Crispy Risotto cake for breakfast – yes please!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday weekend. My husband and I are getting out of dodge for a little while. We are heading South for some sun, fun and relaxation! We are probably some of the small few at the airport not “technically” traveling for the actual holiday.
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I am writing this post a week early knowing I will not be making much on vacation even though we are renting a house with a kitchen. I am pretty sure I won’t be making anything new to share but I will be taking lots of pictures of most of my meals and will share with you what’s happening out on the Island of Anguilla in my next blog.

Risotto
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1½ Cup Arborio Rice
  2. 1 Quart Chicken Stock
  3. ½ Cup White Wine
  4. 1 medium shallot or small onion chopped finely
  5. 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  6. 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  7. ¼ cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
  8. 1 Tbs chopped Parsley
  9. Kosher Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly translucent.
  3. Add the rice and stir briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so; until there is a slightly nutty aroma. Don’t let the rice turn brown.
  4. Add the wine and cooking while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.
  5. Note: It’s important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.
  6. The rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches. Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn’t done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it’s absorbed
Notes
  1. A few notes to remember!
  2. always add hot liquid never cold
  3. stir often
  4. taste to make sure it has cooked thoroughly
  5. wait a day or two before making your rice cake. Freeze each cake and then fry in a hot pan
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

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I was craving risotto and it isn’t too often I will order it out. It is not something that gets better with time nor does it like to sit and wait for someone to order it.  Not saying that you shouldn’t order it you do you;  I just make a mean risotto at home so I am kinda spoiled! I made some the other night for dinner and of course I always make too mucha and have some left over. As I mentioned it doesn’t get better so I usually make Risotto balls aka arancini or rice cakes. I already have some arancini in the freezer so I had been thinking about what I could do with it differently. I wondered how it would be as a crispy rice cake with a poached egg on top and It was exactly as I thought it would be. It was so good I will be making this again soon!!! I also fried up some sausage to go along side. 
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It is best to wait until the next day for the risotto to dry out a bit; shape about a 1/2 cup of risotto into a cake and place on a sheet pan or something that will fit into your freezer. You’ll want to freeze the cakes for at least 30 minutes it helps them stay together while frying. Preheat either a non stick or cast iron pan. add a little oil and fry on both sides till browned. 

What would I do differently?  I would maybe add fried sausage to the risotto before making it into a patty instead of putting it on the side or maybe use a sausage patty and stack everything up. The sausage patty was my husband’s idea, I figured I could add the cooked sausage to the rice cake and my daughter thought maybe make it into an eggs benedict which sounds delish too. I am sure I will be playing around with this!

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Thanksgiving debate – Stuff or not to stuff

The great Thanksgiving Day food debate has started; does it ever really end?

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Spatchcock Turkey

The Thanksgiving Day debate I have overheard at work and the grocery stores even at the butcher just yesterday. Turkey, Ham, Lamb, Beef or even lasagna? I have never not had Turkey so the others don’t even cross my mind. To brine or not to brine. I’ve done both and prefer not! Stuffing or Dressing and is it a bread stuffing or meat stuffing? I haven’t stuffed a bird with anything except apples, garlic, herbs and onions in years! Bread or meat I grew up on meat but I have gone back and forth for many years but the last 20 or so has been bread. It took me a few years to decide what “my” go to stuffing; actually dressing was going to be. I tried several over the years and asked all in attendance their opinions. We have all agreed to what I now make.

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Fried Turkey

And now for the sides, is there such a thing of too many sides? I used to think so but I am over that now. I think even last year I said OK we are not going to do so many. That didn’t work at all; I argued with myself why each veggie needed to be on the table. Whether it was someone’s favorite,  my favorite or even for color. You eat with your eyes first! My sides are always and will always be carrots, butternut squash, rutabaga aka turnip, and peas. I know I will add sweet potatoes in some form because that was always on my in-laws table.

