Spicy Hush Puppies!

June 27, 2014

IMG_3858

Did someone say Hush Puppies?!! Be still my heart! How I do love those Hush Puppies! And if you’re contemplating making up a big batch of that delicious Carolina Pulled Pork I just told you about for your Independence Day celebrations, these Hush Puppies would be fantastic served right alongside those tasty little sliders. Your party will be the talk of the town! For you folks out there who might not know what a Hush Puppy is, (and I’m not sure where in the world you’ve been hanging out…) a Hush Puppy is basically a ball of cornmeal batter which has been deep-fried. They are often served along side fried seafood dishes or with barbecued foods. Now there are numerous legends about how they got their name. They seem to all involve some group of folks, be they Southern hunters, fisherman, civil war soldiers or cooks, taking a cornmeal mixture which they had been using as battering for whatever food they were cooking, deep-frying it and giving to their barking dogs to get them to quiet down while uttering “Hush Puppy!” as they tossed the tasty little morsels over to them. It actually works too. You will see the truth of it when you serve up a big basket of them at your house. Folks will be so busy chowing down, you won’t hear a peep out of them!

IMG_3823

Hush Puppies are very easy to make. I will mention a couple of pointers that I think will be handy. Make sure you add enough oil to your Dutch Oven. You need to have enough to entirely cover the Hush Puppies as they fry. And take care to get that oil up to 375°F before you start frying and that it returns to that temperature between batches. If the oil is not hot enough when you fry, your puppies will be greasy. I don’t add any sugar into my batter, preferring a savoury, spicy puppy. But if you’re one of those folks that love sweet cornbread, you probably want to add some sugar into this mix. I also like to use the TexMex Grilled Corn (recipe found below) in my Hush Puppies. I think it adds a bit more kick to them.

IMG_3808

IMG_3843

However, I have made them in the winter when I wasn’t keen to go out and grill up some corn and have found that canned corn works quite well in a pinch. Believe me, you will find that these little devils are addictive… soft and spicy on the inside with a satisfying crunchy exterior. Try some today and you’ll be hooked!

IMG_3868

Spicy Hush Puppies!

  • Servings: 28-34 puppies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising yellow cornmeal
  • 1  cup self-rising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional – if you prefer a sweeter puppy, add 1 -2 tablespoons to mix. I do not add any sugar to my mix)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated onion
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons diced jalapeño pepper
  • 1 cup corn (best if you use TexMex Grilled Corn, scroll down for recipe, but regular yellow corn from a tin will work :) )
  • Oil for frying (I prefer peanut oil, but vegetable oil if fine)

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the self-rising cornmeal, self-rising flour, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, and sugar if you are using it. In a large glass measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk, egg, grated onion and bacon dripping. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquid ingredients to the dry. Stir together until the dry ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix. Gently fold the diced jalapeños and grilled corn into the hush puppy batter. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour until mixture has risen.

Place a 6 qt. Dutch oven on the stove. Pour enough oil into it so that it reaches 2″ up the sides. Heat oil until it reaches a temperature of 375°F. Using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop or two kitchen spoons, drop small rounds of batter into the oil. Do not crowd the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally and flipping halfway through, until golden on the outside and crisp, about 3 -4 minutes. Remove hush puppies from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with tartar sauce, honey, butter, remoulade, etc. or just use them to mop up any extra barbecue sauce that might be lurking about.  Your choice!

TexMex Grilled Corn

Ingredients:

  • 3 -4 ears of fresh corn in husk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp chili powder

Directions:

Combine olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, brown sugar and chili powder in small bowl and whisk together.
Preheat grill.
Peel back the corn husks, discarding all but a couple inner layers. Remove corn silk, then baste with dressing, and recover corn with remaining husk.
Grill on med-high for 20-25 minutes, turning 3-4 times during cooking time.
Remove the corn from grill and allow to cool a few minutes, then cut off stem end, place the flat cut end on bottom of large bowl, and use a corn zipper to strip the kernels from the cob. Or if you don’t have a zipper, run a small sharp knife down the length of the cob, slicing off kernels.

