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Megans Cookin: August 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chocolicious Tea Cake with Orange Glaze

tea cake 016 When I was on vacation, I picked up this card set. Aren’t they fun? There is four different cards in each set. Each with an illustration of a yummy treat and the appropriate recipe written on the back. They are blank inside so I can use them for almost any occasion, a birthday, a thank you, or just a little hello! It was my Mother-In-Laws birthday so we gave her a little gift card tucked into one of these adorable cards. I gave her the Chocolate Tea Cake card along with a baby loaf of the cake.

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This was a chocolate pound cake using a half pound of chocolate and it was chocolicious! It has orange zest in the cake itself and an orange glaze brushed over the top. You poke little holes in the cake so the glaze soaks into it.

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It was rich and sinful and just perfect for a lazy afternoon. When you want to slow down and take a breath, pour a cup of tea and take time to reflect, take out a loaf of this tea cake. It will make an ordinary moment, extraordinary!

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Chocolate Tea Cake with Orange Glaze

  • 8 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 16 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 4 lg. eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 TBSP fresh squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease paper.

In a small sauce pan, melt chocolate over low heat. (I melted mine in the microwave oven). Cool.

In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and mix at medium speed for 2 minutes or till light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well before adding the next. Add the vanilla, zest, and sour cream and beat well. Add the cooled chocolate and mix for 30 seconds or untill incorporated. Scrape the inside of the bowl.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over the bowl and fold in to the mixture just till combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake on the middle rack for 60-70 minutes. or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack in the pan for 15 minutes. Carefully invert the cake on the cooling rack. remove the paper. Flip the cake right side up.

For the glaze: Combine the powdered sugar on the orange juice in a small pan. Bring to a boil and stirring occasionally, cook for 2 minutes. Using a skewer, poke holes about an inch apart in the warm cake. Brush with the glaze. Cool completely before slicing.

Makes one 9 inch loaf.

If you like what you see, will you please vote for this recipe on Foodie View! Thank you! :)

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Half Baked or Baked Half? The Dobo Challenge!

This months Daring Baker challenge was the Dobo Torte.

First, let’s get the required verbiage out of the way,

Here it is!

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

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The Dobos Torte is a six-layer sponge cake, filled with a rich chocolate buttercream and topped with thin wedges of caramel. Depending on family recipe, this cake can be anywhere from six to twelve layers.

This is where my problems begin.

I made this cake just like the directions said. I was trying to mark parchment paper, fill in the circle with batter and get it into the oven. You see, this not an ordinary layer cake. Oh no! You don't use cake pans. You make your layers on parchment paper. Thin like crepes. It was bit overwhelming to say the least. But I was going for it, filling circles, baking them for a few minutes while trying to fill more circles and getting cake layers off the paper to cool just to turn around and put more batter on parchment. You see what I mean? Overwhelming! And I knew at the end of my layer making , I was a layer short. I was suppose to have six layers.

dobo cake 046 BUT… when all was finished and done (with the layer making and baking) I turned around, and I only had 4 layers. I was two layers short.

How did that happen???

I still don’t know. I guess we’ll have to rack that one up to a brain fart. I hate when that happens.

So I figured I had two choices. I could

A. make another batter and go through the torture they call layer making, or …

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B. I could make half a cake!

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Well… that was a no brainer. Considering I only have three in my family, I didn’t need more batter and I didn’t need a WHOLE HUGE CAKE! (I really don’t even need half a cake!)

dobo cake 055 So I cut my four layers in half and got an eight layer cake half! I avoided problems there!

Delighted I was, with the fast thinking I did on my feet, (Yea, right!)

I started my frosting.


Ugh, yeah!

I was making my frosting, doing great, had a all this volume going with the egg mixture. Then when it was time to add the chocolate, everything went flat and runny. I don’t think that was quite right (duh) but I just continued and then put it in the refer and let it chill. It worked out in the end and it was really tasty. (Thank the frosting Gods!)

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My caramel turned out ok but it was a little intimidating.

It’s the grand finale of the Dobo Torte! No pressure there.

All in all, I’m glad we got the chance to make this cake.

Would I make it again?

Probably not.

My daughter liked the cake part but not the topping.

The Hubby liked the topping the best.


I didn’t think it was worth the time or calories. But it was a great challenge and a wonderful learning experience.

And isn’t that what the Daring Bakers is all about?

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If you would like to try this torte and would like the recipe, you can go here!

To check out the other Daring Bakers Dobo Torte, go here!

