Sinfully Good Carrot Cake

March 28, 2010 18:28 by Suzy

Carrot Cake

As you may have been able to guess from this blog, I am obsessed with chocolate.  To me, dessert isn't dessert without some chocolate.  So when I met JD and learned he was not really a fan, that took some getting used to.  Seriously, what was WRONG with him??? Of course, there were benefits...more chocolate for me!  But still, to not love chocolate...what an alien concept.

Turns out, I should thank JD for his chocolate aversion.  When his birthday rolls around, he usually asks for a spice cake or a carrot cake.  Not chocolate, like a normal person.  So over the years, I've tried several different spice/carrot cake recipes, even resorting to a mix one year.  Nothing special.  Then, a few years ago, I came across this recipe on the Food Network website and gave it a try.

Oh. My. God.  This is the most outrageously sinfully delicious carrot cake you could ever eat.  With a FULL POUND of butter in the cake and the frosting, it is clearly not diet food, but hey...your birthday only comes around once a year, right?

Sinfully Good Carrot Cake
adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse

Cake:
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup raisins

Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 pound powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Grated carrot

Grate a bunch of carrots.  Be sure not to get any of your knuckle in there.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the eggs, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and carrots and mix.  

Add carrots and raisins

Stir in the raisins.  Batter will be thick.

Spread in pan

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool before frosting.

Fresh from the oven

To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat, then add the vanilla.

With cream cheese frosting

Frost your cake, then go to town.  Be sure to have lots of friends around to help you eat this, unless you have no worries about your cholesterol.

Note:  JD and I don't like nuts in cake, which is why you don't see any here.  Emeril's recipe (like most carrot cake recipes) calls for pecans in the cake and also in the frosting, so if you like that sort of thing, go for it.


Macaroni and Cheese

March 23, 2010 20:28 by Suzy

Macaroni and Cheese

Forget the blue box and neon orange "cheese" powder.  This is some seriously good comfort food.

Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from a recipe in McCall's Cooking School cookbook

2 cups macaroni or other pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups milk
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup diced cooked chicken or ham

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bring large pot of salted water to a boil; add pasta and cook 4-5 minutes, or slightly less done than al dente.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile...

Diced red pepper

chop up the red pepper...

Grated cheddar cheese

grate the cheese...

and dice the chicken (or ham).

Make roux

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat and add flour, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir until smooth.  Gradually add milk, stirring so there are no lumps.

Cook until thickened

Return saucepan to medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.  Add diced red bell pepper, reduce heat to low and simmer for one minute.  Remove from heat.

Add grated cheese and macaroni

Add cooked pasta, chicken or ham, and 1 1/2 cups grated cheese to the saucepan and stir to combine. 

Sprinkle with grated cheese

Pour into baking dish and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

Fresh from the oven

Bake for 20 minutes...cheese should be melted and bubbly.



Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes - Frosted Two Ways

March 21, 2010 10:34 by Suzy

Chocolate Guiness Cupcakes

I know this is a bit late for St. Patrick's Day, but with March 17 being a Wednesday this year, I didn't get a chance to make an Irish-themed recipe, let alone post one! Besides, by waiting, I was able to pick from the many St. Patrick's recipes featured on my favorite food blogs.

I found these recipes at Tasty Kitchen.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
2 cups Guinness Stout
2 cups (4 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins, or line with baking cups.

Heat stout and butter in saucepan over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and immediately add cocoa powder; whisk to combine. Set aside to cool.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Beat the eggs and sour cream. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients and beat until batter is smooth.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 16-18 minutes (mine took closer to 22 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove to cool on wire rack.  Makes 48 cupcakes.

Bittersweet Ganache
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Heat the heavy cream to a simmer. Pour over chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Let sit for a minute, then whisk to combine.

Carefully dip the tops of each cupcake into the ganache and set aside to cool.

If you prefer, you can cover and refrigerate the ganache for two hours and use like a traditional frosting instead. I like the dipping method better, myself.

You-Won't-Believe-How-Good-This-Is Frosting
My mom made this frosting when I was a kid, and it was always my favorite. She called it "Waldorf Astoria Frosting" but I have no idea why. I had forgotten all about it until I saw this recipe online recently. I never realized before how odd the recipe is; whoever heard of cooked milk and flour in frosting? Trust me, this is the absolute best frosting, especially on chocolate cake. Light, fluffy, the perfect balance of rich and sweet. You have to taste it to believe it.

