Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gingerbread 2010

Every year my family decorates gingerbread 2 nights before Christmas. It's become quite a fierce competition. We trash talk and keep secrets, none of us have much real artistic talent... except my father. He's a total show-off (note my jealousy). Notice his Abominable Snow Monster from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Awesome! There is no recipe here... just a few silly shots from our cookie night and a wish to whoever stops by to read this for a Merry and blessed Christmas!

The top photo of our cookies goes like this:
Reindeer by my sister
Yankees guy by my husband
Soldier-ish guy by my sisters boyfriend
tree by me
white snowlady by my mom
gift by my oldest daughter
Alice (from Wonderland) by my youngest daughter
and... drum roll please...
Abominable Snow Monster by my dad

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Party Cakes

My husband and I had a little Christmas party a few weeks ago. We had a lovely night with old friends, new friends, music, drinks and food. One item I served was this chocolate cake. Simple and delicious... it begs to be shared. The recipe suggests serving it warm so it is gooey. When served warm you get just that a warm, gooey chocolate cake. When the cake rests and is served cooled, it is even more delicious as it develops a fudge like texture and is really tasty! I purchased the darling stencils at Macy's, they're from the Martha Stewart Christmas collection and I love them! They make the cakes so cute! There is a third stencil included but not shown (a triple set of snowmen). They make them in smaller sizes for cookies/cupcakes as well. I am dreaming up new ways to use them because I think they are just so adorable! I served a pear butter alongside the cakes but they are wonderful standing alone too.

3/4 Cup butter + 1 teaspoon for greasing pan
1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons AP flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Cups sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Using the 1 teaspoon butter grease an 8" round cake pan. In a small bowl combine the flour and salt. In your stand mixer beat the remaining butter until it is very creamy. Add in the sugar, then the eggs and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes). In a small bowl combine the cocoa and oil until smooth. Add the vanilla and the cocoa mixture to the butter mixture and just blend. Add the flour mixture in 2 increments and mix until well combined then pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan then turn cake out onto a serving platter and garnish as desired.

Merry Christmas! 2010 was a beautiful and blessed year for me and my family and I pray yours was too. I look forward to more fun food adventures in 2011 and wish you all a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Crock pot Stroganoff

I have this silly little group of friends, whom I COMPLETELY adore and love (Becky from Vintagemixer, Aimee from Flitryss and Heather from SLClunches). We get along really well and we have really silly parties. We had a vintage cocktail party... which wasn't too silly, we had an 80's party... which was ridiculous and last night, we had a crock pot and ugly Christmas sweater party. We had a great night of eating and chatting and wore the ugliest shirts ever. I love these ladies and am thankful this holiday season for them. They are true friends and that's a rare find. I am lucky. While we were talking last night, the conversation lead to talk of blogging. I haven't done a post in over a month and have felt really "down" about being a blogger, where I fit, why I do it and where to go. These dear friends reminded me that I do this because it's fun. I have met many amazing people (my most joyous reason for blogging), I get to share my love of cooking and have fun. I am no photographer and really have never had any interest... this is something I am sure you have noticed as you look over my photos (ha!), I am not looking to write a book or make a career or loads of money from this blog... the reason I started it was to say goodbye to my gourmet food and kitchen shop that my husband and I closed yet still keep sharing food and being involved with events around this great city I live in. I can cook. It is what I know how to do, what I love to do and I really enjoy sharing my food adventures as well as these wonderful times I share with my friends.

The recipe that follows is fantastic but possibly one of the worst foods ever for photographing. Trust me enough to make it without a picture, okay? I will, however, include some photos from our evening and hope you get a good laugh out of them!

Merry Christmas!

Crock Pot Stroganoff

1 pound beef short ribs
1 Cup flour
garlic salt
oil for browning
4 Cups beef broth
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms
1 small can cream of mushroom soup
1 Cup milk
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Cup sour cream
1 package wide egg noodles

Dredge the short ribs in flour and brown in a hot cast iron skillet with oil on both sides, seasoning generously with garlic salt. Be careful not to over
crowd the meat. Once all of the ribs are browned, place in a hot crock pot and cover with 2 cups of the beef broth. Cook for 1/2 hour and add the sliced mushrooms and the remaining broth. Cook 1 hour. Add the can of soup, the milk and the Worcestershire sauce. Cook another hour and whisk in the sour cream. Continue cooking for 1/2-1 hour then serve over warm egg noodles.