TRIPLE LAYER BUTTER PECAN CAKE

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      Today was one of those days.  I needed cake.  I had to have cake. You can only eat so much chocolate or white cake.  I admit that “so much” can be a real lot of cake, but I get in my moods.  I wanted a new flavor, but wasn’t sure what I wanted.  I scrounged around on the net and came across this butter pecan cake.  It was a contest winner, although I didn’t see where or what contest it won.  It looked good, but after reading the comments I was pretty sure I was going to change the recipe. Some people liked it as is, but I just wasn’t sure and decided to trust my own  judgment. 

     Yep, you guessed it.  I made some changes  and I think it’s outstanding.  Rich.  Light.  Flavorful.  Big.  Yes, it’s a big cake.  Three layers baked in 9” cake pans.  (A link to the original recipe is at the end of this post).

Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 cups chopped pecans, divided
  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened, divided
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • FROSTING:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 5 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Slight ¼ cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

PREPARATION:

  1. Place pecans and 1/4 cup butter in a baking pan. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl, cream sugar and remaining butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, baking powder, oil, and salt, mixing well. Add flour and milk alternately, beating on low speed.  Stir in 1 ½ cups of toasted pecans. (the remainder will go in the frosting).
  3. Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

FROSTING PREPARATION:

Cream butter on low medium speed for a minute or two.  It should get nice and fluffy.  Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and alternately add milk and vanilla.  Beat until it becomes light and of a spreadable consistency.  Add remaining ¾ cup pecans.  I saved about ¼ cup to garnish the top of the cake after frosting.

This cake was the creation of Betty Miller, Tallahassee, Florida.  I made quite a few adjustments.  Read the original recipe:  http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/butter-pecan-layer-cake

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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SPLIT PEA SOUP IN PRESSURE COOKER

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If you’d love to have creamy split pea soup on the dinner in 30 minutes, give this a try.  My son Cory passed along this time saving idea  Cooking it in the pressure cooker that he gave me for Mother’s Day gave us delicious soup which was higher in vitamins and nutrients.  AND, the BEST PART is that there was NO BLENDING of the soup!  The pressure cooker broke the peas down perfectly.  My recipe is below.  Please feel free to use it or use your own.  Just give it a try in your pressure cooker.

TIKA’S RECIPE

1 large pork hock or use leftover ham

½ cup Diced Celery

3 large carrots

1 large chopped Onion

1 lb dried split peas

3 cans Chick broth

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

¼ tsp thyme

1/8 tsp marjoram

1 potato, trimmed and cubed

2 cloves garlic

Crushed red pepper, dash

NOTE:  If you’re using a pork hock instead of ham, taste it before adding any salt.  They can be very salty.

I used my normal recipe, just browned the pork hock, celery, onions, and carrots quickly (right in the pressure cooker).  Then we added the rinsed peas, chicken broth, pepper, thyme, marjoram, potato, garlic and crushed red pepper.

I served it with a scrumptious onion cheese yeast bread which I’ll share in another post.

Full article on using a pressure cooker:  http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/10/how-to-make-pressure-cooker-split-pea-soup.html

Please remember to Like our Posts and Follow Chew Wanna Eat? for more great recipes, home hacks, gardening, and health information!    You won’t be sorry.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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DANISH PASTRY WITH LEMON CURD

danish-9       Scrumptious Lemon Curd Danish with Blueberries, Raspberries, and Drizzled Icing

     A few days ago I shared Cheese Danish pastry with you all.  I hope you’ve tried them by now.  Just in case the cheese filling topped with fruit didn’t entice you, how about filling them with Lemon Curd and topping with fresh berries?   Bob and I found the Cheese and berries so incredibly delicious that we ate them all in two days.  As if our waistlines aren’t thanking us enough, I needed to make them again, this time I wanted my Lemon Curd and Fresh Berries.  

Maybe need to adjust the rest of this:  However, have you ever tasted warm pastry straight from the oven?  It is unbelievably delicious.  Making homemade is a little time consuming, but it is very easy.  Really.  And the difference between store-bought and fresh homemade is a world of difference.  Imagine a slightly crispy, buttery exterior, and layer upon layer of flaky pastry.  No special equipment is necessary.  If you have a food processor, it’s quicker, but it can all be done by hand with a pastry blender. 

     The fillings and shapes are endless.  They do not have to look perfect, mine certainly don’t.  Did they taste knock-your-socks-off spectacular?  You bet!

