Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Carrot and Pineapple Cake a Giveaway, and a Thanks!

March has been a month of birthdays, from the beginning of March to the end. On the 3rd, was my father's...may he rest in peace, same as with my uncle, on the 7th. and at the end of March on the 25th. my son Joe's, on the 28th which was yesterday, my grandson Luca's 5th, on the 30th, our dear friends' young son's River's 10th birthday. I did mention the birthdays on the title of my last post, which I did not mention, as to who's birthday it is. The important birthday which I would like to talk about, and also an amazing autographed book...my son, Joe's first self-published book through Amazon. It is my giveaway gift, on my next post.

About Lamb's Bread, @Amazon,com

The delicious cake, which was my son's birthday cake, is his very favorite.
A Carrot cake, filled with crushed pineapple, and loads of freshly grated carrots. He was so sweet to take us out to a charming little cafe, which is strictly VEGAN, and not just vegetarian. You would think that the food is not filling enough, but trust me, there was so much food, so fresh, so yummy, and so affordable, served casually, and in a Key West type atmosphere, just right around the corner where my son, wife, and two precious daughters live.
The recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's Carrot and Pineapple Cake, from the Food Network site. I have two other recipes, one, from my previous post, back in October, which is a simple one that I made in a heart shape for my granddaughter Sophia's birthday, and also a more involved fancy recipe that my daughter Lora used for a guest post, last fall, as well. I did not use walnuts in this recipe, since they don't like walnuts...if it was for me, I would have added it.Recipe, and more about the book, to follow!

Ina Garten's Carrot and Pineapple Cake 
slightly adapted

For the cake:

For the frosting:

  • 3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted

For the decoration:

  • 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

For the cake:

Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the raisins and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour. Fold in the carrots and pineapple. Add to the batter and mix well.
Divide the batter equally between the 2 pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire rack.

For the frosting:

Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.
Place 1 layer, flat-side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with diced pineapple.

I'm linking my Carrot Pineapple Cake to... Miz Helen's Counttry Cottage, say "hello," and browse through all the wonderful recipes... featured on Full Plate Thursday!

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

A special thanks to my lovely friend, Lizzy,

@That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!  for this fantastic set of walnut oil, dark chocolate balsamic vinegar, and a nice sample of ginger sugar, from Artisano's, as a giveaway gift, which I won on Lizzy's fabulous blog that she was hosting about 10 days ago.

Do check her blog out and say "hello". She will certainly welcome you. The blog name is very "befitting"...she is a skinny chick, I think it must be the metabolism, because my daughter is also a "skinny" chick that bakes...LOL, must be on the father's side of the genes...certainly not my side!


One thing for sure, it's very rare when you get a personally written card from the hostess, and also from the owner, on the back of the Artisano card, from David.  Thank you Lizzy, and thank you David!

There are endless possibilities to use this unique and yummy Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar. For starters, I will certainly marinate the beautiful fresh, and ripe strawberries we are having, here in season now, in S. Florida.





Do contact ARTISANO'S and see all the gourmet treats for yourself, to order online!


As for the frosting, and filling, I used 3- 8oz. blocks, of cream cheese at room temperature, along with 1/4 lb.(1stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, 3 cups of powdered sugar, 1 grated orange, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Just follow the direction for the frosting, in the recipe.

It makes 2- 8 inch round cakes, be sure to line cake pan with parchment, or wax paper, which I used, the same size as the pan. Spray the pan first, and place the paper to fit, and also spray that, and the sides of the pan, as well.

This is the finished cake, not a pretty picture, the lighting was bad, I'm not a professional cake decorator...no talent in that department, but I can assure you that the cake, and the frosting was amazing. I did take a photo of it in the daylight, at my place, before I took it over to my son's house. (No cake dome to use, gave it to my daughter) I used a large soup pot for a dome for the cake...LOL, it worked, just a little smudge on the side.

With my adaptation of the frosting, and filling, there was more than enough, now who can resist this yummy carrot cake, with the pineapple, and addition of golden raisins?...I know we didn't hesitate, and there was only a small chunk left over...smiles!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOE...Buon Compleanno a te...és Isten Éltessen Sokáig!

(aka..Joey, Joseph, Giuseppe, Józsika)

Me and my son Joe (I'm a young mom,(LOL, at least young at heart)... and grandmother of 4 ...yeahhh!

This is the Vegan Cafe where we ate dinner, in West Palm Beach.

