LOW COUNTRY BOIL
BIRTHDAY CAKE: BLACK AND WHITE LAYER CAKE
BLACK AND WHITE CAKE
This cake is so decadent – dark chocolate layers topped with luscious white chocolate frosting. And the contrast in colors is so dramatic when you cut into it! It also freezes beautifully, which is actually what I’m going to do since I’ll be pressed for time the day of the 3rd (having fun!).
For the cake:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for the pans
3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder, plus more for the pans
1 cup whole milk
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the frosting:
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped, plus shaved chocolate for topping
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Shaved dark chocolate, for topping
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch-round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.
Combine the butter, milk and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Transfer to a large bowl, add the cocoa powder and granulated sugar and whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the eggs and vanilla into the cocoa mixture, then stir in the flour mixture in two additions until just combined (it’s OK if there are a few small lumps).
Divide the batter between the prepared pans; tap the pans against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 35 minutes.
Let cool 10 minutes in the pans, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack to cool completely.
Make the frosting: Put the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring, until smooth; let cool.
Beat the butter and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in the melted white chocolate until combined. Then gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and fluffy; beat in the vanilla. (If the frosting is too soft to spread, chill about 15 minutes.)
Place one cake layer on a platter and spread with one-third of the frosting.
Top with the second cake layer; cover the whole cake with the remaining frosting. Top with shaved white and dark chocolate.
Et voila! Happy Birthday to my brother!!!
SOPPRESSATA SANDWICHES WITH TOMATO JAM AND CAMEMBERT
8 medium tomatoes (3 1/2 pounds), cut into 6 wedges each
6 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
6 thyme sprigs
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp sugar
8 slices of sourdough bread, cut from a round loaf
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
8 oz sliced soppressata
6 oz chilled Camembert cheese, thinly sliced
4 cups arugula
Bake for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are deeply caramelized. Then turn the heat up to 450 degrees F and roast another hour. Discard the thyme and garlic and let cool. Mash a bit. Store in mason jars.
The tomato jam can be refrigerated for 1 week. Would be great served on crackers or baguette with soft cheese.
MAKE THE SANDWICHES Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toast until golden, about 8 minutes. Spread some of the tomato jam on half of the toasts and top with the soppressata, cheese and arugula. Close the sandwiches and return to the oven for about 3 minutes. Serve immediately OR if taking to a picnic, I’ll wrap each in tin foil and pack up for the boat ride.
(Adapted from Southern Living)
I’ll be doubling this recipe for my group of 10.
8 chicken drumsticks
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
Spicy Honey-Lime Barbecue Sauce
Garnishes: fresh cilantro leaves, lime wedges
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Let stand, covered, 30 minutes. Coat cold cooking grate of grill with cooking spray, and place on grill. Preheat grill to 350º to 400° (medium-high) heat. Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, 5 to 10 minutes on each side or until browned. Reduce grill temperature to 250º to 300° (low) heat; grill chicken, covered with grill lid, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare Spicy Honey-Lime Barbecue Sauce. Reserve 1 cup sauce.
Brush chicken with remaining barbecue sauce. Cover with grill lid, and grill 10 more minutes or until done. Serve chicken with reserved 1 cup barbecue sauce. Garnish, if desired.
***Note: the bbq sauce can be made in advance.
1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 (12-oz.) bottle chili sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 TBSP lime juice
1/4 tsp pepper
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; add onion, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until tender.
Stir in chili sauce, next 3 ingredients, and 1/3 cup water; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes. Place in a mason jar if not using immediately. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.
(Adapted from Southern Living)
My mother used to make a fabulous creamed corn. The only problem was that we all kept nibbling it while it cooked, and when dinner rolled around there was barely any to go around! I’m going to attempt to restrain myself this time while this dish cooks….