Enjoy!

Spicy Hush Puppies brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 


North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sliders

June 24, 2014

IMG_8119

Oh yes! Summer is here and folks are thinking about cookouts, picnics and all manner of backyard barbecues! Believe me, I am a big fan of simple hot dogs and burgers on the grill. But what really gets me droolin is the thought of a pulled pork sandwich. Now as much as I’d like to tell ya’ll that I was out in the backyard cookin a whole pig; alas that was not the case. The secret here is that the melt in your mouth, delicious pulled pork found in these little sliders that you see here was cooked right in my wee kitchen in a slow cooker and required very little attention from me. There was no slaving over a pit. How great does that sound?

IMG_8134

Now you might be wondering why these pulled pork sliders are “North Carolina Style”. It is all about the sauce. And there are big differences in barbecue sauces in the US depending on what region you find yourself in. I’m no expert on Barbecue sauces, but I will try my best to explain the differences as I understand them. Kansas City style sauce is the one that most folks think of when they think of barbecue sauce. I’m sure you know it well, a sweet yet slightly tart thick tomato based red sauce with a bit of smoky flavour about it. Memphis Barbecue sauce is very similar to the Kansas City style but has a bit more vinegar added in along with some molasses as a sweetener. If you are in Texas the sauce will be thinner and spicy, with the meat drippings added in along with seasonings such as cumin, chili, onion, bell pepper and just a bit of tomato. In Alabama you are likely to encounter a strange white barbecue sauce. Yup…white barbecue sauce! No tomatoes there, just a mixture of mayonnaise, vinegar and pepper. In South Carolina the folks love yellow mustard base sauces sweetened with molasses or honey. Again no tomato. And finally we get to North Carolina.  North Carolina sauce is my favourite sauce. And truth be told, it varies within the state depending on how far east or west you travel. The Eastern North Carolina Sauce is a thin, nearly transparent, vinegar base sauce with lots of chili pepper flakes floating about in it.Very little to no sugar is added. It isn’t anywhere near thick enough to sit on top the meat, but rather thoroughly penetrates it. As you travel a bit farther west, you will find that the Carolinians there add just a bit of ketchup to the sauce, making it a bit sweeter and a little thicker. These particular sliders here seem to hail from a more westerly spot in the State.

IMG_8135

 

You might wonder why there are two sauces called for in this recipe. The first sauce is to give that pork some lovely flavour while it is cooking. However, as I’m sure you know, pork can release a lot of grease when cooking. Rather than try to skim off and separate the fat, it is best to just get rid of that first sauce. Once the pork is nearly done, shred it and then return it to the slow cooker with the second nice fresh sauce to finish cooking. As far as the coleslaw goes, I just can’t imagine eating a pulled pork sandwich without it, especially if it is a tangy, spicy Carolina pulled pork. The sweetness of the coleslaw really complements the tart flavour of the pork and adds a nice crunchy texture. However, I’m told some folks think slaw on pulled pork is heresy. Hmmm…to slaw or not to slaw…that is the question.

IMG_8130

 

The answer? To each his own I suppose. I say serve that coleslaw on the side so folks can indulge or abstain as they wish. Bottom line is you’ve just got to make up a batch of these North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sliders for your next gathering. (The 4th of July will be here before we know it..) Trust me…folks will go hog-wild!

