Strawberry Cake

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I made this cake for my daughter’s birthday at her request.  Actually, she asked for a strawberry cake so I was unsure whether she meant a cake with strawberries or a strawberry flavored cake.  I went with the cake with strawberries.  I hunted around for a recipe and found this recipe posted by BecR on Food.com .  It is fabulous.

It’s an easy cake to make and it looks like you were working all day.  I made the cake layers from a box but you can make homemade or buy the layers in a bakery.

In the second not-very-good picture, I just wanted you to be able to see where exactly to put the strawberries. I should never be allowed to cut cakes or pies, LOL!

Strawberry Cake

2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced
3 tbsps sugar
2 (9 inch) white cake layers, already baked
6 ozs cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Make or purchase the white cake layers and allow to completely cool if baking.

Mix the strawberries with the sugar in a medium bowl and set aside at room temp for about 30 or so minutes. Put aside a few strawberries for garnish if you so desire.

Using a mixer on medium, whip the cream cheese and powdered sugar and vanilla until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the cream until it starts to thicken, then increase to high and beat until soft peaks form. Do not over mix.

To assemble the cake: Place one layer on serving plated and layer half of the sweetened strawberries over the top and press gently. Spread about 1/3 of the frosting CAREFULLY over the strawberries to within about 1/2 inch of the sides.

Place the second layer on top and press down gently. Do the same with the strawberries. Frost the sides and top of the cake.

Decorate the cake as desired.

Store in the fridge.

Makes 8 servings

Happy Cooking!

Wild Blueberry Pie

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PIE!! Pie is supposed to be this year’s cupcake and while I don’t know if that’s true, I do know I like pie better than cupcakes.  I found this recipe on Epicurious.  It’s really, really good.  Just make sure you have a deep dish pie pan and be sure to put a cookie sheet underneath to catch the drips.  I’m sure you can make this with regular blueberries, but the wild blueberries are perfect ~ they are tiny little blueberries.  I buy mine frozen in a huge bag at B.J.’s.

The reason you will *rarely* see a cut piece of pie picture on this blog is because I wreck pie when I cut it.  I make such a mess that I’m embarrassed to photograph it.  If I had my own cooking show, I would never make pie because then I would have to cut it.

Wild Blueberry Pie

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
6 cups fresh wild blueberries or 3 (10-ounce) packages frozen (not thawed) ~ I went with 6 cups frozen, unthawed, since mine came in a huge bag
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pastry for a double-crust pie
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces ~ I didn’t use
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water ~ I didn’t use

Preheat oven to 425°.

Whisk together brown sugar and tapioca and toss with blueberries and lemon juice in a large bowl.

Fit dough into pie plate for bottom crust.

Spoon filling with any juices into bottom shell, dot with butter, and cover with top crust. Trim top crust, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang of top crust under bottom pastry and press against rim of pie plate to reinforce edge, then crimp and brush with egg wash. Make sure the blueberry filling is completely encased in dough to avoid a blueberry mess.

Bake pie on a baking sheet in oven 30 minutes, then cover edge with a pie shield or foil to prevent over browning or burning.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes more. Mine took the whole 50 minutes.

Cool pie completely on a rack, about 4 hours (filling will be runny if pie is still warm).

Makes 8 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Mary’s Cranberry Apple Casserole

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This is fabulous!  Mr. Meat Eater and I were practically fighting over it.  It’s a very easy dessert to make and, frankly, I wouldn’t be above eating it for breakfast.  It’s certainly perfect for the upcoming holidays.

Thank you, Mary, for sharing this recipe with me ~ it’s going to be a favorite in our house!

Mary’s Cranberry Apple Casserole

Filling:
2 cups fresh whole cranberries
3 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples (I just sliced mine because I am lazy)
1 cup sugar (I used about 3/4 cup since my apples were very sweet)
1 tbsp. flour

Topping:
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup uncooked oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Heat oven to 350º.

Mix the filling ingredients and pour into a 8×8 or 9×9 square, greased casserole dish.

