Monday, November 28, 2011

Special Morning Coffee Cake recipe from the Gorgeous Gourmet

My assigned blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club was the Gorgeous Gourmet.  Candice lives in Cape Town, South Africa.  I've been enjoying perusing her blog, looking at some great ideas for breakfast along with some pretty yummy main dishes that are a bit different from mine - gammon, for example. I had to look up what it was, and my initial guess of some kind of fowl was totally off the mark. Gammon is ham. And I've put Candice's recipe for Gammon with Plum Sauce on my "must do" list.

But for today, I made a breakfast treat. I've been house-sitting for a friend who's off exploring the Galapagos Islands. She has a few dogs and a horse who need regular feeding, so I've been spending my evenings and nights at her house. Tomorrow I'll be coming home right after I feed the horse, and decided that this afternoon (I'm at my house) I'd make a coffee cake that can be reheated by my neglected husband in the morning. We just might sample this one tonight - as a matter of fact, Candice has a photo on her blog of this coffee cake with some ice cream.

Special Morning Coffee Cake
from The Gorgeous Gourmet
This is Candice's photo - it's too dark and dreary to take a decent photo here!

For the topping
1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the base:
1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line and grease a cake tin, or square baking tin (about 20cm) .

In a small bowl, with a fork, mash together the softened butter, 1/4 cup flour, brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon. Don’t worry about making fine crumbs, clumps are good here –they will be put on top of the cake, and sink in while baking.

In a small bowl combine the 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the egg and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the melted butter, milk, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and stir together just until incorporated.

Pour into prepared pan and dot the surface with the brown sugar mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted in the middle.

The verdict:  Great!  We enjoyed our sample after dinner for dessert, and then reheated the rest of it for breakfast the next morning.  This is similar to my mother's coffee cake but has more yummy cinnamon-sugar mixture. I'm now going to be torn as to which one I make!

Friday, November 04, 2011

First snowfall of the year means...comfort food!

I live in the mountains of southern California - at 6,000'.  So when a cold rainstorm moved into the area today, we got snow. When I left for water aerobics at 9 this morning, it was just drizzling. By the time I got to Loma Linda, where the pool is, it was pouring. I always get there early so I can do some laps, and I was one of only 3 people in the pool.  (There were 3 others in the hot tub!)  They cancelled the aeronibics class, but I didn't know that since they didn't put the sign up front until after I'd come in.  No problem. I swam for 35 minutes - in the rain - then showered and went to JoAnn's for some needles and thread.

Driving home, I got to the ranger station at the bottom of the canyon, and noticed that the cars coming down were covered with snow. At the lowest part of Forest Falls, snow was sticking. Up at our house, we already had about 3 inches.  It's been snowing steadily since, and is supposed to continue through the night.

The first thing I did after lunch was put a pecan pie in the oven. I used my grandmother's recipe - it seems to be the best - but I've always altered it by using half granulated and half brown sugar.  I don't have any pictures, since there's no nice lighting for photography.

Nanna's Pecan Pie
Alma Morlan, my grandmother

1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon flour mixed in
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white or brown Karo syrup (I used white, since I use the brown sugar)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 400˚. Mix all the ingredients except pecans with a wire whisk or spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour all into an unbaked 9" pie crust.  Cover edges with a pie crust shield or foil.  Bake 10 minutes at 400˚, then lower temperature to 325˚. Bake an additional 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Dinner was also comfort food of a sort - a nice Rachael Ray recipe. I saw her make this several years ago, and for about 5 years it was our Christmas Eve dinner. I had a craving for it NOW, so that's what I made.

Smoked Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
Rachael Ray

1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, quartered then thinly sliced
1 green apple, cored and thinly sliced
6 thin boneless smoked pork chops (I used 2 large thick ones)
1 cup dark German beer

Heat a skillet over medium high. Add oil, give 1 turn of the pan and add chopped bacon. When the bacon renders its fat, add onions and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, then add sliced apples and sauté mixture another 2 or 3 minutes. Add smoked chops to the pan and caramelize meat on both sides, 2 or 3 minutes. Pour the beer into the pan and reduce heat to a simmer. Beer will reduce into a great-tasting sauce. Serve chops topped with onion, apple, and sauce.

We eat this with boiled new potatoes, to which I add butter and dill.  Totally a comfort food meal!