Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Holidays!: Buche de Noel OR Cake of Stump

Some notes: A traditional French (and maybe British? Yule Log?) dessert. VERY CHIC

I don't know about the bananas bit. I left them out, but if you're into that kind of thing go for it.

Total musts: lots of caramel sauce drizzled all over the cake slices. And the marzipan mushrooms. Recipe follows. Some people might get confused, so be sure to tell everyone that they are not real mushrooms. If you're a real artiste-type, you could make little birdies too.

To make the cake look more stump-like, I ran a fork over it to make semi-natural looking lines. This recipe for some reason recommends frosting the ends of the cake. Assuming you haven't totally botched the rolling of the cake, I'd leave the ends unfrosted so it looks more like a piece of tree that's been cut open with rings and all. This cake is all about the tree mimicry. In my opinion.

Caramel-Pecan Bûche de Noël Bon Appétit | December 2006

Caramel-Pecan Bûche de Noël

Yule log meets that New Orleans classic, bananas Foster, in a make-ahead dessert.

Yield: Makes 16 servings

2 cups pecans, toasted, cooled
1/4 cup all purpose flour
6 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled

Frosting and caramel sauce
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Fresh bay leaves or lemon leaves
Powdered sugar (for sprinkling)
6 large bananas, sliced (optional)
2 pints butter pecan or pecan praline ice cream

For cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 17x12x1-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment; butter paper. Pulse nuts and flour in processor until nuts are finely chopped (not ground). Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in very large bowl until foamy. With mixer running, gradually beat in 1/4 cup sugar, beating just until stiff peaks form. Using electric mixer, beat yolks with 1/3 cup sugar and bourbon in large bowl until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add yolk mixture to egg-white mixture. Sprinkle nuts over; gently fold until almost incorporated. Add butter; fold gently just to blend. Pour into prepared baking sheet, spreading batter gently to form even layer.

Bake cake until edges begin to brown and cake is firm to touch, about 14 minutes. Cool in pan on rack.

For frosting and caramel sauce:

Stir 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 9 minutes (time will vary, depending on size of pan). Remove from heat; immediately add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Whisk in butter, bourbon, and salt. Stir over medium heat until any caramel bits dissolve. Transfer 1 cup caramel sauce to small pitcher. Add chocolate to remaining caramel in saucepan. Let stand off heat 5 minutes; whisk until smooth. Transfer to bowl. Let frosting stand until spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Spread 1 cup frosting over cake in even layer. Beginning at 1 long side and using parchment as aid, roll up cake jelly-roll style. Starting 1 inch in from each end of cake, cut off 3-inch-long diagonal piece from each end. Arrange cake, seam side down, on platter. Spread cut side of each 3-inch cake piece with some of frosting. Attach 1 cake piece, frosting side down, to top of cake near 1 end. Attach second piece to side of cake near opposite end. Cover cake with remaining frosting. Run fork in concentric circles on cake ends. Do ahead Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely with waxed paper and let stand at room temperature.

Garnish platter with leaves. Sprinkle cake lightly with powdered sugar. Cut cake into slices and serve with bananas, if desired, ice cream, and sauce.

Marzipan Mushrooms Bon Appétit | December 2000

Yield: Makes about 10

2/3 cup marzipan
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Make about 10 mushroom stems by rolling dime- to quarter-size pieces of marzipan into cylinders. Make large and small mushroom caps by rolling dime- to quarter-size pieces of marzipan into balls; then pinch into cap shape. Attach stems, pressing gently. Dust with cocoa.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gran Jan's Apple Crisp

So I don't have a Gran Jan...but neither of my grandmothers make apple crisp, so I had to steal a recipe from someone else's grandma. This was delicious. I didn't use the lard, just added a bit extra butter instead. Very yummy...enjoy!

Gran Jan’s Apple Crisp from the Humble Gourmand

Gran Jan's Apple Crisp

There’s not much more comforting than warm apple crisp in the winter — a la mode after dinner, or first thing in the morning with a cup of tea.

As the title suggests, this is my grandmother’s recipe (handed down via my mother, who makes a pretty amazing version herself). You’ll want to work the topping mixture with your hands to form a nice, loose crumble that fully incorporates the butter with the brown sugar and flour. Using chilled butter and shortening cubes will go a long way toward this goal. If you prefer to skip the shortening, replace with another 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter.


  • 3 lbs. Granny Smith apples
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening, all-natural preferred, diced
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
Add butter to apple mixture
The topping in progress


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  • Butter a large casserole dish with 1 Tbsp. of the unsalted butter. Peel and slice apples into 1/2" slices -- not too thin, or they won't hold their shape when baked.

