Friday, January 6, 2012

Beachin' Bundt.....

In what has become for my family a tradition, we spent New Year's Eve on our beautiful beach. The snow white sand and crystal clear Gulf waters make for the perfect setting to reflect on the gifts and grieves we have received and survived over the past year and imagine what wonderful moments and life lessons the New Year is certain to have in store! All of which earn us the right to eat chocolate! Moist, rich, chocolaty cake draped in decadent, bittersweet ganache and sprinkled with crispy, crunchy toffee! The opportunity to use my most beautimus Nordic Bundt Pan, is, to me exciting in itself, but the sheer size and weight of this dense, decadent, demon of chocolaty delight, make it a special occasion cake (as in 6 teen boys gathering to ring in the new) and one I can't just whip up for my little family to enjoy without committing to ingesting no other calories for 2 weeks! I had originally intended to sprinkle some crushed pistachios on top, but opted for the toffee mainly because I had some, but also because I thought it would photograph well against Mom Nature's background!  I am not sticking my neck out when I say any topping, (mini-chips, pecans, jimmies, crushed peanut butter cups......) or none at all would work well, as this cake itself is so good, but true decadence will require the ganache ...IMHO! Made a day ahead because it's a better-with- age delight... (not to mention kick off was at 2:00) we served it with vanilla bean ice cream, but a glass of milk or a "strong-fruity" like Cabernet would work quite well! This behemoth  will store well, covered, for several days. Hang ten, get cranking and cowabunga.... abide the chocolate, Dude!

Beachin' Bundt Cake
Adapted from Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Recipe by Williams-Sonoma
Serves 16


1 Cup cocoa powder (sifted)
8 oz. semisweet chocolate chopped (I used Ghiraradlli Chips)
1 Cup boiling water
2 ¼ Cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 ½ Sticks of Unsalted Butter (20 Tbsp.)
2 ½ Cups firmly packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ Cups sour cream (don’t use non-fat, I used light)
1 ½ Cups semisweet chocolate chips

6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiraradlli 60% cocoa chips)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 Cup heavy cream
Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease and flour (or use sifted cocoa powder) a decorative 10-cup Bundt® pan. (I use the flour spray so easy)

To make the cake sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; repeat until well blended. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 30 to 45 seconds. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until blended. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating each addition until incorporated before adding more, until the mixture is thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes; stop mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla.

Reduce the speed to low and fold in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour, until just blended and no lumps of flour remain. Then gently fold in the chocolate.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading the batter so the sides are about 1 inch higher than the center. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and cool the cake upright in the pan for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the ganache:
 Combine the butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the heavy cream just until it boils then immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter.
Whisk until chococalte, buter and cream are well blended and smooth!

Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper, invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Generously pour the warm cake with the ganache and sprinkle with topping if using . Cool to room temperature before serving to allow ganache to set.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Breakfast by weet!

This is actually a Mini Cinni version of the most wonderful cinnamon bun recipe you will ever work with. In fact it will likely be the one that winds up in your recipe file. Teen angel (who BTW is a driving angel now) will suggest this recipe oh, once a month (interchanged with Mama's Bagels see future post) , although will turn his nose at other "sweet breakfasts" i.e. doughnuts, honey buns and the like. It is the recipe of Peter Reinhardt from his beloved publication, The Bread Bakers Apprentice, which I dare not call a cook book as Peter's books, though packed with wonderful "formulas", are also instructional, historical and whimsical! Many consider Peter the artisan bread guru and he's certainly earned it!  I do use a variation of his glaze, but I think Peter would be OK with this (he encourages "reaching")This particular dough is smooth and pliant... which is to me... a fun one! Not as difficult as the method reads, be brave ... it's an easy tackle! Make the dough, bake the buns, prepare for praise, cuz here it comes!

CinnaMoms Buns
adapted from Bread Bakers Apprentice by Peter Reinhardt

Makes 8-12 large or 12-16 smaller buns

  • 6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or zest
  • 3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (.22 ounce) instant yeast
  • 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups (9 to 10 ounces) whole milk or buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon)
  • Method\


1. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar, salt and shortening on medium-high speed. Whip in the egg and lemon extract until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook, and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes, or until the dough is tacky but not sticky. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to cover it with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.

2. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

3. Mist the counter with spray oil, and transfer the dough to the counter. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top of the dough with flour. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Brush melted butter over the dough then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle on the raisins and gently press them into the cinnamon-sugar. Roll the dough up into a log, creating a spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 even pieces, each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns; or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.

4. Line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart.
5. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.

7. Bake the buns for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

8. Cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then glaze the tops. Remove the buns from the pans, and place them on a cooling rack. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.
cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Spread glaze on rolls.

Drizzel sha-zizzle

you know it will be good if they are smiling before they are baked!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

You Had Me at Black Eyed Pea Chili......

Pork merely sealed the deal! If you asked me what "type" of food to I most often "one pot", I would have to reply Mexican/Spanish style. Unless of course we include a pot of beans (or peas, lentils and the like). So imagine my thrill to be strolling through one of my favorite online publications for a new chili adventure to find Pork Cheek and Black-Eyed Pea Chili? Now I do remember searching out pork belly, for David Chang's Pork Bun Recipe,  which I had anticipated may be difficult, until my favorite Asian butcher answered my inquiry with: "how much you need?" But not having the time to make the 20 mile trip to visit my favorite Asian Butcher Shop, I opted to slice off a portion of the shoulder in by refrigerator which had been purchased to make a batch of dog food that evening! I am talking mmmm, mmmm good. Even my teen angel who rarely takes seconds (his firsts are growing boy sized) declared "I gotta have more , that's good stuff" ! Family friendly, and fairly simple.... file it under Keeper!

Pork & Black Eyed Pea Chili
recipe adapted from Michael Symon in Food & Wine

1 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
2  tsp Sweet Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Ground Cumin
2 1/2 lbs Trimmed Pork Shoulder cut into 2" pieces
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
1/8 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 lb Thick Sliced Bacon Diced
1  Medium Sized Onion Chopped Fine
3 Garlic Cloves Minced
2 Fresh Jalapenos (I left seeds in one)
1 Red Bell Pepper Diced Fine
1 12 oz. Bottle Amber Ale or Porter
2 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Can Crushed Italian Tomatoes
3 Canned Chipotles in Adobo (seed per your hot quotient) and Minced
1 lb. Dried Black-Eyed Peas
1/2 Small Cinnamon Stick
Serve With:
Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Chopped Cilantro Leaves, Sour Cream & Sliced Pickled Jalapenos

In a large bowl, combine the first three ingredients, add the pork , season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
In a large cast-iron Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbs oil and the pork. Cook over moderately high heat, turning once until browned. Transfer the pork to a plate.
Add the bacon to the  pot and cook until browned and slightly crispy.
Add the onion, garlic and red and jalapeno peppers, cook and stir until the veggies are soft.
Return the pork to the pot along with any juices that have accumulated.
Add the beer, chicken stock, tomatoes, chipotles, peas & cinnamon, bring to a boil.
Cover and cook over low heat until pork & peas are tender, about 2 -2 1/2 hours.
Season with salt & pepper if necessary,
Serve with side garnishes and corn bread or tortillas.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Everbody must get sconed........

Back to school, ...... it's been an interesting year around here. 
 But thanks to the power of positive thinking and some rather sharp physicians, we are nearly back to ""normal" while somewhat wiser and more appreciative of life & living!
Now we have been eating, and I have been snapping shots here and there.... so back to the blog ready to share. I start with my scone recipe because I told my dear friend Ebby I would. I like to bake scones, and this savory type is a bake & freeze breakfast special. Heat one up, blend a fruit smoothie and we have something far better than a toaster "pastry" or a bowl of sugared rice! The basic scone recipe is one I use for any type scone, heck it's even my shortcake,  as in strawberry shortcake. Get adventurous and mix in some cocoa, or fresh blueberries, I love some sliced green onion and apple smoked bacon! Yum, imagination never tasted so good. This is a great time saving breakfast that will hang with them until lunch, so go ahead, get creative and send them to school totally sconed!

