Kitchen Concoctions: May 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My First Blogging Blunder

Like I have mentioned before I am still a youngin when it comes to blogging. It has become that every time I long in to make a post I spend hours reading other people's blogs and trying to make mine better. I say "try" because I see something I want to add or change with my blog and attempt to do it but it doesn't work out. Or if I do get it to work out it has taken me all day to figure it out. My mom and future MIL say that I am technology savvy but some days I don't feel like it AT ALL.

Several good friends of mine are the ones who got me interested in blogging. They have personal blogs about their families; I loved the concept of being able to keep up my friends and family who live miles and miles away through the click of a mouse. I then discovered food blogs and it was off from there.

Recently a dear friend of mine posted about her son's birthday. She wrote that he had a combined birthday with another friend. In her post she included pictures of the party, the kiddos, the decorations and food. She wrote how the mother of the other birthday child had shown up to the party with way more food and fancier decorations. My friend wrote that she felt like a looser.

To make her feel better I posted a comment that said something like: don't worry about it- it sounds like Timmy's mom is one of those show off Martha Stewart type moms. It looks like everyone had lots of fun!

A few days later my friend made her blog private and when I tried logging in to read it, it said that I was not authorized. I started to panic. Did I offend my dear friend of 14 years!?! I surly didn't mean to. I am just a very sarcastic person and was trying to make her feel better the only way I know how- by be a smarta**. Since I was knee high to a grass hopper I have been making people laugh (and also getting in trouble) for my smartalec remarks. I sure hope that I didn't ruin our 14 (yes 14) year friendship with some stupid comment. Tracy I am publicly apologizing to you. Please forgive me, please let me read your blog, please don't shun me on Facebook, please let's do lunch next time I come to visit, please!

To make us all feel better I say let's eat cake(this is of course a food blog- I can safely say I don't have a food addiction)! After making the Cake Mix Bread and it turning out kinda sweet I decided to make it even sweeter. I took that bread and made it into a French Toast Coffee Cake Thingy. I turned out good (especially served piping hot, fresh from the oven)and was a perfect breakfast treat. The only down fall (and some may say it is not a problem at all) is that it does not keep well so it is best if you eat it all in one sitting (so not to be glutenous I would say wait and make it when you are having quite a few over night guests).

(I had other, more photogenic pictures of the cake but for some reason my camera and computer are not working together as a team to get them uploaded)

French Toast Coffee Cake Thingy
Cake Filling:
½ to ¾ a loaf of Cake Mix Bread, cut into 1x1 inch chunks (or any bread you have on hand- but the more dense and thick the better)
8 eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups milk
1 cup Dulec de Leche flavored coffee creamer
1/3 cup sugar
½ tablespoon vanilla

1 ½ cups of mixed berries or fruit (I used a granny smith apple, strawberries, and blackberries)
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter

Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Place bread chunks in prepared pan. Mix remaining ingredients of the cake filling. Pour this mixture over bread. Place in refrigerator for a couple of hours or over night. For topping: mix flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter using a fork or pastry cutter (mixture should be coarse). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top bread mixture with fruit; top fruit with topping mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Now I must go learn some Internet etiquette.

Editor's Note: The above post was based on actual events; however names, places and slight details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved. : )

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm Back!

I never really was physically gone- my computer and I just realized that we were beginning to have an unhealthy relationship with each other.
I absolutely LOVE blogging. I am a very late bloomer in the blogging world, but I am trying to catch up. Because I have been trying to catch up (or some people, like my boyfriend, might say I have become obsessed) with the blogging, my space, facebook, twitter, Internet world; I have been spending way too much time there and not in other healthy relationships. So I took a partial break (just for a week). I spent time with friends and family, I rediscovered my love for reading and scrapbooking, and even exercised (if you count going on "really long walks" with my dog exercise).

Even though I was taking a break from the computer,I still continued to "eat, drink, and be merry"- so I have a lot of catching up to do with my posts. I have at least four recipes I have to post, at least three restaurant reviews, one cookbook review and I am trying make some changes (I know the word 'change' freaks people out, but don't worry I am just trying to make things even better/cooler/more up to date) to my blog.

I love to experiment with premade/box foods. I love taking premade cookie or pizza dough, cake/cookie mixes, and drink mixes to the next level. So the other day I was going through my pantry and saw a cake mix I needed to use up. I wanted to experiment and make something different with it. I then remembered when I was a kid taking a cake mix and making dinner rolls out of it. I deiced to attempt that again.

