Monday, September 17, 2007

Desserts Galore

Tonight we are hosting a training for work. One of my responsibilities was providing desserts for the attendees. Well, I certainly didn't mind. So, I spent this morning baking! I made Tiramisu Brownies, Coconut Cake and Buttermilk Cake with Caramel Icing. Then, I found out we only have about 10 people who have RSVP'ed for the training. I guess there will be some dessert left over!
This is the second time I've made the buttermilk cake. If you like cake (like me), you've got to try it. It doesn't call for many ingredients, and the frosting/icing is amazing. The recipe is from Taste of Home.

Buttermilk Cake w/ Caramel Icing
1 cup butter, softened
2-1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition (batter will be thick). Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. For icing, in a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; cool for 5-10 minutes. Whisk in confectioners' sugar. Drizzle over cake. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Last Chance (Almost)

As fall comes we are nearing our last chance to enjoy some of those traditional summer foods...until next year, at least. This awareness spurred me on to test out a peach pie recipe last weekend with some wonderful peaches from a local produce market. I chose a recipe for crust that I've made before and enjoyed and I used a recipe for filling that I picked up when I bought the peaches. They worked well together, but then again with pastry and fresh peaches, how could you go wrong?

Peach Pie

All Butter Pie Pastry
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
16 T. (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2" pieces and frozen for 10 minutes
3T. sour cream
1/3 - 1/2 c. ice water

1. Process the flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and pulse until butter is the size of large peas, about 10 second pulses.
2. Using a fork, mix sour cream and 1/3 c. ice water in small bowl. Add half of the mixture to the flour mixture. Pulse for 3 1-second pulses. Repeat with remaining sour cream mixture. Pinch dough with fingers; if the dough is floury, dry, and does not hold together, add 1-2 T. ice water and process.
3. Turn dough onto work surface. Divide dough into halves, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
4. Roll out dough onto parchment paper. Fill bottom of pie pan and refrigerate 20-30 minutes or until cold. Fill pie plate with peach mixture (see below). Roll out top crust, place on pie and seal edges. Cut 4 2-inch slits and brush with beaten egg white. Sprinkle a little sugar on top and bake 40-50 minutes @ 400.

Peach Filling
4 c. sliced fresh peaches (about 6)
1 t. lemon juice
2/3 c. sugar
3 T. flour
1/4 t. cinnamon

Slice peeled peaches and mix in lemon juice. (I blanched them to make them easy to peel.) Mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon and pour over peaches. Mix gently.

I mixed up the dough and refrigerated it while making the filling. I learned that one key to good pie crust is making sure the butter stays cold. So, if the crust gets difficult to work with, refrigerate it for a few minutes to let the butter firm up.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

So Easy Soup

I feel a little ashamed to post such a simple recipe that requires no skill whatsoever, except what is needed to operate a can opener. But, this soup was really good and really easy and everyone needs recipes like that. I like to make a pot of soup on Sunday evenings for my husband and I to eat for lunch during the week. This soup will be ideal for that. It makes quite a lot and takes so little time that it won't be a burden to throw together even when I am making something else for dinner.

Refried Bean Soup
1 can (16 oz) spicy refried beans, fat-free
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) whole kernal corn, drained
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, cut up (do not drain)
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilis
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. salsa

Combine the eight ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered 8-10 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. Can be topped with shredded cheese and sour cream if desired.
Yield: 8 servings (probably closer to 6-7 at our house)

**I added a can of drained hominy (because we both love hominy).
**I used Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
**I think you could add a can of Rotel tomatoes to this also, perhaps in place of the salsa? They would give it a little more kick.