Fab Food Friday Fotos: Cuban Opera Cake, Beef Stir Fry, Rustic Tomato Pie, Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca, Thumbprint Cookies, Making Tamales, Crab & Bacon Wraps, Recipes, & More
Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on April 8, 2011
This has been a brutal week in our government… but Friday’s finally here.
FOOD. GLORIOUS FOOD.
When available, recipes will accompany the “Fab Food Friday Fotos,” with a guarantee that at least one recipe — most preferably a frugal recipe — will always be included.
Be still, my chocolate-loving heart… this Cuban Opera Cake is one of the most amazing chocolate layer cakes I’ve seen in a long time. Opera Cake is a type of French cake that is traditionally made with layers of almond sponge cake (known as Joconde in French) soaked in coffee syrup, layered with ganache and coffee buttercream, and covered in chocolate glaze. The deletion of almond and addition of crème de cacao or Kahlua transforms the cake from “French” to “Cuban.” It’s a bit time-intensive to make (but worth it), and while the recipe is provided by photographer/cook esimpraim below, be sure to visit the Dishing Up Delights website for additional information and photos:
Cuban Opera Cake
(Slightly adapted from Bon Appétit, September 2003)
Makes 12+ servings.
* 4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 2 cups all purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 3 1/2 teaspoons Kahlua
* 4 large eggs
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1/2 cup crème de cacao (or Kahlua)
* 1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee, lukewarm
* 8 ounces imported milk chocolate, chopped
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 4 large egg yolks
* 2 tablespoons water
* 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
* 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/2 cup half and half
* 4 tablespoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or coffee powder
* 4 large egg yolks
* 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin softened in 1 tablespoon water 10 minutes
* 1 cup chilled whipping cream
* 1 teaspoon Kahlua
* 1-1/2 cups sugar
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Instructions for Cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides; line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Dust pans with flour; tap out excess. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool to lukewarm.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and 3 1/2 teaspoons Kahlua in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Gradually beat in lukewarm melted chocolate. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with sour cream in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Gradually beat in crème de cacao (or Kahlua) and coffee. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans; smooth tops.
Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto 9-inch cardboard rounds or removable tart pan bottoms; cool cakes completely on racks.
Instructions for Buttercream:
Melt milk chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from over water. Whisk sugar, egg yolks, 2 tablespoons water, and corn syrup in medium metal bowl to blend. Add 1/4 cup butter. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water; whisk constantly until mixture reaches 170°F, about 4 minutes. Remove bowl from over water.
Using electric mixer, beat until completely cool and thick, about 6 minutes. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time, fully incorporating each addition and stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in lukewarm melted chocolate.
Instructions for Coffee Mousse:
Bring half and half, 2 tablespoons sugar, and espresso powder to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk hot half and half mixture into yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat until thermometer registers 160°F, about 2 minutes. Pour into large bowl. Add softened gelatin; stir until dissolved. Using electric mixer, beat until cool, about 10 minutes. Using clean dry beaters, beat cream and Kahlua in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into coffee mixture.
Cut each cake layer horizontally in half. Place 1 cake layer in bottom of 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Cover with 3/4 cup buttercream. Place second cake layer atop buttercream; cover with mousse. Top with third cake layer.
Refrigerate 1 hour to allow mousse to set. Spread 3/4 cup buttercream over third cake layer. Top with fourth cake layer (cake will rise above rim of pan). Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
For chocolate glaze:
Stir sugar and 1 cup water in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high; bring to boil. Whisk in cocoa; remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth. Let stand until cool but still pourable, about 2 hours.
Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides. Scrape excess mousse from sides of cake. Transfer cake on springform pan bottom to rack set over baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Pour glaze over cake, allowing glaze to drip down edges onto baking sheet (use spatula to spread glaze over any uncovered spots).
Refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow glaze to set. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)
Check out Susy’s terrific blog, Chiot’s Run, for in-depth information, how-to tips, and photos on organic gardening — the link provided above takes you to the “Growing Heirloom Potatoes” page.
Photographer/cook Harry Harris wrote this about his veggie-loaded “yumscrum salad”:
A Jacqui-prepared salad, featuring potatoes, broccoli, mushies, lettuce-alone, toasted pine nuts, red pepper, and quorn chunks (as we’d run out of eggs to boil). With French dressing. T’was unspeakably good.
Photographer/cook Edward Kimber made this breath-taking cake for an 18th birthday, the first time he was paid for one of his baking creations. The recipe is posted on his He-Eats – Edd Kimber’s Adventures in Food blog.
