Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blue Velvet Cake

Cake:
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tsp. royal blue paste food color
1 toothpickful violet paste food color

Frosting:
7 oz. jar marshmallow creme
1 c. butter, softened
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

To make the cake: Heat oven to 325°F.

Grease bottom and sides of two or three (depending on how many layers you want) 8-inch round cake pans with shortening and lightly flour, or spray with baking spray then coat with flour.

In a large bowl, beat all cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake 23 to 28 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched in center. Cool 15 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.

To make the frosting: In a large microwavable bowl, microwave marshmallow creme uncovered on High 15 to 20 seconds to soften. Add butter. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and salt until smooth.

If necessary, trim rounded tops of two cake layers to flatten before assembling.

To assemble three layer cake: Place 1 cake layer, top side down, on serving plate; spread with about 1/3 cup frosting. Top with second layer, top side down; spread with about 1/3 cup frosting. Top with untrimmed cake layer, top side up. Frost side and top of cake with remaining frosting.


This is the recipe link I used. The cake was fantastic. So was the frosting. Amazing: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bettycrockerrecipes/5546699285/

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Calzones

1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
1 c. warm water
Dough with filling
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 c. pepperoni, diced
1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp. dried basil leaves
1 egg, beaten
(I also added garlic powder, coriander, and black pepper)

To Make Dough:
Dough
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the oil, sugar, and salt; mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour until dough is smooth and workable. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until it is elastic. Lay dough in a bowl containing 1 tsp. olive oil, then flip the dough, cover, and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost doubled.

Before baking




To Make Filling:
While dough is rising, combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, and basil (and other seasonings if you want them!) in a large bowl. Mix well, cover bowl and refrigerate to chill.


Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). When dough is ready, punch it down and separate it into 2 equal parts. Roll parts out into thin circles on a lightly floured surface. Fill each circle with 1/2 of the cheese and meat filling, fold over, securing edges by folding in and pressing with a fork. Brush the top of each calzone with egg and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Ready to eat!

Bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 2 (monster sized) calzones or 4 normal sized calzones.


Recipe courtesy of Angel Lee

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Guinness Beef Stew

2 lbs. boneless beef sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
All-purpose flour for dredging
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 c. canola oil
4 medium onions, chopped
2 c. beef stock (or bouillon)
2 c. Guinness
5 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and thickly sliced


Season the meat with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. In a stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Working in batches, cook the meat on all sides for 5-7 minutes, or until evenly browned. Remove from the pot. Stir in the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until soft.

Return all the meat to the pot and add enough of the beef stock and the Guinness to cover.Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 60 minutes, or until the meat is nearly tender. Add the carrots and parsnips, and cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables and meat are tender and the stew is thickened.

Serve in bowls.

Colcannon

2 lbs. of potatoes
1 lb. of cabbage
1 c. milk (or half and half)
1/2 c. butter
salt and pepper

Cook the potatoes, drain, and mash. Cook the cabbage, shredded, in boiling salted water for about 15 minutes. Drain, cool slightly, and chop. Stir the cabbage into the potatoes. Stir in butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper.

From The Irish Pub Cookbook

Irish Soda Bread

3 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. raisins, if desired
3/4 c. buttermilk

Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease cookie sheet. 
Cut butter into flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in raisins and just enough buttermilk so dough leaves side of bowl. I had to use more buttermilk than what it called for to get the dough to stick together. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Shape into round loaf, about 6 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on cookie sheet. Cut an X shape about 1/2 inch deep through loaf with floured knife. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with butter or margarine, softened, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of bettycrocker.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chicken Lazone

I made this recipe for dinner, and Chris said it was the best chicken he'd ever had.

