Monday, September 21, 2009

Hot Mustard Dip

I forgot I made this until I was cleaning out the fridge tonight, so I broke out the pretzels to appease the hunger of the masses until dinner was ready.

Hot Mustard Dip
  • 1/8 cup mustard powder
  • 1/8 cup crushed brown mustard (both mustards I use are from Penzeys)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp honey

In a saucepan combine the mustard and vinegar and let sit for 30 minutes. 

Whisk in the sugar and egg yolk until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, constantly whisk until it begins to simmer and thickens.  Remove from the heat and mix in honey.  Cool. 
You can store in the fridge for several weeks. 

Serve with pretzels or you can use as a sauce for baked chicken.  Double for a party or for use in other recipes. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I *think* I like this

Pumpkin, smoked gouda, pasta...what is not to like? I am not sure, I wasn't wowed but I wasn't repulsed by this recipe. I used "baby" neck pumpkins from Central Market for this recipe. I baked them in the oven and then scooped out the pumpkiny goodness.

I altered this recipe from Cara's Cravings blog after a nestie suggested it for a vegetarian meal.

Pumpkin and Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
  • about 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • about 3/4 cup milk (ok I didn't have milk so I used heavy cream with some water, that is milk isn't it?)
  • 2 cups of cooked pumpkin
  • about 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 8 oz grated smoked gouda
  • salt and pepper
  • grated nutmeg about 1/2 teaspoon (I eyeballed it)
  • 1 box of Dreamfields elbows cooked al dente
In my new "old" iron skillet I cooked the onion in butter until tender, then I added the pumpkin and milk and continued to heat. I turned off the heat and added the cheeses and stirred until melted. I then added the drained pasta and placed in a greased 9 by 13 inch pan (I used stoneware). I cooked at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Who knew coconut cake was so good!

I must be getting older because I need to really think about how I found this recipe. I think my mom was in the hospital having knee surgery and we were watching Martha Stewart on the tv in her room. My mom asked me to make this for her when she was feeling better, so I did. Since then I have cut the recipe in half when I make it because the whole recipe makes a HUGE cake that is so incredibly rich our small circle could never eat it all.

This is my altered version of the original recipe (found on the MS website under ultimate coconut cake)

The cake (the full recipe)
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 3 cups sugar, I use Domino organic
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, I use King Arthur unbleached
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder, I usually end up making my own
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract, I use more!
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour pans; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5 to 6 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until creamy, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl using a spatula.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix together cream, vanilla, and coconut extract. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture, alternating with cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before removing cakes from pans.
My "Wicked" Syrup

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Malibu Rum

Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, cool.

The Sinful Filling
  • 5 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, again I use more
  • 9 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  1. Place cream, sugar, and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together cornstarch, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water. Add to cream mixture, bring to a boil, and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute.
  3. Place coconut in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until coconut is finely chopped. Remove cream mixture from heat and stir in coconut until well combined. Transfer to a large baking dish; let cool.
  4. Cover filling with plastic wrap and chill overnight (you really don't have to do this overnight). Just before using, place mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth and creamy, 4 to 5 minutes
The Frosting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped, if I am feeling cheap after spending all my money on butter and cream I skip this
  1. Place butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until creamy.
  2. With mixer on low speed, slowly add vanilla extract, seeds from vanilla bean, and confectioners' sugar. Continue beating until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Putting it Together
  1. Slice each cake into three slices, sounds hard and scary but you can do it! Use a long serrated knife and just do it.
  2. Place a slice on a cake stand (if you are making the effort to make this cake you HAVE to put it on a beautiful cake stand)
  3. I do not drizzle the bottom layer with the syrup because in my mind it needs to be "solid"
  4. put 1/5 of the filling on this layer, spread
  5. Place cake layer on top, lightly drizzle with syrup
  6. Repeat until you do all the layers
  7. Frost, pat roasted coconut on the side of the cake if you want (takes about 2 cups of roasted coconut)

Suggested Alterations:
Half the recipe unless you are going to feel more than 10 people
Use the filling as a cupcake frosting

The half recipe version (minus the roasted coconut, just as good)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I heart this tart

I made this tart for a Saturday night dinner with friends and it was a hit (sadly no leftovers). It went well with the Thirsty Owl Riesling and Montezuma Wetland White we downed that night.

Late Summer/Early Fall Tart
  • 2 leeks, the white and sort of green parts cut into thin half moon slices
  • 2 small zucchini, I used one green and one yellow, cut into thin half moon slices/quarters
  • 3 fingerling potatoes cut into thin slices
  • enough olive oil to saute
  • 1 pie crust from the store (yes I am a cheater)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a couple dashes of dried dill, you could use sage, thyme, whatever you have
  • 4 oz goat cheese with herbs

Heat the oven to 350 degrees

Heat a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil when pan is warm. Add the leeks, cook a minute or so then add the zucchini and tater slices. Add salt and pepper and herbs to taste.

Lightly brush a stone pan with oil - I used my Pamper Chef bar pan, you can use a pizza stone.
Unfurl the pie crust, place the veggie mixture in the middle, place small chunks of the goat cheese in the veggie mixture. Wrap the sides of the crust around the mixture, brush the crust lightly with oil. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it towards the end!

simple savory mushroom soup

The cooling weather is shifting my view of mushrooms from the bright flavors of summer to savory, warm flavors. Mushrooms are amazing and scary. I wish my grandmother was still here to tell me their secrets.

I started with an assortment of mushrooms from the local grocer. Someday I will make a trip to mushroom country a hour or so away to explore more varieties.

simple savory mushroom soup

  • 32 oz of broth, I used vegetable broth
  • about a pound of assorted mushrooms, sliced
  • two small shallots cut into small pieces
  • butter
  • about 1/2 cup of cream
  • about a teaspoon of cumin
  • about a teaspoon of medium chili powder
  • pepper, a few swirls of the grinder

Cook the mushrooms and shallots in butter, add pepper, cumin, and chili powder to the liquid produced by mushrooms, cook until the mushrooms are mushroomy (reduced but not browned)
Add to broth warming in pot on stove
Add cream and any additional spices to taste
Cover and simmer on low heat for half an hour

I miss you old Giant

Time to ramble again about food. Time to make more of an effort to chronicle my kitchen feats and disasters. And work my way through the transition to a new grocery store. I miss the old Giant. The new Giant is big, soulless, and infested with fruit flies.

Things I like about the new Giant...
My yogurt is now a short drive from our house
The mushroom selection has expanded
I can buy my lottery tickets without speaking to anyone
The fresh flower selection is expanded and not so sad anymore
The "exotic" cheese selection looks fresher
The abbreviated natural food aisle is nice

Things I don't like about the new Giant...
The layout is opposite of the old Giant, this is HUGE, I can't wrap my head around it
They did not add a coffee bar
It bright and you notice the ceiling, I could not tell you what the ceiling of the old Giant looked like for the life of me
It is buggy
There are a bunch of new people working there, they are falling behind on the pregnant teen checkout clerk quota
There is too much food, it does not seem like we have the population to support it
It does not have the trashy goodness of the old Giant
I need to find a new parking spot
The Redbox is in a new location

I need to tell myself that I only go there for things they don't sell at the farmers market (fun mushrooms, yogurt, cat food, Dreamfields). It should not be such a big deal. Change is hard.