Monday, October 31, 2011

Chocolate with Francois - Ginger Angel Food Cake

In my Chocolate with Francois baking group, we cook from Charles Payard's Chocolate Epiphany cookbook.  This month, our group made the Ginger Angel Food Cake chosen by Leslie of Lethally Delicious. . .chocolate of course.  Everything in his book is chocolate.  Some of the recipes are complicated, but this one was very easy.  I used Ghiradelli chocolate - my personal favorite.  I did not have any candied ginger to put on top for decoration, but I did add ginger to the mix.

I scrimped a bit on the cocoa because I thought it might be too chocolatey (if there is such a thing) but once it baked I realized I should have gone with Charles' version.  The ginger in it complimented the chocolate very well.  Also, he suggested a cake pan, but I used a bundt cake pan and I am not sure that was the wisest choice.  I had a bit of a struggle getting the cake out of the pan!

The chocolate glaze is to die for.  I was practically eating it by the spoonfuls.  I actually took a piece of the cake and just as we Southerners used to say, "sopped" the glaze up like gravy.  Chandler loved it too.   I made two of these and took one to my next door neighbors who are always helping us move a piece of furniture or some other favor.

Check out Leslie's blog later in the week for the recipe, or you can email me for it.  Also check our webpage Chocolate with Francois to see how the others did with this recipe.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

KOREA - My Kitchen My World

In our group My Kitchen My World, we "pretend" travel to a different place each month making recipes from that area.  This month was Korea.

I am not familiar with Korean food so I had to go to my "google" help and see what I could find.  I ended up making Korean Roasted Chicken (served it with rice) and steamed cabbage.

This recipe is delicious.  I made two changes to the recipe.  One, I used regular onions instead of green onions.  Two, I used chicken breasts cut into pieces rather than larger pieces of chicken.  I will definitely be making this again and again.

KOREAN ROAST CHICKEN

1 chicken, cut up
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. minced onions
3 tbsp. oil
3 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger (or 1/4 tsp. dry ginger)
1/2 tsp. pepper

Place chicken in large baking dish. Combine soy sauce and remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Turn each piece and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes until done.  
You can also make this in a skillet in a stir-fry fashion.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Carla Vavala's Potato Pea Soup

A few of us are working our way through Carla Vavala's book, Fusion + Friends.  It is a healthy choice of recipes.  This week I chose the Potato and Pea soup since it is getting chilly here in Alabama.  I also like to try and do a meatless meal on Mondays. 

It was easy to put together and then you simmer for two hours.  Basically you cook the onions, celery and garlic in a little olive oil, then add potatoes, peas, tomato sauce and at the end I added some small penne pasta to finish it off.

Chandler is suffering from a cold this week so he was delighted that I made soup.  And he ate two bowls of it and took one for his lunch today.  He said "it is delicious."  I think soup just hits the spot when you are congested, but it was a very good soup.  I halved the recipe and it still made a good sized pot of soup.


Check out Joanne's webpage at Applecrumbles for the recipe.

My Words for Wednesdays

Soulmates

He sends a look across
the room that makes
her very soul shiver.
Bones shake beneath
her skin, a momentary quiver.

Eyes close and
eyelashes flutter in
anticipation as
she patiently waits for a tender caress
that will burn the skin with
a needed heat.

Sweet air crosses paths
as his breath comes so close
and she trembles when their bodies meet.

Does the word soulmate
adequately portray the
depth of this love?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TWD - A Fig Cake for Fall

Hostess this week:  Ursula of The Cookie Rookie.  You can get the recipe at her webpage or in Dorie Greenspan's Baking with Dorie cookbook.
http://cookierookie-alvarosa.blogspot.com/    Also, check out our group TWD, to see what the other bakers did with this recipe.

