Saturday, February 27, 2010

Little Polish Diner Cleveland

Since the new year, we have been somewhat skipping the bakery visits and having lunch Saturdays at some of Cleveland's classic restaurants. I have not posted as of yet, but will start today. These places are classics for a reason! Laura Taxel's book Cleveland's Ethnic Eats has been a wealth of information. along with word of mouth.

This afternoon we hit Little Polish Diner at 5772 Ridge Rd. in Parma. It is a very small, bright place with only about 8 tables. The special today was one of my favorites, Chicken Paprikas (with a side of cucumber salad), which I ordered and DH ordered the Polish Sampler (1 Large stuffed cabbage, smoked keilbasa with sauerkraut, 2 potato cheese pierogies and green beans).

The paprikas was very good, and came with spaetzle. The only thing keeping it from being better for me was that it came with white meat chicken and I prefer dark meat. For me, there was enough for 2 meals.

DH enjoyed his galumpki and the pierogies very much, but thought the keilbasa was a bit overcooked, but still tasty.

For more information, here is an article from the Parma Sun Post

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Great Cleveland Bakery Hop- Tommy's Pastries

My goodness- where does the time go?! I have been trying to behave myself in the sweet dept, so haven't baked much, since it's only me and husband. I have made this wonderful Apple Cake from the Culinate site quite a few times for different functions, it definitely a keeper.

Anyhoo, one thing we have been doing is visiting bakeries in the Cleveland (mostly west) area. My MIL bought me Laura Taxel's great Cleveland-centric book Ethnic Eats, and we are working our way through town looking for great places to snag some goodies. We have been to a few, but I realized I am never gonna keep these straight, so I better post!
First up, Tommy's Pastries 14205 Madison Ave., Cleveland, OH. The outside is nothing special; we park around the corner, cuz there was no space in front, and as soon as we rounded te corner, the smell we could smell the fresh baked bread. Inside there was one customer, conversing in Hungarian to the young counter clerk, who left with a giant bag full. While we waited for her to pick her items. we had time to choose.
I picked the cheese danish, DH the raspberry. They looked like they would be hard and somewhat heavy, but happily, they were very light, soft yet flaky. We bought some of the Hungarian white bread that was baking. It was so fresh from the oven, that it kept me warm on the ride home! I opened the bag so the steam wouldn't affect the crusty bread, and when we got home, I let it sit on the counter until it cooled.
We also picked a cheese biscuit and some cheese sticks- plain and with caraway. The biscuit we quickly shared in the car, light, flaky and soon gone. These would be great with a dinner, slightly warmed. The cheese sticks were excellent, especially the ones with caraway. These also would be great with soup or stew or a dinner. Or on their own as a snack.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Caramel Expresso Cheesecake Daring Bakers

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. This cheesecake recipe is a very basic recipe, which allows for a million different variations. You can find Jenny here.
I haven't made a cheesecake in a few years- it's one of those things that I like, but hardly ever make. Could be the whopping calorie count!
(I wish the calories were as small as my pics-@#$%^!!- the looked fine on my camera settings. When I downloaded they were too big and insisted on being resized smaller. But they got fuzzy when I tried to make them bigger.Hence the funky looking pictures.)

My version is a pretzel crusted, expresso cheesecake, topped by creamy homemade caramel. The recipe was pretty easy.My water bath did not leak like some others warned. I have to say though that the batter is REALLY runny, (we were warned) but it does firm up nicely. My pretzel crust is good- I have made before in pretzel salad- but here it wasn't as crisp as I would have liked. Maybe because it's baked again with the creamy part on?
The basic recipe for the cheesecake is pretty neutral and could be adapted to savory recipes if you want to go that route. I added a double shot of expresso to mine, and if I hadn't topped with the caramel, the cheesy part alone is not very sweet.
To find out about Daring Bakers click here.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

I used 2 cups crushed pretzel sticks, 1 stick butter, 3 TBL sugar instead. I prebaked for 10 min @400.

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake.

