Roasted Cabbage

April 16, 2010

I have to thank Martha for opening my eyes to cabbage. She first got me on the cabbage train last year when I made her stuffed cabbage and fell in love with it. Cabbage is not stinky, strong-flavored or nasty. It is sweet and delicate. So I was in when I saw roast cabbage in Everyday Food. This is incredibly easy. Just slice some rounds of cabbage (1/2 inch thick) and put on a baking sheet. Brush with oil and salt and pepper them. Martha says to bake at 400 for 40-45 minutes. I pulled mine out at about 30 minutes because it was burning. Next time I might roast at a lower temp for longer. I used savoy cabbage which I prefer to regular. The cabbage turned out tender and sweet and even the kids tasted it and did not reject it.

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MSC Cupcake Club: Jumbo Cream Filled Choc Cupcakes

April 15, 2010

It’s time again for the MSC Cupcake Club. This month’s recipe is Jumbo Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcakes from Martha’s cupcake book. My motto for this project is “Oh me of little faith”. These cupcakes are supposed to mimic the Hostess cupcakes I grew up adoring.

I whipped up the batter and thought it tasted pretty good. I made these as regular size cupcakes, not jumbo. When they came out of the oven, one fell apart and I sampled it. Here is where the “oh me of little faith” motto comes in. I thought it tasted not so great – dry and crumbly and not good. I was worried this was going to be a disaster.

Then I made the filling. I am NOT a fan of marshmallows, so once again I thought this was going to be a thumbs down component since it is just Fluff and butter. I didn’t really care for how the cream filling tasted.

Then I began the task of filling the cupcakes. I admit I used a ziploc bag w/ the corner cut off and did not attempt a pastry bag. I had some real trouble hollowing these out and filling, which may have been b/c I did not make jumbo size. They fell apart, the pieces I cut out fell apart, etc. And of course my ziploc was a mess. I made zigzags on the top but had to make an extra half batch of cream filling because I ran out. I had crumbs and cream all over the counter and my hands – I looked like the creature from the Black Lagoon.

After all that fuss, I was sure this was going to be a reject recipe. Surprise! I loved this when it was all together and once I had forgotten what an unholy mess they were to fill. It did taste just like the Hostess cupcakes (although it was missing the layer of chocolate on the top). For the life of me, I do not know how cupcakes that tasted dry and awful and cream filling that tasted yucky could come together to make something so divine. Some weird alchemy. Martha gets major points for this, and so does the MSC club because I would never have tried this one on my own.

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Martha Mondays: One Bowl Chocolate Cake and Schedule

April 14, 2010

I usually post the assignment for Martha Mondays on Tuesdays, however, the past two weeks the people assigned to choose have never answered my emails reminding them (I did post a schedule so everyone should have been aware of their scheduled date). If you don’t want to choose, I would really appreciate it if you could at least let me know instead of just radio silence. If you no longer want to participate, I will take your name off the blogroll.

Since once again the choice is left up to me, I’m choosing One Bowl Chocolate Cake from April Living for Monday 4/19. If you need the recipe, let me know.

There will be no Martha Mondays for April 26 and we’ll pick it up again for 5/3 – the person choosing for that date is Mum in Bloom. And here is the schedule from that point on. IF YOU DON”T WANT TO BE ON THE SCHEDULE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

5/3 Mum in Bloom

5/10 Tiny Skillet

5/17 At Least Twice a Week

5/24 City Interlude (Hannah I have tried to contact you but got no response. Please confirm you want to be on this list)

5/31 Megan’s Cookin’

6/7 Sassy Suppers

6/14 Perfecting Pru

6/21 Homemade Iowa Life

6/28 Brenda’s Canadian Kitchen

7/5 Stirrin It Up (Mary Ann I did not hear from you for your last scheduled pick – please contact me if you’d like to remain on the list)

Applesauce Cake No/ Apple Cake Yes

April 14, 2010

The idea of this cake from April Everyday Food got me excited. It sounded like it would be easy and healthy. It wasn’t all that easy! I assumed it would use applesauce. Nope. You have to peel, core, and cut apples and then cook them. Then you mix that with all the other ingredients and bake it.

You are supposed to dust it with powdered sugar when serving. Even with that as a topping, this was not very sweet. Therefore, no one wanted to eat it. It also didn’t taste very apple-y. Since it only has three apples in it, the flavor was not strong. I’m not even going to bother sharing ingredients here since I don’t recommend this cake at all.

HOWEVER, I am going to share my own recipe for an apple cake that is to die for, so hold on to your hats for this one:

Brette’s Apple Cake

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

3 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups diced, peeled tart raw apples (about 4 apples)

1 cup pecans

2 tsp vanilla

Combine the oil and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Beat in flour, soda, spices and salt.  Stir in apples and nuts.

Bake in a buttered and floured tube pan at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let it cool in the pan then remove.

Make the sauce:

6 tbsp butter

6 tbsp brown sugar

6 tbsp sugar

6 tbsp heavy cream

3/4 tsp vanilla

Melt all together in a saucepan then boil for 1 minute. Serve alongside the cake as a sauce.

