Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pumpkin Pound Cake

It's always baking as I'm frantically wrapping the last of the presents, the Christmas morning birthday cake.

Our tradition is to open stockings and then have a little "birthday" cake in honor of Jesus. While it is a nice reminder in the midst of Christmas morning, it's also my way to sneak some food into the kids before we have a big late breakfast. Hypoglycemia on Christmas morning leads to nothing but tears and frustration  for both children and adults. My solution has been a cake of sorts. Usually a banana bread full of nuts or maybe a pumpkin bread. This year my husband found a recipe for pumpkin pound cake that he really wanted me to make.  It's Christmas and who am I to say no to such a simple request.

The result was the most fabulous pound cake that I have ever made or tasted! I mean it is really good...really, really good! The crust is spectacular!

I used the glaze but it really wasn't necessary and when I make it again, I don't plan on using it.

I was out of heavy cream so I used egg nog. It's such a small amount that I'm sure it made little to no difference.

from posted by Mel

cream together
3 c extra fine sugar (oh please, just use plain sugar as I did)
3/4 c unsalted butter, room temp
then add one at a time
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
set that mixture aside.
whisk together the dry ingredients
2 3/4 c sifted AP flour
1/4 turbinado sugar (also known as "Sugar in the Raw")
1 T baking powder
1 3/4 t ground cloves
1/2 t table salt
1/8 t ground allspice
mix together the wet ingredients
1 15oz can pumpkin
5 T heavey cream (this is where I substituted egg nog)
1 T honey
1 T vanilla extract
(can also add in 1 T dark rum but I did not)
preheat oven to 350
once the sugar and butter have creamed together, for about 5 mins, add the eggs and yolks one at a time.
Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the egg/butter/sugar mixture on low speed. Make sure to scrape the botoom of the bowl.
Pour into nonstick flour sprayed bundt pan. The bater will be thick, just even it out on top. Bake for about 55 to 60 mins. Insert skewer till it comes out nearly clean. Let rest 5 miutes in pan. Turn out onto serving tray. Cool to room temp.
Glaze: I just made a simple glaze of powder sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and water. I then drizzled/poured it over the top once it had cooled quite a bit.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Kitchen Labors

I am up before dawn this Thanksgiving cooking away.  I know, Pilgrims and Native Americans, the harvest, the cooperation, the thankfullness for a better life, God's providence. I get it. Really, I do. But why does that translate into the craziness in the kitchen that we call Thanksgiving?

I heard Christopher Kimball's annual talk on NPR Wednesday morning and I was thrilled with some of the recipes (posted below). Yet, I sit here this morning while a cake is in the oven thinking on why I am doing all this today. Well, I ran across this and it just spoke to me.  It has nothing to do with Thanksgiving but everything to do with why traditional family meals matter and why you should go to the trouble of doing it yourself. Thank you Monica Bhide. Your thoughts inspired me this morning.

Why I Don't Cook For My Parents

November 10, 2010
Mussels cooked in a saffron coconut stew, shrimp fritters with just the right crispness, chicken kebabs laced with brandy — these are dishes I tell my dad about all the time. They are my passion, my creations as a food writer. He often advises me on the recipes, telling me what to add, what to change, what to increase and what to substitute. I listen, because my dad is one of the best home cooks I know.
Just a few months ago, he and I were discussing our favorite chicken curry recipe that shines with flavors of green and black cardamom. I love the way he makes it, and we were discussing changing the texture of the onions. He is in Delhi and I am in Washington, D.C., and these discussions form the crux of our conversations. Yet, in our last talk something was different. Dad kept asking when I was going to cook all these dishes for him.

