt the butter in a clean skillet over medium-low heat. Add the apples and thyme and coat in the butter; cook and stir for 8 minutes to give them some color. Toss in the raisins and add the apple juice, stirring to scrape up the brown bits. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and dry mustard; season with salt and pepper. Squeeze in the lemon juice to wake up the flavor and simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples break down and soften. Spoon the spiced apples over the pork chops to serve.
Roasted Carrots with Orange Brown Butter and Sage
1 bunch young carrots, with tops
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 orange, halved
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
4 sage leaves
Preheat the oven to 350. Cut off all but 1 inch of the carrot tops, leaving a little green. Put the carrots in a large shallow pan, add the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Turn to coat the carrots. Stick them in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the carrots are fork-tender.
While the carrots are roasting, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Swirl the pan around and cook until the butter begins to become brown and nutty. (Note: Tyler Florence says "crazy nutty".) Squeeze in the juice from the orange halves, add the brown sugar and sage, and continue to cook for 2 minutes or until syrupy.
Remove the carrots from the oven and arrange them on a platter. Drizzle the orange brown butter over the carrots and serve.
For my cupcakes, I used the same cake and icing recipes I prepared for the sunflower cake I made for Week 2 - Yellow cake with butter cream icing. To make the roses and hibiscus flowers, however, the icing must be a stiff consistency, so less liquid should be added.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I've always loved cream cheese kolaches myself, but requests were made for some fruit fillings as well. In the end we had plain cream cheese, apricot, and cherry kolaches, as well as cream-cheese-apricot and cream-cheese-cherry.
You'll have to excuse the time-stamp on the photos. We were at my parents' lake house and I hadn't brought my camera with me that weekend, so I had to borrow my niece's camera.
Authentic Czech Kolaches
1 cup milk
1 packet yeast
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup shortening
3 - 3 1/2 cups flour
Warm the milk and pour into a bowl. Dissolve yeast, sugar, and salt in the milk. Add the beaten egg and shortening, mixing well. Add flour. The dough is ready when it "chases the spoon around the bowl" - usually 3 - 3 1/2 cups of flour.
Cover the dough in the bowl and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 2-4 hours.
Melt a stick of butter. Grease the tops of two cookie sheets and preheat the oven to 350. After the dough has risen, punch it down in the bowl. Lightly flour a work surface. Portion out dough into roughly tablespoon-sized portions. Roll the pieces of dough in your palm to form balls. Evenly space dough balls on cookie sheets and brush with melted butter. Allow them to proof for an additional 20-40 minutes.
Press an indentation in the center of each ball and fill with a heaping teaspoon of filling. Allow kolaches to set for 10 minutes more before baking.
Sprinkle with posypka (recipe below). Bake for 15-20 minutes. Kolaches should be a light gold brown in color when done.
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
Source: Adapted from Grandma Kaspar and Texas Monthly, courtesy of Erica
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Bake at 350 degrees F until lightly bowned. A plastic baby can be inserted into the cake after cooling if desired.