Have you tried any of these recipes?

Have you tried any of these recipes? If you have, please leave a comment to let me know how it worked for you and if you suggest any changes!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Chocolate Cake

Not a huge fan of chocolate cake myself, I thought - what a great way to cut back on calories this Christmas! Hah! Well, THAT plan didn't work! This cake was tasty enough to make me glad I had doubled the recipe and had leftovers!

Save room for dessert!
And save a slice for breakfast
Fruit makes it healthy. ;)

  • 4 oz fine-quality unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brewed strong black coffee
  • 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  2. Butter and flour a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan. *
  3. Combine the chocolate, butter, and coffee in the top of a double boiler or in a very heavy pot, and stir constantly over low heat until melted.
  4. Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes. Then add the Grand Marnier, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir well.
  5. Stir the flour, baking soda, and salt together, and add this to the chocolate mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
* I used a cake pan in lieu of a loaf pan. It was just what I had on hand.

You should note, I made this recipe at an altitude of over 6,000 feet above sea level, so I altered the amounts of liquids, sugar, leavening and even then time and temperature cooked.

I garnished the cake with fresh raspberries and coconut ice cream.

Recipe from Ruth Reichl's book Garlic and Sapphires.

Absolutely Perfect Scalloped Potatoes

As an accompaniment to the lamb at Christmas dinner, I made scalloped potatoes. Why haven't I made these before?! What a delicious and easy way to feed a lot of people! As Ruth Reichl says in the recipe, "Nobody doesn't like these."

Scalloped potatoes
A family dinner staple
I went back for more!

  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 pounds baking potatoes, peeled
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F
  2. Rub a roasting pan with the garlic, and then coat thickly with the butter.
  3. Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan, and heat until just bout to boil Season with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.
  4. Cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch thick rounds and arrange them in layers in the pan. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes (it should come just to the top but not cover them). Bake uncovered, pressing the potatoes into the milk every 30 minutes or so, for an hour and a half.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven when the potatoes are golden and allow to sit for 10 to 20 minutes before serving.
Recipe from Ruth Reichl's book Garlic and Sapphires.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary

As the main course to our Christmas dinner this year, this leg of lamb was perfect. It is easy to make, though it was a bit time consuming and expensive.

Roasted Leg of Lamb
Tastier than it looks here
Celebration food!

  • 1 small leg of lamb, about 6 - 7 lbs, trimmed of all visible fat *
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into 6 slivers each
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

  1. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 1 hour before starting.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Make 8 small slits in the lamb on each side, and place a sliver of garlic and a leaf of rosemary in each slit. Massage the olive oil into the meat, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. If you have a rack, place the lamb on the rack on top of the remaining rosemary and garlic. If you don't, simply put the meat on top of the rosemary and garlic in a roasting pan.
  5. Cook uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted away from the bone registers 125F. Remove the lamb from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.
Serves 6 - 8.

* Make sure you leave ample time to trim the fat from the lamb as it is a hefty job and takes longer than you think it might.

Recipe from Ruth Reichl's book Garlic and Sapphires.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rosemary Roasted Squash

What else can we do with all the squash and sweet potatoes we have at this time of year?! Well, here is another dish that I tried at Whole Foods, that I cooked on my own and it turned out delightful.

One more squash to use
Something a little lighter?
A winter salad.

  • One squash. The medium to large kind. I think any type will do!
  • One medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of chopped, fresh Rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp butter or ghee
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Melt ghee in a 9x13 pan on top of the stove.
  3. Cut the squash in half and bake it for 20 minutes, or microwave it for five to soften the skin enough to remove it. Remove the seeds and cube the squash.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the chopped onion, rosemary and salt and pepper. Add the squash and toss.
  5. Add this mixture to the pan with the melted ghee and bake, uncovered for 40 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins

For those of you that liked the smell of the pumpkin doggie biscuits. Here are some pumpkin treats for you.

Bite sized pumpkin pie
Perfect with tea for breakfast
Keep warm this winter!

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chopped orange zest
  • 1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly spray muffin cups with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, spices, granulated sugar, and orange zest in a medium-sized bowl. Crumble in the brown sugar and mix with a fork or your fingers until thoroughly blended.
  3. Measure the pumpkin into a second medium-sized bowl. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat with a fork or a whisk until smooth.
  4. Slowly pour this mixture, along with the melted butter, into the dry ingredients. Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, stir from the bottom of the bowl until the dry ingredients are all moistened. Don't overmix; a few lumps are okay.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffins cups. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on to and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, then remove the muffins from the pan and place them on a rack to cool. Wait at least 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe.
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