IMG_8114

 

 

North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sliders

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Source: slightly adapted from Creme de la Crumb

Ingredients:

  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • ½ white onion, sliced
  • 4-6 pound boston butt, or pork loin roast (boneless)
first sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
second sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (make sure you use a Carolina Style sauce)
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depends on how spicy you like it!)

to serve

  • cole slaw
  • slider or full size buns

Directions:

Place onion slices in the bottom of your slow cooker. Place pork roast on top of onions. Whisk together ingredients for first sauce. Pour first sauce over roast. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours.
Whisk together all ingredients for second sauce. 30 minutes before serving, remove pork from slow cooker and shred with two forks. Drain juices and onions from slow cooker. Return shredded pork to slow cooker. Pour second sauce over pork and stir to combine. Cover and cook 30 minutes longer.
To serve place pulled pork on bun and top with slaw.
Enjoy!

 

 


Margarita Mini Cupcakes

June 19, 2014

 

IMG_7679

Well, Easter has come and gone. It has been quite some time since my last post. I don’t know what in the world I’ve been doing! Currently I seem to be glued to the telly. It’s World Cup time and although neither my husband nor myself are usually big sports fans, we suffer a change of personality every four years when the Cup gets underway. Luckily, we can watch all of the matches from the comfort of our air conditioned living room (who am I kidding…air conditioned local pub :) ). And thank God for air conditioning because that swampy Virginia summer weather has settled in quite comfortably around here and thus entrenched seems unlikely to be dislodged for quite some time. Yeah, we had been enjoying a lovely Spring, but recently the temperature has been hovering right around 90° F ( 32° C) with around 80% humidity or so. Anyone who has spent one damp and soggy minute hanging around here in the summer will tell you “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”. Never truer words were spoken. Humidity, we’ve got tons of it! Needless to say, it is most definitely margarita weather, either frozen or on the rocks. Anything to bring your core temperature down. I think it was my craving for that delicious sweet, salty and blessedly icy drink that inspired me to make these Margarita Mini Cupcakes. They have all of the great flavours so reminiscent of that wonderful cocktail such as tequila, fresh limes and you will even find that the fluffy swiss meringue frosting is sprinkled with just a touch of salt. That’s right they’re sweet and salty, tart and boozy. Could they get any better?

IMG_7611

Well perhaps only in that they are bite sized, easy to pop right into your mouth without exerting a lot of effort…which should be avoided at all cost in heat advisory conditions like we’ve been experiencing. They would be a very welcome addition to any cookout, picnic or potluck. And definitely keep them in mind for the next time Cinco de Mayo rolls around. I think we’re going to be in for a long and steamy summer, and it is only just beginning! Guess I’ll just have to take comfort in the little things…( well the little things and some nice ice-cold, boozy and refreshing drinks…)

IMG_7695

Margarita Mini Cupcakes

  • Servings: 86 mini cupcakes (or 24 regular sized)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Source: Tide & Thyme

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup tequila

For the Tequila Lime Buttercream:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 egg whites
  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Tequila
  • lime zest and wedges, for topping
  • fleur-de-sel, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare mini muffin tins with paper liners or baking spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Add lime zest and lime juice. Add vanilla.

Turn mixer to low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes (25 minutes for the full-sized cakes) or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point.

Allow cupcakes to cool 5 minutes in the pans before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with tequila or tequila/orange mixture if desired.

To make the frosting, place the stand mixer bowl over a simmering pot of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160°F  with a candy thermometer.

Place bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high-speed until the mixture is cool and holds stiff, glossy peaks (approximately 10 minutes).

Change to the paddle attachment and beat in one tablespoon of butter at a time on medium. The mixture might appear curdled but keep beating, it will pull back together.

Add lime juice and 1 Tablespoon tequila. Increase speed to high and beat until the frosting reincorporates and is smooth and fluffy. Beat in remaining tablespoon (or “spoons” – no judgement :) ) of tequila, if desired.

Frost the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream.  Garnish with lime zest,  lime slices, and fleur-de-sel.

Enjoy!

