Wednesday, October 13, 2021

LEMON-RASPBERRY CAKE



8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
3 large eggs, separated
1 t pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t sea salt
1 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1 generous cup frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 2 8-inch cake pans and line each pan with a circle of parchment that has been buttered.

In bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and lemon zest together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, along with the vanilla.
Set bowl aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment, until soft peaks form.
Set bowl aside.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Place the bowl with the butter-egg yolk mixer back on the mixer and add the dry ingredients alternately with the yogurt.
Mix until well combined.
Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the whipped egg whites until no white streaks appear.
Gently fold in the raspberries and spread the batter evenly between the two cake pans.  Even out the tops with an offset spatula.
Place pan on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or util a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before turning them out on a rack to cool completely. 
Meanwhile, make the frosting.

CREAM CHEESE-BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz full fat cream cheese, room temperature
4 to 4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 t pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.  
Add the cream cheese and beat until completely smooth.
With the mixer on low speed, add the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla a little at a time.  
Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes.
Add a pinch of salt and beat until combined.

Cover and keep in refrigerator until cake is completely cool.






Friday, September 10, 2021

BENNE WAFERS

Benne wafers have been unique to the Lowcountry since Colonial times.  Benne seeds (sesame seeds) were brought to the colonies from Africa by the African enslaved people in the early 1700s.  Sesame seeds are rich in calcium, vitamins B and E, zinc, iron, and protein.
Benne wafers are a special Southern treat.



1 cup sesame seeds
¾ cup dark brown sugar
4 T unsalted butter, softened
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ t sea salt

½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ t sea salt
¼ t baking powder
1 t fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ t pure vanilla extract

In a large, non-stick skillet, over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until light golden brown.  Shake pan or stir constantly.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, or by spoon in a large bowl, beat or mix the brown sugar and butter together until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Beat in the whisked egg.

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
Add these dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix well.

Stir in the toasted sesame seeds, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.

Place bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Get out 3 large baking sheets and line with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Drop by teaspoonful or with the smallest ice cream scoop onto prepared baking sheets.  Leave a 2 inch space between cookies, so they can spread without touching another cookie.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.

Cool for a couple of minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.

Makes 36 to 40 cookies.




Tuesday, September 7, 2021

PAN SEARED FILET MIGNON WITH BRANDY SAUCE

My husband said this meal was like eating in a 5 star restaurant.  We even had a candle light dinner.  Now I have to make this a couple times a month for him.  Filet Mignon is pricey but there is no waste.  For 4 to 8 servings, I would get a beef tenderloin and cut them each 1½ inches thick.


2 (6-oz) filet mignon
½ t sea salt
2 T avocado oil or olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary, strip some from bottom of sprig, for garnish
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 T unsalted butter
1 cup beef broth or ½ packet Au Jus Gravy seasoning mix and ¾ cup water
¼ cup brandy 
1 t freshly ground black pepper

Remove filets from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
Place them on a board and trimmed of any fat.  
Season both sides with salt and set aside.

After 30 minutes, heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Add oil and swirl around pan.
Place steaks in pan and sear for 4 minutes.
Turn steaks over, add rosemary sprigs, smashed garlic, butter and beef broth or ½  packet Au Jus Gravy with ¾ cup water. 
Turn off heat and add brandy.
Slowly increase heat and cook until an instant-read thermometer reads 130 degrees F for medium-rare.
Spoon juices over steaks.
Season top with freshly ground black pepper.
Remove pan from heat and let filets sit in pan for 2 to 3 minutes, (temperature will rise a few degrees).
Serve with pan juices on top and garnish with rosemary sprigs.

Serves 2 (double recipe to serve 4)




Monday, August 16, 2021

EASY LOW COUNTRY SEAFOOD BOIL FOR TWO

This is the Southern equivalent of a New England clambake.  You can flavor it with Cajun seasoning or Old Bay seasoning.  Have everything and set out on the counter.  Fabulous seafood dinner in under 30 minutes.

                  

1 T avocado oil
12 oz andouille sausage, sliced
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, left whole
8 small potatoes (various colors), scrubbed clean
2 T Louisiana-style shrimp and crab boil (I used Zatarain's)
1 to 2 ears of corn, cut in third
1 small lemon, cut in half
2 T Cajun seasoning
3 bay leaves
1 (12-oz) bottle amber beer
1 t sea salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper

1 lb snow crab claws 
1 lb large gulf shrimp, deveined, peeled, tails left on

Cocktail sauce, for serving
Melted butter, for serving
Lemon wedges

Nutcrackers, for cracking claws

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.
Sauté the sausage and cook until brown.
Add the onion, and jalapeño cook for 5 minutes.
Add the water, garlic, potatoes, shrimp and crab boil, corn, lemon halves, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, beer, sea salt, and black pepper.
Reduce heat, cover and cook until potatoes and corn are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the crab and shrimp, cover and cook another 5 minutes

Strain through a colander or use a large spider strainer and transfer to a large serving platter or pour out onto a newspaper-lined table.
Add small bowls of cocktail sauce and melted butter.
Sprinkle with additional Cajun seasoning, if desired, and garnish with lemon slices.