Ham & Cheddar Scones

Basic Cream Scones:

3 Cups All-Purpose Flour (I always use unbleached)
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 Stick (1/2 Cup) Chilled unsalted butter cut into cubes
3/4 Cup Buttermilk (you can replace 1 Tbsp of regular or low fat milk with a Tbsp of white vinegar if there's no buttermilk on hand)
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream (or just use 1 1/2 Cup Buttermilk see above) 

 Ham & Cheddar ("secret" ingredients needed for scones pictured above):

1 1/2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Fully Cooked Diced Ham
Several Turns of Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment);
combine the flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, and mix at low speed.
Gradually cut in the butter (if mixing by hand use a pastry knife of your fingers, hey... it works)
until mixture is crumbly about the size of small peas.
Add cheese and mix until blended.
Mixing by hand. Add the ham, and half of your milk/cream mixture (3/4 cup)
Add remaining liquid about a Tbsp at a time until the dough is pliable and can be formed into a ball.
Here in the South, I always use all the liquid.
Only stir until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated, over mixing will make the bread more dense, and you want a lighter texture!
Remove dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface.
Using a floured rolling pin, flatten the dough ball into about an 8 inch circle, about 1/2 inch thick... but this is only a suggestion, some like "em thinner others... well you get the picture!
Cut dough into 8 - 10 kinda equal pieces, again your preference!
Place scones on a parchment lined baking pan ( or Silpat if you have one)
Bake about 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.

Serve warm. I wait until they are fully cooled and then put them in a freezer bag.
To heat I remove as many as needed from the freezer, and allow to thaw while I preheat the oven to 350.
Then I place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and heat for about 15 minutes (depending on how thawed they are). Try not to over cook, they can get dry.
I suppose you could microwave them, but you'll have to write that method yourself!

Friday, April 8, 2011

You get a caramel apple cobbler, and you get a caramel apple cobbler and you......

Every Christmas the family has a gift exchange. All willing participants purchase a gift within the "price range" and anonymously wrap it. Each participant chooses a number from a hat to determine picking order and then the fun begins. Number one chooses a package & opens it, number 2 has the choice to "steal" the gift from number 1 or choose another, and so it goes... the final "picker" can nab any previously opened gift or takes the lone remaining package! Fun, right? I remember the year there were 3 snuggies to chooses from , the time there was mostly drink (as in wine, bourbon, vodka.....) But, for me the exchanging was always the highlight, because the gifts themselves were, shall I say, mostly ordinary. That is until, (and I should probably whisper) I decided to buy a gift I would like, and, yeah you guessed it, attempt to bring it home! Oh I know what you're thinking, but this plan adds an entirely new aspect to the game, thus renewing my slightly waning interest. Now mind you, I have never actually "picked" my gift, that could be interpreted as cheating, no I merely "steal" it from someone else! Mind you again, if there were something unwrapped which grabbed my attention more, I would go for it, but that is a stretch! Now insuring I will be able to choose my gift has, thus far been simple.. I always wrap my present extra beautifully, and I'll be darned, but it is always picked 1st or 2nd! I kid you not! And this my friends is how, I acquired my sweet, set of four, enamel clad, mini bakers! Four bright colors, with their cute little handles, and snug fitting lids, they are darling! I find myself looking for recipes calling for individual bakers, because they really do brighten my day! Then, it came to me, why not scale down some recipes in order to use my bakers, oh, MA, you are a genius! And that is how we arrive at the Baby Caramel Apple Cobblers, one for you, and one for you and... well you get the idea. The recipe attached will yield a 10 inch deep-dish pie pan, or a shallow 2 quart baking dish, I actually reduced the ingredients by half and filled three of my baby bakers (no leftovers is how we diet 'round here)! This is a delightful recipe that I tweaked from a back issue of Southern Living, we served it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream while still warm, and it was truly comforting. I'm willing to bet it will be just as tasty with pears, apples & pears, peaches... oh just about any fresh fruit. Easy too! But hey, whatta ya say we keep the gift thing to ourselves, you know, I imagine one of my siblings might just get a kick out of foiling my plan (some things never change)!

