It seems that I’ve been baking a lot lately. And, I’m not just baking. Really, I’m cooking too. Taking some pictures, not enough. I made Bahn Mi on Monday night using this recipe, but I replaced the pork with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and we use avocado instead of pate (I’m not a liver lover). I also broiled the chicken, in the same way that I broil the chicken for Teriyaki. I also made the version of Shrimp Saganaki that I posted about last year, for L’s birthday. I made Zuni Chicken with Bread Salad last week, and I used a pasture raised chicken that I bought at the Farmer’s Market. The oven needed to be cleaned after that dish, but we did enjoy the chicken and salad immensely.
A couple of weeks ago, I made a brisket using beer and barbeque sauce instead of wine and tomatoes. It was delicious! I took no photos and didn’t write down what I did for replication, but this is approximately what I did: 5 lb. brisket (seasond with salt, pepper, garlic powder overnight), 1 bottle of Anchor Steam, 1/2 of an 18 oz. bottle of TJ’s Barbeque Sauce, sear meat, add beer and barbeque sauce, bake, covered, at 300 for 4 hours, rest meat, slice, add back to pot with more sauce. Reheat, uncovered, at 350 for 1/2 hour. Served with corn, potato salad and steamed/buttered carrots. A big hit. Grandma and WG had leftovers to take home for a couple of nights of dinner. So easy.
And, even farther back, I made a wonderful pork shoulder roast with Asian spices. I used this recipe from Fine Cooking, but substituted, loosely, the Chinese Five Spice Rub also from Fine Cooking (for some reason I can’t copy the link). Oh, boy. A seriously rich and delicious preparation.
Nonetheless, the baking is what is fun for me right now. And, I’ve been a little bit obsessed with bundt cakes. Don’t ask me why. I have no idea. Maybe it is because we watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (and strangely enough, I had made a chocolate bundt cake that day not knowing we’d see the move). Or, maybe it is because I’m looking for easy cake recipes that don’t call for creaming butter and sugar. We’ve enjoyed applesauce cake with caramel glaze, as well as a great chocolate bundt cake where I used the recipe for the glaze from here and the recipe for the cake from here. Actually, the recipe for the cake is from my old standby “Hershey’s Make It Chocolate!” cookbook, but the recipe isn’t on the Hershey’s site. Additionally, I tried a delicious recipe from a kids’ cookbook that I took out of J’s school library called “Baking Kids Love” by Cindy Mushet. There are some great looking baked goods in this cookbook – all very accessible. Being pumpkin bread AND gingerbread lovers, the recipe for Pumpkin Gingerbread practically sang out of the book to me. I had to make it immediately – which I did. First time, I forgot to add the water. So before the cake was out of the oven, I had put together a second batch (but I used about 3/4 cup pumpkin and 1/4 cup applesauce because that is what I had left of the can of pumpkin from the first try). The second cake came out perfectly. But, truth be told, the first one was pretty good! And, I put on a maple glaze (powdered sugar mixed with maple syrup). Winner!
Finally, since we have a lot of lemons on our tree right now, I decided to make a lemon bundt cake. It was not easy to find the right recipe that combined ease of preparation (no creaming of butter and sugar) without using a cake mix. I finally did a search on “lemon bundt cake oil” and found a slew of recipes that called for olive oil. Since the cake baking has really been for the benefit of Grandma, who has a serious sweet tooth, but does not like olive oil, I decided that I could substitute corn oil. Good color, mild flavor. I upped the lemon rind to 2 lemons worth to make sure that the cake was lemony enough. The recipe I chose was from here and I added a simple glaze made with about 1 cup powdered sugar combined with some lemon juice (I just kept adding juice until I got the right consistency). I found that there was too much batter for my bundt pan, so I made four cupcakes with the extra batter (great for “poison testing”). This recipe is light, sweet, tender and delicious. The lemon flavor is more than delicate, but not tart and not assertive like in a cake that has been brushed with lemon syrup. The only concession that I made to ease of preparation is that the eggs are separated in this cake – the whipped whites are folded in at the end. No big deal. I think Grandma will really like it.