Category Archives: sweet

Peaches and Cream Cheese Coffee Cake


After searching the net for a copy cat recipe of this lavish coffee cake, discovered at the café “Peaches” in North Conway, NH, a thought occurred to me, a memory actually. I had eaten this before, in fact I have even made this cake in my previous life (BC, “Before Children…”) My roommate in college gave me this recipe after she successfully served it to her three starving roomies. I did tweak the recipe a bit so that it lined up more with what I sampled at “Peaches”. The result was perfect. I accomplished a coup d’etat of their famous, guarded recipe. Or maybe I am not so clever and the recipe has been lurking in housewives’ recipe boxes for generations as it had mine for the last eighteen years. Que sera sera!
The recipe…
Grease the bottom of a 9″ square baking pan
3/4 cup flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3 1/4 oz box vanilla non instant pudding
3 T. butter
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/8 t. anise extract
Combine in a large mixing bowl and beat for two minutes at medium speed and pour into prepared pan. Drain a can of peach halves (reserve the juice), you will need 5 halves sliced very thinly and placed evenly over the batter. In the same mixing bowl (no need to mess another), mix one 8 ounce brick of cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of the reserved juice, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Pour this over the peaches with in one inch of the edge of the pan. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and a little sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is still soft but a little bubbly. Eat warm and store in fridge and reheat as needed.

Hot Chocolypto

When I saw the teaser trailer to Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, I was captivated by the imagery and sound. I knew two– no, three things– I wanted to see the movie, I wanted to make a cooking show in the style of that trailer, and I knew right away the perfect recipe to go with it– Hot Chocolate.
I know, I know– Cocoa? Really?
Yes, really– with a little Central American twist– cayenne pepper. It makes the Cocoa’s warming effects seem to last longer, adds a nice dimension to the flavor, and gives it a nice kick.
So watch the vid, which only took about 10 minutes to video tape, but about 8 hours of working with the sounds to get the mimicry right.
Oh yeah, the recipe:
1 heaping teaspoon of cocoa
2 heaping teaspoons of sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup Milk
Get a container for shaking– you’re going to be making a chocolate slurry. What’s a slurry? You’ll see…
Add the cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, pepper, and 1/3 cup of milk to the container. Put a lid on the container and give it a good shaking for about 20 seconds. Congratulations, you now have a chocolate slurry.
Grab you favorite, microwavable mug and pour the slurry into it. Pour in the rest of the milk and give it a little stir.
Microwave until hot– timing depends on your microwave. In mine, about 1 minute and 20 seconds gets it there. Any longer and it could foam over– just keep an eye on it.

Save That Cake!

How to Save That Cake!
Saving cakes from overcooking or even burning isn’t too difficult. As in the video, sometimes it’s a simple matter of adding a little bit of liquid to the cake. In the show I use Raspberry Liquor, however there’s a whole slew of liquors or even other liquids you can use to juice the cake:
Banana Liquor
Cherry Liquor
Kahlua/Coffee Liquor
Bailey’s Irish Cream
Grand Marnier
Vanilla Liquor
Espresso
Sugar Water/Syrup
Flavored Syrups
If you’ve burnt the cake– cut off the burnt parts and see what other directions you can take with what’s left:
– Cut the remains into fun shapes and top with ice cream and hot fudge
– Layer it with pie filling or pudding
– Mix with pie filling and serve hot over ice cream
Just let your imagination take over– I mean you’ve burnt the cake, what else is there to lose?!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

It was at Pedals Cafe (Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica) where I first tasted the heaven that is Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. I knew right away that was a breakfast item that needed to find its way to my breakfast table back on the East Coast. They are creamy, rich, and a fresh spin on an old classic.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Dry Side Ingredients:
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Wet Side Ingredients:
1 1/4 Cup Ricotta Cheese
4 tsp Sugar
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup Milk
Juice of 1 Lemon
Zest of 1 Lemon
Combine dry-side ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine wet-side ingredients, then mix with the dry ingredients, being careful to not over-mix. Over-mixing means tough pancakes!
Heat non-stick electric skillet to about 350 degress. Or, a lightly-oiled, Old-school iron skillet can be warmed over medium heat. 😉
Ladle batter onto hot skillet. Cook pancakes until bubbles form on top, then flip and continue cooking until golden brown.
Keep warm on a plate or baking sheet in a 200° F oven until all pancakes are cooked. Serve with fresh berries and/or a dusting of powdered sugar if desired. Don’t forget the Maple Syrup!

Poppy Seed Dressing

Now that spinach is back on the shelves, may I suggest a good dressing to go with?
Poppy Seed Dressing:
2 Tbl Minced Onion
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Dry Mustard
1 tsp Salt
1/3 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tbl Poppy Seeds
In a mixing bowl add vinegar, onion, sugar, mustard, salt, poppy seeds, and vegetable oil. Whisk together or blend with a stick blender. Or just do it all in a blender– up to you.

Punched-up Corn Bread

Episode 3: Punched-up Corn Bread
It’s a great side for barbeque and chili, among others– or just as a treat by itself. Yes, I know you can make it from scratch– but the pre-mixed stuff isn’t too shabby– especially when you punch it up a couple of different ways.
Recipe 1: Peached-up Corn Bread
1 Box Instant corn bread mix
1 Egg, beatened
1 6-8 oz container Peach Yogurt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add box contents into a mixing bowl. Mix in the egg and the yogurt. Pour contents into a greased 9×9 baking dish. Bake for 20-21 minutes.
Recipe 2: Jalapeno Corn Bread
1 Box Instant corn bread mix
1 Egg, beatened
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
1/3 sour cream
1/3 milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add box contents into a mixing bowl. Mix in the egg, sour cream, milk, and peppers. Pour contents into a greased 9×9 baking dish. Bake for 19-20 minutes.

Caipirinhas

Caipirinha– “Kai-pih-reen-yah.” It’s a mouthfull– fortunately a very good mouthfull. This Brazillian beverage is a nice, simple, summer cocktail to enjoy on the remaining days of summer.
The recipe:
1/2 Lime, cut into chunks.
2-3 tsp sugar
1 oz. of Cachaca (Kah-sha-sah)– if you can’t get cachaca, use vodka.
Sparkling water.
Crush the limes (skins and all) and sugar together in a tumbler. Add the shot of cachaca. Add ice. Top with sparkling water. Give it a little stir.
And please– Drink responsibly.