Buttercream Frosting

This recipe is simple and delicious.  I use it all the time!

Buttercream Frosting

May 031

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 sticks softened butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons milk

Directions

1.  Beat butter, confectioners sugar and salt until combined.  Medium speed 3-5 minutes.
2.  Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and beat on medium high until creamy
3.  Add 2 Tablespoon milk and beat on medium high until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes

Rainbow Cake – Not so Simple but definitely Delicious

I was inspired to make a Rainbow Cake this weekend. With the passing of the law that now allows all people the gift of marriage.  I will be able to see ALL of my children marry the one they love.   Knowing they will be able to share their lives through marriage with that special person was very important to our family.  Also, Kent and I celebrated our 29th anniversary this weekend. What better way to celebrate both of these awesome events than with a Rainbow Cake.

I got the decorating idea from Food Network,  The cake recipe from Wilton and the buttercream frosting recipe is one I use all the time.

Rainbow Cake

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Classic White Cake

Ingredients

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6 cups cake flour sifted
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 egg whites

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease bottom of pans and line with waxed paper or parchment paper.
2.  Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
3.  Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Set aside.
4.  Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Set aside.
5.  With mixer at slow speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternately with milk. Beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
6.  Gently fold egg whites into batter.
7.  Pour into prepared pans.
8.  Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. For this recipe the pans are about 1/2 full so 12-15 minutes is the time.

Preparing the layers
(I watched this video and it helped me tremendously!)

1.  Divide batter evenly among 6 small bowls. Starting with the lightest color, tint batter with food coloring, whisking in a few drops at a time until the desired intensity is reached.
2.  Pour each of the colored batters into a different parchment-lined cake pan (I weighed the batter and filled the cake pans by weight)  OR each should be half full.
3.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 12 to 15 minutes.
4.  Stack layers according to the colors of the rainbow.  Purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.june 026june 027
5.  Spreading a thin layer buttercream between each. june 028Using an offset spatula, frost the whole cake with a thin layer of buttercream frosting.june 029
6.  To apply sprinkles you need to start from bottom and apply with your hands. june 030 This video helped with applying sprinkles.

I have never done anything like this before.  This definitely was not simple.  It was very time consuming since I only own 2 round cake pans.  Also, preparing the layers took some time.  For me, it was worth the 5 hours that it took me from start to finish (yes, 5 hours).  It tasted delicious and looks fabulous!!june 044

Cuban Sandwiches

Since I saw the movie “Chef”, I have wanted to try to make a Cubano.  I finally decided to make them this weekend.  I took an America’s Test Kitchen recipe along with “Chef” Mojo Marinade and made this simple and delicious sandwich.  We ALL enjoyed this.  Only missing person was Martin2.  He is working in Door County for the summer.  When I visit him up there maybe we can make these together!

Cuban Sandwiches or Cubano

 

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Ingredients

Mojo Marinade

5lb pork shoulder or butt (same thing, different name depending what part of country you live in)
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup cilantro (I left this out this time as a couple of the crew do not like cilantro.  Next time I will add this.)
4 Tablespoons mint leave, chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup FRESH lime juice
7 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt

Whisk all of the above ingredients.  Put pork shoulder along with marinade in gallon storage bag.  Set in bowl and marinade 2 hours or more.  I did so overnight.

Next morning.  Preheat oven 300 degrees. Place pork in roasting pan.  Slow roast pork shoulder 4-5 hours or until internal temperature is 170 degrees.  This takes about 4 hours.  Take our of oven. june 046 Let rest for 30-60 minutes.  Place in refrigerator to cool.  Thinly slice.

To make sandwiches

Ingredients

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1/3 cup dices dill pickles
1/3 cup diced jarred banana peppers
4 potato sandwich rolls (we used Costco rolls)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
1/4 pound thinly slice baked ham (Virginia Baked or Black Forest Ham)
1/2 pound cold roast pork, thinly sliced
1/4 pound thinly sliced swiss cheese
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions

1. Combine pickles and peppers in small bowl. Split rolls in half; spread top half with mayonnaise and bottom half with mustard. june 054Layer ham, roast pork, june 056pickle mixture, june 057and cheese onto bottom half, finishing with cheese on top. june 058Set tops of rolls in place and press down to flatten sandwiches.june 049
2. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, heat large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat for 4 minutes. Brush tops of sandwiches with melted butter and place in skillet buttered side down. Brush bottoms of rolls with remaining butter and use preheated pot to compress sandwiches for 15 to 20 seconds. Cook (keeping pot on sandwiches but not pressing down) until first side is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pot, flip sandwiches over, replace pot on top of sandwiches, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.june 053

These really were simple and delicious.  Give them a try!!

