Every Thanksgiving and Christmas season our church hosts an event for ladies to help orient our minds to the true meaning of the holidays, rightly called Holidays Fit for the King. Today, I was honored to lead a seminar on cooking for a crowd and I told the ladies in my seminar that I would post links to the products I talked about this morning, so here they are! Thank you all for allowing me to chat with you today and thank you for being such an interactive group!
Food Network Recipes
Dinner for a crowd using spreadsheets A great resource to organize your thoughts digitally, rather than using a notebook.
Temperature Rules! A graphic for quick reference of proper cooking temperatures.
Prepare the perfect ham A breakdown of different hams, as well as tips for a successful ham.
Turkey recipe Alton Brown’s recipe that I’ve successfully used in the past.
Great tools to use in the kitchen
Ziplock bags – Use for more than just storage. Remember, you can also use them to protect printed recipes, phones or tablets that you might be using in the kitchen.
Kitchen timer app
Kitchen timer/leave in thermometer
Instant read thermometer
Silicone basting brush
Small prep bowls
Recently, I joined a meal exchange group with a few ladies from the area. I had thought on and off about starting a group in the past, but never got around to it in the craziness of life. When a friend sent out a message seeing who would be interested in being a part of a group, I got super excited and responded right away! If you don’t know what a meal exchange group is, here is an explanation of the basics. One thing that the ladies in my group are doing is posting links to their recipes in a shared document, the only slight problem I ran into when thinking of what recipe I was going to make,is the fact that a lot of my everyday recipes aren’t written down or in web format…I know, it’s a bad habit that I’ve slipped into, and one that has gotten way worse since I stopped working in the industry. So here is the first meal I’m going to make for the month of August, I’m sure there will be more posted in the coming months, so be on the lookout![amd-zlrecipe-recipe:1]
One of the desserts I made for Easter was a flourless chocolate cake. The idea for this cake came when I asked my friends at Savory Spice Shop if they could get in raw cacao nips, boy did they ever deliver. I had little idea what I wanted to do with the nips, other that just snack on them, but I figured I better use them in some kind of recipe. I started racking my brains of what I could make, and thought back to my time at Johnson and Wales. I had made a few flourless chocolate cakes while in school, but somehow most of my recipes that I worked on are MIA. After searching high and low in the black hole known as our garage, I went to work trying to create one from what I remembered, while adding some new touches. Here is what I ended up with, and while it still needs tweaking, it turned out pretty good for this non baking and pastry culinary girl.
Flourless Black Onyx Chocolate Cake
Author: LaBranda Maners
- Preheat oven to 300℉
- Prepare 10" springform pan by buttering with 2 tbs. softened butter until there is a thin coating on all of the interior. Continue by dusting with the black onyx cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. This process will help to prevent sticking and will also give an extra dose of chocolatey goodness.
- In a double broiler, add and heat the chocolate, butter, salt, and vanilla until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat and set aside.
- Whisk egg yolks with sugar until mixture is a thicker pale yellow (ribbon stage). Once the ribbon stage has been achieved fold chocolate into egg yolk mixture.
- In a separate bowl use an electric mixer to whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture until combined.
- Pour into cocoa dusted springform pan, top with cacao nips and bake until center is just set, about 35-40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool on a rack. You can either remove the ring and slice while it is still slightly warm, or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.
When I made this for the first time, I slightly over baked it, baking for 45 minutes. I believe that this led to a drier end product than I was looking for. If you find that reducing the time to 35-40 minutes still produces a drier product, I recommend baking the cake in a water bath to help keep some of the moisture.
We had Easter at our house this year, which was really fun! I always enjoy spending Easter here in Raleigh because we’re able to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior with our local family of faith with whom we worship with the rest of the year. I even did something I haven’t done in quite a few years-sunrise service! Okay, so…maybe it was more like a little past sunrise because I was running late, but I did see the sunrise on my way there ;-).We were blessed to have my parents and this newlywed couple join us for Easter dinner-I love how they have become not only close friends, but family over the past couple of years.
Speaking of Easter dinner, lets get to some food photos!
Our main meal consisted of:
- deviled eggs (with bacon)
- pimento cheese pinwheels
- broccoli & cheese casserole
- sweet potato casserole
- couscous salad
Unwilling to spend $60-$80 on a ham from Honey Baked Ham, I tried my hand at a copycat recipe and it turned out wonderful! If I had it to do over again I would have added more sugar mixture to create a thicker crunchy crust, but the flavors were spot on. I mean hello, how can it not be good, there was a blow torch involved! Then there were THE DESSERTS! Now when I say desserts, I don’t mean any kind of desserts. I’m talking about the oh so good, slap your momma, you really should work out for the next week kind of desserts.
Jason and I created the lemon dessert (pictured on the right) that started out as a Paula Deen White Chocolate Lemon Trifle but ended up being a single-serving, delicious goodness, using lemon cookies instead of pound cake and some other creative substituions. Thanks for the inspiration Paula Deen (this is where the whole “you really should work out for the next week” part comes in).
Lastly, we had a flourless chocolate cake. The idea for this cake came when I asked my friends at Savory Spice Shop if they could get in raw cacao nips, boy did they ever deliver. I had little idea what I wanted to do with the nips, other that just snack on them, but I figured I better use them in some kind of recipe. I started racking my brains of what I could make, and thought back to my time at Johnson and Wales. I had made a few flourless chocolate cakes while in school, but somehow most of my recipes that I worked on are MIA. After searching high and low in the black hole known as our garage, I went to work trying to create one from what I remembered, while adding some new touches. I’ll be posting the recipe shortly after this post!
So here are the photos that I said I was going to post last month, opps. We had such a great time at the park and I foresee many other trips this Fall!