Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Asian Noodle Salad

Pioneer Woman is famous for down-home recipes that use meat, butter, and cheese plentifully. But this recipe is from her "Cowgirl Food" section, meaning that her husband Marlboro Man and the other ranch hands wouldn't touch it. I love it! Chock full of vegetables, the flavorful, Asian-inspired salad is delicious. And it has cashews!

You can mix and match the vegetables - leave out what you don't like and add more of what you do. The original recipe called for bean sprouts, but I left those out due to food safety issues and general dislike. Other than that, I made it as is. I cooked the pasta and chopped the vegetables the day before, but I kept the dressing separate from the salad until I was ready to serve it.

Asian Noodle Salad


1 16 oz. package linguine, cooked, rinsed, and cooled (can add a little oil to keep them from sticking)
½ head sliced napa cabbage, or more to taste
½ head sliced purple cabbage, or more to taste
½ bags baby spinach, or more to taste
1 whole red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 whole yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1 whole orange bell pepper, sliced thin
chopped cilantro, up to 1 bunch, to taste
3 whole scallions, sliced
3 whole cucumbers peeled and sliced
1 can (about 10 oz.) whole cashews, lightly toasted in skillet (watch so they don't burn!)

1 whole lime, juiced
8 tablespoons olive oil
8 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
⅓ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 whole jalapenos, chopped (remove seeds and ribs unless you want dressing to be spicy)
chopped cilantro to top salad (optional)

Mix salad ingredients in a large bowl or platter. Whisk dressing ingredients in a separate bowl, then toss with salad. Top with cilantro if desired.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cake

I made this cake for Ben's former preschool teacher's birthday. It's a lot like the chocolate peanut butter cake I've made before, but I used a different chocolate cake recipe from Dorie Greenspan. It was very easy to work with and came out of the pans beautifully.

This cake is very rich - you'll get a lot of servings out of it!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cake

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

For frosting:
4-5 cups confectioner's sugar
2 c. smooth peanut butter
2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) butter, room temperature
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c. milk or cream

Beat together peanut butter, butter, and salt until smooth. Add confectioner's sugar and mix well. Add vanilla and milk. Add more milk if it's too thick and more sugar if it's too soft.

For decorating:miniature Reese’s cups, halved and/or chopped

For the cake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9×2” round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Place the pans on a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients). Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, folding it in with a spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.

Bake for 26-30 minutes or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Don't overbake. Transfer to wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard circle covered in foil. Spread peanut butter frosting on top of the cake layer. Sprinkle with chopped Reese’s cups. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Frost the top and outside of the cake with remaining peanut butter frosting. Decorate with halved and chopped Reese’s cups as desired.