Tuesday, October 2, 2018

SARAH LEE POUND CAKE CLONE

I don't know how many times I've tried a clone recipe and later thought..."close, but no cigar".  But this one is the real deal !!!

Not only is this cake made from standard pantry staples, but it is rich, buttery and it has a very fine and velvety crumb, just like a Sarah Lee Pound Cake. I can think of a million great uses for this quick and easy cake, but I doubt it will last that long around here. I'm definitely going to be putting one of these beauties in the freezer for unexpected guests.



8 ounces butter at room temperature (no substitutions)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 2/3 cups CAKE FLOUR  (important, no substitutes)
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Recipe calls for an 8 1/2" loaf pan. If you are using Pyrex, preheat your oven to 325°. If you are using a metal pan, preheat the oven to 350°. Spray the pan with cooking spray, then line it with parchment paper (or foil) and spray again.

Cream the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on high speed for a full FIVE MINUTES.

Add one of the eggs and a couple spoons of the flour and beat another TWO MINUTES.

Add the 2nd egg and half of the remaining flour  and beat another TWO MINUTES.

Add the sour cream and the rest of the flour and the extracts, and beat another TWO MINUTES.

Spread the batter into the greased parchment paper lined loaf pan and bake  65 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean.

Cool in the pan (on a rack) for 20 minutes before you take it out of the pan.  Wrap the HOT pound cake snugly in plastic wrap and cool completely (yes, right on the surface of the hot cake).




NOTES: It is important to use cake flour. With all of the mixing in this recipe, all purpose flour or bread flour wouldn't give you a very good cake.

ENJOY !!!!!

Friday, August 31, 2018

EASY HOME MADE PEPPERONI

Have you ever read the ingredient list on a package of commercial pepperoni or looked closely at a slice of it and wondered what all those "bits" were? Exactly!! A pretty gross thought isn't it?? 

If you want to know exactly what is in YOUR pepperoni, try this super easy recipe. It's just high quality pork and seasonings baked in the oven at a super low temperature for 6 hours ....and it is delicious, (even picky-picky husband loves it!!)



First of all, keep in mind that when it's all cooked, it's NOT going to be bright red/orange like commercial pepperoni, and it's NOT going to be shaped perfectly round, but that certainly didn't bother us. 

1 pound of ground pork (not sausage)
1 pound of ground beef (lean)
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (see notes)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 slightly heaping teaspoons salt (see notes)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup ice water

Grind the dry spices together (I used my mortar and pestle) until they are roughly ground (it doesn't have to be super fine).

Mix the meat, flavorings, ice water and liquid smoke together just until combined. (I use my stand mixer). Cover it well, and chill it for 48 hours.

After 48 hours, mix again gently and roll the mixture into 2 logs and place them on a foil lined baking sheet (make sure the baking sheet has a lip).


Bake in a pre-heated 200° oven for 8 hours. If you seriously want round pepperoni, turn the logs every 2 hours, but I never do that.  Your house is going to smell wonderful!! 

After 8 hours, they will look like this:


The "pepperoni" logs will be quite firm to the touch when they come out of the oven. If there is a lot of fat on your baked pepperoni "logs", just wipe it off before you chill them, but I seldom have that problem.

CHILL PEPPERONI BEFORE 
 YOU   SLICE !!

Let the baked logs cool a little, then wrap them in plastic wrap and chill them until they are very cold before you slice them.  Use a sharp knife and slice the sausages very thin.


This treat is VERY easy to make and has a wonderful flavor. 

NOTES: I buy pork butt roast when it's on super sale and just grind it with my stand mixer, but you can also just buy commercially ground pork (UNSEASONED....not sausage!!)


NOTES: Picky-picky husband is very shy when it comes to "heat", so I make this recipe with 1 + 1/4 teaspoons of red pepper flakes and it's just right.  If you like a spicier pepperoni, just add more flakes.

NOTES: A note about the color of this pepperoni. To get a bright red/orange color in pepperoni, people use Morton's Tender Quick which has salt, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite and propylene glycol in it. Personally, it is not important to us to have that bright red color, so I just use table salt instead of the Tender Quick and it works just fine.  I freeze my baked pepperoni.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

EASY TOMATO VEGGIE SOUP

This recipe is a wonderful use for all of those extra garden veggies you have this time of year. Tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, onions, celery and anything else you can think of to add to the soup; this recipe is very versatile (and yummy).


1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 1/2 cups water
2 large tomatoes (I use roasted cherry tomatoes)
1 (15 ounce) can ro-tel tomatoes with juice (I use mild)
4 cups beef  or vegetable broth  (not bullion)
1/3 cup uncooked barley
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I like 1/2 teaspoon)
2 cups chopped zucchini
1 can rinsed and drained kidney beans (or your favorite bean)
pinch of red pepper flakes if you like heat (optional)

Spray a large soup pot with vegetable spray and sauté the onions, celery and carrots until the onions turn soft and a little sweet.

Put the undrained can of rotel tomatoes


PLUS the two fresh tomatoes into the food processor and blend until smooth, then add to the pot.

Add everything else to the pot and simmer SLOWLY for 45 minutes, that's it; just stir it once in a while.

I'm SURE this could be easily done in the crockpot as well. This is one of those great recipes that tastes even better on day two.


ENJOY !!