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Posts Tagged ‘baked’

It’s rhubarb season!  And as my friend Susan will tell you, “everyone should eat more rhubarb.”  Why not, when it’s so easy to make this sweet little cake highlighting summer’s best?

I’ve seen this described as rhubarb “tres leches” cake, and although it actually only contains dos leches, the fruit and cream do sink to the bottom and create a delectable custard.  We demolished several slices with friends recently and continued picking at pan scraps and “shaving” off corners to make the rest “more uniform.”  I take that as a good sign.

When the sight of neon pink and green stalks at the market finally proves irresistible, be sure to make this cake.  Enjoy!  And happy summer!

Yellow cake:

-1 1/4 (scant) c. all-purpose flour
-1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. salt
-3/4 c. sugar
-1/4 c. oil
-1 egg
-2/3 c. milk
-1 tsp. vanilla extract

Fruit & custard layer:

-2 c. chopped rhubarb (about 3 large stalks)
-1/2 c. sugar
-1 c. whipping cream

1.  In a medium bowl, toss rhubarb with the 1/2 cup sugar.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour an 8-in. round baking pan or large glass/ceramic baking dish.

2.  Prepare cake batter: whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a medium bowl.  In a larger bowl, mix eggs, vanilla extract, oil, and milk.  Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet until thoroughly combined.

3.  Pour cake batter into prepared pan.  Scatter chopped rhubarb and juices evenly across the top.  Pour the cream over top.

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A few weeks ago, I went on an Iron Chef-style mission to empty my fridge by cooking creatively.  With plans to leave town for the next 15 days, I did not want to come home to any nasty (green, fuzzy, smelly) surprises.  And I hate to waste food.

When I found a pint of buttermilk lurking in the fridge, I thought chocolate buttermilk cake might be the answer.  This recipe sounded promising but needed to be scaled down.  Although I was a little nervous about the success of my sketchy mathematics, I forged ahead.

I shouldn’t have worried.  As my husband took his first bite, I asked, “Is it as good as the Guinness Chocolate Cake?”

“Better,” he said with a smile.

Iron Chef: 1; Waste: 0

This buttermilk chocolate cake is moist, dark, and moderately sweet.  Sweet-tart raspberry sauce and a bit of whipped cream are the perfect accompaniments.

(Adapted from “P@perseed)

For the cake:

-1 c. all-purpose flour
-3/4 c. sugar
-1 1/3 tsp. baking soda
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch-process)
-1/3 c. + 1 Tbsp. oil
-1/2 c. buttermilk
-1 large egg
-1/2 c. strong, hot coffee
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (more…)

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Do you love white?

You know: rice, potatoes, pasta, bread, flour, bechamel (mmm, bechamel…)

Well, you don’t need me to tell you.  We’ve all heard we need to eat less white. (Naturally) colorful foods typically have more of the good stuff: vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, flavonoids, and fiber.  Unfortunately, DayGlo-orange Kraft Mac doesn’t count as the right kind of colorful.  Michael Pollan tells us; the federal government tells us—but it’s hard to apply all this good advice.

Lately, I’ve been making a concerted effort to put more color on our plates. Sometimes this means buying some flourescent produce and rushing home to ask Chef Google what the heck I can do with it.  That’s fun, in a kind of Iron-Chef-challenge way.  But sometimes, it’s just easier to work the good stuff into recipes I already make.

Which explains this chicken shepherd’s pie with spinach and sweet potato mash.  It’s got tons of the good stuff bathed in a little cream to help it go down with a smile.

Because a little white is alright.

To be honest, I like my revamped version better than the original. The faintly sweet topping plays off the creamy, herb-spiked base really nicely.  And the chicken is considerably lighter than beef or lamb.  I hope you enjoy my update to the classic.  Dig in!

Topping

-1 lg. sweet potato or yam
-3 med. or 5 sm. white potatoes (enough to weigh 1 1/2 lbs. together with the sweet potato)
-1 Tbsp. butter
-1 Tbsp. herbed cream cheese (I used porcini-mushroom flavored) or sour cream
-1/4-1/2 c. milk, as needed
-salt and pepper, to taste

Peel and cube all the potatoes and boil in a medium pot of salted water until tender.  Drain and place in a medium bowl.  Set aside the pot for later use.

Whip together the potatoes, butter, cream cheese (or sour cream), seasoning, and as little milk as needed to form a thick but spreadable consistency.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

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This unusual rice pilaf makes a great side dish for baked chicken or grilled meat. The combination of sweet/savory and tart/buttery flavors is delicious.  I imagine it would even be good using a prepared saffron rice mix (steamed, not boiled as this recipe calls for) in a pinch.  But what I like about making your own saffron rice is that the flavor is subtle, and you avoid the MSG lurking in packaged products.

