Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hornet's Nest Cake from Heather Likes Food

As a Food Blogger I follow a lot of other Food Blogs. I recently discovered this recipe on another blog called, Heather Likes Food.
With Thanksgiving only a week away I felt that I should share this recipe. It's almost a Dump Cake which is one of the easiest and most delicious desserts to prepare for a crowd. At the end I added my own option. If you're looking for another crowd pleasing dessert, this one might be it.

Hornet's Nest Cake:

1 ( 3.4 oz.) box of Vanilla Instant Pudding
2 C Whole Milk
1 (18.25oz.) Yellow Cake Mix
1 (11oz) bag of Butterscotch Chips
1 C chopped Pecans

350 degree oven and a 9"X13" dish

In a large bowl:
Pudding Mix
Whisk well
Set aside for 5 minutes

Fold in Cake Mix
Stir well to combine

Pour batter into the pan
Smooth the top
Scatter the top with the Butterscotch Chips and Pecans

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes
Remove and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes

Scatter the top with some shredded/flaked coconut.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pommes de Terre Dauphinoise

I was recently asked if given Potatoes as a main ingredient would I choose Whipped, Sweet or Gratin!
My immediate response was Pommes de Terre Dauphinoise and then I realized I had not posted the recipe on my blog.

Here is my favorite recipe and it comes from one of the first recipe books that I bought when I was young and first interested in cooking. That may have easily been when I was 20, which would have been in 1970 after my first trip to France.
The book is the Iconic Larousse Gastronomique. Mine is dated 1961.
I bake mine in an amazing Bram.

Here is the classic French recipe for Pommes de Terre Dauphinoise:

Slice 1 pound of  Yukon Gold Potatoes, very finely.
Put them in a bowl and moisten with 1 1/2 C of boiled milk with a beaten egg added to it.
Season with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.
Add 1/2 C of grated Gruyere Cheese and mix well.Put the potatoes into an earthenware dish that has been rubbed with garlic and buttered well.
Sprinkle it with additional grated Gruyere Cheese.
Scatter 1 1/2 TBS of butter in tiny pieces over the top, wipe the edges of the dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Serve from the dish.

Peace in the Kitchen!

This is my favorite dish for any Gratin including American Macaroni and Cheese
recipes. Its Terra Cotta and it's one of my favorite cooking vessels.

Our Thanksgiving Menu / 2013

We have finalized our Thanksgiving Menu. I t may seem a bit odd for our European friends to comprehend how much time , effort and preparation it takes to put on a Thanksgiving Feast for family. I realize that we are probably not the norm, because our house is completely decorated by Thanksgiving so that friends unable to be here for Christmas, or friends that don't get to experience Christmas to the extent that we do, can enjoy a bit of the Holiday with us. We also have many parties and family gatherings between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That may involve simply inviting another couple for an evening or throwing a bash for 100 people. We love to entertain this time of year.
We then create an entirely different menu for Christmas. Our Christmas menu is much more casual and that may be different than other families in America. Many families choose Thanksgiving for their casual celebration and Christmas is more formal. We only have family here for Christmas Eve day because out children have their spouses families to visit for Christmas too. After we get together on Christmas Eve, my wife and I are done for the Holidays and we typically relax on Christmas Day and go to the movies.

Here's our menu for Thanksgiving:

Pumpkin Soup
Turkey, Dressing and Gravy
Tofurky, dressing and gravy for the Vegetarians
Apple Gravy
Apple Slaw
Carrots with Shallots, Sage and Thyme
Mashed Potatoes
Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Gratin
Corn Timbale
Wild Rice with Orange Herb Dressing
Mushrooms Burgundy
Green Beans with Rosemary
Scalloped Apples
Cranberry Sauce
Corn Muffins with Cranberries and Pecans
Buttered Rosemary Rolls with Sea Salt
Cranberry Mousse
Pumpkin Pie from Scratch (from a Sugar Pumpkin)
Pecan Pie
Apple Pie
Chocolate Pie
Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Bars
Ice Cream

I think that's everything.

We start out the day with Home Made Spicy Bloody Mary's and a breakfast of Omelettes and other breakfast side dishes.
We watch Christmas movies and play games and sometime during the day some of us take a nap.

We invite friends that don't have a place to go for Thanksgiving and every year that varies.
It's a day of family and friends giving thanks for all that we have been blessed with in our lives.

Anne and I wish all of our friends a very Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas.
Happy Holidays to all of our friends around the world that do not Celebrate Christmas.
Enjoy this time of year with your family and friends.
This is the time of year when we should all be wishing for Peace in the World!
Eventually, it will come!

And don't forget:

Peace in the Kitchen!

Monday, November 18, 2013


I know that families have traditional dishes that are always served at Thanksgiving. Recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation.
Our Turkey and Dressing have been made by my wife's family for decades. Once you figure out a fool proof recipe, stick with it.
Dressings vary from Traditional Cubed Bread that's been dried for a few days, Corn Bread, Oyster, or Sausage. It's another dish that's probably served at every dinner for decades.
When it comes to side dishes, I think this is where you can experiment with new recipes and also keep the traditional ones.  We always have Corn Timbale, Mushrooms Burgundy, Scalloped Apples and Wild Rice with Orange Herb Dressing.
This year I'm adding two new recipes, Apple Slaw and Carrots with Fresh Sage and Fresh Thyme. We'll have traditional Corn and Mashed Potatoes that we always serve.
Dessert is another area where you can add and change the recipes you make. We always make Cranberry Mousse and have since 1985. The pies are usually the traditional , Apple, Pecan and Pumpkin. This year we're adding a Chocolate Pie and for the first time I'm making the Pumpkin Pie from scratch, which means I steamed a Sugar Pie Pumpkin , scraped the inside and added spices. I prepared the filling ahead of time and it's in the freezer.
If this is your first time preparing a Thanksgiving Dinner, try to incorporate some of your families traditional recipes, you know the ones Grandma made that you remember as a child. Feel free to experiment with new recipes and establish your own traditions.
I hope you check out some of my recipes on the blog and experience something new this Thanksgiving!

