Thursday, July 13, 2006


So, she now knows how to open the fridge all by herself. While it was cute the first time, the charm has worn off.....I am now finding refridgerated foods in odd places in the house. And they are no longer refridgerated.
This my friends is why I don't have time to post as often as I use to....

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ganache Love

This. Cake. Makes. My. Knees. Weak.

I made this little darlin' for my friend Stephenie's surprise baby shower. It was supposed to be this cake minus the ball and chain and with a few baby birds around the picket fence. BUT.... the top cake didn't come out of her pan as planned and when I was trying to put the wings on the birds the lady bird's head fell off and it made me REALLY mad. So I said many unlady like words, wadded up all the fence slates (all 50 of them), threw the painstakingly crafted bluebirds away and just let the cake be ganached. Which honestly I think is quite beautiful. This was the first time I have worked with ganache and I am officially in love. Deep and profound love. I couldn't get enough of it. I just keep pouring on layer after layer after layer of this stuff..... and it never wavered.

The cake is from Kate Sullivan's book.... and I have to say it is giving Colette's Chocolate Bourbon cake a run for it's money. This cake is dense and very moist. It really is fabulous to cut and carve, but most of all it is delicious. I added a bit of orange extract to the batter to give it a little warmth....It has a really great taste. The cake is not at all too chocolately or sweet. It's mellow but not bland. Really good.... and with a thick layer of semi sweet ganache piled on top... it was fabulous. Only half the cake was eaten at the shower (thank god) so I ate the rest one forkful at a time. When things are really good that is the way I like to eat them... just one forkful at a time. It's my way of absolutely savoring every little bite.....

One Delicious Chocolate Cake (Kate Sullivan)

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs, room temp
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temp
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups strong coffee

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour sides and bottoms of pans. Set pans aside.

In large bowl of mixer, stir together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and soda. Stir in the sugar.

In small bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix into the dry ingredients. Stir in the buttermilk, melted butter and coffee. Divide batter evenly among pans.

Bake at 350 for around 50 minutes. Transfer to wire cooling rack.

Easy Foolproof Ganache

18 ozs semisweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon liquor or flavoring (optional)

Heat cream until nearly boiling. Pour over chocolate chips, cover and let sit 10 minutes. Whisk chocolate and cream (and flavor if using) until well combined; dark, smooth and glossy.

Let sit at room temp until cooled. To thicken, beat with hand mixer for a few minutes. Also thickens over time as it sits.

Refrigerate in airtight container for up to a week. To restore to spreading or glazing consistency, heat and stir over double boiler for a few minutes until softened.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Peachy Keen

Yum... Peaches are here. I bought this huge box of peaches from a little produce stand on the side of the road right outside of Athens, Alabama. Isom's orchards. They are really well flavored peaches.... rich and succulent. My husband ate 3 right when I got them home. As soon as I got home with them I immediately started searching the cookbooks to find that "perfect" peach recipe. After considering a peach trifle, peach upside down cake and a peach pavola I finally decided to try my h and (again) at a good old fashioned pie. As you may know, I have a serious pie crust handicap...... it's just something that no matter how much I try, I just can't get it right. I have tried several different pie crust recipes, but it always comes out wrong. Never flaky and crisp like promised. Never. And this one was no different.....

The filling, though, certainly made up for the cardboard like crust. Those tasty peaches married beautifully with the sugar and cinnamon.... and smelled oh so delicious as it was baking. I want to make this again but with a ready made pie crust.... I am so tired of ruining perfectly good pie fillings with my horric attempts at crust.


Ahem.... sorry about that... a brief moment of crust induced insanity. Anyhow, as I was saying, this filling is really really good. But you know, I think it has a lot to do with the quality of peaches. So when you try it, make sure you have fresh juicy peaches with a strong flavor. Those pitiful little ones at the local grocery store won't make the cut....

