Sunday, August 16, 2009

Overnight Sour Cream Coffeecake

From Cooks Illustrated. Makes two 9 inch cakes (each serves 8-10 people).

1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, chopped (you can substitute almonds or walnuts if you like)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sour cream
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs (large)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Streusel:
Using your fingers, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the nuts and set aside.

For the Cake:
Spray two 9 inch cake pans with vegetable oil. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the sour cream, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and melted butter together until smooth. Gently whisk the egg mixture into the flour, until the batter looks smooth (do not overmix).

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of both cakes.

If making in advance, wrap the pans tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. You can also freeze the cake batter in the pans for up to one month!

To bake, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. The bake time varies as follows:

25-30 minutes if NOT refrigerated or frozen
30-35 minutes if refrigerated
40-45 minutes if frozen

Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Banana Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Paula Deen's recipe! Makes 24

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper bakery cups. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the eggs and oil and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened; do not beat! Stir in the bananas and vanilla. Fill the muffin pans about 3/4 of the way full, and bake for 23 to 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and salt. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. Note: you may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. Use and store the frosting at room temperature; frosting will set if chilled.

Note: This recipe can also be made as a 3 layer cake; instead of a muffin pan, simply butter and flour three 9" round cake pans and divide the batter evenly between them. Bake as directed above.

Hash Brown Casserole

Great recipe for a brunch! Serves 12

1 (1 pound 14 oz) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/2 cup melted butter
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups crushed cornflakes cereal
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Spray a 3 quart casserole dish with vegetable oil.

In a large bowl, combine hash browns, 1/2 cup melted butter, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chopped onion, Cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Place mixture in prepared 3 quart casserole dish.

In a medium saucepan, saute cornflakes in 1/4 cup melted butter over medium heat, and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the casserole.

Bake covered in a preheated oven for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Potatoes Boulangère and Courgettes Provençal

Had this dinner at a friends house last night - it was really delicious! It is a Gordon Ramsay recipe.

Serves: 4

Ingredients :

2 large racks of Lamb cut in half with 3 bones each portion

1 liter chicken stock
1 sprig thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
3 crushed cloves of garlic
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
4 large Desiree potatoes peeled and finely sliced, on a mandolin if possible

Herb crust:

4 slices of stale bread made into crumbs.
100g grated parmesan.
Sprig parsley
Sprig thyme
Sprig coriander
Sprig rosemary
2 tablespoons English mustard

6 large courgettes* cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 sprig rosemary
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 sprig basil
1 sprig coriander

Olive oil
Salt and pepper

* Courgette is the British term for Zucchini also commonly called Italian squash.

Method: Preheat the oven to 200c (392 degrees Fahrenheit).

For the potatoes bring the chicken stock to a boil and infuse with thyme, rosemary and crushed garlic cloves. Strain before use.

Gently sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil until softened and lightly colored.

Rub an oven proof dish with olive oil and layer the onions followed by the potatoes, repeating until the dish is full finishing with a final layer of potato. Make sure to season each layer as you go.

Pour over the stock until it comes 2/3rds of the way up the dish. Press down on the mixture to help the liquid absorb and finally drizzle a little olive oil on top.

Bake in the oven at 200c for approximately 20 - 25 minutes or until soft and golden on top.

Next, season the lamb and seal in hot olive oil. Bake in the oven at 200c for 7 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, thoroughly mix all the herb crust ingredients together, season and set aside.

Remove the lamb from the oven and brush with the mustard before dipping into the herb crust mix covering the fat thoroughly.

Allow to rest and before serving simply return the lamb to the oven for a further 2-3 minutes.

For the vegetables, sauté the courgettes and rosemary in olive oil, season and add a dash of vinegar. Add the tomatoes, basil and coriander and cook for approximately 5 minutes further seasoning with a little more oil and vinegar. Allow to cook until the vegetables have just begun to soften.

Slice the lamb into 3 chops per person, serve with the courgettes and a generous helping of the potatoes before spooning over a little of the vinaigrette from the vegetables.

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