Friday, August 19, 2011

Dessert - Orange Pound Cake

I made this recipe a few months ago, as a treat for hula class. My hula teacher is always doing me the favor of bringing some of her fave Hawaiian cookbooks to class for me to borrow. Problem with this is that I always like the cookbooks SO much that I end up purchasing a copy for my own collection!! (Yes, I love Hawaiian cookbooks so much that I somehow own at least 15 different ones.)

This recipe for Orange Pound Cake comes from one of these cookbooks she let me borrow, Cooking With Hawaiian Magic by Lee and Mae Keao. This cookbook has a fantastic variety of foods and desserts, also basic directions on how to do things related to Hawaiian cooking, and even tells you how to grow your very own pineapple! Consider that added to my list of things to do!

The cake has a nice light and delicious flavor, and is spiked with a healthy dose of bourbon! So really, you can't go too wrong with this one. It would be excellent alongside a nice cup of tea, or with your favorite cup of Kona coffee.

The only issue I had with this cake is one of my own accord...fully avoidable. I made this cake in a bit of a rush, so it was removed from the pan before it was cooled fully. Make sure that you cool the cake entirely, otherwise half of it will emerge from the pan crumbly. It was sad, but fortunately cake crumbs taste just as delicious as cake! If you are into making trifles, this cake recipe would also be great as the base for a trifle.

Orange Pound Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:
-1 cup margarine
-2 cups sugar
-5 eggs
-3 cups flour
-3 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup orange juice (must be fresh, not frozen)
-Grated rind of 1 orange

Glaze:
-1/4 cup margarine
-1/3 cup bourbon
-2/3 cup sugar

Grease and flour a tube pan (I used a Bundt pan and it worked fine). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the cake, cream the margarine and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix dry ingredients together in another bowl, then add to wet batter alternating with orange juice, and ending with orange juice. Add grated rind.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in oven for 1 hour. Remove cake from oven.
Prepare the glaze by heating glaze ingredients in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Do not let this mixture boil!!
Prick the top of the cake with a fork and pour glaze evenly over the cake. Leave in pan until fully cooled. Enjoy!
Serves 10.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Canning - Limelight-Island Curd

If there is one book you should check out regarding canning, it is this delightful Lip Smackin' Jams & Jellies by Amy and David Butler. You may recall me mentioning this book before, in my blog about my first attempt at canning which I used their recipe for Whole Strawberry Jam.

There are several recipes that I have my eye on trying in this book, and I finally got to trying this delicious limelight-island curd. Now, I have never made a "curd" before, and to be quite honest the thought seemed a bit daunting. Let me tell you firsthand, it is pretty easy, the only things you need to worry about are the freshness of the eggs used in the recipe and the amount of time you allow it to cook. If you overheat this one, you could end up with a funky taste due to the eggs. On that note, be sure it does not boil!

You may be wondering what you could do with a lime curd. Well, you could put it on scones, toast, add it to a cream pie, or put it in cupcakes or a cake! I plan/hope to use some of this lime curd in a cupcake recipe I found that normally calls for lemon curd. Or you can just have a spoonful of it as a treat.

To be honest, I had to freeze this stuff immediately as I would have probably eaten a 1/2 cup of it if I kept tasting it! It was just so good! Perhaps it was due to never trying a lime curd before, or maybe this recipe is just really perfect. I'm not sure, but I definitely hope you try this one. It almost reminds me of the filling on those wonderful lemon bars, sweet, citrusy and smooth.

The curd was supposed to have a little coconut flavor as well, but I'm thinking that the coconut milk we used (powdered) doesn't have quite the punch that regular coconut milk does. I hope you decide to try this, and if you do let me know what you think!

Please note that this recipe contains raw eggs! I don't believe this recipe gets quite hot enough to be entirely A-OK. I can't find the FDA warning, but If that makes you squeemish, please either avoid this recipe or locate some sort of pasteurized egg product.