Always remember:

Peace in the Kitchen!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Re-molding Canned Jellied Cranberry Sauce !

We were in London last year during the Christmas season. I bought a glass mold for jellied desserts at Liberty of London. By the way, it's a block from Carnaby Street, the famous hang out of Hippies and Rock Stars during the Sixties.
I wanted to make a Cranberry Mold for Thanksgiving and didn't really want to make it from scratch or have anything fancy, just plain Jellied Cranberry in a beautiful mold for presentation. There's something unattractive about serving a can of cranberry sauce that has the ridges from the tin can that you use as a guide to slice! Well it doesn't have to be that rough, but you get the idea.
I also have a beautiful white ceramic mold from Williams Sonoma and this would work well in that mold too. Last year I made the recipe from Williams Sonoma that came with the mold.
I'll add this bit of Hippy in the Kitchen while I'm talking about London.
When I was 20 and 21 I was hanging out in Europe and I didn't appreciate the "finer" things in life. I was too consumed with backpacking, studying, traveling and the music scene.
It was my first time to see London and I was buying a Maxi Coat and listening to folk singers on the street corners and in the Youth Hostels.
Later in life I acquired a taste for some of the "finer" things that money can buy.
I bought a  Wedgwood Tea Pot for my wife as a Birthday gift and was fortunate enough to have it signed by The Lord Wedgwood of Barlaston.
As much as I enjoyed re- living my Hippy days when we visited Carnaby Street last December, I now appreciate the Mold and the Tea Pot that came from London too!

my ceramic mold, the glass mold and the double boiler.

the White Wedgwood Tea Pot.

The bottom of the Tea Pot autographed by Lord Wedgwood,
and the card for my wife's birthday.

Here's how to re-mold the canned jellied cranberry sauce.

1. remove the sauce from the can.
2. put it in a double boiler over simmering water.
3. break it up with a spoon and mix gently, stirring constantly until it's uniformly smooth.
4. lightly spray a mold with a vegetable cooking spray.
5. pour the heated sauce into the mold and refrigerate until firm

Un mold onto a serving platter. ( you can simply dip the bottom of the mold into a pan of warm to water to help release it. You can also soak a tea towel in hot water, wring it out and place it over the inverted mold that's been placed on a serving platter. Jiggle the mold after the hot towel has been on it for a minute. Release the salad onto the platter. Repeat if necessary.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Cranberry Cream Pie

This pie is an adaptation from a recipe by Better Homes and Gardens.
It's made with a Pretzel Crust.
I happen to love cranberries, all things Cranberry. I have so many favorite recipes using Cranberries. You can search the word "Cranberries" on the blog. I love Cranberry Sauce in a variety of ways, Cranberry Mousse that I make every Thanksgiving , Cranberry Muffins, Cornbread with Cranberries, and the list goes on.

I have never heard of Cranberry Cream Pie but here it is:

Cranberry Cream Pie with a Pretzel Crust

1/2 C butter
1/2 C sugar, divided
1 1/4 C finely crushed pretzels
1 egg white
1 1/2 C heavy cream
12 oz of cream cheese, softened
1 - 14 ounce can of whole berry cranberry sauce
1 TBS finely grated Orange Peel ( I use a Micro Plane)

Spray a 9" Pie Plate with a cooking spray
Set aside

In a medium sauce pan, heat butter until melted.
Remove from heat
Stir in 1/4 C sugar until dissolved
Add pretzels and combine well
Fold in egg white, combine well
Press into the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides
Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 7 - 10 minutes
Cool completely on a wire rack
Refrigerate while preparing the filling

In a medium bowl, beat heavy cream with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
Set aside

In another bowl:
Beat cream cheese 1/4 C sugar until creamy smooth.
Set aside

In a third bowl:
Mix cranberry sauce and orange peel and mix well.
Add Cranberries to Cream Cheese mixture until well combined.
Fold in whipped cream

Spoon the filling into the Crust
Cover with plastic wrap ( do not let the plastic touch the filling), you could also cover it with foil) instead of plastic wrap,  refrigerate at least 4 hours or until firm.

Garnish each serving with additional whipped cream.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Pumpkin Muffins / Thanksgiving 2013

I came across this simple recipe for Pumpkin Muffins using only 2 ingredients. It looked good, but I decided to add a little topping to make them a bit more interesting. Certainly not healthier! But after all it is Thanksgiving!

1 small can of Pure Pumpkin, not Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 boxed Spice Cake, your choice, I use Duncan Hines
Mix together in a Stand Mixer with a paddle attachment.

Scoop into Muffin Tins with a large cookie scoop.
Bale at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes, until the center comes out clean with a toothpick

3/4 C Sugar
2 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Mix together in a Medium Bowl, ( you'll be tossing the Muffins to coat them so the Bowl has to be large enough to accommodate a Muffin)

In a Small Bowl:
1/4 C  (1/2 stick) Butter, melted

Brush each Muffin completely with Butter and toss in the Cinnamon/Sugar mixture

Peace in the Kitchen!