Archive for March, 2012

GINGERBREAD STOUT CAKE WITH CARAMEL-ALE SAUCE

This is an amazing and decadent dessert for any dinner party.  Keeping with my theme of be an easy recipe to prepare I think you will enjoy making this and of course enjoying the fruits of your labor . . . eating it!  We made it as the grand finale to our last cooking class and it was a huge hit.  it meets you right at your taste buds with lots of powerful flavors including the yummy taste of gingerbread.  They all meld together for a delectable dessert.  Oh . . . besure you have a cup of coffee or better yet Irish Coffee!  Let’s get started!

GINGERBREAD STOUT CAKE WITH CARAMEL-ALE SAUCE

 

PREP: 20 minutes 

COOKING TIME: 25 MINUTES

BAKING TIME: 50 MINUTES FOR ONE BUNDT OR 25 MINTUES FOR MINI BUNDTS

SERVES – 12

 Ingredients:  1 cup stout

1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Caramel-Ale Sauce: 12 ounces Ale

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Generously grease and dust with flour (or use baking spray) a 10-inch (10- to 12-cup) bundt pan or 8 mini bundt pans. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into bundt pan (or divide evenly among mini pans) and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles.
  6. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes (about 25 minutes for the minis). Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.
  7. Pour the ale into a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil.
  8. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced by two-thirds.
  9. Add the butter and brown sugar and cook, stirring only when the mixture is in danger of boiling over, until thick and syrupy, 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Slowly stir in the cream (it will splatter up!).  Cook another 5 or 6 minutes, until thickened.
  11. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool to warm, it will thicken up more as it cools.
  12. Pour over stout cake and add ice cream if desired.
  13. ENJOY with a nice cup of coffee or Irish Coffee!

Thank you for reading.  It is my sicerest hope and prayer that you enjoy preparing and of course eating these recipes.  But my greatest hope is that you will lose any fear you may have for cooking and that you will develop of love for it!  I will keep doing my part!

Kris

 

For information about upcoming cooking classes or designing your own customized cooking class/gathering/party please visit my website.

 

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CREAM OF REUBEN SOUP

I am a big lover of Reuben sandwiches . . . the toasted rye bread . . . the corned beef . . . Swiss cheese . . . sauerkraut . . . it just doesn’t get much better!  Except it just did get better!  For our last Cooking Class at The Lark Inn, we again invited guest Chef Gary Martin to join us . . . and join us he did!  In addition to his lovely wife  Linda, Gary brought his fabulous recipe for Cream of Reuben Soup!  Everyone had a great time watching Gary with his preparations and of course the best part . . . enjoying his creation!!  This is truly like a Reuben sandwich in soup form.  It is so full of flavor and it is not nearly as rich as I had first imagined.  It is the perfect blending of flavors, and texture . . . you are going to love it!

Let’s make Chef Gary’s Reuben Soup!

CREAM OF REUBEN SOUP

 

PREP: 10 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 30 + 20 MINUTES

SERVES – 6

Ingredients:

6 CUPS CHICKEN BROTH

1 POUND CORN BEEF BRISKET – CHOPPED

8 OUNCES SOUR KRAUT – DRAINED

2 LARGE ONION – CHOPPED

3 CLOVES GARLIC – MINCED

½ TEASPOON THYME – DRIED

¼ TEASPOON WHITE PEPPER

¼ TEASPOON TARRAGON – DRIED

1 BAY LEAF

3 TABLESPPONS CORNSTARCH

½ CUP WATER

1 POUND SWISS CHEESE PROCESSED – CHOPPED

1 CUP NATURAL SWISS CHEESE – SHREDDED

1 CUP WHIPPING CREAM

RYE BREAD FOR CROUTONS

 

Directions:

1.     In a large Dutch oven, sauté onion and carrot until soft. Add garlic, white pepper, tarragon, thyme, bay leaf and chicken broth, bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
2.     Stir together cornstarch and water and stir into soup. Return to boiling and simmer until thickened.
3.     Add whipping cream and continue simmering about 20 minutes.
4.     Reduce Heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Add corned beef.
5.     Serve in bowls topped with croutons.

One thing we left out . . . ALWAY have as much fun cooking as Chef Gary does!!

One thing we left out . . . ALWAYS
have as much fun cooking as Chef Gary Does!!

Now . . . ENJOY!!

As always, thank you for reading!

Kris

For information about previous and future Cooking Classes at The Lark Inn please visit our website at: TheLarkInn.com.

Also, ask about our new Cooking get-a-way package at The Lark In Guesthouses.  What could be more fun than getting away to the fabulous Flint Hills and . . . having a cooking class of your own design.  You custom select the menu from our many previous ones on our website or mix and match . . . we do the rest!  CLICK HERE to let us know what kind of a cooking class you would like!

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IRISH SODA BREAD

Irish Soda Bread has been a long-time favorite of our family.  I think I have been making it for  . . . we’ll not go there!  Anyway, this bread was especially fitting for our St. Patty’s Day themed cooking class but . . . it’s good any time!  Just remove the word “Irish” from it’s name and you have “Soda Bread”!  I’m only kidding!  Actually this bread stands on it’s own . . . regardless of it’s nationality!  Let’s do this!

