Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Use

Here's my pretty china and silverware I used for the first time since our weddin'. I'm thoroughly a girly girl in this area. I enjoyed using it and even washing it. Until next time beloved pretty plates...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Compiling a Chocolate Cake

I couldn't find a WHOLE recipe that I liked, so I used the cake recipe from the Brother Juniper Cafe cookbook, and a filling/ganache recipe from The Baking Bible put out by Tollhouse. I've jumbled it up a bit, mostly because *I* work best with step by step instructions, but I've put the ingredients (plus special directives, like the sifting and SIFTING of the flour) in bold for easy reference.

Susan's Old-Fashioned Moist Chocolate Cake from the Brother Juniper Cookbook

Preheat oven to 350, grease 2 9 in pans, line with parchment, grease parchment, and dust with flour.

1 3/4 c. flour, sift and re-measure into 1 3/4 c. Return excess to bag/jar. Sift twice more, and add
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Dutch Process or European Style cocoa powder.
Whisk together, then sift twice. Set aside.

1/4 lb sweet butter, room temperature. Add
1 tsp vanilla extract,
1 3/4 c white sugar and blend together until smooth.
Add, one at a time, beating in between,
4 large eggs, room temperature.

Measure out
1 1/4 c buttermilk or soured milk, and, beaters on low speed, incorporate 1/3 dry mix, and half the buttermilk, until just blended. Repeat with another third of the dry mix, and the last half of the buttermilk, beating until just blended, and the remaining third of the dry mix, just blended.

Spread in layer pans, and bake 30-35 minutes.

Let sit five minutes, then remove from pans, and place right side up on cooling rack (I put a cookie sheet under mine, just in case of drips from this next step, which is from The Baking Bible).

3 tbs seedless raspberry preserves in a small saucepan.

Using a skewer or a fork, poke holes in the tops of the cakes, trying not to pierce all the way through, and spread the preserves evenly on both cakes. Let cool completely.

Filling and Ganache, both from The Baking Bible

2/3 c sweetened condensed milk, combined in heavy saucepan with
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbs butter

Cook over low heat until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Place in a medium bowl:
1 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips.

In a saucepan, combine:
3/4 c heavy cream
1 tbs butter
1 tbs granulated sugar

Bring to a boil over high heat, stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over chocolate chips, let stand five minutes. Stir until smooth, let stand fifteen minutes, or until ganache reaches desired consistency. (It will thicken as it cools.)

Place bottom layer on cake plate, spread with filling. Let harden slightly, place top layer in place. Frost top and sides with ganache.

Serve and enjoy!

It seems labor intensive, but I was surprised how easy it was, and of course the finished product is completely worth it. A moist, rich cake without being too overpowering, with the most delightful hint of raspberry.

Birthday Bash

We had a big birthday in these parts, so I kind of went a little nuts with the dessert making. I was so excited to order some specialty cupcakes, but then I started to wonder whether *I* could make some interesting variation on my own, so I gave it a shot. We haven't started Eddie on tree nuts, yet, so instead of doing a "peanut butter and jelly" cupcake I once saw somewhere in the web, I did my own twist on the jelly-filled cupcake. I wanted to call it The Jelly Donut, but then I figured I'd have to use powdered sugar instead of frosting, so I changed the name at the last minute. Also, the recipe for the frosting came from an OLD edition of the Farm Country Cookbook I found in a thrift store years ago.

I give you:

Vanilla Lemon SURPRISE! Cupcakes

I cheated a little on this one, and used a box mix but I *did* make the chocolate-raspberry-ganache cake completely from scratch, so I feel redeemed. :) (And I'll post that recipe/method next!)

Here goes:

1 Box vanilla cake mix, baked according to package directions. Makes 24 cupcakes.

When cupcakes are cool, use a sharp knife, held at an angle, to cut an inverted cone out of the top of the cupcake. Cut the point off the cone, so that there will be a cavity in the cake. Fill that cavity with a teaspoonful of berry jam (we used strawberry). I had to use the knife to enlarge the hole a couple of big deal in the long run. The jam is the SURPRISE!

When all the cupcakes are filled and re-capped, blend together:

3/4 c. soft butter and
5 cups sifted confectioners sugar

Stir in:

1/4 c. light cream (I don't know what that is, so I used half and half) and
1 tsp lemon extract.

Spread a thin layer of frosting on each cupcake, just enough to "seal" the tops in place. Let harden, then frost more generously, as befits a festive cupcake.

Serve and enjoy!

(Pictures to come as soon as I can upload them from my camera!)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Peanut Cole Slaw (non mayonnaise based)

There is a restaurant in downtown Chicago that makes this peanut cole slaw. I don't like cole slaw, but I gobble this stuff down and so does my mom. I found a recreation of it online and made it for my mom to surprise her. Success! (by the way, the restaurant is called Bandera)

The recipe did not say how many servings it makes, but it made A LOT, so I'd recommend cutting this in half the first time unless you're serving more than 2 people. Also, I don't like cilantro, but I still love this recipe!

Peanut Cole Slaw
1/2 head green cabbage, sliced in thin strips
1/4 head purple cabbage, sliced in thin strips
1/2 jicama sliced in thin strips
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (depending on your preference)
1/4 to 1/2 cup roasted peanuts

Mix all ingredients above and toss with vinaigrette. Let sit for one hour.

For the vinaigrettte:
Add all the ingredients in a food processor and grind.

1/2 cup peanut oil. If peanut oil flavor is not strong, add 1/4 cup roasted peanuts to the vinaigrette mix before grinding. Do not use sesame oil
Juice of 1/2 lime or 1/4 lemon
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp sugar
1 green onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsely depending on preference
1/2 tsp salt