A couple of more debates that I find quite funny is; the frozen or canned pea debate. I can’t even believe that one exists because canned peas are super mushy and not even a nice green color, no thank you! Hey Mom did you serve canned peas when I was a kid? I am sure I just didn’t like them because they were green; just checking!  Green bean casserole, homemade or the Campbell soup recipe one with the french’s fried onions on top? I have never made nor will ever try either way. I don’t care for green beans, they taste very bitter and too green for me. Kind of like I am eating grass so they are totally out!
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turkey rice soup – tis the season

And last but not least the Cranberry sauce debate some want the canned and others want freshly homemade sauce. I grew up on; the canned and have made fresh several times over the last few years. I personally don’t add it to my plate but I am all over it for the leftovers. Adding it to a sandwich or the Egg rolls I made last year; I am all in! I am already thinking about what I am going to do with the leftovers!    

The only thing I am debating at my house is whether or not I will be making or buying my rolls. I would love to hear what you are debating about for your menu; maybe it is cooking or going out?

Here are a couple of ideas for your leftovers. See the links for Turkey Rice soup, Leftover Thanksgiving egg roll’s and

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Leftover Thanksgiving Egg Roll

 

Creamy Alfredo Sauce

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I have been using up some PTO the last couple of weeks with long weekends and had some grand illusion that I would spend at least some of it making food, taking pictures, writing and banking a few blogs in case the holiday season got a little out of control and I couldn’t write. Then I got this fast and furious cold that won’t go away hello cold and flu season grrrrr.

IMG_4824.JPGYesterday I headed out pretty early in the morning for most of the day; we were out dress shopping for my future daughter-in-law. She has an idea now of her perfect dress but is still waiting for the “yes to the dress” moment.

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I dice up my chicken breast so there is more surface area for the seasoning and fry pan!

My last stop was going to be the grocery shopping and I had a craving for fettuccine Alfredo before I got there so I added a few things to my list. I honestly cannot tell you the last time I had or even wanted it. I used to make it all the time; now it’s just a faded memory. Maybe I needed a little comfort food – that sounds about right!
IMG_4826.JPGTo make it a whole meal I grabbed some broccoli and chicken breast a loaf of bread and voila dinner! Well almost my daughter put away all the groceries while I chilled out on the couch and came very close to napping before I ventured into the kitchen

Creamy Alfredo Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  3. 2 ounces cream cheese optional but does make the sauce creamier
  4. 3-4 cloves fresh garlic minced
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese freshly grated
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Stir over low heat for about 2 minutes until melted and it starts to lightly simmer.
  2. Whisk in the garlic, salt, and pepper for one minute.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add in the Parmesan cheese, continue to whisk until melted.
  4. Serve immediately with your favorite pasta
Adapted from sweet and savory meals
Adapted from sweet and savory meals
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

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Puff Pastry Apple Hand Pies


Hand pies, dumplings, turnovers, empanadas, spring rolls and egg rolls pretty much anything that you can pick up with one hand that has either sweet or savory ingredients inside; I am a fan!
Out of everything I listed in my opening statement I have made them all but two of them. One of the two has been on my list to try to make but I haven’t gotten around to it; the other I think it is just easier to go to a bakery and buy them. I want to learn how to make empanadas and turnovers I am content with someone else doing it. At least for now!
Quick story from my childhood. My mother owned a cleaning company when I was a kid and I would go with her to a couple of offices at night; one was next to a Mom and Pop store/deli. The Mom of the store was a very sweet lady and she knew my favorite was Hostess apple pie and an orange crush. As you can tell I was a health nut way back then too. She would try to save me these items, or at least that was what she said when I came in that week. Now as an adult I very rarely drink soda but orange crush is still on the list, I honestly cannot remember the last time I had a hostess apple pie. I think I had one as an adult but it was many many years ago.
I do prefer to eat homemade or restaurant made items versus processed; but if I was on a desert island and all they had was hostess and crush – I would be pretty OK!
I’ve mentioned many times using up items I have on hand and last week I had some apples on the counter that no one seemed to be grabbing and frozen puff pastry sheets in the freezer that had been in there awhile. Apple hand pies sounded perfect to me; and they were! 

