May 2010 Archives

This traditional Cummings birthday cake is very moist from layers of cake, pineapple, pudding, and whipped cream.

1 box yellow cake mix

Topping 1.
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
3/4 C. sugar

Topping 2.
2 Instant vanilla pudding packages (3.4 oz)
3 C. milk

Topping 3.
2 C. Whipping cream
confectioners sugar
3/4 C. flaked coconut (optional for topping)
Bake cake according to instructions in 9x13" pan. Cool. In saucepan, cook pineapple (with juice) and sugar until mixture is fairly syrupy, about 15 minutes on medium heat. Poke holes into cake (so juice can penetrate) and spread pineapple mixture on top. Mix pudding and milk with wire whisk until well mixed. Spread on top of cake/pineapple. Finally, beat whipping cream until firm adding sugar to taste. Spread on top. Cool for at least 5 hours before serving.

Cummings Family Recipe
Inspired by Ina Garten's recipe, but using the lighter topping from the Blueberry Crisp recipe posted earlier (you don't want to know how much butter the original recipe had). Creme de cassis intensifies the fruit's flavor, which can be rather mild otherwise.

3 pounds Italian prune plums, pitted and quartered
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons creme de cassis liqueur
Topping (same as Blueberry Crisp):
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup regular oats
4 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the fruit, in a large bowl, combine the plums, brown sugar, flour, and cassis. Pour the mixture into a 12 by 8-inch shallow baking dish.

Combine 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, oats, and walnuts cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Scatter evenly over the plum mixture.

Bake the plum crunch for 40 to 45 minutes, until the plums are bubbling and the top is browned. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.

Original recipe
This fairly low fat fruit crisp is easy and flexible for all types of seasonal fruit - peaches, blueberries, plums, blackberries, etc. Can be easily halved or doubled.

6 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup regular oats
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; spoon into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon, and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over the blueberry mixture. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Top each serving with 1/4 cup frozen yogurt.

Note: Topping may also be made in the food processor. Place 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon in a food processor, and pulse 2 times or until combined. Add butter; pulse 4 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal.

8 servings
Nutritional Information
Calories: 288 (26% from fat)
Fat: 8.3g (sat 4.8g,mono 2g,poly 0.9g)
Original recipe

This spectacular dish is quite dangerous, so be careful when lighting the liquor. Also, don't skimp on the rum without adding another liquid to balance it out: without enough liquid the sauce can turn into a chewy caramel. However, those dangers aside this is a quick, elegant dessert that can be made from ingredients we usually have around.

2 tbs. unsalted butter
¼ c. dark brown sugar
¼ tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbs. banana liqueur
2 under ripe bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
¼ c. dark rum
½ tsp. finely grated orange zest

Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar, allspice and nutmeg and stir until sugar dissolves.
Add banana liqueur and bring sauce to simmer. Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning sauce over bananas as they are cooking.
Remove bananas from pan to a serving dish. Bring sauce to a simmer and carefully add the rum. If the sauce is very hot, the alcohol will flame on its own. If not, using stick flame, carefully ignite and continue cooking until flame dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If sauce is too thin, cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is syrupy in consistency.
Add orange zest and stir to combine. Immediately spoon the sauce over bananas and serve. Serve with waffles, crepes, or ice cream

Original recipe

These biscotti are not too sweet, but full of banana flavor. Basically banana bread in dip-able form. Serve with coffee, tea, or milk.

1 3/4 -2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 bananas)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Combine banana, oil, vanilla, and egg in a medium bowl; stir in flour mixture and pecans (dough will be sticky).

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; shape dough into 2 (8-inch-long) rolls with floured hands. Place rolls on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; flatten to 1/2-inch thickness.

Bake at 350° for 23 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 12 (1/2-inch) slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 250°; bake 15 minutes. Turn cookies over; bake an additional 15 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire racks.

Makes ~2 dozen
Nutritional Information
Calories: 72 (25% from fat)
Fat: 2g (sat 0.3g,mono 1g,poly 0.6g)

Original recipe

choc_souffle_sm.jpgThese are light (less than 1g fat!) but taste rich and chocolaty. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and raspberry jam.

Cooking spray
4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon powdered sugar

NOTE: Makes two. To serve four, use five teaspoons flour and double the remaining ingredients. Doubling the flour would make the base too heavy.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat 2 (6-ounce) ramekins with cooking spray; sprinkle each with 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar.

Combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes, stirring until smooth. Spoon chocolate mixture into a medium bowl; cool 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.

Place egg white in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Add remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Gently stir 1/4 of egg white mixture into chocolate mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Spoon mixture into prepared dishes. Sharply tap dishes 2 or 3 times to level. Place dishes on a baking sheet; bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until puffy and set. Sprinkle each soufflé with 1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Calories: 152 (4% from fat)
Fat: 0.6g (sat 0.3g,mono 0.2g,poly 0.0g)

Original recipe

Old fashioned chocolate pudding from my mom's Betty Crocker recipe book.

½ c. sugar
1/3 c. cocoa
2 tbs. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
2 c. milk
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)
Combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt.
Combine milk and egg, stir in sugar mixture
Cook over medium heat, stirring until thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
Remove from heat; add vanilla. Chill

Betty Crocker
My favorite cake ever: incredibly rich, sweet, and chocolaty,with a silky layer of pudding at the bottom. My traditional birthday cake (although we always have to make a 'normal' cake too -this one doesn't decorate well). Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

1 ¼ c. sugar, divided
1 c. flour
7 tbs. cocoa, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. milk
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
½ c. packed light brown sugar
1 ¼ c. hot water

Heat oven to 350°
Stir ¾ c. sugar, all flour, 3 tbs. cocoa, all baking powder, & all salt together.
Stir in milk, butter, & vanilla, beat until smooth. Pour into 8-9" square pan.
Stir together remaining cocoa, sugar, & brown sugar; sprinkle over batter.
Pour hot water over top. Do NOT stir.
Bake 35-40 min until center is almost set. Allow to cool 15 minutes.

From Hersheys
If you've ever seen the anime TV series Samurai Champloo, the characters always seem to be eating soft, round 'dumplings'. This is the closest thing I've found to approximate them. These need to be started 1 1/2-2 hours ahead of time because the yeast dough needs to rise an hour. The filling can be made early and refrigerated until needed. It's quite a bit of work, but the buns come out soft and pillowy from the steam and the filling is basically Chinese barbecue with hoisin and five spice. Also would probably be good with Korean bulgogi style filling (?).

1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 pound ground pork
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 14 2/3 ounces)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

To prepare the filling, brown ground pork with 5 spice powder. Place pork in a medium bowl. Add onions and next 7 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt); stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate.

To prepare dough, combine 1 cup warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Punch dough down; let rest 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a clean surface; knead in baking powder. Let dough rest 5 minutes.

Divide dough into 10 (or more, for smaller buns) equal portions, forming each into a ball. Working with one dough ball at a time (cover remaining dough balls to keep from drying), roll ball into a 5-inch circle. Place 1/4 cup filling in center of dough circle. Bring up sides to cover filling and meet on top. Pinch and seal closed with a twist. Repeat procedure with remaining dough balls and filling.

Arrange 5 buns seam side down, 1 inch apart, in each tier of a 2-tiered bamboo steamer. Stack tiers; cover with lid.

Add water to a large skillet to a depth of 1 inch; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Place steamer in pan; steam 15 minutes or until puffed and set. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 bun)
Nutritional Information
Calories: 259 (21% from fat)
Fat: 6.1g (sat 0.9g,mono 3.2g,poly 1.5g)
Original recipe

A sweet, nutty tofu dish with a nice texture from the saute-steam cooking method.

2 cups diced tofu, extra firm
3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1 Tbsp peanut or olive oil
1 lime, juiced
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp honey
1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes (or cayenne) (optional
3 garlic cloves, grated or chopped
garnish: chopped cilantro and fresh chopped ginger/garlic
Chop tofu into cubes or thin slices and marinate in 3-4 tbsp soy sauce soy sauce and 2 Tbsp water for five minutes (while you do the first saute above).

Add oil, garlic, ginger, peanut butter, agave syrup, lime juice and a pinch of sesame seeds to a frying pan. You might need to add a bit of water to keep from sticking, but don't worry if it's thick.
Saute on medium-high heat for a minute.

Add tofu to pan with the peanut mixture.
Stir/toss well over high heat for a minute to coat tofu.

Turn heat to medium. Cover pan and allow steam and heat to cook tofu for a few minutes.Constantly move covered pan around, to preventing burning.
Uncover pan and check for doneness of tofu. It should be fluffy from the steam and cooked through.
If the mixture looks dry, add a Tbsp of water and a tsp of soy sauce and re-cover to steam.

Once the tofu looks fluffy with a few browned edges, turn heat to medium-low. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes and toss tofu a few times-gently.
Pour in sesame seeds. Allow the seeds to stick to tofu. Add more or less if necessary to coat about 1/2 of the total surface area of the tofu.
Saute sesame crusted tofu for a few minutes- uncovered. Sesame seeds should be crusted and lightly toasted.
Garnish with garlic/ginger/cilantro.

Original recipe
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