Showing posts with label Baking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baking. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

#BundtaMonth-Banana Zucchini Bundt Cake

banana-zucchni-bundt-cake-1
I’ve loved baking Bundt cakes since my kids were little. Baking a Bundt is homey and comforting. There’s something about a round Bundt with the glaze drizzled down the side that is irresistible. Perfect for coffee or tea time with friends or to bring to a party.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Plum Upside-Down Cake




Since I've been food blogging for the last two years...I have not been thinking about that I would actually say,
"I have to bake something for my food blog"...hmm! wonder why did I say that to my daughter Lora, yesterday morning?
She told me the other day that her food blog is getting to be expensive...well, the reason for that is: She bakes every single day...really! There isn't a day that goes by when she does not bake...if nothing else, but the 'staple' banana bread, or homemade pancakes!
I was hoping to get this post up by yesterday...Friday, knowing that I did not have anything else worthwhile to post and that I don't do much baking cakes...although I love to put simple and yummy quick and easy desserts together!
We have such an abundance of plums...not the deep purple Italian ones, but the round ones which are so perfect just by themselves to snack on (which I did eat 3 yesterday)...and decide to make something with it. No time to start browsing through my cookbooks, old recipes, or favorite food bloggers' recipes...so what do you do first, if you don't have the basic recipe on hand?...The Internet...yes, that's the fastest way to google a recipe and do some adaptations of your own, which I did a little on my cake. Since I made this for my blog...still smiling to myself
about that one, I only kept one large piece for myself and shared the rest with my family.

Yesterday was such a stormy day on-and-off, with tropical storm Isaac on our heels by Sunday night...hopefully it's not turning into a hurricane!

Good day to be cooking and baking when you're stuck inside. I did go out on my balcony to take some photos of the beach, the clouds, and no less than 30 minutes wind, and a storm, but the worst is yet to come! We'll just have to be prepaired and be safe.

As you see, for my baking, I like to chose a comfy-cozy home type of dessert. For me they are super easy to make, and I do believe it will be easy for you, if you follow my easy and handy little tips. Don't let the layering of this beautiful upside-down all American simple cake intimidate you...and I DO recommend that you make this from 'scratch' and not from a mix, although I do use cake mixes, only to 'doctor' them up!
Here's the link to this awesome and easy cake!

Plum Upside-Down Cake 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blueberry-Peach Bread...for "Twelve Loaves"

I decided to make some fruit filled bread, since we are in the midst of the summer season, with plenty of summer fruits available and at such cheap price. Blueberry happens to be one of my all-time favorite berries, and to combine it with juicy ripe peaches, is the first time for me...although I have seen it on other food
bloggers site.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Strawberry Cake....a Guest Post

We are so happy and honored to guest post for our friend Lizzy, from That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!! 

It’s a joy to be here guest posting with my daughter Lora, from Cake Duchess.
We have known Lizzy for nearly two years and she has always been such a great friend to the both of us. She is always ready to help in any way possible. Lizzy really needs no introductions since she has so many followers and friends who frequent her amazing and delicious baking blog. I’ve often mentioned about her having little elves that help her in the kitchen baking in her little baking factory. Thank you, Lizzy, for asking Lora and I to team up for a guest post. You are a sweet friend. 


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Popovers...and Good Bye!

No...I'm not saying Good Bye...although, I wanted to take a break, which I did for a week, and then again, just recently, with all the stress and making my final decision to have my precious, and loyal companion, Prince, my beautiful Maine Coon kitty. On Monday, May 21st, we had to part and say our last "Good Byes." I will tell you more about it at the end of my post. After all, this is a blog about food, and thrift, and I should concentrate on these, but it's very, very, difficult to do so while my heart is weighing so heavy with grief!

Since this Monday, I don't know how I functioned...well, not so good! I'm glad I had my guest post ready for Ping by last Sunday evening, and another 2 guest posts for the month of June for Lizzy, and Veronica. You know how it is with some people? When they are stressed and under pressure, they shop, and shop!

I also do that...did that in the past, spending money needlessly for some things that I didn't need. The only difference for the last 10 years, I have learned how to budget, save money, and shop wisely.

Thrift shopping is such a fun thing to do, especially when you find useful, expensive, sometimes practically all new items, for fraction of the cost that you would pay full cost. Just take a look at this cool popover separated cups...very heavy duty, and non-stick...it really was brand new, but I only paid $2.99 for it at my local Goodwill. I think you can even make mini cakes, or muffins in them...very, practical, and useful! I also found a great Bread Book, a soft covered 1983 HPBooks that has amazing yeasted breads and rolls, just don't know how the Popover recipe ended up in this book. It certainly does not have any yeast, and it oh, so easy to make.I love the breads, rolls, and biscuit recipes in this book. The cost?...$1.49 for a beautiful book with photos, instructions and great bread recipes! I also order amazing books from Amazon.com...just love, love all the things they have on Amazon!


