Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recipe: Tastes like Iowa - Cashew Bacon Brittle

Chocolate Covered Bacon made its debut at the Iowa State Fair a couple of years ago and one can't help but be tempted by the salty and sweet combination. Instead of coming up with something chocolaty though, I tried this dessert. A sliver of this Cashew Bacon Brittle would be the perfect partner to some Sweet Corn Ice Cream.

Makes about 1 pound
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) cashew pieces
1/3 to 1/2 cup cooked bacon bits (6 to 8 ounces uncooked bacon)

Grease or butter a large nonstick baking sheet.
In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a boil. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, increase the heat to high, and cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 290 degrees. Immediately remove from the heat.
Stir in the butter, vanilla, baking soda, cashews and bacon bits. Watch out, the mixture will foam. When the foam subsides, pour the hot mixture onto the prepared baking sheet as thinly as possible. Do not use a spatula.
Cool at least 10 minutes before breaking into pieces. Store in a covered container.

Recipe:Tastes Like Summer in Iowa - Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Sweet Corn Ice Cream
 Inspired by a recipe I saw on KCCI the other evening, this creamy concoction was born. Nothing says Iowa quite like corn and what a perfect way to enjoy the summer's sweetest Iowa corn. 

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

2 to 3 ears fresh sweet corn
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup evaporated milk
A scant 1/2  to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoon orange liqueur
 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1.   Set up a double boiler.   Set up a 4-quart saucepan, filled halfway with water, into which you can nestle a 3-quart stainless steel bowl.  Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat while you're preparing the custard base.
2.   Cook the base.   Husk the corn and pull off all the silk.  Cut the kernels from the ears and measure 2 cups.  Scoop into a blender and add the half-and-half.  Blend until smooth.  In the 3-quart stainless steel bowl, stir together the egg yolks and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the corn mixture and whisk to combine thoroughly. Reduce the temperature under the pot of boiling water to maintain a gentle simmer.  Set the bowl of custard base over the simmering water and whisk frequently, until the mixture thickens noticeably, about 20 minutes.  The custard is sufficiently cooked when it reaches 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  (You can also test it by dipping a wooden spoon into the custard, then running your finger through the custard:  if the line holds clearly, the custard has thickened sufficiently.)  Pour the base through a medium-mesh strainer into another bowl (preferably stainless steel for quick cooling).
3.   Cool the base.    Fill a large bowl halfway with ice. Nestle the custard into the ice and whisk regularly until completely cool.  Refrigerate if not using immediately.  
4.   Finish the base, freeze the ice cream.  Stir the heavy cream, evaporated milk, cinnamon, orange liqueur and lime juice into the base.  Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer's directions. Scrape into a freezer container and freeze for several hours to firm.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: The Power of the Prophetic Blessing: An Astonishing Revelation for a New Generation by John Hagee

Pastor John Hagee's newest book is The Power of the Prophetic Blessing: An Astonishing Revelation for a New Generation. The cornerstone of Hagee's new book is that true peace and wealth come not from Donald Trump or the lottery, but from God, and God can bless man, as well as man can bless God. "When God blesses man, it is to bestow good health, abundant success, and prosperity, both materially and spiritually. When man blesses God, it is presented in the forms of thanksgiving, reverence, obedience, praise, and worship. When a man blesses his fellow believer, he recites the Priestly Blessing of Numbers 6:22-27 and then proclaims the Holy Spirit-inspired Prophetic Blessing." Hagee declares, "When God Almighty, King of the universe, places His blessing upon you, no person on Earth can take it from you, and no power in the universe can eliminate it from your life!"

Although my husband watch John Hagee's sermons on television frequently, this is my first time to review one of his books. I am blessed with the opportunity to do so and I was not disappointed. This book is an excellent read. John Hagee writes with a fluid style, each concept flowing clearly and cleanly into the next making The Power of the Prophetic Blessing easy to read. The book is full of well-researched material it is beautifully composed with his theme divided into three sections and eleven chapters. The “Think on This” sections peppered throughout the book highlight the concepts covered in each chapter in a quick, memorable way. Every chapter focuses on something related to how you can bring God's prophetic blessing into your own life and work. Hagee's interpretations are solidly based on traditional Biblical values and he never strays from God’s Word. The invaluable part of this book lies in the personal stories that fit well with his book sections. For example, in the Genesis Blessing chapter, Pastor Hagee details how his son, Matthew was born and how he was called to preach the Gospel.

This book has been a blessing to me and it will touch the lives of my children. It is one thing to be a hearer of the Word, and another to act based on God’s Word. The Power of the Prophetic Blessing is based in Biblical truths and in order for the blessing to transform our lives, we must believe it, receive it, and act on it. I highly recommend The Power of the Prophetic Blessing to anyone desiring to know more about it and how to apply it to life.

