Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chocoberry Torte

Two weeks ago we had my dad and his girlfriend over for Sunday dinner.  Mary, his girlfriend, really enjoys chocolate so I thought this would be a good fit for dessert.  

This was VERY easy to make and assemble and really was quite delicious.  
Chocoberry Torte

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  chocolate syrup; optional

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two-8 inch cake pans; set aside.

2.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla; beat with a spoon or wire whisk until batter is smooth. Divide evenly into prepared pans.

3.  Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and place on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes.

4.  Remove from pans and cool completely. Place one layer on serving plate; spoon 1 cup non-dairy whipped topping onto cake layer; top with half of the halved strawberries then add the second layer. Top the cake with the remaining whipped topping and just before serving, arrange remaining halved strawberries, well drained, on top of torte. Feel free to drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

French Onion Soup

In our house, one of our favorite soups is French Onion Soup.  I was always intimidated by not only the caramelizing of the onions but also the length of time it took to make.  Recently, while in the northwoods, the soup was on the menu.  I started it in the morning and let it go all day.  This makes 8 servings.
This had to have been the best French onion soup I have had and I think it was because it was made slowly all day long.  If you are making this mid-week, my suggestion is to caramelize the onions first the night before and then put the soup together in the slow-cooker all day.

French Onion Soup

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
6 large sweet onions, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
1 whole garlic bulb
1/4 cup red wine or beef broth
6 cups beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
Dash cayenne pepper
Pepper, to taste
8 slices French bred (1-inch thick)
1 round (8 ounce) Brie cheese, softened
6 thin slices prosciutto or deli ham, chopped
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

1.  In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with 1/4 cup oil; add onions.  Cook, without stirring, for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to low.  Cook 45 minutes more or until onions are golden, stirring occasionally.

2.  Meanwhile, remove paper outer skin from garlic (do not peel or separate cloves).  Cut top off garlic bulb; brush with remaining oil.  Wrap in heavy-duty foil.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until softened.  Cool for 10-15 minutes.  Squeeze softened garlic into a small bowl; mash and set aside.

3.  Add wine to the onion mixture; cook until reduced by half.  Stir in the broth, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, cayenne and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 1-2 hours and then uncover for 30 minutes.

4.  Place bread slices on a baking sheet.  Bake at 425 degrees for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.  Spread each slice with Brie and mashed garlic; sprinkle with prosciutto or ham

5.  Discard bay leaf from soup; ladle 1 cup each into eight oven-proof bowls.  Top with one slice of toast; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Place bowls on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scrambled Egg-Parmesan Soft Crust Pizza

This dish is easy to fix and can be used as a breakfast or brunch item.  We had this over the weekend and there was very little left after the two of us were done.  Depending on what will accompany this pizza, you should yield 4-6 servings.

Scrambled Egg-Parmesan Soft Crust Pizza
4 slices bacon
1 tube refrigerated breadsticks
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 envelope hollandaise sauce
8 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
2 cups shredded pizza cheese blend (8 ounce)
1 small tomato; sliced thinly

1. In a 10-inch skillet, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon from skillet; drain on paper towels.  Crumble bacon; set aside.  Drain all but 2 teaspoons drippings from skillet.  Set skillet aside.

2.  Prepare hollandaise sauce as directed on the package.  Set aside and keep warm.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Unroll dough; separate into 10 breadsticks.  Starting in center of ungreased pizza pan or large cookie sheet, shape 1 breadstick into a coil.  Add breadsticks, pinching ends firmly to seal until all are used.  Press dough to form 12-inch round.  Sprinkle with garlic powder.

3.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper with wire whisk until well blended.  Add drippings in skillet; cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until set but still moist.  Stir in 1 cup of the cheese.  Remove from heat.  Let stand 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

4.  Remove partially baked crust from the oven.  Spread hollandaise sauce over the crust.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese evenly over the crust.  Top with eggs, crumbled bacon, and remaining 1/2 cup cheese.  Arrange tomato slices over the top of pizza.

5.  Bake 5 to 7 minutes longer or until pizza is thoroughly heated and cheese is melted.