Snow day baking

We got our first winter snow here in North Carolina over the weekend. As protocol dictates here in the south, we all rushed out and bought bread and milk. Actually, truth be told, I bought neither of those things as we already had them. I did buy some other items so I could bake while we were “snowed in.”

My Dad got us a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas and we’ve been so excited to try it out!

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Great Aunt Grace’s Lemon Pound Cake

On Saturday I made my Great Aunt Grace’s Lemon Pound Cake. It’s one of my favorite all-time recipes. It’s so simple to make and tastes so good. The tangy lemon flavor was perfect for brightening up a cold winter day.

For some reason I’ve also been craving scones lately. I usually chalk that up to all the British crime shows I like to watch. I found a great recipe for Parmesan Rosemary Scones on the Tea Time Magazine website. I highly recommend trying these! They were divine. We served ours with butter and homemade strawberry preserves.

Just a couple of teensy notes on the recipe. I did not have fresh rosemary so I used dried which I ran through a small electric chopper first. Also, I found the dough to be very dry and unmanageable at first so I added maybe two more tablespoons of cream to get it to the consistency to be able to roll. Also, they were wonderful warm from the oven, but I ate one cold this morning with no butter or jam and it was still delicious! The sprinkle of salt on the top is really delightful.

The Lush's Blush blog
Parmesan Rosemary Scones

 

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Junior League Dropout Cake

In my head I’m the Junior League type, in reality, maybe not so much. I actually did enjoy being in the Junior League though and probably would still be if there were a League closer to my hometown. At any rate, I am a Junior League drop out. I have, however, retained my copy of our League cookbook. This past weekend I decided to drag it out and try something. I had some frozen blueberries from last summer that I had been wanting to use so this blueberry pound cake recipe sounded just perfect!

I really like this recipe because it includes simple ingredients that I almost always have on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of blueberries (thawed, rinsed and drained or use fresh)
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature (the recipe called for 4, but I prefer 5!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Toss berries with 1/4 cup of the flour and set aside.

 

Sift remaining flour with baking powder and salt and set aside. (I just love using a sifter, don’t you? This sifter is my mom’s and she’s had it since she was married. It makes kind of a funky squeaky noise that I find very entertaining.)
In a mixer, cream butter and sugar. Make sure your butter is nice and soft and it will cream better. I was a little impatient on letting my butter get to room temp.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add vanilla and beat until fluffy.
Fold dry ingredients into batter until well blended.
Gently stir in berries.
Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. (I use Baker’s Joy with flour.
Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, until cake tests done.
Cook cake in pan for 10 minutes before removing.
And voilá!
The entire time I was baking this cake my mom kept asking if there was any liquid in the cake. She really thought something was missing from the recipe as it is odd for a pound cake recipe to not include milk or some other liquid. I admit when I first bit into a piece, I thought it was a tad dry, but it seemed to moisten up a little bit.
I think the next time I make this I will add some lemon curd. I just love lemon and blueberry together. I also might make a blueberry sauce to go on top, or maybe a lemon glaze.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

I am obsessed with all things pumpkin and that is one reason this summer girl does look forward to fall. I am always on a mission to find great pumpkin recipes. I had seen this Pumpkin Crunch Cake recipe on a couple other blogs and so I thought I would try it.

I used the recipe from the Picky Apple, but clearly I did not read her comments very well as she explains that the consistency is more like a custard than a cake. That is one thing I was a little disappointed about in this recipe because from the picture, I thought it would be more like the consistency of a blondie. At any rate, the recipe is tasty and I would definitely recommend trying it, but just be prepared that the pumpkin layer is sort of custardy.

One thing I really loved about this recipe, is it requires fairly simple ingredients that we almost always have in stock in our pantry.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup butter, melted

We didn’t have a yellow cake mix, but I did have a butter pecan cake mix and I thought that would be a yummy twist on this recipe!

Another reason I loved this recipe is it’s simple. I’m not big on those recipes that require you to fold in the eggs separately etc. Also, I confess, I’m bad to forget to pre-heat my oven, so do as I blog, not as I do and get to pre-heatin’ at 350 degrees. Also, you should grease your pan. I vote for the spray stuff! Then mix your pumpkin, milk, eggs and spices together.

Then put it in your pan.

Then sprinkle the cake mix on top.

Then top with your crushed pecans and melted butter! Yum!

I baked mine for close to an hour. I kept thinking it would become more firm, but the pumpkin layer pretty much stays the consistency of regular pumpkin pie. I think I had some sort of mental block against something that consistency being in a square. If I make this again I think I would go ahead and bake it a round pan and present it more like a double layer pumpkin pie. Some cool whip would be nice with it also!
If you know of any other pumpkin recipes I should try, please share!

Steak and pumpkin cake

Our annual Pumpkin Festival is this weekend and I volunteered to bake some pumpkin goodies for a charity bake sale. I really wanted to try to bake these pumpkin nutella muffins, but I decided instead on this pumpkin pound cake recipe.

Pumpkin Pound Cake

I thought the overall flavor of the cake was nice, although it could have been more pumpkiny (is that a word?) The cake called for a glaze, but frankly, I’m just not a glaze kinda girl. Since it was for a charity bake sale I also thought it would be less messy without any icing. If I make this recipe again, I would definitely ice it with a cream cheese frosting.

When fall arrives, I become a pumpkin junkie! If you know of any other great pumpkin recipes I should try, please let me know! And now on to my other culinary adventures of the evening. . .

Tonight for dinner we had one of my all time favorite meals ever, steak, baked potato and salad. Sadly, I have realized that I am actually quite content to just eat steak and potato and forget the salad. Oh, yes, and garlic bread. I do adore garlic bread! Yum!

Steak, Salad, Wine & Garlic Bread. Yum! Yum!

Since we are such good friends, I will share my secret steak recipe with you. If you are a steak purist, like my boyfriend, you may not care for this, but if you like a steak with a little kick, you will love it! I put a small splash of olive oil in a deep pan and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, then I lay the steak in the pan. I prefer a t-bone, preferably one with a large filet side! I sprinkle both sides of the steak with an unflavored meat tenderizer, white pepper (you know it’s my favorite!) and garlic powder. Then I coat the entire thing in Tony Cachere’s creole seasoning. I adore creole seasoning! I think I could actually just eat this stuff right out of the container. Ok, maybe not, but it is yummy! After I put the creole seasoning on the meat, I sprinkle a few more dashes of Worcestershire. I like to let this marinate for a few hours, but even if I don’t have time for all that, I still use this same method and it makes the steak very flavorful. A few minutes before putting on the steak on the grill, I add a sprinkle of kosher salt to the meat. This steak is so good I actually lick the bone when I’m through! YumEE!

I always like to serve a nice hearty red wine with steak. In the above photo is a bottle of Castle Rock Petit Verdot that I bought at the beach this summer. (I confess this was taking awhile back as I was too intent on chowing down to actually take any pictures tonight.) Tonight we had Cupcake Malbec, which was excellent!

Cheers!