Monday, June 1, 2015

Chocolate Dream Peony Cake

   ~  Hello Dear Friends! We are finally getting settled in Seattle Washington!  It's really green and beautiful here in the Northwest.  We are enjoying Seattle, and looking forward to new adventures on the West Coast.  I've been working more on the cookbook, which I'm getting really excited about!  I will keep you updated as it moves along!  So stay tuned for details!  
   ~  I know we are all enjoying every minute of peony season...so I thought it the perfect time to share this favorite cake of mine!  Isn't it gorgeous?  It's perfect for birthdays and special occasions this time of year!  If you haven't already planted a peony bush...now is the time!  Peonys are perennial, so they come back every spring and early summer.  They are very hardy and love the sun!  You'll love the amazing blooms in your yard as well as in arrangements and as decoration for this delicious cake!  You can use other flowers as decoration on this cake if you don't have any peonys, a big gerber daisy would be really pretty on top too.  


Chocolate Dream Peony Cake

2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups butter milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan or spray with baking spray with flour.  In bowl of electric mixer add all of the dry ingredients and whisk together with a hand held whisk.  Add all of the wet ingredients and beat on medium with electric mixer until thoroughly combined, for about 3 minutes.  Pour batter into prepared pan until it reaches ¾ of the way to the top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.   Let cake sit overnight or for a few hours before inverting onto cake platter.  Pipe stripes, as directed, with White Chocolate Butter cream Frosting.
 


White Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

The white chocolate frosting looks beautiful against the dark chocolate cake and the two flavors together are downright heavenly.


11.5 oz. package white chocolate chips, (melted in the top of a double boiler)
1/4 cup egg whites, (from 2 large eggs)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch cream of tartar
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract

Mix together egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt in small saucepan.  Place on lowest heat possible heat until just warm to the touch. In electric mixer whip egg white mixture for 5 minutes or until cool and holds a stiff peak.  Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time to egg white mixture, beat while scraping bowl as needed. Add melted white chocolate and vanilla and whip for 1 minute. Fit decorators bag with a ½ inch round tip or with no tip at all.  (You'll want a big opening to make a thick stripe of frosting.)  Fill with frosting.  Starting in center of bundt cake, pipe a stripe of frosting 6 inches long ending midway down the cake.   Repeat with additional stripes, each a few inches apart.  Each stripe will begin in the center of the bundt cake.  Fill center of cake with extra frosting and top with a pink peony, pansies or other fresh flowers. Allow cake to set in a cool location, but do not refrigerate.








Monday, December 15, 2014

Whipped Peppermint White Hot Chocolate with Chocolate Cream




Whipped Peppermint White Hot Chocolate
Happy Holidays Friends!  Hope you are enjoying this wonderful season!  I came up with this recipe for this delicious Whipped Peppermint White Hot Chocolate a few weeks ago and it has been a huge it at my cooking classes and and my friend's cookie exchange last week.  Everyone is asking for the recipe!  Sorry I have been so late in getting it up on the blog!  But I hope you all enjoy it!  You can serve it with or without the Whipped Chocolate Cream on top.  In the picture above I made these adorable snowmen marshmallows to go on top.


Whipped Peppermint White Hot Chocolate

1 11 ounce bag Ghiradelli Chocolate white chips
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1-3 teaspoons peppermint extract, to taste
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
whole milk, to taste


1. Melt white chocolate chips with 1/2 cup cream in crock pot.  Add peppermint and vanilla.
2. Whip 2 cups whipped cream until fluffy.  Stir whipped cream into melted chocolate mixture.  Stir in whole milk to reach desired taste and heat until hot.  Fill mugs with Whipped Peppermint White hot Chocolate and top with a dollop of Whipped Chocolate Cream.  Sprinkle crushed peppermint over the top and serve with cute stirrer, straw or spoon and a marshmallow.

Whipped Chocolate Cream
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup Hersheys Syrup
1 cup sugar

Whip cream in medium bowl.  As the cream begins to thicken, alternate adding Hersheys syrup and sugar until combined.

Whipped Peppermint White Hot Chocolate With Chocolate Cream

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jayne Layne's Pepperoncini Beef with Provolone Hot Sandwiches


Pepperoncini Beef and Provolone Hot Sandwiches

 Jayne treated us to these amazing beef sandwiches the other night for Cooking Group.   This is a great slow cooker recipe...just place the browned beef, pepperocini and garlic in your slow cooker on high...six hours later you will have a wonderful juicy beef roast ready to shred and place on toasted buns.  Kelley and I loved dipping these sandwiches in the rich pan juices for a French Dip like sandwich.  These are scrumptious!   For those of us who weren't home when Jayne brought Cooking Group dinner over...she started it in our slow cooker for us!   Everyday I am reminded about how much I love Cooking Group!  I hope you have started one of your own and love it too!


