Thefearfulfoodie’s Weblog

Chronicles of a reluctant foodie

For Valentine’s Day…. February 9, 2011

Filed under: February — thefearfulfoodie @ 11:14 am

My husband loves sweets.  But when I say he loves sweets, I mean he loves anything that tastes remotely like sugar.  It doesn’t even need to have a great flavor, as long as its sweet.  This drives me crazy, because I bake for a living and he would be just as happy with a cake mix.  I live for finding subtle new ways to use flavors, to hide them in dishes you wouldn’t expect, and watching people enjoy my creations and discover the flavors, too.  That doesn’t happen at my house.  No one appreciates flavors or nuances….except for this one dish. 

Even though I make fun of his palette, it’s right on the money on this dish.  If truth be told, this may be his favorite dessert of all time.  It actually makes him weak in the knees and even brings him to the point of begging.  No lie!  So, I thought it only fair to share this fabulous recipe with you, since Valentine’s Day is coming up, and this recipe is a chocolate one!! 

Dark Chocolate lava cakes

6 squares of 6 oz. of bittersweet chocolate, good quality,    10 tbsp. butter,  1 1/2C powdered sugar plus 1tbsp, divided,    1/2C flour,    3 whole eggs,   3 egg yolks,   fresh raspberries for garnish if desired.

HEAT oven to 425ºF.

GREASE 6 (6-oz.) custard cups or souffle dishes. Place on baking sheet. Glass ramekins tend to work best, but if using another type, grease extremely well.

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on MEDIUM (50%) 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir with whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Add 1-1/2 cups sugar and flour; mix well. Add whole eggs and egg yolks; beat until well blended. Pour into prepared cups.

BAKE 14 to 15 min. or until cakes are firm around the edges but still soft in the centers.  Let stand 1 min.  Run small knife around cakes to loosen; carefully invert onto dessert plates.  Serve warm and dusted with remaining powdered sugar and berries. 

The trick to this recipe is that it goes against what you know of cake making.  When you open up the oven to look at the cakes, they will NOT appear to be done.  The middle won’t look set, they will be jiggly and dark in the middle and your instincts will be telling you to leave them in.  DONT!  The outside of the cake will be done and will provide enough structure to hold in the gooey filling in the middle.  That’s what you want!  That’s where the wow factor comes in when you cut open the cake and the chocolate goo comes spilling out! 

But be warned….these may produce extreme reactions in the people you serve them to.  They will possibly love you forever.  Happy Valentines Day!! 


Saucin’ it up! January 20, 2011

Filed under: January 2011,Uncategorized — thefearfulfoodie @ 12:24 pm

I don’t know why, but I’m all about the dressings and sauces lately.   Why eat your pork or chicken or beef or even fish by itself when you can completely change the flavor just by adding a killer sauce??  So, in the spirit of saucin’ it up, I shall give you a few of my favorites…feel free to try them on whatever you like….and even on some things that perhaps you don’t think you’ll like!

Jezebel sauce – this one’s good on pretty much anything and it’s my all-time fave!!  It’s the perfect combo of sweet and spicy and we eat it on pretty much everything!

1 (12oz.) jar pineapple preserves,   1 (10 oz.) jar of apple jelly,   4 tbsp. dijon mustard,  2 tbsp. prepared horseradish -or more if you like it spicy.   Whisk preserves and jelly together in a small bowl.  Add in mustard and horseradish.  Mix well, cover and keep refrigerated.  Stays good for up to 2 weeks.

Horsy sauce – this one is WAY too easy and good on pretty much any type of beef.  Adjust according to your spice-level.

1C sour cream – 1-2tbsp. horseradish.  Whisk together and keep refrigerated.

Red Wine Vinaigrette – this one is a dressing, not a sauce, but it’s my favorite red wine vinaigrette I’ve found thus far.  Not to mention super easy. 

