Monday, December 31, 2018

Most Popular Reader Favorite recipe for 2018

Nothing like the end of the year to look back and pick out favorites.  And thanks to Sarah of Fantastical Sharing to prompt us to look back and pick out the best of the year.

And the most popular recipe of 2018 was the Forloren Hare, but I've already told you about that one. So, pardon me, but I'll actually share the second most popular one which is this.  Hindbaersnitter, or Raspberry bars.   
Hindbærsnitter or Raspberry Bars


A favorite treat for youngsters in Denmark, they can stop in the bakery on the way home, get one of these really sweet and yummy bars and be set until dinner.   Be warned, these are sweet, but oh so very good.

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Best Crockpot dish of 2018

I really don't use my crockpot enough but there was one standout dish I did make this year, and that was this one for our Soup Saturday Swappers.
It was so good, I made it several  more times just for me.  I'm talking a tomato soup that will make that stuff in the can, cry.   I can't believe how fresh it tasted.   And here it is, a repeat performance on the blog, Tomato Soup in the crockpot.  In fact, I may just have to make it again this week.  
Tomato Soup for the Crockpot
And why am I telling you about this?
Well, thanks to Sarah of Fantasical Sharing, who came up with this idea of sharing some of our favorite recipes from the past year.  Each day has a separate theme, and today it's Crockpot or Instant Pot recipes.


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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Best Dessert of 2018

And now it's time for the best dessert of 2018. 
That was an easy one. 
Really.  
I made a Tiramisu for a friend's birthday and loved it.  As did everyone else there, but I loved it so much I decided that I could try my hand at making them into cupcakes as well, so I did, several times. 
Tiramisu
At the moment, I have Mascarpone sitting in the fridge waiting....
I'm planning on making a Tiramisu soon, or maybe just cupcakes.  
Tiramisu Cupcake

Nothing like the end of the year to look back and pick out favorites.  And thanks to Sarah of Fantastical Sharing to prompt us to look back and pick out the best of the year.Countdown to 2019 [All the Details] - if you are a food blogger, come join in as we share our favorite recipes of 2018!

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Friday, December 28, 2018

Best Main Dish of 2018

We now come to the Best Main Dish of 2018.  I made a few great ones, but the one that I think is the best is this.  At least it was my favorite.   In fact I liked it so much, I made it a few times.  It's called Forloren Hare or False Rabbit in Danish, and if you're a bacon lover, this meatloaf is just hands down the best.  Served with a good brown sauce and boiled potatoes, heaven. 



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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Best Breakfast of 2018

And for day two of the round up, I'm going to say these Lavender and Lemon Scones were a perfect breakfast.   And one of only two breakfast dishes I made this past year.

And I'm totally making them again, soon.  Just need some more lemons...
Check out some of the other great breakfast's below.
Countdown to 2019 [All the Details] - if you are a food blogger, come join in as we share our favorite recipes of 2018!

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Best Apps and Snacks of 2018

I can't believe it, and although I missed yesterday, I'm going to add it in anyways, cause I can.

And the Best Appetizer I made all year long , well, all I can say is this, I've made it a few times. And every time I make it, it disappears.  Best part is, it's easy to make and I usually have all the ingredients to hand.  Although I am temporarily out of capers, but that's easy to remedy.

The winner is:  Savory Salmon Cheesecake.
Savory Salmon Cheesecake



Countdown to 2019 [All the Details] - if you are a food blogger, come join in as we share our favorite recipes of 2018!

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Gravlax (cured salmon) for #FishFridayFoodies

The Theme this month for Fish Friday Foodies is Seafood Recipes for Entertaining.   Our lovely hostess this month is Sue Lau of Palatable Pastime 
Gravlax

This great link up party and it is a party, this month, was started by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm a couple of years ago.  We get together the third Friday of the month, make and link up a seafood recipe that encompasses the theme of the month.  I've had such fun coming up with recipes,  and eating them as well, for this event every month.  In fact, I don't think I've missed more than a couple over the past couple of years.  And I love doing it.
Although I usually do shrimp recipes, mostly because shrimp are plentiful here and easy to purchase right off of the shrimp boats sometimes.   And I like shrimp as well.  So much so, I've got a shrimp cookbook coming out in the New Year, featuring some of my favorite recipes.
 I also thought I'd be doing another shrimp recipe this month as well, but something got into me at Trader Joe's last weekend.  I found some frozen salmon, and decided to try my hand at making some Gravlax or Gravad Lax for a party this weekend.
Now Gravad Lax or Gravlax, as I say it, is an interesting dish.  As a Dane I'm used to eating raw fish which has been preserved using salt or vinegar or smoking.  This salmon is cold cured or preserved using a mixture of salt, sugar and dill.  I also used a fair amount of pepper and some aquavit I'd made a few years ago, which was a little too intense in dill flavor for me at the time, but when I tasted it again the other day, I discovered that it has matured beautifully.  I think I may need to taste test it again, soon.  I used some peppercorns along with some coarse Himalayan Salt and crushed it up and also uses some raw sugar. I love using my little mortar and pestle. 