Popovers
adapted; from HPBooks Breads

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup milk, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Generously butter (I used cooking spray) 8 (5-to 6-ounces) custard cups, or 10 muffin cups, or 6 popover cups. Place custard cups on a heavy baking sheet. Place muffin cups, popover cups or baking sheet on center rack of oven.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. (230C) Combine all ingredients in a BLENDER. (seriously, a blender.) You can use a food processor or small bowl of electric mixer. Blend until batter is smooth, scraping sides of container, if necessary. Remove hot baking cups from oven; spoon in batter until 2/3 full. Immediately return filled cups to oven. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. (175 C) Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until browned.

Run a knife around edge of baking cups to loosen popovers.

Note: After batter is prepared, it can be stored at room temp.. for 2 to 3 hrs. before baking. Keep oven door closed during the first 30 minutes of baking.  A draft will collapse popovers. Popovers have a moist interior. It's important that you have the milk and eggs at room temperature, and the popover, or muffin pans preheated.

My beloved kitty, Prince has ended his life on Monday afternoon, on May 21, 2012...after a long illness that he has endured for the last 2 years. He was my constant companion for the last 15 of his almost 20 years. My daughter is the one who originally had him for the first 5 years, after finding him at her apartment, during her early college days.
Prince has been  a loyal companion to all of us...a very sweet, intelligent kitty. He has literally wasted away at the end, and I insisted that I will not have him put down as long as he is able to eat, and be able to walk. A sudden change came over the last weekend...on Monday, he refused to eat, and his poor legs gave out after a few steps. I knew right there that I have to quickly make the choice. I was able to comfort him, and say my last Good Bye...as did my daughter, and grandchildren, when I brought Prince over to Dr. Eric, as instructed. He will surely be missed by all of us. I did all I could to keep him comfortable, and prolong his days...but there's a higher power, who decides the end is here!

IS THERE A PET HEAVEN?
While there is no decisive answer to the question, “Is there a pet heaven?” a few things are clear indeed. First, pets bring tremendous joy to their owners, and can teach them a great deal about compassion, kindness, and mercy. Second, many pets live their whole lives in the service of their owners, trying to please them, make them happy, and cheer them up when they need it. Third, if there is a heaven, then there is a God, and they are His creatures. All of these things give tremendous plausibility to the idea that.... yes, there is a pet heaven, waiting for all of the good animals, after they die!

Photo of my beloved Prince...at the young age of 5, when he came to live with me...nearly 15 years ago! May you rest in peace...you will always be in our hearts!



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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pudding...a Guest Post

It's beautiful spring, everywhere...although here, in South Florida we do not know the difference, because for us, as they say "spring has sprung"...and it sprung quite early which we consider a truly spring weather, was back in February, and March. Even April is very nice, but soon as May is around the corner, our summer has begun, just like for all you folks up north. I hear it's about in the upper 80's in Cleveland, my old home town...less than what we have here today, in the low 80's.

Enough, about the weather. What I really would like to mention is my guest post for my dear friend Ping! Would you believe that when I first met her and we started following each other's blogs, which is almost 2 years for me...I was calling her blog Ping's Picklings...as in pickle?...she graciously corrected me that it's PICKINGS, and not the pickle kind!


I am so thrilled and honored to guest post for my dear friend Ping, whom I had the pleasure of meeting since we both started our food blogs, nearly two years ago... and have been supporting each other throughout the entire time. Ping has a meticulous food blog, and is very specific about her photos...no more than one, or two, and always a specific size...unlike my photos, which vary in sizes, and step-by-step directions when time permits. Ping has an amazing sense of humor, and always has the right thing to say, on any subject given...only in a "lighthearted" way! Her photos are always perfect, and immaculate, her choice of dishes, desserts, and baked goods are "dropped dead" gorgeous, and makes you want to see, and get more! She is kind, and caring, and you will feel blessed to have her as a friend...a beautiful friend, indeed!

Thank you Ping for asking me to guest post..."the second time around!" 


