Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CEiMB - Chocolate Cherry-Almond Biscotti

Hosted by Enjoying My Favorite Things you can find the recipe for this biscotti on page 302 of Ellie Krieger's cookbook, Craving Ellie in My Belly.

I love biscotti. I made big fat whole wheat biscotti with dried cherries, almonds, and chopped dark chocolate. I was out of sugar so I had to use half sugar and half brown sugar. Here it is before it baked. I think I should have flattened the log out more, but the recipe said 10x3 which is what I did.

Here is the finished product. They were slightly crumbly. I personally needed them to be a bit sweeter.

I also made chicken pot pie in my brand new ramekins that were a gift at Christmas. Apparently, these ramekins are special because my son and daughter-in-law went to a lot of trouble to get them for me. They first bought seven ounce ramekins. Then, in a conversation I told them I wanted big ramekins. So they ordered ten ounce ones for me and took the seven ounce ones back. They said I better like the ten ounce ones and I DO! They are just perfect. I also tried out my new pie cutters that my boss Heather gave me for my birthday. And by the way, she has the most adorable triplets! Try the biscotti. You might like it. And HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR'S!! I'm going to eat and dance the night away.

Monday, December 29, 2008

TWD - Tall and Creamy Cheesecake


I'm having trouble loading photos onto this blog. . . will try again later. It loads the photos, but then they come out as text on the post. Any suggestions - help anyone???

The Tall and Creamy Cheesecake was chosen by Anne of Anne Strawberry. You can find the recipe on pages 235-237 of of Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours. Or, you can hop over to Anne's blog and check for it there.

Since the beginning of time, chefs all over the world have blended cream cheese, neufchatel cheese, ricotta cheese, and eggs together trying to concoct that perfect cheesecake. The one that will beat all others. If you are like me and you visit a Cheesecake Factory restaurant, you will be in awe of all the different kinds to choose from. I think the famous New York cheesecake has no added ingredients, just more of a plain version.

First, let me say that although I am not a fan of cheesecake, I've made plenty of cheesecakes in my day and all of them good. Just last week I made a raspberry ricotta cheesecake and it was very tasty. I've never used the water bath method, so I chose to skip over that for Dorie's cheesecake. The batter looked so light and fluffy! I also did not venture out from Dorie's recipe except to use half sour cream and half heavy cream, and I used cinnamon flavored graham crackers for the crust.

I think all cheesecakes crack a bit on top, but oh sweet Moses, mine had a more of a crater than a crack (only around the edge of it though)! Is there a seismologist in the house? Or speaking of Moses, remember the parting of the Red Sea? Trust me, the parting of the waters, the crack on my cheesecake - VERY similar.

Although my cheesecake is not very pretty, and could be considered a disgrace to cheesecake bakers all over the world, it tasted great.

History: According to What's Cooking in America, in 1929 - Arnold Reuben, owner of the legendary Turf Restaurant at 49th and Broadway in New York City, claimed that his family developed the first cream-cheese cake recipe. Other bakeries relied on cottage cheese. According to legend, he was served a cheese pie in a private home, and he fell in love with the dessert. Using his hostess’ recipe and a pie she made with ingredients he provided, he then began to develop his own recipe for the perfect cheesecake. Reuben soon began to serve his new recipe in his Turf Restaurant, and the cheesecake quickly became very popular with the people who frequented Reuben’s Broadway restaurant.

Now guess what the yankee got me for Christmas? A shiny new violin! Yes, you read correctly. Can I play the violin? Nooooooooo. But I can learn. I can't wait!

Monday, December 22, 2008

NO TWD this week! Sorry.


I'm in awe of all of you bakers who are able to run errands, clean house, wrap presents, and still find time to bake food and take photos of it all. I'll be back next week, but with everything I have to cook this week, I just could not find the time to make pudding today. I'm sure it was delicious. I can't wait to read about all of your puddings.

Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a happy and prosperous new year. I look forward to what 2009 holds for us in baking blogland. I've really enjoyed baking with all of you for the past few months and learning new things every week.

Hope "Big Daddy in the Red Suit" brings wonderful surprises to all of you!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

TWD - Buttery Jam Cookies!

I'm in love - with a cookie. I prefer not-too-sweet chewy cookies and that is exactly what these are. Additionally, they were incredibly easy to make. And in the middle of the season, with plenty going on already, easy was so nice.

