Storm the Cassoulet

Mexican Chocolate Cake

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ngredients:

Cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground Mexican chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup cold water

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

6 tablespoons water

10 small fresh strawberries

Method:

Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly coat an 8-inch round cake pan with vegetable cooking spray.

Combine all the cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Pour into the pan and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. When the cake has cooled, whisk together the first three glaze ingredients. Dip each strawberry into the glaze and set aside. Pour the remaining glaze over the cake and arrange the strawberries on top. Set aside to dry, about 30 minutes.

 

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Beef Wellington with Madeira Sauce

Ingredients:

2 pounds filet mignon Salt and black pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup whole-grain Dijon mustard 1/2 pound prosciutto di Parma 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed 1 egg yolk 1 tablespoon whole milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  (If using individual filets, see cooking time note below).

Pat filet mignon dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and black pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the filet mignon and brown from 1 to 2 minutes on all sides. You want to create a nice sear on the outside of the steak but leave the inside raw. Remove from heat and place on a cutting board to cool.

Cover cooled filet with Dijon mustard.  Spread the pate or the mushroom duxelles over the beef. Lay out the prosciutto on top of the pate/duxelles.

Lay out a clean, long piece of plastic wrap. Gently roll out puff pastry until it is a 1/4-inch thin. Place the wrapped steak on one end of the puff pastry and wrap. Pinch the ends closed and trim off any excess puff pastry. Use the plastic wrap to tightly seal the puff pastry. Pop it in the fridge for about 5 minutes to let it firm up again.

In a bowl, mix together egg yolk and milk.  Place a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Remove Wellington from fridge, remove the plastic wrap, and lay the Wellington seam-side down on the baking sheet. Baste the top of the puff pastry with the egg wash.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 to 30 more minutes.  Pastry should be a rich, golden brown, and the beef medium-rare.   Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing into medallions. Serve warm with the Madeira sauce.

Individual filets:  Bake about 12 minutes for rare, 16 minutes for medium, or 20 minutes for well done.

 

Madeira Sauce

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of Madeira wine

2 cans of Campbell’s Beef Consommé

2 stalks of celery

1 onion quartered

1 smashed garlic clove

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

Method:

In a sauce pan, add 1/2 cup of Madeira wine, 2 cans of Campbell’s Beef Consume 2 stalks of celery 1 onion quartered and one smashed garlic clove. Bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes.  In a separate bowl mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of Madeira wine. Blend into sauce pan with consume. this is a thin type of Au Jus rather than a thick and heavy gravy.  (Add any reserved juices from cooking the Beef Wellington.)

 

Mushroom Duxelles (in lieu of pate)

Ingredients:

1 pound cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Method:

To make mushroom duxelles: Add mushrooms to a food processor and process until completely smooth. The consistency is similar to wet hummus.

In a pan over medium heat, add mushroom paste, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface and cook on a medium-low heat until the moisture in the paste has reduced and the mixture has the consistency of a spreadable pâté. Remove from heat and let cool.

 

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White Cake with Cranberry Filling and Orange Buttercream

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Recipe from Southern Living

Ingredients:

FILLING

1 (12-oz.) jar cherry preserves

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 1/2 cups fresh cranberries*

 BUTTERCREAM

1 cup butter, softened

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 (32-oz.) package powdered sugar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 Tbsp. milk (optional)

Additional:

Basic White Cake Layers

Method:

Prepare Filling: Bring first 3 ingredients and 3 cups cranberries to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop. Transfer 1 cup cranberry mixture to a small bowl, and stir in remaining 1/2 cup whole cranberries. (This will be the Cranberry Topping.) Transfer remaining hot Cranberry Filling mixture to another small bowl. Cool both mixtures completely (1 hour). Cover; chill 8 hours.

Prepare Buttercream: Beat butter and next 2 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with orange juice. Beat at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Stir in vanilla. If desired, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. at a time, beating until frosting reaches desired consistency.

Place 1 Basic White Cake layer on a serving platter. Spoon 1 1/2 cups buttercream into a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a small hole. Pipe a ring of frosting around cake layer just inside the top edge. Spread cake layer with half of chilled Cranberry Filling (without whole berries), spreading to edge of piped frosting. Top with second cake layer. Repeat procedure with frosting and remaining Cranberry Filling (without whole berries). Top with third layer. Spread remaining buttercream over top and sides of cake. Pipe a ring of frosting around top cake layer just inside the top edge. Spread Cranberry Topping (with whole berries) over top cake layer, spreading to edge of piped frosting.