I used to pick figs off my ex-mother-in-law's tree and eat them back in my 20's.  Loved them.  Other than that and fig newtons, I know nothing about figs.  It seemed lots of the group were having trouble finding fresh figs, but I went to Publix and they had them in their fruit section.  When I began to cut them in half, some were really mushy, while others were not.  So not being a fig "expert," I was not sure which ones were good to use.  I decided not to use the really mushy ones.

As a result, I did not have enough figs to cover the top of my cake. 

I did not have "port" as the recipe called for, and I hesitated to buy it because we would not drink the leftover, so I just used a rich red wine and added a little sugar, along with the honey.

The DH and I enjoyed a piece while we watched tv last night drizzled with the port/cabernet sauce.  I did not love the texture of this cake. The cornmeal in it made it more like cornbread to me and cornbread and sweet figs just did not seem to go together.  But it was interesting.   Check it out and try it for yourself.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TWD - Jazzed Up Ginger Brownies

Bubie's Little Baker chose jazzed up ginger brownies this week in Tuesdays with Dorie.
Check out her webpage to get the recipe and check out TWD to see how the other bakers fared with these brownies.

I love me some brownies.  I'm just not convinced I love me some brownies with ginger in them!  However, on the plus side, they did smell fabulous while baking.  Having your house filled with the fragrance of ginger is never a bad thing!  I only used milk chocolate in mine as I am not a fan of dark chocolate.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Loaf Roundup!

My blog and twitter friend Di at Di's Kitchen Notebook asked several of us to join her in a "loaf" roundup!  It could be any loaf, bread, meat, etc.  Since it is fall and Halloween is just around the corner, of course I had to do something with pumpkin. 

As I looked for my loaf pan, I found this little pan that made four mini loaves so I decided to use that.  I used a good basic recipe for these.  They turned out delicious and oh so cute! 

Be sure to go over to Di's webpage (link above) and see what the other bakers have come up with for this roundup!  Have a happy Sunday.
Recipe:

1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 1/2 c. self-rising flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl beat together eggs, oil and pumpkin until well mixed.
Fold dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture. Mix just enough to combine. Do not over mix. Pour into a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
Bake 40 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. (My mini loaves took about 25 minutes).
Let bread cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. Serve. Makes 1 loaf.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicken, Potatoes, and Carla Vavala's "Italian Butter" for Bread

Guess I was in an olive oil mood today.  In French Fridays with Dorie last week, the group cooked olive olive cornish hens.  I didn't get around to making those, but I did take a whole chicken today and adapt part of Dorie's recipe to make it work for me.  This was my first time to remove a chicken breast bone in order to lay the chicken flat.  I was amazed how easy the process was.  Deboning the breast makes your chicken cook a lot faster in the oven or on the grill than it would if you left it whole.  He looks a bit like he's had a train wreck, but he was delicious.  It also makes it easier to cut into serving pieces.  Basically my version is just chicken drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs.

To go along side the chicken, I made my own version of a potato dish that I had tasted at an event last weekend.  Peel and slice two large baking potatoes, top with thinly sliced onions, more potatoes, provolone cheese, bake for about an hour at 350, then add a topping of mushroom soup mixed with 8 oz. sour cream, about a cup of grated mexican cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.  Put crushed ritz crackers and almonds on top and bake again until all is hot.

I didn't have any ritz crackers or sliced almonds on hand, so I just sprinkled with bread crumbs.  Delicious.


As Joanne of Applecrumbles and I cook together through Carla Vavala's new Fusion + Friends recipe book, this week we made "Italian Butter" for Bread.  Joanne does fabulous photos of her food so be sure to check out her webpage.  Just click on the link.  The bread and dip was a nice start to my chicken and potato dinner.  Joanne will have the recipe posted, but you need to buy this book!  Amazon.com has it.  You just mix together a few herbs, add olive oil, and dip your bread!


Have a wonderful weekend.  See you next week for more good eats!

Words for Wednesday - a bit about whining

I've decided to share random thoughts with you on Wednesdays.  I hope you like them.  Each week will be a different subject matter of course.   Comments are welcomed.

