Friday, September 24, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Oh my, I didn't mean to take such a long blogging break and not tell you that I'd be gone. I've been to a ladies retreat at Lake of the Ozarks for a few days where I didn't have to cook, or do dishes or clean anything. So when I returned home, I really didn't want to cook, wash dishes or clean anything. It was too nice having those things done for me! I have tried a couple of new recipes, but did not care for them, so I didn't want to blog about food I did not like. But now I have a real tasty dessert for you.

I have never made a Pineapple Upside Down Cake before, but I had purchased a fresh pineapple on sale several days ago and thought I'd use some of it in this cake. It was so good! The sweet, gooey brown sugar and butter topping along with the pineapple and pecans really make this classic cake. I placed the pineapple slices tightly together when arranging the topping, but the fruit shrinks some as it bakes, so next time I'll squeeze the pineapple in closer. I don't care for Maraschino Cherries, which are typically used in this cake, so I used pecan halves instead. The cherries are prettier, but the pecans taste better to me. I found this recipe at Joy of Baking, and she gives some interesting information about this classic recipe. I did not follow her directions for cooking the topping longer, because the topping will be cooking in the oven for so long. It turned out perfect with the shorter cooking time. The cake is sturdy, but has a fine texture and of course the topping is so gooey and delicious. It was even better on the second day. I used fresh pineapple, but canned may be substituted, if desired. Hope you give it a try!

adapted from Joy of Baking

Preheat the oven to350 degrees F and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Spray a 9 inch round baking pan with cooking spray.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1medium pineapple, peeled, quartered and sliced( or canned pineapple slices)
Maraschino cherries or pecans

Place the butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan and heat until hot and bubbly. Pour sauce into the prepared 9 inch round pan. Arrange the pineapple and pecans in the pan. Prepare the cake batter.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ( 8 tablespoons, or 113 grams), unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and the cream of tarter until the whites will hold a stiff peak. In another bowl, beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg yolks and beat well. Add the flour mixture in (3 additions), alternately with the milk (in two additions), ending with dry ingredients, scrapping down the sides as you mix. Gently fold half of the beaten egg whites into the flour mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites, and pour the batter into the cake pan over the topping mixture. Gently smooth the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate. Cool completely. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Peach Galette

I love fruit pies, but I don't like making them. Don't get me wrong, I do occasionally make a pie, but they can be rather time consuming, and I'm an impatient cook. But I love buttery, flaky crust and fresh, in season fruit together. This past week I purchased some humongous, juicy, Missouri peaches at the farmer's market, and knew I'd have to make a pie. They aren't the first peaches we've had, but the others have ended up sliced over ice cream, or just eaten out of hand. I wanted pie this time, but maybe a galette instead. A galette is less intensive to make since you only need the bottom crust. It is also known as a crostata, or a rustic fruit tart. There's even the option of using refrigerated pie crust from the store. But I wanted to make my own crust for these amazing, juicy peaches. And the peaches were so juicy that the crust on my galette leaked, a lot. Even then, there was still plenty of juice left in the pie. Actually, I've made two of these this week; one was peach and blueberry. Both were fantastic and my husband is practically begging for another. Hmmm, I think apple will be next!
Roll out the crust to about 13 inches in diameter. Top with sliced peaches that have been sweetened. Keep them in the center with about 3 inches of an edge all the way around.

Fold over the edges and just kind of pleat the crust and pinch the pleats together. Sprinkle with a little sugar if desired. Bake until the crust is golden. Let it cool! There is so much juice that you'll lose a lot if you cut it too soon. Here's the recipe.

from Lynda's Recipe Box
1 1/4 cup flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted, cold butter, cut into smaller cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
4-6 tablespoons ice cold water
In a bowl mix the flour and salt together. Add the cold butter and cut into the flour with a pastry blender. If the butter gets warm, chill the flour mixture before adding the water. Add 4 tablespoons of ice water and quickly work into the crust to bring it together into a ball. Add more water if needed. Don't overwork the crust. Place crust on plastic wrap and flatten it into a round disk.Wrap tightly and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. When ready to form the crust, take it out and let it set on the counter for about 20 minutes. Flour a work area and roll crust into a 13 inch circle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the crust to top the parchment paper.
2/12 - 3 cups of fresh peaches, peeled and sliced- or other fruit or berries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Mix the cornstarch, cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl. In another bowl slice the peeled
peaches into large slices. Sprinkle the peaches with the sugar mixture and mix together. Spoon the peaches onto the center of the rolled out crust. Fold the crust over the fruit and pleat it together. You can sprinkle sugar on the crust, if desired. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 - 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Remove from oven and cool. Enjoy with ice cream or whipped cream!
NOTE: Be sure to measure your crust; if it is smaller than 12 inches, you'll need to use less fruit.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fried Summer Squash ( My Weakness)

