July 13, 2011
German Chocolate Cake
Doolia's birthday is long past, and we celebrated it with an ambitious cooking project--roast prime rib of beef. That monopolized the oven all day, so we never did make a birthday cake. For several months, I've been eying the recipe for German Chocolate Cake in The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook so this weekend while Dooley was in bed with a debilitating migraine, I made myself a birthday cake, all from scratch.
In this recipe, you prepare the coconut frosting first, although you don't mix in the toasted pecan pieces until just before you frost the cake. It's pretty simple, although you must cook it in a saucepan before adding the coconut, and then you must refrigerate it for a couple hours.
The cake calls for both dark chocolate and Dutched cocoa powder. I used Ghiradelli 70% chocolate. The Dutch process gives cocoa a much richer flavor and darker color than non-Dutched. None of the regular grocery stores I shop have Dutched cocoa so I bought Dutch cocoa powder from my bulk food store in town, "By the Pound."
The other ingredients are typical cake ingredients--flour, sugar, eggs, salt, and leavener. I used my two spring-form pans to bake the cakes so they came out with vertical sides. When the cakes were cooled thoroughly, I sawed each layer in two with a Wilton Cake Leveler tool. It helps you cut perfectly even, level layers.
The last simple steps are to mix the toasted pecan pieces into the frosting, and spread the frosting between each layer, and on the top. As soon as it was finished, we dug in and had ourselves a party!
This German Chocolate Cake is a gastronomical delight.
July 10, 2011
Summer Vegetable Gratin
This recipe, from the French chapter of The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook is SOOOOOO good! Half my family eats vegetables only begrudgingly. So when I decided to make this entirely vegetarian casserole, I knew I was on my own. Dooley had no interest in making this dish.
But guess what? He ate it, and so did youngest daughter who said, "I like everything except the cucumbers." (Hee hee! There are no cucumbers in it.) And Dooley requested that we make it for dinner again the next evening. Now that's real proof if the fabulous flavor of this casserole.
This dish requires a lot of slicing. I just used my chef's knife rather than a mandoline or the slicing blade in my food processor. It's not as quick, but when you factor in the clean-up time for either of these tools, I think it's a wash. A knife cleans up in 5 seconds--either of the other tools take quite a bit longer.
Anyway, the recipe is primarily zucchini and summer squash, onions, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and a slice of white bread, shredded. The end result is out of this world delicious. I just know it's going to be a family favorite. And a healthful one at that!
July 05, 2011
In-Season Stuffed Peppers
Big, beautiful, shockingly red bell peppers are in season right now. So Dooley and Doolia decided to make stuffed peppers for dinner tonight. The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook says that they have simplified this recipe to make it easy enough for a weekday dinner, and we found them to be exactly right.
One of the secrets to success to this recipe is to parboil the peppers before you fill them. That way they're partially cooked before they go into the oven, and there's no bitter overtone to the peppers when they're done. And because of the shorter baking time, the tops toast, rather than burn.
We substituted ground turkey for ground beef--a new kick we're on to reduce our fat intake. And it was fantastic!! This recipe is a real winner. So much so that we're going to make them again tomorrow night instead of pizza! Do you believe it? Well, actually, our youngest will be eating pizza, but I swear the rest of us would rather eat these delicious stuffed peppers. Wow.
July 04, 2011
It is HOT today and I don't want to heat up the kitchen any more by cooking. So I made Gazpacho from The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook on page 16. Dooley has a migraine so this one I do by myself.
Now I've made gazpacho before in a food processor. It turned out tasty but not very pretty. There's no picture for this recipe, but they assert that it's worth the effort to hand-cut the ingredients for this cold soup. So after 15 minutes of dicing everything in quarter-inch dice, I put everything together in the serving bowl and mixed it up. ATK was right--it's so elegant looking! And fresh tasting and so yummy! I added a dollop of sour cream in the middle of each bowl, which was something they did with Gazpacho in my other cookbook. My vegetable-averse daughter didn't like it, but the rest of us ate it all up in a day. No leftovers for work tomorrow, sadly. But another first-rate recipe and a happy meal for Dooley and Doolia!