Here's a link to the website where I found the recipe I adapted: http://www.food.com/recipe/chicken-lazone-65768

1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
cayenne pepper, thyme, basil, coriander (measurements are up to you, but I go heavy on the thyme and coriander)
4 whole chicken breasts
1/4 c. butter, divided
1/2 c. heavy cream

Combine the seasonings and coat chicken breasts. In large saute pan melt half of the butter and cook chicken over medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Pour the cream into the skillet and lower the heat. Simmer for several minutes (about 5-10), stirring until the sauce thickens then add the remaining butter. Make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through. When butter is melted, place chicken breasts on four plates and top with the sauce.

I may have played around with the spices a bit. Make sure you let the chicken brown on both sides because that adds way more flavor. It was delicious.


Cooking
Served over rice

Monday, March 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

1/4 c. butter, melted
2 c. creme filled chocolate sandwich cookies, finely crushed
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. whipping cream
sugar to taste
chocolate chips and whipping cream, melted


Mix the crumbled cookies and melted butter. Press the crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Chill the pie shell while preparing the mixture.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in peanut butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream until firm peaks. Add sugar to taste to the whipping cream while you're beating it. Fold in whipping cream to the cream cheese and peanut butter mixture. Spoon into crust.

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and whipping cream for 30 seconds. You can either pour it over the whole top or make your own decorative design.

The recipe says to only chill for 2 hours, but I find there's a much fuller flavor if you let it chill overnight.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beef and Vegetable Pepper Pot

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. beef tenderloin, cut into thin strips
1 red onion, sliced and cut into thin strips
1/2 Spanish onion, sliced and cut into thin strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into thin strips
1/2 green pepper, seeded, deribbed, and cut into thin strips
2 stalks celery, cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths and lengthwise into thin strips
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 c.beef stock or 2 beef bouillon cubes mixed with 2 cups boiling water
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
coriander, basil, oregano to taste

In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Cook the beef until browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate and set aside. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the peppers, celery, tomato paste, stock, salt and pepper, cilantro, coriander, basil, oregano. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the sauce is thickened. Stir in the beef and cook until heated through. Serve hot.

Adapted from The Irish Pub Cookbook

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Egg White Cake

Here is a link to the recipe I used: http://nami-nami.blogspot.com/2009/01/egg-white-cake-recipe-angel-cake-recipe.html.
But in case you don't want to convert the European measurements, I'll write out the conversions here.

6 large egg whites
1 c + 2 Tbsp. caster sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 c. flour
7 Tbsp. melted butter, slightly cooled

Bake at 350 F.

This cake is good even without frosting. It's very dense and kind of spongy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lemon Chicken

Sauce:
1 c. lemon curd (you can follow this recipe: Lemon Curd or use store-bought)
3/4 c. warm water
1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch + 1/2 c. cold water
Yellow food coloring (optional)

Chicken:
2.5 - 3 lbs. thawed raw chicken, cut into 1" cubes
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 eggs
1/2 c. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. baking powder
Dash white pepper
Half dash salt
Deep fryer with oil, or large skillet with enough oil for pan frying

To make the sauce:
Bring lemon curd and warm water to a boil over medium heat (in teflon-coated saucepan - no exposed metal!), stirring constantly. When lemon curd is completely dissolved into water, add cold water and cornstarch, stirring quickly until mixture reaches a rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce reaches desired thickness. You may choose to add a few drops of yellow food coloring if you want more color to the sauce.

To make the chicken:
In a large bowl, toss together chicken and soy sauce. Let marinate ~ 10 minutes, then pat chicken dry with paper towels.
Whisk together eggs, cornstarch, powder, pepper, and salt. Combine chicken and batter in large bowl, and either deep fry or pan fry battered pieces (5-7 minutes per batch). Place cooked chicken on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
When all chicken has been battered and fried, pour lemon sauce over chicken (after removing paper towels) and serve.

Lemon Curd

6 large egg yolks
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 c. lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 4 lemons)
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

Prepare an ice bath fitted with a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk together yolks, zest, juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, stirring until incorporated. Pass through a fine mesh sieve into prepared medium bowl. Stirring frequently, let stand until cool.

Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on surface of curd to prevent skin from forming; wrap tightly. Refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart