Monday, September 26, 2011

Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

Today is reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club!  The Secret Recipe Club was the brainchild of Amanda at Amanda's Cookin'.  Early in the month, each participant is assigned a blog from those wishing to play along.  Bloggers search through the assigned blog and find a recipe to prepare.  On reveal day everybody posts the dish that was prepared and reveals their "secret blogging friend"!

I was privileged to be assigned Kim's wonderful blog, Liv Life.  This is a lady who lives life to the fullest through her family, cooking, photography, and travel!  She says that the inspiration for her blog came from her daughter, Liv, who finds joy in everything that she does.  It was not an easy task to narrow down which recipe I wanted to prepare, but I did it.

After reading the post that Kim is most proud of...well, I just had to make the Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake.  I mean if the page in the cookbook is described as "well worn and somewhat splattered" and it is a guest post for somebody and the picture makes your mouth know it has got to be good!

Kim's cake was a hit at our house.  Not only was it beautiful and delicious, but Mr. T raved about the flavor!

Sadly, my cake wasn't beautiful.  Today was the day that the cake would not release from the bundt pan.  (I promise that I am very close to dumping the bundt pan!)  I did gently try to put it back together again....but it is just not the same as a cake that releases nicely and does not look like it lived through an earthquake.

Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

Preheat oven to 350°

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • large eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • (8-ounce) carton lemon low-fat yogurt
  • Grease the pan with cooking spray and then lightly with flour.
  • Glaze
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice

  • Beat first 3 ingredients in a mixer at medium speed until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs , one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.
  • In a small bowl, measure the 3 cups of flour.  Remove 2 Tbsp and sprinkle over the blueberries, gently  stirring and tossing to coat.
  • Combine remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture. 
  • Fold in blueberry mixture.  Pour cake batter into a 10-inch tube pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  (Check the cake after one hour.)
  • Cool cake in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan. Let cake cool completely.
  • Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl; drizzle over warm cake. Cut with a serrated knife.


My cake may not be the most beautiful on the block, but it makes up for it in flavor!

 I totally enjoyed cruising though Kim's blog.  I hope you will take some time to pay her a visit.  You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Crab, Mango and Avocado Towers

Our gourmet group met recently.  It is always fun to get together with this group; we have been enjoying good food together for about 27 years.  I had a great deal of crab in the refrigerator and I remembered seeing a layered salad with crab so I asked if I could bring a salad.

The salad of choice is a tower of avocado, mango and crab!  It is easy to do and oh so tasty!

Crab, Mango and Avocado Towers
adapted from McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant Cookbook

Yield:  4 servings

3/4 cup diced mango
3/4 cup diced avocado
10 ounces Dungeness crab
4 Tbsp pomegranate reduction
4 Tbsp citrus-flavored vinaigrette
1/2 cup micro greens, tossed in a small amount of citrus vinaigrette.

A 2-inch or 3-inch ring mold (I used a three-inch biscuit cutter.)

To create the tower, place the mold on a serving plate.  With a teaspoon, place 2 Tbsp avocado into the mold.  Pack it down lightly with the back of a spoon.

Next, place 2 Tbsp mango on top of the avocado and press it down gently.

Fill the rest of the mold with crab.  Smooth off the top and while applying pressure, gently slide the ring mold up and off of the salad.

Repeat the process with the remaining plates.

Garnish the top of each salad with the micro greens.  Drizzle pomegranate reduction and citrus vinaigrette on the plate around the tower.

The Citrus Vinaigrette and the Pomegranate Reduction Sauce are up to you.

I selected a Citrus Vinaigrette recipe that had a mixture of juices, capers, and peppers.  It was very nice paired with the salad.  I wish it had been a bit more thick.

Citrus Vinaigrette
adapted from Epicurious

2 Tbsp passion-fruit puree or juice
3 Tbsp fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp Sherry vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 Tbsp finely diced mixed bell peppers (red, yellow, green)
1 scallion, minced
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed

Whisk together passion-fruit puree, citrus juices, and vinegar.  Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.  Stir in remaining vinaigrette ingredients and season with salt and pepper.

Pomegranate Reduction Sauce

4 cups POM juice
4 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp sherry
1 bay leaf
4 Tbsp olive oil
Skin from one apple (The pectin from the skin acts as a thickening agent.)

Simmer all the ingredients in a pan until reduced by half.  Strain before using.

(I would have preferred to use cornstarch.  The sauce did not seem to thicken.)


This was a most refreshing and delicious salad!

I am participating in: 
Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen at Miz Helen's Country Cottage,
Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum, and
Fat Camp Friday hosted by Miranda at Mangoes and Chutney.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dungeness Crab - How Sweet It Is!

One of the things we like to do most when we go to Oregon is go crabbing.  It is so much fun.  It is like opening a surprise package every fifteen minutes!   When you crab you need some very important equipment:  a chair, a book, a camera, snacks or lunch, a license, a net and bait, a rope, a crab gauge, and a bucket!

Crab nets come in all shapes and sizes.  We use the crab rings.  They have lasted a long time.  I believe we bought them in the 80's when we first took the girls to Oregon. They are well-used!

