Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Most Decadent Chocolate Cake you will ever have.

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DSC_0006-2

This recipe is from the mother (Hi Mrs. Benson!) of an ex-boyfriend of mine, that I later found out was derived from a recipe from a 1975 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I had the cake over 10+ years ago and never forgot about it. It's the best chocolate cake I've ever had. And I see the reason why it might be: It uses half of the frosting mixture, for the batter. OH...MY...GAWD.

So in other words: Do not even mouth the words "I'll just have a little piece." or make some comment about breaking your diet. This is for pure life enjoyment without feeling guilty!

Here is the recipe and a couple of things you'll need to do a few hours ahead or the previous day: Get your cream cheese, butter, eggs, and 1/3 cup milk at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake

2 3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar (1 1/2 pounds)
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
4 squares (4 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk

Grease and flour two 9-by-1 1/2-inch metal cake pans, or one 9"x13" metal pan; set aside. If using glass pans, reduce your heat by 25 degrees.

Cream together cream cheese and the 1/2 cup butter and vanilla. Beat in the powdered sugar alternately with the 1/3 cup of milk. Blend in the chocolate.

Remove 2 cups of chocolate icing mixture to use for later; cover and refrigerate.

Cream together the remaining chocolate icing mixture and the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add eggs; beat well.

Combine the dry ingredients and beat into chocolate mixture alternately with the remaining milk.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes or until tested done. Bake for about 40-45 minutes if using the larger 9"x13" pan. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove and cool on racks. Remove frosting from refrigerator 15 minutes before frosting cake.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Another Giant Cupcake!

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lovely big cupcakecupcake as big as a head??

I made this giant cupcake for a friends' baby's 1st birthday and it turned out quite well. Or I should say, like the last few times, had some crispy bits on the outside but was moist in the middle. I am not sure there's any getting around having the outer part cook more than the inner part because it's so large or if you can bake a cake more slowly at 325 degrees for just a longer period. I did mine at 350 for about 45 minutes...but I also took the top half out earlier as it cooked faster. It's quite a balancing act!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peeps Sushi for Easter!

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Easter
Photo by: beamae1981

I had no idea how popular this really was until I did a Flickr search, but apparently it's all the rage! You can find a recipe for these cheery chirpy treats On the Peeps Website, and I'll post it here as well. I don't know if I will try it out, but if you do, please link me as I would love to see your creations!

Ingredients: Makes an assortment of PEEPS® sushi pieces.

Assorted PEEPS® Marshmallow shapes
1 bag MIKE AND IKE® Assorted Fruit Flavored Jelly Beans (optional)
1 box HOT TAMALES® Brand Candies (optional)
1 box rolled fruit snacks
1 box crispy rice cereal treats
Coconut flakes (optional)

Kitchen Tools Needed: The use of sharp objects is required to complete this recipe. Parental supervision is advised.

Kitchen scissors
Cutting knife
Parchment paper

Directions:
To create large PEEPS® sushi pieces:
Cut crispy rice cereal treats in half.
Using kitchen scissors, cut rolled fruit snacks into 3" long x 1/2" wide strips.
Place a PEEPS® Marshmallow Chick or PEEPS® Marshmallow Bunny on top of one of the crispy rice cereal treat halves. Wrap one of the rolled fruit snack strips around both pieces and press the ends together until they stick.

To create PEEPS® sushi rolls with crispy rice cereal outside:
Place crispy rice cereal treats on parchment paper and microwave for 8 - 10 seconds on high.
When warmed and pliable, press crispy rice cereal treats onto parchment paper until flat and quickly lay a rolled fruit snack strip on top of the treat.
Place a PEEPS® Marshmallow Bunny or PEEPS® Marshmallow Chick on top of the rolled fruit snack.
Roll all 3 together within the parchment paper.
Keep rolled until set and cool.
When cooled, cut 1" pieces with a sharp knife.
Add coconut flakes to several pieces for a different look.

To create PEEPS® sushi rolls with rolled fruit snack outside:
Place crispy rice cereal treats on parchment paper and microwave for 8 - 10 seconds on high.
When warmed and pliable, press crispy rice cereal treats onto parchment paper until flat.
Lay a 3" x 3" piece of rolled fruit snack on parchment paper and quickly lay the warmed crispy rice cereal treat on top.
Place a PEEPS® Marshmallow Bunny or PEEPS® Marshmallow Chick on top of the treat.
Roll all 3 together within the parchment paper.
Keep rolled until set and cool.
When cooled, cut 1" pieces with a sharp knife.
Add coconut flakes to several pieces for a different look.

Before serving:
Roll a couple of pieces of rolled fruit snack into a ball and set on the serving platter to resemble ginger and wasabi.
NOTE: If desired, MIKE AND IKE® Jelly Beans and/or HOT TAMALES® Jelly Beans may be substituted for PEEPS® Marshmallow shapes in the center of the sushi pieces.
Please visit the NEW PEEPS® website for more delicious recipes or to submit your own! Experience exciting PEEPS® interaction and fun at the new www.marshmallowpeeps.com website.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

REESE'S Chewy Chocolate Cookies

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I can't believe I forgot to post this recipe, but it was a rich one! Right off the package of peanut butter chips. They know what they're doing those Reese's guys.

chocolate peanut butter chip cookies


REESE'S Chewy Chocolate Cookies
Ingredients:

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
* 2 cups sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.

