Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July Cake

So we were invited to a barbecue at a friends house and I was asked to make a dessert. I don't know about you, but this is when I foolishly like to try new recipes, which usually leads to disaster. But this time, I found a winner. It was what the pioneer woman was making, and she got it from the Barefoot Contessa. How can you go wrong with that. The cake was very moist and slightly denser than regular cake, but it was a good match for the frosting and fruit. I would highly recommend this. It has quit a bit of butter so it isn't for the faint of heart, but when you add the fresh fruit it "almost" looks healthy. I got many compliments on how pretty it looked and was the only dessert that got completely eaten.
Note: I baked mine for 30 minutes and it still seemd a little soft in the middle, but it looked like the one on Pioneer Woman's website. Go here to see step by step directions with pictures.

Barefoot Contessa’s Fourth of July Cake

18 tablespoons (2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 half-pints blueberries
4 half-pints raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour (or spray with baking spray) an 18 x 12 x 1 ½
sheet cake pan.
Cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add eggs, 2
at a time, then add sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth.
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bow. With the mixer on low speed,
add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.

For the icing, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric
mixer. Mix just until smooth.
Spread ½ of the icing on top of the cooled sheet cake. Outline the star section of the flag with a
toothpick. Pipe two rows of icing, then place 2 rows of raspberries, alternately, to form the stripes of the cake. Fill the upper left corner with blueberries. Pipe stars on top of the blueberries.

Serve at your Fourth of July celebration and send everyone home with a piece!
Recipe courtesy of Barefoot Contessa,
From the cookbook, “Barefoot Contessa Family Style”

Friday, July 4, 2008

Oven Baked Corn on the Cob

We were at a local town street fair and they were selling this heavenly smelling corn on the cob. It was also fun to see people carrying their cobs around by the husks which had been folded back into a handle. So of course we hunted down the source of this fun treat and paid a whopping $3 for an ear of corn. I felt for that much I should also get a few directions on how to do this at home. So I went behind the serving kiosk and talked to the oven tender (is that an official position, if so I need to hire one when I am toasting bread in the oven because I always burn it). He just takes the ears of corn out of the box and throws them in the oven for about 30 minutes. When they are done he takes a cob out, peels the husks down so you can hold your hot cob of corn with this makeshift handle. He then brushes off what is left of the silks and hands them to the seller who rolls it in butter and gives it to the customer (the oven tender told me that there is a lot of sugar in the silks and when you remove them prior to cooking you miss out on some great flavor). There were several things to sprinkle on besides the traditional salt and pepper. Our favorite was Johnnys seasoning. But they also had paremsan, paprika, lemon pepper and so on. It was really yummy.

So I decided to try it at home. I cooked it at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes and it came out perfect. The husks did get a little brown and there was a slight odor of burning husks in the house that was easy to get rid of. But how easy is that. You don't have to peel the corn anymore. Just throw it in the oven and cook away. Give it a try.

Picture is courtesy of the internet. I will post a real picture of my finished product next time we make it (which will hopefully be this week).

My husband said it was the best corn he had eaten and it was just from the grocery store. Imagie how divine to do it with fresh corn from your garden!

I read somewhere else that you can soak your corn a little before cooking so the husks don't burn, but I wonder if that would dilute the flavor. Something to try. Maybe we will try half soaked and half not and see what turns out better. Good Luck!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

In Honor of the Sharfest Conquerers

Congrats! You guys are amazing!

Citrus Marinated Shark

3 limes, juice of
3 lemons, juice of
1/2 cup Coco lopez
2 ounces Tequila
3 tablespoons Chopped green onions
1/4 cup Finely-chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons Finely-chopped red pepper
2 tablespoons Finely-chopped yellow pepper
2 Fresh jalapenos; finely chopped
1 Salt; to taste
1 Freshly-ground black pepper; to taste
2 Shark steaks (8 oz ea)
2 tablespoons Olive oil
Fresh cilantro sprigs


In a mixing bowl, whisk all the ingredients together except for the shark and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the fish in a glass casserole dish. Pour the marinate over the shark and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Remove the fish from the marinade. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Sear the shark for two minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and slice. Mound the salad in the center of the plate. Arrange the shark around the salad. Garnish with fresh cilantro