Thanks to Heather of Randomosity and the Girl by Heather for choosing this recipe. Check out her site for the recipe.

I had two tiny substitutions. First, I sent the yankee to the store to get apricot jam. Of course I get the expected phone call from him saying they did not have apricot jam. So instead we went for spreadable fruit. It worked fine. I am beginning to think this city is lacking in the grocery department. (Not my favorite Publix of course). Second, I had ginger in my pantry. But when I pulled it out to put in the cookies, I discovered there is ginger and then there is ginger. My ginger was a version you use in meats. (Could I be wrong about this?) So rather than go back to the store, I used pumpkin pie spice (which had ginger in it) in the cookies and it worked great.

Years ago, someone gave me a melon baller for a wedding present. Yes, you heard me right. Well I have never used it, having never had a need to make balls out of melon. However, I decided to try that to accurately measure my dough for the cookies and it worked so well I will be using it from now on. The dough came out of the melon baller with such ease! Each cookie was perfectly formed. I felt like Columbus making a new discovery!
The baking cookies filled my house with a wonderful buttery cinnamon smell that just made me feel like Christmas!
And now, the kitchen is finally just about finished. Note the new countertop space! Note the new sink and faucet. Note the new cabinets with glass in the doors. The grout on the floor has some issues which is one thing we will have to work on later. But for now, the house is back in order and clean again! Even managed to finally get my tree up and a few presents purchased!

I am so blessed. Life is good. . . .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

CEiMB - Ratatouille Tart

Well better late than never. Today was Craving Ellie in My Belly day and I am a tad late posting. Hosted by The Wiivers - the Ratatouille Tart.

It was supposed to snow here today. All I see so far is cold, cold rain.

The tart. Surprisingly easy to make.

Not surprisingly easy to eat.



I made a couple of substitutions. I added a bit of yellow squash to the mix and used chopped onions instead of shallots. You can get the recipe on page 98 of The Foods You Crave by Ellie Kreiger.

Note to self - buy a tart pan. I used a regular cake pan and it was difficult to get out of the pan upon completion. The cornmeal crust sort of crumbled a bit.

There was no liquor in this dish. Imagine that.

I highly recommend this dish!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Coq Au Vin

In our Barefoot Bloggers group, Bethany of this little piggy went to market chose Ina Garten's Coq Au Vin for us to try this week. Thanks Bethany!

Does anyone know where the phrase "under the weather" comes from? Well that is me. I'm not sure if I am under it or over it or crushed by it, but it has been a challenge of a week physically. I decided a good chicken dish might be just what the doctor ordered. My Yankee has fallen ill today too and we are just hoping he manages to recover quicker than I have. We are getting so far behind on our Christmas festivities. We missed one dinner party last weekend and this Friday night is my big Christmas dance. I'm hoping Mr. Man will be well enough to attend with me or I will have to dance solo.

Of course it never fails when I go to the store that I forget to buy one or two ingredients that I need, or that they are out of said ingredient. This time I forgot the mushrooms. So we are dining tonight on Coq Au Vin without mushrooms and without pearl onions and without fresh thyme, the latter of the three because I just do not care for it.

This was a relatively simply dish to prepare. Some chopping, but not too much. Of course Ina always makes everything look so simple and delicious.

Okay, you fry the chicken before you cook it in tons of liquid. How exactly does the pre-frying help it along?

Once it cooked in the oven, it seemed to have tons of liquid around it. I followed the directions and used the butter and flour, but it never thickened up. We finally just ate it. My man loved it. He has always loved french food. The liquor flavor was really strong to me. While I thought it was okay, I will probably not make this dish again because for all the trouble it was, it wasn't that good. Or maybe me being under the weather caused my brain to disfunction?

Try it for yourself though and let me know how you like it. You can get the recipe on page 116 of the Back to Basics book.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

NO TWD this week!

Well tis the season -

the season to be sick that is! I somehow came down with the flu bug - YIKES -and I don't have time for this right now!!!! Just cannot cook this week - check back with me next week. Check out http://tuesdayswithdorie.wordpress.com/ to see what the other bakers are up to this week.

For stopping by my blog, I'll leave you with a bit of history about the candy cane!