I would also like to thank Barbara from Barbra Bakes for baking this challenge with me via Twitter. It’s nice to have a sounding board and it also helps to chase away the procrastination. Thank you Barb! I enjoyed our baking and your friendship!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bar Recipe

pumpkin pie snickerdoodle bars After a short leave of absence from my volunteering, I wanted to take a treat to the girls on my first day back. I’d seen a few snickerdoodle Blondie recipes lately, and I decided to search one out. Then I jumped from link to link to find that perfect recipe. That’s when I came across this recipe, a Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bar.
Well… I LOVE pumpkin. And I cant wait for the Fall Season!
I cant wait for the the crisp nights of Autumn, the crunch of the leaves underfoot, the harvest moon, and the PUMPKINS! So how could I resist this?
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The bottom layer is a snickerdoodle blondie covered by a layer of pumpkin pie filling. Sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar on top and baked into a delicious bar. . Finished with a drizzle of pumpkin pie spiced infused white chocolate. Oh Baby!
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As my one taste tester said, “This would be good for Thanksgiving,… Christmas,… uhhh… Easter… my birthday!
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This recipe is a keeper and one I’ll be making again real soon. In fact, I’ve already made it twice this week and have had many requests for this recipe. If you like pumpkin, you have to make this!!!
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Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars
Recipe by Julia, author Of Dozen Flours
Snickerdoodle Layer
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Pumpkin Pie Layer
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin

2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 oz white chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan and lay a piece of parchment paper across the pan, so that it extends the pan slightly. The parchment paper is an optional step, but it will make it easier to get the bars out later
To make snickerdoodle layer:
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be thick and cookiebatter-ish.)

To make pumpkin pie filling:
In a mixer bowl (you can use the same one you used to make the snickerdoodle batter) with a paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar. A dd the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. This layer will be less thick and more pourable. Pour over the snickerdoodle layer, smoothing out the top.
Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.

Bake for 33-40 minutes (maybe more depending on your oven) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Let the bars cool completely (about an hour). They will deflate a bit and remain a bit pie-like on the top layer. The bars that are closer to the edges of the pan will be more firm.
After the bars are completely cool, place the chopped white chocolate into a bowl or zip-lock bag and melt on low power. When it's completely melted, add the pumpkin pie spice and mix (or knead if using a zip lock bag). Use a spoon or cut a small corner off the bag and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the bars and let it cool and harden.
Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan. Place on a cutting board and cut into bars. Store in a covered container.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Roasted Chicken and Plums for Martha Monday

pumpkin bars 006 This weeks assignment comes from Brette, the mastermind behind  Martha Mondays. If you want to join in, or are interested in what we are doing, she has  all the info! This week she picked Roasted Chicken with Plums. I was eager to try this dish and got on it right away. But…  pumpkin bars 009






I was a little disappointed. The chicken came out fantastic. Juicy and flavorful. But those plums. Man, were they tart. I cant blame the misfortune of the tart plums on Martha, So I’m thinking of blaming Trader Joe’s. That’s were I bought them.

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So I’m sure this would be tasty with some sweet, ripe, juicy plums, I just didn’t have any. Maybe next time I’ll try peaches.  But, did I tell you the chicken was really good?

Stay tune for Martha Monday next week. I get to pick the assignment! Want a little hint? It’s a craft!

Roasted Chicken and Plums

Serves 12

  • 2 whole chickens (about 4 lbs each)
  • sea salt
  • 10 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 lbs small plums
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 oz (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 450. Season chickens with salt. Stuff each cavity with 2 sprigs rosemary. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Place each chicken in an ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) and place 2 sprigs rosemary around each chicken. Alternatively you can also roast the chickens together in a roasting pan. Toss plums with honey in a large bowl.

Roast chickens for 20 min. Remove from oven, and scatter some of the plums around the chickens. Return to oven and roast for 20 min more. Spread remaining plums on a rimmed baking sheet, dot with butter, and top with remaining 2 sprigs rosemary. Transfer to oven. Continue to roast chickens until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165. Meanwhile roast plums until soft and brown around edges about 25 min. Let chickens rest for 10 min before serving.

Note I only used one chicken as I have only 3 to feed. I also tossed my plums in after 20 minutes of roasting the chicken and left them till the chicken was cooked. I didn’t use the butter.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Say Cheese!

I recently went to Medford, Oregon and was taken to a sweet little creamery. Rogue Creamery in Central Station to be exact. And it didn't hurt that it was next door to a chocolate shop. A very decadent chocolate shop! As in Blue Cheese Truffles. Let's just say, I'll be getting more then one of those next visit!
I bought four totally different cheeses and some , should we say, condiments? Oh, and a wooden board to plate the cheese on. I couldn't resist! I then took my bounty to Bodega Bay where we shared artisan cheese with good friends around the roaring campfire. I'm sorry to say, I didn't get a picture of that cheese tray because it was dark and it was after a couple bottles of wine. Wine and cheese, now there's a winning combination! Such a winning combo, that I cut up the leftover cheese and made this platter for an appetizer a few days later.