About The Author

An engineer turned food writer, Monica Bhide writes about food and its effect on our lives. Her work has appeared inThe Washington Post, the New York Times, Food & Wine, Prevention, Cooking Light, Healthand Self. Her latest book is Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen(Simon & Schuster). Read more at her blog, A Life Of Spice
Strangely, I rarely cook for my parents. It isn't because I am afraid to, feel that they won't like my dishes, that they will complain or that my dishes won't be up to their standards. That isn't it at all.
I grew up nourished in spirit by my father's travel stories involving food and my mother's unerring, mouthwatering dishes. His stories evoked a world of Irish pubs, French bistros, Indian curry houses, Swiss chalets, Austrian pensions that I had never seen, and my mother's hand created perfectly spiced dishes without ever holding a measuring cup, spoon or bowl. She practiced the art of what I call andza cooking, estimation cooking — always adding a little of this and a little of that — and always created a memorable dish. My sister and I would take turns doing dinner chores. We would spend time around the dinner table talking about our day, about life in general, about the cost of okra, but always together.
I left home when I was 17 and wandered the world: college, marriage, babies, careers. I grew up in the Middle East, my parents settled in India, and I settled in the U.S. When I visited them, I just wanted them to cook for me. I longed for my mother's crisp fried okra, my dad's cardamom-scented oatmeal, or the best dish — having both of them in the kitchen discussing and making a mutton curry. I love that they have been married for more than 40 years and possibly making that same curry for that long, and yet they always discuss how to make it and what to do.
Rarely, I will volunteer to cook my creations for them. I tell them about my food, they cook from my cookbooks, but when I am there with them in their home, I don't cook for them. I was raised on their food — it is the memory and the home of my childhood. While they may miss my chicken kebabs, I know they don't long for it as I do for my father's butter chicken.
I cook for my own children in the hope that I create similar memories. I cook for my kids in the hope that when they go off into the big wide world, the memory of their mother's chicken curry, the scent of her caramelized onions with garlic, the whiff of her cinnamon-scented rice pudding will tug at their heart and bring them back home — just like my parents' cooking does for me.

Old Fashioned Pecan Pie

I have looked for a pecan pie recipe without corn syrup for years.  Finally, Christopher Kimball has some to my rescue!

Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie

Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie
America's Test Kitchen
Old-fashioned pecan pie
Pecan pie, often called 'Karo pie' in the South, is reinvented using maple syrup, brown sugar and molasses rather than corn syrup.


  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell, chilled in pie plate for 30 minutes
  • Serves 8 to 10


  1. Make Filling: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat syrup, sugar, cream, and molasses in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Whisk butter and salt into syrup mixture until combined. Whisk in egg yolks until incorporated.
  2. Bake Pie: Scatter pecans in pie shell. Carefully pour filling over. Place pie in hot oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until filling is set and center jiggles slightly when pie is gently shaken, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool pie on rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until set, about 3 hours and up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Apple Slab Pie

What would I do without Christopher Kimball in the kitchen to help me muddle through?  I post this here just so it won't get lost!

Apple Slab Pie

Apple Slab Pie
America's Test Kitchen
Apple slab pie
Runny filling, a soggy bottom crust, and a lot of work for just a few slices are among the traditional downsides of the classic apple pie. Kimball's solution is the Apple Slab Pie, which he says "looks like a huge Pop-Tart." It can feed about 20 people, and can be easily sliced and served.


  • 8 Granny Smith apples (about 3 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced thin
  • 8 Golden Delicious apples (about 3 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups animal crackers
  • 2 (15-ounce) boxes Pillsbury Ready to Roll Pie Crust
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 6 tablespoons Minute tapioca
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Glaze:
  • 3/4 cup reserved apple juice (from filling)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar


  1. For the pie: Combine apples, 1 cup sugar, and salt in colander set over large bowl. Let sit, tossing occasionally, until apples release their juices, about 30 minutes. Press gently on apples to extract liquid and reserve 3/4 cup juice.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse crackers and remaining sugar in food processor until finely ground. Dust work surface with cracker mixture, brush half of one pie round with water, overlap with second pie round, and dust top with cracker mixture. Roll out dough to 19 by 14 inches and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Brush dough with butter and refrigerate; roll out top crust in the same way.
  3. Toss drained apples with tapioca, cinnamon, and lemon juice and arrange evenly over bottom crust, pressing lightly to flatten. Brush edges of bottom crust with water, and arrange top crust on pie. Press crusts together and use a paring knife to trim any excess dough. Use fork to crimp and seal outside edge of pie, then to pierce top of pie at 2-inch intervals. Bake until pie is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 1 hour.
  4. For the glaze: While pie is cooling, simmer reserved apple juice in saucepan over medium heat until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and butter and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in confectioners' sugar and brush glaze evenly over warm pie. Let pie cool completely, at least 1 hour longer. Serve.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pancake Mix

