Archive for August, 2012

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Carrot Walnut Bread Cake

August 28, 2012

This is a nutty twist on a dense carrot cake with just a hint of spice/pound cake too. You could serve it with or without the frosting but, then again, this cream cheese frosting is extra yummy with cinnamon and honey.

You will need:

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c brown sugar, scant
  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c shredded carrot (approx. 2-3 medium carrots)
  • 1 c walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c honey, scant
  • 1 T milk

Then you will…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 8-by-8-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs with the brown sugar, applesauce and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
  3. Mix in the salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Fold in carrots and walnuts.
  5. Stir in the flour just until mixed.
  6. Spread in the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Take out and let cool.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese with the honey and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Thin with milk to desired consistency.
  8. Top with the cream cheese frosting. Invite friends over and share!
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Broccoli Ranch Pork Loin

August 24, 2012

I made a few tweaks to a recipe idea from Hidden Valley for this dinner treat. It comes together very quickly and is particularly flavorful.

You will need:

  • 1 c frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • 1 packet (1 oz) ranch dressing seasoning mix, divided
  • 1 T Greek yogurt
  • 2 lb boneless pork loin, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 c seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 T Parmesan, shredded

Then you will…

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice the pork lengthwise leaving a 1-inch thickness of pork on either side. Open the pork so it lays flat.
  3. In a food processor, combine the broccoli with 2 teaspoons of the ranch seasoning and the yogurt. Process until smooth.
  4. Spread the broccoli mixture on the bottom half of the pork. Roll the pork and fasten with toothpicks.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ranch mix, bread crumbs, and Parmesan. Mix well.
  6. Liberally spread the mustard all over the pork.
  7. Roll the pork in the bread crumb mixture until well coated.
  8. Transfer pork to a roasting pan fit with a rack.
  9. Roast for 40 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached, and the roast is nicely browned.
  10. Let the pork stand 10 minutes before removing the toothpicks and slicing crosswise.
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Blueberry Lemon Buttermilk Cake

August 20, 2012

I really like baking in my cast iron skillet. Maybe it’s the weight of the skillet itself. Maybe it’s the way it creates a delicious crusty edge and a wonderful middle. I’m not sure, but it makes me happier every time I pull it out of the oven with a new recipe. This buttermilk cake has enough sweetness for a dessert but enough fruit and buttermilk-y tang for a brunch or breakfast. If you don’t have a skillet, you could use a cake pan instead. If you don’t have blueberries, then live on the edge! Try blackberries, raspberries, halved cherries, or whatever you have on hand.

You will need:

  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 c plus 1 T sugar, divided
  • 1/4 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t almond extract (if you don’t have any, then substitute more vanilla!)
  • 1 T lemon zest (roughly 1 lemon)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, picked over for stems

Then you will…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch skillet or round cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 2/3 cup of sugar until well mixed.
  3. Beat in the extracts and lemon zest.
  4. Beat in the egg.
  5. Beat in the cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.
  6. Mix in the flour, alternating with the buttermilk, just until combined.
  7. Spread batter in the prepared pan.
  8. Scatter the blueberries evenly on top of the batter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar.
  9. Bake until golden and a toothpick in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
  10. If you want to remove cake from the pan for serving, allow to cool in the skillet for 10 minutes. Then turn onto a wire cooling rack and let cool till warm, 10-15 more minutes. Invert onto a serving plate so the berries are on top again.
  11. If you want to serve from the skillet, allow to cool 15-20 minutes before serving.
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Refrigerator Pickles

August 16, 2012

When my farm share sent me dragon’s tongue beans, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Dragon’s tongue beans are a type of Dutch wax bean and can be eaten whole (i.e., you don’t have to shell them). When raw, they are a cream color with pink-purple stripes. They pretty crazy, but they mellow out by losing their stripes when steamed and cooked. I decided to make some quick pickles out of them. This pickling recipe could be used for many types of vegetables. Try it out with carrots, green beans, cauliflower, asparagus or whatever else you want!

