Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

I'm late with this post, although I made these cupcakes two weeks ago.  This used a whole jar of natural peanut butter.  I was hoping there would be some peanut butter left over for me.

I used my home made raspberry jam and yummmm.  The cupcake is from the MS Cupcake book.  The cupcakes are wonderful.  They have 2/3 cup of peanut butter and 3/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts.  They are good with out the icing.

For me the icing is to rich.  I can't believe I am saying this.  But the mixture of cream cheese, peanut butter, and whip cream was too much for me.  I took them to work, I gave them to the Handyman and the guy that delivers my meat.  I am now using baked goods in liue of tips.  It seems to be working pretty good.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cupid's Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Don't you wish you were here?
I went to San Diego this weekend to spend some time with my Niece Lexi and my Great Niece Meg.  This is what we did, well this is one of the things we did.  Lexi is back from Japan and enjoying the use of a full size oven.  I am sharing the schedule for the Avid Baker Challenge so she can bake along.  And since this was a mid month recipe we tried it out together.

We made the Signature Yellow Cake from Baking for All Occasions.  This was so good.  Let me tell you the secret.  There are extra egg yolks.  After you bake the cake, you slice each layer in half and spread jam.

Add a layer and add the buttercream, a layer of Strawberries, and another layer of buttercream.  I have to admit, we had some technical difficulties with the buttercream.  There are a lot of steps and we needed a candy thermometer, that we did not have, so we added extra unflavored gelatin.  It was pretty scary putting the strawberries on the cake cause they kept sliding.

Our buttercream did not get as thick as I would have like the day we made the cake.  Since it was not thick enough to spread we just let it pour down the sides. 

I think it came out beautiful and tasted great.  This buttercream was very complicated and I will probably not try that recipe again.  It was very fun cooking with my Niece.  Good Job Lexi!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Apple Cake - Baked

I made the Carmel Apple Cake for Baked Sunday Morning more of a snack cake.  I am not a formal person and need to lose a few pounds, so I figured if I eliminate the icing...

What I got was a beautiful bundt cake.  This recipe did make more batter that the bundt pan would take and I cooked if for about 70 minuets.  I think it could have stayed in the oven longer.  It is a very most cake with great flavor.  I love the cinnamon, allspice and clove mixture.

This cake is so moist it was falling apart.  I will be taking it into work for coffee break with friends.  This is a great fall recipe.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sunday Loaf - good use for raspberry jam

For the last two weeks in July I was making raspberry jam.  I put up three cases of jam.  I do give these away as gifts, but what can I do with all this jam?  Well I found a recipe for "Sunday Loaf".  Its a quick bread that is made using jam in the dough and after the bread is baked you make a topping of jam and butter to top the whole loaf.  Yummmm

I found this recipe in "The Breakfast Book".  The note say that this can be frozen and toasted.  This is a kick back to when I use to toast that cinnamon bread with the icing.  Yes, my smoke alarm did go off.  This is a sign that things are almost done.  (My poor neighbor)

You know this is not even pink, but it does taste like the jam.  I will let you know how this freezes.  I can not eat a whole loaf before it goes bad and I only have toast for breakfast on the weekends.  And I won't eat all the jam Aileen.  I know you want some!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Apricot Tatin Cake - The Cake Book

I love CostCo, but what does a single girl do with two dozen apricots.  Answer" make a Tatin.

The clear platter make the cake look a bit red, but it is basically a upside down cake.  (which only used three apricots, next time I'll make a pie).

The recipe was for peaches, but I used the apricots instead.  You make a caramel with sugar and water and I had the hardest time getting this to a carmel.   It just wouldn't burn.  What's up with that?  When I don't want things to burn they do!

Also, it called for a 10" cake pan.  This will be my next investment at the housewares store.  It's got to be cheaper than cleaning the oven.  I did use a deep dish pie pan.  It was 10" across at the top, but the cake still went over the edge, or may be it was the carmel.  Anyway, the cake looks beautiful and taste good too.  I think is should be eaten quickly, within three or four days, or it gets a bit soggy and heavy, but never dry.

