Archive for March, 2012


All I have to say is, you learn something new every day…

Watch this! (Yes, it’s a little corny, but it’s me you’re dealing with. Corny’s a given…enjoy!)

How To Make Homemade Ice Cream in a Plastic Bag

In time for St. Patty’s Day, a warming and zesty Braised Chicken Sausage and Cabbage recipe. Watch the video:http://allrecipes.com/video/490/braised-chicken-apple-sausages-and-cabbage/detail.aspx

 

 

 

And for dessert…

Irish Car Bomb Cake
Prep Time:
30 Min
Cook Time:
40 Min
Ready In:
2 Hrs 10 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package French vanilla cake mix
  • 10 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup Irish whiskey, divided
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can dark Irish stout beer (such as Guinness®)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur (such as Baileys®)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Place the cake mix into a large mixing bowl. Pour the water into a 2-cup measure, and add enough Irish whiskey to total 1 1/3 cup of liquid (about 10 1/2 tablespoons). Reserve remaining whiskey. Beat the whiskey and water mixture, vegetable oil, and eggs with an electric mixer on low speed just until cake mix is moistened; increase speed to medium, and beat until the batter is smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. While the cake is baking, pour remaining Irish whiskey (about 1 1/2 tablespoon) into a saucepan, and stir in 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved; boil until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. When cakes are done baking but still hot, poke holes all over the cakes (the end of a chopstick works well for this) and drizzle the whiskey syrup into the holes. Return the cakes to the oven, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Remove cakes from oven, allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove from pans to finish cooling on wire racks.
  7. To make caramel sauce, mix the Irish stout beer with 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Simmer the mixture until thickened, about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, and allow to cool.
  8. To make frosting, beat 1 cup of softened butter in a bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, then gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time. Beat in salt, then add the Irish cream liqueur, beating until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  9. To assemble the cake, place a layer onto a cake serving dish; pour the Irish stout caramel over the first layer, allowing the caramel to drip down the sides of the layer. Place the 2nd cake layer on top, and top with the buttercream, swirling the frosting into decorative waves. Do not frost sides of cake.

 

It’s been a whole week, so I hope you have had a chance to catch up on those missed episodes and, of course, the finale. From Pee-Wee Herman, uber amounts of BBQ fare, to rifles, gondolas, and food encased in monstrous ice blocks, this season was packed with random twists. And who could forget the Snow White and the Huntsmen wicked cuisine themed episode; in my opinion, that episode, aside from the finale, showcased the best creative dishes of the season. Although I had my doubts at the beginning of the season (the countless amount of Texas BBQ’s was too typical to excite me) the season finally proved itself to live up to the slogan “everything’s bigger in Texas.”

 

Now, down to the nitty-gritty: The final showdown was between Chef Sarah Gruenberg and Chef Paul Qui. I liked how Top Chef returned to the idea of the final challenge being an individualized restaurant war.  Usually, the final two have to cook for an esteemed panel of master chefs and have full creative license over the menu. Both chefs had mouth watering bills of fare and gave their all. It was interesting that the judges dining with Top Chef’s Head Judge – Chef Tom Colicchio got the exceptional, faulty-free dishes at both restaurants where as Host, Padma Lakshmi’s group had the faulty entrées.  What can you say to that? ::shrugs shoulders:: Perhaps, the food gods just weren’t on Team Padma’s side.

 

I must say, I was introduced to a new dish – chawanmushi, featured by Chef Paul.  (Chawanmushi is a Japanese egg custard dish.) Paul was going to include crabmeat into the dish (yumm!) but the meat became sour overnight, so due to his resilient thinking, Paul used his ace-in-the-whole… shrimp! Although it was a hit in the first round, this dish was scorched in the second. In Chef Sarah’s kitchen, she also had some hits and misses: her salmon was served with small bones, and some of her other dishes had slight issues as well.

Counting all the successes and failures of the night, it was an obvious close call. (Definitely would not want to deliberate at judges table,… eek!)

 

Yet, in the end, a winner had to be declared. I was ecstatic when Chef Paul’s name was announced. I felt he totally deserved it, hands down. Sarah was a very talented competitor and also deserving. It just came down to emphasis on detail for Paul.  Ever since the final 5, I was on Team Paul and joined in his victory as well. Can I just say, even without the $125,000 prize money, Paul won the most money of the season, racking up $45,000 – $50,000 in Quick Fire and Elimination Challenge winnings. That is seriously epic, I don’t think any other “cheftestant” has walked away with that amount of $$$ in the history of Top Chef.

 

I look forward to tonight’s reunion. All the drama will be laid out on the table: Bev’s bully battles – don’t even get me started on that – last chance kitchen comments, and how the chefs really felt about the competition. Tune in to Bravo TV at 9 pm.

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