Monday, November 15, 2010

Heavenly Cake Baker's - Swedish Pear and Alomond Cream Cake

The Heavenly Cake Baker's is an amazing group! I continue to be challenged on just about every recipe we have tried. On November 8th, the HCB group made the Swedish Pear and Almond Cream bundt cake and I missed out baking it. All I saw was beautiful, moist cakes on all the member's blog sites and I couldn't quit thinking about baking one of my own.

I bought the ingredients last week. All I had to do was assemble. I was wondering how everyone achieved getting the pears covered with cake since the recipe calls for only a 1/4-inch groove to be made for the almond cream, then the layer of pear slices on top.

I was the one to be shocked when pulling the cake out of the oven. No pears visible!

The cake is moist, the almond and pear combination delicious, and I will be re-baking the recipe again. We really loved it! I am actually thinking about "not" sharing but that wouldn't be very nice =).
This week is a free choice week so check out what other HCB'ers did for their choices by clicking here for the blog roll; you will not be disappointed. I never am; happy baking!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

SMS - Strawberry Muffins with Fresh Lemon and Rosemary along with Gutsy Cooks

Sweet Melissa Sunday's is such a fun group! I love everyone here. I have felt terrible because I am still adjusting to my new work schedule and I seem to be bombing everything else. My kitties don't even know me right now =).

This weekend is my birthday weekend so Larry and I went to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert in Seattle Key Arena Saturday afternoon.

We sat close to the bottom row of the arena and towards the back. When fire shot out, we could feel the heat from where we sat. I felt bad for the people towards the front because I know they were cooking. Amazing show! Laser lights, fireworks, flames, hair flinging and the music, Wow! Loved it!
Know what else we loved? The Strawberry, Lemon and Rosemary Muffins! My choice for this week. Rosemary has a distinctive flavor all its' own so I wasn't sure if the flavor would over-power the fruit but we were pleasantly surprised. I am hoping you were too.

Here is Melissa's recipe for the Sweet Muffins with strawberries, lemon zest and Rosemary:
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. plus 1 t. baking powder
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 t. kosher salt
8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 c. heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup minus 2 T. whole milk, at room temperature
(You can use more or less milk according to the juiciness of the fruit)
1 1/2 t. freshly grated zest of a lemon
1 cup strawberries, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 - inch pieces
1 T. vanilla sugar or granulated sugar for sprinkling
(To make vanilla sugar, combine the split and scraped pod and seeds of 1 vanilla bean with 8 cups of sugar. Rub them together with your hands. Store in an airtight container.)
Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with muffin papers (or butter and flour the cups or spray with nonstick vegetable cooking spray).
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, and eggs until smooth - -no lumps. Whisk in the heavy cream and milk until combined.

3. Add the lemon zest and 3/4 t. finely chopped fresh rosemary to rub into the flour mixture with your hands, releasing the oils and breaking up the bits. Add the fresh strawberries and gently toss with your fingers to combine. Make a well in the center of the bowl. Pour the butter mixture into the center of the well and, using a rubber spatula, gently pull the flour mixture into
the center of the well until just combined.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup until full. Bake for (I bake for 18 to 22 minutes) but Melissa states to bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack and sprinkle with sugar. Let cool to warm.

I sprinkled the vanilla sugar on the muffin dough before inserting into the oven. I also baked 6 LARGE muffins and 13 mini-muffin caps. We loved the flavor and texture.

Too cute! Thank you everyone for baking along with me! I can not wait for next week's Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie!
Check out the rest of the SMS baker's muffins by clicking here for the list of blogs. =)

Gutsy Cooks

I am a whole week behind BUT I wanted to show off the Spanish Vegetable Tortilla and the Cod in Tomato Sauce! Jenn, Monica of Sweetbites co-anchor, chose the month of November's recipes and I "will" catch up.

I LOVED both dishes! The Spanish Vegetable Tortilla was altered a little by me doubling the amount of the broccoli, peas, and adding in 1 cup of sauteed mushrooms. What a delicious tortilla. Mine baked a little darker then the photo in The Illustrated Kitchen Bible but did not taste over cooked. Relief!

Doesn't all the ingredients together look fresh, chunky, and delicious?
My only downside is the filling tasted a little to eggy for us but the rest was perfect!
Then there was the fresh fish, Rockfish to be precise! So good for us and I never get enough fish in my dinner menus for the week. I try but for some reason the idea of fish always slips past me.

LOVED, loved, loved the fresh Roma tomato sauce with sauteed onions, white wine, and seasonings. Would definitely make this again! Thank you Jenn for the great menu choices!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

SMS- Ginger Custard Pumpkin Pie

Sweet Melissa Sunday! I just had to bake along with Debbie of Every Day Blessings! Debbie hosted this week and what a great choice - a Ginger Custard Pumpkin Pie.

I am late posting today but in my defense, I had to work this weekend and also baked my baby sugar pumpkins last night to make my own pumpkin puree. The pie just finished baking and I had a warm sliver so I knew what I was typing about =). YUM!

Isn't the pumpkin puree pretty with little brown flecks from being baked?

I used a pie crust recipe from the Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Beranbaum for the crust. I LOVE her cookbooks too. Butter ready to go into the food processor with the pastry flour.

While my crust was chilling, we simmered the crushed cinnamon sticks and chopped, fresh ginger.

Okay, maybe I can share a boo-boo. Everyone needs a laugh once in a while. I was buzzing along, straining my ginger and cinnamon pieces out of the cream BEFORE adding to the whipped eggs and egg yolks, Melissa says to do the straining after but I just couldn't, THEN Guess WHAT?
I poured the custard into the pie shell and put the pie into the oven. No pumpkin puree. Panic sets in the minute I leave the kitchen. I run back, grab the pie out of the oven, pour the custard out and my pie shell starts to slide and cave. I whip the pumpkin puree into the custard sauce, re-direct the shell as best I can and put back into the oven, hoping for the best. So here we are, looking pretty good for what COULD have happened. =)
Thank you Debbie for hosting this week. Go see Debbie's site here for the recipe and to check out her delicious pie. Also check out the other SMS baker's pies if you really want to get hungry enough to bake one of your own!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

CEiMB - Mushroom, Onion and Basil Pizza

This post is going to be fast. Craving Ellie in My Belly is such a great group of people and I have been enjoying cooking along with the group immensely. This pizza is no exception! I made my own pizza crust and used fresh tomatoes instead of sun dried. So GOOD!

My MISHAP was baking the pizza a little too long. The crust, infortunately, became REALLY brown on the outside. The rest of the pizza was perfect.

Thank you Joanne of Apple Crumble for such a delicious choice this week and for hosting. You ROCK! Go see her pizza and if you want the recipe, click here. (Still Joanne's site)