Over looking the canal, in the back lot... in a charming Key West type setting...we were "early birds" just before 5:30 PM when they open for dinner.

A magical garden to relax in, and enjoy your fantastic vegan dinner.

Outdoor setting, with a canape roof, and lots of fans, and natural air from outside. By 7:00 PM when we left the place was packed, with only about 50 seats.


That's me, toasting, while taking the picture with my right hand! Cin Cin-Cheers! Joey, and Cara!

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Tart, and Birthdays to Celebrate!

I decided to feature this photo of my lovely fresh Strawberry Tart, before slicing it, just when it finally set... with my homemade Strawberry "thick" glaze, or coulis, or sauce, but it really is a glaze, ... not your ordinary clear glaze, because instead of a cream filling, or maybe even a curd type of filling, I chose the thick glaze, which is so easy to make. I willing to bet no one has heard of this kind of tart with a light "Nilla" Vanilla Tart Shell, instead of a Shortbread type, or a Graham Cracker type tart. I'm not really a an avid baker, but I do get enthusiastic about easy things to make that does not require a lot of work...and I don't even want to get involved in "yeast dough" unless I have to. I leave all that to my daughter. She is always making yeast all kinds of things with yeast...especially, since I gave her the brand new Bread Machine, even with the instruction from my thrift find, at Goodwill, for $9.99. Now, I'm trying to find one for myself, which is difficult, and think people are getting more interest in "dough" making...and why not? You can't beat fresh homemade bread, rolls, and pizza dough!

Enough said...had a busy week with my daughter's lovely in-law's from Italy staying here for their vacation, and loving every minute of it. They are so sweet, down to earth, and are so adventurous trying out new foods, and desserts, so this is one of the desserts that anyone who loves fresh strawberries would love. Light, not too sweet and the vanilla cookie crust is a treat, just by itself!
I've always loved fresh strawberry pie, when strawberry is in season, and just simple, with a nice crust, glaze, and served with fresh whipped cream, and of course, Strawberry Shortcakes...another yummy fresh strawberry dessert.

The way I started to make this, is not having enough time to make a fresh pie dough, and not wanting to buy frozen...I didn't have graham crackers or crumbs in my cupboard for the crust, but I just bought a huge box of Nilla Vanilla wafers from Costco's that I wanted to make a nice Banana Cream Pie with it, and ended up making this quick dessert instead. I realize the glaze takes up a pint of strawberries, just like the whole strawberry pieces, but at
$1.75 a pint, not too expensive for two.

Fresh Strawberry Tart
 my own recipe

3 - 6 cups of fresh strawberries (for topping)
2 cups fresh strawberries (for filling)
(depending how much you want to use)
3/4 cup water
grated fresh orange

juice of 1 fresh orange, (after grating)
grated fresh lemon
juice of 1 fresh lemon, (after grating)
2 Tablespoon cornstarch, or potato starch (not gelatin)
Fresh whipped cream for garnish, or to serve with

For Filling:
Mash the 2 cups of strawberries, with a potato masher, in a medium bowl. Combined the mashed strawberries, and water, in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and add the cornstarch, the juices of the lemon, and the orange, and the grated rinds. Cook until it gets to a sauce, and strawberries are cooked down, stirring constantly. This will take only a few minutes. You can add about another 1/4 cup of water if it gets too thick.

Remove from saucepan, and add the hot sauce to a blender container. Carefully blend the sauce, holding the lid down so it doesn't "fly off" and splatter.
Remove from blender. In the meantime, line the tart with the nicest whole strawberries, stems removed, in around a circle, you can overlap them if you like, (I just added single rows.)

Drizzle all the strawberry sauce over the fresh strawberries, to fill the tart, or if you like just a small amount, but in that case you will have to totally fill the crust with lots of strawberries. Let it cool down in the fridge, or if you need it fast, you can place it in the freezer for 30 minutes for the glaze to set.
You can serve this with fresh whipped cream, or decorate it with the whipped cream, piping nice rosettes on it, (which I did not have the time). It is absolutely "out of this world" light, and delicious, so perfect after a heavy meal, or just for a light dessert!

