Sunday, March 30, 2008

Daring Baker March 08 - Party Cake gone Tiramisu

I have to confess I got a little heads up on this cake before I made it. Being friends with other food bloggers , who are also Daring Baker members, we get together for dinner from time to time and I had a chance to try the cake. Once I had tried it and knew what some of the issues were with the cake and some discussion preparation my head started to wonder and it stopped on the idea of coffee. Hummmm yes coffee, maybe Tiramisu, yes. I love tiramisu; however, I have never tried to make it before so here was my chance.

I chose to base the cream off of Mario Batali's recipe; however, I had read so many recipes that I could not follow it and added yes added more fat and cream, I just could not help myself.

First DD and I made the cake:

For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
Plus I added 4 oz of chopped dark chocolate to the batter.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

  • 4 ounces Espresso
  • Kahlua, 2 ounces
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 packages cream cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  1. Mix coffee and Kahlua together and set aside.
  2. Over low heat, beat egg yolks and sugar until mixture lightens in color and forms ribbons (i.e. halfway to zabaglione). Allow to cool 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, beat egg whites to stiff peaks and the heavy cream to stiff peaks in separate bowls.
  4. beat cream cheese until soft and smooth
  5. Fold cream cheese into egg yolk mixture one quarter at a time.
  6. Fold cream cheese mixture into egg whites and and then into whipped cream and set aside.
  7. Using a pastry brush, and paint the cake layers with the espresso/Kahlua mixture.
  8. layer coffee soaked cake and cream mixture
  9. chill for 2 hours to set up and then clean up edge with an offset spatula.
  10. dust with cocoa just before serving

Because this was a very large cake I took it to my daughter's preschool in her beautiful hat box
(it fit perfectly) and shared it and it was a hit. I also had enough to freeze about 1/4th of it too. this was very rich and a thin slice was about all one could eat at once.

Thank you Morvan for hosting this month

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spiced Lentil and Squash

This is one of my favorite lentil dishes; however, I am the only one in the house that will eat it so every few months I make a big batch of it and freeze it in individual serving sizes so that I can have some for lunch every few weeks. The sweetness of the squash balances the earthiness of the lentil and the heat of the spices making a melody in the mouth.

1 1/2 cups brown Lentils (I have some red and yellow that I am going to try next time)

1 can (15ozish) crushed tomatoes or while tomatoes, chopped

1 small butternut squash

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion , finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon group turmeric

1 tablespoon harissa (thank you Warda) or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

salt & pepper

wash the lentils and pick trough them to be sure that there are no little stones. Place in a saucepan with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, skim off any scum, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes and then drain.

Meanwhile, peel, seed and dice the squash into 1 inch cubes and set aside.

In a large pan, over low heat, add oil and onion and cook onion until they are caramelized. Add garlic and cook for a few seconds and then add the spices. cook for 30 seconds, then add tomato, tomato paste, sugar and half of the parsley salt and pepper. Add the lentils and squash, stir well and cover and simmer until squash and lentils are done, about 20 minutes. Add a little water if needed.

Serve in a beautiful bowl topped with the rest of the parsley. If you like cilantro you may use that for half of the parsley, I do not like it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mushroom, Onion and Spinach Omelet

This is the best omelet I have ever made. I slowly browned some onions in pan and then added a small can of mushrooms, drained. a few handfuls of spinach and a few slices of Canadian bacon, diced. I beat 2 large eggs with 2 tablespoons of milk until frothy. poured the eggs on a hot (not so hot that the eggs would scorch), round, cast iron griddle over moderate heat . Season the eggs with salt and pepper. When the eggs were set, but still a little runny on top, carefully flipped to egg disk over. layer the onion filling and cheddar cheese on one half of the eggs and folded the omelet in half as seen in photo. This omelet was flavorful, dune perfectly with no runny egg; however, was not browned or overdone.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Salad

To gear up for spring I have been craving light and springy vegetables. This salad just kept growing as I was digging through the refrigerator. I started with baby spinach and then I added the left over mango from breakfast (I would hate for it to go to waste), I love dried cranberries in salad so I grabbed a handful and tossed them on and I have some Philbert's in the freezer that are in danger of going rancid, I toasted a handful of them and added that to the salad, I then notices a few grapefruit sections. hummmmm what else was in that fridge, oh, oh some avocado and look cucumbers. ok, ok I have to stop so I blended up a little low sugar cherry jam with some raspberry vinaigrette that I don't care for and it tasted great the jam balanced the vinegar in the vinaigrette perfectly and was great over all those veggies.

This Was a Great Salad.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Pot Roast Soup

In my attempt to reduce cost and food waist I make several meals from one piece of meat. I mean this is how some of the best dishes have come to be, making something out of leftovers. The other day I made pot roast, we don't eat a lot of meat in one setting so I can buy one chuck roast cut it in half and freeze half of it for a later date and still have leftovers.

This pot roast was prepared by seasoning the beef on all sides with salt and pepper and browning all sides in a hot pan with oil. I tried something new this time, I dusted the meat with some flour.

I then covered the meat in onion and put a lid on the pan placed in a 350F oven and went to pick up my Daughter and from school, about an hour. When we got home we got the potatoes and carrots ready to add to the roast along with a little wine that I had open in the fridge a little more S&P, some water and some bay leaves. Recovered the dutch oven and placed it back into the oven until all was done, another hour or so.

Pot Roast Soup AKA Beef Barley Soup
With the left over Pot roast I decided to make Beef soup with Barley. I have never made it and I usually am not much of a fan, but I thought that is would be a nice change on the table.

I chopped up a large onion and started it caramelizing (all soups start with this step) I then rinsed 1 cup barley and got that cooking in a pot with 2.5 cups water per the directions on the bag. I did add to the barley water a bay leaf, salt, and pepper corns. I cooked it for about 4o minutes. I am supposed to cook it longer but I had to get daughter from school. while the barley was cooking I finished caramelizing the onions and added half of the left over roast (that I pulled into pieces) and some minced garlic and a can of stewed tomatoes that my aunt Tana had canned and given to me. I then put the undercooked barley in with everything and turned it off and went and got DD from school. One hour later I turned the soup on and let it come to a boil, and added half a can of beer, some drippings from a roast turkey I had in the freezer ( you know the juices that most people turn into gravy, we don't eat gravy so I freeze it to add to soups, yum) and I cut up some of the leftover carrots and potatoes and, because I add it to most soups, some cauliflower. I Cooked the soup until the cauliflower and barley was done.

The soup was a little thick and there was twice as much barley then there should have been and cauliflower does not belong in beef soup (trust me) the soup was tasty, as good as I have tasted beef barley soup and I have had several not as good. In the end I think we had a winner. Tomorrow Beet pot pie with the rest of the leftovers.

Friday, March 7, 2008

My New Set

My Husband and I were shopping last week and came across this set of dishes and we really liked them so we went for it and got this beautiful set for 4. Also, because I have been cooking a lot of Asian food lately we thought that is was a good choice.

This weeks Menu

-Beef roast with potatoes and Carrots
-Beef Barley soup from the left over roast
-broiled salmon with spinach salad (this one was what my Daughter added to the menu Salad with salmon fish in the oven under the flames is what she said)
-Pasta with red sauce
-Dinner at Warda's this week also, which is always a joy. Her cooking is wonderful.