Fresh Peach Pie

5 ½ cups fresh peaches, sliced
1 cup sugar
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan; set aside for syrup to form. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and let cook for 10 minutes or until peaches are tender. Remove from heat and add in butter and vanilla, stirring well.
Roll out half of your pastry and fit inside 9 inch pie plate. Spoon filling in.... Cover with other half of pastry and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 25 to 30 more minutes until crust is lovely and browned.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ginger Love... SHF 19

You know, there are times we all have in the kitchen when we stumble up on a recipe that sounds so good. And we make that recipe and damn, it's oh so good. Better than expected, delicious to the point of obsession, different and fresh.... and this, my friends, is one of those times and definatley one of those recipes.

I would love to thank Ruth at Once Upon a Feast for making me use ginger. I like ginger but don't use it very often and dear Lord... I dont know why! But all that will change.. because I have here a fine ginger recipe...... that you MUST try... especially since summer is upon us.

Ginger Ice Cream with Vanilla Bean and Maple Rum Bananas

Ice Cream
2 cups whole milk
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh ginger
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar

1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup dark rum
5 bananas sliced

For Ice Cream
Bring first 4 ingredients to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, cover and let steep 20 minutes or more. Bring mixture back to simmer over medium heat again. Strain into medium bowl.

Whisk egg yolks and sugar in large bowl until pale yellow. Gradually, whisk in hot milk mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan and stir over medium heat... pay close attention here and DO NOT, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LET THIS BOIL! Stir until mixture thickens and leaves a path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 4 minutes. Strain custard into bowl and let chill for at least 2 hours. Process custard in ice cream machine. Transfer to covered container and freeze until firm.

For Bananas
Stir syrup and rum in skillet over medium heat. Add sliced bananas to mixture and heat through. Spoon over ginger ice cream and freak out at how good it all is.....

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mommy Dearest

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mommies I know and love....

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Strawberry Fields Forever

Summer is officially here! The local strawberry man has his beautiful fresh strawberries for sale... $10.00 gets you a HUGE bucket of the red beauties to do with as you please. And I please a tart, please.

This insanely good tart is in the May '06 Everyday Food. There is not much to it, which is why I choose to make it. With all the buttercream lately I was craving something clean and naturally sweet. Somthing uncomplicated and easy.... I definatley found what I was looking for with this little beauty. This is such a fabulous summer dessert and I give a big "Hell Yeah" to the Everyday Food chef who came up with it (because we know Martha can't think of everything...).

Strawberry Tart
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt


1 bar (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 to 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved
1/4 cup seedless red currant jelly

1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°. In a food processor, blend flour, butter, sugar, and salt until moist crumbs form (this may take up to 1 minute). Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.

2. With floured fingers, press dough evenly into pan and up sides. Dip a dry-measuring cup in flour, and use it to press dough firmly into bottom and against sides of pan. Freeze crust until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Using a fork, prick crust all over. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes, pressing down gently once or twice with a spoon during baking if crust puffs up. Cool completely in pan.

4. Make the filling: In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth; spread mixture evenly in bottom of baked crust (still in tart pan).

5. Starting from outside edge, arrange strawberry halves, stemmed side down, in tight concentric circles on cream cheese.

6. In a small saucepan, heat jelly on medium-low until liquefied. Gently brush strawberries with jelly; let set at least 20 minutes. Chill in pan at least 1 hour (and up to 6 hours); remove from pan just before serving.

I am telling ya.. this one you have got to try. It's easy, quick and so freaking good.... We all had it after a dinner of fried chicken and mashed potatos. We finished off half of it between the 4 of us... then I accidently ate the rest of it around 2am.... DAMN IT! But each bite was one of those eye rolling, groaning with pleasure bites.... so so good.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mixing Things Up

So with all these food events, Darcy over at The Art of Drink decided it was time for a little drinkie drink. She has come up with a super cool drink related blogging event called Mixology Monday....because if there was ever a day that needed a drink related event it is Monday. Check her out and see if you can come up with a cool drink for May 8th....