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Archive for the category “Cooking”

The BEST Irish Soda Bread?


Stir Crazy Irish Soda Bread may not be traditional, but it's darn good.

Stir Crazy Irish Soda Bread may not be traditional, but it’s darn good.

Last year, when I was looking for Irish soda bread recipes for St. Patrick’s Day, I found a gazillion online proclaiming to be “The Best Irish Soda Bread.”

For the most part, I wasn’t impressed. So many recipes were bland, dry and crumbly.

Before you yell at me, I understand traditional Irish soda bread is just that, and it doesn’t even have raisins in it. It’s meant to be eaten with stew, or carried in your pocket for a quick snack. 

But try as I might, I just don’t like dry Irish soda bread.
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Say ‘I love you’ with the best Chocolate Cake


Black Magic Cake with Buttermilk Ganache

Black Magic Cake with Buttermilk Ganache

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday and you’re not sure what to get that special someone. (Or maybe you just want to treat yourself?)

Don’t go out and spend a gazillion dollars on some overpriced roses or flights of fancy. Make this chocolate cake. It’s super moist and screams, “Eat me with a glass of milk!”

This is the chocolate cake you can slather with ganache, or chocolate buttercream frosting, or white frosting, or nothing at all. You can make it as 2 layers, a 13 x 9 x 2 big cake, or as cupcakes.

This is the chocolate cake every baker needs in her or his repertoire. This is Hershey’s Black Magic Cake.

It’s so popular that other chefs, notably Ina Garten, have published this recipe under other names without crediting it to Hershey’s. Nonetheless, it came from The Hershey Company, so let’s give credit where credit is due. It’s a great classic chocolate cake!

Make this cake for Valentine’s Day and you will be St. Valentine.
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No Knead Brioche, Ooh La La


If I can make Brioche, you can too!

If I can make Brioche, you can too!

After failing miserably at making Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread (The bottom was burned and the bread came out partially raw), I was reluctant to tackle No Knead-anything ever again.

But just saying I’ll never do something ever again, means I probably will do it again. So when I came across a good sounding recipe and accompanying video for No Knead Brioche, that light, slightly sweet, French favorite, I thought I would give it a whirl.

This recipe is wonderful. It makes one loaf of delicious Brioche, which is great on its own, or warmed/toasted with a bit of butter and jam. It also makes silken French Toast, and I think would be fabulous for bread pudding.

Traditional Brioche requires kneading and can be tricky. No Knead Brioche isn’t tricky at all. But it does require one important thing  — time. The dough needs to rest at least 24 hours in the fridge. (You can go several days and it’s fine). Plus, before you bake it, it will need a few hours at room temp to proof. (It does NOT double in height during the room temp rise, so don’t panic like I did thinking I blew it again.)

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Two hearty soups from one recipe


Homemade Beef Stew and French Onion Soup can share the same base, making two hearty but vastly different soups.

Homemade Beef Stew and French Onion Soup can share the same basic broth, making two hearty but vastly different soups.

It’s winter, it’s cold, there’s a storm brewing, so it’s time to make some nice hot soup. But what to make? My daughter and I had a hankering for French Onion Soup, but Jerry does not like onions, so I tried to think of a way to make us all happy — voila, made a batch of Beef Stew and a batch of French Onion Soup using the same base/broth. Two for one.

So here’s how I made the soups, and a slideshow.
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Leite’s Eats!


David Leite was my special guest for lunch and Food Chat on HAN Radio.

David Leite was my special guest for lunch and Food Chat on HAN Radio.

What a wonderful birthday I had. David Leite was my guest on Food Chat, a radio webcast show on HAN Radio, which happened to coincide with my such-and-such birthday.
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Microwave oven pressure cooker?


Will this plastic pressure cooker really work in a microwave oven?

Will this plastic pressure cooker really work in a microwave oven?

Sitting at home all day because you’re sick can be unhealthy for your wallet. The other day, I made either a very potentially great home purchase, or I blew $40 bucks. Time will tell.
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America’s Test Kitchen gets failing grade


While Cook's Illustrated Magazine touts itself as not having advertisements, its TV show America's Test Kitchen has serious commercial underwriters.

While Cook’s Illustrated Magazine touts itself as not having advertisements, its TV show America’s Test Kitchen has serious commercial underwriters.

What’s cooking with America’s Test Kitchen? A lot of home cooks really like this PBS cooking show as well as its offspring Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, the publication that spawned them.

But many of these same fans believe they’ve been burned by the company’s overly aggressive marketing campaign which they claim floods them with spam and solicitations and dupes them into spending money on products they don’t want.
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Two pink summer drinks


Katie enjoys a French Monaco cocktail at a cookout. —Patricia Gay photo

Katie enjoys a French Monaco cocktail at a cookout. —Patricia Gay photo

Summertime, and the drinking’s easy, or at least it should be. While my summer drink of choice at a bar is usually a Mojito with its cooling rum, lime, and mint, at a cookout or barbecue I prefer something lighter that I can consume easily with food, and usually grab a beer.

But why settle for a plain old beer when you can quickly turn it into a refreshing cocktail? Here are two of my favorite beer cocktails, quick, simple, and super easy to drink, and on top of it, they’re pink.

Cheers!

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Recipe Reveal: Quick and Dirty Truffles


Homemade Chocolate Truffles, clockwise from top, Ginger, Toasted Coconut, and Cherry. In the center, "Dirty" Chocolate Truffles.

Homemade Chocolate Truffles, clockwise from top, Ginger, Toasted Coconut, and Cherry. In the center, “Dirty” Chocolate Truffles.

Nobody knows the truffles I’ve seen. I found out at the last minute that it was a co-worker’s birthday. Someone was bringing a cake (whew!) but I wanted to make something special too. I had no time to shop or bake.
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Bad Eats: The Rainbow Cake Apocalypse


Who would think such a sweet looking cake could cause World War III on the internet?—Tablespoon.com photo

Who would think such a sweet looking cake could cause World War III on the internet? —Tablespoon.com photo

Forget six degrees of separation. When it comes to website comments, it may only take two or three degrees before a discussion runs amok and people start viciously attacking each other. Such is the most recent case of what is being dubbed “The Rainbow Cake Apocalypse.”
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