For the Crust:
2 cups of vanilla wafers ground
1/4 cup butter (1 stick) melted
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp grated orange rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grind the wafers in a food processor to make 2 cups. Add sugar, and grated orange, stir in the melted butter, just to moisten evenly, and press into a large non-stick tart pan, with a removable bottom.
Use a large soup spoon to press down, and not with your fingers, or hand, (so butter does not get too pressed into the crust) Also, do the same on the sides of the tart pan. Bake crust for no longer than 15 minutes, and follow the topping, and filling process.

Now, you know why you need a light dessert?...A gorgeous beef ragu (an Italian Beef Stew) cooked by Teresa, for a fabulous get-together dinner with next door BFF...of Lora's. This was our contribution, plus my dessert.
Marisa's beautiful fresh home garden kale and beans soup...our first course.
Eric... (Dr. Schnirman's) baked fish on the grill, was my choice to eat, with mixed salad. The Fish was to "die for" delicate, spicy, with freshly ground pepper, paprika, and lime juice. baked in buttery, and extra virgin olive oil, and aluminum foil lined, right on the grill. (don't remember what kind, a red fish, of some kind...lol) Amazing!
OMG...(by the way, OMG, and LOL, has just been added to the Webster's Dictionary, as official words...how about that?!)
Grilled lamb steaks...or is it chops?...at any rate, so goooood!
As you can see, the lamb is so nice and rare (sorry vegetarians, next post will be all vegan treats)...grandson Luca just working on his soup, and ate pasta...
I was not even going to try to take photo of the slice of tart, but just to show you how gorgeous the fresh sauce/glaze combo on top of the crunchy vanilla wafer/cookie crust, with the fresh whole strawberries, and the hint of the lemon/orange flavor from the grated rinds, and juice. (photo is dark, whipped cream looks sloppy)...not prepared to pose or "stage this shot"...also, not inspiring to get into Top 9 for Foodbuzz, or Foodgawker, or Stumbleupon which I will be figuring out. Just having a nice time with family, loving, and caring friends, and appreciate togetherness.
That's what life is about, caring about, each other,
 sharing, and loving FOOD!

...and enjoying a fabulous Cappucino!
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Electrolux, and Kelly Ripa Confidential Tea Party Event

Electrolux, and Kelly Ripa are hosting a tea party, and I as a proud Featured Publisher would like to host my own tea party the the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
Electrolux will donate $1. to the Ovarian Research Fund when I host my tea party outfit. Foodbuzz in return, will donate $50. to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for every tea party recipe created by a Featured Publisher.
Visit the website of Kelly, @ Kelly Confidential for more information, of how you can donate to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
For me, personally, it's an honor to participate in the memory of my own mother Ana-(aka) Anushka, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer, a long time ago.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread
adapted from Family Circle, Dec, 2008

Start out with the Basic Sugar Cookie Dough, 
and add 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

! 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bow, beat butter, and sugar until smooth, about 2 minute. Beat in egg, and vanilla
On low speed, beat in flour mixture until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Unwrap plastic, and press into a 9 inch round, fluted nonstick tart pan, with a removable bottom.
Score into 16 pie-shaped wedges, (be sure not to cut all the way through.)

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. Let cool before serving.

For Glaze:

Melt 3 Tablespoons seedless raspberry (I used boysenberry) preserves and drizzle over top of tart.
Cut into wedges, along the scored lines, and serve.

In honor of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, I pulled out my mother's famous Hungarian Herend tea set service for 6, from my sacred credenza, (that's like a shrine) since the day she passed away, has not been used, only carefully packed and placed in the safe hutch, just to gaze at it, and remind me of the fond memories of my mother.
Just look at this gorgeous Herend sugar bowl, so delicate and such detailed art-work. This is so expensive, especially now...I don't even think they make this particular pattern, or set any more. 18 carat gold trimming, as well.( My hands are shaking, as I'm typing, tears running down my face, I am overcome with sadness, and happy tears, at the same time.) I have to hurry and finish this post...I have exactly 45 minutes to send this post in!
This is the Herend tea pot. I'm so afraid to even touch it...not alone serve tea in it...(strictly show-and-tell)
Now, I'm really "emotional"...I'm actually using this 1939 "hurricane glass" cake stand, belonging to my aunt Mariskaneni.(aunt Mariska)...I cherish this gorgeous turquoise color plate, reminds me of the ocean.
Moving on to a recent "Tea Party" happy event, just less than a week ago, for St. Patrick's day with my two sweet and precious granddaughters, Gabriella, and Sophia...at a real Tea House, here, locally, in West Palm Beach...how "apropo!"
The tea house if equipped with various hats that you can actually wear while you are enjoying your favorite tea, and tea sandwiches, or other goodies!
My tea was a truly refreshing Mango-Raspberry Tea...
My tea sandwich was an egg sandwich on whole grain bread, with tomato slices and lettuce, with a side of red potato skin salad...Yumm! I would love to have you as a guest when you come to Florida to visit. Such a lovely little Tea House in an actual 1920's antique cottage!