I added a double shot of expresso and cut back slightly on the cream.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside. No prebaking necessary if using Abbey's graham crust.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

2 sticks butter, 2 ¾ c. brown sugar, 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup light corn syrup, 1 pinch salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Spray (lightly) a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Heat to 240 for a soft caramel, 245 for a medium caramel, 250 for a firmer caramel that will hold its shape. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

White Chocolate Coconut Cookies

When I was little, I was always happy when Easter would come, because my basket always contained lots of chocolate. The candy of my childhood was from a company called Faroh's- their chocolate is like no other. I think maybe there is only one store left in the Cleveland area. They have the most awesome Easter eggs, my mom would get me a giant milk chocolate one with a caramel nougat swirl center. Easter was also one of the few times I would get anything made of white chocolate, which I love.
Anyway, yesterday I made these cookies. The recipe is from Nestles. If you like white chocolate, this is a great recipe! As a matter of fact, this may be one of my all time favorites! The coconut flavor is not real strong, it just enhances the flavor of the chocolate. I skipped the nuts, only because I didn't feel like chopping any......
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels
  • 1 cup flaked coconut, toasted if desired
  • 3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts
PREHEAT oven to 375° F. (10 x 15 jelly roll pan if making bars)
COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels, coconut and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 8 to 11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers Valentino

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

February’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. Recipe comes from "Sweet Treats by Chef Wan."
Okay- now that I have the technicalities out of the way I can tell you that this was a super easy cake to make for a busy day! And also worth the effort (just follow directions exactly). I never would have thought that 3 little ingredients would produce such a tasty cake! I did only make 1/4 of the recipe as we are always watching our weight around here. I used a Nestle Dark Chocolatier bar that I had waiting in the drawer, and it made for a great taste. And I skipped the ice cream part and would top with a bourbon vanilla whipped cream.
I have been a proud member of Daring Bakers for a year now. This is such a awesome, talented, fun group and I have been encouraged to make things I would normally shy away from because they looked too difficult. You really don't need to be experienced to join- you will learn as you go- and you have the backup expertise of over 1000 bakers! Have a question? Just ask in in one of the forums and someone will soon be there to help you with the answer. For info about joining, stop by the Kitchen.
Visit our gracious hosts blogs - Wendy at A Charmed Life (Arizona) and Dharm at Dad - Baker and Chef (Malaysia)- for the entire recipe, including the ice cream. Visit more of the Daring Bakers blogroll for some fantastic looking cakes!

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blackberry Cake

At our previous house, we had planted a lot of fruit trees and berry bushes. I have to say, of all the fruit we had, by far the blackberries were the easiest to maintain. We had blackberries- both thorned and thornless varieties. The thorned bushes were slightly tart, but so evil to pick because of the thorns, I decided they were my husband's, so I wouldn't have to go near them. He liked them better anyway!
The thornless variety we had were sweeter and were much easier to pick. And for some reason the birds and the bees did not bother the blackberries like they did our other fruit.
The home we have now has pretty much all shade, so we do miss having our own fruit. So I haven't made this cake in awhile. But it is one of my husband's favorite cakes.
The icing seems to be an unusual choice given the cake, but the flavor it gives the spicy cake is just right!

West Virginia Blackberry Cake
2 C. sugar
1 C. softened butter
4 eggs
3 C. flour
1 t. each ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 C. buttermilk
1 1/2 C. fresh blackberries
Cream sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat eggs and add to creamed mixture, beating well.
Combine flour, spices, baking soda and baking powder; whisk well. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, in three additions each, beating until smooth. Fold in berries.
Pour batter into three greased and floured, 8-inch-round layer pans. Bake at 350°F. for 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when gently touched. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Stack layers, filling and frosting with icing.

1 1/2 C. softened butter
1 1/2 lb. powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla
5 to 8 T. cold coffee

Combine ingredients and beat until smooth, adding coffee a little at a time to achieve a spreading consistency

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

True Delights-Product Sample

Being a member of Foodbuzz has many rewards. I have received some great gifts from them for being a featured publisher and now my first product sample.
New to the market, Quaker True Delights are the next level of granola bars. With flavors like Honey roasted cashew mixed berry; Toasted coconut banana macadamia nut and Dark chocolate raspberry almond, you know your biting into something extra special.
These bars are a great low calorie snack, have no trans fat and are cholesterol free. My personal favorite is the Banana one.
Get your own free sample and then go check out all the great foodie info at Foodbuzz.