For my recipe...just click over to  Ping's lovely blog @ Ping's Pickings

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mango Jelly Roll...a Guest Post

I finally have the privilege of introducing my sweet daughter, Lora @ Cake Duchess ...who is so kind to guest post for me, which I have already mentioned about 1 month ago when I had my hand injury. She already had this wonderful jelly roll ready for me but we just could not get together on the same day to post it. Be sure to check out Lora's lovely blog...and probably know her and follow her blog!

She is so very busy...like all young moms with work, kids, school, and all her own cooking and baking projects.
Lora, I'm so thrilled, and honored to have you guest post for me, and taking time out from your busy schedule and your amazing blog. I'm so proud to have you as my daughter!
xoxo

I have totally forgotten about my mango jam, that I make every summer, and it lasts for several months the way I carefully can it, and to make sure that it's properly sealed. Without further hesitation, here is Lora, and in her own words!


It’s such a pleasure to be guest posting on my mom’s blog. She’s an amazing woman and she was my first cooking inspiration.  She still inspires me every day with her creativity in cooking and in baking. I owe my love of cooking to my sweet mom. She’s taught me invaluable lessons in the kitchen that I am now teaching to my children.

The jelly roll is a recipe that brings back many memories for me. My mother’s aunt from Hungary used to make it very often. It was light as a feather and filled with her wonderful homemade jams. She was an expert at baking delicious Hungarian desserts. I have sweet memories of baking alongside my great-aunt with my mom.

Every summer my mom makes the most wonderful mango jam with the mangos from our tree. I thought it was about time to bake with some of it as our tree is filled again with more glorious mangos. You can fill the cake with your favorite jam or even some whipped cream and fresh berries.

Thank you very much for having me guest post today, mom. It’s a joy to be a part of your delicious blog.

Elisabeth's home made mango jam


Mango Jelly Roll:
 
This recipe makes enough for one 18″ x 13″ sheet  or one 9″ cake. Here’s the formula:
5 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter (preferably clarified)
½ teaspoon salt
6 eggs
7 ounces (1 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Filling:
1 cup mango jam (or your favorite preserves)
Preheat your oven to 350. 
Set a saucepan big enough to hold your mixer bowl on the stove with an inch of water in it. Bring it to a simmer. Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt together into a medium bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set aside. 
Pour the sugar into the mixer bowl, add the eggs and whisk to combine. Set the mixer bowl over the pan of water and heat the mixture until it’s warm to the touch (no more than 120 degrees). What you’re trying to do is simply melt the sugar…don’t cook the eggs! It’ll only take a minute or so. 
Remove the bowl from the heat and, using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture on medium high until it’s very light and foamy, about triple its original volume (this will take up to ten minutes with a stand mixer). Add the vanilla and beat an additional 10-15 seconds. 
Pour a cup or so of the egg foam into the cooled melted butter and stir it until it’s completely incorporated, then gently pour the mixture back into the mixer bowl (this eases the incorporation of the butter into the batter). Next, sprinkle the flour mixture into the mixer bowl and carefully fold until the flour mixture and the butter mixture are completely incorporated. Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until the cake is a pale gold color and springs back lightly when touched. Bake cake until golden brown and springy to the touch, 6 to 7 minutes. Run a knife around sides of cake. Invert onto prepared towel, and remove parchment. 
While the sheet cake is still warm, gently roll, starting from one short side, into a log, incorporating the kitchen towel. Let the cake cool completely, rolled. (This will give the cake a "shape memory," so it will be easier to roll again with filling.)


Time to fill: Unroll cake.
Spread filling over cake leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Carefully roll cake to enclose filling (without towel), starting at a short end. Refrigerate 30 minutes (or up to 3 hours). Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
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Monday, May 7, 2012

Whole Wheat Focaccia...for #Breaking Bread

I love to bake a nice focaccia every now-and-then; but this time I was eager to bake an entirely different one than my usual simple rosemary focaccia. Just did not have my own recipe for a different focaccia, and I'm sure you are the same way as I am, that at that very moment, you are not going to go through all your cookbooks to look for a certain recipe...so in my case...just go to the "heart of the matter" which is get a trusty library book on the certain item you want to make. Internet is always helpful, but borrowing a beautiful book with pictures and plenty of recipes is much more helpful!
Linking to: Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage 

Now that I finally baked this delicious and healthy whole wheat focaccia, Lora formed the group Breaking Bread Society with her friends Shulie, from Food Wanderings and Marnely from Cooking with Books. What a fun baking with yeast ventures! I'm proud and happy to link it to the
#Breaking Bread to Lora (daughter) @Cake Duchess who is this month's hostess.
Just look at this lovely coarsely chopped walnut, and caramelized onion infusion with fresh rosemary nestled in the little pockets along with the extra virgin olive oil, bake to a crispy-crunchy top, and a soft delicious texture on the inside!
As you know, focaccia is associate with Liguria, Italy and its capital city of Genoa. There are many ways to top focaccia, as there are to top pizza...but because focaccia takes (to bake than pizza, it is important to follow the topping guidelines to protect against burning.

