Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I think this is my fourth post in less than a week - a lot for me. Even though our leader over at Barefoot Bloggers gave us ever time to get our cooking done over the summer I still almost didn't make it on this one. Looked too good to pass up though and it is always easy to get rid of some coffee cake at my wife's work.

I made one mistake while making this recipe. I bought a Nordic Ware Bavaria Bundt Pan a few years ago. This is not something I would normally but without having a use for it but it was at our company store for less that $10 so I couldn't pass it up. After buying it, it has sat in our cupboard ever since. When this recipe came up I figure it was my perfect opportunity to try my pan.

It is a beautiful pan, heavy cast-aluminum with a nice design and a non-stick finish. I figured out there was one issue when I got to the part where I put the batter in the pan and it says to do half batter, half streusel, half batter, half streusel. When the cake is done it wants you to flip it out streusel side (or bottom side) up. I can't really display a cake from this pan bottom side up. I wasn't sure if it would work to put the streusel in first so I made a little but of a sacrifice and decided to have both streusel layers inside the cake - this means I don't have a nice streusel topping. My second issue came in plating the cake. The pan, even with non-stick finish ( oiled and floured ) did not want to let go of the cake. You can see in the picture above that I lost a small layer on the top of the cake. Not sure if a different cake would work out better or not.

Despite my issues, the cake was a big winner. I sent a bunch of it to my wife's work and got these comments back:

"Yum! It was awesome!"

"I think it was your husband's best cake to date, but then again I'm not much of a cake and frosting guy. This was coffee cake? Superb!"

I would have to agree that it was really good. Very moist and good flavor. I especially like the hint of maple flavor from the glaze - I love maple anything.

Thanks to Gwenn of Cooking in Pajamas for this pick. Check out the picture of her Sour Cream Coffee cake - that is what it is supposed to look like.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
(Source: Barefoot Contessa Parties!, Page 37)
Yields 8-10 servings

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the streusel:
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
  3. For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.
  4. Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  5. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners' sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.

Barefoot Bloggers: Scalloped Tomatoes

Here is something a little different. I wasn't really sure what this would be like but I have been wanting to try something like this for a while so I didn't want to pass this one up.

It is about a month early for fresh tomatoes here in Minnesota so I ended up using some Roma tomatoes. I think that was a good choice since I saw lots of comments on the food network site about soggy bread - the Roma tomatoes were so meaty that soggy bread is not an issue. The store I shopped at didn't have a French broule so I used a loaf of French sourdough and it worked well.

I served this for my father's day dinner and it was a big hit. Nice crispy chewy bread along with tomatoes and garlic and cheese. I ended up serving them just slightly above room temperature and they were great but they would be even better a little warmer. As someone on the food network site commented - "Think bruschetta hot on your plate". Thanks to Josie of Pink Parsley Catering for this pick.

Scalloped Tomatoes
Source: (Barefoot Contessa Farm Stand Food)
Makes 6 servings

  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch diced) bread from a French boule, crusts removed
  • 16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are done, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil.
  4. Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Father's Day Part 2: Southern Banana Pudding

Here is the promised Father's day part two - dessert. My Dad was born and raised in Paducah, Kentucky and anyone from the south knows how common banana pudding is. I used to have it all the time while growing up as it was something my grandmother made quite a bit - but I have not had it much as an adult. I was just talking about it with my parents - discussing what makes a good banana pudding (instant pudding should not be on the ingredient list - and preferably no boxed pudding). I don't think I had decided to make it for father's day at that point - but then a blog I follow - The Brown Eyed Baker - posted a recipe for Southern Banana Pudding that looked delicious so I just had to try it out.

I doubled up the recipe for 9 people and had no trouble getting rid of this one. It has been a long time since I have had my grandmothers banana pudding but this was a lot like I remembered it. The only difference was that I don't think she ever used whipped cream. My father said she often put a meringue on top so try that for a variation if you like but the whipped cream was good too.

I won't post the recipe on my blog - just click here to get it directly from the Brown Eyed Baker. If you like cooking then definitely check out her blog - it is one of my favorites.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Father's Day Part 1: Pulled Pork

Seems like I have been slacking off lately but I have been busy. I decided to do some grilling
this father's day. There are a lot of recipes out there for quick pulled pork - this is not one of those. This is as close as I could get to the real thing while still using a gas grill.

This recipe was a lot of fun. It is not difficult at all but it does take some time. It takes six hours after you start cooking - and that doesn't count the time it takes to season the meat. All the time was definitely worth it though. The meat was very tender and very well seasoned. Everyone at the party seemed to like it a lot - several people went for seconds and thirds.

Watch for Father's Day part two where I going to post my father's day dessert.

Pulled Pork
(Source: The new Best Recipe, page 598)
Serves 8

  • 1 bone-in pork roast, preferably Boston butt (6 to 8 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup dry rub for barbecue (recipe posted below)
  • 4 cups wood chips (I used hickory but you could also use mesquite)
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce (use any sauce - my recipe posted below)
  1. If using a fresh ham or picnic roast, remove the skin ( no need to remove skin on a Boston Butt ). Massage the dry rub into the meat. Wrap the meat tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. For stronger flavor can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  2. At least 1 hour before cooking, remove the roast from the refrigerator. Soak the wood chunks in cold water to cover for 1 hour and drain. Place the wood in a smoker box or make one from heavy duty foil pierced with a fork to allow smoke to escape. Place it on top of the primary burner. Turn all burners to high and preheat until the chips are smoking heavily, about 20 minutes. Turn the primary burner down to medium and turn off the other burners. Set the unwrapped roast in a disposable pan over the cool part of the grill, and close the lid. Barbecue for 3 hours. (The temperature inside the grill should be a constant 275 degrees, adjust lit burner as necessary.)
  3. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Wrap the pan holding the roast with heavy duty foil to cover completely. Place the pan in the oven and back until fork-tender, about two hours.
  4. Slide the foil-wrapped pan into a brown paper bag. Crimp the top shut. Let the roast rest for 1 hour.
  5. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and unwrap. When cool enough to handle, "pull" the pork by separating the roast into muscle sections, removing the fat, if desired, and tearing the meat into thin shreds with your fingers. Place the shredded meat into a large bowl. Toss with 1 cup of the barbecue sauce, adding more to taste. Serve, passing the remaining sauce separately.

Dry Rub for Barbecue
(Source: The New Best Recipe, page 579)
Makes about 1 cup

  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for several weeks.
Basic Barbecue Sauce
(Source: Williams Sonoma Grilling, page 14)
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups catsup or tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon, more or less, cayenne pepper
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over moderate heat and add onion and garlic. Cook gently, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the catsup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, chili powder, and cayenne to taste.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.