Sunday, July 31, 2011

Infused Rosemary in Honey Pound Cake

For a second year in a row, we have been growing our herbs in containers on our deck and have left the garden for the tomatoes, green peppers and zucchini. The herbs have been growing in big wine barrels where we have parsley, basil, cilantro, chives, rosemary and thyme flourishing. The extreme weather conditions that we have been having here in Indiana have just reinforced how important it is to water every day, especially in the morning, for your garden to prosper.

One of our favorite herbs this summer has been rosemary, where the aroma is just so strong that it is amazing. One baked item that we have continued to enjoy has been honey “infused” rosemary pound cake. A secret that we have been doing with our rosemary having it infuse in honey for at least a week. The flavor has been enhanced tremendously and therefore has accentuated our pound cake.

It was really simple to infuse the rosemary into the honey, we used a glass container with a lid, filled it with honey and stalks of rosemary. We gently rubbed the rosemary to allow the oils to come out and into the honey. The closed container stayed in our pantry for roughly a week as we waited in anticipation to make a favorite dessert of the summer.

Infused Rosemary in Honey Pound Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour + 1 cup all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 T finely chopped fresh rosemary (this is actually for placing within the batter)
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup rosemary honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter your bundt pan. Mix together flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. In your mixer add butter, sugar, rosemary (that you have finely chopped), and vanilla. Slowly add in the eggs and then the flour mixture with rotating in the milk. Place the batter in the greased bundt pan. Cook for 50 to 60 minutes. Then lightly brush cakes some of the rosemary honey on the outside of the cake. Allow it to cook for 10 -15 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes more. Slice, and serve warm with more honey.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Banana Muffins at their Best

We have been on the search for a muffin that is good to serve at brunches, have at for breakfast during the week, or possibly as a snack (though I must say we really do not snack in our home).

We found this recipe and have been adding to it to perfect it to our tasting, though I must say our next tweeking of the recipe is to tone down on the sugar aspect of it. But in the meantime, we feel this is a killer banana muffin recipe, an all time favorite in our home.

Banana Muffin
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar + 1 cup sucant
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound butter, melted
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 mashed bananas
1 diced bananas
1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift flour, sugar(s), baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of your mixer. Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Afterwards add the flour-and-butter mixture. Blend well.

Fold the diced bananas, walnuts and coconut into the batter. Place the batter into your muffin tin, but do not fill it up to the top in that the batter in that it might run over to the sides of pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove from the muffin cups onto your cooling rack.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Black Beans and Rice

We seem to go back and forth in terms of eating meat and then no meat. We have two family members (one adult and one child) whom a good part of the time just are not interested in meat of any sort, so we have been creating altering menu items that are high in protein. Beans seem to keep coming back into the menu. Last night we made this killer recipe, Black Beans and Rice (I would actually use brown rice rather than white rice, but I ran out...still good though).

Black Beans and Rice
2 green peppers (you can also use red/orange/yellow peppers)
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 T. olive oil
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 T. white vinegar
1 tsp. garlic
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 cups cooked rice (the black bean mixture is served over the rice. So if you want to cook more, please do so).

In a large saucepan, saute the fresh peppers and onion in olive oil until your desired tenderness. Stir in black beans, tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, and pepper. Cook uncovered for about 15 minutes and stir occasionally. Serve over rice.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Apple Cake

We recently had a weekend dinner party with some family friends of ours that we had not seen in a while. We decided it was much too long and we needed to get together more often. We were talking about one of our favorite topics….food! My daughters had mentioned that one of their favorite desserts was Apple Cake. We all chuckled because they had mentioned that they had not had an apple cake before, apple pie of course, and have had applesauce in different cakes to help add moisture and create a little bit more healthiness to the dessert, but not a true apple cake.

Now after talking about, the next day I thought to myself…ahh….I think we will make an apple cake for dessert (and I must say it is also good breakfast as a coffee cake)!

Apple Cake
¾ cup chopped walnuts (other nuts that are also good are sliced almonds and pecans)
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with oil to help the cake in not sticking to the sides. Sprinkle walnuts at the bottom of the pan evenly. In a large bowl, mix 2 T. of the flour, ¼ cup of the sugar, and the cinnamon together. Add apples to the bowl and toss.

In another bowl, mix the remaining of the flour and the sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, oil, butter, orange juice, and vanilla. Mix together until the batter is well combined.

Pour half of the batter into the bundt pan (roughly 2 cups). Then place the apple mixture on top of the batter and spread evenly. Add the remainder of the batter, on top of the apples.

Bake for 1 ¼ hours. Let the cake cool for 15-20 minutes. Take a knife and run around the sides of the pan, turn over, cool a little more and remove the cake from the pan.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Onion Soup at its Best

We are a family that loves our you may find may find many recipes pertaining to this complimentary dish to a half-sandwich, a salad or as a meal. This past week, I made one of our all time favorites....onion soup.

You will not twist anyones arm when it comes to this recipe. It has been tweeked to fit our tastes, but there is one ingredient that you will typically not find in onion soup and that is chicken broth. We tend to like soups that are chicken broth based rather than beef based. I am not for sure why. One ingredient that my husband enjoys adding to give it more of a zing is a bit of sherry or red wine to the broth. It is good too!

Onion Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large Vidalia onions, sliced finely
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 cups chicken broth
4 slices french bread (that you lay on the top of the soup
Sliced/shredded mozzerella cheese that is sprinkled on top of the bread before placing in the broiler
Ovenproof ramekins

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook these four ingredients until the onions are tender (almost sauted). Add the thyme and broth to the onion mixture and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Divide the onion soup between the four ovenproof ramekins. Place the bread among the ramekins. Top each slice of bread with cheese). witPlace under the broiler, until the cheese is golden and bubbly and serve.