Whole Wheat Focaccia
adapted from;Whole Grain Breads by: Peter Reinhart

4 cups (510g.) whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt (I used 1 1/2)
1 1/4 teaspoons (4 g.) instant yeast (I used 1 envelope)
2 cups +2 Tbsp. (482 g) water. at room temperature
1 1/1 teaspoons honey, or agave nectar or brown sugar
(I used 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar)
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil  (I used 2 teaspoons)
extra whole wheat flour for adjustments



If using the stand mixer, use the paddle attachment.
Place all of the ingredients except the extra flour and the olive oil in the mixing bowl of your mixer, on low speed for 2 minutes. With the machine off, drizzle the olive oil over the dough for another 30 seconds.

Turn of mixer and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Mix again, on medium speed for another 30 seconds. The dough will be smoother and stronger, but it will be sticky. If it is too wet and not enough structure, add a little flour.



This method is the standard method I used, rather than the overnight method that the book recommends.

In an oil lined glass bowl place the dough ball, turn over to get it oiled on the opposite side, cover with plastic wrap and a clean dish towel, and let it rise double for about 1 hr.- 1 1/2 hrs.








On a parchment lined baking sheet, carefully shape the dough to a rectangle. Cover loosely with a clean dishtowel, and let it rest for another 30-35 minutes.











In a large skillet, with 2 Tbsp olive oil, start sauteing one sweet onion, sliced. About halfway through, add 2 teaspoons light, or dark brown sugar, and keep sauteing until it gets nicely caramelized. Add about 1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts and fold it in.









After about 45 minutes, you can start poking the dimples in the dough with your thumb. It's ready to top when you see the indentations stay down.












In a small bowl, pour about 1/2 of olive oil, and brush lightly with a pastry brush, making sure you fill the indentation, and you can add some fresh rosemary right into the holes. You can sprinkle coarse salt over the top, and also add the walnut-onion mixture into the indentations.






Bake in a preheated 450 degree F. (232 C.) oven bake for about 10 minutes, and lower the temperature to 425 degrees F. (200 C.) for another 20 minutes; being careful
not to burn the topping. (If any burns a little bit, you can just scrape the charred layers off. I added too much topping, but you don't have to!)







The result...a perfect crunchy, and golden brown top, ready to transfer to a cutting board, after cooling on a metal rack.









Now, you see what I mean? Look at the little pockets of the filled walnut-caramelized onion, the fresh rosemary, and the light sprinkling of the coarse sea salt I used!
Superb! Whole Wheat Focaccia that is amazingly healthy, and delicious. Using my method, I promise you will not go wrong!

Buon Appetito!





Last year's mangoes...star fruit is also home grown, as well!

Aren't these mangoes gorgeous?...from my daughter's mango tree! They will be fully ripe in another month for sure!
Hugs,
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Almond Cookies

I've been down-and-out with the flu for at least one month now, which seemed to have gone after finally 3 weeks, and I was so glad that I finally got a little relief from the sneezing and coughing...then one week ago, I woke up with my throat on fire, sneezing and coughing once more again, this time even worse. I finally gave in and went to see my doctor, and he prescribed antibiotic this time. Finally, I'm getting better now...well enough, that I just had to make something sweet, but not too sweet, so my perfect stand-by Almond Cookies always come to my rescue!
I practically have this simple recipe memorized, but could not find my handwritten recipe from over 20yrs ago, so I had to consult online, only to find the exact recipe that I used to have. Funny...even if I would have found my recipe, there wouldn't be a source on it, which we did not include in the past when we copied recipes by hand.
These lovely light as a "feather" cookies, do not even need baking powder, or baking soda, a light crispiness on the outside, and soft as a "pillow" on the inside. You really do not need to buy a large bag of whole almonds, just get the sliced ones which you can grind in a small processor, and use some sliced ones...I generously sprinkled the top of my cookies just before I baked them.

Almond Cookies
adapted from all recipes.com

1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup ground almonds
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
(you can use 2 teaspoons Amaretto liqueur
 instead of the vanilla, and the almond extract)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the extracts, or if you're using Amaretto beat that into the mixture. Beat in half the amount of the ground almond. Gradually mix in the flour and the rest of the ground almonds.

Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart, on parchment lined baking pan. Bake 5-8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cookies are lightly colored. Do not bake longer than 8 minutes...they brown very quickly.
Point value: 2 pr. cookie








Serves about 24 cookies. An extremely easy recipe...if you love almonds, you will love these perfect little cookies!
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Paula Deen's Banana Nut Bread...and Awards

If you're feeling sluggish in the mid-afternoon, here's a very nice "pick me up" ...a slice of Banana Nut Bread, and a cold glass of organic low-fat milk. Of course, you can substitute it for a nice steaming cup of tea, or coffee...the choice is yours!
You"re probably wondering why I chose Paula Deen...the "queen of fatty foods" ...
Is it because it's FAT TUESDAY?...would that be appropriate for someone who is still on the Weight Watchers program?...or just recently finding out that she has type 2 diabetes, that she had for three years already, and we just found out!

It's really true, that we don't have to cook like that, with all the butter and fat, she is not encouraging us to cook that way, but it certainly is very tempting to try those recipes. I have found an easier method...just cut down on the fat, and make it a lighter version!
I found a super great thrift find, recently, at Goodwill. Paula Deen's first cookbook, before she became a famous food network star. It was copyrighted in 1997. The price, as you can see it was $1.29 soft cover book, filled with her early famous recipes. She owned a small restaurant at the time, in Savannah Georgia, with her two sons working there. Very cozy, simple, and down-home good Southern foods. I was really impressed with the Banana Bread recipe, and would like to share it with you. As far as for points value...it has to be at least 3 points pr slice...compared to 2 points with the WW Banana Bread, which I will also make soon. I lightened it up a bit, but I must admit, this was an incredible Banana Bread, enjoyed by all!

Linking to: Full Plate Thursday, @Miz Helen's Country Cottage
                Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop, @Katherines Corner
                Food Photography @Crisp Photoworks

Banana Nut Bread
The Lady and Sons, by Paula Deen

1/2 cup Crisco shortening
(I used 1/3 cup vegetable oil)
1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs beaten
3 ripe bananas mashed
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream shortening and sugar. (whisk oil, and sugar, if you're using oil.) Stir together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and add to creamed mixture.






Add remaining ingredients; mix well.







Pour into a well greased pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
( I baked mine for 30 minutes on 350 degrees, and lowered the temperature to 325, for an additional 25 minutes.)












Saturday, December 24, 2011

Snowflake Muffins...and Neighborhood Christmas Lights

Since I noticed these ultra gorgeous muffins on my Hungarian food blogger friend's blog Citromhab...which literally means Lemonfoam!  I would like you to meet the talent behind these amazing cupcakes, and the snowflakes made with royal icing, has caught my attention that I haven't seen on any of the foodblogs, yet!

Erzsébet has a tremendous talent for baking cakes, and yeast breads and rolls, as do quite a few of the other Hungarian ladies, which you can see on my blogroll list.Their cakes are the traditional European cakes that differ from ours! Another favorite of mine, among others, is Gizi with her amazing cake and dessert creations...but oh, my!...can that lady cook. Her cooking is truly delicious and authentic Hungarian!

With Erzsebet's permission, I am proud to present her festive Snowflake Muffins and please, do visit her blog to check out her other fabulous cakes, and various other delightful desserts!

If anyone has the "little elves" working in her kitchen... well, in case you don't see them around since the last week or so, they are busily working away in her kitchen, baking all the beautiful things!

I know I can't fool you, and I'm not even trying to, because I don't decorate like this but I am a fairly good baker. What I meant to say,  I don't can't decorate like this...it is just not possible, yet!


 "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people; for unto you is born, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" 
(Luke 2:10 )

Wishing all my friends, a Blessed Christmas in Peace, love, and  joy...may your hearts be merry and your holidays be ...bright!

Boldog Karácsonyt,(Hungarian) Feliz Navidad,(Spanish) Buon Natale! (Italian)
with love!


do check out our local neighbors' Christmas lights!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chocolate Drop Cookies...Cookbook Sundays!

Please don't be too judgemental with these yummy Chocolate Drop Cookies, made by me...but totally designed,and decorated by my "loves of my life"...2 of my 4 grandchildren! Luca (boy w/long hair) and Gabby (not shown in photo)...and I assure you, it was made with love, and lots of fun, which will be remembered for fond memories, for years to come!
I am so happy to join once again...Cookbook Sundays... now hosted by Sue!

Linking to: Cookbook Sundays #2 @Couscous and Consciousness