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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This is delicious in the spring or fall. It is the perfect accompaniment to crisp mornings that require a good cup of hot tea or coffee.

2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. milk (optional)
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar (10X) (optional)
1 cup fresh raspberries or other fruit (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter & flour a Bundt or rosette pan.

Cream butter until smooth and gradually add 2 cups of sugar on medium speed until light and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. (5-6 minutes) Add the eggs gradually and continue beating until the mixture is thick, fluffy, and doubles in volume. (4-5 minutes) Beat in sour cream and vanilla (2 minutes more).

In a separate bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; sift the mixture twice. Carefully fold in the flour mixture with the butter mixture (half at a time) until smooth. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread to the edges. Sprinkle the cinnamon-walnut mixture evenly over the batter. Spread the remaining batter over the top, making the sides higher than the center.

Bake in the center of the oven until the top is set and springs back when touched and the cake pulls away slightly from the pan. (55-60 minutes) Let the cake cool for 1 hour. Unmold cake onto serving plate.

For Glaze: Whisk milk and confectioner's sugar until smooth. Garnish cake with fruit and drizzle glaze over cake.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chicken Florentine Fettuccine Alfredo

No source for this recipe except my own head...I just came up with it one night. Not that it's anything extraordinary, but it is rather tasty. This serves 2-4 (depending on portion sizes - it was enough for dinner for the two of us and lunch for me the next day), but it's easily doubled.

1/2 lb. boneless chicken breast or tenderloin, cubed
1 tsp. minced garlic
~2 tsp. olive oil (couple of swirls around the pan, just eyeball it)
Good sized pinch of Kosher Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 jar Prego Roasted Garlic Parmasean Alfredo Sauce
~1/4 cup milk (or more as needed)
1 tsp. chicken boullion granules
1 10 oz. box frozen leaf spinach, drained & chopped
1/2 pound fettuccine, cooked according to package directions

In a skillet (preferably with straight sides), saute minced garlic and chicken in the olive oil over high heat. Add salt & pepper and cook chicken until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Add butter and stir to coat chicken. Turn the heat down to medium. Add half jar of alfredo sauce, milk, and chicken boullion granules. Simmer over medium heat for a few minutes. Add about 7.5 ounces of the spinach. (Adding more milk if the sauce gets too thick.) Heat spinach through and serve over prepared fettuccine.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Five Things to Eat Before You Die...

This is a self-tagged meme (taken from Anne's Food & various other blogs - originated by Melissa at The Traveler's Lunchbox). This is hard since I love all kinds of food, but I'll give it a go.

(1) Buttermilk Biscuits & Cornbread with Home-Grown Tomatoes. Slice biscuits & cornbread in half, add butter, sliced ripe tomato, salt, pepper, and indulge. This has to be my favorite food of all time.

(2) Hazelnut Gelato. Delicious on its own, but much better if consumed in Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy.

(3) Fresh Pineapple from Central or South America. The best I've ever had I ate in Nicaragua.

(4) Eggs Benedict. My jaw dropped when I took my first bite of Eggs Benedict at the Peter Shields Inn in Cape May, New Jersey. Mmmm...so good.

(5) Homemade Peach Cobbler. A friend of my grandmother used to make this dessert for family gatherings when I was growing up. That reminds me, I really need to get the recipe...

I have many more that I could add, so I'll probably have to do another post some time. What are your recommendations?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Excellent on Carrot Cake

1 (14 oz.) package white chocolate candy wafers (or almond bark)
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Melt candy wafers in the microwave using 20 second intervals. Allow coating to cool slightly, stirring occasionally (don't let it harden). In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese (preferably with a flat beater) until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the cooled coating until blended and smooth. Beat in the butter and lemon juice. After decorating your cake, refrigerate until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

Yield: about 4-1/2 cups

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Excellent Day (including BBM!)

I had such an excellent day yesterday that I can’t even think of an apt title for this post. After complaining about my hair for nearly four months (according to my husband), I finally got it cut during lunch...10+ inches to donate to Wigs for Kids. I absolutely love the way it looks & feels now. BBM PackageBut, that was only part of my excellent day. I arrived home after work to find my Blogging By Mail package had arrived! Brilynn from Jumbo Empanadas even included the BBM logo on the outside! Good things do come in small packages! I have never in my life seen such a well-packed box. How did she fit everything in there?! Oh, but you’re wondering what was in the box, right? Well, take a look...
BBM Goodies
Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies & Lime Cookies
Handmade wooden bowl & spoon (with my initials!)
Maple & Niagara Ice Wine Tea (in the glass tubes)
Canadian Blueberry Tea (white bag)
Small Jug of Canadian Maple Syrup
Maple Candy (shaped like a maple leaf!)
Four (4!) Packages of Tim Horton’s Coffee
Five (5!!) Sour Cherry Honey Sticks
Smoked Paprika
Canadian Flag Magnet (to hold my recipes, of course)
Sixteen (16!!!) Laminated Recipe Cards (including some family recipes!)
What a perfect assortment of goodies! The bowl & spoon are wonderful and absolutely ideal as I have a very strong interest in wood turning (no lathe yet, but it’s on the list for next year...maybe even Christmas). BBM Bowl & SpoonAs I’m sure many of us are, I’m a recipe collector, and these sound incredible! (I apologize for the plethora of exclamation marks, but I’m just too excited…) I mean, who wouldn’t love to try these right this minute: Caribbean Rum Shrimp, Chewy Skor Toffee Bits Cookies, Aunt Marg’s Yogurt Cake, Brussels Sprouts with Maple & Walnut Vinaigrette, Grilled Corn Salad, Aunt Susan’s Hash Brown Potatoes, Bri’s Mexican Chocolate Cookies, Whole Wheat Pie Crust, Mom’s Zucchini Bread, Family Cookies, and Aunt Rose’s Carrot Cake. YUM!

