Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cranberry Walnut Tart

sweet pastry dough
3 large eggs
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh or frozen cranberries (7 oz; thawed if frozen)
1 cup chopped walnuts -1/4 pound(I used Pecans)
pie plate 9 - 10 inch

Make shell:Roll out dough into a 13-inch round (1/8 inch thick) on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin and fit into tart pan. Trim edge of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang inward and press against side of pan to reinforce edge. Lightly prick bottom of shell all over with a fork, then chill 30 minutes.
Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights.
Bake until pastry is set and pale golden on rim, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until pale golden all over, 5 to 10 minutes more. Transfer shell in pan to a rack.
Make filling:Move oven rack to middle position and reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth, then stir in cranberries and walnuts.
Pour filling into shell and bake tart until filling is set and golden, 40 to 45 minutes. (If pastry edge darkens before tart is done, cover edge with a pie shield or foil.) Cool completely in pan on rack

Sweet Pastry Dough
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons ice water
Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Beat together yolk and water with a fork and stir into flour mixture until combined well.
Gently knead mixture in bowl with floured hands just until a dough forms. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently 4 or 5 times more. Form dough into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ultimate Carrot Cake - Birthday Cake

We had several birthdays falling between the months of January and February, its hard to gather the whole family every time for celebration , specially for the ones who live outside North Bay. It was decided that we will make a big birthday party for all on Sunday Feb 1, 2009.

I am taking this chance to wish you all and again a big Happy Birthday with lots of love.

my sister in law Lorraine Landry Cooke & my brother Simon Abdallah (date Feb 2nd)
70 's birthday for my mother in law Fernande Landry (Feb 8)
my nephew Richard Abdallah (Feb 5th)
I cannot forget my dear friend Maryanne Nieto in Orlando (January 8th) I love you and I miss you
my brother in law Brian Landry (January 8th)
my niece Princess Nia Cooke (January 15)
Uncle Donald Benoite and my sister in law Micheline Demers Landry (Feb 19)
Princess Nia with her flower
Since I am make a big cake and one of birthdays is for a child who loves flowers I tried decorating the top of the cake with sweet peas and roses , then added red sprinkles on top .
it didn't show much... but I gave Nia some extra flowers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yields 12 serving - cooking time 35 min

Ingredients for cake
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple , drained
2 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup coconut flaked (preferred unsweetened)
1 cup chops nuts ( i used walnuts)
*** you can add 1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin for a nice taste (decrease the milk to 3/4 cup and carrots to 2 cups ******

Cream cheese Frosting
COMBINE 11 ounces softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup softened butter and 3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons orange juice and 1 teaspoon grated orange peel; beat until combined.
****I used one cup of sifted sugar + 5 oz of white chocolate melted****

preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8 inch round cake pans
combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon ,nuts and salt in small bowl. Combine milk and lemon juice in liquid measuring cup (mixture will appear curdled)
Beat eggs then add granulated sugar ,brown sugar, by hand add oil, pineapple carrots and milk mix well to combined. Gradually add flour mixture stir by hand until combined,stir in coconuts . Pour into prepared cake pans
bake for 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes , remove to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

Note: **** I doubled the above recipe and baked each in an 11'' cake pan and doubled the amount of frosting

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pork chops with Cream of Mushroom and Steamed Potatoes

Pork Chops with mushroom cream soup and steamed potatoes

Ingredients for pork chops
4-5 pork chops
2 eggs beaten
1 tbsp dried garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp of salt
Bread crumbs
If the pork chops have lots of fat you can trim some, wash and dry, using a sharp knife cut a slit from the side to avoid crumbling when fried or baked.

Mix the spices with eggs, dip the chops then roll in the bread crumbs, you can either fry the chops in oil till browned on both sides then put them on a baking tray and continue baking for 30-40 minutes in a warm 350F oven. The health version is to dip chops them lay them in a baking tray and bake in the warm oven for 60-120 minutes, until they drain all the fat.
In the meantime prepare your cream of mushroom soup

· 10-12- ounces
fresh mix of wild mushrooms (for better flavour)
· 1 medium size
onion, finely chopped
· 1-2
garlic cloves, minced
· 1 tablespoons
· 2-3 tablespoons
flour (separated)
· 2 cups
chicken broth
· 1 cup light cream or
evaporated milk
· 1/2 teaspoon
· 1/4 teaspoon
· 1/4 teaspoon
· ¼ cup white wine (optional , I even add a tbsp of cognac)
· Clean and cut the mushrooms into slices. Melt butter in large frying pan. Add in onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook until onions are soft. Blend in 2 T. flour and stir.
Add in the chicken broth and heat until slightly thickened while stirring frequently. Stir cream with additional 1 T. flour and seasonings. Add in cream to soup. Add the wine and heat to thicken while stirring frequently.
You can also use a can if you prefer.
Steamed Potatoes (you can bake the potatoes or oven roasts them)
I still have small potatoes from this summer garden (my father in law is a good farmer)
Wash and clean the potatoes and don’t peel them, put them in a pot with couple of spoons of water you can use a steaming pot also, when they cook, add a spoon of butter and some salt and continue steaming till done.
Preparing the pork chops

pork chops after baking in the oven ... (this is why I transfer them to a clean pan)

When the pork chops are completely cooked, take them out of the oven, Using a pan on top of the stove, move the pork chops one by one from the baking tray to the pan, you can even dry them on a paper towel first, add the mushroom soup over them, and cook for 15-20 minutes to thicken, you can cover the pan if you prefer , I tried once putting the saucepan back in the oven covered and continued baking lower the heat to 350F and they came out dry.
I served romain lettuce and sun dried tomatoe salad with this meal..

look at the difference between baking the chops with the sauce in the oven or cooking them in a pan on top of the stove.