1/2C olive oil,   1/4C red wine vinegar,   1/4C sugar,   2 garlic cloves, crushed,   1/4tsp. salt,   1/4 tsp. pepper,  1/4 tsp. dry mustard,  1/4 tsp. onion powder. 

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Shake to mix.  Chill until serving time.  Keeps in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks!

Ok, so there you have it….3 of my favorite sauces (or dressings) that my family uses like crazy!  All 3 of them we keep in the fridge with the rest of the condiments, ready to have at any time.  Feel free to play with them, change the heat level, or make them your own!  But if you find a super good take on them, you have to let me know!


Coffee cake craving?? August 26, 2010

Filed under: August,Uncategorized — thefearfulfoodie @ 10:51 am

My husband and I recently had breakfast with a Sunday School class and I brought some coffee cake to go along with all the goodies they made, too.   I’ve had many requests for this recipe since then, so I’m trying to make the masses happy!!  This is relatively easy and super decadent.  Enjoy!!

Sour Cream Pecan Coffee Cake

Batter:    2 1/4C sugar,  3 sticks butter softened,  3 eggs,  1 1/2 tsp. vanilla,  3C flour,  3/4tsp. baking soda,  1 1/2tsp. baking powder,  1 1/2C sour cream

Filling:  2 1/4tsp. cinnamon,  1/2C brown sugar, packed,   1 1/2C pecans, finely chopped

Caramel topping:  1 stick butter,  6 tbsp. milk,  3/4C brown sugar, packed,  1C pecans finely chopped

For batter:  Cream sugar and butter in large bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Combine flour, powder and soda in separate bowl.  Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream to butter mixture.  Beat until fluffy.

For fillling and assembly:  Combine cinnamon, brown sugar and pecans in small bowl.  Grease and flour 9 x 13 pan.  Pour half of batter into pan and spread evenly.  Sprinkle half of filling over batter.  Pour and spread remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining filling. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. 

For topping:  Melt butter in medium saucepan over med. heat.  Add milk, brown sugar and pecans and stir 3-4 minutes until combined. 

When cake is done, remove from oven and pour caramel mixture over top, spreading evenly.  Let cool completely.


Glorious granola June 16, 2010

Filed under: June — thefearfulfoodie @ 1:54 pm

I’ve never been one of those people that needed to make my own granola.  I have friends that do and I’ve enjoyed the batches they made, but never considered it to be something I needed to do.  After all, when you bake for a living, there are some things you don’t want to make at home.  However, I came across a recipe a while back that I have been tweaking for the last month or so and it’s time to share it with you.  I am now a firm granola-from-scratch believer.  The difference is literally mind-boggling.  The flavor, the crunch, the texture, and the fact that you can put as much good-for-you-stuff in it that you want….you need to give it a try!

Here’s the recipe….and it’s super easy!

3C old fashioned, steel cut oats…not the instant kind,   1C coarsely chopped nuts of your choice (optional),     1/2C shredded coconut (also optional, but when toasted, it doesn’t taste like coconut),     5tbsp. packed brown sugar,    1 1/2tsp. cinnamon,   1/2tsp. ground ginger,    1/4tsp. salt (don’t skimp),   1/2C honey,    3tbsp. vegetable oil,    1C assorted dried fruits of your choice

Preheat oven to 300.  Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment.  Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl.  Stir honey and oil in saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth.  Pour honey mixture over oat mixture; toss to coat.  Spread on prepared sheet.  Bake until golden, really golden…you want some good color on it.  Stir every 10 minutes and bake for about 40 minutes or until proper color.  Place sheet on cooling rack, stir and cool.  Mix in fruit (do not do before totally cooled or the fruit will be rock-hard).    Store in an airtight container.

Before you mix in the honey, you can also add some other stuff to the mix if you like….I add about 1/3C milled flax seed, just to give it some more goodness and it doesn’t change the flavor or consistency at all, but feel free to experiement!

So there you have it…try it, let me know what you think….you will be a believer, I know it!!


