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Friday, July 10, 2009

Bye, Bye Blogger, Goodbye

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Well, Dear Readers, the time has come for me to spread my wings and fly. I created this blog on Blogger in September of 2007, and at the time it was the right choice for me. I was brand new to blogging and knew next to nothing about code, HTML, CSS (or even DSLR)! I still don't know that much, but I have learned a few things. But, over time I've grown a little restless. I began to want more than Blogger could give me. I wanted pages, plugins and a fancy schmancy header, and I didn't want to have to hack the hell out of my template to get them! So, I found a smart, creative and talented web designer who picked my brain, read my mind and designed a brand new, beautiful web site for me.

I am thrilled and excited (and a little scared) to announce that some time within the next twenty-four hours, Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy will switch to the WordPress platform and move over to its very own domain. My new web address will be:

http://stickygooeycreamychewy.com

If you have SGCC bookmarked, you will need to change it to reflect the new address. If you subscribe to SCGG's feed, (and I really appreciate it if you do), you don't have to change anything. My feed will remain the same.

My sincerest thanks go out to all of you who have supported me and this blog for the past two years. You have made my life richer (and my hips wider)! I hope you all will continue to visit me at my new digs. I look forward to many delicious years to come at the new and improved Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy!

See you there!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake

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It was a dark and stormy night. A dense blanket of clouds lined the sky, obscuring every star. The rain fell in thick sheets, punctuated by bright, blinding flashes of lightening and deafening claps of thunder. The weather outside was not fit for man or beast!

I sat at my computer, (probably not a smart thing to do during a thunderstorm), and commiserated with several of my Twitter friends who were experiencing the same conditions. The funny thing was that most of us were exercising our frustrations in the exact same way - by baking - and tweeting about it!

In the midst of all that tumultuousness, I wanted to bake something to brighten things up a bit, figuratively speaking, of course. I searched through my stash of saved recipes and came across one for a Cream Cheese Pound Cake that I had bookmarked a while back from Smitten Kitchen. Now, you're probably wondering how a dense, rich pound cake could possibly impact the weather. It can't. But, when you add lots of bright, sunny lemon flavor to it, you can almost forget how miserable it is outside!

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This recipe deviates from traditional pound cake recipes in that it calls for a quarter pound of cream cheese to be added in place of the same amount of butter. I didn't notice any significant difference in the texture of the cake. It was still very dense, moist and rich. But, there was a gentle tang to it that married really beautifully with the lemon. And, the top of the cake developed a wonderful crunchy, crackly crust. I don't know if the cream cheese had anything to do with this, but it was lovely.

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This has become my hands down favorite pound cake, no matter what the weather! It is absolutely scrumptious! I certainly hope that you'll give it a try. If you don't, you'll be missing out on something very special.

Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Adapted from Staff Meals from Chanterelle via Smitten Kitchen
(Printable Recipe)

Makes two 5 x 9 loaf cakes or one 12-cup bundt cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
Zest from 2 lemons
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly butter and flour two 5 x 9 loaf pans. Alternately, you can use a 12-cup bundt pan.

Mix the sugar and the lemon zest in a small bowl and rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers. The warmth from your fingers will release the oils from the zest and flavor the sugar. Set aside.

Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar, increase the speed to high, and beat until light and airy, about five minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the vanilla and lemon extracts. Then, add the flour and salt all at once. Mix just until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and shake lightly to even out the top. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours.

Cool the cake(s) on a rack for 20 minutes. Remove the cake(s) from the pan(s) and let cool completely.

Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy!

From the Archives

Clementine Cake

Lemon Yogurt Cakelets

Lemon Tart Brulee

Lemon Meringue Pie

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July Dinner and a Movie: Breakfast at Tiffany's

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For this month's Dinner and a Movie event, I've selected another one of my favorite films of all time - Breakfast at Tiffany's. Released in 1961, Breakfast at Tiffany's is an utterly delightful, yet occasionally dark film about life, love and following your dreams. It was directed by Blake Edwards and stars the heavenly Audrey Hepburn and the hunky George Peppard. The movie was based on a 1958 novella of the same name written by Truman Capote.

Played by Hepburn, the film's main character Holly Golightly, is a charming and madcap gadabout working her way through cocktail parties (and men) on Manhattan's swank East Side. She lives in partially furnished apartment, owns a cat with no name and earns her living collecting "powder room money" from the the wealthy men she dates. She also gets rid of the "mean reds" by visiting Tiffany's jewelry store, where she says, "... Nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets....".

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Holly is a nomad, ever seeking a place that she can call home. She never allows herself to care too much or get too attached to anyone or anything, because she is always searching. Almost everything she says and does in the film illustrates this outlook on life, and her inability to settle down. For her, the famed Tiffany's represents security and a sense of belonging. Yet, these are the very things that Holly runs from.

Enter Paul Varjak, or "Fred", as Holly calls him. Paul is a struggling young writer who moves into Holly's apartment building one day. Paul is everything that Holly is not - staid, conservative and responsible. Still, the two become fast friends and ultimately fall in love.