1 cup milk
5 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar (NOT powdered sugar)

Whisk flour and milk together in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add vanilla and stir.

Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the cooled flour mixture and beat until the frosting looks like whipped cream.

Give it a taste, and try not to lose your mind and eat the entire bowl.

This was the first time I ever cooked or baked with Guinness, so it definitely qualifies as a Friday First!  It was also my first time tasting Guinness, but as I am not a fan of beer (wine or cocktails for me!) I preferred it baked up with some chocolate and not in my glass.

Click here to check out all the other Friday Firsts!

Friday Firsts



Scattered Sushi Rice Salad

March 14, 2010 20:04 by Suzy

Scattered Sushi Rice Salad

This is a simple, yet elegant rice dish with wonderful flavor...even JD, who doesn't usually eat rice, likes this.  I love how pretty the salad looks, with all of the different vegetables and pieces of egg and pink sushi ginger.  This makes a great light lunch, or it could be a side with grilled fish.  (mmmm...tuna....)

I found this recipe in a wonderful vegetarian cookbook by Mollie Katzen called Still Life With Menu.  It has some great recipes and beautiful artwork by the author.

Scattered Sushi Rice Salad
adapted from Mollie Katzen's Still Life With Menu Cookbook

Ingredients

2 cups sushi (short-grain) rice
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese cooking sake)
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
1 egg
splash of mirin
1 medium carrot, peeled and minced
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and minced
2 scallions, minced
1 to 2 cups fresh or frozen green peas, lightly steamed
handful of green beans, lightly steamed and cut in 1/2 inch lengths
(you can also add steamed snow peas and/or minced yellow squash)
3 to 4 tablespoons sushi ginger, minced
3 to 4 tablespoons sesame seeds

Rinse rice

Rinse the rice under cold running water.

Put rinsed rice in a saucepan with water and 2 tablespoons mirin.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to the lowest possible simmer.  Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, until tender.

Remove rice from the heat, uncover, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Dissolve sugar in vinegar

Heat the vinegar 15-30 seconds in the microwave, then add the sugar and salt.  Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables:

Cucumber

Scoop out the seeds from the peeled cucumber...

Diced cucumber

and finely mince.

Minced carrot

Mince the carrot.

Minced green onions

Mince the scallions.

Steamed green beans

Steam and cut the green beans.

Let sushi rice cool

Spread the rice in a long shallow dish.  Drizzle with half of the vinegar mixture and mix very gently with a fork.  Alternate between mixing the rice and fanning it with a magazine to prevent sticking.  Do this for a few minutes, until thoroughly mixed.

Mix rice with vinegar mixture

Transfer rice to a bowl and set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon canola oil.

Beat egg with mirin

Beat the egg with the splash of mirin.

Cook thin omelet

Pour the beaten egg into the hot pan.  Tilt the pan to make a thin egg pancake.

Cook thin omelet

When it is set, flip it over and cook the other side.

Remove from heat and let cool.

Dice omelet

When cool, slice the egg into thin strips, and then into 1/2 inch pieces.

Combine the rice with the remaining oil, vegetables, egg pieces, sushi ginger, sesame seeds, and remaining vinegar mixture.  Mix gently.

Serve at room temperature or cold.  Equally delicious either way.

Scattered Sushi Rice Salad



Friday Firsts - Ganache!

March 5, 2010 12:01 by Suzy

Friday Firsts

Recently I found a great link party at Dinner at Christina's...Friday Firsts!  The idea is to feature any cooking or food-related "first".  This week, when I made Barry's Chocolate Cake, I made ganache for the first time.  Soooo delicious and incredibly easy.  Why don't I make this more often?  Not just for cake...on top of ice cream, as a dip for fruit, or just eating with a spoon...yummy!

Check out Dinner at Christina's to see all the other Friday Firsts!



Goodies, indeed!

March 3, 2010 11:05 by Suzy

As many of you know, I am a fan of vintage/retro photos, especially those with snarky comments (like Anne Taintor), so I'm always searching online for more.  I found this one the other day, and thought it was perfect for my blog...are these the "real" Suzy's Goodies???

Stacked

(image from here

Am I a traitor to my gender if I find this hilarious and not offensive?  If so, my gender needs to lighten up!

Is the woman also the "Hot Food Server"?



Foodbuzz