Serves 2


Saturday, August 7, 2021

CHOCOLATE POTS DE CRÈME

Chocolate Pots de Crème translates to “chocolate pots of cream” and is pronounced “Poh-duh-krem”. This is just a fancy version of an old-fashioned chocolate pudding. It’s an easy and impressive dessert to serve for company. You can make it in the morning and refrigerate until ready to serve. You can also omit the espresso and brandy and it will still be delicious and kid-friendly.

Lee's Kitchen Hints:  To make the chocolate shavings, place a piece of chocolate on a small plate. Run a drinking glass under very hot water. Dry off quickly and set upside down over chocolate on the plate. This will warm the chocolate slightly before using a zester to scrape off a few shavings.



4 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
12 oz (60 to 70% cacao) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 t instant espresso powder
2 t vanilla extract
1 T brandy (optional)
Whipped cream, for garnish
Chocolate shavings, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt.

Add the cream and half-and-half and whisk to combine.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened.
The temperature should read 180 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer.
Turn off heat and add the chocolate and espresso and stir to combine.

Add vanilla and brandy, if using.

Divide the mixture between 8 ramekins.
Add a dollop of whipped cream and a few chocolate shavings.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 8



Monday, August 2, 2021

LEMON ICEBOX BARS

 A perfect refreshing summer dessert and no baking!


Crust
½ (11-oz) box vanilla wafer cookies
1 ½ T granulated sugar
1 T grated lemon zest
Pinch of sea salt
6 T unsalted butter, melted


Filling
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 ½ (8-oz) boxes cream cheese, room temperature
1 t pure vanilla extract
¾ cup sour cream, room temperature
1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
Blueberries, for garnish (optional)

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment papers, allowing it to hang over 2 sides.

Pour cookies into a large resealable plastic bag.  Crush cookies with a rolling pin and pour into a bowl.  
Add the granulated sugar, lemon zest, salt and mix together.
Pour in the melted butter and mix to combine.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press down to make an even layer.
Place into the freezer while you make the filling.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the wire attachment, beat the whipping cream until still peaks form.  Set aside.

In another bowl, first add the confectioners' sugar, then add the cream cheese, vanilla, sour cream, and lemon juice. Beat the mixture until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 
Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream until combined.
Pour mixture over the crust and spread with an off-set spatula to an even layer.

Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.

Left bars out with the parchment paper as handles.  
Cut into 9 squares and just before serving, add a few blueberries on top.



Monday, July 19, 2021

KEY LIME SQUARES

I have previously posted my recipe for Key Lime Pie.  These squares are even easier to make and they are smaller.  This recipe makes 9 squares or bars.  If you cannot find fresh Key Limes in your grocery store, look for Key lime juice in a bottle.  I have used Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice.


Graham Cracker Crust
½ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 T granulated sugar
6 T unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of sea salt

Spray bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Crush graham crackers in a zip lock plastic bag to make 1 ½ cups.
Pour into a bowl, add the sugar, melted butter, and salt and stir until combined.
Evenly press the mixture onto the bottom of the pan.

Place in the refrigerator to set up for 15 minutes, while oven preheats.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove pan from refrigerator and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool while making the filling.

Filling
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup fresh squeezed or bottled Key lime juice 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, beat the egg yolks at high speed until very fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Lower speed and add the cream cheese and beat at high speed another 3 minutes.
Lower speed and gradually add the condensed milk and continue to beat at high speed until thick, about 3 more minutes.
Lower the speed and slowly add the Key lime juice and mix another few seconds.
Evenly pour onto the cooled crust and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool completely then place in refrigerator until completely cold, about 1 hour.

Whipped Cream
1 cup very cold heavy whipping cream
3 T confectioners’ sugar
½ t pure vanilla extract
1 t grated lime zest (Persian limes are fine)

Whip cream until soft peaks are formed.
Add sugar and whip another minute.
Add vanilla and whip a few more seconds.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Loosen sides of pan with a table knife.
Cut into 9 squares and carefully transfer to dessert plates.
Spoon a dollop of whipped cream on top of each square and sprinkle tops with a little lime zest.

Makes 9 squares