Monday, October 25, 2010

Brioche French Toast....taste almost like a donut!

Brioche French Toast....the best French Toast EVER! And it kinda taste like a warm donut.
*see my previous post for the recipe to make Easy Brioche using your bread machine. You'll be glad you did!

what you need:

2 thick slices Brioche bread, cut in two
You could also use regular bread. Texas toast would probably work well.
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk or half and half
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive or veg. oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar mixed with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a shallow bowl, mix the egg, milk and vanilla until well combined. Add your bread and allow to soak while you are heating your butter/oil mix in a pan on medium heat. Turn bread to coat both sides. Place bread slices into the hot butter/oil mix and cook on both sides until golden brown. Remove to a plate and sprinkle both sides with the sugar/cinnamon mixture then top with your favorite syrup if you like and enjoy.
*You do not want your butter/oil mixture to get too hot. The bread needs to cook slowly so keep it to a medium low heat.

Easy Brioche using your bread machine

Easy Brioche
This recipe comes from the book Breaking Bread with Father Dominic 2 by Father Dominic Garramone, OSB. This recipe is so easy it's stupid.

You will need a bread machine.

1/2 cup half and half or milk
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 plus 1 tablespoon bread flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active yeast
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Granulated sugar for dusting

Add the milk, eggs, egg yolk, butter, salt, flour, sugar and yeast to your bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer.
Here is how I added mine.
1. milk, eggs, egg yolk
2. flour, sugar, salt
3. made a small indention in the flour and added yeast
4. cut butter into 4 pieces and placed at the corners

Select dough/manual cycle. When the cycle is complete, mine takes 1 hour 20 minutes, remove dough from machine and place in a greased medium to large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.

Remove dough from the fridge and place on a floured surface. Cut into four equal portions and shape each portion into a ball. Place dough into a greased bread pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size.

The recipe tells you to gently brush your dough with the egg white/water mixture and sprinkle with sugar, but I didn't do this step.

Bake in a pre heated 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a rack.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rustic Dutch Oven Bread

Rustic Dutch Oven Bread
**Some recipes call this no-knead bread, but you do have to knead it.
This is a crusty bread that would go nicely with soup or chili. I mixed mine up to let it rise after dinner one night and baked it the next day when I got home from work, letting it rise for 18 hours. I saw no difference in the dough from that morning to that evening, so I could have baked it earlier and next time I will. Don't be afraid of this dough either, when I put mine into the hot pan I just plopped it in there. I baked mine for 20 minutes more after removing the lid and it could have used a few more minutes, but yours may vary depending on your oven. I've included another recipe at the bottom that is very similar except it also uses beer. I will be trying it next.

what you need:
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1.5 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (I used unbleached AP flour)
1.5 teaspoons salt

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise for at least 8 hours, best 12 to 18 hours, at room temp.

When you are ready, after at least 8 hours, lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle the top with flour and knead it 15 times. This means folding it over on itself. Shape dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours.

After 1 and a half hours of rising, put your dutch oven, with the lid on, in your oven and set the temp. to 450 degrees. Allow to heat for 30 minutes. Gently pick up your dough and place it into your hot dutch oven....I used olive oil to grease mine can turn the dough upside down if you want, I did. Use a sharp knife to cut a few slits along the top of the dough, put the lid on the dutch oven. Return to oven and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake 20 to 30 minutes more.

Remove dough from pan and allow to cool for at least 2 hours. The bread will snap, crackle, and pop while it is cooling!
Baking and oh did it smell GOOD!

After kneading.

After an 18 hour rise.

