Category Archives: Cooking

Delicious Desert!

As you know, Susan and I both love entertaining, especially easy entertaining. The best way to enjoy your guests and partake in the fun is to plan ahead, so you can relax and enjoy time with friends. My go-to desert lately, has been a delicious olive oil cake. The recipe is so easy, and it makes two, perfect for freezing and whipping out when you don’t have time to prepare something else.

This recipe was sent to me by the boyfriends Mom from The Oregonian. It was created by the pastry chef at the delicious Paley’s Place in NW Portland.

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Olive Oil cake image via Apples and Butter

Lauren Fortgang’s Olive Oil Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
Grated zest of one orange
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil (fruity preferred)
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I use whatever we have in the house and it works fine)
*makes two 8×5 inch loaf pans

Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Grease and flour two 8×5 inch loaf pans. Tap out any excess flour. (I also add parchment paper to the bottom of the pan)

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together. Whisk in the orange zest. In a separate bow, mix the olive oil and milk. To the sugar mixture, alternately add the flour mixture and the olive oil mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. The  batter will be quite wet and loose.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans and bake on the middle rack of the oven for approx. 50 minutes, turning the pans once during  baking. Remove the cakes when they are golden brown on top and spring back to the touch.

I usually top this with a light glaze made of the juice of one orange (the one you use the zest from), mixed with sifted confectioners sugar. 3 1/2 tablespoons juice to 2 cups of confectioners sugar. However, last night I made the most delicious blueberry sauce from berries I had from the farmer’s market. Also super easy, and great for saving!

Fresh Blueberry Sauce

Fresh Blueberry Sauce image via Cooking Light

Fresh Blueberry Sauce via Southern Food

2 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Wash and crush blueberries; add sugar, lemon juice and salt. Mix well. In a small saucepan, bring blueberry mixture to a boil; boil 1 minute. Add vanilla. Chill.

* I also added a small amount (1 teaspoon or less) of cornstarch because the sauce seemed a little runny. Also, I ran my hand blender through the sauce to make sure the berries were crushed enough, as I didn’t crush them before I added them to the pot.

All in all, a fantastic desert that makes you look fancy, but allows you to spend all the time in the world enjoying your guests and your delicious creation.

Happy Cooking!

– Lyn

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Weekend Recipes

Since we had a nice weekend full of sun and absent of rain, we spent all our time outdoors. We spruced up the back patio (which I’ll share the progress of that little project later this week) and tested out yummy new recipes. I am happy to report that thanks to Real Simple we now have a fantastic go-to grill dish, Buttermilk BBQ chicken.

Lip-Smackin'

On the side I served  Green Beans with Pecans and Maple Vinaigrette. These were incredible, sweet and sour at the same time. I will definitely be adding this dish to my arsenal.

Delish!!!

A grilling success, and an excellent pairing of the two dishes. The best part about the chicken is that it gets SO tender soaking in the buttermilk. I recommend soaking at least all day, or overnight. I absolutley LOVED it, and so did the Mister. We made extra and here is what I did with the left overs…

Chicken, Strawberry and Spinach Salad

This is one of my favorite quick meals. I use organic bagged baby spinach, shredded left over chicken, feta, pine nuts, sliced strawberries (from the farmers market this time of year), and the secret weapon: Trader Joe’s Poppy Seed Dressing. This version has half the fat of a traditional cream based dressing, and adds just the right hint of sweetness.

Nothing went to waste. This (also from previous evening) was on the side…

Left Over Baguette and Salted Butter

I think my cooking/entertaining idol Ina Garten would be proud of my weekend meals.

Anyone out there have a go-to grill recipe worth sharing? Do tell…

-Susan

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Weekend dinner update – Soup du jour!

As I told you last week, I planned to make a delicious Roasted Potato Leek Soup, since the weather is still so crummy around here. Well the soup has been made, and it was a hit! I have a couple of tips and tricks for anyone out there who plans to make it.

I’m happy to report that the Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Blender that I used for the first time making this soup was worth every penny! Even though when it’s time to puree the roasted vegetables, they are still fairly large, this handy little blender took them down with no problem! So much better than moving them in between a food processor or blender. Way less mess!

Secondly, on your roasting pan, I’d suggest not using a non-stick pan. I think you can get more flavors pulled from the pan in the de-glazing process after you’re done roasting.

Finally — on the crispy shallots, definitely get a candy thermometer to help you keep an eye on the temperature of the oil/butter combo you use to crisp them. Sadly, we had no crispy shallots because I took my eye off of them for a second, and they burned. Darn!

Either way — I know Ina is proud of me 🙂 Happy LONG weekend to everyone. Come back tomorrow, because I’ve got a special surprise for you.

Fabulous! says Ina

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Soup du jour..

Susan and I both love cooking and entertaining and are constantly passing back and forth great recipes and giving each other tips and tricks on things we’ve recently cooked. Well this week, I have been thinking and dreaming of delicious food, mainly because I can’t eat any of it. The boyfriend talked me into doing a “cleanse” which mainly consists of eating only fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Great for the body, not so great for the taste buds. The good news, it only lasts a week! I’ve been thinking of what I want to eat for one of our first meals, and have decided a soup is it! Yes, it’s a strange season for a soup, but I just received a Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Blender I purchased on RueLala, that I can’t wait to use! No more spraying soup all over my cabinets and counters with the blender that I usually use! Yes! And, here in Portland, we haven’t officially reached summer yet, so a nice cozy soup can still be ticket. 

The soup I’ve settled on is Ina Garten’s, Roasted Potato Leek Soup. I’ve made it once before, and it was just so rich and delicious, especially with those fantastic crispy shallots on top. I’ll report back next Tuesday, any tips and tricks that I come across for this batch, since it’s my second time around the block. 

roasted-potato-leek-soup-1

Roasted Potato Leek Soup - As Ina would say "How good is that!"

 

So what have you guys been cooking? Any big dinner parties coming up this weekend?

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