Wednesday, August 27, 2008

TWD: Not pretty enough to photograph, good enough to eat

This week's TWD recipe, Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte, was selected by Amy of Food, Family and Fun. I was very excited when I was reading this recipe...until I got to the part where the chocolate ganache called for EIGHT eggs, and not just EIGHT eggs, EIGHT RAW eggs. I said ewww and thought about skipping this week. However, since I skipped last week's recipe, I didn't want to be a two-weeks-in-a-row skipper. So I checked out the TWD page and read some of the comments the other bloggers had posted about this recipe. One participant said she used brownies in place of the ganache, so I decided that was the way to go for me as well. (I can't remember who used brownies, but I'm checking for her blog and will post when I find it.)

So off I went searching for a brownie recipe and I decided to check the past recipes from TWD. One of the very first recipes made was the quintuple chocolate brownie (I'll post that later) which I have been drolling over ever since buying Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, the inspiration for Tuesdays with Dorie. My husband likes fudgy style brownies, and the quintuple chocolate brownie recipe said that it was a fudgy style brownie, so a win-win in my book...please the husband AND avoid making a ganache that has EIGHT RAW eggs in it. Score!

The problem was this...I have no patience. Zero, zilch, nada...especially when it comes to something chocolate and me wanting to eat said chocolate. So the brownies weren't as cool as they should have been when I attempted to assemble the Chocolate (brownie) Banded Ice Cream Torte. And my ice cream kinda melted. And I wanted to make mini tortes in a mini loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. And I thought it would be a good idea to take the mini tortes out of the mini loaf pan, wrap them tightly in the plastic wrap and put them in the freezer that way. With nothing to hold the melting ice cream in place. Do you see where I am going with this?

Yeah, the ice cream just oozed out, but eventually did harder up a bit, which is when I took a big bite and yum, yum, yum. I used Edy's Raspberry Chip Royale ice cream, which is vanilla ice cream swirled with raspberry ice cream and chocolate chips. Heaven on a spoon I tell ya!

I have brownies and ice cream left and am going to attempt to make another Chocolate (brownie) Banded Ice Cream Torte tonight. Hopefully the second time around will be pretty enough to photograph.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mexican Lasagna

My husband thinks that in a past life I was a Mexican Mamasita named Rosita since I could eat Mexican food every day of the week and be completely, blissfully happy. He often shouts...No More Cilantro!...everytime I say...Let's go to our favorite Mexican place for dinner, or I'm making tacos tonight! But he obliges because he loves me, and because if I didn't cook for him, he'd be eating Mac and Cheese or cereal for dinner
Although I am starting to open my culinary horizons a bit and am more willing to try new things, sometimes I still like to keep things very simple for a quick meal. And in my kitchen, it doesn't get any quicker than my lazy version of enchiladas that I don't even bother to roll up and instead layer and call it "Mexican Lasagna" just to make it seem fancy. I forgot the jalapenos when I made this last time and I definitely noticed the difference. That little kick of spice was surely missed.

Mexican Lasagna (or Enchiladas)


18 Corn Tortillas
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can refried beans (I like to use the fat free version – they taste the same)
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can whole corn kernels, drained (which if you are like me you will forget to actually add in)
2 cans (or one large 28 ounce can) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
¼ cup dried onion flakes (softened in water and drained – or you can use onion powder or fresh onion)
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Heat oven to 400 degrees and have a lasagna dish on hand.

Rinse chicken and slice into small strips or chunks. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat in a sauté pan with a few tablespoons of EVOO. When the chicken is mostly done, drain any excess EVOO left in the pan, then add the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin and onions and stir. Let the sauce and chicken simmer on medium low heat while you prepare the other ingredients.