*Frozen cranberries, thawed, may be substituted.

 

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Impossibly East Breakfast Bake

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Ingredients:

2 packages (12 oz each) bulk pork sausage

1 medium bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz)

1 cup Original Bisquick® mix

2 cups milk

¼ teaspoon pepper

4 eggs

Method:

Heat oven to 400°F. Grease rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Cook sausage, bell pepper and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir together sausage mixture, potatoes and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese in baking dish.

Stir Bisquick mix, milk, pepper and eggs until blended. Pour into baking dish.

Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or just until cheese is melted. Cool 5 minutes.

 

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Pork Crown Roast

Ingredients:

Garlic powder
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
10 pounds pork rib roast (about 12 to 14 ribs) – have butcher prepare it.
Note: You need at least 10 ribs to make a circle.
Stuffing of choice (ex. bread stuffing with cranberry, apples, applesauce)
Pork Gravy (add some of the pork juice)
Bone Booties, optonal
Watercress, for garnish, optional

See below for STUFFING IDEAS

Method:

Preheat oven to 250°F . Set aside pork to bring to room temperature prior to cooking. Set rack on the bottom third of the oven so the roast will fit completely inside.

Season pork roast liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder, then place on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.

Transfer to oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 140°F, about 2 hours. (While the roast is cooking, prepare any stuffing you might want.)

Remove from oven and tent with foil for 15 – 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, increase oven temperature to 500°F. Stuff the roast with the pre-cooked stuffing. Return roast to oven and cook until crisp and browned on the exterior, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, loosely cover with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes before cutting. Cut off string. Serve with stuffing and gravy. Garnish with bone booties and watercress, if desired.

STUFFING IDEAS (variations to basic bread stuffing)

Idea #1 – Caramelized Onion : Make stuffing mix, tossing in 2 cups caramelized onions and 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese with the mix. Top with more Parmesan before baking.

Idea #2 – Apple-Fennel : Saute 2 cups diced fennel bulb, 1 cup diced onion, and 1 cup each chopped apples and dried cranberries. Prepare stuffing mix, adding in sautéed fruits and vegetables, and bake as directed.

#3 – Mushroom-Leek : Cook 3 cups chopped leeks and 1 cup diced celery. Add 1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms, and cook until soft. Mix stuffing mix with mushroom mixture and bake as directed.

Idea #4 – Pear-Walnut : Cook 2 chopped pears and 1 cup dried cranberries with 2 cups diced onions. Toss into mix with 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts, and bake as directed.

Idea #5 – Spinach-Gruyere : Cook 2 cups diced onions with 1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms. Mix with stuffing mix, and let cool slightly before adding 6 cups chopped spinach and 1 cup diced Gruyère.

Idea #5 – Saute 2 onions, 3 stalks celery, 1 granny smith apple, 1 lb. pork & apple sausage. Toss with stuffing.

Cooking Temperature Notes from The Food Lab

Pork chops are obtained by cutting in between the ribs of a whole pork loin. The only difference here is that they’re left completely attached. What does that mean for cooking? A couple of things.

First off, pork loin is fast-twitch muscle, and, like all fast-twitch muscle—say, chicken breast, a New York strip steak, or a tuna loin steak—it’s made up of plenty of finely textured muscle and not much connective tissue or fat. This means that temperature is the most important factor when it comes to cooking it.

See, slow-twitch muscles—like, say, pork belly, beef short ribs, or chicken thighs—are the muscles that an animal uses for extended periods of time very frequently. Because of this, they develop plenty of connective tissue, composed mainly of the protein collagen. This protein is tough and chewy if you try to eat it when it’s undercooked.

In order to get it to transform into lovely, juicy gelatin, you must cook it at a minimum temperature of around 160°F (71°C) or so for a long period of time—generally several hours. (By the way, this is the temperature that the meat itself must be, not the oven temperature.)

Fast-twitch muscle, on the other hand, has no connective tissue to break down. As soon as it reaches its final temperature, it’s done. Holding it at that temperature for extended periods of time will change it very little.* Cook it to temperatures much above 125°F (52°C) in the case of beef, 145°F (63°C) for chicken, 110°F (43°C) for tuna, or 140°F (60°C) for pork, and the only thing you’re doing is drying it out.