The first cheese was called Barely Buzzed and it comes from The Beehive Cheese Co. located in Utah. This cheese is hand rubbed with ground coffee and lavender buds. This wondeful artisian cheese has won 1st Place in the Flavored Cheddar American Cheese Society Annual Competition in 2007 and 2008. This cheese is available almost everywhere and I recommend it!

This second cheese was interesting. It had a jerk seasoning flowing through it's veins. It was a great selection for a cheese platter and good for a stimulating conversation, but not one I cared for all that much. Bet it would have been much better with a Gewurztraminer wine. (wink,)

This cheese is a Rosemary Cheddar and I loved it!. They had many different Cheddars including lavender, and garlic. Newt time I'd like to try the lavender! It was especially excellent with the Quince Paste.

This is the Quince paste. It is popular in the middle East, especially in Spain. It is made from the fruit of the Quince tree and it's like a thick jam. It comes in a little tub and can be quite spendy. I saw it in the California wine valleys for $11.99 but I got it for a steal in Oregon. I paid $5.99 a tub.
This made the cheese really sing and was popular most with the Rosemary Cheddar.

This was another "condiment" I got. It's a fruit and nut log. It was made by a chef from Portland and he originally made it as a snack bar. When I asked the cheese lady which one to buy, Quince Paste or this, she said, "Hard choice but I would go for the fruit and nut log. So,...
I went for both. While this was delicious, the Quince Paste was the winner in my group.

The final cheese I bought in Oregon was this "Oregon Blue" Smokey Blue Cheese. It's smoked for 16 hours over Pacific Northwest hazelnut shells producing a sweet hazelnut flavor that contrasts the sharpness of the blue cheese. This was one of four blue cheeses they had and I believe the best. We had free samples of them all!

As I said earlier, I took my Oregon cheese to The Wine Country and found a few more cheeses to add to my selections at the Calistoga market. This one I couldn't resist buying. The sign just said it would make a great dessert cheese. SOLD! This was like eating a slice of cheesecake with cranberries. OK, almost like cheese cake.

I left the best for last if I could honestly say there was a best. I mean, come on, IT'S CHEESE!
This last one is a Sticky Toffee Cheddar. I first had this two years ago when I was on a Sticky Toffee Pudding kick. When I saw this cheese, I bought a little chunk and went back to my fifth wheel and ate almost the whole chunk by myself. I had to go back and get more the morning we left Calistoga. This was sweet and caramely. Sticky Toffee Cheddar=my favorite!

We ate all the gourmet crackers that I spent a (Dear Hubby, Dont read the following)
small fortune on in Calistoga. So we just went for Ritz this time. A good common cracker!

I hope this inspires you to go out and try some good artisan cheeses and put together your own cheese platter. It makes a great appetizer, dessert, lunch, of just a simple snack.
Remember, always add fruit. I like grapes.

As Julia Child would say, Bon Appetit!

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Jam Exchange and Martha Mondays

You know I have the best intentions. I plan to get things done. I have oodles to bake, events to enter, Pictures to upload. E-mails to answer, Facebook to update and tweets to tweet. I'm a busy lady. But usually, life has a habit of getting in the way of my plans. School started and my teen entered high school. We had clothes shopping, and the supply list to get, and all the things that you have to get done so the world wont stop revolving.
Ahhh, the life of a teen.

And school starting means I go back to work.

That's why I'm late telling you about

1. The jam exchange

2. Martha Monday.

OK, OK, ... I'm getting to it!

First the jam!

I received my jam from Stephanie's Jam exchange and I was so delighted. I got it from Christie of the The Sandwich Hoss . She sent me 4 half pint jars of jam.

Two were Strawberry Plum and,
one was Blueberry Peach,

and one was...

Peach Jam with Orange and Ginger

You can see the first thought that came to mind.

Brie and jam!

Brie with Peach Jam with Orange and Ginger!


Thank you Christie! I'm going to have to make this stuff. (Here is another dose of that good intention stuff. But I'm gonna make it! Someday. (Sigh)) It would be a great gift. In a basket with a wheel of Brie and some crackers. I know I would love to receive a gift like that!

And now:

Martha Monday!

What is Martha Monday you ask?

Martha Mondays is a group of bloggers, Martha fans, home cooks, crafters, and people who want to cook or craft more, who have joined together to cook or craft the same Martha dish or project. That's it! Just Martha Loving people. This was the brainchild of
Brette from Martha and Me.
This weeks project was to make Old World Map Coaster. I wasn't particularly fond of the old world idea so I went with a fall pattern.

I thought they turned out cute but I still have a few more layers of modPodge to add. I love the inspirational words on them. They also aren't in all there glory because the light was not good. But you get the idea.

I also bought a big wooden K (for Kellie) and a big wooden M (for Megan) that I'm also going to Decoupage. I'll show you when they get done.

On another Martha Monday.

So... stay tuned, OK?

Instructions: You need paper maps (and if you don’t have any you could print some online, or use any other decorated or patterned paper you have), cutting mat, round cork coasters, craft knife, foam paintbrush and ModPodge.

Put the map on the cutting board, face down and cut it out by tracing the coasters with the knife. Brush the ModPodge on one side of the coaster and stick the map onto it. Smooth the map to get rid of bubbles. Put more ModPodge on top of the map and on the sides, brushing it to smooth it out. Let it dry.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lemony Peach Jam With Just A Hint Of Basil

I just got back from vacation and only have a week
(actually,.. less now)
before school starts, which means
back to work for me.
Someone has to feed those kiddos!

Anyway, I signed up for a jam exchange and it was always in the back of my mind
all through vacation.

Gotta get some jam made.
Gotta get some jam made.

I'm glad to report, I got some jam made!

And boy, am I happy with the outcome!

I found some peaches at the supermarket on sale for 98 cents a pound.
They were nice and ripe and begging me to turn them into jam.
I wanted to make my Vanilla Spiced Peach Jam that I made last summer because it was so stinking good,
but I also wanted to try something new.

I was thinking of thyme or lavender, but opted for basil in my peach jam. As any good food blogger would do, I did a little goggling and came across this recipe. So I adapted it to my taste and came up with this tantalizing treat.

I Gotta get some MORE jam made!

This stuff is terrific.

Lemony Peach Jam with Basil
5 cups of peeled sliced peaches
1/4 cup water
4 Cups sugar
juice and zest from 1 lemon
5 fresh basil sprigs
Cook peaches and and water for 10 minutes.
Add the sugar, lemon, and basil.
Cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Mash with a fruit or potato masher while boiling. . Continue to stir increasingly as fruit cooks. When fruit starts to seem to adhere to pan bottom between stirrings, the jam is ready to can. Remove basil stems and leaves, and can as usual.

I got 4 half pint jars and little bit extra that I ate on toast! :)

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Chipotle-Marinaded Skirt Steak And A Winner!

I found this recipe on the Safeway website last year and it's my absolute favorite.
But first a little lessen that I learned!
Last year I had bought a package of skirt steak from my local meat market and put it in the freezer. The day that I went to make it, I was having company so I figured I better pick up an additional package when I went to the supermarket.
So I did, and while I was preparing the marinade. I unwrapped both packages of meat and compared them. It was quite obvious that the meat market steak wasn't as nice looking as the steak from the grocery. So I was bummed about the meat, but prepared both cuts of meat, the exact same.

We marinaded and grilled them. When we sliced both meats up, the meat market meat was moist, very flavorful, and TENDER! The beautiful looking slab of grocery store meat was so tough, it was like jerky. Stringy old tough jerky. So, if you have had skirt steak and didn't like it, or thought it was tough, I beg you to go get a good quality piece of skirt steak, and try this recipe!

It's quick with only 25 minutes of marinading,
easy as most ingredients are probably already in your pantry,

And now for the winner of the Beach Tote Giveaway, sponsored by Barefoot Wines




Nutmeg Nanny!

Congratulations! Please e-mail me your address!

Chipotle-Marinated Skirt Steak
By Safeway

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 pounds Beef Skirt Steak, rinsed and patted dry

In a 9- by 13-inch baking dish or a large bowl, mix onion, chipotle chiles with adobo sauce, garlic, cumin, salt, chili powder, paprika, and oil. Add beef (cut in half if too big to fit) and rub marinade onto both sides. Cover and let stand at room temperature 25 minutes.
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct, high heat (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 inches above the cooking grate only 2 to 3 seconds; Place steak on oiled cooking grate; cover gas grill. Cook, turning once with a wide spatula, until browned on the outside and done to your liking in the center (cut to test), about 6 minutes total for rare (reddish pink), or 8 to 10 minutes total for medium-rare (pink).
Transfer meat to a cutting board, loosely tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Slice the steak across the grain into thin strips and serve with fajitas fixings.

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