The bait goes in a container that is secured in the center of the bottom ring.  Sea lions like to visit so it must be snug!  Ropes are attached to the net and it is tossed off the pier or off of the dock.

While you wait, you have important things to do.  You can look at the scenery.

You can play with your camera.

You can take pictures of sea gulls who want to steal bait....or somebody's lunch.  On this day, after the sea gull stole somebody's bait...he came back and took his lunch!  It isn't a good idea to leave your things unattended.

After fifteen minutes you can pull up the net to see if you have any crabs.

When the net is on the dock, you check the crabs for size and their sex.  In Oregon you are only allowed to keep male crabs and they must measure a minimum of 5 3/4 inches across the back, in front of at the last points.  I have labeled two crabs in the net below so you can see how to tell males from females.  It is the shape on their abdomen.  Males have a triangular shaped abdomen and females a broader shaped one.

Any crabs that are not keepers are returned to the water unharmed.  The nets are tossed back in and we continue reading, watching scenery, or chatting with fellow crabbers.

Crabbing was excellent this year!  We didn't always pull up nets full of crabs, but when it happened, everybody is excited.

Dungeness crab is so sweet!  It makes our hard work crabbing worth every minute!!

I am participating in Outdoor Wednesday hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Roasted Banana Pudding

We met with friends for dinner last week.  One of the ladies brought a Roasted Banana Pudding that was easy and really delicious!  I would make this again.  She said that she got it from the August issue of Cooking Light.  The difference was that she didn't make it "light".  She whipped her own cream instead of using fat free as recommended in the recipe.

I think I should make this one again, this weekend.  To repeat myself, it was great!

Roasted Banana Pudding

Preheat oven to 350°

  • ripe unpeeled medium bananas (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • (12-ounce) container frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed and divided (or, whip your own cream)
  • 45 vanilla wafers, divided

  • Place bananas on a jelly-roll pan covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove 3 bananas; cool completely. Peel and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Bake the remaining 2 bananas at 350° for an additional 20 minutes. Carefully peel and place the 2 bananas in a small bowl, and mash with a fork until smooth.
  • Combine milk and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer (do not boil).
  • Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk. Gradually add hot milk mixture to sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 3 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla, stirring until butter melts. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Fold half of whipped topping into pudding.
  • Spread 1 cup custard evenly over the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Top with 20 vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices. Spoon half of remaining custard over banana. Repeat procedure with 20 wafers, banana slices, and custard. Spread remaining half of whipped topping evenly over top. Crush remaining 5 wafers; sprinkle over top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled.

I am participating in Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum and Fat Camp Friday hosted by Miranda at Mangoes and Chutney.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fruits of the Forest Cobbler

We are back from vacation!  We had fun picking berries, fishing and crabbing.  The fishing wasn't very good, we just got one or two.  The berry-picking was wonderful and it was a spectacular year for crabbing.

We picked both blackberries and blueberries.

Before we left for vacation my youngest daughter shared a recipe for cobbler with me that she said was better than the "old stand-by".  She was right.  We took berries with us to Seattle to visit our oldest daughter.  We made the cobbler for a BBQ that they were having.  The cobbler was absolutely delicious.  I used a combination of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.  (The raspberries came from the Farmer's Market in Southwest Seattle.)

Fruits of the Forest Cobbler

Preheat Oven to 375°
Grease 8 X 8 baking dish with butter/margarine.

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1-2 Tbsp milk (enough to moisten)

2 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup sugar
5 cups fruit
1 cube unsalted butter, melted
Raw sugar

Mix the ingredients for the crust.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of milk to moisten.

Melt the butter in a measuring cup.  Mix the berries, flour and sugar together.  Add about 2/3 cup to the filling.

Pour the berry filling into the baking dish.  Put the crust in dollops over the top of the berries and smooth out.  Pour the remaining butter over the top of the crust.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and raw sugar.

Bake for 45 minutes.


I must repeat myself....the cobbler was wonderful.  I have used the same recipe with peaches and it was equally as good.

I am participating in Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum,  Fat Camp Friday at Mangoes and Chutney hosted by Miranda.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Swedish Chocolate Balls “Chokladbollar”

Earlier in the week I promised that I would share the chocolate balls that I made from Ewa's blog, Delishhh. These had an instant appeal when I saw them: no baking, no hot oven, everything in the pantry...something sweet to eat! Advance to go!

Ewa suggested rolling the chocolate balls in coconut or pearl sugar. I had not heard of pearl sugar but she provided a link so I ordered some. I learned that pearl sugar is a granulated sugar that is processed into small grains and polished. The sugar won't melt when baked and retains its appearance, I will be having fun playing with it!

Swedish Chocolate Balls “Chokladbollar”

1/4 lb or 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1 tbsp strong coffee (cold)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

Roll in coconut flakes or pearl sugar.

Mix butter, sugar and coffee together first and then add all the other ingredients. Make sure the butter is mixed in well.

The batter should be easy to roll and not too sticky, you can adjust consistency with oats or coffee.

Roll batter into about 25 small balls and roll them in pearl sugar or coconut flakes.

Refrigerate for about 2 hours.


This would be a fun activity for children. They would really enjoy rolling these tasty morsels and, of course, eating one or two before they finish!
I am participating in Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum.