Monday, April 25, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake

About a week before the cook out I found out that there were some people observing some religious holidays; Lent and Passover, and that they had some food restrictions. I didn't want anyone to offend anyone and I wanted to make sure they had food options, so I went on the internet to find out a bit more about these customs. One of the things I learned was that dessert could be hard for those observing Passover because they couldn’t have grains. So after googling many dessert recipes I found a Flourless Chocolate Cake on that sounded delicious. I was a little scared to make this dessert since I had never tasted it nor made it before. But the risk paid off, they were fantastic! They tasted like dark chocolate fudge. I baked them in mini cupcake wrappers, so they were bit size yummy goodness! I will definitely make this again! They only problem was…I didn’t make enough!
I topped half of the cakes with some of Donea's Caramel Butter Cream Icing and the other half I left plain. Everyone loved them. I received tons of compliments and the people that were observing Passover, thanked me personally for thinking of them.
Here is the recipe I got from with the changes I made.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
6 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup unsalted butter
6 eggs

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate and chocolate chips. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Scope the batter into the cupcake wrappers. Have a large casserole pan Filled about half way with water on a lower rack.
Bake cupcakes above the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 17minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Grooms Cake

Josh and Donea surprised Adam with a Grooms cake at the cook out. Some people didn't understand some of the things on Adam's cake. But that's OK, because it was perfect for Adam. Adam is a music producer and everything on the cake had to do with his music or Album covers. "I Be Where Da Cake Be" is a song he produced with rapper Mark Victor. On the side of the cake you can see 2 Chinese stars sticking out, those were on one of his Album covers.
Enough about the decoration of the cake, now the delicious details. Donea baked a moist chocolate cake with two different filling; Chocolate Ganache and Caramel Butter Cream. Yes, it is as yummy as it sounds! Josh and Donea came over and spent all of Thursday assembling and decorating the cake. It was amazing they were able to get anything done at my house because I was cooking and prepping food all day, my kitchen sink decided to clog up and go crazy on me, and I have kids at home. But despite everything it all came together beautifully.
Great Job Donea and Josh, you put my cake decorating to shame! But I love you guys anyway!!!!

By the way, I forgot to get a picture of the cake after it was cut. Why that might seem unimportant, it was another attention to detail Donea took into consideration. Donea used 2 types of fillings and she piped it onto the cake so that when you cut the cake, the frosting would be stripes. Very Clever!

Pre Wedding Cook Out

I had the privilege of making all the food for my brother’s rehearsal dinner. Actually it really wasn’t a rehearsal dinner, it was a meet and greet, pool side cook out. We had over 30 family and friends come to mingle and enjoy some good southern food. My husband was in charge of grilling the burgers and I was in charge of the rest of the food. The menu consisted of Hamburgers, Veggie Burgers, Baked Beans, Vegetarian Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Garden Salad, Pasta Salad, Fruit, Spicy Cowboy Salsa, Mild Salsa, Corn Chips, and dessert. Dessert consisted of some Flourless Cupcakes and a fantastic Groom’s Cake that Josh and his girlfriend Donea made.
As you can tell from the menu we had some vegetarians (my parents), but we also had some people observing Lent and Passover. We wanted to make sure we had plenty of food for everyone.
We all had a wonderful time and it was great meeting Tara’s side of the family. I am sorry I do not remember everyone’s names but it was a pleasure to meet everyone. Thank you to everyone who traveled so far to come!

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mulberry Jelly

As you can see I decided to make the jelly instead of the pie. But I still have a lot of berries left on the tree, so who knows, my kids may still get a mulberry pie.

I have made plenty of jam, but I have never made a jelly before, so I was excited to try something new. My hubby laughs at what I sometimes consider exciting, he is a Policeman, so his stories are much more entertaining than mine.

Making the jelly wasn't hard, it just took a little more time because I had to squeeze and and strain all the juice and berries so that I wouldn't have any seeds. That was just a personal preference on my part. I could have made jam and not worried about the seeds but, I wanted to try something different. I must say that it was worth the little extra effort. I think my hubby agrees. After he had tasted the jelly, he told me that he was taking a few jars to his office to share with his coworkers. Knowing that my hubby loved it enough to want to share with his friends made me happy. I got the recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They have tons of other recipes if you would like to check them out.

Mulberry Jelly with powdered pectin

3½ cups mulberry juice Use 2 qts. mulberries* (¾ ripe, ¼ red)

1 box powdered pectin

5 cups sugar

* If all berries are ripe, add ¼ cup lemon juice to fruit juice

Yield: About 6-7 half-pint jars

Wash and rinse jars; keep warm until ready to fill. Prepare lids according to manufacturer's directions.

Sort and wash berries; remove stems. Crush berries thoroughly; heat slowly until juice starts to flow. (Caution: Berries will stain items and hands easily.) Cover; simmer 10 minutes.

Place in jelly bag (I used a strainer and pressed with the back of a spoon) and squeeze out juice. Measure juice, mix with powdered pectin in saucepan.

Bring quickly to a hard boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar all at once. Bring to a full rolling boil, (a boil that cannot be stirred down); boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam with a metal spoon.

Pour at once into clean, hot jars, leaving only ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Here we go round the mulberry bush…

My favorite tree or plant is usually whatever is blooming or fruiting.
So right now, one of my favorite trees is my “Tice” Mulberry tree. One of the things I love of about that tree is that my kids and all their friends love to go pick fresh berries and eat them straight from the tree. How cool is that. No worries about pesticides, the only thing they have to worry about is someone picking the berries before they can get them or not being tall enough to get that perfect berry. I love that my kids know that we can grow some of our own fruit, not just buy them from the grocery store.

I know many of you are wondering, what is a Mulberry? Well, it looks like a black berry, and it taste yummy. It has its own flavor but it reminds me a lot of grapes. And to tempt you even more, it’s good for you. Mulberries are high in antioxidants. They are also high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron, Fiber, Riboflavin, Magnesium and Potassium.
I purchased my tree about 5 years ago, and every spring I would get some berries, but never enough to make anything. This year is different. Even with my kids, all their friend’s, some squirrels, and the birds snacking on the tree, I still have enough to try and make something. I decided I would try and make some Mulberry jam. I will let you know how it turns out. My kids really wanted me to make Mulberry Pie, so who knows? Maybe I will enough to try both!