Friday, January 28, 2011

See anything different?

Oh yeah, I'm not here! I've changed domains, folks. You can find all of the great PC recipes from before, along with all new content over at Or Whatever You do. In fact, I just put a NEW post up there, just now! I know you want to look. Click on over, and make sure to update your bookmarks and/or your feed subscriptions while you are at it.

www.orwhateveryoudo.com

Also, have you clicked over to my facebook fan page?

<-------------Look how lonely the badge is over there, sitting, for weeks, at 99 "fans", just patiently waiting for ONE more person to click "like" and drop me a line.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ovaltine Chocolate Cake w/ ovaltine chocolate buttercream frosting

I had a sudden craving for chocolate last night. Its a girl thing. So right before bed I whipped up a few dozen regular sized cupcakes, and a few dozen minis. Then I ate a couple. I'm going to pretend that they were the minis but we all know they weren't. I didn't get around to the frosting until this afternoon, but honestly, this cake is so moist and flavorful that it can stand alone without the frosting.



I found this recipe a few years ago over on recipezaar, which is now food.com. Its titled "The Only Chocolate cake Recipe You'll Ever Need! (Devil's Food)". Its amazing. I adapted it from that to suit my own tastes, and now I think I can safely say that I've found MY chocolate cake. The frosting is from Joy the Baker. I've linked to her before in my previous post shouting the praises of this frosting, and I'm sure I will again. I could spend hours browsing her site, and days baking her creations, and I still would need more. I omitted the milk from the original recipe for frosting as I don't think it needs it, but you could certainly add it in if you do!


 

Here's the recipe. Use it at your own risk. These are not low-fat, not low-calorie, and may be habit forming. 

Oh, and I've CHANGED sites! You can find this recipe, along with all of my previous recipes from this blog, with more new recipes and content over at orwhateveryoudo.com

  
Ovaltine Chocolate Cake & Frosting... 
(Printable Recipe)

Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup rich chocolate Ovaltine
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 cup strong hot good-quality coffee
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup half-n-half 
2 lg eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla

Frosting:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 cup cocoa powder 
3/4 tsp salt (or NONE if you ran out of unsalted and had to use regular, salted butter!)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Ovaltine

1) For cake, sift together dry ingredients and set aside. In mixer, combing canola oil, coffee, half-n-half, and sour cream. Mix on low 30 seconds. Slowly add in dry mixture and mix on low until incorporated. Add in vanilla and mix. Add in eggs, one at a time, and mix just until combined. 

2) Pour batter into lined cupcake tins 2/3 of the way full. I like to lightly spray my cupcake liners with cooking spray, as well. I think it helps them release. I'm not sure if this is entirely necessary or not, but its what I do. Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

3) For frosting, put room temperature butter in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Sift in cocoa powder and powdered sugar, mixing and taking care not to leave lumps. Add vanilla. Mix. In a different bowl, mix together Ovaltine and heavy cream well. Slowly add to butter mixture. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, or until frosting slightly lightens in color. We're just trying to incorporate some air into it. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes with a tip that will not make it look similar to any other unappetizing thing that will not be mentioned.



What is your favorite flavor of cake/cupcake? Has it always been that way, or is it a new discovery?

Please see this recipe as well as all of my new content at my new site, 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My garlic pinot cream sauce, and a Costco Lobster Ravioli review...



I usually don't review products on here, but when I saw this Lobster Ravioli in Costco tonight I had to pick some up. We had a sample last year while shopping, but didn't buy any. By the time we went back to actually pick some up, it was GONE! I've been waiting for months, and they are finally back. They are different than last year, but still just as good as I remembered, but prettier!


I loved the red stripes. They lose a little bit of the oomph in the cooking process, but still looked pretty after cooking. I made a late dinner for Jeremiah and I with my Garlic Pinot Cream sauce, which sounds fancy, but comes together very quickly.



 Start out by melting 2/3 of a stick of butter in a heavy saucepan. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.



Add in the garlic and stir while cooking for about 30 seconds, or until the garlic is fragrant, but not browned. You don't want it brown at all. Add in 2 cups of Pinot Grigio, or any dry white wine. I often use Chardonnay, but its a little sweet for this dish in my opinion.

Let the wine reduce in the pan by 3/4 until its slightly thickened. Slowly pour in heavy cream while stirring. Reduce heat to medium low, and let sauce come to a light simmer. DO NOT substitute half and half or milk for the cream. It will curdle and you will hate it. I don't use anything but heavy cream in my sauces and soups anymore because of the risk of curdling. Its just not worth it!

