Friday, March 21, 2014

Grape Polenta Cake

Zugar Haus' Blog | Grape Polenta Cake
Zugar Haus' Blog | Grape Polenta Cake
Happy Spring!

Today is the first full day of Spring and we need to celebrate with cake! So, I started rummaging through my pantry and fridge looking for something to make.

All I knew while rummaging was that I didn't want anything frosted or chocolate. I wanted something simple, rustic and delicious. Hidden in the back of the fridge, I spotted the red globe grapes that my husband bought a few days back. Some were starting to look a little sad and squishy (ew!), but the rest was still useable. I hate letting anything go to waste.
Zugar Haus' Blog | Grape Polenta Cake
I knew right away that I wanted to make a polenta cake with these lovely jewel toned beauties. I was inspired by one of my favorite comfort meals: Roasted Chicken with Grapes over Creamy Polenta. A MUST try!

Personally, I don't mind the seeds. I actually like eating them. Always have. My husband in the other hand… not so much. But… I decided to bake with them anyway. More cake for me if he hates it.

Grape Polenta Cake 
Makes: 9" cake

6 tablespoons (90 grams) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 large egg
1/2 cup almond milk*
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (65 grams) coarse ground yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 1/2 cups red globe grapes or any seedless grapes
2 teaspoons turbinado sugar

*You can use regular milk or buttermilk. Almond milk is what I happen to have in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter a 9" springform pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add vanilla paste, lemon zest and egg until well combined. Reduce speed to low, beat in the dry ingredients and milk in 3 additions (starting and ending with dry ingredients).

Pour batter into prepared springform pan. Randomly arrange or form a pattern with the grapes on-top of cake batter. Don't worry about pushing the grape into the cake. They will sink as the cake bakes. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes (depending on your oven). 

Zugar Haus' Blog | Grape Polenta Cake
 Happy Friday!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

{Leftovers Becomes} Chili and Cornbread with Jalapenos

My husband and I love tacos! Chicken tacos, pulled pork tacos, beef tacos, fish tacos or lingua tacos. If you can put it in a corn tortilla… we'll eat it!

I think we eat tacos at least 2 times a month. Being that we had ground beef in the fridge, I made "American Style" tacos for dinner. Very rarely do we have leftovers, but I guess there's a first time for everything.

With Super Bowl around the corner, I decided to turn our leftover taco meat filling into delicious chili accompanied by cornbread with jalapeños. You can basically make this with any leftover meat you may have. This recipe will probably be delicious with leftover pulled pork or beef roast. Depending on seasoning of the meat you use, you may have to adjust the seasonings a little to your liking. If you like your chili spicier, just add more chipotles. Our leftover taco meat is pretty spicy, so the ratio that I used for this recipe was perfect.

Also, this is very important; don't forget to serve the chili with delicious condiments. Like... chopped scallions, lime wedges, diced tomatoes, diced avocados, cornbread, cheese, radishes or even mustard. These are all a must in my house!

Serves: 6

Soaking the Beans
1 cup Dry Pinto Beans
1/2 cup Dry Red Kidney Beans
1/2 cup Dry Black Beans
5 to 6 cups Water

In a large bowl, add the beans and water (add more water if needed to completely cover the beans). Let stand overnight. Drain and rinse the beans.

Cooking the Beans
2 large Bay Leaves
2 large Garlic Cloves, smashed and paper removed
6 cups Water
Drained and Rinsed Beans

In a large saucepan, add beans and water. Over medium-high heat, bring beans and water to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, add garlic and bay leaves. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low and allow beans to simmer until tender (about 25 - 30 minutes).

Once the beans are tender, reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid. Discard the bay leaves and garlic. Drain the beans, but do not rinse and set aside.

For the Chili
1 tablespoon Olive Oil

1/2 large Yellow Onion, diced
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 Jalapeños, diced small
2 Chipotles, roughly diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry Mexican Oregano
2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can Fire Roasted Tomatoes, diced
2 cups leftover Taco Meat
cooked Beans
1 1/2 cups reserved cooking liquid
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine the dry oregano, smoked paprika, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and brown sugar. Set aside until ready to use.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Saute onions with salt and pepper until translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the bell peppers and jalapeños, cook until softened (about 2 - 3 minutes). Then add garlic and continue to saute until fragrant (about 1 - 2 minutes). You can add our spice mixture and continue to saute until the spices are fragrant (about 1 - 2 minutes). 

At this point, don't worry! The spices will look like they are starting to stick and burn (I promise they are not). Carefully add the Worcestershire sauce (it will steam quite a bit, so be careful not to burn yourself) to deglaze the pan by stirring and scraping any brown bits (from the spices) on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the fire roasted tomatoes and leftover taco meat until combined.

Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the beans and the reserved cooking liquid, simmer for another 30 minutes. If needed add more water to the desired consistency. Serve chili with preferred condiments.  

Cornbread with Jalapeños
adapted from Everyday Foods - Issue 86 (October 2011)

1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Yellow Cornmeal
6 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
1 cup Buttermilk
3 large Eggs, lightly beaten
1 (7 oz) can Sweet Corn
1 Jalapeños, diced small

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 9" x 9" baking pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, smoked paprika, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter (allow to cool slightly before adding the rest of the liquids), buttermilk and eggs. Once combined, add the mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined (DO NOT OVER MIX!). Stir in the corn and jalapeños until combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for approx 20 minutes (depending on your oven) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Friday, January 3, 2014

First Snow of 2014

We awoke to a winter wonderland this morning. The scenery was absolutely beautiful, until it dawns on you... "Oh crap! I have to go outside! Do I really need to shovel out the car?! ...Boo!" To be fair to Mother Nature, it wasn't so bad. Even though it was 11 degrees out (not even kidding), the snow was actually light and fluffy, so it made it pretty easy to shovel.

I know it's been a while since I last posted, so I wanted to stop in and see how my blog friends were doing. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and got to spend it with loved ones. Santa was pretty good to me this year... I was gifted a super bad-ass awesome camera! I've been taking pictures every chance I get. I'm still learning all the new functions and buttons on my new camera. So, I figured I would share some of the pictures I took today.

By the way... My mum plant does not look happy covered in snow!

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