Saturday, January 9, 2010

Anniversary Cake

On our real anniversary, the one in January, we got married at the magistrate, went to breakfast at Bob Evans with my sister, brother in law and niece, then registered for my baby shower...yeah, we did things the "unconventional" way :) We then had a big "wedding" in July back home on Long Island with all of our friends and family, but don't worry, no one was tricked, they knew we were married already and Haven was the guest of honor!

We don't celebrate either date a lot, we are just happy each year to be with each other, loved and together. Yesterday was our anniversary and the kids had a snow day, Ryan had work, and I had a huge to do list, so we plan to "celebrate" tomorrow with a nice dinner at home after the kids are in bed with a movie on PPV.

However, I cannot pass up an opportunity to make a cake, and in honor of our 10 years of marriage, I decided to make a chocolate chunk cake with peanut butter buttercream and chocolate chunks.

I cheated today and used a boxed mix...sorry, but the baby wouldn't nap and I needed to make the cake with only one free arm. Sometime soon I will post my yellow cake recipe, it is super yummy.

So I made the cake mix, added in a few handfuls of chocolate chunks and split the batter between two loaf pans. Bake as directed and when the cakes come out, sprinkle with more chocolate chunks, let melt and then spread evenly over the cakes. I then put my cakes in the freezer to cool well.

Then make the butter cream. Soften a quarter cup of butter and half cup of peanut butter. Using a mixer, blend the two until well combined and creamy. Add two and a half cups of powdered sugar (I don't like it too sweet, add more if you do) and blend until smooth adding half and half or milk in small increments until the frosting is smooth, creamy and the consistency you desire. Then add a teaspoon of vanilla and mix one more time.

When the cakes are cool, cover with the frosting and chocolate chunks, or if feeling fancy, melt chocolate and drizzle over. So yummy!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pork Roast with Apples and Cider

You know those times when you are cooking and making things up as you go and you think...hmmm, I should really remember this just in case we like it? Well, thankfully I remembered to keep track of what I did when I made pork roast with apples and cider.

Here is what I did, and the results were super yummy!

I had a nice boneless pork loin. In my dutch oven I added a few tablespoons of olive oil and then diced a good sized sweet onion and added it to the oil. Cooked until the onion began getting soft then added the pork loin and browned on both sides. Added the spices, salt and pepper, a teaspoon or so of paprika, two good pinches of red pepper flakes and a dash or two of cinnamon. Once combined, add a half a bottle of a good quality hard apple cider, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Then I added two big handfuls of dried apples (we dry our own so I had a bunch )but if you don't have dried apples, you could add a couple of diced apples, be sure to pick something tart that will hold up well. Cover and put in the oven for an hour to hour and a half on a low hear, around 325. Check about halfway through to see if it is getting dry, add more cider as needed.

Check that the pork is cooked, it should be very tender, but if you had a really big loin, it may take longer. Right before serving, take the pork and try to slice it...mine was so tender it pretty much shredded. The cider and apples and onions cooked into a thick sauce which I combined with the pork and then checked for seasoning...I found we needed a touch more salt. Serve over thin egg noodles...delicious!

Friday, January 1, 2010

OK, new year, new goals

Wow, this blog gets neglected a lot, I think it is because I actually have to think about what I am making and then find a way to write it down here. I will try harder.

I think I am going to using labels, to see if that helps me organize my thoughts a bit better. I am also going to try to talk a little about food choices, what choices we have made and trying to feed a family of six good meals on a budget.

Tonight we are having spiced chicken, and I have already posted how I make that. I also made a pot of tortilla soup since the whole family has been sick and the spicy goodness should help.

I am making spicy potato wedges as a side tonight. I have never made these before so I am not sure how they will turn out, but I am tired of spanish rice or white rice or lime cilantro get the idea.

This is what i did. I sliced about 7 potatoes into wedges and then sliced those wedges in half to make decent bite sized pieced. I then took a bowl and added a generous amount of kosher salt, a few dashes of cayenne pepper, a few more dashes of paprika, some cumin and black pepper. I then added olive oil to the mixture to make a slurry to coat the potatoes and added a few dashes of hot sauce. I then mixed everything together with the potatoes and left to marinate. I will roast them at a high temp, about 425, turning until cooked through and crispy. You can play with the spices as you like, this is the basic process I use for a few potato recipes including lemon dill and parsley potatoes, but I have never spiced them before. Hopefully they will crisp nicely and not be too spicy for the kids, although my kids are spice lovers. The nice part is, you can always customize the spice as you like, or even go mild and do salt and lime. The oil is needed and most stays in the container when you pull the potatoes out, and be generous with the salt, potatoes need salt.