Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Devil's Food Cake

This is a Devil's Food Cake recipe from Food and Drink Autumn 2011.  It is sinfully rich and delicious!  The frosting used in the recipe is excellent!

1 1/2 cups cake and pastry flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk at room temperature

6 oz dark unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar sifted

  1. Heat oven to 350F.  Butter two 9 inch round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add 1 egg at a time and beat until well incorporated.  Beat in vanilla.  Add half the flour mixture to the bowl and stir together with a large spoon; stir in milk, stir in second half of the flour.  Stir until all is well combined but do not overstir.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Leave cakes in pans for 10 minutes before removing onto a cooling rack.  Let cool completely and remove parchment paper before frosting the cake.  
  7. For frosting, melt chocolate in a bain-mrie over low heat.  Once chocolate has melted add butter and stir until butter melts and is combined with the chocolate.  Take off the heat and whisk in hot water, salt and vanilla.
  8. Place chocolate mixture in a large bowl and gradually beat in icing sugar.  The frosting may need more or less than the 4 cups to achieve the proper consistency.
  9. Set frosting aside until ready to use.  If needed, place in the refrigerator to harden it slightly; this will make it easier to work with.  If it becomes too hard, microwave for a few seconds.
  10. Place 1 layer of cake on platter and cover the top completely and generously with frosting.  Top with second layer and continue frosting the entire cake with as much frosting as desired.
Serves 8

Friday, 27 March 2015

Peach and Blackberry Slump

Very much like a cobbler, this is a great dessert!  From Food and Drink Autumn 2011.

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp chopped ginger
5 cups peeled peaches, sliced in eighths (about 6 peaches)
1 cup blackberries

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used soured milk)

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Combine water, sugar and ginger in a small pot over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Combine peaches and blackberries in a large bowl.  Toss with cool sugar syrup and spoon into a buttered 8 or 9 inch gratin dish.  Bake for 10 minutes while making the topping.
  4. Prepare topping by combining the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a bowl.  Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture looks like fine bread crumbs.
  5. Mix in buttermilk until a soft dough forms, adding more buttermilk if necessary.  The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.  Drop spoonfuls of topping onto fruit. 
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is fully baked and juices are bubbling.
Serves 4 to 6

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Chai Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee is one of my favourite desserts and I really liked the added spices in this recipe.

1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup homogenized milk
3 slices fresh ginger
5 egg yolks
6 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine spices, cream and milk.  Add ginger.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Remove saucepan from the heat, cover tightly and let stand for 1 hour.  Strain cream mixture, discarding ginger.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  3. Boil a kettle of water.  In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 3 tbsp sugar and vanilla.  Whisk in cream mixture.  Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a pitcher.
  4. Set six 1/2 cup ramekins in a shallow roasting pan.  Pour cream mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly.  Set roasting pan on puled out middle rack of oven.  Pour boiling water from kettle into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.  Slide rack into oven.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until custards are just set around edges but centres still jiggle slightly.  
  5. Remove ramekins from roasting pan and let cool completely.  Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  6. Just before serving, sprinkle remaining sugar over each custard, dividing evenly and covering surface of custard completely.  Light a blowtorch and play flame evenly over tops of custards to caramelize sugar, moving torch constantly so sugar doesn't burn.  Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes for caramelized sugar to harden.  

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Spiced Cranberries

From Food and Drink Autumn 2011.  I liked the tangy cranberries paired with cinnamon for this recipe.  It gives the meal a wonderful rich taste.

2 pork tenderloins about 500g each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried leaf thyme
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick, about 2 inches long
1 star anise (I didn't use this)
1/2 cup beef stock or broth
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries ( I like the fresh ones)
Sprigs of fresh thyme

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Trim tenderloins of any fat and silver skins that may be partially covering them.  Use a small sharp knife to remove these thin white membranes.  Slice tenderloins in half crosswise.
  3. Sprinkle pork generously with slat and pepper.  Rub into the meat.  Sprinkle with thyme.  Heat a wide ovenproof skillet over medium high.  Add oil and coat the bottom.  Place pork in pan and turn often until lightly browned on all sides and the ends, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Place skillet in the oven and roast, uncovered, until an instant read thermometer inserted in the centre of the meat reads 150F (65C) about 12 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat.  Turn pork several times during the roasting, then remove to a cutting board and cover.
  5. Return skillet to the burner.  Break cinnamon stick in half and add with star anise.  To toast spices, stir about 2 minutes over medium heat.  Then add the broth and scrape up the lovely brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Pour in the cranberry juice and add berries.  Boil gently until cranberries break down a little and sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
  6. Slice the pork and arrange on serving plates.  Spoon berries and juice overtop.  Scatter with a few fresh thyme sprigs. 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Cashew Chicken Curry

Great recipe from Food and Drink Autumn 2011.  If you don't have cashews just switch with Hazelnuts or Almonds.

