Just another WordPress.com weblog

Archive for November, 2011

Burnt sugar bundt cake

So the caramel burnt sugar liquid is absolutely amazing. Mine might not have cooked quite as long as it needed, but it got close enough. My cake was a slight disappointment. The top (which is actually the bottom) sunk down a little but the top crust remained. Then the cake stuck, and in my attempt to shake it out, some of the messed up part of the cake fell out. Plus, the cake was very very dense. So I would definitely tweek the recipe or find a way to use the burnt sugar liquid in a different recipe.




Pretzel rolls

Once again, a blog has done such a good job explaining the process of a recipe, so I’m just going to include the link. These pretzel rolls were amazing and gave me no issues. I didn’t seal them perfectly so some of the bottoms look a little funny but it’s no big deal. I froze the leftovers and defrost them in the microwave whenever I please! I used all different salts and my favorite is the chunky Hawaiian salt that I have. The recipe is from Alton Brown.


French baguette

This baguette is delicious, and these instructions are so helpful.



Spinach artichoke stuffing

Omg, absolutely delicious. A great change for our thanksgiving stuffing. I felt the recipe was closer to a bread pudding, so I omitted the cream and only added enough liquid to moisten the toasted bread cubes without any pooling in the bottom of the bowl. I used 14 cups ish of cubed leftover bread and about two cups chicken stock. I cooked the onion/artichoke mixture ahead and I wilted the spinach while sauteeing. I used 1 lb of fresh spinach. I stored the mixture in the fridge and it released a lot of moisture. So I didn’t add all of the chicken stock mixture. I used about 2/3 lb of brie cubed. I divided the mixture between a 9×13 pan and a 8×8 pan. Leftovers were AMAZING toasted in the skillet (with a little butter), served with leftover turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, and a fried egg.

Spinach Artichoke Stuffing (Emeril)

Serves 11 for thanksgiving plus leftovers!


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds spinach, washed (3 cups cooked and roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Emeril’s Italian Essence, or other Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 (8 1/2-ounce) cans quartered artichoke hearts, any tough outer leaves removed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 12 to 14 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old French bread (1 loaf)
  • 1 pound Brie, rind removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil.


Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Once cool, squeeze as much water from spinach as possible, then roughly chop, and reserve.


Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 2 teaspoons of Italian Essence, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add theartichokes and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Combine the eggs, cream, chicken stock, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon Italian Essence, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the bread, spinach, artichoke mixture, brie, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and parsley and stir to combine. If bread does not absorb all of liquid immediately then let rest until this happens, about 20 minutes.

Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until firm in the center and golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve warm.

Ground beef enchiladas with jalapeno cream sauce

I originally wanted to make shrimp enchiladas with the cream sauce, but I decided to use up some leftover ground beef. I cooked the beef using my favorite taco meat recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, then mixed that with 1 1/2 cups monterey jack and feta cheese. I also threw in some leftover roasted poblanos/jalapenos. Probably 2 tbsp or so. I use flour tortillas for enchiladas because I can’t stand corn tortillas. They soften up a lot and absorb a lot of moisture, which is why they aren’t desirable. But I love using flour tortillas anyway. I layered some salsa from the pantry at the bottom of the dish, then covered the assembled enchiladas with the sour cream sauce. Works for me! I always bake enchiladas covered at 350-400 for about 20-25 minutes, then broil until brown and bubbly. The white sauce didn’t really bubble because there was no cheese in it. An important change to make next time! The relish is from a recipe called Corn Cakes with Tomato Avocado Relish. Seemed like a perfect topping to a fun enchilada! I made the relish more tomato-y and less avocado-y.

Jalapeno Cream Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Chopped Tomato and Avocado Salsa

  • 2 large tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh basil
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded, minced, and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of half a lime and 1 tsp zest
  • 1½ tsp. olive oil
  • 1½ tsp. white wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, pitted and diced

Carrot cake cupcakes with miracle cream cheese frosting

The frosting is a play off of the cooked flour frosting I love so much, but honestly I prefer the more traditional cream cheese frosting. The miracle frosting wasn’t thick enough to start out with (that could have been my bad) and the cream cheese flavor is diluted. I would try this again and tweak it because I really do like the frosting. The cupcakes were good, moist, and flavorful, but nothing to write home about. I liked making them into mini cupcakes too. They kinda stuck to my pan even though I sprayed, so I would need to get mini cupcake liners. I picked the carrot cake recipe because it was simple but it used a lot of brown sugar in addition to white.  It was tasty and moist but pretty basic. I think I prefer Ina’s version with crushed pineapple and I would love to try more add ins like pecans or coconut. This recipe is made in the food processor, which was nice and fast!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes (The Curvy Carrot)

Servings: 24 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound (6 to 7 medium) carrots, peeled

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/2 safflower, canola, or vegetable oil

For the cream cheese frosting (I highly recommend doubling this):

8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool

1 tablespoon sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar


1. For the cupcakes:  Adjust the oven racks to the upper middle and lower middle positions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Line a cupcake pan with liners.

3.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

4. In a food processor fitted with the large shredding disk, shred the carrots (you should have about 3 cups); add the carrots to the bowl with the dry ingredients and set aside.

5.  Wipe out the food processor and fit with the metal blade.

6. Process both sugars with the eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds.

7.  With the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream.  Process until the mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer.

8.  Scrape the mixture into a large bowl, and stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.

9.  Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners and bake 20-24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  ***I rotate my pans   halfway through the baking process.

10.  Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.

11. For the frosting:  Process the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla in a clean food processor until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

12. Add the confectioners’ sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.

13.  Since this frosting will be difficult to pipe, I recommend just smoothing it onto each cupcake with an offset spatula. (If you don’t eat it all first….:) )

Adapted from Baking Illustrated.


Cream Cheese Miracle Frosting (Treats)
makes about 4 cups (enough for two 9-inch cake layers or 24 regular cupcakes)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tbl cornstarch
¼  tsp salt
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
16 tbl unsalted butter, softened (8 oz or 2 sticks), cut into 16 pieces
8 oz cream cheese, softened, cut into 1-inch pieces
Combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Pour mixture through fine-mesh strainer into medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture boils and is very thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer milk mixture to clean bowl and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

With stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cooled milk mixture and vanilla on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add butter and cream cheese, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.


I looove my version of homemade ricotta cheese that I adapted from Ina Garten. I’m not sure if it’s a “traditional” recipe, because it doesn’t taste like store-bought. It is much better! Plus, I don’t really like regular ricotta. I used the ricotta I made to make a yummy calzone filling. I mixed about 1/2 cup of ricotta, 1 cup or so of shredded mozzarella and parmesan, 1/2 of a beaten egg, fresh basil, green onion, 2 slices of diced thin prosciutto, and S&P. For the pizza dough, I used my new favorite from Wolfgang Puck. I used about 4 oz of dough to make one small-ish calzone. I brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan. It needs about 15 minutes to bake at 475-500. Usually I sprinkle parchment paper with cornmeal but I won’t do that next time I make calzones.

Filling for Calzones (Just the tip)

  • 4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto (no need for the super good imported stuff for this)
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella/provolone mix
  • 15 oz part-skim ricotta
  • 3 tbsp chopped basil
  • ball of store-bought whole wheat pizza dough
  • salt, pepper
  • whole wheat flour for dusting
  • 1 egg
Spinach Calzones with Ricotta and Sun Dried Tomatoes (Good Life Eats)
  • 1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, optional
  • 3/4 – 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 48 slices pepperoni (6 per calzone), cut into quarters