I haven't made this in a while, but a friend just asked me for the recipe. I thought I would go ahead and post it. It comes from the King Arthur 200th Anniversry Cookbook.

Pancake Mix

6 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 wheat germ or bran (optional)
1 1/2 cups non-fat dry milk or 1 1/2 cups dry buttermilk powder
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, white or brown
1/4 baking powder
1 cup vegetable shortening

In a large bowl, combine flours, wheat germ or bran, dry milk, salt, sugar, and baking powder, and mix well. Cut in the shortening until it is evenly distributed. (It is important to use shortening instead of butter as it is stable at room temperature)

To store this mix, place it in a large, airtight container, or put it up in premeasured (don't pack it), 2-cup portions. It will make approximately seven.

To Use Your Pancake Mix

Each 2-cup batch of mix makes about a dozen 12" pancakes

1 egg, slightly beaten
1 to 1 1/4 cups warm water (depending on how thick you like your pancakes)
2 cups Pancake Mix, not packed

Combine the egg and water in a bowl. Stir in the mix until it is just moistened. Cook pancakes as you normally would.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Smoked Salmon and Arugula Salad

I went to Tampa with my friend Renee for our friend Christine's funeral last month. While we were in Tampa, we stayed with Renee's sister Belinda. Belinda made this salad for lunch one day and it was divine!!

Smoked Salmon and Arugula Salad

1.5 oz arugula
1 Tbs chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 scallions, finely diced
2 large avocados
1 Tbs lemon juice
8 0r 9 oz smoked salmon

Lime Mayonnaise

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs lime juice
finely grated rind of one lime
1 Tbs chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Wash and drain arugula, if necessary. Shred the leaves and arrange in four small or one large bowl. Top with the chopped parsley and scallions.

Halve, peel, and pit the avocados and cut into thin slices or smally chuncks. Toss with lemon juice and place in bowl with arugula. Cut the smoked salmon into strips and scatter over the top.

Put the mayo into a bowl, then add the lime juice and rind and the chopped parsley. Mix together well. Spoon some of the lime mayo on top of the salad, garnish with parsley sprigs and lime wedges.

Ms. Patsy's Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Ms Patsy crafted my wedding cake and it was beautiful and delicious! Several years later, I took cake decorating classes and guess who was my teacher. These are her recipes and I am so thankful to have been taught by her. What an amazing woman!!

This recipe makes an excellent wedding cake base or the simple dessert for a summer afternoon picnic with friends. I sometimes add the "guts" of a vanilla bean that has been soaking in vodka. You can change the exracts around and make this something totally different.

Ms. Patsy's Cream Cheese Pound Cake

3 cups sugar
3 sticks butter
1-8 oz package cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 large eggs

Cream sugar, butter, and cream cheese. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla. At low speed add flour and salt. Pour into large greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Deviled Eggs

One of the best things in the world is a really good deviled egg. One of the worst things in the world is a really bad deviled egg. I don't make mine with a recipe. I just eye it. I think the difference is the Pick-A-Peppa Sauce. I add just a bit and it really makes the eggs have a great flavor.

I boil the eggs for about 10 minutes and then turn the stove off and let them sit in the hot water for about 10 minutes. Rinse the eggs with cool water and then peel. I mix a bit of minced sweet onion, sweet relish (always better with my homemade), the dash or so of Pick-A-Peppa, and a bit of mayo. Mash this all together with the egg yolks, add salt and pepper, and adjust the mayo to desired level of creaminess. Arrange on a platter with Boston or Bib lettuce and sprinkle with paprika. These are really good. My kids will eat them for breakfast.