The TRUE Story of the Origin of the Candy Cane

A candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus Christ.
He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and "hard" to symbolize the Solid Rock ~ the foundation of the Church and the firmness of the promises of God.
The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It could also represent the staff of the "Good Shepherd" with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs, who like all sheep, have gone astray.
Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the strips of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross, so that we could have the promise of eternal life.
Unfortunately, the candy has become known as the Candy Cane ~ a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But ... the meaning is still there for those who have "eyes to see and ears to hear."
If you don't believe this story, then the next time you buy a box of Candy Canes (the red and white ones) look on the back. You will find this story there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

CEiMB - Jewel Roasted Vegetables

This week's recipe was chosen by A Year From Oak Cottage. I had doubts at first. Even though I like beets, I have never eaten a fresh beet much less looked for them in the market. The clerk tried to charge $3.00 per beet, but finally rang up the $3.00 for the entire bunch. I thought that was still a bit spendy. And what do you do with all that greenery that comes with?

I once took a photography course. Don't snicker. I can hear you! Apparently I did not learn much. Note my carrot teepee below. It might look more like orange towers, but don't be deceived. It's a teepee. I get bored with just chopping sometimes.I added one large yellow onion to my vegetables. I was surprised at how easily the beets peeled after cooking them. However, I had red fingernails when I finished. Yikes. Should have worn gloves. I forgot to buy fresh thyme, so it cooked without that.
My kids have asked me for a list of things I want for Christmas. I'm having trouble coming up with things. Then I thought maybe you guys could help out. If you could choose one kitchen item that has been the most handy/helpful to you in your cooking/baking, what would it be?

I loved this recipe. I became a fan of fresh beets tonight. The brussel sprouts, carrots and onion all tasted delicious mixed together.
Here is the recipe if you want to try it. I think you'll like it.

Ingredients
4 medium beets
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds carrots
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
8 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Put the beets into a small baking dish and rub them with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover the dish with foil and put into the oven for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, peel and cut the carrots into 1-inch pieces, trim the Brussels sprouts and halve them lengthwise, and peel the garlic cloves. Put the carrots, Brussels sprouts and garlic cloves into a large baking dish and toss with the remainder of the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
After the beets have been cooking for 30 minutes add the large pan of vegetables to the oven and cook everything for 1 hour more, stirring the vegetable mixture once or twice.
Remove the beets from the oven and transfer them to a cutting board to cool. Stir the thyme into the carrot and Brussels sprouts mixture and let it continue to cook for another 10 minutes while the beets are cooled and cut. When the beets are cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes, peel them and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Remove the other vegetables from the oven, toss with the beets, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.


Monday, December 1, 2008

TWD - Linzer Sables

Living the Life by noskos chose Linzer Sables for this week's TWD challenge! Excellent choice, especially with the holidays right around the corner.

I am exhausted from my trip to Orlando. Therefore, I make no apologies for bad photos, misspelled words, or incomplete sentences. Or bad hair.

Linzer Sables are cookies, easy to make, easy to eat. I used pecans instead of almonds.

I told the yankee that once we returned from our Thanksgiving trip I was going on a diet to lose a few inches around my middle so that my Christmas dress would fit. Right now it doesn't. So I show up to work this morning and my sweet friend, June, surprised me with brownies. My favorite. So I did what any sweet, loving, friend would do and I ate them. I shared, but I also ate.

Ok, back to the Linzers. Here is a photo of my piecrust, oops I mean cookie dough.

Here are the beautiful flowers my son, Cameron, sent me for my birthday last week. I like this picture better than the cookie dough one, don't you?

Here are the cookies on the sheet right before baking them.

Here we are on Thanksgiving at Mitchell's house in Orlando, working hard to make the perfect feast. Excuse the hair. It's not the best look for me. Neither is the fur lined vest - what was I thinking that morning????Night at Pat O'Brien's singing with the dueling pianos. Karioke anyone? Don't judge him by this. He's a great guy. Beer was involved.
Watching the Alabama/Auburn game in the middle of a restaurant filled with Florida/Florida State fans. Us being the only Auburn fans in the crowd. Getting slaughtered by Alabama. But having fun eating wings and again, drinking beer.
We saw the Four Christmases with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn. I have never laughed so hard in a movie. I highly recommend it!

We played lots of Phase 10 and Balderdash with our friends Curt, Wendy, and Nick.

What a great Thanksgiving. I hope it was as good for all of you!

LOVED the linzer sables. Will definitely make them again and maybe even share next time. I'm on my fourth one tonight as I type this. . . . .

