Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TWD- All-American, All-Delicious (Caramel) Apple Pie

Apple pie is a funny dessert for me. When I think of it, I always think "ew." But whenever I get the courage to eat it, I think it's fairly good. Apple pie reminds me of my grandmother- it was her absolute favorite. Maybe I think it's an elderly person's dessert. Dunno.
 This week's TWD is for regular apple pie. I added a caramel syrup to it. Dorie's pie crust is my absolute favorite. It comes together in a couple minutes in the food processor (note to self: a double crust does NOT fit in your food processor), and is so buttery and flaky.
I topped it with cinnamon and sugar, which added a nice little crunch to the pie. This recipe uses a lot of lemon zest- 1 full lemon. I used about half that and my husband (granted, he has ultra sensitive taste buds) said it tasted like a lemon bar with apples.
Even for not loving apple pie, this recipe is a keeper. Easy to make and delicious! A great holiday pie! Sandmuffin has the recipe!

  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Heat sugar and 1 cup water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and comes to a boil. Continue cooking, brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush but without stirring, until mixture becomes golden amber in color.
  2. Immediately remove from heat and add 1 cup water. Return to heat and continue stirring until mixture becomes liquid. Transfer to a heatproof container and let cool completely before using.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little Einsteins Cake

CS Bakers- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

We're starting a new book for Cake Slice Bakers- Cake Keeper Cakes: 100 Simple Recipes for Extraordinary Bundt Cakes, Pound Cakes, Snacking Cakes and Other Good-To-The-Last-Crumb Treats. Crazy long title, I know. I haven't even read the whole title yet. :)
Anyway, pumpkin chocolate chip bread has been a favorite of mine since I was in junior high and my mom and used to go to Great Harvest Bread Company after school. They have the yummiest bread, and they give you huge samples every time you go there. Their pumpkin chocolate chip bread is moist and tender- perfect.
This recipe is pretty quick to put together and uses butter instead of oil, which I thought would change the texture. I liked this recipe, but it's not as good as the bread I set as the standard. It's not as dense. This seemed more like bread to me, and the Great Harvest one is more like cake. But anything with pumpkin and chocolate chips can't be all bad!
October’s Cake: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Makes one 9 by 5 inch loaf cake

October’s Cake: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
(adapted from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)
Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
Pinch nutmeg
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method
Heat the oven to 350F. Coat the inside of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.
With the mixer on medium low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Stir in the milk.
Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake until it is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, invert it onto a wire rack and then turn it right side up on a rack to cool completely.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic for up to 1 week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

TWD- Caramel Pumpkin Pie

Yes! Pumpkin pie! One of my favorite holiday treats. I'm a little picky about pumpkin pie, though. I don't like it spicy and I don't like it with a lot of crust. This TWD pick is a different take on pumpkin pie- white sugar is cooked until it's dark brown and caramely, and added to the pie batter.
The caramelized sugar definitely adds depth to the pumpkin pie. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to pumpkin pie so I didn't love this. Also, cooked sugar such as this tastes more burned to me than caramely. But yay for pumpkin pie!
Check out Janell's blog for the recipe!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lemon Salad with Garlicky Croutons

One of my favorite savory flavors is lemon. I love lemon on fish and chicken and I really love lemon salad dressings. This is a quick and easy salad dressing that uses only three ingredients that you definitely have in your pantry. It goes great on any type of lettuce (we eat Romaine), and you can throw any vegetables in it make a refreshing salad. I topped it with some homemade croutons for some crunch!
Lemon Salad Dressing
makes 1/2 cup
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
Whisk lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl. While still whisking, drizzle in olive oil until combined. Salt to taste.

