Monthly Archives: April 2011

Lemon and Sour Cherry Bundt

An outtake from our last photoshoot with Hodac Photography

I know there are no sour cherries yet.  But in less than a month, there will be sour cherries and you will have this recipe. Ready & waiting for you.

I have an avowed love for lemon bundt cakes of all kinds. I’ve been known to throw in cranberries, rhubarb- basically whatever I can find. So consider this recipe a blank canvas for your favorite fruit. Over at the old blog, I had my first swipe at this recipe.  Almost a year later, I still really love this recipe.

Lemon and Sour Cherry Bundt

Adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts

For The Cake:

2 1/2 cups flour, plus two tablespoons for the fruit

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, cane preferred

Zest of 2 lemons

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon lemon essence

3/4 cup buttermilk (full fat only)

1 1/2 pounds of sour cherries- if frozen defrost and drain first
For The Lemon Glaze:

2 cups of confectioner’s sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons melted butter

(1) Preheat the oven to 350 F, and prepare a 10-cup bundt pan. I like to use Pam for Baking for this- it gets in all of the nooks and crannies of the bundt pan.

(2) Toss the cherries with two tablespoons of flour. Set aside.

(3) Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the lemon zest and sugar mixture with your fingers- this will release the lemon essence. Cream the butter & sugar mixture together, using a stand mixer on medium to high speed for about three minutes. When the mixture is very fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time. Then stir in the lemon essence.

(4) Add the flour and buttermilk, alternating between a little flour and a little buttermilk. Start with the flour and end with the flour. I like to add 1/2 cup of flour at a time.

(5) Pour half of the batter in the pan. Sprinkle half the cherries on top. Then add the rest of the batter, and then more cherries.

(6) Bake for about 60 minutes, rotating the pan half way through. The top of the cake should be golden, and will spring back when you touch it. This cake is so moist that a cake tester will not come back clean, so don’t even try! Allow the cake to cool for about 20-30 minutes. The cake is best at room temperature, so try to wait.

(7) To make the lemon glaze, whisk the confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice and butter together. The glaze should be thick and smooth.  Pour the glaze over the warm cake & serve!


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Easter Eggs, Naturally

Don’t get sad about the rain ruining your Easter Parade- make these Easter eggs instead! It is so easy and fun to make naturally dyed Easter Eggs. Think of it as a super cool science experiment that you can eat! And since today is Earth Day, this project couldn’t be more perfect.

This morning I shared this project on the FOX45 morning show. I researched making dyes with  natural ingredients like red cabbage, turmeric, tea, beets, blueberries, coffee grounds, and onion skins. Watch my video over at Fox45 and check out these tips, ratios, and links to get you started!

The Colors of the Rainbow

For Blue Eggs:

1 head of red cabbage, cut into strips and boiled with about  8 cups of water. Boil for 10-15 minutes- the dye is ready when it has turned a deep purple. Allow to cool. Strain and add about 2 tablespoons of vinegar. I found that one head of cabbage could dye almost a dozen eggs! So have fun!

For Pink and Red Eggs:

1 bunch of beets. Cut the beets in half and bring them to boil in about 4-5 cups of water. Boil until the color has reached a translucent magenta for light pink. For dark pink, boil the beets for 20-25 minutes, until the water is a very dark red. Allow to cool and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar.

For Yellow Eggs:

Combine two tablespoons of Turmeric with 2 cups of boiling water. (I use a tea kettle).  Mix in a tablespoon of vinegar. This dye is fast acting!

For Green Eggs:

For a darker green, use 1 bunch of  spinach combined with 4-5 cups of water.  I brought the mixture to a gentle boil, and then allowed it to simmer on low heat for 40 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool, strain out the spinach leaves, and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar. You can also use the cabbage dye on brown eggs to create green. I used eggs that were dyed yellow with turmeric. I allowed the yellow dye to dry, and then dunked them in the cabbage dye.  I loved the almost turquoise results.


For Antique Eggs:

1 package of tea (12-14 bags) to 4 cups of water. Depending on the look you want to achieve, you can use black tea or an herbal tea like Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger. I tried both. I loved the look of the Red Zinger- the eggs had a mauve color with faint streaks. These were my absolute favorite. You can create a neat marbling effect by drizzling olive oil on the eggs before dying.

I started with about 3 dozen hard boiled eggs- mostly white, though I did use about 6 brown eggs. I used whatever pots, pans, and mason jars that I could spare. I would recommend trying one or two colors at a time. I found the red beets and red cabbage to be the easiest.  The longer you let the eggs sit in the dye, the darker the color.

My last bit of advice: Don’t think too much about this project! Just get in the kitchen and have some fun!

I had a lot of help from the Rowley family- thank you Aiden, Morgan, and Sophia for letting me have your beautiful eggs! For more ideas and advice,  visit this tutorial from The Kitchn!   The jewel tone eggs, below, from The Kitchn were my main inspiration.

Naturally Dyed Easter Egg over at The Kitchn

If you check out my video, you can see that I went for a pastel, antique look for my eggs. Allowing the eggs to soak in the dye overnight in your fridge will get you jewel tones like the ones above.

