Thursday, September 27, 2012

Serving Up {Bread}: Sally Luna Bread

I had never heard of Sally Lunn bread, but supposedly it has enough of a history (originating in England) that it has it's own entry on wikepedia, which isn't something you can say for any old run-of-the-mill recipe.

This is a delicious, buttery yeast bread that doesn't require any kneading.  Which is a good thing because the dough is more of a batter consistency and kneading it would be impossible.  This has been enjoyed by my family as a late night Sunday treat, warm out of the oven and slathered with butter and jam.  I can honestly say that I have never had a piece of this bread make it more than an hour or two, so I have no idea how well it holds up for a day or two past baking, but in that first 30 minutes it is delicious!!!

One Year Ago: Whole Bowl Rice Bowl

(recipe from fav family recipes)
printable version

1 cup hot milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups white flour

Mix the hot milk, butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl and let it cool to lukewarm. Stir the yeast into the warm water and let it stand for 5 minutes to dissolve. Add the dissolved yeast and the eggs to the first mixture and beat vigorously. Gradually add the flour. Cover and let rise in a warm place until about double in bulk. Spoon the mixture into a buttered loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 50 minutes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Serving Up {Cake}: Darn Good Chocolate Cake

I had a birthday 10 days ago and my daughter made my birthday cake!  A moist, delicious, rich chocolate cake with a chocolate spoiled am I?

This cake recipe is all over the internet but I want to lay claim to it before it was an internet success.  My mom had this recipe clipped from a newspaper article printed at least 12 years ago, maybe longer (long before food blogs either way).  I know it's age because she used this very cake recipe to make a dessert cake for the luncheon at my brother's wedding.  I have also taken it to two weddings myself now as the wedding cake for two of my sister-in-laws.  I can't claim that I know how to decorate a cake (and just for the record, I am retired from wedding cakes) but I can claim that the cake, at both weddings, was a hit on the flavor-meter.

But don't save this cake for some fancy occasion.  It is super quick to whip together and delicious enough to fool anyone who doesn't know better into thinking you slaved over it.

Wedding Cake #1: recipe for cake as written, topped with chocolate ganache and fresh berries

Wedding Cake #2: recipe for cake as written, topped with a white chocolate cream and then caramel drizzle
(photo from the amazing Kate Maxwell Photography)

One Year Ago: Coconut Chex Mix

printable version

1 18-ounce chocolate fudge cake mix
1 4-serving size box instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare baking pan by  greasing and dusting with flour - can use a 12-cup bundt pan, a 13x9 baking pan or two 9-inch round baking pans.

Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a large mixing bowl.  Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix for 1 minutes.  Stop the beaters and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 2-3 minutes.  The batter will be thick but should be well combined.  Fold in chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly.

Baking time varies based on the size of pan you are using.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.
Bundt pan; bake for 50-60 minutes.
13x9 pan; bake for 35 mintues.
Two 9" round pans; bake for 25 minutes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Serving Up {Pumpkin}: 10 Pumpkin Recipes for Fall

We have been enjoying a heavenly fall here in the Northwest - sunshine and warm days - you would hardly believe that we were more than half way through the month of September.  Then two days ago, literally overnight, our high temperatures dropped 20 degrees!  There is now no doubt that we are half way through September.  

I admit that I really like the brisk mornings that warm up to mild days and then return again to brisk evenings.  I find myself reaching for a pair of socks to keep my toes warm and the kids are wrapping up in blankets while they do their evening reading.  Fall is definately here!