INGREDIENTS:  Yields 12 pastries

1 ½ cups bread flour + extra for work surface and rolling pin

2 TBSP sugar

2 tsp active dry yeast

¾ tsp salt

1 ¾ sticks cold butter, chopped

2 large eggs, divided

¼ cup milk

2 TBSP water

Lemon Curd Filling, Recipe below

Fresh Berries

 

PREPARATION:

In your food processor, add flour, sugar, yeast and salt.  Chop the butter into small chunks and add that as well.  Pulse until mixture is small and crumbly.  You should see little round bits of butter throughout.

In a large bowl, whisk together only 1 egg, milk, and water.  In three batches, add the dough mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until everything is mixed and evenly moistened.

Lay a long piece of plastic wrap out, and place the dough on one end.  Flatten out to approximately 12”or so, wrap well and chill for at least 2 hours.  (I left it over night in the fridge).

Lightly flour your work area and roll the dough with a floured rolling pin to approximately 15” x 8”.   It does not need to be perfect at this stage. The dough will feel sticky on the first roll; just make sure the dough, as well as the rolling pin is floured.  With the short end facing you, lift up the dough and pretend you’re folding a business letter.  You will need a bench scraper or spatula to lift it cleanly.  You’ll make one flap, and then go to the other short end and lift that over the first flap.  You should see three distinct layers.  Lightly flour your work surface with each turn.  This will get easier as you go. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll again.  Turn again, 90 degrees and roll again to 15” x 8”.

(You have done this 3 times now, and what you’re doing is incorporating the butter evenly throughout the dough mixture.  This is what will give you the desired flakiness).

Wrap it in the plastic wrap again and refrigerate for another 2 hour minimum.

Repeat the rolling and folding process 3 more times.  You have now rotated and folded a total of 6 times.  Chill the dough again.  The dough must remain cold.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12” x 12” square. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 equal squares. Transfer the squares to a stoneware baking sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours.

Prepare the Lemon Curd and chill it until about an hour before you shape your dough and do the final rise.

 

There are all sorts of fancy ways to shape your pastries, but the easiest ways are to make a ball out of one of the squares, then press it down with your finger tips or a spoon to make an indentation in the center and a ridge around the edges.  Fill with Lemon Curd and top with fresh fruit.  Another way is to fill a square and then pull all the corners up to meet in the center.  Pinch together to seal.

Preheat oven to 425° F

Beat the egg white with a fork and brush the tops and sides of the pastries. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the baking sheet and continue to bake until pastries are beautifully puffed and golden brown, approximately 3 – 6 more minutes, depending on size.

 

LEMON CURD INGREDIENTS: 

3/8 cup (6 TBSP) fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 ½ tsp lemon zest

3/8 cup sugar (6 TBSP) adjustable if you want it sweeter

1 ½ large egg (sorry, this is half a recipe.  Give ½ egg cooked to your dog)

¼ cup unsalted butter and dash of salt, or ¼ cup butter (Don’t add additional salt)

 

PREPARATION:

In a small saucepan, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, eggs and butter.  Cook while whisking over medium/low heat until thick and bubbly.  (About 6 min) Let it simmer for another 2 minutes or so, whisking constantly.  (If you walk away, I promise you will have to strain your curd.  So don’t do it.) Stir once in a while it’s cooling.  Chill until about an hour before you shape and let the pastries rise.

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

¾ rounded cup confectioner’s sugar

1 TBSP milk

Dash of salt

¼ tsp vanilla

In a small bowl, whisk 1 cup confectioner’s sugar with milk, salt and vanilla until of drizzling consistency. If too stiff, add ½ tsp milk.  Taste it.  If you need a bit more vanilla, add it.  If you’d like to add a few drops of almond extract, add it.

With a large spoon, drizzle mixture over warm pastries.

Please remember to Like our Posts and Follow Chew Wanna Eat? for more great recipes, home hacks, gardening, and health information!    You won’t be sorry. 

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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DANISH PASTRY WITH CHEESE FILLING

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     You’ve all tasted Danish pastry.  It’s good, right?  You bet.  However, have you ever tasted warm pastry straight from the oven?  It is unbelievably delicious.  Making homemade is a little time consuming, but it is very easy.  Really.  And the difference between store-bought and fresh homemade is a world of difference.  Imagine a slightly crispy, buttery exterior, and layer upon layer of flaky pastry.  No special equipment is necessary.  If you have a food processor, it’s quicker, but it can all be done by hand with a pastry blender. 

     The fillings and shapes are endless.  They do not have to look perfect, mine certainly don’t.  Did they taste knock-your-socks-off spectacular?  You bet!