This bread turned out not bad. It has a sweet and savory flavor. I originally made it to eat with dinner one night, but because it was slightly sweet I thought it would be better as a breakfast bread with jam or honey butter smeared all over it.

Cake Mix Bread

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup warm buttermilk
2 (1/4 oz) pkgs active dry yeast
1 box butter cake mix
5 cups flour
3 tablespoons butter, melted
your choice: jam, butter or honey-to top it of

In large bowl, mix warm water and yeast; stirring until yeast is dissolved. Stir in warm buttermilk. Add cake mix and flour- mixing until smooth. Cover bowl with a damp dish towel and let rise until doubled- about one hour. Punch down. Grease a 8x4 inch loaf pan. Place 3/4 of dough in greased loaf pan. Roll remaining dough into 'rolls' and place into a greased muffin tin (If you have a larger loaf pan all of the dough should fit into one pan- it did not all fit in the 8x4 inch pan that is why I also made rolls). Let rise again for one hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush melted butter over top of rolls and bread. Bake until golden brown- rolls 15-18 minutes and bread 40-45. Cool slightly and serve with butter, jam, or honey.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Insert Creative/Sarcastic/Witty Title Here

One of my favorite things about blogging is coming up with creative/sarcastic/witty titles. You know the ones that may give you a little hint about what you are going to be talking about or ones that have practically nothing to do with what you are going to be talking about but the title gets your attention and reels you in.

Most food blogs have post titles that say the name of the recipe or that specifically state what they are going to be talking about. "Buttermilk Biscuits" or "Interview with so and so" or "Giveaway," now there is nothing wrong with these, I in fact have done the same thing, but what is the fun in that!?!

This particular posting I was having trouble narrowing down the creative/sarcastic/witty title. I thought of so many, based on my latest adventure in the kitchen. Some appropriate titles might be:
  • MIA
  • Losing My Mind
  • My Perfect Memory
  • It's A Miracle: I Ate Tomatoes, and I Liked It
  • Tomato Lovers Chicken
  • Tomato Bruschetta Chicken

So based on my recent kitchen adventure and the recipe it's self; I am leaving the title of this blog entry up to you, since I couldn't decide
Recently on the blog The Girl Who Ate Everything she had a posting for Grilled Bruschetta Chicken. The recipe she had was very similar to one that I have made in the past. I had been planning on making this chicken and had gotten the cherry tomatoes and basil at the store on Saturday or Sunday (I can't remember exactly). I then picked up the chicken on Monday and was planning on making the chicken on Tuesday for dinner. I marinated the chicken and eventually started making the other sides. I threw the chicken in the oven and it was almost ready (well technically it was almost ready after 30-35 minutes). I went to get the cherry tomatoes and basil out of the fridge and they were no where to be found. No where. I looked high and low, I pulled every thing out- no where. I was seriously doubting that I even got them. But I knew for sure I did. I had too have bought them and gotten home with them and put them away. I remember (and my memory is perfect).

So I went and asked Eric (my boyfriend) if had seen them and he said that he had and that he threw them away. I asked why (in a shrieking, high pitched voice). He said that on Monday he went to get a drink and saw the tomatoes and basil and thought they looked bad. He said he thought he was helping me and doing a favor by throwing them out!
So I had to think quickly (since my chicken was done by now). I still wanted to make this chicken. So I pulled out regular Roma tomatoes cut them up and used them and had to sadly do without the basil. This version turned out fine but was much better when I made it before using the cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes just have a great, sweet flavor when they are roasted.

(just Photo shop basil and cherry tomatoes in)
Tomato Bruschetta Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup tomato vinaigrette salad dressing (you can use more if you like)1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes, cut in half (not pictured, Roma tomatoes were substituted)1 tablespoon seasoned olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons onion, diced
Basil, chiffinade (not pictured)***
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced

Marinate chicken in salad dressing for several hours or over night. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange chicken in a glass baking pan. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Arrange tomatoes, garlic and onions on a baking sheet. Drizzle with seasoned olive oil. Place tomatoes in oven for the last 15 minutes of the chicken’s baking time. Remove tomatoes and chicken. Plate chicken and top with roasted tomato mixture, some basil and Parmesan cheese.

***Tip for my Kitchen Challenged sister (you know who you are).(Hey that would be a good idea for a blog, Rach, "The Adventures Of The Kitchen Challenged") To chiffinade something means to cut something (usually herbs or spinach) into long, thin strips. This is accomplished by stacking leaves, rolling them tightly, then cutting across the rolled leaves with a sharp knife, producing fine ribbons.

