Book Club: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

Let's Pretend This Never Happened- Jenny Lawson

 

This month’s book was a real hoot, laugh out loud funny in fact. A refreshing change from our woman in peril books we often read. This is the memoir of blogger Jenny Lawson, daughter of a taxidermist who lived a bizarre childhood that you could only laugh about. she definitely puts the fun in dysfunctional as she tries to make a life for herself as a mother, wife, friend and now blogger. You can check out her blog here. We had fun with this book club with one of our member even setting a giant chicken (its in the book) on the hostesses doorstep and ringing the bell and hiding. I still don’t know how she found the chicken.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Giant Chicken

As for food this was a hard one because Jenny can’t cook except for the microwave and that just wouldn’t cut it at our all foodie book club. I decided to make a chocolate chip “loaf” because she tells the story of when she was trying to sell the house she stuck a whole roll of chocolate chip cookie dough in the oven for the smell, and it started on fire. It was good and even better the next day as all crumb cakes are.

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

 

Cake

1 1/4 c flour

1/2 c cake flour

1 stick butter

3/4 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1 c chocolate chips

3/4 c sugar

1/2 c buttermilk

2 eggs

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 T lemon zest

Topping

1 c flour

1 c sugar

1/2 stick hard butter

chocolate chips

powdered sugar

 

Pre heat oven to 350. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Cream softened butter in a mixer, add zest, and slowly add sugar. add in eggs and vanilla  and beat until just combined. Add 1/3 flour mixture to mixer, then 1/2 buttermilk, then 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk, and finally lat 1/3 of flour. mix until combined scraping down the sides. Stir in chocolate chips and pour into a greased loaf pan.

Combine the butter flour and sugar for the topping mixing with a fork or your hand until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the batter and then sprinkle with Chocolate chips. Bake for 40 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar if desired.

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

 

 

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Gone Girl Book Club: Crepe-a-Dillas

Gone Girl

This month’s book selection was the suspenseful mystery Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was the perfect book for book club, lots to discuss, surprising twists, crazy characters and a unique writing style. I liked it a lot, but I may be biased because it was actually my pick. That also meant that book club was at my house so I had to really bring it with the food. Hmm where to start, how about the beginning, on the day Amy goes missing she is makes crepes for their 5th anniversary breakfast. Crepes are not generally a finger food though and since there is always tons of food at out book clubs, the portion size would be too big. So I thought about it and decided to make my own surprising twist on quesadillas, crepe-a-dillas. Individual triangles of crepe-y goodness, perfect for parties.

Crepe-a-dillas

Crepe-A-Dillas

Filling:

8 0z marscapone cheese

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1/4 c lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

3 T honey

10 crepes (you could make your own, but I used pre made ones found in my produce section of the grocery store, flour tortillas would also work)

Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

1 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 c sugar

2 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 c water

For the filling,  mix all ingredients with a mixer  until incorporated. To make crepe-a-dillas lay one crepe flat, spread thin layer of filling on crepe, fold in half and then cut into wedges with pizza cutter of knife.

Crepe-a-dillasCrepe-a-dillasCrepe-a-dillas

Place on a plate and put wax paper or plastic wrap between layers to prevent sticking, place in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the sauce, add all ingredients to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Place in small bowl and cover. Cool in the refrigerator.

I also made a Chicken Frito Pie, just like the nice woman brought Nick after his wife disappeared which I will share the recipe to in my next post. We also had members bring manchego cheese, chocolate truffles, chili cheese fritos and casseroles, all thematic for the book.

For decorations I really wanted to have live lobsters in a pot (too mean), so I looked for fake ones but I couldn’t find them. I also wrapped a large box in a blue plastic table cloth from the dollar store ( I couldn’t find plain blue wrapping paper anywhere) for the centerpiece. I had a number 5 candle in my crepe-a-dillas. I also thought it would be fun to make some fun quizzes for book club like the ones Amy wrote for magazines.

Caution tape by the front door would have been a nice touch but I thought of that after book club.

I kept a bowl of red jelly beans close by for our discussions so that they could be throw at people for fun if you disagreed with their thoughts about the book. By the way I am still finding red jelly beans in and under my couch. Gone Girl Book Club

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Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Kisses

I bought a bag of the pumpkin spice Hershey’s kisses and liked them but thought these would go great with an oatmeal cookie, and so the idea was born. I made them and even my finicky kids who aren’t crazy about oatmeal cookies devoured them. Shh don’t tell but it’s my new favorite fall breakfast , sweet with a touch of spice.

Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Kisses

1c brown sugar

1/2 c sugar

3/4 c butter

1/4 c water

1 egg

1 t vanilla

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

1 c chopped Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses

Preheat the oven to 350

In a large mixing bowl combine sugars, butter, water, egg and vanilla, mix on low- med speed until creamed

In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Slowly add this to the butter mixture, mix until well combined.

Stir in Chopped kisses. ( I refrigerate my dough for about 10 minutes,  this  keeps your cookies from spreading and becoming too thin while baking) Drop 1 T rounds onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool, store in an air tight container.

Lemon Curd: The Most Delicious Way to Use Up Egg Yolks.

The other day when I made dark chocolate mousse in the blender I found myself with 6 left over egg yolks, what was I going to do with that? I googled recipes and found one for lemon curd, which was funny because I also had an abundance of lemons. I went ahead and made it, it was super easy, and I was surprised at how delicious it was, I found that I wanted to put it on everything. The recipe I found was on about.com from John Mitzewhich. I will be making this again.

