Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Aunt Joan's Blueberry Buckle

Aunt Joan's Blueberry Buckle - ButterYum

One of the things I most look forward to during the holidays is sharing yummy food with loved ones, and this Blueberry Buckle that our Aunt Joan brings to family gatherings is one of my favorites.  Bursting with juicy blueberries and finished with a cinnamon sugar crumb topping, my mouth waters just thinking about it.  Great served for breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert - no adornment needed.  I should mention it stays moist for days if refrigerated in an airtight container, but you may not need to worry about that once your family tastes it.

Aunt Joan's Blueberry Buckle
makes one 9x13 pan

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups blueberries

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
dash of salt

Preheat oven to 375F and butter a 9x13 baking dish.  Make the cake batter by creaming together the sugar and shortening; gradually add eggs and milk.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to batter.  Stir in blueberries and pour batter into prepared pan.  In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients and pour on top of cake batter.  Bake for 60 minutes.

Blueberry Buckle - ButterYum

Monday, November 28, 2011

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake - ButterYum

Hubby loves chocolate.
Hubby loves cheesecake.
I love Hubby.
Happy Birthday Hubby.

This is a fantastic chocolate cheesecake - not only does it taste A-MA-ZING, it bakes evenly without cracks and you don't have to fuss with a water bath.  Plan ahead and prepare this cheesecake at least a day before you want to serve it.  After baking, it will need several hours to rest and cool before chilling overnight in the refrigerator.  We think it gets better with age, so make it a few days in advance if you wish.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake (adapted recipe form Martha Stewart)
makes one 9-inch cheesecake
Serves 12-16

9 ounces cream filled chocolate cookies (like Oreos), ground in food processor
4 ounces unsalted butter, melted

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
4 ounces heavy cream

Garnish (optional) 
blanched and chopped pistachios

To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 325F.  In a food processor, process cream-filled cookies to fine crumbs (cream filling and all).  Add melted butter and combine; press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.  Place springform on a sheet tray and bake crust for 10 minutes.  

To make the filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together on low speed the room temperature cream cheese, sugar, and salt; scraping sides of bowl if needed.  When mixture is silky smooth, add eggs, one at a time; scraping sides of bowl if needed.  Finally, add the room temperature sour cream, followed by the melted chocolate; mix on low until combined; scraping the bowl if needed.  Pour mixture into springform pan and return to the oven for 1 hour.  Make ganache and blanch optional pistachios while cheesecake is baking (directions below).  After the cheesecake has baked for an hour, turn off the oven and do not open the door for another hour, then open the door slightly for yet another hour (that's a total of 3 hours so far).  Finally remove cheesecake from oven and rest on counter until completely cool.  Top with cooled ganache and optional pistachios, cover with plastic or place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight preferred before releasing the springform sides from the base.  For neat slices, heat and dry knife blade between cuts.  

To make ganache topping:
While the cheesecake is baking, prepare ganache by bringing cream to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  As soon as the cream boils, remove from heat and stir in chocolate; stir to combine.  Pour ganache into a bowl; cover with a tea towel and allow it to rest until the cheesecake has cooled completely (several hours).

To blanch pistachios:
Put shelled pistachios in boiling water; remove from heat and wait 1 minute.  Drain and rub with a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins.  You can use the pistachios right away, or toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until they're fragrant (just a minute or two).  Cool and chop.  

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake - ButterYum

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pecans - ButterYum

I usually make Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts, but I wanted to try something different this time.  Thanks to Pinterest, I found this recipe - the combination of pecans, garlic, and brown sugar might sound a bit odd, but it works.  In fact, it works so well that my vegetable hating picky eater helped himself to 3 servings.  Use the feed tube of a food processor to quickly slice the sprouts into ribbons - once you have that done, the dish is complete in less than 10 minutes.  Don't let my horrible nighttime photo scare you away - give this one a try!

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
from Eat, Live, Run
serves 4

12-14 large Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch sea salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted

Slice each Brussels sprout very thin until you have a mound of feathery Brussels sprout ribbons. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and saute garlic for 30-60 seconds. Add the Brussels sprouts and salt; saute for another 5-6 minutes until the sprouts are bright green and tender. Add the brown sugar and pecans: to together well.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Slow Cooker Caramelized Apples

Slow Cooker Caramelized Apples - ButterYum

I recently had an opportunity to make a "fruit dish" to feed a group of 40 men.  Being apple season here in apple country, I initially thought about baking pies, but to be completely honest, I didn't think the men serving this meal would be able to handle cutting 40 slices of pie very neatly.  So I searched the internet for some sort of crustless apple pie-like recipe, which led me to this one for Slow Cooker Caramel Apples on a blog called Kate from Scratch.  They're super yummy and were a big hit at the meal - thanks Kate!!

