Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mocha-Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Double Layered

Recipe published in Southern Living's September 2011 issue. Find it here. Hag Samech & Shana Tova! 

Cake Ingredients
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples (about 2 lb.)
2 (2.6-oz.) milk chocolate candy bars, chopped
Browned Butter Frosting

Cake Directions

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
  • 2. Beat sugar and next 4 ingredients at high speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer 5 minutes. Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients; gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Add apples, chocolate, and pecans; beat just until blended. Spoon into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
  • 3. Bake at 350º for 28 to 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Spread Browned Butter Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
  • Mocha-Apple Bundt Cake: Omit Browned Butter Frosting. Prepare batter as directed; spoon into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan. Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours).

Browned Butter Frosting Ingredients
1 cup butter
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting Directions
1. Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove pan immediately from heat. Pour butter into a bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.
2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beginning and ending with sugar. Beat at low speed until well blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Comments: The cake batter is very thick and turns out similar to a cookie dough consistency.  Very interesting. Not my favorite cake, but definitely would make it again for the right occasion. Shocking realization that others don't agree - only received 2/5 stars on 

Orzo Salad

Yields 6 side servings or 4 meals. Ready in 20 minutes. 

* 1.5 cups whole wheat orzo
* cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1 zucchini, diced
* Spinach, chopped
* 1/2 or 1/3 red onion, thinly sliced
* Fresh mint, chopped
* dried basil
* Olive Oil
* Balsamic Vinegar
* Lemon

Boil orzo for approximately 10 minutes. Drain and cool. Combine cherry tomatoes, zucchini, chopped spinach, chopped mint, red onion in a bowl. Add Orzo. Sprinkle dried basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar and lemon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Grilled Pear Arugala Salad

Optional: Add Salmon filets

Serves 3
2 barlett pears, sliced
2/3 bag arugala salad mix
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup yellow raisins
Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

* Grill sliced pears on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes, 2.5 on each side. Remove and cool for 5 minutes
* Add all arugala, onion, walnuts and yellow raisins into a bowl and mix. Add grilled pears.
* Serve with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sauteed Zucchini with Corn and Roasted Green Peppers

Every now and then it's nice to try a vegetarian or in this instance even gluten free recipe. I didn't love it, but I would make it again if in need of a vegetarian warm side dish. Modified version of original recipe, posted on girl cooks world here.

* about 1 pound zucchini, cut into small, 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 Tablespoon butter
* 1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus extra if needed
* 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
* 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
* 1 poblano or green bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
* 2/3 cup Mexican-style sour cream**
* salt and pepper to taste

Place the zucchini in a colander and mix with the salt. Let stand over a plate or the sink for about 1/2 hour to draw out any bitter liquid. Rinse and pat dry or drain for several minutes in the colander.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring often, until the zucchini has browned and is just tender. Remove the zucchini to a bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon, attempting to keep as much of the butter and oil mixture in the pan as possible.

Add the onions and cook, stirring until translucent. Add the corn and the pepper strips and continue to cook until the onion begins to brown. Stir in the sour cream and zucchini and cook until the sour cream has reduced to a thick glaze. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves four.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rice Pilaf With Grapes, Cranberries and Pecans

Ready in 25 Minutes. Serves 4 - 6.

I tried this at my friends house over the weekend and had to ask for the recipe. The recipe itself originally published in Southern Living's March 2010 issue. See it here.

1 cup diced red onion
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups halved seedless red grapes
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 tablespoons white or regular balsamic vinegar
2 (8.5-oz.) pouches ready-to-serve basmati rice*
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sauté onion in melted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until tender; stir in grapes, dried cranberries, and balsamic vinegar. Stir in rice, pecans, parsley, and salt; cook, stirring often, until thoroughly heated.
*2 (8.8-oz.) pouches ready-to-serve whole grain brown-and-wild rice may be substituted; omit salt.