You will need:

  • 4 c water
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 t salt
  • 1 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c rice vinegar
  • 3 t pickling spices
  • 1 t dill weed
  • 1 lb beans (or enough veggies to fill 2 pints worth of jars), trimmed and cut as needed

Then you will…

  1.  Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the whole cloves of garlic and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Split the pickling spices and dill between your containers.
  4. Remove the garlic from the water and add to the containers.
  5. Add the salt and vinegars to the water and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the veggies to your containers.
  7. Top with the hot pickling liquid. Allow to cool before sealing containers.
  8. Let sit for at least 4 hours (although a few days will taste better). Keeps up to 3 months in the fridge.

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Thank You Chocolate Cake

August 14, 2012

My team at the office works really, really hard. We come in early; we stay late; and we even will work on weekends when needed. This is not easy and yet the team persists in being rockstars. In acknowledgment of all the sweat and tears, I made this “thank you” cake and brought it to a meeting as a surprise. It is inspired by a Trader Joe’s recipe and comes together really quick.

However, please note, this makes A LOT of batter. It could easily make a three-layer cake. I made a 9×13 for the office and still had enough extra to make a Bundt cake.  It would be good with just some powdered sugar on top, but I spread a thin layer of apricot preserves on top and then a whipped cream frosting sprinkled with toffee bit for an extra thank you treat.

You will need:

  • 3 1/3 c flour
  • 1 1/3 c unsweeted cocoa powder
  • 3 c sugar
  • 1 T baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 t ground cinnamon
  • 12 oz (3 sticks) butter or margarine, softened to room temperature
  • 3 c buttermilk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 5 eggs

Then you will…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your cake pans (3 9-inch rounds etc.).
  2. In a very large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients.
  3. Beat on high speed with an electric mixer for 4-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once to ensure all the goodness gets mixed together.
  4. Pour into prepared pan(s).
  5. Bake for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If making cupcakes, they will take closer to 20-25 minutes.
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Lost Bread with Tomato Jam

August 11, 2012

This was in one of the summer’s Rachael Ray magazines. “Lost bread” is the literal English translation of the French “pain perdu.” You probably know it more commonly as french toast. This has some of the yummy parts of french toast mixed with the best of grilled cheese. Just a note, the jam is on the sweet side. If you don’t prefer that, simply cut back on the sugar. Alternatively you could add an arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette to cut the sweetness.

 


You will need:

  • 1 can (28-32 oz) peeled Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 shallot, grated
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 t balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 c hard Italian cheese, grated (I used a blend, but you could stick with just Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 1 1/2 c half and half (I used fat free)
  • 3 T flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 slices (1-inch thick) peasant bread (I used a sourdough boule)
  • 2 T olive oil

Then you will…

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes (with juices) along with the sugar, basil, shallot, garlic and vinegar to a boil; season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium and mash with a potato masher. Cook until thick and jamlike, about 20 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 275  degrees. Heat a griddle pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
  3. In a large baking dish (I used a 9×13), whisk together the eggs, half-and-half and flour. Season with salt and pepper pepper.
  4. Soak the bread, 3 pieces at a time, in the egg mixture for a minute or two. Remove 1 piece at a time and press the bread into the shredded cheese. Transfer the bread to a plate.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the griddle or skillet and add 3 pieces of bread. Cook, turning, until golden, 5 – 6 minutes. Store finished slices on a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and bread.
  6. Spread the savory toast with the tomato jam. If desired, top with an egg and serve with spinach or asparagus.
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Summer Beach Sangria

August 6, 2012

 

This is a very, very light sangria that is the perfect complement to sticky summer days. It is especially refreshing after a day playing at the beach.

You will need:

  • 1 nectarine, pitted and chopped
  • 2 green apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 pear, cored and chopped
  • 1 small container raspberries
  • 1 small container blackberries
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry white wine, chilled
  • 1 liter lime seltzer, chilled

Then you will…

  1. Place the fruit in a pitcher.
  2. Add the wine.
  3. Stir in the seltzer.
  4. Enjoy responsibly!
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