Monster Cookies, aka Ralph's Addiction

This is a HUGE recipe! It is also my husband's most favorite cookie. Before you begin make sure that you have a really large bowl to mix all of this in. I can get the wet ingredients to all mix up in my 6 qt mixer, but then I have to add all the oats in a much larger bowl.

I only bake a few at a time and then freeze the rest of the dough for slice and bake cookies. If you don't use sucannat, just exchange with white sugar for the sucannat with honey and I would use 2 lbs of brown sugar for the sucannat.

By the way, notice that there is no flour in these cookies!

Monster Cookies

1 doz eggs

4 cups sucannat

4 cups sucannat with honey

4 sticks butter, soft

16-18 cups old fashioned oats

3 lb "natural" peanut butter

8 tsp baking soda

1 TBS Kosher salt

1 TBS vanilla

2-5 lbs "other" stuff...coconut, raisins, chips of any variety, dried fruit, just whatever you want

Depending on "other" stuff, you might want to add cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices

Cream eggs, sucannat, vanilla, and butter together. Mix int he peanut butter. Add the soda and salt and mix well. In your very large bowl mix together oats (start with 16 cups) and "other" ingredients. Fold butter mixture in until well combined. You might need to add a couple more cups of oats just depending on the amount of "other" stuff that you add. You can bake right away or chill first. I think they are much better if chilled first. Bake for 10-14 minutes at 350 degrees. Let them sit for 1-2 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

I use waxed paper to form logs of dough and then over wrap with foil, and freeze. You can take them straight from the freezer to the oven, just slice and bake. You might need to adjust the cooking time when doing this.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Overnight Slow-Roasted Pork

Not that anyone ever asked me BUT this is the single best roast I have ever tasted!! Sometimes things just all come together and maybe this was one of those times, but I can't wait to try it again to see if it really was THAT good. My guess, it really was that good!! This picture was taken about 4 hours into the roasting. There is no scale in the shot so you can't get a feel for how huge this roast was. If you try it, please let me know!!

Overnight Slow-Roasted Pork

Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver

2 TBS fennel seeds

1 TBS sea or rock salt

2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and roughly chopped

4 medium carrots

3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped

1 bulb of garlic, cloves unpeeled and smashed

a bunch of fresh thyme

1 X 11-14 lb shoulder of pork on the bone, preferably free-range or organic, skin scored

olive oil

a 750 ml bottle of white wine

1 pint chicken or vegetable stock

Preheat your oven to maximum. Smash the fennel seeds with the salt in a pestle and mortar until fine. Put the roughly chopped vegetables, garlic and thyme sprigs into a large roasting pan. Pat the pork shoulder with olive oil and sit it on the vegetables. Now massage all the smashed fennel seeds into the skin of the pork, making sure you push them right into the scores to maximize the flavor. Put the pork into your preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until it's beginning to color, then turn your oven down to 250 degrees and cook the pork for 9 to 12 hours, until the meat is soft and sticky and you can pull it apart easily with a fork.

Tip all the wine into the roasting tray and let it cook for another hour to give you a perfect sauce. Once the pork is out of the oven, let it rest for half an hour before removingit to a large board. I like to brush off any excess salt from the meat, then I mash up the veg in the pan using a potato masher. Add the stock to the roasting pan, put it on the heat and boil until you have a lovely, intensely flavored gravy (you can thicken it with a little flour). The pork is great served with some good cranberry beans, braised greens, your roast veg mash and tasty sauce.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's with crown roast of pork, orange rice and roasted brussel sprouts

I actually bought this roast from the grocery. I called and asked them to make it and my husband went and picked it up. I didn't realize they put pink frills on the top of the bones!! What the heck ever happened to white?? Notice the pink dye that was left of the top of the bones!!
Anyway, for grocery store meat it was pretty good and it was a nice meal I was able to throw together limping around the kitchen in my cast!
Happy New Year!!