She Whines

The world cannot escape
The masses of whiners
That work their way through our lives
each day.

Dare we judge whether
whiners are selfish or
Just helpless creatures trapped
By a mind that creates a deep dark
Loneliness they are unable to escape
On their own.

Is it selfish to look
For tiny droplets of approval
If that gets one out of the
Darkness for even a fleeting moment
Or is their energy simply
Misplaced.

But must we walk a mile in
Their shoes or simply
choose to be more caring
whilst all the while not forgetting
to look into the mirror
at our own fears.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TWD - Basic Biscuits

Jennifer of Cooking With Comfort chose basic biscuits for us to make this week in our Tuesdays with Dorie group. 

Biscuits always remind me of my sweet mother who passed away three years ago.  Mama made homemade biscuits almost every day of her life.  I did not appreciate them as much as a child as I did an adult.  She had it down to such an art.  She rolled them out and then gently flipped the dough over, then cut with the biscuit cutter so that after they cooked, they would open up easily for your jelly or jam.  I have never been able to make biscuits like my mama made.  Instead of jelly, I now eat my biscuits with cheddar cheese or maybe bacon and cheese.  Love them!

Dorie's had quite a bit of butter in them and I cut back on that a little just to save a few calories.  I'm sure the butter would make them even more delicious though.  I also halved the recipe.  You can get the recipe at Jennifer's webpage if you click above on her link.  Also go to Tuesdays with Dorie and see how the other bakers fared with their biscuits this week!  Thanks Jennifer for a fun and easy pick.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stuffed Pumpkin and Chicken Pot Pie

I have been dying to try the stuffed pumpkin in Dorie Greenspan's book Around My French Table ever since I got the book.  This week I jumped in and did it.  I bought a small pumpkin, scooped out the insides, inserted the stuffing, and baked for a little over an hour.  We loved it.  I am going to make another one though and this time I am going to put in some brown sugar, cranraisens, and nuts.  I think it needed the sweetness those items can provide. 

This one just had bread chunks, cream, fresh rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper.  I think you could put just about anything in there you wanted.  I quickly took photos, but you can put the entire pumpkin on a round platter and serve it right at the table.  It slices nicely and is just such a cute way to serve fresh pumpkin!  These photos do not look very appetizing, but I promise you it was delicious!


My neighbor just had pancreatic cancer surgery so I thought I would whip her up a casserole of some kind. I have been making this chicken pot pie for 30 years. It is the easiest thing to make and so delicious.  She is doing really well from her surgery.


First, I cooked some chicken breasts and chopped that up.  Then I used a store bought piecrust (I like Pet Ritz) found in the dairy section.  I put one of the crusts on the bottom of my pan and save the other to top it off.  Put the chopped chicken down in the bottom.  Top that with a can of drained Vegall, then a can of cream of celery soup, a touch of sour cream (optional) and top with the other pie crust.  Dollop butter on top and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until crust is lightly brown.  Even children love this dish.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 3, 2011

TWD - Apple Muffin Cake means Fall is in the Air!

I was excited to see our Tuesday with Dorie's pick this week.  Apple Muffin Cake.  With fall in the air, it was a perfect choice.  Thank you to our host this week Katrina of Baking with the Boys.  As proof of fall coming, it has been in the 40's here at night.  Brrr.  After a very hot summer, I'm not quite ready for the cold nights.
I used Granny Smith apples.  They are not good for snacking, but great for baking.

I made a couple of changes to Dorie's recipe.  First, I left out the raisens.  I like raisens but I am just raisened out lately.  My cereal in the morning is full of raisens and that is enough for me each day.  Secondly, while the cake was still warm from the oven, I poured a mixture of brown sugar, milk and butter that I had heated up over the top of the cake.  Made it super moist and gave it a little brown sugar taste.

We loved it!  Get the recipe at Katrina's webpage. Just click on the link above.

You can never go wrong with a Dorie Greenspan recipe!