Dec 17, 2010

Eggnog Cake

My son has a birthday around Christmastime, so I'm always looking for good cake recipes this time of year. He really doesn't even like cake much, but he does like this one.

Also I love Eggnog. I love Starbucks' Eggnog Latte, I even put eggnog into french toast batter this time of year. (Goes great with ham!)

I picked up this recipe in 2003 on Anyone remember that? Credit to Robert Puckett who posted the recipe. You can see I've used it for years!

Eggnog Cake

2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 package yellow cake mix (approx. 18.5 oz.)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup commercial eggnog
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. rum or 1 tsp. rum flavoring plus 1 tsp brandy flavoring

Grease as 12-cup bundt cake pan with soft butter. Press almonds against sides and bottom of pan; set aside.

In a large bowl combine cake mix, nutmeg, eggs, eggnog, vegetable oil and flavoring. Beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 325 F degrees for 50 - 55 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; turn out onto a wire rack or serving plate to complete cooling.

Prick cake with a thick skewer and top with Rum Syrup while cake is still warm, (optional) or top with powdered sugar.

Rum Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1 1/2 ounces rum (3 Tbsp.)

Boil sugar and water 5 minutes. Add butter, vanilla, and rum. Cook until a syrupy mixture. Yields about 1 cup.

From Robert Puckett
Archives: http://www.cdkitchen.rfr

Nov 5, 2010

Toasted Marshmallow Cupcakes

I've been watching the new show "Mad Hungry" on the Lifetime Network, also somehow part of the Martha Stewart Living Network. I like Lucinda's straitforward approach to food, and the fact that she uses family members in the show.

This recipe looked good:

I think you can use any cupcake and utilize the same principle: Top with a marshmallow and broil. Watch carefully to avoid burning.

Oct 5, 2010

Suppers for Empty Nesters - MORE Magazine

I saw this article, and I got interested because the article's subtitle, "Simple Sophisticated Dinners" was spot-on. Not all of these are my taste, but they are described simply, use some of today's most interesting ingredients, and some of them sound delicious!

I can see why it's titled for empty nesters - partly because it's in a magazine for 40-year olds plus, but also because children are notorious for being really picky.

I plan to try a few of these, how about you?

Suppers for Empty Nesters - MORE Magazine

Here's one that looks especially good to me:

Friseé Salad with Poached Eggs and Pancetta

Dice a thick slice of pancetta, and fry in olive oil until brown. Whisk together olive oil, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and pepper. Poach 2 eggs in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, draining off excess water. Toss enough frisée for two with the dressing, top with the eggs, and sprinkle with the lardons of pancetta.

More Magazine issue September 2010

Sep 16, 2010


I've been trying to eat more meals that consist of raw vegetables, so I thought about making Gazpacho.

Whenever I think about Gazpacho, I think about the movie "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" by Pedro Almondovar, and it makes me smile.

I never thought I would like a cold soup, though. About 10 years ago I got brave enough to order it at a restaurant, and I couldn't believe how good it was!

Around the same time, the internet was really taking off, and through the use of newsgroups I developed quite a collection of Gazpacho recipes. So the other day, when I decided I wanted to make a batch, I looked at all the different recipes. They vary in different ways. Some call for tomato juice, some for hot sauce, and another for tomatillos.

I took from these what appeared to be the most basic ingredients: cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and maybe garlic, and put them together in what I hoped was a good ratio. The result was delicious and made more than I would have predicted.

Serve it with good bread.


3 tomatoes
1/4 small yellow onion
2 small cloves garlic
1/2 small cucumber, peeled
1/2 bell pepper

Chop the vegetables unto chunks, and pop into the blender. Puree until a soupy consistency. Add water if needed.

Serve unsalted and let people add salt to taste.

Serves 3-4.

Jul 24, 2010

Passion for Pesto

I can’t remember where I first saw a recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, perhaps it was Giada on the Food TV Network. In any event, I followed the recipe very loosely, having only a package of sun-dried tomatoes and not the tomatoes packed in olive oil. So, how to use dry sun-dried tomatoes?

The first time I soaked them in some water first, then put them in the blender with other ingredients. This was somewhat successful, but the result was more hard pieces of tomato than I would have liked. The next time I heated them in a little water on the stove, and this was much more successfully a paste. It tasted really good, too, even if it looked a little muddy.

