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Lemon Cake

The perfect spring cake recipe. I ran across this on Pinterest and it actually turned out perfectly.

Ingredients:

For the cake

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tSP kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 8 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract

For the icing

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 8 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice, (from about 1/2 a large lemon), plus 1 TBSP if needed
  • 1 TBSP freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F

  • Grease two 9 inch round springform pans, parchment paper is not needed.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together Cake Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt
  • In a separate medium bowl whisk together the Buttermilk and Egg Whites
  • In the bowl of the stand mixer, add Lemon Zest and Sugar. Using your fingers, rub the lemon zest into the sugar until sugar is moist and well combined.
  • Add the Butter to the mixing bowl and mix on medium speed for a minimum of 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Mix in the Lemon Extract.
  • Add in 1/3 of the Flour Mixture, then beat on medium speed until combined.
  • Continue on medium speed and add in 1/2 of the Buttermilk Mixture.
  • Add another 1/3 of the Flour Mixture, then add the remaining Buttermilk Mixture. Beat until smooth.
  • Stir in the remaining Flour Mixture, then continue mixing on medium speed for at least 2 more minutes until well combined and very airy.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and use a spatula to level off the tops.
  • Bake for 35-40 mins until springy and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 10 mins before removing the springform pan. Then remove the cakes from the bottom pan, and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

Prepare the icing:

  • Use the stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  • Mix the Cream Cheese and Butter on medium speed for at least 3 minutes until well combined and smooth.
  • Reduce to stirring speed and add in the Powdered Sugar, Lemon Juice, Lemon Zest, Vanilla, and Salt. Once the sugar begins to incorporate increase the speed to medium.
  • Mix on medium speed for at least 3 minutes until the ingredients are well combined and frosting is light and fluffy.  May add additional Lemon Juice if needed to thin.
  • You may need to put the cake in the refrigerator for an hour or so to set the icing.

Pressure Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

These tasty sandwiches are perfect for a low key dinner. Paired with french fries, or chips. Takes a bit longer than some other pressure cooker recipes, but is worth it! Recipe

Total cooking time: 2.5 hrs

Ingredients:

  • 2- 2.5 lb chuck roast
  • 1 TBSP of vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp of kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 14 oz can beef broth
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 6 hoagie rolls
  • 3 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • kosher salt
  • 6 slices provolone cheese

Directions:

  1. Allow the roast rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before searing.
  2. Add vegetable oil to the Instant Pot and hit the sauté button.
  3. Season chuck roast with 2 teaspoon of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper to taste and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder on all side.
  4. Using a pair on long heat-proof kitchen tongs, brown the roast on all sides in Instant Pot, then remove and set aside.
  5. Add onions to pot and sauté just until they start to soften.
  6. Add red wine to pot and let simmer until reduced by half.
  7. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up seared bits from the bottom of the pot as it simmers.
  8. Once wine has reduced, add beef broth and bay leaf.
  9. Return roast to Instant Pot, close lid and make pressure release valve is set to sealing.
  10. Hit Meat/Stew function and increase time to 100 minutes.
  11. When done, turn to off then let Instant Pot natural release for 25 minutes, then turn valve to venting to release any excess pressure.
  12. Remove lid and transfer roast to a serving plate and shred.
  13. Strain liquid through a fat strainer and serve warm for dipping sandwiches.

Meanwhile….

  1. Set oven to broil and place sandwich rolls on a baking sheet.
  2. Combine melted butter and pinch of kosher salt in a small bowl.
  3. Brush over rolls and toast about 2 minutes, just until gold brown.
  4. Pile meat onto rolls and top with cheese. Return to broiler and heat just until cheese has started to melt about 30 sec -1 min

Homemade Yogurt

The way my son goes through yogurt, I would be surprised if we spent less than $100 a month on it… seriously. Between the two of us, we should just buy stock in Chobani, or figure out a way to make our own. When I saw that our new favorite kitchen toy, the Instant Pot, had a yogurt making function, I was intrigued. I decided to give it a whirl and see if I could make yogurt that a toddler yogurt connoisseur would love, and save a few bucks in the process. So here goes.

Things I learned real quick:

  1. There are 4 mandatory phases and 1 optional phase:
    1. Heating the milk: goal is temp of 180-183 F
      1. Must hit at least 180
      2. This takes 30 min-1hr
    2. Cooling the milk: goal is to get the temp down to 95-110 F
      1. Can be done using ice bath/water bath/ room air. I used water bath and it took 15ish mins
    3. Incubating: at the start of this is when you add your starter and basic flavors (sugar, honey, vanilla). Then it sits.
      1. Takes 4-10 hrs depending on your preferences. In general, longer incubation = thicker yogurt and more tart flavor
      2. Leave this to sit all day long or overnight
      3. Don’t touch the yogurt after this phase, even though it’s tempting!
    4. Setting: put your, covered, untouched incubated yogurt into the fridge. Then it sits, again.
      1. Again 4-10 hours
      2. If you incubated during the day, leave the yogurt in the fridge overnight, or vice versa if you incubated overnight.
    5. Straining: This is to make Greek yogurt.
      1. 2 hours is average, but some people like less or more. The longer the strain, the thicker the yogurt.
  2. Get your supplies ready and very clean/ sterilized. You’ll need:
    1. Instant pot – this can be easily sterilized using the steam function on the IP
    2. A whisk
    3. A working, accurate meat thermometer (digital is best)
    4. Measuring spoons
    5. A measuring cup or small bowl (for tempering the starter)
    6. A fine mesh strainer (if straining it to make Greek style yogurt)
    7. Extra large coffee filters, or cheesecloth, or paper towels (if straining to make Greek style yogurt)
    8. Airtight storage containers
  3. Temperature is very important. The key to yogurt coming out well is hitting the right temperatures, hence the meat thermometer
  4. This takes a really long time. Start either early in the morning or later in the evening. The incubation period takes 8-10 hrs, and then it needs to “set” in the refrigerator for just about as long. Plus if you want to strain it, there is another 2-4 hrs.
  5. You can use any type of milk that you’d like, but whole milk will be the creamiest, skim the thinnest.
  6. Your starter yogurt can be either from store bought plain yogurt (just milk and live active cultures) or saved yogurt from your previous batch.

Instant Pot Yogurt
Total time: around 24hrs

Ingredients:

  • 1/2- 1 gallon of milk
  • 2 heaping TBSP starter yogurt
  • 1-2 tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
  • 6-12 TBSP sugar (optional) OR Honey

Directions:

  • Sterilize your IP pot, then dry and put in the fridge/freezer for a few minutes to cool it down.
  • Add milk to the pot. Hit the IP yogurt button. Then hit the adjust button until it says “boil”. Cover your pot and close the steam valve.
  • This phase takes 30-45 mins. 2-3 times during this phase, remove the lid and whisk the milk.
  • As soon as the boil phase is complete, whisk the milk (there will be hot spots), then check the temp. It should be 180-183 F.  If it is not then either re-do the boil phase, or turn on the saute function. If using the saute function, you must constantly whisk the milk to prevent scorching.
  • Once you hit the goal temp, remove the inner pot and place it in a sink of cool water.
  • Allow the milk to cool to between 95-110 F. Whisk the milk prior to measuring the temperature as there will be hot spots.
  • In your measuring cup or small bowl, combine your starter with some scoops of the warm milk. Whisk it together well. Hint: use the measuring spoon you used to get the starter to scoop out the warm milk.
  • Add the starter mixture, vanilla, and sugar to the warm milk.
  • Place the inner pot back into the IP. Cover the pot with the steam valve either open or closed. With the IP on the Yogurt function, hit adjust until the pot is at 8-10 hrs whatever you prefer. Leave your IP alone until it’s all done.
  • When incubation is complete, DON’T TOUCH IT!, cover the inner pot with a lid (i used plastic wrap and a not perfectly fitting lid). Then place the pot undisturbed into the refrigerator. Leave it alone for another 8+ hours.
  • After the set time, you can set up your strainer with coffee filter/paper towel/multiple layers of cheesecloth over a large bowl and scoop your yogurt over it. Place the bowl back in the fridge to allow the yogurt to filter for 1-4 hours depending on how thick you want the yogurt.

Rolled Spinach Omelet

http://www.marthastewart.com/335400/family-style-rolled-omelet-with-spinach?center=276953&gallery=274992&slide=262377

Irish Shepherd’s Pie

Whipped Potato

  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Garlic powder (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 TSP salt
  • 1/2 TSP ground black pepper

Filling

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 TSP sugar
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2-3 medium carrots, processed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 1 12 ounce bottle dark beer (Guinness)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 TSP finely minced rosemary leaves
  • Shredded cheddar
  1. Make whipped potato.
  2. Fry bacon in large pan. Transfer via slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F.
  4. Sauté onion in bacon fat until soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle in sugar and cook, sitting, until onions begin to carmelize, about 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in the beef and cook until browned.
  7. Add carrots and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in tomato paste and flour and blend completely.
  9. Pour in beer and bring to a boil. Scrape up fond.
  10. Add broth, rosemary, bacon, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  11. Lower heat and simmer uncovered until sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes.
  12. Spoon meat mixture into 2.5 quart casserole dish. Top with potato.
  13. Bake for 35 minutes.
  14. Top with cheddar. Bake for 10 minutes.
  15. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken Parm

Not a recipe so much as an ingredient list.

  • Chicken thighs
  • Pasta sauce
  • Italian sausage (optional, only if you have time to let them stew in the sauce all day)
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Sliced mozzarella
  • Olive oil

Pressure Cooker Beef Stew

Ingredients

  • 3lb boneless beef short ribs, trimmed into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1.5 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Baby carrots (as tolerated)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Method

  1. Pat beef dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in pressure cooker on sauté and brown half of meet on all sides. Transfer to bowl.
  2. Add more oil to pressure cooker and heat until smoking. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Store in tomato paste and thyme, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Whisk in wine, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Reduce slightly, about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in remaining ingredients (less parsley) and beef.
  7. Bring to a boil with the lid off.
  8. Cook under pressure for 30 minutes.
  9. Let set for 15 minutes, release pressure.
  10. Add parsley, remove bay leaves (if possible).