Archive for January, 2011

Fresh Orange Cake

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

I made this cake twice… I had two fresh orange recipes for cake in my winter pile of “desserts-to-try.” The first used an entire whole orange, poached in simple syrup and pureed down into a luscious blend of oranges and sour cream… Sound intriguing?  (It did not turn out – in fact I dreamed about it that night, and in my dream I was making the cake on the Food Network show, “Worst Cook in America.” Anne Burrell told me the cake looked like a sponge. It went downhill from there…)

But fresh orange was still rolling around in my mind, and after all, I have no shortage of recipes in the “wanna make this” pile… So I made the second cake. This one uses orange zest and orange juice and is topped with a smooth chocolate glaze that was calling my name, saying, “Chocolate and orange make everything better…”

And thankfully, success! It turned out with a bakery-style flat top, which is so exciting for me, and the orange flavor seems to be pronounced and subtle all at the same time! It tastes absolutely delicious, and totally satisfied every orange-centric craving that I had! (And no one asked me to demonstrate it on national television, thank goodness!!!) Enjoy!

Gather Up:
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
Zest of 2 large organic oranges
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla

For the Glaze:
5 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
¾ cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Combine the buttermilk, orange juice, lemon juice and vanilla.

Cream the butter and sugar until lightened and creamy. Mix in the orange zest.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.

Add 1/3 of the flour and mix until incorporated. Add ½ the liquid mixture and mix until incorporated. Continue with 1/3 of the flour, then the remaining ½ of the liquid, finishing with the last 1/3 of the flour. Blend just until it begins to look nearly mixed.

Remove from mixer and use a spatula to finish mixing with a few folds.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth to level.

Bake until golden and a wooden pick comes out clean, 28 – 34 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.

Turn out onto a cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper. Cool completely.

For the chocolate glaze, place the chopped chocolate into a bowl. Heat the cream just to the boiling point. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes. Stir slowly and gently until the mixture comes together. (If a little graininess remains in the sauce, depending on the type of chocolate you used, transfer the sauce to a double boiler and heat and stir for about 10 minutes until smooth and no grains of chocolate remain.) Cool the sauce until it is a nice pouring consistency and pour over cake.  Let it firm up before cutting the cake.

Recipe from: Pastry Studio

Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Dip

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Some of my fondest childhood memories involve food… For me August in the Midwest meant sweet corn, the likes of which none outside those environs have ever seen! We ate it early and often, and when it was over, we put corn aside until the next year…

But occasionally I crave it… I’m pretty much a sucker for any recipe that calls for sweet corn, and when the mood strikes I will use whatever manner of corn I can get my hands on! (Even, GASP! frozen sweet corn!)

My favorite way to enjoy a big bowl of this dip is to scoop its saucy goodness up with big fat chips, but it works just as fine with pitas or tortillas, and is pretty awesome as a topping for grilled chicken and fish as well! Oh, and I’ve found that people watching football seem to love it!

Gather Up:
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 cups canned organic black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups sweet corn, fresh or frozen
1 cup green onions, chopped
3 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped and drained
½ cup cilantro, chopped

Combine the olive oil, lime juice and all the seasonings in a small bowl and mix well. Chill.

Combine the black beans, corn, green onions, tomatoes and cilantro in a bowl and mix gently.

Pour the chilled oil mixture into the bowl and toss to coat.

Cover and marinate in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, stirring occasionally.

From: Texas Ties

Beef with Mushrooms and Thyme

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

(And on the side: Seven Things about Us!)

Any apron-clad mom worth her salt can cook up a big savory pot of beef with gravy, right? I have to admit that sometimes my beef stews are a little thin and occasionally my pot pies are a little runny… I add the flour, I dredge the meat, I mix in the puree, and I know to reduce… Still, sometimes success, sometimes not so much…

As part of the organized chaos which is my recipe shelf I have a filing system. (Heaven help the fool who tries to mess with my mess…) I do this because over the course of a year I will not remember which recipes are awesome and which ones need tweaking, and come next winter (or this winter) I can happily go to the “file” for help with my menu.

The system is not very sophisticated. There is a section (OK, pile…) for each season. A recipe with a Check Plus is a hands-down winner, a recipe with a Check is a totally edible keeper, and for recipes below that there is no designation because I throw those out! (At the bottom of the pile are those recipes I have yet to try, but that is a can of worms for another day…)

My point is that this recipe is a Check Plus from last winter, so even though I don’t recall making it, I can jump in and make it again, confident (OK, hoping) it will turn out just as delicious as it did last time. It cooks in the oven which is a method that I love, and the gravy is indeed apparently foolproof because it turned out thick and mushroomy for the second time in a row. Double Check Plus!

And speaking of the Double Check Plus, Rachel over at The Avid Appetite was kind enough to tag us in her Stylish Blogger Award and ask us to share seven things about ourselves…how nice of her! You just never know when a little encouragement will make all the difference to someone, and this timely word of encouragement is much appreciated!!!

So here goes:

1. UrMom is addicted to “white on white” wedding cake… Seriously addicted.
2. UrMom cannot sit through an entire movie. Sitting still is too hard.
3. UrMom has never lived in the same house for more than five years. Hoping Austin sticks!
4. College Girl loves Ireland, er, loves a boy in Ireland. We are preparing for transatlantic travel.
5. College Girl and her roommates make vanilla and chocolate cake balls once a week. They now love food blogs.
6. Working Girl has officially lost her wedding-obsessed mind. Case in point: last week she purchased four pom-pom makers. All spare time has become craft time.
7. Working Girl is known for two things in her office (besides her genius consulting skills): water consumption and a chocolate addiction.