Who doesn’t love a good Tiramisu? January 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — thefearfulfoodie @ 6:12 pm

I had the privilege of hanging out with some new friends last night and I brought a big batch of tiramisu to share.  Now, if you ask me, dessert doesn’t get any better, but that’s just my opinion!  As I was sharing the recipe with a few and talking about how to make it, I realized that there is a misconception when it comes to tiramisu. 

In essence, tiramisu is what we call a “method” recipe.   Once you learn the method, it can be translated into any number of flavor combinations, depending on your imagination.  Sure, the classic tiramisu is the espresso-chocolate version that we all know and love, but why stop there?   So, I am going to give you my recipe for “classic” tiramisu and then I’ll throw in another one that’s totally different.  Seriously, go to any recipe search site that you like and search for tiramisu and you’ll find there are tons of combinations!!

My favorite tiramisu

8 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder diluted in 1 1/4 cups hot water, cooled
30-40 lady fingers, crisp
Preparation – Finely chop chocolate in processor. Set aside.

Mix sugar and egg yolks in mixer for 30 seconds. Add vanilla and process until pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add cheese in batches and blend until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Beat whipping cream until stiff. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead.)

Pour espresso into large shallow dish. Dip ladyfingers in espresso, turning to coat all sides lightly. Arrange strips on bottom of 10-cup shallow dish, smoothing with fingers to mold together. Sprinkle with half of chocolate. top with chilled cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining chocolate over. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Is best prepared 1 day ahead of time, to let the flavors mesh together. 

So, there is the classic….now for something fun.

Strawberry-orange tiramisu
1 1/4 cups strawberry preserves
1/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1/3 cup orange juice
1 pound mascarpone cheese, room temperature – can use cream cheese, too but the flavor will be a little different
1 1/3 cups chilled whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
52 (about) crisp ladyfingers
1 1/2 pounds strawberries, divided
Preparation – Whisk preserves, 1/3 cup Grand Marnier, and orange juice in 2-cup measuring cup. Place mascarpone cheese and 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier in large bowl; fold just to blend. Using electric mixer, beat cream, sugar, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons Marnier in another large bowl to soft peaks. Stir 1/4 of whipped cream mixture into mascarpone mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining whipped cream.

Hull and slice half of strawberries. Spread 1/2 cup preserve mixture over bottom of 3-quart oblong serving dish or a 13x9x2- inch glass baking dish. Arrange enough ladyfingers over strawberry mixture to cover bottom of dish. Spoon 3/4 cup preserve mixture over ladyfingers, then spread 2 1/2 cups mascarpone mixture over. Arrange 2 cups sliced strawberries over mascarpone mixture. Repeat layering with remaining lady fingers, preserve mixture, and mascarpone mixture. Cover with plastic and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.

Slice remaining strawberries. Arrange over tiramasù and serve.

So there you have it…one method, 2 recipes, and endless possibilities!  Have fun!


How do you feel about pumpkin cheesecake? November 19, 2009

Filed under: November — thefearfulfoodie @ 6:11 pm

My dad swears that pumpkin cheesecake is absolutely wrong and I should be ashamed of myself for making it.  I say that he’s missing out on something completely wonderful.  What’s your opinion?   One of my favorite people in the world asked me for this recipe yesterday, so I promised I would post it.  I was making a bourbon pumpkin cheesecake and this time of  year, I make so many of them it’s crazy!!  Even the clients I have with the most basic taste buds and no sense of adventure at all want this cheesecake.  That has to mean something, right?? 

We’ve gone over cheesecake basics in a previous post, and the fundamentals remain the same here.  Of course, you don’t have to add the bourbon if you don’t want to…but I won’t lie…it makes a huge difference.   You can also use regular graham cracker crumbs if you can’t find gingersnaps or if you don’t like them. 