The reason one of the possible titles for this blog entry was "It's A Miracle: I Ate Tomatoes, And I Liked It," is because I have been a self proclaimed tomato hater for my entire life. I can even remember my very first times trying to eat tomatoes as a kid and gaging uncontrollably(horrible and life haunting experience). However, as I have grown and matured my palate and I have discovered that if cooked the right way or added to the right foods, that I (and I can't believe I am writing this) actually like tomatoes. I really like tomatoes (specifically cherry/grape tomatoes) roasted. They become so sweet and tasty when they are cooked that way. You should try eating them that way, if you too are a self proclaimed tomato hater.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Opps... I Did It Again....

Warning: Excessive Rambling Below

I explained in my previous post that I recently had a near fatal kitchen experience (do read- it will have you on the edge of your seat). And you would think that I would have taken sad near fatal experience and used it to grow and learn. However, that was not the case.

A few days later I had a brilliant idea for a new spin on chicken fried chicken. I was so excited and told Eric that I was making chicken fried chicken for dinner and he became even more excited than me. I ran to the store to get all the ingredients to make a new and improved spin on chicken fried chicken, homemade gravy and mashed potatoes, and warm buttermilk biscuits (you can wipe the droll off your chin now). I began to prepare everything all at once (I was sooooo excited and hungry). I made the biscuits and threw them in the oven. I started boiling the potatoes. I began pounding out the chicken (a good pound always releases built up tensions) and then dipping the chicken in the batter and breading. I put the oil on to get hot (first step that went wrong). I threw the prepared chicken in the hot oil. Then the timer went off for the biscuits and I went to get them out of the oven..... then the potatoes started to over boil and so I had to deal with them... leaving my chicken to burn. Yes, burn! : ( When I could get to the chicken and remove it from the oil it was a nice charred color. I thought "not to fret I have four more chicken breasts" I threw one more in and continued to deal with the biscuits and potatoes..... of course burring that chicken. Again I attempt then chicken and again I fail. I take my last chicken and throw it in the oil; paying close attention, I carefully babysit it. When all seems to be going well the smoke detector starts going off (mind you when I almost burnt my apartment down before the smoke detector never went off; that time I even had flames and black smoke). I frantically start looking for the smoke detector and it is no where to be found. No where? The detector near the kitchen was not going off, neither was the one in the hall to the bedroom. What smoke alarm was going off? Where was it? Finally I found it- the smoke alarm in the bedroom on the other side of the apartment. I open the windows and run back to then kitchen to find my last and final chicken breast charred. I sadly finished the biscuits, gravy, and potatoes (knowing I had been defeated) and we ate chicken chard chicken for dinner.

Hopefully, I will have better luck next time. My sweet boyfriend raved about the entire meal and said he liked his chicken fried chicken a little crunchy and that they tasted great. The biscuits did turn out pretty good, though. They went great with the gravy for dinner and were also yummy reheated the next morning with butter, honey. So here is the one great thing about dinner that day:

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until it looks like coarse sand. Make a well in the center and add buttermilk. Quickly fold dry ingredients into buttermilk with your hands until a sticky dough forms. Turn out onto a floured. Gently press the dough into a rectangle until it is between 1/2 inch thick.

Use a round cookie cutter (or a glass) that has been floured to cut the biscuits. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or that has been sprayed with non-tick spray. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

The day I made these ironically happened to be National Buttermilk Biscuit Day (May 14). So happy biscuit making!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Light A FIRE Under My.......

Recently I was in the mood for BBQ chicken sandwiches. Like every time I make BBQ chicken sandwiches I put the chicken on to boil. My phone then rang and I went into the other room to answer it. When I came back into the kitchen to check on the chicken I saw HUGE yellow flames swarming up the sides of my pot. Thick black smoke began to fill the air. The first thing that went through my head was "OMG, my apartment is going to burn down" my next thoughts went to my neighbor who lived down the street from me when I was a kid, whose house DID burn down due to a kitchen fire. My next thought was "Quick were is the camera.... I need pictures for the blog". I then had a some what rational thought and was able to pull my self together enough to think "OMG WHAT DO I DO; I HAVE A GREASE FIRE". I then remembered that I needed to find the baking powder to smoother the flames. I raced to my pantry (I have a small apartment kitchen, so I actually took two steps) and feverishly looked for the baking soda. Meanwhile my vision is getting blurry, due to the smoke. I then think "Oh no- the smoke alarm is going to go off and the sprinkler system is going to go off- Where is that DAMN baking soda!"