3/4 cup roasted cashews
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chopped fresh peeled ginger root
1 tbsp mild or hot curry paste
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp each salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 tbsp canola oil
1 kg chicken thighs
1/2 cup chicken broth

  1. In a food processor or blender, blend cashews until finely chopped.  Add yogurt, cilantro, ginger root, curry paste, brown sugar, salt and pepper and process until smooth.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Brown chicken thighs until very browned, about 4 minutes per side.  Scrape all of the sauce over the chicken with chicken broth.  Stir until blended, reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cover.  Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Let sit, covered for 10 minutes.  Serve over steamed basmati rice and garnish with chopped roasted cashews and cilantro.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Toasted Almond and Quinoa Pilaf

I love Quinoa and adding the toasted almonds really makes this recipe.  The original was in a Food & Drink magazine but I have changed it around a bit.

1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 medium zucchini, finely diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup slivered almonds toasted
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to boil over medium high heat.  Add drained quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 10 minutes.  Fluff with fork and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add shallots and cook just until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add carrots, zucchini and green onions, tossing to coat, and cook 2 minutes.  Stir in almonds and quinoa and toss gently until well combined.  sprinkle with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.  
4 to 6 servings

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Gratineed Corn and Leek Succotash

I had no idea there was a dish such as succotash until I saw this one in Food and Drink Autumn 2011.  All I knew was that cartoon rooster that would say "sufferin succotash!"  This is a great side dish for those holiday dinners.  If you have corn on the cob available in your area it is preferable to frozen, but use what works for you.

3 leeks
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 fresh chorizo, casing removed
6 cups fresh corn kernels
3 cups half and half cream
sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp cayenne
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups coarsely chopped stale Italian bread
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter, melted

  1. Remove and discard top third of leeks.  Trim root end and cut each in half along the length, wash thoroughly and slice horizontally into 1/2 inch slices.
  2. Heat butter and oil over medium high heat in a large skillet with deep sides.  Cook chorizo, occasionally breaking apart with a fork, for 6 to 8 minutes or until beginning to crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a small plate, reserve.
  3. Add leeks to pan, reduce heat to medium and cook until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes.  Add corn, cream, thyme sprig, bay leaf and cayenne.  Stir to combine, season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half and vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove form heat, stir in chorizo. Check seasoning and add more salt if necessary.  Pour mixture into a 10 cup gratin dish.
  4. Preheat oven to 375F
  5. In a large bowl, combine bread, shopped thyme, garlic and melted butter.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly over corn mixture.  Bake on middle oven rack for 25 to 30 minutes or until cream is bubbling and top is crisp and golden.
Serves 6 to 8

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Simple Baked Maple Apple Crumble

Maple season is nearly upon us!  Here is a simple dessert that combines two of my favourites Maple Syrup and Apples…both can be purchased locally in Simcoe County.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2011.
To a buttered casserole dish, add 6 large baking apples, cored, peeled and sliced.  Add 1/4 cup maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon and toss to coat.  In a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup room temperature butter, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/3 cup brown sugar and work until flour is absorbed.  Sprinkle over apples.  Bake 45 minutes at 350F or until apples are tender and topping is golden.

Serves 6

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Beef Teriyaki

An easy dinner also healthy and yummy!  there is just something about green vegetables that go so well with beef.  This is another recipe from Oxygen magazine that I tried - the only thing I changed was changing the arrowroot to cornstarch.

8 oz beef, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup water, divided
1 onion, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bunch baby bok choy, chopped about 1 1/2 cups
4 cups kale, chopped
3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
 1" piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp arrowroot

  1. Place beef strips in a bowl and toss with lemon juice.
  2. In a large skillet set on medium heat, brown meat in oil for 5 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup water plus onion, broccoli, bok choy and kale.  Cover and reduce heat.  Let cook for about 10 minutes.  
  3. Meanwhile place remaining ingredients (except arrowroot) plus remaining 1/2 cup water in a blender and blend to combine.  Heat in a small pan.  Remove 1/4 cup of heated sauce and place in a small bowl; whisk in arrowroot with a fork until it dissolves.  Stir sauce back into pan; mix until it thickens.  Pour onto beef and vegetables.  Serve

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Comforting Tuna Casserole

I got this recipe from Oxygen Magazine…It is simple and healthy.  If you family doesn't like tuna just switch it with some cooked chicken cut up in pieces.

1 small sweet potato
6 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup low fat milk
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 - 7oz can tuna, drained and flaked

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Peel sweet potato, heat in microwave and mash well with a fork. (I try 5 min at first and go from there)  Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together cheese, mayo, mustard, garlic powder, pepper and milk.  Add mashed potato and blend well to get a creamy orange sauce.
  4. Heat oil in a small skillet.  Saute onion until soft, about 2 minutes.  Add peas.  Add brown rice to reheat.  Then stir in sweet potato.  Add tuna and mix to combine.
  5. Place everything in an 8x8 inch baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.  Serve on a bed of steamed spinach.