Sunday, March 27, 2011

The BEST chocolate cake ever! Compliments from Barefoot Contessa

I am not a baker. As a matter of fact I really dislike baking. Even worse frosting a cake! However, I have to say that this recipe really makes me want to LOVE baking for once. It is the perfect combination of chocolate flavor with a splash of coffee in every bite. Not overly sweet and sugary either. It's just has the perfect balance. My husband had 3 pieces the first night and I had 3 pieces the next day! Remember, I don't like baking and I am not a dessert lover until this recipe came along. A must have to pass down to the kids!. Enjoy and may you start the LOVE of baking. xo

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo

1/4 cup olive oil
Ground Annato Anchiote ( found in latin section)
Whole chicken cut into parts. Remove skin to reduce fat
1 large yellow onion diced
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper diced
1 jar capers or green olives(optional)
2 cups long grain rice
12 basil leaves cut into strips
Fresh Parsley Handful, cut up
4-5 cups chicken broth
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste ( 1/2 teaspoon I used)
1/2 cup frozen peas
Garnishes: Pimentos or roasted red peppers in jar


Place 1/4 cup of olive oil in large stockpot. Heat oil on high and place chicken pieces in pot and brown - this is done just to brown chicken NOT to cook it. Add enough Annato Anchiote to slightly cover all the chicken. Brown chicken, but do not burn. Remove chicken from pot and place onion, garlic, green pepper in pot. Cook for awhile until soft, but do not burn garlic. Put capers in pot. Add rice to the pot with onion, garlic and pepper, then swirl rice into the mixture. Allow rice to cook for a few minutes. Place cut up basil and parsley in pot. Add broth, bay leaves, salt and pepper and simmer. Cook until rice is soft and tender. If needed add more broth if you would like recipe to be more juicy.
Add peas before serving.

Serve by placing the rice and chicken on a large platter and decorate with slice of pimentos or roasted red peppers.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Soy-Honey Pork with Sweet Potatoes

1/4 cup(s) lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoon(s) hoisin sauce
2 tablespoon(s) honey
1 tablespoon(s) rice vinegar
1 teaspoon(s) grated peeled fresh ginger
2 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
1 whole pork tenderloin 1 1/4 lbs.
1 1/2 pound(s) sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
2 green onions


Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. In small bowl, whisk soy sauce, hoisin, honey, vinegar, ginger, and half of garlic until well blended. Pour into gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Add pork; seal bag and turn until pork is well coated. Set aside.

While pork marinates, peel sweet potatoes. Cut each into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. In large bowl, combine oil and remaining garlic. Add sweet potatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Toss until well coated.

Transfer pork from marinade to center of 18 inch by 12 inch jelly-roll pan, shaking any excess marinade off into bag. Tuck tapered ends under pork to ensure even cooking. Arrange sweet potato rounds in single layer on pan around pork. Roast 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, transfer marinade to 2- qt. saucepan. Heat to boiling and simmer gently for 3 minutes or until syrupy.
Transfer half of marinade to small serving bowl and set aside. Turn sweet potatoes and pork over and brush remaining marinade on pork. Roast 10 to 15 minutes longer. or pork registers 155 F.

Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Cut green onions crosswise and sprinkle across dish and serve.

PLEASE NOTE: I doubled the marinade and used to 2 lbs. of pork and it was So worth it. I also doubled the garlic. enjoy

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Roasted Chicken with Winter Vegetables

Winter Vegetables are absolutely scrumptious! I must say I have never had turnips before and now I am hooked! The more veggies the yummier. I added more carrots from the garden too. Why not? They are the best when roasted. Oh, so tender on the inside and crunchy around the edges. I even added some beets straight out of the garden. DEEELICIOUS :)

Thanks to a Good Housekeeping magazine at the doctors office was I able to find this meal and some more. I'll post more as I go along. Bon Appetit!

1 large (10- to 12-ounce) onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 pound(s) baby red potatoes, each cut in half or quarters if large
4 large (1/4 pound each) carrots, each cut 2-inch-long pieces
2 small (2 ounces each) turnips, peeled and each cut into 6 wedges
1 small (6-ounce) fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and cut into 6 wedges
8 sprig(s) fresh thyme, plus additional for garnish
7 clove(s) garlic, crushed with side of knife, peel discarded
1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 teaspoon(s) olive oil
1 whole(s) (3- 3 1/2-pound) chicken


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In 18 inch by 12 inch jelly-roll pan, arrange onion slices in single layer in center. In large bowl, toss potatoes, carrots, turnips, fennel, 4 thyme sprigs, 3 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper until well mixed. Spread in even layer around onion slices in pan.

