Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘BBQ’

This is hands-down my favorite chocolate cake recipe.  It’s rich and moist and delicious.  Apparently, the cake is better when made the day before (so I’ve always done that).  The chocolate frosting is delicious too (although not pictured below).  This recipe makes two 8 inch round cakes, which you can stack with a layer of frosting in between – or one single layer rectangular cake.  Enjoy!

Mom's Chocolate Cake

Recipe from Food & Wine (contributed by Marcia Kiesel.)

Mom’s Chocolate Cake

This is a real old-fashioned American chocolate layer cake. It’s very moist, very chocolatey, a snap to make and best baked the day before serving. Marcia Kiesel acquired the recipe from her friend Joyce Cole, who got it from her mother.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with wax paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves; then pour into a large bowl. Add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until melted and slightly cooled. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Beat the eggs into the chocolate mixture at medium speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat at medium speed until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed lightly and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for about 25 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.
  4. Set one cake, right-side up, on a serving platter. Using a metal spatula, spread one-third of the Chocolate Frosting evenly over the cake. Top with the second cake and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

Chocolate Frosting recipe also from Food & Wine (contributed by Marcia Kiesel.)
Servings: Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

The inspiration for this frosting technique comes from dessert maven Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts (Alfred A. Knopf).

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups sugar

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 stick (4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces slightly, about 6 minutes. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and add the chocolate, butter, vanilla and salt. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted.
  2. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the frosting on medium speed, scraping the sides occasionally with a rubber spatula, until thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Use at once.
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These cupcakes are delicious and because of their all-white coloring and coconut topping (which looks like confetti), they are perfect for a special celebration (birthday party, baby shower, engagement party, Easter, etc.)  They are always a hit.  I did learn a lesson while making these once though.  While making my batter, I was cracking the eggs directly into the bowl, and I got a little shell in there.  For the life of me, I could not fish it out.  I just continued on, forgetting all about it… My husband ended up bringing in some cupcakes to work (so we didn’t end up eating all of them ourselves) and later that day, his future boss appeared at his door.  He said he really enjoyed the taste of the cupcakes, but next time would prefer them with no egg shell.  I was pretty mortified when this got relayed to me!  Ever since then, I’ve taken the time to crack my eggs into their own little bowl before adding them to my mixture!

Note: if you don’t like the taste of almond extract (I don’t), you can substitute with more vanilla extract.

Coconut Cupcake

Recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten.

Coconut Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:

1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

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I am obsessed with this salad dressing.  My whole family is.  Once you get all of the ingredients, it’s not hard to make and it keeps in the fridge for a week.  We love it on top of mixed greens and my boys love it as a dipping sauce for raw veggies (peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocados).  I’ve even tossed it into some leftover quinoa.  It’s good on everything!  This was the first recipe I tried from Gwyneth’s cookbook “It’s All Good” and I’ve been hooked ever since.  Enjoy!

Carrot Ginger Dressing

Recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook “It’s All Good“.

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

Makes 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh ginger

2 tablespoons sweet white miso paste

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons light raw honey or xylitol (I just used regular honey)

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Purée everything together in a powerful blender until absolutely smooth.

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This is one of my favorite Ina Garten recipes (and that’s saying a lot!)  It’s so versatile – you can serve to kids for a casual, weeknight dinner or with a fancier meal if you are entertaining.  You can also make them ahead and reheat them in the oven if you need to.  I don’t know about you, but our family can’t get enough of sweet potatoes, so this is a fun way to mix it up.  Note: I slice my sweet potatoes a little thinner than Ina and I always double the recipe!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Level: Easy
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in one layer. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt (if needed) and serve hot.

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I’m always looking to try a new steak marinade and this one is delicious.  Tri-tip is a wonderful cut of meat for grilling — it’s less expensive than rib eye and very tender and full of flavor.  I did have to buy malt vinegar for this recipe, which I found at Whole Foods.  Note: I used less garlic than the recipe calls for – 2 tablespoons seemed like so much!

Tri-Tip Marinade

Recipe from blog The Kitchn.

A Really Good Tri-Tip Marinade

“My friend Bill shared his tri-tip marinade recipe with me, and recently I gave it a try. It was delicious! The marinade was garlicky and peppery, sweet and savory, and just wonderful. The meat was tender and succulent.”

Ingredients:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion salt or garlic salt
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1/4 cup malt vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
A nice piece of trip-tip, anywhere from 1.5 to 4 lbs.

Preparation:
In a saucepan, mix together 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1/4 cup of the water and bring to a boil, stirring all the while. When the sugar gets a dark color, add the spices and stir. Bring back to a boil for a minute, and then add the vinegar, the other 1/4 cup of water, the soy sauce, and the fish sauce. Mix well and taste. If you feel like it needs more “balance,” add a little more salt. Add the garlic and the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring back to a boil, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Let cool.

Place the tri-tip roast in a shallow baking dish or a Ziploc bag and pour the cooled marinade over. Place in fridge and let marinade for a hour or overnight. (I did this overnight.)

Cooking Method:
This can be cooked on the grill or roasted in the oven. If roasting in the oven, do it at 425 degrees F and stick a meat thermometer in. When it reaches an internal temperature of 128 degrees, remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

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We eat chicken at least once a week and we got so tired of my boring baked chicken preparation.  Now that I’ve discovered this wonderful Turkish Seasoning from Penzys Spices, we have an easy and tasty way to make chicken that we all look forward to.  Follow the simple marinade and refrigerate in the morning or in the afternoon, and cook the chicken how you like (bake, saute or grill).  The marinade should work on lamb and beef just as well as it does on chicken.

Turkish Chicken

Recipe adapted from Penzeys catalog.

Turkish Chicken

Ingredients:

Turkish Seasoning by Penzeys Spices

1 pound chicken (we prefer boneless, skinless)

Extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil with 1 tablespoon Turkish Seasoning and rub over chicken.  Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or all day.  Bake in oven at 375 or 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through (insert knife into thickest part of chicken and chicken will no longer look pink and the juices should run clear).  Alternately, sauté in skillet (or grill) over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes per side or until chicken is just cooked through (insert knife into thickest part of chicken and chicken will no longer look pink and the juices should run clear).  Let the meat rest for a few minutes (so it retains its juices) before serving or slicing.

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