puff pastry apple hand pies
Yields 12
easy to make and eat
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup granulated sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 3 crisp apples or whatever you have on hand; cored and cut into ¾” dice
  4. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  6. pinch of ground cloves
  7. 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  8. 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  9. 1 tbs all purpose flour
  10. 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  11. 1 egg beaten with 1 tbs water, for egg wash
  12. 1 tablespoon Sugar in the Raw
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt and cook for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the apples have softened and released their juices.
  3. combine the lemon juice and flour in a small bowl and stir to the dissolve the flour.
  4. Remove the apples from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and flour mixture. Pour the apple mixture into a medium bowl and set aside to cool while you prepare the pastry. Make sure you allow them to cool, I did not and it made a mess.
  5. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry on a floured cutting board. Roll the sheet into a 12-inch square with a rolling pin. With a sharp paring knife, cut six 5-inch circles from the pastry, using a dish or a bowl as a guide and discarding the scraps. Place ¼ cup or less of the filling on one side of each circle, leaving a border around the edge of each circle. Brush the edges of the circles with the egg wash and fold over, making half circles. Crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Place pies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and chill for 15 minutes. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with the sugar in the raw, and make 3 small slits in each pie to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
  6. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. Make sure your apples are cooled. Some of the filling may come out while preparing and/or baking it's fine.
Adapted from ina garten
Adapted from ina garten
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

Pasta e Fagioli

It is a soup kind of day in my world today! what does soup mean to you?
Soup to me is fridge clearing, a welcoming stove top aroma and a warm comforting hug in a cup,  It is just plain home to me!

I am writing this while having my morning cup of tea about an hour before I generally post for you and yes for me. I use my posts as kind of a recipe holder. I find it so much easier to google cookingatclarktowers.com and search for a recipe then to riffle through all of my collected paperwork of recipes. So I do it all the time and if someone asks me for a recipe If I don’t tell them to google it I send them the link. 
IMG_5441I am not sure what recipe I will be making in a few minutes but this one is one of my top 5 that I love to eat. I am actually going through the ingredient list and wondering if I have everything on hand and I think I do so while I am re-posting this recipe from a couple of years ago I am fairly certain this will be on my stove top shortly. 
IMG_5439I finally planted my garlic yesterday I hope it stands a chance to grow. I am a couple of weeks later than I normally get it into the ground and I am looking at the temperature at 7:49 am est and it is 32’F yikes I may not get any next year. Fingers crossed! 
IMG_5440Pasta e Fagioli Soup makes approximately 12 cups – freezes nicely

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground turkey (your choice – chicken, beef, sausage all would be great)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounce low sodium beef or chicken broth plus a little more as needed or use water
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
28 ounce can tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried marjoram – or substitute with more oregano
1 cup ditalini pasta – or substitute with another small pasta
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can northern beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and fresh crack Black Pepper to taste

Instructions
Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, crumble in the meat and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain fat and transfer to a plate and set aside.
Heat remaining olive oil add carrots, celery and onions over medium-high heat until tender, about 6 minutes, add garlic saute another minute or so. Reduce heat to low
Add the tomato sauce, broth, tomatoes and all the spices plus the meat back into the pot. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.

Prepare pasta according to the directions on the box. Add cooked drained pasta to the soup along with both cans of beans. Allow to meld for a few minutes.
Serve warm with grated parmesan or romano cheese.

IMG_5446Macros = 1 cup using ground turkey
Calories 221
Fat 7.54
Carbs 21.25
Protein 18.2

Chili – cook off contest

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So I signed up for another local cook off contest. This one was a chili cook off and my family loves the chili I make so why not! However there were 6 surprise ingredients (see above) that I had to incorporate into my chili recipe or come up with a new one. If you want to make this chili without the secret ingredients, you will not be disappointed. 

