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Stuffed Shells a la DWIL

Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Dried basil
Dried oregano
1/2 box jumbo pasta shells
1-1/2 finely chopped onions (more or less depending on your preference)
About 2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 lb each ground beef and ground sausage
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large tub ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
Any kind of sauce you prefer (my grandmother makes her own but I have yet to get her recipe...)

Bring your pot of water to a boil, you can a little olive oil and a little salt to it. Put your shells in and cook them almost through, but not all the way done as they will finish in the oven. Drain these and CAREFULLY (super hot) separate them so they do not stick together.

While your shells are cooking, you can put a little olive oil in a pan and toss in your minced garlic and onions to cook until soft. Then add your meat and continue to cook, seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Add the spinach last and cook only for a few minutes. Drain your meat of the grease when finished.

In a bowl, mix together your meat/spinach, ricotta, parmesan, and HALF of the mozzarella. Also add your basil and oregano and more salt and pepper if you'd like. Since everything is cooked, I taste as I go and determine what else is needed.

You will need a baking dish, I usually go with the throw away foil ones you can get at any dollar store because they make for easy clean up. My grandmother uses olive oil to coat the bottom of the dish, I prefer using the sauce. Spoon your bowl mixture into the shells, fill them however full you'd like. I always end up with too many shells or left over ricotta. Arrange them in the dish open side face up. Pour your sauce over the shells, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top, and bake uncovered at 350 until the cheese is nice and bubbly and there you have it. Stuffed shells.

Fettuccine Alfredo

1 box of Rotini (spiral pasta)
1 stick of butter
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1 8oz pkg fresh Parmesan cheese
1 bundle (16 stocks) asparagus

First things first, start steaming the asparagus. This is the longest step and it takes about 20 minutes. Next boil your water and cook pasta. For the sauce: chop a few pieces of garlic and throw it in a sauce pan with about 2 Tbs butter. Only let the garlic cook until it just turns brown, about 45 seconds, and then add the rest of the butter. Once that is completely melted add the heavy whipping cream. Let the cream warm up and then start slowly adding the cheese. You can add more or less cheese depending on your preference. It's important you continually stir the sauce while it is cooking. Once the asparagus is done I chopped it up into small pieces. I pour the sauce over the pasta (which should be drained, obviously) and then mix it. Once the sauce is mixed I add the asparagus and mix some more.

This dinner is so quick and so delicious. We usually add a salad and some garlic bread! It's definitely not a healthy meal but it's soooo good!

Reese's Peanut Butter Poke Cake

Author: Six Sisters Stuff

Recipe type: Desse

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 30 mins Total time: 45 mins

Serves: 20

This is by far one of our favorite cakes and it's so easy to make!


1 box chocolate cake mix

eggs, oil, and water as directed on the box cake mix

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

1 cup peanut butter, (I used creamy)

12 ounces cool whip, divided

12 ounces hot fudge, divided

8 reese's peanut butter cups, crumbled


Prepare and bake your chocolate cake following instructions on the cake mix box. When the cake is done cooking, take it out of the oven and poke the cake all over with a fork.

Microwave your hot fudge and pour ¾ of the jar on top of the cake so it will soak in.

Combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in a large bowl or stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add peanut butter and continue mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Add half of the cool whip and continue mixing it until smooth.

Spread peanut butter mixture evenly over cooled cake. Cover and refrigerate until cool.

Spread remaining cool whip over peanut butter mixture. Drizzle rest of hot fudge over top. Then sprinkle the crumbled reese's peanut butter cups over top. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.


8x8 square pan. 350 or 325 oven. 30-35 minutes.

