Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beatty's Chocolate Cake

I usually make a cake for everyone's birthday in our immediate family. I asked each child and in-law what kind of cake they wanted and wrote it on my calendar. I told them to tell me if they ever change their mind.  Otherwise, that get the same cake every year from me.  Tomorrow we are going to Austin and Stacy is hosting the 30th birthday celebrating in her new home for Juanita.  This is the cake I madefor Juanita's birthday.  I have made it before, and I like it. I'm not sure I made this same cake for her last year, but I know it was chocolate because that is the kind she likes.  The recipe comes from Barefoot Contessa at Home. This has become one of my top favorite cakes.  I use the icing recipe for red velvet cake.

Printable Recipe:
Butter for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder (like I might use bad cocoa powder)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8") round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.  Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 - 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooking rack and cool completely.
For the icing:
6 oz good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut) They don't have that at my store
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature (for the cake, I used 2 eggs + 1 egg white)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 Tablespoon instant coffee powder dissolved in 2 teaspoons hot tap water
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (I have a double boiler that I use) Stir just until melted and set aside to cool to room temperature
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sliced Spring Salad with Avocado and Feta

I added chicken to this recipe and had it for lunch. It was a great salad. Instead of Feta cheese, I used goat cheese. It comes from Molly Wizenberg's "A Homemade Life"

For the Vinaigrette
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste
For the Salad
8 radishes
1 medium radicchio
4 Belgian endive (about 1 pound)
A good handful of cilantro leaves
1 medium avocado
1/2 cup crumbled fench feta, or more to taste
First, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the mustard, vinegar, and salt. Whisk to blend well. Add the olive oil and whisk vigorously to emulsify. Taste, and adjust the seasonings as needed. I put my vegetable ingredients on a large serving plate instead of a bowl.
Trim the radishes and slice them very thinly into translucent wafers. Toss them into the bowl. Next quarter the radicchio from stem end to top, and peel away any raggedy outer leaves. Working with one quarter at a time, slice it crosswise into ribbons roughly 1/4 inch thick. Toss the radicchio into the bowl. Next, slice the endive crosswise into 1/4 inth thick strips, discarding the root end. Add it to the bowl. Add the cilantro leaves and toss with vinaigrette to taste. Quarter the avocado from stem to base and discard the pit. Cut each quarter crosswise into 1/4-inch thick strips. Distribute them evenly over the salad and top with the feta. Serve immediately.

Meatballs with Pine Nuts, Cilantro, and Golden Raisins

Stacy is here this weekend and she is trying to eat healthy so I found this recipe in the book I just finished, "A Homemade Life," by Molly Wisenberg. I tend to find a cookbook that I like and just make everything that week from that particular book.  This is the book for the week.  Love, love, loved this recipe.

Printable Recipe: the Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain yogurt (not low fat or nonfat)
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Meatballs
1/2 cup minced yellow onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped pine nuts
1/2 cup golden raisins, halved or coarsely chopped if large
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey, chicken, or lamb (the author likes it with lamb)
4 Tablespoons olive oil

First, make the yogurt sauce. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside at room temperature to let the flavors develop.
To make the meatballs, combine onions through black pepper in a large bowl. Add the ground meat and, using your hands, break it up into small chunks. Then massage and gently knead the meat to incorporate the ingredients. Mix until combined, but do not overmix. Gently pinch off hunks of the mixture and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Set aside on a large plate. (Raw meatballs can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Or place them, not touching, on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze until hard, then transfer them to a heavy-duty plastic bag and freeze for up to 2 weeks.)
Warm 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add about 1/2 of the meatballs, taking care not to crowd them. As they begin to color, turn them gently with tongs and lightly shake the pan to roll them around, so they get some color on every side. Don't worry if a few of the pine nuts fall out into the pan; that happens. The meatballs are ready when they're evenly browned and feel pleasantly firm, but not rock-hard. Transfer finished meatballs to a plate lined with paper towel. If the skillet looksdry, add the remaining 2 Tablespoons oil. Cook the remaining meatballs. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, with the yogurt sauce.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blueberry-Raspberry Pound Cake

Stacy and Bodie are coming today so it is no surprise that I am cooking.  I can remember so well when I was younger and would go see my mom she would do the same. Even if I told her I was trying to diet and please don't make any sweets, she wouldn't have it.  Now, I totally understand. Cooking was her way to show me she loved me.  Isn't it funny how we begin to understand our parents as we get older.
This recipe is from Molly Wizenberg, of "A Homemade Life."

