Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gourmet chicken

A couple days ago I made Sloppy Joes using this recipe. I must say, they were scrumptious! The only change I made to the recipe was using red bell peppers instead of green, which don't agree with my tummy.

Anyway, after browning the meat I was left with about a cup of drippings (a combination of meat juice and fat).

I hate to let anything go to waste.

But really, I hate trying to figure out how to dispose of drippings. Pouring it into the trash is kind of messy and gross. Pouring it down the drain is asking for trouble of the expensive plumber variety. Pouring it onto the compost pile is asking for trouble of the destructive raccoon variety.

On these cold winter days, I often make porridge for the hens. Stop laughing! Today I used the drippings plus a bit of water, 1/2 cup of oatmeal, and stirred in some leftover mashed potatoes that had been in the fridge for a few days/weeks.

Okay, yes, the porridge did smell good as I mixed it up, but I didn't taste it. I may be a good "hen mother" but I draw the line at sampling their food.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The recipe

I searched again on the Bon Appetit website for the killer chocolate layer cake recipe, but alas, I think it may be too old to have been put online. Thinking back, I've been making this outrageously delicious cake four times a year for at least fourteen years. Yeah, that's a lot of chocolate cake. I have the curves to show for it, too, hehe.

So, because I'm such a stellar individual, I typed out the recipe. Enjoy!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

with Cocoa Frosting (Bon Appetit, late 1990's)

3 cups flour 2 cups cold water

2 cups sugar 1 cup vegetable oil

½ cup cocoa powder 1 tablespoon vanilla

2 teaspoon baking soda 1 ½ cups chocolate chips

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans. Sift dry ingredients together into medium bowl. Combine water, oil and vanilla in large bowl. Whisk in dry ingredients. Divide batter between pans. Sprinkle ½ cup chocolate chips over batter in each pan. Bake 25 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on racks for 15 minutes. Turn cakes out of pans and cool completely.


½ cup butter, room temperature

5 cups icing sugar

8 tablespoons (approx) cold milk

1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup cocoa powder

Beat butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in 3 cups sugar. Beat in 6 tablespoons milk, and vanilla. Add cocoa and remaining sugar. Beat until well blended, thinning with milk if necessary.

To assemble:

Place one cake layer, chip side up, on platter. Spread with approx. 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with second layer and another 2/3 cup of frosting. Top with remaining layer, chip side down. Frost sides and top of cake.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I have a hankering

for cake. Perhaps it has something to do with the weather - dark and drizzly. Now my quandary is, what flavour of cake should I bake?

My tried and true "birthday" cake is a triple layer chocolate extravaganza with cocoa frosting. It's almost too rich.
I got the recipe from Bon Appetit years ago, and it's been the requested cake ever since. Unfortunately, it's not anyone's birthday today. Well, not anyone that I know well enough to bake a cake for. (I searched online for the recipe and can't find it. I'll type it up and post later. This picture is not it, but doesn't it look yummy?)

A simpler chocolate cake is a recipe that's been in my family on my mother's side for decades, and it's named after Great Aunt Hilda Young, from Paradise, NS. I usually bake it in a bundt pan and cover with vanilla frosting. The recipe is one of the type that uses boiling water in the batter.

I recently was given a recipe for a Triple Vanilla cake, that uses vanilla beans, vanilla sugar and vanilla extract. The cake is divine, light and buttery, and the vanilla flavour is intense without being overpowering. I'm not sure I have the energy today for messing with vanilla beans though.

Looking at the clock, I've about run out of time to bake a cake and have it cool enough to frost in time for supper. I'll sleep on the question and decide tomorrow. Ha! I can almost guarantee I'll be making Great Aunt Hilda's chocolate cake.

It's a good thing there are a few brownies left for tonight's dessert. I used a mix, but substituted melted butter for the oil. Butter is a fabulous invention and I use it in all my baking. Because I'm worth it.