Archive for ◊ February, 2010 ◊

25 Feb 2010 Triple Citrus Pepper Pound Cake
 |  Category: Cakes & Cupcakes, Fruits  | Tags: , ,  | Leave a Comment

This will probably be the last of my citrus posts for awhile. So let’s use up the rest of those oranges, lemons and limes so we can move on. Before we close this chapter though, here’s a recipe for a citrus-y pound cake…, with a pepper kick. Not a big kick, more of a love tap, really! The citrus isn’t overwhelming either, just another love tap! The pepper kick develops over time. I tasted this cake on day 1, no pepper. Day 2, ohhhh, there’s the pepper!

Triple Citrus Pepper Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T. lemon zest
1 T. lime zest
1 T. orange zest
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 325 F. and prepare a 9X5 loaf pan. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, black pepper and salt. With an electric mixer, cream the butter with the citrus zests until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat an additional 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium low speed, pour the egg mixture into the bowl, and mix until blended. On low speed mix the flour mixture in, adding it in 4 additions. After the last addition, mix on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 60-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserts into the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached and the sides of the cake are pulling away from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing and serving. The pepper flavor develops over time. Wait 24 hours!

I found this recipe at A Spiced Life (closely adapted from Cake Keeper Cakes, Lauren Chattman)

Thanks for visiting!


25 Feb 2010 Microwave Marmalade

You can make marmalade for breakfast. Yes you can! It’s amazing! I have made orange, lemon and lime marmalade with this recipe. It’s so QUICK! I am so impressed. I have had better marmalades, but they weren’t made in 15 minutes from the citrus in my backyard. This recipe is a winner.

The original recipe was found at Put Up or Shut Up!, a canning blog.

Notes from original recipe:
Do not double the recipe, the microwave will not like it and you will end up with a giant mess.
Use a high-sided microwaveable container (I used an 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup) to microwave the marmalade
After you get the basic technique down, play a bit…, add a touch of booze or spice!

Microwave Marmalade

Thinly sliced zest (with no white stuff) from 1 lb of citrus
3/4 lb citrus, all peel, white rind and seeds removed (tangerines, lemons, limes, oranges or a combination)
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1-tablespoon rum (optional) (I used Cointreau)
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Peel and seed fruit, removing and discarding all the white pith and white stringy bits from the outside and down the center of the fruit. Weigh the peeled fruit and removed zest, you’ll need 3/4 lb. of pulp and zest. Place zest, pulp and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Puree, making sure all the peel and section skins are reduced to a pulp. Pour pureed mixture into a high-sided microwaveable bowl, adding optional alcohol and nutmeg. Cover tightly with plastic wrap pierced a few times to vent. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir; remove platic wrap and return to microwave for 7 minutes. Remove, stir and check thickness. At this point, depending on the juiciness of your fruit (oranges mainly), return mixture to the microwave for another 2-3 minutes. Marmalade will thicken as it cools. Makes 2 cups. Keep in refrigerator for up to three weeks. Can be frozen for longer storage.

Thanks for visiting!

24 Feb 2010 Coconut-Lime Shrimp Bisque (in 20 minutes!)
 |  Category: Seafood, Soups  | Tags: , , ,  | 6 Comments

It’s cold and raining here in California. Surprisingly cold. Soup weather cold. But it’s Tuesday at 6PM. I’m in the grocery store, hungry, and wanting soup for dinner. Do I grab a can? Noooo…, those cans do NOT contain “soup”! The contents of those cans have a soup LOOK and when warmed they have soup TEXTURE, but they really don’t have any taste. Look and texture can fool some people to think the can contents have taste, but they don’t. Oh dear, I got on my processed food rampage, didn’t I? So sorry. To make a long story short…, this soup is one of my favorites. Once you have all the ingredients it can be on the table in less than 20 minutes, and it tastes d-i-v-i-n-e. Don’t be scared of the ingredients, trust me and try it! My 15 month old grandson slurped up his bowl and then whined until he got to have some of mine. This is one soup where the broth is probably more yummy than the shrimp! Can you imagine? BTW, don’t use Jumbo Shrimp, they are too big for one bite and don’t fit on the spoons. You can make this with all shrimp, or half shrimp and fish, or use scallops or half scallops and half shrimp or half fish…, it’s all good.