This does work with different fruit, so you may see these back on my blog again.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Quintessential Cheese Blintzes


I have to admit, the only Cheese Blintzes that I have eaten,up until now, are those at a smorgasbord.  Let me tell you this is not the smorgasbord food.

To start, you make crepes.  This is not my normal crepe recipe.  The one I normally make has more butter, but I certainly could not tell the difference.  Also, I usually rest my crepe batter for 30 minutes, this recipe has you rest the batter for at least 1 or two hours.  For the filling, I could not find farmers cheese, so I used ricotta.  This filling was great with a bit of lemon zest added in. 

I tried to pan fry the blintzes to cook the filling, but I did not do so well.  I finished up the crepe batter and filling a night later and baked those blintzes.  The filling cooked up better baked than pan fried.  Still had that great lemon flavor.  And me, I had to get more raspberries since they are in season.  Drizzled with a bit of my home made raspberry jam. 

This recipe is from Flo Braker's Baking for All Occasions and was made for the Avid Bakers Challenge.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Corn Soup for French Fridays

I'm late again.  This has been a terrible week.  Busy at work and home. But, it's the weekend and a long weekend at that.

It's summertime and corn is cheap.  Six ears for a dollar.  This is a great time to make corn soup, except it's warm outside.    I have never made a corn soup or chowder, so this is a first.  It is so easy and pretty fast.  Cut the corn off the cob and boil the cob with milk.

 Saute the onion.

Cut veggies and add

Ooh isn't this pretty

After the veggies saute for a while you add the milk mixture back in and let it cook for a while.  The recipe can be found in around my french table.  Once everything is done, blitz in the blender, or I use an immersion blender.  (remove the corn cobs, very important)  Then plate. 

 Since the sweet corn and the whole mike make makes this soup pretty sweet I made a chipotle chile oil to drizzle and added a dollop of Greek yogurt.  This is good stuff. I will try to freeze some for lunches.  Try this while corn is in season.  It is really good.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Congo Brownies

OMG these brownies are so good!

I saw these brownies on another baking club and I could not help myself.  I bought the book, I joined the club.  The book is Baking for All Occasions and the club is ABC On-Line Baking.  This will be a once a month club. 

The only change I made to the recipe was to use pecan's instead of walnuts and where the recipe says to wait until the bottom layer comes out of the oven to start the top layer, I didn't. 

You just make the bottom, kind of like a Toll House cookie without the chips.  Cut up some nuts and press them in to the bottom Blondie layer and cook.  While the bottom layer was cooking, I mixed up the top layer, so it was ready to spread on when this came out of the oven. Then slide it back in the over until done.

I was suppose to wait until it cooled and make a chocolate drizzle, but I ate some while it was warm.  Yum.  These got a thumbs up from everyone who tasted them at work.  They were not to rich or to sweet and yet it was very chocolaty.  This is a keeper recipe and worth the price of the book.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

MS Cupcake - August

I was supposed to make Rhubarb Cupcakes with Whipped Cream, but I really don't like rhubarb, well I didn't like it as a kid.  I used to run it over with my bicycle so we couldn't eat it.  Come to think of it, I didn't get caught.  There were to may kids with bicycles, how would they know it was me?  Check out MS Cupcake for information on the real August Cupcake.

But I did bake.  I made the Strawberry Cupcakes from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes.  I love strawberries and this time of year I always have them in my fridge.  My taste testers say these are in the top 5  of the baked goods I have brought into work so far.  They are good and pretty easy.  The only problem I had is that I made the icing one evening and was going to frost them the next evening, although the icing instructions say you can do this, the icing separates and is not pretty.  It still taste good, it just not pretty and darn it after all this work, I want pretty.  So I covered the top with strawberries.  Now they look pretty.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baked - Grasshopper Bars

Okay, it's official.  I should not be taking photos at 5:30AM. 

What can I say.  These taste like deep dark chocolate and mint.  The mint section is a bit gooey and they are so rich that I can only eat one.  Me, eat only one!  This is almost unheard of until now.