Alternate Recipe using beer:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1.5 teaspoons salt
7 ounces water, room temp.
3 ounces mild beer
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix in the wes with a spatula. Cover and let rise for 8 to 18 hours.
Line a 10 to 12 inch skillet with parchment paper sprayed with a non-stick spray. On a floured surface knead the dough 10 to 15 times. Form the dough into a ball and place on the parchment paper; loosley cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for two more hours.
When you have 30 minutes of rise time left pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees and place your dutch oven, with the lid on, in the oven. After 30 minutes, remove dutch oven from the pre-heated oven and lift the dough ball, parchment paper and all, and place it in the dutch oven. Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake an another 15 to 30 minutes until the loaf is a deep golden brown. Allow to cool.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Aimee's Rib Rub

Rib Rub

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
1 Tablespoon Garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
*you may not need all of this rub for one rack. I cooked two racks and had rub left over. You will need leftover rub if you plan to use the BBQ sauce for basting. I still have some left. I stored it in a mason jar in a cool dry place for next time.

Place all ingredients into a bowl or pint mason jar and mix well. Rub onto your pork or beef ribs, both sides. Take care to remove the membrane from the rib rack on the back first. Grill ribs on a hot gas or charcoal grill about 7 minutes each side. Remove to a pan and wrap in foil. Cook in oven at 225 to 250 degrees about 3 to 4 hours till meat is tender.

BBQ Sauce for basting
1 cup Cattelman's bbq sauce, or your favorite
2 Tablespoons rub mix
1 to 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

Mix well and baste before wrapping your ribs in foil and again when they are done.

This rub could also be used on a pork or beef roast.

Monday, August 2, 2010

*Jalapeno Popper Dip, yes, thats right, Jalapeno Popper DIP!

Almost everyone I know loves jalapeno poppers, fresh jalapeno peppers seeded and cored filled with a mixture of cream cheese and sharp cheese, wraped in a slice of bacon and grilled or broiled to perfectness, yes those! This dip taste JUST like the stuffed pepper. You will have an "oh my goodness, oh - my - good-ness!" moment when you taste it. It is THAT good.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

What you need:
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 fresh jalapenos, cored and seeded, finley chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5 strips bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, room temp.
1/2 cup mayo
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, finley chopped

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded cheese mixture (sharp/Italian blend)
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and greese a small casserole pan.

1. Set your cream cheese out and allow to come to room temp. At least 2 hours.
2. Start cooking your bacon.
3. While your bacon is cooking, chop your onion, fresh jalapeno peppers, garlic, and pickled jalapenos.
4. Remove crispy bacon from pan to a plate for later. Drain bacon greese from skillet and add 1 tablespoon butter. Allow butter to melt.
5. When butter is melted, add onion, fresh jalapenos, garlic, and cumin. (do not add pickled jalapenos) Cook mixture till the onions begin to soften.
6. While your onion mixture is cooking, in a medium bowl, mix 8 oz. package of cream cheese with 1/2 cup mayo, stir till well combined. Add the sharp and Italian cheese and the chopped pickled jalapenos and mix well.
7. Add the sauteed onion mixture and the crumbled bacon into your cream cheese mix and blend well.
8. Spread the mixture into your prepared small casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese, bread crumbs, and paprika.
9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, till golden on top.
10. Serve with corn chips.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

*Asian Noodle Stir Fry

Asian Noodle Stir Fry

What you need:

3/4 cup carrots, chopped or julienned
1/2 cup diced onion
1/3 cup chopped green onions
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3 cups chopped green or purple cabbage or bok choy
6 to 10 ounces steak, pork, chicken, or shrimp, cubed
10 oz. package linguine noodels, cooked
2 eggs
1/4 to 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce, or more to taste
Salt, pepper, steak seasoning, and cayenne pepper to taste
Oil for cooking, veg. or canola is best for this.
Non-stick spray

Step 1: Prepare everything first! Chop all your veggies, season your meat, cook your noodles, and set everything out that you will need. I used steak seasoning, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to season my meat.

Step 2: Cook your meat in a hot pan, about 2 minutes each side, put to the side for later. You can leave it in the pan.

Step 3: In your heated wok or skillet, scramble your eggs (I sprayed my pan with non-stick spray first). Salt and pepper to taste. Remove to a plate for later.

