Monday, April 21, 2014

Pound Cake

I hope everyone had a great weekend! The Easter bunny made his way to our house. Of all the things to forget, our Easter bunny forgot jelly beans. He did remember to bring the edible grass which is very popular. My favorite part is visiting with family members. I think my husband's favorite part is dessert. Lately, he has been requesting lemon desserts so it is definitely Spring. I would have to say pound cake is one of my favorite desserts especially this recipe.
 Pound Cake
2 sticks (16 oz.) unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. With nonstick cooking spray, grease a bread pan. 
  3. In a mixer, cream the butter and shortening together.
  4. Add 1 cup at a time of the sugar. 
  5. Add one egg at a time. Mix until just incorporated.
  6. In a medium bowl,  whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. 
  7. Add 1 cup of the flour mixture to the butter mixture followed by 1/3 cup of the milk.
  8. Continue to alternate adding the flour mixture then some of the milk until combined.
  9. Mix in the vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated.
  10. Pour the batter into the greased bread pan. 
  11. Bake for 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Recipe adapted from Paula Deen.

Two years ago..................................I made Breakfast Bruschetta.
Did you already know......................
-Pound cake originated from Northern Europe.
-The original pound cake did not have any livening agents. 
-Pound cake was an easy recipe to remember even for those who couldn't read recipes.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Disappearing Bunnies Cupcakes

My sister makes cupcakes for her girl's classroom. No wonder my sister is very popular at her girl's school. A few children have even put in request for the next type of cupcakes my sister should make. The best part about my sister making cupcakes for her girl's class is that she always brings a few over for us. Aren't these cupcakes so cute. My daughter could not wait to have one.
Disappearing Bunnies 
Cupcakes
Frosting
Food coloring
Oreo cookies, crushed
miniature marshmallows
candy melts


Directions:
  1. Dye 3/4 of the cupcakes green and the remaining frosting brown.
  2. Set a few cupcakes aside.
  3. The remaining cupcakes pipe the green frosting onto the cupcakes using a 233 tip.Set aside.
  4. Roll the remaining cupcakes in the crushed Oreo cookies.
  5. In the center of the Oreo cupcakes, insert a miniature marshmallow for the bunny tail.
  6. On a piece of parchment paper, draw the outline of the bunny's foot like a figure 8.
  7. Melt the candy melts and pipe the melted candy melts in the outline of the bunny's foot. 
  8. Once the candy has set, stick the candy melt feet onto the Oreo cupcake one on each side of the marshmallow to space out the feet. If needed, stick a little frosting on the bottom so the candy melt feet stick.
  9. On top of each candy melt feet, pipe one large circle on the side closest to the marshmallow. On the other side of the candy melt feet, pipe 2 smaller circles to make the paw pads.
Recipe adapted from Hello, Cupcake! cookbook by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson.  

One year ago.......................................I made Fried Cheese Sticks.
Two years ago.....................................I made Burritos.
Did you already know........................
-Baby rabbits are called kit.
-A rabbit's front teeth never stop growing.
-Never pick up a bunny by it's ears.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pastry Cream

I probably watch Food Network more than any other channel. I was watching Barefoot Contessa make this divine looking Strawberry Tart. Since I really didn't want to make a tart, I comprised and filled strawberries. I wanted to try the cream before making something more elaborate. Normally, I have an easy time taking photos of my son. Not this time, he just wanted to eat all the filled strawberries. He also made lots of faces. He looked angry. He crossed his eyes at me. He looked scared. He ate the filled strawberries bottom first. I am really surprised he didn't make a mess. Most of the photos were not even in focus. It is hard to take a photo if one is laughing. He does make me laugh often.
Pastry Cream
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp arrowroot 
1 1/2 cup  milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp heavy cream

Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar for 4 minutes in a mixer on medium high speed.
  2. Add the arrowroot and mix well.
  3. In a medium pan, heat the milk until steaming. Stir constantly.
  4. Slowly, pour a Tbsp of heated milk into the mixer while the mixer is mixing.
  5. Gently, pour a little more of the heated milk into the mixer to temper the mixture.
  6. In a steady stream, add the remaining amount of the milk into the egg mixture. 
  7. Add the egg mixture into the medium pan and heat over low heat for 7 minutes. Stir constantly.
  8. Once the mixture begins to become a thick pudding, whisk the mixture for 2 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Stir in the vanilla, butter, and heavy cream. 
  11. Transfer the pastry cream into a bowl.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap. Press down so the plastic wrap is touching the top of the pastry cream.
  13. Refrigerate the pastry cream until cooled completely.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.

One year ago.............................I made Steak Sandwich.
Two years ago...........................I made Banana Split Cake.
Did you already know........................
-Pastry cream is a rich custard.
-Custards have been around since the Middle Ages. 
-Pastry cream is the filling for eclairs and Boston Cream Pie.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Lemon Cream Cookies

The chorus of the peepers has announced it is Spring. My oldest daughter has told us it has been Spring in California for awhile. She also told her coworkers that the snow doesn't melt until May. It really isn't that bad. Almost all the snow is gone. To celebrate Spring, I made some lemon cookies. I have been trying using decorating tips more which made the cookies look fancy.
Lemon Cream Cookie
2 sticks (16 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon zest
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Direction: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and powdered sugar.
  4. Add the lemon zest, vanilla extract, and the egg. Mix until incorporated.
  5. Gently, fold in the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until incorporated.
  6. Using the star tip, fill a pastry bag with the batter. 
  7. Pipe the batter into a circular pattern onto the baking sheet. Space about 3 inches apart.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris. 

Lemon Cream Filling:
1/2 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup margarine/vegetable spread (I used I can't believe its not butter)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp heavy cream

Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and spread.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and zest. Mix well.
  3. Add the vanilla and heavy cream. Mix until well incorporated. 
One year ago................................I made Mixed Berry Lemonade.
Two years ago..............................I made Peanut Butter Cupcakes.
Did you already know.................................
-Peepers are small frogs.
-The frogs are nocturnal creatures.
-During the winter, peepers can still survive after the majority of their bodies have froze.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Creamy Polenta

The first time I had polenta I was attending a wedding. I thought it was pretty good. Someone told me that it was grits. Now, I've had grits and I would rather pass. My Dad is Southern and tried to get us to eat grits often. Several years ago, my Aunt made grits for my husband and he wasn't impressed. When I decided to make this dish, I figured it was probably a good idea not to tell my husband that it was like grits. My husband said when he saw me making this dish he was wondering how he was going to get out of eating it. He was glad he didn't since he loved it. My husband told me several times that I could make this dish again. My son and I loved it.
Creamy Polenta with mushrooms
8 cups half and half
1 Tbsp salt
1 cup coarse polenta
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions
  1. In a large pot, heat the half and half for 5 minutes over medium high heat.
  2. Whisk in the salt.
  3. Slowly, whisk in the polenta. Continue to whisk for 8 minutes.
  4. With a wooden spoon, continue to stir for 5 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat to medium and continue to stir until the mixture evenly bubbles.
  6. Cover and turn the heat to low. Stir every 15 minutes. Allow to cook for 2 hours.
  7. Once the liquid has reduced down, stir in the butter and cheese.
Recipe adapted from Foodnetwork.

Cremini mushrooms
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 shallots, minced
1 cup cremini mushrooms
2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup white wine

Directions:
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the butter and the shallots. Cook for about 5 minutes and stir often.
  3. Add the cremini mushrooms. Stir  often.
  4. Stir in the thyme and salt. Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the white wine and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Serve over the polenta and then top with roasted chicken. 
One year ago........................................I made Lemon Cookies.
Two years ago......................................I made Margaritas.
Did you already know..............................
-Polenta is made with a coarse ground yellow cornmeal.
-Polenta is a native Italian dish. 
-Cooled polenta maybe sliced and then fried.

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