IMG_4808.JPGWhen I picked up my “secret” ingredients I thought it was so funny that black garlic was one of the ingredients. This is my second contest ever and both had black garlic in the basket. Luckily my daughter first introduced me to black garlic a couple of years ago. My son, who also competed in the last cooking contest found out that he does not like the taste of black garlic. He tossed one of his sauces he came up with because he hated the taste. After he tossed it he wondered if it was just him. Guess we’ll never know!
IMG_4805.JPGA little information on black garlic for those who haven’t seen or used it. It is made when regular heads of garlic are aged under specialized conditions until the cloves turn inky black and develop a sticky date-like texture and the taste is sweet, earthy, minus the heat. You can use the cloves as you would roasted garlic: Purée them with oil, then smear the paste on crostini, incorporate it into dressings, or rub it onto chicken or fish before roasting. If you google it, you will probably see a lot of recipes for black garlic butter; which is what I made for my last contest. That won’t work this time. I will be adding the black garlic as well as regular garlic to my chili.

Chili
Serves 12
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  3. 2 medium onions, diced
  4. 1 green pepper, diced
  5. 2 cups chopped celery
  6. 2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  7. 2 cans rotel
  8. 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  9. 2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  10. 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  11. 1 large can bush's original baked beans (optional)
  12. 1 medium bulb black garlic, peeled (1 of 6 secret ingredients)
  13. 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  14. 1/2 cup Moroccan tomato onion relish (2 of 6 secret ingredients)
  15. 1 teaspoon cherry wood smoked white Himalayan sea salt (3 of 6 secret ingredients)
  16. 1/4 cup no salt Contoocook chili powder (4 of 6 secret ingredients)
  17. 2 tablespoons Madagascar black peppercorn infused olive oil (5 of 6 secret ingredients)
  18. 2 tablespoons dark chocolate balsamic vinegar (6 of 6 secret ingredients)
  19. 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In a large stock pot brown hamburger and sausage, drain and remove and set aside.
  2. Add olive oil to stock pot, saute onions, celery, green pepper till soft 4-6 minutes. add both garlics and continue sauteing for another minute. add the chili powder, and both salts.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and the rotel along with the Moroccan tomato onion relish
  4. Add the beans and the browned beef. partially cover and let it simmer for 4 hours
  5. Add the balsamic vinegar and taste for seasoning add salt as needed
  6. serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

I started writing this the other day, today is Saturday and the contest was earlier today. My Chili; this chili recipe listed came in 2nd. There were six contestants and everyone of them tasted completely different; all were really good but totally different even though all of us had to incorporate those six ingredients. I had a great time and met some great people. I especially enjoyed getting to know my tablemate. I feel bad that they La La Land her. They mistakenly said she came in 2nd place then said that it was actually me.
My tablemate and I speak the same language when it comes to food; I think our paths will cross again; at least I hope so!

lemon garlic rosemary chicken quarters

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Lemon * Garlic * Rosemary * Olive Oil * Salt and Pepper

How far ahead in the day or week do you start thinking about what to make for dinner? Sometimes I plan a week’s worth of meals, and sometimes I just wing it! We have been super busy the last couple of months, so when I or my daughter ran to the store it has been just to pick up the usual suspects. Milk, eggs, bread, Hamburger or Hot dog rolls ya know just the essentials. Well, yesterday I made a list and had a plan of attack.
IMG_4800I need a plan when I do a major shopping because one of my stores is 45 minutes away. I bring a cooler for the cold items I am picking up. KP you were thinking it was for something else didn’t you? wink wink. I also make my list out for all the stops I plan on making and my grocery shopping list is made out by how the store is laid out. You might be thinking that I am a little crazy by now and you are probably a little right. But I am very efficient!!!
IMG_4801Before I headed out for the 5 hour trek, and that was only 6 stops plus a car wash. I had taken out a few chicken quarters and decided to add some flavor to them so when I got home I could just put them in the oven while I put everything away. It worked out perfectly and if you are planning a shopping day or just heading out to work. Take 5 minutes before you leave and add a few of your favorite flavorings to your protein and dinner can be homemade, delicious and on the table within an hour and mostly hands off.

