17 September 2010

Comfort = Good Friends and Baked Grits

"Aunt" Jaime

Garlic and greens (Not pictured: shrimp and grits)

Comfort Food

A life in words, September 2010: 
Doctors, Numbers, Heel Sticks, Blood Draws, Worrying, Waiting, Researching, Questioning, Talking, Praying, Pleading, Feeding, Swaddling, Shushing, Napping, Cooking, Cleaning, Working, Distracting, Snuggling, Hugging, Reassuring, Reading, Playing, Singing, Celebrating, Giggling, Loving, Loving, Loving

Baked Garlic Cheese Grits

* 3 cups chicken broth
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 cup regular grits
* 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar, divided
* 4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack
* 1/2 cup milk
* 2 large eggs, beaten
* 2 T butter (optional), melted and slightly cooled
* 2 oz shredded Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.

Bring the broth, salt, pepper, and garlic to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in the grits and whisk until completely combined. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the grits are thick, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add half of the Cheddar and Monterey Jack; stir. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and butter (if using) and gradually stir mixture into grits, stirring until all are combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan and remaining Cheddar and bake for 40-50 minutes or until set and the top is nicely browned.

Adapted from (another) Paula Deen recipe!

13 September 2010

Sugar Cookie Birthday Cake Bars

I am passionate about cake (understatement of the year--see other blog), especially cake of the celebratory variety, i.e. birthday cake and wedding cake. My dream birthday would involve scores of cakes with numerous layers with several fillings, all of which would be covered with PLENTY of sweet buttercream. My husband is neither a foodie nor a big fan of cake (such a travesty), so for his birthday celebration this weekend I was a little at a loss. As far as sweets go, he really only likes cheesecake and frosted sugar cookies. However, with a toddler and a newborn in the house, both of these time-consuming sweets weren't really an option.

Enter The Sugar Cookie Bar Recipe, which food bloggers have been swooning about for months. With all of the sweet deliciousness of a decorated sugar cookie at a fraction of the work, it seemed the perfect choice. What's more, these came together quickly and easily enough to hold the attention of my 2 yr old "sous chef," providing fun and entertainment for a boring Friday afternoon! But the best part about them? They were terribly yummy. The Birthday Boy loved them (Confession #1: I did, too...many times over, if you catch my drift.) (Confession #2: I committed a cardinal sin of baking and used a jar of Pillsbury Butterbream frosting rather than making my own, even though I used to bake and frost for for an ACTUAL PAYCHECK. I blame the sleep deprivation.)

Sugar Cookie Birthday Cake Bars

For the cookie bars:
*1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (room temp if possible)
*1 cup sugar
*2 large eggs
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon baking soda

*3 cups of your favorite buttercream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 for a convection oven). Generously grease a 9x13 baking pan.

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and beat on low speed just until incorporated.

Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer. Bake 10-15 minutes, until edges are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

09 September 2010

A Day of Firsts and a New Year Apple Cake

The end of the year is here. We are at a new beginning.
A birth has come, and we reenact
At its remembrance the extraordinary fact
Of our unique, incomprehensible being.

The new year has started, for moving and growing.
The child's laugh within and through the adult's tears,
In joy and incomprehension at the singing years
Pushes us into fresh life, new knowing.

Here at the end of the year comes the year's springing.
The falling and melting snow meet in the stream
That flows with the living waters and cleanses the dream.
The reed bends and endures and sees the dove's winging.

Move into the year and the new time's turning
Open and vulnerable and loving and steady.
The stars are aflame; creation is ready.
The day is at hand: the bright sun burns.

-"For Dana: 4th November" by Madeleine L'Engle

August and September have been filled with sweet new beginnings: A new life in our son, a new role for our daughter (big sister!), a new dynamic for our family of three-turned-four, and just today, a new preschool for big sister and the beginnings of first smiles from Henry. In an effort to do a better job capturing moments from this sweet life, I am taking a renewed interest in this blog. Coincidentally, today is also Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year, which is time for reflection, resolutions and renewal.

In honor of the day, we eat apples, honey and other sweets to symbolize our hopes for a sweet new year. The following recipe is one I've made to celebrate this holiday before and it is nothing if not SWEET. Filled with apples and pecans and enrobed in a rich, buttery glaze, it is certainly worthy of a special celebration.
Happy New Year...here's hoping this year is as sweet as the last one!

Happy New Year Cake


* Butter, for greasing pan
* 1 3/4 cups sugar
* 3 large eggs
* 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
* 1/4 cup orange juice
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 3 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped apples
* 1 cup shredded coconut
* 1 cup chopped pecans (I toasted mine first)


* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup buttermilk
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 tablespoon brandy or cognac


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a bundt pan.

For the cake: in a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, oil, orange juice, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract; and mix well. Fold apples, coconut, and pecans into batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours.

Shortly before the cake is done, make the sauce: Melt the butter in a large, DEEP saucepan, stir in the sugar, salt, buttermilk, cognac and baking soda, and bring to a good rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Poke a few holes in the cake and pour the sauce over the hot cake in the pan as soon as you remove it from the oven. You may have to gently move the cake away from the walls of the pan to allow it to soak in and run down the side of the cake inside the pan. Let stand 1 hour, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

-Adapted from Paula Deen's "Grandgirl's Fresh Apple Cake."

Posted by ThinkLoveSleepEat at 7:20 AM 0 comments
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)