Month: February 2012
Remember when I posted about Michigan’s birthday and having a German Chocolate Cake? Turns out I never posted a recipe. So here it is! What I came up with is a conglomeration of several different recipes that I’ve collected over the years and I honestly am not sure from whom I’ve adapted this. A chocolate frosting is included here, which is optional (some folks don’t like a frosting on their German Chocolate Cakes). This recipe makes 2 9-in. cakes or 3 6-in. cakes. All the pics that I show here are for a 6-in. cake. Here’s what you need:
For the cake:
- 3/4 c., plus 2 T. Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1/2 c. boiling water
- 1/2 c. canola oil
- 4 eggs, separated, plus 2 egg whites
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/3 c. cornstarch
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 t. baking soda
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/4 t. salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and coat the sides and bottom of the pans with cocoa, tapping out the excess. Then line with parchment rounds.
2. In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the cocoa and boiling water by hand. Cover with plastic and bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Then add the oil and egg yolks. Start on low speed and gradually increase to medium, where you would mix for about one minute, scraping the bowl as needed. Chocolate mixture should be smooth and shiny. Beat in vanilla.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and mix on low until just combined. Scrape down the sides and add the rest of the flour. Beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, again scraping the sides as needed.
4. On low speed, add the egg whites. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes. Divide the batter evenly among the pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Unmold the cakes immediately, remove the parchment, and cool on racks.
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 stick butter, cubed
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 c. sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 1/4 c. chopped toasted pecans
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, yolks, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture thickens and bubbles. Reduce to low and cook for 2 more minutes.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla (the mixture will bubble), coconut, and pecans. Cool for about an hour, or until mixture becomes spreadable. If the mixture is still loose, add some coconut and pecans to thicken the filling. This can be stored in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
For the frosting:
- 8 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 T. light corn syrup
- 3 T. unsalted butter
- 1 c. heavy cream
1. To make the icing, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and butter.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream to scalding. Remove it from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. I always have a double boiler waiting just in case it needs some help with melting.
3. Chill until it’s a spreadable consistency.
1. Using a serrated knife, cut the cakes in half to make two rounds from each cake. You may need to level off the tops. In the center of a cake round or serving plate, place a spoonful of the filling to help hold the cake steady. Place the bottom half of a cake cut-side up. Spread some of the coconut filling on top, using a palette knife to push it out to the edges (I use about 1/2 c. for a 6-in. cake. If making a 9-in. cake, use 1/4 of the filling).
2. Cover with the top of the cake and alternate layers of filling and cake. If you’re using the frosting, I like to wait to just mound the final layer of filling on top after I frost the cake and top it with some pecan halves. Otherwise, just spread the top of the cake with some of the coconut mixture.
3. Again, this is optional, but you can use an off-set spatula or palette knife to frost the sides and top of the cake. I like a textured finish, but if you want a smooth & shiny look to the cake, heat your palette knife or spatula in some hot water and run it along the sides of the cake. You can also put a decorative border around the bottom and top edges of the cake.
Notes — I have seen versions where you can lightly brush the cake layers with some flavored syrup, with rum being the most common. I don’t use that in this recipe, but I am all for boozing up!. . . If you make a 6-in cake, you will have one left over. You can just freeze that and have it ready for some other time. Right now, I have two in my freezer so all I need to do is make a quick filling, and I got a cake all ready to go!. . . hope the directions were clear because, I am a little fuzzy since it is almost 3:00 am as I write this. Just let me know if there are any questions and I will get to them after I take a long nap.
So here’s a recipe finally! I made this as a special birthday cake. What I didn’t realize at the time is that this makes a hefty cake. It didn’t even fit in my covered cake plate. And usually there’s no problems with finishing off a cake, but with this one — I had to cut it into quarters and freeze a couple of sections. This should really be no surprise since there are four layers of cake and eight layers of filling, plus frosting. And after thinking about it, I did go a little overboard with the non-cake aspects of the recipe.
