Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Are you wondering what to do with all of those carrots you have in your fridge or are you just craving a delicious carrot cake?  People usually either love carrot cake of they hate it.  I love them. I found out that historians tell us that the origins of carrot cake were likely a type of carrot pudding enjoyed during medieval times. Later sweetening agents were hard to come by in Britain and quite expensive, so as a result, carrots were often used in place of sweeteners. 

Most all carrot cake recipes have a core group of ingredients in common, which are flour, sugar, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, salt), baking soda/powder, butter or oil, nuts, and of course carrots. But there are folks that put other things into their cake like: pumpkin, coconut, figs, chocolate chips, oranges, zucchini, ginger, beetroot, sweet potatoes, or papaya.  If you have a recipe with one of those ingredients in your carrot cake I would love to hear about it.  I like my carrot cake basic but would be eager to try something different. 

In terms of carrot cake frostings, some people still prefer their carrot cake plain like me, although you will still see a lot of recipes for the traditional cream-cheese frosting. Other carrot cake toppings folks like are Greek yogurt that is lightly sweetened, buttermilk glaze with a zest of lemon, Royal icing, and chocolate icing.

Then there are many variations of things folks do with their recipe, the amount of carrots they put into a carrot cake recipe will affect both the texture and taste of the cake, using pureed carrots as opposed to shredding raw carrots will give your carrot cake a much more moist consistency, use oil instead of butter, use the zest of one orange in the batter for a zippier consistency.

I like my basic carrot cake recipe and I can tell you that I found this great recipe called Laurie’s Amazing Carrot Cake on A Bountiful Kitchen.  That recipe was made for a wedding cake so not only did I split it the recipe in half but I also made it with walnuts and golden raisins, and it turned out amazing.  Her secret to a moist, but not too greasy carrot cake is buttermilk and lots of carrots. I can tell you it was moist. I made this cake as a bunt cake but I am sure you can make it in any pan you wish.  

I am not a huge fan of frosting and usually like my carrot cakes plain but I wanted to try a new frosting, so I made a Cream Cheese Frosting from Simply Recipes and added coconut in it.  It was one of the variations to the recipe.  I only put a thin layer of frosting on the cake but it was good, I am sure you can add as must frosting as you wish.

Enjoy!

Carrot Cake

Adapted from: A Bountiful Kitchen

Ingredients
1 ¾ cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cups buttermilk
4 eggs
½  tbsp salt
2 tsp soda
2 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ground cloves
3 cups grated carrots (4 medium carrots)
1 cup walnuts
2 ¼ cups flour
1 cup raisins

Beat the eggs, oil and buttermilk together in a large bowl. Grind the pecans and raisins in a food processor with a metal blade. Pulse until chopped into very small pieces. Add all of the dry ingredients, including the nuts and raisins to the wet ingredients. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour into greased and floured bunt pan, only fill pan 3/4 full. Bake at 325 F degrees for about 50 minutes. Test with toothpick to see if done before removing from oven.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from: Simply Recipes

Ingredients
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), cold
2-3 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

With an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep adding until you get to desired sweetness and thickness. Either spread on with a blunt knife or spatula, or spoon into a piping bag to decorate your cake or cupcake.

Variations:
Adding a teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice is always great for exotic chocolate cakes.
Adding freshly ground ginger helps spice up a carrot cake.
Freshly ground chai spice or even the contents of a bag of earl grey tea are heady and aromatic.
The scrapings from a vanilla bean can be very sweet and heavenly for red velvet or dark chocolate cakes.
Freshly grated or dried, flaked coconut mixed in makes it perfect for a coconut cake.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Barbecue Sauce

As it is getting warmer outside it is soon time to take out the grill.  There is always a question of what to put on the grill and i know most folks just put on hot dogs or hamburgers because it is easy.   Well here is an easy BBQ sauce for your to switch things around. But before we jump into the recipe here is some history for you.

Did you know that barbecue sauce has been used to help add flavor to grilled and smoked meats for as long as 300 years, depending on where you look the history of barbecue sauce isn’t exactly clear. We do know that in the US the BBQ sauce do come from the south. All barbecue masters have their own special sauce recipe, but depending on where you set up your smoker in the United States, you’ll probably use a different style of sauce. This is because each region, sometimes even within a state, has its own signature style. Sauces are used in a few different ways. Some meats and ribs are marinated in sauce and then grilled and basted. Other meats, like beef brisket and pork butt, are typically cooked with a dry rub and then sauced after they’ve been sliced or pulled.