Slowly grate in 3/4 cup of a good Parmigiano-Reggiano. Technically you CAN substitute the green stuff in the can, but I wouldn't recommend it. One of the only food snobbery hang-ups we have in this house is Parmesan cheese. Ever since we've tried the GOOD stuff, its really hard to go back to the green crap in a can. 

Food snobbery aside, stir the entire time you are adding the cheese, and remove from heat as soon as its melted and delicious and pour over hot pasta. This sauce would be awesome with some spinach in it too, which I would've done if I'd have had it!

I really liked the Lobster Ravioli. Really. It satisfied my seafood and pasta craving, which is a hard thing to do. The first ingredient in the filling is lobster, which is a nice thing to see as well. Try some tonight, or wish you could if there is no Costco by you. ;)

 




(Printable Recipe Click HERE)
Garlic Pinot Cream Sauce
1/3 cup butter
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 TBSP garlic, finely chopped
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt & Pepper, to taste

  1. Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Add mushrooms and cook over medium heat until browned. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add wine and let reduce by 3/4.
  2. Slowly add heavy whipping cream while stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let come to a gentle simmer. Gradually add in cheese while stirring. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately over hot pasta.








P.S. Someone please rescue me from these cookies. They've taken over my life the last few days. All warm and melty and delicious.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Old elementary school lunch, revamped. Italian dunkers, my way.

Ring-o-french bread
Someday I'm going to have to give you guys my go-to french bread recipe. Bread recipes are hard for me because I don't ever measure when I'm making bread, and writing out a recipe without any measurements is not the easiest thing in the world to do. I'm not much of a guesstimater, so my recipes are often off when I try and do that. Then I'll try to actually, you know, measure sometime, and I'll think to myself, "Self, you don't need to actually WRITE DOWN these measurements! You will totally remember them. Nevermind this morning when you spent 1/2 hour looking for your phone that was IN YOUR HAND. You have a GREAT memory because you are a GREAT person, self." Then I'll measure measure measure and forget forget forget, ending up so frustrated in the process that I scrap the idea until "next time".

Well, its a good thing we live in the age of internet land and there are enough sources out there for amazing french bread recipes...

Like THIS ONE from The Ginger Cook who I JUST came across, but I can tell is going to be one of my new favorite. A Midwest transplant to Seattle? Check. That's all I know. Her about me page is 'under construction', but if her food tastes say anything about her, and they usually do, I think I'm in for a "I got nothing done" afternoon from browsing that blog!

Her french bread uses a slightly different method than mine, but looks amazing and would work perfectly for this recipe.

And THIS ONE from What Megan's Making
That one is closer to what I normally do, and looks delicious. I need picture-taking lessons, for reals.

I have wanted to do this recipe for a long time now. Back in elementary school, there was never a day I dreaded MORE than "Italian Dunker" day at lunch. Nothing like frozen garlic bread and canned spaghetti sauce with mystery meat to get your appetite going, huh? It sounded like such an amazing idea, but the execution just wasn't there. So I decided that since I had a whole heap of bread needing to be eaten, along with some meat sauce in the fridge yelling to be finished off or frozen, this would be the perfect solution.

Garlic Bread ingredients...

Start with some good french bread, and slice it in half the long way.





Saute about 2 TBSP of minced garlic in 1/4 cup of good quality olive oil over medium heat until garlic is fragrant and JUST starting to slightly brown. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Mix garlic/EVOO mixture with softened butter, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp parsley, and salt, to taste. I used about 1/2 tsp here, but you won't want that much. My bread was lacking a bit of salt, and I also used unsalted butter. I'd start with maybe 1/4 tsp and work your way up from there.


Spread mixture over french bread. Place under broiler on the 2nd highest oven rack and do not look away. Broil until golden brown. Top with some shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve next to a good meat sauce, also generously topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blueberry topped cheesecake bars



This is my first attempt at blogging from my droid. If the formatting is off more than normal, you know why!

I threw these bars together on Tuesday night to bring to worship practice. I've never made blueberry sauce before, and its now one of my new favorites! It quick, easy, and was great on top of this cheesecake. I think I will make more soon for blueberry pancakes. If i could get up the couage to can I might try that as well. Canning is really my husband's thing though, and I am glad for it.

I really liked the crust on this as well. It has kept its crunch for several days, and is a nice change from your typical shortbread or graham cracker crust. The cheesecake itself is a very basic, no fuss, traditional recipe. You can sub in your favorite one if you've got one that's a bit different.

Crust:

2/3 cup pecans, finely chopped

2/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup butter, slightly softened

2 cups flour

Cheesecake:

4 - 8oz blocks cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup whole milk

1 tbsp vanilla

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup flour

4 eggs

Blueberry Topping:

4 cups frozen blueberries

2 - 3 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1/8 cup lemon juice

3 tbsp chambord

1. Mix together crust ingredients in a food processor until combined. Press into the bottom of a greased 9x13 or 10x14 and partially up the sides.  Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes, or until lightly toasted and golden brown.

2. While crust is baking, mix cream cheese and sugar in mixer on medium until smooth. Add sour cream, vanilla, milk, and lemon juice. Mix on low until combined. Slowly sift in flour while mixing on low until combined. Add in eggs, one at a time, and using the pulse feature on your mixer (or mix by hand if yours doesn't have a pulse feature!), pulse 1 or 2 times to just barely mix in egg. Continue adding eggs one at a time and pulsing until all are added. Pour batter over crust and bake at 325 for 20 - 25 minutes, or until edges are set and middle is slightly jiggly. Pull from oven and chill at least 24 hours.

3.  Place blueberries and chambord in a sauce pan. Heat to a simmer, stirring frequently. Add the other ingredients and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is slightly thickened. Pour sauce over cheesecake while its chilling, or serve on the side. If necessary, add some apple juice to the sauce to make it pourable.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Mother-in-law meal..or Hamburger Steaks with onion gravy...

Once upon a time I was a newlywed and a new mom. We lived in Minnesota and had just had our first son less than a year before. My mother and father-in-law were coming over to visit, a rare and special event because they live in Washington, and were having dinner at our house. That was awesome, until I realized it'd been a bit too long since I'd last been to the grocery store, we were out of nearly everything, and I couldn't get to the store in time get something for dinner.

Off to Allrecipes.com I went. I did a quick search of my cupboards and saw I had ground beef, and onion. That was about it. I entered those into the ingredient search and found Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy. At that time I was not a big onion fan, but I had little choice so I ran with it. I made some mashed potatoes to go with it, and off I went. I had all the other ingredients in my pantry. It was simple enough for me to follow along with. It was fast enough to prepare while he new mom in me couldn't stand to have my baby cry for a second.

The dinner was a hit! My mother-in-law has raved about it, to almost every family member we have, ever since. Its still fairly regular in our rotation, and probably will be forever! I made a few small changes to accommodate our family.  We double the gravy, for instance, because we are sauce/gravy freaks. I also omit the Worchestershire that the original recipe calls for because Isaiah's allergies react badly to the fish used in it.

I'll post the recipe as we make it, but be sure to pop over to allrecipes if you make it and let Ann Marie Sweden how much you enjoy it!


After you mix up the patties, brown them all well in the pan...



Remove the patties and sprinkle the flour over the onions...



If the mixture looks too dry throw in a few TBSP of butter to soften it up a bit..



Add in the beef broth and sherry, the return the patties to the pan. Cover and cook 20 minutes.






Hamburger Steaks with Onion Gravy
(printable recipe here)

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons A-1 sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons cooking sherry
1. Mix together egg, seasonings, and A-1 sauce. Using your hands, mash together with ground beef. Sprinkle panko crumbs over the mixture and knead in with hands until combined, but don't over mix. For into small patties.

2. In a preheated skillet place the vegetable oil. When oil is hot place patties onto pan, sprinkle onions around the patties and cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Flip patties, moving the onions to the sides of the pan, and remove patties when browned on both sides to a different plate. Brown the rest of the patties (this always takes me two rotations with the amount of patties I always have) in the same manner.

3. When all patties are removed, stir the onions around in the pan and sprinkle flour on the top. If there isn't enough grease in the pan for the flour to properly cook and be absorbed, you can throw in a tablespoon or two of butter. Cook 2 minutes and add in beef broth and sherry. I often use "Better Than Bouillion" and potato water from the mashed potatoes I am making. Add as much as you need to make the gravy the consistency that you prefer. When the sauce is right, add patties back into pan, cover, and cook 20 minutes.

4. Serve with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or rice.

5/6 happy family members isn't too bad for a dinner I guess!

Toasted Butter Pecan Cake...

This recipe is a Taste of Home recipe, and its one that I really, really like. Its unique, and its delicious. Whenever I need to take something unexpected somewhere, I turn to this recipe, especially in the winter months. Check it out from TasteofHome here.

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