Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Perfect Meat Loaf

I love meat loaf. Wait, I love this meatloaf. It comes from a cookbook called The Perfect Recipe by Pam Anderson(not the untalented bimbo) This is a Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf with Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze. Its juicy and flavorful and did I mention I love it? And in my opinion anything with bacon  is better than without it.

Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf w/ Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze

Brown-Sugar Ketchup Glaze
1/4 cup ketchup or chili sauce
2 T. brown sugar (light or dark)
2 t. cider or white vinegar

Meat Loaf
2 t. vegetable oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs
1 t dried thyme leaves
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 t Dijon mustard
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 c buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 pounds meat loaf mix (ground chuck, ground veal, ground pork)
I can't find that mixture so I just use 1 1/2 pounds beef and 1/2 pound pork
2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers or quick oatmeal or 1 1/3 c fresh bread crumbs
1/3 c minced fresh parsley leaves
8-9 ounces thin-sliced bacon

Glaze: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Meat Loaf: Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in medium skillet. Add onion and garlic, saute' until softened, about 5 minutes; set aside to cool.

Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire, pepper sauce and milk or yogurt. Add egg mixture to meat in a large bowl, along with crackers, oatmeal or bread crumbs, parsley and cooked onion mixture; mix with a fork until evenly blended.

Shape the meat mixture into a loaf about 9x5 inches. Cover a wire rack with foil; prick the foil several times with a fork. Place on a shallow roasting pan (jelly roll pan works well) set formed meat loaf on rack. Brush with all of the glaze, then arrange bacon slices crosswise over loaf, overlapping them slightly and tucking them under the loaf to prevent them from curling.

Bake this little sweetheart until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160 degrees; about 1 hour. Cool for at least 20 minutes. Slice and serve.

Threes A Charm for Ebleskiver

Ebleskiver are delicious and once you get the hang of making them they are well worth the trouble. I bought a vintage Ebleskiver pan but I bet a non stick version would make these quite easy to prepare. Some of you may never have heard of Ebleskiver, in truth I hadn't either until I spotted the pan in Williams Sonoma. I wanted to do some homework on these spheres of awesomeness. Here is what I was able to find. I found they are also spelled Aebleskiver. They are a delicacy, supposedly invented by some Dane back in history. They are like a pancake formed like a tennis ball.

The name makes people believe that there are slices of apples inside, which is correct--- if you put apple slices inside! You see, everybody, including me, has their own favorite recipe and way of serving them, all depending from where in Denmark the recipe came from. You can find them served several different ways. The most common way is with powdered sugar sprinkled over them and then topped with raspberry jam. One theory how Aebleskiver were invented is that back in the good old days, when the Vikings were roaming up and down the coasts of Europe and the waters of the Atlantic, one band of these Vikings had been particularly hard hit in battle, so, when they got back on their ship with their horn helmets and shields all dented and banged up, they decided to have one of their favorite dishes to help them regain their strength ---- pancakes!!

In those days they did not have modern conveniences such as frying pans, so, they greased their shields and poured the pancake batter on them over the fire but, guess what?! Aebleskiver!

Danish Ebleskiver

2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 T sugar
desired fruit jam or applesauce

Separate eggs, beat whites until they are stiff, set aside. In another bowl beat yolks, add sugar and buttermilk
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Then add to egg yolk mixture. Mix well. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
Heat ebleskiver pan and put small dot of butter in each depression. When bubbling add batter to 2/3 full working quickly put small amount of filling in each, go back and cover with more batter(small amount) when they are set carefully turn with a fork or spoon or I found a frosting spatula worked well.
Serve with powdered sugar, jam, maple syrup or whatever you would like!

This recipe makes a lot of these (at least 28) plenty of batter to practice with.

Ebleskiver Take 2

I figured out you have to work really fast. You fill each depression with a little bit of butter, wait for it bubble and then fill with batter 2/3 full. Quickly starting with the first one add filling. This time I used some Peach preserves. Then you go back and add a small amount of batter to the tops. By the time you finish that step the first little bugger should be ready to flip. Not an easy task either. I will admit that as I worked my way around the pan it did get easier. They are looking better but still not perfect.

