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Welcome to my Blog 'In The Kitchen With Don'! Thank you for your visit and come back soon!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Pineapple Carrot Cake

Pineapple Carrot Cake

To be honest, I have never been that great a fan of carrot cake. There was just something about it that I didn't care for. It may have been the spices (it usually contains nutmeg and I am NOT a fan of that spice), the carrots may have been in too big chunks, too many nuts and or raisins, the cream cheese frosting may have been too cloying, who knows. It just wasn't one of my favorites. However, I have a very good friend who loves the stuff and I wanted to make something special for him. I have tried different recipes, but always on the lookout for one that is “better” in some way. I think I may have found it here. It contains crushed pineapple, no nuts and no raisins. The carrots are supposed to be grated, but I put them in my food processor and finely chopped them. For spices, mostly cinnamon, but just a little bit of ginger to perk it up a bit. And for the cream cheese frosting, only half the amount of cream cheese that most call for. The frosting is lighter and not as rich as most and quite tasty. I think you will like it. This cake should probably be refrigerated if not going to be eaten within a day.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9x13 inch cake pan and set aside.

3 cups finely chopped or grated carrots (I used a 10 oz bag of shredded carrots that I then finely chopped in my food processor, but you can do as you please)
1 8 oz can of crushed pineapple, well drained (or use about a cup and a half of fresh pineapple chopped with the carrots)
4 eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all in a large bowl and mix until well blended

Then add to the bowl:

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Using a spatula or large spoon, mix until just blended, then spread in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until nicely browned and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool until completely cooled.

For the frosting:

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Mix the butter and cream cheese together until well blended, stir in the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time and continue mixing until it is a fairly spreadable mixture, adding more sugar as need be or it gets too stiff, a little bit of milk can be stirred in. Spread a fairly thin layer on top of the cake.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding

1 cup arborio rice
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 can coconut cream
sprinkle cinnamon

Mix the milk, rice and brown sugar in a large dutch oven and bring to a simmer.   Keep the heat to the lowest heat that will keep it bubbling, stirring every so often, cook until the milk is very creamy and thickened, and the rice is tender.    Takes about 30 minutes.   Stirring more often the thicker it gets.   Then add the can of coconut cream and continue to simmer until very thick, creamy and the rice is very tender.   Sprinkle in some cinnamon to taste.    Serve either warm or chilled.   

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Lemon Chess Pie

This is a very old, southern dessert about which is there is a lot of speculation where the name and the pie came from.   Like pecan pie, another traditional southern dessert, it is tooth achingly sweet, but at least this one has a very tart and lemony counterpoint to all the sweetness.  Even so, it is an extremely sweet and rich pie that no one should ever eat more than a tiny sliver of.   It is good, but also quite deadly!  If you try to eat more than just a sliver, I warned you!    As always, enjoy!

Lemon Chess Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch pie pan with pie crust. Set aside.

Beat together the following until smooth and well blended:

2 cups sugar
½ cup strained fresh lemon juice
grated rind of two lemons
2 tbsp corn meal
2 tbsp flour
½ cup butter milk or yogurt
4 eggs
¼ cup melted butter
pinch of salt

Pour this mixture into the pie shell and bake about 45-60 minutes. The top of the pie will be lightly browned and the filling will jiggle a little bit when shook. Remove pie from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve pie room temperature or chilled. Store leftovers in the fridge. Some like to top with whipped cream, but as rich as this is, it doesn't really need it.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Mulligatawny Soup

This is another popular Anglo-Indian food, Mulligatawny Soup.  Indian cuisine doesn't have a real soup tradition, but this was invented/adapted in order to satisfy the British need for traditional soup dishes.  It combines the European idea of "soup" with traditional styles of foods found in India at the time of the Raj.   It is like a curry in soup form and very tasty.  It also is fairly mild, spice wise, so it is a good place to start for those wanting to experience Indian food, even if not entirely traditional.  It is very tasty.    This is my interpretation of the traditional dish.   And remember, when cooking Indian food, it isn't so much the main ingredients, as much as the spicing and such.  So feel free to add other vegetables as you like or have available.   Really, the only essential ingredients are the lentils and the coconut milk.   If you want a spicier soup, add some crushed red pepper or  chopped hot chile peppers when cooking.   If you want a hint of sweetness, add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar or a sweet mango chutney.   

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
2-3 cups chopped cauliflower (optional)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 inch piece of peeled ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
2 peeled and chopped apple
1 teaspoon garam masala (or equal amounts of cinnamon & cardamom, a pinch of cloves and a pinch of black pepper)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
(1 heaping tablespoon of curry paste, optional)
1 cup dried red lentils
8 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 can of coconut milk or cream
Juice of 2 lemons, strained
Heat vegetable oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, cauliflower and apple, then cook until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and ginger (and curry past if using), sauté 2 minutes. Add garam masala and next 3 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Add lentils; stir until coated. Add chicken broth. Bring soup to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are very tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in chicken, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with cooked rice or bread.

It would also make a tasty vegetarian or vegan dish by omitting the chicken and using a vegetable stock in place of the chicken broth.   It is gluten free, too!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

German Apple Cake

While this is called a cake, it actually closer to an apple pie or crisp.   Middle and Eastern Europe doesn't really have a "pie" tradition as such.   This is pretty much as close as they get to what we would call an apple pie.  This one has all the requisites of a good apple pie though:  lots of tender sweet apples, with just a hint of cinnamon and lemon.   The top is a buttery streusel and the bottom of the "cake" is a tender shortbread.    It does take a while to bake, but is well worth the wait.   Before cutting, do allow it to cool completely, giving the apple juices time to set up and not be runny.   Top it with some heavy cream, whipped or not, or some ice cream and you will not be disappointed.    While it is supposed to be eaten the same day as baked, I actually like it better the next day or later.  The bottom crust soaks up the apple juices and then actually has more of a cake like texture.    Fresh or a day or two later from the fridge, you are still going to love it!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.    

3 1/2cups all-purpose flour divided (500g)
1 1/2 cups butter divided (340g)
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar (70g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 cups chopped apples
1 1/2 cup applesauce sweet or unsweetened
½ cups brown sugar
1 tsp lemon zest freshly grated (optional)
juice of one lemon (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

     Peel, core and chop the apples, you want about 4 cups of chopped apples.  Add to a large bowl and then add the applesauce, brown sugar if using and the cinnamon.  Lightly grease a 9x13-inch cake pan and set aside.   In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter, ¾ cup sugar, vanilla extract, 2 cups all-purpose flour. Press into the bottom of the cake pan and set aside.   Spread the apple mixture evenly over the bottom crust.     Now make the streusel topping:  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the remaining soft 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter with 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 cup sugar The mixture will be crumbly.  Use your fingers to crumble the crumbs on top. Press some crumbs together to form bigger crumbs, you don't want the crumbs to be too fine. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the crumbs are lightly golden.  Let the cake cool off completely. It will be a little bit soft while hot.

    Other options:   replace the apples with firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped.   Add raisins or dried cranberries to the apples, say 1/2-1 cup.   Use cooked dried peaches in place of the apples and applesauce, use firm ripe plums, pitted and sliced.  If using plums, I would suggest in a teaspoon of cornstarch or flour when tossing with the sugar and cinnamon and omitting the apple sauce.   Pitted cherries would probably be good too, but again you would need flour or cornstarch.

    To make this a gluten free treat, just substitute your favorite gluten free all purpose baking flour or even just gluten free oat or sorghum flour.   It will be tasty no matter what you use!