Also, when I was in England last year, I picked up a magazine called Woman’s Weekly, and inside was a recipe for Rocket Pesto. Rocket is also known in the U.S. as Arugula. It’s a salad vegetable like lettuce, with a nice peppery flavor. I had a bag that was about to get old, so I tried this recipe too. It was really good I thought, and so did the family. Another tricky way to get them to eat vegetables!

Encouraged by this, I also tried to make pesto from other kinds of lettuce, Spinach was good, but Butter lettuce was not! I also see a recipe for Avocado Pesto on the UK site. Maybe I’ll try that one too! Let me know if you do…

Recipes for Giada’s Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Rocket Pest follow:

Penne with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
Show: Everyday ItalianEpisode: Power of Pesto


12 ounces penne pasta
1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (or dried tomatoes soaked in hot water for 20 min.)
2 garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, and basil in a food processor and blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan.

Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper and serve.


Rocket Pesto
from Woman's World UK


100-120g bag rocket
50g (1¾oz) pine nuts, lightly toasted
8tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
50g (1¾oz) pecorino cheese, finely grated (or other vegetarian equivalent)
1tbsp lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pasta like spaghetti, to serve
Shavings of pecorino cheese, to serve

Place the rocket leaves and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor, or blender, along with the olive oil, garlic, pecorino and lemon juice. Purée until the mixture is almost smooth but still has some texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta according to pack instructions, then drain it thoroughly. Add the pesto to the pasta, according to taste, and stir well to coat in the sauce.

Spoon the pasta on to serving plates and scatter some shavings of pecorino over and serve immediately. (Not suitable for freezing).

Sources used in this article:

Jun 16, 2010

Homemade Ketchup

The other day I happened upon a documentary film about a couple that had lived on a houseboat in the Atchafalaya Basin of Louisiana, and it was really interesting. They were living a sustainable lifestyle in the wild, and the pictures are just beautiful.

The woman of the couple, named Gwen Carpenter, was herself very beautiful, and somehow adds to the romance of this story. They both worked hard gardening and fishing, and they would make some of their tomato harvest into homemade ketchup. They mention this in the movie, and I guess it's one of the most-asked questions about the film, so Gwen was kind enough to post the recipe. I've copied it below so I'll be able to find it again!

I followed the recipe pretty closely, but started out with about a third of the sugar called for. It was delicious! The flavor of the spices came through and tasted wonderful. Could more sugar have made it MORE delicious? I don't know, I guess I'll have to make another batch and give it a try...

Better Than Bought Ketchup
courtesy of Gwen Carpenter Roland
(makes about one cup)

1 quart cored and chopped tomatoes, unpeeled
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped sweet pepper such as bell pepper or banana pepper
1 clove of garlic
½ tsp celery seed *
¼ tsp whole allspice *
¼ tsp mustard seed *
1/3 cup light brown sugar, more if you like sweeter ketchup
½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp paprika
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

Stir the chopped tomatoes, onion, peppers and garlic in a non-reactive pot over high heat until they start to boil. Tie allspice, mustard seed and celery seed together in a bit of cheesecloth or other thin cloth to make a bouquet. Drop the bouquet into the pot of vegetables, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until soft, about 20 minutes.
Mash the vegetables through a sieve if you want smooth ketchup. Calvin and I made such large quantities we didn’t bother with sieving, but these days I push the soft vegetables through a cone-shaped fruit sieve with a wooden mallet. A colander with small holes will also work. Sometimes, before sieving the softened vegetables, I whiz through them with a hand-held blender in order to extract more pulp. There’s a lot of room for individuality in ketchup making.

Return the sieved vegetables and bundle of whole spices to the pot. Add the sugar, salt the remaining spices and vinegar. Bring to a boil on high heat, uncovered, then reduce to medium heat. It will scorch faster than a hen can snatch a fly, so don’t wander off. Some recipes say to cook on low heat at this stage, but I prefer medium for a quicker cook off and brighter flavor. Stand there and stir it until it is almost as thick as you like it, about 25 minutes. It will thicken more as it cools.

Pour into a clean glass container with a lid. It will keep months in the refrigerator but if you make large quantities, process jars in boiling water for 15 minutes.

* If you will be pressing through a very fine sieve, skip the cheesecloth and just add the seeds to the vegetable mix

Multiply amounts depending on how many tomatoes you have. Larger quantities require longer cooking time. An uncovered crockpot can be used to reduce the liquid for larger amounts. Adjust seasonings and sugar to your own taste.

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