Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake

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INGREDIENTS:
1 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla (or any other preferred flavoring)
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour (sifted before measuring)
3 teaspoons baking powder
White of 6 eggs

DIRECTIONS:
Cream butter and sugar; sift flour and baking powder together 3 times, and add to butter and sugar, alternating with milk. Stir in nutmeats, and beat well. Then fold in the stiffly beaten whites and flavoring.

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Pour into a well-greased and floured pan. The old-fashioned, fluted copper pan with a center funnel was probably used originally.

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Bake 1 hour in a moderate (350 degree) oven, or cook until the cake tests done.

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Turn out on a wire rack and cool.

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This makes a large cake. The batter can be cut in half and baked in 2 (9-inch) layers if desired. For a good basic white cake, omit almonds. Frost cake with the old-fashioned boiled white icing, noted here.

You may serve Crème Anglaise Sauce with this cake.  A great way to use up all the leftover egg yolks.

NOTES:

President Lincoln is said to have remarked that Mary Todd’s White Cake was the best he had ever eaten. This confection was originated by Monsieur Giron, a Lexington caterer, on the occasion of Lafayette’s visit to that city in 1825. The Todds got the recipe from him and treasured it ever after.

 

Crème Anglaise Sauce

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Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole milk, cream, or half-and-half
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions
1. Warm the milk or cream in the saucepan and remove from heat. Make sure it’s cool enough to touch before adding it to the eggs. (You can skip this step, but warming the milk separately helps cut down on cooking time)

2. In a medium, heat-proof bowl, whisk the yolks together and then whisk in the sugar and pinch of salt. Continue whisking until the mixture turns pale yellow and forms ribbons on the surface.

3. Whisking steadily, pour the milk into the egg-sugar mixture in a steady stream.

4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir constantly in an “S” shape to make sure the bottom doesn’t scald or the eggs curdle.

5. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens enough to fully coat the back of your spoon and is as smooth as silk.

6. You can also check the temperature with an instant-read or candy thermometer — it should be at least 156°F and not exceed 180&deg. (The higher the temperature, the thicker the final cooled custard will be.)

7. Strain the custard to remove any bits of eggs that may have curdled and stir in the vanilla. Doing this over an ice bath helps stop the cooking process so the custard doesn’t over-cook.

Additional Notes:

• Crème anglaise will keep refrigerated for about one week.

• If you’d like to flavor your custard, you can infuse herbs, spices, or other flavors into the milk in Step 1, or add flavoring extracts along with the vanilla in Step 6.

Dirt Brownies

Ingredients for 16 servings

1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
10 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
½ cup flour

Optional: raisins

Preparation
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).
In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa powder, and butter. Stir using a spatula or a wooden spoon. It will be gritty.
Combine vanilla and 1 egg. Mix until the egg is fully incorporated. Then mix in the other egg.
Add flour and salt, and mix into the batter.
Transfer into a baking dish, add raisins if you wish and bake for 20 minutes and let it cool completely.

Spread the chocolate frosting and then the gummy worms, followed by the cookie crumbs.  If you are using Oreo Cookie crumbs like I have done below,  make sure you mix 2/3 of the crumbs with the frosting and sprinkle the rest on top.  This way the crumbs will stick together better.

Shrimp De Jonghe

shrimp de jonghe

Chicago’s Shrimp DeJonghe

De Jonghe Hotel on Chicago’s Monroe Street first served this dish in the 1920s. The original recipe which was first printed in 1947 also had nutmeg.

Ingredients

1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined (I like to remove shell from tail too)
6 tablespoons butter
3⁄4 teaspoon minced garlic
1⁄4 cup sherry wine
1 tablespoon sliced green onion
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon paprika
1⁄2 cup dry plain breadcrumbs

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F Grease a 1 to 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.
[the first time I made this recipe I didn’t peeled and deveined nor did I sautéed them. The recipe didn’t turn out as well as it did the second time]
Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté about 30 seconds.
Stir in the shrimp, sherry, onion, salt, cayenne, and paprika. Add 6 Tbsp of the bread crumbs and stir until moistened.
Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp bread crumbs on top and bake for 25 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Serve hot.