Finally I find the baking soda. I run over to the stove top and carefully lift up and remove the pot of chicken. As I do this I spill boiling hot water everywhere. The flames then shoot even higher. My heart is racing and my hands are shaking. I cannot seem to open the box of that DAMN baking soda. Then when I think I am doomed, I am able to rip open the box of baking soda and smother the fire. I then breathe a sigh of relief and gag as smoke fills my lungs. I stumble to the sliding glass door and open it, followed by all the other windows. My dog and cat and I then laid down on the floor hugging each other and bowing down to my new hero:

RIP baking soda; thanks for making a sacrifice for me and my home and my beloved pets. I know you had dreamed of being a part of something tasty like cakes, cookies, or biscuits; but know that you were not used in vain- you are a hero:

After I calmed down a bit and I cleaned up my mess. I continued boiling the chicken, (just because a had a traumatic experience with my life flashing before my eyes doesn't mean I still wasn't ravishly hungry and craving BBQ chicken sandwiches; I mean come on I worked up a big appetite fighting a fire). In honor of the baking soda and my quick firefighting skills is this "hot" BBQ chicken sandwich.

Fireman’s Special BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

2 chicken breasts
4 hamburger buns
½ a batch of spicy BBQ sauce (reciope follows)

Boil chicken in a large pot of water for 20 minutes, or until cooked. Remove from water and shred chicken. Pour approximately ½ of the prepared Spicy BBQ sauce over chicken (you can add more if you like) and toss to coat. Serve on hamburger buns. Makes enough for four sandwiches.

Spicy BBQ Sauce:
1 Cup ketchup
3 Tablespoons hot/spicy Mustard
4 Tablespoons worstershire sauce
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ Tablespoon lemon juice
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce
Pinch of salt
Combine all BBQ sauce ingredients in sauce pan and let simmer on very low heat for 10 minutes.

Defiantly worth the fight; thanks Baking Soda for saving the day and my BBQ chicken sandwiches!
Oh, PS-
It just happens to be National BBQ Month- so Have a Happy Month barbecuing!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy B-Lated Mother's Day (Dedicated to My Own Mom)

I had such good intentions to post my last part of "Some of My Favorite Comfort Foods" and this recipe on Mother's Day; however the last two days have been crazy busy and I did not have time to blog (I know, very sad). I saved this recipe for the last as part of "Some Of My Favorite Comfort Foods" because it is one of my mom's recipes. I remembered many a Sunday dinners having Lemon Peppered Chicken. Because my mom was a busy working mom Sunday was really the only night of the week that she had time to cook (hence why I started cooking at such a young age). Her Lemon Peppered Chicken was always so yummy (even for the pickiest of eaters-cough, cough-my siblings (Rachel, Rebecca, and Matthew) and so easy to make. My mom would always make enough to have left overs to make chicken salad sandwiches and chicken cesar salads or just reheated and eaten plan. The the butter and the lemon juice help make the chicken extremely moist and tender.

So, thanks Mom, for all those Sunday dinners, packed school lunches, for always washing my clothes, for driving all four of us around and around to school and extra curricular activities, for being our Girl Scout Leader and Cookie Mom (that was always the best- having hundreds and hundreds of Girl Scout Cookies in our house during GS Cookie Time), for being patient with us as we figured life out (and still figure it out) and always being there to help us through whatever we are going through. THANKS MOM FOR BEING YOU AND ALL YOUR HARD WORK AND DEDICATION!

This recipe is one of my favorite comfort foods because it takes me right back to being a kid. I love eating chicken this way even to this day. I have no idea where my mom got this recipe. In fact, the recipe below is my version of what my mom always made. She has told me the recipe a million times and I have probably written it down a half a million times- but I am still not sure this is the exact measurements she uses. It is still super easy and super yummy, even if it is not the original recipe.

Mom’s Lemon Peppered Chicken

4 chicken breasts (I use ones with the skins removed and off the bone)½ cup butter, melted
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (you can use fresh if you have it or on the juice isle of your grocery store you can buy it bottled; I usually used bottled since I always have it on hand)2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch glass pan. Add lemon juice and lemon pepper seasoning to melted butter. Pour butter mixture evenly over chicken. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
So here it is- Three of My Favorite Comfort Foods!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Some of My Favorite Comfort Foods- Part Two

When I was growing up the common green vegetable found on our plates was green beans or peas. Very rarely did we have broccoli and I didn't even (as far as I can recall) try asparagus or artichokes until I was a teenager (my siblings are very picky eaters, even to this day).

