Monday, October 31, 2011

chocolate Guinness cake

It's Chocolate Guinness Cake Day.

I bet you didn't know.

I bet you woke up this morning thinking it was Halloween....but no. You were wrong. It's secretly Chocolate Guinness Cake Day... which is also secretly my new favorite day.

This recipe caught my eye when I saw the words chocolate and stout nestled sweetly together in the title. That and I recently just got back from a 3 week trip to Europe which included a 5 night stay in Dublin. Anything to continue the Guinness tribute I started then immediately scored points in my book. I knew this cake had to be made and am in love with the results; hence devoting an entire day to it.

Even though it looks incredibly rich, this cake isn't overly sweet. And it turned out perfectly moist. Don't let memories of dry Bundt cakes drowning in powdered sugar deter you. 

In case you're still on the fence, I'd like to remind you of the best part about baking with get to drink any leftovers! Enjoy! -jz

chocolate Guinness cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra at room temperature for pan
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for pan
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup stout beer....uh, Guinness ;)
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat oven to 350 F.

Butter a 12 cup Bundt pan and dust with the cocoa powder, tapping out the excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter and stout beer. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and add 8 ounces of the chocolate. Whisk until smooth.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugars on medium-high until fluffy. Beat in the chocolate mixture and sour cream. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in the flour mixture until just combined; do not overmix.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached; 45 - 55 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to just a boil. Remove from heat and add the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Set the cooling rack with the cake on it over a baking sheet. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let set before serving.

Recipe taken from: Real Simple magazine

Saturday, October 22, 2011

perfectly poached eggs

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I LOVE all forms and renderings. I've recently decided that, when it comes to breakfast, I think all eggs should be poached. No matter what you pair them with, and later drench in delicious yellow yolk, the end result is always amazing. And poached eggs, though seemingly scary, are actually easier to conquer than you think. I am purposefully using the word conquer here because it will take a few tries to get perfectly poached eggs. Don't get discouraged. Once you've got it, it's kind of like riding a bike. I should know. I've had them for breakfast pretty much every day this week!

The secret I learned this week led to the most perfect eggs I've ever poached. Rather than re-hash instructions someone else has so eloquently written, I'll let you go straight to the source: Smitten Kitchen. Follow the instructions step by step and I promise you'll be a pro too. The trick that changed everything for me was stirring the water before dropping the egg in. It's amazing. Oh. And I am pro-vinegar in case you're wondering. Good luck and enjoy! -jz

Saturday, September 10, 2011

fried green tomatoes

I have been oh so absent this year! I just realized that I started off my last post with almost the same April. Where has the time gone.....?!

I've been in the kitchen (I swear!) but have steered clear of my lonely laptop almost to the point of creating a self induced aversion to it. I feel like life is finally resuming whatever pace this is that feels a little more like normal. Or maybe I've just acclimated to this new level of craziness.... Either way, I'm here. I'm thinking about food. And Fried Green Tomatoes was on this past weekend. The universe has indeed re-aligned. (You're welcome.)

While I didn't have a true garden this year - I only had ONE potted cherry tomato plant that produced an amazing harvest of TWO cherry tomatoes - I couldn't help thinking about the fried green tomatoes I made last summer. Then Fried Green Tomatoes was on....I'm sure you see where I'm going here?

This is the perfect time to share this recipe since this summer has been much like the last. Not so much sun and heat, meaning not so many bright red amazing least that's what I'm hearing from my fortunate friends with yards and gardens. If you've found yourself with a crop of somewhat less than red tomatoes too, I urge you to try this Southern classic. It's easy and delicious. And if you take the time to make your own breadcrumbs, it will be even better than you're imagining right now. Enjoy! -jz

fried green tomatoes
serves 4

4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 yellow cornmeal
1/2 breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil for frying

Slice tomatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium sized bowl. Set out flour on a large plate. Mix together the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and set out on a second large plate. Dip tomatoes slices in flour to coat, then into the egg mixture. Then dredge each slice through the breadcrumb mixture to coat entirely.