Did you know…
…the first BBQ sauce was created to preserve meat prior to the invention of effective refrigeration? A mixture of vinegar, water, salt, and peppers was the first form of BBQ sauce.
… that the US has 12 classic BBQ recipes in the: Kansas City, South Carolina Mustard Sauce, East Carolina Vinegar Mop-Sauce, Lexington Dip, Texas Sauce, Tennessee Whiskey Sauce, Louisiana Hot Dipping Sauce, Alabama White Sauce, Memphis Dry Rub, Fruit sauce, Sweet Glaze and Novelty sauces.

Well, this easy recipe was originally from The new basic Cookbook but in the book it calls for a few more ingredients as well as cooking the barbecue sauce.  I like this sauce better uncooked and simple. I marinate chicken in here, other meats and then put them on the grill.  This is my favorite BBQ sauce and it beats the bottled one.

Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from: The New Basics Cookbook

½ cup chopped onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup ketchup
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp Worchester sauce

Mix all the ingredients together and together and add to your favorite meat before you put on your barbecue grill. If you want it more spicy you can always add more cayenne pepper.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oatmeal Wafers “Havreflarn” with Nutella

Here is another recipe that would not be easier and quicker to make but tastes fabulous. They are called “Havreflarn” in Swedish or Oatmeal Wafer is probably the best translation.  These wafers you can find everywhere in Sweden, they have been around ever since I was a little kid.  You can even get these in IKEA today.  Your main ingredients are oats.  There are so many things you can do to these.  Some of the most common ones are dipping them in chocolate.  Another one which i did was add Nutella to them, or you can add Nutella in the middle of two wafers.  Some folks add whipped cream between two wafers.  It is really up to you what you like.  You can even add 2 tbsp of cocoa into the batter or 2 tbsp of coconut as well.  All of those things taste good. 

Oatmeal Wafers “Havreflarn” with Nutella

7 tbsp butter
1 1/4 cup oats
1 egg
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder

Oven 350 F

Melt the butter in a pot and stir in the oats.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl mix the egg and sugar well. Then pour in the baking power and flour.  Once it is mixed add the oats and butter a little at the time. On a cookie sheet drop batter a 1 tsp at a time. Do not add anymore than 9 of these with 3 inches apart.  Bake for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.  Let stand 1 minute before removing quickly with sharp knife or spatula. Cool on rack.  Do one batch at a time if you let the batter sit too long the oats swell and the cookie will not expand as well.

Once the wafers have cooled heat a little of the Nutella and spread it on the wafers.

Makes about 27 wafers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cookbook Giveaway!

I recently got a copy of a cookbook I already owned.  I was wondering who would want this, and then thought why not do a giveaway right here?

I am giving away The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten to you, the readers, the ones that keep coming back. One example out of this cookbook is my Strawberry Scones recipe.

I wanted to say thank you to all of you that keep coming back reading week after week, and I could not think of a better way to do it than by showing you my gratitude by giving this great cookbook to a lucky winner.

To enter the giveaway you need to do 3 things:

1. Subscribe to Delishhh in an RSS feed or by Email!
2. Subscribe via Twitter or become a fan of my Facebook page
3. Leave a comment here to let me know you did 1 & 2 as well as letting me know what you would like to see here during my next year of blogging. This will give me some great ideas.

The giveaway ends on Sunday, 4/25 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Winner will be selected from Random.org.

Good luck and thank you so much for being here with me. I look forward to getting some new great ideas.

***** UPDATE ******

And the winner is. . . .

 

Comment #8 belongs to Shannalee from Food Loves Writing – CONGRATULATIONS!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Strawberry Scones

I had a bunch of strawberries in the refrigerator so I have been trying to do different strawberry recipes lately.  I made strawberry pancakes the other day and today I did the strawberry scones from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  The recipe calls for dried strawberries but I had fresh ones so I thought I would use them.  Also I added vanilla and lemon essence to mine.  I was thinking orange essence but I had just run out of it. These were very easy to make not lots of sugar and they came out delicious.  You can add other fruits too, blueberry or even nuts or chocolate chips, even dried fruit since the original recipe calls for it.  Let me know what you put in your scones.

Strawberry Scones

Adapted from: Barefoot Contessa

Ingredients
4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp lemon essence
2 tsp salt
3/4 pound (3 sticks of butter) cold unsalted butter, diced
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup small-diced strawberries
1 egg beaten for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of flour, set them aside.

