Wednesday, July 17, 2019

FRESH PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE

I'm not sure WHY I've never thought of making a pineapple upside-down cake with FRESH pineapple before. Maybe it is because ALL of my cookbooks suggest canned pineapple? Maybe it is because canned pineapple is always in the pantry? Maybe it is because I'm not very adventurous? 

Well, this cake came about due to the rare combination of... "I want to bake something" + "what can I do with this very ripe pineapple?" + "the perfect window of time". 

The end result was this pineapple upside-down cake made with FRESH pineapple and it was delicious!! The difference is like night and day!!

FRESH PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

Preheat your oven to 350 and cut a parchment paper liner for the bottom of a 9" round cake pan. Spray the pan and parchment paper with a light coating of cooking spray. The parchment paper is not absolutely necessary, but it helps if you have a "sticking" issue with the sweet pineapple glaze (you can use waxed paper in a pinch).

5 tablespoons of melted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
3 cups fresh pineapple cut into 1" cubes (see note)
maraschino cherries cut in half
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup pineapple juice (or milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter extract
1/2 cup pecans chopped medium-small

Mix melted butter with brown sugar and spread evenly in prepared 9" round cake pan. Set aside.

Cut pineapple into 1" chunks and blot them dry between several thicknesses of paper towel (press on them a little to extract excess juice).

For the batter, cream the butter and sugar until it is really fluffy. Under-beating the butter at this stage will give you a poor quality cake. After it is nice and fluffy, add the eggs (one at a time) and extracts and beat until its fluffy again.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl and add it to the butter mixture in three parts, alternately with the pineapple juice (or milk) starting and ending with the flour. Set aside.

Assembly: Nestle the pineapple, pecans and cherry pieces down into the brown sugar mixture in the cake pan (arrange in pretty fashion because this will show). Pour the cake batter over the top and (very gently) spread it out.

Bake in 350 oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean (my electric oven takes exactly 45 minutes). Remove from oven and sit pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes, run a thin bladed knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto a serving plate and peel off the parchment paper. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: Traditionally, pineapple upside-down cake has pretty rings of pineapple with red cherries in the center of each ring. However, when the cake is baked like that, it is hard to eat. You either get a big unmanageable hunk of pineapple on your piece of cake or no pineapple at all (does that make sense?). Instead, I cut the pineapple into very small pieces (almost a dice) and arrange the cherries randomly over the cake. It is much easier to cut, serve and eat (even if it ISN'T traditional). If you use this diced pineapple style, it only takes two cups of diced fruit instead of three.

ENJOY !!!

Friday, June 21, 2019

BRIGHT CITRUS SALAD

This refreshing salad is a nutritious combination of crunch (from the broccoli and sunflower seeds), sweetness (from the oranges and raisins) and a pleasant "full feeling" from the black beans.  

It is the perfect side dish for any barbecue or potluck!!

Measurements given here are approximate (except for the dressing). YOU decide how much of each ingredient you would like in your salad. The amounts given here are catered to OUR taste buds. 

3 small heads of broccoli (bite size pieces)

1 red bell pepper (diced finely)
1 cup raisins
2 oranges (peeled and sliced thickly)
15 ounce can of black beans (rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup  toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup finely sliced green onion tops

Dressing:

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use light)
1/2 cup milk (I use 2%)
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne powder


Wash the broccoli and shake dry. Remove as much of the stalk and stems as you can so you can break the florets into bite size pieces. Add (small diced) red bell pepper, raisins, oranges, black beans, sunflower seeds and green onions.


Mix dressing ingredients with a whisk and pour about 1/2 cup of it over the salad just before you serve it. Toss gently and taste to see if you want more dressing. You may not need or want all of the dressing. 



NOTE: Peel the oranges, removing as much of the white as you can, then slice the orange into thick slices; cut the thick slices into four wedges.


NOTE: Let your imagination go wild with this salad, you can add just about any veggies that strike your fancy.


ENJOY !!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

APPLE CRISP FOR TWO


YUMMMMM!!!


Click on photo

I call this "Apple Crisp for Two", although I guess that is a bit of a misnomer. It actually makes 3 large desserts (if you include the ice cream). I guess I should have called it "Apple crisp for two (and a little more for later)" 😇   

We love a good fruit crisp with a slightly crunchy (but not HARD crunchy) topping and lots of gooey filling. That perfectly describes this dessert. It is one of the best crisps we've tried in years!!!!!

APPLE LAYER
2 large Granny Smith apples (see note)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Toss with the above ingredients and place in a greased baking dish (I use a 9" x 5" loaf pan). Sprinkle two tablespoons of water over the filling. NOTE: Do NOT mix the water into the above mixture, just sprinkle it evenly OVER the filling; trust me it works perfectly and makes the BEST sauce.

TOPPING LAYER
1/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons melted butter

Use a spoon and mix the topping ingredients until everything seems coated with butter. Evenly sprinkle it over the apple layer (but do not mix it in).

Bake in pre-heated 350 oven for 30-35 minutes or until apples are tender.  Let cool 15 minutes before serving (if you can wait that long). We like ours, served with ice cream.




NOTE: Make sure you use a good baking apple like Granny Smith. Regular eating apples don't work well in this kind of recipe (they get mushy).


ENJOY !!!