When it comes to the flavor of fall, PUMPKIN has got to beat all the others.  I enjoy pumpkin in sweet desserts as well as savory main dishes.  Regardless of the dish, pumpkin is the flavor I crave this time of year.  Here is a collection of some of my favorite pumpkin recipes ~ welcome to fall :)

One Year Ago: Creamy White Chili

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Serving Up {Sandwich}: Doubles

I have mentioned before that my husband lived in the West Indies for two years while serving a mission for our church.  While there he developed a real love for the food and has blessed me by introducing me to a great variety of delicious curries and foods that he loved so much.  Whenever I try a new "curried" recipe, no matter how much I like it, it has to pass my husband to be considered a keeper.  When I saw this recipe for Chickpea Masala Sandwiches (Doubles) in the new "Spilling the Beans" cookbook, I knew I had to try it because I have heard Rich refer to "doubles" and how he and his missionary companions would eat them in huge numbers!

Having never had a double myself, I was a bit unsure how close this recipe would be to what my husband remembered and loved.  The recipe took some time to prepare because of making my own flatbread but my husbands response, and the response of all the kids for that matter, made the time spent totally worth it.  This recipe was a hit!  I had doubled the recipe for the filling and increased the bread to 1 1/2 - it was all gone in one sitting with people asking for more!  I love it when a new food is received so well.

This recipe will definitely be a keeper in our home and I am glad to have an additional non-meat meal to add to our rotation.

One Year Ago: Coconut Syrup

(recipe from Spilling the Beans)
printable version

2 cups flour
1 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup warm water
oil, for cooking

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbs. curry powder
2 cups cooked chickpeas -or- 1 19-ounce can, rinsed and drained
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup chicken stock (I used more)

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, turmeric, cumin, sugar and salt; add warm water and stir until the dough comes together.  On a floured surface, knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is smooth.  Return the dough to the bowl, cover and allow to set for an hour, or until doubled in size.

To make the filling, heat a drizzle of oil in a large heavy skillet set over medium-high heat.  Saute the onion until soft.  Add the curry powder and cook an additional minute or two.  Add the chickpeas, garlic and cilantro and cook for an additional minute before adding the chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer and reduce heat, cover partially and allow to cook for about an hour, until chickpeas are very soft.  Add additional chicken stock if needed.  Can slightly mash chickpeas as they soften.

To cook the flatbreads, divide the dough into 12 balls and roll each one out very thin on a lightly floured surface - they will be about 8 inch in diameter.  Heat a generous drizzle of oil in a heavy skillet set over medium heat and cook the breads one at a time until puffed and golden (about one minute), then turn the bread over with tongues and cook the second side.  Transfer cooked bread to paper towels to cool while you cook remaining dough.

Spoon the spiced chickpeas onto the flatbreads and top with mango chutney and/or extra fresh cilantro if you would like.  Wrap and eat while hot.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Serving Up {Cookies}: Snickerdoodle Blondies

On Labor Day I attended a church-hosted BBQ which included a spread of potluck desserts.  I was attempting to be "good" and so I had to make my selection(s) count.  One pan caught my eye, and while it wasn't the prettiest, it looked like some type of cinnamon-ish bar and I am a sucker for cinnamon.  I took one bite and was overwhelmed by how flavorful and delicious it was.  I kid you not - I watched the dessert table until the BBQ was over just to see who picked up the pan...and by the day's end I had the recipe!

Funny part is that, with only a couple of tweaks, I already had the recipe and had even posted it here.  So consider this a bit of a recipe redo.  The omission of the cinnamon chips from my original recipe do not take anything away from the taste and it is one less (tricky) ingredient to worry about.  Also, there is no glaze in this recipe which simplifies it even further and was not missed one bit.

And just for the record - I made these four days later for a BBQ that I hosted and my son later reported that one guest ate five of them (I have to laugh that my son was counting) so I am obviously not the only one won over by the goodness of these bars!

