Seeking the delicious in kitchens the world over!

Monthly Archives: January 2013

Chocolate Snack Cake

I’m not sure what makes this cake “snack” cake, as opposed to just regular old cake, but it sure is delicious and easy to make! Hero, my guide in snack-caking, is a super kid from my neighborhood who often has a weekend lemonade stand going with her brother Poet (From the Rice Krispie treat episode). When I hear them sounding the lemonade gong, I always head over because you can count on them having some great treats to go with their lemonade. Plus it stops the gonging! Hero’s parents say that she loves to bake things, especially treats, and she proved to be a great, and very well organized instructor. Hero is an excellent measurer of ingredients!

A couple cooking notes before we get to the video. It helps if you have a really nice quality cocoa powder when you make this, as that flavor is really what comes through. Scharfenberger, Valrhona, Callebaut, or even Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened will do you well. The folks at Cooks Illustrated like Callebaut, and you can get some Callebaut here if you can’t find it at your local store.

Hero’s guide to Chocolate Snack Cake:

Hero’s Chocolate Snack Cake Recipe:

Dry Ingredients:

    1.5 Cups All Purpose Flour
    1 Cup white sugar
    1/4 Cup quality cocoa powder
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:

    1/3 Cup vegetable oil
    1 tsp white vinegar
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 Cup cold water

Toppings:

    Ice cream
    Berries
    Whipped cream
    Anything else you think would be yummy!
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Ruby Red Vodka Punch

When Kendra had her family visiting for the holidays a little while back, I knew I had to find a great beverage that was going to keep everyone happy. Since Kendra’s people don’t speak a lick of English, I’ve found that having a cocktail or two lubricates any friction imposed by language barriers. Emily’s Ruby Red Vodka Punch turned out to be the recipe I was looking for. Wow, just pour a few of these beauties, and stand back and watch as everyone bonds with laughter inspired by impromptu pretzel mustaches!

When you’re serving a cocktail for a crowd, there’s really is nothing better or easier than a delicious bowl of punch. In this video, we get a wonderfully refreshing libation recipe from Emily that’s perfect for the holidays. It’s bursting with berries and citrus, so this goes down in a refreshingly dangerous manner. The secret, aside from the fancy berry lined ice cube that Emily creates, is to have all your ingredients chilled beforehand so you have cold punch when everything is all mixed up in a nice looking glass punch bowl!

Here’s how to get your punch on:

Ruby Red Vodka Punch Recipe:

    1/2 Cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
    2 Cups Pomegranate Juice
    1 Cup Cranberry Juice
    (Juice note: Use just straight juice! No sweeteners or blends. Also chill it in the fridge before making your punch)
    1 Cup Vodka
    1 Cup Triple Sec
    1/2 Cup Simple Syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
    Splash of soda (or sparkling wine!)

Serve up each punch with a skewered cranberry for a little seasonal flourish. Then sidle up to the nearest hearth, say hello to a new friend, and extend them a hearty cheers!

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Baked Eggs, Margot style

There are few things as wondrous as a yummy breakfast, and this “baked egg” technique was a revelation! I’m new to the world of putting eggs into the oven, but after this lesson from my friend Margot you can count me amongst the converted. Instead of a Clam Bake, why not invite your friends for a weekend morning Egg Bake party? My wife Kendra loves eggs, so this was a great addition to our ovoid repertoire and a big hit with the members of her volleyball team.

I’ve discovered that you can actually go a lot of different directions with this recipe, if you want. Try adding a wedge or two of fresh tomato, some steamed red peppers, or some beautifully sautéed onions, or anything else you think would be yummy. There are no rules to Egg Bake! (Except to try not to hard cook your yolks. That’s one rule I guess.)

Here’s how Margo bakes her eggs:

Baked Eggs for 2 people

    4 Eggs
    2 Split and toasted Thomas’ English Muffins
    4 or 5 strips of Bacon
    3 healthy handfuls of washed spinach (about 1 bag, or 6 ounces)
    4 teaspoons of cream (one for each muffin)
    Salt & Pepper

Baking Note: Keep an eye on your eggs to make sure you don’t overcook them!

Don’t have any ramekins to bake your eggs in? This is a great ramekin set to get! Otherwise, I’ve gotten creative and have baked eggs in a pyrex dish too. You just need to build little walls with your spinach on top of the muffin to keep your egg controlled. My wife Kendra loves kitchen engineering challenges, so she just has the greatest time constructing walls and moats and bacon buttresses to make this work without a ramekin.

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Deviled Eggs (with Sriracha!)

They say the Devil is in the details, but when you do it right, he can also be in your eggs! I can’t think of an appetizer I enjoy more than deviled eggs, especially with a nice glass of something after a good day’s work at the shop. My wife, Kendra, also loves these eggie treats, and I’ve see her wolf down a whole tray of these buggers at our annual “Egg-Off” benefit for our local retirement community. And then there was that one time at Easter…

Anyhow, Dana, our guide in egg devilry, brings the heat to this particular recipe with the addition of the Rooster sauce, Siracha. And it’s a great addition! There are so many ways to make a good deviled egg, but really the secret comes in hard boiling your eggs the right way. The boiling technique that Dana share truly results in creamy yolks with no discoloration, and if you use slightly older eggs (not ones just from the store) you’ll have an easier time peeling them. Give it a try and have fun creating your own special take on deviled eggs!

Here’s how it goes:

Dana’s spicy Deviled eggs recipe:

    6 Perfectly hard boiled eggs
    2 Healthy Tbs. of good mayonnaise
    1 Tbs. of dijon mustard
    1 Tsp Sriracha (or more or less if you’re feeling spicy)
    1 Tsp spanish paprika
    1 squeeze lemon juice
    Salt and Pepper to taste
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