Coconut-Lime Shrimp Bisque

1 T. olive oil
5 chopped shallots (about 3/4 cup)
1 T. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
8 oz. bottle Clam Juice (In a pinch, can sub chicken broth, or a can of clams with the juice)
14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
13.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk (the low fat version has no taste)
grated zest of one lime
1 1/2 – 2 lbs med/large raw (shelled) shrimp, firm white fish (cut into pieces about 1 1/2 inches square, or scallops (or any combination of the three)
3 T. freshly squeezed lime juice (from one large lime)
2 green onions, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil and saute shallots until tender, about 3 minutes. Add in ginger, turmeric, and cumin and saute for an additional minute. Stir in clam juice, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, lime zest, and shrimp, fish and/or scallops. Simmer until seafood is cooked, about 7 minutes. Stir in lime juice, green onions and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve. See how fast this is to make? You can do it! Makes 4 -6 servings.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  It’s always so good to have you here!


22 Feb 2010 Marmalade Cake
 |  Category: Cakes & Cupcakes  | Tags:  | Leave a Comment

I looooooove marmalade.  Hated it as a kid.  Love it as a grown up.  My mom put a very expensive jar of marmalade in my stocking at Christmas (aren’t Moms great?!).  I used some of that to make my first marmalade cake. It was a disaster, collapsing all over the plate when removed from the pan, but the crumbs were so delectable that I decided to give it another go and fix the recipe.  My second try at this cake was good, very orangey. Then I thought perhaps I had made the wrong guess about the recipe the first time, and decided to try it again. It was not better than my second try, and the second recipe used less process food and therefore had less chemicals in the cake. The second cake, my variation, was the winner and the one I am posting.

I found the original recipe on Folgers.com, it was called Orange Cake.  I tried it because I had that very expensive marmalade, but the recipe was a problem from the beginning.  It didn’t seem like there was enough butter to “cream” the butter and sugar until “light and fluffy”. I followed the recipe anyway.  The second problem was the recipe called for a box of instant vanilla pudding, which I didn’t notice at first and didn’t specify what size box of instant pudding.  So in the middle of mixing the first cake, I went to the store for a box of instant vanilla pudding.  My store only carried the large size box, so I though, OK, instant pudding only comes in the large box, so I bought and used that. You know the end.  Disaster.  But a tasty disaster.  So I decided to adjust the recipe and find a real food substitute for the pudding.  A search of the Internet told me that was probably not a good idea because the recipe probably relied on the chemical thickening agents and such.  Arrrghhhhh!  I ended up adjusting the recipe anyway, adding some cornstarch and a more reasonable amount of butter.  Success!  I was going to post that recipe…until I found a small box of instant pudding at another grocery store.  Arghhhhhhhh!!  So I made the cake the third time, with my adjustments to the butter and the small box of pudding…no better than my second version. So here is the second version, no box of instant pudding required.

A few notes…the quality of the marmalade does affect the taste.  By the third cake I was out of the expensive stuff and used a cheapie store brand.  When you make this cake–and please make this cake, it’s yummy–use the best quality marmalade you can get your hands on,

You’ll thank me for this one–but I guess you should thank Folgers, too, who inspired this Marmalade Cake journey and this post.

Marmalade Cake

For Cake

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup butter, at room temperature
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange extract
1/3 cup orange juice concentrate, at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup Sweet Orange Marmalade

For Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
2 T. orange juice concentrate, at room temperature
2 T. Sweet Orange Marmalade
3 tsp. orange zest (usually from one orange)
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Prepare a 12-cup Bundt pan. Mix dry ingredients together and set aside (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt).  Using an electric mixer, beat butter for one minute and then add in sugar and beat for 3 or 4 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  After all eggs have been added, beat mixture for an additional minute, then beat in orange and vanilla extracts and the orange juice concentrate.  Beat in 1/3 of flour mixture, then 1/2 of the buttermilk, then 1/3 of the flour mixture, 1/2 of the buttermilk, and then the last 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Do not over beat.  Fold in marmalade.  Pour batter into a prepared bundt pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 – 50 minutes or until cake is done.  Meanwhile, mix up glaze.  Beat all ingredients together until well combined.  When cake is done, remove from oven and cool in pan on a rack for 3-5 minutes.  Remove cake to a rack and brush on 1/3 of glaze mixture, letting it soak into cake.  After 10 minutes, brush on another 1/3 of glaze.  After 10 more minutes brush on remaining glaze.  Let cake cool completely on rack before serving.  Serve at room temperature.  I have had no problems keeping this cake under a glass dome on the kitchen counter for 3 -4 days.