13 ears fresh corn, husked
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 TBSP unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Minced chives (optional)
Cut kernels from cobs to yield 6 cups; discard cobs. Cook kernels in a small Dutch oven over low heat, stirring often, about 30 minutes or until corn is tender. (To prevent corn from drying out, add up to 10 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. at a time as needed, during last 15 minutes of cook time.)
Stir in cream and butter, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency. Stir in salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to your taste.
1 TBSP House seasoning, recipe follows
1 TBSP seasoned salt
1 TSBP hot red pepper sauce
1 large bunch collard greens
1 TBSP butter
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add smoked meat, house seasoning, seasoned salt and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour.
Wash the collard greens thoroughly. Remove the stems that run down the center by holding the leaf in your left hand and stripping the leaf down with your right hand. The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don’t need to be stripped. Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-ince thick slices.
***NOTE: I was lucky enough to find a large bag of collard greens that were not only pre-washed 3 times, but also were shredded, so I was able to skip the above steps.
Place greens in pot with meat and add butter.
Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, taste and adjust seasonings.
4 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
3 cups sliced okra, fresh or frozen
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat, add the bacon. Render the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and reserve. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add the okra and tomatoes, making sure to add the reserved juice from the tomatoes to the saute pan. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes.
Cook’s Note: If needed, add water or chicken stock if the pan becomes too dry.
So, I have a confession – I LOVE butter beans! There’s a farmer’s market nearby that sells them shelled, and they are relish and so easy to prepare. This recipe is from Trisha Yearwood, but it’s very similar to the one I’ve been preparing for years (from Nathalie Dupree). It’s super simple and oh so good! Sadly, they were out of butter beans when I went to the market this week, so I’m going with baby lima beans – a close cousin.
2 pounds butter beans or baby lima beans, fresh or frozen
1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
2 TBSP butter
1/4 tsp coarse ground pepper
Shell the beans and wash thoroughly. Put 2 cups water and the salt in a medium saucepan, and add the beans.
Bring it to a boil then simmer the beans until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the liquid and add the butter.
Sprinkle lightly with the black pepper before serving. Can easily be prepared in advance and then reheated, and they are equally as good – maybe better!
GRANDDAD’S BLACKBERRY BUCKLE
(Adapted from bunsinmyoven)
1 stick butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 cups blackberries, rinsed and dried
2 TBSP sugar
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish. Mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk in the milk and melted butter, stirring until just incorporated. Butter a pie plate or similar sized baking dish. Pour the batter into the buttered dish, and then sprinkle the blackberries over the top.
Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and place in the oven for 40 minutes. Then sprinkle the top with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, and continue baking 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Top with ice cream if desired.
KAMALAME CAY DRINK
I found this doozie of a drink in (of all places!), a Vineyard Vines catalogue! Kamalame Cay is a very cool resort in the Bahamas that I’ve earmarked – may have to go there sometime soon! And apparently this drink is a specialty there. So, until I can get there, this drink is sure to AT LEAST put me in an island mood….
This recipe serves 1 – obviously I’ll be making a bigger batch! 😉
1 oz (1/8 cup) coconut rum
1 oz (1/8 cup) pineapple rum
1 oz (1/8 cup) banana rum
2 oz (1/4 cup) orange juice
2 oz (1/4 cup) cranberry juice
2 oz (1/4 cup) pineapple juice
splash of grenadine
(Adapted from Deep South Dish)
This recipe serves 1.
2 large strawberries, hulled, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 cup of chopped, seedless watermelon
Juice of one lime
1-1/2 to 2 ounces of simple syrup, or to taste
5 mint leaves
2 ounces of good rum
Ice to fill glass
Club soda or lemon-lime soda
Lime curls and/or extra mint leaves, for garnish, optional
In a blender, whirl the strawberries and watermelon. Strain out pulp if desired. Add the lime juice and simple syrup. In a tall highball or collins glass, add the mint leaves and muddle with a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, just enough to release the oils of the mint. Add 2 ounces of rum on top and fill glass with ice. Top it off with the strawberry watermelon mixture and a splash of lemon lime or club soda; stir well and garnish.