Back to the history of Gravlax.  Fishermen used to lightly salt their salmon and bury it, letting it ferment a little.  They would then dig it back up, and serve it, but as you might imagine, just salting and fermenting it made for an interesting, not particularly appetizing dish.  So, people started adding various spices to the fish, which made it more palatable.  You can actually read more about it here.
And I looked at a lot of recipes and they were all pretty much the same, although I shamelessly copied the mustard sauce from a friend's blog.  I did put my own spin on it, mainly because I thought that the Pomegranate and Quince Balsamic Vinegar I had in the cupboard would accent the other ingredients. and it did.  I also added some Creme Fraiche cause I like it.   Tove has some incredible recipes as well.  Check  out her blog, Sweet Sour Savory.
Without further ado and before it gets any later, here's a few pictures.
Gravlax
 Some recipes suggested chopping up the dill but all I did was crush it a little. 
Gravlax

Gravlax
 Slicing it as thin as you can.  I'm letting the rest of it sit in the fridge so I only cut enough for breakfast.  Hey, you can eat fish for breakfast, why not?
Gravlax
 Some of the mustard sauce draped over the salmon and the rye crisp cracker.
Gravlax
 I had to put it down and take another picture.  If it hadn't been so early, I would have had a glass of Aquavit with it.  Maybe for lunch?
Gravlax




Gravadlax
Gravlax

prep time: 20 minscook time: total time: 20 mins
This lightly cured salmon tastes so good served with a mustard sauce on top of a piece of crispbread. Accompanied by a glass of aquavit, of course.

ingredients:


1/2-1 lb. Salmon Fillets, skin on, frozen and then thawed
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon crushed peppercorns
1 bunch dill
1 jigger Aquavit (1 ounce)

Mustard Sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard ( I love the stone ground Dijon so that's what I use).
2 tablespoons Crème Fraiche
6 tablespoons Brown Sugar
4 tablespoons Pomegranate and Quince Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup neutral oil
1/2- 1 tsp. dried Dill, 
or 
1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill, chopped 

instructions:


Rinse the salmon and then place in a glass dish, skin side down,  sprinkle the salt, sugar and pepper on top.  If using two fillets, sprinkle the flesh of the salmon with the spice mixture.  Add the dill and sandwich the two pieces together, with the skin side out.   Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge for several hours.  Turn over, and re-cover the fish. I was running out of fridge space so I very carefully placed the fish fillets into a plastic bag, and pressed out as much air as I could.   I then put the fish back into the fridge, turning it over every few hours to enable the liquid to coat and cure the fish.   Leave in fridge for at least 48 hours up to 72 hours.  
When ready to serve, take out of fridge, give it a quick rinse and wipe dry.  Discard the pickling liquid, and slice the salmon thinly at a 45 degree angle.  You can cut it away from the skin or take the skin off. 
Serve with a mustard sauce and some ryebread or rye crispbread.


Mustard Sauce


Whisk all ingredients together and then taste, add salt and pepper and the dill.  Serve alongside the Gravlax and some nice bread or ryecrisp crackers.

Created using The Recipes Generator



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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Never The Same Twice Soup for #SoupSaturdaySwappers

I wasn't sure I'd be participating this month, but dinner the other night had a scant cup of leftover casserole filling along with some leftover canned corn and then I remembered I had some leftover sausages and meatloaf in the freezer.  I also had some leftover green onions and half a tomato.
Why am I telling you all about my leftovers?
Never the Same Twice soup for #SoupSaturdaySwappers
Well, the theme this month is soup made from Leftovers.   It's hosted by Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories. 
She asked that we make a soup from leftovers, whether from the holiday or whatever leftovers we had. 
Usually I have all kinds of bits and bobs of leftovers in my freezer, but I've been making a very conscious decision to cook only what we eat for a meal.  That's just cause the freezer was getting pretty full there.  And when 'someone' doesn't label items properly, you can get some interesting items left over.
OK, so it's me.  I tend to wrap up something, think I'll remember what it was in its' previous incarnation, but I don't always succeed.
And I'm tired of playing mystery ingredients.  New rule, I label and date it all and if it's not used up within a month, it becomes an offering to the Kitchen Goddess or her consort the Garbage Guy.

