Sunday, May 24, 2015

Honey Cinnamon Hot Milk Cake with Berries

Oh summer, what took ya so long?
 
Finally,the weather is turning warm, even in Chicago where I'm visiting right now. 
 
It's Memorial Weekend, I've been to three baseball games, and my fitbit steps are the only thing balancing all the food I've consumed.

Chicago is truly one of America's greatest cities.  I love their support of the arts, sciences, history and industry. 
 
It's a food-lover's dream and a night-life for all ages.  
The Purple Pig
My husband's whole family are avid White Sox fans. We were front and center, along with a sold out stadium, for Paul Konerko's ceremony that retired his number, 14 forever.  
 
In the heartland city of Chicago, I'm reminded of the true meaning behind Memorial Day, a time to honor those who died while in military service.  It has also become the marker for the beginning of summer (with Labor Day being the end.)  
If you have a picnic coming up this season, or need an easy potluck offering, or just a quick morning cake or dessert - this Honey Cinnamon Hot Milk Cake is the answer.  
This is a simple, moist and easy to "freeze for later" cake. It can be dressed up with butter cream, topped with berries or just sprinkled with powdered sugar before slicing it up and serving it up.  Having one of these on hand is a "super summer time saver".  Hope you'll love it.  Happy Summer!
 

RECIPE:

Honey Cinnamon Hot Milk Cake with Berries - ShowFoodChef:
(butter and flour 8 or 9 inch cake pan, preheat oven 350F)

1 1/3 cup Flour
1 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup Whole Milk
4 Tbls (1/2 stick) Butter
2 Large Eggs
1/3 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Honey
1 tsp. Vanilla

1) In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Hold.
2) In a saucepan, heat the milk and butter until melted. Remove from heat and hold.
3) In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and honey for 5 full minutes.
4) Add the vanilla and milk-butter by pouring into the egg mixture while continuing to beat for 2 more minutes.
5) Fold, then stir the dry ingredients into the liquid.  The batter will be like pancake batter.
6) Pour into a buttered and floured 8 or 9 inch cake pan.  Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, just til the center is done.  Do not overbake. Turn out to a cooling rack.  
7) Drizzle with honey if desired and arrange sliced berries on top.  Garnish with powdered sugar or whipped cream (optional.)
ShowFoodChef

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chicken by Chef (Your Name Here) - Simple Saturday


 This is one of my GO-TO chicken techniques and I proudly and quietly pass it on to my readers. Take it and run, let your "cook flag" fly, create all kinds of different tastes and combinations with no fear.  

Your imagination is the main ingredient with this recipe and it makes the most tender White Meat Chicken Breast you'll ever eat.

Here is the list of ingredients, so you can prepare, then read below for the step-by-step guide with pictures:

* 2 Boneless White Meat Chicken Breasts (or up to 4)
* Salt & Pepper for seasoning
* 2 Tablespoons of your chosen Flavor Paste, whatever you have on hand or want to use for your recipe (see below for examples.)
* 2 Tablespoons of your chosen Flavor Sauce (see below for examples.)
* 1 Teaspoon of Seasoning (see below for examples)

***
Here's the technique - it's really simple, just read through once so you can get the whole picture:

1) Place rectangle sheets of foil on a baking pan. Fold up each corner of the foil sheets to create little trays (I made two for the picture, but I've made as many as 4 on a large baking sheet*.)
2) Drizzle Olive oil into each foil tray, and place into the oven on 375F.  Let the oil heat up as the oven preheats (it's important to let the oil get hot in prep for the chicken.)

3) Once the oven is preheated and the oil is too, place a chicken breast on each foil tray (if you're using chicken with skin, place skin side down first onto the hot oil).

4) On each chicken add two items:

A) A flavoring paste (ie, whole grain mustard, ketchup, peanut butter, cream cheese, sour cream, almond butter,tomato paste, homemade jam- look into your refrigerator or pantry and create!
 B) A flavoring sauce that agrees with the paste you used  (ie, honey with the mustard, soy sauce with the ketchup for a barbecue flavor, lemon grass with the peanut butter for a Thai accent, Lemon juice with the cream cheese or sour cream for a hint of German or Belgium, Coconut milk with the almond butter, Balsamic vinegar with the jam, etc..
 (examples include: peanut butter, lemon grass with soy sauce- Garam Massala, lime, with yogurt- Homemade jam, balsamic with red pepper flakes.) 
 
