Sunday, October 14, 2012

Paw Paw Casserole

…its
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plain old good…

A dish I had never made before but used to be made by my late Grandmother Irene has been haunting my soul to try it.  My granny never passed down her recipe for this.. .or anything she made. Not to me anyway. But I have a few dishes that hold dear memories of her such as Codfish and Potatoes, Christmas Pudding and this one,Paw Paw Casserole.
Paw Paw casserole was always served at her house on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. We would gather there once a year and eat and talk and wait for the Gombey Dancers to grace her street with their presence. my Gran Irene loved the Gombeys and she danced and dance and laughed and smiled each time they performed on the streets. Paw Paw casserole and Gombey’s go hand in hand to me because I only ate Paw Paw Casserole on boxing day and boxing day in Bermuda always drew the Gombey Dancers out to the streets.
Now, older and no longer residing in Bermuda I wish to bring some of my dishes in my family household and introduce them to foods that I grew up with.
This dish was very hard for me because I didn’t know exactly what Paw Paw was. I mean… I couldn’t find it here in the United States.. and people looked at me side eye when I asked about it.  It wasn’t until a friend told me that pawpaw is the same thing as Papaya.  They said we cook it before it ripens…while it is still in its green form. Despite reading this on the internet and being told as such…I still was skeptical…but…….. I saw this in Bermuda at the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo on my last visit home.
Then I was convinced.

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I have a few recipes in Bermuda Cookbooks and I also reached out to a friend on Facebook for her recipe which included sage! YUM. However, I chose to keep it simple. Just as Gran Irene did. Then once I get the hang of it perhaps I would try different versions.
I was pleased with the outcome of this simple yet delightful dish.
This dish is basically prepared much like Scalloped potato. 


Paw Paw Cheese Dish
source: adapted from Traditional Bermuda Recipes

Ingredients:
2 Cups cheese, grated
6 cups green paw-paw
4 cups  diced fresh tomatoes (I omitted)
pepper and salt to taste

Directions:
Peel paw-paws and dice them. I kept them in slices as my Gran Irene did.
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Cook in boiling, salted water till tender. But you don’t want them to be too tender that they break apart.
Place 3 cups of paw-paw in casserole dish and cover with 2 cups of tomatoes if you are using them.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add about 1 cup grated cheese.
Repeat the layer as above ending with the cheese as a final topping.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.

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Oh boy.
You can find Paw Paw …known here in the USA as Papaya at your local Farmers Market. Note that the greenest Papaya I found was at Harry's Farmers Market… the greener the better!



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Easy Breezy Roasted Potatoes.

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I was recently on Reggae Vault Classic Magazine. Not that many of you may know what that is but my hubsta plays on an internet radio site called Daflavaradio.com. Daflavaradio.com plays Caribbean music and my hubsta being a talented Deejay has a show with his brother and it airs 2 nights a week. Well, hubsta asked me to interview one night for his radio magazine show. I was very reluctant but he made it easy. I was proud… not of me.. but of him. He put me at ease and asked all the right questions. Despite me having the microphone up to close to my mouth at times I think I did okay.

One question he asked was what was my intentions now that I am a working mom. Oh.. I didn’t tell you all that… but yes…a working mom. Am I going to integrate that with my blog? I am.. I intend on making a few easy dishes. Dishes that working moms can throw together when they walk in the door with their heels and blazers still on.

I have a few dishes on my blog that fall into that category already! And this one I am putting high on rotation. This one goes great with meatloaf or tilapia. This one was a hit with all of us!

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I saw this on pinterest. GAAH!! Not that pinterest word again??!!? Well what good is pinning if you are not going to attempt anything you pin?

Okay.. here is the recipe.. it is simple and it comes from Iowa Girl Eats. Thank you Iowa Girl.

I call it..

Easy Breezy Roasted Potatoes.

(They are too good to just call them roasted potatoes.)

 

Ingredients:

Russet potatoes (how ever many you wish)

butter

Lawry's seasoning salt

grated parmesan cheese

…all the above ingredients are to your taste…

Directions:

Wash and pierce the potato all over with a fork. Cook in the microwave until the potato is soft all the way through – about 6-7 minutes total, flipping halfway through.

Cut the potato in half, then cut each half into squares. Don’t cut all the way through, just down to the skin.

Season with butter, parmesan cheese and Lowry’s seasoning salt, then place on a baking sheet under the broiler for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

Don’t blame me when your kids want more.

 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Oh so nice I had to post it TWICE: Red Velvet Cake/Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Italian Meringue Buttercream.

 

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How do you decorate your red velvet cupcakes?

