Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Carrot and Pineapple Cake a Giveaway, and a Thanks!


March has been a month of birthdays, from the beginning of March to the end. On the 3rd, was my father's...may he rest in peace, same as with my uncle, on the 7th. and at the end of March on the 25th. my son Joe's, on the 28th which was yesterday, my grandson Luca's 5th, on the 30th, our dear friends' young son's River's 10th birthday. I did mention the birthdays on the title of my last post, which I did not mention, as to who's birthday it is. The important birthday which I would like to talk about, and also an amazing autographed book...my son, Joe's first self-published book through Amazon. It is my giveaway gift, on my next post.

About Lamb's Bread, @Amazon,com


The delicious cake, which was my son's birthday cake, is his very favorite.
A Carrot cake, filled with crushed pineapple, and loads of freshly grated carrots. He was so sweet to take us out to a charming little cafe, which is strictly VEGAN, and not just vegetarian. You would think that the food is not filling enough, but trust me, there was so much food, so fresh, so yummy, and so affordable, served casually, and in a Key West type atmosphere, just right around the corner where my son, wife, and two precious daughters live.
The recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's Carrot and Pineapple Cake, from the Food Network site. I have two other recipes, one, from my previous post, back in October, which is a simple one that I made in a heart shape for my granddaughter Sophia's birthday, and also a more involved fancy recipe that my daughter Lora used for a guest post, last fall, as well. I did not use walnuts in this recipe, since they don't like walnuts...if it was for me, I would have added it.Recipe, and more about the book, to follow!

Ina Garten's Carrot and Pineapple Cake 
slightly adapted

For the cake:


For the frosting:


  • 3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted

For the decoration:


  • 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

For the cake:

Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the raisins and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour. Fold in the carrots and pineapple. Add to the batter and mix well.
Divide the batter equally between the 2 pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire rack.

For the frosting:

Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.
Place 1 layer, flat-side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with diced pineapple.

I'm linking my Carrot Pineapple Cake to... Miz Helen's Counttry Cottage, say "hello," and browse through all the wonderful recipes... featured on Full Plate Thursday!

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

A special thanks to my lovely friend, Lizzy,

@That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!  for this fantastic set of walnut oil, dark chocolate balsamic vinegar, and a nice sample of ginger sugar, from Artisano's, as a giveaway gift, which I won on Lizzy's fabulous blog that she was hosting about 10 days ago.

Do check her blog out and say "hello". She will certainly welcome you. The blog name is very "befitting"...she is a skinny chick, I think it must be the metabolism, because my daughter is also a "skinny" chick that bakes...LOL, must be on the father's side of the genes...certainly not my side!

 


One thing for sure, it's very rare when you get a personally written card from the hostess, and also from the owner, on the back of the Artisano card, from David.  Thank you Lizzy, and thank you David!

There are endless possibilities to use this unique and yummy Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar. For starters, I will certainly marinate the beautiful fresh, and ripe strawberries we are having, here in season now, in S. Florida.

 

 

 

 

Do contact ARTISANO'S and see all the gourmet treats for yourself, to order online!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Tart, and Birthdays to Celebrate!

I decided to feature this photo of my lovely fresh Strawberry Tart, before slicing it, just when it finally set... with my homemade Strawberry "thick" glaze, or coulis, or sauce, but it really is a glaze, ... not your ordinary clear glaze, because instead of a cream filling, or maybe even a curd type of filling, I chose the thick glaze, which is so easy to make. I willing to bet no one has heard of this kind of tart with a light "Nilla" Vanilla Tart Shell, instead of a Shortbread type, or a Graham Cracker type tart. I'm not really a an avid baker, but I do get enthusiastic about easy things to make that does not require a lot of work...and I don't even want to get involved in "yeast dough" unless I have to. I leave all that to my daughter. She is always making yeast all kinds of things with yeast...especially, since I gave her the brand new Bread Machine, even with the instruction from my thrift find, at Goodwill, for $9.99. Now, I'm trying to find one for myself, which is difficult, and think people are getting more interest in "dough" making...and why not? You can't beat fresh homemade bread, rolls, and pizza dough!