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Spring Flowers

April 13, 2010

I don’t have Martha’s green thumb (or cash to pay gardeners!), but I wanted to share some of the signs of spring from our gardens that I am enjoying. Bulbs, I can manage! Other than that, I put my family to shame. My grandfather and his brother began the family greenhouse business referenced in the link, based upon my great-grandfather’s farmland. It’s now run by my uncle and his fiance.

Martha Mondays: Chess Pie

April 12, 2010

I am not a Southerner, but I admit a lot of Southern food really hits the spot for me. I remember seeing some celebrity make chess pie on a daytime talk show a hundred years ago and I could not believe it could be any good. There was almost nothing in it but egg, sugar, and butter. I’ve not really seen chess pie recipes around, until I came upon the Chess Tart in April Living. I had to make it and chose it for this week’s Martha Mondays.

This is spectacularly easy to make. The crust is 45 vanilla wafers, crushed, with 5 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp salt. You bake it then fill it with 3 eggs, 1 yolk, a stick of butter, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp cornmeal, and 1/2 c brown sugar. Bake it at 350 for 35-40 minutes and then refrigerate it.

This is a giant mouthful of sugar for sure, but it is really an interesting dessert. The filling kind of soaks into the crust and it is almost like butterscotch. Mr. MarthaAndMe LOVED this. It was really too sweet for me, so I ate the crust and that was about it. The kids liked it too, so it was a real hit here. How did yours turn out?

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Asparagus with Breadcrumbs and Parmesan

April 9, 2010

I like asparagus just plain, but when it gets into asparagus season I sometimes feel overwhelmed with it and tired of the same preparation. So I was happy to try something new – Asparagus with Breadcrumbs and Parmesan from Everyday Food, Apr issue. Nothing complicated here, just whiz up 4 slices of white bread. Mix with 2 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 cup Parmesan and salt and pepper. Lay 2 bunches of asparagus out on a 9×13 baking dish and cover with the mix. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes until the breading is brown. It comes out very crunchy and wonderful and is a nice accompaniment to the asparagus.

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Warm Potato Salad with Goat Cheese

April 8, 2010

Teen Martha saw this recipe on the counter (from April Living) and said “No way! You’re making warm potato salad with goat cheese?!” Here’s the thing. Potato salad with my grandmother’s recipe is a family tradition and something my daughter and I could just eat buckets of. Teen Martha is also a tremendous goat cheese fan. The two together in one dish, well, it’s enough to give her a seizure of joy.

This recipe is extremely easy. You don’t even peel the potatoes! Cut 2 lbs red potatoes into bite size pieces and boil until cooked. Cool slightly. Mix with 1 stalk of celery chopped, 1 shallot (I used a scallion), and some parsley. Mix up a dressing of 3 tbsp oil, 2 tbsp white vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon and 1 tbsp of cooking water from the potatoes. Salt and pepper the salad. Pour dressing over the salad and stir in 4 oz goat cheese. Ta-dah! This was really delicious – and not something I would have thought of making on my own. I loved the contrast of the warm potatoes with the creamy goat cheese. Unfortunately, this was not good at all as leftovers since it was cold and just tasted like potatoes. I think you would have to let this rest and come up to room temp to eat it again. Even then, I’m not convinced it would be as good because you wouldn’t have that contrast of warm potatoes and cold cheese.

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Kitchen Essentials According to MSLO Editors

April 7, 2010

As part of Kevin Sharkey’s kitchen remodel IRS write-off (am I cynical? Why, yes!) several months ago, Living did a big feature on his kitchen and how “Martha” (meaning MSLO I think) helped him redo it. Included in this was a list of kitchen essentials. I went through that list on my blog and a lot of you commented about your own kitchen essentials. Someone is snoozing in editorial at Living because April’s issue includes yet another shorter list of 10 kitchen essentials. So just for kicks, I thought I would go through this one as well.

– Measuring cups and spoons. Duh.

– Asian strainer. I do like mine, but I think a slotted spoon is almost as good.

– High-heat rubber spatula. Yes, definitely.

– Vegetable peeler. They say they like Y shaped peelers. I am fond of my Oxo peeler with the rubber handle.

– Flour-sack towels. Personally, I prefer a terry towel since it absorbs more.

– Maple cutting boards. I use plastic only. I agree that wood is nicer, but I think plastic is safer.

– Mini kitchen torch. I don’t have one and have had success just using my broiler when needed.

– Pump-style salad spinner. I had one and chucked it when we moved 10 years ago. It just took up too much room. I also hated washing it. So now I soak my greens in a colander in the sink, then let them sit in the colander over the open sink to drain and pat them dry with a towel.

– Mandoline. I don’t have one and toy with buying one. I am afraid I’ll slice off some bodily appendages with it. I do have a slicing attachment for my Cuisinart which I use for large amounts of slicing.

All right readers, what are your thoughts on this list? My personal list of top ten essentials would be: plastic cutting boards, chef knife, small paring knife, rubber scraper, handheld cheese grater, tongs, silpats, nonstick pans, Oxo veg peeler, and measuring spoons/cups, including glass liquid measuring cups which I use to boil water in the microwave.

Martha Mondays: 4/19

April 7, 2010

The person who was scheduled to make the pick for next Monday is MIA, so I will step in and make another pick so that we can keep to the previously arranged schedule from here on out.

So, I’ll pick the Chess Tart on the last page of April Martha Stewart Living. Let me know if you need the recipe.

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