And here we are and it is December. . . what the hay? Where did November go?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Chicken Tortilla Mexican Soup

This week my Barefoot Contessa's recipe was chosen by Judy of Judy’s Gross Eats . I love soup so I was really thrilled to get to try this one.

I went to the store, list in hand, and got all the ingredients I needed. Or so I thought. Once I started chopping and cooking, I realized I had purchased tortilla chips rather than the fresh corn tortillas. I sent my DH to the store with yet another list. As usual, he called from the store and said he had been to two grocery stores and there were no tortillas. He was tired and he was coming back with taco shells as a formidable substitute. One store had a space for them he said, but they were sold out. I did not have the heart to fuss at him for trying. So my soup is sans tortilla strips. I broke up some of the taco shells and threw in there, but I doubt it is the same as the fresh tortillas.

We loved this soup and I will be making it again this winter! It had a tiny kick to it and was very tasty. Here is the recipe if you want to try it!

Mexican Chicken Soup (serves 6 to 8)

4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in half, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TWD - Twofer Pie


Beautiful tree, but no TWD. Sorry, I am traveling this week and time does not permit me to make this week's selection. But be sure to check out everyone else's wonderful pies on Tuesdays with Dorie.


And today is my birthday - I'm not cooking today!! I kind of feel like being pampered. . . just this once!


Back next week and a very happy holiday this week to all of you wonderful bloggers! May you have safe journeys and many blessings this Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Awards!

I'm so excited. I love getting presents and to me an award is like a surprise present! Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs sent me this award and thank you so much Nancy for thinking of me!I'm truly touched. I think it is the prettiest and coolest award I have seen!

Of course, there are always rules that go with awards. You have to pass to ten friends. I always find that to be the hardest part because there are way more than ten blogs that I enjoy reading each week! I'm passing to you, but just because I want you to know that I love reading your blog. If you do not have time to pass it along, I certainly understand that! And this award is apparently getting around fast so you may get this more than once. I hope you do of course! All of you inspire me. I have learned so much from each of you. Happy baking this week and happy Thanksgiving!

1.Amy Ruth Bakes
2.Andrea In The Kitchen
3.Anne Strawberry
4.Chocolatechic by Tanya
5. Culinary Delights by Marthe
6.Flourchild by Michelle
7.Prudence Pennywise by Erin
8.Wee Treats by Tammy

Enjoy!















Thursday, November 20, 2008

CEIMB - Oven Fried Chicken

Did you know there is actually a Fried Chicken holiday? It is on July 6. Crazzzzy. All you have to do on that day is eat some fried chicken. Heck, everyday for me could be fried chicken holiday! I could handle it.

I've even been craving fried chicken. Then I joined a new group. How odd that this week's choice for Ellie Kreiger's Craving Ellie in My Belly was oven fried chicken. Hosted by Lonely Sidecar. Thanks! I'm so excited about this group because the recipes are healthy!

I seriously could not take a pretty picture tonight of my wonderful oven fried chicken. And it was worthy ... sooooo worthy.

It called for four chicken breasts. I had three, but they were large. Mammoth even. It called for sesame seeds, I used sunflower seeds. It called for yogurt, I used buttermilk.
But the end result was fantastic. It was the juiciest, crunchiest, wonderful chicken. I've never had any fried chicken that was better than this - and I am a true Southerner where we treasure our fried foods!

Yep, that is a sweet potato on the side. Drizzled with butter and brown sugar. I thought why not splurge tonight. After all, the chicken was healthy. And then I paired it with stovetop stuffing. Can you believe it? I actually used stovetop stuffing to go beside my fabulous oven fried chicken. Stovetop. From a mix. Shame on me.

It was good. So good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TWD - Arborio Rice Pudding - Black or White

Isabelle of Les gourmandises d’Isa by Isabelle chose the Arborio Rice Pudding for this week's baking challenge. I love rice pudding so I could not wait to make this. Thanks Isabelle for a great choice!

After going to three different grocery stores looking for arborio rice, I finally found it. It was in a beautiful jar and was $5.99. I didn't care about the cost because I actually had the rice in my hand and was on my way to making my pudding. After getting home with it and checking out the recipe and seeing that only 1/4 cup was used I was like - what am I going to do with all this rice I bought! Oh well, I'm sure I'll find a use for good risotto rice at some point and I have this lovely jar to boot!
It took forever to cook. Thank goodness for all the comments left by fellow TWDers and even Dorie herself saying the timing was off in the recipe. By the time it was done, for just one second I was actually thinking minute rice would have worked, right? Don't slap me, I was tired from our kitchen renovation which is still in process. When this is over I never want to look upon a piece of tile flooring again or anything that resembles grout.