5) Place the baking sheet into the oven for 8 minutes.
After 8 minutes, flip each piece of chicken over and maybe spoon some of the flavorings in the pan onto the chicken pieces.
 
6) Now, add 1 tsp of seasoning to enhance your recipe so far: ie. tarragon, chives, lemon grass, paprika, brown sugar, sesame seeds, capers, red pepper flakes, etc. Ask yourself which one would balance the flavors you've already created. Place back in the oven, continue to bake for another 8 minutes.
 
7) Open the oven, quickly turn each chicken breast over, mixing in the juices. Push it back into the oven, close the door and TURN THE OVEN OFF. Let it cook with the oven off for 8 more minutes.

Remove the pan and place the chicken breasts on a board to settle.
*Note about cooking times**
If you cook more than two chicken breasts at a time, add a minute more to each round of cooking.  So, if you cook 3 pieces of chicken make the cooking times 9,9 and 9 minutes.**

For a sauce or gravy: Mmmm~
While the cooked chicken rests, place the baking pan over the stove top on Medium and continue to cook each packet of sauce/gravy, stirring each one til thickened. If too dry, add a drizzle of wine or spirits, stock or for a creamy sauce add milk or half and half.  For a richer sauce, whisk in a Tablespoon of butter as the sauce is cooling. Try something different for each sauce.

It takes more time to tell you how to make this, then it takes to cook it; so I hope you'll try this style. 

My family LOVES this because it gives everyone a chance to play and to have different tastes. The flavors meld together well overnight, so it's very delicious chilled.

Serve one recipe for dinner tonight, save the other for a salad tomorrow or sandwiches for guests or low points nibbling.

PLUS** you can create several different global flavors in ONE PAN - ONE TIME COOKING. It makes pleasing picky eaters a breeze. It makes preparing a few meals at one time extremely fast and easy.
The ideas are limitless. But, Shhh, let's keep it between us and your closest friends, ok?
(Whole Grain Mustard, Honey and Tarragon)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SBRISOLONA is an "EASY TO MAKE" Italian Crumble Cookie Tart

I'm really not kidding about the "easy to make" part.  The whole Sbrisolona Crumble Cookie Tart can be put together in a food processor in a few minutes, then pressed into a pan and baked. Done.
In years gone by, in it's original city of Mantua, Italy, this was known as a "Tart of Three Cups". 

It used 1 cup of Corn Meal, 1 cup of Wheat Flour and 1 cup of sugar.

The name comes from the Italian word, Sbriciolare  - to crumble.  Along the way it has been tweaked by many, including ShowFood Chef.  
 
The wonderful part of the Sbrisolona that has not been changed, even by the finest pastry chefs, is the crumbly nature and spirit of friendship.  This cookie tart is to be broken in pieces and shared by friends and family.  Sure, you can slice it- but why bother.  It's so fun to break off a piece and pass it along without ever having to stop your chatting.  Okay, maybe that last part was just about me.
Sbrisolona is perfect with tea or coffee in the morning, afternoon or even as a late night "under a book light with a glass of wine" snack.  Yeah, that last part was definitely about me.

Last note: As good as it taste fresh out of the oven, the flavors and texture are even better the next day. 

SBRISOLONA  (Crumbly) Italian Cookie Tart: Traditionally this is shared with friends who break pieces off to eat with tea or wine.
#Recipe:
1+1/4 cup Flour
3/4 cup Corn Meal
1/2 c Sugar
1 tsp Orange Zest
1/2 c Butter (cold, cubed)
1/3 c Almonds (toasted)
1/3 c Walnuts (toasted)
1/3 c Dried Cheeries
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1 egg
1) In a food processor, add Flour, Corn meal, sugar and zest- pulse 10 times.
2) Add butter- pulse 10 times
3) Add almonds, walnuts and Cheeries - pulse about 5 times.
4) Add Almond extract and egg- pulse til combined and mixture holds together when squeezed in hand (add a Tbls of water if too dry)
5) Empty contents into a tart pan with removable bottom. Press evenly around the bottom and sides. (Garnish with a few whole almonds)
6) Bake in preheated 350f for 15 mins, then reduce to 300f for about 10-15 more mins.
Buon Appetito!