One Year Ago: Candy Bar Pudding Dessert

(recipe from Dozen Flours)
printable version

2 2/3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat until well blended.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

In a small bowl, combine the white sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the batter in the baking pan.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack. While still warm, cut into squares with a sharp knife.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Serving Up {Brownies}: Caramel Brownies

These brownies are not a new recipe - in fact, they have been around for a while because I remember making them back in college when I needed a really decent chocolate fix!  The recipe has kind of gone viral thanks to blogs and pinterest so my guess is that you have seen it before.  But should you have ignored it (for what reason I cannot imagine) by all means trust me that these are worth making.  Thanks to the use of a cake mix as the base, they come together super quick and they are worth it!  You will thank me on this one!

printable version

50 caramels
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 pkg. german chocolate cake mix
¾ cup butter, melted
1/3 cup evaporated milk
6 oz. chocolate chips

Place caramels and 1/3 cup milk in a small saucepan; melt over low heat and set aside.

Beat the cake mix, 1/3 cup milk and melted butter until well blended. It will be thick. Spread ½ of the batter into a greased 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pour melted caramel over the chocolate chips. Top with the remaining batter. Bake at 350 degrees for an additional 18 minutes or until done – DO NOT overbake. Refrigerate to be able to cut.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Serving Up {Brownies}: Moist Zucchini Brownies

It is nearing the end of zucchini season around here, but I still have a few stragglers coming on in my garden.  What about you?

We have enjoyed zucchini cookies, zucchini muffins, zucchini bread and even zucchini pumpkin bread.  I have also shredded and frozen enough bags of zucchini to keep us in zucchini until next harvest season.  My kids actually love all the zucchini baking that has been going on, but it was these brownies that caused my daughter to declare, "everything is better with zucchini!".  Brownies made better by zucchini?  Now that is zucchini marketing at it's finest!

Truth is, these REALLY are awesome brownies!  We have gone through two pans of them in just the past five days.  Even my husband (the only zucchini-adverse in the family) ate four of them before I finally told him the secret ingredient.

The batter, when prepared and put into the pan, is really dry.  Don't worry, you have not left an ingredient out.  Somehow while baking the zucchini works magic and turns the dry batter into something moist and magical...and chocolate!

One Year Ago: Strawberry Lemonade Quencher

MOIST ZUCCHINI BROWNIES with Buttermilk Chocolate Frosting     
(recipe adapted from Blogchef)
printable version

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2-3 cups shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13x9 baking pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar and vanilla and mix until well blended. In another bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and add the flour mixture gradually to the sugar mixture, mixing well. It will be VERY dry and crumbly - it's okay! Fold in the shredded zucchini. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brownies test done.

Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting
6 Tbs. cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk***
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch salt

In a saucepan, melt the butter and cocoa powder together. Allow to cool slightly. Add the vanilla, buttermilk and salt and then gradually add the powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
Frost cooled brownies.

***You can make this recipe using regular milk instead of buttermilk, but you have to use more powdered sugar in order to reach the desired spreadable consistency.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Serving Up {Appetizer}: Easy Salsa

My 9 year-old claims that he loves Mexican food but the truth is that he really only loves salsa.  While we were on vacation this summer my dad pulled out the tortilla chips and this salsa and asked if anyone wanted some.  You should have seen my son's eyes light up!

Before we had left, my son had been hands on in the kitchen making his own batch of salsa.  Promptly upon arriving home from vacation he declared that we needed to get the ingredients to make our own batch - which we did.  We have been enjoying it ever since on everything from chips to our scrambled eggs. 

One Year Ago: Zucchini Bread
                        Ranch Vegetable Dip

(recipe from Linda W.)
printable version

2 28-ounce cans tomatoes, drained
1 large onion
1 each green, yellow, red pepper
1-2 jalapeno pepper
1/4 bunch cilantro
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. salt

Use a food processor to chop the vegetables to desired size (can process less for chunkier salsa or more for smoother salsa).  The heat of the salsa is determined by the jalapeno pepper seeds; generally we use the seeds from only one of the two jalapenos.  When all the vegetables have been chopped, combine into a large bowl and add vinegar, sugar and salt.
Taste and add additional jalapeno seeds to increase heat level if desired.
For chunkier salsa you can add 1 15-ounce can of petite diced tomatoes (drained) at the end.

Store in the refrigerator.