Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lemon-Rasberry Plate Trifle

taken from How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson
Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake
for the cake:
  1/2 cup unsalted butter
  1/2 cup plus 1 T sugar
  2 large eggs
  zest of 1 lemon
  1 cup plus 1 T self-rising cake flour
  pinch of salt
  4 T milk
  9 x 5 inch loaf pan, buttered and lined with parchment or wax paper

for the syrup: (amount is shown doubled for trifle)
  juice of 3 lemons (about 8 T)
  1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, prepare pan.  Make sure the lining comes an inch or so up the sides of the pan for easier unmolding later.

Cream together the butter and sugar, and add the eggs and lemon zest, beating them in well.  Add the flour and salt, folding in gently but thoroughly, and then in the milk.  Spoon into the prepared loaf pan and put in the oven.  While the cake is baking, get on with the syrup;  put the lemon juice and sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently so the sugar dissolves.

Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until golden, risen in the middle (though it will sink a little on cooling), and an inserted cake tester comes out clean.  As soon as the cake is out of the oven, puncture the top of the loaf all over with the cake tester or suitable implement.  Pour over the syrup, trying to let the middle absorb it as well as the sides, then leave it to soak up the rest.  Don't try to take the cake out of the pan until it is completely old, as it will be sodden with syrup and might crumble.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients for syllabub: 
   2 tablespoons sliced almonds
   8 tablespoons dry sherry (I replaced with 8 T country time pink lemonade)
   4 tablespoons sugar 
   1/4 teaspoon rosewater (optional)
   Juice and zest of 1 lemon
   1 1/3 c heavy cream
   1 lemon-syrup cake with double syrup
   1 pint raspberries

Put the almonds into a dry frying pan over a medium to high heat to toast them.  When they're golden and aromatic, remove to a plate and set aside to cool.

Mix the sherry (or lemonade, may also try apple juice), sugar, rosewater, and lemon juice and zest in a bowl large enough to take the cream when whipped.  Leave for and hour if you've got it, or else give it a good stir and make sure the sugar's dissolved fully.  Slowly, while whisking by hand, add the cream.  Then--for ease--switch to an electric mixer and beat till airy and floppily bulky.

Slice half the cake onto a large oval plate, or one of whatever shape and size looks about right to you, and then empty out the raspberries on top.  Flop over the syllabub and scatter the toasted almonds on top. Perfect for dessert outside on a summer's evening.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Adapted from  365 Days of Slow Cooking
For Beef:
2 lbs cut into ½ inch filets
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Warmed pita folds
Sliced tomatoes and lettuce, for serving

1. Heat 1 T olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet while slicing the beef. Pat beef dry with paper towels to remove any moisture.
2. When oil is warmed add beef to skillet being careful to place in one row only.
3. Brown beef for a few minutes on each side. Transfer meat to slow cooker.
4. While beef is browning combine ¼ cup olive oil, garlic salt, oregano, pepper and lemon juice in a small bowl. Pour over the meat and toss to coat, in the slow cooker. Toss in the sliced onions.
5. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-10 hours (depending on your slow cooker) or until beef is extremely tender. (If it’s not tender, it’s not done yet, my was falling apart after 6 hours).
6. Break up the meat into smaller bite-size pieces.
7. Serve beef over pita folds with Tzatziki sauce, onions, tomatoes and lettuce.

For Tzatziki: (this is 1/2 of the original recipe...plenty for the amount of meat)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup peeled cucumber, seeded and shredded
1/2 Tbsp dried dill or 1 Tbsp fresh dill
1/8 tsp salt
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper

1. Combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt and garlic in medium bowl. Stir until creamy and combined.
2. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with gyros.

*This meat was delicious!  Absolutely loved them.  I really like dill so the sauce was perfect, even my husband who isn't a big fan of dill liked it with the gyros.  You could use sour cream in place of the Greek yogurt if you wanted.  For the kids, I cut the pitas in half and made a pocket out of them, easier for little hands to eat.

Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

Lately I've been reading a book called French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon.  At first I read with excitement, then wonder, then discouragement.  This book is about a French perspective on healthy eating...and especially how children can have a varied, nutritious diet.  Now, we eat pretty well at out house. A plate of veggies with dip is devoured more readily than a plate of cookies by my kids.  I often hear things like, "Mom, I feel like some broccoli."  or "Can you get cauliflower at the store next time?"  And when eating salmon I have to encourage my kids to eat their pasta, too.  So, I'm doing something right BUT my kids also help themselves to snacks frequently.  They are grazers...and though grazing includes a variety of fruit (any berry can't last a day in my fridge), bread, yogurt, and cottage cheese (as well as granola bars and fruit snacks if they can find them), I felt frustrated at the food rule "no snacking."

After a pathetic late night meal of chicken nachos and leftovers sent me on the brink of bad motherhood-hysteria, I resolved to introduce my kids to some new foods.  That's when I came across this Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables on  I was intrigued.  I followed the recipe as close as I could...even using leeks (which I haven't liked in the past).  The result was a beautiful meal and a very happy mom, dad, and kids. 

Here it is, I love the specific instructions:

One 4 to 4 1/2 lb chickenKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
6 thyme sprigs
2 large leeks
3 tennis-ball-sized rutabagas
2 tennis-ball-sized turnips
4 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut in half
1 small yellow onion, trimmed, leaving root end intact, and cut into quarters
8 small (golf-ball-sized) red-skinned potatoes
1/3 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 475 F.

Remove the neck and innards if they are still in the cavity of the chicken. Generously season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, add 3 of the garlic cloves and 5 sprigs of thyme, and massage the inside of the bird to infuse it with the flavors. Truss the chicken (plain dental floss works if you don't the right kind of string).

Cut off the dark green leaves from the top of the leeks. Trim off and discard the darkened outer layers. Trim the root ends, cutting around them on a 45-degree angle. Slit the leeks lengthwise almost in half, starting 1/2 inch above the root ends. Rinse the leeks well under warm water.
Cut off both ends of the rutabagas. Stand the rutabagas on end and cut away the skin, working from top to bottom and removing any tough outer layers. Cut into 3/4-inch wedges. Repeat with the turnips, cutting the wedges to match the size of the rutabagas.
Combine all the vegetables and remaining garlic cloves and thyme sprig in a large bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables in a large cast-iron skillet or a roasting pan.
Rub the remaining oil over the chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Make a nest in the center of the vegetables and nestle the chicken in it.

Cut the butter into 4 or 5 pieces and place over the chicken breast.

Put the chicken in the oven and roast for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400 F and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until the temperature registers 160 F in the meatiest portions of the bird–the thighs, and under the breast where the thigh meets the breast–and the juices run clear. If necessary, return the bird to the oven for more roasting; check it every 5 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes.
Just before serving, set the pan of vegetables over medium heat and reheat the vegetables, turning them and glazing them with the pan juices.
Cut the chicken into serving pieces, arrange over the vegetables and serve.
*The rutabagas were a big hit with my 6 year old daughter and we all enjoyed even the leftovers. I even at the leeks. I have to admit though, the red potatoes and carrots were my favorite.  Next time I would give the veggies a stir halfway through the cooking time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mexican Rice

Jeff really liked this recipe.  Great Spanish Rice.  I blended a can of diced tomatoes for the tomato paste and used 1 t cumin seed and 1 t ground cumin.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kona Inn Banana Muffins

*This might not seem like much, but using lots of bananas and beating them into submission give these an especially moist and delicious flavor.  I made 3 batches in a week's time!  We love muffins at our house!

1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I like using butter-flavored)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
5 very ripe medium bananas (thawed, frozen bananas also work well)
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I probably used more--some finely chopped, some coarsely chopped)

Makes 12 muffins

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set a rack in the lower-middle level.  Smear the cups of a muffin pan with a little shortening, sprinkle with a little flour, and shake the pan to distribute the flour.  Turn the pan upside down over the wastebasket and shake out any excess flour.