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend! Ours has been rather lazy, but sometimes it's nice to have a slow day. My husband is now well, as is our granddaughter, so life is back to normal.
Recently I gave in to a life long craving-pan-fried squash. You see, as I was growing up, my mother grew yellow summer squash in her garden and the only way she prepared it was to bread it with egg and cracker crumbs and fry it in butter. It was a family favorite. It was many years later before I had squash prepared any other way. As I've gotten older, I rarely ever fry squash anymore, maybe once or twice each summer. I still love it, I just try to not eat very much fried food because of the artery clogging capabilities that we all hear about. But I have to indulge once in a while, and last week it was time! I've also fried zucchini this way with delicious results. This isn't really a recipe, but a method for you to follow. I'm sure many of you have eaten it prepared this way.

from Lynda's Recipe Box

Squash, yellow or zucchini- I used 2
Finely crushed saltine crackers-I start with a cup
salt and pepper added to the crumbs
1 egg, well beaten
oil and butter for frying-amount depends on the size of skillet used

Use small squash as larger ones may be tough and have large seeds. Wash squash and dry with paper towels. Slice each squash into uniform slices. I like it about 1/2 inch thick.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and 1 or 2 tablespoons butter. The grease needs to be about 1/4 inch thick if the squash is 1/2 inch thick.
Dip each slice of squash in egg; shake off the extra and then dip into the cracker crumbs. Place squash into the hot oil. Repeat with each slice, but don't crowd the pan. If crowded, the breading will stick to other squash and pull of when you turn it. When golden, turn it over and fry until the other side is browned. Remove squash from skillet and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Serve and enjoy!
Delicious- I thoroughly enjoyed every calorie and fat gram!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stacked Chicken Enchiladas - an easy cassarole

My week has been busy with an ill granddaughter to help with, and then my husband got sick, so I really haven't cooked much. I hope next week is healthier. But I do have a recipe to share. Would you like having a yummy chicken enchilada casserole recipe that is fairly easy to throw together? A rotisserie chicken is called for in this recipe, which cuts down quite a bit in the casserole's preparation. Of course, you can used leftover baked chicken, or even turkey, if desired. A delicious, spicy, but mild sauce is layered between roasted chicken, corn tortillas and Monterrey jack cheese and baked for 15-20 minutes, which makes it easy enough even for a week night meal. This is supposed to be a 30 minute meal from Cook's Country, but I went over a few minutes. I like the smaller size of this casserole as it's not so huge for a smaller family. But it packs plenty of flavor! My husband prefers actual enchiladas to this casserole, but I don't always have time to make them. This dish is a delicious substitute, so I hope you'll give it a try.

adapted from Cook's Country
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (4-ounce) can of chopped green chilies
1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded and meat shredded ( about 3 cups of meat)
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese-recipe calls for Mexican cheese blend
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1. Place an oven rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat and saute onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the chicken broth, salt and tomato paste. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Cover and keep warm.
2. Toss the chicken, 1/4 cup sauce, 1 cup cheese and green chilies in a bowl. Tortillas are supposed to be softened in a microwave, but mine were fresh and soft, so I skipped this step.
Now, spread 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking dish. Lay 4 tortillas over the sauce in the baking dish. Cover the tortillas with half of the chicken mixture.. Top chicken layer with 4 more tortillas, and then cover with half of the sauce mixture. Cover with remaining chicken mixture, then the last 4 tortillas, and the rest of the sauce. Cover with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
3. Place a piece of foil tightly over the baking dish and bake about 15 minutes until heated through. Remove the foil and bake until the cheese is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. I let it cool about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
NOTE: If you prefer a spicier dish, you can used pepper jack cheese as a substitute.