Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

It's officially Autumn. Works for me. I love the recipes (hooray butternut squash, soup, pumpkin, etc.) and love the change in the weather, even if the change is slow living in the desert.

This is a Paula Deen recipe . . . it satisfies the pumpkin craving. So does this.

* 1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
* 1 egg
* 8 tablespoons butter, melted


* 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
* 3 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 8 tablespoons butter, melted
* 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

a whole lot of nothing...

Each time we walked by this house when we were in Laguna Beach I snapped a picture and fantasized. Sigh. Cute, yes? The walk to our bungalow went directly up the hill behind the house, so we were able to dissect a little bit of how it was put together. Don't even ask me how I stumbled upon this yesterday. Now I know for a mere $2.5 million dollars my dream can come true.

No segue...

Statcounter has been interesting . . . more people are landing on my blog after doing a search for "patron said of lost causes" than any other google search. Either there are way more believing Catholics out there than I ever realized or there are way more lost causes out there than I ever knew.

Runner up is still "Gilchrist Macaroons". Inevitably those hits are from New Englanders pining away for that delicious macaroon (no longer made), especially with the resurgence of french macaroons. Definitely qualifies as a trend because they've been around for almost a century.

No segue...

I made a triple batch of whoopie pies for my Friday Seminary Treat, which may become a weekly feature on my blog for my friend, Bridget, not to be confused with daughter, Bridget. (Love that name.) I really sort of wish they were the pumpkin whoopie pies. Love those.

No segue...

I'm 245 pages into Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed. I wanted to be crazy about it because I loved his first two novels. I'm walking away. Up next is This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. What are you reading right now?

No segue...

Today we are headed to the church to practice the annual Primary Program. We have parts. Speaking parts. We were asked, "Would you like to play parents or grandparents?" Funny. Very 'out of my comfort zone' . . . and then this is when people say, "But you're BRIDGET's mom!" Yes, yes I am. The gene pool is vast.

No segue...

Weekend culinary inspiration comes from here and here.

: See here for pictures inside the Laguna Beach dreamhouse.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tarte Tatin

This classic French apple tart is Wolfgang's recipe, one he refers to as "Easy Tarte Tatin". If you know me at all you know this is my idea of the ultimate dessert. Sadly, Mon Ami Gabi has removed it from their menu, although they promise it will be an occasional 'special.' Hope so.

If you haven't discovered Pepperidge Farm puff pastry I urge you to run to the frozen food aisle at your local grocery store and buy a box. It's a freezer staple. It means you can always make a napolean or a tarte tatin because it's just that amazing. If you're adventurous you can give it a shot, like I did here, but I promise you the store bought version is absolutely perfect. Also, as much as we loved that Danish braid, and we did, I have never made it again. Just saying. It's versatile (they make it in pastry shells) and perfect.

1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 Golden Delicious apples
2 T. lemon juice
1 9-inch circle pre-baked puff pastry
Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a 9-inch ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of the sugar and cook, stirring continuously, until it turns light golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside. Peel, core, and quarter the apples. In a nonreactive bowl, toss together the apples and lemon juice. Arrange the apple quarters, rounded sides down, in the pan in a flowerlike pattern, filling in the gaps with more apples placed curved side up. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup sugar over the apples. Cook over medium heat until the apples start to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the apples are tender, 20 to 30 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and let the apples cool to room temperature. Before serving, preheat the broiler. Return the pan to medium heat, just until the caramel softens enough for the apples to loosen. Remove the pan from the heat and top the apples with the pre-baked pastry. Invert a round heatproof serving platter over the pastry and, carefully holding the skillet and the platter together, invert them; then, lift off the skillet to unmold the tart onto the platter. If any apples stick to the skillet or become dislodged, replace them on the tart. Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar and caramelize it briefly under the broiler. Cut the tart into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream. Serves 6 to 8.

Anyone can make this!

This week's Friday Seminary treat? Whoopie pies, per a special request. I love a special request.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday date at Morels

It's Restaurant Week in Las Vegas. Too good to pass up. We decided on Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro at the Palazzo. Why is there no apostrophe? I wonder. It barely bothered me once I sat down.

The cheese and French bread selection was impressive and beautiful. Beautiful seafood bar.

Potato soup . . . the garnish on top was a collection of crispy, very thin potato-sticks. The side plate? Yes, that's a beignet.

Skirt steak with pommes frites and chef's butter. See the side plate again? Beignet gone.

The cart to make your tableside Bloody Mary. Great gimmick - they were busy.

In case you skipped the link, $20.09 per person, including homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh berries and heavy whipped cream.

Weekend culinary inspiration came from here and here.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Danish Pastry Apple Bars

Last Friday was the first Seminary treat day and, yes, I made the requisite Jimmie Cake. It's behind me. My goal is to refine my 'bar cookie' repertoire. Let me know if you have any recipes to share . . .

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup cold water
1 cup cornflakes cereal
10 apples - peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a cup, beat egg yolk, stir the cold water into the yolk. Gradually stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until dough can be packed into a ball. On a clean dry surface, roll out 1/2 of the dough large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch pan. Lay the dough in the pan. Place the cornflakes over the dough in the pan. Arrange apple slices over the top of the corn flake layer. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over the apples. Roll out the second half of the dough to cover the entire pan. Lay over the filling and pinch the edges of the two crusts together. Beat the egg white until foamy, and brush onto the top crust. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Drizzle with glaze while still warm.

Glaze: In a small bowl, beat the confectioners' sugar with the milk and almond extract until smooth.

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