Red Velvet Cake with Mocha Cream Frosting

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Tuesday, November 21, 2012 was Spane’s 9th birthday. He originally asked for a Red Velvet Cake, but then said he wanted Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting that I made for his 7th birthday, and was the base for the Jolly Roger Cake of the Pirate Rack Rachham that I made for his 8th birthday. At the last minute, I decided to give him his original request, a Red Velvet Cake.

Yes, I know that Red Velvet Cake is all over the place, and mostly nasty, truly horrific. When Red Velvet cake became popular all over the country, short cuts were made, and what resulted was a dense, flavorless cake, with a greasy shortening “cream cheese” frosting, that I am sure was made with cream cheese flavoring, and nary a bit of real cream cheese. I make a real Red Velvet Cake, that uses real cream cheese, cake flour, and vinegar/baking soda leavener.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I just can’t make an ordinary anything, I always have to umph it up a bit, and this cake was no exception. Instead of using white vinegar, I used Balsamic vinegar. I also used a Mocha frosting instead of the traditional cream cheese frosting. It was a real hit.

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Baked Julia Apples

Recipes in this PostBaked Julia Apples

I used to love watching Julia Child on The French Chef when it was on Saturday afternoons on my local PBS station. I think Julia Child kind of reminded me of my mother, they were both tall, loved to talk, and were never afraid to take anything head on. My mother was a good cook, taught me the basics, and let me prepare meals when I was 10. Sadly, my mother died when I was 15, but left me in the capable hands of my Aunt Georgia, Grandmother, and Julia Child.

Today would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday, and I thought I should share a recipe which is inspired by Baked Alaska Apples that I watched Julia make on the show.

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Chicken a la King – Weber Style

Recipes in this PostChicken a la King

I really like watching America’s Test Kitchen, and follow them on Facebook. So, when they announced a Kitchen Challenge to make Chicken à la King, I just had to take up the challenge. What makes my Chicken a la King different? Well, it’s barbecue season, and my Weber was sitting outside, crying that it couldn’t join in the fun. I thought to myself, why not? Pimentos are nothing more than very mild chili peppers. I had some lovely yellow, orange and red sweet peppers, and I had some mushrooms and shallots. I also had a chicken breast. All those could go on the grill, couldn’t they? Sure, they could get a lot of flavor to add to a dish that I already really like.

The America’s Test Kitchen challenge is to cook like it’s 1917. Charcoal was developed from waste wood scrap in the Ford Motor Company in 1920, and renamed Kingsford thereafter. Kingsford was a relative of Henry Ford. The Weber grill was not invented until the 1960s but I’m sure that people were barbecuing in some sort of fashion in 1917 – how else would Henry Ford have been able to sell charcoal? I think I’m okay with the time-line, don’t you?

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London Broil with Rosemary and Grilled Mushrooms and Shallots

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Grilled London Broil with Rosemary, Mushrooms and Shallots

Grilled London Broil with Rosemary, Mushrooms and Shallots

Many years ago, when I thought that my oven didn’t work (it did, I wasn’t doing right), I marinated a steak and some fresh rosemary and put that on the grill. It was delicious! As the steak cooked, the fresh rosemary sprigs gave off their own smoky goodness.

I could not think of a better dish to put on the barbecue for 4th of July. What goes great with steak? Mushrooms! What goes great with mushrooms? Shallots and sherry. So, I’m going to grill some mushrooms with sherry and shallots to accompany my London Broil. Spane asked for Barbecued Chips instead of potato salad. In a way, I’m really happy because everything but the Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream is going on the grill.

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Kiwi Lime Mini Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day

Kiwi Lime Cupcakes

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On one of my recent sojourns to the local grocery store, I found dried kiwi fruit. I immediately thought they would make a great decoration for St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes. When I brought Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Strawberries for my son’s third grade class field trip, one of the girls requested I make cupcakes the next time I brought a treat for the class. So, I’m making mini lime cupcakes with kiwi for Friday since St. Patrick’s day is on Saturday.

I had planned on making these Thursday evening, but decided to do them this morning. Why? Well, let me first say that I love my son’s curiosity and inventiveness. Yesterday, he was tinkering with the alarm clock and mistakenly set the clock ahead four hours. When I got up at what I thought was seven o’clock and drank coffee, it was not until I looked at the cable box that I realized it was only three o’clock. Since I had already had a half a cup of coffee, it was too late to try to go back to sleep, so I’m making cupcakes.

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White Chocolate Rum Raisin Cookies for the Field Trip

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White Chocolate Rum Raisin Cookies on a platter

White Chocolate Rum Raisin Cookies, I ate the broken one!

Spane and his class are going on a field trip, and I volunteered to be one of the helping parents. We have to bring a bag lunch, and I decided to bring cookies for the kids.

I really like this recipe because it is so versatile, you can change the add-ins and have a completely different cookie every time. The add-ins for these White Chocolate Rum Raisin Cookies are the rum, raisins, white chocolate and walnuts.

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