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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Apple Ginger and Hazelnut Coffee Cake

This coffee cake was delicious. I was a little wary when I first read the recipe, there is so much ginger, I thought it might be overpowering. But it wasn't, it was perfect. I also found that this cake got better the next day. The first night, I served it warm with vanilla ice cream. The next day, it was still delicious and even more moist. (moist? moist? moister? that's a strange word anyway, if you ask me)...

I didn't think the kids would like this cake. There is just a little too much going on in terms of healthy stuff and alcohol, and not nearly enough going on in terms of candy or chocolate. But as usual I was wrong, and they really liked it. I brought the leftovers in to work, and they disappeared pretty quick.

Apple Ginger Hazelnut Coffee Cake
from LCBO Food and Drink

1/3 cup dried cherries (I used cherry flavoured dried cranberries)
1/3 cup dark rum
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups peeled and diced apples (2 large)
1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsley chopped

1. Soak dried cherries in rum for at least 20 minutes.

2. Beat butter and brown sugar. Add egg and fresh ginger and blend until mixed.

3. Sift together the flour, 2 tsp ground ginger, baking soda, and salt. Stir into butter mixture. Stir in diced apple, cherries and rum, and sour cream. Mix until well incorporated.

4. Spread batter in a greased 9" x 13" pan.

5. Stir together topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter.

6. Bake for 40 minutes at 350F, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Beef Bourguignon

It has been a little while since my last post. I want to tell everyone not to worry... Janet is STILL hungry. I have a few excuses for my lack of updates. Would you like to hear them? No? Too bad...

The first one is laziness, I have just been feeling a little lazy these last few weeks (call it winter blahs), the second is that for a while I had lost my camera case, along with that little cable (the very important cable) that connects my camera to the computer. So while I have still been cooking and taking tons of pictures, I have been unable to get any of those picture off my camera.

Well lo and behold I finally found the cable and the case, in one of my little bugger's beloved children's bedrooms, the cord was tied around the neck of one their stuffed animals, like a leash.

The good news is, I now have a backlog of recipes (enough material to last until Christmas) so I had better GET POSTING.

This first one is a Beef Bourguignon. I was never a big fan of stews growing up. I found the meat tough and a little "stewy". Then one night we were invited to a dinner party. My friend's wife, we'll call her "Angela" (OK, that's ACTUALLY her name) made beef bourguignon, it was an epiphany for me. A real eye openner. It was so good. I've been missing out. This isn't Angela's actual recipe, I use one from the Williams Sonoma Kitchen Library book on "Beef".

I served this with roasted fingerling potatoes (roasted with olive oil, red wine, garlic and parsley) and a rosemary focaccia for mopping up the extra gravy.

Beef Bourguignon

1/2 lb bacon
8 green onions, chopped
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups flour
1 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper
3 lbs cubed stewing beef
olive oil
1/4 cup Cognac
2 cups beef stock
2 fresh thyme sprigs
3 cups dry red wine
1 bay leaf
24 pearl onions
5 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 lb mushrooms
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. Chop raw bacon into small pieces. Cook in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Add enough oil to the bacon fat to make 1/4 cup and add diced onions, carrots, green onions and garlic. Saute until soft. Transfer to a large oven proof pot.

3. In a large dish mix the flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Toss the cubed beef in flour to coat. Add to frying pan with enough oil to prevent sticking (I had to do 2 batches). Brown well and transfer meat to the large pot with the veggies.

4. Use the 1/4 cup cognac and some of the beef stock to deglaze the frying pan over high heat. Scrap all the bits of good stuff off the bottom and then pour into pot.

5. Add remaining beef stock, wine, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, transfer covered pot to oven and bake at 325F for 3 hours.

6. In the meantime, peel the pearl onions (easier if you blanche them for 30 seconds or so). Saute them in 2 tbsp butter with 2 tbsp of sugar until browned. Remove to a dish, in the same pan saute mushroom with remaining butter. Transfer to dish with onions.

7. 30 minutes before ready to serve, add onions and mushrooms to the stew. Continue baking.

8. Serve and garnish with bacon bits and chopped parsley.