Classic Lemon Curd

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
  • 2 T grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick butter), cut into 1/8-in slices
  1. Add 1-inch of water to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. In a medium metal bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar for about 2 minutes until smooth. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest until combined.
  2. Place the mixing bowl on top of saucepan (the bowl should be wide enough to fit on top of the saucepan, but shouldn’t be touching the simmering water). Stir the mixture constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as you stir, until it begins to thicken, and will coat the back of a spoon. This will take approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Whisk in the butter, one slice at a time. Wait until each piece almost disappears before adding the next.

 

We served it on pancakes with blueberries for a sunday breakfast, also try it on scones, muffins, biscuits, pound cake or as a filling for layer cakes.

 

Father’s Day, a reason to make breakfast: Pineapple Ginger Pancakes

As I have said before, I don’t like to make breakfast, it is way too early to mess up my kitchen, but there are exceptions, one being Father’s Day. My husband loves breakfast and he deserves it, for example he was awoken this morning by our oldest son, there was a crisis, the internet connection was down. Now two hours later and all of us complaining the whole time he has it back up and running and I don’t think any of us thanked him. Hopefully he will read this, so thank you, see I’m not that ungrateful. Well the least I can do is make breakfast. Pancakes are always a crowd pleaser, so I decided to make it a little more special by making a fruit topping, we had a pineapple on hand so the decision was made. Happy Father’s Day to all the hard working Dad’s out there who so often go unrecognized, if I could I would make you all breakfast.

Pineapple Ginger Topping

1 fresh pineapple peeled cored and chopped into 1-2 inch chunks (most produce stands will core and peel whole pineapples for free, just ask)

1 t chopped ginger

1/4 c orange juice

1 t corn starch

Place all ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes or until juice thickens slightly.

Pancakes

1 c flour

1 T sugar

2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1 egg beaten

1 c milk

2 T vegetable or canola oil

Mix together all ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl, mixture may still be slightly lumpy, do not over mix.

Use a 1/4 or 1/3 sized measuring cup to ladle batter onto a skillet that has been preheated to medium and rubbed with a small amount of oil.

Flip when bubbles form around the edge, about 1 min. cook for another minutes and remove keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Spoon pineapple topping over pancakes and top with pecans, almonds, or toasted coconut if desired

No Stress Breakfast: Bacon and Egg Cups with Goat Cheese, Arugula, and Tomatoes

I am not a fan of breakfast, not because I don’t like to eat it, just because I am not a morning person. Also it can be hard to get everything ready on time to feed a whole family or god forbid guests. I feel like a harried short order cook with a huge mess in my kitchen. It can ruin my whole day. This is an easy way to serve a crowd or just make ahead for the week to save you time and stress.

Bacon, love it probably more than any other food, but it can be messy. When I was a young bride I was not such a great cook and I tried making bacon in a fry pan on the stove, what a mess, it doesn’t really fit in the pan, and it never cooks evenly. Who wants to stand over the stove with grease flying at you? Then there is the microwave, sure it cooks but your oven is covered in a layer of grease that will take forever to clean, there goes the 5 minutes you saved choosing that method of cooking. For whatever reason one day I tried it in the oven, why had I not ever tried this before? There was no mess, no standing like a slave to the cook top and guess what it came out better and more evenly cooked. Not to mention you can make a whole pound at one time if you are feeding a crowd or in my case a family of 4, who loves bacon.

Lay your slices on a heavy-duty sheet pan with sides. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Take out and drain on paper towels. My family likes it “well done” this was cooked for about 17 minutes.Unused bacon can be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and reheated in the microwave for 30 seconds or warmed in a skillet pan.

For the Egg Cups:

8 eggs

3T half and half or milk

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/4 t black pepper

1/2 t salt

3 T creamy goat cheese

1/2 c chopped arugula

1/2 c chopped tomatoes

Grease or spray a 6 muffin tin. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a large bowl add eggs, spices, goat cheese and half and half, whisk until combined.

Pour into muffin tins, I used a large ice cream scoop. Then add about a tablespoon of tomatoes and a tablespoon of arugula to each cup. and stir with a fork.

Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Eggs will rise but with deflate when removed from the oven. If you are worried about spillage in your oven, place muffin tin on a cookie sheet before baking. You can put any uneaten cups in a large freezer bag  and place into the freezer for future use.

Strawberry and Meyer Lemon Muffins

ImageIt’s Strawberry season and we always are left with some in the refrigerator that are kind of on their way out. So to prolong their life a little I try to incorporate them into recipes. My kids love these muffins for breakfast or an after school treat.

Preheat oven to 375

 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 white sugar

1T baking powder

Freshly ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt

(Whisk these ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.)

1/2 c of melted butter

1c of whole milk 

2 large eggs

1 T of grated Meyer Lemon Zest

1T Meyer Lemon Juice

1/2 of pure vanilla extact

1 1/2 c of fresh clean strawberries sliced

 

In a bowl whisk together melted butter, milk, eggs, zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Get your dry ingredients and make a small”well” in the middle, pour in the wet ingredients and stir by hand until incorporated but not over mixed (there may be some lumps). Add sliced strawberries and mix gently. Divide batter into 12 large muffin tins (I use and Ice cream scoop for even sized muffins) bake until golden brown about 25 minutes (check by inserting a toothpick into the muffin, it should come out clean)