Month: January 2012

Have some German Chocolate Cake on Michigan’s 175th Birthday

Posted on Updated on


Happy 175th Birthday to the State of Michigan!  So in honor of Michigan’s birthday today and tomorrow’s National Chocolate Cake Day, I present this German Chocolate Cake.  Of course, from what I can discern, the (un)official state cake of Michigan is a German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake.  It’s listed in Warren Brown’s book, United Cakes of America.  Now these two cakes are very close — one uses pickled cabbage, the other uses some sweetened coconut.  Those two ingredients are readily interchanged in any number of recipes, like kielbasa for example 🙂  See?  Virtually the same!

Did you know that German Chocolate Cake isn’t actually German?  It was named after Sam German, who developed a type of sweet, dark chocolate for Baker’s Chocolate.  This recipe was developed in his honor, using the chocolate that he created.  Originally, it was called German’s Chocolate Cake, but that was changed along the way, as things are wont to do.  Now this cake wasn’t in my normal rotation, but after a couple of special requests for it, I’ve decided to add it.  I couldn’t be happier with the results.

I used a chiffon cake for the base.  Chiffon is an oil-based cake that was really popular in the ’40s and people loved it because it stayed so moist.  The actual recipe was closely guarded secret until it was sold in the mid or late ’40s and later popularized in those box cake mixes you can find in the grocery store today.  So if you ever make one of those cakes from a box mix (ugh!), you will be making a chiffon cake.

So since National Chocolate Cake Day is on the 27th, I’ll be posting on my Orange Devil Cake and my Chocolate Ice cake in the next few days.  Stay tuned!

By the way, I got that Michigan birthday cake pic from the State of Michigan website.  I’m not sure if they found the image or developed it themselves, but I just wanted to give them a shout out.  Happy Birthday Michigan!

Too much pie to eat? Just drink it up!

Posted on Updated on


Alright, so this idea might be due to too much booze.  Or too little booze.  Whatever the case, it’s not the exact amount of booze that I needed.  But I started thinking that after the holidaze, sometimes you have just had your fill of pastries, and sweets, and candy, and — well, you get the picture.  So I think this is what brought this recipe about.  That, plus booze.

I’m sure some folks have thought about something like this.  Whether it be some hazy lapse of judgement, or hunger, or boredom, or you might just be reminiscing about the “Super Bass-o-matic ’76“, or maybe you just got a blender for Christmas and are just looking for stuff to pulverize. . . or all of the above.  To me, coming up with something like this isn’t too weird.  For example, I’ve made “cake soup” before — that’s where you mash up some slightly melted ice cream and a slice of cake together (don’t judge!).  After my post on Cheez-its and Rum, are you surprised?

So again, this isn’t all that scientific.  I had a couple of slices of my Apple-Rhubarb-Ginger Pie, some milk, and I added some yogurt and oatmeal to make it healthy. . . at least healthier. . . or rather, less unhealthy.  Here’s what you need:

  • 2  slices of pie, whatever you have around is fine
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 1/2 c. yogurt
  • 2 T. steel-cut oats

Place the oats in the blender and blend until fine.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.  You can adjust as you see fit.  A little kiss of bourbon is nice in this, but then again, when isn’t it 🙂

Apple, Rhubarb, & Ginger Pie

Posted on Updated on


I know I declared 2012 the year of the cake, but when you have a 4-tiered double ganache Orange Devil Cake (I’ll post on that later) to eat between just 2 people, you can only eat so much.  My prescription for Cake Overdose (it’s real.  look it up 🙂 ) is pie!  If you’re like me, you should have lots of rhubarb in the freezer from the summer harvest.  And I’m sure you have lots of pâte brisée in there as well!  Actually, it’s just dumb luck that I have all that in my freezer.  In fact, I almost I forgot that I had all that rhubarb; it was rediscovered when I was looking for those frozen raspberries that I had from raspberry picking when my family came up a couple of months ago (and I still haven’t posted on that raspberry pound cake. . . probably cuz I didn’t make it yet, and now I can’t cuz I have no raspberries. . . and yes I do realize that there is a grocery store just 2 seconds away from my driveway).  Guess I used up all my raspberries making yogurt smoothies.  But I digress. . .

There’s no real recipe here; just change my Dutch Strawberry Rhubarb Pie a little.  For the topping, replace the sugar with some loosely pack brown sugar and add 1/4 c. chopped pecans.  For the filling, instead of 4 c. chopped rhubarb and 2 c. strawberries, use 5 c. rhubarb and 1 apple, chopped.  Now add 1/4 c. crystallized ginger and you’re good to go!  You will have to tent this with foil because the pecans in the topping will burn if you don’t — I got distracted with barking dogs so there is some slight “crispiness” on mine.  No problem because I like a little, er, caramelization on my pastries.