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it was delicious and so easy!

Lemon garlic rosemary chicken quarters
Easy, Flavorful, Fast and Delicious
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 4 chicken leg quarters
  2. 2 lemons, washed and sliced
  3. 3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  4. 1 large sprig rosemary, chopped
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil
  6. kosher salt and black pepper
Instructions
  1. Season the leg quarters liberally with salt and pepper
  2. add everything into a zip log bag and make sure everything is distributed around.
  3. pre-heat oven to 400'F
  4. place leg quarters onto a foil lined baking sheet and place in the oven
  5. bake for 45-50 minutes, until cooked through.
Notes
  1. use your favorite ways to add flavor. Thyme, limes, hot sauce don't forget the salt and pepper
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

Roasted Lemon Shrimp with Linguine

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This is one of those recipes that speaks to me; no not literally but it pretty much has everything my family love in it. Pasta, Garlic, Lemon and Shrimp how bad could it be?
IMG_4748The 5 peeps around that table last night when I made it are on board with me writing about it. I will confess that at first glance you might “pass” on making it but there is a method to the madness and this one is a keeper. I will definitely make it again.
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I found the recipe in one of my favorite magazines, Fine Cooking. Some magazines I just tear out the recipe; I have stacks and stacks of them; Fine Cooking I will not destroy that beautiful magazine. I use those post it page markers and sometimes there are SO many recipes I want to make and most of the time I do!
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roasted lemon shrimp with linguine
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup olive oil
  2. 1 medium lemon,washed ends trimmed and halved
  3. 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  4. 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  5. 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  6. kosher salt
  7. 1 pound box linguine
  8. 2 cups frozen peas
  9. 2 pound extra large or jumbo shrimp,shelled and deveined
  10. 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
  11. 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  12. 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  13. 1 teaspoon chili pepper paste
  14. 1/4 cup dry white wine
Instructions
  1. position a rack in the center of your oven, heat to 450'F
  2. lightly brush a small foil lined rimmed baking sheet with oil. placed the lemons; flesh side up and close together. Brush the tops of the lemons with a little oil. Roast unto the lemon is puffy and just beginning to brown on the edges. The foil under the lemons will turn dark brown and syrupy. roughly 25 minutes.
  3. Turn the lemon halves over with tongs and rub the flesh over the dark spots on the foil to loosen the caramelized bits. Squeeze the juice and pulp from the lemon into a small bowl, remove the seeds, and set aside. Mince the peel of one lemon half, and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the parsley, cheese, granulated garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining lemon half to a large pot of well salted water. Bring the water to a boil and add the pasta, cook according to the package directions minus 2 minute till al dente. Remove the lemon and a cup of the pasta water. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute. Drain the linguine and peas and return to the pot.
  5. Dry the shrimp with paper towels. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt.In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the oil and the butter over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about a minute. Add the garlic and pepper and cook, stirring frequently for about 30 seconds. Add the wine, stirring frequently for about 21/2 minutes.
  6. Pour the ingredients from the skillet into the pasta pot along with the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce, if needed.
  7. Season to taste with more salt, granulated garlic, and pepper paste. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, top with the parsley mixture and serve immediately
Adapted from Fine Cooking - Samantha Seneviratne
Adapted from Fine Cooking - Samantha Seneviratne
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/
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Coffee Creme Cake

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How many kitchen items do you have that doesn’t exactly get a lot of use but you just can’t or won’t part with?  I am scared to even count and the thought hasn’t even really crossed my mind. Well it might have crossed it but it was dismissed almost immediately.

IMG_4264I am sitting here trying to remember why I even bought my bundt pan. I believe it was right around the time the kids were born so close to 30 years ago; damn I’m old. I mean damn that pan is old. I also believe I bought it after someone brought into work a sour cream coffee cake that I still have the same recipe for; though I haven’t made it for quite some time. Maybe that oldie but goodie needs to make a re-appearance.
IMG_4266Anyway, I saw this recipe on the cover of one of my favorite magazines Fine Cooking and I knew immediately I would be breaking out my old bundt pan and giving it a try. While I definitely should have adjusted the cooking time for my dark bundt pan; I left it in the oven probably 3-5 minutes too long and was too dry for us. Though I will be making this again. It has great flavor and it looks awesome. The only ingredient I have never been able to find is Instant espresso powder. I have needed it before for other desserts and I should just order it online; but I still haven’t. I substituted it for some dark roast instant coffee I found and it worked out just fine
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Coffee Creme Bundt Cake
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature, plus a little more for the pan
  2. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more for the pan
  3. 2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 3 tablespoon instant espresso powder, or dark roast
  8. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  9. 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  10. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  11. 3 large eggs, room temperature
  12. 3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
  13. Glaze
  14. 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  15. 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  16. 1 large egg yolk
  17. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  18. 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder, or dark roast
  19. 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. preheat the oven to 350' F. butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder, salt and soda.
  3. in a large mixing bowl, combine the coffee and vanilla. Add the sugars and butter and beat with an electric mixer on medium until fluffy. about 4 minutes. beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined.
  4. reduce speed to low and alternate adding the flour mixture and the sour cream. Ending with the flour and mix just till combined.
  5. Add the batter to the pan and smooth the top.
  6. Bake until the cake is puffed up and test with a skewer in the center, remove it from the oven when the skewer comes out clean. 45-55 minutes. Check it at 40 minutes if using a dark pan.
  7. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then flip the cake onto the rack to cool completely.
Prepare the Glaze
  1. in a small saucepan, heat the condensed milk, butter, egg yolk, salt and coffee over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. about 4 minutes. drizzle while warm over the cooled cake. top with chopped walnuts.
  2. serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Fine Cooking - Samantha Seneviratne
Adapted from Fine Cooking - Samantha Seneviratne
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

Sirloin, Autumn harvest hash, black garlic red wine sauce

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This was the test – using a filet, they only gave us one sirloin

A couple of weeks ago a friend tagged me in a post about a Chop Local event at a local Inn and Restaurant. I thought oh that isn’t that so sweet she thought of me; shout out to you LW. Then my daughter brought home the entry form for her, her brother and myself. I honestly didn’t think I had a chance in hell; yes even after all these years of making and loving the food I have made and then going as far as sharing it with all of you I still have self doubt about my abilities as a cook. There I’ve thrown that out there in the world!

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Secret basket ingredients we had to use in our dish

So I spent the day of the deadline contemplating whether to sign up or not. The deadline was 6 pm on Sunday. I finally convinced myself, it’s fine just drop it off you won’t be picked you can at least say you tried. I ended up dropping it off around 5:40 just before the deadline. Well not only did they draw my name they also drew my sons. My daughter was pretty bummed she wasn’t picked she totally wanted to do it. I love that my kids are foodies too!

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Rules we had to follow

I had no idea of the dates as they were not initially mentioned. Well it all happened so fast that we picked up our “secret” basket ingredients on Wednesday and had to present an entree dish by noon on Saturday. I did some research before I knew what we had to make or even what our “secret” ingredients were. I went on the Inn’s Tavern’s menu to see what kind of food they served and what I felt they could use, so I wouldn’t make something they already had; since the winning dish will be featured on their menu the month of October.

