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?

D&D_2657

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

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.

D&D_2744

Source: Food52

Lemon Sour Cream Pie

Another new gamble for Pi Day. Also a nice way to try a pie that might just be perfect little tartlets for Easter which is fast approaching.

D&D_2697I totally cheated and used Pillsbury’s roll-out pie crust since I was taking on a baking project during the week. And you know, if you use a regular 9″ glass pie plate – not a deep dish pie plate, the dough works out nicely from blind baking for this kind of pie.

9 inch pie shell, docked, pre-baked, and cooled
1 Tbs lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice (depending on size about 4)
3 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
8 Tbs unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
Whipped cream for garnish

Pre-bake parchment lined crust filled with pie weights and place on baking sheet. Let cool while making the filling.

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, cornstarch, sugar, egg yolks, and milk. Cook over medium low heat until thick making sure to whisk frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Allow the custard to cool completely. Once cool, whisk in sour cream.

Pour into baked pie shell and refrigerate at least two hours, or better overnight. Serve with whipped cream. But I like it better without.

Keep refrigerated.

Bitching: I need some kind of pie holder, so the top doesn’t get mushed. Put it needs to be a thin holder so you can stack two pies in holders on one shelf in the refrigerator.

This was a super simple, totally do-able on a weeknight kind of pie. It wasn’t too sweet either which made it big plus for me. I like my lemon desserts to be tart – not overly sweet. The custard was smooth and creamy.

Very nice. We certainly be doing this again, perhaps in aforementioned tartlets.

Sour Cream Drop Biscuits

My mom made drop biscuits a lot for dinner. I would make them into my dessert. Split a biscuit open, add lots (yes, lots) of butter, and then some honey. You have to eat this with a fork because otherwise you end up with honey all over your fingers. Or at least that’s what happens to me.

D&D_2627Cook’s Country

12 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
16 ozs sour cream
7 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled, divided (5/2)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir in sour cream and 5 Tbs of butter until combined.

Using a greased 1/4 cup measure, drop generous dough scoops 2 inches apart. Brush with remaining butter and bake till golden brown, 20 – 25 minutes rotating the pan half way through. Let biscuits cool on sheet placed on wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Compared to my mom’s best friend’s sour cream biscuits – Mary Francis Christie – that woman could really cook. And I made those biscuits over and over again – so the challenge is on. Along with lots of other drops biscuits that I have yet to try.

I have to say, I was underwhelmed with these biscuits. The flavor was pretty good, but the biscuits were just kind of on the flat side. I didn’t fiddle with the recipe either – did it just as prescribed. I did take them to work for breakfast and spilt them and put them in a toaster oven, added butter, and honey and the taste was good – crunch from the toasting was nice, but they were not my idea of a biscuit.

More experimentation in the future. Damn, make me try more biscuits, my life is so difficult, right?

Pull-Apart Cheesy Garlic Bread

This is the third version I’ve made since this past fall, but only the first version I’ve been relatively happy with. There might be still more work to be done, but I will keep at it like the trooper that I am. D&D_1643

Things I’ve learned:
-You need a sturdy bread. A round is okay, but I like a Chicago Italian loaf the best so far. A white bread (version #2, I used White Mountain Bread round) and it was just too soft. You can’t really pull-apart the bread. Sort of defeats the purpose.
-Roast the head of garlic. Great flavor and compliments the minced garlic. Yes.
-Melt the butter in a pot and add all flavorings. Keep on low to infuse the butter with lots of flavor.
-Use sliced cheese in the lower part of the cross-hatched of bread. Use grated cheese above.
-Add lemon zest and lemon juice.
-Fresh herbs – your choice but I like chives, parsley, and finely minced rosemary.
-Red pepper flakes are a must, even if it’s just a tiny pinch.
-Make the cross-hatch pattern large – it’s easier to stuff than a tight cross-hatch pattern.

Loaf of Chicago Italian Bread
Head of garlic
1 Tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 Tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp kosher salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 Tbs minced parsley
1 tsp finely minced rosemary
I Tbs Dijon mustard
1/3 pound provolone, sliced kind of thick
1/3 pound colby, grated on large holes of box grater
minced chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut top 1/2 inch of head of garlic to expose cloves. Place on piece of foil, pour olive oil on garlic, wrap tightly in foil and bake about 40 minutes, until garlic head is soft. Remove and set aside. Leave oven on.

