Friday, August 31, 2012

Bavarian Cream a la Mayree

It's creamy and rich and light and incredibly flavorful all at the same time.  And it doesn't involve folding sweetened whipped cream into a cooked and cooled vanilla custard.  It's my version of Bavarian cream and, for the first time ever, it's getting shared with everybody.

The cream made today was  Kahlua-caramel.  The proportions are all the same as the vanilla Bavarian cream, though, so it's a good one to show y'all how to put together.

Here's what you'll need:
One can sweetened condensed milk
   or dulce de leche or cream of coconut or chocolate syrup
Two small boxes instant pudding (the flavor is up to you)
Two cups of milk
8 ounces cream cheese or one cup peanut butter OR Nutella, at room temperature
16 ounces whipped topping
 For an exceptional flavor, substitute one half cup of Kahlua, 
Bailey's Irish Cream, Godiva White Chocolate, Frangelica
or any liquer for one half cup of milk.

Cream sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese until smooth.
 Today I've used a can of dulce de leche for the sweetened condensed milk.
Any sweet thick syrup-y can of something is wonderful!

Mix the puddings with the milk.
 Cheesecake, French vanilla, coconut, and chocolate fudge
puddings are the ones used most often.  Let your imagination
run wild with flavor combinations while standing in
front of the pudding section.

Add the pudding to the cream cheese stuff;

mixing until well incorporated.

Fold in non-dairy whipped topping.
 Cool Whip brand just happened to be on sale at The Pig this week.
I normally buy the WalMart brand.

Tadadaaaaa!  Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready for use.
You can put this straight into a graham cracker pie crust.  
I've also piped it into mini-pie shells!

This is a nice thick Bavarian-cream-ish filling (close enough for hand grenades and horse shoes) absolutely economically feasible for my neck of the woods.  I do love the cooked custard whipped Bavarian cream, but have precious few clients that can afford it on a regular basis.  This is economically friendly.  AND, it freezes exceptionally well.  Let it thaw in the refrigerator and no one will ever know...

It's also the thing that separates my Dirt Cake from all the others!

And there you have it.  It's the most popular cake filling here at the cakery, wonderfully light and rich and infinitely variable.

I feel so good!  The secret (not really so secret now, is it?)  is out!

Y'all enjoy!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mama's Southern-style Barbecue Sauce. Sweet!

Barbecue sauces across the United States are as varied and different as folks' accents.  In the Deep South of Mississippi we like ours sweet.  Here in Leakesville, there's none any sweeter or better than Mama's.

Mama can't remember where she got the recipe.  Her best recollection is of an old cookbook that was Grandma's.  Grandma didn't make this sauce, though, only Mama.  She's made it for as long as I can remember.  And I've made it for as long as The Fellows can remember.  It's a fambly tradition.

Here's what you need:
 Three medium or two large onions
Garlic to taste
Brown sugar
Worcestershire sauce

Finely dice the onions and put in a very large non-reactive pot.
I love lots of onions in this sauce.  This isn't a place for sweet onions either;
they'll cook to nothing without flavoring anything.
Use yellow or white onions.

Add garlic, finely minced or pressed, to the pot of onions.
I've had this Pampered Chef garlic press for a whiiiiile.
It doesn't have a readily affordable equal. 

Add three (yes three) cups firmly packed brown sugar.
 I really prefer dark brown sugar in barbecue sauce
but didn't have any on hand and wasn't going
to The Pig to purchase any.  Use what you have, right?

Add one half cup vinegar or pickle juice.
I usually have sweet pickle juice on hand just for barbecue sauce.
Not wanting to sacrifice any from a jar of pickles, red wine vinegar
was used instead.  Dill pickle juice is good here, too!

Add one half cup of Worcestershire sauce.
I'm not a brand name label consumer for most things.  There is,
however, only one Worcestershire sauce used in this house:
Lea & Perrins.  Others are too hot, too tart, too weak...
Pay the extra cents for the good stuff when it comes to
Worcestershire sauce.  It's worth it.

And most importantly:
Add a big can of catsup.
Is there any food can not shrinking while the price remains fixed?
This isn't a gallon of catsup at all!  Brand doesn't matter here. 

Stir it all in the big pot.

Place on low heat, stirring often to avoid sticking or scorching.

I don't know why the crock pot wasn't used tonight.
I guess with all the rain from Isaac and the beginnings of cabin fever,
it was good to be busy tending a pot.

Cook for almost two hours on low heat or until onions are fully cooked and sauce is almost standing-spoon thick.  It will continue to thicken some upon cooling.

Pour into jars or bowls or even leave it in the pot and let cool on the counter.


It'll be good in the refrigerator for upward of a month, maybe longer.  It doesn't last much past that around here;  not because it's spoiled, but because of getting used.

This isn't a sauce to have on the meat when  it's put on the grill.  The tomato base and brown sugar will burn in a heart beat!  When the meat is almost fully cooked, start basting with it, turning often to create layers of grilled sweetness right on the meat.  It's good for everything:  beef, pork, chicken, sausage, hot dogs, hamburgers, catfish.  Well, maybe not catfish...

Serve it on the side with brisket.  Use it for pulled pork.  You won't be disappointed.

Y'all enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Marinated Vegetable Salad

Looking for a cool vegetable salad recipe that can make a bunch or just enough and keep for a while in the refrigerator?  This is it:  marinated vegetable salad.  I've made a gallon  for a wedding reception over in Gulf Shores, Alabama this weekend.  I'd provided the food for the bride's uncle's wedding several years ago.  In a little community like Leakesville, you grow up knowing everybody.  The father of the bride and his little brother were both in Mama's kindergarten;  their mother is a class mate of Brother #1, their uncle a class mate of Brother #3.  I'd line out all the other connections but it'd get confusing after a while.  You might be tempted to make a Southern joke.  The South doesn't need one more joke...

There's no specific recipe to this recipe.  I'll show you what all is in this salad, but use what you and your family likes.  It's quick to put together.  So quick I forgot to show you all the veggies draining in the colander.

Here are the ingredients for the vinaigrette:
Apple cider vinegar
White vinegar
Grapeseed oil
Vegetable oil
Celery seed
Dill weed
Garlic powder
Granulated sugar

There's a ratio for a sweet and sour vinaigrette:  equal amounts of sugar and vinegar and half as much oil as vinegar.  And whatever herbs and spices your taste buds are set on.  I like the bite of apple cider vinegar but there is such a thing as too much of it, so I use half white vinegar also.  I've also been enjoying lightening up olive oil recipes with grapeseed oil but it's kind of pricey and is used sparingly.  Celery seed and dill weed are always good in a salad but if you don't like them, don't use them, it's just that easy.

Put all the ingredients into a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and microwave for three or four minutes.  Stir and microwave again another couple of minutes.  All you're doing is making sure the sugar is melted and incorporated.

I know.  This is where I stand to ladle jelly into jars.
You can see splatters of jelly all over the front of 
the microwave.  I should probably clean that

In the meantime, open all your vegetables and put in a colander to drain.  Asparagus is delicious in this, but I didn't add it.  It's one of those acquired tastes that not everybody likes.  Water chestnuts give a nice crunch, even if they aren't real flavorful.  They're cut into thin strips to keep from having a mouthful of sort of tasteless crunchiness.

That's a sweet onion.  I'd forgotten green onions
so used what was on hand.  

MMMMmmmmm.  Wickles:  wickedly delicious pickles.
Or in this case wicked pepper strips.  They're a little
hot and a lot sweet.  More and more often they're 
getting added to salads right along with
homemade sweet pickles.

When the vinaigrette is finished and onions (to taste) are diced, all the well drained vegetables are placed in  a large container.  Add the vinaigrette.

Tadadaaaaa!  That's all there is to it!
Let it sit a couple of hours for the flavors to marry.
It's much better the next day and even MORE 
better several days later (please don't call
the Grammar Police).

After I'd put the salad all together I thought about transporting it Saturday and the amount of room the gallon jug would take up in the cooler and having to leave the precious jug with the clients and depend upon them to get it back to me.  The better thought was to put the salad  into a large ziplock bag in a baking dish.  Ziplock bags conform themselves around other things in coolers.  I won't feel sad about leaving a bag behind...