Ebleskiver Shows Me Whats Up

Take 1

Ok. Making Ebleskiver is hard. My first attempt didn't go so well. I think my pan was too hot. These I made with a buttermilk recipe I found online and filled them with my homemade applesauce. My Danish Great Great grandmother would be ashamed of me. I will try again.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are pretty healthy as muffins go. These are not real sweet, they are made with the addition of whole wheat flour and flaxseed meal, both of which I buy Bobs Red Mill brand. I love them and can feel good about eating a second one...and a third.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
(makes 12)

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 eggs
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. nonfat milk
1/3 c. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Add to the wet mixture a mixture of:

1 cup white flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/4 ground flaxseed meal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp/ salt
1/2 c. Hershey's mini chocolate chips

Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes. I personally am not a fan of paper muffin cups so I just sprayed the pan with PAM for baking. I filled the muffin tins probably 3/4 full. Perfect!

I like big Bundts and I can not lie!

I love Fall it is my favorite time of the year. The flies and mosquitoes are nearly dead and it cools down so I can comfortably and happily cover my sad body. Pumpkin is everywhere and I love to cook and bake with it. This Pumpkin Bundt is my favorite of many bundt recipes I have. Give it a whirl you wont be sorry!

I like big Bundts Pumpkin Bundt

For cake

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing bundt pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-ounce can; not pie filling)
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs

For icing
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons well-shaken buttermilk
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Special equipment: a 10-inch nonstick bundt pan (3 quart)

Make cake:
Put oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bundt pan generously, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, 3/4 cup buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl.

Beat butter (1 1/2 sticks) and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.

Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top, then bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert rack over cake and reinvert cake onto rack. Cool 10 minutes more.

Make icing:
While cake is cooling, whisk together buttermilk and confectioners sugar until smooth. Drizzle icing over warm cake, then cool cake completely. Icing will harden slightly.


Here I am with my new Ebleskiver pan I scored at an estate sale in St Paul Mn that my fantastic friend Kristen(you'll learn more about her later) and I happened upon last weekend. I've had my eye on one of these bad boys in the Williams Sonoma catalog for some time now. Score! $8 for a vintage Ebleskiver pan. I also picked up a food mill, a vintage Osterizer blender that weighs enough to use as a weapon if you ever need to crack someones skull open in your kitchen(it could happen)What's that? You are looking at my picture and judging me? Yes. This is indeed what I look like on any given weekend when I am lucky enough not to have to leave my house. I will look like this all day and probably worse tomorrow. However my kitchen is full of pumpkin filled treats, homemade soup and soon Ebleskiver once I figure out how the heck to use this pan.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

When life gives you apples, make apple pie.

So I'll be honest. I don't make pie. Why? Because rolling dough terrifies me. I don't even bake Christmas cookies that require rolling. Do you have any idea what sort of sick fun I could have decorating gingerbread men and women? I have denied myself this pleasure all because I fear the rolling pin. So today for whatever reason I decided to take another stab at using the ol' rolling pin. And voila! I did it and it was easy! Maybe it was the recipe I used, maybe the last 10 years that have gone by since attempting it I have become more patient maybe it was the second glass of wine that gave me the courage...I don't know. What I do know is that I am going to have some seriously funny gingerbread men and women to share with you in the coming months. Look out!

My First Apple Pie

The dreaded crust...this makes enough for a double crust 9" pie. Though I cut one up and got all fancy and made a lattice top.

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup very cold water

Mix shortening , flour sugar and salt together with a fork or your fingers until very crumbly. Add as much water as needed to hold together, and mix lightly with a fork. Divide ball of dough in half.

Take a deep breath and roll one ball of the dough gently to about an inch larger than pie plate. Fold carefully in half. Lift to pie plate, and unfold. Fit into pan. Roll second ball of dough and cut into strips and lay over filled lower crust and weave. Good Luck!