 

I discussed how red velvet has a distinct taste in my first post on this delicious delicacy.  So to me .. .decorating them with the perfect topping is hard. You don’t want to overpower the taste..especially since we top red velvet with cream cheese frosting most times.

I experimented with some cupcakes I had to take to a family barbeque. I decorated them with some colorful non-pareils…for the kiddies because colors attract them and I was right. I also did black non-pareils which to me was not aesthetically pleasing to the eye..but delicious none the less. I also did the pretty little white non-pareils which were on the top of my list because I love them on any cupcake.  I left some plain and I placed some toasted coconut on others.

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Well… in my test.. they all went.. they all were eaten. What I do notice is that besides my girl going for the colorful ones and my littlest son going for the coconut ones (which was a big shock to me) everybody took a while to pick out a cupcake. Amazing what a little sugar sprinkle can do to a cupcake. Its a serious game changer. Same flavor cupcake…same frosting.. just different toppings.

Anyway, I am reposting my recipe with a minor change in the amount of red food coloring. A good judge of what color your cake or cupcakes will be is to simple look at the batter… more likely then not your pretty cake will be the exact same color.

I note that this recipe has coffee and I think that aids in deepening the red therefore I found that less coloring was much better.

I also sift the cocoa powder in the dry ingredients so that it mixes better. And I have also change the cream cheese frosting recipe that I used to use…

I will note that Big Bill's carrot cake cream cheese frosting is extremely delicious. But for a better hold in frosting swirl world… Cream Cheese Italian Meringue Buttercream was much better.

 

Recipe:

CAKE

Ingredients:~

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

2 Tablespoon of unsweetened, cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar

2 teaspoon of vanilla

1 oz. red food coloring

1/2 cup of coffee

Directions:~

Preheat oven 325 degrees.

In a large bowl add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt & cocoa powder. Whisk until well combined. Set Aside.

In a separate large bowl, add sugar and oil. Mix until combined.

Add in eggs, buttermilk, vanilla & red food coloring. Stir until combined.

Next add in the coffee & vinegar. Stir until combined.

Pour the flour mixture into the sugar mixture a little at a time. Beating until well combined.

Pour the batter into 2 greased & flour 9 inch round cake pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. (Another way to check for doneness is to lightly press the cake on top, if it springs back then it is done, if the dent remains in the cake then it is not done. Do not over bake.)

Let cool for 10 mins then remove on to racks to cool completely before frosting.

Please note…as I made cupcakes my cooking time was reduced to 19 mins. I recommend checking them at 15 mins first in order not to over bake.

Now for the ….

 

FROSTING ~ as posted in Blood Orange marmalade Cake.

Kaye’s Italian Meringue Buttercream

source: Whimsical Bakehouse

In a saucepan, bring to a boil:
1/2 cup water
2-1/4 cups sugar

Use a clean brush and cold water to wash
down any sugar crystals that form on the
sides of the pan as the water heats. When
the sugar comes to a boil set a timer for 7
minutes, and let boil.

After 5 minutes, in the bowl of an electric
mixer, begin to whip at high speed:
1 cup egg whites (about 12 large egg whites)
Whip until stiff. They should be done when
the timer goes off.

With the mixer on high speed, slowly beat
the sugar syrup into the egg whites, pouring
the syrup to the side of the bowl to avoid
the whip.

Continue to beat until the bowl is cool to
the touch, about 10 minutes. Slowly add:
1-1/2 pounds (6 sticks) unsalted butter at
room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
When the buttercream begins to jump out of
the bowl, reduce the speed to low.

Mix in at low speed:
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat until light and fluffy. At some points
the mixture might look curdled. Just keep
beating; it will become smooth again.

YIELD: 8 cups

Now .. .to make this into cream cheese frosting for your cake treats you need to whip your cream cheese first. I used 16 oz of cream cheese with approximately 3 cups of buttercream.

Add about 1/2 of a cup of Italian Meringue Buttercream to your whipped cream cheese. Whip for about a minute on high speed.. then gradually add the rest of the IMBC to your mix with the mixer turned to medium high. 

Doing it this way instead of adding the cream cheese directly to buttercream prevents the fats from separating. What's wrong with fats separating in your buttercream you ask? A gritty mess… that's what. Ask me how I know.

Anyway, frost to your hearts content. And please… there is nothing wrong with taking a knife and smothering cream cheese frosting on your cupcake… the taste is still the same. Guaranteed.

End cap… if you notice my cupcakes were already packed for travel.. check out the neat cupcake carrier I purchased from TJMaxx Home Goods…

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It holds 24 cupcakes. OR .. 1 14 inch cake and 12 cupcakes OR 1 14 inch or smaller cake.

And the top collapses. I LOVE IT!!!!!

