Monday, June 28, 2010

Crumb Cake

So I asked my little brother what he wanted to have for dessert since it was his birthday weekend and he decided it was crumb cake. Now I have made many crumb cakes before but my crumbs always seem to be lame, not big enough. When I eat crumb cake, I want it to be similar to it's name, crumb + cake. In my interpretation, that means the cake should be proportioned half crumbs and half cake, not lots of cake and some crumb topping. So after some research about how to make good crumbs, I found this recipe from an old newspaper cutout my great aunt had saved. And these are some serious crumbs!

And by the end of the party there was no a crumb in sight...

Cake (This is my way I usually do cake. I sub in other ingredients to make the most of the box. I have yet to find a from scratch recipe that I like better.)

1 white cake mix
appropriate amount of oil and eggs per box
buttermilk to substitute for amount of water
1 tsp vanilla


3 sticks of butter
4 cups of flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 brown sugar
4-5 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla

1. Mix the ingredients for the cake mix together and beat on medium for 1-2 minutes. Pour into a greased 13x9 baking pan. ) I did this recipe in a 16x11 pan and double the batter.

2. Let bake on 350 until at least half done. The cake must bake until it is firm enough to hold up the weight of these ginormous crumbs.

3. While the cake is baking, let's get the crumbs ready. First melt the butter in one bowl and mix together all the dry ingredients in another.

4. Add vanilla to melted butter and slowly drizzle into dry mix while continually stirring.

5. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the cake and then pop back in the oven to finish baking.

6. Bake until toothpick comes out clean.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Grandma's Pasta - Aglio e Olio

This simply means Oil and Garlic Sauce. It is one of those dinners my grandma used to make for me and my cousins every time we came over. It was quite possibly my favorite as kid and is still a staple in our household! It's simple and so delicious! And you can make the whole recipe in under ten minutes! This recipe is courtesy of Grandma A. I made it with grilled chicken today and it was so yummy!

Aglio e Olio Sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 or 6 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp dried peperoncino flakes
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp Italian parsley
1 cup Pecorino Romano

1. Boil a large pot of salted water. Add your favorite pasta. I'm partial to lingiuni, spaghettini, or perciatelli.

2. Spoon a few tbsps of olive oil in a large skillet and squeeze garlic cloves through a garlic press and add into the skillet. Simmer on medium-low heat for a minute or two. The garlic will be slightly golden brown. Be sure to stir and not let the garlic burn.

3. Add in the peperoncino flakes, a little salt and fresh ground black pepper.

4. Add in 2 cups of water from the pot of boiling pasta and water. Heat on medium-high for about 4 more minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will reduce during the time. Let sit on very low heat until the pasta is al dente.

5. Using tongs remove the cooked pasta and place in the skillet with sauce. Toss gently.

6. Mix in chopped parsley and Pecorino cheese. Remove from heat and eat!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thin Crust Grilled Pizza

Thin Crust Grilled Pizza

I made this delicious thin crispy crust pizza for my brother's heritage day at school. Since this was a last minute cooking project, we didn't make our dough, but used fresh dough from the local market. This a quick and easy dinner, lunch, or even individual portioned or cut for appetizers!

1 lb pizza dough
2 cups of Quick Chunky Marinara
8 oz of Mozzarella cheese (smoked mozzarella would be good too)
1/4 Pecorino Romano

Quick Chunky Marinara

1 can of crushed tomatoes
5 cloves of chopped garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
5 Leaves of fresh basil
season with salt and pepper

Quick Chunky Marinara

1. Heat pot with olive oil and cook garlic for a few minutes, until golden brown.

2. Add crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper. Let simmer for 10 minutes

3. Add basil and continue cooking for about 10 more minutes.

Assembling the Pizza:

1. Place pizza dough in a bowl covered with a towel. Let it rest there in a warm place about 45 minutes.

2. After rested, punch the dough and begin to roll out from the center to the edges until thin.

3. Time for the grill! Place pizza on grill and give it a light olive oil brushing. Cook on low for 4-6 minutes, until grill marks appear.

4. Flip over the crust and brush top side lightly with olive oil.

5. Pour on sauce and spread. Add cheese and any other toppings you desire.

6. After another few minutes, check the bottom of the crust for grill marks and for cheese to melt. The pizza is ready to remove, cool, and best of all, eat!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Banoffi Trifle

Banoffi Trifle (from BBC Good Food)
Please enjoy this trifle recipe. It's very simple and delicious. It's prefect for a summery treat.

8 tbsp tropical fruit juices (ended up using coconut water and that was fine too)
3 tbsp of rum
3 firm bananas
2 pound cake loaves (sliced thinly)
5 tbsp of Belgian chocolate sauce (or I think Nutella or chocolate ganache-see recipe at bottom of post- could work well)
6 tbsp of dulce de leche
1 lb of mascarpone
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
7 tbsp of conf sugar
dark chocolate bar

1. Mix fruit juices, rum, and sliced bananas in a bowl.

2. Spread the chocolate sauce on the pound cake and top with another slice to make little chocolately sandwiches.

3. Cut these sandwiches into cubes(if making individual trifles) or in strips (for a larger trifle). Layer on the bottom of your desired container.

4. Top with the banana mixture.

5. Drizzle dulce de leche over bananas.

6. Add the heavy whipping cream and sugar to your mixer. Mix on high for about 3-5 minutes (until firm peaks form).

7. Add in the mascarpone and fold in using a rubber spatula.(Don't over mix or the texture will turn grainy). The mascarpone will help the fresh cream keep its form and last longer.

8. Top with mascarpone cream and shred dark chocolate curls for garnish. Be sure to keep covered in refrigerator until serving.

Simple Chocolate Ganache Recipe (for inside the sandwiches)

6 oz of dark chocolate
1 pint of heavy cream

1. Roughly chop dark chocolate and place in a shallow bowl.

2. Heat heavy cream on low heat until it boils. Let simmer one minute and remove from heat.

3. Pour hot heavy cream on top of dark chocolate. Do no stir or mix, just let rest for 5 minutes.

4. After resting you may now gently fold with a spatula to incorporate chocolate and cream to make a very delicious chocolate sauce.