Limelight-Island Curd

Ingredients:
-1 cup sugar
-Grated zest of 1 lime
-1/4 cup fresh lime juice
-1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
-4 whole eggs and 1 extra egg yolk
-10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces (I used my go-to salted and it seemed to be fine)
-Pinch of nutmeg (freshly ground hopefully! I need to do a blog post about nutmeg...)
-2 tablespoons coconut milk (we used powdered with added water to make a liquid)

Mix sugar, nutmeg and lime zest together in a bowl.
In non-reactive medium saucepan, add lemon and lime juices, eggs, egg yolk, butter, and sugar mixture. Combine.
Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add coconut milk and cook until mixture is thickened.
Remove pan from the heat before it starts to boil.
Pour through a sieve into a bowl.
Cover top of curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Alternately: Jar and seal in sterilized jars, but note that the curd will only hold 1 week in the refrigerator or can be frozen for up to 2 months. To use, defrost in refrigerator overnight.
This made approximately 1 pint of curd.

Dinner - Summer Vegetable Pasta

This recipe took a while for me to convince Matt about. He'll probably disagree on that... but he really doesn't like squash so he didn't want to try this initially. He did enjoy it, which was good!

Basically, this is a great pasta dish for summertime as it uses several items you can pick up fresh from your garden or local farmers market. For ours we used garlic and zucchini from our favorite stands, and basil from our own plant. It is a really simple meal, but definitely showcases the fresh grown delights in a simple fashion.

We ate this pasta dish hot, however it seems as if it would be delicious cold as well. You could probably even take it on a picnic while you savor these last days of summer (I know! I hate to say it...). You could also serve this as a side dish sort of pasta salad.

This was a very easy dish to make and took around 30 minutes from start to finish. Maybe add a few minutes extra to start the pasta water boiling. The flavor is nice and light, coming from the Swiss cheese and garlic. The vegetables add a nice healthy kick and you could probably add any other summer veggies if you'd like.

Recipe comes to us from an old issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray, and if you'd like a nice printable version, please click here!

Summer Vegetable Pasta

Ingredients:
-1 pound corkscrew pasta
-1/4 cup olive oil
-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
-3 zucchini (about 1 pound), thinly sliced (we used small green and yellow zucchini)
-4 ears corn, kernels scraped off (if you're lazy like us, just dump in a can of corn with the water drained!)
-6 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
-Salt and pepper (to taste)
-1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Cook pasta and drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Keep the pot by the oven and throw the pasta in a bowl, covering with tin foil to keep warm.
In small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add half the garlic, cooking until golden, about 30 seconds, then stir in breadcrumbs and remove from heat.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the large pasta pot and heat over medium, adding the remaining garlic. Cook until golden, then add the zucchini and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender (about 5 minutes).
Add corn, cooked pasta and reserved pasta water. Add 1 cup cheese and toss, seasoning with the salt and pepper.
Add remaining cheese and basil into the breadcrumb mixture.
Serve up the pasta, sprinkling each serving with some of the breadcrumb mixture.
Says it serves 4, but the way we made it looks to serve about 6.

Side Dish - Buca's Garlic Bread

I always really enjoy making copycat recipes at home. There's just something about being able to make a dish that compares to something you have had on a night out. Today's recipe does not disappoint, after recently visiting Buca di Beppo for my sister's birthday.

I can honestly state that this recipe is really close to the original, with the added bonuses of easy preparation, inexpensive ingredients (if you're like me you have them all in your pantry and fridge), and a mere 15 minutes from start to finish. It really is a delicious accompaniment to your favorite pasta or Italian style dish.

This recipe comes from a great book called Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur. If you'd like to enjoy a restaurant meal at a fraction of the price, you will love Todd's books. He has several out, including a low-fat version (complete with recipe for Cinnabon rolls!!). The website above is pretty cool too, as it has loads of free restaurant knock off recipes under the "recipes" tab.