The funny thing was that I read Bri’s post about her BBM package, and when I saw the wooden bowl, I thought, “Hey, those are my initials.” Then, “What a great idea! That’s going to be a lovely gift, but I’m sure it’s for another BBM participant.” I noticed the Smoked Paprika (which I've been seeking as of late, to no avail) and thought the same thing. Little did I know the bowl and other package contents were on their way to Pam’s Pantry!

Before I turn this post into a novel, I want to say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to Jumbo Empanadas!!! And, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness for coordinating everything. But, I do have a question...when is the next one & where do I sign up?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Carrot Cake (with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing)

4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt
4 cups (approx. 1 lb.) grated carrots
2/3 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round pans. In a large mixing
bowl, beat eggs until foamy; add oil and vanilla and beat well. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt together; add to egg mixture and mix well. Fold in carrots, nuts, raisins and pineapple. Pour into prepared pans and bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on cooling grid and invert on grid to cool. Assemble & frost with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing.

Makes 5 1/2 cups batter.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pineapple Cream Muffins

I received mixed reviews on this one, but I really liked them. Contrary to most other foods, these are not better straight from the oven. Instead, make them the night before and refrigerate them to enjoy the next morning.

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 1/2 ounces instant vanilla pudding (can use regular or sugar-free)
2/3 cups brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream (regular or low-fat)
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice
1/2 cup oil

Preheat oven to 425F. Spray muffin cups or pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pudding mix, and stir in brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg and sour cream. Fold in the pineapple and oil. Add the egg-pineapple mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until moistened. Batter will be thick. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for ~15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. (Muffins should be golden brown.) This recipe makes ~15 muffins. (I don't know why the odd amount, but you may want to bake in 2 batches for even cooking.)

Recipe from The Lamplighter Bed & Breakfast

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bacon & Baked Potato Soup

From KraftFoods.com

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups milk
2 medium baking potatoes, baked, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I don't peel mine)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled and divided
3/4 cup shredded cheese (any kind you like)
2 Tbsp. green onions, sliced, divided
1/4 cup sour cream

Melt butter in heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Add onion and celery; cook and stir until crisp-tender. Add broth, milk, potatoes, salt and pepper; bring just to boil, stirring constantly. Slightly crush potatoes with back of spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Reserve 2 Tbsp. each of the bacon and cheese and 1 Tbsp. of the green onion for toppings; set aside. Add remaining bacon, cheese and green onion to soup just before serving; cook until cheese is melted, stirring constantly.

Serve topped with reserved bacon, cheese, green onion, and sour cream.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Peanut Butter Brownies

1/2 c. peanut butter
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. butter
1/2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)

Combine peanut butter and butter, blending well. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Stir in almond extract. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture; stir well. Toss in roasted peanuts (if using). Spread mixture evenly into a greased 9" square pan. Bake at 350F for 30-35 min. Cool completely in pan and cut into squares.

To double: use 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar. Bake in jelly roll pan for thinner brownies, or a 9x13 pan for thicker brownies.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cappuccino Biscotti

Cappuccino Biscotti
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves, ground
1/4 cup brewed espresso, cold
2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend the flour, the sugar, the baking soda, the baking powder, the salt, the cinnamon and the cloves until the mixture is combined well. In a small bowl whisk together the espresso, the milk, the yolk and the vanilla, adding the mixture to the flour mixture , beating until a dough is formed, and stir in the hazelnuts.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, knead it several times and halve it. Working on a large buttered and floured baking sheet, with floured hands, form each piece of dough into a log 12 inches long by 2 inches wide and arrange the logs at least 3 inches apart on the sheet. Flatten logs slightly.

Bake the logs in a preheated 350F oven for 35 minutes and let them cool on the baking sheet on a rack for about 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F. On a cutting board, cut the logs crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4 inch slices , arrange the biscotti, cut sides down, on the baking sheet, and bake them for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or until they are pale golden. Transfer the biscotti to racks to cool.

From BakingBits.com

Friday, September 01, 2006

Chocolate Raspberry Meringue Cookies

3 egg whites
1/8 tsp. salt
3 1/2 Tbsp. raspberry gelatin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vinegar
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Beat egg whites with salt until foamy. Add gelatin and sugar gradually. Beat until stiff, about 15 minutes.

Mix in vinegar, and fold in chocolate chips. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 250F for 25 minutes; then, turn off the oven. Leave in the oven an additional 20 minutes.