  • Place in large bowl and toss the cut apples with lemon juice, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and about 1.5 Tbsp. of the flour. Taste for proper proportion of sugar and cinnamon (they should be balanced -- not too sweet, not too spicy).

  • Transfer apple mixture to casserole dish and push down to pack them in.

  • In the large bowl used for apples, mix rest of flour, brown sugar, butter, and shortening with your fingers to form a loose crumble. Cover apples with topping.

  • Bake for 40-45 minutes, until bubbling at the sides. Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Two Refried Beans Recipes for Emily

May these serve you better than your last recipe

1) http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/refried_beans/


  • 2 1/2 cups of dry pinto beans (about 1 lb or 450gm)
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp pork lard, bacon fat, or olive oil (for vegetarian option)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Cheddar cheese (optional)


1 Rinse the beans in water and remove any small stones, pieces of dirt, or bad beans.

2 Cook the beans in water.
Pressure Cooker method Put beans into a 4 quart pressure cooker with a 15 lb weight. Fill up the pressure cooker with water, up to the line that indicates the capacity for the pot. Cook for 30-35 minutes - until the beans are soft and the skins are barely breaking open.
Regular method Put beans into a pot and cover beans with at least 3 inches of water - about 3 quarts for 2 1/2 cups of dry beans. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer, covered, for about 2 1/2 hours. The cooking time will vary depending on the batch of beans you have. The beans are done when they are soft and the skin is just beginning to break open.

Strain the beans from the cooking water.

3 Add the onions and lard/fat/oil to a wide, sturdy (not with a flimsy stick-free lining) frying pan on medium high heat. Cook onions until translucent. (Note the onions are optional, you can skip them if you want.) Add the strained beans and about a 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Using a potato masher, mash the beans in the pan, while you are cooking them, until they are a rough purée. Add more water if necessary to keep the fried beans from getting too dried out. Add salt to taste. Add a few slices of cheddar cheese, or some (1/2 cup) grated cheddar cheese if you want. When beans are heated through (and optional cheese melted) the beans are ready to serve.

Note that many recipes call for soaking the beans overnight and discarding the soaking liquid. We don't. We discard the cooking liquid and just add some water back into the frying pan when we are frying the beans.

2) http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2007/03/life-pursuit-refried-beans.html

Refried beans : A Life Pursuit
1 pound of pinto beans
1/4 pound of salt pork slit with a knife
Half an onion, whole
1/4 cup of onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 slices of bacon
Salt to taste

Soak the beans overnight or quick soak by bringing to a boil and then turning off the heat and letting them sit for an hour.
Drain soaked beans and then place back in the pot. Cover beans with fresh water to cover them two inches.
Throw half an onion in the pot and add a couple of dashes of salt. Can also add 1/4 pound of salt pork (if you do this there’s no need for extra salt.)
Bring beans to a boil, cover and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
The time it will take to cook the beans will depend on the freshness of the beans and the hardness of your water. If they’re not completely cooked after an hour, let them simmer a while longer until they’re done.
Remove salt pork and onion and then drain the beans, keeping 1/2 cup of the bean broth.
Chop the slices of bacon and fry them in a skillet on medium until crispy and all the fat is rendered.
Remove cooked pieces (you can either nibble on them while you’re cooking or save them for something else).
Fry the diced onion in the bacon grease for a couple of minutes, and then add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the drained cooked beans into the skillet, adding 1/4 cup of the bean broth.
Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding more bean broth for desired moisture.
Keep stirring the mashed beans in the bacon fat until the texture is a chunky paste.

Notes: You can substitute 1/4 cup of lard for the bacon grease. Or you can use 1/4 cup of peanut oil. If you don’t want to cook a pot of beans, two 16 oz. cans of cooked pintos can be used instead. You can also use black beans, just be sure and throw some epazote in the pot when cooking them. I’ll write more on epazote later (now that the days are warmer I plan to go foraging for it in Central Park), but for now, check out Lydia’s wonderful post on the subject. This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

I have finally contributed to the Emily/Mandy Fall 2009 Bean-off! Since I feel like food bloggers always post their snotty little heirloom health food modification to recipes, I think you should all know that I made this with these lovely black and while spotted heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo (http://www.ranchogordo.com/) and they were pretty.


The level of spiciness will depend on how much chili powder, and how many jalapeños you put in the chili. If you like things on the mild side, start with the smaller amounts of both, and add to taste. I used the lower bound of spiciness and it seemed fine.