Garlicky Croutons
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups French or sourdough bread, cut in 1" cubes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine oil, garlic, and salt in a large bowl. Add bread cubes, tossing well to coat. Spread on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden and crisp.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lasagna with Ragu Bolognese

I love lasagna. Seriously, LOVE it. When I was a kid, it was my favorite thing my mom made. Granted, her lasagna was not authentic, gourmet, or healthy- it was more like this:
Cheesey (yes, even cottage cheesey), bubbly, comforting.
Well, I married a bit of an Italian food snob (not just a bit, actually) and apparently, lasagna with cottage cheese, powdery Parmasan cheese and cheddar cheese is not "authentic". Whaaat?!! What's that about? So when we were first married, I came across this recipe from Martha Stewart Living for a lasagna with Ragu Bolognese.
There's three parts to the lasagna: the ragu:
 Bechamel:
 the lasagna noodles and some Parmigiana Reggiano
This recipe takes a while to prepare, but it's so worth it. I sometimes double the recipe and make an extra to freeze.  It won a "pretty authentic" from my husband, too!
adapted from Martha Stewart Living
serves 10-12
Makes about 3 quarts.
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 pounds ground veal
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 quart Homemade Beef Stock, or two 14 1/2 -ounce cans
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. In a large cast-iron or enamel pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground sirloin and veal, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink. Add milk, and cook at a gentle simmer, skimming fat from surface, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 50 minutes.
  3. Add beef stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper; simmer gently until sauce thickens, 40 to 45 minutes. If using for lasagna, set aside to cool slightly before assembling. The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for 2 months.
 Bechamel
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for baking dish
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
To assemble
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for baking dish
  1. Make the Bechamel Sauce: In a small saucepan, combine butter and flour. Stir in nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Place over medium heat and stir in milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking until the mixture begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Spoon a little of the meat sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish, and spread to coat. Then, layer with lasagna sheets, one-sixth of the bechamel sauce, one-sixth of the meat sauce, and a little Parmesan. Repeat the layers five more times. Top with remaining Parmesan and pieces of butter. Bake until cheese begins to turn golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chocolate Banana Muffins

Ok, so I've had a few overripe bananas in our house. I blame my husband who will only eat bananas if they're just so- which leaves about a 2 day window that he'll eat them. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com- I'm pretty much loving the recipe spinner on the iPhone app!
This recipe is quick- I halved it and made a couple changes. The muffins are moist and really yummy. One of my new faves!

Chocolate Banana Bread
adapted from allrecipes.com
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3 bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
powder
1/2 cup lite sour cream
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two standard size muffin tins.

In a large bowl, cream together margarine, sugar and eggs. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Sift in flour, baking soda and cocoa; mix well. Blend in sour cream and chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

Twice a year, our family spends a weekend watching the General Conference of our church. The conference consists of two 2-hour sessions on Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons. Therefore, it is imperative that we have yummy breakfast treats- usually cinnamon rolls. This year, I tried a different recipe than I normally do, simply because it came in the church newspaper. 
This recipe is large- I recommend halving it unless you're feeding 20 people, or want to give a bunch away. It's pretty yummy, but not as yummy as my usual, which I have yet to post. :)
Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from  "Family Dinner Cookbook," by Debbie G. Harman

2 packages yeast
½ cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups milk
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
7-8 cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
Dissolve yeast and the 1 tablespoon sugar in water. Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in buttermilk and eggs. Mix together in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, salt and 4 cups flour and beat with mixer until smooth. Stir in enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead 7 to 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl and let rest 15 minutes. Divide dough in half. Roll dough to ½-inch thickness. Sprinkle water over dough. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and brown sugar. Roll dough jelly roll style. Cut ½-inch thick slices.
Place on greased baking pan. Let rise until double. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until edges just start to turn golden. Remove from oven and spread butter cream frosting on rolls immediately.
Butter cream frosting
¼ cup butter
¼ cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat butter until creamy. Add whipping cream, vanilla and enough powdered sugar to make a creamy frosting.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TWD- Double Apple Bundt Cake

I'm starting to get appled out. Between this week's TWD, last week's Cake Slice Baker's, and the Apple-Apple Bread pudding I made last weekend (which I should've photographed and psoted), I'm ready to move on to pumpkin.
I halved this recipe and made muffins because I still don't have a bundt pan. The recipe is super easy and comes together quickly. It is a great Fall recipe- the flavors are warm and spicy. I used Gala apples (that's pretty much the only kind we eat), and the flavor came through nicely.
Yes, I broke out the Halloween stuff last week. Thanks to my cute sister-in-law for the Halloween plate! Lynne has the recipe!