December 19, 2003

Pecan Sour Cream Pound Cake

I made this last weekend for a gaming session/holiday celebration with some friends, where it was very well-received. I'm not entirely sure of the source of the recipe.

Pecan Sour Cream Pound Cake

Pecans are ground to a fine consistency, contributing to the dense texture of this rich, buttery cake. You may serve individual slices topped with sugared berries and lightly sweetened whipped cream.

1 1/4 cup finely ground pecans - divided use (see Cook's Note)
2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 300*F (150*C). Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt or tube pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup pecans on bottom of pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 1 cup pecans, flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until well mixed. With mixer at low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the sour cream to the creamed mixture just until fully incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes (use the toothpick test to check for sufficient baking). Cool for 15 minutes in pan on wire rack before removing. Cool completely on wire rack.

Serves 12.

Cook's Note: Easily process the pecans in a food processor with short pulses at a time until the desired texture is reached. Adding a teaspoon or so of flour will help to keep nuts from sticking together.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:52 PM | Comments (3)
December 17, 2003

Pechugas de Pollo al Cilantro

From earlier on last week (and yes, the lack of posting is not a lack of cooking, but an overabundance of Christmas cheer illustrated by far too many demands on time). So, before time gets away from me again:

From a brand new book that just arrived last week, The South American Table

Pechugas de Pollo al Cilantro
AKA Chicken Breasts with Cilantro Sauce
(as prepared for two servings)

2 skinless chicken breast halves
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
1 TBSP oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 scallion (white part and 1 inch of green, chopped)
1 clove garilc, chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, tops only, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
pinch of cayenne pepper

Place chicken between two pieces of plastic and pound to get an even thickness. Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator about 1 hour.

In skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Pat chicken dry and cook about three minutes per side. Transfer to platter and set aside.

Add onion, scallions, garlic, oregano, and cumin to skillet. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Transfer to blender, add the cilantro and chicken broth, and process until smooth. Return to skillet and add chicken and cayenne. Simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes, turning chicken halfway through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and thicken with cornstarch slurry if necessary.

Notes: It's green! But very tasty.... (however, if you're not a big fan of cilantro, don't try this one).

Posted by Jennifer at 8:16 AM | Comments (2)
December 5, 2003

Five-Spice Duck

Served last night with wild grain rice, tossed salad and the very lovely Wallace Brook Cellars Pinot Noir (as recommended to me by my local wine-seller) -- very nice, an exceptionally affordable bottle.

Five-Spice Duck

10 ounces boneless duck breast with skin
1 tsp five-spice powder
1 TBSP finely chopped ginger root
3 scallion heads (white part only), finely chopped
salt and pepper
4 ounces sesame oil

Marinate the duck breast with five-spice powder, ginger root, scallions, salt, pepper, and sesame oil for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat skillet on moderately high heat, do not add any oil. Sear duck breast, skin side down (about 5 minutes). Brown other side (about 1 minute). Transfer to oven proof plate and cook 10 minutes for medium.

Notes: I really must remember the wine selection. It was excellent. Also -- I like my duck not quite as done so I'd only had it in for 6 minutes. It was agreed that 8 minutes would likely have better considering the size of the breast (I ended up with just over a pound and did a roughly time-and-a-half recipe). Not exactly a Jennifer original but no attribution as I cobbled it together from a few different recipe sources.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:33 PM | Comments (0)