IRISH SODA BREAD

 

PREP: 15 MINUTES

BAKING TIME: 60–65 MINUTES

OVEN TEMP: 350 DEGREES

SERVES –15

Ingredients:

4 CUPS FLOUR + 1 TABLESPOON FOR DUSTING

½ CUP SUGAR

2 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER

1 TEASPOON SODA

¾ TEASPOON SALT

3 CUPS RAISINS

1 TABLESPOON CARAWAY SEEDS (OPTIONAL)

2 EGGS, LIGHTLY BEATEN

1 ¼ CUPS BUTTERMILK

1 CUP SOUR CREAM

Directions:

       1.     Heat oven to 350 degree. Grease a 9 inch cast-iron skillet or baking pan

       2.     Combine 4 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, raisins, and caraway seeds in a large bowl stir in flour mixture just until flour is moistened.

       3.     Knead dough in bowl, about 10 strokes; dough will be very sticky! Shape into a ball; place in skillet. Cut a 4-inch “X” ¾-inch deep, across top of dough. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon flour.

       4.     Bake in 350 Degree oven for 60-65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center tests clean.  Cool in skillet 10 minutes.  Turn bread out onto wire rack to cool completely.

 

ENJOY!

Thank you for reading!  It really means a lot to be able to bring new ideas to so many!

Kris

For additional information about designing your own custom cooking class party or to check out staying at one of The Lark Inn Guesthouses, please VISIT OUR WEBSITE

 

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IRISH FLAG SALAD

By now you are probably detecting a theme in my favorite salads and that is that they generally contain fruit of some sort, nuts and cheese.  I think the reason is that these types of salads will go with just about anything.  They are light enough to be refreshing in hot weather, but with the nuts and cheese, they have plenty of protein and so will stay with you.  We prepared the Irish Flag Salad at our March cooking class at The Lark Inn and everyone loved it!  Another theme with my favorite salads . . . they are simple to make as is this one!  Let’s make an Irish Flag Salad!

IRISH FLAG SALAD

 

PREP: 20 MINUTES

SERVES –4

Ingredients

  • 1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
  • 2 medium pears, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios

DRESSING:

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Divide spinach among four plates; top with pears, oranges, cheese & pistachios

2. Whisk the dressing ingredients; drizzle over salads. Serve

**This salad features green spinach, orange fruit and white cheese, mimicking the colors in the national flag of Ireland.

ENJOY!!

Thank you for reading!

Kris

 

For more information about our scheduled cooking classes at The Lark Inn Guesthouses or scheduling your own custom Cooking Class Party check my website.

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MINATURE SHEPHERD’S PIES

These miniature Shepherd’s Pies are fantastic!  they are so small and really very light. So much so that you might just assume that there are no calories . . . but there are a few!  This recipe makes 4 dozen and when I did my test run with them I only made 1/2 of the recipe . . . 2 dozen.  I only got to eat 3 of the 24 . . . the other 21 mysteriously vanished as in with my husband Pat!

We made these at my March cooking class and they were a great hit!  their easy and fun to make and make for a super appetizer!

Let’s get started!

MINIATURE SHEPHERD’S PIES

 

PREP: 40 MINUTES

BAKING TIME: 15 MINUTES

OVEN TEMP: 400 DEGREES

YIELD: 4 DOZEN

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped carrot
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2/3 cup beef broth
  • 1/3 cup frozen petite peas
  • 2 packages (17.3 ounces each) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion, celery and carrot over medium heat until beef is no longer pink; drain.
  2. Stir in the flour, thyme, salt, nutmeg and pepper until blended; gradually add the broth.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened.  Stir in peas; heat through. Set aside.
  3. Unfold puff pastry. Using a floured 1 ¼ inch round cutter, cut 12 circles from each sheet (save scraps for another use.) Press circles onto the bottoms and up the sides of ungreased miniature muffin cups.
  4. Fill each with 1 ½ teaspoons beef mixture; top or pipe with 1 tablespoon mashed potatoes.  Bake at 400 degrees for 13 – 16 minutes or until heated through and potatoes are lightly browned.  Serve warm.  Yield 4 Dozen.

ENJOY!

Thank you for reading!

Kris

For more information about upcoming cooking classes or accommodations in The Lark Inn Guesthouses, please visit our website.

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GARLIC SAUTE’ED GREEN BEENS

This recipe is a favorite of mine,  Not just because it is so simple to prepare, but because it is so simple to prepare AND it has such a nice and unique flavor.  Green beans have been getting a bad rap for quite a while now, and I have to say, that bad reputation has been well deserved by those mushy green things that came sliding out of a can on to many peoples’ plates through the years.  Well, these green beans are far from mushy and they will delight you!

Now remember, this recipe is from our recipe book: Wedding Week at The Lark Inn” and we were preparing meals for masses of people.  This recipe will serve 15.  For something more for your family simply divide the quantities by 3.