Homemade Salami

 

salami

Ready in 1 day and 2 hours
Serves 8
195 calories

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons sugar-based curing mixture (such as Morton(R) Tender Quick(R))
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions
In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard seed, curing salt, black pepper and liquid smoke. Mix in the red pepper flakes if desired. Roll the mixture into a 2 inch diameter log, and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Make a few slits in the bottom of the roll to allow the fat to drain when cooking. Place roll onto a broiler pan, and fill the bottom part of the pan with about 1 inch of water to keep the salami moist.
Bake for 90 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from pan and cool completely before unwrapping the salami. Slice and eat as lunch meat, or serve on a tray with crackers and cheese.

Raspberry Clafoutis

clafoutisINGREDIENTS
½ c. all-purpose flour
¼ c. sugar
2 tbsp. sugar
salt
3 large eggs
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
¼ c. milk
2 tbsp. milk
1½ pt. raspberries
confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch gratin dish. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the eggs, butter, and lemon zest until smooth. Add the milk and whisk until light and very smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the gratin dish and top with the raspberries.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool slightly. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges, and serve.

HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

Ingredients:

Makes about 3 cups

7 egg yolks
2 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, if needed (or more)
8 ounces very soft unsalted butter
1 dash cayenne pepper
salt, to taste

Directions:

Whisk the yolks, water, and lemon juice in the saucepan for a few moments, until thick and pale.
Over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at a reasonable speed, remember eggs tend to overcook.
To moderate the heat, frequently move the pan off the burner for a few seconds, and then back on. (If, by chance, the eggs seem to be cooking too fast, set the pan in the bowl of cold water to cool the bottom, then continue).
As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, and then thicken. When you can see the pan bottom through the streaks of the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from the heat.
By spoonfuls, add the soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition. As the emulsion forms, you may add the butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed. Continue incorporating butter until the sauce has thickened to the consistency you want.
Season lightly with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper, whisking in well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding droplets of lemon juice if needed. Serve lukewarm.

Louisiana-Style Remoulade Sauce

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise.
1/4 cup mustard (Creole mustard if possible)
1 Tbsp sweet paprika.
1-2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning.
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish.
1 teaspoon pickle juice (dill or sweet, your preference) substitute with little lemon juice or vinegar if pickle juice isn’t available
1 teaspoon hot sauce (preferably Tabasco)
1 large clove garlic, minced and smashed.

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. preferable a few hours before serving. The remoulade is better if left for a few hours to let the flavors meld. Keep refrigerated.

Whole 30 Chocolate Mousse

chocolate mousseIngredients:

4 servings

1 can (400 ml) creamy coconut milk
5 Tb (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
1 cup (tightly packed) soft dried dates (18 in this case)
a few drops of vanilla extract

Directions:

Refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight to solidify and separate. Carefully turn it upside down, open and discard the transparent liquid.

If the dates aren’t soft enough to pit and halve cut in half, place them for a few minutes in warm water until they start to soften, then drain and chop. Place them in a the blender, add 2 rounded Tb coconut milk and blend on high.

For a smooth texture you need to strain the paste and then mix in the rest. You need a large strainer with very small holes to trap those bits of date skin. Mixed the date paste with only half of the coconut milk, strained, then added the rest. This will make it go faster.

If you don’t mind those tiny bits of date skin, you can just add the remaining coconut milk and cocoa powder and blend together until smooth, then finally add the vanilla (or your preferred flavouring).  Taste and adjust the flavouring, if needed. Divide the mousse between the 4 ramekins and refrigerate for a couple of hours. You can even make is a day ahead the mouse will mousse tasted more chocolatey

You can also whisk or make this in a food processor or even in the chopper from a hand blender set, that will help to trap air inside the paste and make it lighter and even more mousse-like.