Tag Archives: Food Network

Delicious Steak with Blackberry Sauce

Things have finally settled down at the house, and that has meant I’ve been able to do some cooking again. While I love the new kitchen, the granite counters, large island, beautiful views of the woods, I am not thrilled about the electric stove. Yes, I said it, I now have an electric stove. 😦 I’ve always had gas, and, I’ll admit, I miss it. There is so much to be said for being able to really control the heat. However, I am adjusting and trying to get by. Thankfully, gas or electric didn’t matter this past weekend for some steaks with a blackberry sauce.kitchenThis recipe comes from The Deen Brothers. I remember years ago watching the recipe on Paula Deen‘s show on the Food Network, and we headed to the grocery store right away to make it. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint then, and it doesn’t disappoint today!

To start, you’ll need 4 steaks, about 6 oz each. The recipe calls for filet mignon, which is great if you have it, but any steak that you would cook on the stove will do. We used New York strip for this one. Salt and pepper the steaks. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the steaks for about 4 minutes on each side for medium. My saute pan is not that big, so I had to do this in a few batches, which is fine. Just add more oil if you need it. Transfer the steaks to a plate and keep warm while you prepare the sauce.steaksseared steaksUsing the same pan, saute 1/4 cup chopped shallots for a few minutes until translucent. Add 1/2 cup dry red wine and deglaze the pan. Let the wine reduce by half for a few minutes, then add 1 cup beef broth and 3 tablespoons seedless blackberry jam. Allow the sauce to boil for a few minutes while the preserves melt and the sauce reduces by half. Add 2 tablespoons butter, and season with salt and pepper. Top the steaks with fresh blackberries, and pour the sauce over both. shallotscooked shallotswinejambutterblackberriessteak and blackberriesThe slightly sweet sauce with the rich wine and beef flavor works great with the steaks. It has become one of our go-to meals, especially when you want something a little nicer. It’s perfect with a simple risotto or some mashed potatoes. You want something that will soak up that sauce! 🙂

Also, if you haven’t checked out Fiesta Friday yet, you definitely want to. Angie has created a great forum for people to share amazing recipes and ideas on a weekly basis. Check it out, I promise you, something will peak your interest (http://fiestafriday.net/2015/03/27/fiesta-friday-61/)!

Birthdays with Chocolate Cake and Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Frosting

finished cakeLast weekend, I had the pleasure of getting a birthday cake for someone special.  There is a great bakery near where I live, Bakers of Buffington, that makes amazing cakes, so I had planned on ordering from them.  However, one thing led to another at work on Friday, and I never placed my order.  So, instead, I had the opportunity to try something new.

I went searching for a recipe that involved salted caramel.  I wanted it to be the star of the cake, but had some trouble finding something that worked well.  I finally found a frosting recipe that had great reviews, but the cake itself had bad reviews.  I combined the best of both worlds and used the frosting fromparchmentAnne Thornton of the Food Network and the cake from Robyn and her “add a pinch” blog. The cake had amazing reviews for being moist, and that’s exactly what I was looking for. The results were…amazing!

The cake is a pretty simple one bowl recipe.  Start by adding to the bowl of a mixer (or any bowl really) 2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon espresso powder.  Give it a good mix with the mixer, on low of course, or just whisk together.

eggs and batterTo that mixture, add 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla.  Give that a good stir on medium until combined.  Then, with the mixture on low, add 1 cup boiling water to the mix.  Beat for 1 minute to add air to the batter.  She says to beat on high, but I had to keep it around medium otherwise there was chocolate flying everywhere in my kitchen.

Flour and butter two 9-inch cake pans. I also added disks of parchment paper after buttering to the bottom so it wouldn’t stick.  Then I buttered again and floured.  Actually, I say buttered, but really, I used a spray! 🙂 Pour the cakesbatter evenly into the two pans, then bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Allow to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn them onto a cake rack to cool completely.  While that’s cooling, let’s make the frosting.

I will admit, this wasn’t the easiest recipe for frosting, but it is delicious. Start by putting 18 oz milk chocolate chips and 10 oz semisweet chocolate chips in a large bowl and set aside.  Next, add 1 1/2 cup sugar to a heavy bottom saucepan with 1/2 cup water.  Place sugarover medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to boil. Boil until the mixture starts to turn caramel in color, about 8-10 minutes.  Don’t stir during this process though, or the sugar will crystalline.  You don’t want the sugar to burn either, you just want a caramel color.

Once it’s a good color, turn down the heat and carefully add 2 1/4 cups heavy cream.  The mixture will bubble up, so be careful.  Stir over medium heat to combine the cream, and melt any sugar that may have hardened from the cold cream.  Once it’s all incorporated and smooth, stir in 1/2 tablespoon sea saltcaramelShe calls for sea salt, but I’ll admit, I just used kosher salt because it’s what I had. It still turned out great.

Pour the caramel over the chocolate.  As the chocolate starts to melt, stir to combine.  It will start out looking like a mess, but quickly come together.  Put the mixture in the refrigerator until it is completely chilled, about 1 hour.

