Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Last week we had fajitas and the large carton of sour cream was on sale so I made sour cream coffee cake with the leftover sour cream. I remember making sour cream coffee cake in my home economics class in high school, although I think it was called something different like "food you can make" or something incredibly cheesy like that. Anyway, I thought it was really weird that the recipe called for sour cream because I thought it would make the cake taste funny. Our entire class did. Boy were we surprised when it came out of the oven. It was yummy and moist and you couldn't taste the sour cream at all! I was one surprised little high-schooler.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

For the streudel:
1/2 cup light or golden brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
2. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for 4 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined.
4. For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble.
5. Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Monday, June 21, 2010

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

If you like shrimp scampi and pasta, you should try this recipe.

(Yes, yes I did it again. I made the food and ate the food but forgot to take a picture of the food.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kheer, or Indian Rice Pudding

When I was little, I hated Indian food. The curry smelled funny and the food was spicy. However, I did love kheer. Oh how I loved kheer. I've always been a fan of rice pudding, whether it is the thick American version or the more liquid-y Indian version. There is only one restaurant that I know of that makes kheer perfectly (according to my taste buds at least). The problem is that it is 30 minutes from my house and being a buffet, it gets a little pricey. I looked at several different recipes for kheer, ranging from AllRecipes to food blogs, and found that people seem to like this one the best. It was also the most traditional, using only milk instead of condensed milk or coconut milk. It was surprisingly simple to make and even simpler to eat.

A note: the store I went to didn't have cardamom powder. Actually, the spice aisle had no spices whatsoever. Neither did the aisles next to the spice aisle. So my version (obviously) did not have cardamom. I also don't like raisins or nuts so I omitted those but you can always add them if you like. Hmmm I guess I really just made sweet rice pudding instead of kheer then. No matter. It was tasty.

Adapted from this recipe

1 tsp butter
1/4 cup Basmati rice
4 cups whole milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom powder

1. In a saucepan, heat the butter. Add the rice and roast for 2-3 minutes over low heat.
2. Add the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high and let the milk come to a boil. Stir to make sure the milk does not stick to the bottom and burn. Add the sugar as you stir.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and continue stirring until the milk has reduced by half and the rice is cooked and soft, 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Add the cardamom. Serve warm or cold.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, June 7, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

This post was going to be a French strawberry tart but then my mom and boyfriend ate all the strawberries. So now it's a blueberry muffin post. I'm not a fruit-in-desserts-or-pastries person but for some reason, I was craving blueberry muffins. Actually, I was craving kheer, a sweet Indian rice pudding, but I wasn't allowed to make it because it would have all been gone before my boyfriend got to taste any. So in actuality, I wanted to make a strawberry tart but couldn't so next in line was kheer but that was out so I settled on blueberry muffins.

Most of the muffins I've made in the past have been chocolate or with chocolate chips so this was a departure from my norm. It was pretty tasty considering that I don't like fruit in my desserts. Let me clarify here that a strawberry/fruit tart does not qualify as having fruit in the dessert because the fruit is not actually in the dessert. It's on top. Nevertheless, this muffin was pretty tasty and if you like muffins or baked goods with fruit in them, I recommend you try them.

Blueberry Muffins

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/8 cup white sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffing tin with with paper muffin liners.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg then stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. Stir the flour mixture into egg mixture alternately with milk. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Yield: 6 muffins

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chocolate Scones

I've always bookmarked pages in cookbooks and online recipes for scones but have never gotten around to make them. I had planned to make banana bread with chocolate chips tonight but my bananas are not ripe enough so I made chocolate scones! I've never made scones (as I just said) so I didn't know what to expect with the dough. For this particular recipe, it was super moist and sticky and I was frightened that the scones would not turn out correctly but after 17 minutes in the oven, they were light and crumbly and scone-y. Perfection.

Chocolate Scones
Adapted from this recipe

1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Drop in the butter, and using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter chunks into the flour until they are reduced to pearl-sized nuggets. Stir in the granulated sugar. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, eggs, and vanilla.
4. Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients, add the chocolate chips, and stir to form a dough. The dough will be firm but moist, and a bit sticky to the touch. Knead the dough lightly in the bowl about ten times (be careful not to over-knead).
5. Form the dough into a 7-inch round disk on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 6 or 8 wedges, and using a spatula, transfer the wedges to a baking sheet.
6. Bake the scones for 17-18 minutes, or until set.

Yield: 6 large or 8 small scones

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Strawberry Shortcakes

This is not my picture. I found it through Google. I forgot to take a picture of my shortcakes and by the time I did remember, they were all gone. This seems to be happening more and more. I'm sorry. I'll try to remember to snap before I savor.

Anyhoo, I have a secret to share with you. For years I've been making shortcakes from scratch - cutting in the butter, baking in the oven, all that wonderful baking goodness. But I recently went over to a friend's place and she made shortcakes using Bisquick. Yep, the same Bisquick that comes in the yellow box that you make pancakes and well, biscuits with. When you don't have time to make shortcakes from scratch, it's a great recipe (it's on the side of the Bisquick box). However, I will tell you that homemade shortcakes trump ones out of the box any day. But the Bisquick ones were not bad by any means, which is why I share this little secret with you. I'd mix in a little more butter than the recipe calls for (since shortcakes are buttery) and sprinkling the top with some raw sugar before putting it in the oven.

I also have another secret: I will not (ever ever ever) eat whipped cream that is not freshly made. Never. Ever. That stuff in the can? Gross. The frozen kind? Pass. Making whipped cream is so simple and a thousand times better than any non-homemade version. It's become so much easier with my stand mixer (even though making it before was about as hard as opening the refrigerator door) that I dare you not to try it.

Whipped Cream

1 cup chilled heavy cream
Scant 1/4 cup sugar

In a thoroughly chilled bowl (I stick mine in the freezer for a few minutes), whip together the heavy cream and sugar on medium-high speed until it forms soft peaks.