Bourbon pumpkin cheesecake with brown sugar sour cream topping-

Crust:  2C gingersnap cookie crumbs,  1 stick melted butter,  1 tbsp. sugar –   melt the butter and mix with graham crumbs and sugar.  Press into 9 or 10 inch springform pan that has been sprayed.  Bake crust at 350 for about 8 minutes or until golden.

Filling:  3 – 8oz packages cream cheese, room temp (very important!),  1C sugar,  1C pumpkin, 3 large eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla extract,  3/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/8 tspl allspice (cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice are the same spices used in apple pie spice mix…if you want to use that, use 1 1/2 tsp),  2 tbsp. bourbon.

Sour cream topping:  2C sour cream,  4 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tbsp. bourbon

Blend cream cheese and sugar in mixer until smooth.  Add pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and spices.  Process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl.  Add bourbon and mix until incorporated.  Transfer filling to crust.  In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients and whisk until smooth, set aside.

Bake cheesecake in a waterbath* for 50 minutes at 350.  Remove from oven and spread sour cream topping evenly over cheesecake.  Return to the oven for another 10 minutes until set and remove.  Place on cooling rack until COMPLETELY cooled.  Chill uncovered until cold or nasty condensation will appear on the surface of your cheesecake.  After completely chilled, then you can cover it. 

*waterbath – the best and only, in my opinion, way to make a cheesecake.  Wrap the outsides of your springform pan in several layers of foil to ensure that water will not seep through.  In a large pan, place a small amount of hot water (1/4 inch) and then place your foil-wrapped pan inside the larger pan.  The water ensures that the cheesecake cooks evenly and slowly and prevents those nasty cracks from happening on the surface. 

When the cheesecake is done and you unmold it from your pan, it looks beautiful because you have the crust, which is a beautiful dark brown, the pumpkin filling has a nice orange color, and then the sour cream topping a beautiful off white and it looks absolutely stunning.  Feel free to garnish the top with a little fresh grated nutmeg or anything else you may feel like adding!


Tis’ the season for turkey! November 4, 2009

Filed under: November — thefearfulfoodie @ 11:57 am

I can’t believe it’s already time for turkey.  I know many of you get saddled with Thanksgiving dinner at your house, and while it’s sure to be a lot of fun, it’s also a lot of work.  So, I’m here to take the terrifying out of your turkey!

Have you ever considered using turkey breast instead of a whole turkey?  You could even do several depending on how many people you need to feed.  The reason I’m asking is because the whole turkey breasts provide a much easier alternative to the usual bird.  They are smaller and more manageable, all white meat, and as I will show you, super easy to flavor up beautifully!

Ok, this is my favorite turkey recipe.  There, I said it.  I use turkey breast.  Is that bad?  I dont’ think so.  I do half the work other people do, and get twice the flavor and I have leftovers, which is what its all about!!

Here’s the easy recipe:

1/4C olive oil,  3 tbsp. chopped fresh flatleaf parsley,  1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves,  1/2 tsp. lemon zest,  1/4 tsp. salt,  1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper,  1 – 4 to 5 lb. turkey breast, thawed, 

Preheat oven to 350.    Whisk dressing ingredients together until well blended.   Rinse turkey breast and pat dry with a paper towl.  Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the breast meat.  Pour about 2 tbsp. dressing evenly over the meat and, using your hands, rub generously over the meat.  Massage it into the meat!!  Stretch the skin back over the meat.  Pin the skin around the sides of the breast using small wooden skewers or toothpicks (previously soaked in water), to prevent it from shrinking.   Rub the rest of the dressing over the skin and the entire breast.    Roast the turkey until the juices run clear, about 1 – 1 1.2 hours or 180 on a meat thermometer.  Let sit 15 minutes before carving and serving.

Now, if you’re like me, you pay no attention to recipes and simply use them as a guideline.  Feel free to add more lemon zest or any of the herbs if you’d like to up the flavor in a certain direction.  But, using the recipe exactly as stated will give you a perfectly seasoned and moist turkey breast!

I hope you enjoy and I hope I’ve taken at least a little of the stress off your holiday!