2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in peanut butter chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake 8 to 9 minutes. (Do not overbake; cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling.) Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4-1/2 dozen cookies.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mac N' Cheese Heaven!

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Another fantastic lunch at Macrina Bakery in Belltown, Seattle!

Mac and Cheese with red peppers

I'm not sure I've ever had a brunch or lunch at Macrina bakery that I didn't like...or even LOVE for that matter. The dish above is a delicious comforting macaroni and cheese with roasted red peppers! At Macrina, service is friendly and relatively prompt, prices are average, and the food is always fantastic. More often than not these days, I pick up a bread loaf to go as well! Having really good baked bread in the house is always a treat.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Look at this thing!

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strawberry waffle at The Hurricane in Seattle

A few weekends ago we got the bright idea to go to the infamous dive barThe Hurricane Cafe in downtown Seattle for a little late night eats after dancing. This was definitely something I couldn't do on a regular basis, but when it came out I just had to laugh. It was huge! Nom nom nom!

My Banana: Brought to you by Ice Age!

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I really didn't know whether to laugh or cry, after seeing this sticker on my banana. On the one hand I'm sure they're thinking it might attract kids to eat some fruit and promote the movie.  But on the other hand, aren't we bombarded enough with advertising on a daily basis?  Do we really need entertainment to influence good eating habits? I wonder if this kind of advertising even works...

Perhaps even large companies are seeing some rough times and maybe Chiquita needed some help...they had quite a financial snafu a few years ago.

What are your thoughts about advertising on veggies and fruit?

advertising banana

Friday, April 15, 2011

Helping the Hungry

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fresh.picked
As someone who loves to blog and share recipes with people around the world, it's become more and more of an issue for me to be aware of how important it is that while we journal about the world of "perfect food" that we also remember the massive amounts of people who need our help every day just to survive on ANY kind of diet. If anyone has been catching the recent Anthony Bourdain episodes like this one from Haiti, or the one from Nicaragua, you can't help but notice his changed tone this season. He brought up a great observation about the strangely screwed up dichotomy that's come out of the growing food blog and celebrity culture in the last few years:  On the one hand we have never paid so much attention to cuisine in the media and social circles, taking great care to talk about it and share our love of food knowledge. And then on the other hand, we have a massive problem of global starvation that needs our focus more than ever.  With everything that's been going on in the world, from poor government policy, to recession and natural disasters, charities need more money and better ways of allocating the funds than ever.

So basically I just want to encourage any one of your out there, that if you have any means to give to charity a few times a year or more, please do, and even volunteer if you have the time.  Here are a few links to help!  And on a side note, texting donations often take longer than simply sending a check or doing it through a website.

Thank you for listening.

www.feedingamerica.org
www.redcross.org/
www.disasterfunding.org
www.savethechildren.org/
www.rescue.org/
www.americares.org/
www.unicef.org/
www.globallinks.org/ 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Rustic" German Spaetzle Dumplings!

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Rustic German Spaetzle Dumplings

This seemed like a nice easy recipe to try from All Recipes and I must say they turned out pretty tasty! I could see how this could be a great home cooked meal for kids growing up in Germany, as there are few ingredients and not a lot of preparation needed. I accompanied ours with some rainbow chard sautéed in olive oil with garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. I think next time I might try variations with sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top and/or caramelized onions!

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 gallon hot water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Directions

Mix together flour, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Beat eggs well, and add alternately with the milk to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.
Press dough through spaetzle maker, or a large holed sieve or metal grater. (I didn't really have any of these to use that were successful, so I just broke off little pieces into the water). Drop a few at a time into simmering liquid. Cook 5 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Saute cooked spaetzle in butter or margarine on just over medium heat. Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley on top, and serve.

Disaster Flan!

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This is what happens when you forget a very important step in making flan: cover it with foil while baking, haha! I got the recipe here, which looked pretty easy. I will definitely try it again because it still tasted pretty good, and I couldn't help but cut out the center and eat it - so sue me! I mean how can one complain about melted sugar and sweet milk!

closeup of Flan disasterFlan disaster

Monday, April 4, 2011

A New Look!

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Spring

Hey folks!

In case you haven't noticed, I've been fiddling with the look of the blog lately.  I was wanting something more bright and cheery after our grey and dark winter!  Please feel free to offer any suggestions because any other critical eyes on this would be great.

I just came back from a whirlwind trip in Portland, as I had a dj gig there (yes, I've been dj'ing in the electronic music scene for over 10 years, it's a great hobby!)  It was a really fun and inspiring visit and we got to experience the food truck revolution down there, with pods and pods of food trucks sprawled all over the city.  I will definitely be showing at least one place we ate breakfast at later.  I still have to upload the photos tonight!

Hope everyone had a great weekend, ta ta!
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