Friday, February 7, 2020

Glazed Grapefruit Cake

Costco had some great produce, including grapefruit. I would probably have been fine with just one grapefruit.  But I bought the 10 pound bag. I had one for breakfast and it was wonderful.  After I ate one, I looked at the bag.  There were a LOT of grapefruit left in that bag.

My hubby just can't be persuaded to eat grapefruit which leaves a whole lot of grapefruit for me. Probably a few more than I can finish before they have "passed their prime".

This got me to thinking of grapefruit recipe options. Which lead me to try making a grapefruit cake.  This recipe is a glorified lemon cake meets not quite a pound cake.

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup (one stick) butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 eggs at room temperature
zest from 1 grapefruit
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup grapefruit juice, divided
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon grapefruit juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Cream butter and 1 cup of the sugar in a stand mixer.  Once fluffy add the eggs, one at a time, mixing completely between additions.

Add the grapefruit zest along with the second egg.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In another bowl combine 1/4 cup grapefruit juice, milk, and vanilla extract.  Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix to combine.  While mixing add about 1/2 of the milk/juice mixture to the mixing bowl.  Next add about 1/2 of the remaining flour mixture to the mixing bowl and mix to combine.  Mix in the remaining milk/juice mixture to the mixing bowl then the rest of the flour mixture.

Pour batter into greased and floured loaf pan.

Bake 50 - 60 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Make grapefruit syrup by adding the remaining 1/2 cup grapefruit juice and 1/4 sugar to small sauce pan. Heat over low heat until sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.

Once cake is done, remove from oven and let sit in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan to cooling rack. Pour the grapefruit syrup over the cake.  You can poke small holes in the top of the cake with a skewer if you like before pouring the syrup on the cake.

Once the cake is completely cool make the glaze.  Combine the confectioners sugar and grapefruit juice in a small bowl.  Whisk until completely combined.  Drizzle glaze over top of cake. 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Ham and Bean Soup

Here is my recipe for Ham and Bean Soup.

You will need:
5 cups dried beans (this can be all one kind or an assortment)
Water (in which to soak the beans)
8 cups of water (for cooking)
Left over ham including ham bone (if you have it)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
Optional - 1-2 Tablespoons hot sauce
Step one: put your dried beans in a colander and pick out any discolored, cracked, or damaged beans.  Also look out for any rocks or other foreign matter.
Step two: rinse off your beans.  Remember beans are dried plant seeds.  In many places they are dried out in the open field then dusted off for packaging.  They usually have not been pre-rinsed before packaging because that would require another period of drying.  Trust me, unless you grew and dried the beans yourself (which we do for some beans), rinse the beans off.
Below they are all rinsed and mixed together.  I just thought it was a really pretty combination so I added the picture.
Step three: soak your beans overnight.  Put the rinsed beans into a large cooking pot and cover with at least 10 cups of water.  You may be surprised with how much water the beans will adsorb over night.  The pre-soaking cuts down on the cook time.  And yes you can use a pressure cooker to cut down on the cook time too but I do not like to use mine unless I am canning something (personal choice). 

Put a lid on the pan and let it sit out on the counter overnight.
In the morning the soaked beans will look like the picture above.  The water is now cloudy and murky and the beans have swelled up and changed color.  Drain the beans into a colander into the sink.

Here is what the soaked beans look like up close.  Funny how the Great Northern Beans are now blue, the small red beans are now orange and the black beans are now red.  The Navy beans are still white.  Go figure.
Return the beans to the soaking pot and add 1 cup chopped onion and two cloves of garlic, minced.  Then add your ham.  In the picture above I put in the ham bone which still has a lot of meat on it.  Cooking the bone in the soup makes the soup so much more nutritious.
I then added some additional ham (probably about 3 cups worth but use what you have), 2-3 teaspoons of salt (I don't measure and the beans need salt), a few grinds of pepper, and a couple of teaspoons of dried thyme.  To all this I added 8 cups of water.  The pot was covered and put on the stove to boil.  Once boiling, the pot was stirred and the heat reduced to a gentle simmer.

Let the soup cook a few hours.  How long depends first on when the beans are cooked through and soft. How long also depends on whether you want the soup to have whole beans and a liquid broth, or if you want a thicker soup with the beans having melted to a velvet consistency.  I go for the second option, cooking the beans until they fall apart because my family likes this texture from the soup better than the whole beans in broth.  But there is no correct way.

Once the soup is done to your liking, remove the ham bones.  For most hams there will be two bones.  You may also find some other ham parts you want to remove as well.  Add the hot sauce if using.  If you do not want to use hot sauce but think the soup is a bit flat, add 1/4 apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, but add it one tablespoon at a time and taste between additions.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Homemade Tomato Soup

This is the time of year when I am happy that I canned all those tomatoes!
Homemade tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich is a very satisfying and nutritious winder meal.  And surprisingly, both the soup and the sandwich can be made in less than 30 minutes!
For the soup you will need the following:
2 Tablespoons butter
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups stewed tomatoes (optional)
6 cups tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
You may also want some some shredded cheese and some baking soda... read on to learn why.
If using, drain the stewed tomatoes into a colander.  I like to add the stewed tomatoes to the soup to give it a variety of textures.  If you want a thin liquid soup, leave them out.

I canned these tomatoes in one pint jars but I use two jars for the soup. After draining off the liquid, there are only about 2 cups total of the tomatoes.   Apparently I am not very good at packing my jars tight while canning.
Add the butter and garlic to a medium sized pan.  Saute the garlic until it is light brown and makes everyone in the house hungry.
To the pan add two cups chicken or vegetable stock.  If had had any homemade stock on hand I would have used that.  Time to get a whole chicken!  Also add the stewed tomatoes (if using) and all the tomato sauce.  Stir and heat over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

While the soup cooks, make those grilled cheese sandwiches.  No recipe provided...yet.

After your 10-15 minutes of cooking time, the soup should be boiling lightly.  Taste the soup.  If it is too sour, sharp, acidic, or however you want to describe it, add a small pinch of baking soda to the soup and stir.  It will bubble and fizz for a moment.  The baking soda is neutralizing some of the acid in the tomatoes. Taste again.  If still too acidic, add another pinch.  I find I often add three small pinched (which is probably less than 1 teaspoon of baking soda).  If you add too much baking soda the soup will taste really salty and flat and basically need to be tossed in the trash.  So don't do that.

Turn off the heat and add your dried basil and stir.  Let the basil sit in the soup for a couple minutes before serving. If you have fresh basil chop it up fine and add as much as you can stand.   Seriously fresh basil is awesome and healthy!
My husband loves to add a clump of shredded cheddar cheese to the soup. I just dip my grilled cheese sandwich in the soup. Enjoy.