Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Southern Corn Cakes

To go with the soup... from the same cookbook.

Southern Corn Cakes (makes 12)

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cups coarse yellow cornmeal, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt (or table salt)
16 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1.5 large eggs (okay, so I split this recipe in half, you can make this happen!)

Position a rack in the lower third of teh oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until throughly blended.

In a large measuring cup or a small bowl, mix together the butter, cream, buttermilk, and eggs. Pour into the flour mixture and mix on medium speed just until the ingredients are combined and no longer lumpy.

Using a large ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the batter onto the prepared backing sheet, placing teh corn cakes about 2 inches apart (they will spread when baking). Sprinkle about 1 tsp cornmeal over the top of each corn cake.

Bake the corn cakes for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden and crisp on the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. (To refresh the corn cakes, wrap in foil and reheat in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

White Bean Soup with Bacon

Claudia brought in a cookbook today from the library, "Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook". There were SO many things that looked amazing that I think I have to buy this book. One recipe really caught my eye though and it wasn't for a sweet. Of course, it has bacon in it, so go figure...

White Bean Soup with Bacon

1 1/2 cups dried white beans, such as cannellini or navy, soaked overnight in cold water
3 Tbs olive oil
4 celery ribs, diced
2 large sweet onions, finely diced
1 parsnip, peeled and finely diced
4 cups chicken stock
8 strips bacon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
smoked paprika

Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Fill a large saucepan with water, add the beans, bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for 10 minutes. REduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the beans are soft, about 1 hour. Set a sieve over a bowl and drain the beans; reserve the liquid. Remove any loose bean skins.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in teh same pan over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, and parsnip and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add half the beans and the chicken stock and cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 mintues. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment and lay the bacon strips on teh paper, without overlapping. Bake the bacon for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly crispy. Remove the baconfrom teh oven and drain on paper towels. W@hen it is cool, dice 4 strips and cut the remaining 4 strips to half.

Using a food processor or a blender (I'm thinking immersion blender), blend the soup to a smooth consistency. Return it to the saucepan and reheat (if necessary)over low heat, adding a little of the bean liquid if the soup is too thick. Add the remaining beans and the diced bacon to the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the soup into four bowls and garnish each with 2 bacon strip halves. Finish with a sprinkle of teh parsley and a dusting of smoked paprika.

Monday, March 19, 2012

PW's Texas Sheet Cake

I made this once for a party and it was to die for.

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 24

Print Recipe

3"x5" Cards

4"x6" Cards

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2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
2 sticks salted Butter
1 cup Boiling Water
1/2 cup Buttermilk
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
1-3/4 stick salted Butter
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
6 Tablespoons Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 pound (minus 1/2 Cup) Powdered Sugar
Preparation Instructions

Note: I use an 18x13 sheet cake pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.

Cut into squares, eat, and totally wig out over the fact that you’ve just made the best chocolate sheet cake. Ever.