MMmm… I think this is now one of my top five favorite cakes.  What’s your favorite cake?

22 Feb 2010 Lemon Curd Cupcakes Three Ways
 |  Category: Cakes & Cupcakes  | Tags: ,  | Leave a Comment

Now that I have everyone making the easy microwave Lemon Curd, it’s time to put it to good use!  I am not a huge fan of Martha, but sometimes she shows up in the right place at the right time with the right recipe, like she did this morning.  I made Martha Stewart’s Lemon Cupcakes from her book “Cupcakes” (page 121).  Abby took 18 to college with her. I took 6 to a quilt group.  And there are still 12 here.  (Hint number one, make  half the recipe!) I think the squirt of lemon in the middle of the cupcake was a lot of fun.  Loved the frosting, too.  The cupcake was a bit dense, but a nice foil for the soft lemony center and sweet creamy top.  I’ll make these again next time I have a batch of lemon curd on hand.

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

3 1/2 cups flour
2 T lemon zest (or a bit more, if you like a really lemony cupcake)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
7 eggs, at room temperature
3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (Martha only used 2)
1 tsp. vanilla
approx. 1 cup lemon curd
powdered sugar or buttercream frosting (recipe below)
toasted coconut, optional
yellow decorating sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 36 – 42  cupcake tins with paper liners (Martha stated she made 42 cupcakes out of this batter, I was only able to make 36).  In a medium bowl whisk together flour, lemon zest, baking powder and salt and set aside.  With an electric mixer beat softened butter for two minutes.  Add in sugar and beat for 3 minutes more. Beat in cream cheese.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in lemon juice an vanilla.  Add in flour mixture, beating until just combined.  Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 28 to 30 minutes.  Cool cupcakes in tins on a rack.  When completely cool, fill and frost.

Place lemon curd in a Ziploc bag.  Squeeze curd to the corner of the bag, and cut off about 1/8th inch of the plastic corner to make a “filling bag”. With a knife, cut a small cylinder from the middle of each cupcake. Remove and discard the excess cake.  Fill the hole in the cupcake with lemon curd from the Ziploc bag.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost with buttercream frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

With an electric mixer beat butter for two minutes.  Add in powdered sugar and beat for another three minutes.  Raise speed to high and beat for another two minutes or so. Beat in vanilla.

Spread frosting on desired number of cupcakes.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut or colored sugar if desired.

My favorite is the one with the buttercream frosting and toasted coconut.  What’s yours?

21 Feb 2010 Microwave Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd: (n) a wonderful treat cursed with an unfortunate name.  Don’t be put off.  Lemon Curd is not curdled and there are no curds (nor whey).  So why the unfortunate name?  I just don’t know.  Never mind, though, Lemon Curd is lovely;  it’s sort of a lemon jam. There’s nothing better at the end of the day (or the beginning of the day or the middle of the day, for that matter) than a slice of hot toast with lemon curd, a cup of hot tea on the side, with feet up and something nice on the telly. Oh, yes there is, two slices of hot toast with lemon curd!  I picked 6 large lemons off of my neighbors tree this afternoon and whipped this up in the microwave. Enjoy Lemon Curd on your toast all week. Next weekend put some Lemon Curd in the middle of a layer cake, cupcakes, or cookies AND, I will post a recipe for a Pavlova with lemon curd and blueberries to finish off your batch. Leftover lemon curd will keep in the refrigerator for approximately three weeks.

I was reminded of this microwave recipe when I visited a few food blogs recently; 2 Stews and La Table de Nana.

Microwave Lemon Curd

1 cup sugar
3 whole eggs
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 or 7 large lemons)
zest of 3 lemons (I used a microplane)
1/2 cup butter, melted

In a microwave safe bowl whisk together sugar and eggs until smooth. Sir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and melted butter.  Microwave for one minute, stir, microwave for another minute, stir.  Do this until the lemon curd is think enough to coat the back of a spoon.  This will take 5 – 7 minutes.  At this point can pour into small sterile jars to give as gifts, or cool, then cover and refrigerate for your family to use.  Store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy your Lemon Loveliness with your feet up, a cup of tea, and a good book.