Roasted Fennel and Carrots

Posted on Updated on


So I guess I took a little bit more time off than I thought.  But I needed some time to figure out some business decisions.  Anyhoo, I digress. . . I love fennel.  I really don’t use it as much as I should.  Some folks might not be even all that familiar with the vegetable.  It kinda looks like a cross between an onion and celery with a frilly wig.  Honestly, I think it sorta looks like a muppet (I do have muppets on the brain, after seeing the new Muppet movie and watching A Muppet Christmas Carol all during the holidays.  BTW, I recommend both movies!).

What’s nice about fennel is that you can really can use all parts of it — the bulb, the greens, the flowers, the seeds, even the pollen.  In this recipe, I just use the greens and the bulb.  This recipe is great as a side or a main dish, if you’re feeling vegetarian.  I love how roasting these vegetables really brings out the sweetness and intensifies the flavors.  But that is the case when you roast any vegetable really.  So why not roast some vegetables for dinner?  It’s easy to make, there’s not a lot of clean-up, and you get a wonderful flavorful dish!  Now I don’t really know where I got this recipe; I know I jotted down some notes on some paper but the principles are pretty much the same with any roasted vegetable recipe.

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 – 4 fennel bulbs, with some of the greens reserved.
  • 5 – 6 carrots, sliced on the diagonal
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line two half-sheet pans with parchment or some silpat.  Place the two racks in the oven on the top and the bottom racks.  Now preheat the sheet pans in the oven while you prep the veg.

2.  Trim the tops off the fennel so you just have the bulbs.  Cut the bulbs in quarters.  Then, cut the quarters into thirds on the diagonal so that each wedge has some of the base of the vegetable.  Toss the fennel with some olive oil to coat.  Do the same with the carrots.

3.  Spread the fennel on one of the baking sheets; spread the carrots on the other.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place one sheet on the top rack, the other on the bottom.  Roast for 30 minutes, turn the vegetables and then reverse the sheets.   Roast for another 30 minutes.  Chop the fennel fronds and set aside.

4.  Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish.  Toss with fennel fronds and serve.

Notes — Again, this is one of those recipes where these are estimates.  Essentially, you just want enough of the vegetables to cover the sheet pans without overcrowding them.  If you put too much, they will just steam and not roast, which is fine, if you want steamed vegetables. . . I like to toss the vegetables in a zip top bag.  It helps with the clean up and it also helps limit the amount of olive oil you use because really can coat everything with a much smaller amount by closing the top and tossing the vegetables around.  Plus if you don’t want to be wasteful, you can wash out the bag and keep it for a later use. . . Be careful — fennel can be gritty so be sure to wash them.  They’re not as bad as leeks though. . .

January Foodie Holidays

Posted on Updated on


Here's Cooper and Daisy with the monthly holiday announcements!

It’s good to be back after taking a little bit of time off for the holidays.  So I do apologize that this is a day late.  Hopefully all the hangovers and “bad-decision juice” has been worked out of everyone’s systems.  But with all the focus on physical recovery and recuperation, let’s not forget all those National Holidays that are taking place this month (there is another “National Pie Day” this month on the 23rd; the other one was last month).  I know when we think of January, New Year’s Day is always on everyone’s mind.  It is also National Hot Tea Month, National Oatmeal Month, National Slow Cooking Month, and National Soup Month.  Here are some of the National Holidays that we should be celebrating this month:

Buffet Day, Cream Puff Day

Chocolate Covered Cherry Day

Spaghetti Day

5  Whipped Cream Day

Shortbread Day

Tempura Day

8  English Toffee Day

Apricot Day

It's obvious these two don't get along! At least they're cute when they're trying to stay warm

10  Bittersweet Chocolate Day

12  Marzipan Day

13  Peach Melba Day

14  Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day

15  Strawberry Ice Cream Day

16  Fig Newton Day

18  Peking Duck Day (yum!)

20  Buttercrunch Day, Cheese Lover’s Day

21  Granola Bar Day

22  Blonde Brownie Day

24  Peanut Butter Day

25  Irish Coffee Day

26  Peanut Brittle Day

27  Chocolate Cake Day!

28  Blueberry Pancake Day

29  Cornchip Day

30  Croissant Day

31  Popcorn Day