Friday, June 20, 2014

Berried & Bundted Bliss

Living in Arizona in the summer time, I do just about anything to avoid turning my oven on.  However, this cake is worth a little extra heat in the house -- after all, if it's already 120*, what're a few more degrees?  This cake is an easy, yummy crowd-pleaser from my good old friend, Smitten Kitchen (AKA the delightful Deb Perelman, whom Cait and I had the privilege of meeting last year).  If you don't know her already, you will become fast friends after making this cake, and I encourage you to check out her blog for just about everything.

2 1/2 cups (355 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (20 grams) all-purpose flour2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt1 cup (8 ounces or 225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (340 grams) granulated sugarZest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, at room temperature1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk3 cups (350 to 450 grams) mixed berries

2 cups (240 grams) powdered or confections’ sugarJuice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, very, very soft

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-cup Bundt pan, either with butter or a nonstick spray.* Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk or sift 2 1/2 cups flour (leaving 2 tablespoons back), baking powder and salt together and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and impossibly fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then, with the mixer on a low speed, add your eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition. Beat in vanilla, briefly. Add 1/3 flour mixture to batter, beating until just combined, followed by half the buttermilk, another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk and remaining flour mixture. Scrape down from time to time and don’t mix any more than you need to. In the bowl where you’d mixed your dry ingredients, toss the berries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. With a silicon spatula, gently fold the berries into the cake batter. The batter will be very thick and this will seem impossible without squishing the berries a little, but just do your best and remember that squished berries do indeed make for a pretty batter.
Spread cake batter — you might find it easier to plop it in the pan in large spoonfuls, because it’s so thick — in the prepared baking pan and spread the top smooth. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the cake 180 degrees after 30 (to make sure it browns evenly). The cake is done as soon as a tester comes out clean of batter. At 10 minutes before my baking time was up, a tester was totally wet with batter and I wascertain it would never be done in the estimated time. 7 minutes later, the same tester was clean as a whistle, so fret not.
Set cake pan on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, before inverting the cake onto a serving platter to cool the rest of the way. Cool completely. Once cool, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth and very, very thick. (If you’d like it thinner, add more juice, but I like the thick drippiness of it, seen above.) Spread carefully over top of cake, letting it trickle down the sides when and where it wishes. Serve at once or keep it covered at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Strawberry-rhubarb heart pie

Steak can wait.

So this is one cute pie, particularly appropriate for celebrating Valentine birthdays. (This is very belated. I know. I'm sorry.) Though the heart cutouts may appear to be time-consuming and a tad obsessive, they were actually the saving grace for my first attempt of this pie crust, which was crackly and crumbly and generally didn't want to be handled, much less lifted off the table.

I'd recommend my go-to pie crust, found here on Smitten Kitchen, instead.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

An Old Family Recipe

There are a lot of these, but this one is a particular gem in the recipe treasure chest.  Hamburger Soup is one of the best parts about cold-weather cooking.  The name underestimates this flavorful dish.

Hamburger Soup

1 LB ground beef
1/2 LB mild Italian sausage
2 diced onions
1 C diced carrots
1 diced rutabaga
1 C diced celery
1/4 C pearl barley (you can use quinoa or brown rice)
1 LG can stewed tomatoes
1 can (10 1/2 OZ) beef broth (or 10 OZ water + 2 bullion cubes)
2 TBSP ketchup
2 TSP seasoned salt
1 pinch dried basil
4 C water

Brown the beef, sausage, & onions.  Drain.  Add the other ingredients and simmer about 2 hours. 

I am making this recipe in the crockpot tomorrow, and I will let you know how it goes!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Salted. Caramel. Bar.

Three words that are great on their own, but fantastic together.  I had to run an errand this evening--fought traffic across the metro and decided to take a break from it on my way back home when I drove by Luci's--a "healthy marketplace" stuffed full of organic goodies and boasting a delightful little coffee shop.  As I got in line to get my usual medium latte--to see if Luci's would pass the milk and espresso test--something wonderful caught my attention.  The Salted Caramel Bar.  It was even better than it sounds.  Flaky crust toped with gooey caramel that was jeweled with salty roasted nuts.


Oh, and the latte was good too. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thai Beef w/ Basil

One of my favorite Thai restaurants in Minneapolis has bumper stickers by the door that say, "Thai It, You'll Like It!"  This cracks me up more than it ought to, every time.  However, the phrase rings true about this Thai Beef w/ Basil recipe!  In fact, I'll go one step further -- Thai It Or will regret it.  Trust me.  So, without further ado, I'm going to get writing so you can get Thai-ing!

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The photo on the bottom is my lovely little basil plant -- a great investment if you like to have a versatile fresh herb on hand -- especially if you like to make pesto, because that can get spendy!

**This recipe was taken from Bon Appetit, however, I have altered it a bit to be a little more practical for the "cooking after work" crowd.**

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 6-10 garlic cloves smashed
  • 2 jalepenos sliced, de-seeded to taste
  • 1 LB ground beef
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 water + 1 cube beef bullion
  • 2-3 C fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 a bag of grated carrots (found near baby carrots in produce section -- or grate a few of your own carrots)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TSP sugar
  • steamed brown basmati rice
Saute garlic & jalepenos in 1 TBSP oil 1-2 minutes; add beef, salt, & pepper -- cook through, about 8-10 MIN.  Add water + bullion cube and basil; cook and stir until basil is wilted and bullion mixed in.  Turn off heat and keep warm while making carrot slaw: pour 1 TBSP oil, sugar, and soy sauce into bowl -- whisk together.  Mix in carrots and onions until thoroughly coated.  Layer rice, beef, and slaw in a bowl, and...Thai It, You'll Like It ;)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Healthy & Yummy Pumpkin Muffins

I just discovered this delightful & delectable blog, Pinch of Yum, over the weekend and made her amazing pumpkin muffins.  Follow the link above.  It will take you to a wonderful place. 

I made a few edits to the recipe (because, much to Caitlin's constant chagrin, that's what I do) --


  • 2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 TSP baking soda
  • 1 TSP baking powder
  • 1 1/2 TSP cinnamon & nutmeg
  • 1/2 TSP salt
  • 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 2 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C real maple syrup
  • 3 TBSP milk
  • 3 eggs

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the dry ingredients (flours, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and sugar). In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (pumpkin, oil, maple syrup, milk, and eggs).
  2. Combine the dry and wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stirring until just combined. Fill each muffin tin almost to the top with a scoop of batter – I like to use an old fashioned ice cream scoop with the little thumb press to get a nice rounded top.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until tops are puffy and spring back when you press them. Remove from the muffin pan and let cool before glazing.

I made the best chili!

Try it.  You will thank me :)

Kileen’s Fabulously Spicy Three-Meat Chili


·      1 LB hot Italian sausage (de-cased if necessary – I could only find it in uncooked links)
·      1 ½ LBS ground turkey
·      1 ½ LBS ground beef
·      juice of 1 orange
·      ½ C of water + 2 beef bullion cubes
·      2 medium onions, chopped
·      2 red peppers, chopped
·      3 jalapenos, chopped and seeded to taste
·      8 smashed garlic cloves
·      1 TBSP salt
·      1 TBSP cumin
·      4 TBSP chili powder
·      1 twenty-eight OZ can diced tomatoes
·      4 OZ can of tomato paste

All you have to do is put it all in a large crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours!