Posts Tagged ‘menu’

Monday Menus: Strawberry Cream Cake

June 10, 2012

Happy Monday! Ginger here.  I’m posting a recipe that I’ll be making for Wednesday’s midweek meeting: Strawberry Cream Cake, from Cook’s Illustrated.


cups cake flour (5 ounces)
teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  Strawberry Filling
2 pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, about 2 quarts), washed, dried, and stemmed
4 – 6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Kirsch (I use water to replace the liquid)
  Pinch table salt
  Whipped Cream
8 ounces cream cheese , room temperature
½ cup sugar (3½ ounces)

teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups heavy cream

teaspoon table salt



Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour round 9 by 2-inch cake pan or 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.

In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes.

With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 60 to 90 seconds.

Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.

Halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2 cup).

In workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses (you should have about 1 1/2 cups).

In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and Kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 3 to 5 minutes.

Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.

When cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed.

Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed (you should have about 4 1/2 cups).

Using large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cardboard round or cake plate and arrange ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer.

Pour one half of pureed berry mixture (about 3/4 cup) in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake.

Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream (about 1 1/2 cups) over berry layer, leaving 1/2-inch border from edge. Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently (whipped cream layer should become flush with cake edge). Repeat with 20 additional strawberry halves, remaining berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream; gently press last cake layer on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over top; decorate with remaining cut strawberries. Serve, or chill for up to 4 hours.


Monday Menus

March 28, 2011

Who wants to follow Ginger? Not me. Not only is she an excellent writer, but apparently also a gourmet cook. Spinach dumplings? Those need a new name before I can add it to my family menu.

But then, I don’t menu plan. I just try to keep a lot of the same healthy things around and work with them. One of the staples at our house is actually an enormous bag of fresh baby spinach from Sam’s Club. Even with 7 to feed -it’s a lot of spinach.  And it turns slimy in less than two weeks. And I hate to waste anything. Especially something so good for us. So it is a daily challenge.

Sometimes I am very creative and I love it when I get away with it. Marcus wants PB and J every day for lunch. One day I only had some store-bought white bread . . . and so I sprinkled on 2 tsp. of wheat bran on the PB. Then I thought . . .Why not spinach? That should stick in there just fine too. Kind of harder to hide though. But worth a try. Marcus ate half his sandwich before he noticed it had green in it. He called out, “Hey, mom! Why is there salad in my sandwich?” Because you love salad Marcus. “Oh, thanks Mom.” Then he ate the other half. Success. So now he has PB & J and S sandwiches everyday and I feel way better about what I am serving up. Now, this wouldn’t work with ANY of my other children and I wouldn’t even eat it up myself. Gross! But here’s what does.

This may not be what we have exactly this week, but we have these dishes on a regular basis and NONE Of my children even blink an eye at all the spinach they are consuming.

Green Smoothie: Two to three mornings a week I fill the blender 1/2 way up with fresh spinach. Then throw in anything else you would normally put in your smoothie  -fruit, ice, yogurt, milk, etc. And blend it all up. No one will ever taste the spinach though they most likely will notice it looks like you are celebrating St. Patrick’s day. I can’t stand to make a smoothie now without spinach. It seems like such a waste.

Mashed Potatoes: Boil potatoes and add a generous amount of baby spinach just 1 minute  before pulling it off the stove. Then mash them up together. Don’t add spinach too early or the dish will turn all green. I like to add sour cream and parmesan cheese.

Homemade Pizza: I serve homemade pizza once a week. I always put fresh spinach right on top of the cheese. A lot of it. It looks like fresh basil. Once my kids realized that they couldn’t taste it they stopped complaining.

Marinara sauce: Always add as many veggies as you can to your can of spaghetti sauce. Diced cooked Carrots, onions, zucchini, are my favorites and of course. .  . Spinach. Gotta use that bag.

Clam Chowder: Last week I three it in with our chowder just before serving and once again, No complaints.

I never buy iceberg lettuce anymore. I buy romaine and spinach. That’s what we use for Tacos, sandwiches and all of our salads.

My favorite -Fresh Spinach salad: Throw spinach, fruit, nuts and parmesan cheese together and drizzle on this dressing.

1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp. dried mustard, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. onion flakes, 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds, 1/2 cup oil, 2 – 3 Tbsp. mayo, 1/4 cup raspberry or red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup rice vinegar. Mix in blender and store in fridge.

There are tons of other ways I use spinach. Cooked or Fresh. So I challenge all of you to buy yourself a big bag and make it your quest to incorporate it into this weeks meals.  Good luck and I hope your family doesn’t hate me for it.

So don’t be afraid. Throw in a little Spinach. Or a lot.

It’s good for you.