Combine the topping ingredients and spoon over the filling.

Bake for 45 minutes or until apples are tender.

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Makes about 6 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Cranberry Pecan Coffee Cake

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Wow ~ this coffee cake is wonderful!  A must make and  perfect for the upcoming holidays or anytime you need a special coffee cake.

It looks more complicated than it is ~ it’s really easy and best of all it looks like you have spent hours in the kitchen.

Cranberry Pecan Coffee Cake

Topping:
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 1/4 cup whole fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans

Cake:
1/2 cup butter at room temp
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream (I used less fat sour cream)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350º. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum to prevent any leaking (I did have a little leaking but the foil caught it).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and set aside (I just whisk it all together since I don’t own a sifter).

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and 1/3 cup butter and bring to a boil. After it comes to a boil, pour it in the bottom of the ungreased springform pan. Sprinkle the cranberries (whole) and pecans over the top of the butter/brown sugar mixture. Make sure that they spread out over the entire pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream. Spoon this cake mixture over the the top of the cranberry mixture already in the pan.

Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert onto serving platter and carefully remove pan.

Makes 8 -10 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Peach Raspberry Crisp ~ Barefoot Contessa

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I am on a Barefoot Contessa jag lately so I will be posting a few of her recipes that I have made recently.  Her recipes are always good and I’ve never had one fail yet.

This crisp is so good you won’t even want to wait to dish it out ~ you’ll want to grab a spoon and eat right from the pan.  It’s easy to make as are many of  Ina’s recipes but tastes like you’ve been cooking all day.  Peach and raspberry are two of my favorite fruits and the combination is delicious.  As usual, I didn’t follow all her instructions.

Peach Raspberry Crisp
Barefoot Contessa

10 to 12 large, ripe peaches
1 orange, zested
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups plus 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pint raspberries
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish. I used a rectangular one with no problem.

Peel and pit the peaches and slice them into wedges and place them into a large bowl. Add the orange zest, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the raspberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour. Pour the peaches into the baking dish and gently smooth the top.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. You cal also do this with your hands, a couple of forks or a spoon. Sprinkle evenly on top of the peaches and raspberries.

Bake for 1 hour, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly.

Serve immediately, or put in the fridge and reheat in a preheated 350º  oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until warm.

Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Grilled Pound Cake and Tipsy Pineapple

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I mishmashed two recipes together for our dessert on the Fourth of July.  I’ve made the pineapple before and when I saw Paula Deen grill pound cake the light bulb went off in my head.  The cake and the pineapple are fabulous together.  They are also super easy to do and will definitely impress.

I love cooking with bourbon and marinating the pineapple in a simple syrup/bourbon mixture really makes the pineapple taste outstanding.   To make sure you buy a ripe pineapple, simply smell the bottom of it.  If it smells nice and pineapply,  it’s ripe. The pineapple needs to marinate in the fridge for several hours. I make it in the morning and put together dessert at dinnertime.

As for the pound cake, I saw Paula Deen grill it but I couldn’t remember how she did it exactly so I just sort of played it by ear and it worked great.

Grilled Pound Cake and Tipsy Pineapple

Pound Cake:

1 frozen Sara Lee pound cake, thawed
Butter, softened
Brown Sugar

Slice pound cake into 1/2 inch or so slices. Brush each side with softened butter and sprinkle with brown sugar. Grill each side for about 2 minutes or until it is browned and toasty.

Tipsy Pineapple:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bourbon
2 fresh pineapples, cut into cubes

Bring the water and sugar to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the bourbon. Pour mixture over the pineapple and let it marinate in the refrigerator for several hours.

Assembling the shortcakes:

After grilling the pound cake, place a slice on a dessert plate, spoon some pineapple over the pound cake, top with whipped cream and a few blueberries or whatever berry you like.

Happy Cooking!

Peach Blueberry Crostata

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We had friends stop by that we hadn’t seen in almost 30 years so I wanted to make some nibbles without making the lunch thing.  We had a great time and really picked up right where we left off 30 years ago.

