Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bonnie Butter Cake

I made this on Saturday night, more out of nostalgia and curiosity than anything. It is one of the recipes I made as a kid from my mom's Betty Crocker Cookbook. I used the all purpose flour going for authenticity (we rarely had cake flour at home). Got distracted and forgot to alternate the flour, milk, flour, milk. So it came out a little tougher than my usual cakes. Then I couldn't find my go to chocolate frosting recipe so it waited a little longer than is ideal to be ready to eat. I'll attach the marble cake option which I used, perhaps I've out grown that too.

2/3 c. soft butter
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla
3 c. cake flour or 2 3/4 c. all purpose flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 1/4 milk

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9"layer pans or one 9x13" cake pan. Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Beat 5 minutes, high speed on mixer or by hand. Blend flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in alternately with mil. Use low speed on mixer. Pour into pans. Bake layers 30-40 minutes, cake pan 45-50 minutes. Cool.

If you want to marble the cake...
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 T. warm water
1 T. sugar
1/4 t. soda.

Make Bonnie Butter Cake-except pour on 2/3 of batter into pans. Beat into remaining batter for about 30 sec. a mixture of unsweetened chocolate, melted, warm water, sugar and soda. Pour here and there over light batter. Cut through batter with knife several times for marbled effect.

from Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book

How Was It?/What's for Dinner? 2/6-12/12

Monday: Nando's
Tuesday: Honey-Soy Salmon with Spinach & Peppers
Wednesday: The Worst Japanese Food Ever!
Thursday: Chicken Spinach Noodle Casserole
Friday: Salmon Fillet & Roasted Broccoli
Saturday: Navy Bean Soup & Beer Bread
Sunday: Steak & Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Chicken with Proscuitto, Asiago Cheese & Fresh Sage is always yummy. The last step in the oven to make the cheese melty and proscuitto crispy went much longer than the recipe suggested, this oven and I are still coming to terms. The kid even liked it more than in the past.

Mini Meatball & Noodle Soup: I really should start this earlier in the day so I don't rush the meatballs. There isn't much to them, sausage filling and breadcrumbs, but they start getting not so mini and cooked too fast the last couple of batches. I have figured out a different more spoon friendly noodle, but I am still tweaking the volume. This round was a little noodle light.

We will ignore the middle part of the week under the heading of we did not have quorum for interesting cooking.

Frittata: Possibly our best frittata to date. We are more a quiche crowd, but pie crust doesn't really help with any nutrition goals so improvement in frittata production is probably a win. This one was Potato, Spinach & Ham. I cheated and used some hash browns from my freezer in place of thinly sliced new potatoes and again patience was the name of the game with the oven. Cook til golden, timer just reminds you to look at it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

How Was It?/What's for Dinner? 1/29-2/5/12

Once again the house of Whimsy is on reduced numbers, so we are deploying leftover lunch friendly, so easy the 13 year old could make it meals. Feel free to skip to last week's reviews and come back later next week for the interesting food.

Sunday: (A rescheduled meal) Chicken with Proscuitto, Asiago Cheese & Fresh Sage
Monday: Mini Meatball & Noodle Soup
Tuesday: Burritos
Wednesday: Leftovers or Dinner Out (The fate of dinner in the hands of the solar system project)
Thursday: French Bread Pizzas
Friday: (The Return of the) Frittata
Saturday: Honey-Soy Salmon with Spinach & Peppers

The Pot Pie was addressed before, so we start with the salmon. I believe their may have been some operator error, definitely didn't resemble the pretty pretty magazine photos. Now some mistakes were my own, using Dijon in place of whole grain mustard, other were the people who share my house. We usually have a large container of maple syrup on hand a heads up when we have less than 2 Tablespoons seems reasonable, non? Over all a fine, but probably not to be repeated. The Brussel Sprouts were a first for me, Y was just please to see them.
Roasted Chicken was an improvement, the oven and I seem to be coming to terms with each other. However the Organic Green Gratin was very disappointing. I had it on "to try list" for months. There is a good idea in there somewhere, but unattractive in the end, the crushed cracker topping added texture, but awkwardly.
Everything else was good, but not necessarily noteworthy or postponed. I had a great crabcake on potato pancake with arugula and whole grain mustard sauce at the Irish Pub for the School of Rock plays Queen concert, as a bonus.

