Daily Archives: February 11, 2013

Road Trip!

P1000185 [1600x1200]We ran out of their cured ham chunks that work so well in various soups so we organized a trip north to replenish.  It was a pleasant drive with good weather and not much traffic.  Not an arduous trek by any means, three hours there and back.P1000183 [1600x1200]There is another cooler rack behind the lady, and a row of freezers.  On down are sausage making supplies and another cooler full of odds and ends of lunch meats and bacon.P1000184 [1600x1200]They have a regular deli counter with cheeses and racks of chops and steaks much like you will see anywhere.  They do a huge business in bacon, they cure their own.  It’s for sale by the slab and half slab, sliced to order.  Good stuff!DSC_5074 [1600x1200]I brought back a rack of spare ribs and cooked them with a dry rub and a finish of BBQ sauce.  The onion rings were from their freezer section.  Not bad!  They have a fair selection of specialty frozen items but the rings were all we came home with today.  None of the local markets butcher meat these days, and I was stymied looking for beef fat to use in making my sausage.  I came home with a 15 pound chunk of high quality fat to mix in with the pork shoulders that I buy locally.  They are very lean these days with nearly all of the fat trimmed off.

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Mardi Gras: King Cake

King Cake from FoodNetwork.com

King Cake from FoodNetwork.com

I’ve actually made a King Cake for an awesome Mardi Gras party, quite fun and festive. When I went looking for a recipe to post today, I started at the FoodNetwork and found one that was highly rated. It looks much like the one I baked.  Don’t forget the baby!

King Cake

Courtesy of FoodNetwork.com

For the Cake:

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 large egg yolks, plus 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the bowl

For the Filling and Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dry bean or plastic King Cake baby (available at party-supply stores or mardigrasday.com)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Purple, green and gold sanding sugar, for decorating

Directions
Make the cake: Heat the milk in a saucepan until scalding; transfer to a food processor, add the yeast and pulse to combine. Add 1/2 cup flour and the egg yolks; process to combine. Pour the remaining 2 cups flour evenly over the yeast mixture; do not process. Put the lid on; set aside for 90 minutes.

Add the 2 whole eggs, granulated sugar, lemon zest, salt and nutmeg to the food processor; process to make a slightly textured dough, about 1 minute. With the machine running, slowly add the butter to make a smooth, sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place for 3 hours. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead briefly; form into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Make the filling:
Plump the raisins in the bourbon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, salt and the bean or plastic baby; mix until combined and set aside.

On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 20-by-7-inch rectangle, with the long edge facing you. Spoon the filling in an even layer over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the top and bottom. Fold the bottom and then the top edge over the filling to make a tight roll; pinch to seal. Transfer the roll seam-side down to a parchment-lined baking sheet; tuck one end into the other to form a ring. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the roll doubles in size, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cake until firm and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Make the glaze:
Mix 3 tablespoons water with the confectioners’ sugar; brush 3 tablespoons glaze over the cake. Sprinkle with bands of colored sugar; drizzle with more glaze.

Photograph by Lara Robby/Studio D

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