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The psychological struggle between the need for stability and the desire for freedom is evident throughout the film, and is perhaps the central theme of Breakfast at Tiffany's. This conflict defines the relationship between Paul and Holly, who are opposing forces drawn together, each pulling out what they lack from each other. Holly Golightly's story is perhaps in some way a part of all of us. The part that is constantly searching for our place in the world.

Aside from its subtext, Breakfast at Tiffany's is all at once quirky, funny, stylish, sophisticated, and bittersweet. And, Audrey Hepburn is sublime! What more could you ask for in a movie?

I hope you'll join my co-host Marc from No Recipes and I in this month's Dinner and a Movie. I think there's lots of inspiration to be found in Breakfast at Tiffany's from breakfast dishes to cocktail party fare.

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If you want to play along, visit our Dinner and a Movie page to get the rest of the details. Try to get your submissions in by the 20th of July, but a day or two later is okay. I'll post the roundup by the 25th.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Finally! The Winners of My Razor Clams Recipe Contest!

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I know you're probably wondering about the results of my razor clam contest. Yes, it's been a long time coming, but I'm finally ready to announce the recipe I selected as the fate for my precious razor clams. There are two reasons why it took so long, the first being that I didn't want to announce the winner until I had actually had made the recipe to show you. That required setting up a big enough block of time for me to prepare the dish, photograph it, process the photos and write the post. You know the drill. It seemed like every time I planned to do this, something came up and got in my way!

The second reason is that I received so many fantastic recipes and ideas that it was really, really, really hard for me to choose just one. In fact, I didn't. Since I had a a total of five pounds of razor clams in my freezer, (my sous chefs and) I decided to choose not one, but THREE winning recipes! Even so, it was still a very difficult choice, making me wish that I had bought a lot more of those clams.

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As I stated in my earlier post, my criteria for selecting a winning recipe was originality, availability of ingredients and ease of preparation. I also stated that my clams were already cleaned and shelled. So, while many of you submitted great recipes calling for unshelled clams, I couldn't use them. All three of the recipes we chose met this criteria and yet, were very different. I've made one already, and can't wait to try the other two!

So, without further ado, here are the three winners of one of these:

Cuisipro-Rasp

Are you ready?

Really, really ready?

Okay. Here we go!

Drumroll, please.....

Sailcat

"While not the lowest calorie preparation, razor clams benefit from a hot oil bath to a greater degree than any other food this humble cook has had the pleasure to encounter.

Dip clams into rice flour coating evenly. (Regular flour may be used but rice flour is best). Flour may be seasoned with any dry seasonings you like (pepper, garlic, herbs etc.)

Dip floured fish into lightly beaten eggs.

Roll egg coated fish into Panko bread crumbs (the best) and shake off excess so breading isn't too thick)

After rolling in Panko crumbs and before you fry in oil, always put battered items in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. This is a secret for a restaurant quality fish fry! I have frozen breaded razor clams for up to a week before frying. When the Panko gets frozen to the egg wash, it sticks like cement and the crumbs never fall off and the results are beautiful.

Cook in peanut (first choice) or other vegetable oil which has been heated to 375 degrees. Cook for one minute or less. Razors will toughen if overcooked. You want the clams to be done right as the bread crumbs start to turn golden.

Enjoy one of the most succulent seafood entrees on the planet!"

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This is the first recipe I used, and the one highlighted in these pictures.

********************

Toni

"When I read your dilemma, I immediately called my friend Darren who used to live on a boat in Seattle. He came back with this recipe for razor clam fritters, which he said he used to make all the time and people couldn't stop eating them and RAVING!

In a food processor:

1 medium sweet onion
1 large leek - whites only
1 scallion
2 cloves garlic, slightly minced
1 C fennel bulb, cubed

Pulse till coarsely chopped. Put the mixture in a large bowl and add:

Kernels off 1 ear fresh corn
1/4C corn meal
1/2C AP flour

Toss to coat everything with flour and corn meal.

Finely dice 3 C clams
Add 2 large eggs plus 1 egg white
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 head flat leafed parsley, chopped
2 TBS fennel leaves, minced
1 C whole milk
1 generous C grated parmegiano-reggiano
2C Panko bread crumbs
zest of 1 lemon

Combine all ingredients. You should have a mixture which can be shaped into balls and then flattened.

Heat a heavy skillet. Spray with oil. Add the fritters and fry on both sides - slowly on side 1, then turning up the heat and frying until crispy on both sides.

Serve with tartar sauce - either home made or store bought. Either way, the play of the corn against the lemon zest is a knockout, and anyone who turns their nose up at a tartar sauce out of a jar will probably not count among your best friends anyway!"

********************

Lisa @ The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

"I have had this recipe bookmarked for a bit. It calls for a pound of those suckers!

http://www.cookthink.com/recipe/11120/Portuguese_Razor_Clam_Rigatoni

Sounds delicious!"

Congratulations, you three! I loved the recipes you submitted, and intend to recreate each of them! Please email me at stickygooeycreamychewyATgmailDOTcom, with your snail mail addresses so that I can get your prizes out to you.

Thanks also to everyone else who submitted a recipe or preparation idea for my razor clams. I wish I could send you all a prize!