Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Red Velvet Cake is cool (because the NYTimes tells me so)

Either way, here is the cake (which will NOT be red, what the hell?)


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3½ cups cake flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1½ teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil (yeah, that's 2 CUPS)
2¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) red food coloring
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1¼ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2½ teaspoons white vinegar (weird but excellent)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place teaspoon of butter in each of 3 round 9-inch layer cake pans and place pans in oven for a few minutes until butter melts. Remove pans from oven, brush interior bottom and sides of each with butter and line bottoms with parchment.

2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.

3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.

4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.

5. Divide batter among pans, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, flip layers over and peel off parchment. Cool completely before frosting.

Yield: 3 cake layers.

My Size Sweet Potato Pies

My, it looks like this is catching on already. It's great to have the pictures too, but it appears we dined with the lights off. I, for one, am not ashamed and believe we should always leave the lights proudly on.

I improvised on my recipe a fair ammount, but I will try to recreate the scene of the crime as best I can. The Charge? Tasty was the case that they gave me...

2 Large Sweet Potatoes (about 2 cups when mashed)
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Egg

1. Bake the Sweet Potatoes at 375 for about an hour or until very soft. Many of the recipes I consulted said to boil and skin the potatoes first, which I'm sure is faster but I like to bake them for the smell and so they get really tender. Once baked, scoop out the flesh (the skins will practically slip off) into a bowl. You'll barely need to mash them but do so to get a proper mush.

2. Add in Sugar, Salt, Cinnamon, Butter, and Cloves while mixing. Butter first is a good idea so that the heat melts it. This is also your chance to mix in all other extras to your taste. Proportions of spices can be varied also in order to get the right taste before the egg goes in. Finally, stir the egg into the milk and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Mixture should be most soupy. Let it chill in the fridge.


2 Cups White Flour! (Or one White and one Wheat, like a Sinatra/Wonder Duet)
1 tsp. Salt
Lemon or Orange Zest (Not necessary, but so good)
3/4 stick of butter (6 Tbsp.), partly frozen
Iced out Water

1. Mix Flour, Salt, and Zest together in a bowl. Zesting the citrus can be done with a knife for that raw quality, but it adds more taste if you do it with a fine grater).

2. Take the chilled butter and stick it on a fork. Get busy with a sharp knife or carrot slicer and shave the stick of butter as thinly as you can into the flour mix. The last bits you may have to dice differently but this should work for most of it.

3. Add the cold water a Tablespoon at a time and start mixing. The game is over once you have turned the dry ingredients into a dough with as little water as possible. Roll into a dough ball and set aside.

The Main Event:

1. Butter up 2 muffin tins. Start pinching off small pieces of dough and roll them out into rough circles, about 5 inches in diameter. They don't need to be very thick, but making a wider circle may be a better aesthetic choice. Place the crust circles into the muffin wells. Unlike a regular pie, these crusts will fold and overlap on the sides a little because of what I am sure is an interesting topology problem.

2. Pour in filling mixture evenly for all twelve mini-pies. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a knife comes out relatively clean.

Blake’s Bevy of Bodacious Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup chilled buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.)
Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.)
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

Having made these three times in the span of about 12 hours, I have the process pretty burned into my brain. It's really easy, and produces a damn fine biscuit.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Brunch Recipes Con't

OK cheesy, yummy grits....

1 yellow onion, minced
2 + cloves of garlic, minced
2 1/2 handfuls of chopped (or grated) cheese of your choice, my choice was sharp cheddar
grits (3 tbs for every cup of water = 1 serving)
fat of your choice
chives (optional, but make it a whole lot better)

In one pot caramelize onions and garlic (if you're me use butter/lard/olive/canola/whatever is at hand oil, if you're Jen use water, if you can figure out how). In another pot bring water to a boil. When water is boiled add to the onions and add grits. Stir grits regularly until they are creamy and al dente. Take off heat. Add cheese. Stir until melted (if you want to flip off God, add half and half until grits are the consistency your desire). Add chives.

While on the plate stir in Jen's creamed corn to make it extra delicious.

Southern Brunch Recipes

You guys are slackers, pony up the recipes already.

Creamed Corn
I swear this comes out creamy and delicious with only buttermilk if you aren't trying to frost a cake at the same time (and you don't oversalt-sorry). This is an Alton Brown recipe.

1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 pinches kosher salt
8 ears fresh corn
1 sprig fresh rosemary, bruised (you know, or chives, whatever you want)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh ground black pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, sweat the onion in butter and salt until translucent.

In a large mixing bowl, place a paper bowl in the middle of the bowl. Resting the cob on the bowl in a vertical position remove only the tops of the kernel with a knife, using long smooth downward strokes and rotating the cob as you go. After the cob has been stripped, use the dull backside of your knife to scrape any remaining pulp and milk off the cob.

Add the corn and pulp mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium high until the juice from the corn has tightened. Add the rosemary. Sprinkle the corn with the sugar and turmeric. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto the corn, using a whisk to combine well. Add the heavy cream and cook until the corn has softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the rosemary. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Southern Brunch Photos

Deliciousness all around yesterday. Although my photo skills leave something to be desired.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Wii Open 2007

A worthy opponent.

Simon certainly looked the part, but couldn't stand up to the competition.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Brunch Blog

So a few of us thought it would be a good idea to start a brunch blog, and while I'm not quite sure what direction it is going to take, I imagine it is something that we can all have fun with. I know I would really like to start getting some recipes posted, so we might be able to reproduce/improve upon some of the dishes we come up with on Sunday. Not to say that this should be limited to recipe posting, but thats just one thing I think it can be useful for.

To start, I'd like to know what went into Pete's empanadas from a couple months ago. I think that was the Mexican themed brunch where we made huevos rancheros.