Pour vegetable oil into a large skillet (should be about a 1/2 of oil in the pan) and heat over medium heat. When oil is hot, place tomatoes into the skillet in small batches. Be careful not to "crowd" the tomatoes. Fry until golden brown flipping once. Drain on paper towels before serving.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

almond butter

I have been absent for quite some time now! Life has been a little crazy for the past few months to say the least. Between work, keeping up with menial chores like laundry and, oh yeah, trying to have some fun in there, I've been running myself on all cylinders. As a result, I've been trying to find extra hours in the day and simplify life in the most general sense of the word. I'm about to embark on the tedious task of finding a new place to live, a necessary evil that is also driving the bus towards simplification. I never realize how much stuff I own until it's time to put it all in boxes and drive it across town. Oh the joys of moving!

In keeping with the theme of simplification, I decided to make something easy and oh so yummy today - almond butter. 5 ingredients and 15 minutes to delicious. Simple.

Few things to note...

If you've never roasted nuts before, it's super easy so long as you keep an eye on them. I have burned many a tray of almonds, pine nuts, walnuts and the like. Almonds take about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. You can always buy your almonds roasted if you'd like to skip this step.

Don't add the honey, cinnamon and salt to the mixture until the very end after processing for the full 12 minutes. Adding the extra ingredients early will cause the mixture to seize and get super thick. Ew.

Almond butter and raspberry jam sandwiches are amazing. Just sayin.

Enjoy! - jz

almond butter

2 cups dry roasted almonds, unsalted
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Place the almonds in a food processor. Process on high until ground almonds begin to form a ball. Drizzle olive oil over almonds and continue to process, stopping occasionally to scrape sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.  Continue to process for 12 full minutes. Add honey, cinnamon and sea salt. Process for another 30 seconds to mix. Transfer almond butter to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

warm black bean & veggie wraps

I'm ready for summer.

Really, really, really ready for summer. Really.

Sad as it may sound, I have been spending my evenings planning fantasy getaways to exotic locations - basically anywhere with beach, bungalows and sugar laden foo foo drinks with umbrellas. Yes. This is what I dream of in the middle of a rainy Seattle January. Sigh.

Since I can't exactly hop the next flight to Bora Bora, I decided to at least take a vacation from soup and all other standard winter fare. These wraps are so simple, so yummy and so easy to make. I added kale to the recipe because I had some in the house and it made a great addition. Chop a bunch coarsely and add it to the veggie mixture for the last two minutes of saute time until it just begins to wilt. You won't be sorry! Oh. Don't forget avocado, sour cream and salsa for "garnish." Enjoy! -jz

warm black bean & veggie wraps
makes 4

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups diced red or yellow bell peppers
1 cup 1/2 inch cubes zucchini
1 cup 1/2 inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash
1 cup chopped red onion
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 cup (packed) grated hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese
4 10 inch flour tortillas
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add all veggies and saute until crisp-tender (about 8 minutes). Mix in cumin and saute until vegetables are tender (about 2 minutes longer). Place beans in large bowl; mash coarsely with a fork. Mix in veggies, then cheese.

Spoon 1/4 filling down the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon cilantro. Roll up tortillas, enclosing filling. Arrange wraps, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Cover wraps with foil and bake until filling is just heated through (about 10 minutes). Devour immediately.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

eggnog-esque pancakes

HellO 2011!

OMG am I happy to see your face - metaphorically speaking of course! I'm jumping up and down as I type this out of sheer excitement for the New Year - metaphorically jumping I mean. (Who can jump and type at the same time??)  2010 was a little crazy for my tastes so I wasn't too sad to see it come to a close - especially since that meant celebrating.

And especially since I heart holidays. Turns out.

Christmas, Halloween, the 4th of birthday! (ha!)

This past New Year's will surely go down as a favorite. Friday night was filled with good food, even better company and excessive amounts of fabulous wine. There were even presents! Belated and oh so lovely Christmas presents. It was a great way to end 2010 and set the tone for 2011.

