Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rum Cream Cake and a Yummy Giveaway!

I have been dying to make a rum cake for a long time now. Seeing that there is a lot to them, it's been kind of on hold. But when Foodbuzz contacted me through their Tastemaker Program, letting me know they were sending me some free Duncan Hines and Comstock products my way, I knew it was time to get the creative juices flowing again!

There is a lot to a Rum Cake. There are typically four layers of rum-soaked vanilla cake and then a vanilla custard, chocolate custard, and strawberries in between the layers! Not to mention it's wrapped in a wonderful mascarpone whipped cream! So a boxed cake mix and already made strawberry filling saves you loads of time!

My Rum Cake only has 3 layers of rum-soaked cake. I was so excited to create such a beautiful cake that I didn't plan ahead I made only 3 layers of cake. I should have made 4 to accommodate my 3 yummy layers. So it is hard to see my vanilla custard but believe me it is there!

I am also excited to let you know that Foodbuzz gave me extra Duncan Hines giveaways for my readers!!!! So all I ask is that you "like" me on facebook or "follow" me here (or both) and leave me a comment saying you've done so and what you would make with free Duncan Hines products! Please leave me a separate comment if you do both so I can count you're entry twice! Giveaway ends on Saturday, Dec. 2.

Rum Cream Cake
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
serves 8
1 box Duncan Hines french vanilla cake mix (plus ingredients on the back of the box)
1 cup Comstock strawberry filling, pureed (or use fresh strawberries)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup rum
Whipped Cream
2 8oz containers of mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
Chocolate Custard
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup corn starch
2 egg yolks
1/8 cup coffee liqueur (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 oz semi sweet bakers chocolate (chopped)
Vanilla Custard
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup cornstarch
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Bake your cake mix in two 9-inch cake pans. Once cool, with a serrated knife, slice cakes in half to form two more layers. Place the layers on parchment paper lined baking sheets and drizzle each layer with Rum. Place in the fridge until you're ready to assemble the cake.

Next make the custards. I made mine in 2 batches. For the chocolate custard, scald the milk over medium heat. In the meantime, mix together the sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Add in the yolks, vanilla, and liqueur. Once the milk is heated, add in half the milk to the mixture, stir, and then add your mixture back to the pot on the stove with the rest of the milk and whisk constantly until it comes to a boil and thickens. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Transfer to a small dish and set aside to cool for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn't form. Cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the pudding and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Make the vanilla pudding the same way omitting the liqueur and chocolate.

For the whipped cream, add all ingredients to a chilled bowl and mix with beaters until stiff peaks form.

To assemble the cake, spread the chocolate custard over the first layer. Then spread out your pureed strawberry filling over the second layer, and lastly spread out the vanilla custard on the third layer. Cover with last rum cake layer and cover the entire cake with the whipped cream. Garish with chopped walnuts and refrigerate until ready to serve!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

I had so much fun last week bringing you a wonderful collection of stuffing recipes! And hopefully they have inspired you for Thanksgiving! Since I will not be making Thanksgiving dinner this year, I thought I could present some amazing pie recipes I love from some of my favorite blogs!

There are some real beauties here let me tell you! It will be hard choosing which one to bring to Thanksgiving! Personally I feel you should just make all of them! Seriously! Make them all! Thanksgiving only comes around once a year!

These little individual creme pies are absolutely adorable! I love how they are topped with chocolate whipped cream and toasted coconut!

2. Caramel Pumpkin Pie from Epicurean Mom
It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie! This recipe is made with fresh pumpkin that Katie roasted the night before annnd with wonderful salted caramel baked right in the pie batter! And her little border of leaves is the cutest!

3. Mudslide Pie from eat.drink.and be merry.
When I saw this recipe in the latest Food Network Magazine I couldn't wait to make it! Chocolate Cream Pie is a staple at our Thanksgiving table and this one is enhanced with Kahlua and Bailey's!

4. The Best Pecan Pie from Simply Scratch
Laurie is always posting something truly amazing and this recipe is a keeper! Her step by step photos will guide you through the process of making this pie from scratch so there is no excuse not to make this! :)

5. Cinnamon Chai Cream Pie with Hazelnut Crust from Sprinkled with Flour
Nothing reminds me more of fall then a warm chai latte! This pie consists of a homemade cinnamon pudding and chai whipped cream that all sits upon a hazelnut crust! oh my!

6. Chocolate Ricotta Pie from Food Snots
A filling made with ricotta, almonds, and chocolate chips! This pie will have you planning your next trip to Italy!

7. Mini Mud Pies from Yummy Mummy
These little miniature drops of heaven will have you saying goodbye to your diet for one day! (don't we anyways!) Marina's beautiful and touching post will also have us all thinking about what we are truly thankful for.

8. Apple Almond Galette from A Farmgirl's Dabbles
This recipe is a wonderful rustic variation to a traditional apple pie! And it's topped with a toffee almond drizzle! I'm serious! Check this one out!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mudslide Pie

Ok we have all seen it! Yes I am talking about the 50 Pies Booklet in the latest Food Network Magazine!      It's like Christmas came early!

There are so many wonderful varieties of the traditional Pumpkin, Pecan, Apple, and Chocolate Pies! Because Chocolate Cream Pie is such a favorite at Thanksgiving, I gravitated to this section first. And let me tell you it was hard to decide which one to make with choices like Chocolate Pretzel, Mochaccino, and White-Chocolate Rum! (to only name a few!)

I started with Mudslide and it was...insane! The chocolate-Kahlua pudding mixture was so incredible I'm surprised it even made it into the pie! You could just devour it warm right then and there! But don't! because then you won't be able to enjoy it with the cookie crumbs and bailey's whipped cream. Unless you just dump in the crumbs and top it with the cream! (seriously I am out of control with this pie!)

Mudslide Pie
recipe from Food Network Magazine Nov 2011
photo by Sabrina for eat.drink.and be merry.
makes 1 9-inch pie
Chocolate Crumb Crust
14 chocolate graham crackers
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
Chocolate Custard
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup coffee liqueur (I used Hazelnut Kahlua)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
Bailey's Whipped Cream
1 pint whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Bailey's (or any other Irish Cream Liqueur)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Pulse graham crackers with sugar in a food processor. Add in melted butter and the pulse a few times until moist. Press into a 9 inch pie plate and bake until firm, about 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool before adding the custard.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add in milk to heat making sure not to bring to a boil. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch,  and salt. Then whisk in the egg yolks, Kahlua, and vanilla. Whisk in half the hot milk mixture and mix until smooth. Then add in the egg and milk mixture to the remaining milk in the saucepan on the stove. Continue to whisk constantly over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens (about 5 minutes).

Remove from heat and whisk in the chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Transfer to a bowl so it can cool a little. Make sure to stir it periodically to prevent a skin from forming.

Once crust and custard is slightly cool, pour filling evenly into the crust. Press plastic wrap directly on top of pudding and transfer to the fridge. Let set for at least 4 hours.

To make the whipped cream, pour in the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla and whipped with electric beaters until stiff peaks form. Fold in bailey's. Spread over set pie and enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pistachio-Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

 Yes! There is a lot going on here! and it's amazing! This cake is LOADED with all kinds of flavors and textures and somehow it all works! I wanted to enhance the traditional carrot cake recipe I had so I added some tropical ingredients like pineapple and coconut and then substituted pistachios for walnuts. I actually bought salted pistachios by mistake but it ended up working really well! I then added maple syrup and a little bit of cinnamon to my cream cheese frosting recipe!

I have been waiting all year to make a carrot cake from scratch. Carrot cake is my Dad's favorite so last month I had the opportunity to make this for his birthday. I wish I was able to snap a photo of a slice of this cake because then you would be able to see the the beautiful three layers but unfortunately we did't get around to cutting this until 8:00pm and the natural light was long gone by then, and so was the cake.

Pistachio-Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
serves 8 to 10
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 sticks butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup crushed pineapple with juices
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pistachios(use an additional 1/2 cup whole pistachios for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease three 8-inch cake pans with butter and then flour them.

Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and set aside.

In a separate larger bowl, beat the butter with sugars until fluffy and then add the eggs in one at a time. Add in the 1/2 of the flour mixture and beat well. Add in the buttermilk and beat well scrapping down the sides of the pan. Add in the remaining flour mixture and beat until well blended. (try not to overbeat) 

Stir in the crushed pineapple, carrots, coconut, and pistachios. Divide evenly among the 3 baking pans and bake for about 30 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure cake is cooked through.Set aside and cool completely before frosting. I usually make the cakes a day ahead and freeze them so they are easier to frost.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup

Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Add in the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup. Beat until well blended.

For the garnish: I pulse 1/4 cup of pistachios in a food processor and used them to dust the sides and top of the cake. I used an additional 1/4 cup of whole pistachios to make a border along the bottom of the cake.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stuffing Recipes for Thanksgiving

One thing I am thankful for is that I don't have to cook thanksgiving dinner! Although I LOVE to entertain, the whole idea of preparing the biggest meal of the year is terrifying to me! Failure is just out of the question! People wait all year for this - you can't let them down! I may work up enough courage to practice this year, but you won't be able to see how I do until after.

So in the meantime, I came up with this collection of Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipes from some of my favorite blogs! Stuffing is my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner (if I had to choose just one!) My favorite is actually my mom's meat stuffing, but I will post that later on this month so stay tuned, it's a good one! 

Here are a few bread stuffing recipes. Some are more traditional and some have fun ingredients like bacon, ginger, mushrooms, and goat cheese (we know how much I love goat cheese!) There is also a figure-friendly option and a vegan one!


Made with whole wheat bread and lots of Crimini mushrooms, this recipe is packed with flavor and texture, and won't have you worrying about having seconds! 

The classic stuffing recipe that we all love! I love how there are pine nuts in this one!

I love the additions of wild rice and tangy goat cheese in a traditional bread stuffing. This one's a keeper     for sure!

Loaded with apples, pine nuts, shiitake mushrooms, cranberries and seasoned with ginger and fresh basil! Just look at those cranberries!!

This is a combination I just have to try! Love the salty feta with the sweet pears and smoky bacon!

Center: Apple Cranberry Stuffing from Stonewall Kitchen Blog
This stuffing is made with a whole jar of their Apple Cranberry Chutney. They also have create a whole meal based on this jar of yummy goodness!

For those like Lauren who don't care for bread stuffing, check out her cornbread version! and while you're over there make sure you enter her giveaway for $200 in Calphalon products!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Smoky Winter Squash Risotto

I'm so excited to share this recipe with you!

I made this I wanna say a month ago at least! And have made it twice since then! That's how good this was!    I served it along side pork tenderloin the first time, and grilled steak tips the second time! 

The applewood smoked cheddar cheese is definitely the star of the show, and I'll tell you in advance a little goes a long way!!  So try not to get tempted to put a ton in! It's hard because it's soooo yummy! Instead   save it for next time, because you'll wanna make this again!

Smoky Winter Squash Risotto
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
serves 4 to 5
1 cup arborio rice
14 oz chicken stock
3 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 acorn squash, seeds removed, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 cups baby spinach
1/3 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
salt & pepper
olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a sheet pan with non-stick spray. Spread out acorn squash and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 40 minutes or until fork tender.

In the meantime,  melt the butter over medium heat and cook onion until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Place chicken stock in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium low. Add in the rice and cook, stirring until fully coated, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Add in the wine and stir until the liquid is absorbed.

Ladle in 1 cup warm broth and cook; stirring occasionally, until almost completely absorbed, about 4 to 5 minutes. Continue to add broth 1 cup at a time, stirring occasionally and allowing liquid to be almost absorbed before adding more, until the rice is al dente and mixture is creamy, about 30 minutes total. Remove from heat and add in the cheddar and fold in. Then add in the spinach. 

At this point your squash should be nice and roasted! Add in to the risotto and carefully stir!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup

 I know you're probably calling me a big fat hypocrite right now based on my rant about broth-y soups! Yes-I typically hate them. But when they have bites of yummy Italian Sausage and cheese tortellini's then I start singing a different tune!

I got the idea to make this soup from my brother's girlfriend. We both have been dying to make soup and with the winter storm headed our way, she thought it would be great to be snowed in with this soup!  Unfortunately plans didn't work out that way but I was able to make it a couple days later.

I do suggest that if you plan to be snowed in anytime within the next couple of months, make sure you have the ingredients for this soup a head of time!

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
serves 6-8
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
1 12oz  package Italian Chicken Sausage ( I used al fresco -any kind will do, it doesn' t have to be chicken)
1 14oz can Stewed Tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato paste
32 oz beef stock
2 cups of water
1 packet french onion dip mix ( I used Simply Organic)
2 cups chopped kale
14 oz can red kidney beans, drained
1 package (9 oz) fresh cheese and garlic tortellinis
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings

In a large stock pot melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir. Slice chicken sausage the long way and slice to form little half-circles. Add sausage to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add in the beef stock, 2 cups of water, kidney beans, and the french onion dip mix. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and add in the kale and tortellini. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Harvest Pizza

 I am so excited to share this with you! 1. Because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE,  pizza! and 2. Because I LOOOOVE the fall and it's yummy flavors! 

This pizza soared above my expectations! I love the sweetness of the roasted butternut squash and candied bacon, with the tangy ricotta and goat cheese spread and the crispy kale. It was also amazingly simple and fast because I used naan bread as my crust ( a great tip I got from my mom) but you are welcome to use a homemade version. I think this would be great on a whole wheat crust too!  

Harvest Pizza
recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
serves 2-4, makes 2 individual size pizzas
1 package naan bread (2 breads in 1 package)
2 cups butternut squash, cubed
1/2 of a medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cup chopped kale
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cups crumbled goat cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 strips bacon

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Arrange butternut squash and sliced onion on sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, and salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes or until the squash is fork tender and onions are caramelized.

Mix the 2 tablespoons maple syrup with brown sugar. Lay strips of bacon on greased sheet pan and drizzle with sugar-syrup mixture. Bake alongside vegetable pan  for 10 minutes or until crispy.

Mix ricotta cheese with goat cheese, nutmeg, and sage. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place naan breads on a large sheet pan and spread cheese mixture evenly between the two breads. Add chopped kale.

Remove bacon strips from the pan and set aside to cool. Break up strips into crumbles. Place roasted squash and onions on top of kale. Drizzle pizzas with olive oil, making sure to lightly hit the kale so it doesn't burn too much. Top with bacon crumbles and bake at 350 degrees for  10 minutes.


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