Monday, September 29

Southern Yogurt Cake

There is a large variety of yogurt cakes in the culinary world. Throughout the world you can find a yogurt based cake in almost every cuisine. One of my favorite is native to the Southern part of the US. It is rich in texture, is moist, and has a subtle sweetness, making this the perfect cake for breakfast or dessert.

Although the traditional recipe calls for plain yogurt, you can easily use vanilla or lemon yogurt to make this cake. Just remember to use lemon extract instead of vanilla if using lemon yogurt.

Full time 2 hours (includes cooling time)
Makes 1 bundt cake

The needs-

1 egg
1 stick butter, melted
2 cups flour
1 cup yogurt (plain or vanilla or lemon)
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp vanilla or lemon extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

The know-

Preheat oven to 350'. Grease and lightly flour a bundt pan, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add in vanilla and egg, mixing until smooth.

Add in baking soda, powder, and salt, mixing just to incorporate.

Add in 1/2 cup flour, mix just to incorporate.

Add in half of the yogurt and mix well.

Add in 1/2 cup flour, mix just to incorporate.

Add in remaining yogurt and mix well.

Add in remain flour and mix until a even in texture batter forms.

Spoon batter into bundt pan and smooth out, it will be a rather dense batter which smooths easily.

Bake in oven 45-55 minutes or until an inserted cake tester (I use a wooden kabob skewer) comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan for five minutes.

Flip cake onto wire rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.

If desired and cake is completely cooled, dust with confectionery sugar prior to serving, cheers!

Saturday, September 27

MAKE IT: Tomato Jam

Tomato jam is a great accompaniment to chicken, crostinis, cheese plates, and most fall favorite dishes. A tad bit time consuming, this wonderful jam almost a relish is a great way to use extra tomatoes when your garden is over flowing or when you just want a great garden treat!

Full time 2 hours (includes cooling time)
Makes 1 pint jam

The needs-

2 pound tomatoes (any variety, I am using an assortment from the garden)
1 lemon, sliced thin (try to remove seeds)
4 cups boiling water
4 cups ice water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp apple cider
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (can be cut to 1/8 for milder spice)

The know-

*A note prior to beginning, this does like to splatter a tad and it is very hot, use caution when making.

Place tomatoes in a heat resistant bowl or pot and pour in boiling water.

Allow tomatoes to sit for 5-8 minutes to loosen their skins.

Drain tomatoes and place into ice water. Allow them to sit 2-3 minutes or until you can touch them without discomfort.

Gently squeeze tomatoes over a medium mixing bowl to slip off their skin letting the tomato fall into the bowl. Discard water and skins.

Once all skins are removed, coarse chop tomatoes in a food processor.

In a heavy bottom pot combine all ingredients from brown sugar to bottom of list.

Cook over medium high heat for 5-8 minutes or until sugar has dissolved.

Add in tomatoes and any juices in processor.

Allow this to cook for 30-40 minutes or until liquid has reduce by half. You need to stir this frequently to prevent scorching, just remember it will splatter when you are not stirring.

Once liquid had been reduce in half, add lemon slices into the pot and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.

Carefully remove from heat and discard lemon rounds.

Pour into air tight container and let cool 30 minutes with lid off before storing. If you are canning this, do not allow cooling time, proceed straight to canning. This will store up to 1 week in air tight container or once you pop lid on the jar.


Thursday, September 25

Cucumber Bread

Although it sounds odd, cucumber bread is actually rather tasty. It is a nice smooth texture bread and is wonderful when slightly warmed with cream cheese. Having a subtle summer refreshing flavor, cucumber bread is perfect for breakfast, brunch, and using excess cucumbers!

Full time 2 hours (includes cooling time)
Makes 1 loaf

The needs-

2 eggs
1 cucumbers (on the larger or fatter side)
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (whole wheat or all purpose work great too!)
1 cups sugar
3/4 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup plus 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

The know-

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease or spray a 9 x 5 loaf pans, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, oil, water, and vanilla.

