Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

Phil’s birthday is at the end of January, a perfect time for lemon desserts. He loves lemon stuff, and by the end of January we’re all looking for a little zing and a little hint of the spring to come.

This pound cake recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. I used my own recipe for the lemon glaze on top (glaze recipe at bottom). I like a zest and tart-sweet glaze to complement and lighten the buttery pound cake. This is delicious, especially with some strawberries on the side!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz) cake flour [I didn’t have cake flour so I substituted all purpose flour by removing 2 tbsp of the flour and adding 2 tbsp corn starch – that’s the formula for converting each cup of cake flour]
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (8.75 oz) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and hot
  • Lemon Glaze (recipe below)

Directions:

Set oven rack to middle and preheat to 350 F. Grease and flour an 8.5″ x 4.25″ loaf pan (I used a glass pyrex loaf pan). Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Use food processor to process the sugar, eggs, vanilla, zest, and lemon juice until combined, about 10 seconds. With machine running, pour hot melted butter through feed tube steadily until combined, about 30 seconds. Pour mixture into a large bowl.

Sift 1/3 of flour mixture over egg mixture and whisk to combine until just a few streaks of flour remain. Repeat twice more, then whisk until most lumps are gone. Do not over mix.

Scrape the batter unto the prepared pan and smooth the top. Gently tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles.

Bake until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50-60 minutes, rotating pan half-way through baking.

Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and set on wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours, before glazing.

Cat’s Lemon Glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

Whisk all together, glaze should be very thick. Add more confectioner’s sugar if needed. Drizzle over loaf, leave it especially thick on top, and allow to set until hard, about 15-20 minutes.

Advertisements

Christmas Eve Dinner (for an army)

This year I tried to cook foods that caterers make so that I could make most of it ahead of time and heat it up right before everyone came over. Everything came out great, but I definitely could have made less! We had 8 for dinner and I made enough for 16!

Menu (what we cooked):

  • Fried Cauliflower (Mom-Mom Tribiano’s recipe)
  • Stuffed Mushrooms (Elaine’s recipe, from Dom DeLuise)
  • Meatballs (Elaine’s Recipe) & Sausage in red sauce
  • Stuffed Shells
  • Chicken Marsala

The cauliflower cannot be made ahead, but everything else was. We bought fresh stuffed shells from Pastosa. Delicious!

I made the meatballs the night before, and prepared and stuffed the mushrooms, but didn’t cook them, just covered them in cling wrap and tin foil. I also Made the chicken marsala the day before, but kept the chicken and sauce separate until I heated them together on Christmas Eve.

The best part? The leftovers on the days after Christmas!!!

leftovers1

Clockwise from bottom: Chicken marsala, stuffed mushrooms, Mom’s torta, fried cauliflower

leftovers2

Clockwise from bottom: Stuffed shells, fried cauliflower, stuffed mushrooms, torta, meatballs

Mom-Mom Trib’s Fried Cauliflower

Ingredients:
1 cup of flour
2-3 tablespoons of grated cheese (Chris adds more cheese but doesn’t remember how much, maybe 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (should be like the consistency of pancake batter…not too thin or too thick…so it coats the cauliflower)

Directions:

Break apart a medium head of cauliflower.  Try to cut all pieces about the same size so they cook evenly.  Add it to boiling water.  Let water return to a boil and boil for about 2 to 3 minutes.  Test cauliflower with a toothpick to see if it is tender but not too soft.  DO NOT BOIL TOO MUCH OR THE CAULIFLOWER WILL BREAK APART WHEN FRYING.  When done, immerse cauliflower immediately in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  You can do this step a day ahead.  After drying on a paper towel or towel, refrigerate cauliflower until ready to fry.
Put 1/2 inch of olive oil and a garlic clove in a large frying pan.  Heat oil until a drop of batter sizzles.  Fry cauliflower until golden brown on all sides, keeping the oil at a sizzle so cauliflower doesn’t get too oily or soggy. We fried it in an electric skillet that cooks a large amount at a time. For Christmas we doubled this, using 2 heads of cauliflower.


Elaine’s and Dom DeLuise’s  Stuffed Mushrooms

These mushrooms are moist and delicious, the secret is adding soy sauce and water to the bottom of the pan as it bakes, and keeping it covered in foil for a long time, much longer than the recipe calls for, only removing the foil once the mushrooms are soft, then allowing them to brown uncovered for a few minutes. I doubled the recipe.

  • 1 lb mushroom, medium-sized
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Remove stems from mushrooms, and set caps aside.
Chop mushroom stems.
Heat olive oil in a skillet, and brown onions and garlic.
Add mushroom stems, and brown over low heat.
In a bowl, combine onion mixture with egg, bread crumbs, cheese and parsley, and mix well.
Stuff mushroom caps with mixture.
Place mushrooms on a baking dish.
Add soy sauce and water to the bottom of the dish.
Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes 30 minutes until mushrooms are soft .
Remove foil and continue baking until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.

mushroomsinprogress

In progress (2 lbs of mushrooms)

mushroomsready

Ready to cook, but I covered them and put in the fridge overnight for easy prep. Then toss in the oven.


Elaine’s Meatballs

  • 1-1/2 lb ground beef (85% lean)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C grated cheese
  • 1/4 C bread crumbs
  • 1 teas. dried parsley flakes
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or chopped with onion
  • 1 teas. salt
  • 1/2 teas. oregano
  • 1/2 teas. dried sweet basil
  • 1/8 teas. pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil (if you are frying them. If you want to bake them, no oil is
  • necessary.)

Combine all ingredients except oil. Shape into approx. 18 meatballs. Either brown them in oil
in skillet or bake them in a 350 degree oven until brown. Turn them over when brown on first
side and then brown on the other. I baked them through and then put them in the sauce overnight, then heated the sauce with meatballs and baked sweet sausage links on the stove for an hour before eating.


Chicken Marsala (from Cooking with Sugar blog)

This marsala is delicious! I added cornstarch to thicken it, and it did better after reheating. I used 4 lbs of chicken which made two large trays, about 32 pieces. I also quadrupled the sauce recipe. It was a lot of work, took hours to pound the cutlets and cook them (I only had one pan in which to cook them so I repeated the process many times), but it was so good I will definitely make this again. The fresh parsley really freshens it up before serving. We had enough food for everyone to take home lots of leftovers. You can eliminate the prosciutto, just season to bring up the salt levels as necessary, but Marsala wine is salty, so you may not need it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds fillet and pounded thin)
  • 1-8 0z. container of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup of flour, for dredging
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 slices of prosciutto, chopped
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

On a cutting board, fillet each chicken breast and trim off any fat. Place two pieces of chicken at a time between two pieces of parchment paper as seen in photo below. Pound with a flat mallet, until the cutlets are about 1/4-inch thick.  Set aside and repeat until all the chicken is pounded thin. Put some flour in a shallow dish. Season each side of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. Dredge each cutlet lightly on each side with flour.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, brown a few cutlets at a time for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden. Once the chicken is brown, place the pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet with a rim, or a glass casserole dish. Continue until all the chicken is browned.

Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the drippings in the pan, sauté for a minute or two until browned. Add the mushrooms, season with a little salt and pepper and sauté until they are nicely browned on each side.  Turn up the heat and pour the Marsala in the pan and boil down for a minute so the alcohol cooks off. Then add the chicken stock and the butter.  Allow it to cook for a minute or two. Pour the sauce over the chicken, cover with foil and place in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

CAT’S TIPS TO PREPARE AHEAD: Sauté and brown the chicken breasts (but don’t cook completely), place them in a baking dish or disposable lasagna pan and cover it with foil. Then cook the sauce separately and set aside in a separate bowl. Refrigerate everything and take it out 40 minutes before company arrives. Then preheat your oven to 350 F, pour sauce over the chicken and cook for 20-30 minutes before serving.

chickenfloured chickencookedbeforesauce marsalacooking saucecookingdown

Christmas Cookies… 6 weeks late!

In the spirit of the season I forgot to make my blog entries for the Christmas cooking and baking, and this year was a big one!
So, it’s February 3rd, and here’s my Christmas blog entry. 🙂

Cookies, Christmas 2012:

  • Rainbow Cookies (7 layer) – old family recipe
  • Pignoli Cookies – new family recipe
  • Gingerbread Cookies (with a twist)
  • PB&J Thumbprints
  • Sugar-Free Spice Cookies

Seven Layer cookies in progress:

 

 

sevenlayer sevenlayersfridge7layercuttingspignoli

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

The gingerbread cookie recipe was from another blog, and is actually a modified version of a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, but it didn’t work at all! The recipe said it was for chewy gingerbread men, which I wanted to make so that the Geremias could decorate them on the Eve, but the dough was so soft, that even after time in the freezer the dough couldn’t be cut into little men. I made drop cookies instead, rolling them into little balls and smashing them into circles with the bottom of a floured glass, and they tasted great and were chewy. We iced them on the Eve and they were delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened slightly
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Royal Icing for decorating

Directions:

  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade, process flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda until combined, about 10 seconds. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and process until mixture is sandy and resembles very fine meal, about 15 seconds. With food processor running, add molasses and milk; process until dough is evenly moistened and forms soft mass, about 10 seconds.
  • My variations to account for too-soft dough: Wrap ball of dough in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator at least two hours (or overnight) or place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, until firm.
  • Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll into small teaspoon-sized balls,  place on prepared baking sheets spacing cookies 1 inch apart,  and flatten with the bottom of a floured glass. Bake until centers are just set and dough barely retains imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 11 minutes. Rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 2 minutes; using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Decorate as desired… we used Betty Crocker cookie icing, which dries fast and is great for a group project.

gingrebreadmassacre gingerbreaduncooked gingrebreadbaked

Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumprints (minus the thumbs) – Martha Stewart’s recipe

Chris and Carolyn liked these after they shared a tin with the gingerbread cookies. Out of the oven they were too crunchy and crumbly, but after sharing a tin or zip bag with chewy cookies, they softened and everyone liked them better. I didn’t change anything in her recipe, so use the link above.

PBJ

Splenda Spice Cookies

Ingredients:
6 tbsp crisco vegetable shortening
6 tbsp butter
1 cup granulated splenda
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions:
1. Mix shortening, butter, splenda, egg, molasses in large mixing bowl
2. Sift dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture. Mix thoroughly.
3. Chill dough in refriderator until firm (2 hours)
4. Preheat oven to 350 F.
5. Form dough into 30 balls, approx 1 level tablespoon each. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and pat down gently with fork making a criscross pattern.
6. Bake cookies in the center of the preheated 350 F oven for 10-12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies will look chewy when they come out but will become crisp. Cool on wire rack.

Makes 30 cookies. 1 cookie = 2g sugar, 80 calories.

splendaspice