Sunday, December 5, 2010
I assumed settling into a new job would get easier. A month later, I may know more but I feel like I know less. It felt so "good" baking this last weekend. Kind of like going home after a long time away. What a great ice breaker baking the Chocolate Velvet Fudge cake for the Heavenly Cake Bakers. I loved making the chocolate paste with boiling water and Valhrona cocoa powder. What a dark and rich base! The batter had a wonderful thickness to it but my cake baked for a little less then 50 minutes with me using a 10-cup Bundt pan. Rose's baking directions stated 50 to 65 minutes. I am definitely not complaining. =)
I sprinkled vanilla infused powdered sugar over the top and served slices with whipped heavy cream infused with vanilla bean paste and sprinkled with mini-chocolate chips. What a perfect dessert to go with a nice Sunday dinner~.
Who, besides me, gets a brain freeze on the weekend when the word "breakfast" is uttered? If I do not prepare what I am fixing for breakfast at LEAST a day in advance, Saturday morning I just want to pull the covers up over my head.
Whenever I need an extra boost of help, I go to Gale Gand and her BRUNCH! cookbook. She has never let me down. I take one of her recipes as a base and ad-lib away; which is what I did with her frittata recipe.
Red pepper Gouda, sharp Cheddar cheese, Fontina, wilted baby spinach, sauteed green bell pepper and 4 ounces of Pancetta, 1 cup of cooked spaghetti, along with Gale Gands base recipe for a Frittata (okay I played with the base recipe too) all when together for an amazing breakfast. I even heated up some marinara sauce to serve over the top!
The GUTSY COOKS Week 1 of December! The menu? I goofed! Instead of making Raymond's choice of recipes: Chicken a la King, Spinach Timbales, and Kasha Pilaf, I made the week previous' recipes of: Minestrone and Roast Beef Tenderloin with Red Currant Jus from the cookbook The Illustrated Kitchen Bible. Raymond from Your Just Dessert choose the month of December's menus and I am going to play catch-up this week to make the RIGHT recipes. I can not believe I goofed but I will try and get the menu made by Tuesday. Yeesh!
I seriously altered the recipe and used salt pork, onion, and garlic first.
Baby Lima beans replaced white kidney beans (cannellini beans), along with extras like dried basil, baby spinach, and corn. I also doubled the recipe so I would have enough to freeze for future dinners.
The minestrone turned out amazing and packed full of delicious flavor!
The soup was topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. A meal all on its' own.
The roast beef tenderloin jus was tender and the jus drizzled over the top with crispy bacon, Port wine, beef stock and currant jelly was perfect together. It is hard to imagine Port and currant jelly being cooked down, creating a winning combination but the currant added a sweet depth. Bacon goes without saying.
I made creamy mashed potatoes infused with crisp bacon and green onions along with steamed corn, creating a hearty Sunday evening dinner.
For the Mashed Potatoes:
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cloves garlic, peeled
5 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup low-fat milk, warmed
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
In a large pot, immerse the potatoes and garlic in water.
Boil until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 30 minutes.
Fry the bacon in a skillet until crisp; drain on paper towels.
Pour out all but 1 teaspoon of the bacon drippings from the pan.
Add the green onions to the drippings, and saute until soft but not brown. Return the bacon to the skillet and stir to combine.
Drain the potatoes and garlic and return to the pot.
Mash the potatoes with the milk, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Stir in the bacon and green onions.
Reheat, if necessary, before serving.