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Sunday, April 11, 2021

ORANGE JUICE CAKE

 I had a friend forward this recipe to me a couple years ago, and simply forgot I had it all this time.   I needed a dessert that would travel well for over an hour in a warm car, so I didn't think my four layer frosted cake option was really the best choice.  Fortunately, I found this recipe in my archives and I opted for this simple bundt cake.  

I have to say, she definitely traveled well....but, better than that, she was super tasty!  A refreshing burst of citrus taste, with a moist crumb.  It was nice and light, not to mention picture perfect!  With the exception of chopping the pistachios the day before, I put it together the morning of our dinner since it was a super easy recipe.   The kitchen smelled like a creamsicle.  

INGREDIENTS:

1 (15oz.) white box cake mix
1 (6oz.) box orange jello mix
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

Frosting:
2 Tbsp. OJ
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup  chopped pistachio nuts


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bundt pan, set aside.

Combine cake mix, orange jello, orange juice, oil, and eggs in a large bowl and mix using an electric mixer until ingredients are well blended. 

Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cake tester/toothpick comes out clean.  

Remove cake from oven to rest in pan for 5-10 minutes.  Remove the cake from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.  

Mix powdered sugar, with OJ and beat until smooth.  Drizzle over cooled cake.  Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.  

Enjoy!


Notes:  For us high altitude folk, I added 1 Tbsp. of flour to the batter.  The recipe called for a full cup of pistachios......there was no way, I probaby used 1/2 cup and I think it looked great.  


recipe c/o: www.12tomatoes.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

BREAD DUMPLINGS

 I wanted to share a recipe from my Dad's heritage with my daughter and her boyfriend, realizing as she approaches her 30th birthday that I've never made this for her!  So, it was pork, dumplings and cooked cabbage.  A true Czech Sunday dinner for us growing up.  

Dumplings were an important element in many of our dinners, and there were quite a variety (bread, potato and fruit to name a few).  Bread dumplings were my favorite and they taste great with pork gravy drizzled on top.  

As for the pork....Frankly, our pork roasts were never my favorite.  They always seemed really dry.  I tried a stuffed pork loin for my dinner.  It was better, but not great.  The bonus was having lots of additional stuffing as a side....and who doesn't love stuffing?

Finally, the cooked cabbage was a favorite of my Dad.  It's so simple, but so yummy.  It's a head of cabbage shredded and simmered on low for hours with a little bit of water in the bottom of the saucepan, caraway seeds and a dash of sugar.  It cooks down and turns a golden brown after hours on the stovetop (the side nearest the utensils in this photo).                    
  Here's my family's dumpling recipe in case you'd like to give it a try.....
You need a very large pot for the dumplings. After the water begins a rolling boil, they take about 20-30 minutes.  My favorite part of this dinner was watching my Grandmother slice them with a length of thread.  I do the very same thing, since it works like a charm!  Slide it underneath the dumpling, bring the lengths up each side and criss cross them while pulling down.


INGREDIENTS:

2½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder 
2 eggs 
½ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
3 slices of bread, cut into cubes (original recipe calls for white bread)


DIRECTIONS:
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium size bowl.  Beat eggs, add to milk. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture.  Mix well by hand; using a wooden spoon, or even your hands,

Add the bread cubes once the mixture has come together.  Form either one large or two smaller spheres using a lightly floured surface to bring them together. 

Cook for 20-30 minutes in boiling water.  

In case you're wondering how my daughter enjoyed the meal.  She ate it....I don't really see her requesting it again, but her boyfriend had two full helpings of everything.  I love the way that man enjoys a meal!  It makes all the effort worth it.  And, I will tell you, this is a significant effort.  My husband commented how the prep was much like a full out Thanksgiving dinner.  And, there are a whole lot of dishes/pots/pans to clean up too!  

For me, I enjoyed it....I've realized I'm just not a huge pork roast fan.  It brought back wonderful memories for me and a little heartache as well, since my parents and grandparents have all passed....but it's another reason why I like to share these meals, and the stories I shared at the dinner table.  I want to be sure our family heritage is passed along to the grandkids.  

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

FINGERTIP VEIL WITH LACE TRIM

 Generally, when I have a bride that requests a custom veil, I'll order extra of the trims to make another one or two for my shop.  It won't be exactly like hers, since hers was a "one-of-a-kind", but it will be similar.

In this case, my bride wanted a waltz length veil.  I found her this gorgeous venice lace trim for the perimeter to finish off hers then decided to make a fingertip length veil with the same lace for my shop. 

