Friday, March 19, 2010

Lauren's Simple Pleasures

Well, it's official! As of this past Tuesday we are now a Home Processing Bakery. This means we are exempt from a licensed bakery but can sell out of our home anything that does not need to be refrigerated. We can sell at Fairs, Farmers' Markets, and other events around town! We can also sell to local food stores such as Ludgates Farm in Dryden, NY, Eddydale Farm, Little Tree Orchards, etc. This is definitely a dream come true for me. It's taken quite a while because of their restrictions but it's finally here! We are not allowed to have a website unfortunately, but he didn't say anything about no blogs! haha. I figured this way I can blog about where we will be at! We are also allowed to sell right from our home. If any of you have a need for anything and don't want to buy from a big boxed store, come to us! Here are some things we will be making

Assorted Cookies, cupcakes, scones
Variety of brownies
Homemade granola bars
Assorted Cakes
Breads (we can not do quick breads though)
flavored popcorn
different kinds of pretzel candies, fudge and others

This is just to give you an idea. If you have any suggestions please let me know! Also, if you know of a fair I'd be interested in selling at please let me know! Look for Lauren's Simple Pleasures around Ithaca, NY!

Til next time,

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ina's Greek Lasagna and Plum Crunch :)

Well, I haven't written much lately. I love cooking but it certainly costs a bit of money. I have to admit though, I haven't done all that well with my not eating out at restaurants. Haha. It's a fun way to catch up with friends and my favorite restaurant in town is Stellas Barn (Country Comfort). They serve the best shepherds pie I've ever had. Now it has been 3 times in the past couple of months I've been trying to go to the Ale House and something has come up. On my birthday my friends and I were suppose to go and they were closed! The Fire Dept had reserved it for a private party! BOO! We ended up going to chilis which was a lot of fun.

This week I'm going to make a brand new recipe from Ina I saw on her show the other day. It is a greek lasagna. But it is not with the normal lasagna noodles, but with mini shells. It's just a yummy combination of meat sauce, shells and almost like a custard like topping. With your usual bechemel sauce with eggs, cheese, cream and greek yogurt! I have to admit I'm a little nervous about that but mixed with the other ingredients I think it'll be fine. I've never had greek lasgna before and am looking forward to it.

I'm also going to make Ina's Plum Crunch. It looks spectacular. I have decided though that when my home bakery is up and running I don't think I'm going to make cakes. I made Paula Deen's Caramel Cake and it was out of this world! But they take too much time to prepare and I'm not sure how many of them I could produce. If anyone reading this, have any suggestions of what you think I can make? I have a good list but would love to hear other ideas from you guys. A former colleague of mine from Belle Sherman said to me "Make something without eggs or sugar and I'll buy something!" LOL I don't know if that is physically possible. I'm willing to experiment but am a little nervous I must say.

Well, I will write more after I make the Lasagna and Plum Crunch. But til next time I'd love to hear your food thoughts or suggestions for what I should make!

Take Care!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Mom's Birthday Dinner...

Today I was so happy about the success I had. I made Paula Deen's Caramel Cake. One thing I don't understand though is that It made double the amount of frsoting and caramel sauce. But, I'm so excited I now know how to make homemade caramel sauce. Plus, it's so simple. 2 sticks of butter, 2 cups of light brown sugar and 1/4th of a cup of heavy cream. But now I have lots of extra sauce and frosting. Haha. Of course I had to taste both and snacked on a little too much. But both came out perfect including the cake. I was nervous because I didn't have "self rising" flour. I took a risk and put 1 tsp of baking powder and it worked just fine.

I'm also making Giada Di Laurentis's Citrus Herb Roasted Game Hens. Oh my gosh, the smell of the Orange Zest, Lemon Zest, Mint, Thyme, onion, salt and pepper was incredible. Food network is pretty much the only network I watch now except a couple others. Thank heavens it hasn't been taken off our satellite like it has been taken off of Cable vision downstate.

I love using a wide variety of chef's recipes now, not just Ina's. I was going to make Sandra Lees recipe for wild rice but decided to simply use the recipe on the back. My mom is helping me out with that one, I must admit. I'm not that experienced with making the rice and she is. Especially since Wild Rice takes longer than regular white rice. I'm excited about this dinner. A little fancier than usual. My mom completely deserves that for her birthday. I'm so thankful for her and honestly don't know what I'd do without her. Happy Birthday Mom!!

Here are the recipes for you

Roasted Citrus-Herb Game Hen

Giada De Laurentiis
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2008
Show: Giada at Home Episode: Table for Two

Cook Time : 45 Min
Level: Easy
Yield: 2 servings

  • 2 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) Cornish game hens
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest, from 2 medium oranges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, from about 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or currants
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature


Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Rinse the game hens and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, shallots, orange zest, lemon zest, thyme, mint, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons of the zest mixture over the skins of the game hens. Place the remainder of the zest mixture under the skin and into the cavities of the hens. Using kitchen twine, truss the legs together. Place the hens in a shallow 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Add the chicken stock, Marsala wine, lemon juice, orange juice, and cranberries. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the leg juices run clear. Remove the game hens and set aside. Place the flour in a small saucepan. Whisk in the pan juices. Bring the juices to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Whisk in the butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
To serve, remove the kitchen twine and place the hens on 2 serving plates. Drizzle with the citrus-herb sauce.
Cook's Note: Reserve 1/4 cup of the citrus-herb sauce for the Crouton Salad.

Bobby's Caramel Cake

Paula Deen
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen, 2007
Show: Paula's Home Cooking Episode: Happy Birthday

Cook Time: 35 Min
Level: Easy
Yield: 16-20 servings


For the cake:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups sifted self-rising flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, or more if needed
  • 1 (16-ounce) box confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional


For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

For the filling:
While cake is baking, in a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Remove cake layers from oven and allow cake to remain in pans as you prepare to stack and fill. Remove first layer and invert onto cake plate. Pierce cake layer with a toothpick over entire surface. Spread 1/3 of filling mixture on cake layer. Top with second layer, repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again.

*Cook's Note: As I stack layers together, I stick them with toothpicks to prevent cake from shifting.

For the frosting:
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat with a handheld electric mixer until it reaches a spreading consistency. At this time it may be necessary to add a tablespoon of heavy cream, or more, if frosting gets too thick. Just be sure to add cream is small amounts because you can always "add to", but you can't take away. Frost cake and sprinkle top with chopped nuts, if desired.