All posts by A_Boleyn

About A_Boleyn

Having come late to the kitchen, other than in an eating capacity, each new recipe I try is an exciting opportunity to enjoy the original and then make it my own.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2019

I decided to splurge on a pretty pink St. Valentine’s Day cake to brighten up an otherwise ho-hum occasion.

As you can tell, my cake decorating skills are at the novice level. (Is there something below that?) The cake was tasty though … I ate a third of it to confirm that fact.

Profile of the Pink Cherry Cake

Pink Cherry Cake – makes 2 mini cakes baked in 1 cup ramekins

Basic Vanilla Cake for Two recipe
pink gel food colouring
1 tsp Kirsch, substituted for the vanilla extract
2 tbsp finely minced red glace cherries, stirred into batter just before pouring into ramekins

Glace Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting – enough to frost 2 mini cakes including filling

2 oz/57 gm gm cream cheese, room temperature
1 oz/28 gm unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp Kirsch

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a small bowl until smooth. Add the Kirsch and beat in briefly. Beat in the powdered sugar.

Spread/pipe the frosting over the cake.

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Vanilla Cake for One (Review) and a Variation

Sadly, you can’t just omit the cocoa powder in the previous ‘chocolate cake for one’ recipe and get a vanilla version, because the chemistry of the leavener doesn’t work, so I went net surfing for a real vanilla cake recipe.

My answer was found in a ‘vanilla cupcake for two’ recipe baked in a cupcake/muffin pan … so I buttered a couple of ramekins instead. Because a CUPcake is NOT a cake. I had some sticking in the very center of the mini cakes so on my second attempt, an orange flavoured variation, I buttered the ramekins and lined the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, cut to size, which solved the problem.

Frosting a cake at midnight does not result in the most photogenic of images but I had to snap a picture before going to bed.

Crumb/profile of the vanilla cake … yes, there’s some orange zest in the vanilla buttercream frosting in case you spotted that fleck of orange.

REVIEW: Very tasty cake. Fast and easy to assemble. Of course you can frost each ‘cake’ individually but the two layer version just has a lot more visual appeal. For a quick and easy frosting, slightly sweetened whipped cream would work.

Of course I had to take the plain vanilla cake to the next level by adding 1 tsp of orange zest and substituting orange extract for half of the vanilla extract, in the next version I made.

I also decided to switch to a less sweet filling/frosting since the vanilla buttercream that I had used, from the same web site as the chocolate cake, was just too sweet. My ideas evolved from a cream cheese/butter/icing sugar version to one that reduced the amount of sugar and substituted it with home made curd. Since I had made an orange flavoured cake, I made a batch of orange curd to enhance the orange taste. I scaled down a frosting recipe that I found here.

I used less curd than I had originally calculated but I still think the frosting was too soft, even after half an hour in the fridge, so I’d cut back even more on future attempts.

I’d also use the frosting for a filling, in the future, because the orange curd oozed out while cutting into the cake. Hopefully the frosting as filling will stand up to serving better. I’m a firm believer in not skimping on the amount of frosting used but I think the amount I made is enough to fill and frost two mini two layer cakes.

Crumb/profile of the orange cake

Orange Curd Frosting – enough to frost 2 mini cakes including filling

2 oz/57 gm gm cream cheese, room temperature
1 oz/28 gm unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp orange curd *

* Start with the smaller amount and decide whether you’ll need another 1/2 tbsp. You probably won’t need the full amount

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a small bowl until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar, then the orange curd.

Spread the frosting over the cake.

NOTE: The original recipe says the cake may be frosted a day before serving and covered with a cake dome and refrigerated so it doesn’t dry out.

Coffee Cake for One (Review) and a Variation

After having LOVED the chocolate cake (for one) recipe found on the same site, I thought I’d give the coffee cake for one a try as well.

It’s another winner.

