Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Almond Birthday Cakes with Medera-Lemon Butter CreamAdapted from the New York TimesIngredients:For the Cake:-1 Cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature; more for greasing pans-3 large eggs-1 cup sour cream-1 teaspoon vanilla extract-1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest-2 1/2 cups cake flour-1/2 cup finely ground almonds (can be done in food processor)-1 1/2 cups sugar-3/4 teaspoon baking powder-3/4 teaspoon baking soda-3/4 teaspoon saltFor the butter cream:-4 large egg whites (yes Will made me a cocktail with one of the yolks)-Large pinch salt-3/4 pound unsalted butter (3 sticks) at roomtemperature-2 tablespoons Madeira (or to taste)-1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest-1/4 teaspoon cinnamonDirections:Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch by 2-inch deep round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment or waxed paper. In a bowl, beat together the eggs, 1/4 cup sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest.In bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the cake flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat in butter and remaining 3/4 cup sour cream until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly beat in the egg mixture until fully combined.Scrape batter into prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake layer comes out clean. Let cake layers cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes, then invert onto racks and peel off paper. Let cool completely on racks.While cakes cool, make frosting: In a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water (or use a double boiler), whisk egg whites, sugar and salt until sugar is completely melted (130 to 140 degrees on a candy thermometer), 3 to 4 minutes. Remove egg whites from heat; beat mixture with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until completely cooled and thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.Beat in the butter, a little at a time, until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Beat in the Madeira, lemon zest and cinnamon. Taste, add more Madeira if desired.
To frost cake, put a little dab of icing in the center of your platter to give yourself a little stability. Place 1 layer on a cake plate, rounded side down, trimming if necessary so it lies flat. Spread with a third of the frosting, top with second layer (rounded side up this time) and frost remainder of cake.
The "suspend a bowl over a simmering pan of water" thing is not nearly as hard as it sounds. Just take your largest mixing bowl (heat proof is more important then usual here) and rest it on top of a saucepan full of boiling water. Voila! You've built yourself a double boiler, and saved yourself $35.
When I ground my almonds, I ended up grinding way too many. Therefore I spread them on my toaster oven baking pan, and just toasted them for a few minutes. After the cake was iced, I carefully went around and pressed the crushed almonds into the bottom 2" of cake. I swear, I don't know if I'm becoming domestic or am just a show off.
The cake was everything I wanted it to be. It's a dense cake, with all of that almond, but richer and more complex then what you expect biting into what looks to be a vanilla cake. The icing was even better, all the heart stopping butteriness that you usually get from a buttercream, but with this very grown up something extra involved. It was certainly a cake I was happy to serve guests in my very grown up big girl apartment, because, lets face it, I am not a college student anymore. I am a grown up big girl of 27 years of age. But I'm still going to wear the tiara.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Using your favorite gin or vodka, add a splash of McClure's spicy or garlic dill brine to liven up your cocktail. Garnish with a pepper, pickle or garlic clove left in the McClure's jar.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Epicurette's Cajun JambalayaAdapted (heavily) from Bon AppetitIngredients:-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil-A 3 and a half to 4 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces-2 Small Onions, chopped-1 Large Green Pepper, chopped-3 Sliced Green Onions-2 Jalapenos, chopped-2 pounds andouille sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices-2 bay leaves-2 teaspoons chili powder-1 teaspoon dried thyme-3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you really like smoke pouring out your ears)-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves-3 cups long-grain white rice-6 cups of low-salt chicken brothDirections:Heat oil in large heavy pot or dutch oven over high heat. Working in batches, add chicken and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to platter. Reduce heat to medium-high, add sausage and cook until brown. Remove sausage to separate platter. Add onion, bell pepper, jalepeno, and green onions to pot. Saute until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add sausage, bay leaves, herbs and spices, saute until spices are fragrent and flavors blend, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir to coat.Pour broth over rice mixture in pot. Add chicken, press to submerge in liquid. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 35-45 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Season with salt, pepper, and more cayenne pepper if desired.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from Cake Man Raven
Ingredients:Vegetable oil for the pans
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon red food coloring (1/2 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting (Recipe Below)Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with liners.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
Fill cupcake papers 2/3 of the way. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out with only a few crumbs attached, rotating the pans halfway through cooking, about 18 to 22 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and remove the cupcakes from the pans. Let cool completely.
Frost the cupcakes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extractDirections:
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Spaghetti alla CarbonaraAdapted from Ruth Reichl
Ingredients:-1 pound spaghetti-1/4 pound sliced pancetta-2 cloves of garlic, split in half-2 large eggs-Black Pepper-1/2 cup of grated parmigiano cheese
Directions:Cook pasta according to package directions. If you are using fresh pasta, keep in mind that it will only take a few minutes so cook the pasta right at the end.
Cut the pancetta into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Cook in skillet for about 2 minutes until fat begins to render add garlic cloves and cook five minutes longer, until pancetta is beginning to get crispy. If you wish for a more garlic taste remove one clove and smash the other one to pieces and mix in. Otherwise remove all garlic.
While pancetta cooks break eggs into the bowl you will serve the pasta in. Whisk with a few grindings of pepper.
When pasta is finished cooking, drain, and toss immediately with the beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly, eggs will form a sauce. Add the pancetta with it's fat, and the cheese. Toss again and serve.