I received this book from Handlebar Marketing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Recipe: Buttered Popcorn Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting & Sauce

Buttered Popcorn Cupcake Recipe

Ingredients(makes 24 regular size cupcakes)
11/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup popcorn flour or use all-purpose flour for this amount too
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp is best
1/4 cup pureed cream corn
2 eggs, room temp
2 egg whites, room temp
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 cup milk *infused with buttered popcorn* (optional)
1/4 cup buttered popcorn for milk
1 cup buttered popcorn for decorating cupcakes

-Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pans with cupcake liners
-In a small saucepan, heat milk on medium-low heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges.
-Stir in buttered popcorn and take off the heat to let steep for 10 minutes.
-Strain popcorn out of milk, add vanilla and set aside.
-In a medium bowl, whisk both flours, baking powder, and salt.
-In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until a pale color and very fluffly in your stand mixer (about 3 minutes)
-On a low speed, add purred creamed corn, and eggs one at a time.
-Alternate adding half the flour mixture, then half the milk mixture in two additions. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix well but don't over beat.
-Pour batter into cupcake liners a little more than three-fourths full.
 -Bake about 15 minutes until cupcakes are golden brown and when gently pressed with fingers, springs back.
 -Set cupcake pan on cooling wrack and let cool a few minutes before transferring them directly on the cooling wrack to cool completely.
-Frost cupcakes with sea salt caramel buttercream, buttered popcorn, and drizzled caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Buttercream/Sauce-by David Lebovitz
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt-to taste
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 stick salted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1-3 tbs water, room temp

-In a large heavy duty saucepan over medium to med-low heat, cook sugar without stirring until the sugar near the edges of the pan starts to liquefy.
-Using a wooden spoon, begin gently stirring, encouraging the melted sugar around the edges toward the center and delicately stirring up any sugar melting on the bottom as well. The sugar may look pebbly as it cooks, but keep going; it will melt completely as it turns amber color.
-Continue to cook until the sugar turns a deep brown color and starts to smoke a little. The darker you can cook the sugar without burning it, the better the final sauce will taste. You will know it's ready when the sugar is the color of a well-worn penny and smells slightly smokey.
-Remove the saucepan from the heat carefully and continue to stir, protecting your hands and arms, pour half the heavy cream-the mixture will bubble up furiously with just enough attitude but nothing you can't handle.
-Stir in the rest of the heavy cream until smooth.
-Stir in 2 tbs butter, vanilla, and salt to taste. Mix well.
-Pour into a heat proof container and set aside to cool for the buttercream frosting.
Buttercream Frosting
-Cream butters and sugar for 4 minutes.
 -On a low speed at first, add powdered sugar-then beat well until very fluffy, adding water a little at a time while mixing. The water will help with air volume.
-Add 2-3 tbs cooled salted caramel and beat another minute.
 -Pipe frosting onto cupcakes or create smooth frosting whip.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Review: 10 Christians Everyone Should Know

10 Christians Everyone Should Know by John Perry is a series of mini biographies of great people in history including Saint Patrick, Galileo, Ann Bradstreet, John Bunyan, Johann Sebastian Bach, Jane Austen, D.L. Moody, George Washington Carver, Sargent York, and William F. Buckley Jr.  Each story tells about the person’s life and how their life was affected by the faith.
This book is fabulous.  The individual biographies average about 30 pages each, which is a great length.  You can read one in a single sitting, yet they are long enough to include quite a bit of detail. What is so worthwhile about this book is that these 10 Christians were NOT all preachers, pastors, or ministers. Some of them were ordinary, bible-believing, folks that were engaged with their culture through their gifts, careers, and relationships. The most powerful message within each of the individuals' lives is that ANYONE can make an impact for the Kingdom of God. Because of this, God used them to penetrate the darkness with the light of truth & life. This is the main reason why I chose to read & review this book. The world needs to learn about those who have gone before us.

Two thousand years and still going strong: that’s the story of Christianity. And while the Christian martyrs and saints and orators may have gotten more press, the fact is the faith has been carried through history in the hearts and deeds of believers who—though beloved to us now—were simply living ordinary lives of devotion. “It would be almost impossible to imagine ten people more different from each other than these,” Editor John Perry says.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, August 13, 2012

Recipe: Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Whipped Mascarpone

Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Whipped Mascarpone

This, as far as I’m concerned, is the real red velvet cake — chocolate, naturally reddened and intensely flavored. For reasons I cannot put my finger on, this feels quintessentially September, fudgy rich chocolate, faintly spiced red wine, diminutive in size and so very quick to make. We are completely obsessed with it already.

Now, the essentials: The wine does not, I repeat, does not, fully bake out. It will taste like there’s wine in there though not in the way that it would leave you tipsy, nevertheless, I will not be using this cake for, say, my toddler’s birthday party, if you get my drift. The cinnamon, chocolate, and red wine play off each other well.

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (179 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) white granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup (177 ml) red wine, any kind you like 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (133 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (41 grams) Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup (118 grams) chilled heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth, like a puddle of chocolate. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge. It looks pretty dusted with powdered sugar.
Make the topping: Whip mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form — don’t overwhip. Dollop generously on each slice of cake. It can also be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.