Well, as I said, I wasn't too sure I'd be joining in the soup-fest this time round, but I did.
And I even used some leftover bread from the freezer as an accompaniment to the soup.  Score!

This is not a proper recipe per se.  It did incorporate leftovers from three separate meals though.
And it made enough for two filling meals, OK, two lunches and one breakfast.   I like having a hot bowl of soup for breakfast.  And since it had sausage in it, I figured it was breakfasty, well that and the slice of cooked, chopped bacon I topped it with. 

 1 cup Enchilada Casserole filling
1/2 cup canned corn with peppers
3 cups turkey stock
3 link sausages, cooked
1 slice Forloren Hare meatloaf, chopped
1/2 fresh tomato, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 slices cooked bacon, chopped 

Mix all together and simmer for 10- 15 minutes, top with the cooked bacon and serve.   This goes really well with some leftover No-Knead bread.
Never the Same Twice soup for #SoupSaturdaySwappers
I think you could use any kind of leftover casserole filling and just add a few extra ingredients to make a tasty, filling and totally delicious soup.


Inlinkz Link Party

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake (layer cake)

I'm a member of a group called Baking Bloggers, every month we bake something with a theme.  This month it's Gingerbread.    And btw the group is led by Sue of Palatable Pastime
I was all set to make a Gingerbread House - I might still make one - but fortuitously, it's also the week I bake and donate a cake to our local Legion for their cake-raffle.  They raffle off a cake every week, and use the funds for local projects.
I figure it's a win win situation, I get to bake, and don't have to eat it, (saves a little when I step on the scale), and they get a cake they can raffle off.
They do appreciate it as well. 
Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake
If I'd had my wits about me, I would have just told you about the last cake I made, it had Ginger in it, as well as on top, but it wasn't a true Gingerbread cake. 
It was darn good though.
Anyhooo, I went through my cookbooks, found this recipe in a cookbook that I received at my bridal shower, a few decades ago, and decided to make it. 
Then as I looked at the ingredients, decided to play around a little.
It's my cake and I can play if I want to.
So there!

I done made a full on touchdown, again.
See, I do know some football lingo.

One of the fun things I did, to up the "gingerbreadness" of the cake was make up a gingerbread spice mix.   I went to my Brunekager recipe, for the spices,  and then played with the proportions a little.
And I added some crushed allspice along with touch of nutmeg.

For the frosting, I went with my favorite frosting.  It's basically a boiled milk frosting, aka - Ermine frosting or Faux Buttercream along with a few other names.  I amped up the flavors a little though.  I wanted the frosting to have a distinct ginger taste so I heated up the milk with some of my homemade candied ginger, let it cool and fished out the ginger, and kept it.  After I tasted it, I decided it was almost perfect. I wanted an over all ginger undercurrent and I got it, sort of.  It wasn't quite gingery enough though, so I added a half teaspoon of powdered ginger and that made it perfect.   Next time, I'll just add the powdered ginger and forget about simmering the ginger in the milk.
I also went to Cook's test kitchen to see if they had any hints, and found a recipe that sounded amazing, but was just too darn fiddly.  Although I appreciate the time and effort they put in to develop the recipes.

A couple of hints for decorating.  Place a dab of frosting on the middle of the cake plate and place the first cake layer on top of it, bottoms up.
Then place half of the frosting in a piping bag and pipe a ring around the outside of the first layer and then fill in the middle. So much easier to get a nice even layer down, and the ring around the outside helps to fill in the gap between the first and second layer.
Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake
And then I had fun.  I colored a little of the frosting red, and a little green and piped poinsettia flowers on the top.  
Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake
 I didn't get too carried away, did I?
Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake

Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake
I finished it off with some star tips around the edge and some on the sides as well.
Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake


I did get some major thumbs up on the cake I made though. It was rich and gingerbready without being overly sweet or cloyingly spicy.  I did get to taste the cake, as the winner shared the cake out with everyone.  The frosting had a lovely creamy ginger spice to it and that just added to the cake.  The cocoa added a rich dark look and the coffee extract added a nice note as well.
Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake


Yield: 2 layer cake

Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake
Ginger Cream Sandwich Cake

prep time: 30 minscook time: 30 minstotal time: 60 mins
This dark, rich Gingerbread cake is perfect as a layer cake, slathered or frosted with Ermine Frosting. The hint of ginger in the frosting, complements the cake beautifully.

ingredients:


