Saturday, July 20, 2019

Strawberries & Cream Crêpe Cake #TheCakeSliceBakers


Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is The European Cake Cookbook by Tatyana Nesteruk*. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes! 


Follow our FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the links below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details. 

The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.


Our choices for July 2019 were...

Strawberries & Cream Crêpe Cake
Limoncello Ricotta Cheesecake
Raspberry Princess Torte
The Apricot Almond Dream Cake was not chosen by any group members.

Strawberries & Cream Crêpe Cake

This recipe is slightly adapted from the book because I already have a foolproof crêpe; no need to fix something that isn't broken, right? But I did add some sugar to the batter which I normally don't use in my regular version.


And this month, I decided to put the Precise Kitchen Elf to work. He loves crêpes, but I've never had him make them. That changed this month.


This is what happens when you let the Elf loose with a crêpe pan and a cookbook.

Ingredients 
makes one 9" crêpe cake
Crêpes
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 8 medium eggs (or 6 large)
  • 4 C organic whole milk
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • dash of ground cardamom
  • butter, for cooking

Cake
  • 1 C softened butter
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 C organic sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 C organic heavy whipping cream + 1 C more for finishing
  • dash of ground cardamom
  • organic strawberries, sliced

Procedure

Crêpes
Whisk all of the ingredients together until lump-free. Let sit for at least 20 minutes. Heat a large flat-bottom pan and rub the bottom with butter. Pour 1/3 C of the batter in the middle of the pan and quickly make a tilting motion to distribute the batter all over the pan. The goal: have as thin a batter layer as possible.


Cook until the crêpe is a bit stiff and flip over, cooking for another minute The pancake should be lightly browned on both sides. Repeat till all the batter is used; I made 18 crêpes with the quantities listed. Let the crêpes cool before assembling the cake.


Cake
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, cream cheese, and condensed milk until smooth. In another bowl, beat 2 C whipping cream into stiff peaks. Fold the butter mixture into the whipping cream and beat for a minute or two.

To assemble, you can do it free-standing. R and I place it in a Springform pan, but didn't utilize the edges, so a plate would have been just fine, too.


Layer in a crêpe, the cream, follolwed by another crêpe. Every third layer, scatter in sliced strawberries. Continue until you run out of crêpes or the cake is as tall as you would like. Cover the cake loosely and place it in the refrigerator to set.


Lift the cake out of the pan and place it on a serving platter. Beat the remaining whipping cream into stiff peaks and spoon it on top of the cake. Garnish with more strawberries.


Slice and serve immediately


I'm very excited about the August cakes. Stay tuned...


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

   

Friday, July 19, 2019

Chimichurri Pork Chili #SoupSwappers


Here we are at the July Soup Saturday Swappers event. Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm started this event and, every month, I get a new array of soup recipes to put in my to-try pile. And this month, Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories is hosting as we explore chilis.

Karen writes, "July is Chili Cook-off time. Make your award winning chili! No rules, as long as it can be classified as chili. In many areas, we hold our annual summer community get togethers with a chili cook-off. In my town, many of the community groups, such as the high school boosters, the youth sports leagues, many of the real estate firms, and various chamber of commerce groups compete for the "People's Choice" award in the chili cook-off circuit. There's a 5K, a 10K, as well as a crafts fair. Never mind the weather, because there's lots of beer!"

Here's the line-up of chili recipes from the #SoupSwappers...

Chimichurri Pork Chili

When I first saw the event post, I wondered what would really qualify as a chili. According to Webster, it's this...

chili noun
\ ˈchi-lē  \
variants: or less commonly chile or chiefly British chilli
plural chilies also chiles or chilis or chiefly British chillies
Definition of chili (Entry 1 of 2)
1a : a hot pepper of any of a group of cultivars (Capsicum annuum annuum group longum) noted for their pungency
— called also chili pepper

b chiefly British chilli : a pepper whether hot or sweet
2a : a thick sauce of meat and chilies
liked to cover her spaghetti with red chili
b : CHILI CON CARNE
a bowl of chili
also : a similar dish made without beef
vegetarian chili
seafood chili


So, "a thick sauce of meat and chilies" is a pretty broad category. I decided to go with something a little different than my Chili al Diavolo.

Ingredients
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 pounds pork (I used boneless ribs)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 C organic white onion, diced
  • 1 t cumin seeds, toasted until fragrant and coarsely ground
  • 1 t coriander seeds, toasted until fragrant and coarsely ground
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1 t dried rosemary
  • 1 to 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 C chimichurri (recipe below)
  • 1 can green chiles (use more if you like) with liquid
  • 2 C stock* 
  • 1 C wine (I used white wine)
  • hot sauce, optional
  • cooked couscous, rice, or potatoes for serving
Spicy Chimichurri
  • 1 C fresh parsley
  • 1/2 to 3/4 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, but I have used red wine vinegar in the past)
  • 1 T fresh oregano, minced
  • 2 T fresh cilantro
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 to 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T hot sauce
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

*You really just need 3 cups of liquid. You can use any combination of stock, water, and wine that you wish.

Procedure

Spicy Chimichurri
Place all of the ingredient in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until desired texture. If it's too thick, add more oil and more vinegar. If it's too thin, add more herbs. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. If you like more heat, add more hot sauce.

Pork
Place toasted cumin seeds, coriander seeds, dried oregano and dried rosemary in a mixing bowl. Roll the pork pieces in the spice mixture, coating all sides as much as possible. Rub the spices in and set aside.

Melt butter in olive oil in a Dutch oven or other pot with a tight fitting lid. Add pork and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown meat on all sides, approximately 1 to 2 minutes per side. The more you let it brown, the better the flavor!

Add onions, parsley, cilantro, green chiles, bay leaves, and chimichurri to the pot. Pour in the stock/water/wine mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
Let the meat braise for 90 to 120 minutes; I usually go the full two hours. The pork should be tender and easy to break apart. Break the meat into chunks.

Remove the pork and boil the remaining cooking liquid until reduced by half. Return the pork chunks to the pot and stir to coat completely. Season to taste with hot sauce, if desired.


Serve over cooked couscous, rice, or potatoes. I served this batch over smashed potatoes.

Some Quail, Lamb, and Two Rabbits with Wines from Anjou-Saumur #Winophiles


This month, I am hosting the #Winophiles as we explore the wine regions of Anjou-Saumur. You can read my invitation here. Though I've explored wines from the Loire before, this was the first time I focused on the Mid-Loire, specifically the regions of Anjou and Saumur. Here's what the other #Winophiles shared...

As for me, I tracked down several bottles and just had fun. I ended up making two rabbit dishes, one quail entrée, and - my personal favorite - lamb!

Some Quail...

The first pairing I tried was Roasted Quail, White Bean Salad, and Chateau d'Epire Savennieres Grand Cru d'Anjou 2017.


The Chateau d'Epire Savennieres, made with the Chenin Blanc grape, has the unique characteristic of being both weighty and light. It had a full-bodied mouthfeel that was lightened by bright acidity. It was an interesting, satisfying pairing with the spice-rubbed quail.

...Lamb

Then I paired a Roasted Rack of Lamb with Spiced Nectarine Chutney with the Remy Pannier Rosé d'Anjou 2017. The recipe is still under wraps for an event in August, but the wine was a delight!


A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 40% Grolleau, 10% Gamay, this Rosé d'Anjou was a delicious addition to this meal. In the glass the wine was a bright salmon hut. On the nose I got strong aromas of sunkissed berries. On the tongue, those berry notes persisted with an added spark of acidity.

As I was completely unfamiliar with Grolleau, I did some reading. Named for the French word grolle meaning 'crow', it refers to the nearly black color of the grapes. Despite its color, though, the variety has thin skins and low tannins which can lead to a lack of flavor and structure. Behind Cabernet Franc and Gamay, Grolleau (specifically Grolleau Noir) is one of the Loire's most planted red-wine varieties. However, since the varietal is not a particularly flavorful grape, it is not allowed in any of the Loire's red wine AOCs. So, it's used primarily in the production of rosé wines under the Rosé d'Anjou AOC such as this one.

...One Rabbit

Finally, I  started in with the rabbits. I went for a Rosé and poured the Domaine Bourdin Chancelle Saumur Rosé 2017 with Lapin au Vin Blanc à la Cocotte.