If necessary, remove bag with giblets and neck from chicken cavity; discard or reserve for another use. Rub chicken cavity with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Place remaining 4 thyme sprigs and 4 garlic cloves in cavity and tie legs together with kitchen string. Rub remaining 1 teaspoon oil on chicken and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Place chicken, breast side up, on onion slices in pan. Roast 45 minutes or until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with tip of knife and temperature on meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reaches 175 degrees F. Let chicken stand on pan 10 minutes to set juices for easier carving.

Meanwhile, transfer vegetables around chicken to serving platter, leaving space in center for chicken. Transfer chicken and onion to serving platter with vegetables, tilting chicken slightly as you lift to allow any juices inside to run into pan. Skim and discard fat from juices in pan; pour into small bowl and serve with chicken. Garnish with additional thyme sprigs.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cabbage Potato Soup by Emeril

Okay ladies and gentleman as most of you know I would rather be a vegetarian, but this soup was amazing. My husband picked it out since we had a whole fresh cabbage from our garden. How could I say no to his efforts. I hope you enjoy it on a wintery day like today in Florida.


2 tablespoons oil
3 cups chopped onion
3 cups shredded white cabbage
2 cups grated Idaho potatoes
2 quarts chicken stock
8 to 10 ounces corned beef, cut into 2 by 3-inch strips (1 cup)
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup cream
Salt and pepper ( tons of peppercorn)
I added a bay leaf

In a soup pot heat 1 tablespoon oil, add onions and cook until tender, 3 minutes. Add cabbage and potatoes and stir to coat. Add stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small skillet saute corned beef strips in remaining oil until crisp; drain on paper towels. Add carrots and cream to soup and simmer 10 minutes more. Stir in corned beef strips and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. ( I actually let it simmer VERY low for several hours. It allowed the corn beef to get tender.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Penne Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes, Feta Cheese, & Pine Nuts

Lil David said "what's for dinner mom"? I had no idea what to make. Fifteen minutes later I made up this easy simple meal. What saved me is I always have fresh basil in my garden and the rest was around for " just in case I need it kinda staple". I use sundried tomatoes for so many last minute ideas and the pine nuts always seem to compliment the tomatoes. Enjoy.

1 pound penne pasta
4 garlic cloves, minced and crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea Salt and peppercorn, to taste ( the kind you have to grind)
1 bunch basil, chopped
1 bag of sun-dried tomatoes found in produce aisle
4 oz. low fat feta cheese
4 tablespoons of Pine nuts

( You can even add fresh parmesan or a fresh vegetable such as brocolli or asparagus or left over chicken! )

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain. Set aside in Large bowl.

In same pot saute garlic in olive oil until tender. Add salt & pepper and sundried tomatoes. Add to the pasta along with the basil feta cheese and pine nuts. Toss to mix. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve immediately.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Herb Roasted Whole Chicken

Whole Chicken ( i prefer an organic one)
2 tsp. dried mustard
3 garlic cloves mashed and minced
1 tbs. dried rosemary
1 tbs. fresh sage
1 tsp. fresh thyme
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 325.
Place the chicken on a roasting pan.
In a small bowl mix all ingredients except the wine. Make a paste and smear unto meat. Pour wine in the bottom of pan.

Bake for about 1 hour or until your thermometer reaches "poultry ready temperature".

You can also make this recipe with a turkey breast.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Broil 3 large red peppers turning as needed until charred. About 10-12 minutes. Allow the skin to look bubbly. It will be easier to peel. Cool and remove stem, seeds, and peel.
Peel and chop 3 yukon gold potatoes.
Cook 1 large onion in olive oil until transclucent. Add potatoes and 4 cups of chicken broth. Simmer gently until potatoes are tender.
Puree in small batches in a blender. Place a towel over blender and leave lid slightly open to prevent heat explosion.

Serve with a drizzle of Virgin Olive oil or sprinkle shredded cheese.

Add sea salt and fresh peppercorn as desired.

My kids LOVED this recipe.
I also use Roasted Red Peppers that come in a jar on a last minute need.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Green Bean & Potato Salad with Ale dressing. YUMMY

We were invited today to go to an Oktoberfest Party and of course the side dish had to be German. I went on foodnetwork and tried to figure out what in the world I was going to make. Here it is ! Delicious. I made some of my own changes to make it my way and a lil healthier. It was a hit! I also DOUBLED the whole recipe and it was just perfect for a party. Hope u enjoy.

1 tablespoon Italian salad dressing mix
1/4 cup ale style beer
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons malt vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. of fresh beans ( i like the ones that come in the microwavable bags in the produce section ready to cook)
1 lb. red creamer potatoes with skin
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in 1/2
1/4 cup real crumbled bacon about 1/2 bag. ( you can use turkey bacon too)
Combine salad dressing mix, beer, mustard, vinegar and olive oil in a jar or container with a lid. Shake vigorously; set aside.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add salt and green beans and blanch for 6 minutes. Remove beans from pot and keep water to boil potatoes. Bring water to a boil and add potatoes. Boil till tender. In the meantime, strain and cool beans in an ice bath.