Mix the refried beans and pinto beans together in a bowl. Add a little water if the mixture is too thick. Spoon enough of the sauce (minus the chicken) into the bottom of the lasagna dish to coat it. Layer the bottom of the dish with the corn tortillas (my lasagna dish is large enough to fit 6 overlapping tortillas per layer). Spread 1/3 of the sauce and chicken over the tortillas, next spoon on and spread half of the bean mixture, then sprinkle on half of the corn and top with cheese. Repeat the layers: tortillas, sauce and chicken, beans, corn and cheese. Then top with one last layer of tortillas, the last of the sauce and cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on stove top, or if you are like me, serve right away without letting cool so it comes out as one big mess from the dish! Top with sour cream and salsa if you'd like and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

TWD: A Recipe Rewind

This week's TWD was selected by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity. Dolores chose the Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream recipe, but the ladies who run Tuesdays with Dorie decided to let those of us without an ice cream maker do a recipe rewind and make one of the past TWD recipes. I fall into the category of those without an ice cream maker, and I knew immediately what I would do.

My mom was visiting last week and since I have raved on and on about how wonderful the Perfect Party Cake is, I decided I would make that for us to enjoy. With a little twist!

Last year when my husband and I got married at Fabulous Caesars Palace in Fabulous Las Vegas, we had our cake made by the Fabulous catering department at Caesars. The cake guessed it...Fabulous! (Sorry, there's just something about Vegas that makes me over use the word Fabulous. :)

One of the layers of our cake was coconut cake with pineapple filling and buttercream frosting. But the cake didn't have shredded coconut in it or on it (which I can't stand), it was just flavored with this wonderful hint of coconut and the pineapple was so sweet and tart and well, if I hadn't just gotten married to my husband, I would have eloped at the Little White Wedding Chapel O'Love with that cake. Yes, it was THAT good!

So as soon as I saw the recipe for the Perfect Party Cake when I first bought Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and joined Tuesdays With Dorie, I knew that one day I would recreate that Fabulous cake using Dorie's recipe.

My husband however, hates pineapple, so he has never understood my love of that cake and why I have been obsessed with it for over a year. So keeping in mind my vow to love him in sickness (yes, it's a sickness to hate pineapple) and health, I decided to divide the batter in half and make one cake using Dorie's recipe of lemon flavored cake with raspberry filling for him, and one with coconut flavored cake with pineapple filling for me to love and cherish.

I mixed the batter together leaving out the lemon zest and lemon extract. Then I divided the batter in half and added 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract to one, and 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract to the other. I also left out the lemon juice from the buttercream frosting. In hindsight, it would have been great to add a little of the coconut extract to part of the buttercream as well, but that error in judgement can be corrected the next time I make this cake, which will probably be entirely too soon!

From there, I just made two 2 layer cakes. I did run a little short on the buttercream, but it wasn't a huge problem., both cakes still came out great.

Above is a pic of the coconut cake with pineapple filling. It was very light and fresh and had a great subtle coconut flavor to the cake. Not quite as good as the Fabulous cake from Caesars, but I mean come kitchen doesn't house an award winning pastry team for crying out loud! It was definitely a winner in my book though.

I love this cake so much I am already thinking of other combos to try with it. Next...strawberry and lime? Orange and lemon? Oh so many possibilities!!

TWD: Black and more black Banana Loaf

It's been a busy couple of weeks and I'm just now getting around to posting my last 2 TWD's. Please forgive me, I'm a slacker and my mom was visiting, and well, I was lazy too.

I made the Black and White Banana Loaf (selected by Ashley of A Year in the Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs) a couple weekends ago and as you can see from the pic, it wasn't so much Black AND White, as it was Black and then a little more Black! Apparently I got a little over zealous with the swirling part and I mixed the two batters a little too much. I intended to make this again and not swirl it so much, but time got away from me and all I have is this one sad little picture of a black banana loaf.

Many TWD's reported problems of the batter being very runny and thin, and I have to agree, the batter was extremely runny and when I was attempting to create the swirl, it just sort of mixed all together. Despite not looking very pretty, it tasted great and the chocolate and banana combo was really nice. I do want to make this again, 1. so I can redeem myself and prove that I can marble without overmixing, and 2. so I can eat more of it since it was so tasty.

Even with runny batter and not so great marbling, this was still a great recipe. I have yet to make anything from Dorie's book that wasn't great!! Buy the book if you haven't already, trust me, it's spectacular.