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Thanks TJ MAXX.. seriously you all go look for it on AMAZON.com !

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Waffles

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and bacon.

 

I so wanted to crumble the bacon and put it in the waffles.. but I didn’t. I am not a breakfast person. I like breakfast being made for me, I dislike making it. It seems like a whole lot of work that goes into a meal that needs to be eaten right away to enjoy it. And it leaves entirely too much dishes too early in the day for me.

Regardless, I made waffles… from scratch and I am damn well proud of it. No .. they aren’t fancy…but that is why I love them. Simple easy and delish for a meal that I don’t like to prepare but I love to eat. Also pair that with the fact that I just acquired a waffle maker to add a little excitement to my non love for making breakfast.

I adapted the Classic Waffle from Allrecipes to suit my taste. I love buttermilk and cinnamon and brown sugar. Simple.

 

Waffles

 

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon white sugar and brown sugar; set aside.

Preheat waffle iron to desired temperature….I like between 3 and 4 on my Cuisinart Waffle Maker.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the milk, butter and vanilla.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture; beat until blended.

Ladle the batter into a preheated waffle iron.

Cook the waffles until golden and crisp.

TIP:  Place waffles in warm oven directly on oven rack to keep them from getting soggy before serving.

 

Oh.. and bacon.. I usually fry my bacon in a cast iron pan… but sometimes I don’t feel like doing the extra. So I decided to use this oven method by Kittencal to make the bacon. I now love it and not sure if I will ever fry bacon again. Okay.. that is a little extreme.. I love fried bacon.. I prefer this oven method to be used if I am going to crumble the bacon in a recipe…such as was planned for this waffles.

It didn’t bother me that my bacon was on the side. Not one bit…

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And it certainly didn’t bother my daughter.. who prefers to have fruit and syrup in every bite…

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Mistakenly Good Meatloaf

I erred. And from what I understand.. it is human to do so. I must admit that sometimes, well more often then not, I am in a hurry.

So when my teen boy child requested meatloaf.. I huffed and puffed but gladly defrosted the ground hamburger and pork. Anything to keep those teen hunger moods  pains away!

I didn’t feel like using my normal Meatloaf recipe because I haven’t blogged about it yet and that would mean pulling out my cookbook which is really messy because the pages are not attached. That is another blog entry all together so I will not even get into it. Lets get into this rushed meatloaf shall we?

I searched on Allrecipes.com and found Tantalizingly Tangy Meatloaf.

Interesting.

I had crushed pineapple to use up since I had made coleslaw and didn’t use all of it. Yes, I put crushed pineapple in my slaw. It is yum.

The recipe seemed quick and easy… so quick and easy I didn’t read it properly.  I threw everything in a bowl…I increased the recipe because 1 pound of meat doesn’t last in this house of 5 with 4 of us being carnivores.

It wasn’t until I was looking to glaze the thing that I realize I didn’t read the recipe right. OOP.  I threw in the crushed pineapple WITH the meat… and it was originally meant for the glaze. Oh well.. what’s a wife to do.. but carry on and keep it rollin..

The results? A plate of tangy goodness.

 

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My kids loved it. Of course.. they love pineapple so it was a winner.

I ended up glazing it with my go to Meatloaf Glaze.

 

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So.. here is what I did…

Mistakenly Tangy Meatloaf

adapted from: Allrecipes.com

 

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork

3/4 cup  cup dry bread crumbs

garlic powder to taste

2 eggs

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup ketchup or more to taste

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup pineapple preserves or more or less to taste

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all ingredients in bowl and mix well and place in loaf pan.

Glaze with any glaze of your preference. Here is mine from my Lentil Loaf recipe and it complimented it well

 

GLAZE

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tsp hot pepper sauce

1/2 tsp coriander

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3 tbsp packed light brown sugar

 

Bake meatloaf in oven for about 50 minutes until done.

So good.. be sure to judge your pineapple servings wisely.. too much will make this too sweet!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Its all Ginger baby.

…And when ginger is paired with Lemon it is dyno – mite.

I was feeling like some cuppie cakes… and decided to add some lemonade concentrate to a white cake recipe. I also decided to top them with some delicious Ginger Italian Meringue Buttercream.

Results? ??….Summer - tastic.

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Lemonade Cupcakes

recipe adapted from Beyond Buttercream's White Cake recipe.

 

Ingredients

5 oz egg whites

8.75 oz cake flour

11.5 oz sugar

3 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

3.5 oz unsalted butter

8 oz lemon yogurt

1/2 cup lemonade concentrate (frozen but brought to room temperature)

2 tsp lemon extract

 

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Add a little splash of buttermilk with your eggs and whisk lightly. Set aside.

