Monday, March 18, 2013

Guinness (Extra) Stout Cake

Feeling Irish? This is the cake to make.

Ever year around March, I always buy a six-pack of Guinness and see what creative recipes I can find. This year, the I opted for the Extra Stout Guinness and Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake. There's something about the taste of stout in food that makes meals hearty for a cold day, wondering when winter is going to end. Especially Beef Stew with warm buttered homemade bread.

Two more days, then we embrace the First day of Spring.

Two weeks ago I began the clinical part of my dietetic internship. I started with the pediatrics unit in a hospital in Huntington, WV. Last week, I saw a baby who died because of his parents negligence. It was the saddest case I have encountered as a dietetic intern. I guess that's a part of life, especially living in West Virginia. Twelves more weeks of the internship, counting down to the end...

Guinness (Extra) Stout Cake
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake

1 cup Extra Stout Guinness
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3oz cocoa powder
14 oz (2 cups) granulated sugar
1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 medium eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
10oz all-purpose flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder

11oz cream cheese
5oz powdered sugar
4oz (1/2 cup) whipping cream

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 350, and butter and line a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
  4. When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the powdered sugar and then beat them both together. 
  5. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.
  6. Enjoy cake with left over Guinness.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Art of Slow

The art of slow is the length of time for me to update this blog. Seven weeks fo food service management rotation for my dietetic internship came and went like a flash. My big project for the rotation was to come up with Wizard of Oz theme food for more than 2000 people. Another intern and I came up with the following snacks: Follow the Yellow Brick Road Rice Krispie treats, Over the Rainbow Fruit Salad, Munchkin Donuts, Melted Witch Green Punch, Ruby Red Fruit Punch, Rainbow  (M&M) Cookies, and Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. See a trend here?

During the two days of the Wizard of Oz event, I was working 12+ hours cutting up rice krispie treats and refilling endless trays of cookies and donuts, in a lullaby league costume. That's right, the ballerina munchkins with pink ruffle skirts and pointy hat.

The art of slow is also me falling in love with my new slow cooker that I got for my birthday last month. There are numerous discussions on whether to use a slow cooker or dutch oven. Here's my take:

Chicken and Shrimp Jambalya

Dutch Oven:
Besides from durability and the feeling of like a real cook, dutch oven allows that searing to brown the (mallard reaction) protein which adds flavors to the meal. One pot does it all. Dutch oven slow cooking can be done on stove top or in oven, but increases the chance of fire hazards if you plan on leaving it to cook for hours . Cooking in dutch oven allows the liquid to reduce and becomes a nice thick sauce for stews. You can cook everything in one pot, reduce the number of dishes you have to wash. Moreover, dutch oven is such a versatile cookware, especially when I make Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread once a week.

Slow Cooker:
This is very much a common household appliance, can't go wrong with this when you got a busy life like me. The only drawback is that some ingredients need to be seared/cooked prior to adding back to the slow cooker. Otherwise, the fancy ones allow cooks to set cooking time, control the cooking temperature, and keep warm. Plug it, forget it.

Although I love cooking in my dutch oven, still hands down to the new slow cooker. Can't beat the convenience when it comes to busy life. I have made many slow cooker recipes since its arrival in my apartment, so far, my favorite recipe is this easy pulled pork. Next slow cooker recipe, corned beef and cabbage. 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Recipe from My Baking Addiction

1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-6 lb) boneless pork butt or shoulder
¾ cup cider vinegar
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoons dry mustard
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Rinse pork roast under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Place onions in crock-pot. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, kosher salt and pepper; mix thoroughly. Rub mixture all over roast and place the roast on top of the onions.
3. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt and cayenne pepper; whisk to combine. Drizzle about 1/3 of vinegar mixture over roast. Cover and refrigerate remaining vinegar mixture.
4. Cover crockpot; cook on low for 10-12 hours. Drizzle about 1/3 of reserved vinegar mixture over roast during last ½ hour of cooking.
5. Remove meat and onions; drain. Chop or shred meat and onions. Serve with remaining vinegar mixture or your favorite barbeque sauce.

Pin It