Friday, January 16, 2015

Cauliflower Cheese

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Anyone looking for a low-carb alternative to mac & cheese needs to try this. 
Even if your not looking for low-carb, you'll want to try it anyway.

It was AWESOME! So good it was hard to stop eating it. 
3 of us finished off the entire thing.

Not the best photo because I snapped it as an afterthought with my phone, but it turned out so good that I knew it needed to be posted.

I used 2 types of cheese in the sauce, then added fresh grated Parmesan 
on the top to give it a nice crust. Add some shredded chicken for a scrumptious main dish.

Tasted just like the real thing.

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.

Cauliflower Cheese

1 head of cauliflower, medium
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Dash of red pepper
2 oz cream cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper 

Cut/break cauliflower into florets. Par-boil in boiling salted water 5-8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon onto dish towel or paper towel to drain and dry some.

Heat oven to 400*

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flower and cook 2-3 minutes. Whisk in milk in a steady stream until incorporated; cook whisking often, 3-4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder and red pepper.

Add cream cheese, stirring until melted; add cheddar cheese 1/4 cup at a time making sure it is melted before adding the next one. 

Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if desired.

Place cauliflower in a 2 qt casserole dish and pour on the cheese sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top and bake for 30-35 minutes or until hot and bubbly and golden brown on top. 

Adapted from recipe by Smitten Kitchen.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

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This is a dish of the most awesome meatballs in the world.

Not even kidding!

My family gets together at my sister's house every Christmas Eve 
and this dish is always requested. 
I've made it every year for 13 years, and even though I double the recipe, 
it is always the first thing to disappear.

Love the chunky bits of celery and pineapple. 
So so good. 
Trust me...once you try them, they'll be your "go to" recipe.

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

1 pound ground beef chuck
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 5oz can water chestnuts, finely sliced
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 medium green onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup celery, 1/2 inch pieces
1 small can pineapple tidbits with juice

Combine beef, salt, pepper, chestnuts and milk. Combine and form into small balls; roll in flour and fry in butter over med. heat until brown and well done.

Combine remaining ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour over meat balls and serve.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ding Dong Cake

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Love love love this cake.

It's one of the most requested cakes in my household.
My son likes it so much he wants to learn how to make it. 
He loves to cook and I love that he does. He's pretty good at it too.

There are a few steps to this recipe (none of them hard) and it takes a little time, 
but it ever worth it.

I've had this recipe for some time now and have no idea exactly where it came from, but I do know there are several of them out there by various names.

So so good. I think everyone needs to try it.

Linked with Foodie Friday and Weekend Potluck.

Ding Dong Cake 

For the Cake
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup hot coffee, or 1 cup boiling water and 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Salted Caramel Ganache
9 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used a 72% venezuela orgine)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 big pinches sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Bean Filling
2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Sea salt for finishing

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Butter and line 2, 9-inch baking pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until well combined. Add in the buttermilk, hot coffee, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until well combined. About 1 to 2 minutes.

Divide batter among cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. I start checking at 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pans about 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool on a cooling rack until completely cooled.

For the Salted Caramel Ganache
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
In a medium heavy bottomed pot, combine the sugar and water, and stir to combine. Heat the mixture over medium high heat, without stirring, but swirling occasionally if the sugar is coloring unevenly. Heat until the sugar turns amber in color. Remove from heat immediately and slowly add the heavy cream while whisking. If there are any clumps of sugar, return the pot to low heat and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and sea salt. Pour the caramel over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, then gently stir until the ganache is well combined. Set aside to thicken, about 1 to 2 hours. *If the ganache becomes to thick, warm it over a double boiler until more workable or in the microwave for 10 second intervals.

For the Vanilla Bean Filling
Add the cold water to a small bowl, then sprinkle the gelatin over it. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, until it has set.
In a small skillet, add about 1/2-inch of water, and heat over medium-high heat. Place the small bowl with the gelatin directly inside the skillet. Stir the gelatin until it is melted, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the skillet.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean seeds, and beat on high speed until soft peaks have formed. Slowly add in the melted gelatin mixture and continue to beat until stiff peaks have formed.

Take the first cake layer and place it on a cake board or cardboard round slightly smaller than the cake layers. Spread a layer of ganache (a spreadable consistency) over the cake, about 1 cup. Top with the vanilla bean whipped cream. Top with the second cake layer. Refrigerate the cake for about 2 hours until the filling has set.
Heat the remaining ganache over a double boiler until it is a pourable consistency.
Set a cooling rack over a clean baking sheet. Remove the cake from the fridge and set it on top of the cooling rack. Pour the ganache over the cake so that it covers the tops and sides of the cake. Pour any ganache that has gone onto the baking sheet back into the bowl. If you have enough ganache, give the cake a second coating. Sprinkle the top of the cake with additional coarse sea salt. Refrigerate cake.

Remove cake 1 hour prior to serving. Because the vanilla bean filling is a stabilized whipped cream, it will be stable at room temperature. This cake will keep for up to 3 days well covered.