The original slow cooker recipe is listed below - my notes for multiplying the recipe and converting to cook in an 18-quart Roaster Oven will be listed below that.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Apples
serves 10
Printable Recipe

8 cups diced baking apples (peeled and cored)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 dash freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Put all the ingredient in a slow cooker and mix thoroughly.  Cover and cook on high until apples are tender, about 3 hours.  The yummy salted-cinnamon-vanilla-caramel sauce that coats the apples will thicken slightly upon cooling.  Cook uncovered for a thicker sauce.

My conversion to feed a crowd of 40:  I quadrupled the recipe and cooked it in my 18-quart electric roaster set to 300F for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  I used a mix of apples - galas, golden delicious, golden supreme, and Nittany.  Any apple that keeps it's shape during baking will work well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Honey Vinaigrette Grilled Chicken - Secret Recipe Club

Honey Vinaigrette Grilled Chicken - ButterYum

I'm happy to be joining the Secret Recipe Club again this month.  What's the Secret Recipe Club?  Basically, it's a once-a-month blog hop party for food bloggers where participants are assigned another member's blog to secretly spend time perusing, pick a recipe, make it, write a blog post about it, and then everyone reveals their secret by publishing their posts at the same time.

My assigned blog - A Pretty Life in the Suburbs by Jo-Anna, a wife and mother of 3 living in Canada. Wow, I am so impressed with Jo-Anna's blog - she's got a little bit of everything - cooking, baking, decorating, crafting, housekeeping, organizing... and it's all documented with fabulous photographs and a great sense of humor.  And did I mention Jo-Anna's blog is just over a year old and she already has 390 published posts - this girl is amazing!

On to the recipe - thinking I had another week to prepare this post, I had originally chosen a yeast bread which required an overnight rest in the fridge before baking, but a reminder email late last night contradicted my failing memory and I realized my post was due in a few hours - Yikes!  I quickly changed my recipe selection to Jo-Anna's Honey Vinaigrette.  Of course it's great used as a dressing on salad, but I thought it would make an excellent marinade for chicken as well.  Yummo, I was right - the honey pairs perfectly with chicken!  The vinaigrette went together in a matter of minutes; then I marinated my chicken for about an hour before grilling on my stove top.  The house smelled divine!!  I saved some yummy chicken to have on my salad for lunch this afternoon, sliced thin and drizzled with some reserved vinaigrette.  Great recipe Jo-Anna!


Honey Vinaigrette
makes 1/2 cup

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon grainy mustard (I used 1/2 grainy, 1/2 Dijon)
salt and pepper to taste

Place ingredients in a jar and shake.  Pour onto salad greens and toss.

Alternately, use as a marinade for chicken breasts - simply put uncooked chicken in a zipper bag and pour enough marinade to cover; close bag and rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour (reserve some vinaigrette to drizzle over the cooked chicken).  Preheat oven to 350F.  Heat a grill pan on the stove top.  Remove chicken from bag and discard used marinade.  Place chicken breasts, top side down, on the pan; cooking until you get nice grill marks before turning over.  Immediately after turning, place the pan into preheated oven until chicken is reaches about 160F (about 10 minute).  Remove chicken from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before eating (the temp of the chicken will continue to rise during the rest period - it should reach 165F).  Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mozzarella and Mashed Potato Balls

Deep-Fried Mozzarella Stuffed Mashed Potato Balls - ButterYum

So what do you do with leftover mashed potatoes? Make deep-fried mashed potato balls stuffed with tasty mozzarella!

Event - Crazy Cooking Challenge hosted by Tina
Challenge - make a recipe from any blog to fit this month's theme (mashed potatoes)
Recipe and Blog I chose to feature - Mozzarella and Mashed Potato Balls  from Casa Veneracion.
My Tweaks (reflected below) - Italian seasoned bread crumbs have way more flavor than the Panko bread crumbs originally called for in the recipe.      

Mozzarella and Mashed Potato Balls
makes 10

1 1/2 cups well-seasoned mashed potatoes (cool and very firm)
10 1/2-inch cubes mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs (or Panko bread crumbs, finely ground)
2 cups canola oil

Divide mashed potatoes into 10 equal portions and roll into bite-size balls. Insert mozzarella cubes into the center of the potato balls.  Roll balls into beaten egg, then into finely ground Panko bread crumbs.  Allow coated potato balls to rest for at least 15 minutes to allow coating to set.  In the meantime, heat the canola oil in a heavy bottomed pot over med-high heat.  The original recipe doesn't specify what temperature the oil should be heated to, but I found through trial and error that a temperature of 380-400 was ideal for frying the potato balls quickly (about a minute) before the mozzarella cheese starts to ooze out.  Drain and serve immediately.