Measure all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine with a wire whisk.

Add buttermilk, lemon yogurt and butter and lemonade concentrate.

Beat with paddle attachment on mixer for 80 seconds. Scrape sides of mixing bowl.

Now add egg in two batches. Mix for 30 seconds in between each addition. Scrape sides of your mixing bowl.

Add extracts then mix another 1o seconds.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes. Do NOT overbake!

 

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I had the most perfect non-domed, non flat cupcakes. I avoid cupcakes most times because I am type A …and a huge dome annoys me.. and the opposite annoys me just as much.  But these cupcakes came out of the oven all of equal height and perfect.

Perfect enough for icing with Ginger Buttercream.

I used my normal recipe that I can’t stop using ever…. Thanks to my cakiest mentor Christine of Not a Crumb!Exquisite Cakes. She has me hooked on this buttercream. I can’t imagine using another. You can find the recipe on my Blood Orange Marmalade Cake post.

Italian Meringue Buttercream is simply divine. Follow recipe as written and when finished add about 2 teaspoons of ground ginger or more. Depends on your taste just don’t over due it because the flavor intensifies as the buttercream sits.

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I must note this.. the light taste of the lemonade in the cupcakes paired well with the ginger in the buttercream. They tasted better the next day as they seemed to blend as one. One flavor didn’t over power the other.. they were perfect.

 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Buttered Yucca!

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I love yucca.. aka .. cassava… aka yum.

 

Add some butter and double yum.

 

Yucca is a Caribbean Latin food and is a root vegetable. It is enjoyed in many many ways. In Bermuda we make Cassava pie during the Christmas holidays, but it wasn’t until I moved here to Atlanta that I discovered other uses of it.

I first enjoyed it in Metemgee which I so enjoy and urge you to try. I then started falling in love with it boiled and sautéed with plenty of butter. An easy side dish that compliments any meal. I usually enjoy it with a curry dish and fried plantains but I tend to nibble at it on its own.

Buttered Yucca is simple and easy to make. You can buy fresh yucca at the market or buy it frozen. I started buying it frozen because I don’t have the time to peel and cut and it is not at all expensive.

Boil the yucca in a pot with enough water to cover. Add some salt to taste and some lemon juice. The yucca should be tender in approximately 30 minutes.

You can use the same pan or use another but either way sauté some onion in butter until tender and add the boiled yucca. If you wish you may add more butter. I tend to add too much but I use a whole 16oz bag of frozen yucca to begin with. I add 4 to 6 tablespoons of butter to that. See.. I told you too much. But the flavor is too die for and I don’t make this dish too often. Its all good in moderation! And a good long visit to the gym.

Sauté thoroughly and season with salt to taste. Add as a side to your dish or enjoy it on its own. A little goes a long way and it is a filling dish.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Icing Smiles, Inc.

I remember about a year ago I had heard of a non-profit organization, Icing Smiles, Inc. that provides cakes for sick children and/or their siblings.  I knew immediately I wanted to be involved.

At first I couldn’t find the representative in Georgia so I looked into becoming one myself… then as luck would have it I was researching cake and then as I was researching a cake technique I came across Sara’s blog Totally Sweet Cakes. She happened to be located right here in Georgia and I noted that she was volunteer for Icings Smiles. Unbelievable. I contacted her and she forwarded me the information to get started.

I was approved about a week after filling out my application. I was sooo ecstatic. You see… when you have been blessed such as I have then you should spread those blessings. I have been blessed to be able to decorate cakes and further blessed to have a Mentor, Christine of Not a Crumb to guide me (on top of that she has become a great friend). Plus I love to volunteer. So far since being in Georgia I have volunteered at Atlanta Food Bank Community both in the office and the food warehouse.. and I have also volunteered at Hosea Feed the Hungry.

Icing Smiles, Inc. was important to me because I WANTED to give back. I lost a child after birth at full term and watching her on life support for 12 hours changed me. No child should have to go through that .. I always say when my kids are sick that no kid should ever have to get sick. EVER. There should be an age limit on when you start getting sick. Crazy right??  Just my thoughts…

Anyway… Icing Smiles called me to action shortly after…and oh boy was I ready. Susan and Kayla were a joy to cake for. And a joy to meet. The whole family was beautiful. There are seriously no words to describe them. It was so good to have them as my first Icing Smiles, Inc. call to action cake. I don’t wish or need or shouldn't go into details…all you need to know is that they are why I love doing this.

