Honey Vanilla Pound Cake

by Hilary Gauntt on April 9, 2017

This melt in your mouth pound cake is the recipe to remember when you wish you had something freshly baked but no time to get to the store for ingredients. That’s how I happened upon it…babysitting my grandsons with a plan to try a new cookie recipe which they vetoed when I read them the ingredients. (I don’t like nuts! I don’t like oatmeal!) So back to the drawing board, or in my case, the cookbook shelf. I had everything this pound cake required except for the cake flour, but faked it with all-purpose flour. (In a dessert emergency, desperate measures are called for!)

This is another great recipe from Ina Garten, and she notes that using “cool temperature” butter (leave it at room temperature for about an hour) makes all the difference in the texture of the cake. If, like me, you have a four year old assistant, you don’t have that luxury. I popped the butter in the microwave for about 15 seconds which helped I think. We ate this with fresh strawberries for dessert and then again for breakfast. Just a rich, fragrant pound cake with a lovely crumb.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at cool room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 extra-large eggs

2 Tbs. honey

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

2 cups sifted cake flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light. Meanwhile,put the eggs, honey, vanilla, and lemon zest in a glass measuring cup but do not combine. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl and allowing each egg to become incorporated before adding the next egg.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add it slowly to the batter until just combined. Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and pour it into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely. Makes one 8 inch loaf.

pound cake

Hunter pound cake


Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

by Hilary Gauntt on April 2, 2017

This combination of flavors really works; spicy curry paste and Sriracha, mellow butternut squash and rich coconut milk. Spiked with fresh ginger and lime with cilantro and peanuts to garnish. If you purchase the squash already peeled and diced this comes together in time for lunch today! Credit to Morgan at Host the Toast food blog for this lovely soup.

1 Tbs. canola oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 tsp. ginger, freshly grated

1 1/2 Tbs. Thai red curry paste

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

4 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1″ cubes

1 15 ounce can coconut milk

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/2 tsp. Sriracha, optional

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped, to garnish

1/3 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, chopped, to garnish

Naan bread, to serve

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add in the garlic and onion, and saute until soft and fragrant,

about 3 minutes. Add in the ginger and curry paste and stir to combine with the onion and garlic. Cook for 3 more minutes, stirring often.

Add in the raw butternut squash cubes and slowly pour in the broth, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.

Cook for 20 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Pour the soup into a blender in batches and blend until smooth. Pour the blended soup back into the soup pot over medium heat and warm through, stirring

Before serving, remove from heat and mix in the coconut milk (saving a few tablespoons to garnish), lime juice, salt, pepper, and Sriracha (if using.)
Mix well. Pour into bowls and drizzle the remaining coconut milk on top. Swirl the coconut milk with your spoon or a toothpick. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts. Serve warm with Naan bread. Serves 4.

Note: Of course if you have an immersion blender you can blend the soup right in the pot.

Thai coconut


Zucchini Milano

by Hilary Gauntt on March 31, 2017

This recipe has an amusing history! It’s a favorite dish from an old family restaurant in Milan. It was so popular that the recipe was printed and made available for the asking, but only if your I.D. showed that you were NOT from Milan! A great souvenir for visitors to take home from Italy. It’s perfect to prepare earlier in the day, and pop into the oven at dinner time. (You will mess up your kitchen putting it together!) As you scan the list of ingredients, you will think as I did, “How can this not be good?” A lovely vegetable dish to contribute to a group dinner.

7 or 8 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices

2 tsp. salt

8 slices bacon, diced

1 large onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

4 slices light or dark bread, diced

2 cups shredded mozzarella or Cheddar cheese

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Dash of freshly ground black pepper

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 13 X 9-inch oven proof dish.

In a large saucepan, cook the zucchini in 1 cup of boiling water with 1 teaspoon of salt until barely tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain.
In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp; remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and put into a bowl. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and saute 5 to 6 minutes,until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the bacon.