50 States 50 Pizzas – Georgia

We are revisiting some of the 50 State 50 Pizzas that got me motivated to start this blog.  Friday we brought back the Georgia pizza. This was called the Yuppie pizza from Vinnie Van Go-Go’s, Savannah, GA. Martin and Martin2 really liked this pizza (not as much as the Purple Pig or Strawberry Balsamic pizzas) but pretty close.  Kent thought it was good but he would have preferred another cheese other than feta. Why don’t you give it a try and tell us what you think?

Georgia “Yuppie Pizza”

june 008

 

Ingredients

june 003

Pizza Dough
2 tomatoes, sliced, remove seeds
1 – 5 oz jar artichoke hearts (I used the whole jar)
spinach
banana peppers
feta cheese
mushrooms
Spicy Italian sausage
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

Directions

Preheat oven 475 degrees.

1.  Place the olive oil, minced garlic and rosemary in a bowl.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
2.  Brush pizza dough with olive oil mix
3.  Top with banana peppers, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, sausage and feta june 004 (You can put on as much or as little of the toppings you would like.  It is your pizza!)
4.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Chow down!

Fridays are always fun!   I am really enjoying making these different pizzas again and of course Martin taking random selfies!june 005 He is pretty funny!!  🙂

 

 

 

Puerto Rican Red (or Black) Beans and Rice

I saw 2 different recipes for beans and rice.  They both sounded good but combining some ingredients from one recipe to the other made it better.  Also, Martin2’s aunt is Puerto Rican and has her own special recipe.  He had somewhat of an idea of what she uses for her beans and rice recipe.   I made 3 different versions in the last couple of weeks.  They are ALL simple and delicious.  However, I like heat and this one is my favorite.  Here goes;

Puerto Rican Red (or Black) Beans and Rice

june 015

Ingredients

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1/2 cup chopped lean ham (you don’t have to put meat in it.  I do not believe Martin’s aunt does.)
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced (I used red, that’s all I had in my fridge)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Adobo seasoning (if you don’t have on hand, use salt.)
1 packet Sazon seasoning (you will find in Hispanic section at grocery store)
2 teaspoons cumin
2 Tablespoons Sofrito (you will find with the Sazon seasoning)
1/2 cup Giardineira (I used hot, you can use mild or not at all)
1 – 15 ounce can red (or black) beans, drained
1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce (Tabasco sauce is more common in Puerto Rican dish)
1 – 15 ounce can chicken broth (or 2 cups water)
1 cup rice (I used white long grain.  You could use brown rice, too)
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions

1. Place 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in large frying pan, over medium heat.  When shimmering add onions,pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of adobo seasoning.
2.  Saute onions and peppers until onions opaque, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, mix in with peppers and onions.june 014
3.  Add Sazon Seasoning, cumin, Sofrito and Giardiniera and mix together
4.  Add beans, hot sauce, chicken broth and rice.   Mix all together and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
5.  Reduce to low heat, simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes until rice is done.

That is it!  You will have a tasty, spicy meal.  Serve with a green salad.  YUM!!

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Fruit Glaze

Blast from the past.  Looking at pics on my computer.  Found this bundt cake I made for Martin’s birthday in 2012.  I updated the photo and thought I would re-post.  This cake was very moist and chocolatey.  I have to make this again soon!!  Here is the 2012 posting;

1/8/2012

Today was Martin’s birthday.  His cake request was a Chocolate Bundt cake with a Fruit Glaze.  When he was younger he lived with his grandparents in Sofia, Bulgaria.  He used to enjoy having this dessert with his Grandfather.  He misses him very much.  This cake reminded him of those special times.

I have never attempted a Bundt Cake before. I am not much of a cake or pie person.  The Chocolate Bundt cake recipe I used was from Williams Sonoma’s website.