This was adapted from bon appétit, with one change. Well, maybe a couple changes, and I did a couple different versions. The original recipe is a Devil’s Food Cake with a Peppermint Frosting and a double ganache filling. Well, I omitted the peppermint in the frosting (which was very much like a seven-minute frosting), and with the white chocolate filling, I added the zest of an orange, hence the name of my version. But keep in mind when you’re whisking the white chocolate, be sure to clean off the tines of the whisk (they’re called “tines”, right?), because the zest will get caught all up in ’em. There’s a different version of the cake that I made for a friend as a “thank you” where I just used the orange / white chocolate cream alone. That’s the one with the rosettes on it. Of course, I also I made a chocolate frosting for that one and coated it with toasted cake crumbs.
Now this recipe can seem a little complicated, but that’s just because there are several components involved. So if you break it down in that way, it’s not too bad. Or you can just omit certain parts and make up something else. Here’s what you need:
For the cake:
- 2 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 t. salt
- 2 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 c. ice water
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9 in. cake pans with 2 in. high sides. Dust pans with cocoa and tap out excess. Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in yolk. Add cocoa and beat until well blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with ice water in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until just blended and smooth after each addition. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks and cool completely. Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil; store at room temperature.
For the dark chocolate ganache:
- 1 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
- 2 T. light corn syrup
- 14 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead. Before using, let stand at room temperature until soft enough to spread, about 30 minutes.
For the orange / white chocolate cream:
- 12 oz. high-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
- 3 c. chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
- zest of 1 orange
Place white chocolate in large heatproof bowl. Bring 1 c. cream to simmer in a saucepan. Pour hot cream over white chocolate. Let stand 1 minute; whisk until smooth. Whisk in zest. Cover; chill until mixture thickens and is cold, at least 4 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.
Add 2 c. chilled cream to white chocolate cream and beat until smooth and peaks form. Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk to thicken, if necessary, before using.
Assemble the cake:
Using long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place 1 cake layer on platter, cut side up. Spread 1/3 of dark chocolate ganache over cake. Spoon 2 c. white chocolate cream in dollops over cake; spread evenly to edges. Top with second cake layer, cut side down; spread 1/3 of ganache over, then 2 cups white chocolate cream. Repeat with third cake layer, cut side up, remaining ganache, and remaining cream. Cover with fourth cake layer, cut side down. Chill while preparing frosting.
For the frosting:
- 2 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. water
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 T. light corn syrup
Combine sugar, 1/2 c. water, egg whites, and corn syrup in large bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer. Whisk by hand to blend well. Set bowl with mixture over saucepan of gently simmering water; whisk constantly with hand whisk until mixture resembles marshmallow creme and ribbons form when whisk is lifted, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove bowl from over water and attach bowl to heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on high-speed until mixture is barely warm to touch and very thick, 7 to 8 minutes.
Using offset spatula and working quickly, spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill.
Notes — Alright so I made a common mistake with the ganache filling. I accidentally overheated the chocolate which causes the chocolate to separate. I’m sure this has happened to lots of folks. So how to fix this? There’s lots of things that you can do to get things come back together. First of all, transfer everything into a new bowl to help cool things down. One of the things you can do is to gradually add some additional chocolate. This helps to temper it. You could also add some additional cream or butter; adding fat helps smooth things out. Immersion blenders can also prove very useful as well at this stage. What I did was a combination of all these and I also added a brick of cream cheese to this batch. Problem solved!. . . If any seizing or separating occurs when you’re working with chocolate, keep in mind that you cannot use it to coat anything anymore. It doesn’t matter if you fix it and everything looks fine — it will not coat properly! You can still use it for frostings though, or in brownie recipes, or things along those lines. . . This Devil’s Food Cake recipe is different from other recipes that I have. Most recipes that I know of combine the cocoa and some hot water together, which you then add to the batter. This one, as you’ve read earlier, combines the cocoa into the batter and adding ice water separately.