Enough said...had a busy week with my daughter's lovely in-law's from Italy staying here for their vacation, and loving every minute of it. They are so sweet, down to earth, and are so adventurous trying out new foods, and desserts, so this is one of the desserts that anyone who loves fresh strawberries would love. Light, not too sweet and the vanilla cookie crust is a treat, just by itself!
I've always loved fresh strawberry pie, when strawberry is in season, and just simple, with a nice crust, glaze, and served with fresh whipped cream, and of course, Strawberry Shortcakes...another yummy fresh strawberry dessert.

The way I started to make this, is not having enough time to make a fresh pie dough, and not wanting to buy frozen...I didn't have graham crackers or crumbs in my cupboard for the crust, but I just bought a huge box of Nilla Vanilla wafers from Costco's that I wanted to make a nice Banana Cream Pie with it, and ended up making this quick dessert instead. I realize the glaze takes up a pint of strawberries, just like the whole strawberry pieces, but at
$1.75 a pint, not too expensive for two.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Electrolux, and Kelly Ripa Confidential Tea Party Event

Electrolux, and Kelly Ripa are hosting a tea party, and I as a proud Featured Publisher would like to host my own tea party the the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
Electrolux will donate $1. to the Ovarian Research Fund when I host my tea party outfit. Foodbuzz in return, will donate $50. to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for every tea party recipe created by a Featured Publisher.
Visit the website of Kelly, @ Kelly Confidential for more information, of how you can donate to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
For me, personally, it's an honor to participate in the memory of my own mother Ana-(aka) Anushka, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer, a long time ago.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread
adapted from Family Circle, Dec, 2008


Start out with the Basic Sugar Cookie Dough, 
and add 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


! 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bow, beat butter, and sugar until smooth, about 2 minute. Beat in egg, and vanilla
On low speed, beat in flour mixture until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Unwrap plastic, and press into a 9 inch round, fluted nonstick tart pan, with a removable bottom.
Score into 16 pie-shaped wedges, (be sure not to cut all the way through.)

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. Let cool before serving.

For Glaze:

Melt 3 Tablespoons seedless raspberry (I used boysenberry) preserves and drizzle over top of tart.
Cut into wedges, along the scored lines, and serve.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Red Gold Spicy Tomato Sauce...and a Winner!

Today is the first official day of spring! Although, here in South Florida, we've been experiencing our spring since about January, and we'll be going into full blown summer, by May...go figure! This it the tropical climate that we are accustomed to. Such a wonderful weekend we had, how about that bright and beautiful full moon that only comes around every 18 to 20 years? (witnessed it and took photos)...Sunday was such a relaxing day, did not have barely anything in my fridge to cook for lunch, for my family in my little beach condo, but I always have canned tomatoes on hand, and pasta...the little ones love the mezze penne, and the spaghetti. I also found some Italian sausage in the freezer which I defrosted, so lunch did not take long. A little bit too spicy, but my little grandson eats everything, and did not mind the spicy sauce. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and got to witness the gorgeous moon that was 14% larger, and 30% brighter than your average full moon...that's what I call "romance in the air...or is it "Love is in the Air?"...remember that song from the eighties?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day... and a Giveaway!


How could you not want to celebrate St. Patricks' Day? It's such a happy occasion that we all can share...no matter what nationality, color, or religion you are, especially here, in the United States, in every state. It is one ethnic holiday, that everyone can agree on. So, let's honor the Irish, their celebration, and join in the fun.

For today, I made a special brunch, just for myself...I owe it to myself to eat healthy, and enjoy this beautiful day, and be grateful for the "little things" in life! I found these adorable cocktail, hand painted glasses for $.99 each, at my local Goodwill store, and I thought it would be cute to use it for the special day, with a light dessert, of vanilla pudding...no, not exactly home made, but not the instant kind...you actually have to cook this; I doctored it up a little, using about a 1/2 cup of heavy cream, to the 2 1/2 cup milk, and added 1 teaspoon vanilla extract at the end. I also melted down some semi-sweet chocolate chips, with about 1Tablespoon heavy cream, to drizzle on some of the most amazing fresh sliced kiwis, and layered some of the melted down chocolate, to layer on some of the others. So, I had a total of 3 glasses of this yummy dessert (the fourth glass broke: sadly, when I brought it home, and dropped the bag)

My family loved this ( I did not have any, just "test tasted"..he, he, really true) This dessert is not only light, but pretty, and really satisfies the "sweet tooth" and if you put it in a pretty glass dish, they will think you slaved away on this...Not!  So, get your best green shirt out, perhaps a "green glitter top hat"...join your local parade, go out, and have some fun!