Step 4: Using 1 teaspoon oil, saute your carrots and onions for a few minutes. Add minced garlic and let saute for a couple more minutes. Remove to a plate for later.

Step 5: Next is the noodles. I first sprayed my pan again with non-stick spray, then added 1 teaspoon oil, then noodles. Toss well and let cook for about a minute. Add soy sauce and butter and toss. Add Sriracha and keep tossing.

Step 6: Add fresh cabbage and incorporate well by tossing. Let cook two to three minutes.

Step 7: Add back the egg, sauteed veggies, steak and a fresh swig of soy sauce and toss, toss, toss. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.

Note: I halved the recipe since it was just for me. There was plenty left over for lunch the next day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gingerbread Bread Pudding

Gingerbread Bread Pudding
Submitted by Christy (my sister)

what you need:

4 gingerbread muffins, broken into chunks
6 slices butter toasted white bread, torn in pieces
3/4 cup raisins
1 apple, peeled, cored and cubed small
4 fresh eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a greesed 9x12 baking dish, add muffins, bread, raisins, and apple. In a medium bowl, mix eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over bread mixture and allow to soak for 10 minutes. Bake for 45 minutes until golden.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies

What you need for Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a shake of salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, room temp., not melted
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips, not semi-sweet
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda, salt and sugars in a bowl. Add butter, vanilla, and egg and mix until well blended. Stir in milk chocolate chips and pecans. Drop teaspoon size balls of dough onto greesed cookie sheets. Cook 10 to 15 minutes. This is a small recipe and will make about 32 cookies, depending on size.

Okay, I know the measurments are a little different, but trust me, these cookies are GOOD. They turn out perfect every time I make them. I have tried many different versions of chocolate chip cookie recipes and this one is, hands down, the best. And please use the milk chocolate chips, not the semi-sweet, you will be glad you did! Enjoy ;0)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes

Prepare a white cake mix according to the box directions for cupcakes. Allow to cool before frosting. You could also make a large cake and use the same frosting.

7 minute Frosting from Betty Crocker

(which should not be called 7 minute frosting because it actually takes 9 1/2 minutes! just wanted to point that out ;0)

2 egg whites
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar or 1 tbsp light corn syrup
1/3 cup cold water
1 tsp vanilla

Combine egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and water in top of double boiler. Beat on high speed 30 seconds with electric mixer. Place over boiling water (water should not touch bottom of pan); beat on high speed 7 minutes. Remove pan from boiling water; add vanilla. Beat 2 minutes longer on high speed. Fills and frosts two 8- or 9-inch layers or frosts a 13x9-inch cake.
Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with coconut.

* I also added a small splash of coconut flavoring to the icing along with the vanilla. These were served at a board meeting and were a big hit. They were quick and easy to make and transported very well.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Simple Meat Loaf

What you need:
1 to 2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 egg
13 to 15 Ritz Crackers, crushed
Tony Chachere's original Creole Seasoning, to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Form into a loaf and place in pan. Cook, covered with foil at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook till juices run clear.

My meat loaf, served with sauted yellow bell peppers, baby bells mushrooms and onions. A cucumber, tomato, and purple onion salad topped with homemade buttermilk ranch dressing and strawberries.

For the next day, slice leftover meat loaf for sandwiches.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Homemade Tamales


1. Wash and soak 1 seven ounce bag dried corn husks overnight.

2. Take 10 large dried ancho or chili Nuevo Mexico peppers and remove stems, split open and remove seeds. Cover with boiling water and let stand for 20 minutes. Pour juice and peppers into blender and pulverize. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard debris that is left in the strainer. Put juice aside for later.

3. Brown 4.5 to 5 pounds of 80/20 ground beef.
1 large onion, pulverized in blender
1 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
About two cups pureed, strained chili peppers
Mix well and set aside.

