Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze

Fall and winter mean root vegetables. Sometimes you just can't think of another way to make beets. That's where this recipe comes in handy. It's a great side or an addition to a fall salad.

Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze via Serious Eats:

Serves 4

6 medium beets (2 bunches, or about 3½ lb.)
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. inexpensive balsamic vinegar
1 Tb. maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove the leafy stems and roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in 1 1/2-inch chunks. Place the cut beets on the prepared baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Roast for until the beets are tender when pierced with a thin-bladed knife, 35 to 40 minutes, tossing once with a spatula midway through.
Meanwhile, combine the vinegar and maple syrup in a small skillet. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half (it should lightly coat the back of a metal spoon). Pay close attention and be sure not to over-reduce it; it goes from sweet and syrupy to burnt and hard very quickly. Toss the glaze with the roasted beets and chill until ready to serve.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Harrison's First Birthday Cake

The biggest reason my blogging has become so infrequent is I've got this little man around that takes up so much of my time. It's fantastic. This past Friday was his birthday, so we went with the family to Lincoln City to celebrate one year of Harrison.

Of course I made him his own cake. It was a process that took a couple of weeks and lots of test cakes. Some were too snack cake, some were disgusting (that's what I get for trying sugar free), and some were just meh. But I found one that was just right and then, as I do, started to modify. I used the frosting from my favorite baby food blog/book (thanks Renai!) and along with some exploding writing icing and a bit of cinnamon, we had a cake.
Harrison tried to eat a slice whole. I'd say that's a success.

Harrison's First Birthday Cake adapted from Martha Stewart and Wholesome Baby Food:

Makes 1 9" 2 layer cake

For the cake -
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
¼–½ tsp. cinnamon
½ c. sugar
½ c. butter, melted
½-¾ c. yogurt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 c.)

For the frosting -
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
¾ c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ c. heavy cream

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Butter and flour two 9x2 round cake pans. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Blend in the melted butter, mixing together until moist. Add half of your yogurt and combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the other half of the yogurt with the eggs and blend into the flour mixture. Add the vanilla and mashed bananas. Beat for 1 minute. Divide the batter between the two cake pans and place in center of oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. When cake is done, top should be a golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Cool cakes on a cooling rack in pans and then invert onto rack to cool completely.

While cakes are cooling, make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. In a small bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cream cheese mixture.
When the cake have cooled, place one top side up on a cake stand or inverted plate. Place a big dollop of frosting in the center and spread evenly across the top. This is going to be that tasty middle layer of frosting, but don't go too bananas (haha), you need enough to frost the rest of the cake. Place the other cake top side down over this frosting layer. Put a huge amount of frosting in the center of the top and spread it across and down the sides. Keep turning the cake until you've frosted the whole thing. Stick a large knife or spatula or anything long you can find to remove the cake from the plate and onto another one. This is a great two person process, so wrangle someone in to help you.

Once on the other plate, stick in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to let the frosting firm up a bit before doing any further decorating.
Slice it up and watch an adorable one year old get his first piece of cake. Also, some other people ate it, but you know, priorities. 
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