Margarita Mini Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 


White Chocolate Malted Mousse Cake

April 19, 2014

IMG_7442

Whoo – wee! Is it Easter time already?! Hard to believe it, but it is indeed. I have had an entire month off since my St. Patrick’s Day blogapalooza and have still yet barely recovered. And believe you me, my waist line has not yet managed to get back to normal either. Yup… the old britches are fitting a bit tighter these days. Nothing to be done about it I suppose but some diligent exercising and calorie counting….which I will start right after the Easter holidays, I promise  (wink, wink) . Because no, I can’t start now…not since two of my favourite candy treats spring up like weeds in all of the stores around Easter. I’m talking about those crack-like Cadbury Mini Eggs and those adorable speckled Robin Egg malted milk candies. Now I’m usually pretty strong-willed, but faced with the trial of seeing those delicious treats everywhere this time of year, all of my dieting resolve simply crumbles. So I just won’t set myself up for failure and the calorie restriction will simply have to wait for a few days. Last year I gave into temptation and purchased one (or was it two…or maybe three…) bags of those Robin Eggs and made Robin Egg Rice Krispie Treats, which were not only quick and easy to make, but also a wonderfully yummy snack. And this year, finding a bag of those mini Robin’s Eggs lurking about on my kitchen counter, I whipped up this gorgeous White Chocolate Malted Mousse Cake for our Easter festivities. Talk about temptation! It has so many of my favourite things in it – a crunchy shortbread/cashew crust filled with creamy malted white chocolate mousse which is adorned with Robins Egg malted candies – clearly an irresistible indulgence!

IMG_7395

This festive dessert is very easy to make, you just have to keep in mind that it does need a bit of chill time in the fridge. But no worries. You should pour yourself a glass of wine and have a bit of chill time for yourself while you wait. Your patience will be rewarded many times over when you take your first bite of this sinfully decadent dessert. You may have to spend a bit longer in the confessional (Bless me Father…) but sure you’ll be headed off to Mass anyway…right? Happy Easter Everyone!

IMG_7431

White Chocolate Malted Mousse Cake

recipe slightly adapted from: A Family Feast

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 6 ounces shortbread cookies
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Mousse:

  • 2 ounces white chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unflavoured gelatin
  • 2 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons plain malted milk powder
  • Robin’s Egg malted milk candies for garnish (I used the mini Robin Eggs)

Directions:

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the cookies and cashews in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a fine crumb consistency is reached. Add the melted butter and pulse again to combine.

Pour crumbs into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan and press down to form an even layer over the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown around the edges.

Cool the crust completely in the springform pan on a wire rack.

For the Mousse:

In a small saucepan, combine the white chocolate and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. Stirring constantly, heat until the chocolate fully melts. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Pour the milk into a small, wide microwave-safe bowl. Very slowly sprinkle the gelatin over the milk, allowing the gelatin to begin to absorb the milk before sprinkling more over the top. (To avoid creating lumps of gelatin it is important that you not only have a wide surface area of milk but that you also sprinkle that gelatin ever so slowly, allowing it to absorb before adding the next layer). Allow the gelatin and milk to sit undisturbed (don’t stir) until the gelatin is fully softened – about 3 to 4 minutes.

Microwave the gelatin milk mixture at 50% power until the gelatin completely melts. ( Heat in slow intervals, about 10 seconds at a time, taking care not to scald the milk) Once the gelatin dissolves, stir it into the white chocolate mixture. Set aside to cool, but stir often. It will begin to thicken.

While the chocolate mixture cools, in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the cream cheese, sugar, salt and malted milk powder until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the cooled and thickened white chocolate/gelatin mixture, stirring until combined.

In a separate mixing bowl, whip the remaining heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture by hand until blended.

Spoon the mousse over the cooled crust, spreading evenly in the pan. Refrigerate until firm – at least 3 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, remove the sides of the pan. Decorate with Robins Egg malted candies.

Enjoy!