OK no that’s out of the way, let’s get started!


Shopping List:

3 lbs. of Crisp, Fresh Green Beans

4 Cloves of Garlic

Wash the beans and snap them into sections about 1 to 1/12 inches long.

 Hint:  Snapping green beans means that you bend them until they break (do I have to explain everything?!).  If they only bend, they are too ripe.

Dice up four cloves of garlic (you could substitute 2 teaspoons of minced garlic)

Drizzle olive oil in your large skillet (or possibly two depending on the size of your skillets) Heat the skillet up on medium/high heat.

When the skillet is warm, throw in the green beans along with the garlic and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

Turn the beans frequently to avoid burning and cook until just al dente

 Tip:  For my friends from the south Al Dente is not short for Albert Dente.  This means that you don’t cook the bean until they is mushy.  You only cook them until they are just tender enough to stick a fork in them . . . (I have to say it) as in “Stick me with a fork, I’m done!”

When finished, remove from the skillet and serve

Serving:

We serve everything family style with each item in a bowl or platter of it’s own which requires those at the table to work together so that everything is passed in the same direction.  I have faith in you control freaks out there . . . you can work through this!

Wine:

With the light pork meat and veggies, you will want a fairly light wine; for my palette,  either a nice Chardonnay or Pinot Noir will work great.

ENJOY!

Thank you for reading!

Kris

For more information about our scheduled cooking classes or customizing a  cooking class of your own, please visit my web site at www.TheLarkInn.com

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ORANGE, FENNEL, RED ONION AND BLACK OLIVE SALAD

Another recipe we prepared at a Lark Inn Cooking Class is the Orange, Fennel, Red Onion and Black Olive Salad.  This is one of those “Ah-Ha” recipes.  What do I mean by that?  Well, if you ask people whether or not they like fennel, probably 80% will tell you they don’t . . . and about 80% of them have never tasted it!  I can’t tell you how many times I have prepared this and people have thanked me for opening their taste horizons to fennel.

With the contrasting flavors of the anise in the fennel, the sweet tang of the oranges and the pop of the red onion, this is a great refreshing salad for any time of year and will compliment most any food.

Let’s get started!

ORANGE, FENNEL, RED ONION AND BLACK OLIVE SALAD

 

PREP: 1 HOUR AND 20 MINUTES

COOK TIME:  25 MINUTES

SERVES – 6

Ingredients

3 LARGE NAVEL ORANGES, PEELED AND WHITE PITH REMOVED

1 LARGE FENNEL BULB, VERY THINLY SLICED LENGTHWISE, FRONDS RESERVED

1 RED ONION, THINLY SLICED LENGTHWISE INTO JULIENNE

¾ CUP KALAMATA OLIVES, PITTED AND HALVED

2 CUPS FRESH-SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE

2 TEASPOONS ORANGE ZEST

1/4 CUP RED WINE VINEGAR

2 TABLESPOONS MINCED SHALLOTS

2 TEASPOONS HONEY

1 TEASPOON KOSHER SALT

¼ TEASPOOON FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER

¼ CUP EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Directions:

 USING A SHARP KNIFE, CUT ALONG THE MEMBRANES OF EACH ORANGE SEGMENT TO COMPLETELY REMOVE THE ORANGE SEGMENTS FROM THE PITH AND MEMBRANES. PLACE IN A BOWL AND RESERVE ANY ACCUMULATED JUICES SEPARATELY.

 PLACE THE FENNEL, RED ONION AND BLACK OLIVES IN A SALAD BOWL AND CHILL THOROUGHLY.

 PLACE THE ORANGE JUICE AND ORANGE ZEST IN A SMALL SAUCEPAN AND BRING TO A BOIL.  CONTINUE TO COOK AT A SIMMER UNTIL REDUCED TO ABOUT ¼ CUP (BE CAREFUL NEAR THE END OF COOKING, AS THIS CAN EASILY BURN IF LEFT UNATTENDED.)  ALLOW TO COOL, THEN TRANSFER TO A MIXING BOWL ALONG WITH THE RED WINE VINEGAR, SHALLOTS, HONEY, SALT, AND PEPPER.  WHISK TO THOROUGHLY COMBINE AND ALLOW TO SIT FOR 5 MINUTES.  ADD THE OIL IN A THIN, STEADY STREAM UNTIL COMPLETELY INCORPORATED AND EMULSIFIED.

ARRANGE THE ORANGE SEGMENTS OVER THE FENNEL, RED ONION, AND OLIVES AND DRIZZLE WITH THE VINAIGRETTE.  TOSS GENTLY TO COMBINE, THEN SERVE THE SALAD, WITH SOME OF THE RESERVED FENNEL FRONDS ON TOP AS A GARNISH AND DRIZZLE WITH EXTRA OLIVE OIL IF DESIRED. 

Now, ENJOY!!

Thank you for reading!

KRIS

 

For more information about my Cooking Classes at The Lark Inn or great Get-A-Way accommodations in the Picturesque Flint Hills of Kansas please visit our website at: www.TheLarkInn.com.

 

 

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