My back aches. My wrist hurts. I'm grumpy. I know it will be worth it though so I am hanging in there. Seriously, could you cook in this disaster zone? Maybe next week I will be able to post "finished" photo results!

I thought the rice pudding was so wonderful in the vanilla flavor that it needed nothing more. I did add a sprinkle of cinnamon to one dish of it. And I hid an almond inside one just for fun. Somehow I ended up with three small bowls of pudding instead of four. Maybe we are just big eaters, but this did not make a huge amount and I will double the recipe next time!

I think of rice pudding as a comfort food but in literature it is sometimes referred to as plain, cheap, or familiar. I even remember something Charles Dickens wrote relating an incident where a schoolboy was given shabby treatment with rice pudding as a pretended treat. I have never thought of rice pudding in those terms! I think it can be a positively elegant finish to an extraordinary meal!

Added history: In Europe, rice pudding with goat's milk was first used by the Romans for medicinal purposes. For this reason, the first written records of rice pudding occur in medical texts. All I know is it sure makes me feel good!

We really enjoyed it. It was smooth and rich and sweet and I will definitely make it again when I have the time!

Word of advice: Don't waste your wonderful pudding like this man did. . . .

Madcap comic Vic Reeves will not face charges after allegedly attacking a photographer with a tin of rice pudding.
Police have told the comic that there will be no further action after the alleged incident at his mansion in Aldington, Kent.
The comedian - real name Jim Moir - was said to have hurled the tin at a freelance photographer who had been waiting at his gate to take a picture.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

BAREFOOT BLOGGERS Herb Roasted Onions

I'm married to a meat and potatoes kind of guy. That's all there is to it. I keep telling the Yankee that because I am skinny I would love to have more meat and a couple of larger potatoes (if you know what I mean), but he seems happy with me the way I am. That is, as long as I keep feeding him good food!

Having said that, there are three things that he absolutely will not eat - bell pepper, turnips, and ONIONS! So when Kelly from Baking with the Boys chose Herb Roasted Onions for this week, I was a bit sceptical of how I was going to incorporate it into our menu and keep Yank on the happy side. I decided to add something to it that he loves and maybe I could save the marriage. So I added - you guessed it - potatoes!

I forgot to buy thyme at the store, so I had to leave that out. Also, I was not sure how large the onion wedges were supposed to be, so I cut each onion into four large ones. I was a bit disappointed in how little dressing there was. I barely had enough to cover the onions. I cut the potatoes into wedges also and baked them right along side the onions on the sheet pan.

We had a grilled boston butt that hubster had purchased from the high school (they were having a fund raiser) to go along with it and I think it was the perfect choice to compliment the onions and potatoes.

Having said that, I doubt I will ever make this recipe again. We simply aren't that "into" onions.


Herb-Roasted Onions

2 red onions
1 yellow onion
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mjustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30-45 minutes, until tender and browned. Toss the onions once during cooking. Remolve from the over, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. S;prinkle with parsley, season to taste, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TWD - Kugelhopf

Yolanda of The All-Purpose Girl chose Kugelhopf for this week's challenge. Thank you Yolanda! Excellent choice.

First, I did not own nor could I find in our local stores a kugelhopf pan. So my friend Amanda at Beckett Bakes It by Amanda and I were discussing our dilemma and we decided maybe a bundt pan would work as a substitute.

They look very similar. However, unlike a kugelhopf pan, a bundt pan does not resemble a turk's head mold or a turban.
So, amidst my kitchen being not only a construction zone, but a danger zone as well, I began to mix my cake. First, I plumped my raisins in the boiling water, but then I soaked them in rum. I wanted a little more taste to the cake.

