Guinness Pub Cheese

Pub cheese is such a wonderful thing. I guess, that only applies when I make it myself. I really don’t want to purchase “pub cheese” from a grocery store – sorry to the Publix.

The fact that this recipe has Guinness in it makes it all the better. I made it the first time as a trial run for a pot luck at work. I am happy to report, it was a great success.

Never hurts that it is super easy, does it?

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2 blocks cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 c. shredded Cheddar
1/4 c. beer, such as Guinness
1 tbsp. chives
1 tsp. garlic powder
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chives and serve with dippers of your choice.

Source: delish.com

Hood Day

On this day in history: 2012 – we brought home our little idiot.

Here’s the back story on Hoodlum: In 2011 we had to put down our beautiful Siberian Husky because his cancer had spread. He was only six. He had a great life until his last week.

Fast forward about a year: I have a friend who works with a therapy dog training group. They breed dogs and train for a variety of needs and I know dogs can wash out from those programs and my friend had adopted a couple herself (Goldies), so before I went to lunch one day, I emailed to see if there were any pups available knowing that this usually takes weeks if not months. I didn’t even tell the MotH because it was so unlikely to have a result anytime soon.

Famous last words: I got back to the office and there was this photo:Hoodie Boy

He’s half Border Collie and half Labrador and was washing out because of a hip, or so I was told. It didn’t take long to realize that his hip is fine, it was his personality – he’s too stubborn by half.

The agency was looking to have the personality of a Lab with the intelligence of a Border Collie – oops. There were four in the litter; 3 males, 1 female. Met the males – Hood was far and away the best looking of the bunch, but all the brothers washed out. Imagine that.

Either way, we went to Daytona to pick him up – how could you refuse that face? And then the fun began …..

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Homemade Mascarpone

I’m just not sure how many dogs get to have some homemade mascarpone cheese. My guess, is it just mine. This could not be easier to make and it tastes amazing. I will do the cost / benefit thing to see if it makes sense, but in my head this is so simple with things I already have on hand that I’m pretty sure this is a good deal. And did I say it tastes really good, because it is not just the Hoodie boy that likes it. It is me too.

D&D_2726Makes about 2 cups

2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Note – do use a thermometer for this recipe.

In a saucepan, slowly bring the heavy cream to a low simmer. The temperature should reach at 180° F and the goal is to try to keep it around there.

Let simmer at 180° F for 3 minutes then add in the lemon juice.

Simmer for another 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature, 30 minutes.

Fill a small strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and set over a glass measuring cup.

Pour the cooled mascarpone mixture into the cheesecloth and stick the entire bowl in the fridge overnight, cover the whole thing in plastic wrap.

The next day, take it out, whip it up and use it however you would like. Keeps for a week in the fridge, if it lasts that long – in mine and Hood’s case, that is a no.

D&D_2728Source: Food52

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats

This is an easy and flexible recipe. You can used canned pumpkin or canned sweet potato or just toss a sweet potato in the oven while you’re roasting something else. All-purpose or whole wheat flour will work.

D&D_2715I have to admit they smelled good, but I was concerned when Hood dropped the cookie from his mouth and sat there and sniffed it. But that didn’t last long – he likes them. I made in two sizes for him.

2/3 cup roasted sweet potato
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or more, as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat together sweet potato, peanut butter and eggs until well combined. Gradually add 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, mixing just until incorporated. Add an additional 1/4 cup flour at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet.

Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely.D&D_2704

Source: damn delicious.net

Easy and fun and Hood – arbiter of taste that he is, loves them.

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Bacon Cheddar Soda Bread

I haven’t yet ventured into yeast bread, but I will make a quick bread, because I’m not scared of it. Yes, I am scared of yeast. So. Sad.

But here is a take in a recipe from one of my favorite recipe guys. Kevin – Closet Cooking.

D&D_28262 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded or diced
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons parsley (or chives), chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add cheese and stir to coat with flour. Coat bacon pieces with flour as well. Stir in herbs. Form the dough into the desired bread shape, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake until golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes.

Simple as that, well, sort of, mostly.

Source: Kevin – Closet Cooking

Can’t help it – I love Kevin’s recipes. Simple and elegant and always changing.

Notes: Herbs from my potted garden – onion chives, garlic chives, and parsley. Woo hoo.

Apparently, I didn’t dice my cheddar small enough because it leaked out which was disappointing because I took great efforts to push the cheese and bacon to the inside if the dough.

Guess next time I’ll shred the cheese instead. I just thought in the interior of the bread if their was some nice bits of cheese – small chunks – it would be nice. Shredded just seems a little bit meh.

15 March 2018

Snake Bite Cake

Another take on a Guinness cake for St. Patrick’s Day. Never enough Guinness in baked goods if you ask me. Never enough Guinness in me either.

D&D_2730

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
8 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup Guinness Extra Stout, at room temperature

8 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup fermented pear cider

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream. Then whisk in the melted butter and Guinness. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and combine with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Put the softened butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until creamy and well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar, mixing until combined. Slowly pour in the pear cider and mix until the frosting comes together. Let the frosting set up a bit in the refrigerator until the cake is ready.

When the cake is cool, transfer it to a platter. Spread the frosting on top of the cake, taking care to push it all the way to the edges.

Notes: used Ciderboys First Press Apple Cider
Mix dry ingredients 8 March
Make cake 9 March – refrigerated
Make frosting 13 March – Chilled frosting overnight. Used a little more powdered sugar than called for.
Frost & Photo 14 March

The cake is a dream. The frosting not so much. Cider taste was not a favorite and the texture was not what I prefer. I will make the cake again though. Easy, chocolate, rich. Might make good cupcakes.

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Source: Food52

Sour Cream Drop Biscuits – MFC

This is the recipe I have used for years and years. It is from my mom’s very best friend -Mary Francis Christy. It is simple and so very good and the technique, you must admit makes it even better. I have made these for years and years when I just want a simple biscuit to go with my dinner and maybe a couple left over for breakfast the next day.

D&D_2680I do not have self-rising flour in the house often, unless I plan on some biscuits and in this case, I was not thinking ahead. If I don’t have self-rising flour, I do know how to make it out of all-purpose flour.

So here is the dead simple deal:

1/2 pint full-fat sour cream (full-fat – come on, you are making biscuits, right?)
8 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
healthy pinch of kosher salt
2 cups self-rising flour (or the make your own version w/A-P flour)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all ingredients. Drop into greased muffin tin and bake until golden brown, 25 – 30 minutes, turning half way through.

You can also drop them onto an parchment-lined baking sheet, but the muffin tin thing is so much easier and they cook at the same time because they are the same size. Great, or what? Yep, great.

Sorry – since we are in the Biscuit Project, I really think these beat the drop biscuits from Cook’s Country. But you must understand – they are in Boston – that should tell you everything you need to know.

Although, I will allow that the technique here – baking the biscuits in muffin tins really makes a big difference. Cook’s Country – take note.

My mom and Mary Francis were like two peas in a pod. It was like having a local aunt, since all my real aunts live in North Carolina or beyond. I loved going to her house and I loved it too when she came to our house. Every time we just hung out in the kitchen and sort of saw what happened.

It is good to have people like that in your life when you are still impressionable – you know – what they now call tweens. But I’ve always been happier in the kitchen than anywhere else.