Category Archives: Food Pr0n

Berry Awesome Cobbler

While I dearly love food — eating, cooking, growing, canning, baking, shopping, ogling, etc. — there are really only a few desserts that turn me into a dangerous fork-wielding maniac.  I generally prefer savory food to sweet.  I can’t put down a really good, crusty bread.  I will eat a giant bowl of tabouli without pausing to breathe.  Cheese, bacon, cabbage, nuts — I can’t be stopped.  But sweets?  I love making them but generally find that I’m sated with just a small bit of the finished product.

Except for two very specific dishes.  Tiramisu we can discuss at another time, but suffice it to say I make very very good tiramisu.  Today I want to discuss cobbler.  Specifically berry cobbler.

I love berry cobbler in a way that would sustain a marriage for 50 passionate years.  But mind you, it has to be GREAT.  There is nothing worse that a shitty, soggy, tastes-like-paste cobbler.  And I have been angered by plenty of these.

The best cobbler, to my belly, is also the simplest.  And the best recipe is Meme’s Blackberry Cobbler, from the very excellent cookbook Bon Appetit, Y’all by Virginia Willis.  Even Martha agrees.

I pretty much follow the recipe, though I make changes depending on what I have available.  For example, today I desperately wanted cobbler but also desperately wanted to not go to the grocery store.  So I used three cups of frozen mixed berries and tossed them with 1/3 cup of sugar mixed with 1 T corn starch because they were *really* juicy. (NB:  I generally hate corn starch and do whatever I can to avoid it, but sometimes I give in and use it when soupiness would ruin the dish).  I also used bread flour today because I ran out of AP and, for the first time in decades, I did not have any more in the pantry because for some weird reason I intentionally bought rye flour instead of AP last week.  Yep.  I make awesome shopping decisions while pregnant.

Anyhoodle, here’s the basic recipe.  You can use fresh or frozen berries.  You can use other fruits, too (peaches, cherries, etc.).  I usually add lemon zest to berries, fresh grated nutmeg to cherries, and almond extract instead of vanilla for peaches.  ENJOY!

Berry Awesome Cobbler

Meme’s Blackberry Cobbler from Virginia Willis’ Bon Appetit, Y’all

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream, creme fraiche, or ice cream, for serving

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a large cast-iron skillet or ovenproof baking dish, in the oven, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, place blackberries in a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash blackberries to release their juices. If blackberries are tart, sprinkle with sugar.

In another large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add 1 cup sugar, milk, and vanilla extract; mix until well combined. Remove skillet from oven and add melted butter to flour mixture; stir to combine. Pour mixture into skillet and pour blackberries and their juices into the center.

Transfer skillet to oven and bake until top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the batter comes out clean, about 1 hour. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with whipped cream, creme fraiche, or ice cream.

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Filed under Food Pr0n, Recipes, southern foods

Pink Chocolate

The other day Luli informs me that she wants to make pink chocolate cupcakes.  So, we did.  I was planning to write a whole post about making your cupcakes moist (RRRAWWWRRR!!!), but I apparently have a poppy seed stuck under my space bar from eating on the computer (yeah, I know — unless you want to tell me how to get it out, I don’t want to hear it).  Also, I’m having some wicked braxton-hicks contractions — like nonstop.  Also, the Fetus has moved such that I can actually eat for the first time in weeks, so I’m going to go devour a box of Milk Duds.

In the meantime, here are our gorgeous Pink Chocolate Cupcakes:

Pink Ladies

SDH PINK CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 T powdered espresso or coffee
  • 1 cup boiling hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup and 1 T granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 c sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly butter, or line 20-ish muffin cups with paper liners.  In a small bowl, stir the cocoa powder, the espresso, and the boiling hot water until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix until smooth.

Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 16 – 20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Frost after the cupcakes have completely cooled.