Eva's Amazing Eggs on Adventures in Cooking

If you are feeling extra ambitious, try making these Easter Eggs with an herb motif, like the ones featured in one of my favorite blogs, Adventures in Cooking.

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Pasta e Ceci

There are a lot of good Pasta e Ceci recipes floating around the interwebs. But my recipe is an ode to my family. You could call the creation of this recipe an apology. I’m already on record about what a picky eater I was as a child. Consequently, I missed out on a lot of amazing food that my Italian Grandma and her three sisters made for me during my visits to the beautiful Finger Lakes. I spent a lot of my summers in New York, frolicking in Seneca Lake with Grandma Teresa, collecting zebra mussels and sea shells.  Aunt Ginny would sneak me breakfasts- usually bacon, eggs and waffles- and spoiled me rotten.

But it must have hurt their feelings when I resolutely ignored the red pasta sauce- “meaty sauce” my grandmother called it. Instead, grandma would dutifully make me pasta aglio e olio, the only dish I would eat. She would sprinkle in some ceci beans, determined to add extra nutrition. I was a huge pain in the ass,  she declared, but she never forced me to eat the red sauce. Sometimes I wish she had. Maybe I would have discovered earlier what I was missing.

Try this recipe- don’t miss out on trying something new like I did. After the first bite, you will be thinking of your Italian Nonna, too. Don’t have one? Make this recipe and you can share mine.

Pasta e Ceci

Serves 3-4 dinner portions, about 6 starter portions.

1 (16 oz) package high quality pasta. I like to use riccioli from Dorothy Lane Market.  A thicker fettucine or a ruffled pasta would work, too.

1 (15 oz) can of Garbanzo Beans (ceci), rinsed and divided

2 small yellow onions, sliced very thinly

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 (28 oz) can of plum tomatoes- San Marzano recommended

4 Anchovy Filets

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes

1/4 cup white wine (whatever you have around this house will do)

1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese for topping

Fresh Basil (optional)

(1) Fill a large pot with cold water and set to boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook the pasta until it is half-way cooked. (about 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pasta). Drain and set the pasta aside.

(2) Using a blender or a food processor, puree half of the ceci beans. Set aside.

(3) Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan or stock pot on medium heat.  Add the onions and red pepper flakes. Cook the onions until translucent, about 4-6 minutes.  Do not allow to brown. Add the anchovies and garlic. Allow to cook down until the anchovies have dissolved and the onions are very soft.

(4) Add the wine and then the stock. Allow the mixture to reduce, about two minutes. Then add the ceci puree. Give the mixture a good stir, then add the tomatoes. Allow this mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes, occasionally breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper until the sauce is seasoned to your liking.

(5) Add the pasta and the rest of the ceci. Cook for another 3-4 for minutes, until the pasta is tender and has absorbed a lot of the sauce. Add the pecorino romano. Top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve immediately.



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Welcome, FOX45 Viewers!

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to check out our shop or peruse some of my recipes, here and here. You can also Like us on Facebook!

Interested in those fluffy, pillowy marshmallows I had on air today? Look no further.

Pillowy Marshmallows

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, 1998

3 1/2 Packets Unflavored Gelatin

1/2 cup cold water for gelatin, plus 1/2 cup cold water for sugar mixture

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup (look for a brand without High Fructose Corn Syrup)

1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt (Diamond brand or else use sea salt)

2 large Egg Whites

1 1/2 tablespoons Vanilla Extract

Equipment:

1 9×13 baking dish, lightly oiled and dusted with 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Hand Mixer

Stand Mixer

Candy Thermometer

Offset Spatula

When making these marshmallows, it is important that you set up all of your ingredients in advance. I like to make three stations: stand mixer station with the gelatin, egg white station with hand mixer, and sugar station on the stove top.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

(1) Pour the gelatin in the bottom of the bowl for your stand mixer. Pour 1/2 cup cold water on top. Have your whisk attachment ready, but do not attach it yet.

(2) Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a medium sauce pan. Start the heat at low, while you stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula. When the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat to medium-high and put in your candy thermometer.

(3) Boil the sugar until it reaches Soft Ball stage, between 238-240 degrees Fahrenheit.

(4) When the sugar reaches 240, pour it over the gelatin mixture. Use the whisk attachment to stir the sugar and gelatin by hand, breaking up any bits. (I do this to avoid dirtying another spatula). Attach the whisk, and beat on high for 6-8 minutes, until the mixture is smooth, white and tripled in volume. It should look thick and have a slight sheen.

(5) While the sugar is beating, use your hand mixer to beat the Egg Whites to stiff peaks.

(6) Add the egg whites while the sugar is beating. Then add the vanilla. Beat until the egg whites and vanilla are evenly distributed. This should take only about a minute.

(7) Pour the marshmallow fluff into your prepared pan, using your spatula to smoosh the marshmallow into the corners. Let stand for a minimum of 3 hours.

(8) Run a sharp knife around the corners and edges, loosening the sheet of Marshmallow. Lift one corner- if it comes free easily, the marshmallow is ready. Transfer the marshmallow sheet to a cutting board. From here, you can cut the marshmallows into squares for toasting, or use cookie cutters, like I have below.