 

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Mehndi inspired stacked gift box cake with Peonies and Pearls. Kayla loves Pearls. Cake flavors with Pink Lemonade with Lemonade Buttercream and White Cake with Vanilla Buttercream. Great flavor choices Kayla..

and the smile…

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…so worth it. Love the picture of her and her brother in the back :)

Thanks Susan and Kayla! Thanks Icing Smiles, Inc… looking forward to the next one.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or a recipient for Icing Smiles, Inc.. please check out the website at Icing Smiles.org.

And if you don’t bake cakes you can totally donate to the cause on the website too :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blood Orange Marmalade Cake for a New “Champion” Virtual Shower.

 

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Rustic. Simple.Delicious. Marmalade cake to Die For.

I had the pleasure of meeting Courtney of Cook like a Champion Blog at the Blogher11 Food Conference here in Atlanta. Prior to that we posted on a popular “foodie” board, but I never knew her until we met for a dinner that Josie of Pink Parsley Blog had planned. Courtney has a great smile and a personality to match. She is very light…if you can say that about a person. Light. Yes…meaning she has a presence that is delightful.

I am very excited for her new “Champion” addition to her family. What a very lucky blessed baby she will be bringing into this world. Speaking of blessings.. that is how I feel to be a part of this virtual shower being hosted by Josie.

  Truthfully, it felt great to take it light…(there is that word again) for this shower. I am so use to baby shower’s with fully fondant decorated cakes and this one I decided to keep it rustic and simple.  No fuss. However, by all means is this cake no fuss. This cake is delightful.

I made my own Blood Orange marmalade. Bummed I didn’t take a picture( I know right) but I really did it! I was looking for Seville oranges as I thought they were in season but I couldn’t find any. However, when the produce department at Whole Foods directed me to the Blood Oranges…. the idea of working with Blood Oranges intrigued me.

I used a recipe that was easy and it was surprising that something so easy could taste this good. Okay.. truth is I burned the first batch but hey.. to err is human? Right?

Find the recipe and technique I used over at Evil Mad Scientist. Once you make a batch you are never going to buy the store made marmalade ever! It’s that good!

Now..on to the cake. I wanted a recipe that I didn’t use before and in researching I found a recipe that didn’t seem that popular but the little reviews were good.

Marmalade Cake  to Die For

source: Food.com

 

Cake Ingredients:

3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup softened butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs , at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 cup buttermilk , at room temperature

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 and prepare two 9inch round pans.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

With an electric mixer, beat butter until light, and add the sugar a little at a time and beat until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternately with 1/2 of the butter milk until well combined.

Add half the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining butter milk, continue to beat until well combined.

Add in the remaining dry ingredients and beat until smooth.

Evenly divide the batter between pans and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

(The cake turns a dark golden brown as you can see in the picture) Leave the cakes in the pans

Meanwhile make a syrup with 1 cup of juice that is the same flavor as marmalade and 1/4 cup syrup.

Once the cake is cooked, poke holes 1/2 inch apart with a toothpick and spoon the syrup generously over each layer.

Let the layers cool completely in the pans.

 

I slathered my homemade Blood Orange Marmalade between the layers and saved some for the top of the cake. Yes…in the middle of the top of the cake I mixed the Buttercream with the Marmalade for that extra kick. And it was so worth it.

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Now lets talk frosting. I was introduced to Italian Meringue Buttercream by my cake mentor Christine John Harris over at Not a Crumb.com. This Buttercream beats the typical American made Buttercream any day. It is very light.. yet rich… not too sweet.. just perfect. I got a little excited with it on this cake and if you chose to make it you would too.

This Buttercream can be intimidating if you are not used to working with hot syrup. It is a non crusting Buttercream and using none of the powdered sugar. It is absolutely heaven.

Since you may not have your own Christine to watch make it and I don’t do the photo tutorials on my blog (yet) then I thought I would find a website that would have the step by step tutorial in pictures for you. I found a great one at King Arthur Flour.com. This is as perfect of a tutorial as you can get if you don’t have someone live in front on you demonstrating.

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I am still learning my way with this buttercream as practice makes perfect and I love the taste so much that I want it to be just that…perfect.

Kaye’s Italian Meringue Buttercream

source: Whimsical Bakehouse

In a saucepan, bring to a boil:
1/2 cup water
2-1/4 cups sugar


Use a clean brush and cold water to wash
down any sugar crystals that form on the
sides of the pan as the water heats. When
the sugar comes to a boil set a timer for 7
minutes, and let boil.


After 5 minutes, in the bowl of an electric
mixer, begin to whip at high speed:
1 cup egg whites (about 12 large egg whites)
Whip until stiff. They should be done when
the timer goes off.


With the mixer on high speed, slowly beat
the sugar syrup into the egg whites, pouring
the syrup to the side of the bowl to avoid
the whip.