3 lb. beef roast, seasoned with salt and pepper
13 ounce jar chopped pepperoncini plus liquid
5 large cloves garlic, minced
12 hard rolls, sliced in half

In hot skillet place a little oil.  Brown roast on all sides over medium high heat.  Place roast in crock pot with pepperoncini and juices and minced garlic.  Cook in slow cooker on high for 6 hours.   The simplest way to test when the beef is done is by inserting a fork into the beef.  If it goes in and out easily, it is done!  Shred beef using two forks and stir beef into sauce. 
Toast buns under broiler for 30 seconds until lightly browned.  Spread mayonnaise over inside of buns.  Top buns with shredded beef.  Lay piece of provolone cheese over beef.  Place beef and cheese sandwich under broiler for 30 seconds or until cheese melts.  Add the top bun and serve.  You will love dipping these delicious sandwiches in the pan juices!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cooking Group ~ Kelley Miller's Easy Tortellini and Spinach Soup



Easy Tortellini and Spinach Soup

A hot bowl of soup on these cold fall and winter nights served with some fresh bread really hits the spot. I love soup!  Don't you?  You know I LOVE trying new recipes...so I was so excited to try Kelley's soup today!  And it's a hit!  It is super fast, easy and delicious so I know you'll love it too!  You can add some cooked chicken to this soup if desired.  If you are adding chicken, add a little extra chicken broth as well. This recipe will serve six.


1 tablespoon butter, or olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14 ounce cans) chicken broth
9 ounce package cheese tortellini
course salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
14 ounce can stewed tomatoes (favorite: Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes)
1/2 bunch fresh stemmed spinach
handful fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, garnish

Melt butter in large pot.  Saute garlic in butter over medium heat for a minute.  Stir in broth and tortellini.  Bring to a boil.  Season with salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, spinach and basil.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread.  Now how easy was that?

Here are all of the ingredients measured and bagged for cooking group.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cooking Group~ Kelley Miller's Shrimp Portifino


Shrimp Portofino


Here's another favorite meal from Cooking Group for you all to try.  Kelly Miller brought this amazing dinner the other night.  It was really pretty fast to prepare and tasted amazing! It's great for a fast weeknight meal but elegant enough for a dinner party too!  I love it!


 5 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. large raw  shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup white wine
3/4 cup cream
scant 1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs
4 cups baby spinach
handful of pine nuts for garnish
1 lb. thin spaghetti


Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta while you are making the shrimp sauce.   In large heavy skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter, Saute garlic in butter for 30 seconds.  Add shrimp saute for 30 seconds.  Add white wine and saute for 2 minutes, until shrimp are opaque. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside, leaving the sauce in the pan.  Cover shrimp with foil to keep warm. Bring sauce to a simmer and add cream. Simmer 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.  Remove from heat and whisk in 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon at time until melted.  Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir in bread crumbs. Return to heat and add spinach and cook until spinach wilts, just a minute or two.  Stir in shrimp and serve over hot pasta. Garnish with pine nuts, serve with crusty bread and enjoy! 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dutch Oven Crusty Bread


Dutch Oven Crusty Bread

Our visit home to Salt Lake City over the 4th of July this summer was so much fun!   I always come home with some new favorite recipes and this Dutch Oven Crusty Bread is one of them!  My cute nephew Sam Owens, just started college, and I was so impressed to find out he has become a real bread maker!  He treated us to this family recipe of fresh bread every day!  Every night he would quickly stir together this bread dough and let it sit overnight on the counter.  In the morning, he would bake his bread and we would quickly eat it all up!  Sam's bread is so fantastic and so simple, I had to have him give me a demonstration and share his recipe with me!  Sam demonstrated just how quick you can throw this bread together, no kneading required!  It's just a quick stir and then let the dough stand and rise at room temperature for 12-24 hours before baking in a hot dutch oven.  How easy is that?!  How delicious?  Make it and you'll see!     
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, yeast and salt.  Add warm water and stir with wooden spoon just until mixed.  Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and let sit overnight, or for 12-24 hours.  Heat a dutch oven, size 22 -28 Le Cruset, in the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.  Risen dough will be sticky.  Pour risen dough onto heavily floured counter top and lightly shape into a round loaf.  Remove hot pot from oven and carefully set dough in pot.  Cover with lid and return to oven to bake at 450 degrees, covered, for 30 minutes.  Remove lid and bake 5-10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully remove bread from pot and place on a cooling rack.  Enjoy this delicious crusty bread hot by itself or with any meal!  

I made this batch of bread with some whole wheat flour.  The recipe calls for white flour, which is my favorite flour to use for this bread.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cooking Group~ Jayne Layne's Honey Butter Pork Roast

Honey Butter Pork Tenderloin
Jayne Layne brought this delicious dinner tonight.  It was really fast and simple.  She brought a zip lock bag of potatoes, so I could whip up some mashed potatoes while making the roast.  We loved this!  Jayne brought the pork already seasoned and placed in the Pyrex ready for me to cook with the other ingredients measured out.  Can I just say...I am LOVING Cooking Group!!!  And I hope you are too!

1 Pork Roast, seasoned with salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup white wine or 3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In large heavy OVEN PROOF proof skillet, like a Le Cruset skillet, melt butter and honey on stove top.  Brown roast on all sides in the butter and honey. Transfer the skillet with the roast in it, to oven and roast for 15-20 minutes.  Remove skillet and roast from the oven and place roast on a platter.  Cover with foil.  Place skillet with sauce back on stove top and simmer sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Slice roast and place on platter.  Pour sauce over sliced pork roast and serve with mashed potatoes.

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