Pints of Guinness Cupcakes

March 17, 2014

IMG_7270

My Goodness – My Guinness! What do we have here? Little Pints of Guinness Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day! Yup, today is the day! I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to here, but somehow, seventeen Irish-y recipes later, here we are! I’m finishing my countdown today with these delicious little boozy cupcakes. Are you kidding me? Of course they have booze in them! The cake portion of these edible pints are made with a moist and rich blending of chocolate and  Guinness. The “head” of these pints are formed with a smooth delectable and dreamy Baileys buttercream frosting. Yum, oh yum!!!

IMG_7339

Truth be told, I’ve made a version of these Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with a Swiss Vanilla Baileys Buttercream Frosting before and they were a big hit. In their first incarnation, they looked just like regular little cupcakes and were topped with crumbled chocolate covered pretzels.

IMG_2390

This time around, I thought I’d like to have a little fun with the shape and since they were Guinness cupcakes, I thought I’d really try to capture the look of a pint of that wonderful elixir. I am very pleased with the results!

IMG_7371

In order to get that pint glass type shape, I baked these in popover pans, rather than the usual cupcake tins. Then I piped the Baileys buttercream frosting onto the top and smoothed it a bit with a spatula to get the appearance of that creamy Guinness head.

IMG_7271

What fun huh? Now you can drink your pint (pints…) and eat one too! Just perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities. So what are you waiting for? Get on out there and have some fun! Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)

IMG_7391

Pints Of Guinness Cupcakes

recipe from: Lea and Jay (yours truly :) ) who originally adapted it from The Butch Bakery Cookbook by David Arrick and Allison Eats

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup (  3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup Guinness, poured and settled before you measure it out
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream

For the Swiss Vanilla Baileys Buttercream Frosting:

  • 5 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Cups (4 sticks) Butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, cool but not cold
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

Directions:

First, bake your cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two (6 well) popover pans. Take care to really butter them well so that the “little pints” will slide out easily once baked. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt your butter and set aside to cool slightly, then add in the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the stout, then set aside to cool completely for another 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream, then whisk in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture. Whisk in the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, combining until just moistened. Fill each popover cup with 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of batter. (Each well of my popover pan held 3/4 cup of liquid total, so I was filling them 1/2 full). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cupcakes are set and a toothpick comes out clean (mine took about 24 minutes). Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then carefully remove them from the pan to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Now for the frosting. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is milky white, about 2-3 minutes.

Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter, few pieces at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If the buttercream looks like it is breaking, don’t worry, it will eventually come together.

Add the salt and Baileys Irish Cream and beat for 5 seconds to combine.

Place frosting in piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes. Take spatula and smooth frosting until it resembles the head on a pint of Guinness.

Enjoy!


Bacon Wrapped Guinness & Cheddar Meatloaf

March 15, 2014

IMG_5861

So here I go…wrapping more things up in bacon. Yup…you’ve got my number by now. One might think that if I’m not drowning it in booze, I’m wrapping it in bacon! And this wonderful St. Patrick’s Day offering of Bacon Wrapped Guinness & Cheddar Meatloaf allows me to do both! That’s right, I’ve taken that old comfort food standard, meatloaf, and added some smooth, malty Guinness Stout and Irish cheddar into the mix and wrapped it all up in bacon.

IMG_5838

I didn’t think meatloaf could get any better, but I was wrong! I must admit, I’ve had some dreadful, tired old dry meatloaf in the past. And serving meatloaf did go out of fashion for a while. Though recently I’ve noticed it has made a comeback. I’m happy to say that I’ve been seeing it featured on the menus of several hot and trendy restaurants. But I’m not nearly as happy to see it as my husband is. He loves meatloaf and once he spies it on a menu, you pretty much can guess what he will be dining on that evening.