May your day be touched
by a bit of Irish luck,
brightened by a Song
in your heart,
and warmed by the smiles
of the People you Love.

Wearing Green Around the World

Today, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of all backgrounds in the United States, Canada and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated in other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore and Russia.
In modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick's Day has traditionally been a religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick's Day as an opportunity to drive tourism and showcase Ireland to the rest of the world. Last year, close to one million people took part in Ireland 's St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

I was so determined to make these brownies from my Bon Appetit magazine, but I just hesitated because I have never made brownies with browned butter. I do like browned butter on pasta, but have not tried it in a cake or brownie recipe. Browned butter does have a rich, and nutty flavor, so why not add it in the brownies. Also, one other important result, that the recipe did promise, is the fudgy  and chewy outside, with a shiny, crackly top. Just look how it turned out...yumm! It was not very popular with my little ones, (my grandchildren)...my grandson was trying to pick out the walnut pieces, but I had one cup of toasted walnut pieces in the batter. It did not call for toasting the walnuts, but I know that toasting nuts would release the oils from the nuts, and would make it more tasty, and crunchy.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Baked Barbecue Country Pork Ribs... and a giveaway!

This may not be a "baking blog" but I assure you, for sure it's a "food blog", which actually, in the beginning, less than a year ago, started out to be a blog about mostly thrifting, and some food. We all have to eat, but where, and how we eat, and mostly what we eat...who we eat with, seemed more of a challenge than finding a bargain at our favorite thrift shops. I like to make my rounds every week, to cook at my friends' once a week, or at my daughter's or my son's, so basically, I only cook for myself about twice a week, realistically. It still is a late winter for some of you, but for us right now, is our spring. A barbecue "indoors" is so much easier, when it's for 2 people, than barbecuing outside and dealing with all the cleanup mess. I found these lovely country ribs at my local market, and I knew what I would want to make as a side dish with it to share with my friend. A side of "doctored up" baked beans, mashed potato, and sauteed sauer kraut. Yumm! As a matter of fact, everything was doctored up...even homemade barbecue sauce for the ribs...and let me tell you. You can have "finger licking good" barbecue sauce that you made, instead of the ones in a bottle, which is ready made. Slather it on for the last 25 minutes, and you have the best barbecue ribs, "this side of south Florida"...not Texas!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Garden Style Frittata-and my giveaway gifts

I came home yesterday afternoon, and I had a huge box propped against my door. I was so excited, because before I even opened the box I saw the Red Gold label on the box. My amazing giveaway gift via Wendy,
@The Weekend Gourmet  Red Gold  Diced tomatoes are 100% natural, you can just spoon them right out of the 14.5 oz can, and eat them raw, that's how good they are...so fresh, and naturally sweet. For more information on these amazing Midwest tomatoes, you can go online to http://www.redgold.com/ They are not California tomatoes, but from my home state, Ohio, and a couple of other Midwest states. Thank you Wendy, and thank you Red Gold!
I first thought that I got a case of tomatoes, because the box was so huge, but not too heavy...instead, just look at this gorgeous box of goodies. A large ruby red tote bag (I'm a tote bag collector, hee hee)...a beautiful little special edition collectors 2004 Gold Chevy, which I will give to my little grandson as a birthday gift at the end of the month, for his 5th birthday (can't wait)...he has already such a huge collection of little cars, but this will be a large one, and most unusual. Also, a cookbook, which I love, and made the Garden Style Frittata from...last night...for my light supper, also a key chain, more recipes on index cards, and of course, the three different cans of diced tomatoes...LOVE IT!!!...just look at the red frills that it was packed in. (me, as a thrifter, will save these packing to use for another occasion)

 Here's a little EGG TALK...about a thrift find book of mine called Never Eat More Than You Can Lift...by SharonTyler Herbst, a book about noteable quotes, and edibles. You find everything here, from A to Z.
Cute little book cost $20.00 in the U.S, and $27.95 in Canada...I picked it up for $1.95 at a World Thrift store.