Buca's Garlic Bread

Ingredients:
-1 loaf Italian bread (we used a loaf from Sciortino's Bakery here in Milwaukee. Groppi's carries these and lots of other delicious Italian bread!)
-1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
-6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese(omit if you want plain garlic bread, use this for the cheesy version!)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Slice bread in half through the middle (lengthwise)
Spread half of the butter on the face of each half of the loaf.
Place 3 cloves sliced garlic on each half of bread, covering the entire face of the loaf.
Sprinkle half of the Parmesan over each half.
If you would like a loaf of cheesy garlic bread, sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella on each half of the loaf.
Bake 10-12 minutes on a baking sheet until the top begins to brown. Slice and serve!

*Note: We cut the recipe in half and only used half a loaf of bread. You can use the other half to make it again another day, or for another use.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dinner - Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

Let me first apologize for the awful looking photo of this recipe! That being said, be sure you watch the cauliflower and almonds carefully while they are roasting, otherwise, like my photo, you will have pieces that are burnt rather than roasted. Sad.

All in all, this was a decent dish. It could use a protein with it, which would make it an even better side dish than a main course. We enjoyed it alright, and will likely keep this recipe around for a future dinner.

The things that I liked about this recipe were that it uses many things that you already have in your pantry. The items you need to buy for the recipe are relatively inexpensive, and it is a semi-elegant dish. So, if you're looking for a nice side dish to serve, this would fit the bill.

The recipe also did not take very long to make, less than an hour, and it uses the oven for about 15 minutes, so it could be perfectly timed to be finished at the same time as say a chicken breast or steak cooked on the stovetop.

Roasted Cauliflower Risotto
(From the March 2011 issue of the Food Network Magazine)

Ingredients:
-1 head cauliflower, stems chopped and set aside, and florets cup into 1/2 inch pieces
-3 tablespoons olive oil
-Salt and pepper
-1/4 cup sliced almonds
-1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
-1-1/2 cups short-grain Italian rice (we used arborio)
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used salted and it tasted fine)
-4 ounces fontina cheese, grated
-1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

Move oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Toss cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a baking sheet. Spread in single layer and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 5 minutes on the upper rack. Add almonds and roast until cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes longer (check after 10 minutes to ensure they don't burn!).
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in Dutch oven over high heat. (We don't have a Dutch oven, so I used one of our cooking pots and transferred the contents to a casserole dish to finish baking at the end.) Add onion and cauliflower stems. Cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add rice and garlic. Cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.
Add wine and cook, stirring until evaporated, another 1-2 minutes.
Add broth, 2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt.
Cover and bring to a boil.
Transfer the Dutch oven to the lower oven rack and bake until rice is tender, about 15 minutes (this is the point where I transferred the food to the casserole dish. I lowered the temp to about 400 degrees and it seemed to work fine).
Remove rice from oven and add butter, fontina, and parsley, stirring until risotto is creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
Place in serving bowls and top with roasted cauliflower and almonds.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Canning - Sour Cherry Sauce

As of late, I have become completely obsessed with jarring and canning. So far, I have tried five different recipes, as of yet, the four I have tasted have made me want to jar everything I can. The fifth recipe, tomato salsa, requires a 2 week sitting for the flavors to meld. I'm counting down the days!

After I made the strawberry jam, I got an insane craving for those delicious cherry sundaes you can get at the Wisconsin State Fair. So, in honor of the fair opening today, I'll share the recipe so you can get your fix once the fair is all over.

If you've never had one of these cherry sundaes, run yourself over to the Wisconsin Products Pavilion at the fair and spend the $3 or whatever to get the best summer treat. While you're at the Products Pavilion, be sure to get your apple cider, apple cider doughnut, and cranberry cookie. You can tell this is my fave edibles place at the fair.

This cherry sauce is so good, and I think my favorite part of it is that the recipe uses pineapple juice to provide half of the sweetness, cutting down on the amount of sugar needed. The pineapple juice also give the sauce a little extra flavor kick.