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Fruit Glaze

pizza friday 112

Ingredients

For the cake:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

Directions:

1.  Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
2.  Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease and flour a decorative 10-cup Bundt pan.
3.  To make the cake,  sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; repeat until well blended. Set aside. (I did not sift.)
4.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 30 to 45 seconds. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until blended. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating each addition until incorporated before adding more, until the mixture is thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes; stop mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla.
5.  Reduce the speed to low and fold in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour, until just blended and no lumps of flour remain. Then gently fold in the chocolate.
6.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading the batter so the sides are about 1 inch higher than the center. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and cool the cake upright in the pan for 10 minutes.

7.  Meanwhile, make the glaze:

The Fruit Glaze I kind of whipped up but it was quite tasty.

2 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
1 kiwi, chopped (I cut it to avoid the seeds)
1/2 orange (I used a mandarin orange, I ate the other half)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Place the fruit and all other ingredients in a pan.  Cook slowly over low heat for about 5-10 minutes until thickened. Set aside to cool.

8.  Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper, invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Generously brush the warm cake with the glaze. Let the cake cool to room temperature, then dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Top slices with a dollop of whipped cream.

Enjoy!  Simple and DELICIOUS!

 

Raspberry Jam Frosting

Raspberry Jam Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
3-4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1 teaspoon raspberry extract (you don’t need this but I wanted the raspberry flavor to “pop”)
1-2 Tablespoons cream or milk

Directions

1. Place the butter and confectioner’s sugar in bowl. (I used my stand up mixer)  Combine on low, after crumbs form, increase to medium high until creamy (3-4 minutes).
2.  Add rest of ingredients and mix on medium high until combined and creamier!  That’s it!

If you need a smaller amount like I did for my French Macarons june 017

cut the recipe in half.  It works just fine.

French Macarons (not Macaroon)

I challenged myself this weekend to make French Macarons.  I thought they were Macaroons.  I learned they are not.  Would you like to know the difference?  Well, I will tell you anyway.  Macarons are French cookies made with almond and egg whites that are sandwiched around a cream-based filling.  Macaroon is the American word for our version of a flourless egg-white-based cookie. Most often made with coconut and can also include nuts or a nut base.  You learn something new everyday!!

I spent last evening watching videos and reading about French Macarons.  It was quite enjoyable.  I ended up using the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.  I had to run out this morning to get some almond flour for the macarons.  That stuff is a bit expensive.  I bought a large bag so I can make them a few more times.  These were fun to make.  I would not say they were simple but they are delicious.  Here is the recipe I used;

French Style Macarons

june 015

Ingredients

june 003

(NOTE: I weighed both the flour and the confectioner’s sugar.  It was recommended in all the videos and recipes to weigh your flour and sugar.  When baking, weighing is the most accurate form of measurement.  Did you know that?!)

3 3/4 cups (15 ounces) almond flour
3 1/3 cups (13 1/3 ounces) confectioner’s sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 large egg whites, at room temperature (take them out about 30 minutes before you will use them)
pinch cream of tarter
5 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (YES, a Tablespoon)
2 cups of buttercream frosting.  You can also use chocolate ganache, raspberry jam (or any jam), whatever works for you)

Directions

1. Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a large pastry bag with a 1/2-inch plain tip; set aside. Process half of the almond flour, ­confectioners’ sugar, and salt together in a food processor until the mixture is very finely ground, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining almond flour and confectioners sugar; stir together and set aside. (Next time I will also add sifting the flour and sugar after I processed in the food processor.  My cookies could have been smoother.)

2. Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites on medium-low speed until they are opaque and frothy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to-high, and continue to whip, watching carefully, until they are white, thick, voluminous, and the consistency of shaving cream, about 90 seconds. Slowly sprinkle in the granulated sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form and the sugar is incorporated, about 60 seconds. june 004(I would turn off the mixer when adding the sugar or be sure you do not put where the beater is whipping.  The sugar will end up on the side of the bowl if it gets caught up in the beater.  You want it mixed in with the egg whites.)