Continue to beat until the bowl is cool to
the touch, about 10 minutes. Slowly add:
1-1/2 pounds (6 sticks) unsalted butter at
room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
When the buttercream begins to jump out of
the bowl, reduce the speed to low.


Mix in at low speed:
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Beat until light and fluffy. At some points
the mixture might look curdled. Just keep
beating; it will become smooth again.


YIELD: 8 cups

 

Congratulations to you and your family Courtney.

Thanks for allowing me a slice of your virtual baby shower. Everybody.. please check out our Virtual Shower hostess blog Josie at Pink Parsley.com. (Love her).  You can see all the wonderful eats by the beautiful bloggers I am proud to even be associated with. Also of course, Courtney (her blog is awesome) over at Cook like a Champion.

Enjoy.. and I hope this virtual shower inspires you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Celebrate Valentines day with Coconut Candy Cakes.

 

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I wanted something simple to make for valentines day. I thought of cheesecake brownies, I thought of strawberry pie… I even thought of well.. I thought of so much I lost track. My brain was filled with ideas that it began to hurt. So I kept it simple.

I grew up on coconut cakes in Bermuda yet I never made them myself. Just like glass candy.. well I tried to make those years ago and the outcome was not great.  So, back to the coconut cakes.. I love these.

I had the pleasure of having a similar candy that I bought from a Caribbean grocery store on Covington Highway in Georgia. They call them Coconut drops and they have a bit of ginger in them. So delish!

I enjoyed these too. I notice that they are softer then the Coconut drops I bought in the store and that was fine.. plus you only need 2 main ingredients. Coconut and Sugar.

I thought I would make mine pink.. you know.. in all Valentine Day style. Turned out that a tad drop of red food coloring went a long way and the color was fabulous.

The recipe is as easy as it seems…

Coconut Candy Cakes

My original source: Fellow Bermudian Rosely M. Joell

but techniques also adapted from: Food.com 

 

Ingredients:

4 cups sugar

1 cup water

2 cups grated unsweetened coconut

2 teaspoons lemon extract

 

Directions:

Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a heavy saucepan, stir occasionally until sugar dissolves.

Stir in coconut and continue boiling.

If you have a candy thermometer , boil until mixture reaches 234 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer drop a small bit of mixture in glass of ice water. If it holds together and is soft when you press, it is ready.

Remove from the heat source.

Quickly stir in extracts and coloring (if you desire to change the color).

Dump the entire mixture on the baking sheet and let them harden slightly and break them into individual candy cakes for wrapping and presentation.

These can last for up to a week if left in a airtight container . I can totally seeing these Coconut Candy Cakes in different colors at parties ! Lime green, yellow, blues and pinks and red all assembled on a platter! The color turns out beautiful as long as you don’t over boil your coconut.. that will turn it a golden brown color.. still delicious though. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bacon and Artichoke Dip

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Aaahhhh, bacon.. it soothes my soul. You can add bacon in pretty much anything and I will devour it. Almost.

This dip comes just in time for the Superbowl. I found this recipe by Lauren King while surfing through a Bermuda Cookbook.

14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup parmesan cheese

6 strips of cooked crispy bacon, crumbled

Mix all ingredients and place in a buttered pie dish. Place in 350 degree oven for 2o minutes.

Enjoy!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oven Fried Chicken Tenders.

 

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In ode to the upcoming Superbowl I did another finger food post. Whoo hoo. Go me. Actually, this was my kids dinner one night. But I am sure it would look pretty on a table of appetizers for the Superbowl. I do have a suggestion.. have plenty of dipping sauce.

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My reason you ask? I just didn’t find these to be well seasoned enough. The original posters says it taste like Kentucky Fried Chicken…nah. I didn’t think so. It was missing something. I love my fried foods to be heavily seasoned. I mean if you are going to eat fried fattening food you might as well go all the way and add more salt. However, I don’t add much more salt. In fact my secret ingredient for fried food is mustard.

Before I fry my chicken or fish I marinate it in plain ole French’s Yellow Mustard. A tip a good friend from LA told me. I love how it makes the food pop! Mustard is great in so many things!

But this post isn’t about mustard. It’s about chicken tenders that are fried in the oven in a ton of butter. Another recipe that was brought to you courtesy of  Pinterest board.

Recipe:

source: Our Life Uncommon

1/2 tsp  Salt

1 tbsp Season Salt

3/4 tsp Pepper

1 cup Flour

2 tsp  Paprika

1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast tenderloins

milk

 

Mix dry ingredients in bowl or large ziplock bag.

Marinate thawed chicken breast tenderloins in a bowl of milk for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut 1/2 stick of butter into pieces and place in a 9x13 baking pan.

Melt the butter in the pan in the pre-heated oven.