Caramel Apple Cobbler

For The Filling:
3 lbs apples (I used  Honey gold) peeled and sliced (this is probably about 6-7 med sized apples)
1 Cup Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
2 Tbs All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Butter

For the Crust:
3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour (I used King Arthur White Wheat)
1 Cup Uncooked Old Fashioned Oats
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tbs Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 Cups Milk
3 Tbs Butter, Melted
1/2 Cup Ground Pecans
1 Large Egg, Slightly Beaten
Pecan Halves for Garnish (optional)

Preheat Oven to 425
Lightly grease a 10 inch deep dish pie pan, or a shallow 2 quart baking dish or several Baby Bakers and set aside.
Mix apples, brown sugar and 2 Tbs AP Flour until apples are well coated.
In a sauce pan melt the butter (1/4 Cup).
Add the apple mixture and heat to boiling.
Continue cooking, stirring often, for about 10-15 minutes (you're looking for a thick, caramel-like sauce)
Spoon fruit into prepared pan.

Combine flour, oats, ground pecans, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the center.
Mix together the butter, milk and egg and add to the dry ingredients just until combined (no beating or whipping)
Spoon over the fruit mixture, and add the pecan garnish (if you option).
Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown!
Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hey Cabbage Head...let's roll!

Cabbage! There's really nothing quite like it! Always one of the least expensive veggies, it tastes great raw (as in slaw), boiled (especially with corned beef) sautéed (splashed with vinegar) heck even fermented (have you ever heard me brag about my Kim Chi?) But I got to tell ya, the stuffed cabbage is one of my most favorites. I am one of those that does not use a recipe for this dish, some ground beef, some rice, tomato, onion, spices..... very nice! But here I was doing the low fat, low cal thing, and that meant ground turkey, organic brown rice, and a light, fat free sauce! So good, it deserves its own classification: Ladies & Germs, I present to you.... Rolled Cabbage, (be nice... my other choice was cabbage & turkey sushi... I didn't think so). Regardless, this dish is so good, light, easy and definitely a crowd pleaser. You know I don't do nutritional breakdowns, but cabbage, ground turkey breast, egg, brown rice, onions, tomatoes, chicken stock.... dude, where's the fat? Got to be low cal too! Try this, feel free to bend the recipe (I did) and serve with something, or nothing like I did (opted for dessert instead). A little bit of prep, which can easily be done in advance, but once it's in the oven... isn't there something you'd like to read or a buddy needs catching up with? Let's Roll!

Rolled Cabbage, Turkey & Rice

1 1/2 Lbs Chopped Lean Turkey
1 Cup Brown Rice
1 Egg, Lightly Beaten
1 Small Bunch  Parsley Chopped
5 Cloves of Garlic Minced
1/2 Stick Melted Butter (I said low, not no fat)
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 Head Green Cabbage
2 Cups Chicken or Veggie Broth
1 Large Can Crushed Stewed Tomatoes
1 Large Onion Sliced Thin

Mix first 10 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. (I use the hands on method, you may use a spoon... you're welcome)
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Boil a large pot of water.
Gently, and this is sage advice, lower the head of cabbage into the pot!
As the cabbage head simmers, the leaves start to loosen.
Gently tug each leaf off with a pair of tongs (some peeps core the cabbage head, I prefer to just trim & tug)
Have a large bowl of cool water to place the plucked leaves in to stop their cooking, you want them firm. You'll probably need about 12 leaves.
Hold on to the rest of the cabbage (I like to slice it, thick slaw style)
Once leaves are ready, separate your "stuffing" into 12 logs
Place the meat at the bottom of the cabbage leaf, where the stem is thick, and roll up, folding in the sides as you go.
DO NOT ROLL TOO TIGHTLY! The rice will expand, so a nice firm package will work great!