Today is Paczki Day! While other folks may be celebrating Mardi Gras or Carnivale, here in the Midwest we have Paczki Day. Well, it might not be particular to the Midwest, because if you live anywhere with a large Polish population, you probably know about Paczkis. But here in SE Michigan, we can’t get enough. According to AnnArbor.com, we here are crazy about paczkis and lead the nation in Google searches about Paczki Day. Personally, I never even heard of a paczki until I started living in Michigan. And thanks to the large Polish population in Hamtramck, MI (which is a city within Detroit), I am hooked!
But, let me back up a little bit. Some of y’all might not know what a Paczki is. First of all, it’s pronounced POONCH-key or PUNCH-key. These are Polish jelly-filled donuts which are traditionally served the day before Lent, which is the 40 days of sacrifice and penance before Easter. They came about as a way to use up all the lard, butter, sugar, and eggs in the pantry, because if you do celebrate Lent, you won’t be using any of those ingredients for the next 5 1/2 weeks. So, much like Mardi Gras, paczkis are one last indulgence before 40 days of fasting.
In the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area, probably all over Michigan, you can find local big box grocery stores stocked with them. I even found them as early as the first week of February. At places like these, you can find fillings like strawberry, lemon, or custard, but you probably won’t find the traditional flavors like prune or rosehip. Prune you’re more likely to find, but you have to work to find rosehip. Again, if you don’t know, rosehips are the fruit of the rose. When you leave the rose on the bush (particularly Rugosa roses) and allow it to wither, what eventually develops is a rosehip. They kinda look like those tiny tomatoes you find at the grocery, but on a rose bush. And in case you were wondering, they are very, very, very high in vitamin C.
There are several places around here where you can find some paczkis. All the big grocery stores have them — Kroger, Meijer, and Busch’s — and some other specialty establishments like Plum Market and the renowned Zingerman’s. Normally, I go to Copernicus Deli (where you can find some rosehip), but this year I got my first sampling of the goods from Ypsilanti’s Dom Bakeries. They were already my favorite donut shop in town (their apple fritters are ridiculously good!), but I never thought to stop in for some paczkis. But I’ll be heading to Copernicus this morning anyway to get some rose ones due to a special request from a Michigan ex-pat down in Key West.
So, if you have a Polish neighborhood in town, be sure to go on a hunt for paczkis today. Better yet, make a trip down to Hamtramck, MI and participate in the festivities throughout the day (I really should work for the Michigan tourist board). Don’t deprive yourself of this yearly event of sweet, deep-fried culture. And be sure to visit me on Facebook — I’m up to 7 likes now!
It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m sick again. So I’m here on the sofa drinking tea and watching Martha Stewart. And for whatever reason I start thinking to myself, “Waterlily, we certainly have a lot of Pisco.” Now what else can you do with Pisco that isn’t a Pisco Sour? If you don’t know, Pisco is essentially a brandy made from grapes that is particular to Chile and Peru. Kinda like champagne, there is debate about what can be called pisco, depending on the origin of the grapes. According to Chilean law, for a spirit to be called pisco, it must be made from muscat grapes from particular regions of Chile (regions 3 and 4 to be exact). Anything else will not be recognized as pisco. Of course, don’t tell that to any Peruvians since there is an actual town called Pisco, which is the origin of the brandy.
After a trip through the kitchen, I came up with some rhubarb syrup, pisco, cognac, rum, and lime juice. What I can up with is kinda like a Sidecar. And since it’s Valentine’s Day, I christen this drink the Rhisco Kiss. Here’s what you need:
- 2 oz. Pisco
- 2 oz. Rhubarb syrup
- 1 oz. brandy
- 1 oz. rum
- juice of 1/2 lime
Line the rim of a martini glass with some sugar. Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker to combine. Strain into the glass and drink up!
Notes — I get a lot of my booze know-how from drinking experience and from the program Three Sheets. It aired on the Mojo network a few years ago, and after that network went belly up, it made the rounds on several other channels. I lost track of it after that, but what I liked about the show was that you got a chance to actually learn about different cultures, traditions, and the booze that they drink. I’ve seen a couple of newer versions of the program, but they focus more on drinking than on culture. I haven’t been as enamored about those shows as I am with Three Sheets. If you get a chance check them out. It’s on Hulu and YouTube and the like. I’ll post a video of the Chilean show on my Facebook page, so go visit me there and like my page. I’m up to five likes now!