This is the parlor where you wait to be seated...or hang out, after the Tea Party to have your picture taken!

Here are 3 beautiful hats to wear when you come to the Tea House to join me! So, which one do you like?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Red Gold Spicy Tomato Sauce...and a Winner!

Today is the first official day of spring! Although, here in South Florida, we've been experiencing our spring since about January, and we'll be going into full blown summer, by May...go figure! This it the tropical climate that we are accustomed to. Such a wonderful weekend we had, how about that bright and beautiful full moon that only comes around every 18 to 20 years? (witnessed it and took photos)...Sunday was such a relaxing day, did not have barely anything in my fridge to cook for lunch, for my family in my little beach condo, but I always have canned tomatoes on hand, and pasta...the little ones love the mezze penne, and the spaghetti. I also found some Italian sausage in the freezer which I defrosted, so lunch did not take long. A little bit too spicy, but my little grandson eats everything, and did not mind the spicy sauce. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and got to witness the gorgeous moon that was 14% larger, and 30% brighter than your average full moon...that's what I call "romance in the air...or is it "Love is in the Air?"...remember that song from the eighties?

I still had two can of the Red Gold diced tomatoes left over from my giveaway winning, one was a regular 100% Natural diced, and the second was the Red Gold petite diced with green chilies, hot...and I do mean "hot" as in spicy hot. I also had on hand my trusty Hunt's fire roasted diced tomatoes, which I started out with.
The sauce turned out incredible, but with all these diced tomatoes in their natural juices, it called for a thickening source in which case, I used about 2 teaspoons of Hunt's tomato paste, mixed in 1/2 cup of water to add to the sauce. With, or without meat, you can make this wonderful sauce. If you can't find Red Gold tomatoes in your grocery supermarket, well, you can use your favorite brand of diced tomatoes, but you will need at least 3 cans of about 14.5, or 15 ounces.

You can start with cutting about 1 lb. of Italian, or any
other sausage of your choice into about 3 inch pieces, and saute the sausage first, in 1 Tbsp. of vegetable oil.
When it's about halfway browned, add 1 sliced onion, and 3 cloves of garlic sliced. (If you are making it vegetarian)...just saute the onion and garlic by themselves, until slightly browned, and wilted. Add 3 cans of 15 ounce diced tomatoes of your choice, and 2 teaspoons of tomato paste, mixed in 1/2 cup of water. Add salt and pepper, which is optional, since the tomato with the chili pepper is quite hot. Also, you can add fresh, or dried basil, and at this point, add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, right into the sauce. The reason for this method, is, so it can bring out the glossy texture, and the true delicate flavor of the oil.

I cooked this magnificent sauce in my large cast iron skillet...this is the true vivid color, and texture after about 35 minutes. You can cook it with, or without the sausage...also, you can substitute the sausage with chicken pieces, and follow the same method of cooking. If you are making this sauce vegetarian style, just omit the sausage or any other meats, and just cook the sauce...either way, this to me, is the best sauce...ever, that you can make with the beautiful diced tomatoes! Yumm...enjoy!

...and the Winner is!

Well, looks like the comments got stuck at #30...so it wasn't difficult for me to generate the random.org number. and the winner came to #28, which is Mateja @Indulging Life.
Congratulations Mateja, you won the fabulous giveaway book, I hope you will enjoy it! I will contact you about the shipping address.

 Saturday night was such a fabulous event, watching the basketball awards given out, at the UPWARD event, from the open stadium right by the Intracoastal Waterway. This was my sweet granddaughter's 4th year of playing in the team, and she absolutely loves it. She is such a great team player, loves to get those shots in the basket. (she is also very tall for her age, 9...nearly 5') I took this photo at 7:00PM...still light out.
The famous pink building, which is the Phipps building in West Palm Beach...a sight to "behold" when the sun is setting, with the true pink color, glistening, as the sun is going down.

Proud granddaughter, admiring her basketball trophy award!
A beautiful and pleasant weather for an outdoor award event!