Cake
2 Cups Self Rising Flour
3/4 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons Molasses
2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
2 tablespoons Gingerbread Spice
1 tsp. Coffee extract

Gingerbread Spice
2 tablespoons Cinnamon
2 tablespoons whole allspice - ground or 1 tablespoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Ermine Frosting

1 cup milk
1cup sugar
1 cup butter
5 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

instructions:


Ermine Frosting:
Whisk the flour into the cold milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.  Set aside to cool, then press through a sieve to remove any lumps.  When totally cold, cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixture until the sugar has broken down.  Add the cooled cooked milk mixture, 1/4 cup at a time and whisk at a high speed.  This mixture will look kinda weird at first, but letting it mix for about 7-10 minutes will make it double in size almost.  This recipe makes enough to frost a two layer cake.  The taste is lighter and less sweet than regular buttercream. 
Cake:
Sift all the dry ingredients together and set aside.  This is especially important if you ground your own allspice and also helps to break up the cocoa powder.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 2 - 8 or 9 inch cake pans. 
 Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until it is lightened up and the sugar crystals are broken down. Add the coffee extract.   Add the eggs one at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture.  As soon as the eggs are incorporated, then add the molasses or whisk the molasses into the milk, add one third of the flour, combine and then add half the milk, mix, then another third of the flour mixture and then the rest of the milk, finishing it off with the remaining flour

Pour half the batter into each pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake springs back with a light touch in the center or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Invert onto a cooling rack. 

Frost with some Ermine Frosting which has 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger added to it. (recipe above)

If you wish, you can take a little of the frosting and tint some red and some green and pipe poinsettia flowers on top to decorate the cake and make it look festive. 
Note:  I actually weigh each layer on my scale.  This helps me to keep it even.  
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Candied Orange and Candied Ginger Bundt

This cake, all I can say is, I hit it out of the park and it was a home run. 

All right I know it's actually football season, but I don't follow football, but I do like baseball.

I have no idea what a good football metaphor or analogy is for this.  

All I know is that I made this cake for the Legion Cake Raffle last week, and it was so good, I made another one this week and took it with me to NPA as my offering.

I'll be adding this cake to my regular rotation as well. 

OK, so it's an excuse for me to make more Candied Orange slices.  
Candied Orange and Candied Ginger Bundt Cake
You got me. sigh.
But do try this cake out.
My mom would have loved it as well. She did love her candied ginger, and would savor it whenever she got some.  I just wish she was still around so I could spoil her and make sure she had all she wanted.
I seem to recall though, that the kind she used to get was candied ginger in syrup.   Doesn't matter, she would have liked this cake.   
Drizzling it with some of the syrup from making the Candied Orange Slices.  This is why you keep the syrup.    You need to drizzle it while the cake is still hot, it helps the syrup to soak in. 
Candied Orange and Candied Ginger Bundt Cake
 And it's ready to decorate. 
Candied Orange and Candied Ginger Bundt Cake
 After the glaze has been poured over it, I cut up some of the orange slices, (I used my kitchen shears for that, worked much better than the chef's knife.)
Candied Orange and Candied Ginger Bundt Cake
 Then I took some of the syrup, which I'd spread on a silpat baking mat, and caramelized to make brittle, and broke it up a little.  And sprinkled it on top of the orange slices and chopped candied ginger.  Which is totally optional, btw. 
Candied Orange and Candied Ginger Bundt Cake
I tell you, sometimes I have way too much fun in the kitchen.  The cake not only looked good, but it tasted really good as well. 
The extra 5 minutes I took decorating it, was purely worth it. 




Candied Orange and Ginger Bundt Cake
Candied Orange and Candied Ginger Bundt Cake

prep time: 20 minscook time: 55 minstotal time: 75 mins

ingredients:


1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz.) butter
3 eggs
2 cup milk
3 cups Self Rising Flour
2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier Liqueur
2 tablespoons Self rising flour
1/2 cup minced Candied Ginger 
 1/2 cup Minced Candied Orange Peel

T
For the topping:
2 slices of Candied Orange - cut into             quarters
1+  tablespoon minced Candied Ginger
1/2 cup orange simple syrup
1/4 cup ginger simple syrup
 
Glaze:  
 1/4 cup simple syrup, use the orange simple syrup.
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier liqueur or Vanilla extract 
2- 3 cups confectioner sugar mixed together to pouring consistency
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream (if needed to get the glaze to pouring consistency

instructions:


Preheat oven to 325 degrees, grease a 10 cup bundt pan.  Set aside.

