Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kielbasa and Cabbage

Kielbasa is not something I ever buy, but we had some leftover from the cassoulet. I made kielbasa and cabbage, and we were surprised how much we liked it! It must be the bacon.

Now that the weather is getting cooler (finally!), it would make a great fall dish.

Kielbasa and Cabbage (adapted from

6 slices bacon
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar (could use one tablespoon)
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
3 teaspoons caraway seed (I left this out)
1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges
1 pound Polish kielbasa

1. Cut the kielbasa into several pieces and slice lengthwise. In a large skillet, fry kielbasa in a little olive oil until browned. You could also grill it. Remove kielbasa and set aside.

2. Clean large skillet and fry bacon over medium high heat until browned, turning once. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1-2 T. drippings, and place on paper towels.

3. Stir water, sugar, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, and seasoned salt into drippings. Add cabbage, and gently stir. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Add kielbasa to the pan. Cook, covered, for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Crumble bacon over top, and serve hot.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fenway Park Cake

Here is Jack's 8th birthday cake! It's by far the biggest cake I've ever made, with 7 1/2 recipes of cake (four and 1/2 yellow cake; three chocolate). I used a 5-lb. box of fondant (though not all of it made it on the cake), and in the past couple of weeks I've gone through (gulp) 14 pounds of confectioner's sugar. Not all of it was for this cake, but still.

I learned a few things in the process of making this cake, some of which should have been obvious.

1. I should have made the fondant pieces days ahead of time rather than the night before to give them time to dry. The humidity of the day made the wall/green monster droop.

2. I should not freeze my yellow cake - I forgot this lesson from Jack's 4th birthday. The chocolate cake was in perfect condition, but whether it's the beaten egg whites or the pudding in the yellow cake, it deflates in the freezer.

3. Hershey's Black Magic Cake is fabulous! It's almost the same as the Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake that I make with my changes, but it does use buttermilk instead of milk. Delicious, and comes out of the pan like a dream.

4. Homemade cake release rocks! Mix equal parts of vegetable oil, Crisco, and flour and keep in the pantry. I like to spray the cake pan first with Pam, then cover thoroughly with the cake release.

5. Here is my latest favorite buttercream. It's remarkably good, and it comes from the Magnolia Bakery:

Vanilla Buttercream

Makes enough for one 2-layer 9-inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk (whole is best; cream is fine but will thicken the frosting)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.