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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Holy Cow Cake

holy cow

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cake Mix (your preference), baked as directed…
1-14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. jar of caramel topping
4-5 Butterfingers candy bars, crushed
1-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. Cool Whip

Method:

Prepare and bake cake as directed on package.

Meanwhile, blend caramel and sweetened condensed milk.

After removing cake from oven, use a skewer or fork to poke holes into the top of the cake.

Pour caramel mixture over cake.

Crush candy bars and sprinkle half of them over the warm cake. Chill.

Stir cream cheese and Cool Whip together until blended well. Spread over cooled cake.

Sprinkle with remaining candy.

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Pork Crown Roast

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Ingredients:

Garlic powder

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

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 pork juice)

Bone Booties for the rib bones

Watercress, for garnish, optional

Special equipment: roasting pan fitted with roasting rack

Optional:  ginger ale or apple juice

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set rack on the bottom third of the oven so the roast will fit completely inside.

Combine garlic powder, and salt and pepper.  Add oil, about 1 cup, and combine.

Take crown roast of pork that the butcher has already prepared. Rub the pork all over with the oil mixture.

Place in a roasting pan. Set aside to bring the pork to room temperature prior to cooking.

Fill the cavity with your stuffing of choice.

Cover the stuffing and the tips of the rib bones with foil then place the whole roast in the oven and bake for 2 hours and 20 minutes, an instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should register 150 degrees F when done.  Baste with a little the juice (or ginger ale or apple juice), if desired.

About 30 to 45 minutes prior to doneness, remove the foil to brown the stuffing and create a crust.

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.

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Kalamata Bread with Oregano

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Recipe from Leda

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

 2 large egg whites

 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Cooking spray

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Set aside.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, butter, and egg whites, stirring with a whisk. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in onion, olives, and oregano.

Spread batter into an 8 x 4–inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

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Polka Dot Cake

Image only:

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Purple Ombre Layer Cake

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Ingredients:

Cake:
2 boxes white cake mix
water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix boxes
purple neon gel food color

Frosting:

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Method:

Heat oven to 350°F. Generously spray four 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray with flour.
Make cake batter as directed on boxes. Divide batter equally among 4 bowls. Add food color to make 4 different shades of the same color. Pour batter into pans.

Bake and cool as directed on box for 8- or 9-inch rounds.

In 2-quart saucepan, heat sugar and water to boiling. Cook to 245°F on candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat eggs whites, cream of tartar and salt with electric mixer on high speed until peaks form.

Reduce speed to low; slowly pour sugar syrup into egg whites. Increase speed to high; beat about 7 minutes or until sides of bowl are cool to the touch. Beat in vanilla.

Spread 1 tablespoon frosting on cake plate to act as glue. Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread with thin layer of frosting. Repeat to use all layers. Frost cake completely with remaining frosting.

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Baked Honey Glazed Ham

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Ingredients:

One 7-9 pound bone-in ham, fully cooked

3/4 cup honey

Canola oil

1 tablespoon fruit juice, such as apple, cranberry, orange, or pomegranate

10-12 whole cloves or GROUND CLOVES

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons dry mustard

Pineapple slices

Optional:  baste with ginger ale

Method:

1.  Heat the oven to 325°F. Place the ham on a cutting board fat-side up and make 1⁄4″-deep diagonal cuts in 2″ intervals to create a diamond pattern.  Sprinkle ham well with the ground cloves, or add whole in step 3.

2.  Grease a roasting rack with a little oil and place the ham on the rack, fat-side up. Set the rack into a roasting pan and bake until the internal temperature of the ham registers 110°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 to 21⁄2 hours.  COVER LOOSELY WITH FOIL.  Pour a little ginger ale on the ham, if preferred.

3.  While the ham is baking, whisk together the honey, brown sugar, mustard, and fruit juice in a small bowl.

4.  Remove the ham from the oven and increase the temperature to 425°F. Stud the center of each diamond with a clove.

5.  Brush the entire ham with the glaze, pour 3⁄4 cup of water into the bottom of the roasting pan, and place the pan back in the oven until its temperature reaches 125°F, about 15 minutes longer.  (Can also used jarred ham glaze – cover ham with glaze for the last 30 minutes of baking.

6.  ADD SLICED PINEAPPLES TO THE PAN FOR THE LAST HOUR OF BAKING.

7.  Remove the pan from the oven, and transfer the ham to a cutting board. Tent the ham with foil and let it rest until its temperature reaches 135°F to 140°F, 20 to 30 minutes.

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Strawberries-and-Cream Cheesecake

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Ingredients:

1 pound strawberries, hulled

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 cup finely ground graham crackers (about 4 sheets)

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 pound plus 13 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved

8 1/4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place strawberries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with corn syrup, and toss gently to coat. Bake until syrup thickens and strawberries turn deep red and shrink slightly, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer strawberries and syrup to a medium bowl, and mash with a potato masher. Let cool completely.

Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and the melted butter in a small bowl. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan to make an even layer. Bake until crust is firm to the touch and has just darkened, about 10 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let crust cool completely.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Put cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl, then gradually add remaining cup sugar and the salt. Scrape down sides of bowl; add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl, and mix in vanilla bean seeds and mascarpone until very creamy and no lumps remain, about 3 minutes. (Reserve vanilla bean for another use.)

Transfer 5 cups cream cheese mixture to bowl with mashed strawberries; stir to combine. Pour strawberry-cream cheese mixture on top of crust; smooth with an offset spatula. Carefully spoon dollops of plain cream cheese mixture on top, smoothing with an offset spatula.

Wrap the exterior of the springform pan in 2 layers of foil; set in a large roasting pan. Fill roasting pan with boiling water until water reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake cheesecake until set, about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours (up to overnight).

 

 

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Savory Bread Pudding with Spinach & Mushrooms

SAVORY BREAD

Ingredients:

4 large eggs

2 cups low-fat milk

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

3 1/2 cups cubed stale whole-wheat country bread

1 10-ounce package frozen spinach

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion, (1 medium)

1 cup chopped red bell pepper, (1 small)

4 cups sliced mushrooms, (12 ounces)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup grated Gruyère, Emmentaler or Manchego cheese (3 ounces), divided

Method:

Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add milk, hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; whisk until blended. Add bread and stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat an 8-by-8-inch (or similar 8-cup) ceramic or glass baking dish with cooking spray. Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath.

Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain, refresh with cold water and squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until tender and golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; stir to blend. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until any excess moisture from the mushrooms has evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Add the mushroom mixture and 1/2 cup cheese to the egg mixture; stir until blended. Scrape into the prepared baking dish; sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over the top. Place the baking dish in a larger pan, put in the oven and pour boiling water into the larger pan to about halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until the pudding is set in the center, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool slightly; serve hot or warm.

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