Stir the onion-bacon mixture into the drained zucchini; add the bread, cheese, Italian seasoning, remaining teaspoon of salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. Toss lightly until well coated. Spoon the zucchini into the prepared dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly. Serves 10-12

Note: I made 1/4 of this recipe for the two of us. In place of tomato sauce I used my favorite purchased marinara sauce from Rao’s.

zucchini Milan


Pork Medallions with Currants and Scotch

by Hilary Gauntt on March 24, 2017

I’ve enjoyed a number of recipes combining pork or salmon with bourbon, but never Scotch! There should be a plaque on the wall of the Dewar’s factory in Aberfeldy, Scotland, thanking Casey for his daily nightcap (daily nightcap???) so I knew this was worth checking out. The Scotch blends with butter, Dijon mustard and brown sugar; and the alcohol burns off leaving a lovely flavor that even a non Scotch drinker will enjoy. Quick and easy from the Jr. League of Arkansas cookbook, “Sensational Seasons: A Taste and Tour of Arkansas”.

1/3 cup currants

1/2 cup Scotch whisky

2 pork tenderloins, about 3/4 to 1 pound each, visible fat removed

Salt and ground black pepper

2 Tbs. butter

3 Tbs. Dijon mustard

3 Tbs. brown sugar

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tsp. dried thyme

Combine the currants and Scotch in a bowl and set aside. Cut the tenderloins into 3/4 inch fillets. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the fillets quickly, allowing about one minute per side. Reduce heat and cook an additional 5 minutes per side.

Remove the fillets and keep warm. Pour off any accumulated fat. Drain the currants, reserving the Scotch. Add the Scotch to the drippings in the pan, stirring to scrape up the crusty bits on the bottom. Stir in the mustard, sugar, broth, and thyme. Whisk until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil to thicken slightly. Reduce the heat and add the currants and fillets. Cover the pan and heat the fillets in the sauce for 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 6-8.

Note: I cooked the fillets for a shorter time to make sure when they were reheated with the sauce they were still juicy and slightly pink. I was using just one tenderloin that weighed 1 1/3 pounds, so went ahead with the full amount of sauce which I didn’t regret, as it is tasty!

Scotch pork


Virginia Tedrow’s Chicken Breast Pate with Smokehouse Almonds

March 17, 2017

Today is my sweet Mother’s 90th Birthday!!! She has inspired my life-long love affair with food, and is the reason I associate cooking with Love. I can still picture her before dinner in her lovely kitchen, listening to her small radio and chopping and dicing away. This recipe was her special appetizer that was served […]

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Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

March 11, 2017

Regina Schrambling is a contributor to the New York Times, and brought this recipe to them in the dark days in 2001 following the attack on the World Trade Center. “Long before there were anti-depressants, ” she wrote, “there was stew”. She explains that comfort food is what someone cooks for you. Comfort cooking is […]

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White Bean Chicken Chili

March 4, 2017

This recipe is not authentic, but full of the best Mexican flavors and ingredients even though they come from cans, dried spices, and leftover chicken! Easy and quick to prepare, it is tasty and satisfying and perfect to make ahead and take to a friend needing a warming meal. The fresh corn gives a nice […]

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Sausage, Lentil, and Kale Soup

February 27, 2017

Here’s a hearty soup for cold February evenings. Real Simple Magazine published it back in October as one of their Easy Dinners, and it took me this long to try it. Thanks Doreen for sending it along! Everything you need for a savory supper all in one bowl; sausage, lentils, tomatoes, and onions simmer in […]

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Sara Moulton’s Amped-Up Beef Stroganoff

February 21, 2017

This classic dinner party staple of 30 years ago remains a favorite of both my husband and son-in-law, not that anybody makes it for them very often (sorry). So when public television star and cookbook author Sara Moulton featured this as the perfect meal to serve your Valentine, she ended my February 14th recipe search. […]

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Slow Cooker Balsamic Short Ribs

February 13, 2017

Something about having a half cord of firewood newly stacked outside the back door puts you in the mood to try something hearty in the slow cooker, especially on a cold Friday night in February. After scrolling through many short ribs recipes, I settled on this one due to the appealing ingredients and ease of […]

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