Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Bars

·         3 eggs
·         ½  cup granulated sugar
·         ½ cup oil, (I used ¼ coconut and ¼ cup olive oil)
·         4 oz. of unsweetened applesauce
·         15-ounce can pumpkin
·         2 ¼  cups of flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
·         2 teaspoons baking powder
·         2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon salt
·         1 teaspoon baking soda
·         8-ounce package  cream cheese, softened (you can use low fat or tofutti)
·         2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter  is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.
To make the icing:  Mix  the cream cheese in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easy Strawberry Shortcake
• 1 cup of AP flour (I use WW Pastry flour)
• ¾ cup of sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon fine salt
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (salted is fine, just cut down on the salt)
• 1 large egg, beaten
• ½ cup of whole milk
• ½ teaspoon almond extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Strawberries and Cream
• 2 pints organic strawberries
• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• 1 pint of heavy whipping cream
• 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar (I have a vitamix blender so I use granulated)
• ½ teaspoon vanilla (I don’t add this to my cream, I feel it’s optional)

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan, line it with parchment paper, butter the paper, and dust the pan lightly with flour.
Whisk the flour with the granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Lightly whisk in the butter, egg, milk, and almond or vanilla, just until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn it out of the pan, flip upright, and cool completely on the rack.
For the strawberries and cream: Hull and slice the strawberries (or if really big quarters), and toss with the granulated sugar. Set aside. Whip the cream with the confectioners' sugar and vanilla to soft peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble the cake: Cut the cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Place the bottom layer cut side up on a cake stand or serving plate. Drizzle the juices from the sliced berries over the cut sides of both halves. Put a layer of cream then strawberries, then a little more cream on the bottom half. Top with the other piece of cake, cut side down. Spread the remaining whipped cream on the top of the cake and top the cake with the remainder of the berries
Know-How: Cutting a cake into layers is easy as saw-spin-separate: Begin to saw the cake in half horizontally. Just before you reach the middle of the cake, give it a quarter turn. Continue to saw almost to the center, then give it another quarter turn and saw again until you reach your original point of entry. Saw completely through the cake's center and separate the layers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 tablespoons Flour
2-3 cups Mushroom Stock
¼ cup of Red Wine (I’ve used white), a shot of crème sherry or tawny port adds a nice flavor
2 nice size Portabella Mushrooms cut into chunks
¼ lb. Cremini Mushrooms cut into chunks
½ of a medium Onion diced
5 cloves of Garlic minced
5 Carrots sliced
4 stalks of Celery sliced
½ cup of frozen Peas
2 teaspoons sage
2 teaspoons thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
Potatoes (regular mashed potato recipe)
Sprinkle of Sweet Paprika

Put Olive Oil, Mushrooms, Onions and Garlic in a dutch oven and sautee for 5 minutes or so. On the side, mix the Mushroom Stock and Flour. Once the mushroom mixture has sauteed, deglaze the pan with the wine, then add your Mushroom stock mixture, Carrots, Celery and Peas and Seasonings. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until it thickens up. Once mixture is thickened, pour into a 13”x9” baking dish and top with the mashed potatoes, then sprinkle some sweet paprika on top of potatoe mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about a half hour, until the potatoes get toastie on top.