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Archive for July, 2010

Cookies & Creme Cake

You can probably tell from this blog that I love to bake from scratch if I have time, but sometimes going the “semi-homemade” route results in some delicious goodies as well.  This is one of those times.  I was trying to decide what to fix for dessert one weekend and looked through the pantry to see what was available.  I had a white cake mix, some oreo cookies, and white or chocolate canned frosting.  I planned on making the white cake with chocolate frosting but found a neat variation on the back of the cake mix box. 

1 white cake mix

3 egg whites

oil

water

1 cup crushed Oreo cookies

1 can white frosting (Chocolate is shown in the photo below. I picked up the wrong one.  Oops!)

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the cake mix according to package directions.  Stir in the crushed Oreos.  Pour into a greased 13×9” cake pan.  You can also make this in two 9” cake pans or as cupcakes.  Bake according to package directions.

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See all of the cookie pieces in there.  Yum!  Allow the cake to cool completely and then top the cake with the white frosting.  I served mine with Watergate salad on the side.

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There used to be a restaurant in a town about 30 minutes from where we live that was owned and operated by a man from our hometown.  The food there was delicious and the chef was known for his rolls and house salad dressing.  His mother published the salad dressing recipe in a cookbook published by the local homemaker’s club.  It is so good over mixed greens!  It is tangy and sweet all at the same time and is one of my favorite all-time dressings.  I hope you enjoy.

1/4 cup orange juice

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp salad oil

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 cup honey

1 1/2 tsp dry mustard

salt & pepper to taste

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Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl with an whip.

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Enjoy over your favorite salad.  That is all there is to it…easy & delicious!  I am sorry I do not have great pictures of the salad with the dressing, but I was traveling with this.  I did get a little taste test though.

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What a great gift!  Thanks, Dad!

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Pecan Pimento Cheese

I have never been a huge fan of pimento cheese.  Ok, that is not quite right…I have never been a fan of store-bought pimento cheese.  My co-worker found the original recipe in the May 2010 issue of Southern Living magazine and adapted it to her taste.  I must say she has good taste!  This is creamy and cheesy, and the pecans are a wonderful crunchy surprise.  We ate this as sandwiches, with crackers and with veggies as a dip.  It is so good!  Try this on a hot summer day and I promise you will never buy pimento cheese in the store again!

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (I used light.)

4 oz chopped pimento peppers, drained

1 tsp Worcestshire sauce

1/4 tsp ground red pepper

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

8 oz block sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated

8 oz block mild cheddar cheese, largely grated

Note: If you can, shred your own cheese.  It makes a big difference in the texture and flavor.  The pre-shredded cheeses have ingredients to prevent clumping and that messes with the final product.

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Toast the pecans in a 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes to bring out the oil and flavor in the nuts. (I just set the oven to preheat to 350 and put the nuts in the oven while it is doing this.  That is usually enough time to toast them, but not burn them.)

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Shred the cheeses, using different sides of the grater for different textures.

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Combine all of the ingredients together and refrigerate up to 1 week. It won’t last that long though!

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Orange Marmalade Pork Loin

Last week, I used orange marmalade in the BBQ meatball recipe.  Of course, I had to buy a whole jar just for the half cup I needed for the meatballs, so I tried to come up with a way to use the rest of the jar.  I had planned on cooking a pork loin in the crock later that week and I had an idea that I could use the marmalade on that.  It worked great!  It was so easy and really good.  You can see from the photos of the finished product below that the orange flavor really soaked into the meat, but it was not over-powering at all.

4 lb pork loin

1 cup orange marmalade

1 cup orange juice

seasoning salt & black pepper to taste

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Sprinkle the roasts with the seasoning salt and black pepper on both sides.

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Pour the orange juice in to the bottom of your slow cooker.

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Place the roasts in the cooker and spread the marmalade on the roasts to cover the tops of them.

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Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.  The meat will be so tender that it will try to fall apart when you are taking it out.  Yum, yum!

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When C & I recently spent the weekend in Lexington, we shopped at the Joseph-Beth Bookstore which is one of my favorite places to browse.  If you are a book-lover like me and you happen to find yourself in Lexington, please take the time to visit this wonderful place!  I could spend hours just browsing their shelves…fiction, cooking, gardening, decorating, Kentucky books…you name it and I think they will have it!

The real reason for this post is the paperback book I purchased that night, Julie & Julia by Julie Powell.  Many of you may had probably already read this, but I had not had the opportunity.  I grabbed it up and started reading it that night.  Maybe it is because the writer and I are close in age or maybe because our love of cooking is a respite from the daily grind, but I loved this book! For those of you that don’t know about this book, the author attempts and succeeds in cooking all of the recipes in Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in exactly one year and blogs about it.  Ms. Powell’s writing is sharp, poignant, funny, and sometimes a little profane, but she definitely gets her point across in a most entertaining way.  Her experiences with these difficult, detailed French recipes that included killing a lobster and boning a duck were hilarious!  She wrote that her bedroom white noise machine was really singing “lobster killer, lobster killer, lobster killer” all night long, but she gathered her strength and did what she had to do for the greater good.  Ok, maybe not the greater good, but definitely for her blog readers.

Tonight, I watched the movie that was made based on her book.  It was good…very good in fact.  It stars Meryl Streep as Julia Child (which was perfect casting) and Amy Adams as the author.  I really should know by now that I need to watch the movie first because there are always so many details that are left out.  If you are a “foodie”, you should definitely watch the movie and read the book, but be warned that they are not the same.  The movie focuses much more on Julia Child’s life than the book does.  I really enjoyed both, but the book was my favorite!

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Let Freedom Ring!

Happy Independence Day to all!

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