Thursday, January 28, 2010

German Chocolate Cake

Monday was by husband Brian's Happy Birthday! I was so excited to celebrate his birthday this year. It's the first one we've been married for, and I got to make a new cake and throw a party! I asked Brian what kind of cake he wanted and he picked German Chocolate. I was up for the challenge. I have never made one before and was anxious to being my search the a recipe. I headed right over to food network to search it out. I expected to find a recipe from Ina and maybe a few others. I came across an episode of Throw Down with Bobby Flay where he challenged Harlem, NY bakery Make My Cake to a German Chocolate Cake throw down. Turns out I saw that episode and the cake looked delicious. Make My Cake actually lost the throw down, but I figured it must be a pretty amazing cake for Bobby to want to challenge it. So I went for it.

I made the Coconut/Pecan Frosting and a chocolate ganache the day before. I read over the recipe and it looked like a lot to take on after work on Monday before I had to serve it up that evening. Doing half of it ahead of time was perfect. Then the day of I just had to make the cake, which was very doable, and put it all together.

The coconut/peacan frosting was absolutely delicious. When I tasted it I figured if the cake didn't turn out too great it wouldn't matter because I would just slather it with the frosting and all would be well! I cooked it according to the recipe. I thought it seemed a little runny after the 12 minutes, but once it cooled (I refrigerated it over night) it was just the right consistency for a frosting. I toasted my pecans in a pan on the stove just for a few minutes. The recipe calls for a chocolate frosting to put around the outside of the cake, but her's is a secret family recipe that she didn't give out. I read through the reader comments on the recipe and a lot of people just used a basic ganache and said it worked out great. The recipe I used is below.

Again for the cake I followed the recipe as written. I started melting the chocolate and water in a make shift double boiler with a glass bowl and pan, but apparently my glass bowl wasn't heat proof and it cracked. (Mom it was that little one you gave me.) Yikes! So I carefully got rid of the broken glass and hot liquid and started again. This time in the microwave and it worked like a champ. I used the Baker's German chocolate as recommended. I beat the egg whites, which I had never folded into a cake before, but it definitely made the cake very fluffy and the other ingredients made this a very moist and delicious chocolate cake. And just the right amount of chocolate taste too! One thing different from the recipe, that I found, is that I didn't have enough batter to fill three 9-inch pans, so I just filled two. Not sure if that is a miss print, but it didn't matter. The cook temp isn't included so I just cooked it at 350 for a little more than 30 minutes until my toothpick came out clean.

When I put the cakes together I had quite a bit of the pecan frosting, and maybe that's because I didn't end up with three layers, but I used most of it and no one complained of too much frosting. I forgot to take pictures of the layers as I was putting it together and it was eaten up so fast once we cut into that I couldn't get any pictures then either. Oh well. I'd say the cake was a hit and made Brian's birthday. If you like German Chocolate Cake I strongly recommend giving this recipe a try.

Make My Cake German Chocolate Cake Recipe

Chocolate Ganache
4 oz semisweet chocolate, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 tsp vanilla.
Melt chocolate and cream together on low heat until even, add vanilla, chill 15 minutes

Just a few pictures from the party. Brittany and I made this fabulous, if I do say so myself, Happy Birthday sign and hung it over the food table. Brian loves Henry Weinhard's Root Beer, so we chilled some of those and put them in cute bowls. My wrapping paper even matched the sign! It was a very successful birthday party.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Great White Chili

The forecast calls for rain all week. And it is major rain! So I'm hoping to try out some new soup recipes, but last night was a favorite stand by, Great White Chili. I usually have everything on hand to make this, and it's quick and easy. This recipe comes from an old principal at my mom's school. My mom wasn't particularly fond of this principal, and I think she got "let go," but we did become quite fond of her white chili recipe.

Like I mentioned, it's easy to have everything on hand to make this. Although yesterday I got home, after almost not making it home due to a transmission problem with my car, and realized I didn't have a yellow onion. What I did have is a red onion. I have never used red before, but decided it wouldn't really matter, and it doesn't. Red onions are just sweeter than yellow. The recipe also calls for Great Northern Beans, but any large, white bean would work. For the chicken, I boil it with some onion and parsley flakes. When it's done I shred it using two forks. If you'd like the chili thinner, add the broth from cooking the chicken. The lime and cumin make this recipe, so add more if you'd like! It's also a great slow cooker recipe. The longer it simmers, the better it is. This chili is fabulous the next day! Now go get warmed up!

Great While Chili:
In pot or skillet- saute:
1 tsp Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion

2 cans white corn
3 cans 15 oz. great northern beans (undrained)
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
1 tsp cumin
3 Tbs lime juice
1 tsp pepper
3-4 cooked shredded chicken breasts

Garnish with:
tortilla chips
sour cream
green sauce

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's easy burrito night!