The complete opposite is true for Eric. He NEVER eats green beans (unless it is green bean casserole) and as for peas they have to be mixed into something like chicken pot pie. His green vegetable of choice is broccoli. Every meal the vegetable we are eating is broccoli. So, since meeting Eric I have eaten more broccoli with him than in my entire life. This being said, the only way Eric cooks broccoli is by steaming it and adding salt and pepper. I will eat it (because my mom always told us we had to eat our greens) but still not my favorite......

......UNTIL NOW! The other day when I was cooking dinner Eric asked for broccoli (of course). But instead of steaming it I roasted it with a little garlic and pepper infused olive oil. YUM! I went straight to the broccoli first; completely by-passing Eric's Famous Mashed Potatoes and my Mom's lemon peppered chicken (the recipe coming soon). I even had seconds of just the broccoli. I couldn't help it! The broccoli was so full of flavor and was just the right texture (not crunchy and not mushy).
Oven Roasted Broccoli With Garlic

1 head of broccoli (if frozen is more convenient for you use about 2 to 2 ½ cups)2 tablespoons pepper infused olive oil (see note ***)
2 cloves of garlic finely minced (or you can use a cheese grater with a small cut on it to “grate” the garlic into fine pieces)½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees (normally I would not give a temperature range, however the broccoli will cook well at either temperate- this is good, especially if you have other food in the oven). Cut broccoli into florets. Spread broccoli onto a cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and garlic. Toss broccoli around in the olive oil, garlic, and salt- making sure all of the broccoli is evenly coated. Bake at 375-400 degrees for about 12 minutes or until the “doneness” of your liking.

****Pepper Infused Olive Oil
When I buy olive oil I set aside 1 cup of it in a jar or Tupperware that has a good tight lid. To this one cup of olive oil I add 1 tablespoon of crushed black pepper. I use the infused oil for roasting veggies, sauteing meat, etc. The pepper gives the oil a stronger flavor than just sprinkling the veggie or meat directly with pepper as it cooks.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Some Of My Favorite Comfort Foods- Part One

When my boyfriend, Eric, and I first started dating, we would often (I say 'often' but I should really say regularly or frequently) cook for each other. Our first Christmas spent together was just Eric, his two brothers, his cousin, and me- due to altering family schedules. I made a HUGE feast and Eric wanted to make the mashed potatoes. He whipped up these and ever since has been making them for every major family feast and for some of our every day meals. Last Thanksgiving he made them for my (entire) family and they just raved about them. And then at Easter, when my mom made plain ole mashed potatoes, my little sis Rebecca, complained that they were not as good as Eric's! Eric has even told me that he thought homemade mashed potatoes were too hard to make and took too much time- but now he says they are easy and oh so good.

(So I realize that this pic did not turn out too good. White mashed potatoes on a white plate! I should have added a dalop of butter or something! But trust me- these are some of the best and simplest taters you will have)

Eric’s Famous Mashed Potatoes

2-3 pounds Russet potatoes (approximately 3-4 large potatoes or 6-7 small potatoes)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
3 ‘stalks’ green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Leaving the skin on, cut the potatoes into small to medium chunks (the smaller the faster they will boil). Put cut potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Bring potatoes to a boil and boil for approximately 15 minutes, or until potatoes become tender. Drain water and pour hot potatoes into a bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients and using an electric mixer to ‘mash’ or ‘whip’ the potatoes and all of the ingredients. Serve immediately. Makes about 5 servings

Since these are so easy and require only a handful ingredients, they make the perfect addition to any meal any day of the week. They are one of my favorite comfort foods because they bring me back to those special family feasts and get togethers- most importantly they bring me back to mine and Eric's first Christmas together (I know you can say it- AWWWW)!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Yesterday on Oprah, she and KFC got together to give away free chicken!

Check out for a FREE plate of food at KFC. You get two pieces of grilled chicken, two individual sides and a biscuit! No gimmicks and no minimum purchase- just present your coupon.

The coupon is available for printing from 9am CDT 5/5/09 to 9:59pm CDT 5/6/09 (so HURRY). Coupon is redeemable at participating KFC® locations in the U.S. from 5/5/09 to 5/19/09, excluding 5/10/09(Mother's Day).

