Thursday, May 13, 2004

When I burnt the pecans this morning, I should've taken that as a sign to get out of the kitchen.

Sometimes you cook and everything comes out perfectly...though this happens to me very rarely if at all!!

Today was not one of those days :-(

Tonight is our monthly potluck...The full-timers in our area rotate houses during the winter months (October to May here) and we all get together on the 2nd Thursday. It lagged for a while when everyone started bringing packaged food until word got around that we needed to start cooking for real. I was asked for a dessert this time 'round. A hankerin' grew in me to make a traditional Louisiana crunch cake, with a bit of an orange twist to it.

First off, I burned the pecans when I was just supposed to lightly toast 'em. This, at the same time I was making lunch, so I invariably burned the bagels for sandwiches too. Damn! OK, just start over. New bagels, new pecans......

As I was adding the five eggs to the butter sugar mixture for the cake, I dropped a half an egg shell in the batter and watched it go through the beaters....Should I just leave it? It is called a crunch cake after all! Nope...decided to fish it all out...think I got most of it...
The recipe tells me to make the glaze first and then pour into bottom of the pan, which I do. The glaze is just butter sugar and pecans. The pan I'm using is a tube pan with a removeable bottom. The butter ends up leaking out in the oven, giving me a pretty dry glaze on top....So I made more.....then Greg ate a slice and mushed the ends of the cake together, covering the top seam over with glaze...just like a little boy he is!!!

Anyway, here is the recipe:

Louisiana Crunch Cake

Louisiana Crunch Cake

1/3 cup sweet butter
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup chopped pecans

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups sweet butter
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
juice from one orange
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9- or 10-inch tube or Bundt pan generously with cooking spray or wipe with butter.

Glaze: Melt butter in small saucepan. Add sugars Heat and stir until mixture boils. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract, zest, and pecans. Spread in bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.

Cake: Sift flour and baking powder together into medium bowl; set aside.

In mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping bowl after each addition. Beat in vanilla , zest and juice. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Mix well.

Spread evenly over topping in prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in the pan about 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack; remove pan and cool completely.


Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Butter Cookies with Fruit Preserves

I'm going to get myself in trouble with these luscious cookies. They are amazing! As always, I was looking for a good recipe and came with several that looked nice...but not the best. So, I tweaked and combined and came up with the recipe below. I was looking for something to take to a friend as a gift. These were very elegant.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Rounded 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of one or two oranges
juice of one orange
1 large egg, lightly beaten
fruit preserves (I prefer orange marmalade)

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat together butter, sugar, extract, zest, and juice in a large bowl with an electric mixer at moderately high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and beat well. Add flour mixture and mix at low speed until just combined.

If the consistancy comes out too sticky, add a bit more flour a little at a time until you get the dough into rolling mode.

Roll dough out on an unfloured surface (its hard, but you dont want the outside of the cookies to be floury) to a 1.2" thickness and then take a small wine glass or round cookie cutter and cut out cookies, placing the rounds on ungreased cookie sheet. dent the center of the cookie and fill with preserves.

Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

They are so much better the second day! This is what I mean by trouble...I could eat the whole batch myself. I made these for Mother's day in the shape of stars with raspberry preserves and I really prefer the orange marmalade.


Sunday, May 09, 2004

Pork Tenderloin
Made the nicest, juciest pork tenderloin last night. I was going to cut the tenderloin into roundles and sautee them up, because I was too lazy to dress the whole thing and wait around for a hour...but Greg looked at me with this pleading gaze and then he rubbed his stomach while asking me to do the tenderloin "the right way" because it is so good!! How can I resist the tummy rub????

So, I trimmed off the fat, cut the tenderloin open lengthwise and added minced garlic, Sweet chili sauce, red wine vinegar, and apple cider. Then I minced a few apples and a leek together and sprinkled those on top and around the edges of the pan. Salt and pepper the sucker and covered it in foil before popping it in the oven. There was a great juice and wonderful apple confit when it was done. Don't overcook it...such a shame to waste the juice.

Hey everyone I just added a comment section for the blog. I thank all of you for your emails, so I thought I'd share with other readers. Keep the emails coming, but also take a look at the comment card and add your own voice to my blog!