I've always loved a good burrito, it's what I look at first on the menu of a Mexican restaurant. My mom use to make us a basic bean and cheese burrito growing up, before our tastes grew up! But even through college and living on my own I always found that I had the ingredients to throw something together. My only complaint was that most of the flavor came from whatever salsa I choose to put on them. That has all changed! This summer, when I was watching Food Network all day, all the time, I caught an episode of Cooking For Real with Sunny Anderson. I'd never seen her show before and had no idea what kind of food she cooked. So I watched the episode and she made these easy, but delicious looking quesadillas with this new jazzed up sour cream. I had pretty much everything needed to make them, so I tried them out that night, and have keep trying out variations at least every other week.

I'm actually not the hugest quesadilla fan because of all the cheese, always conscious of the waist line. So the first time I actually made just the mix and put in a tortilla, and it is relatively low fat. Each time I make the mix I tend to throw in whatever I have in the fridge. Had some left over rice from the night before, so that was new this time. Sunny didn't use chicken, but I think it's a wonderful addition. I've used grilled chicken, or when I'm lazy I'll throw in canned chicken and it is still good. When I don't have red pepper I'll use green, and I've used all kinds of beans. I prefer whole black beans. But yesterday I accidentally opened a can of pinto beans with peppers (I think I also bought that on accident) so I used those just tonight! They were actually a nice little addition.

What I love most about Sunny's recipe is the Cilantro Lime Sour Cream. It is amazing. Again, it's very simple, but just something I never did to my sour cream before. But I am hooked. I like it with a lot of lime juice.

We have been loving those fresh tortillas that you cook yourself. Well, I guess if we keep them frozen they're not really fresh. But we get them at Costco, not the most authentic, but they keep forever. And when we cook them up they taste so fresh. (And for dessert we cooked up a few more and spread some homemade honey butter on them. Delish! Thanks Walburger's!)

Now I know this isn't a super fancy, or even hard recipe. And perhaps most of you have already whipped something like this up. But it's what I was cooking this week. And since I've been hit with round two of a cold, I was lucky to make this!

Southwest Quesadilla Recipe

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Etsy Store

I decided to follow in my younger sisters footsteps and start an Etsy store. People really are selling all kinds of things on there. Brittany sold Christmas stockings, wreaths, and garland. People are also selling all kinds of home baked goodies. I figure if they can do it I can definitely do it, and this week I made my second sale! I know it doesn't seem like much, but it's a start. The first item I put up for sale were my cinnamon rolls, which I have totally perfected. I mentioned in the post about them that I had all those extra boxes, so I individually wrapped them up and sold them in groups of four. I needed to sell them by the half dozen, but I've yet to find anything to package them in, so those are soon to come. I sold the first order (of two) to a lady in Florida who wrote very nice things about me in my ratings section. The second gal was a local here in Newport Beach, so I hand delivered to her and she says she'll most likely be a repeat customer. (I'm looking forward to that!)

I've added to the rolls with a Valentine's Day collection of two types of cookies packaged and wrapped up all cute! A lot of people are checking them out, but no sales on the cookies just yet. Perhaps it's still early. I'd like to get a wide variety of items on there because, like I said, people are selling everything, and making a lot of sales too. Etsy is fun, a little side hobby. It was such a blast making the rolls and packaging them up for shipping. I'd love to do that full time. Visit my shop, if only to check it out, and you can heart me if you'd like!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day

My family came to visit after Christmas, and one of those days my mom and I spent cooking all day. It was crazy, in my little kitchen we had no less than four things going at a time. But the one recipe that was new to both of us was a recipe for Artisan Bread in just five minutes a day. I found a post on a blog about it, then did some research about the books that were written, and I knew I had to try it out. Supposedly it's only supposed to take you five minutes of hands on time to make this fabulous bread. And fabulous it was. And the ingredients are so simple and way cheap. Water, yeast, salt, flour, over and out. For such a simple bread, it got rave reviews from all my family and friends. It's a new staple in our house. I just baked up two more loaves tonight. Brian and a half on one in one sitting. And Dad requested another loaf for his birthday dinner!

There were a few things that Mom and I thought would make it a little bit better. First, the recipe says not to knead it, that it's not necessary, but I think a little more mixing could be good. We got a few people saying that some bites were saltier than others, or little bits of flour here and there not mixed in. But maybe that's just my poor mixing job.

I didn't use a pizza stone or any fancy baking surface. I just sprayed a cookie sheet and away we went. Also, we didn't have any cornmeal so we just didn't use it, no big deal, but I could see how that would be a nice touch. I did put the pan of water in the oven and it definitely made the outside crunchy. Both batches I made I forgot to put flour on the outside and slash the top of the bread, obviously doesn't matter for taste, but I thought they still looked good without it.

I think I loved this recipe so much because it's different from the dinner rolls mom has been making for years. And it gives me a little encouragement that I won't have to buy my husband bread from Panera quite so often. Give it a whirl, and I'm sure you'll love it.

artisan bread in five minutes website
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