Frosting

  • 8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 oz  cream cheese, softened
  • 4 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar

In the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl, melt the white chocolate, stirring often. Remove from the heat once melted and let cool to lukewarm. Transfer the melted white chocolate to a large bowl, and add the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Beat together at medium speed until you have a smooth sauce. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.  Tint with red or pink dye (I use Wilton’s).  Or don’t.

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Filed under Babies: Making and Raising, Cakes, Chocolate, Food Pr0n, Kids in the Kitchen, SDH Exclusive Recipe

Yo, Cupcake…

Hey Cupcake...

When I’m tucking Luli in at night, we like to talk about what we are going to do the next day.  Sometimes we make plans to do mundane stuff like read books or play with blocks; other times it is more exotic things like make bacon or go to the bank.  Luli really likes going to the bank.  Anyhow, the other night Luli asked if we could make cupcakes, and I of course said ‘sure’ because I am not some sort of monster.  Also, I like cupcakes.

The next day Luli arose all excited for cupcake makin’.  Truth be told, I did, too.  But while I love cupcakes as much as the next person, I didn’t feel like using any of my usual recipes; nor did I feel like making the usual 2 – 3 dozen.  I figured a nice dozen would be enough.  Luli requested chocolate frosting.  I agreed.

This recipe is loosely based on Beranbaum’s Yellow Butter Cake recipe (from the Cake Bible); I’ve noticed the Joy of Cooking recipe is almost identical.  I don’t know which came first.  Mine is different.  As I’ve prattled about elsewhere, I follow much of what the fabulous Rose Levy Beranbaum teaches, but not all.  As a southerner, I generally find her cakes to be a tad on the dry side — especially if you have to refrigerate layers during frosting and filling.  Anyhow, I wanted a quick easy dozen cupcakes with a simplified, non-meringue buttercream, and here is what I came up with:

The Hussy’s Quick and Dirty Dozen Butter Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Buttercream

Cupcakes

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 T whole milk
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons room temp unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Frosting

  • 8 oz milk chocolate chips
  • 8 T room temp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, lightly combine the egg yolks, oil, T milk, and vanilla extract.

In the bowl of your electric mixer combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt).  Add the butter and remaining milk.  Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, then beat on medium for about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Turn speed to low and slowly add the egg mixture.  Beat on med for about one minute.

Divide the batter and pour into lined cupcake tin.  If you only fill the tins halfway, this will make about 14 cupcakes.  So either fill the tins a little more and just make a dozen, or bake the excess in a mini-pan and let your kids have their way with it.

I use my face to frost, right?

You might want to give them an off-set spatula to use.

Hairnets!

So, if you’re lucky, you will get something like this:

Mmmm...Nice tongue prints.

Anyhow, back to the cupcakes.

Bake 17 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in center. Remove cupcakes and cool on rack.

While cupcakes are cooling, melt chocolate in double broiler.  Remove from heat and stir until smooth.  Let chocolate come down to room temp.  Add butter and beat until smooth and shiny.

Frost your completely cooled cupcakes.  Put remaining buttercream in jar and refrigerate; this makes the perfect late night pretzel dip or can just be scooped out and eaten while one pretends to look for the mustard.

SDH Butter Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Buttercream

Cupcakes will best retain moisture when kept in an airtight container like tupperware or Vader’s hyperbolic chamber.

Behold my cake-frosting prowess!

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Filed under Cakes, Chocolate, Food Pr0n, Kids in the Kitchen, SDH Exclusive Recipe

Meyer Lemon Curd

Meyer Lemonpalooza, Part Two

As promised, a little how-to and what up on lemon curd.  Specifically, Meyer Lemon Curd from my Earth Fare bounty.

Curd Glorious Curd!

For starters, I would credit the origin of my recipe, except I have NO idea where it came from — it consists of a hastily scrawled page in one of my recipe notebooks.  So, if this recipe looks familiar to you, please comment and let me know where it comes from.  Anyhoodle, behold the glory:

Meyer Lemon Curd

  • 12 egg yolks
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 6 meyer lemons, zested, juiced and strained.  This should yield 1 cup of juice and about 4 T of zest.
  • 1 cup of butter, room temperature and cut into chunks

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.