So I’m having one of those days. Actually it’s been a couple of days. Last night, I had one of my worst games in recent memory (I play in a local volleyball league). And it’s now spilled over to today. I’m working on a couple of birthday cakes for the weekend and nothing ever looked quite the way they are supposed to. The ingredients weren’t mixing correctly, the batter looked weird, and then they weren’t baking right. And then it hit me halfway through the baking time — I never added any sugar! Nice. Ever wonder what cakes without sugar look like? Feast your eyes!
I just started a Facebook page for Jereme’s Kitchen so stop by and like my page because it’s just me so far! I added a widget at the bottom of the sidebar. It’s so sad — number of likes = 1 🙂
So this is a little late, and I apologize. As I said in my last post, I’ve been having issues with the editing software on here. I did a little adjusting of the settings here and there and I think I’m set.
No pictures of Daisy or Cooper this time. But since Groundhog Day is February 2, I did include some pics from Punxsutawney, PA. We made a stop there on the way moving from Maine back to Michigan. It was a little bit out of the way (well a lot out of the way, and it was especially difficult driving a moving truck on those twisty mountain roads), but I couldn’t resist meeting the famous groundhog!
In addition to Groundhog Day, we celebrate National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Macadamia Nut Month, and National Snack Food Month. Plus we get National Pancake Week during the last week of the month! Here are some of the fun holidays (along with some links, as always) we have this month:
1 – Baked Alaska Day
3 – Carrot Cake Day
4 – Stuffed Mushroom Day
8 – Molasses Bar Day
9 – Bagels and Lox Day
11 – Peppermint Patty Day
12 – Plum Pudding Day
13 – Tortellini Day
14 – Cream-filled Chocolates Day, Valentine’s Day
15 – Gumdrop Day
16 – Almond Day
17 – Indian Pudding Day
19 – Chocolate Mint Day
20 – Cherry Pie Day
21 – Sticky Bun Day
22 – Cook a Sweet Potato Day, Margarita Day
23 – Banana Bread Day
24 – Tortilla Chip Day
25 – Chocolate-Covered Peanuts Day, Clam Chowder Day
26 – World Pistachio Day
27 – Strawberry Day, Kahlua Day!
I was hoping to post this sooner, but I was having some problems with editing. For whatever reason none of my revisions were saved and I was trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Eventually I figured it out so I apologize for being behind on posts. But I digress. . . On to my story. . .
I am a car nut. Not a gear head, mind you, because I can barely change a tire. I can do stuff like switch out headlamps, but adding some forced induction to boost performance is way, way, way over my head. I just love driving them (one of my favorite pastimes [I think that’s spelled wrong] is going out for test drives of new cars). I like seeing what’s new and improved, seeing what sexy concepts are coming, and following all the latest automotive news. And one of the great things about living in SE Michigan is that the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is held every January right in downtown Detroit. Luckily I got a chance to go on the last day of the 2012 show on Sunday, January 22nd. Now if you love cars, this is one of the best shows in the country, if not THE best. Over the past couple of years, the NAIAS saw a drop which coincided with the economic downturn. Automotive companies withdrew from the show, major debuts and premieres were shifted to places like Chicago, New York, or Geneva, and attendance dropped. But from the looks of everything, the show has come back in a big way.
Another great thing about SE Michigan is Slow’s BBQ. For the past couple of years, our new tradition has been to go to the auto show and afterwards head on down to Slow’s for some beers and a meal of barbecued deliciousness. Slow’s has generated a big name for itself not just among locals, but across the country. There was even a nice article in the New York Times about how Slow’s is helping to revitalize downtown Detroit.
So let’s get down to business. . . after hanging out at the auto show for a few hours, we got in around lunchtime (like around 1:00), so it was packed with an hour wait (the crowd does thin out around 3:00 so that could be a good time to go). You could try and get a seat at the bar, but I wanted a table and didn’t mind the wait. Besides, it gave me a chance to look over all the pics from the auto show. Plus, I get a chance to figure out what beers I want to try — they have about 60 bottles and 20 beers on tap.
