Wednesday, September 28, 2011

White Wedding Cake Recipe

After years of getting recipes from reading cookbooks, magazines, watching TV cooking shows, I can't believe this but I am finding recipes I just have to try on "pinterest".  If you haven't visited this site yet you'll want to check it out.  It is a way to collect favorite things and "pinning" them to a "board" so when you move on to another site and then try to remember where you saw something you can still find it.  It reminds me of clipping out magazine ideas and collecting them but now its online so no searching, organizing or storing involved......that is a huge plus.  I definitely spend more time finding things then pinning things, but luckily there are lots of people out there pinning things for me to find.  So I first saw a picture of this cake on pinterest and when I saw how simple the recipe looked I had to try it.  I get asked for the recipe every time I make it, so Thank you recipe girl for putting this out there for all of us! The recipe was at recipegirl 's site ---a blog that is full of great recipes and ideas.

White Wedding Cake

1 box white cake mix
1 c all-purpose flour
1c granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 c water
2 T vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c sour cream  (I used plain Greek yogurt)
4 large egg whites


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour pans, line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix first 4 dry ingredients, then add rest of ingredients and blend with hand mixer for 2 minutes or till well blended.

Pour batter into pans, leaving about 1 inch to top of pan for cake to rise.  Bake 35-40 min or till toothpick comes out clean.  Do not over bake start checking cake at about 25-30 min.

Enough batter for 3 layers using 9" pans.

Allow to cool before frosting.

Buttercream Icing


3 c powdered sugar
1 c butter--softened
1 tsp pure vanilla
1-2 T cream (calls for heavy but I used 1/2 & 1/2)


Mix sugar and butter till well blended, then add vanilla.  Add cream a little at a time till desired consistency.  Spread on cooled cake.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Braised French Onion Chicken with Gruyere

It was one of our many rainy nights that this picture popped up in an email and I had to make it for dinner--go to:  The Kitchn  to see the picture of Faith Durand's original post you are going to want to make it also.  I first found this site from following Apartment Therapy great site for ideas and inspiration for any size home.  More of a design site and specific to some cities, but also has a cooking section.  The meal was perfect for the cold, damp night.  The sauce is a nice rich broth to form a stew consistency, I followed the recipe only changing the addition of mushrooms which I sauteed right after the onions in the same pan.  A slice of toasted bread to dip into the broth added to the hearty feel of this meal.  A side of roasted cauliflower which I roasted at the same time made it pretty simple which was a bonus.  A light side salad would be a great addition also, I think I'd like the fresh greens with the warm stew.  Here is my slightly adapted recipe:

Braised French Onion Chicken with Gruyere


3 T butter
2 lbs onion, sliced ( I used 5 large Vidalia's sliced thin)
salt & pepper
1 lb fresh mushrooms
1 garlic clove chopped fine (she calls for 4 cloves sliced)
2 sprigs Thyme  
                                    >  I didn't have fresh herbs-- used about 1/2 tsp for each of dried  
4 inch sprig Rosemary  
2 C chicken broth
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 T Dijon mustard
3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (add some chicken breasts for the white meat eaters)
2 oz Gruyere Cheese, grated

brown chicken

layer onions and mushrooms
This can all be done in separate pans if you want to get done faster.  In a large skillet melt the butter till it begins to foam then add all the sliced onion and let saute for about 40 min stirring occasionally.  When the onions begin to color a bit add the garlic, rosemary, & thyme continue to cook onions till you get that caramelized color----the more the better till just before burned.  Add 1 C chicken broth and deglaze pan scraping up bits from bottom, simmer a minute or so and then pour mixture into dutch oven or baking dish to cover bottom.  Return saute pan to burner and saute mushrooms till browned layer them on top onions.  Return pan to heat add some olive oil, salt & pepper chicken and brown on both sides, I did this in batches.  Lay chicken on top of mushrooms, add to saute pan the rest of the broth, the balsamic, and the Dijon whisk together and pour over chicken,  Put lid on dutch oven or wrap baking dish with heavy layer of aluminum foil.  Bake in 325° oven for 30 min.  Remove lid & top chicken with Gruyere and broil till cheese melts.  Serve in a bowl to allow for lots of sauce with a nice piece of toasted bread.  These directions are  condensed the original post goes into more detail if you'd like them go to The Kitchn .
The Gruyere melts quickly keep an eye on it.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cheese and Beer Fondue

 This recipe comes from a cookbook I have had since the early 80's, some of the pages have come loose from the binding from age or use.  Put out by Better Homes and Gardens it has tons of cooking & serving ideas, although the pictures now are very dated looking at some of the clothing on people the recipes are still good.  I would make this fondue when the kids were young they loved to dip things and who can resist a big bowl of cheese.  We have had some unseasonably cold weather which sent me into fall cooking.  The recipe works great for football/baseball season and can also be used as an appetizer.  In the 80's we had a sectional couch you could flip a cushion off the ottoman and there was a table underneath so we could sit on the floor to eat our fondue, that put some fun into dinner.  I have adapted the recipe a bit over the years but it is so easy to make.  Tossing the flour with the grated cheese seems to work well when making a sauce, I have used that idea whenever I make a cheese type sauce.

