Friday, March 16, 2012

Chocolate Whisky Cake

Continuing in this week's St. Patrick's Day theme, I give you our dessert for Saturday night.
Shamrock Whiskey Cake
This cake is rich and slightly fudgy, almost but not quite a brownie. It is my favorite dark chocolate cake recipe taken to a higher level with a good shot of Irish Whiskey. The nice thing is you can really taste the whiskey in this cake and oh man, is it every good. Matt and I ate every scrap that was leftover from cutting it into shamrocks. I was afraid the whiskey would be harsh in it (especially as I am not a huge whiskey fan), but it is quite mellow. It goes well with the bittersweetness of the chocolate and oakiness of the vanilla.

To make it even more fun, I cut the cake into small shamrock cakes using a heart cookie cutter I had in my collection.

Chocolate Whiskey Cake

1/2 c (4 oz) unsalted butter
1/4 c Hersey's Special Dark Cocoa (or other Dutch processed cocoa)
6 T Irish Whiskey
1 c white sugar
1 egg
1 T vanilla
1/4 c buttermilk (or if you don't have buttermilk, mix a little lemon juice into regular milk)
1 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/8 t salt

whipped cream
green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a round 8" cake pan by greasing and flouring it well. (If you are picky about this type of thing you can dust it with cocoa instead of flour.)

In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Whisk in the whiskey, again until smooth. Remove from heat. Then one at a time whisk in the sugar, egg, vanilla and buttermilk. Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, it will be slightly lumpy.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out relatively clean. Cool on a rack before flipping out of the pan.

Served with whipped cream that has been dyed green.

Makes a single layer 8" cake.

How to make the cake into shamrocks:

8" round single layer chocolate cake (brownies would work good too)
long serrated knife
2" heart cookie cutter

Trim the cake so it is flat and not much thicker than your cookie cutter. A long serrated knife works well for this.
Shamrock Whiskey Cake
Using the cookie cutter cut out eight hearts along the outer edge of the cake and one in the center. Make sure you are pressing the cutter all the way through the cake so the hearts don't get stuck an break. Save three of the little triangle pieces between the hearts for stems. Eat the scraps.
Shamrock Whiskey Cake Shamrock Whiskey Cake
Arrange the hearts into a shamrock shape.
Shamrock Whiskey Cake
Shamrock Whiskey Cake
Before serving top with the green whipped cream.
Shamrock Whiskey Cake
You will get three shamrocks out of one 8" cake. Matt says each shamrock is one serving and I say they could easily be two.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St. Pat's Beer Tasting

Saturday, we'll be having a sort of low-key St. Patrick's Day celebration with our cousins. There will be home-cured corned beef, colcannon and whiskey cake. For a little entertainment, we'll be tasting Irish and Irish-style beers.
St. Pat's Beer Tasting
It was tricky to put the selection of beers we'll be tasting together. We really wanted to avoid Guinness and Harp, things we've all tasted before. We would have like to get all beers from Ireland, but there is a real lack of them in the store and we were at a really good beer store. That's why we added Irish-style to the mix. Here's what we'll be tasting...

Finnegan's Blonde Ale and Irish Amber - Finnegan's is brewed locally and 100% of the proceeds got to charity, so we are doing a good thing by drinking it.

Great Lakes Brewing Conway's Irish Ale - Out of Cleveland, OH

Sprecher Irish Stout - From Glendale, WI.

Porterhouse Brewing Red, Wrasslers Full Stout and Oyster Stout - These were the only beers we could find from Ireland that were not Guinness or Harp. Porterhouse is based in Dublin and is apparently the largest independent brewery in Ireland.

Other than the Finnegan's Irish Amber these will all be new beers for all of us. So, what do you think, have you ever tried any of the beers we're having? Do you know of any other Irish beers that are available in the US?

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekly Menu 3/12 - 3/17/12 and Corned Beef

Our kitchen is busy this week preparing for a big St. Patrick's dinner this coming Saturday. My mom is a Murphy who's family came to New York during the Potato Famine, so of course I need to celebrate my Irish roots!
Making Corned Beef
Yesterday, Matt began the process of making corned beef from scratch. He is using the recipe from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Bryan Polcyn. For our 3 1/2 pound brisket he made a brine of 3 1/2 quarts water, 1 tablespoon pickling spice, 1 1/3 c kosher salt, 6 tablespoons sugar, 2 cloves garlic and 1 tablespoon pink salt. Pink salt is the only tricky ingredient to find and we ordered our online. He heated the brine until the salts and sugar dissolved, let it cool and then submerged the meat. Now, it'll sit in our fridge until we are ready to cook it Saturday. That day, he will be rinse the brisket and add it to fresh water where it will simmer for about 3 hours with another tablespoon of pickling spice. This is our first time trying it, so I hope it's good.

We'll be starting our St. Pat's dinner with gougeres made with cheese flavored with Irish stout and a tasting of Irish and Irish-style beers. The corned beef will be served with colcannon, a traditional potato and cabbage dish. Finally, we will have an Irish whiskey cake for dessert. I'll share more details later in the week.

One to Menu Planning Monday...