INGREDIENTS:  Yields 8 large pastries

1 ½ cups bread flour + extra for work surface and rolling pin

2 TBSP sugar

2 tsp active dry yeast

¾ tsp salt

1 ¾ sticks cold butter, chopped

2 large eggs

¼ cup milk

2 TBSP water

Cheese filling, Recipe below

Jam or fresh berries

 

PREPARATION:

In your food processor, add flour, sugar, yeast and salt.  Chop the butter into small chunks and add that as well.  Pulse until mixture is small and crumbly.  You should see little round bits of butter throughout.

In a large bowl, whisk together only 1 egg, milk, and water.  In three batches, add the dough mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until everything is mixed and evenly moistened.

Lay a long piece of plastic wrap out, and place the dough on one end.  Flatten out to approximately 12” or so, wrap well and chill for at least 2 hours.  (I left it over night in the fridge).

Lightly flour your work area and roll the dough with a floured rolling pin to approximately 8” by 15”.  It doesn’t need to be perfect at this stage. With the short end facing you, lift up the dough and pretend you’re folding a business letter.  You will need a bench scraper or spatula to lift it cleanly.  You’ll make one flap, and then go to the other short end and lift that over the first flap.  You should see three distinct layers.  Lightly flour your work surface with each turn.  This will get easier as you go. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll again.  Turn again, 90 degrees and roll again to 8 x 15.  (You have done this 3 times now, and what you’re doing is incorporating the butter evenly throughout the dough mixture.  This is what will give you the desired flakiness).

Wrap it in the plastic wrap again and refrigerate for another 2 hour minimum.

Repeat the rolling and folding process 3 more times.  You have now rotated and folded a total of 6 times.  Chill the dough again.  The dough must remain cold.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12”- 12 ½”square. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 equal squares. Transfer the squares to a stoneware baking sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours.

Prepare the cheese filling and let it sit out.  You don’t want to mix a super cold mixture onto dough that you want to rise.

CHEESE FILLING INGREDIENTS:

4 ounces cream cheese

Optional: 1 TBSP cottage cheese

2 TBSP confectioner’s sugar

1 egg yolk

1 egg white

Dash of salt

½ tsp vanilla

Jam or Fresh Fruit

In mixer bowl, beat cream cheese, cottage cheese if using, sugar, egg yolk, salt and vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Let this sit out at room temperature while dough is rising.  Place approximately 1/8th of the mixture onto each risen pastry, then top with a little fruit or jam.

There are all sorts of fancy ways to shape your pastries, but the easiest ways are to make a ball out of one of the squares, then press it down with your finger tips or a spoon to make an indentation in the center and a ridge around the edges.  Fill with cheese and fruit.  Another way is to fill a square and then pull all the corners up to meet in the center.  Pinch together to seal.

Preheat oven to 425° F

Beat the egg white with a fork and brush the tops and sides of the pastries. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the baking sheet and continue to bake until pastries are beautifully puffed and golden brown.

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

¾ cup confectioner’s sugar

1 TBSP milk

Dash of salt

¼ tsp vanilla

In a small bowl, whisk 1 cup confectioner’s sugar with milk, salt and vanilla until of drizzling consistency. If too stiff, add ½ tsp milk.  Taste it.  If you need a bit more vanilla, add it.  If you’d like to add a few drops of almond extract, add it.

With a large spoon, drizzle mixture over warm pastries.

Please remember to Like our Posts and Follow Chew Wanna Eat? for more great recipes, home hacks, gardening, and health information!    You won’t be sorry.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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CREAMY WHITE CLAM SAUCE

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INGREDIENTS: YIELDS 4 servings

One 10 0z can whole baby clams

Two 6 ¾ oz minced or chopped clams

3 TBSP butter

3 TBSP olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, chopped

½ cup chopped mushrooms

1 ½ “ anchovy paste

2 TBSP flour

½ tsp Parsley, ½ tsp Italian Seasoning, ¼ tsp Basil

Pepper to taste

Pinch Crushed red pepper

1/3 cup Chardonnay

¼ cup half and half

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese

¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

½ cup fresh grated Romano cheese

 

PREPARATION:

In a 4 qt sauce pan, melt butter and olive oil together.  Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, and anchovy paste.  Sauté 5 minutes on low heat.  Add flour and cook another 3 – 4 minutes.  Add Chardonnay and seasonings.  Let simmer for a few minutes.

Drain clams, reserving liquid.  You should end up with 1 ½ cups.  Add to pan, stirring until slightly thickened.  Slowly begin  adding cheeses, stirring as you go. When cheese is melted and sauce is smooth, add half and half and clams. Cook only long enough to heat them.