The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 4-inch plain or fluted cutter, and then cut them in half diagonally to make triangles. Then put the strawberries in the triangle and fold the top piece over to the long side of the triangle. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outsides are crisp and the insides are fully baked.

Makes around 14 to 16 large scones.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Seattle Restaurant Week!

Picture from Seattle Restaurant Week Website

Here is another great opportunity for folks to take advantage of the great restaurants Seattle has to offer.    

Seattle Restaurant week is starting, from April 18-29 with over 106 restaurants that will offer $25 three course dinners or $15 lunches.   

This is a great time for Seattle restaurants to show what they can do for a reasonable price and get customers they would usually not get, but also this is a great time for us foodies to go to our favorite places and get a good 3-course meal for only $25.   

Since it is only from April 18-29, Sunday through Thursday, with over 106 restaurants to choose from that is a hard task to narrow down to the place one should go to.  If you would go out every night of the week during that time you would only have time for 10 restaurants.  So I have narrowed it down to 10 of my favorites and which ones I would go to.  On top of that I am telling you what I would order on the menu.    

You can view the full list of restaurant on the Seattle Restaurant week website but below is my top 10 list.   

Don’t miss this opportunity next Seattle Restaurant week will not happen until October 2010.   

Here is my top 10 restaurant list that I would go to between April 18-29:   

Anchovies & Olives – This is my favorite seafood restaurant these days after OceanAir closed.  It took me awhile to go here but I have been here 3 times since.  The menu is a little intimidating.  They change it daily or weekly and half of the things on the menu one has never heard of, but the food is always delicious and very fresh.  Here is what I would order:  For appetizer I would get the Escolar Crudo with Avocado, Red Onion, and Fennel; for main course I would get Lumache Mussels, with Currents, Capers, and Escarole; for dessert I would get Rhubarb Shortcake with Almond Whipped Cream.   

Anchovies & Olives
1550 15th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122-4008
(206) 838-8080
Anchovies & Olives on Urbanspoon  

Barking Frog – This restaurant is in Woodinville but a great place to go to on a Sunday night.  Not only is the food good but the atmosphere is really nice. Read my full Barking Frog review. Here is what I would order: For appetizer Sous Vide Pork Belly; for entrée Ginger Crusted Sea Scallops with Beluga Lentils, Apple Bacon, Pea Vines, Maitake Mushrooms, Cipollini Onions, Smoked Almonds, and Coconut Curry Sauce; for dessert Vanilla Raspberry Pot de Crème which is Vanilla Custard over fresh Raspberries   

Barking Frog
14580 NE 145th St
Woodinville, WA 98072
(425) 424-2999 
Barking Frog on Urbanspoon  

Brasa – I love the atmosphere at this place.  It is cozy and romantic and the food is great too.  It is a great date place.  Here is what I would order from the menu: For appetizer Pork Belly with Crispy fingerlings, marinated fiddlehead ferns, dill sauce;  for entrée I would order Hanger Steak Spring greens, cabrales butter, frites; for dessert the Spanish doughnuts with spiced chocolate dipping sauce.   

Brasa
2107 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121-2321
(206) 728-4220
Brasa on Urbanspoon  

Café Campagne – While you are at Pike Place market this is an excellent place to stop for some good food for brunch, lunch or dinner. Here is what I would order from the menu: For appetizer the Pâté de Campagne made from country-style pork and chicken liver pâte; for entrée, Boeuf Bourguignon, Red wine braised beef shoulder with button mushrooms, bacon lardons and pearl onions, served on spatzle; for dessert Cherry Clafoutis with Almond Ice Cream.   

Café Campagne
1600 Post Alley,
Seattle, WA
(206) 728-2233
Cafe Campagne on Urbanspoon  

Eva Restaurant – This place is in Greenlake and very cute.  The restaurant is cozy and warm, only a few tables, and the food is very good. I highly recommend you try this place out if you haven’t been. This is what I would order:  For appetizer Baby Beets with Cucumber, Feta, and a Roasted Garlic Skordalia; for Entrée I would get Carlton Farm Pork Tenderloin with a Warm Salad of Fingerling Potato, Chorizo, and Oil Cured Olives; for dessert Carrot Cake with Orange Marmalade Frosting and Candied Oranges.   