Place saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the lemon juice.

Once fully combined and sugar appears dissolved, switch to a wooden spoon.

Soon to be curd

Stir continually for 10-15 minutes, lowering the heat as you go so that it does not boil.

When the curd is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, remove from heat and stir in butter.

Strain the curd through a mesh sieve into a bowl (bowl should be glass or  stainless).  This is to get rid of any nasty cooked bits of egg.

Whisk in the zest.

Mmmmmm...

This will yield about 4 cups of curd.  If you are going to can, process in water bath for 20 minutes.

Eat it all in one sitting or pace yourself and keep it in the fridge.

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Filed under Custards, Food Pr0n, I Jam Econo, Recipes, Uncompensated Product Placement

Frosty Meyer Lemon Cookies

Meyer Lemonpalooza, Part One

Growing up, our super special extra fabulous thanks for not setting the grocery store on fire treat was a package of Archway Frosty Lemon cookies.  Believe me when I say, they taste better in my childhood memories than they do in adult reality.  But there is no reason *I* can’t make something that tastes as good as the frosty lemons of my past.

A while back my go-to food site the Kitchn featured a recipe for Mandarin Orange Cookies, which they had adapted from a recipe for Meyer Lemon Sugar Cookies from Tallgrass Kitchen.  So as soon as I saw this:

I knew what I was going to do.

The Tallgrass Kitchen recipe looked perfectly fine, but I wanted something a little more moist and MEGA lemony.  So I tinkered with the eggs, sugar, and lemon quantities.  And of course my frosty lemon cookies wouldn’t be complete without, well, the frosty part, so I borrowed from the Kitchn and added a simple lemon glaze.  Here is what I came up with:

The Hussy’s Frosty Meyer Lemon Cookies

  • 1 2/3 C sugar
  • Zest of 4 Meyer lemons
  • 1 C unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 whole egg plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 C Meyer lemon juice, plus approximately 4 T
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 3/4 C flour, sifted
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In food processor, pulse sugar and lemon zest fully combined.

Stir flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl.

Cream butter and lemon sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and egg yolks and beat on high for about 2 minutes.  Scrape down sides.

Add 1/2 C lemon juice and vanilla and beat ‘til well-mixed.

Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Chill dough for 15 minutes (you can also pipe room temperature batter for Fancy! results).

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes until just turning golden on bottoms.

While cookies are baking, stir powdered sugar and reserved lemon juice until smooth.  Drizzle over warm cookies.

SDH Frosty Meyer Lemon Cookies

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Filed under Cookies, Food Pr0n, I Jam Econo, SDH Exclusive Recipe, Uncompensated Product Placement

Near-Instant Gratification: The Popsicle Edition

I couldn’t very well title this “Instant Gratification” because obviously that honor belongs to successfully chasing down the tinkly ice cream truck.  And by the way? Our summertime treats-on-wheels would come chiming through at 9 – 9:30 at night.  I would always wonder if they made a magical switch and started selling margaritas.  But I digress…

Today we are here to talk about the Zoku pop maker.  Yes, this thing:

Yeah, it's ADORABLE, but do I need it?

I ended up getting one of these due to a series of interweb purchases gone wrong. Long story short, I ended up with a gift card that gave me $40 to spend at Williams-Sonoma.  And since the next thing on my NEED list is a new fridge, I had to skip over to the ‘interesting idea’ list.  Basically, I let the kids pick and Zoku was the result.

First, the product itself is adorable.  And embodies a very cool idea — i.e., let’s get crazy with popsicles!  And it is super easy to use and VERY kid-friendly (just be careful about tiny bits sticking to frozen bits).  What you see is pretty much what you get.  It’s really just a mold that you pop in the freezer; the key difference being that it freezes pretty much while you watch and only goes into the freezer empty.  It’s like the freezer bowl part of a newer ice cream maker – heavy and full of some thick sludgey mystery fluid.  Out of the box, the Zoku comes with one 3-chamber mold, six sticks, six drip guards, one “super tool,” and a directions pamphlet.