I WOULD cut back on the topping though since half the amount is plenty. The excess just fell off when I turned out the cake to transfer it to a serving plate. Perhaps if I’d drizzled some melted butter over the top, as the post suggests doing, it would have “glued down” the cinnamon sugar topping.

REVIEW: The cake itself is tender and tastes just sweet enough for my taste. I used the same one cup ramekin as I had used for the chocolate cake and thought that the resulting coffee cake was a bit thin.

So, I opened a can of tuna (made a tuna salad sandwich with the tuna inside), peeled off the label and washed it out carefully. I added some home made cranberry sauce in this variation. The revised baking instructions/topping are posted below.

Cranberry Coffee Cake for One

Cranberry Coffee Cake for One

Cranberry filling

1-2 tsp cranberry sauce, home made preferred

Topping

1 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1-2 tsp rolled oats
1-2 tsp brown sugar
pinch ground cinnamon

Make the coffee cake batter as in the original recipe.

Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the prepared baking dish. Using a very small spoon place small amounts of cranberry sauce over the batter. Spread it out a bit. Spoon small amounts of the rest of the coffee cake batter over the cranberry sauce.

In a separate container, combine the brown sugar, rolled oats, ground cinnamon and melted butter. Spoon over the top of the coffee cake batter.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

The top of the coffee cake could have been a bit darker but the bottom was nicely browned.

There was a bit more height compared to the coffee cake baked in the ramekin, as well.

Happy Belated National Chocolate Cake Day (Jan. 27, 2019)

I recently commented on Dolly’s “koolkosherkitchen” blog that her National Chocolate Cake Day post made me want to make/eat some chocolate cake and she responded with “So go for it – it only takes a minute!”.  Well, the recipe that I used took a bit longer than a minute but the resulting cake was rich and chocolatey and pretty easy to make.

Although the recipe title says it’s a cake for one, on reading the post you’ll see that she recommends splitting the batter among two mini pans. Do it. You’ll be glad you did cause the batter really puffs up. And make twice as much of the frosting using the link at the bottom of the page. I have one cup ramekins so that’s what I used to bake the cake in. If you don’t … use an empty tuna can that you’ve washed thoroughly. Remove the label.

Chocolate buttercream frosting

Pour yourself a big glass of cold milk and dig in.

REVIEW: It’s delicious.

Sauerbraten at Last

ETA: Only five days late.

Since the beginning of December I’ve been a bit uninspired when it came to cooking, though I HAVE tried to do some new dishes, in the spirit of the season.

Now January’s here and I’ve been sick for the last week or so. It’s hanging in there and I suspect I’ll be coughing for at least another week. Today, we finally had our first real snow of the season, the northern edge of the storm that’s hitting the US right now, and, between not feeling well and not having paid attention to the weather forecasts, I’m short on staples (ie. milk, eggs, yogurt, salad greens) and stuck at home until my snow gets shovelled. PS: I’m dining well, if not imaginatively, out of my pantry so no worries, here.

Anyway, I thought I’d finally post that sauerbraten recipe I cobbled together. It hasn’t been proof read as well as I’d like but I just don’t have the energy to do more. Maybe later. (Of course I said that two weeks ago, too.)

Traditional Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast) – serves 3-4

2 pounds/1 kg eye of round roast

Marinade

1 large onion, chopped
1 cup red wine vinegar, or to taste
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp white sugar
4 whole cloves, or more to taste
1 bay leaves, or more to taste

Searing the Roast

4 tsp all-purpose flour
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Gravy

3-4 gingersnap cookies **
1 cup strained cooking liquid from above

** Or replace with dried ginger powder and flour

In a large sauce pan, combine the marinade ingredients and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, pour over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 3-5 days, turning the meat daily.

Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Strain and keep the marinade.

Season flour to taste with salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Sprinkle flour mixture over beef.

Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat; cook beef until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total.