2.  Peel the bananas, place them in a large bowl, and beat them well with an electric mixer.  The riper the bananas and the more you beat them, the more tender your muffins will be.  Don't expect absolute smoothness; there will always be a few lumps.  Set aside.

3.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add the sugar, shortening, eggs, and walnuts tot he bananas and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients tot he banana mixture and stir just until the batter is thoroughly blended.

4.  Pour the batter into a large measuring cup with a spout and fill the muffin cups about 2/3s full.

5.  Bake for 15 minutes, then check the muffins for doneness.  A toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean.  If not, bake for 5 minutes more and check again.  When the toothpick comes out clean, remove the muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Turn the muffins into a cake using the same recipe.  Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and divide the batter between them.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes.  Loose the edges with a knife and turn each out onto a platter.  To give the cakes a nice finish, place 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar in a strainer and sift it over the cakes.  Serve with whipped cream.

Heath Bar Chocolate & Toffee Cinnamon Rolls

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour, divided + more for rolling
1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
1/2 scant tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 (1.4 oz each) Heath bars, crushed (I used Heath baking chips)

1/2 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
2 T melted butter
 pinch of salt
1 (1.4 oz) Heath bar, crushed

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, canola oil, and sugar.  Heat the mixture until just before it reaches the boiling point. Remove from the heat and let cool for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the mixture is lukewarm. If the mixture is too warm, it will kill the yeast.  Add the package of active dry yeast and stir.
Let the yeast rest for 10 minutes, then add 4 cups all-purpose flour. Stir well.  Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for at least an hour.
After the yeast rises, mix in 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir well.
If you are ready to make the cinnamon rolls, continue with the next steps. If not, cover the pot with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Working on a well-floured surface, shape the dough into a rectangle.  With a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough thin. Pour melted butter over the dough and spread with a brush or spoon.  Sprinkle cinnamon and Heath Bar bits over the butter.
Starting from the far edge, roll up the dough. Do it as tightly as you can without pushing all the butter out the sides. Cut the roll into pieces that are 3/4 – 1 inch wide.  Spray baking pans with cooking spray and place the rolls in the pans, leaving a small space between the rolls.  Cover and let the rolls rest for 20-30 minutes so that they rise a little.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the pans in the oven and bake the rolls for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are light golden brown.
While the rolls are baking, make the glaze. Put powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add vanilla extract, milk, melted butter, and salt.  Stir until the glaze is smooth.  Stir in Heath Bar bits.  Drizzle the glaze over the rolls while they are still warm.  Serve.
Makes about 18 rolls.
*I have to say, the picture from the site I got this recipe looks better than mine...I think that maybe I added the glaze a little too soon, maybe a little less milk.  These were good and fun for a mix up, but I still think good ol' cinnamon and raisin are my favorite.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicken Chimi in the Oven

Adapted from Allrecipes

*These were alright, I think it is a good beginner recipe.  I'm looking for something a little more like what I grew up with.  My recommendations:  more cheese, add a can of green chilies after blending, increase the chicken to bean ratio (use on 1/2 can of beans), and decrease the cinnamon.

Olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 container Rojo's Fresh Mild Cut Salsa (or another good salsa)
2 T chili powder
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cinnamon (decrease next time)
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
16 oz can refried beans
10 flour tortillas


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease baking dish (I used 2 medium ones).

2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in salsa and water. Season with chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Return mixture to the saucepan, stir in the chicken, and cook until heated through.

3. Spoon an equal amount of refried beans down center of each tortilla, and top with equal amounts of the chicken mixture. Fold tortillas over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Arrange seam-side down in the prepared baking dish, and brush with olive oil.

4. Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven, turning every 5 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

Serve with a fresh Mexican salad