Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tamales for a Crowd

Delicious Tamales! 
Friends came over and we made tamales. We drank Margaritas and there was talking, laughing and of course tamales.

I called this Columbusing a little. To Columbus something is actively tell a person from not your culture that you can make their food better than they can; that your food is more authentic. Sounds awful, huh? 

We didn't do that because that would be wrong but sadly I didn't have an experienced tamale maker in my friend group, so I thought watch some videos and make it happen. This is what we did. 

1 8 pound pork butt or shoulder
salas or the stuff to make salsa 
Ancho chili powder

Cook the pork a day ahead in a crock pot. Don't be shy about salt and seasoning. When it is fork tender 8 to 10 hours later cool and shred. After shredding pour the crock pot liquid over the pork and refrigerate until needed.

Tamale Dough
1.33 cups lard or shortening or a combination
4 cup masa
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
2.66 cups broth or water, broth is better
1 big bag of corn husks

Soak the corn husks overnight or heat in simmering water for an hour. 

Whip the fat until it's aerorated. In a second container combine the masa, salt, baking powder, cumin and chili powder. Into the lard add 1/3 the flour, then 1/2 the broth, scrape the sides between every addition. Continue add the flour and broth in parts until it's all combined. Whip a minute or two longer. It's suggested to cool the mixture an hour then whip it before using. 

Put the corn husk cut side to the top. Spread about a quarter cup of masa onto the husk, it will feel like cookie batter.  3x3 about an inch from the top edge. Put a strip of filling down the middle. Fold over both sides like swaddling a baby, then fold up the top. Tie around the middle, tight enough to hold together but not synched around the middle like a belt. The tamale will expand as it cooks. 

Set the sanding on end, top open in a steamer. Steam covered for 75-90 minutes. Check for doneness by pulling one out of the steamer, opening it and touching the masa for firmness.

I made the dough 4 times to use all the pork and it made about 100 tamales. That's the crowd part, because seriously who is going to eat them all? 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Shoo Fly Pie - American Cake - Pie Cake

Try not singing this song while you bake.  
Thanks Dinah! 

What's a pie doing in a cake book? It is really cake batter in a pie shell. It's molasses and sugar and coffee and flour all in a pie pan. It grows like a cake in a pan so don't be put off by how little batter fills your pie pan before it's baked. 

Shoo Fly Pie!
I think it's so delicious you have to shoo the flies away. 
I did mine in an 11 inch tart pan and it was a bad idea, it over flowed the edges of the pan. I was able to trim it and still serve the pie, but I would not recommend going that way.  Use a real pie pan.

Shoo Fly Pie
1 - 9 inch pie shell
1.5 cup flour
0.5 cup white sugar
0.5 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
0.5 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, cold
0.5 cup warm strong coffee
0.5 cup molasses
0.5 teaspoon baking soda

350 degree oven.
Prepare the pie shell and refrigerate while mixing the ingredients. Using a food processor combine the flour, sugars, nutmeg and baking powder. Pulse to combine. Dot with cold butter and pulse further to cut the butter into the flour mixture. You can do this by hand as well. Rubbing the butter into the flour. Reserve .025 cups of the dry mixture for sprinkling on top before baking.
In the large measuring cup combine the coffee and molasses, stir in the baking soda (watch out it bubbles up) pour this into the flour/butter mixture and whirl until mixed.
Pour into the pie pan, sprinkle with reserved flour/butter mixture and bake at 40-50 minutes until the center is set. Let cool 15 minutes and serve warm or cold.

How many songs about baked goods are there? And I think I need to find an Apple Pan Dowdy recipe.

Friday, February 17, 2017

1, 2, 3, 4 Cake - American Cake - Plus Plus Plus

Unicorn Rainbow Crunch Cake.
Happy Birthday Ms. Chea

Someone had a birthday! It's her Birthday and on birthdays, at work, there is cake. She asked for an outrageous rainbowy cake. How can you say no to that face? There were donuts, plus got sung to a few times and even had original rap song written and performed for her, "Salad Bar Queen". Heaven help our school if there is ever a grown up people's talent show; I'd sign our group up in a minute. We wouldn't win, but we'd have fun; we always have fun.

The American Cake Book recipe isn't colorful, that's from some intense food coloring. Use paste or gel if you can, not liquid.  And I scaled the cake up by 1.5 to get my six colorful layers. I was looking for a good clean foundational cake and the 1, 2, 3, 4 Cake did the trick. I don't know if you can tell that the cake pan size is 6 inches, but it is. I just so happened to find the little cake stand at the thrift store a few weeks ago. Don't you love when that kind of thing happens?
ROYGBIV, minus the I 
The cake gets its name from 1 cup of butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour and 4 eggs. There's also 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder, 0.5 teaspoon salt, 1 cup milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

The trick is how you mix it. Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly, until it's fluffy. Add one egg at a time. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add 1/3 of that to the butter mixture. Then add half the milk, the second third of flour, the second half of milk and then the last third of flour. At the the end add the vanilla. Beat it well between additions.

Pour into prepared pans, bake at 350, until done, cool and decorate.

To make the Fruity Pebbles Crunch:
5 cups Fruity Pebbles, cereal
0.5 cup milk powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
9 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven 275 degrees.

In a medium bowl toss the cereal with the milk powder, sugar and salt. Pour the butter over the top and squeeze it together with your hands to where you get little clumps. Pour onto a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

1 pound unsalted butter
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons half and half

Cream the butter, then add the powdered sugar. To that add vanilla and half and half. Add additional liquid, if needed to make a softer frosting.
It was tall. I used chopsticks to keep it upright.
Oh, and how to transport this very silly cake? Carefully! I put it on the lid of a big food storage container and put the container upside down on the lid. It was assembled with the new pony, on the cake stand, after I got to work. 