Remove pan when butter is melted and spread around the bottom of the pan.

Shake excess milk off of chicken and  coat each piece with the flour mixture.

Place piece chicken in  pan.

Cook for 20 minutes and turn each piece of chicken and continue cooking for 10 more minutes, or until cooked.

 

I know I already mentioned that I thought this recipe needed more seasoning. In addition to that my batter stuck a bit to the pan as I turned the tenderloins. I also think there was too much butter as the original poster didn’t state how much chicken she actually used.

The pros to the recipe is that it is quick and easy and less work then frying chicken. I feel with some minor adjustment it can be a good recipe. I think it serves well for large crowds and as I stated…just have plenty of dipping sauce. I think next time I try it I will be marinating it in some good ole Yellow Mustard! I will let you all know how that works out!

Feel free to post your experiences with this recipe and your tips!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I hear Superbowl is coming up.

…again.

I am no huge fan of the big game but I do have 2 people in this house that are. The 12 year old boy and the Hubsta often sit in front of the tellie to enjoy a good match. The 12 year old is a Steelers Fan and the Hubsta is a Giants fan. Needless to say this year the Hubsta is very happy. This should be a great game for him. For me? Well…I will enjoy the commercials.. and the food of course.

I enjoy Pinterest for pinning recipes I want to try. And this is one on my “its done” list. I thought it would be appropriate to post it the week of the Superbowl as it is a wonderful munches appetizer. Since the Hubsta doesn’t eat pork the kids and I enjoyed it ourselves.

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls. Oh my.

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Recipe:

source: Plain Chicken 

1 unsliced loaf of round sourdough bread

12 oz cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

3 oz bag Oscar Mayer Real Bacon bits

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 Tbsp DRY Ranch dressing mix

 

Cut the bread going both directions without cutting through the bottom crust.

Place the cheese slices in between the cuts.

Sprinkle bacon bits on the bread and get them between the cuts as well.

Mix the melted butter and Ranch mix together and pour over bread

Wrap the entire loaf in foil and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees then open foil and bake for additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Watch loaf disappear.

 

Friday, January 27, 2012

How Irie.

I made Rasta Pasta!

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I thought it was good considering I have only had it once and it did taste really good!  Also there are a few recipes for Rasta Pasta online and they  are different. I chose one that I would call “ital.” Typically, Rastafarians believed in “clean eating” way before it was a fad to eat clean. We used to refer to this type of food as “ital” which is derived from the word “vital”. Eating clean is vital to Rastafarians.

I suppose the name of this recipe came from the fact that the sauce itself is very natural. This recipe had all the spices I love and the vegetable I love too. I knew I couldn’t go wrong with choosing it, especially since the hubsta loves to eat “ital” food.  However, what went wrong was my preparation time. My original recipe source said 20 minutes!  Oh boy.. where they incorrect. I totally underestimated how long it would take to prepare this dish. My advice to anybody that wants to attempt this pasta is to prep everything prior to cooking.

The sauce for the pasta is so tasty, I almost wanted to just eat that alone! I know for sure I will be using the same ingredients for the sauce to make a great soup one day. I didn’t serve this pasta with anything else. No bread…no salad. It was a one meatless meal all on its own. Now if you want to add chicken to it I am sure that it would be great too. But this is the perfect recipe for the vegetarian or the “ital” eaters in your life.

So here goes..

Recipe

Source: Group Recipes

 

Ingredients:

4 oz uncooked penne
1/4 cup butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 chili pepper, seeded and minced
2 cups diced pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash
1 cup water or vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 green pepper, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 small zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup corn kernels, fresh,canned or frozen & thawed
6 broccoli florets,blanched

 

Directions:

Place the pasta in boiling water and cook. Drain and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan.

Add onion, garlic, ginger and chili pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes.

Add the pumpkin and water to pan and cook 15-20 minutes or until tender.

Add coconut milk, coriander, cumin, thyme, white pepper, nutmeg, allspice and salt, and simmer for another 4-5 minutes.

Place the mixture in a food processor and process 15 seconds, or until sauce is smooth.


In a large skillet,melt remaining butter and add the green pepper, mushrooms, zucchini and sauté for 4-5 minutes.

Add corn and broccoli and sauté for 2 more minutes.

Pour pumpkin mixture into skillet and stir.

Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for about 1 minute.

Blend pasta thoroughly into the mixture.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cream of Fresh Cauliflower Soup

So fresh and so yummy.

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Don’t let the good looks fool you… this is some good good soup. Made with curry and vegetable broth the flavor is one you savor forever. This will be in regular rotation in my house.