I will go ahead and express my sole irritation with the product, which is that it sells recipes separately.  If you just paid $40 for a popsicle mold, the least they can do is throw in some recipes.  Yeah, I know duh popsicles, but this is the first food prep product that I have EVER owned that did not come with at least a few recipes.  Seriously, even my damn $4 dog biscuit cutter came with 4 recipes.  It just seems kind of tacky to sell recipes separately (though I should note that there are a handful of recipes on the cute Zoku Blog).  There are other extras you can buy, but I didn’t get any, because $40 seemed like enough to spend on popsicles.

K, Luli and I tested this out the other day to great success.   The mold froze in less than 24 hours, as expected. We were prepped to make 6 popsicles using pineapple juice and greek yogurt with honey and lemon sugar (add honey to plain yogurt, add lemon zest to sugar).  We put the sticks in the mold and went to town.

Team Popsicle is GO!!!

Because the instructions are adamant that the sticks MUST go in first, there was a bit of an issue with getting thicker ingredients into the mold, as there is only about a half inch of pouring space on either side of the stick.  I ended up putting the yogurt into a zip-loc baggie, snipping off a tiny corner, and effectively piping it into the mold.  Worked like a charm.

Chilly!

And then we waited…

The Way-yay-ting is the Hardest Part.

We made two sets of three pops back-to-back.  Zoku says your popsicles shall freeze in about 7 – 9 minutes.  I found this to be accurate, though the kids said it was taking forEVER and wandered off.  With just unlayered juice, the pops were ready in 7 minutes.  Layered pops took a little longer (duh).  The second set we made immediately after the first did not take any longer to freeze.  And they freeze HARD.  Mega-hard.  As in, I can hold this in the sun for a while before it drips all over hard.

Cheers to Success!

Both of my assistants claimed the treats to be perfection.

Luli Approves.

K Devours.

Aside from the voice of Alton Brown in my head telling me that it is silly to buy a product that only does one very simple thing, I found the Zoku to be good fun – and I suspect Mr. Brown would, too, though he might not admit it.  We didn’t have any issues with the yogurt pops not freezing as solid.  And we didn’t have any issues with removing the pops from the mold — even those with yogurt.   No fuss.  And very little clean up.  When we were done, we popped the mold back in the freezer (no, we didn’t clean it first, the instructions say it is unnecessary to do so).  We pulled it out again the next day and made more popsicles.

All in all, an adorable product that serves its single function exceptionally well.  The kids love it and I like that it takes up very little space and gives me something creative and culinary to do with the kids.  Just scroll through the Zoku website to see how serious I am about the creative thing.  We’ve already tried striped pops and filled pops to great success.

So, if you’ve coveted the Zoku and have $40 to spend, I say go ahead and get it.  Is it necessary? Hell no.  Is it fun? Hell yes.

I can’t WAIT to try margarita and mojito pops…

 

 

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Filed under Food Pr0n, Hussy Recommends..., Kids in the Kitchen, Kitchen Gadgets, Things I Like, Uncompensated Product Placement

Happy Pi(e) Day!

So, for obvious reasons, today is Pi Day.  And what better way to say MATH IS POWER than with pie?  At first I planned on making a Pi Pie, but then I got stuck at the doctor forEVER,  and Luli just went down for a “nap,” and I’ve got some no-longer-in-business business to take care of, blah blah blah I’m lazy.

But never let it be said that I didn’t Pie up.  For your viewing pleasure, a Parade of Pie:

SDH Basic Apple Pie

SDH Banana Nutella "Hot Pies"

My Nannie's Chocolate and Butterscotch Pies

SDH Strawberry Pie

SDH Lemon Meringue Pie

SDH Chocolate Silk Pie

SDH GInger Pear Pie

Turkey and Artichoke Heart Pot Pies

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Filed under Food Pr0n, Geeks and Nerds Will Rule the World, Team Pie