While I really enjoy this sauce on ice cream, you can also use it for adding a great cherry taste to many things, for instance: waffles, pancakes, crepes (We tried this! So good!! Thanks Kali!), cheesecake, pie, and even stirred into plain or vanilla yogurt.

The only bad part of this recipe is pitting the cherries, but I enjoyed this task while sitting in front of the television. I don't own a cherry pitter, so I used a medium-sized straw to poke the pits through, and this seemed to work well.

I hope if you decide to try and jar one recipe this year that this will be it! The recipe makes a good amount without requiring an obscene amount of cherries. Also, if you're in the Milwaukee area, the West Allis Farmer's Market has a great cherry vendor who sells the smaller tart cherries for $2.50 a pint (or 2 pints for $4).

Sour Cherry Sauce

Ingredients:
-4 & 1/2 cups fresh or frozen sour cherries, de-stemmed and pitted
-1 & 1/2 cups water
-3/4 cup pineapple juice
-1 cinnamon stick, 4 inches long
-3/4 cup sugar
-3 tablespoons cornstarch
-1/3 cup cold water
-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a medium non-reactive pot, combine cherries, water, pineapple juice, and cinnamon stick. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat when boil is reached, cover and boil gently for 10 minutes.

Remove cinnamon, then add sugar to cherries. Mix cornstarch with water and add to cherry mixture. Bring to a boil again, then reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered. After 5 minutes, or when clear and thickened, stir in the lemon juice.

Pack into sterilized jars to 1/2 inch from rim. Cover with lids and process in boiling water bath to keep for a year. If you're not using sterilized jars, store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks, or freeze. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dinner - Taco Supper Skillet

Matt and I had a great, quick meal for dinner last night. It again comes to us from Betty Crocker, that great lady she is. (You can find a printable copy of this recipe here, or see how we altered it below.)

This meal is great because it takes literally 30 minutes to make. It's kind of the no-additives version of Hamburger Helper. Now, don't get me wrong as I LOVE the taste of Hamburger Helper, but there's just something about those seasoning packets and powdered topping packets that kinda grosses me out a bit.

If you, like me, have not had a Hamburger Helper meal in a while, and would like something similar, this meal is perfect! The added vegetables make you feel like you're eating something healthier (OK so there is really nothing that healthy about this dish, I admit it), and you can probably even add more veggies like peppers or even broccoli to this dish.

But let's be honest. This is one of those meals that tastes good and is decent in moderation! You get the nice home cooked flavor, and also the Mexican food craving satisfied all in one meal!

We made this in our skillet with sides, and it worked wonderfully! Just be sure that whatever pan/pot you use has a lid. I think you will enjoy this simple, one dish meal!

Taco Supper Skillet

Ingredients:
-1/2 pound lean ground beef (we used a whole pound...you can also sub ground turkey)
-1 package (1 oz) taco seasoning mix (we used a couple tablespoons of Penzey's Bold Taco Seasoning, and a few dashes of Penzey's Arizona Dreaming)
-2 & 1/4 cups water
-1 & 1/2 cups uncooked wagon wheel pasta (we used shell pasta we had on hand)
-1 & 1/2 cups frozen corn
-1 can (15 oz) kidney, pinto, or black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 medium tomato, chopped (we used one from our tomato plant!! YAY!!)
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
-1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (we omitted these since we didn't have any!)

In large skillet with sides, cook beef until browned and cooked thoroughly. Drain.
Stir taco seasoning, water, pasta, corn, beans, and tomato into beef.
Heat to boiling. Stir. Reduce heat to medium-low and COVER. Cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed (We used more beef than was called for, so our ratios were a bit off. I had to scoop out some of the liquid to get the correct consistency).
Stir in sour cream and remove from heat.
Sprinkle cheese and chives over the top. Cover and let stand 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts.
Serves 4.