Friday, January 21, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

My family LOVES German Chocolate Cake, and to be honest, I really don't love it. I love chocolate cake but this cake has coconut in the frosting and I am not a huge fan. However...I made this cake for my mother's birthday and it is Heavenly. Best German Chocolate Cake I have ever had and everyone ate it up quickly. Legend has it that it is probably not German in the sense that it is from Germany, in fact my brother said that in Germany they had no idea what he was talking about when he asked about German Chocolate Cake. It is believed that the creation came from the German Sweet Chocolate Company, hence the name. I really don't care, it is just darn good. This recipe is from Stephen Pyles book New Tastes from Texas. Here we go!

German Chocolate Cake

Cake recipe
1-4 oz package of Baker's German Sweet Baking Chocolate
1/2 cup of water
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
2 cups of sugar
4 large eggs, separated (You use these at different times, so pay attention! Plus you need more for the frosting)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 and 1/2 sticks)
4 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scraped
1-7 oz. package of shredded sweetened coconut (about 2 and 2/3 cups)
1 and 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

Cake instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of the three 9 inch round cake pans with wax paper.

Heat the chocolate and water in a heavy 1 quart saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat.

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate medium bowl.

Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate mixture; add vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating after each addition until smooth. Beat the egg whites in another bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the batter. Pour the batter into the waxed-paper lined pans trying to make them all even in height.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the cakes spring back when lightly touched in the center. Remove from the oven and immediately run a spatula around the sides of the pans to loosen the cakes. Cool 15 minutes. Remove from the pans and remove the wax paper. Cool completely on wire racks. Spread the frosting between the layers and over the top of the cake.

Frosting instructions
Combine the evaporated milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, and vanilla in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat about 12 minutes or until thickened and golden brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut and pecans. Cool to room temperature to reach a desired spreading consistency.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tequila Lime Chicken

I tried this recipe over the holidays and loved it. It is from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond and it is so tasty. If you don't want to use Tequila, just leave it out or I used some apple cider vinegar and it worked well, too.

Tequila Lime Chicken (or Mock-Tequila Lime Chicken)


■3 whole Limes, Juiced
■5 cloves Garlic, Peeled
■1 whole Jalapeno, Sliced
■1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
■½ cups Cilantro
■½ cups Tequila (or Apple Cider Vinegar if you don't want the alcohol)
■5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
■4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
■1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
■Pico De Gallo
■Refried Pinto Or Black Beans
■Mexican Rice
■Sour Cream
■Avocado Slices
■Flour Tortillas

Preparation Instructions
Combine lime juice, garlic cloves, sliced jalapeno, salt, cilantro, and tequila in a food processor or blender. Pulse until combined. Turn on the blender/food processor and drizzle in the olive oil until it’s all combined.

Slightly flatten chicken breasts with a mallet or cut them milanese style so they are all uniform thickness. Place in a plastic bag and pour in marinade. Seal bag and marinate for several hours or (preferably) overnight.

When ready to cook, remove chicken from bag and place on the grill. Cook until completely done. Toward the end of cooking, top chicken breasts with grated Monterey Jack and allow to melt. (You can also top chicken with cheese and melt under the broiler.)

Serve topped with pico de gallo or salsa, alongside refried black beans, Mexican rice, sour cream, avocado slices, fresh flour tortillas…and whatever other garnishes make you smile!

This has become one of my favorite ways to make chicken. I love the lime flavor in the chicken.

I hope you try it and let me know how it goes!

Honey Pecan Crusted Chicken

This chicken is really yummy and full of flavor. My mother is a house director at a sorority house and this is one of the meals they serve to the 39 girls that live there and it is one of their favorites. It is elegant but easy! ( I hope they have pecans in Australia!)

Honey Pecan Crusted Chicken

1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
4 skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup of honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 and 1/4 cup of finely crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup of chopped pecans (Texas pecans are best, in my opinion)

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Combine honey, mustard, paprika, and garlic powder in a bowl. Combine cornflakes and pecans in a shallow dish. Brush both sides of the chicken breast with the honey mixture, then dredge in the cornflake mixture. Place chicken on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 40-45 mintutes.




Well, I leave for Australia next week and I am trying to post as many recipes on here as I can so that I have my favorites easily available at my fingertips.

So, expect a bunch today and in the days to come!

Beautiful Basics

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Here's to being Beautiful, inside and out!