Add in cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.

Add in flour and sugar, mixing only to ensure it is well combined. Allow to rest for a moment, it will be very thick almost a dough.

Dice cucumbers into small 1/4" pieces.

Fold cucumbers and 1/2 cup nuts into the batter.

Pour batter into loaf pan.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup nuts across the top.

Bake in oven 55-65 minutes or until an inserted toothpick (near the center) comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans 8-10 minutes.

Carefully flip out onto a wire rack.

Allow to cool 30 minutes before serving.

Slice and serve, cheers!

Tuesday, September 23

Japanese Steamed Buns

Steamed buns are a Japanese sweet bread. Found in a variety of flavors steamed buns are one of my favorite foods. These Japanese treats make the perfect accompaniment to lunches, boxed meals, or as a snack on the go.

Full time 30 minutes
Makes 10 buns

The needs-

1 egg
2 cup pancake mix
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil

The know-

Place a wok or shallow pan on the stove top and fill with roughly 1" of water (it will depend on your steamer basket). Get water boiling.

In a mixing bowl combine egg with sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in milk.

Add in vegetable oil.

Add in pancake mix and mix to create a even texture batter.

Fill 10 cupcake liner (yes you can use paper, just make sure to use thicker ones) filling 2/3 of the way full.

Place filled liners into steamer basket and carefully to avoid steam burns, place steamer over/into pan, make sure there is still water in pan, but basket should not be submerged into it too deep of buns will get wet.

Steam 10 minutes. Make sure you do not run out of water during this time.

Carefully remove steamer from heat and let buns cool in basket for 5-8 minutes.

Carefully remove buns from steamer and serve, cheers!

Sunday, September 21

Dill Roasted Polish Sausage and Potatoes

Polish Sausage is an great ingredient/protein for one dish dinners. Highly flavorful and filling, I like to use polish sausage in bakes. A bake is really anything that is mixed, tossed into a pan, and baked. My favorite of these is a dill seasoned bake with potatoes. A perfect set it and forget it bake, great for the family, and the nights you need to get dinner on the table with little fuss.

Full time 1- 1 1/2 hours
Serves 4

The needs-

3 medium potatoes, diced
1 lb. polish sausage, sliced into 1" pieces
1 onion, diced large
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

The know-

Preheat oven to 350' and lightly spray a 7 x 11 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl combine olive oil, dill, salt, and pepper.

Toss in potatoes and onions, toss until full coated.

Pour into baking dish.

You will see the olive oil mixture should have left a mild amount in the mixing bowl.

Toss sausage into the bowl, the goal is to get carry over flavor, not actually season the sausage as they already have a great flavor on their own.

Toss and swirl bowl, just to coat the sausage.

Add sausage into the pan.

Bake in oven 45-60 minutes, depending on potatoes, once potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork, you are done.

Remove from oven and serve, cheers!

Friday, September 19

French Yogurt Bread

This easy to make, soft in texture bread is perfect for mornings on the go. With a subtle hint of lemon to it, this bread can easily become a household favorite!

Full time 2 hours (includes cooling time)
Makes 1 loaf

The needs-

2 eggs
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 1/2 cup flour (I am using white whole wheat but all purpose works great too)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup yogurt (traditional uses plain, substitute lemon if you want a strong lemon flavor)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon extract

The know-

Preheat oven to 350' and lightly grease/flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

Over/In a large mixing bowl, between your palms rub together the lemon zest and sugar to moisten the sugar with the zest.

Whisk in eggs, vegetable oil, lemon extract, and lemon juice.

Whisk in yogurt.

Whisk in baking powder and salt.

Fold in flour, folding only to blend it in well.

Pour batter into loaf pan.

Bake in oven 45-55 minutes or until color is golden and an inserted cake tester (toothpick or wooden skewers work fine too) comes out clean when inserted in center.

Let cool in pan 10-15 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Let cool on rack at least 30 minutes before serving.

This bread can be enjoyed for up to 3 days after baking, cheers!