Sprinkle the 1/2 cup minced Candied Ginger and the 1/2 cup minced Orange peel with 2 tablespoons of self rising flour.  Mix together, set aside. (this keeps the ginger and orange from sinking down to the bottom of the cake and helps to keep them suspended inside the cake. 
Cream the butter and sugars together until the mixture lightens up and looks fluffy and there are no sugar crystals.  This takes a good ten minutes or so. Scrape the sides down, and then add the eggs, one at a time, and mix together.  Next add 1/4 cup of the self rising flour and mix until combined.   Scrape down the sides between addition.   Add one third of the remaining flour, mix until combined on medium speed.  Then add half the milk, mix until it is just combined, add the next third of flour, mix gently then add the last of the milk, finishing off with the flour, mixing gently each time.  Fold in the floured minced ginger and orange, along with the Grand Marnier liqueur.     Pour or spoon into the greased bundt pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and the center springs back when touched lightly. 
Invert onto a cake rack and leave for 10 minutes to cool down.   As soon as it has cooled a little, mix the 1/2 cup orange simple syrup and the ginger syrup together and spoon evenly over the warm cake.  Doing this while the cake is warm, lets the syrup soak into the cake, making it a lot moister.  
Let the cake sit for another 1/2 hour or until almost all the way cool.  Dribble or spoon the glaze over top.  Decorate with the Candied Ginger and the sliced, quartered Candied Orange.  
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Monday, December 3, 2018

First Monday Favorites - December 2018 -25

I don't know about you but I've already started my Christmas Baking.  I got my home made Caramels done yesterday, made a few truffles and then went OMG, it's almost time for First Monday Favorites, again.
So here I am.
I started this link up party as an homage to a group called Secret Recipe Club, I was a member of for many years until it faded away.  We were a group of bloggers who were assigned another blog to make a recipe from and tell everyone else about it.  I got some great recipes and made a few online blogger friends from it.   We posted our recipes on a Monday and then got to see what everyone else made.   Since I missed that, I started doing doing my own version of it, only I asked other bloggers to come on by and link up their favorite recipe from the previous month. 
And here it is. 

I made a few new dishes last month, but the one that sticks out is actually the one I made for my daughter who is vegan, and who loves her Mexican flavored food. 
I'd made the initial dish back this spring when we visited, but didn't take any pictures of it, but decided I wanted to feature it on the blog, so I made it again.
And even though I'm a carnivore, or rather omnivore, I thought it was excellent, and I will make it again.
I called it Vegetarian almost Vegan Chile Verde.   And with the addition of the beans, you really don't miss the meat, much.  At least I didn't.  Vegetarian Chile Verde
First Monday Favorites

Can't wait to see what dish you made last month that was your favorite.

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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Candied Orange Slices

These little candied Orange slices are addictive. 
Candied Orange Slices
I speak from experience. 
I was actually very good the other day and brought what was left of mine to a gathering and watched them get eaten, gleefully.   
I used a few slices to decorate a Candied Orange and Candied Ginger Bundt cake as well.  I'll be sharing that recipe in a couple of days.  And I also peeled and pithed one orange so I could have some candied pieces for the cake.
  Wait a minute, is pithed a word?  OK, so I very carefully removed the pith from some of the slices. Picky, picky, picky.


But first, you have to make some Candied Orange slices, and reserve the syrup that they cooked in.



 Fair warning, I've now made a couple of batches of candied oranges and picked the best photo's from each time.
 Used my Silpat mat for the second batch and that worked out well. 
Candied Orange Slices
 And one more picture of the little orange jewel.

I used the orange syryp to brush on top of the bundt cake and then any leftover syrup, can be used for other stuff.  Maybe with some vodka over ice? 


Candied Orange Slices
Candied Orange Slices

prep time: cook time: 2 hours and 30 mins total time: 2 hours and 30 mins

ingredients:


2 oranges, sliced
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar

instructions:


Scrub the oranges, and wash carefully.  Slice into thin slices, as thin as you can.  
Bring the water to a boil and stir in the sugar until dissolved.  Add the orange slices and simmer for an hour or more. 
The orange slices will become translucent.   Remove the orange slices with tongs or you can just drain them,
reserving the syrup and then place the orange slices on a shallow pan sprinkled with sugar, or dip the slices in some sugar and place on parchment paper.  Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes, turn the oranges over and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until dry.  The orange slices will become quite firm, and candy like. (if you turn the oven up any higher, the sugar caramelizes and turns the orange slices dark, they still taste good though).

Keep the sugar syrup that the orange slices poached in for other recipes.  
Created using The Recipes Generator

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