Almond Cake

From the first time I tried a bite of this cake, I was sold.  It has such a unique flavor and crunch, you won’t forget it.  I bought sliced almonds from Menards, of all places and they were great and cheap.  I reduced the sugar to 1 cup and didn’t notice.  I traced the outside of the flipped over pan on parchment paper, and then cut the inside of that line, for a smaller circle that would fit in the pan.  You could also use pecans.  A+!
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups sliced almonds, toasted (divided)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 large eggs (as with most baking, room temp)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, plus about 3 T. on the side
  • 1 T. grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. almond extract (don’t substitute)
  • 5 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 300°.  Grease a 9″ round cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, blend together 1 3/4 cups almonds, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Pulse it together until the almonds are finely ground.  Pour mixture into a mixing bowl.
  3. In the same food processor bowl, combine eggs, 1 1/4 cups sugar, lemon zest, and almond extract until the mixture is pale yellow.
  4. Pour in the melted butter and oil, while the food processor is running.  Pour this mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture.  Stir until combined and pour into the prepared pan.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup almonds and sugar. (*I used Turbinado sugar for the top of the cake for that added crunch, it was great!) Sprinkle this on top of the batter. 
  6. Place cake in oven and bake for one hour. 
  7. The top will bounce back and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.  Let it cool for a few minutes in the pan, then turn it out onto a cooling rack. 
  8. (Turn cake onto plate, peel off parchment paper, then place on rack, almond side up.  Let cool. 

Out-Of-This-World Cheese Bread

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This is simply put, an amazing cheese bread.  I highly recommend it in every way!  **During the rising process, I tried something new that worked.  I set the oven to 200 and let it preheat.  When the bread was ready to rise, I turned off the oven and put the bread in.  It worked very well, sped up the time, and didn’t harm the bread!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 T. butter (I used unsalted)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine the yeast and milk, stir, and leave for 15 mins. to dissolve.
  2. Melt the butter, let cool, and add to the yeast mixture.
  3. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture.
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir from the center, incorporating flour with each turn, to obtain a rough dough.  (I DID THIS STEP IN MY STAND MIXER.)  If the dough seems too dry, add 2-3 T. water.
  5. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  6. Return to the bowl, cover, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, 2-3 hours.  **I think it took me 1-1.5 hours with my oven trick.
  7. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan.  Punch down dough to release trapped air with your fist.  Knead in the cheese, distributing it as evenly as possible.
  8. Twist the dough, form into a loaf shape, and place in pan, tucking the ends under. Leave in a warm place until the dough rises above the rim of the pan.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Bake for 15 mins, then lower the heat to 375° and bake until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 mins. more.
  10. Cool on rack.

 

Authentic German Potato Salad

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I subscribe to All Recipes magazine, which I highly suggest!  I found this German potato salad recipe and even though I’ve tried one before, I wanted to try a new one.  This one was the best!  It’s a great way to offer a potato salad if someone you know is allergic to eggs, or if you just want a different flavor!  Some people suggest doubling the bacon, which I think is a good idea.  I used red potatoes and it was tasty.  I omitted the onion and used onion powder and it was just fine.  Some people said that 3 T. sugar was too much, so I just added 1 teaspoon.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups peeled, diced potatoes (1 1/4 lbs) – use waxy potatoes
  • 4 or more slices bacon
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 T. water
  • 3 T. sugar (The magazine says start with a few teaspoons and taste it before adding more).
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh parsley

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put potatoes in pot, and fill with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with fork.
  2. Drain potatoes, set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, fry bacon in a large deep skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp.  Remove bacon and set aside to drain, reserving drippings in skillet. (I partially removed some of the fat, and left the rest at this point).
  4. Cook onion in bacon drippings over medium heat until browned.
  5. Add vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then add potatoes and parsley.
  6. Crumble in half of the bacon.
  7. Heat through, then transfer to a serving dish.  Crumble remaining bacon over the top and serve warm.

Paltrow’s Japanese Chicken Meatballs

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We felt like something different and more lean.  These meatballs by Gwyneth Paltrow fit the bill.  The maple syrup is a unique touch.  I had to omit the raw garlic but it was great anyway, even without the sauce!  Makes 2 dozen protein-packed meatballs.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound ground chicken (preferably dark meat)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, very finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons good-quality maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (like canola, grapeseed, or safflower oil)
  • Lee’s Hoisin Sauce for serving  (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Thoroughly mix the chicken with the salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and maple syrup.
  2. Roll the mixture into golf ball–sized meatballs.
  3. Grill, roast, broil, or pan-fry the meatballs until they’re cooked through and serve with optional Lee’s Hoisin Sauce.