  It's about 2 inches in width at the widest point and has beautiful clear sequins throughout so it shimmers beautifully in the light.  I finished this particular veil with a very delicate thread accent from the comb to the where the lace actually begins.  It was just the right touch to lead the eye from the bride's face to the lace trim.         Fingertip length veils are the most popular, so I know there will be plenty of brides who will fall in love with this one!         

                              


Sunday, February 14, 2021

SALMON AND LEEK TART

 I stumbled on this recipe awhile back and was waiting for the right oppportunity to make it.  Last night was that opportunity.

This recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen, so it calls for a homemade crust, which I did.  I will tell you, next time I think I'll go with a sheet of puff pastry (like some of the other recipes I found that are very similar).  It's such a timesaver!    As far as flavor though....so good!!! 

I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of the tart before I sliced into it.  It was so pretty!  I served it as an appetizer, along with a meat and cheese tray.  Don't forget to add that spritz of lemon before biting into it.  

FILLING:

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin & rinsed
salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1 Tbsp. minced fresh dill leaves
pepper
6 oz. smoked salmon, thinly sliced and cut into 1/4 inch pieces (I chose to flake it)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced fresh chives
1 lemon, cut into wedges

1 sheet frozen puff pastry

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Thaw puff pastry. Roll out to a 12 inch square on a lightly floured surface.  *Line the 9" pastry shell (with removable bottom) with the dough.  Cut off any excess at edge.  With a fork, pierce the bottom all over.  Freeze for 5 minutes.  Cover pastry with aluminum foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake 15 minutes.  Remove weights and bake another 15 minutes until golden.

Let stand at room temperature.

Melt butter in a skillet.  Add leeks and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, covered over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened.  About 10 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and let leeks cool uncovered for 5 minutes.

Whisk eggs, half and half, dill and 1/4 tsp. pepper together in bowl.  Stir in leeks until incorporated.  Placed cooled tart shell on rimmed baking sheet.  Carefully pour egg mixture into cooled shell and bake until filling has set and center feels firm to the touch.  Approximately 20-25 minutes.    Transfer to wire rack and let tart cool completely, at least 2 hours.  

Just before serving, toss salmon, oil, and chives together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste before sprinkling evenly over cooled tart.  Slice and serve.   You can serve it warm, room temp, or chilled.  

*NOTE:  I totally missed the size of the tart pan!  Mine is an 11 inch.  Next time, I plan to double the eggs/half and half so I have more filling.  



Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2021

DOUBLE CRUST CHICKEN POT PIE

 I've watched the America's Test Kitchen episode featuring this recipe twice, and I finally decided I needed to try it.   Personally, I find a lot of their recipes to be very complex, filled with lots of prep and steps before you finally get to the reward of eating the finished product.  It's probably why I've waited so long to try this one.  It comes complete with a crust recipe, but I'll be honest, I chose the shortcut of buying the pre-made package which includes two crusts.  It tasted wonderful, and it saved a whole lot of time and effort.

Be forewarned, there's a bit of prep.....cutting up veggies and shredding chichen, but once those steps are finished, it comes together fairly quickly.  Bake time is 45 minutes total, with a time for it to cool.  They said 45 minutes, I felt it would be cold by then, so I waited 25 minutes, and I was able to get it out of the pan with no problem and it was still warm.

INGREDIENTS:

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine 
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch pieces
2 celery ribs, cut into ¼ inch pieces
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
6 Tbsp. flour
2 ¼ cups chicken broth
½ cup half and half
1 small russet potato, peeled and cut into ¼ inch pieces
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 (2.5 lb) rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded, shredded into bite size pieces
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 package frozen pie crusts 

DIRECTIONS:

Adjust rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees.  Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden.  1-2 minutes.  Slowly stir in broth and half and half and bring to boil over medium high heat.  

Stir in potato and thyme (if you're using dried thyme, use 1/2 tsp).  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is thickened and potato is tender, about 8 minutes.  Off heat, stir in chicken and peas.  

Transfer filling to a dough lined 9" pie plate.  Loosely roll remaining dough around a rolling pin and gently unroll it onto the filling.  Trim overhand to 1/2" beyond lip of plate.  Pinch edges of top and bottom crusts firmly together.  Tuck overhang under itself and crimp dough around edges.  Cut four 2" slits in top of dough.

Brush top of pie with egg.  Place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees until top is light golden brown, 18-20 minutes.  Reduce oven temp to 375 degrees, rotate sheet and continue baking until crust is deep golden brown, 12-15 minutes longer.  Let cool on a wire rack for about 25-30 minutes.  Serve.  

Enjoy!