The vineyards of Domaine Chancelle - located in the village of Turquant, in the greater Saumur - have been in the family for five generations with Lydie and her husband, Thierry, taking over at the turn of the millennium. Lydie and Thierry are both passionate about the vines, their wine, and the domaine is run sustainably.

...And a Second Rabbit

This is the recipe that I will share for this post. Inspired by a Portuguese rabbit stew, this is my version of  Coelho à Caçador. And I paired it with the only red wine I tried for this event: Chateau du Hureau Saumur-Champigny Tuffe 2016.



When our friends harvest their meat rabbits, I try to be first in line because it's so hard to source rabbit locally...and we love the meat. But I don't reveal who they are and where they live because there are some crazed militant vegans who see fit to harass these folks, trespass on their property, and release the animals they are nurturing and raising. It's a travesty.

I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions about food and eating habits, but there's certainly no need to damage someone else's choices and livelihood. Just know that I try to be thoughtful about where I get my food. We belong to CSAs to support local farmers and CSFs to get local and sustainable fish. We purchase shares of locally raised sheep, pigs, and beef. And I try hard to support friends who are doing that hard work of raising animals humanely. So, thanks, guys! You know I love you.

This rabbit, they warned me, was older and needed to be cooked low and slow. So, I opted to braise it for this event.

Ingredients
Braised Rabbit

  • 1 whole rabbit (this one was about 5 pounds)
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and diced, approximately 2 C
  • 2 C diced celery
  • 2 C diced carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • fresh cilantro
  • freshly ground salt
Gravy

  • 3 T butter
  • olive oil
  • 2 T flour
  • 1/2 C cooking liquid
  • 1/2 C whole milk
  • freshly ground pepper
  • freshly ground salt


Procedure
Rabbit
Brown the rabbit in a splash of olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven. Cook it for 2 minutes on each side to get a nice brown color. Add in the rest of the ingredients, making sure the rabbit is about halfway submerged in liquid. Bring it to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Braise for 2 hours. 

Remove the rabbit from the liquid and let it cool enough that you can handle it. Pull the meat from the bone and reserve the bones for making stock.

Gravy
In the meantime strain the cooking liquid. In another pot melt the butter in a splash of olive oil. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the cooking liquid and milk. Whisk constantly until thickened to a nice gravy consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


To Serve
Place the shredded meat on a platter. Spoon the gravy over the top. Serve immediately.

In My Glass

The Chateau du Hureau is located in the hamlet of Dampierre-sur-Loire, four miles east of Saumur and fifteen miles west of Chinon. The domaine's name refers to an old, solitary wild boar: a hureau; it occupies nearly two dozen separate vineyard plots spread out between Dampierre-sur-Loire, Souzay, Champigny, and Saumur. And all of them are planted with Cabernet Franc grapes.


Tuffe is Philippe Vatan's blend made from a variety of his vineyards. Aged in stainless, this has classic Cabernet Franc notes including red fruits and a touch of herbs. This wine was a little bit tight upon pouring and benefited from a run about 30 minutes of breathing. After that, it had softened considerably and was a great match for my gravy-laden rabbit.

So, there you have it. This month I tasted and paired four wines from the Anjou and Saumur regions. Two Rosés, one white, and one red. I matched those with a variety of proteins - rabbit, quail, and lamb - to delectable results.

Next month the French Winophiles will be headed, at least virtually, to the French Basque region with Jeff of FoodWineClick! at the helm. Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Campfire Salmon #FishFridayFoodies



It's time for Fish Friday Foodies' July event. We are a group of seafood-loving bloggers, rallied by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, to share fish and seafood recipes on the third Friday of the month. 

And this month, Stacy of Food Lust People Love is also hosting as we share grilled seafood recipes. Before I get to my recipe. Here's the rest of the #FishFridayFoodies' offerings...


Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies? We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month. To join our group please email Wendy at wendyklik1517 (at) gmail.com. Visit our Facebook page and Pinterest page for more wonderful fish and seafood recipe ideas

Campfire Salmon
One of our favorite camping dinners is campfire fish. It's so easy and flexible. Use whatever fish you have. Use some kind of citrus, some kind of herbs, and some kind of oil. That's all there is to it. The parchment and foil pouch keeps it moist and it's ready to eat within an hour. Perfect! Technically, I don't know if this is actually 'grilled'. I'm still unclear on the distinction between grilling and barbequing...and really what cooking on coals actually is. Whoops! Well, Wendy and Stacy didn't balk when I said this is what I was sharing. So, I'm running with it.

These photos are from our annual camping trip a few years ago when my sister-in-law let us raid her garden for marigolds before we left. But we make this dish every camping trip, often several times during the ten day jaunt around the state.


Ingredients
  • fish fillet (we used wild-caught salmon for this one)
  • organic lemon, thinly sliced
  • fresh herbs (we used dill and marigold petals)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Also need: parchment paper and aluminum foil

Procedure
Lay a piece of heavy duty foil on the table. Lay a piece of parchment on top of that. Place your fish piece in the center of the parchment.


Lay lemon slices on top of the fish. Then layer it with fresh herbs, roughly chopped, on top of the fish. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Drizzle it all with olive oil.


Bring the long sides of the foil together and fold down to seal. Crimp in the ends to create a foil packet.


Place the packet on top of some smoldering coals. Cook time depends on the size of your fish and the amount of coals you have. But we had two 1-pound fillets and cooked them for about 45 to 50 minutes.


Remove the packet with tongs or oven-mittens. Open foil carefully to release the steam. Serve hot.

Spanish Basque Nibbles for a French Wine Group Assignment - Whoops!


When I looked at the list of 2019 topics for the French Winophiles, I was excited to see French Basque as a topic. I fixated on the 'Basque' part of that because I love that area and completely blitzed on the 'French' part when I went to buy the wine. I picked up wine from the Spanish part of Basque country and, then, went even further and selected recipes from the Spanish part as well. Whoops.

Since I needed a do-over with wines from the correct part of the Basque region and a geographically appropriate menu, for August's Winophiles, I decided to share the Spanish bites and sips we had now. Early.


I served Papas Bravas (previous recipe here) which are a family favorite. Then I tried a few different pintxos, small finger foods served at bars and taverns throughout the Basque Country. Bear in mind that both are my interpretations, so not traditional.

Ganba Brotxeta serves four with 2 skewers each

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet bell pepper, cored and thickly sliced
  • 1 Spring onion, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and pressed
  • 1/3 C apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 C + 1 T olive oil 
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 slices of jamon, halved lengthwise

Procedure
In the bowl of a food processor, combine peppers, onion, and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. Add in garlic, vinegar, and oil (2/3 C). Pulse until emulsified into a thick vinaigrette. Place peeled shrimp in a rimmed dish and pour vinaigrette over the top, reserving 4 T for serving. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Thread a shrimp onto a wooden skewer, then a slice of jamon, and a final shrimp. Sprinkle with freshly ground salt and freshly ground pepper.

On a griddle or in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 T olive oil until the oil is very hot. Carefully place the skewers in the pan. Sear until the shrimp takes on a golden color, approximately 1 minute. Flip the skewers over and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer skewer to a plate and serve with reserved vinaigrette.

 Piparras serves four with 2 skewers each

I read about these skewers and was immediately entranced with the mixture of briney and vinegary flavors. I opted to use my pickled quail eggs and add a pop of creaminess with a fresh mozzarella ball. So, again, these are not tradition, but certainly Basque-inspired.

Ingredients

  • 8 pickled quail eggs (my recipe here)
  • 8 pickled peppers (piparras are traditional)
  • 8 anchovies, oil reserved from the jar or tin
  • 8 wedges of fresh tomato
  • 8 small mozzarella balls
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Also needed: skewers, pickled mushrooms for serving


Procedure
Skewer the ingredients. I did: quail egg, pepper, anchovy, tomato, then mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer skewer to a plate and serve drizzled with a little of the anchovy oil over the top. 


I paired this dinner of Spanish Basque nibbles with a Spanish Basque wine: Camino Roca Altxerri Txakoli 2017. I'll tell you more about that soon!

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