Melt butter over medium low heat in saucepan, add in minced garlic, salt, red pepper, black pepper, zest and juice from lemon. Add in parsley, rosemary, and Dijon mustard. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Place bread on foil and make a large cross-hatch pattern, slicing most of the way, but not all the way through. Brush tops and sides with butter. Slide provolone in crevices, then squish roasted garlic in with the provolone, and then stuff the colby as well. Spread remaining butter with herbs into crevices and on top.

Bake until cheese melts, 18 – 20 minutes. Top with chives and serve.

15 January 2018

Butterscotch Blondie Muffins

So how do you make a warning:

D&D_2651I pretty much love everything butterscotch. It’s a long time thing, but I have dedicatedly made these muffins twice now and they just don’t cut it for me. I hate to say that about any recipe, but this did not work.

The first time I made them in paper liners – well they stuck. Ugh. So I tried to fix the idea, foil liners sprayed with cooking spray and removed the muffins as soon as possible. Still within a few minutes the were just too hard to deal with.

The flavor was good, but, sad to say, I just could not get past the texture/hardness.

Yield: 12 to 15 cupcakes

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners (see notes above). Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt over a piece of waxed paper.

In a stand mixer*, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Fold in butterscotch chips by hand.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with only a few moist (but not wet) crumbs, about 30 minutes. Transfer tin to a wire rack. Cool for a few minutes; remove cupcakes from tin and remove cupcake liners before serving. Cupcakes can be stored up to 5 days in airtight containers at room temperature.

Source: Redacted. 

* You do know that every time I say a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer and be fine. I just don’t have any idea where my hand mixer is, if I even have one. That said, it would be kind of nice to have one because cleaning a stand mixer is a big pita (pain-in-the-ass), but I do it just the same.

 

Roasted Stuffed Acorn Squash

I have never cooked an acorn squash – or any winter squash for that matter. Therefore this was a completely new experience for me. It did not hurt that I make rice just about every week and make mushrooms pretty much every week too. Rice, mushrooms, shallots, lemon – just my kind of go to lunch.

I would rather take lunch to work than to go out for it (or breakfast). I think I make pretty good food and I make what I like and that works for me. Why go out and buy something if you are happy with the things you make. And for me, I like to mix things up a bit. Sometimes it is toasted bread with mushrooms and some cheese,  or rice with mushrooms and artichoke hearts. I always have cheese and butter at work – and always always a fresh lemon. I also have a salt and pepper grinders – makes a difference.

I guess that is where my lunch hacks come from. Take something you have and turn it into something new with just what you have, appliance wise, at the office. In my case – toaster, toaster oven, and a microwave. Looking forward to the new office where will have a warming oven. Hoping it gets hot enough to make cookies (350 degrees). That will just smell great.

D&D_24931 acorn squash, cut in half stem to root and scoop out seeds/strings
1/2 cup grain, jasmine rice, cooked, finished w/lemon juice/zest
1 cup vegetables, cooked (crimini mushrooms, shallots, garlic, lemon juice/zest)
1/2 cup extra sharp white cheddar
Additional filling ingredients as desired, dried fruits, nuts, etc.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (convection).

Place the squash halves cut-side-down in a baking dish and pour in enough hot water to fill the pan by about 1/4 inch. Cover the dish loosely with foil and place the dish in the middle of the oven.

Roast the squash until easily pierced by a paring knife, 30 to 50 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size of your squash.

While the squash is roasting, prepare the filling. Mix filling ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and any other spice you would like. Or add some dried fruits (I’m thinking cranberry here) or nuts.

Flip the cooked squash halves so they form bowls. Rub the inside with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide the filling between the halves — mound the filling on top.

Cover the pan with the foil and bake the halves for another 15 to 20 minutes until both are hot and bubbly. Top with extra cheese and serve immediately.

15 minutes at 375 convection, turn 15 more – done.

This was pretty cool. Will be trying more winter squashes. Such a new thing for me. I kind of like the speckled look of the acorn squash. Looks like stars.

Source: thekitchen.com