IMG_5914

So he was beyond happy when this amazing meatloaf meal showed up right on our own table. The beef and pork mixture is very tender, the earthy Guinness infused mushrooms are perfection and well…then there is the bacon. It is amazing! Not only does it infuse the meat with wonderful salty, bacon-y brilliance but it also serves to keep it very moist and juicy. No chance of dry meatloaf here! The original recipe called for a sweet Guinness-y glaze as well. I chose not to add it because we aren’t really into putting a sweet glaze onto our meatloaf. Sometimes even the standard ketchup is a bit too much for us. We don’t want one thing to interfere with the flavour of all of that meaty bacon-y goodness, so we left it out. But I know there are plenty of ya’ll  out there that do have a sweet-tooth and would love to glaze it up, so I’ve included the recipe for it here. For us that glaze seemed a bit like gilding the lily!

IMG_5928

Well folks, there you have it…beef and pork, wrapped in more pork and infused with Guinness. Served up with a big old helping of mashed potatoes and washed down with a pint or two…or so…You can’t go wrong with this Bacon Wrapped Guinness & Cheddar Meatloaf for your St. Patrick’s Day feast!

IMG_5906

Bacon Wrapped Guinness & Cheddar Meatloaf

recipe adapted from: Galley Gourmet

yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

For the Glaze: (Glaze optional – I did not use it)

  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) stout beer, such as Guinness extra stout
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

For the Meatloaf

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces Portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) stout beer, such as Guinness extra stout
  • 4 ounces quality white bread (about 2 slices of white bread), roughly torn
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 3 ounces Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces sliced bacon, about 12 strips

Directions:

For the Glaze
In a medium saucepan, bring the stout, brown sugar and honey to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until reduced by half, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool; set half the mixture aside.  Reserve remaining glaze for another use.

For the Meatloaf
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until softened and just beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened. Add stout and simmer briskly until almost dry, about 4-5 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until just warm.

In a shallow dish, soak the bread in the milk, tossing once, until soggy but not falling apart, about 5-7 minutes; set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, add beef, pork, and soaked bread and process until well-combined, about 10 (1-second) pulses.  Transfer meat mixture to bowl with cooled onions/mushroom mixture.  Add eggs, cheese, parsley, Worcestershire, salt and pepper; mix with hands until thoroughly combined.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then a sheet of parchment paper.  Transfer the meat mixture to the sheet and form into a 9×5-inch rectangular loaf.  Drape the meatloaf with slightly overlapping strips of bacon, tucking the ends under the loaf. Brush the top of the meatloaf with half of the glaze (if you are using the glaze).

Bake until an instant read thermometer registers 160° F in the center of the meatloaf, about 45-50 minutes.

Remove the meatloaf from the oven.  Place the oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element and preheat the broiler.  Brush the remaining glaze over the meatloaf (if you are glazing) and broil until the bacon is browned and crisped, about 2-3 minutes, checking and rotating to make sure the glaze doesn’t scorch.  Using two large spatulas, carefully transfer the meatloaf to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.  Cut into 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices.

Enjoy!


Green Velvet Baileys Cheesecake Cake

March 15, 2014

IMG_7144

What a fun cake for St. Patrick’s Day huh? Green Velvet Baileys Cheesecake Cake! So what you’ve got here is a layer of Baileys Cheesecake sandwiched between two layers of Green Velvet Cake ( you know – like red velvet but green instead) and frosted with a delicious cream cheese & marshmallow frosting. Are you drooling yet?

IMG_7157

I found this fantastic cake over at Recipe Girl. I must admit, Recipe Girl’s Green Velvet Cake is a much more vibrant Kelly Green than mine. Mine seems to be more of a moss-green. Oh well, as everyone knows, there are 40 Shades of Green in Ireland! I can actually attest to the fact that there are many more than that! The color difference between our two cakes is not a mystery to me. You see, Recipe Girl recommends that you use 2 tablespoons of liquid green food coloring (that is an entire 1 ounce bottle). Now I was sure I had food coloring on hand. But lo and behold, when I went to grab it whilst right in the middle of making this cake, there was only a drop or two of that dye to be had from the bottle. I did have some Wilton’s Gel Frosting Tint on hand which I substituted in. So there you have it! If you really want that your cake to have that retina-searing, screaming green hue, use liquid food coloring (and a lot of it). The good news is that the moss-green hue did not affect the flavour of my cake. It is still quite moist and tasty.