Once it’s chilled, take the frosting out and beat it with a mixer until it becomes a spreadable icingconsistency.  Add 1 1/2 sticks butter at room temperature, about 1 tablespoon at a time.  Use the mixer to combine well with the frosting.

The recipe says to refrigerate the frosting again for an hour, but I found it got too hard.  If it’s soft, then you can refrigerate it.  If it’s a good consistency, I say go ahead and start frosting.first layerfrostingsecond layerfinished cakeOne thing to note, it did make a LOT of frosting.  I probably had enough for another cake.  Feel free to keep it in the refrigerator and sneak a spoonful every so often, or you could just cut the recipe in half.leftoversEnjoy this delicious cake.  The cake itself is rich and super moist, and the icing is so good, caramely, chocolatey, and salty…perfect!  I got rave reviews for this one, and a very happy birthday boy!

Celebrate Halloween with a Caramel Apple Cake!

applesI may have mentioned this before, but I love the fall.  I love the leaves and pumpkins, the cool weather, and the holidays.  While Thanksgiving may be my favorite, Halloween is still up there for me!  It’s that magical time when pumpkins come to life, witches stop by your doorstep, and sweets run a-plenty!  And boy do those sweets run a-plenty for me.  From candy corn to cookies, from candy bars to cake, I love the sweets! So, when I found a recipe for Caramel Apple Cake, it just seemed to combine everything into one amazing dessert, and I had to try it!

sugar and corn syrupEvery year, as fall approaches, I pull out my old magazines and read through the October and November editions for inspiration.  That’s right, I said I save my old magazines.  Kind of crazy, I know, but I really do refer back quite a bit.  My Martha Stewart Living goes back to February 1996…but I digress.  This year, as I was perusing the old issues, I found this recipe from 2010 in the Food Network Magazine.  I meant to try it but never did.  So this year, I wasn’t going to miss out again!  It’s a delicious, completely fall cake, with a rich, apple-caramel topping.  It’s sweet and sticky, and just perfect!

caramelTo start, you need to make a caramel.  Combine 3 cups sugar with 5 tablespoons light corn syrup in a large saute pan.  Heat over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring, until it’s a dark amber color.  The sugar will all melt, and it will bubble.  Be careful, it’s hot!

Once it’s the right color, add 1 cup heavy cream and 4 tablespoons butter.  You want to do this off the heat, and it will still splatter and bubble up when the cold cream hits the hot sugar.  Just stir it and let it settle down before returning to the heat.  Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes until it’s all combined and smooth.

caramel doneOnce the caramel looks good, pour 1 1/2 cup into a glass measuring cup.  The mixture is hot, so don’t use anything plastic.  Pour the rest into a buttered 9 inch cake pan that has 3 inch sides.  You need the sides because this is a high cake.  I didn’t have a cake pan that was that high, so I used a spring form pan that was the right dimensions.  Some of the caramel did leak in the oven, but I put it on a pan with parchment, so it really wasn’t bad.  Let the caramel cool for about 30 minutes while you prepare the batter.

In a small bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon until combined.  In a different small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup orange juice, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.  Set both of these aside, and take out your mixer.

batterBeat 1 cup butter, softened, with 1 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  This will take about 5 minutes.  Then add 3 eggs, one at a time, and beat after they are added until the mixture is smooth and pale yellow.  Probably another few minutes.  Next, add half the sour cream mixture and beat on low till combined.  Then add half the flour mixture and beat on low until combined.  Repeat both, and then use your spatula to scrape the sides and ensure everything is thoroughly mixed.

Now you can get your apples ready.  I didn’t want to do this too early, because I didn’t apples arrangedwant them to discolor.  Get 4 large Golden Delicious apples.  You don’t want to peel them.  Take 3 of them, and cut into quarters.  Cut in half first, then use a melon baller to remove the core, then cut in half again.  For the remaining apple, cut it in half crosswise so you end up with the top and bottom of the apple.  Use the melon baller again to remove the cores, and chop the bottom portion.

Arrange the apples over the caramel in a circular pattern, with the quarters going around the outside, and the top of the half going in the center, stem side down.  You may have tready for the ovenoo many quarters, don’t worry, just use what you can.  Next, pour the prepared batter over the apples, spread evenly, and top with the chopped apples.

Because I had a spring form pan, I wrapped it in foil, and I put it on a sheet pan, just in case it cooked over.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes.  You want the cake to be brown on top and spring back when pressed.

Let the cake cool in the pan, then fill a large skillet with 1 inch of water and heat until simmering.  Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake, then set the pan inside the bakedskillet.  This will soften the caramel after a few minutes.  And, this works best if you have a cake pan, not my improvised spring form pan.  Remove the pan from the water, and make sure it’s dry. Place a plate on top of the cake and flip. Remove the pan, then soften the remaining caramel you saved in the microwave and drizzle over the cake.

This cake really is delicious, and trust me, you won’t be able to contain yourself.  It’s the perfect cake for fall, especially for Halloween!

Happy Halloween…I need to get my costume on!  What are you being for Halloween this year???