Y'all enjoy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Brownie Caramel Cheesecake

There's not really a backstory for this recipe.  Twenty or so years ago I thought I'd subscribe to one of those menu clubs.  You know them... Pay x amount of dollars and receive a dozen recipe cards to go in the bulky unwieldy large couldn't find a place for it  handy complimentary cheap plastic beautiful acrylic file box behind the confusing appropriate tabs.  You could have an entire year of expensive meals and non-kid-friendly desserts taking up a whole corner of the counter at your fingertips!  After three months I cancelled the subscription.  The plastic box became storage for Lego pirate weapons.  I did keep one recipe, though, and have made it for us through the years:  Brownie Caramel Cheesecake.

The pecan crust recipe comes from Brother #3.  I think he got it from Emeril but I wouldn't swear to it.  I use roasted pecans in everything but pecan pies.  Roasting brings out their nutty flavor and keeps them from getting soggy too quickly in cakes and salads.

Pecan Crust
2 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks butter
2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt (strictly optional - I never use it)

Preheat oven to 450.  Mix flour, salt, and butter until consistency of cornmeal.  Add ground or finely chopped pecans.  Press mixture firmly in bottom and two inches up sides of a nine inch springform pan.  Bake for ten minutes until golden brown.

Now that's what the instructions say do.  You can certainly get cornmeal texture if the butter is cold.  I'd forgotten to leave the butter cold, having icing in mind this afternoon.  Does it make a difference if it's cold or not?  Not in this crust.
See?  All nice and mixed together and I didn't even get
the pastry knife thingy dirty!
I've discovered over the years to NOT start on the bottom
of the springform pan and then up the sides.  I start on the
sides, making them artfully not level all the way around.
And then I press the crust into the bottom.  This is a ten inch pan, 
by the way.  The recipe says nine inch but you'll regret using it.
And do yourself a favor and put the springform pan on or in 
something else.  Butter has a way of cooking out of the crust
to make a mess in the oven.

Let the crust cool completely.

Brownie Caramel Cheesecake:

1 14 ounce package caramels
5 ounces evaporated milk
2 cups crumbled unfrosted brownies
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
8 ounces sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine caramels and milk in a small heavy saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring often until caramels melt.  Pour over crust.  Sprinkle crumbled brownies over caramel.  Beat cream cheese at medium speed of mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add sugar, mixing well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended.  Stir in sour cream and vanilla.  Pour batter carefully over brownies.  Back at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until cheesecake is almost set.  Turn off heat and let cheesecake remain in oven another hour, undisturbed.  remove from oven and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  Cover and let chill at least four hours.  remove sides from springform pan.  Garnish with chocolate curls and whipped cream, if desired.

That's the EXACT recipe.  Do I do it that way?  uhmmmmm No'm.  I don't.

I make 'from scratch' brownies.  Did I have to?  Nope.
In a bind for time, I've used mixes.  In a real bind for
time I've used Little Debbie brownies.

 Do you see a pot?  No.  Microwave these candies.  Two minutes on
high, stirring to break up the candies and then three minutes on medium.
The quick-melt caramel chips work great!
A whisk will make the melted caramel nice and smooth.
Let it cool while putting together the rest of the cheesecake.
 Whip the cream cheese until very fluffy.  It makes for a
very smooth texture.
 Pinky extended is the only way to gradually add brown sugar.
 If you're using farm eggs like I am, always (and I do mean always)
break them individually into a bowl or cup.  Forget a rotten apple.
A rotten egg really will spoil the whole recipe.
 MMMmmmmmm...  Look at that KitchenAid go!
 Stir in the sour cream?  I don't think so.  Turn the KitchenAid or
mixer down to the lowest setting.
 Putting the caramel on the bottom could possibly result
in baked caramel under the crust. You'll need
a prybar to get it out of the pan.  If there is the smallest
fissure in the crust, the caramel will go through it if put on the crust first.
Trust me.  I know these things...  Put the brownies on first.
This is THREE cups of brownies, by the way.
Two cups just doesn't cover.

Pour the batter on ever-so-gently.  It'll push brownies and melted
caramels around if rushed.
It'll take another thirty minutes beyond this point.  
I don't know why but it can't be rocket

Everything else is pretty much like the recipe says.  As much as I love chocolate, I don't garnish this cheesecake.  It'd be more awesome if it were, I'm sure, but a chocoholic has to draw the line somewhere.

Y'all enjoy!