Sunday, March 29, 2009

Not-your-Grandma's applesauce cake

This recipe was originally called Grandma's applesauce cake, but it didn't come from my grandmother. It came from one of the Country Living magazine editor's grandmothers... I assume. In any case, a good cake that is made great with a bit of cream cheese icing (not pictured) and a wonderful glaze.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups applesauce
3/4 cup strongly brewed hot coffee
1 1/2 cups dark raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Lightly butter a round baking pan. Dust with flour and tap out any excess. Set aside.

Combine the flour, 1/4 cup of the cocoa powder, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cloves in a large bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl using a mixer set on medium-high speed until light and flurry. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture by thirds, alternating with the applesauce and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and increase the mixer speed to medium. Quickly add 1/2 cup of the hot coffee, beating until thoroughly combined— about 30 seconds. Fold in the raisins and walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in prepared oven at 350° until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean—40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack until slightly warm. Use a knife to loosen the cake from the edges of the pan and invert the cake onto the wire rack to cool completely.

Optional: Frost with cream cheese icing.

Sift the confectioners' sugar and remaining cocoa together into a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and quickly pour in the remaining hot coffee. Whisk until well blended and smooth. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to soak in. Serve immediately. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sweet and sour fish favorite recipe of the sweet-n-sours

2lbs tilapia, cod, halibut or any other whitefish (cut into 1” chunks)
1 green pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 large onion, sliced into 8-12 wedges
1 can pineapple chunks or rings, with juice
oil for frying

2 cups flour
6 Tbsp oil
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp seasoning salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups water

Sweet and sour sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup pineapple juice from can
1/4 cup ketchup

First, make the make sweet and sour sauce. In a large frying pan, mix vinegar, sugar, salt, orange juice, pineapple juice and ketchup. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until it has evaporated to the consistency of maple syrup. Add pineapple chunks to the sauce and set aside.

In a bowl whisk together flour, 6 Tbsp of oil, baking powder, seasoning salt, and cayenne pepper. Add 2 cups of water, whisking until the batter is smooth. Dunk fish into batter to coat.

In a deep frying pan over medium-high heat, fry fish pieces in batches for four minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven.

Heat a dash oil in a large frying pan. Stir fry green and red peppers, carrot and onions for three minutes. Add to sweet and sour sauce and heat.

Serve the fish over hot white rice, with sweet and sour sauce pour over the top.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

III's French toast

My husband's recipe - goooood stuff.

1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
8 thick slices day-old or stale loaf, brioche or challah bread

Whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour mixture into a pie pan and set aside.

Over medium-low heat, melt a small pat of of butter in a large nonstick frying pan.

Dip a slice of bread into egg mixture. Allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, then place in frying pan. Cook 2 slices of bread at a time in the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in warm oven. Repeat with all 8 slices.

Serve immediately with maple syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream or fruit.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I just read my Cooking Light newsletter and wanted to pass on the link to their suggested 20 Mediterranean Recipes. Oh yum. I am inspired!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bacon, mushroom and cheese breakfast bread

This recipe is more on the fluffy biscuit side rather than a dense breakfast casserole.

1 recipe Southern Girl's Biscuits
5 eggs, beaten
6 strips bacon, crumbled
3-4 white mushrooms, washed and quartered
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of rosemary
a bit of cubed or grated cheese, maybe Gouda or Emmental, Cheddar or Swiss

Spread biscuit dough evenly in baking dish. Top with bacon, mushrooms, rosemary, salt, then cheese. Pour eggs over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until firm and golden. As it bakes, the egg mixture will sink and the fluffy biscuit dough will rise the the top!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Black bean hummus

This recipe came from Cooking Light. We ate it with a garlicky chickpea hummus and the variety in tastes was great.

1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped
Dash of crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
Dash of ground red pepper

Place garlic in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add lemon juice, tahini, cumin, salt, black beans, jalapeño pepper, and crushed red pepper; process until smooth. Spoon bean mixture into a medium bowl, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with ground red pepper. Serve with pita or tortilla chips.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Snow-chilled peppermint bark

4 bars dark chocolate
4 bars white chocolate
4 candy canes
1 tsp peppermint extract

Break dark chocolate into pieces and melt slowly over a double boiler.

Pour into a greased or lined 11x13 pan. Cover and let cool outside in the snow (or fridge).

Now, break white chocolate into pieces and melt slowly over a double boiler.

Add peppermint extract to the white chocolate.

Unwrap the candy canes and put them in a plastic bag. Crush them into small pieces. Sift the pieces over the white chocolate so that the fine powder mixes in.

Pour the white chocolate over the cooled dark chocolate. Sprinkle with remaining candy cane pieces, pressing them in gently. Cover and cool.

The finished product!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Roasted beet salad with goat cheese

I fell in love with this recipe as soon as I read the ingredients.

1 head lettuce, rinsed and dried
2-3 beets, roasted or boiled, then peeled and diced
Goat cheese
Lemon vinaigrette
Freshly ground pepper

It's hard to go wrong making this salad. I do recommend assembling it on each plate though rather than in a serving bowl.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Pepper, onion and sausage omelets

1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 Trappista cheese, shredded (can use Gouda or Cheddar)
1/4 tsp salt
pinch pepper
sour cream

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add sausage and veggies, cooking until red pepper is just beginning to soften.

In a bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in the milk, salt and pepper. Pour over the veggies in the frying pan. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Reduce heat to medium-low. As eggs set, lift edges, letting uncooked portion flow underneath. Once done, serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream.