Sunday, October 31, 2010

Risotto with Peas

Autumn and winter spells warm comfort foods.

Risotto is perhaps one of my favorite comfort foods.  It is also a basic recipe that you can embellish with any of your other favorite foods.

Use this basic recipe and add sundried tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, or any other delicious addition.  This time I’m adding peas.

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(makes 4 servings)

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup Arborio Italian Rice, uncooked

1/3 cup dry white wine (optional)

2 cups chicken broth, heated

1/3 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1 cup cooked frozen peas (optional)


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Melt butter in medium saucepan on medium heat.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently.

Stir in rice, cook 2 minutes stirring constantly.  Add wine, cook and stir until absorbed.

Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot broth.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cook until most of the broth is absorbed, stirring constantly. Repeat process until all of the broth has been added.  (Rice should be tender but firm.) If necessary add a small amount of additional broth or water and continue to cook until rice is done.

Add cheese, stir until blended .  Sprinkle with parsley.  Add cooked peas.  Serve immediately.


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Enjoy !



Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chef’s Coat Cake

My daughter Nadia saw the Maple Leaf Cake that I had just finished and asked me if I would
make a cake for her boyfriends father who was turning 55. 
Soooooo… a day after my 8 hour stint with that cake, I had another project.  I didn’t mind, they’re wonderful people, and Nadia was a great help all day.  Frank is a terrific chef and we thought this would be fitting for his birthday.  
Pressed for time yet again I found myself using boxed cakes. ( I’m not going through all that, you guys know what to do.)
I have to admit, we were really on the clock for this one, so I didn’t have a lot of time for tons of pictures.
So lets start on a cleaver.  We mixed up some grey fondant and shaped it.
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Some black fondant for the handles.
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When you brush the fondant with a small amount of shortening it gives off a shine.
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Next, onto our cake.  Cover a 2 layered cake, (that has already been crumb coated) with white fondant.
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Decorate with the necessary elements.
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A few more accessories.  We needed those buttons to SHINE!
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Of course we couldn’t give Frank a cake without a little Frank to go along with it.
This truly was the fun part.
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We put Frank’s hair through the garlic press.
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We used white confetti candy and blue edible ink for his eyes.
He really started taking shape.
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I have NO idea what kind of shoes Chefs wear, but I like little clean white ones.
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Here’s Frank getting fitted for his new shoes.
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Everything put together.
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I don’t think I captured the detail here, but his name badge has stitching marks around it.
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Just in case you were wondering…
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Happy Birthday Frank!


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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Toronto Maple Leafs Cake

It was my Honey’s 50th birthday recently, but tonight we are getting together with all his siblings and spouses.
Events with them are always awesome.  We are meeting at restaurant but I’ve decided to make my own cake.
He’s a huge sports fan, so I thought a sports themed cake would be cool.
So let's start at the beginning.  I was very short on time, since this was a last minute decision, so cake mixes just had to do.
I made a Chocolate cake and a French Vanilla..(you just can’t go wrong with those)
While I was waiting for the cakes to bake I mixed up some blue fondant.
I iced between the layers with chocolate icing.
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Crumb coat, (or dirty ice) the cake with butter cream or regular frosting.  Refrigerate iced cake for at least 45 minutes.
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Cover with white fondant
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With some of the blue fondant I traced the number 50 from cut outs that I printed off earlier.
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I did the same with the letters for the name. 
( I KNOW there is a better way, but this is the poor mans cut outs)Toronto Maple Leafs Cake 042a
I added some white fondant sleeves, blue stripes and a neckline.
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I also started on this little guy. From a blue blob…
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…came a hockey player… that oddly enough started to look a lot like my honey, (giggle!)
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He looks pretty exhausted doesn’t he?
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And now for the whole cake!  You can see the cut out Maple Leaf on the sleeve.
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Happy Birthday Sweetie!   50 never looked better.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cake

I love anything with pumpkin in it, and hey, if it looks like a pumpkin that’s just a bonus.
Here is a pumpkin spice layer cake covered with fondant, just in time for Thanksgiving.
The recipe below is for ONE bundt cake.  What you see pictured below is TWO bundt cakes put together.

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1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups (270 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (240 ml) fresh or canned pure pumpkin (about 1/2 of a 15 ounce can)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (200 grams) sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 grams)  baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
Note:  To make your own buttermilk
combine 1/2 cup (120 ml) of milk with 1/2 tablespoon
vinegar or lemon juice.  Stir and let stand for 10 minutes before using.

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Make sure you use Pumpkin Puree, not pumpkin pie filling.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).  Add the  eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
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In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.  Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the pumpkin batter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Pour into prepared bundt pan. 
Bake at 350  for approximately 30 -35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then invert and remove cake from pan.  Cool completely.
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***Remember if you want the pumpkin cake pictured here you’ll need two of these cakes.
For this particular cake, I made the second cake french vanilla, so that there would be two different layers, but you can chose to make your layers both pumpkin spice.
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Slice each cake across the top to even them out.
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Place one rounded end on the bottom, and the rounded end of your top cake facing up. Frost between layers.
Crumb coat your cake, (cover entire cake with butter cream icing to fill cracks and make fondant adhere).  Place in refrigerator for half hour.
Colour and roll out your fondant and apply to cake. 
From here, you’ll decorate whatever way you wish!
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For the stem, I used a couple of cake balls I had left from a previous recipe and covered them with green fondant. You can use an ice cream cone,  a granola bar, rice krispie treats, whatever you have on hand and cover with fondant.
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Enjoy !