Cheese and Beer Fondue

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 T flour
1 small garlic clove
1 can of beer
1/2 c water
2 T mayonnaise
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp ground dry mustard

Good bread
vegetables-anything you can dip

Toss cheese with flour and set aside.  Rub the bottom of sauce pan with garlic clove and then discard garlic.  Add beer and water to the saucepan.  Heat the mixture till warm over medium heat, gradually add cheese/flour mixture stirring constantly.  It is best to make sure cheese is melted before adding more.  Just before serving stir in mayonnaise, Worcestershire, mustard and stir.

Transfer the hot cheese mixture to the fondue pot, place over burner or small votive.  It is important when dipping to swirl mixture a bit to keep it from setting.  If it does thicken to much stir in a little more beer.

Dipper ideas:  meatballs, broccoli, oven fries, bread, etc.

A vegie tray makes a good side dish and could also be dipped.

I baked the meatballs, roasted the broccoli,
and made the oven fries all at the same time .

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blueberry Butter Cake

  "The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cook Book" has been around my kitchen for years, the copyright says 2000 so I am guessing I must have gotten it soon after.  "The Black Dog Cafe" is on Martha's Vineyard and having never been there I am sure my husband picked it up because we had a wonderful black lab named Daphne.  I am sure everyone thinks whatever breed of dog they have that its the best but if you have ever owned a lab you know they really are the best.  You are forever drawn to them & whenever you see one you can never resist going over to them.  This cookbook is filled with stories, quotes, great pictures of the crew, cooking tips and really reads like a book.  I often read cookbooks as though they were a book and this one is a favorite.  The recipes are great and even though we haven't been there it is on my to do list.  I am not a big fan of crowds so will be doing that trip in the off season but will definitely be eating at "The Black Dog" when we get there.  Visiting their site for this blog I see they have a 40th anniversary cookbook out........I'm thinking that I just might need to purchase that.  This cookbook is filled with post it tabs for recipes I refer to often so can only imagine the new book will also.
I wanted to try this coffee cake while the blueberries were in abundance, it hit the spot.

Blueberry Butter Cake


2 3/4 c flour
1 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 c buttermilk
1 c melted butter
1 T vanilla
3 c fresh blueberries


1/2 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1/4 c cold butter cut into bits
1/2 T cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350°, butter and flour 9 x 13 pan.
2.  Sift the dry ingredients together.
3.  In a large bowl mix all wet ingredients except blueberries.
4. Mix dry and wet ingredients together until just blended.
5.  Spread batter into prepared pan, top with blueberries.
6.  In a small bowl blend topping ingredients, sprinkle over blueberries.
7.  Bake for 50 min.

I added walnuts to mine. Enjoy with a good cup of coffee or tea!

I needed more blueberries, didn't have quite 3 cups.

bake at 350°

Our Daphne <3!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Zucchini Ricotta Fritters

Zucchini is produced in such volume the recipes are endless, it works in many different formats & can be incorporated into a lot of recipes.  We are winding down the season production of a lot of vegetables so try to work them into as many meals as you can.  I shred, chop, puree, slice, roast, broil, grill adding vegetables anyway I can.  I have made Zucchini Pancakes for years and don't really use a recipe just sort of eye it, so this recipe for Zucchini Ricotta Fritters caught my eye.  They have more body then the pancake version, the ricotta adds a nice texture but they definitely need a sprinkle of a good coarse salt.  This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine's Mario Batali recipe.  I used what I had on hand so substituted onion for the scallion, used a dash of garlic powder to lighten the garlic flavor (I love garlic but not everyone here does), I used regular ricotta, and whole grain white flour.  They were actually easier to fry since they held together better than my usual method.  I might add some grated cheese next time to up the cheese flavor.

Zucchini-Ricotta Fritters


2 med zucchini shredded
dash of garlic
1/2 of large onion finely chopped
1/2 c ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 t lemon zest
kosher salt and pepper
3/4 c whole grain white flour
canola oil for frying


Mix all ingredients except oil in bowl it will be a thick mixture.  Heat pan with oil about 1/2 inch deep to shallow fry fritters.  Drop batter by spoonfuls into oil, the faster they cook the less oil they'll absorb.  Remove from oil when both sides have browned and drain on paper towels. I like to tilt my dish they are draining on to help draw the oil away from them, just rest one side of the plate on a spoon or counter edge to tilt plate up.  They can be made earlier and then reheated to crisp them up in the oven.