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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Coffee Cake

This Coffee Cake is adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Food from my Frontier cookbook. The recipe is also on her website. It’s made with lots of instant coffee in it so it’s really a Coffee Cake, not the plain type of coffee cake. The instant coffee you use in this cake really influence the flavour so it’s best you use one that you like. I used UCC Instant Coffee Blend No.117 left behind by my parents which has this sour-ish aftertaste (which is why I don’t like drinking instant coffee!) and it didn’t impart a rich coffee flavour to the cake.

I halved the recipe and made the cake in a 6″ round pan, and I’m not sure if that has any impact on the texture of the cake but I’m not crazy about it. It could also be due to the one-bowl mixing method.

The coffee icing is a new update to the icing she used on her blog post. She creamed the butter in that one while this one the butter is melted. Again, I halved the recipe but used only 1/4 of the powdered sugar as it was too sweet when I tasted it. I had to add unsweetened cocoa to make it less sweet and that’s why my icing is darker in colour compared to hers. (The second sign that her sweets recipes will be too sweet for my taste is from her latest blog post where she said she found Starbucks’ lemon poppyseed ‘delightful and delicious’ while I found it too sweet with the icing to finish!)

Coffee Icing
(From Food from my Frontier)

3/4 cup butter
2 T instant coffee
4 T half-and-half
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add in the instant coffee. Stir it together, then add the half-and-half and whisk to combine. Turn off the heat and add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk till the sugar has dissolved and the icing is smooth. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Drizzle the icing over the cake.

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What I think of the cookbook? Well, I wouldn’t buy it as I found three of the recipes that I would make from it on her website. She also gives more instructions there as she’s not restricted by space. However, if you’re a fan of Pioneer Woman and you’re always making her recipes, this cookbook will be convenient. She has included new recipes as well as updates to some of her old ones. This Coffee Cake, for instance, has been updated with a creamy (cream cheese) filling between the layers and a different icing. There are also awesome pictures of her family and farm throughout the book with humorous captions. If you love PW, you’ll love it!

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Baking, Food

 

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The Pioneer Woman’s in the House

UPDATE just minutes after hitting post: 

Wait a minute, this is her second cookbook! I thought I was checking out her first book! So does this make my library cool after all for being so quick to get Ree’s book? ;-)

(The first cookbook is still not available, by the way!)

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Back in the summer of 2010, I searched for this book in my local library but it wasn’t available. I submitted a purchase suggestion. Late Winter 2012, I did a spontaneous search for the book and behold, it was on order and I could submit a hold request! Second day of Spring 2012, I picked up the book and brought it home. Ree Drummond is obviously not high priority to the library (although her novel was available before the cookbook was) but I still love my little town.

(Yes, I know RD’s second cookbook is out!)



 
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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Life

 

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Pseudo-Pineapple Fried Rice

Just like the Western casserole is great for using up leftovers, so is the Asian fried rice! In my version of Pineapple Fried Rice, there’s a cup of crushed pineapple left over from a carrot cake recipe, two white mushrooms left over from cooking a green curry dish, and leftover rotisserie chicken from dinner the night before.

‘Pineapple Fried Rice’ 

4 cups cooked rice, preferably day-old rice
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp chicken stock granules
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
2 eggs
1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashew nuts
1/4 cup raisins (I left this out as hubby doesn’t like them)
1 cups crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup frozen green peas

Mix the fish sauce, chicken stock granules and sugar in a small bowl, set aside.

Heat up the oil over medium-high heat and saute the onion and garlic. Add in the mushroom and stir-fry till softened. Add in the chicken and stir-fry till warmed. Make a well in the middle of the wok and crack in the eggs. Scramble the eggs. Make a quick stir of the ingredients in the wok.

Drizzle in the sauce, pouring around the ingredients so it sizzles when it hits the hot wok. Add in the rice and break up large clumps by gently pressing down with the flat side of the spatula. You don’t want to crush the rice. Add in the cashew nuts, raisins, pineapple and green peas. Stir-fry to combine until the rice is hot and ‘pops’. Taste for seasoning.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Cooking, Food

 

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Raccoon Thwarted

Ok, it has been three nights and there has been no raccoon incidents. We’re not sure if it came and was defeated by the cords or if it didn’t come at all. The bin look untouched and the latch was still locked down. It’s a little disappointing, actually! I guess we’ll have to test if the raccoon is still around with dummy compost in the bin and cords removed. For now, I shall say the score is Raccoon: 1 Man: 1

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Life

 

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Raccoon Problem

Two nights ago when it was very windy, my husband heard bangs in the backyard and thought it was our bins falling over. It turned out a raccoon had knocked our compost bin over and had a party all over the yard! Fortunately the bin wasn’t full, only one bag of compost was inside.

My husband secured our bin so it couldn’t be knocked down and thought that would be good enough. This morning, this was what he found:

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Raccoon: 1 Man: 0

I did some research and it seems lifting the latch is no problem at all for these urban pests! The one that frequents our backyard didn’t climb all the way in but he did rip a bag that was inside. He didn’t do a full rummage this time and I wonder if it’s because of the soiled (with pee) diaper that was it in, courtesy of a friend who visited last night with her toddler! You see, ammonia is a raccoon repellent!

This is my husband’s next strategy:

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The cords are so tight that even he finds it difficult to remove them. We’ll see if it works tonight! Stay tuned!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Life

 

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Rich Chewy Brownies

We would usually be out on a Saturday but today the force is strong with the wind. Blowing at 46km/h and gusting at 63km/h at one point, home we stayed. I tried this brownie recipe from Anna Olson. She posted a link to it on her Facebook page on Valentine’s Day. I like that it’s quick to make; no butter to measure out, just vegetable oil.

When it was baking, the aroma was so good that it drew Little Guy out from his room to ask me what it was.   I told him it was brownies and he exclaimed, “BROWNIES!!” then proceeded to thank me for making brownies. So sweet. :)

These brownies are hard to photograph, they are so dark!

Verdict: They are true to name, rich and chewy. Very nice, my boys like it so it means it’s not too bitter even though I reduced the sugar to 1 cup. Would be good with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream!

Update: I have to add that they are very chocolatey too! I used Ghirardelli’s Bittersweet Chips and they’re   larger than regular chips so they didn’t fully melt and it’s wonderful! 

Rich Chewy Brownies (from Anna Olson’s website)

These brownies are rich and dense, and get that beautiful shiny, crackling top to them. Another secret to them: they are Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free!

If you wish to make these using traditional wheat flour, replace the 1/2 cup of rice flour and 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.

Makes 1 8-inch square pan

Cuts into 25 brownies

  • 11/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups Dutch process (alkalized) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces and/or chocolate chips (I left out the nuts)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment so that the paper comes up the sides of the pan.

Stir the sugar, cocoa and oil together until moistened.

Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to blend.

Add the rice flour, cornstarch and salt and stir until incorporated. Stir in the walnut pieces and/or chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake the brownies for about 25 minutes, until they lose their shine and when a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the brownies to room temperature before slicing.

The brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Baking

 

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