Baked Alaska

Check one item off my 2017 Cooking Bucket List! For Valentine’s Day I made Baked Alaska for my family. It is definitely old fashioned and definitely delicious! I scoured the internet and my cookbook collection for recipes to learn the process. Allrecipes.com never fails to provide good recipes, so I used this recipe to make sure I got the meringue right. ย Some use pound cake and sorbet and bake the meringue while others use sponge cake and ice cream and use a torch on the meringue. The thought of putting ice cream in the oven, made me nervous, so I decided to go the torch route. Plus that is more fun!

Baked Alaska

Ingredients

1 gallon of Hood Patchwork ice cream

1 box of gluten free chocolate cake mix, plus an extra egg (I like Wegmans GF chocolate cake mix)

8 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of sugar

Directions

Take the gallon of ice cream out to soften, about 10 to 15 minutes. Prepare a medium sized bowl by lining with plastic wrap, wax paper or parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Press the ice cream down into the bowl and cover. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Make 8 inch round cake according to instructions, adding the extra egg. Cool the cake and cut to size of the ice cream in the bowl if needed. Press cake onto the bottom of the ice cream. Cover and freeze for another 4 hours or overnight. About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, take the bowl of ice cream and cake out of the freezer and make the meringue. Add the remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl. Whip until stiff peaks form. Turn the bowl with ice cream and cake onto a plate and take the bowl and wrap or paper off.

Frost the ice cream with the meringue. Take a culinary torch and run it over all the meringue until toasted.ย Serve immediately. Freeze the leftovers.

It was much easier to make than I thought. It does take planning, however. I froze the ice cream in the bowl and made the cake one night. The next morning (day of service) I cut the cake to fit the ice cream and put back in the freezer until after dinner, when I finished it with the meringue.

Working my way through my bucket list. I found cornish game hens on sale this week and put them in the freezer, so a fancy dinner where we will each have our own “little chicken” according to my kids, is coming soon ๐Ÿ™‚ What is on your cooking bucket list? What would you love to cook?

Greek Meatballs

Anytime of year is good for meatballs, but especially around this festive time of year they are a great choice for your entertaining needs. Want to add a little different flavor for your holiday appetizer? Try Greek meatballs. Serve with a yogurt sauce, like this one from AllRecipes.com. It would a bright start or accompaniment to the main meal for your guests.

Greek Meatballs for a Crowd (makes 55-60 meatballs)

Ingredients

About 5 pounds of ground beef and pork (I usually do about 2/3 beef and 1/3 pork)

1 pound of bacon, minced in the food processor

1/2 of a large sweet onion, grated

1 egg, beaten

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

1 Tablespoon of oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried mint

10 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed and drained

8 ounces of feta, crumbled

Directions

Place ground meat and bacon into a large bowl. In a small bowl mix onion, egg, garlic and spices. Pour mixture into the meat. Add the spinach and feta. Dig in and mix it all together. Make a small pattie and cook it through. Taste for seasoning then adjust and repeat if needed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll meatballs and brown them in a heavy bottomed pan with olive oil. Transfer to cooling rack on top of baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

I know it seems like a lot of meat, but meatballs freeze really well and take some work. If I’m going to do that hard work, might as well make double so you get a couple of meals or appetizers out of it ๐Ÿ™‚ If you try to halve the recipe, let me know how it comes out.

Last couple of days before the holidays hit us. Email me or comment with any questions!

 

Brunch and other ramblings of the week…

As many of us parents know, brunch is often the best time to entertain. The kids are usually ready for snack and are in a good mood (most of the time), so parents can enjoy their coffee (or even a mimosa or bloody mary).

I’ve been practicing a frittata recipe that is super easy and tasty. Kids seem to like it too. Its a potato and cheese frittata I found on allrecipes.com. I like to use those websites to give me an idea on cooking time and amounts, but I have a hard time sticking to the recipe (usually because I don’t have all the ingredients in the house).

For four adults and two toddlers I use: 6 eggs, butter, salt, pepper, diced onions, garlic, fresh thyme (or any other fresh or dried herbs you have), shredded cheese (I used cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan once and substituted smoked gouda for cheddar another time), cream cheese or cottage cheese and potatoes (I used leftover mashed potatoes once and roasted potatoes another time). Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

First, melt about 1Tbs butter in a nonstick skillet that can go in the oven and add potatoes. After potatoes are heated through add onions + garlic. (I found a little tip on one of the comments on allrecipes.com to separate the egg whites and yolks for a fluffier frittata.) Beat the egg whites until soft peak stage. Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl. Add salt, pepper, thyme, a Tbs or two of cream cheese or cottage cheese and some shredded cheese to the yolks. Then slowly add the yolk mixture to the egg whites. Sprinkle top of potatoes with shredded cheese then pour eggs over top and put in the oven for about 10 minutes (until top is light golden brown). I also sprinkled some more shredded cheese on the top. You can never have enough cheese ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve served this with turkey sausage or boerewors (a very tasty South African sausage that you can find at Uli’s in Pike Place Market) and some fruit. Today I also made my mom’s South African pancakes. Basically they are like crepes and then rolled with a cinnamon sugar.

We just got back from a trip to the East Coast. Travelling with toddler is not always easy, especially when there is a time change involved. Karina didn’t sleep much, but was always ready to eat. We even stopped at a Wendy’s one day and she wanted nothing to do with the jr. cheeseburgeer we got her. All she wanted was her turkey wrap (whole wheat tortilla with turkey cold cuts and havarti cheese. I was so proud! I’m sure this won’t last forever ๐Ÿ™‚ She loved her Far Far’s grilled cheese sandwiches! Other than that, she basically only wanted to eat Craisins and goldfish.

I’m always on the look for new websites or blogs for kids food. Here are a couple I’ve recently found:

http://kidshealth.org/parent/recipes/index.html
http://hippoflambe.blogspot.com/

Let me know if any others or if you want one that you’d like me to highlight.