Printable Recipe:

2 cups plus 8 Tablespoons cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons kirsch ( I had some cherry brandy and almond liquor so I used 1 T. of each)
1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried well
1 cup raspberries, rinsed and dried well
Set oven rack to the middle position, and preheat to 300 degrees F.
Butter a standard-sized 9-cup Bundt pan and dust it with flour, shaking out any excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups plus 6 Tablespoons flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a food processor (I used my mixer), blend the eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow. Add the butter and kirsch, and blend until the mixture is fluffy, about 1 min, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the mixture looks curdled, don't worry. Add the dry ingredients and process to just combined. Do not overmix. The batter should be thick and very smooth. In a large bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 2 Tablespoons flour. Pour the batter over the berries, and using a rubber spatula, gently fold to combine, taking care that all the flour is absorbed. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, spreading it evenly across the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake's center comes out clean, 1 hour- 1 1/4 hours. Transfer the cake to a rack, and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Carefully invert the cake out of the pan onto the rack, and cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Burg's Potato Salad

I just finished reading "A Homemade Life" by Molly Wizenberg and really enjoyed it. It is a blog which you can find at This recipe came from her book.  Burg is her father.
Printable Recipe:

For the Salad:
1 3/4 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed
4 large eggs
8 scallions (white and pale green parts only) thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
For the Dressing:
3/4 cup mayonnaise, preferable Hellmann's
4 Tablespoons bottled Ranch dressing, preferably Hidden Vallen
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
1-2 teaspoons caraway seeds
Put the potatoes in a Dutch oven or large saucepan and add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Add a generous dash of salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. about 15 minutes. Drain them into a colander, rince with cold water, and set them aside to cool. You want the potatoes to be completely cool when you dress them. When the potatoes are cool, cut them into rough 1 inch chunks. Meanwhiloe, cook the eggs. Place them in a small saucepan, and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat, cover it, and let it sit for exactly 12 minutes. Immadiately pour off the hot water and run plenty of cold water over the eggs. When the eggs are cool, peel them, and chop them coarsely, ad them to the bowl of potatoes. Add the scallions, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and toss to mix.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, ranch dressing, dill, and caraway seeds, if using. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and stir to evenly coat. Taste, and adjust the salt as needed. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.
For those of you who don't know me well, I am very inclined to be a hurry-up. My mother was queen in this catagory, but I come in a close 2nd.  I didn't read the whole recipe before making it and plan to have this tonight. I'll let you know, if it is better tomorrow.  It will rest for an hour in the refrigerator before I serve it.  Oh, well. Maybe someday I will learn, but don't bet on it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sausage Casserole

1 pound of ground pork sausage
1 cup onions, chopped
1-6 oz. package of onion soup mix
1/2 cup long grained rice, uncooked
4 1/2 cups water
1- 8oz. can water chestnuts, sliced
Brown onions and sausage. Drain. Add soup mix, water, rice and water chestnuts. Boil gently for 7 minutes. Spoon into a greased casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Raspberry-Chipotle Sauce

Chet Rawie found this recipe for me and I have been making it every year when I go to Oregon.
It tastes very similar to the one we buy from Fredricksburg, except I use fresh raspberries so I think it is better.  I triple this recipe, but doubling it would mean you would only have to buy one bottle of raspberry vinegar.  We put it on grilled chicken and grilled pork tenderloin.  Can't wait!
This recipe is adpated from Emeril's Kitchen.

Printable Recipe:

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onions, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons chipotle chilies in adobo, chopped
2 pints fresh raspberries, rinsed
1/2 cup raspberry vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring until soft and slightly carmelized, 4 minutes.
Add garlic to the pan and saute for 1 minute.
Add the chipotles and cook, stirring continuously for 1 min.
Add the raspberries and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes.
Add the vinegar and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the sugar and salt, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened and reduced by half, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool before using. Since I triple it, it will take longer. I just wait for it to be reduced by 1/2.
For a clear glaze, strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. I do not strain it.  We like the texture of the raspberries.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Stuffed baby peppers

Mary Johns got us hooked on the baby peppers you get in big bags from Costco. This is just another way to use them.

Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
Salt and freshly ground black peppers
24 (2-3" long) sweet baby peppers
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy, 5-7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and drain on paper towels. Add the onion and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cook for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the onion, pancetta, cheeses, and peas. Season with salt and pepper.
Using a paring knife, cut 1/2 inch from the stem end of each pepper. Remove the seeds and veins. Using a small dessert spoon, fill each pepper with the cheese mixture. Place the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake 15-18 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.  Serve.

Italian fried olives

I checked out Giada's at Home cookbook for the Alsea library and wanted to copy down some recipes that I want to try when I get home.
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled gorgonzola cheese-room temperature
1/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese- room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
20 pitted medium to large green olives, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
In a small bowl, combine the cheeses, thyme, and lemon zest. Spoon into the pastry bag. Pipe the cheese mixture into each olive. Put the flour, slightly beaten egg, and bread crumbs in three separate bowls. working in batches, dredge the olives in the flour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the olives and place in the bowl with the beaten egg. Coat the olives with the egg and then transfer to the bowl of bread crumbs. Coat the olives with the bread crumbs.  In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about 1/3 of the way. Heat over medium heat until a dee-frying thermometer reaches 350 degrees of if a cube of bread browns in 3 minutes, you're there. Fry the olives, in batches, for 30-45 seconds, until golden brown. Drain the fried olives on paper towels. Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.