Edd wrote this about his Grasshopper cake:
Its a interesting recipe because it uses a frosting I had never heard of and hails from the depression era in America. You cook milk, cream, sugar and flour until thickened and then beat the butter into this (cooled down) mixture. It uses less sugar so isn’t as sweet but does use lots of butter. It’s of course named after the Grasshopper cocktail but could just as easily be called the After Eight cake because of its chocolate layers with a ganache filling and a peppermint buttercream. Because this wasn’t baked for me or my family and friends I never got to try it but am reliably informed it went down a treat.
As I’ve showcased before, photographer/cook Sandra is also a food blogger, so these easy crab and bacon wraps, plus other fab recipes with photos, are featured on her site Sandra’s Recipes – Alaska. There are a huge assortment of simple recipes with gorgeous photos there — check it out.
Crab and Bacon Wraps Recipe
* 2 strips of bacon, browned & chopped
* 1 small tomato, chopped (1/2 cup)
* 1 medium green onion, chopped (1 tablespoons)
* 1/2 lb. crabmeat, cooked & coarsely chopped (King or Dungeness preferably)
* 1 cup iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
* 1/4 cup jarred red bell pepper, finely chopped
* 2/3 cup mayonnaise
* 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/8 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
* Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 4 flour tortillas (10”)
Cut the bacon strips in half and brown in a small skillet, drain and cool, and then finely chop into bits.
In medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients as listed, including the bacon bits (except not the tortillas).
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, place a tortilla into the dry skillet until it slightly bubbles; turn over doing the same — repeat with remaining three tortilla [this process removes its flour and tangy flavor].
Spread 2/3-cup crabmeat mixture on each tortilla; roll up, and then cut diagonally in half, and serve.
Rae Allen formerly was a TV and radio reporter – he is now a digital mixed-media professional, developing web sites, creating audio, taking photos, encoding video, and managing digital media projects. Click here to check out his portfolio.
This cool photo and others, including vintage food ads and cookbook pages that have been featured here before, are posted at JB’s Warehouse and Curio Emporium.
Photographer/cook Janet Hudson’s recipe for these unusual, cheap-and-easy baguettes with homemade “cashew cheeze” is provided below — these would be a huge hit with any fun gathering of folks, especially teen boys:
Cashew Pepper Cheeze with Sun Dried Tomato on Baguette
Recipe to follow over the weekend… make your cashew cheeze first:
* 1-1/2 cups plain cashew nuts (not roasted or salted)
* 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
* 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or good vinegar
* 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
* 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
* Ground pepper
Makes about 1-1/2 cups.
Place the nuts in a bowl, cover with fresh water, and let stand for 2 hours.
Drain the nuts and place them in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add 1/4 cup water and the rest of the ingredients, and mix until thoroughly puréed, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl every once in a while. Add a little more water and blend again to adjust the consistency, if necessary; the cheese will get a little more solid as it sets. Here I added some minced red bell peppers.
Transfer to a bowl, cover, and let stand somewhere cool for 24 hours before placing in the fridge, where it will keep for another 5 days.
Cut a baguette in slices, drizzle with EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) and add a slice of tomato followed by some cashew cheeze. Pop in the oven to warm up then enjoy.
Photographer/cook Marylise Doctrinal has provided the recipe for these delectable raisin buns here, but you may need to copy/paste it into an online translator if you don’t read French. Bon apetit!
With summer coming, this sounds like a fun, frosty snack project to make with kids of all ages. Photographer Divine Domesticity wrote this:
Are you ready for this? The easiest ice cream you will ever make is this recipe for banana ice cream.
Banana Ice Cream
3-4 bananas (not too ripe)
And that is it!
I also added some caramel sauce and some mixed nut topping, but that isn’t necessary, as it is quite flavorful and delicious all on its own.
Slice the bananas into coins and lay on a piece of wax paper. Transfer to freezer and let them freeze for 1-2 hours. Add the frozen banana slices to a food processor and process until creamy and extra smooth. This may take a few minutes. I had to stop a few times to scrape down the bowl.
After the mixture was initially mixed and in very small pieces, I had to let it thaw for about 10 minutes when my processor blade wouldn’t pick up the mixture as it was too hard. If this happens to you, just wait a few minutes and try processing again.
Eat within 2-3 days. Since this ice cream has no preservatives, it is best to eat it sooner rather than later. I prefer to eat it immediately after preparing. It should be the perfect soft-serve consistency after you finish processing it. Enjoy!
I remember eating cookies similar to these when I was a kid… so good! Photographer/cook Scubadive67 provided the Betty Crocker recipe below:
Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/4 cup shortening
* 1/4 cup stick margarine or butter softened*
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 large egg, separated
* 1 cup all-purpose flour**
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup finely chopped nuts
* Jelly or jam
1. Heat oven to 350ºF.
2. Mix brown sugar, shortening, vanilla and egg yolk in a medium bowl. Stir in flour and salt until dough holds together.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Beat egg white slightly. Dip each ball into egg white. Roll in nuts. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press thumb deeply in center of each.
4. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely on wire rack. Fill thumbprints with jelly or jam.
*Do not use vegetable oil spreads
**If using self-rising flour, omit salt.
I added almond extract to this batch, add anything you like.
Photographer/cook Stephen Rees wrote this about his lamb medallions dinner:
NZ medallions of lamb with piccolo potatoes and mixed veg. I deglazed the pan with a little port left over from Christmas. The veg were from one of those prepared fresh bags, and these little potatoes need no washing or peeling. The whole thing took 20 minutes to prepare. Since the medallions were frozen, they were still nicely pink in the middle.
Super-easy, super-tasty dish — “saltimbocca” literally translated from Italian is “jumps in the mouth.” Photographer/cook moonlightbulb provided this recipe for Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca:
Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca
From this recipe, except I replaced the broth with wine since I was out.
* 4 (4-ounce) chicken cutlets
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 12 fresh sage leaves
* 2 ounces very thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 8 thin strips
* 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
* 1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
* Lemon wedges (optional)
1. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with salt. Place 3 sage leaves on each cutlet; wrap 2 prosciutto slices around each cutlet, securing sage leaves in place.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook for 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
3. Combine broth, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Spoon sauce over chicken. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
Photographer/cook FotoosVanRobin, featured several times in the Fab Food Friday Fotos round-ups, has never disappointed in sharing captivating food photographs with fairly easy, frugal recipes and savvy kitchen/cooking tips.
This beef stir fry with veggies is no exception:
Beef Stirfry with Vegetables
First make a paste with:
1.5 t cornflour and some water/stock.
1.25 dl beef- or chickenstock
2 T oystersauce
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
1 t sugar
In a grill pan, grill until nicely charred:
250g haricot verts
1 red bell pepper in strips
(rub the vegetables with some oil first for an extra tasty result)
In the meantime, stirfry:
200g thinly sliced steaks
Put beef, vegetables, and sauce mixture together and add 100g beansprouts
Serve with rice.
Tip 1: Use frozen steaks, they’re cheaper, just fine for stirfries, and easily cut into thin strips when still half-frozen.
Tip 2: Using a grillpan for stirfries is my discovery of the year. As I can’t get my wok ever hot enough to get the desired smoky-Chinese-restaurant-wok-results, I discovered grilling is the solution. Well, at least it’s my solution. I really love the result and don’t mind the extra pan in the dishwasher.
For instructions on making these authentic tamales, as well as arepas and other delectable Latino dishes, Noema Peréz is the webmistress of a website that offers culinary tips and cultural info in both English (The Intercultural Kitchen) and Spanish — the English-language version is newer, so it has fewer posts than does the Spanish-language site. Fabulous photos on both. Noema writes:
Más en el blog… Intercultura y Cocina.
Photographer CalamityJon wrote this background info about his wife’s tomato creation:
Rustic Tomato Pie with Kale Pesto
Had this dish for dinner tonight, found by my wife online here. She’s interested in getting more vegetables into our diet, and after three months of a diet plan involving high protein and low fat – and thus eating a lot of meat recently – I’m more than happy to oblige (In fact, I kind of think I’ve turned myself into a vegetarian, but that’s a matter for another post).
Pesto is a strange way to go with kale, but I loved the outcome. We ended up with a LOT of the pesto remaining, but I already know that it’s delicious baked over chicken breast, and probably would be fantastic with eggs. This pie crust represents the first starch I’ve allowed myself in three weeks, so while I think the pesto would be great on any pasta, I can’t really prove it just yet.
This is a Marie Callendar pie crust. I was surprised that they’ve de-aged Marie, the last time I saw her likeness, she was a matronly old Victorian woman. She’s been replaced by what looks like a recent college graduate. Blame Food Network for changing our concept of “home made” from tubby white-haired moms to Rachel Ray and Giada de Laurentiis, I guess.
Photographer/cook Grace Fell provided this recipe link for the Tiger Cake and wrote this summary on how she made it:
Recipe from the Oregonian’s FoodDay. Sort of like a poundcake, with olive oil instead of butter, lots of eggs, plus a little bit of white pepper. I love how the heat swirled the layers. Tastes pretty nice, too.
I don’t have the recommended bundt pan, just a springform pan with a bundt insert, but it all worked out.
Food photos selected and posted are credited and have Creative Commons-licensed content with some rights reserved for noncommercial purposes, unless otherwise noted.
Past three months of Fab Food Friday Fotos posts: