All posts by Debi

Gadgets I love…

BeaterbladeHere’s a gadget I absolutely love… an attachment for stand mixers by  Beaterblade. The blade has silicone “fins” which actually scrape the bowl as they turn and mix the batter. What does this mean to you? No more stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl! It even gets the dimple at the bottom of the bowl.

I used it to bake my daughter’s birthday cake…give it a try.

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Freezing the cake layers before icing makes decorating a whole lot easier..it  reduces the amount of crumbs, and creates a much more stable cake to work with.

Cake

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons red food coloring

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large eggs

Frosting

3  8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely. Reserve crumbs left behind in pans for decorating. Wrap cakes in several layers of plastic wrap; freeze layers up to 1 week before decorating. Remove cake layers from freezer, unwrap from plastic wrap;  thaw 30 minutes.

For frosting:

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

Assembly:

Cut each cake layer in half horizontally using a serrated bread knife. Place one of the cake layers (cut side up) on a cake plate. Spoon 1 cup of icing in center of cake layer. Use a spatula to smooth the icing over the surface of the cake. Place the  next layer ( cut side up) and spread 1 cup of icing icing over the cake layer. Place third cake layer (cut side up) and spread 1 cup of icing over the cake layer. Place the last layer (cut side down) on top of the icing. Use a spatula to spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of cake. Sprinkle reserved cake crumbs over the top of the cake.

12 servings

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Asian Themed Cocktail Hour

If you are looking for clean, fresh, flavors, this Asian themed cocktail hour is just right for you…

When hosting supper club  (or a dinner party) at your house,  reserving an  hour  for cocktails and light fare as your guests  arrive can be a great start to the evening. That window before dinner can be quite lively as we catch up  with what’s been happening with one another. No wonder they call it “happy hour”. .. The idea is to engage your taste buds and get them ready for the meal that follows. Stick with finger foods light in  flavor and complementary to your menu. My Chicken and Lemongrass Skewers with Mint Dipping Sauce really fit the bill. I love the crunch of the water chestnuts, and hints of ginger root.  Serve with  ice cold  Lemongrass Martinis and you are all set!

Chicken and Lemongrass Skewers with Mint Dipping Sauce

Chicken and Lemongrass Skewers with Mint Dipping Sauce

1 pound ground chicken

1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger root

1/2 cup finely chopped water chestnuts

2 green onions (green part only), finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha hot chili sauce

2 teaspoons minced lemongrass

1/4 chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 lightly beaten egg

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (for frying)

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Form chicken mixture into 1-inch balls and add to skillet as you make them.  Cook 8-10 minutes, turning frequently, until lightly browned.  Drain on paper towels.  (May be made 1 day ahead. Cover, refrigerate and warm before serving). Serve with Mint Dipping Sauce.

8 servings

Mint Dipping Sauce

1/3 cup fish sauce

Juice of 2 limes

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons minced ginger root

2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon minced jalepeno pepper(with seeds)

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Lemongrass Martini

Lemongrass Martini

1 750 ml bottle vodka
3 stalks lemongrass, coarsely chopped
2 to 3 whole cloves
Rose’s sweetened lime juice

Add lemongrass and cloves to vodka; infuse overnight.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour equal amounts of infused vodka and sweetened lime juice over ice and shake vigorously. Pour into chilled martini glasses.

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