Combine potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, and bacon. Sprinkle sea salt and fresh peppercorn to taste.
Toss with dressing and serve

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Printable Grocery List Link

Sometimes good ole paper is calling me! This is a great reprintable Grocery Shopping List that is broken down from produce, beverages, condiments, snacks, etc.

I hope I made your day a little easier. :)

Here's another one.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Link to Fall Recipes. They sound so delicious.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ropa Vieja by Carmencita

When I was a little girl and till this day my mom calls me Carmencita. It means lil Carmen. Carmencita would request this dish all the time! I haven't made in years and today I decided to make it "my way". So, here it goes.

3 pounds flank steak or brisket (cut off all fat)
3/4 cup Seasoning rub - recipe follows
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 bottles beer ( i use Mexican beer!)
3 tbs. olive oil
1 red yellow onion chopped
1 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, ribbed and chopped
6 scallions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and then cut. Don't forget the smash.
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes-about 3/4 of the can
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste -about 1/2 of the can
Optional: 3 ounces of chopped piementos/ and/or 3 large Red Roasted Peppers
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste ( i use very lil salt.) Kosher salt is great too.

Seasoning Rub:

2 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons lemon pepper
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
2 tablespoons achoite powder from annatto seed (found in a lil bag in the Spanish section)
1 tablespoon cumin powder


Make seasoning rub by mixing all ingredients with the Worcestershire sauce. Rub unto the meat. Place meat in a container and pour the 3 bottles of beer over it. Marinade for an hour in the fridge. You can place directly into the crockpot for less to wash!

In a crockpot cook seasoned meat with the beer for about 3 hours on low. Take meat out and cut up into large sections. Cook on high for about 2-3 hours more or until it has shredded completely.

Sautee pepper, onion, garlic and scallions in the olive oil until onion is translucent. Add the tomato cans and the optional ingredients and simmer for about 20 minutes. If desired you can press a garlic at this point and pour over pot...simmer for a few more minutes for a garlic bang!

Serve over white rice and garnish with fresh parsley.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Natural Cleaner Recipe-Gentle on the nose!

Toxic smelling fumes alarm me. Why spend tons of money on cleaning products when you can make your own from natural ingredients. The best part is you choose your own scent. Drop a couple drops of your favorite essential oil for the final touch.

One plastic spray bottle

2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of dish soap
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Mix all of the ingredients in the bottle. Top it with more warm water and add several drops of your favorite oil. I love orange scented oils or lavendar.

Bless your family today & GO GREEN!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Odwall Protein Monster Shake! Yummy 91% Organic!

I was at the grocery store today when I was having one of those moments were I could eat anything and everything. Forgot, my snack! Oh, my gosh....I kept thinking what can I eat? I remembered my husband telling me about Odwalla. Walking was not fast enough to cure the shakies at this point. Bang! There it was awaiting for HUNGRY ME! I couldn't resist the Chocolate choice. Instantly, I drank half of it and that was enough. It was so darn good I emptied out the whole shelf. Both vanilla and chocolate.

Nutritional Facts

2 servings
Calories per serving 200
Protein 18 per serving
Carbs 24

Loaded with 100% of B6 and B12.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

" Eat Clean" recipes

Roasted Asparagus

1 lb. Fresh Asparagus
2 tbs. Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic
Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 425. Break off stems of each spear and rinse well. Place asparagus
in Large Ziploc bag.
Mix oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour into bag with asparagus and shake bag gently to coat asparagus evenly.

Lay in a single layer in a shallow baking pan with cooking spray.

Bake 6-10 minutes until done.
Top with fresh Parmesan or just plain.
Enjoy. Our family loves this recipe.

Linguine with Sundried Tomatoes

1 cup of frozen early green peas
1 cup of edamamae ( found in the healthy frozen section in bags)
1 lb. whole wheat linguine
6tbs. extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1 cup or more sundried tomatoes chopped (not in oil..usually it's the produce section)
1/2 cup low sodium , low fat chicken or vegetable broth.
Sea Salt & Fresh Black pepper
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1. Flash cook peas and edamame until just tender but firm. Drain and set aside. Cook pasta in the same water.

2. In large skillet, saute garlic and shallots in olive oil. Add sundried tomatoes, peas, and broth. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately add drained pasta to the skillet. Toss lightly.

3. Add the salt and pepper to taste. I prefer fresh sea salt and peppercorn always in all of our meals. Garnish with the chopped parsley. ( Parsley & Basil come straight from our garden and we always find great use for them.)