Eva Restaurant
2227 North 56th Street
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 633-3538 
Eva Restaurant on Urbanspoon  

Dahlia Lounge – You can’t go wrong at Dahlia Lounge.  Always a solid northwestern food experience from our famous Tom Douglas owner. This is what I would order from here: For appetizer Country style rabbit pate, pickled carrots, rhubarb mustard, rye toast; for entrée Rotisserie roasted five spice duck, mushroom fried rice, gai lan, pear jam, sesame; for dessert the Doughnuts, fried to order with huckleberry jam.   

Dahlia Lounge
2001 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 682-4142 
Dahlia Lounge on Urbanspoon  

Lark – This is one of my favorite places to go out and eat.  There is something on the menu for everyone and it is always good.  It is small plates and you get to try a few different things which I love.  This is what I would order: For appetizer I would get Pork rillettes with French Breakfast radish, butter and sea salt; for entrée I would get Braised Ninety Farm lamb with fregola, zucchini, mint and chiles; for dessert Theo chocolate pot de crème with almond croquant.   

Lark
926 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 323-5275 
Lark on Urbanspoon  

Quinn’s Pub – This is a Gastro pub and my favorite pub food in Seattle.  Not only do they have a fabulous beer menu but their food is delicious.  Read my full Quinn’s Pub review. Here is what I would order from their menu: For appetizer Braised pork belly, brussel sprouts, rutabaga, grain mustard; for entrée the Bar steak, potato confit, salsa verde; for dessert Quinn’s Ho-Ho.   

Quinn’s Pub
1001 East Pike Street
Seattle, WA
(206) 325-7711 
Quinn's on Urbanspoon  

Restaurant Zoe – Excellent food, also the same owner as Quinn’s. Here is what I would order from their menu: For appetizers I would get Fresh ricotta gnudi balsamic red onion puree, truffle salt, parmesan; for Entrée I would get Roasted veal with carrots, radish, chickpeas, and mizuna; for dessert I would get Malt sundae chocolate brownie, cocoa nibs   

Restaurant Zoe
2137 Second Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 256-2060 
Restaurant Zoe on Urbanspoon  

Taste Restaurant – This place is part of Seattle Art Museum, you wouldn’t know. The food is excellent and they just remodeled the whole place.  I wish they would make the room a little warmer, it is a little to cold of an atmosphere, better than it used to be but could be improved.  Here is what I would order from their menu: For appetizer I would get the Fresh thyme gnocchi with sweet cream nettles; as a main course I would get braised calrton farm pork with baby turnips and Yukon puree and fennel fronds;  for dessert I would get the double chocolate mint ice cream sandwich and peanut brittle.   

Taste Restaurant
1300 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 903-5291
TASTE Restaurant on Urbanspoon  

Enjoy and let me know which places you are going to.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Swedish Chocolate Balls “Chokladbollar”

I don’t think there is one kid in Sweden that does not know what a chocolate ball is.  Now these days it has a few new names, chocolate ball, coconut ball, oat ball, it changed name probably in the 80’s to be more politically correct.  I am not going to say it but I grew up with it called The “N” word ball.

The reason it is so popular with kids is that it does not involve any knives or heat.  You just mix all the ingredients together and you can eat it right after.  What kid wouldn’t want that dessert?

And if you were lucky it passed the test for your parents of being eaten on other days than Saturdays, the only day eating candy was allowed. Yes, as a kid in Sweden eating candy was only allowed on Saturdays. They even make candy bags in the stores that are named, “Saturday Candy.”  Every week when our neighborhood kids got their Saturday allowance we used to run to the kiosk and get mixed candy for our allowance.

This Chocolate ball I enjoy even as an adult, and deep down it still doesn’t feel as sinful as eating candy.

I roll these balls in coconut flakes, but you can roll them in pearl sugar or not roll them at all.  Also it includes coffee, as a kid I used to use instant coffee and it worked just fine. These days I just make an espresso and use a tablespoon of that.

Enjoy!

Swedish Chocolate Balls “Chokladbollar”

1/4 lb or 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1 tbsp strong coffee (cold)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

Roll in coconut flakes or pearl sugar

Mix butter, sugar and coffee together first and then add all the other ingredients.  Make sure the butter is mixed in well.  The batter should be easy to roll and not too sticky, you can adjust consistency with oats or coffee.

Roll batter into about 25 small balls and roll them in pearl sugar or coconut flakes.

Refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Raisin and Pine nut Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad is so simple to make but still hard to find a good one. My husband and I like different kinds of chicken salads.  He likes his simple: chicken, celery, salt and pepper and mayo.  And I like mine spicy and tangy.  I love to have pickles, sour cream, and capers in it, almost like a remoulade with chicken.  Today I had a bunch of left over chicken and was looking for a new kind of chicken salad we both would enjoy and I think I might have found a winner.  I came across a Cranberry and walnut chicken salad by Smitten Kitchen. However, my husband doesn’t like cranberries or walnuts in his salad so instead I used pine nuts and golden raisins; I also added Dijon mustard as well.  Turned out great!

Let me know your favorite chicken salad.

Raisin and Pine nut Chicken Salad

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

4 cups cubed (1/2 inch) cooked chicken (about 1 3/4 lb)
1 cup pine nuts
1 celery rib, diced into small bits (1 cup)
2 or more tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 cup dried golden raisins
2/3 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tarragon or any herb of your choice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until combined well.

You can add it to your sandwich, serve it on cracker on put it on top of some lettuce.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Swedish Brownie ”Kladdkaka”

Swedish brownies are called ”kladdkaka” in Swedish which means stickycake. So you wonder what is the difference between regular brownies and Swedish brownies. There are two big differences sugar and baking powder. Swedish brownies have more sugar and no baking powder, which causes a more dense and sticky brownie. This brownie is hard on the outside and sticky on the inside.

Also this brownie takes about 10 minutes to whip together it makes and excellent quick dessert that tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen.

Most Swedes eat this with whipped cream and sometimes sprinkled chopped almonds on top.

This recipe, as many of my Swedish dessert, asks for vanilla sugar. I have said in the past that you can get vanilla sugar at Ikea if you wish or just use vanilla extract But I did find out that that you can also make vanilla sugar at home. I found this excerpt from Wikipedia, ”Vanilla sugar is a commonly used ingredient of German, Polish, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Austrian, Czech, Slovakian, Slovenian and other European desserts. Vanilla sugar is made of Costa Rican granulated sugar, with vanilla beans or mixed with vanilla extract. It can be costly and difficult to obtain outside Europe but can be simply made at home. Sometimes it can be replaced with vanilla extract, where one teaspoon equals one package. However, when it is needed as a topping, vanilla extract is unsuitable. Vanilla sugar can be prepared at home by combining approximately 2 cups of white sugar with the scraped seeds of one vanilla bean.”

I have never tried it but if you do please let me know how it goes.

Enjoy!

Swedish Brownie ”Kladdkaka”

10 tbsp melted butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ tbsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cups all purpose flour
Dash of salt

Do not use a mixer for this. You should hand stir all this together. First stir all the butter, sugar and eggs. Then add the cocoa, vanilla, flour and salt.

Butter and bread a 9” spring form pan and pour the mixture in there. It is ok that is doesn’t fill the full plan once it goes into the over it will spread out.

Bake in 400F for 25minutes. Do not over cook. It should be hard on the outside and sticky in the inside.

Let the cake cool and server with whipped cream.

 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Delishhh – Featured on Half Hour Meals!

Half Hour Meals

I have some really exciting news today. Recently I was contacted by Theresa Hall over at Half Hour Meals to do an interview about Delishhh!

I was really excited.  Half Hour Meals is a great site, if you have a busy life and still want time to cook a great meal, Half Hour Meals is an excellent resource. I am very happy to be featured there.

Read an excerpt from the interview below. Thank you, Theresa!

Please share with us how you developed your writing style. Did you have a difficult time creating your site or did everything fall into place as soon as you started posting your recipes?

I had so much information I wanted to share at the same time, but I know a food blog is a work in progress. I started with the recipes that I was cooking for the week.  Then I began digging into my unorganized cookbook with lots of handwritten notes, newspaper clippings and old printouts.  I wondered how I was going to organize this mess and just thought if I get through the binder one recipe at time it will all fall into place.

Your quiche looks marvelous, do you make any variations of this recipe and if so, what else do you add in the mix?

This is my Quiche at its best.  I have tried all kinds of Quiche recipes over the years and everyone seems to rave about this one. I think I found the secret ingredient–Dyson mustard, which you bake on top of your crust before you put in the egg mixture.  I always have meat and a vegetable; so those could vary from bacon, to sausage and the vegetable could really be anything you want.  This recipe is my favorite.

To continue reading head over to Half Hour Meals for the full interview!

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