Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Strawberry-Vanilla Dessert Sauce

Strawberry Vanilla Sauce - ButterYum

Whether you have fresh or frozen strawberries, make a batch of this wonderful ruby red dessert sauce.  It only take a few minutes to prepare and it's great poured over homemade ice cream or cheesecake.  Wonderful stirred into plain Greek yogurt too.

Strawberry Vanilla Sauce
makes approximately 1 1/2 cups
Printable Recipe

16 ounces fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped
6-8 tablespoons granulated sugar (depends on how sweet the berries are)
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or equal amount of vanilla bean paste or extract)
Zest of half a small lemon

If using fresh berries, place strawberries, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds in a bowl and mix together; rest for 30 minutes, until berries begin to give off their juice (skip this step if using frozen berries).  In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine strawberries, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds (if using vanilla bean paste or extract, add after mixture is removed from the heat); heat until sugar dissolves completely; stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest.  Serve warm or cold.  Chill leftovers for up to a week.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Wooden Spoon Adventure: Virginia Apple Pudding (Cake)

Virginia Apple Pudding (cake) - ButterYum

Last week I was contacted by Jenn from the blog Knitty Baker (US) to see if I was interested in participating in The Wooden Spoon Adventure, a fun blog opportunity to celebrate the 5th blog Anniversary of the blog A Merrier World by Kate (UK).  Kate began a few weeks ago by posting a recipe that was made with a very special wooden spoon, then the spoon was sent to another blogger who followed suite, and then it was sent to another blogger, and so on.  Bloggers who participate are honorary "Spoonees".  The goal is for the spoon to travel from one spoonee to another, across the globe, cooking local recipes or ingredients along the way.  Then the spoonees share what they made on their blogs, including photos of the special wooden spoon being used to make the recipe.  Such a fun idea.  So, let me say Happy Blogiversary to Kate at A Merrier World.  I'm thrilled to be part of this very cool celebration.

So, agreeing to participate was an easy choice, but deciding which local recipe or ingredient to feature was another story.  I wasn't sure if I should go with a local ingredient, or a local recipe.  As far as local ingredients go, I live in a town full of apple orchards and it just so happens to be apple season here.  As far as local recipes go, I had absolutely no idea.  So on a whim, I did a quick online search for recipes that had my state's name in the title.  I can't believe the very first hit was for a recipe called Virginia Apple Pudding (a very moist cake)  I guess it was meant to be.  Everyone in the family loves this sweet, moist cake.  My youngest even declared it her top dessert pick for her birthday dinner.  Fine with me - it's an extremely easy recipe to make.

 The Wooden Spoon arrived complete with a lovely note from Jenn, the Spoonee who picked me to carry on the tradition, as well as the original note Kate wrote when she started this nifty adventure.

 Okay, Virginia Apple Pudding (cake) starts with a bowl of chopped apples.

 Add ground cinnamon.

 Stir, stir, stir.

Cook the apples in the microwave for 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften.

 Mmm.... I wish you could smell them.

 In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.

 Add melted butter, milk, and pure vanilla extract; stir until smooth.

 Pour the batter into deep pie-dish pie plate.

 Sprinkle the partially cooked apples over the batter.  Bake in the lower half of a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.

 And here's how it looks when it's done (we fight over those yummy brown edges).  I hope you'll give this recipe a try.  And be sure to visit the other Spoonees who are participating in The Wooden Spoon Adventures.

The Wooden Spoon Adventure can be found at:
A Merrier World
Melinda's Kitchen Diary
Evil Cake Lady
Knitty Baker
ButterYum - that's me :)
 And up next -  Jamie Cooks It Up

Virginia Apple Pudding (Cake)
serves 8
adapted from
Printable Recipe

2 cups peeled and chopped baking apples (ones that don't give off too much juice - Galas are perfect)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375F.  In a microwave-safe bowl, combine apples and cinnamon. Microwave until apples are soft, about 5 minutes.  In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract; stir until smooth.  Pour into 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.  Sprinkle apples on top of batter.  Bake in the lower third of a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until it tests done.  Cool completely before serving direct from the baking dish.

My Notes - recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9x13 casserole dish.  Use apples that hold their shape well and don't exude too much moisture during baking, such as Galas.  This cake is best eaten within 24 hours because the high sugar content will absorb moisture from the air, causing the cake to get soggy over time.  For a rustic presentation, I've successfully baked this recipe in a slightly preheated cast iron skillet.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Habanero Gold Jelly

Habanero Gold Jelly - ButterYum

Habenero peppers are exceptionally hot so you'd think Habanero Pepper Jelly would blow your sock off, but it's really not bad... and when you pair it with cool cream cheese and crackers, it's totally addictive.  My youngest doesn't like spicy foods, but I can't keep her away from this tasty treat.

Habanero Gold Jelly
Adapted from a recipe by Bob Rouleau (via Susan at Savoring Time in the Kitchen)
Makes 4 half-pint jars

1/3 cup finely sliced dried apricots (1/8-inch slices)
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely diced sweet red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced habanero peppers, seeds removed (or a combo of jalapeno and Scotch Bonnets)
3 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin

Combine apricots and vinegar in a deep stainless steel pan; let stand 4 hours. Add onions, peppers, and sugar and bring to a full rolling boil.  Stirring constantly, boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add liquid pectin, mixing well.

Pour jelly into hot jars, dividing solids equally among jars and filling each jar to within 1/4-inch of top rim. Wipe rims and apply lids.

Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Cool upright, until lids pop down, about 30 minutes. When lids are concave but the jelly is still hot, carefully grasp jar without disturbing lid and invert, twist, or rotate each jar to distribute solids throughout jelly.  Repeat as necessary during the cooling/setting time, until solids remain suspended in the jelly.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Easy Cheesy Grits

Easy Cheesy Grits - ButterYum
So it's been a crazy busy day and you need to serve dinner soon, but you don't have a starchy side dish to serve and it's too late to start cooking rice or potatoes.  The solution - Easy Cheesy Grits.  Start to finish, you'll have them on the table in less than 10 minutes.

Easy Cheesy Grits
makes 6-8 servings
Printable Recipe

1 cup quick-cooking grits
4 cups water
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste (light on the salt, heavy on the pepper)

Combine water and grits together in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently until thick, about 5 minutes.  Remove form heat and stir in butter and cheese.  Grits will thicken as they cool.