IMG_7093

And if those green velvet cake layers weren’t enough for you, there is an entire Baileys Cheesecake nestled neatly into the middle! The Baileys in this cheesecake might have been my addition to the recipe. I couldn’t resist. Almost every single recipe I’ve shared with you recently has a bit of booze in it. I figured why stop now so close to St. Patrick’s Day? You will notice that you assemble the cake with a frozen cheesecake layer. Don’t worry…it defrosts really fast! By the time you get the cake frosted, on the table and ready to go, that cheesecake layer will be entirely thawed, wonderfully creamy and perfectly luscious !

IMG_7150

Oh and let me tell you about the frosting. As with most red velvet cakes, this green velvet cousin has a cream cheese frosting. Always brilliant right? Except get this, this frosting has cream cheese and marshmallow  creme! It is by far the most mouthwateringly scrumptious cream cheese frosting I have ever tasted! Well there you have it! All of the reasons you simply must get busy making this amazing Green Velvet Baileys Cheesecake Cake for St. Patrick’s Day. In two days… three counting today…yup, you’ve plenty of time!

IMG_7075

Green Velvet Baileys Cheesecake Cake

recipe slightly adapted ( I added Baileys – go figure!) from: Recipe Girl 

yield: 12 – 14 servings

Ingredients:

For the Cheesecake:

  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

For the Green Velvet Cakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons (1-ounce bottle) green food coloring

For the Frosting:

  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • One 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • a few drops of green food coloring, if desired

Directions:

Prepare the cheesecake layer: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap a double layer of heavy duty foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is mixed in. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream, vanilla and Baileys. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven. Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan. Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).

Prepare the cake layers: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray two 9-inch round pans with nonstick spray and line each pan with a round of parchment paper (see *Tips). In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. In a large bowl, combine the oil and sugar together and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir to dissolve. Add the vinegar to the bowl, along with the buttermilk and food coloring. Beat on medium-low speed for 1 minute, until blended. Add the dry ingredients and increase speed to medium-high, scraping down the sides of the bowl while mixing, for 2 additional minutes. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool for 20 minutes. Run a knife along the edge of the pans, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely.

Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat until creamy and smooth. Add the marshmallow creme and mix until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar (and food color, if using) and continue to beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until all of the ingredients are mixed in and the frosting is smooth and spreadable.

Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Trim the cheesecake, as needed to match the size of your cake layers (see *Tips). Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake.

Frost the cake: Apply a crumb coat layer of frosting to the cake (see *Tips), and refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, or until the frosting is set. Apply the second layer of frosting. Add a large scoop of frosting onto the top of the cake. Use a long, thin spatula or knife to spread the frosting evenly across the top and then spread it down the sides of the cake too. Decorate, as desired.

Tips:

*You can certainly bake this cheesecake in the oven without a water bath, but you run the risk of cracking the top of the cheesecake. The water bath is a safeguard against cracking.
*Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be slightly larger size round than your cake layers, move it to a cutting board and use a knife to gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake.
*How to apply a crumb coat layer of frosting: use a long, thin spatula or knife to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Wipe off the spatula each time you’re about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting (this way you won’t be transferring any green crumbs into the bowl of frosting). Don’t worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting. Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the second layer.
*If you are serving this cake at a party, it’s perfectly okay to leave the cake at room temperature for a couple of hours (the cheesecake thaws very quickly). Otherwise, keep it stored in the refrigerator. It also freezes perfectly. Freeze it as is, then wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer until it is needed. Leftover slices may also be wrapped and frozen.

Enjoy!

IMG_7079


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,079 other followers

%d bloggers like this: