Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tim's Off to Texas

Tim is off to Texas soon and I just happen to have a list of places I would like him to try while he's there. And of course I also want him to pick up a little something for me!

Machacek Bakery (300 Grant Ave, Strawn, TX 76475). You might be wondering how on earth you pronounce that, right? Well think I'm a hot chick and just remove the "I" part. So it is M-a-hot-chick Bakery, which is famous for their Kolaches. Kolaches are little pillows of dough with a filling set in the middle, where a hole would be if they awere donuts. I have to say that the pecan ones are the one I am drooling over (Tim, make a note: bring me a dozen Pecan Kolaches, please!).

I am also interested in Cornucopia (1914 Guadalupe St. Suite B Austin Texas 78705), which is in Austin Texas. Recently I tried some popcorn at Costco (different company) and wow, what a revelation. I am hoping that Tim will be able to go here and pick up some yummy popcorn to bring home. One of their signature flavors is Dill Pickel, which I think I might just skip. I will have to try the Cheddar, because that is my favorite popcorn flavor of all time. And the Peanut Brittle sounds delicious, as well. I have made Peanut Butter & Chocolate popcorn and it was devine, so we might as well put that on the list too. In fact, I think I might just order a sample box of flavors and let Tim skip this one. Popcorn does take up a huge amount of room, and I'm afraid he'll eat it all before he gets home!

The last place in Texas is the one Tim will want to try the most, famous Black's BBQ (215 North Main Street, Lockhart, Texas 78644) in Lockhart, Texas. Black's is Texas' oldest, continuously run BBQ restaurant owned by the same family, and according to their site, they are also the best! It sounds as it they are famous for their homemade smoked, double sausage, among other things. But if I know my husband it will be the brisket, but I would want the sausage. Their sausage is not made with the scraps of things no one wants to eat, instead it is made with premium meats, just like the rest of their food. Let's go to Black's!

That is all I have for now, and I'll tell you why. I just started writing down all, the places I want to try, as seen on TV. I have been talking about compiling a list for years so that when we travel we know where we want to eat and things we want to try. So here is what I hope will be the first of many such posts. Keep coming back - we'll keep adding things to make it worth your while.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chocolate Cake with Ganache Icing

Chocolate Cake
This make a 9-inch layer cake

Preheat over to 350 and grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line pans with parchment and grease parchment.

Sift the following together into a large bowl:
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Add to the dry ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk*
2 extra large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
(At this point if you wish to make a mocha cake add 1 tablespoon espresso powder to boiling water, mix well)

Whisk everything together until well incorporated. Divide batter between pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife, toothpick or such comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan before removing. Cool completely before frosting with Ganache Icing

*if you don't have buttermilk (or don't want to go to the expensive of buying it just for this recipe) add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar OR lemon juice to 1 cup milk (minus 1 tablespoon) and let sit for 5 minutes before using.

Ganche Icing
This makes plenty for the cake, plus enough for a few cupcakes as well.

1 cup heavy cream
10 ounces semi sweet, dark or bitter-sweet chocolate, finely chopped**

Put cream in heavy pan (big enough for both the cream and the chocolate and some wiggle room) over medium heat until bubbles appear around edges. Take pan off heat, add chocolate; shake the pan to submerge the chocolate and leave it to melt for a few minutes. Using a whisk stir gently to mix the chocolate to a smooth cream. Do not beat the mixture or you'll get unwanted bubbles and you'll loose the pretty glossy sheen.

Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes on counter to thicken. You'll want to stir it a few times as the edges will thicken faster than the middle.

Using a wide spatula or icing knife, test the ganache by putting some in the center of the bottom layer of cake. It should fall in thick waves but not run off completely. Allow to set up before serving.

This cake is best at room temperature, but you can refrigerate it. The original recipe suggests sandwiching the cakes together with your favorite jam. I am a bit of a purist and just want chocolate, so  have omitted this step completely.

**For best results do not use chocolate chips. Fresh and Easy has some inexpensive but delicious chocolate. Remember the yummier the chocolate the yummier the icing!


From the cookbook "Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day" Cheating Chocolate Cake and Ganache.