- 4 oz unsweetened bar chocolate (do NOT use cocoa powder!)
- 1+1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 c. dark brown sugar
- 1/2 c. white sugar
- 2 tsp. espresso powder (optional, but damn good--heightens chocolate flavor)
- 2 eggs (chewy); 3 eggs (cakey)
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. flour
- 1 tsp. salt

1. Melt chocolate, sugars, butter, + espresso powder over med-low heat on stovetop.
2. Once sugar is melted (no or few granules), remove from heat and let cool. (For those of you located in the land of fuck, cover the pot and stick in a snowbank for 10-15)
3. Mix in eggs to cooled chocolate (must be cool or you'll have scrambled egg brownie). Also add vanilla.
4. Gently incorporate the flour. Do not overmix or you'll end up with tough brownies. Blegch.
5. Mix-ins. Add a handful of toasted walnuts or a handful of chocolate chips if you like. Or just toss on top after the batter is in the pan.
6. Pour into greased and/or lined (foil or parchment) pan. If glass, oven shuld be 350. If your using metal, set oven to 325.
7. Bake 30-35.

Burrito Casserole

Creamy Burrito Casserole

1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 package taco seasoning
6 large flour tortillas
1 can refried beans
2 -3 cups shredded taco cheese or cheddar cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 ounces sour cream

Brown beef and onion; drain.
Add taco seasoning and stir in refried beans.
Mix soup and sour cream in a separate bowl.
Spread 1/2 sour cream mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Tear up 3 tortillas and spread over sour cream mixture.
Put 1/2 the meat bean mixture over that.
Add a layer of cheese.
Repeat the layers.
Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 20-30 minutes.

StoneLady's Peppermint Booze Cake

You can also sometimes make it dairy-free, in which case just substitute crisco and almond milk for butter and milk. Still tastes just as magnificent.



2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water (yes, boiling!)

If you want to add peppermint schnapps to make the cake part pepperminty (or heck, use whatever schnapps you want), add a bit. The alcohol will cook out.


1/2 Cup Melted butter.

1/4 Cup Water.

1 Cup White sugar.

1/2 Cup Peppermint Schnapps


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.

Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.

Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.

Distribute cake batter to pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely.


Create the glaze mix in a 1 quart sauce pan (mix all but the schnapps). Boil for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves.

Remove glaze from heat, let cool about 10 minutes, and add the schnapps (or if you want it less boozy, add the alcohol at beginning and allow alcohol to cook out).

Prick top and sides of cake gently with a toothpick, to make holes for the booze glaze to absorb into the cake.

Drizzle glaze over top and sides of cake with a spoon (or if you are lazy, just pour) until gone.

This cake, man. You'll never want another kind of cake again. It's like a taste-gasm.

Rice Pudding

First make a batch of rice (1 cup rice, 2 cups water) - follow standard directions.

When that's done, fluff the rice a bit to separate.

Then add

1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk
1 cinnamon stick or some ground cinnamon (start with 1/2 teaspoon)
We sometimes add a handful of raisins

Stir and simmer until the milk reduces and it all becomes thick and creamy. You may need to add more milk if it starts getting too thick - the rice should be almost mushy (think soft, warm, smooth, comfort food).

Remove from heat and add 1 tsp vanilla.

Serve warm and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon (my kids likes a big dollop of whipped cream on top)

Honey Balls Struffoli

For the Dough
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Zest of half a lemon, grated
Zest of half an orange, grated
pinch salt
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon grappa, rum, or vanilla
3 cups vegetable oil for frying

For the Honey Syrup
2 cups honey
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup water
¼ cup small colored sprinkles
Stir the flour, sugar, lemon and orange zest and salt together in a bowl and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs, butter and grappa to it. With your fingertips, work the eggs, butter and grappa together until more or less blended, then begin working in the dry ingredients. Continue working the dough until it is smooth and evenly blended. Gather the dough together into a ball, wipe the dough from your hands and add it to the dough ball. Clean your hands and the work surface, flour both lightly and knead the dough until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Pull off a plum size piece of the dough and roll it out with your palms and fingers to a rope about 1/3 inch in diameter. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cut the dough ropes crosswise into 1/3-inch lengths. Roll the pieces of dough between your hands into balls.

Pour the oil into a wide, deep skillet or braising pan and heat over medium heat until a deep frying thermometer registers 350 degrees F or a dough ball gives off a lively sizzle when slipped into the oil. Carefully slide about one-fourth of the dough balls into the oil and fry, turning and immersing them with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon, until golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer them with the skimmer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain, first allowing any excess oil to drip back into the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough balls, allowing the oil to return to the correct temperature before frying the next batch.

Have a bowl of cold water and a serving plate large enough to hold the finished struffoli (about 12 inches in diameter) close by. Stir the honey, sugar and water together in a heavy wide pot large enough to hold all the dough balls over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and bring the syrup to a boil. The syrup will foam up dramatically when it comes to a boil. Continue cooking until the foam dies down and the mixture becomes just a shade darker [ok?], about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately add all the fried dough balls. Toss them in the syrup with a wire skimmer until they are coated. Remove the dough balls from the syrup with the skimmer, allowing excess syrup to drip back into the pan first, and mound them on the serving plate like a pyramid, helping yourself with your hands from time to time, after dipping them into the cold water to protect them.

Scatter the sprinkles over the mound of struffoli until it is colorful. You may serve them the same day, however it also keeps well for several days covered loosely with plastic wrap.

Nov. 24th, 2014

12 cups cubed bread (1 loaf)
1 onion, chopped
1.5 cups chopped celery
1 cup margarine or butter
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons dried sage
1.5 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1-2 tablespoons water, optional

Cook onion and celery in butter for 10 min or until softened.
Mix bread and seasonings until well combined. Stir in onions, celery and butter. Toss together.
Put into a large shallow casserole dish or crock pot and pour water around edges.
Bake in the oven at 350ºF for 45 min. or in crock pot on low for 4.5 to 5 hours. Stir occasionally to promote even browning.

Just Like Stove Top

8 slices bread (whole wheat sourdough is my preference)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 stalk celery, sliced thinly
½ onion, diced small
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
¾ teaspoon ground sage (or poultry seasoning)
1¼ cups chicken stock

Place bread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 350˚F for 16-20 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until toasted. Allow to cool then chop into small cubes.
In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery, onion, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables have softened. Stir in parsley and sage, stir until coated. Stir in chicken stock. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, stir in bread cubes along with any crumbs. Stir until evenly coated. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir gently before serving. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Cheese Stuffed Garlic Rolls

YIELD: 18 rolls PREP TIME: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 20 minutes TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes
1 pound pizza dough
36 mozzarella cubes
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

Divide the dough into 18 equal pieces. Flatten a piece of dough and place 2 chunks of cheese inside, sealing the dough around the cheese tightly. Place on the baking sheet seam side down and continue with the remaining dough. Cover and let rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Combine the butter, Italian seasoning, and garlic in a small bowl and microwave until the butter is melted. Brush all over with the butter mixture. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve very warm.

Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes


3lbs garnet sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
3 to 4 tablespoons bourbon
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the potato chunks in a large pot and cover with water. Add a tablespoon of salt to the water. Boil until tender (about 15 to 20 minutes).
Drain the cooked sweet potatoes and return them to the pot on the stove. Lower the heat to low. Add the bourbon and the butter to the pot and stir. Add the brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and stir. Mash with a potato masher until smooth.

Green Bean Casserole, Updated


2 pounds green beans, ends removed, halved
6 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup crème fraiche (or heavy cream)
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375º F and bring a pot of water up to a boil.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large pan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add onion slices and sauté until soft and golden, stirring frequently. 20-25 minutes. Reduce heat further if onions are getting crispy. Set aside.
In a separate pan, heat remaining butter over high heat and add mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are slightly browned. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Blanch green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and immediately set in an ice bath to stop them from cooking more.
Beat the egg into the crème fraiche and stir in Parmesan, nutmeg and pinch of salt and pepper.
Add mushrooms and green beans (patted dry with a paper towel) to the crème fraiche and toss to coat thoroughly.
Pour mixture into casserole dish (9x13-inch) and set caramelized onions around the edge as a border. Bake for 30 minutes, or until onions are slightly crisped.
Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes and serve hot.

Potatoes Au Gratin

Potato Gratin
(Serves 6-8)


3 tablespoons butter, plus butter for greasing baking dish
1 clove garlic, halved
6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced (about 5 cups)
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup Gruyere, grated
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375º F and grease baking dish with butter. Take halved garlic and rub it around the baking dish.
In a large saucepan, melt your butter and add in flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper. You should have a paste-like sauce.
Slowly pour in heavy cream and chicken stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Take off heat and stir in Gruyere until melted.
Arrange potatoes in layers in your baking dish, adding salt and pepper between layers. Pour sauce over the potatoes so that they’re evenly covered. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top.
Place in oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and the top is golden and crispy.

Sweet Potato Casserole


(Serves 10-12)

2 lbs. sweet potatoes, 5-6 medium sweet potatoes
2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup evaporated milk (low-fat optional)
2 eggs

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
For Topping:

1 cup pecans
, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, cubed

1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Butter a 9x13 baking dish
Place sweet potatoes in a large pot of water and boil until tender. Allow to cool and remove skin. Dice into 1-1 ½ inch cubes
In a large bowl, mix or mash potatoes and add sugars, evaporated milk, eggs, butter, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Mix well and pour into baking dish.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine all “Topping” ingredients. Mix well to make sure everything is incorporated. Spread topping evenly on top of sweet potato mixture.
Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy. Optional: place under broiler for 30 seconds until top is bubbling. Allow 10 minutes to cool and serve hot.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potatoes


2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, peeled
salt and pepper, to taste

Take peeled potatoes and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Place in slow cooker.
Add garlic and chicken broth and cook on high for 4 1/2 hours or on low heat for 8 hours. Potatoes should be fork tender.
Mash potatoes and add half-and-half, cream cheese and butter.
For extra creamy potatoes, use beaters to mix until potatoes are smooth and everything is incorporated.
Taste and season with salt and pepper, and serve warm.

Cajun Lasagna


1 lb ground turkey
1 lb andouille sausage, fresh, casing removed
1 box lasagna noodles, dried
1 red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 6oz. can tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons creole seasoning
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
4 oz. parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups jack cheese, grated
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
extra virgin olive oil

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta for 6 minutes.
Rinse Pasta with warm water, drain, coat with oil and set aside.
Mix seasonings, reserve 1 tablespoon for ricotta/cheese mixture, and divide remaining seasons in half, set aside.
In a large soup pot heated over medium heat add 2 tablespoon of olive oil, add onion, bell pepper, and celery.
Saute for about 5 minutes, add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
Add ground turkey and andouille sauce, break into small chunks. Season with half of the seasoning blend and cook until browned about 15 minutes.
Add tomato paste and mix well, cook for 5 more minutes.
Add tomato sauce and chicken broth, season with remaining seasoning blend and mix well.
Lower heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add chopped parsley and mix well and allow sauce to cook about 15 more minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of parmigiano reggiano and mix well.
To Assemble Ricotta/Cheese Mixture:
Mix eggs, ricotta, parmigiano reggiano, 1 cup sharp, jack, and mozzarella cheese with remaining seasoning blend and set side.
To Assemble Lasagna:
In a large greased 13X9 inch casserole dish, place about 1 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom.
Top with lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping noodles.
Top with more pasta sauce, top with about 6 heaping tablespoons of ricotta/cheese mixture.
Top with a handful of remaining grated cheeses and repeat with another layer of lasagna noodles, meat mixture/ricotta cheese mixture/grated cheese.
For the last layer top with noodles, pasta sauce and remaining grated cheeses.
Cover casserole with greased foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and cook 20 minutes more.
Remove from oven, allow to cool 10 minutes. Serve with garlic bread.

If you can't find fresh andouille sausage, smoked sausage can be used and diced into small chunks.

Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage

Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage
1.5 pounds sweet Italian sausage (or can use
beef kielbasa sausage, it tastes great too)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tbs if already minced)
8 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup red wine (3/4 cup is better, use a dry red wine)
1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (14-15oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup chopped celery (½” pieces)
1 cup sliced carrots (½” pieces)
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 (8 oz) package of mushrooms chopped
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (I chunked mine)
8-12 ounces fresh tortellini pasta
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cups chopped kale (or spinach)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (use more if desired)
½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a 10-12 quart pot, brown sausage & break into chunks (if using Italian sausage). Remove sausage and drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the drippings.
2. Sauté onions and garlic in drippings. Stir in chicken broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, celery, basil, oregano, tomato sauce, kale, mushrooms, and sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
3. Skim fat from the soup. Stir in zucchini, Balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley. Simmer covered for 30-45 minutes. Add tortellini during the last 15 minutes.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

[ Printable Recipe ]

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare three 8-inch cake pans with butter and parchment

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Once the water is incorporated, add the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and continue to beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there are no flour bombs lurking in there. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. I was able to fit all three on one rack in the middle of my oven. If you can’t, just put two on the bottom 1/3 and one on the top 1/3 and rotate about 20 minutes into baking… but be careful or they might fall!

4. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. The cakes are very soft – chill the cooled cakes in the freezer for 30 minutes (or overnight if you don’t want to do it all in one day) before continuing.

5. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cups of the peanut butter frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

Smitten Kitchen Recommends:

1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask†your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating.

2: Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

6. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving.

This is where I failed – my glaze did not want to drip in a pretty fashion, so I just went for it and used it to cover the entire cake. Honestly, I can’t imagine not having the chocolate ganache all over the cake. I think it was a good move, but if you want it to look fancier, go ahead and try the drippy method.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature* (I used 8, because I only had one package of cream cheese and I wasn’t going to run to the store again)
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended. Taste it…. you know, for quality control

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half
1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving.

This is where I failed – my glaze did not want to drip in a pretty fashion, so I just went for it and used it to cover the entire cake. Honestly, I can’t imagine not having the chocolate ganache all over the cake. I think it was a good move, but if you want it to look fancier, go ahead and try the drippy method.

Mushroom Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
5 sage leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 ounces portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 leek, roughly chopped

Melt butter in a saute pan over low heat. Add garlic and sage. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms, cook 5 minutes until slightly softened. Pour in cream and heat slowly. When the sauce has reached a velvety smooth consistency, remove from stove. Stir in leek and serve immediately

Read more at:

Butternut Squash Sauce with Sage

1 large butternut squash, about 1 1/2 pounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
Pinch ground nutmeg
6 fresh sage leaves, cut in thin strips
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Chopped chestnuts, for garnish

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise to remove the seeds and strings. Peel the skin using a paring knife and cut the squash into small cubes.

Place the olive oil and shallots in a deep skillet over medium heat. When the shallots begin to color, add the squash and season with salt and pepper. Saute a few minutes to lightly caramelize the surface of the cubes. Add the bay leaf, nutmeg, sage, and chicken broth. Cover the pan and cook until the squash is tender but still holding its shape, about 8 minutes.

Puree the sauce with a standard or immersion blender and serve with potato gnocchi. Top with grated cheese and chopped chestnuts before serving. If desired, fry some sage and shallots in olive oil to garnish.

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Simple Bolognese Sauce

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 pound ground chuck beef
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano

In a large skillet heat the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and saute for 5 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the ground beef. Saute, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. This will take approximately 1/2 hour. Finish bolognese with Pecorino Romano.

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Alfredo Sauce

1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
Pasta cooking water, as needed

In a saucepan or skillet, warm the butter and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Add the Parmesan and stir until melted.

Toss to combine, thinning with pasta water if necessary.

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Marinara Sauce

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 15 minutes.

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