BAD EGG: A good-for nothing one who's unreliable or dishonest.
DON'T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET: Don't invest all your time, energy or money in only one investment, activity or person.
EGGHEAD: An intellectual, a "brain"
EGG ON ONE'S FACE: Embarrassment or humiliation after saying or doing something foolish.
GOOD EGG: A likable trustworthy person.
GOOSE EGG: Zero
INNOCENT AS A NEW LAID EGG: Fresh, unspoiled.
LAY AN EGG: To fail miserably, usually in front of others.
NEST EGG: Money or other investments set aside for the future.
ROTTEN EGG: A "bad egg" only worse.
WALKING ON EGGS: To move with caution, whether verbally, or physically.


"Put all your eggs in one basket"...WATCH THAT BASKET- Mark Twain

"The egg is to cuisine what the article is to speech"-Anonymous

The Book is called, Heartwarming RECIPES for the busy cook, by Red Gold. is my recipe that I adapted. I used 6 eggs, and 1 can of the 14.5 oz. tomato drained, and not (2) that the recipe calls for. I did not want to use the Mexican Fiesta diced tomatoes, since this is an Italian inspired frittata, therefore I used the Garlic, basil, and oregano diced tomato, which was fabulous, pairing it with 1/3 cup of Reggiano Parmigiana cheese, grated, mixed in with the beaten eggs, and also used on the top. I used sweet onions chopped, instead of the scallions, which I did not have.
Also, I used fresh chopped Italian parsley, to sprinkle on top, and a handful of small grape tomatoes halved, which I have on hand. I omitted the sage, as well. I added the diced tomatoes on top of the eggs while they were cooking in the skillet, and added the fresh tomatoes on the top when I placed them in the broiler.

At any rate, here's the rest of the original recipe.

Beat the eggs in a bowl with a fork just until blended. Stir in the cheese, sage, salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the scallions. Add the remaining scallions to the hot skillet.
Cook for 2 minutes, or until limp, stirring frequently. Add the egg mixture, tilting  the skillet to ensure even coverage. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 3 minutes, lifting the edge of the frittata with a wooden spoon to allow the uncooked egg to flow underneath; do not stir.
Spoon Red Gold Diced Tomatoes over the top of the frittata. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or just until the eggs begin to set. Sprinkle with the reserved scallions. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until light brown.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Savory Stuffed Baked Trout

Another Sunday, the first Sunday of March, and I should have been making something for Cookbook Sundays with Brenda, @Brenda's Canadian Kitchen, or make the yummy Brown Butter Brownies from Bon Appetit magazine, which I also have, and mentioned to Lizzy, @That skinny chick can bake!!!, who actually made these brownies, adapted it from Bon Appetit...but no! I have to be different...and "talk is cheap." The truth of the matter, I don't follow too many recipes, unless there is something special I want to make, then, I have to make a list of the ingredients that I don't have, and run to the store to get it, and by that time, I lose interest and just make do with what I have on hand. On the other hand, what better opportunity, when a dear friend invites me over to dinner, and lets me "run the show"...LOL. She knows that she can trust me with what I'm going to prepare, and in most cases it's seafood. She bought these beautiful trouts, from BJ's which is yet, another food club, just like Costco's, but I still prefer Costco's and know exactly what products they carry, even the seafood. The first thing that came to my mind, is that these little "guys" need to be stuffed, so my friend just brought out all the ingredients to choose from that she had in her fridge, and pantry, and dinner was done in 30 minutes...yeayyy!
Normally, I don't see trout at Costco's but then again, I have not looked for it because most of the time I buy shrimp, or salmon, so I don't look for any other type of fish, unless I stop at our local fish market where it's more expensive, but so well worth it. So without any further conversation, I will share my easy recipe with you.

Savory Stuffed Baked Trout
my own recipe

2 pieces about 1 lb. each of whole trout,
(cleaned, and gutted)
2 cups of herb croutons
3 cloves of garlic chopped
fresh herbs of your choice,
(I used fresh rosemary, and parsley)
sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper
liberal amount of extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup vegetable broth
a good handful of fresh baby spinach

Liberally drizzle olive oil over, and inside the fish, sprinkle with the fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, and let it marinade for just a few minutes, while you are sauteing the garlic, the croutons, in a large skillet. Add the broth, the herbs, and the spinach, and cook for about another 5 minutes. Pack the cavities of the 2 trouts and gently pat it in making sure that you don't get the croutons all mushed up. In a preheat 400 degree oven, place the trouts on a aluminum lined baking sheet, and bake for no longer than 25 minutes. Serve with a side of couscous, rice, potatoes, or any side dish of your choice, with a few pieces of fresh spinach. Drizzle extra olive oil on the top, and serve.
Caution: Do not flip the fish on the other side, or stuffing will fall out. Serves 2. The skin will come right off, when you peel it, and so will the meat off the bone, in one try. Oh, so flaky, and delicious! Really enjoyable!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Arancini di Riso-Sicilian Rice Balls


If you are familiar with the Arancini, which literally means, "little oranges" then you would know what this authentic, Sicilian, or Calabrian delicacy is. It is called Rice Balls. You can make it two ways, the first one which we all are familiar with are with a scoop of ground meat, w/sauce, and a cube of mozzarella cheese, and let's not forget the green peas. You can also make it vegetarian style, with just the mozzarella cheese in the middle, served over plain Marinara sauce. Either way, you've never tasted any Italian comfort food, which is usually served as a snack in the middle of the afternoon, or an appetizer, for a few, or a crowd that will disappear faster than pizza. I had the opportunity to learn about this yummy dish, firsthand when I lived in Sicily, and also visiting family in the recent years. Nowadays, as in the past, it is still a very popular tasty treat, made in every pizza place, or in cafes, and mostly it's a tradition to make on a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hungarian Lecsó (lecho)


The other day, I found a "treasure" in my local supermarket, Publix, which I'm proud to announce. A gorgeous bag of local sweet mini peppers, in assorted colors. When I opened the bag, the fresh, and sweet aroma just permeated throughout my little kitchen. I have been waiting for these amazing little sweet, and crunchy, colorful peppers, that when I picked up the bag from the special stand, a little old lady asked me..."are they real?...I didn't want to be mean,  and say..."no, they're plastic"...she really meant well, and I wasn't about to make a "snarky remark!"
Such a huge bag of these gorgeous peppers can be made different ways. My second choice: Roasted peppers...and why not? They are ever so delicious, and with these tiny peppers, you almost don't even have to remove the skins, after roasting them. Just drizzle vegetable oil on the peppers on a aluminum foil lined bake pan, and add pieces of garlic, or chopped garlic, salt and pepper, and fresh rosemary, and bake at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes. Leave the little peppers whole, when you roast them. It's even more delicious when you open them after they're done. It is not hot, or spicy, just sweet, and pleasant yummy flavor.
I still had the second portion of the bag of new red potatoes, so I pre-boiled them, first, cutting them in half, and boil them till almost done, and sauteed them in extra virgin olive oil, and butter, and added fresh chopped parsley, freshly grated sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper, and made an amazing vegetarian meal out of the lecso, potatoes, and nice crusty bread, to dip into the rich tomato/paprika sauce. "Out of this World"...amazing, and healthy dish!

Hungarian Lecsó (lecho)
my own recipe

About 2 lbs. of sweet assorted, or hot peppers
1 large onion sliced, or chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 large can of a 28 oz. diced tomatoes
or you can use about 4 fresh chopped tomatoes
4 Tablespoon vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 cup of water

In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic over medium high heat, till onion gets a golden color. Pull skillet away from the heat, and add the salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir, to combine, add the water, and add the mini peppers, cut into half, removing the seeds, or with the larger peppers, cut into strips, and also removing the seeds. Stir to incorporate, and saute for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, and cook slow, over medium heat until peppers get slightly softened, and tomatoes get to a thick consistency. Serve them as a side dish, or appetizer, or save some to add to scrambled eggs, which is a super delicious breakfast treat. Serves 4-6

This is the bag of the sweet peppers.They are from a local Florida produce farm. They are so incredible, and delicious. So full of natural vitamin C.