3. Transfer the egg whites to a large bowl in order to accommodate the remaining ingredients. (I used a large bowl.  I did not transfer the egg whites.) Gently fold one quarter of the almond flour mixture into the whites, followed by the vanilla. Gradually fold in the remaining almond mixture until a thick, gloppy batter forms.june 007

4. Fill the prepared pastry bag with the batter. Twisting the top of the bag to apply pressure, push the batter toward the bag tip and pipe onto the prepared baking sheets into forty 2-inch mounds, spaced about 1-inch apart. june 008Use the back of a teaspoon or your finger dipped in a bowl of cold water to even out the shape and smooth the surface of the piped mounds. Let the macaroons rest at room temperature until the tops are dry and a smooth skin has formed, 1 to 2 hours.

**Ok, my experience with pastry bags is minimal.  I had macaron batter all over the place.  I over filled the bag.  Next time I will fill with 1/2 the batter, not ALL of the batter.  That was not a bright idea.  Also, my first tray was all over the place, second was better, third tray I had it figured out.  I put the tip on the cookie sheet and squeezed the bag, counted to 3 and that was the perfect size.  Not scientific but it worked for me.  Or just make the size of 2 inches across.** 

5. Thirty minutes before baking, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until lightly browned, about 20 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through the baking time. Directly after baking, carefully slide the parchment with cookies onto a wire rack and cool completely. june 010june 011(The unfilled cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 weeks; if frozen, let thaw at room temperature for 2 hours before filling.)

TO FILL THE COOKIES: Spread about 1 tablespoon of the buttercream over the flat sides of half the cookies and gently cover with the flat sides of the remaining cookies to form sandwiches.  I filled half with raspberry jam frosting and the other half with chocolate ganache (oh, and a couple with raspberry jam).  Recipes below;

Raspberry Jam Frosting (I made a small amount.  I generally make too much and throw it away.  This was a great amount.)

1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 Tablespoons raspberry jam
1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract (you don’t need this but I wanted the raspberry flavor to “pop”)
2 teaspoons cream or milk

Place the butter and confectioner’s sugar in bowl. (I used my stand up mixer)  Combine on low, after crumbs form, increase to medium high until creamy (3-4 minutes).  Add rest of ingredients and mix on medium high until combined and creamier!  That’s it!

Chocolate Ganache

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (I used Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate Bar)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

Place 1/4 cup heavy cream in pan and warm over medium heat.  Put 2 ounces of chocolate and confectioner’s sugar in a medium sized bowl.  When the cream is warm, pour over the chocolate and confectioner’s sugar.  (You could also use your microwave to warm up all ingredients. I prefer to warm cream over heat.) Let set for 2-3 minutes.  Whisk all together until smooth Place in fridge for 20-30 minutes to set.  If you take out an hour later just let it set out for 5 minutes or so.  It will get to room temperature and spread just fine.

That was it.  It takes time but they are worth it.  Give it a try!!

Guacamole

We love Guacamole in this house.  We use it all the time.  It is a great condiment.  Here is my recipe.  Simple and Delicious!

Guacamole

May 033

Ingredients

2 Haas Avocados
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (If you like a little heat, then add cayenne. I like heat.  Kent doesn’t.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 Tablespoon lime juice (I use a real lime)

Directions

1.  Place avocado pulp in medium bowl.  Squeeze lime over top.  Using a fork, smash the avocados until smooth.  (I don’t use a food processor.  We like texture to our guacamole.  Fork or food processor, whatever works for you.)
2.  Put all other ingredients in bowl with avocados and mix well.
3.  Put in refrigerator for a couple of hours.  Tastes great chilled.  Enjoy!!

con·di·ment
ˈkändəmənt/
noun
1. a substance such as salt or ketchup that is used to add flavor to food.  🙂

Cilantro Lime Rice

This rice goes great with the Chipotle Restaurant chicken and black bean recipes.

Cilantro Lime Rice

May 039

Ingredients

2 cups water
1 cup white rice, long grain (I used Basmati)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 FRESH lime juice
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Directions

1.  Add water, rice, oil, salt and bay leaf to large pot.  Cook over medium heat.
2.  Bring water to boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover pan for 15-2o minutes.
3.  Remove bay leaf.
4.  Add cilantro and lime juice, mix together and serve!

Again, Simple and Delicious!!