The motive to making soup today in this 62 degree weather in  January in Atlanta is for a good cause. The ASPCA and a blog that goes by the name of Branny Boils Over.

I had the pleasure of meeting and dining with “Branny” in May 2011 at the Blogher Food 11 Conference here in Atlanta. Prior to meeting her I have always admired her blog. I felt like I knew her before actually meeting her because in her writing I got a good sense of what type of person she is. Upon meeting her just solidified all my previous assumptions. She is pretty cool. Likes to laugh and smile and can be serious and not so serious. Just my type of girl. Icing on the cake? She loves animals and this year, the second year, she is honoring her love of animals by turning our focus on them and their needs.

For every soup recipe she collects with picture via blog or email she will donate $1 to the ASPCA. This encouraged me to break out the soup bowl. And you should too. Lets support the ASPCA together.. go on over and check out the rules of Souper Bowl Round 2 on her blog and take out your soup pots, bowls, Crockpot or whatever it is that you can to whip up your soup. The deadline is January31st, 2012!

 

Cream of Fresh Cauliflower Soup Recipe

Amended from a recipe by:  Jessica S. Wade

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cups sliced fresh cauliflower

1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tbsp of butter

1 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp salt

dash of black pepper

1 cup low fat or skim milk

 

In a saucepan, combine vegetable broth, onion, cauliflower and curry powder.

Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Place half the cauliflower mixture in a blender and blend for 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth. Repeat with remaining mixture.

In same saucepan melt the margarine and blend in flour, salt and pepper.

Add the milk.

Continue cooking and stirring until mixture is thickened, smooth and bubbly.

Stir in the cauliflower mixture.

Cook and stir until the soup is heated thoroughly. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Optional:  Garnish with sprinkles of cauliflower mixed with red pepper flakes.

 

~~This year she asks us to dedicate our post to a pet. I have had a few pets in my life so it was hard to pick just one. I don’t have a picture of any of them…not on paper anyway. Just in my heart. So, I dedicate this post to my pets gone but not forgotten… Frisky, Kujo, Whiskers, Misty and Shadows. Thanks for the joy and I and my family shall continue to spread it.~~

Monday, January 23, 2012

Molasses and Ginger go hand and hand

..or hand to mouth.

 

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I finally made my mom’s gingerbread! And it was so worth it! The recipe is easy as ever and I am not sure what took me so long to make it! Especially since gingerbread is one of my favorites.

My mom visits me often and on one such occasion I asked her to make the gingerbread so that I could watch.

There is something about the hand of a mom that makes everything taste good…even when she adds more or less of an ingredient than the recipe calls for. Not sure how that is possible because with baking everything comes down to science. Perhaps that skips their generation of moms..because no matter what she decided to add to the recipe it always works out.

So I tried it myself and I tried to do it as she did. I substituted butter for margarine or shortening which is what her recipe called for. I just don’t bake with those ingredients so I risked the change in texture and taste for that. Also instead of putting a cup of molasses.. why not add the whole bottle!? I watched her do that herself when she showed me. My mouth dropped open because I was so sure the recipe was a goner from that. And just as her,  I did no other adjustments to the recipe to compensate for the addition of extra molasses. Just a prayer and a whim that it will work out.

I enjoyed the smell throughout the house as it was baking. And not once did I text her to ask her any questions as I usually do when cooking or baking something that I love when she makes it. I had to decrease my baking time as the smell became so intense that this cakiest knows..it is done. When she baked it the gingerbread took an hour. With my hands it took about 45 minutes. Maybe she did add something extra I didn't know about. She can’t tell me all her secrets or should she?

Results? Perfect gingerbread. Not her gingerbread.. but pretty darn close. Maybe because of the butter…but my guess  is that I was missing that generation of “ just add this and add that.” But regardless, my gingerbread was still darn good. It didn’t last 2 days in this house.

With that said I am going to post my mom’s recipe for Gingerbread.

Update: In doing some research I recently found this recipe online at  allrecipes.com !

 

Seriously good…

 

 

My Mom’s Gingerbread

 

12 ounce bottle of molasses (the darker the better!)

1 cup hot water

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg, at room temperature

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare 9 x 13 inch baking pan with grease and flour for easy release. I use Bakers Joy :)

Combine molasses and hot water in a medium size bowl and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a separate bowl

Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl.

Add egg

Add dry ingredients (flour mixture)  alternately with water and molasses mixture to the creamed butter and sugar in the mixing bowl, ending with the dry ingredients.

Pour mixture in baking pan and place in oven for 30 minutes at 350 then drop temperature to 300 for approximately 20 minutes.

Gingerbread should be baked when tester comes out clean.

Let cool and carefully remove from pan.

 

For extra yummy goodness.. pour some warm custard on top!