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Hilary Bee: Coming to TV Screens across the Miami Valley

Tomorrow morning is the first of two appearances that I will be making on the Dayton Fox affiliate, Fox 45. I am absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity, so thank you Meghan Mongillo for inviting me!

Tomorrow morning, I will give a tutorial on making homemade marshmallow peeps. Fluffy, delicious, lovely marshmallows like these.

Yummy, right? Imagine what they will taste like in between two chocolate graham crackers. Or in S’Mores…or in your child’s Easter Basket.

Tune in tomorrow. Because you want these marshmallows!

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Miami Vice Steak

Disclaimer: I’m about to commit the mortal sin of food bloggers. This is a really, really good recipe. I’ve made it several times to great success. On Sunday, I tested it on not one, but THREE engineers. And they scarfed it down before I could get pictures. So there are no pictures. Bad Engineers! BUT YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE ANY WAY.  Think of this recipe as a retro throwback, before pictures and recipes became best buds.

Steve the Weather Watcher (S.W.W. for short) made a return visit and our friend Eric the Mech-E also made an appearance. If you like to grill out, like tacos and fresh flavors, this is the steak for you. I created a Mojito Marinade, a mango salsa, and a Mint & Cumin Creme. Mr. Radar and S.W.W.  especially enjoyed the extra spice from all the jalapenos. Eric the Mech-E enjoyed my mellow mint & cumin cream sauce.

You can use your favorite cut of steak- just make sure there is about 2 pounds of meat. I really like Top Sirloin or Flank Steak- cuts I think are easy to slice thinly and remain very juicy. Tacos are not tacos without toppings. So personalize this recipe by adding your own toppings, like sliced avocados and lime, grilled pablano peppers, thinly sliced radish, hot sauce, and arugula. This serves about 5-6 people, more if there are lots of toppings. Less if you are feeding hungry, hungry engineers.

Miami Vice Steak Tacos with  Mango Salsa and Mint & Cumin Creme

Mojito Marinade

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1/2 cup Rum, I used Bacardi

3 limes, juiced and zested

2 jalapeno peppers, sliced into coins

1 sprig of mint, finely diced (about 1/4 of a cup)

4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

Sea Salt & Pepper

(1) Whisk the the olive oil, rum, lime juice and zest. Add the jalapeno, mint, and garlic.

(2) Season both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Pour some of the marinade in a baking dish large enough for the steak. Place steak on top. Pour the rest of the marinade on top of the steak. Give the steak a little massage for good measure- getting the mint and garlic into the skin of the steak.

(3) Let stand for 30-90 minutes. Don’t let it go too long- the lime will start to break down the steak, making it difficult to grill.

Meanwhile, prepare the salsa & creme.

Mango Salsa

2 Very Ripe mangos, diced

1 Bunch green onion, thinly sliced

2 Jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons White Vinegar

Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

(1) Combine all of the ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Allow the ingredients to meld in the refrigerator for an hour or more.

Mint & Cumin Creme

1/2 cup Sour Cream (full fat)

1/2 cup Fresh Mint, stems removed

1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin

(1) Combine the ingredients in a blender. Blend until the creme becomes thin and the mint is evenly distributed. The creme should have a pleasant green hue, with flecks of mint and the scent of cumin.

To Grill The Steak:

Grill the steak to your liking. I trust you, you can do it! Mr. Radar cooked our 2 pound Top Sirloin on a very hot charcoal grill, about four minutes each side. I like my meat on the rare side, so add time if you like your meat more well done.

When the meat is done, throw your tortillas (preferably corn!) on the grill and let them get warm and toasty. This extra step is worth it, I swear.

For the Tacos:

I like to serve this buffet style, so that guests can choose the toppings they want on their tacos. I usually prepare a simple salad and have some sliced pineapple on the side. Serve with mojitos, sangria, or ice cold beer. Whatever works for you.


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Announcing Our Etsy Shop!

I am so pleased to announce that our Etsy shop has finally opened! I’ll be adding more and more listings through this week, so keep checking back to see what goodies are available.  We had another photoshoot with Hodac Photography on Sunday, so here are a few photos from our shoot. You might just find these tasty items on our Etsy Shop =)

Amaretti Biscotti, ready for dipping

My friend and customer Kelly requested Biscotti. This is the first of three recipes I’m introducing. Look for my Mexican Hot Chocolate and Double Chocolate Pistachio versions later.

Cocoa & Sea Salt Short bread with Vanilla Bean Marshmallow

Our delicious Cocoa & Sea Salt shortbread. Wonderfully chocolatey and sweet, with a hint of sea salt and a surprise dash of black pepper.

Lemon Lover's Shortbread

I created this recipe specifically for my mother-in-law (Mama Bee), Kathy. She has a love of all things lemon, and is extremely fond of shortbread.  Lemony on the inside, with sparkling lemon sugar on top.

Honey Almond granola. Extremely delicious, with no extra sweeteners, fillers, or fats. I use Honey, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Almonds and Oats.

 

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