Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Picnic Beans



As summer approaches, picnic and cookout season begins to crank into full swing. Here in the South, no matter if you are grilling chicken, burgers, or even having a pig-picking, a large pot of sweet baked beans is a must. This weekend, I wanted to create a variation on the classic baked bean and create a simple, slow-cooked version that was less sweet and more savory. These beans turned out wonderful! The pale ale adds a subtle undertone in the background without overpowering the savory flavor. The ease of this recipe also allows you to set the slow cooker to low and leave it without worries.

1 Pound Ground Beef
1/4 Cup Green Pepper, Chopped
1/2 Cup Yellow Onion, Chopped
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
30 Ounces Pork-N-Beans
3/4 Cup Pale Ale
6 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Mustard
3 Tablespoons Ketchup
1. Brown the beef over medium heat with the green pepper, onion, and garlic.
2. Once browned, transfer to a slow cooker.
3. Add the remaining ingredients.
4. Cook on LOW for 4 hours with the lid on the cooker.
5. Remove the lid and simmer for 1 hour on HIGH or until it reaches the desired thickness. Stir occasionally. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cream Cheese Lemon Pound Cake

With Spring in the air, everything is starting to come to life. During this time of year, the farm fresh products are beginning to be available. We are lucky enough to have farm fresh eggs available to us at various times during the year. The only issue is that some weeks you end up with an overabundance and have to figure out something to do with them. This week's solution was a glorious Cream Cheese Lemon Pound Cake.
As you already know, pound cake is a Southern staple and a favorite on the site. My grandmother made the absolute best pound cake and I have used her recipe to develop several different varieties. The lemon pound cake was developed for my husband who prefers a little tart flavor in this Southern treat. The cream cheese was a last minute switch for me. I was afraid the normal stick of butter addition would overwhelm the lemon flavor, so I opted instead for the use of cream cheese. The result was a delicious, moist pound cake with a crisp lemon finish, perfect for a Spring or Summer dessert.
1 Cup Vegetable Shortening
3 Cups Sugar
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
5 Eggs
2 teaspoon Pure Lemon Extract
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Whole Milk
1. Spray your bundt pan with non-cooking spray with flour. I prefer to use the floured spray rather than the shortening and flour technique because of the intricate detail of my bundt pan. I tend to have better luck with a clean release. However, it is key to be liberal with your coating, no matter which technique you choose. The last thing you want is a delicious cake held captive in a sticky pan!
2. Cream the cream cheese, shortening and sugar in a stand mixer. Allow the mixture to become fluffy. This step is very important for setting up the texture of the cake.
3. Add the 5 eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl periodically.
4. Combine the milk and lemon extract. Set aside.
5. Sift together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
5. Beginning with one-third of the dry ingredients, alternate dry ingredients and milk, allowing each step to become incorporated before alternating. You will do three alternating cycles, ending with the dry ingredients.
6. Pour into the prepared bundt pan.
7. Bake the cake at 325 degrees for 75 minutes. After 60 minutes, check the cake. The finished cake should be completely browned on top, firm to the touch, and yield a clean toothpick when tested.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan.
9. Invert the cake onto your serving dish. If you coated the pan well, the cake will release with no problem and you will be left with a steaming, beautiful cake.