Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chocolate with Francois - Chocolate Nut Loaf

In this land of blogging, it is fun to meet new online friends and share your cooking/baking experiences with them.  One of my favorites is Leslie of Lethally Delicious.  Leslie makes food that causes my mouth to water just looking at her photos.  I always learn something when I visit her blog.  And as a plus, she is a really nice person.

This month in our Chocolate with Francois group, Leslie hosted our group and chose the Chocolate Nut Loaf for us to try.  We use Francois Payard's book Chocolate Epiphany.  Often Francois' recipes are too difficult for me to master, but this one seemed like something I wanted to try.  I cannot wait to see how the other cooks made out with this one and what variations they made to the recipe. 

Here I am on Sunday afternoon just lazing around with a headache.  I watched a movie that was older called Murder in the First with Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater about a guy that tried to escape Alcatraz and was placed in solitary for over three years.  It was so moving and I hope Kevin Bacon got an oscar or something for his role in it.  I cried several times during the movie.  After the movie, I watched my DH play the WII.  He cycled, he skied, he laughed, it was quite amusing!  Men. . .they are just big grown up boys aren't they?

Ok so I dragged myself off the couch and went to make my cake.  I got all my ingredients out,  turned on the oven, lugged my mixer from the cabinet to the countertop (my oh my those Kitchen Aid mixers are heavy, or am I just a big ole wimp?), prepared my pan, and started mixing the batter.  When I got ready for the nuts, I discovered I did not have any almonds except for the kind that are covered in sea salt.  Hmmm. . the only thing I could do was drive to the store or use walnuts.  I bet you can guess which this lazy girl chose.  How are walnuts going to taste with an almond flavored chocolate loaf cake?  We'll see.  Let me just say this loaf had a ton of butter in it.  I cannot wait to see what the texture will be like.  And I thought the batter was a little runny, but all of a sudden it really thickened up.
Cooked for 50 minutes.  I was afraid I had overcooked and it did not rise much.
I decided not to glaze the entire cake so you are only getting a portion of the glaze here on one corner. 
The verdict is that it was delicious cake with just a touch of almond flavor which I love.  It was a little on the dry side, so maybe 50 minutes in my oven was just a tad too long??  But we ate it and loved it.
Oh where has the afternoon gone.  Now it is back to work tomorrow!  I hear snow may be coming to my area again in the middle of this week.  I'm so ready for warm weather and spring flowers!

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

TWD - Nutty Chocolatey Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake

I'm all in for any kind of bundt cake.  I remember my first bundt cake that my mom made when I was a child.  They are always good at any time of the day.  This one has a layer of swirly goodness baked inside.  I'm freezing it for later eating.  We are just desserted out this week already.

Dorie's recipes are great because they are very detailed and tell you exactly step by step how to proceed.

That does not mean, however, that they always turn out for the best when I am the cook!

The host this week was Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort.  Thanks for choosing this Jennifer!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cooking Italy - ragù alla bolognese

This is my first post in the group Cooking Italy!  After visiting Italy last summer, I decided I wanted to learn to cook real Italian food.  Not just spaghetti from a jar as most of us do here in the states.  So I have joined a lovely group of ladies who are learning to cook Italian food through the recipes of Marcella Hazan from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking),  This recipe came from the La Cucina Italiana Magazine and is a delicious bolognese sauce.  You can find the recipe here.  It was not a difficult recipe, but it takes a while to simmer which to me, is part of the joy of cooking.  I made it exactly as the recipe said, except I left off the milk at the end.  We prefer ours to have that rich tomatoey sauce flavor!

So here I sit on Saturday afternoon, laptop in lap, simmering the most delicious smelling sauce ever.  I can hardly wait to put it on Chandler's plate for dinner tonight.  I am confident the way to my husband's heart is through his stomach, so I fully expect him to fall in love all over again with me about 5:30 tonight.  I, of course, have already sampled the sauce each time I stirred and it is fabulous.  Rich in taste and perfect in every way.

While it simmered, I watched Inception with Leonardo Di Capio.  Boring and strange.  Now I am watching a western from the late 1980's about General Custer.  I love western movies on the weekend afternoons because they are the best to nap with.  They are slow moving, yet informational, and usually a hint of a love story in there somewhere.  I've always been sympathetic to the American Indians in how we robbed them of their land, however, the scalping and torturous ways of the natives do not bring me pleasure to watch.  In this movie, General Custer is depicted as bit of a dandy, always combing his hair, brushing his teeth, and dabbing on some sort of cologne.  Not at all how I have pictured Custer in my mind.

Thank you all who have visited this blog today and let me share my wonderful sauce.  You must try it if you are a spaghetti fanatic as I am!!  Now you will have to excuse me while I go eat this fabulous plate of pasta!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CEiMB - Vanilla Spiced Oatmeal, or Risotto as a Substitute!

Hostess this week:  Mary of p://

I'm allergic to oats.  I know that sounds weird, but last year when they tested me for shellfish allergy, the biggest thing that showed up was oats.  So I was told never to eat oats again.

I wanted to cook along with Mary this week and she chose an oatmeal dish, so I substituted risotto.  I was thinking the ingredients sounded a lot like rice pudding, so maybe it would work.

I would not advise anyone to make this with rice.  It was "okay," but not great.  I am sure the oatmeal was better.  Of course, I was not in a great mood tonight when I tried to eat it, so maybe that was the case too!  Let's just say it was a trying day at work.

Ellie's recipes are always so good and I enjoy making them.  They are healthy to boot.  We have a great group cooking together each week so if you want to try Ellie's recipes with us, come on over and join in!

I'm already looking forward to next week's challenge.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CEiMB - Beef Mushroom Barley Soup or NOT?

This week's hostess: Jennifer of The Rookie Baker

Let me start out by saying I'm sorry - love soups but this soup just did not appeal to me somehow.  I do not love mushrooms nor do I like barley.  So I prepared the Peggy version of this soup and used penne pasta in it instead of the barley and left the mushrooms completely out.

I wanted to cook along this week so I just changed the recipe to fit our needs.  It was a great soup to carry to work for lunch, especially since we have had rather chilly days this week.  I'm not a fan of winter, but I love soup and chili and spaghetti in the winter months!

If you want the recipe for Ellie Krieger's Beef Mushroom Barley Soup, go to Jennifer's blogsite highlighted above.  I'm one hundred percent sure it was a big hit with most of the Ellie group.
Hope you all had a fabulous New Year and rang it in at midnight with appropriate cheers!