4. To make your Masa you will need:
8 cups Martha White Self Rising Cornmeal
2 cups lard or Crisco
Remainder of pureed, strained chili peppers
Place remainder of pureed, strained chili peppers to a large measure cup and add water so you have 8 cups of liquid. Place liquid mixture into a large pot and bring to a low boil. With a whisk, begin adding cornmeal. When all cornmeal is added, continue to whisk and add the lard or Crisco. Mix until well blended.

5. To assemble your tamales: Pat corn husk dry and spread two heaping tablespoons of masa in the middle of the husk using a plastic putty knife. Then put one heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture in the middle. Pick up the sides of the husk and bring together so the masa forms around the filling. Roll the side together and fold the bottom over.

6. Cooking: Stand tamales upright, with folded end down, in a steamer and steam for about an hour, replenishing the water as needed. Serve hot plain or add a red or green enchilada sauce.

7. Freezing: Wrap in foil, we do a dozen per package, then place in a freezer zip lock bag and seal well. Thaw and steam as needed.

Hot tamales at 9:20 in the morning....we couldn't wait!

Here is a great video about making tamales from a child's point of view. It takes you through each step. They use pork instead of ground beef.

Monday, April 5, 2010

*Amber's Orange Glazed Ham

1 large to medium bone in ham butt

1 can orange soda (not diet)

brown sugar, about a cup

Place ham flat side down in a large roasting pan and pour orange soda over. Pack brown sugar all over the ham. Cover with foil and bake at 300 to 325 degrees for 2 to 2.5 hours. Remove foil and begin basting every 15 to 20 minutes; letting the ham cook for another 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the meat begins to seperate.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Best Slaw Dressing EVER!


what you need:
1 (16 ounce) bag coleslaw mix
1 small to medium chopped onion
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Ground black pepper to taste, I like a lot.
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or more if your mix is too thin.
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Juice from half a fresh lemon (or more if you wish)

In a large bowl, combine bagged slaw mix and onion. In a seperate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, pepper, buttermilk, mayo, vinegar and lemon juice. Mix with a whisk till smooth and pour over the coleslaw. Stir well and let chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

*If your slaw mix is too thin, add more mayo. The dressing should cling to the coleslaw, not be soupy. The use of a fresh lemon is critical to this recipe, it really sends it over the top! You could also add some fresh lemon zest for some real zing.

The slaw in the photo is not a store bought bagged mix. I had a head of cabbage so I used it along with some purple onion. I was out of carrots, but I would usually add them too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

Homemade yogurt using a minnow bucket instead of the Yogotherm. The minnow bucket, purchased at Wal-Mart (sporting goods section), costs about $4 verses the Yogotherm, ordered from, costs $39.95 plus shipping. You do the math! We bought the Yogotherm and have used it many times. Our only problem with the Yogotherm is the plastic bucket provided for making your yogurt or other cheese products. We found that the bucket left an off taste, sometimes slimy, to whatever product we were making. To solve that problem we now use an old pickle jar instead, which works wonderfully. Of course we didn't think of using a minnow bucket until AFTER we had purchased the Yogotherm. What you need:
1 to 2 quarts of milk, you can use whole, 2%, 1%, or reconstituted dry milk.
1 packet yogurt culture

For your homemade yogurt maker:
1 minnow bucket
1 glass jar with a lid
2 washclothes, one for the bottom of the bucket and one to place on top of the jar before you put the lid on.
1 dish towel to wrap around the jar to prevent heat loss.
Heat milk in a stainless steel or enamel sauce pan to 180 to 185 degrees, don't let it boil. Once the milk had reached the desired temp, remove pan from stove and place in a sink filled with cold water. Cool milk to 110 degrees.

When milk has cooled to 110 degrees, pour into jar in the minnow bucket. As you can see we wrapped a towel around our jar to fill the gap between the jar and the edge of the bucket to help with heat loss.
Add 1 packet of yogurt starter and stir well. Put lid on jar and cover with washcloth and finally the bucket lid. Leave the minnow bucket out on the counter for 8 to 12 hours, we leave ours out overnight.