Potato, Bacon and Corn Chowder

Thyme and Sea Salt Turkey Burgers with green beans

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Breast with dal and rice

Brats with sauerkraut

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Meatloaf Sandwich

Last night Matt's Deluxe Meatloaf met its real purpose, the meatloaf sandwich.
The Meatloaf Sandwich
A nice hearty wheat bread, a good warm slab of leftover meatloaf, some soft cream cheese and sweet green tomato jam. A comforting little plate if there ever was one. Seriously, the cream cheese and jam are just perfect combinations with the meat adding layers of texture and sweetness. If you don't have green tomato jam try it with apple butter.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Matt's Deluxe Meatloaf

Since Matt is doing most of the cooking right now, he is also coming up with most of the weekly menu. This week he said he wanted to make meatloaf (I think it's mainly because he wanted meatloaf sandwiches later in the week).
Matt's Deluxe Meatloaf
He said his goal with this meatloaf was to not only make it tasty, but also fill it with a bunch of vegetables. So he added carrots, kale, sun-dried tomatoes and onion to the meat mixture. Add some chipotle and cayenne and what we ended up was one heck of a flavorful, moist meatloaf. Maybe the best one I've ever had. It was hard not to go back for a second slice, but I then there wouldn't be any left for sandwiches, would there?
Matt's Deluxe Meatloaf
If you have a hard time getting folks in your family to eat dark greens like kale, try this meatloaf, it's a great way to sneak it in.

Matt's Deluxe Meatloaf
Make sure to use a mix of ground meats in this, it really adds to the flavor.

1 T dried parsley
1/2 t chipotle
1 T ground black pepper
2 t kosher salt
dash cayenne
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
10 sun-dried tomatoes, we used the dry ones, but the ones packed in oil would work too
4 oz kale, hard stems trimmed off and the rest blanched
1 yellow onion, peeled
1 c bread crumbs
3 large eggs
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
ketchup

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl mix the seasonings together. Put the garlic, carrots, tomatoes, kale and onion in a food processor. Process until finely minced. Add the vegetables to the spice mixture. Stir in the bread crumbs and eggs. Add the meat and use your hands to gently mix everything together.
Matt's Deluxe Meatloaf
We only wanted to cook half of the mixture and it was too small for our loaf pan, so we shaped it free form on a parchment covered baking sheet (We froze the other half of the mixture in a loaf shape to cook up another time.) You can use a loaf pan if you wish.
Matt's Deluxe Meatloaf
Bake for about 60 minutes or until thermometer inserted into the center registers 155 F. After 20 minutes brush the loaf with a thin layer of ketchup. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
Matt's Deluxe Meatloaf
The full recipes makes about 8 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekly Menu 3/5 - 3/10/12

I'm still one hand typing here as this tendonitis doesn't seem to be getting any better. Luckily, I had something special to console myself with over the weekend, some Fulton War & Peace.
A night in with War & Peace
We really like the way Fulton experiments with infusing other flavors into their beer. This one is their Worthy Adversary Russian Imperial Stout (a great drinker on its own) infused with locally roasted Peace Coffee. Together they make a brew that is not for the weak of heart, but is oh-so-good. Unfortunately, this was a very limited release, we stood in line outside the brewery on release day to get ours, so we'll have to wait until next winter to get more.

We had quite few other interesting infusions from Fulton, Lonely Blonde American Blonde infused with strawberries, Lonely Blonde infused with habaneros, Worthy Adversary infused with raspberries and even Sweet Child of Vine IPA infused with beet greens. It has me thinking about what we should start infusing our homebrews with.

On to Menu Planning Monday...
Matt is still on kitchen duty thanks to my wrist.

Pizzeria Lola - No Monday special, but all their regular pizzas are special anyway.

Meatloaf with Baked potatoes - Matt plans on mixing kale into the meatloaf!

Salmon Fajitas - We're going to marinade the salmon in lime and soy so it's a bit of a fusion.

Meatloaf Sandwiches - Based on the Susan at Sun Street Breads with cream cheese on top, though we'll be substituting green tomato jam for the apple butter.

Haute Dish

Not sure what Saturday holds, but Sunday we are going to the Lagunitas Beer Dinner at Blackbird.


If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hominy, Chicken and Kale Stew

We were supposed to have ramen for dinner last night, but I had the oddest craving for hominy and southwestern flavors. Luckily, we had dried hominy in the pantry so this was a cinch to throw together with stuff we had on hand.
Hominy, Chicken and Kale Stew
This was so hearty and satisfying, exactly what I was craving. I love the texture that the hominy brings to stew, that little bit of chew. The seasonings give it a smoky flavor with just a touch of heat.  The kale adds some green vegetable in the middle of winter.

I cooked this on the stove making it a one dish meal. You could also do it in a crock pot, but I would sauté the vegetables first.
Hominy, Chicken and Kale Stew
Hominy, Chicken and Kale Stew

1/2 T olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
5 scallions, sliced, white and green sections separated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T tomato paste
1/2 c dried hominy
2 c chicken stock
14 oz diced or crushed tomatoes
1/4 t cayenne
1/4 t smoked paprika
1/8 t cumin
1/4 t chipotle
1/2 t salt
fresh ground pepper
4 oz blanched chopped kale
1 c cooked chopped chicken

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, celery and white parts of the scallion. Sauté until starting to get tender. Add the garlic and sauté a minute more. Stir in the tomato paste, hominy, stock, tomatoes and spices. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 4 hours. The hominy should be tender but still al dente.

Add the kale and chicken, increase heat to medium. Cook with the cover off for 15 minutes. Serve topped with green parts of the scallion.

Makes 2 - 3 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski
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