Now let’s talk batter. My batter never crawled up my dough hook. I wouldn’t say it even had future intentions of crawling up anything, much less a dough hook. After 10-12 minutes of beating, I decided to call it good and figured I had done something wrong. So I poured, yes I’m telling you poured, my batter into another bowl to watch it rise, or not? After an hour I checked it and yes, it had begun to rise. So the directions said to slap it back down into the bowl. When I put my well-washed hands into the bowl and felt the runny dough, I thought slap it? I can’t even pick it up! I wanted to slap it, or bounce it, or throw it against the wall. The only thing that stopped me from doing that was the knowledge that the cake would not cooperate and stick to the wall so it would just mean more clean up for me. I just sort of stirred it around. Next hour, it had risen a little more and I again tried the slapping method. This time when I touched it, it fell to the bottom of the pan. So I did what I thought was best and I slapped it right into my refrigerator. After all, it was what it was. And I told the Yankee that if he asked me when the cake would be finished one more time, I might have to slap him down a few times as well. Plus, as is his way, he kept disrespectfully referring to my creation as the Kugelmeister cake just to irritate me further.
The next morning I woke early and immediately went to my refrigerator to check my dough. At least it did appear to be dough this time. I took it out and spooned it into my bundt pan and waited for it to rise. After three hours, I figured it had risen all it was going to and I baked it.
I guess you could call my cake a pancake Kugelhopf because it never rose over the top of the pan or even ¾ of the way up the pan. I cut down on the cooking time just a bit since it was shallower than it should have been.
After it baked, I brushed on the butter and I sprinkled it with brown sugar, then dusted with confectioner’s sugar as well. I have to say, when all was finished, even though I was expecting a more golden and tasty cake, we absolutely loved it. I could have eaten the entire cake! I will definitely make this again soon. Next time I think I will try it with some almonds and almond flavoring, OR, some candied fruit with maybe a hint of vanilla. Crunchy bacon and walnuts might be a tasty variation as well!


History lesson:

Whatever you think is true about kugelhopf, know that the real McCoy is much closer to bread than to cake, and is made with yeast, flour, very little sugar and salt, and small amounts of butter. I'm told that in the beginning only the "rich" added eggs, the "poor man's kugelhopf" did not include those.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Award!

My sweet friend Laura of she's cookin' now! has sent me this award. I am sincerely touched! Most of the time I feel like I am this average person, average cook, average blogger, average everything, and then along comes a nice surprise like this! Thank you so much Laura for thinking of me. However, nothing comes free in life right? Now she wants me to answer questions about myself. Seven of them. And I have to pass the award on to seven other TWD friends! That will not be easy either because there are so many out there worthy of this award and yet I can only pass to seven.



Seven things I say most:

I'm so over it!
Shut up, are you serious?
What's for dinner?
You have GOT to be kidding me?
When is the kitchen going to be finished?
I hate incompetence!
Love you


Seven things I did before: (My question is before what?)
played league tennis
taught art appreciation to first through fifth graders
Taught beginning piano lessons
Was on a bowling league
Went to South America on a medical mission trip
Started two novels but who knows when they will get finished

Seven things I do now

Work full-time
Watch television (mostly HGTV, Grey's Anatomy)
Crocheting an afghan
blog about my cooking
Read books and magazines (I'm a People magazine junkie and Nora Roberts)

Seven things I want to do

Go to Italy (which we are planning to do this spring)
Read more books
Finish my novels
Go to Ireland
Win the lottery (this would cover most of the other things I want to do!)
Make my husband the happiest man on earth
See my children more often


Seven things that attract me to the opposite sex:

Sense of humor
Nice smile
Honest and committed
Must be as or more intelligent than me
Keeps in shape
doesn't hurt if he is hot and looks like Patrick Dempsey


Seven favorite foods:
A perfectly grilled steak
Macaroni and Cheese
Any kind of potatoes
Good breads that I can dip in my wine
spaghetti with meat sauce
bread pudding
turkey and dressing

Seven blogs I want to pass this award to. This is the hard part. I mean how does one choose just seven when there are over 300 really really great ones? I really enjoy reading the following blogs and I know you will too. All of these are creative cooks, have beautiful photography, wonderful writers, and have inspired me personally in some way. If you do not have time to pass this on, I completely understand, but I wanted you to have the award!

The Dogs Eat the Crumbs by Nancy
Amy Ruth Bakes
IHeart Food4Thought
gatti fili e farina by Natalia
Superfluous by Sabrina
Pink Stripes by Wendy
Beckett Bakes It by Amanda

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - Rugelach

Sorry fellow TWDrs. Because of our kitchen remodeling project (overwhelming now) I could not enter the kitchen this weekend to manage baking my rugelach. I'm going to make them - I am! But it simply will not be this week. Hopefully next weekend I will have a kitchen and be back in business. Piggy of Piggy’s Cooking Journal chose the Rugelach this week and from the rave reviews I am reading it must be delicious. Check out her link to get the recipe and try it for yourself. Stay tuned for new pictures of the kitchen re-do. Coming next weekend.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

HAPPY HALLOWEEN and the WINNER IS . . . . . .