For the Apple Pie Filling
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
8 Granny Smith or whatever baking apple you have on hand - peeled, cored and sliced

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour. Add white sugar, brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes

Meanwhile, place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Do your magic with the pieces of crust for the lattice top. Carefully pour the sugar and butter mixture over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off. And for crying out loud don't burn yourselves..that stuff is hot.

Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees , and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes.

Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Muffins

I woke up to snow this morning. I decided quite early that I was going to pretend that outside my home (for me it is my kitchen) there was no world. But then reality set in when my coffee pot decided to quit working. So I was forced to go out into the 29 degree "world" and buy a new long as I was out I went to the farmers market and picked up some fresh tomatoes, a quart of honey and some delicious homemade jellies. Then the grocery store for some canned pumpkin and things I needed to bake some pies, cook some stew and settle in for the weekend. Except for a crazy lady in aisle five at the supermarket I managed to nearly pretend I was all alone in the world.

Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Muffins

Yield: 24 muffins

For the muffins:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

For the streusel topping:
½ cup sugar
¼ cup and 1 tsp. flour
4 tbsp. butter, cubed
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until smooth. Form into a log on plastic wrap or foil, making sure that the diameter is small enough to fit into the well of a muffin pan. Wrap the log up tightly and freeze until slightly hardened, 1-2 hours. I was not patient enough to wait the full 1-2 hours. In fact I waited about 15 minutes. Patience is overrated.

To make the muffins, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar and pumpkin puree. Mix until well combined. Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.

To make the streusel topping, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together with a pastry blender or your fingertips until crumbly.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two muffin pans with paper liners. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well halfway with batter. Remove the cream cheese log from the freezer and slice into 24 equal slices. Place a slice in each muffin well. Divide the remaining muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups, on top of the cream cheese. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before serving...or not.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bahama Mama Banana Rum Cake

This recipe comes from my Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey cookbook. I've baked this cake twice. Once for the Ryan Hoff Golf Tournament where it fetched $50 at the dessert auction and once to sell at the coffeehouse where I work. It is rich heavy and delish! And there is enough rum in this bad boy that you could consider eating a slice after lunch an afternoon bump. Enjoy!

Bahama Mama Banana Rum Cake

Dark Rum Glaze:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark rum

Combine the butter, water, and sugars in a heavy bottomed (hey! Like the pan I'm heavy bottomed too!) saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the eat and stir in the rum. Set aside and keep warm.

1 1/2 cups toasted chopped pecans (To toast you can heat them on the stove top in a dry pan or in the oven on a sheet pan until lightly browned and aromatic)
3 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
5 large eggs (room temperature) VERY IMPORTANT
1 cup mashed bananas (very ripe) about 3 bananas
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 T dark rum (are feeling tipsy yet? wee!)
3 cups bleached all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
3/4 cup sour cream

To make the cake! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Spray a 10 cup tube pan (angel food cake pan) with non stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the toasted pecans in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer set on medium speed beat together the butter and sugars until the light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the mashed bananas, vanilla, and rum. SIFT the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt over the batter and fold it in using a rubber scraper, just until no streaks of flour remain. Fold in the sour cream. Spoon the batter over the nuts in the pan and spread to the edge of the pan using the back of the rubber spatula.

Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs clinging to it like their lives depend on it. 60 to 80 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 more minutes. Poke holes with a wooden skewer all over the cake and pour 1/4 cup of the warm rum glaze all over the cake. Let cool for another 5 minutes. Place a serving platter over the pan and invert to release the cake onto the platter. Spoon the remaining glaze a little at a time and let stand until glaze is completely absorbed into the cake. If the glaze starts to pool at the ase of the cake use a small metal spatula to spread it up the sides of the cake. As the glaze hardens, this will encase the cake in a rummy yummy sugary shell.

LET THE CAKE COOL COMPLETELY before cutting into wedges and serving. And don't drive drunk.

I had to buy a BIG $23 bottle of Meyers rum to make this cake. It's so good you'll make it more than once. But I bet if you're creative you'll find other ways to use the yummy rum!