We started out with the Fried Catfish Appetizer and a couple of beers — specifically Bell’s Hopslam and Short’s Sour Puss. These are two of my favorite breweries and if you come across either of these two I definitely suggest you try them. The Hopslam is hoppy, and bright, and has strong flavor of grapefruit (especially on the aftertaste). This is another one of the Bell’s beers that has a cult-like following, especially since it’s available for only about one month out of the year. It is a lot stronger than your average ale, with a 10% alcohol rating. Now, as for the Sour Puss, I was not familiar with it and I couldn’t find any info about it at all on their website. So I had to drop the brewery a line; I haven’t heard back from Short’s so your guess is as good as mine. But I will be scouring stores in my area to see if I can get my hands on some. No surprise, but there is a very strong sour flavor and it was unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. It was layered and complex, but I have no frame of reference for me to compare. I just know that I loved it! Unfortunately for a lot of y’all, Short’s beers are available only in Michigan, and they don’t have any plans to change that any time soon. But hey, that’s a great reason to come and visit the state and visit Short’s Pub in Bellaire, MI.
So, on to the catfish. . . these morsels were perfectly cooked and served hot with a side of remoulade. These were described as having a “tempura” batter, but that really wasn’t the case. It was a lot more substantial than you would find in a tempura, but it didn’t overpower the fish. I think that the cornmeal in the batter helped out with that.
Another round of beers. . . another Hopslam and this time I wanted to try the Firkin of Pineapple Ale. Again, I don’t know much about this one and didn’t think to ask. I’m still learning how to be a restaurant critic so I will try to remember to be more inquisitive. . . and to bring a pen and paper because using the notepad on my phone is a pain! Now I’d say that this ale is closest to an IPA but on the sweeter side. I didn’t quite catch flavors of pineapple, but I did get apple and citrus notes. Since it was served closer to room temperature, the other flavors were easier to pick up. Now this is definitely a better choice for the meal, because the Sour Puss might probably overpower the rest of the meal with its intensity.
And now for the main course. . . we got the Longhorn sandwich with a side of waffle fries and the Big Three entrée with a side of green beans and the delicious Mac and Cheese. The Longhorn is a sandwich with sliced beef brisket, onion marmalade, and shredded smoked Gouda. The Big Three is pretty much a sampler platter of their barbeque offerings — pulled pork, pulled chicken, and the brisket. Honestly, I think the brisket is the star. You can get some of the crispy charring on the outside coupled with flavors with some of the fat on the beef (the fat is where the flavor is at!). So not only do you get the layers of flavors, but also layers of texture which add a great deal to the experience. I definitely think the brisket could stand on its own without any additional sauces or additions, but of course, that didn’t stop me from trying different combinations! Don’t get me wrong — I love the pork and the chicken, but they can be a little bit on the lean side which means they are perfect vehicles for Slow’s selection of sauces.
There’s a selection of four sauces — Apple, Sweet, Spicy, and North Carolina. In my opinion, the best all-arounders would be the smokey, sweet Apple and the vinegary North Carolina. I think the Spicy works best with the pulled pork, and the Sweet goes well with the chicken. Keep in mind that there are other dishes there, like the ribs, salmon, jambalaya, even vegetarian options, so these sauces could strut their stuff with other pairings. Maybe one of these days I’ll opt for the ribs and a side of the black-eyed peas. And maybe one of these days, I’ll remember to leave room for dessert.
Slow’s BBQ is quickly becoming an Michigan culinary institution, if it isn’t one already. I think that over hour wait that you’re likely to encounter when you get here attests to that. But if you can wrangle up 5 of your friends, you can call ahead for a table because they take reservations for parties of 6 or more. I love Slow’s and I recommend you checking them out. If you’re careful, your bill doesn’t have to be exorbitant like mine tends to be. But I get here once a year, and what can I say? — I’m a sucker for great food and great beer!