Monday, January 23, 2012

How Was It?/What's for Dinner? 1/22-28/12

Sunday: Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Pot Pie
Monday: Maple Glazed Salmon with Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Tuesday: Roasted Chicken & Organic Greens & Goat Cheese Gratin
Wednesday: Dinner Out
Thursday: Steak, Potatoes & Salad
Friday: Chicken with Asaigo, Proscuitto & Fresh Sage
Saturday: School of Rock Pub Night

So the soup we discussed before...
Enchiladas were interesting. The crock pot was a twist and my tortilla rolling technique could be better, but they were flavorful and made good leftovers for lunch.
The middle of the week doesn't rate comment has it was all emergency quick favorites.
Frittata didn't happen. Y wasn't home, kid wouldn't appreciate it. So we had breakfast for dinner; bacon & egg sandwiches.
Saturday morning we woke up to snow. So a pot of Navy Bean Soup seemed the answer. This bumped the pot pie to Sunday. This was a perfectly fine version, but our go to Chicken Pot Pie is a curried one from Alton Brown, much more robust flavor. I think we will stick with it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This One is Less Food, More Whimsy

If you are here for the food, feel free to skip this one. Under simplifying, I think I'll stick with one blog for now, even if some entries or off topic.

I like movies, no I really do. In my pretentious teenage years we went to the movies, the big blockbusters, the art house indies, classic films, and foreign films with great regularity. I am not always kind hearted to the college town I grew up in, but two art house cinemas was one of its better qualities. When we were going to the movies we were renting them, not at my house, but with my friends. It was rarely part of my adult relationship, although if you asked us we both like movies. I suspect we like different movies, we definitely watch them differently at home. Plus now we are old (-ish), and unless we are going to the swanky theatre with reserved seats, and beat downs will be applied to talkers and texters, we get cranky with the experience.

With that history, I realize I am not doing something I really like...seeing movies. It isn't like I don't have the time. I really do, as long as the theatres are running early afternoon weekday shows. Which BONUS, cuts down on the talkers and other idiots. So not a resolution, more a challenge...I will see two movies a month in 2012. Now if I could just remember when we saw Muppet Movie so, I know if I am already good for one in January...hmm

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How Was It?/What's for Dinner? 1/16-22/12

The Whimsy household will not be at full strength for part of this week, which means there maybe a little more casual meal production. However this month's Real Simple just arrived with a food cover, so when we are all here and not scattering to a thousand different events, the choices should be new and maybe even exciting.

Monday: Sausage & Escarole (or Spinach) Soup
Tuesday: Crock Pot Bean & Spinach Enchiladas
Wednesday: Burritos
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Potato, Ham, & Spinach Frittata
Saturday: Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Pot Pie
Sunday: Maple Glazed Salmon with Roasted Brussel Sprouts


How Was It? Well, life happened and it didn't all happen. But here is what did happen and how it went...
Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup: I liked it, but it didn't grab my attention excessively, because I kept forgetting that it existed at lunchtime and when we were in leftover mode on the weekend. Y liked it, he did eat/pack the leftovers. The Kid found it bland, even when allowed to add Cheddar and bacon.
Quiche Lorraine: The BEST Quiche I have ever made. It deserves its own post, perhaps tomorrow.
Steak with Cognac Sauce & Potatoes: It was fine, I didn't bother with the sauce, because I don't think it brings enough improvement to bother with the effort. However this is the meal where I got my salad mojo back. Yay!
Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Shallots & Mashed Potatoes When the cold weather finally settled in and I went to my favorite roasted chicken recipes things didn't not go well. A couple of old reliables, bombed. I guess it was just breaking in a new oven. It was time to get back on that horse. Still didn't achieve crispy, but it was much, much better. Still don't love this new oven that came with the house. We seem to be negotiating some kind of truce.
Creamy Spinach Salmon: meh, why frozen spinach, didn't specified thawed or still frozen, went frozen and it watered down what seemed like it might be a nice mustard-y cream sauce. It was worth the try, good ingredient list, but either details were missing and kind of a poached cooking style. Salmon is better other ways.
Parmesan & Herb Sausage, White Bean and Escarole Soup: No Parmesan & Herb Sausage to be found went Hot Italian, didn't spy any escarole either, recipe suggested spinach. Forgot to tell the boys they could augment with grated Parmesan cheese. The Kid: meh. Y: loved it. I thought it was fine, which is better than the kid's meh, but no where near Y's love of it. It will freeze fine, and Y has more winter lunches ready to go.

Monday, January 9, 2012

How Was It?/What's for Dinner? 1/9-1/15/11/12

Monday: Honey Soy Glazed Salmon with Spinach & Peppers
Tuesday: Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup
Wednesday: Quiche Lorraine/Adult Dinner Out
Thursday: Steak with Cognac Sauce & Potatoes
Friday: Creamy Spinach Salmon
Saturday: Roast Chicken & Sweet Potato Spoonbread
Sunday: Parmesan & Herb Sausage, White Bean and Escarole Soup

Navy Bean Soup is a family favorite so no question every one was happy to see it even if the cold spell broke.
Salmon with Gingery Green Beans it is a good recipe it suffered from a little neighbor interruptus. I guess best served hot. Kid passed, had soup leftovers, but he doesn't have the health concerns that have brought the weekly salmon into rotation.