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morning of contest searing my sirloin on all sides

Here we are on Wednesday and I get my basket. All the things I thought about on Tuesday were out the window. They gave us a petite sirloin, 3 bulbs of black garlic and an apple. I wanted to make something to compliment what they were already serving while also using the freshest ingredients I could find, mostly from my own garden. And make something I would order.

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morning of contest veggie and apple hash 

Petite sirloin over roasted autumn hash with a black garlic red wine sauce
Boyden Beef Petite Sirloin topped with a black garlic compound butter over a roasted autumn vegetable and apple hash nestled in a black garlic rosemary, thyme and red wine sauce
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
1 hr 50 min
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
1 hr 50 min
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 stick unsalted butter
  2. 2 medium onions
  3. 2 heads of black garlic
  4. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  5. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  6. 1 1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar
  7. 1 cup dry red wine
  8. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  9. 1 quart beef broth
  10. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  11. 3 thyme sprigs
  12. 1 rosemary sprig
  13. 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  14. 4 small potatoes, peeled and diced
  15. 1 small rutabaga, peeled and diced
  16. 2 medium carrots, diced
  17. Kosher salt
  18. Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Compound Butter: 5 minutes prep / 40 rest
  2. in a small bowl combine 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened, 4-6 cloves of black garlic, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and mix well, place in some parchment paper and roll into a log. Refrigerate till it hardens approximately 30-45 minutes.
  3. Vegetable and Apple Hash: 20 m prep / 1 hr 35 m cook
  4. Because the rutabaga or turnip will take the longest, peel, dice and boil in a pot of salted water for about 30 minutes. While that it boiling pre-heat your oven to 400'F and peel and dice your carrots and potatoes. Making them roughly all the same size. Drain the rutabaga and place it; plus the carrots and potatoes on a lightly oiled sheet pan sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper plus 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and place them in the 400' oven for about 30 minutes. Remove and toss them then place them back in for another 20 minutes. remove and add the onion and toss, place them back in for another 10 minutes or until the onions have softened and the veggies have some golden brown color. During the last 10 minutes or so peel, core and dice your apples. Once the pan is out of the oven add the diced apples and put back in one more time for 5 minutes just till they soften. You want them soft not mushy.
  5. Sauce Gravy: 10 m prep / 30-40 m cook
  6. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the black garlic, crushed garlic, flour and sugar and cook, stirring often, until a golden-brown paste forms, about 5 minutes. Stir in the 1 cup of wine and the soy sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, then add the broth, thyme and rosemary. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 4 cups, about 30 minutes.
  7. Stir the apple cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Strain into another bowl and set aside.
  8. Filet: overnight prep / depending on size 8-12 m
  9. the night before your going to cook it; season it all over with kosher salt and black pepper; leave uncovered on a plate in your fridge. Take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you are going to cook it. Get your cast iron pan hot while the filet is coming up to room temperature and the pan is hot enough that you can feel the heat coming off of it. You want your steak to sizzle when it touches it. Add a little olive oil and place the meat on the hot pan; let it sear without touching it for 3-4 minutes.
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

I tested my recipe on the fam Thursday night and we all loved it, so much so my husband kept licking his plate. My daughter took one bite and looked at me and shook her head smiling. That’s a winner to me all day long!!!

I was up first and forgot to take a picture of my final dish – the photographer of the day said she will send it to me. So I will post it once I get it.

Well I didn’t win at the Inn contest but I am still a winner with my fam so it I’m still winning!!!  There were 5 contestants and the winning dish was a pot pie with a side salad. It did look amazing and we are looking forward to going to the Tavern and ordering it, checking out the competition. One of the judges did whisper to me that my dish did beat out my son’s. We had a little friendly rivalry going, or more so he did. I tried to help him without over stepping. As I told him I will always be your Mom!

Thank you all for supporting me – I truly enjoy sharing my journey with all of you!!!

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