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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Donuts for Everyone!

These donuts really are for everyone. 
Everyone can make them because there are no special tools, and everyone can eat them because they're vegan! Makes 1 dozen.

2 cups flour + more for kneading
2 tsp salt
1 cup water between 90-110 degrees
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 heaping tsp yeast or 1 pkg
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
A pinch of salt
A few tablespoons water

Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Stir sugar, vanilla, and yeast into warm water, let sit until foamy. Pour yeast mixture into flour mixture, add 2 Tbsp oil, stir to combine. Turn out onto a generously floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic adding more flour as necessary. Let the dough rise in a well oiled bowl for 1 hour in a warm place. 
This is the part that may get me in trouble with the purists: I didn't use a donut cutter. I divided the dough into 12 portions and pushed each portion into a smooth ball. I then stuck my finger through the ball and formed a ring like so:

Feel free to roll the dough out and use a donut cutter, but this works too. Gently cover the rings with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour.

Fill a large iron skillet with oil so it's an inch and a half or so deep. Heat the oil to about 350. Many recipes say heat the oil to 375 or more but that will result in an overly dark donut. 
Transfer the dough rings to the oil in batches. The dough will deflate when you move it no matter how careful you are, but don't worry, it will puff back up as it fries. Fry each side until it is lightly golden brown. They will be slightly irregular especially on the bottoms.

Drain on paper towels.
Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and water in a bowl big enough to dip a donut in. Stir until smooth, it should be about as thick as house paint. Coat each donut in icing while it's still warm. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Grilled Summer Veggie Pizza

The pizza and the veggies are both prepared on the grill (or grill pan) for the ultimate summertime treat.

For the pizza dough:
1 cup flour plus more for kneading
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1 heaping tsp yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup of your favorite cheese
2 cups of roughly chopped seasonal vegetables, big enough to not fall through the grates if you are using a real grill. I used zucchini, asparagus, spinach, and onion in my grill pan. 
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
2-3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

To make the dough, combine flour and salt in a bowl. Heat water to 90-110 degrees, stir sugar and yeast into water. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes. Add olive oil and yeast mixture to flour and salt. Stir until combined, then turn out onto a floured surface. Knead dough, adding flour as necessary, until it is smooth and elastic. Put your dough ball into a well oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. I turn the oven on for 30 seconds then off again and let it rise in the oven. 
Place your vegetables in a ziplock bag with oil, lemon juice, and seasonings. Toss to coat. Heat up the grill and grill the vegetables; if you have some that cook faster than others, stagger your timing. Just keep an eye on them and turn as necessary. When they are cooked to desired doneness, remove from heat and set aside.
Stretch dough into a round. Place on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes, turn 1/4, then cook for 2 more minutes. Flip it over and add shredded cheese, then veggies, then Parmesan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove from grill and serve. 
I recommend some red pepper flakes and a little ranch or garlic butter sauce for dipping! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lemon Cake

This was a special request for a coworker. In search of a good lemon cake recipe, I decided to modify my favorite cake recipe, the BHG Devil's Food cake. This is what I came up with; the cake is light and springy, the frosting is flavorful without being too sweet.

Lemon Cake

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp lemon extract
4-5 drops yellow food coloring, optional

Whippy Lemon Frosting

1 cup shortening
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4-5 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
4-5 drops yellow food coloring, optional

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour 2 round 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then add wet ingredients. Stir to combine, then beat with an electric mixer until smooth, 2-3 minutes. The batter will be thinner than a typical cake batter and it will taste like melted ice cream. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

For the frosting:
Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined. You can adjust the amount of milk to make it thicker or thinner, just watch out for 2 things: Don't add the lemon juice until the milk is mixed in or it will curdle. If you use food coloring, make sure it is thoroughly and evenly blended or you will end up with streaks and speckles! 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Very Berry Summer Pancake Syrup

You bought strawberries on sale. You have blueberries left over from your Fourth of July flag cake. The blackberry, mulberry, and/or black raspberry bush in your yard is bursting with ripe fruit. At least, that's what happened to me! Celebrate a beautiful summer morning with waffles or pancakes topped with succulent summer berries. 

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups mixed berries

Stir ingredients together in a saucepan. Heat to boiling, then simmer uncovered for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Mash the berries with the back of a wooden spoon to break them up as they cook. Let stand for at least 10 minutes to thicken and cool; serve on waffles, pancakes, ice cream, cake, or anything you like. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fry Those Pickles!

Sometimes you just need fried pickles. There are many, many recipes out there. After looking through most all of them, I decided to do it my way. 

Fried Pickles for One Hungry Person With A Serious Craving

16 good sized pickle slices
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Oil for frying

Heat an inch or so of oil in a sturdy pan. Put the milk in a bowl and soak the pickles in the milk. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and spices. When the oil is hot enough for frying, coat each pickle slice in flour and fry until golden brown. That took me about 7 minutes, you may have a different experience; just keep an eye on them. Drain on paper towels.

You'll probably want some dipping sauce. Plain ranch is good, cocktail sauce is fun, barbecue sauce is daring, and you can't go wrong with good old ketchup. I mixed ranch dressing with a dab of liquid smoke and a spoonful of jalapeƱo brine, voila, chipotle ranch! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

3 Sweet Ways to Celebrate and Share

Hello all! After an all-too-long Winter, it has already been a busy Spring. When people I love have a reason to celebrate, I love to bake up something sweet! Here are 3 easy ways to spread the love:
Special Request Chocolate Cake
This recipe for Devil's Food cake comes from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I bring one to nearly every family holiday celebration, by request, including this past Easter. It melted in the trunk during church, but it was still good! I will never use another basic chocolate cake recipe. Top with your favorite frosting.
BHG Devil's Food Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350.
In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir in all wet ingredients except eggs. Beat on high for 2 minutes, add eggs, beat for 2 more minutes. Pour into 2 greased and floured 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

A Big Ol' Cookie
When my husband hit his halfway point in school, I wanted to do something special. I thought a cake would be a bit much for just the two of us, so I went with a big chocolate chip cookie instead. Follow the link below for the foolproof recipe I used. You can add chocolate chips, candy, nuts, anything you like. I added chopped truffles! Decorate with your favorite icing.

Sugar Free Boston Cream Pie
If you are looking for a scratch recipe, this is not it! If you are looking for a diabetic-friendly cake that even the pickiest eater will devour, follow these steps:
For the cake, use Pillsbury sugar-free yellow cake mix.
For the filling, stir 1 packet of sugar-free vanilla pudding mix into 2 cups of whipping cream. Beat on medium until it gets really, really thick. Trust me. And no, this is not a low-calorie food. ;)
For the topping, melt Pillsbury sugar-free chocolate fudge frosting in the microwave until it's slightly runny. Pour over top and let it fall where it may; this creates the ganache look.
I made this for my pastor's birthday; everyone gobbled it up, even people who "don't like sugar free".