Do you have food traditions at your job? 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Big Gay Rainbow Jello

Taste the Rainbow! 
Rainbows are a thing. They are fun. Jello is fun. This is SO MUCH FUN. 

1 each, full sugar, in the six colors of the typical rainbow, 3 ounce boxes 
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 16 ounce can coconut milk
2 cups water
2 envelopes gelatin

Use an 11 cup mold. 

Make the red jello: 1 cup boiling water, mix in the red jello. Add 1/2 cup cold water, pour into the mold. Let sit 1 hour. 

Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 cup of cold water. Let sit 10 minutes. Heat the remaining water, coconut milk, and the sweetened condensed milk in a small pot, into it pour the gelatin mixture. Stir until blended. Strain through a strainer if you can't get all the lumps to melt. Keep this mixture warm/rewarm as you make the mold. 

Pull 3/4 cup of the white mixture into a measuring cup an allow it to cool to just warmer than room temperature. Pour over the back of spoon, over the red jello. Move the pan around to cover the red. Refrigerate for 60 minutes. 

Make the orange gelatin. Again keeping the total water at 1.75 cups liquid. Cool to room temperature, pour over a spoon, tilt pan to even the layer and allow it chill. 

Keep layering white and colors allowing the mold to chill as long as you can, at least an hour but up to two if you can. 

To un-mold dip the mold in hot water for 10 seconds. Top with a plate then flip the whole deal over. 

All the ingredients. Plus water! 

I didn't let the red sit long enough. I learned however! 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Russian Sharlotka

Apple held together with just enough flour, eggs, and sugar to call it a cake.
What to make when you have apples that are going and you really don't want to fuss with making a pie crust?
What if you want to make something dairy free with those same apples?
What if you want to take a dessert to someone who isn't all that desserty, but you know, it's the right thing to do. I mean, you don't want to bust out your best moves and they don't want to eat all those calories.

I give you the Sharlotka. Word on the street is that it's redundant to call it an Apple Sharlotka, like saying Chocolate Brownies. By nature Sharlotkas are apple and Brownies are chocolate.

Super quick and dirty:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
6-8 apples, peeled and pared into small squares
cinnamon, to finish
powdered sugar, to finish

Preheat oven to 350 degree. If you're using using butter, butter a 9 inch springform pan. Line it with parchment and butter that too. If not, spray it liberally with cooking spray.
In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla and pinch of salt. This will be very thick. Into the batter mix the apples. There will be barely enough batter to cover the apple, but do what you can. Dump it all into the prepared pan. Bake 60-70 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
Cool and top with cinnamon. Top with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar before serving.

Strawberry Shortcake - It is a keeper! - American Cake

Simple but perfect Strawberry Shortcake
I don't want to admit that I'm a bad mother but my 15 year old daughter had never had a fresh made shortcake piled high with sugared strawberries. She's only had the grocery sponge cake version. She was skeptical when met with something that looked like biscuit. I make biscuits regularly, but those are not sweet. Her skepticism changed immediately after her first bite. She's already said this needs to made again!

This recipe from American Cake is simply super tender with a gorgous flavor. In the book Anne suggests you can butter the shortcake before topping with strawberries and then top the strawberries with whipped cream. I didn't do either and these were wholly satisfying. 

6 cups strawberries, hulled
1/3 cup sugar 

3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 ounces cold butter
1 egg
1 cup heavy cream

more cream, sugar and butter if you're game. 

Macerate the strawberries in the sugar for at least an hour by the time you plan to serve the dessert. (Macerate is to fruit what marinate is to meat.)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. I use a whisk. Chop the butter and rub it into the flour mixture. To do this grab handfuls of the flour/butter mixture and rub it between your palms letting it fall back into the bowl. Continue to do this until all the butter is consistently sized and the mixture looks like sand. Make a well in the dough. Measure the cream and into it break the egg. Break the egg up, then pour it into the well. Using your fingers combine the mixture until it comes together. 
Put it on a floured surface, roll or pat until it is 1 inch tall. Cut with a round cutter into 8-12 circles. 
Bake 15 minutes. Cool slightly. 
Split and top with strawberries. Or split, butter, top with strawberries then top that with sweetened whipped cream.   

Monday, January 23, 2017

Silver Palate Carrot Cake - American Cake - Right On

Three giant layers of carrot cake! 

This recipe is a lot like my forever carrot cake but this one is in the book American Cakes.
Angie asked for carrot cake for her birthday and she loves coconut, so okay here we go. It's now going to be my future carrot cake! So good!
BTW, this is not in order or publication in the book...I know.

Carrot Cake
1 pound carrots, before you pare the tops
1.5 cup walnuts
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking soda
1.5 cup canola oil
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1.5 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
8 ounce can of crushed pineapple

Line 3 9-inch pans with parchment and spray liberally.
Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Toast the walnuts.
Grate the carrots and simmer in water for 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess water.
Combine flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda in bowl. In a mixing bowl combine oil and sugar. Cream. Add the eggs and vanilla. Into the wet mixture add the flour mixture. Once combined add carrots, walnuts and pineapple. Scrape the bowl. Divide batter equally between all three pans.

Bake 45-55 minutes until when you test it with a tester and it comes out clean. They will be darkish when done. Run a knife around the parameter of the pan before cooling.

Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
7 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange

Cream the butter and cream cheese until there are no lumps. Add the remaining ingredients. Whip until smooth.