Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I have had pineapple upside down cake on my to do list for a few months now.  When a visiting coworker was kind enough to share her Granny's recipe....I just had to give it a try.  It was a quick fix up and I was very happy with the way it turned out.  I will be sure to make it on my next visit to the Hospice if they have the pineapple rings.  I highly recommend this recipe.  Keep in mind that a standard tin of pineapple contains 8 rings...one short of what is required for the 9 inch square pan that I used:(  My coworker recommends serving with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.....but I can tell you we had no trouble eating it plain along with a cup of tea!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
9 pineapple rings
marachino cherries

Preheat oven to 350F.  Put second 1/2 cup of butter or margarine into a 9 inch square pan and place in oven to melt for a few minutes.  Once melted, remove from oven and add in 1 cup brown sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set drained pineapple slices and cherries on top of the butter sugar mixture. Set aside.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.  Measure out 1 cup of milk and set aside.  Cream 1/2 cup softened butter with 1 1/4 cup sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla.  Add flour and milk into creamed mixture alternatively beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour this batter over the pineapple and cherry lined pan and smooth the surface.  Bake at 350F 45-55 minutes until center of cake is set.  Remove from oven.  Let sit 15 minutes.  The cooling time is important!  Too little and the caramel made from the melted butter and brown sugar will not be set up enough, and to much time and the fruit might stick to the pan.  Loosen around all sides with a knife and tip pan upside down onto a serving platter. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Focaccia... A Baker's Challenge

For the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch.

While Jim and I have been low carbing for a while now.....the opportunity to make a small batch of focaccia for Ike was very welcome.  I took the recipe from Allrecipes for Focaccia bread and scaled it down to 1/2 size.  At this size it was more than ample for the three of us.  Yes we did try some, and it was very good.  The recipe was adjusted only slightly based on what we had on hand.  I can't wait to  make some this summer in my parent's outdoor pizza oven:)  There is so much variety for toppings and seasonings to add, but this very simple version was perfect as is...very light after the second rising, and easy enough for my son to make:)

Focaccia (adapted from All Recipes.ca)

1 1/3 cup flour plus 1 Tbsp
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dry active yeast
1/2 tsp each garlic, oregano , thyme
1/4 tsp basil
pinch black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm water

1/2 cup grated asiago cheese
olive oil to drizzle on top

Work first 9 ingredients into a dough using a stand mixer, bread machine on dough mode or by hand.  Let sit to rise until double in size after rolling in an oiled bowl so the dough does not dry out.  Punch down the dough and pat out onto a greased cookie sheet into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle.  Poke dimples into the dough and sprinkle with cheese and any other desired toppings.  Let sit to rise for a further 20 minutes.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake in preheated 450F oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Quick Curried Beef- In the pressure cooker

I really liked this recipe for a quick curried beef  it was meant to be a recipe for a hand pie filling, and I can no longer find the source.....but it worked very well to serve on rice as well.  Quick and made with what was on hand.

Curried Beef

2 lbs stewing beef cut in 1 inch cubes
2 cups water
2 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 Tbsp beef soup base powder
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp parsley
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Vindaloo curry paste
2 tsp soy sauce

1 cup mixed vegetables (I used frozen peas and fresh carrots)

2 Tbsp corn starch and water to thicken

Cut meat into 1 inch cubes and dry well with paper towel.  Season meat with salt and pepper and brown in batches in the oil over medium high heat.  Remove browned meat to a plate while doing the remaining batches and adding extra oil if needed.  Once all meat is browned, return it to the pot with all remaining seasonings. and a few Tbsp of the water.  Stir to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom.  Add in remaining water so that you have 2 cup in total added.  Put on the lid to your pressure cooker and bring up to 15 lb pressure over a high heat setting (around 8 on my stove)....or high setting.  Once the pressure button has indicated you are up to pressure, and there is a steady stream of steam escaping the pot...turn down the heat on the stove to medium (enough so that steam continues to stream out steadily, but not forcefully.  Begin timing for 20 minutes.  At the end of 20 minutes remove pot from element and let the pot depressurize naturally.  If you are in a rush, you can depressurize quickly.  Open the pot, return to heat and bring to simmer.  Adjust heat to keep at a simmer and add in your vegetables.  Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring periodically.  Once veggies are ready, mix cornstarch with cold water and stir into the pot to thicken.  You can add only half of the corn starch mixture and see if it is enough....you may not need it all...or you may want to add more depending on the thickness you like.