Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tapas for March 2017

It's a good thing I have a nice sturdy table, and an island in the kitchen, cause with all the great food people brought last night, it filled up both of them along with the 'dessert' buffet. 
Tapas Table
I had fun making a few things, and I'll tell you about them later on. 
Here's what was brought, shared and enjoyed.
We had some Chips and Dip
Chips and Dip
and a Spinach Casserole
Spinach Casserole
some Mac and Cheese,
Mac and Cheese
and Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs
we also had a Quinoa Salad, which reminds me, I need to put it on my shopping list.  I really like Quinoa

Quinoa Salad

as well as Cheese and Crackers and Celery,
Cheese, Crackers and Celery
and a Southwest Potato Salad, and I neglected to get a side shot, but the bowl was really cool as well
Southwest Potato Salad
then there was some Cheese Muffins, and I didn't get a taste, but look at that presentation, so pretty.
Cheese Muffins
we also had Broccoli Balls, but they were all gone before I got to them. sigh
Broccoli Balls
And there's always that one dish that escapes my camera, but I did get a shot of it, even if I had to crop a picture to show it, some more Mac and Cheese.  Did I mention, I love Pasta, especially Mac and Cheese.

as well as some Hummus and Crackers
along with some Sausage Soup,
Sausage Soup
and Roasted Vegetables
Roasted Vegetables
And then I made some Smørrebrød, and I had fun with it.  Disclaimer first though here.   I should have used either smoked salmon or smoked eel for this dish, but I winged it and used Gravlax, which is a cured salmon.  But everyone ate them anyways.  I'm just glad I sampled one before I put the platter out.  I'd also made some rye bread (Rugbrød) earlier in the day as well as some white bread.
Smørrebrød with Eggs and Gravlax
I also opened one of my tins of Makrel i Tomat Sauce and put some small bites together.   I didn't know if anyone would like it so only made up a little, next time I'll make more. It went over well.
Makrel i Tomat Sauce
And I made up a platter of Frikadeller with Agurk Salat and Syltede Rødbedder aka pickled beets and some Spegepølser (salami).
Smørrebrød with Frikadeller, Agurk Salat, Salami
Since I had so much Gravlax, I also made up some Lemon Caper Deviled Eggs using the Gravlax as a topper for some of them.   I'll be sharing that recipe soon.  It was really good, even if I say so myself.
Lemon Caper Deviled Eggs with and without Gravlax
I also played with some Pork Tenderloin bites and made an Asian style pork dish, I'll share that recipe soon as well.
Asian Style Pork Tenderloin Bites
 I also used some home made Puff Pastry and added some Asiago Cheese and made these Cheese Twists, I was just playing around.  I would have had more but managed to ummm, burn the second pan.
Cheese Sticks

Now for the Desserts.  And it's funny how there tends to be a theme from time to time.  This month it was fruit, Apples mostly, but also Cherry and Pineapple.  (We've had months where Chocolate reigned supreme as well)
Fruit Desserts, Apple Crisp, Apple bars, Cherry Cobbler, Pineapple
Apple Crisp, and I need this recipe.  Really, I do. 
Apple Crisp
And some Frosted Apple Bars, sorry the wrap was still on when I took the picture.
Apple bars
And a Cherry Cobbler
 Cherry Cobbler
As well as Pineapple, which I did not get a clear shot of. 
There's always one, but if you look at the dessert shot up above, the pineapple is there to the left.

Gotta go and wash the wine glasses now, and reflect on the night and think about the great time I had.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Deluxe Carrot Cake

I reached out to my SIL the other day, well, we talk almost every day anyways, but she's a cake decorator and makes the most incredible cakes.
She decorates them beautifully, in fact she and her daughter are quite a team, but Stephanie also bakes the cakes from scratch.  Check it out here

She rarely makes a cake from a mix, and some time ago she was telling me, well, she was gushing over this carrot cake she'd made for someone, and how good the cake was and how easy to make and well, I tucked that little nugget of information away in my brain, and thought I wanted to make this sometime.
I did last week.
Carrot Cake

I've been making and donating cakes to the local Legion, every couple of weeks, and they raffle them off and raise money for local needs.  I made a Chocolate Cake a couple of times, a Buttermilk Cake and the last time a Cherry Cherry Cake.

I figure this is a win win situation, more so on my part cause I get to bake and decorate a cake, and I don't have a whole cake sitting around my house, saying "just a taste, that's all, just cut a sliver" cause that sliver turns into a slice and then, the scale goes "I can't believe you ate that" , and my pants say "not again", and well, we have some interesting conversations in my house.

At any rate, I got this recipe, made it, and then I got to taste it, and OMG, I think I found the perfect carrot cake recipe.
I'm not messing around with anything else. 
And if you noticed the 'toweling' around the pans, I'll tell you all about that in another post.   I'm still experimenting with it. 
Grated Carrots and Craisins - Steff said to use the large holes on the grater so I did.
 The batter in the pans.  And you want to rap the pans, sharply on the counter a few times to get the bubbles out.   But look at those lovely bits of carrot in there.
 The cake just after taking it from the oven.   It was resting.  Please don't skimp on the greasing of the pans, these cakes stuck.  And I even had a helper to get them out.  That little tab at the side, is attached to a little blade which scoots under the cake to loosen it.  Next time I'm placing a sheet of greased parchment paper in the bottom, I think it would be a lot easier to get the pans to release the cakes.  Threatening them did not work.
 After being released and resting for awhile.
 I made a simple cream cheese frosting for the top, and let it drape over the sides a little.  (and put a thin layer of buttercream frosting in the middle of the two layers)
Then I had fun decorating it with some 'carrots'.   
If you can't have fun with the food, what's the point of playing?

And I did get to taste some.  The person who won it, very generously shared it out.  giggle
Look at those carrots.
This is a moist, dense, rich cake, perfect for those special occasions.
Or just because. 

yield: 8-12 servings (a 2 layer cake)print recipe

Deluxe Carrot Cake

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 45 mins
This moist, dense cake is the ultimate Carrot Cake. Rich, flavorful, and delicious.


  • 1 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots (large grate)
  • 1/2-1 cup Craisins (optional)
  • 1/2-1 cup Chopped Walnuts (Optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch cake pans, making sure that they are well greased. Or place a greased parchment paper on the bottom of the pans, and then grease and flour the sides. Peel and grate carrots, using the large side of the grater. Measure out three cups, set aside. Mix all the wet ingredients together with a beater or with a stand mixer. Sift all the dry ingredients together and then add to the wet, mixing well. Once the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together, add the grated carrots at the end along with the Craisins and Walnuts if using them. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Rap the pans sharply on the counter a couple or three times to eliminate the air bubbles in the cakes. (This helps them bake more evenly.) Bake the cakes for 30-40 minutes, using a toothpick to check for done-ness after 30 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooking rack for ten minutes to cool a little, then remove from pans. Frost with a cream cheese frosting when completely cooled. Decorate as you wish.
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