Pour 2 cups of the reserved marinade over the beef, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until beef is tender, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Remove beef to a platter, let rest covered with a sheet of foil for 15-20 minutes, and slice.

ALTERNATIVE: Transfer the Dutch oven to an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 3-4 hrs until the sauerbraten is tender. Turn the roast over every hour.

Strain solids from the remaining liquid in the Dutch oven. Use one cup to make the sauerbraten gravy. Any extra liquid may be poured back over the sliced sauerbraten to keep the meat moist. Reheat the sliced meat in the microwave, or tightly covered in a container, in a 350 deg Fahrenheit oven, for about half an hour.

Sauerbraten Gravy

1 cup strained braising liquid
1/4 cup ground cookies

Break up the cookies and add to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well crumbled.

Add the strained braising liquid to a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the ground cookie crumbs to the simmering liquid, whisking through, until the gravy is thickened, about 5-10 minutes.

Serve gravy over the sliced meat.

Pork Chile Verde and Cauli-Rice Bowl

It’s cold and gray and I’m bored so I made one of the easiest lunches or dinners that I’ve had in ages using leftover chile verde (green) enchilada sauce and cubed pork tenderloin.

Pork Chile Verde – serves 3-4

500 gm pork tenderloin, cubed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chile verde enchilada sauce
1 cup water, plus more as needed
salt and pepper, as needed

Garnish with grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, sliced green onion tops and diced avocado.

In a medium sized saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Add the pork cubes and saute until lightly browned. Push the cubed pork to one side and add 1/2 cup of water to the saute pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Add the enchilada sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture just barely simmers and cover tightly with a lid.

Cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the pork is tender and breaks up into shreds when a fork is used. Check the pot every 15-20 minutes, scraping the bottom to make sure that the meat mixture doesn’t stick. Add more water as needed.

Serve over rice or cauli-flower rice. Additional sides include refried beans and flour tortillas.

Cauliflower Rice – 2 1/2 cups of frozen cauli-rice microwaved, squeezed dry in a towel and sauteed with 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter until lightly browned. I added about 1/4 cup of frozen green onion tops to the pan and sauteed it for about one minute before adding the cauli-rice.

Sourdough Bialys

The bialy is a small roll that, according to Wikipedia, is found in Polish and Ashkenazi Polish culture. It has many similarities to a bagel. Although it isn’t boiled after proofing, just baked, it still retains the dense chewiness and flavour found in that ubiquitous bread product.

I had planned on making the usual yeast based version but recently ran across a small jar of sourdough starter at the back of my fridge. I saw the layer of hooch on top, because I hadn’t fed it since the end of October, and decided to revive it. I should have taken a day or two to bring it back but, nine hours after feeding it with a mixture of whole wheat and  all purpose flour, it had doubled in volume, so I used the recipe found on the “Sourdough and Olives” website, and made a small batch of bialys.

For a topping I used some leftover sauteed onions mixed with a bit of olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. A sprinkling of poppy seeds over the top, and I had a traditional bialy. When I ran out of topping for the last few bialys, I used a mixture of pizza sauce, grated mozzarella and julienned pepperoni sausage and made a tasty pizza bialy.

REVIEW: In spite of the less than optimal conditions for making these, including a starter that wasn’t as active as I would have liked, the results were delicious. The crust was thin and crunchy while the interior was chewy. The oven spring (baked at 480 deg F for 22 min) was amazing and I ended up with little volcanoes rather than the little frisbees I was expecting (hoping for). I would consider reducing the baking temperature on repeating the recipe or even use a fix that I found on another site … placing a sheet of parchment paper on top of the bialys and then covering with a second baking sheet to compress the rise for the first ten minutes of baking before continuing to bake them, uncovered for another ten to fifteen minutes.