Even though the holiday season had officially ended, I decided one last decadent breakfast was necessary. I discovered this recipe while lazily perusing the internet in lieu of doing anything responsible Saturday afternoon. I was hungry (hence food blog stalking) when these pancakes became a Sunday morning must - and thank goodness they did. They were absolutely yummy and you don't even need eggnog to make them.

I followed the recipe to the letter using spiced rum, since I just so happened to have some on hand. One thing to note, don't be afraid of the thick fluffy batter. I was tempted to add extra milk once I had mixed everything together but I thankfully ignored my instincts. These pancakes are some of the lightest and fluffiest I've ever made - and I've made quite a few pancakes in my day. Trust me.

Enjoy! -jz

eggnog-esque pancakes
serves 2 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
heaping 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ground allspice
3 Tablespoons butter melted until browned
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon whiskey or spiced rum or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
butter or a lightly colored oil for cooking pancakes
maple syrup for serving

In a small sauce pan, melt butter until much of the water has evaporated and little brown bits appear in the bottom of the pan.  Remove from the flame and add the nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice.  Set aside to cool a bit.

In a small bowl, beat the egg with the buttermilk.  Add the melted butter, being to sure to scrape all the browned bits and spices into the buttermilk and egg.  If the butter seizes up a bit in the cold milk, that’s ok. Add the whiskey/rum or vanilla extract and just whisk it all together.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate.  Don’t overmix.  It’s ok if there are a few lumps.

Let the batter rest, untouched for 5 minutes while you heat a griddle or skillet.  Add a tablespoon of canola oil or butter to the hot skillet.  Dollop heaping tablespoonfuls onto heated and oiled skillet and cook until evenly browned, flipping once.  Place cooked pancakes on an oven-proof plate in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Recipe repeated from: Joy the Baker (If you've never checked this blog out, now is the time! She's awesome!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

bacon and egg muffins

I have a confession to make. I have fallen in love with the incredible edible egg all over again. I'm not sure that I was ever truly out of love (?) with them come to think about it. Regardless though, our relationship has rekindled and taken a new turn. This may seem like a risky love affair considering the current salmonella outbreak - but I can't help it. I'm pretty sure it all started when I recently learned how to poach eggs. It was eye opening (think poached eggs with roasted asparagus and prosciutto) and honestly fun! Try it if you never have. There are videos online to help you summon your inner Julia Child.

A few weeks and quite a few eggs after the poaching experiment, I stumbled upon the latest issue of Edible Seattle while out for Sunday coffee with a friend. As if my subconscience was leading the way, the first thing I saw when I opened the magazine was the recipe for these muffins. A bacon biscuit with a whole egg baked right into the middle. I practically bee-lined home to try them....and have made them twice since that day. The recipe is perfect as is. They are best served hot, but are great to grab on the run in the morning and still just as satisfying, and filling, cold. I'm headed to the beach with my family in two weeks and will surely be making these for everyone to munch on for breakfast. Think I can smuggle my mega muffin pan through airport security?? -jz

bacon and egg muffins
makes 6 mega muffins

non-stick vegetable oil spray
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cooked crisp and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole milk
7 large eggs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease 6 jumbo muffin tins (or 1 cup ramekins) with the vegetable oil spray and set aside.

Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, bacon, chives and cheese in a large bowl. Combine the milk and one egg in a small bowl, then add to the dry ingredients along with the melted butter. Fold the ingredients together gently until no dry spots remain.

Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each of the muffin tins. Using a soft spatula spread the batter up the sides of the tins a bit, leaving a depression in the middle of the batter. Crack an egg into the center of each cup. Divide the remaining batter between the cups making sure you cover the yolk. It's easiest if you work with small dollops of batter.

Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes until the visible egg white is set and the muffins are just barely beginning to crack. They won't be very brown. Cool 5 minutes, then run a small knife around the edges of each muffin to release. Serve hot.

Recipe taken from: Edible Seattle