Anyway, I made these Thursday evening.  It's just like the recipe says,  (BAKED Link)  First you make the brownie.  It's a short brownie, mine was only about a half an inch tall.  Then you make the butter cream, but is was kind of strange.  Made with flour, sugar, and milk.  I finally got it thick and mint and poured it on the brownie which I forgot to let cool.  I was amazed that the butter in the butter cream melted on the spot.  Not all of the butter.  This sucker went into the fridge as fast as I could move.  I check on it every 30 minutes and was able to incorporate the melted butter back into the butter cream.  Once that was pretty solid I poured the chocolate glaze over the whole thing and popped it back in the fridge.

I got mixed reviews from my taste testers.  No one had seconds because they were so rich.  They are tasty, but fussy to make.  Overall a good recipe for those chocolate mint lovers.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

FFD - Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar

This is an intriguing concept, especially on these hot summer day's were the idea of turning on the oven makes me sweat.  This is not a hard recipe, but it does take a couple of days to get through the steps, which is why my French Friday's post is on Sunday. 

The photo in the cookbook is lovely and looks wonderful, mine was not so pretty.  I did not have any quart jars, so I used what I had.  Not bad for looks, lots of color and different flavors, but I did not like the texture of the salmon in this dish.  Not sure why.  I like sushi and salmon pretty much any way.  But I don't think I will make this again.  And of course I would not have know this without making it once. 

I liked the idea but not the Salmon.  The potatoes I do like.  Strange!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Baked - Mom's Olive Oil Orange Bundt

For starters, I have never made a cake with olive oil in it.  I'm still living in the world were olive oil is the good fat used to saute with, but this is why I joined cooking clubs.  To challenge myself with new cooking and baking ideas.  I bet you thought I joined for the food!

This was a fun cake to make.  I used the good California olive oil I was given as a Christmas gift.  This is the time to use the good stuff.  It's makes into a fluffy orange yogurt cake.  The cake is moist and the smell is heaven if you like oranges.  It did bake up in 50 minute, just like the recipe suggested.  The taste of orange is delicate and it's not too sweet.  I did pair the cake with fresh strawberries, because frankly, I think almost everything is great with strawberries. 

As I mentioned, I am counting points, so 1/16th of the cake equals 6 points.  Yeah, this means I can have some for dinner too!  I will make this cake again.  It is beautiful and tasty.  I recommend you try this for yourself.  See all the post at Baked or buy the book.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Citrus-Berry Terrine

I back again.  I've been cooking, but not writing.  Bad Connie.  Anyway, I was not going to pass on this recipe.  It's full of everything I love.  All those berries, Yumm.

I made this last night after reading the Questions & Problems and read how fast the gelatin sets up.  Your suppose to add the berries and citrus when the gelatin is the consistency of egg whites.  Mine wasn't at an hour, so I when back a half an hour later and Oh My Goodness.  This stuff was almost solid.  It is nerve racking to try some of these recipes.  I added my four cups of berries and citrus and jiggled my pan.  I scraped the edges and jiggled again, and then I jiggled some more.  At that point I just covered it with wax paper and went to bed.  An hour before I thought I was going to end up with berry soup.

Anyway, when I got up, after the blueberries exploded out of the refrigerate all over the kitchen floor (I guess I did not place the blueberries flat, was that a surprise at 5 AM).  I flipped out my terrine and Viola, pretty as a picture. 

My taste tester now comment on my food staging.  I'm getting some good input, unfortunately it is they are eating not when I'm taking pictures.  I need to remember that some mint would look good.   In addition, some of my taste testers are on Weight Watchers, so I even counted point for them.  FYI, this is 3 point for one-eighth.  So I raved to my friends who have the cook book Around my French Table and I think my Sister is going to try the recipe this weekend.  It's great while all the berries are in season.  I may make it again also, I have to use up the rest of the berries. Oh and there is still enough blueberries left even after the early morning explosion.  But I think I will add some cherries to the mix.    Happy weekend!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Salmon and Tomatoes En Papilote

I have been on a fish kick and cooking salmon recently.  So trying a new way to bake salmon was refreshing.  And it looks so pretty.