Piping hot bialy ripped open to show the crumb

Bierocks/Runzas … First Attempt

I finally got a chance to make a batch of these sweet dough bread pockets using the recipe posted on The Frugal Hausfraus blog. Besides using leftover shredded sauerbraten instead of ground beef and adding about half a cup of grated old cheddar cheese to the filling once it was cooled, I also tried an alternative shaping method. It didn’t make the assembly much faster although the seams didn’t open up as often.

Square runzas – half the dough rolled out about 1/4 inch thick, 10 inches by 15 inches in size, squared off and cut into six 5 inch by 5 inch squares
Round runzas – 85 gms of dough patted out to a circle that was about 4 inches in diameter


Review: The recipe estimated being able to make a dozen runzas but I ended up with fourteen, and still had filling left over, so I’d cut back on the amount of cabbage used from about four cups to 2 1/2-3 cups in the future. Making the filling the day before, so that it has a chance to cool, is also advised. On the whole though, the dough was simple to make and the results were quite tasty. My shaping, especially on the square runzas, needs work.

ETA (01/02/2019): If you don’t want to use ground beef, try ground chicken or turkey. Or even pork.

Sushi at Home – Purple Sushi Rice

Even if the only sushi fillings you have in your fridge are cream cheese (home made Boursin) and smoked salmon, you can turn your boring old Philadelphia roll into a dramatic visual by colouring your sushi rice and then using it to make an inside out roll.

The ingredient responsible for that change … red cabbage. Grate a fist sized wedge finely on your microplane zester, drain off the liquid, add a bit of lemon juice to the liquid to make the colour ‘pop’ and stir it into your cooked sushi rice. Easy peasy. (NOTE: My method involved adding 2 tbsp of seasoned rice vinegar to a generous handful of finely shredded red cabbage, pureeing it and then straining the resulting liquid into a cup or two of hot, freshly cooked sushi rice.)

Inside out Purple Philadelphia Roll

Onigirazu (sushi rice sandwich) with cream cheese, smoked salmon and red cabbage. Sliced avocado may also be added.

Colouring the Sushi Rice

Making the Inside Out Roll

Making the Onigirazu

Sauerbraten, Potato and Red Cabbage Knish

You may recall that in my second knish trial I ran out of filling, so I wrapped up and froze the extra dough.

Before going to bed on Christmas day, I placed the dough into the fridge to defrost and, on Boxing Day, I attempted a filling that was inspired by the brisket and sauerkraut knish fillings that I had seen while surfing the net. The proportions of the three ingredients; shredded sauerbraten, red cabbage and riced (or leftover mashed) potatoes, may be adjusted according to your preference, or the amounts of each that you have leftover from the day before.

Knish … delicious with a spicy Dijon mustard

Sauerbraten, Potato Knish and Red Cabbage – makes 9 knish

Half batch of potato knish dough, (see Potato-Leek Knish post link above)

Filling

1/2 cup shredded sauerbraten
1/2 cup riced potatoes
1/4 cup braised red cabbage
salt and pepper to taste

Egg wash

1 large egg
1 tsp cold water
pinch of salt

In a small bowl, add the egg and beat well with a fork. Ad the water and salt and beat again to mix.

* * *

To make the filling, combine the potatoes, cabbage and shredded sauerbraten. Taste and season as needed. Set aside

Preheat the oven to 400 deg Fahrenheit.

Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/8th inch thick. Cut into 3-4 inch squares. (NOTE: I rolled my dough out into a 10-12 inch square and cut it into nice equal sized squares.)

Spoon about 2 tbsp of the filling into the palm of your hand and squeeze gently to form a firm ball, about 1-1 1/2 inch in diameter. Place each ball of filling in the middle of one of the squares. Be careful not to overfill so that you can seal up the knish. Pull up the dough into the middle, around the filling, and pinch the four seams well to seal.

Brush some egg wash on top of each knish. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Rotate the tray half way through so that the knish will bake evenly.

Let cool briefly before serving. The knish are also tasty at room temperature.

You may refrigerate the knish for up to 3 days or freeze for up to a month.