  • 1 1-pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded, diced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded, finely minced (Taste and check the heat of the jalapeños. If very hot only use one, if mildly hot, use two. Wash hands with soap and water after handling. Do not rub eyes.)
  • 1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, including liquid (or 2 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chopped oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (I hate fennel and did not use this)
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked white beans (1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked kidney beans (1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (can sub parsley if you have an aversion to cilantro)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Scatter eggplant cubes in a shallow roasting pan and slather with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring once during the cooking. Remove from the oven and set aside.

2 In a large (5-6 quart) thick-bottomed Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute more. Add the red bell peppers, zucchini, and jalapeño chili peppers. Cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 Add the tomatoes to the pot along with any liquid that may have been in the can (if using canned). Add oregano, cumin, and fennel seeds. Add chili powder to desired heat. Stir in the eggplant cubes (carefully as to not break them up), and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.

4 Add the white beans and kidney beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and chopped cilantro. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve with sour cream (or yogurt), grated cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and cilantro.

Serves 8-10.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mrs. Robertson's Delightful Pesto Sauce

2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cloves garlic crushed and peeled
1 teaspoon salt

Stir in (not blend, makes a big difference):
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons pecorino

Stir in vigorously:3 tablespoons softened butter

Sarita Austin's Spicy Squash Stew

Spicy Squash Stew

1 1/2 T. oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves –minced
½ t.salt-divided
1 T.curry
½ t. coriander (ground)
½ t. cinnamon
¼ t. red pepper
4 cups of butternut squash-peeled and cubed
1 3/4c. veggie broth
1 (14.5oz) can of diced tomatoes-undrained
1 can of chickpeas, drained
3 cups fresh spinach
1 can of light coconut milk
¼ cup of chopped cilantro
1 T. lime juice

Cook onion (till tender) over med-high heat in canola oil. Add garlic,1/4 t.salt-cook 1 minute. Add curry, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and pepper. Cook 2 minutes stirring constantly.

Stir in squash, broth, and tomatoes-bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until squash is slightly tender. Stir occasionally.

Stir in remaining salt and chickpeas. Uncover and simmer 8 minutes –until veggies are tender. Add spinach and coconut milk-cook 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and juice.
Serve immediately-yum
(FYI-I usually increase the broth and spinach)

8 servings

Dan -I love to cook so much and share recipes-this is totally cool.

Love you,

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't try this alone...

I made this one night last week when I was home all by my lonesome and bored to death. I then proceeded to feel sick to my stomach for the next two days because I ate half the loaf in the two hours following its exit from the oven. I really would make this only in circumstances where you will not be left in the room with it alone, unsupervised, for more than 20 minutes.


Glazed Lemon Bread Recipe

Tip: eggs rise better when they are at room temp. If you are pressed for time and have cold eggs, put them in a bowl of warm water (not hot, warm) for a few minutes before using.


  • 4 ounces (1 stick, 8 Tbsp) butter, softened*
  • 1 cup minus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 eggs (room temp)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp honey

* Do not soften butter in microwave. Either leave a stick of butter on kitchen counter for an hour, or place between two pieces of wax paper and rollout with a rolling pin to soften.


1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 4x8-inch loaf pan.

2 Beat the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and honey, continue to beat until creamy, a few minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate. On low speed, slowly beat the milk in. Do not worry if the mixture looks a little curdled. Mix in lemon zest.

3 Sift together the flour, salt, cardamom, baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients, beating until smooth.

4 Place batter in prepared pan and bake for 1 hour at 350°F.

5 While the lemon bread is baking, prepare the glaze. Heat the glaze ingredients - lemon juice, sugar, honey - in a small saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved.

6 Once you have removed the bread from the oven, poke holes all over the top with a thin skewer (this will help the glaze penetrate). Spoon the glaze over it while the bread is still in the pan and is still hot. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan and slicing to serve.

Makes one loaf.

The carrot cake that won my desk...

Hi all!

Hopefully this blog will work, I'm pretty pumped about it. I figured I'd start out with the only important recipe I've used recently: Paula Dean's carrot cake. Not exactly healthy, but certainly delicious...

Sweet Baby Jack Carrot Cake

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
5 min
Cook Time:
30 min
16 servings


  • Butter, for greasing pans
  • Flour, for dusting pans

For the cake:

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 (4-ounce) jars strained carrot baby food
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (16-ounce) box confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (8 or 9-inch) cake pans.

For the cake:

Mix together the flour, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well with a handheld electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Invert onto lint-free dishcloth, or waxed paper, and allow to cool completely.

For the frosting:

Mix all ingredients with handheld electric mixer and blend until smooth and creamy.

Frost layers, top, and sides of cooled cake.