CONGRATULATIONS to Tea and Scones by The Tea Lady who is the winner of my Pay-It-Forward give-a-way! Tealady please email me so that I can get your email address in order to deliver your Williams-Sonoma Giftcard.

Sorry I could only have one winner this time, but honorable mentions go out to Julie Peanut Butter and Julie for leaving so many sweet comments, and to Amanda at Beckett Bakes It by Amanda for making a special effort to leave me a comment while vacationing in Jamaica this week!

I want to also say thank you to all the TWDr's that have been so encouraging to me with all their comments. You are all very special to me! Have a safe and happy Halloween!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

TWD - CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

COME JOIN THE HALLOWEEN PARTY! Costumes, Food, Fun, and Prizes!
It was an eeery Saturday night, with a slight chill in the air, and spirits were restless. So the DH and I dressed up in our costumes and had the local witch fly us over to the annual Halloween Party at our dance club. Let's hope that big bad wolf doesn't decide he is hungry. Well, I know him personally and he's not big or bad really, but he is usually hungry.
Guess what is hiding in Little Red Riding Hood's basket?

If you guessed Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes, you guessed correctly. I thought, why not kill two birds with one stone? I wanted to bake these cupcakes for TWD this week, and I needed to take food in my basket to the party - so that worked out perfectly for me! The only problem was since Lil Red Riding Hood only had twelve cupcakes, she had to be selective as to who would get to sample those tasty morsels and not seem to others like she was hoarding them for herself.
Thanks to all the TWD comments you left regarding the cupcakes. I took what you said, adjusted things, and my cupcakes turned out pretty perfect tasting. I substituted semi-sweet chips for the bittersweet and I added a dollop of sour cream to the batter to help make them moist.

I baked them for only 18 minutes. I was disappointed that they did not rise up to the top of my muffin cups. I'm thinking maybe I mistakenly bought huge mama baking cups and should have filled them with more batter. After they cooled, I piped in a little marshmallow creme. I made the ganache to put on top, but it barely covered the tops of them. Did I read that recipe wrong? I thought I would be creative and decorate them them with candy corn, etc., but wouldn't you know the local grocery store had sold out of regular candy corn. They only had caramel candy corn. VERY frustrating. I mean for gosh sakes it is Halloween week. Who doesn' t have a plentiful supply of candy corn. The caramel corn did taste good. I tried to make spider webs on top with orange icing, that didn't work. I scraped that off and and settled for some crude circles which were really just blobs of orange icing. I know what you are thinking. How could I take these wonderful, elegant cupcakes and turn them into simple cupcakes with orange globs on top that look like they were decorated by someone's three year old? Well rather than lie to you all and tell you I had a little helper, I'll just confess - I'm not a good cake decorator. You probably figured that out already from the pictures. But the good news is the cupcakes were outstanding! Thanks to Clara of I Heart Food4Thought for choosing these as our challenge for the week. Click on her link for the recipe.

Who doesn't love cupcakes. There is just something intrinsically different about these tiny little cake wonders. I feel young when I eat a cupcake. Maybe it is their smallness, but does size really matter? It is like having your own little dessert that is not big enough that you have to share. Have you ever noticed how you can offer one to the biggest man hunk you know and suddenly he turns into a little boy again? They make people smile and I like that.

A little cupcake history. Cupcakes first arrived on the scene in the late 18th century. The name likely came from the amount of ingredients used to create a cupcake–a cup each of flour, butter and sugar. Or, it could come from the fact that they were baked in teacups or cup-shaped moulds.
Can you imagine a CUP of butter? I dunno, sounds like Dorie had a hand in that original recipe. No offense Dorie, I actually love the butter in your recipes, but my waistline is showing it.
I'm having a Pay-It-Forward Give-A-Way as a special Halloween treat. It will be a giftcard. Do not forget to leave me a comment between today and Thursday. I'll be using a random number generator to decide the winner and I will post the winner's name on Friday, Halloween. I'll get your email address then and send you the prize. Sorry - I can only have one winner!

Here are a few of my friends/goblins that survived gobbling up my slightly ghoulish cupcakes at the party! And on a serious note, stay off those brooms, run from ghosts and goblins, eat, drink, be merry, and have a SAFE and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!