Thanks so much Rachel for thinking of us! We never imagined starting a blog would be so much fun and would help us get to know so many awesome fellow bloggers (although we did hope it would!) Now that you know us a little better, let’s get back to considering some beefy goodness…

Gather Up:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups diced onion
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3 pounds lean beef chuck, trimmed and cut in 2 inch pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 pounds cremini mushrooms cut in large pieces
1 cup organic beef stock
1 pound chanterelle mushrooms cut in large pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil and butter in a large heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and beginning to brown.

Stir in tomato paste, paprika and thyme.

Season beef with salt and plenty of pepper. Add the beef and cremini mushrooms to the pot and stir to combine. Add the stock and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid.

Transfer the pot to the oven and bake until the beef is very tender, 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Stir in chanterelle mushrooms and continue baking 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes. Serve.


Buttermilk Cakes with Spiced Vanilla Icing

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

I am a huge fan of buttermilk! It all started with a fantastic buttermilk pancake recipe that I still make to this day from one of my mom’s cookbooks. (Said book is a Betty Crocker from the 1950’s with ink drawings…super retro!) Back then I didn’t try to analyze why they tasted so good, I only knew that pancakes with buttermilk were WAY better than ones without…

But I did start trying every recipe that called for buttermilk, especially when desserts were involved. It was kind of my secret weapon – it made everything taste good! I have since discovered the joy of things like buttermilk biscuits, buttermilk fried chicken, buttermilk salad dressing, buttermilk marinades, the list goes on and on… In other words, I am pretty much never without it.

If you love to bake you probably have some on hand right now too! Who can argue with its tangy flavor, sort of a cross between melted butter and sour cream. And even though it is thick and creamy, it is low in fat. Enough said.

Another favorite baking trick of mine is to take a whole cake and break it down into manageable tidbits. Then it becomes not such a commitment… Then it becomes easier to give a bit of it away… Then its dietary intimidation is reduced down to a few bites of fun! And who doesn’t want a few bites of fun?

These little buttermilk cakes are super yummy and the icing is good on just about anything! (And if you are feeling daring, a bundt pan will work just as well…)

Gather Up:
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups flour
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup buttermilk
2 cups cooked butternut squash puree

For the Icing:
2 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons buttermilk, approximately
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup crystallized ginger, ground to dust

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour muffin pans for 12 cakes.

In a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar on medium until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the oil and beat another 15 seconds.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.

Add the vinegar and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Add half of the flour, the baking soda, salt, ginger, and nutmeg, mixing on low until just combined.

Add half of the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk.

Fold the squash into the batter and spoon into muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 20-30 minutes.

Cool in the pans for 15 minutes then turn onto cooling racks. When completely cool, prepare the icing.

To make the icing whisk the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, nutmeg and salt until smooth, adding a little more sugar or a little more buttermilk to get an icing that is pourable but still quite thick.

Pour the icing back and forth in ribbons on the cakes. Sprinkle with a light dusting of ground crystallized ginger. Let the icing set about 45 minutes.

Recipe from Fine Cooking, December 2008

Potato Chowder

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Soup is the perfect antidote to relentless overindulgence – I don’t know about you, but at our house we are virtually gasping for relief from holiday eating! Somewhere between pigs-in-a-blanket and handfuls of Moose Munch we completely abandoned reasonable menu planning…

Cheese spread became a main course, cookies were offered with every meal, and afternoon coffee begged for a splash of Bailey’s. I believe I actually used spinach artichoke dip as a veggie course (albeit Emeril’s recipe…), and I found myself finishing leftover mashed potatoes a week ago because I needed to make more room in the fridge!

Over big decadent slabs of eggnog French toast this weekend I declared The End. And no one argued. Food sanity was calling, and it was time to answer! Not that this family ever goes on a diet – we just couldn’t do it… But a little saneness in the kitchen, a little nod to fresh veggies, that we can do!

Light and creamy, smooth and dreamy, this potato chowder is super satisfying. It is chock-full of yummy winter veggies and is made mostly with broth to keep things light and healthy! (And leftovers are terrific!)

Gather Up:
¼ pound bacon, diced
1 cup onion, chopped
¾ cup peppers, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups organic vegetable stock
5 cups potatoes, chopped
2 cups baby turnips, chopped
2 cups carrots, shredded
2 cups corn kernels, thawed
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Cheddar cheese, grated, for garnish

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside to use as garnish.

Add the onions and the peppers to the pot and season them with salt and pepper. Cook until tender. Add garlic and stir until fragrance is released, about 30 seconds.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir through the veggies. Add the broth, the potatoes and the turnips.

Simmer covered 10-15 minutes until potatoes and turnips are tender. Gently mash the soup mixture just a bit to add a little thickness to the broth.

Add the carrots and corn. Cover and simmer 5 minutes longer to blend flavors.

Stir in the milk. Season with thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls and serve with reserved bacon, grated cheese and parsley.

Recipe adapted from: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Welcome to Like Mother Like gal, stay at home mom, college student. Just 3 girls who love to eat and are dedicated to doing it the old-fashioned way! Plan, shop, cook, bake, clean, sleep, repeat. Hope you enjoy - we are so glad you are here!
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