Serve over cooked pasta and sprinkle with more grated cheese.

Please remember to Like our Posts and Follow Chew Wanna Eat? for more great recipes, home hacks, gardening, and health information!    You won’t be sorry.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

ROAST TURKEY AND STUFFING

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     One of the things I love about fall and winter is being able to use my oven more.  Stuffing a bird is one of my favorite things to do, and it isn’t hard.  Buying a turkey is inexpensive, and you can do so much with the leftovers.  

     I’ve told you all the story of my mother’s stuffing, and I’m sharing it again today because I like telling it. 

     This is actually based on my mother’s recipe for stuffing.  We all loved it, and for every holiday that a turkey was stuffed and every special weeknight meal that my mother cooked a big roasting chicken, she always made this stuffing. I remember one year my father begged her to make something different.  He wanted chestnut stuffing.  All I have to say is, it was a darned good thing that he liked it because none of us kids ate more than one bite of it.  Being that we were such whiners, Mom never strayed again. 

     My mom never used a recipe either. Unless she was baking or trying a new recipe, everything was in her head, just like I cook today. I must have been in my late twenties or early thirties and had my own family to feed when I asked for her recipe.  I made her think; and think hard.  “Come on, Mom.  Just guess.  Give me an idea.  How much bread?  How much sausage?  How much onion?  One egg?  Or two?”  I’m telling you, it went on for an hour.  I knew I was driving her crazy and I didn’t care.  I had to have it!  (Served her right, and that’s what she gets for not writing it down.  Ha ha). 

    The following ingredients will easily fill an average sized turkey.  Remember that I’ve been making this for many years and never use a recipe.  I might have misfiled it, but I can’t find the one that I begged off my mother.  All the ingredients are according to our likes.  You may want a little more of this and a little less of that.  Until you put the eggs in it, go ahead and taste it if you want.  Everything is cooked. See if you need more sage or more pepper . . ok, hushing up now. 

 

INGREDIENTS:     Makes enough for up to a 12 -15 lb bird.

½ lb Jimmy Dean sausage (I love sage flavor)

1 large celery rib, chopped

½ cup onion, chopped

4 TBSP butter

4+/- cups cubed stale bread (use Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing mix)

½ – ¾ can chicken broth

2 eggs

½ cup milk

1 tsp each sage, onion powder, garlic powder

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp salt

1 tsp poultry seasoning 

PREPARATION:

One of the reasons I insist on Jimmy Dean sausage is because it is such a good quality product.  There is such a small amount of grease after frying it, that I often brown the sausage at the same time in the same pan with the celery and onion.

In a 10” or 12” skillet over medium heat, put the sausage in and begin breaking it up into small chunks with a heavy spoon.  Add the butter, celery and onion any time and cook until sausage is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.

In a large bowl, tear up the bread (I used to help my mother with this.  When we were kids, Janie and I had no interest in cooking, but we did have to help if there was grunt work to be done).

If I don’t have stale bread on hand, I’ll use fresh bread and break it up early in the day.  I’d stir it around every half hour or so and its fine.  I always try to use both white and wheat bread.

Add the seasonings and stir to incorporate.  (If you want to taste the seasonings, now is the time to do it).  Make a well in the center and add the eggs.  Whip them around a bit with your spoon.  Kinda fun, eh? Add the chicken broth and stir. I would say add just ¼ cup of the milk now and see how it looks/feels.  You don’t want it too wet, but you don’t want it dry, either.

Wash the bird inside and out. Make sure you remove the giblets!  Check all orifices because sometimes they hide them on you.  I always simmer the giblets in chicken broth and add it to the drippings after the bird is done.  It makes great gravy.

Say, “Open wide.” and stuff the bird. Remember to stuff the neck cavity also.  Don’t pack it real tight because you want the eggs to cook.  I have never trussed a bird, and I never will. My mother used to do it and it looked like too much work.  I take the heel of a loaf of bread and tuck it in the rear and neck openings.  Works every time.  Whatever doesn’t fit in the bird, place in a casserole dish and cover it with foil.  Throw it in the oven about 30 minutes before the bird is done.

Smear some butter on all surfaces of the bird.  Pour a can of chicken broth over the turkey, and then season well with salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning.  Tent with foil and put it in the oven.  Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for time and temperature.  I usually baste the bird every 45 minutes or so with the juices in the bottom of the pan.  Use this later for gravy along with the giblet liquid).

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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