In a sauce pan bring the broth & tomatoes to a light boil (I usually add some salt & pepper too)
Line the bottom of a Dutch oven or deep roasting pan with the remaining cabbage.
Add the cabbage rolls (you can stack them if you'd like), layering or topping with sliced onions and the tomato mixture.
Be certain the rolls are covered with liquid, if you are short add some water.
Cover and bake at 375 degrees for about an 1hour 30 minutes.
Fork test them and stick them back in if the rice is not soft (15-20 minutes)
Once done remove and let cool a little while before serving, maybe 20 - 30 minutes, only because they will be too hot to eat!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Be My Sweet Torte ;)

Roses, sweets, jewelry, sweets, romance, sweets, love poems, sweets...... let's face it, everyone loves sweets on Valentines Day. Sweets for my Sweet, and all that. A box of chocolates made in a far away kitchen by someone who may or may not have recently picked an orifice, is nice, but, a fine baked good, prepared in a cozy kitchen, by a loving baker, who bakes with love and washes hands regularly, ahhhh now that's sweet! Something about raspberries, and a nutty, soft crust and just the name, Lintzer Torte.... yes, yes, yes, I'll be your Valentine! Wow him with this and he'll woo you with that! OK, enough of the corny stuff! Really, this little number is beyond good, and alot easier than it looks. I made my own preserves but there's no reason why you couldn't use a good quality store bought preserve. I also used whole almonds and hazelnuts which I roasted , giving the crust a dark, brown color, but use blanched nuts if you'd prefer a more golden colored crust. If you don't have a tart pan, use a spring form pressing the dough about an inch up the sides. I have not made this torte with any other flavored preserves, but i am certain, strawberry, apricot, maybe even cranberries would be tasty! Oh, this torte was definitely better the second day when the pastry had a chance to mingle with the berries, (wink, wink). Better get busy, V-day will be here before you know it!

Lintzer Torte
adapted from a few recipes by Carole Walter author of Great Pies & Tarts

 4 Cups frozen Raspberries, unsweetened
 Scant 1/2 Cup White Sugar (you can adjust to taste, I like mine a bit tart)

1 Cup Whole Almonds (or blanched)
1/2 Cup Whole Hazelnuts
2/3 Cup White Sugar
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour (unbleached is my AP of choice)
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
14 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Cold and Cut into Pieces
2 Lrg Egg Yolks
1 tsp Vanilla Extract


Put the Raspberries and 1/2 Cup Sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat & simmer until all the liquid has evaporated.
Stirring every so often, keep an eye on it though, it will burn!
Pour into a glass container, cover & cool in the refrigerator while you prepare the pastry dough.

Pastry Crust
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
Butter (or spray) your pan on bottom & sides. (9-10 inch tart or spring form)
Pour almonds & hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and roast for about 10 minutes (until they are lightly browned and smell toasty good) remove from oven & cool.
Once cooled put the nuts as well as 1/2 Cup of the Flour and 1/3 Cup Sugar in your food processor and process until finely ground.
Add the remaining flour & sugar, the spices, salt and baking powder and pulse to evenly blend.
Add the butter and pulse until you have a mixture of fine crumbs.
Add the egg yolks and vanilla and pulse until it comes together.

Remove the dough and gather it into a bowl, divide it in two pieces one slightly larger than the other.
Wrap the smaller one in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour (or until it can be rolled).
Press the larger ball onto the bottom and up the sides of your pan.
Spread the cooled preserves over the bottom crust cover & refrigerator.

When the smaller ball is chilled, roll it out between two sheets of wax paper, to a 12 inch circle.
Using a pizza or pastry wheel, cut the pastry into about 1 inch strips.
Place the wax paper on  a cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator about 10 minutes.
When the strips are chilled, gently lay them out on the tart (use a spatula they will be fragile)
Lay half in one direction, turn the pan a quarter and lay the other half. You can try and weave them if you'd like! If the pastry tears press it together.
Trim or tuck the strips to the edge of the tart.
Bake the tart in the 350 degree oven for abut 30-35 minutes until the pastry is a golden brown and filling is set.
Remove from oven and let it cool before "un-molding" (on a wire rack if you have one).
Serve warm with whipped or ice cream.
Can be stored at room temp for a few days, the refrigerator for about a week and can be frozen!
You are gonna heart this, Sweeties!