Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This cake was fabulous! I admit, I did make quite a few adaptations. I don't do a lot of baking in the summer, particularly baking rich, heavy foods. So the changes that I made were in an effort to make it lighter and healthier while still staying as true as possible to the original recipe and flavor.

First off, since this cake looked gigantic, I made a half batch. I also used part whole wheat flour and low fat sour cream. I opted against the glaze and instead put all of the streusel on top. The cake was moist and and the flavors light and simple - the perfect after dinner treat. This is definitely a keeper and I will no doubt be seeking this recipe out to make as it was originally intended for a special occasion or holiday.

I've posted my adaptations below - as always you can click the title to view the original recipe.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
(adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

6 tbs. butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. sour cream
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt


2 tbs. brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tbs. cold butter
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour single layer 8-inch cake pan (I used a cheesecake pan so that I could remove the outer rim without disrupting the topping).

Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to the batter until just combined.

For the streusel, mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in cold butter, then add walnuts. Pour into prepared pan then sprinkle streusel evenly on top. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Serve and enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers Meets Summer Supper

The BB pick for this month is Scalloped Tomatoes, but when I checked the episode guide I decided to make everything from that show in one meal. The episode was entitled Farm Stand Food and also included Zucchini Pancakes and Cape Codd Chopped Salad.

I must admit that while the scalloped tomatoes were pretty good, I enjoyed the zucchini pancakes and chopped salad more. The scalloped tomatoes were a wee bit too sweet for me and if I make them again, I'll be sure to put 1 tbs. of sugar instead of 2 - perhaps even less. I also think that the bread chunks are sufficient if the entire portion is eaten at once. However, this is almost never the case at my house as I'm only feeding my husband and myself. I typically cook 4 nights per week and the days in-between are leftover nights. When we reheated the scalloped tomatoes the second night, the bread chunks didn't hold up, and kind of dissolved into the dish. I'm glad that I tried this dish but I think I will stick with my stand-by stewed tomatoes which I prepare similar to chicken n' dumplings, by cooking mounds of dough in boiling tomatoes. All said, it was a great Summer Supper!

The zucchini pancakes were quite tasty and the Cape Cod Chopped Salad was excellent! It has the blend of flavors that I most love in a salad with the saltiness from the bacon, the sweetness of the cranberries, and the slight tang from the dressing. It is definitely one that I will make again and again.

I'm including the recipes for the Zucchini Pancakes and Cobb Salad with my minor adaptations. (I've included a link for the scalloped tomatoes but I'm not posting the recipe here since I didn't make any changes.) Of course, you can click the links to see the original recipes.
Zucchini Pancakes

2 med. zucchini
2 medium shallots, minced
2 eggs, beaten
6 tbs. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
olive oil

Grate the zucchini and then transfer to a strainer. Press zucchini with a cloth to release some of the water. Stir in shallots and eggs, then flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat then brush with olive oil. Spoon 1/3 c. pancake mixture onto pan and flatten with spatula or spoon. Note: Ina's recipe said to cook for 2 min on each side but mine took way longer than that - I'd estimate about 5-6 min. per side. I just kept checking them until they were sufficiently brown.

Pancakes can be kept warm in a 250 - 300 degree oven. I have an electric skillet so I simply threw all the pancakes back on the skillet for a few seconds to crispen them up before serving.
Cape Cod Chopped Salad

8 oz. Canadian bacon, sliced thick and cubed
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 c. walnut pieces
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 bag of Italian Salad mix with herbs


3 tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. grated orange zest
juice from 1 orange
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbs. maple syrup
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/3 c. olive oil

In a large bowl, toss together the bacon, apple, walnuts, and cranberries. Whisk together ingredients for the dressing then pour over the chopped mixture. When ready to serve, spoon the mixture over Italian salad mix.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saying Good-Bye to Spring

On this, the eve of summer, it has been perhaps the hottest day of the season. I haven't checked the stats so I don't know that for a fact, but with the humidity it has surely felt like the hottest day of the season.

All day I've been daydreaming about this. . . .

I actually made this on a rather cool spring day in late April. It had been unseasonably warm for several days in a row but on the day that I made this, the temperatures took a 30-degree nosedive. Go figure. We still enjoyed the refreshing flavor of this somewhat light dessert.

So needless to say, the ingredients for a new batch of ice cream has made its way onto my grocery list for tomorrow. I contemplated making this, which I spotted on La Bella Cook. However, my hubby has requested chocolate, so I'll go with that for now. But doesn't that Margarita ice cream sound absolutely divine?

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

2 c. vanilla yogurt
1/2 c. 2% or whole milk
1/4 c. sugar
1 pint fresh strawberries, smashed
a few sprigs of mint for garnish

Dissolve sugar into strawberries over low heat. Allow to come to room temperature after sugar has dissolved. Meanwhile combine yogurt and milk. Mix with a whisk until smooth. Add cooled strawberries to the mixture and combine with an electric mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds. Process in ice cream maker for about 20 - 30 minutes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Where in the world have I been?!?

Yes, I have had a bit of an unexplained absence lately. No, I did not fall off the blogosphere. I've just been on vacation. Now, if I was a good little blogger I would have posted to that effect and indeed I intended to but there was so much to do in the days leading up to our departure that it just didn't happen. As each day unfolded I would think to myself, when I get everything done, I'll sit down and post. . . You see how that turned out.

So where in the world have I been? Actually, nowhere too terribly exciting. I just spent a quiet week at Topsail Beach in North Carolina. We rent a house there every summer and we only go out to eat one night during the week so preparing for the trip is quite the ordeal. With all the stuff we have to take I tend to feel like I'm moving instead of going on vacation.

In the midst of the chaos before we left, I did manage to cook one good, wholesome meal. I had intended to post this as a grilled shrimp recipe for Barefoot Bloggers, however, it rained nearly every evening during the week that the post was scheduled so I finally gave up and just sauteed them. I followed the recipe for Ina's Grilled Herb Shrimp exactly, except of course, for the actual grilling part, and they were still delicious. I served them over vermicelli seasoned with garlic, salt, and parsley and alongside some sauteed kale, which we purchased locally from our Farmer's Market.

This was a great summer supper! It didn't take long to cook and the flavors were fresh and crisp. Since next week marks the beginning of summer, I intend to post one "Summer Supper" per week.

I'll leave you now with a few images from my week at the beach. . .

This shrimp boat was actually way off in the distance. My awesome Nikon Coolpix s630 captured the people on board, which you couldn't see from the shore.

This is the view from Daddy Mac's, which is where we typically go for our one meal out. That night, I had some fabulous grilled shrimp skewers.