NOTE: it took 3 1/2 hours to cook an 18 pound croewn roast at 350 CONVECTION

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Corn Bake

cornbake

Ingredients:

1 small onion, diced

½ small green pepper, diced

½ cup butter

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 can cream style corn

1 can whole kernel corn (don’t drain)

1 8-oz box corn muffin mix

1 cup sour cream

3 eggs

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sauté onion and green pepper in butter.

Mix both cans of corn, muffin mix, and eggs.

Add the sautéed mixture and pour into a 2-qt casserole dish.

Mix sour cream and grated cheese.

Spoon on top of the corn.

Bake for 45 min.

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Cranberry Christmas Cake

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Ingredients:

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
12 oz fresh cranberries

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5-7 minutes. The mixture should almost double in size. The eggs work as your leavening agent in this recipe, so do not skip this step. This mixture should form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Add the butter and vanilla; mix two more minutes. Stir in the flour until just combined. Add the cranberries and stir to mix throughout.

Spread in a buttered 9×13 pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. (I baked mine for 43 minutes.) Let cool completely before cutting into small slices. I cut mine into fairly small pieces, about 1″x2″, so that they could be easily eaten at a party. Enjoy!

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Brownie Stuffed Cheesecake with a Peanut Butter Cookie Crust

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Ingredients:

1 tube peanut butter cookie dough
1 8×8″ pan of baked and cooled fudge brownies (chopped into bite sized pieces and frozen)
2lb cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs

Method:

Cookie Crust

Preheat oven to 350

Open the tube of cookie dough and press it into the bottom and 1 1/2″ up the sides of a greased 9″ springform pan. Bake 5 minuntes,

Cheesecake

Beat together cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until very smooth. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time on low speed mixing just until blended. Add in the chopped, frozen brownies (reserving several pieces to sprinkle on top) and gently stir. Pour batter into the crust and top with remaining brownies. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until cheesecake jiggles only slightly when you gently shake the pan.

Let cool on the counter, then cover and chill at least 4 hours.

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Salted Pretzel Caramel Brownies

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Ingredients:

1 box Betty Crocker fudge brownies (for 9×13 pan)
2 eggs
1/4 c. water
2/3 c. vegetable oil
3 cups pretzels
1 jar caramel sauce
coarse sea salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, or grease with cooking spray.

Prepare brownie batter according to package instructions.

Pour about 1/3 of the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread until the bottom of the pan is evenly coated. Then add two even layers of pretzels, covering the entire surface. Carefully spoon the remaining brownie batter on top to cover the pretzels.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the brownies comes out clean. Remove and set on a cooling rack to cool.

Spoon the caramel sauce onto the top of the brownies in an even layer. (If it is too thick, spoon the sauce into a small bowl first and microwave for 30 seconds to thin.) Sprinkle the caramel with a few pinches of sea salt.

Serve warm, or let cool to room temperature then serve.

 

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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 From Leda


Ingredients:

Cake:
3 cups cake flour, plus more for pan
1 cup butter, softened, plus 1/2 cup, melted
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole buttermilk
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple slices in juice, drained well (reserve 2 tablespoons juice for frosting)
1 (10-ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained well

Pineapple Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 pound butter, softened
2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Makes about 2 cups.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans and coat with flour.

In a large bowl, beat 1 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and set aside.

In a small bowl, add the 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture into the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Divide the brown sugar evenly into the bottom of each pan. Pour the melted butter equally over the brown sugar. Arrange the pineapple slices and cherries over the brown sugar. Reserve remaining pineapple slices and cherries for another use.

Pour equal amounts of batter over the fruit and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely. (Otherwise Frosting will slide right off)

To assemble the cake, carefully arrange 1 cake layer, pineapple side up, on a cake plate. Carefully stack the remaining cake layer, pineapple side up, over the first layer. Frost the sides and top of the cake with Pineapple Buttercream Frosting. (Do not put frosting between layers – makes a mess). Press chopped pecans into sides of cake, if desired.

Please note: I think it’s best to keep it in a cool room versus the refrigerator. The fridge seems to make everything very heavy and dense.

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