Friday, February 19, 2010

Thomas Keller's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

There is another man in my life. Thomas Keller's recipes have taken over my kitchen. Last night, I tried his Pineapple Upside-Down Cake from "Ad Hoc At Home." It was different than other Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes. Keller went without the cherry and used fresh pineapple; he called the dessert "elegant." He's right, I would serve this at a my candlelit dinner.

Thomas Keller's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Ingredients for pan schmear
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dark rum (Captain Morgan)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Kosher salt
1 Gold (extra-sweet) pineapple

Ingredients for cake
1 1/3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of  a stand mixer with the paddle, combine the butter, honey, rum, sugar, and vanilla, and beat until smooth and well blended. Spread 1/3 cup of the schmear over the bottom of a 9-inch silicone cake pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt. (The remaining schmear can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 1 month; bring to room temperature before using.)
Cut top and bottom from pineapple, and cut away peel. Cut pineapple lengthwise into quarters, and cut off core from each section. Cut each piece crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Beginning at the perimeter of the pan, make an overlapping ring of pineapple slices with the curved side facing out. Make a second ring inside the first one, overlapping the slices in the opposite direction, working toward the center of the pan. Reserve any pineapple for another use.
Sift flour and baking powder together; set aside.
Put butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and mix on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Mix in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding second and scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat in milk. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating just until combined.
Pour batter into pan and spread over pineapple. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan for even browning and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 to 30 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges of the cake, invert onto a serving platter, and serve warm. (Leftover cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.) 

source: "Ad Hoc At Home"

Thursday, February 18, 2010


From this viewpoint, Brunswick has a lazy eye.

He's coming in for a head-butt.

Droopy Bars

Most Oregonians are Granola. It's okay, I don't think they'll be offended. Most seem to embrace that lifestyle. In my attempts to sample this lifestyle, I tried Alton Brown's Granola Bar recipe. It's delicious, but the ingredients did not hold up for me and I was left with Droopy Bars. I couldn't cope with the Droopy Bars and sticky mess so roasted them a bit longer to turn them into a crunch cereal. 

Mixing the dry ingredients.

Mixing in the wet ingredients.

Looking beautiful, until I cut them into bars.

Alton Brown's Granola Bars

8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cus
3 ounces sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup
1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar approximately 1/4 cup packed
1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries

Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.
Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
source: Food Network

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Acting Skills

Zoe tries on her serious face.

Low Key 30-Something

We like to keep things low key. It goes without saying that that is the same way we like to celebrate birthdays and holidays. For Matt's birthday, we cracked open some Omaha Steak items that Grandma Kern gifted us for Christmas. Our dinner seemed kind of yellow, so I put together a salad to brighten things up.

Stuffed baked potato (left), sole on top of crab stuffing (right) and homemade ciabatta (back)

Romaine lettuce and tomatoes with homemade green goddess dressing

Parsley Green Goddess Dressing

1/2 low fat cup mayonnaise
1/2 low fat sour cream
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup italian parsley
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 clove garlic (chopped)
salt and pepper

Place mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. 

Add sour cream, pulse until blended. 

Salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Salsa Verde

We've fallen in love with Anna's Lazy Chilaquiles Verdes (see recipe below). On Valentine's Day weekend, I attempted to make the simple dish a little less simple. I made Laborious and Not So Great Chilaquiles Verdes. Trader Joe's makes an equally as good Salsa Verde without all the work. Traditionally, Salsa Verde is made from boiled tomatillo. I broiled them to gain more flavor. Unfortunately, this boost in flavor was not terribly noticeable in the final product. 

Broiled and halved tomatillos

Laborious and Not So Great Chilaquiles Verdes with a side of beans

Anna's Lazy Chilaquiles Verdes

2 jars Trader Joe's salsa verde (about 3 cups)
1 cup chicken broth
dash olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
salt to taste
20-30 tortilla chips
1/2+ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Diced white onion, cilantro, and sour cream to top. Queso fresco, si quieres.

Shred your cheese and prep the garnish items. Heat the salsa, chicken broth, and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the sauce begins to bubble, add the beaten eggs and stir to cook and incorporate. This will thicken your sauce a bit. Start adding tortilla chips and immerse in the sauce until you have layered to the surface of your sauce. The chips will soften. Sprinkle the cheese over the mixture, then spoon out onto plates. Top with garnish items, as preferred. 4 large servings or 8 side servings.

Since chilaquiles is traditionally a way to use up leftover salsa and tortillas the next morning, people will often add leftover meat as well. Chicken is a popular choice. As a side dish, I served it with roasted cauliflower.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

1 1/2 lb tomatillo (12-18)
8 serrano chilies (stemmed, seeded and chopped)
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Turn broiler on high.

Remove paper husks and rinse tomatillos.

Line baking sheet with foil. Cut tomatillos in half and place cut side down on baking sheet. Place under broiler for about 5-10 minutes, until tomatillo skins blacken.

Place all ingredient, except salt, into a blender or food processor and pulse. Salt to taste. Cool in refrigerator. Serve as salsa.