Monday, November 26, 2012

Cranberry Almond Coffee Cake

We always have leftover cranberry sauce floating around after Thanksgiving, even after all the turkey has been eaten. This coffee cake is a great way to get rid of your extra cranberry sauce. It has a strong almond flavor with bursts of cranberry and a crunchy crumb topping. The batter of this cake is thick, but that's normal. Spreading it into layers isn't the easiest task, but it does not need to be perfect in order to get a good result.

This cake lasts about 3 or 4 days if you store it in your fridge. You can also bake it ahead of time and freeze it for future use. When I baked this, it got rave reviews from friends and family (even from some of my toughest critics). If you like almond cakes, you will love this festive variation.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Flaky Cheese Biscuits

This is my favorites biscuit I have made to date. The addition of cheese into the dough make the flavor perfect. I don't know why I had never made a cheese biscuit before, but I am sold. I had about 1 cup of provolone and 1 cup of Mexican cheese mix the first time I made these and they were phenomenal. Even when I made these for the first time and overworked the dough, they turned out fluffy and flaky.

If you plan on making these, you can really choose flavorful any cheese you enjoy. I used about 1 3/4 cup of cheese the first time I made these, but the entire 2 cups from that point on. If you're slightly short on cheese, these will still be great. These are best served right after you bake them. When I ate the leftover biscuits the next day, I quickly popped them into the microwave to get the cheese back to its melty state.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Double Ginger Crackles

Last Thanksgiving I attempted a ginger cookie recipe which sounded amazing but was 100% horrible. It was so bad that we all ended up laughing about the awful gingery taste. Every time I'd convince someone to try them I'd laugh all over again seeing the looks of disgust on their faces. I gave up on ginger cookies for the year and threw away the rest of the batch. This year I began a new search and found a promising recipe from Fine Cooking. Lately I have been loving every recipe I try from their website or magazine, so i'm not surprised that this was another winner.

The key in this recipe is the crystallized ginger. It adds great flavor and a slight kick to the cookies. I found a Japanese version of crystallized that cost a lot less than the stuff found in your grocery stores spice aisle. Another key to this recipe is to not over-bake the cookies. My first batch was left in a minute too long and the cookies turned out crispy. They still tasted great, but I prefer when they are softer. Luckily my sister remembered to put a slice of bread in the cookie jar with the crispy cookies and they softened up the next day. These cookies will last about 5 days stored in an airtight container.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Salmon Cakes with Lemon-Caper Yogurt Sauce

Years ago I watched a cooking show where 2 contestants made salmon cakes and I was intrigued ever since then. Somehow the idea of salmon cakes went on the back burner until last week, when I realized there was still some salmon in the freezer that needed using up. I don't love the flavor of frozen salmon as much of that as fresh salmon, so I wanted a recipe that would make the salmon flavor less apparent. Then I started researching different salmon burger and salmon cake recipes. I didn't want to have to buy a bunch of spices that I didn't already have, and I didn't want to make patties that were filled with tons of different veggies.

I loved the idea of the sauce that Giada used with her salmon cakes, but didn't love all of the fillings she used. I wanted to keep the flavors slightly Mediterranean (though I would not consider this a Mediterranean recipe). I love dill and decided I wanted to add it to my recipe. If you're not a dill fan, you can scale it back or omit it completely and these would still be good. I started on these pretty late at night and didn't read over the step where they need to be chilled for an hour. At that point I was starving, so I decided I'd cook the salmon cakes the next afternoon for lunch. They held their shape well overnight and tasted great the next day. Serve these immediately, as with all fried food, for the best flavor.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fast Fudge Cake

If you are looking to make an easy, chocolaty cake, look no further. This recipe is extremely easy to make and is really hard to mess up. It is moist and just slightly dense with a smooth ganache covering the cake. I made this cake when my sister and her chocolate loving husband were in town and it was approved by both of them. Keep in mind that it is a fudge cake and has a rich flavor, so a glass of milk or coffee might be needed to accompany this cake. It's not dense and creamy like fudge, but it is rich and delicious.

The cake tastes best on the first day, but will still be good on day 2. I stored my cake in an airtight container overnight, but on the second night I put it in the fridge since I didn't want to leave the ganache topping on the counter too long. I suggest lining the bottom of your springform with parchment paper so your cake will come out of the form easily without breaking or leaving behind a layer. The ganache recipe will make more than you need, so you can scale it back or keep the extra for topping ice cream or using it for dunking fruit.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Meat and Vegetable Stir Fry with Sherry

Why does this stir fry have such a vague name? Because you can use veal, beef, or pork as the meat in this recipe. Just choose whichever your prefer. This stir fry recipe is a great way to learn how to make a basic, easy stir fry. The sauce is one you can use with any combination of veggies and meat and once you have the sauce ingredients in your fridge and pantry, this becomes a quick, easy weeknight dinner. Leftover tastes great too, so I always make a generous portion and count on leftovers.

I enjoy serving this over rice to soak up the delicious sauce. I'm sure it would be great over a variety of grains, but I am pretty boring when it comes to that and enjoy jasmine or basmati rice with my stir frys. Don't take the ingredient list too seriously when it comes to the veggies. Use what you have or like and leave out what's not available. I added more veggies than the original recipe calls for since I love stir fried veggies. I've made this with veal and beef and both have turned out great (sadly, it's almost easier to find veal than beef in Switzerland).

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