Yesterday when I tried to click on the "Print Coupon Now" button it took a long time and would not pull up(I guess because so many people were trying to download it). So I just clicked on the tool bar and printed the entire page(Ctrl P will work too). The KFC closest to my house accepted this printed page. However, today when I clicked the "Print Coupon Now" button it was working just fine.
The coupon is supposed to promote their new healthier grilled chicken. Eric and I went to get ours last night and it was good. So print and go enjoy some KFC on Oprah!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco De Mayo

Happy Cinco De Mayo! The 5th of May is not Mexican Independence Day. Mexico declared its independence from mother Spain on midnight, the 15th of September, 1810. Cinco De Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely defeat of the French Army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The holiday of Cinco de Mayo is primarily a regional holiday in Mexico. There is some limited recognition of the holiday in other parts of the country. For the most part the celebrations combine food, music, and dancing. In Mexico City, like the rest of the Mexican capitals, all the young men who serve the military services pledge allegiance to the Mexican national flag and the institutions that it represents(Wikipedia).Here in the USA we use Cinco De Mayo to celebrate the Mexican culture.

I think we as Americans use any excuse to celebrate or "eat, drink, and be marry"; whether a holiday has any actual personal relevance. We celebrate St.Patrick' Day, Oktoberfest, Chinese New Year, etc. I think it is great that we all participate in all of these holidays. It truly shows what a melting pot America is.

Even though I have no Mexican ancestors I am still celebrating this Mexican Holiday and have made a Dulce de Leche Tres Leches Cake ("Caramel Three Milk Cake"). This cake is extremely moist and rich, the caramel and coconut milk add that extra richness. Not the most beautiful cake but defiantly one of my favs. Hope you all enjoy and have a festive day!

Dulce de Leche Tres Leches Cake
By: Me, Myself and I

1/3 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 (4 servings size) package vanilla instant pudding
½ cup milk
½ cup sour cream

Tres Leches Glaze:
1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (13.5 oz) coconut milk (found on the ethnic food isle of your grocery store)

1 cup + 1 tablespoon caramel topping (found with all the ice cream toppings)
1 (16 oz) tub cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For Cake:
Cream together butter and cream cheese. Blend in eggs one at a time making sure to blend thoroughly after each one. Add cake mix, pudding, and ½ cup of milk and mix thoroughly. Stir in sour cream. Batter will be thick. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray and pour cake batter in. Smooth cake batter evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-32 minutes, or until toothpick inserted center comes out clean.

For Glaze:
Combine all three milks into a large glass. While cake is still warm, poke holes all over cake with a toothpick of knife. Pour milk mixture all over cake. Let cake cool and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

For Topping:
In bowl, mix one cup of the caramel topping and cream cheese frosting. After cake has refrigerated for several hours, spread frosting/caramel mixture on top of cake. Drizzle cake with remaining tablespoon of the caramel topping. Frost right before serving.

A little history about the Tres Leches Cake:

  • The origins of the tres leches are disputed, and are usually attributed to Nicaragua and Mexico. Mexico does, however, appear to have had recipes very similar to that of the tres leches, which probably led to the now famous dessert being created there, which then possibly migrated to other regions of Latin America (Wikipedia).

  • Some sources say that the cake is reported to come from the back of an evaporated milk or condensed milk can in Latin America to promote the use of the product, back in the mid-1850s. Evaporated milk and condensed milk were sold throughout Central and South America and even the Caribbean (

  • The state of Veracruz, in southern Mexico, also claims its creation which will include Mexican vanilla and Caribbean rum.

  • In the Caribbean, cream of coconut is occasionally used instead of condensed milk.

  • Central America is known for following the traditional tres leches cake recipe but soaking it in a mixture of water, rum or brandy, and sugar. This version is called pastel borracho (drunken cake).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

One of those days...

Sometimes you have those days where you just don't even want to step in the kitchen. Or you have those days where you are in the kitchen all day and nothing comes out right- you burn the eggs, your cake falls, you just get frustrated. So for all you chefs that are having one of those days remember this:

Cooking Rule... If at first you don't succeed, order pizza.


And if you are having one of those days, just like me, and want to take a break from the kitchen check out this website.

It has several links to different restaurants with coupons you can print. Some of them require you to register at the restaurant's website and they will email you the coupon. If you do not want your personal email flooded; create a free account through hotmail, yahoo, or google; just for coupons and other companies that may ask for your email for various reasons.

It's okay to take a break from the kitchen or just 'order pizza' if something doesn't turn out right. I am sure even Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay take burn things on occasion!
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