Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I had my cake and ate it too...

But I didn't make it! When I saw this month's Daring Baker's challenge, I thought the cake sounded fantastic. However, I decided to sit out this month. Partly because it's so hot here right now and heat and buttercream don't mix well! The other reason I chose to sit it out is that Hubs is still gone. I love cake but I really don't need a whole one (or even half) for myself!
I mentioned in my last post that my birthday was this month. Just a few days ago actually. When I read this recipe at the beginning of the month, I thought this was the perfect birthday cake. I considered making it for my birthday, but who wants to make their own cake?? Besides my mom mentioned making some sort of birthday dessert. That was fine with me and I didn't have to make it.
My younger sister R. and brother-in-law J. came to spend my birthday with me. They live about 4 hours away from me and came for the week-end. Imagine my surprise when they show up carrying a large insulated bag containing a cake. I have another sister(I have 4 sisters:) P that lives near R. P is also a Daring Baker and she couldn't come for my birthday but sent the cake. And not just any cake, but a Pecan Gateau with Praline Buttercream! The cake from this month's challenge. Divine! Check it out on her site here.
So I guess that sometimes you do get to have your cake and eat it too! Thanks P for making such a special cake and making my birthday even better!
Check out all the other daring bakers cakes and I promise to join in next month!

Monday, July 28, 2008

They say it your birthday...well it's my birthday too!

For me July is a month packed with birthdays. My own included. My nephew C starts the month off, then there's my father-in-law's, then my girl friends, N and L and finally my own at the end of the month. Whew...thats a lot of cards, cakes, and celebrating. Oh yeah and cupcakes of course!

N helped me come up with the "Tiffany Cupcake" so for her birthday I made her this cupcake bouquet. The cupcakes are vanilla with lemon cream filling and cream cheese icing. Instead of Tiffany blue, I decorated the cupcakes to look like hydrangeas, her favorite flower, and put them in this pot. A flower arrangement you can eat, what could be better??

And what did I get for my birthday?

Everything?!? I guess I'll be busy with this one for a while!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

BlakeBakes Real Butterscotch Pudding

Real butterscotch pudding is my latest contribution on BlakeBakes. Go here for the recipe. While your there check out all the other Blake Bakers!

This pudding is for grown-ups.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Figs...way beyond the Newton

Growing up I think the extent of my experience with figs was probably a Fig Newton. I wasn't very fond of the Newton, so thought that I didn't care for figs. Thankfully as I got older and more willing to try new things I gave figs another try. Yum they are sweet, juicy and delicious!

We've got a huge fig tree at the farm, and it's loaded with juicy ripe figs right now. I've been eating as many as I can hold, right off the tree, but I love to cook with them as well.
Figs are an extremely versatile fruit to cook with, great in both sweet and savory dishes. Figs and goat cheese are a match made in heaven, at least in my opinion. It's that perfect combo of sweet and salty, and eaten warm from the grill...amazing!

Grilled Figs with Rosemary and Goat Cheese
Source: O magazine 2004
6 to 10 long rosemary branches
3 ounces soft mild goat cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
18 ripe figs

Preheat and oil an outdoor grill or ridged grill pan over medium heat. Immerse rosemary branches in water and soak 30 minutes before grilling.

In a small bowl, stir together goat cheese, honey and minced rosemary.

Place a 1/4-inch plain pastry tip in a small pastry bag or in snipped corner of a self-sealing plastic bag; fill bag with goat cheese mixture. Poke bottom end of each fig with pastry tip and squeeze about 1 teaspoon goat cheese mixture into each fruit.

Drain rosemary branches. Drive a metal or wooden skewer through center of each fig, then remove. Thread 2 to 3 figs onto each rosemary branch.

Grill figs over medium heat, turning constantly, until they just begin to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and place whole branches on serving plate, or cut branches between each fig and serve individually.

If stuffing each fig is too labor intensive, simply cut each fig in half and place a dollop of the goat cheese mixture on top. You have to watch them carefully on the grill but you get the same flavors without all the work.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday!

I have recently discovered (and become mildly obsessed with) food blogs. I found myself reading them for hours and trying to find a reason to make things like Woopie Pies and cold-brewed coffee(which is awesome by the way). It's crack for the foodie! So I thought I'd give it a try. The adventure begins...
That was my very first post from one year ago. Wow I can't believe it's been a year already. I've been looking back on my journey through food so far and what an adventure it's been! My very first recipe was this Luscious Berry tart. I realized that I promised to post the recipe but never actually did. I doubt anyone noticed. I had about 2 readers at that point!
So one year later here's that recipe I promised.

Luscious Blueberry Tart
Lori Longbotham

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon granulated white sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 - 2 tablespoons ice water


2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour


2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Confectioners sugar

Pastry: In your food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). In a small bowl, whisk the egg and vanilla. Then gradually pour in a steady stream, with the motor running, through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched. Add water, if necessary. Do not process more than about 30 seconds.

Transfer the pastry to an 11 inch (28 cm) fluted tart pan, and press evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cover and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the blueberry topping.

Preheat the oven to 425.

In a large bowl combine the sugar and flour. Add 2 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries and toss to coat. Remove the chilled pastry from the refrigerator and evenly pour in the blueberries and sugar/flour mixture. Place the tart pan on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake until the pastry is golden brown (about 30 - 35 minutes). (Halfway through the baking time, stir the berries if there is any flour on them.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Top with the remaining 2 1/2 cups of blueberries, pressing them gently into the hot blueberry jam. Let the tart cool to room temperature before serving. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with softly whipped cream or ice cream. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Makes one - 11 inch (28 cm) tart
I topped it with some freshly whipped cream. Divine!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Plum Cake Tatin

Plums were on sale at the market this week. They looked so juicy and delicious that I scooped up a bag full. I didn't know exactly what I was going to do with them, but they looked great and they were on sale. As I've said before, I sometimes get carried away with a bargain.(By the way, I still have some dates in the freezer!) So, I came home with about 10 plums.
Later that day I had the TV on the Food Network. Is there any other channel?? I tend to leave it on while I'm doing stuff around the house. (unless Sandra Lee is on ARGG, I'll just leave it at that,for now!)
So the Barefoot Contessa was on and making a plum cake tatin. I just knew we were switched at birth. Ina, I think I was meant to live your life!
Anyway, having attempted a tart tatin for the first time this fall, I thought I'd like to give this a try. This cake is really more like an upside down cake. It actually much easier than a tatin, so don't let the name intimidate you. The tatin part of this cake is the caramelized sugar that you pour over the fruit. So pretty!

The cake part is very simple, so this cake comes together much quicker than a tart tatin, but it's still very tasty.
6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
10 to 12 purple "prune" plums, cut in half and pitted
1 3⁄4 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1⁄3 cup sour cream
1⁄2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the plums in the dish, cut side down.
Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1⁄3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don't stir. Pour evenly over the plums.

Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3⁄4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the plums and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If a plum sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar or freshly whipped cream.