Notes:  Be sure the mashed potatoes you use to makes these are very dry and firm - and flavorful, of course!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Appeltaart - Dutch Apple Pie

Appeltaart (Dutch Apple Pie) - ButterYum
My friend Anja is from the Netherlands - she's a wonderful cook, and in our circle she's probably best known for her amazing Dutch apple pie called Appeltaart.  It's extremely delicious and is quickly gobbled up at every function where it makes an appearance.  I'm thrilled Anja agreed to let me and my camera into her kitchen so I could share it with you today.  
Okay, so forget everything you know about American apple pie because the only thing it has in common with it's Dutch cousin is the apples.  Our American version has a filling that is juicy and gooey, the crust is made with an icy cold rolled pastry dough, and the assembled pie is baked in, and served from, a shallow pie plate.  On the other hand, the filling of this Dutch version is not juicy or gooey, the crust is made with a room temperature pressed pastry dough, and it's assembled and baked in a deep springform pan before being unmolded and sliced.  The flavor profile of the American pie relies heavily on butter, sugar, and cinnamon, while the flavor profile of the Dutch pie is much more complex as it relies more on almonds, raisins, rum, and warm mix of intoxicating spices.  Please note - the homemade almond paste needs to be prepared a week in advance, and the raisins should soak in spiced rum overnight, so plan accordingly.  I hope you'll give it a try - I promise you won't be disappointed. Let's walk you through the process - the full recipe can be found at the end of this post.

Ready?  Here we go.

Start by peeling apples.  Anja's mother was visiting from the Netherlands, so we got her in on the action.  Note how she peels with a knife.

Anja cuts her apples over a bowl rather than using a cutting board.

The apples are cut into 1/4-inch slices.  Add the yummy spices and rum soaked raisins.  Mix together gently and set aside.

This is what the raisins soaked overnight in - spiced rum.

Now we make the crust.  All the dry ingredients are weighed in the bowl of a food processor.

The softened butter is incorporated.

Lastly, the water is added and the mixture is processed until it forms into a ball of dough.

The dough is divided; the big portion lines the bottom and sides of the pan, the small portion will be used to make a lattice top.  Note how Anja lined her springform pan with parchment.  You can skip this step if you don't plan to remove the pie from the base of the pan before serving.

The larger ball of pastry dough is easily pressed into the pan.

A beaten egg yolk is brushed over the bottom crust and then cornstarch is sprinkled on top of the yolk.

Half of the apple mixture is poured into the pan.

Homemade almond paste is dotted over the apples before adding the remaining apple mixture.

Now we take pieces of the small ball of pastry dough and roll them into snakes about 1/2-inch in diameter.

Place them on top of the pie in a lattice pattern and press to flatten slightly.

We're almost done.

Wrap the base of the pan in foil to catch any leaks that might occur and loosely tent the to top of the pie with foil.

Bake in a 375F oven for 45 minutes, remove foil tent and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Cool completely before unmolding.  Prepare to feast!

Now get some apples and make Appeltaart!

Appeltaart (Dutch Apple Pie)
makes one 9-inch springform pan - serves 12

Almond Paste:
250g whole almonds
250g powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
(use about 1/3 of this paste in the pie - the rest can be frozen for use later)

Soaked raisins:
120g raisins (Anja prefers golden raisins, but regular raisins are okay)
hot water
2 tablespoons spiced rum (optional)

900g peeled and thinly sliced baking apples, 6-8 medium (Anja prefers Galas - avoid overly juicy varieties)
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
juice of 1/2 lemon (or lime)

360g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 pound butter, room temperature
180g light brown sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of white pepper (black is okay too)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons water
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon corn starch

To make the almond paste:
Blanch almonds by soaking them in hot water for a few minutes, remove from hot water and cover with ice to cool, slip brown skins off.  Place blanched almonds on a sheet tray and put into a 350F oven to dry completely and toast slightly until they smell fragrant.  Cool completely and grind in a food processor.  Combine ground almonds, powdered sugar, and beaten egg.  Mixture should be somewhat sticky.  Store the paste in the fridge for at least a week for the flavor to develop.

To prepare the raisins:
Plump raisins in hot water, drain water, add spiced rum and soak overnight 

To make the filling:
Combine apples, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Set aside while preparing pastry.

To make the pastry:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, butter, brown sugar, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cardamom, and cinnamon; add 1-2 tablespoons of water and process until the dough forms into a ball.  Divide the pastry into 2 unequal portions (the larger portion should be approximately 2/3 of the dough; the smaller 1/3). 

To assemble and bake the Appeltaart:
Preheat oven to 375F.  Prepare a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Press large ball of pastry dough into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan.  Brush the bottom pastry with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with cornstarch.  Pour 1/2 the apples into the prepared pastry.  Add rum-soaked raisins (including any remaining rum); dot about 1/3 of the homemade almond paste over the apples.  Add the remaining apples.  Decorate top of appeltaart with remaining pastry by rolling into a snake shape and pressing into a lattice pattern.  Brush lattice with beaten egg white.  Wrap bottom of springform with foil to prevent leaking juices from dripping in your oven.  Loosely tent top with foil.  Bake in a 375F oven for 45 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.  Cool completely before unmolding.