After 8 to 12 hours you have yogurt! If you like regular yogurt you can stop here. Pour your yogurt into a storage container and put in the fridge. However, if you want Greek style yogurt you will need to strain it first. Line a strainer with a coffee filter and pour yogurt into the filter. Let drain in the fridge to desired thickness, 6 to 12 hours. We drain ours in two batches because we don't have a large strainer, but you could line a large strainer with papertowles and drain it all together.

After the yogurt has drained this is what it will look like. Yogurt is easy to make and you don't even need the starter packets. You can also use store bought yogurt to make homemade yogurt. Use 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt for each quart you plan to make.
For this batch we used the Yogourmet starter that we purchased at a local health food store. One box has enough starter to make 6 quarts of yogurt and costs $5.99.

Mimi's Layerd Salad

VERY EASY! This salad is a great compliment to a meal or a meal by itself.
Layered Salad

1 head lettuce, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small package of frozen English Peas, uncooked
1/2 cucumber, quartered
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 to 1.5 cups mayo
1/2 cup shredded cheese, your choice
3 to 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
6 to 8 slices bacon, fried crisp & crumbled
2 or 3 green onions (scallions) chopped

In a large bowl, layer ingredients as listed. When you come to the mayo layer, spread it out to the edges of the bowl. Allow salad to chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.

Other optional toppings include:
Chopped ham, turkey, or pepperoni
Sunflower seeds
Sun dried tomatoes
Black Olives
Sliced mild banana pepper rings
Chopped bell pepper
Sliced carrots
Fresh spinach

You can also omit the mayo layer and add your own favorite dressing at serving time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Crock Pot Brisket

Crock Pot Brisket

4 to 6 pound brisket
1/3 cup Dijon or Honey mustard
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons dry onion soup mix
1 - 10 or 12 ounce Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper (optional)

In a small bowl, mix mustard, ketchup, onion soup mix, and spices. Spread mixture over brisket and place into the crock pot. Pour cola over the meat. Cook on high for 8 hours. Slice and serve. Save your leftovers for sandwiches the next day.

*Briskets are usually larger that 4 to 6 pounds so I buy a 10 to 12 pound brisket and cut it in half. I use one half and freeze the other for another day.
Try black beans with jalapeno peppers, they are fantastic!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Louisiana Meat Pies

Louisiana Meat Pies

The filling:

1/2 to 3/4 lb spicy pork sausage
1/2 lb ground beef or ground buffalo
1 large chopped onion
2 chopped green onions
Chopped parsley
Salt to taste
Tony's cajun seasoning to taste
Red pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Brown meats and onion in olive oil. Add seasonings to taste. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons flour over meat mixture, mix well and set aside.

The Pastry:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Crisco
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten

Mix dry ingredients together, cut in Crisco till the size of peas. Add liquid and mix till the dry ingredients are all wet. Chill about 10 minutes. Roll out onto a floured surface and cut into 4 to 5 inch rounds. Place some filling in each round. Wet the edges of the pastry with water or egg and fold over, press edges with a fork to seal. Chill the pies while you are heating your oil. In a large skillet heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry pies till golden brown on both sides. Drain on a papertowel. Eat them hot. Great with sour cream or Greek yogurt. Substituting plain Greek yogurt for sour cream can really save you on fat and calories.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Homemade Buttermilk

3 cups milk, you can use prepared powdered milk or store bought milk, whole or 2%

1/2 cup cultured buttermilk (store bought)

In a quart jar, combine milk and buttermilk and mix well. Cover with a coffee filter and let sit out on the counter over night at room temp. In the morning you will have buttermilk! I know this sounds nuts to buy cultured buttermilk to make more, but if you use buttermilk a lot you can just wait till you are near the end of your store bought jug and make your own. We use the powdered milk to make ours. We start with warm water to mix up the powdered milk, then add the cultured buttermilk.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Boeuf Bourguignonne

6 Strips bacon -- cut in 1/2" pieces
3 pounds Beef rump or chuck -- cut 1.5" cubes
2 Carrots -- sliced
2 Onions -- sliced
Salt & pepper to taste
3 tablespoons Flour
1 can Condensed beef broth -- (10oz)
1 tablespoon Tomato paste
2 cloves garlic -- minced
3/4 teaspoon Whole thyme
1 Bay leaf
1 pound Fresh mushrooms -- sliced
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Red or burgundy wine

Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove and drain. Add beef cubes and brown well. Don't cook the meat all at once or you will crowd your pan and the meat will not brown. Place browned beef in 3 1/2-quart crockpot. Brown carrot and onion and eason with salt and pepper; stir in flour. Add broth, mix well and add to crockpot. Also add cooked bacon, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours (or on low for 8 to 10 hours).
One hour before serving: Saute mushrooms in butter and add, with wine, to crockpot. If you want a thicker gravy combine three tablespoons of flour with 3 tablespoons melted butter and stir into stew and cook on High until thickened (I skipped this step). Remove bay leaf before serving.

I served my stew with mashed potatoes. The meat is so tender you can cut it with a spoon! You don't have to use expensive wine in this recipe. I used a $5 Post Familie red wine, well because it is made in Altus, Arkansas. As for the garlic, I use the jar garlic that is already minced. I also used ground thyme because that's all I had and it worked fine.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rein de Saba (Chocolate Almond Cake)

Okay, who hasn’t seen the movie Julie and Julia yet? I watched it last week and was compelled to make this chocolate cake, called a Rein de Saba, or Chocolate with Almonds Cake. Yes, most of the recipes by Julia Child are long and complicated with lots of ingredients and steps, and this one is no exception, although not the worst.
I had to give it a go and I will say that the cake was very tasty. My only problem is that it tasted similar to a brownie and my dad even made the brownie statement. Before I go to the trouble of making this cake again, I will first make a pan of brownies and frost them with the icing recipe. I would even add the pulverized almonds to the batter with a little almond extract. It would probably come pretty close.
This recipe will make a single layer cake that is baked so that the center is slightly underdone, giving the cake a creamy texture

**A note about Julie and Julia: I read the book when it first came out and was very surprised that someone would want to make a movie from it. The book is full of the “F” bomb (which is a BIG snag for me) and Julie Powell isn’t the best writer in the world. I was somewhat reluctant to watch the movie and the only reason I did was because everyone was raving about Meryl Streep’s preformance as Julia Child. The movie was much better than expected, although the “F” bomb is dropped once.

For the Cake:

4 ounces or squares semisweet chocolate , melted
2 Tbsp. rum or coffee (I used coffee)
1/4 pound or 1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar to mix with butter
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar to beat with egg whites
1/3 cup pulverized almonds
1/4 tsp. almond extract (I used vanilla)
*1/2 cup cake flour , scooped and leveled, turned into a sifter
Chocolate-Butter Icing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour the cake pan. Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water ( a double boiler); let melt while you proceed with the recipe. Measure out the rest of the ingredients. Cream the butter and 2/3 cup of sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended. Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle 1 Tbsp. sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir in one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated. Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 ·minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.

*If you do not have cake flour on hand here is a substitute, and what I used to make my cake. In a one cup measure add two tablespoons corn starch. Fill the remainder of the cup with all purpose flour (I always used unbleached flour). Sift three times. This gives you one cup of cake flour.


2 ounces (2 squares) semisweet baking chocolate
2 Tbsp. rum or coffee (I used coffee)
5 to 6 Tbsp. butter

Place the chocolate and rum or coffee in the small pan, cover and set in the larger pan of almost simmering water (a double boiler). Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth. Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife. Garnish the icing with slivered or chopped almonds.