I made this crostata (it makes 2) with some variation since I KNEW it would juice all over and make a mess.  It started out as a Cooking Light recipe but needed some help in the juice department.  It’s really very good and uses little sugar so the taste of the fruit really comes through.  Because of that, make sure you use fruit tha tis nice and ripe.

Peach Blueberry Crostatas

1 (15 oz) pkg refrigerated pie crusts, such as Pillsbury brand
6 cups peeled, sliced fresh peaches
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten and mixed a a tsp or 2 of water
3 or so tbsps instant tapioca
Turbinado (sugar in the raw) or granulated sugar for sprinkling

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unroll one dough on top of the parchment. Brush the dough (this will be the inside) with the egg wash and sprinkle with some tapioca.

In a bowl, mix the peaches, blueberries, sugar, and 1-2 tbsps tapioca. If your fruit is very juicy, add the 2 tbsps. I ended up using 2 tbsps.

Arrange half of the fruit in the middle of the dough, leaving a 3 inch border all around the edge. Fold the edge toward the center, gently. Brush egg wash over the dough and then sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

Bake at 425º of 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350º and bake an additional 20 minutes or until the dough is browned.

Repeat this same procedure with the other dough. I baked both of mine at the same time.

Serve warm or at room temp.

Each crostata serves 4.

Happy Cooking!

Fresh Lemonade

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Lemonade is so good on a hot summer day and we love this version.   It takes quite a few lemons (don’t sub the stuff in a bottle ~ use fresh lemons) but it’s well worth it!

Fresh Lemonade

1 3/4 cups sugar
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice

In a saucepan, mix 1 cup water and sugar together. Bring to a boil and boil until the sugar is dissolved. Cool syrup to room temperature than refrigerate until it is chilled.

Remove seeds from lemon juice but keep the pulp.

In a pitcher, stir together the chilled syrup, lemon juice and the 7 cups of water. Mix well. Add lemon slices and ice if desired.

Makes 12 or so servings (or more if you are using small cups). This is really a guess, you’ll have to judge for yourself.

Happy Cooking!

Fresh Strawberry Mini Muffins

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Hands down the most popular recipe on my blog is Fresh Strawberry Muffins.  This recipe for mini muffins is different but just as good.  It’s very easy to make.  I used the strawberries from my first CSA pick-up.  The berries were super sweet and worked really well in this recipe since there isn’t much sugar.  The recipe said it made 36 but I didn’t make nearly that many ~ about 22 or so.

Fresh Strawberry Mini Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

Heat oven to 375º and spray 36 mini muffin cups with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another smaller bowl, mix the milk, oil, and egg.

Add wet mixture to dry, stirring just enough to mix it together. Do not over mix or the muffins will be tough. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries.

Divide mixture up between the muffin cups and sprinkle sugar over the tops of the muffins.

Bake for 12 to 16 minutes (mine took the whole 16 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 3 minutes and then remove from pan to a rack to continue cooling or eat them while warm.

Makes 36 muffins although I made considerably less.

Happy Cooking!

Easy Strawberry Pie

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Hooray!  I finally found a strawberry pie recipe that actually cuts into a pie shape instead of having pie soup on my plate.  Plus it has the added bonus of having jell-o in it and I LOVE jell-o, LOL!

You can make your own pie crust or buy a premade one ~ either way, this pie is nice and strawberry tasting!

Easy Strawberry Pie

1 (9 inch) baked and cooled pie crust
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsps cornstarch
1 cup water
1 (3 ounce) pkg strawberry jell-o (I used sugar free)
4 cups sliced fresh strawberries, I just chunked mine up and kept the small ones whole

In a medium sized saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes or so. Remove from heat and stir int he jell-o until it is dissolved. Refrigerate this mixture until slightly cooled ~ about 15 minutes.

Arrange berries in the pie crust and pour cooled jell-o over the them. Refrigerate until set.

Makes 8 servings.

Happy Cooking!