In any case, try this!  It’s such a nice twist.

(Adapted from Food & Wine)

-1 c. basmati rice
-3 Tbsp. butter
-1 tsp. olive oil
-1/4 c. dried sour cherries, raisins, or dried cranberries (2 ounces)
-2 tsp. sugar
-1/3 c. sliced or slivered almonds
-1/4 tsp. saffron
-salt and pepper, to taste

1. Toast the almonds in a dry skillet on medium heat, stirring to prevent burning. Once brown, immediately remove almonds to a bowl.

2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook until almost tender, between 8 and 10 minutes. Test periodically to ensure the rice retains a slight “al dente” bite.

3. Drain rice in a colander and shake to remove excess water. In a small bowl, dissolve the saffron in 1 tablespoon of hot water. Return the rice to the saucepan and stir in the saffron water. Season with salt and (ideally white) pepper.

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I won’t say too much about these bars, other than that they are delicious.  You already know that soft, fluffy baked goods drizzled with cream cheese icing are my Kryptonite.  The next time you have a couple of overripe bananas, you know what to do.

Just don’t come knocking.

You can double this recipe and bake it in a 13×9-in. pan.

-2 eggs, room temperature
-1/2 c. granulated sugar
-1/3 c. raw sugar
-1/4 c. vegetable oil
-1/4 c. plain yogurt
-8-oz. bananas (weighed after peeling—about 1 1/2 medium bananas), mashed
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 c. all-purpose flour
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. baking soda (more…)

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“Did a bad, bad thing…”

Every single time I think about these pumpkin bars, the chorus from that Chris Isaak song runs through my head.  I’m not kidding.

Don’t make these.

You won’t be able to stop yourself.  One minute you’re pulling them out of the oven, and the next thing you know, you’re left covered in orange crumbs, your fingers sticky with cream cheese icing, wondering what the hell just happened.

Try to eat just one.

Paula Deen gets credit for this recipe, which makes perfect sense when you consider her other devious creations.  I decided to lighten these pumpkin bars up with some yogurt in place of half the oil.  The substitution worked perfectly, and I’m certain you’ll love their moist quick-bread texture.  I tweaked Paula’s recipe, using fresh pumpkin, fresh ginger, and some raw sugar, but feel free to check out the original recipe, too.

Be strong!  (Next up will be a healthy, savory vegetarian main dish to atone for these sins.)

You hedonists can double this recipe and bake it in a 13×9-in. pan.

-2 eggs, room temperature
-1/2 c. granulated sugar
-1/3 c. raw sugar
-1/4 c. vegetable oil
-1/4 c. plain yogurt
-8-oz. homemade pumpkin puree or canned Libby’s pumpkin puree (NOT
pumpkin pie filling)
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 c. all-purpose flour
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated (or 1/4 tsp. dried ginger)
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. baking soda

Making pumpkin purée is almost as easy as opening a can… (more…)

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spinach dip

I’m excited to introduce a new guest blogger, Chris Ferrera, whom I’ve known since we were gangly teenagers wearing braces and carrying ugly purses (me, at least). We’ve been best buds since the time when a big night out was meeting at the mall to gossip over virgin piña coladas and spinach dip.  Ah…the days before calories counted.

It’s no surprise, then, that Chris’ signature appetizer today is a cheesy spinach artichoke dip.  This one is a classic.  Without further ado, here she is to explain how it’s done:

My name is Chris, and I’m married to a football addict.  My husband loves all sports, but football season holds a special place in his heart. Right around June, he starts talking incessantly about how he can’t wait for cooler weather, the pre-season games, and his fantasy leagues’ drafts.  (Yes, leagues, plural.)

I, on the other hand, am not the world’s biggest football fan, so the period of time between August and February every year has required some negotiation in our marriage.  To avoid spending Sundays in separate rooms, watching separate TVs, we needed to find some common ground—a way to make football (almost) as enjoyable for me as it is for him.

Turns out, that common ground is food, and more specifically what we like to call Football Food—basically anything cheesy, meaty, carby, or fried.  I love to eat and enjoy nothing more than a built-in excuse to indulge in delicious, savory snacks each week.  One of our favorite go-to football snacks is my mom’s Spinach Artichoke Dip.

There are countless spinach dip recipes out there, but I firmly maintain that this is the BEST, as long as you don’t have a problem with butter, cheese, and cream…

cheese sauceThe holy trinity

Spinach Artichoke Dip

-8 oz. heavy cream
-1 stick butter (4 oz.)
-2 Tbsp. flour
-4 oz. sour cream
-3/4 c. parmesan cheese (shredded)
-1/4 c. Monterey jack cheese (shredded), plus a bit more for sprinkling on top
-2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
-1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (more…)

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