I am not a big tomato fan, but I insist on making the recipes as is, at least the first time.  I usually marinate my salmon in garlic, olive oil and lemon, but this had the lemon and olive oil plus basil, rosemary and tomatoes.  I don't think I normally salt and pepper my salmon either, but this was wonderful.

This was easy to assemble.  It did not take much longer than my normal marinate, but it had so much more flavor and was moist and it had a kind of olive oil and tomato clear sauce that was wonderful.  All your ingredients are rolled up into a foil packet and baked.

I love the look of the final piece of rosemary before closing the packet
This will be how I cook salmon from now on. After making this once, I wonder if you can grill the packets, or subsitute veggies for the fish.  I bet this would be good with zucchini instead of fish.  So many choice.  The recipe can be found in around my french table by Dorie Greenspan. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baked Blackberry Pie

Blackberry Pie
My favorite dessert - Blackberry Pie
I like pie and blackberry is one of my favorites.  I use any excuse to make it or eat it.  This year for my birthday, work brought in blackberry pie.  All of the pie in the past were not as good as this one.  The recipe from Baked is wonderful.  The crust, which is made in a food processor was wonderful to work with.  Is was easy to roll, went into the pie pan with no problems.  No cracking or breaking.  This was a pleasure to make.

I must admit, I used frozen berries.  Fresh blackberries are still very expensive, if you can find them.. Also, this made a big mess in my oven.  I bet there was a cup of juice on the bottom of the oven.  All the same I will use this crust as my go to pie crust and am looking for an excuse to make this again.

Chunky beets and icy red onions

Let me start by telling you I love beets.  I get them in my CSA box almost weekly and usually roast them and eat them on salads.  I was happy to see that Dorie offered three ways to just cook beets.  All three method can be found in around my french table.  And since it's been hot in California so I tried the microwave method.  This was great. 

Anyway this salad reminded me of a cold version of Harvard Beets I used to eat as a kid.  Kind of tangy and sweet.  Even so, this was not a favorite recipe.  It may be I've been eating plan old roasted beets.  But I must admit.  I did eat it all in one sitting.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mozzarella, Tomato, and Strawberry Salad

Hi all, I've been gone for a while.  I had a loss in my family and it has taken it's toll on what I considered my life.  I have started cooking again, but I started by burning myself.  That never rarely happens.  I think I'm back and I will add a few pictures of what I did make, but did not blog about, at the end of this post.

Anyway Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Strawberries.  To tell the truth, I am not a big fan of tomatoes, but I made the recipe just as it says.  It's very similar to what I make when tomatoes are in season, but I would not have thought to add the strawberries.  This is a good recipe from "around my french table"

The strawberries added sweetness and more beautiful red color to the plate.  I had to add the 15 year old balsamic.  Yum

I will make this again this summer while the strawberries and tomatoes are in season.  It makes a great light dinner.

More baking pics

Dreamsicle Tart - Baked Sunday Morning
Father's Day Cupcakes
These cupcakes were good.  From Martha Stewards  Cupcake Cookbook.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tomato Soup Cupcakes with Marscarpone Frosting - Baked

I've read recipes that use Tomato Soup in baked goods, but never got the nerve to try one of the recipes.  But, with Baked Sunday Morning I pulled out my can of soup and started baking.  I did cut the recipe in half and made mini cupcakes.

The mini cupcakes are just the right size for nibbling.  These cupcakes turned out to be a dense cake with little pockets of air.  This was an interesting recipe because you don't just dump in a can of soup, for these cakes you place the can of soup in a bowl and sprinkle with baking soda.  This soup mixture is set aside and is added last.  They are even  reddish in color.    The cupcake is laced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and in this case cardamom.  (I need to buy allspice)

I halved all of the ingredients and made 24 little cakes. 

New container for carrying goodies to work. 
Note, need to place a little icing under the cupcake so they don't move around in transit.

The Marscapone Frosting was a wonderful addition to the spicy cupcake.  This was fun to share, the addition of Tomato Soup got a lot of raised eyebrows and happy faces after tasting.  This is a good one!