Guinness Cake

Guinness Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup Guinness or other stout beer
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the meringue:

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Put the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water). Stir until the chocolate melts, then remove the bowl from the pan.

Put the eggs, turbinado sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowl over the same pan of simmering water and whisk until the mixture is warm, about 2 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer; beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the beer and vanilla to a low boil in a saucepan. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the beer mixture, then the melted chocolate, until combined, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the butter until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs, about 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack 1 hour, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the ring. Let cool completely.

Make the meringue: Microwave the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring, until the chocolate melts.

Whisk the granulated sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and 1/3 cup water in a heat proof bowl. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; beat with a handheld mixer on low speed, then gradually increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan; continue beating until the meringue is cool and fluffy. Fold in the vanilla, then fold in the melted chocolate until swirled. Spread the meringue on the cake.

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Balsamic Onion Marmalade

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I use grapeseed or sunflower oil)
4 large onions, thinly sliced pole-to-pole (about 8 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it slides easily across pan. Add onions, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until onions are soft.

2. Add sugar and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until onions appear dry.

3. Add vinegar and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until onions are soft and dry. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store marmalade in refrigerator. It will keep for several weeks. Makes about 2 cups.

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Home-made Mayonnaise

Ingredients:

* 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
* 1/4 tsp sea salt
* 2 eggs
* 2 cups neutral tasting oil (I use grape seed oil; sunflower oil works well too. You can use olive oil, but the mayonnaise will have a strong flavor, which I do not mind.)
* 2 T. lemon juice or white wine vinegar

Preparation:

Put all ingredients except for the oil in a food processor and keep it running. Pour the oil into the feed tube insert if you have the kind with a tiny hole in the bottom, otherwise take a paper or foam cup, put a small hole in the bottom and put it into the feed tube. Fill the tube or cup with oil and allow it to stream slowly into the food processor. Continue to fill the tube or cup again until all the oil has been used.

For my mayonnaise I added 4 cloves of soft, roasted garlic and 3 chipotle peppers in adobo. You can add other flavorings as desired.

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Classic Sandwich Bread

2 to 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole, your choice)
1/2 to 2/3 cup hot water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted butter plus more for brushing surface
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water OR 2 teaspoons instant yeast

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Add enough of the white flour to make a dough that cleans the side of the bowl. Dough will be soft. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer with a dough hook. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it’s domed about 1″ above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s light golden brown. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or by measuring its interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf). Remove the bread from the oven, brush the top of the warm loaf with butter and cool it on a wire rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature. Yield: 1 loaf.

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Tender Tasty Cornbread

* 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for baking dish
* 1 cup cornmeal
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425º F. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish or an 8-inch cast iron skillet.

In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk and butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold together until there are no dry spots (the batter will still be lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake until the top is golden brown and tester inserted into the middle of the corn bread comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cornbread from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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Jook (Rice Congee Soup)

Ingredients:

9 cups water
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
2 teaspoons salt
1 fresh turkey wing, or a couple of chicken pieces or a chicken carcass
1 (1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger
Julienne-cut peeled fresh ginger (optional)
Chopped green onions (optional)
Fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)
Soy sauce

Preparation:

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large Dutch oven, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 1 1/2 hours or until soup has a creamy consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; keep warm.

2. Discard ginger piece. Remove turkey or chicken from soup; place on a cutting board or work surface. Cool 10 minutes. Remove skin; discard. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Chop meat into bite-sized pieces, and stir meat into soup. garnish with julienne-cut ginger, and soy sauce. Can also garnish with green onions and parsley,if desired.

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Strawberry Gelato

1 cup superfine granulated sugar
3/4 cup bottled or filtered water
1 pound strawberries (about 1 pint)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 lightly beaten egg white
You can substitute 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream for the egg white, but it’s not as authentic.

In a small heavy saucepan heat sugar and water over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cool syrup.

Trim strawberries and purée in a food processor until smooth. Transfer purée to a bowl, and stir in syrup and lemon juice. Chill strawberry mixture until cold, up to 1 day.

Stir in egg white and freeze in an ice-cream maker. Serve gelato immediately or transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, no more than 3 hours.

Makes about 1 quart.

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