Video – Easy Lemon Cake

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Ingredients

  • lemon (or yellow) box cake
  • 3 oz regular lemon jello
  • 3/4 Cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1/4 Cup lemon juice

Tools needed:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Measuring cup
  • 9″x13″ pan
  • Flour
  • Crisco or something like it
  • Hand mixer

Directions

  1. Grease and flour a 9″x13″ pan, set aside
  2. Preheat oven to whatever temp it says on the box cake.
  3. In large mixing bowl combine cake mix and jello
  4. Add all wet ingredients and stir until all mix is wet (batter will be all lumpy)
  5. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. (Stop half way through to scrape bottom and sides of bowl)
  6. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. (Stop half way through to scrape bottom and sides of bowl)
  7. Pour into greased pan, make sure batter is even and toss in the oven. Set time for the time listed on the box
  8. While it cooks, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. When cake comes out of oven, poke it all over with a fork and pour glaze all over cake.
  9. Let cool until it’s cool enough to cut a huge piece out of and eat it like a greedy little kid. :)

This is not a recipe I would normally post, being that it involves jello and a box cake. In fact, I can’t bake a regular box cake without it falling. From scratch I have down, but those damn boxes always screw me up. But I digress…. So I’m posting this video and recipe because it’s super easy, light and summery and I love it. It could be a nostalgia thing, but I think it’s just a super good cake. I give all the credit to my Mom, as this is her recipe that I tweaked a little to make it more lemony.

Enjoy!

Video – How to roll pie dough without a rolling pin

Topic: Videos

A few clarifications:

  1. If you have a wine bottle you can just ignore the video and use that. It works great.
  2. Make sure to look at my video for the Apple Dumplings if you haven’t already. This recipe works wonderfully for them.
  3. I’m sorry I look like a not-as-sexy cracked out Marla Singer in this video. I decided to record it totally on the fly, which is obvious by my lack of clothing, make-up and shaky camera man.
  4. I know pie dough can be really scary and intimidating. I’m gonna do a video on it soon, but I wanted to include the recipe I used in this video. It’s super easy, promise.
  5. Thanks for watching, The Hedonist Cook loves you. Muah!

Pie Crust Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (It helps if you chill the butter again after you cut it, because it warms up as you cut it.)
  • 6 tablespoons (about) ice water (Stick the water in the freezer while you prep everything else. It gives it time to get really cold.)

Directions

Food Processor method:

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter; pulse until coarse meal forms. Gradually blend in enough ice water to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Form dough into 2 balls; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; chill 2 hours or overnight.

By Hand Method:

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Add butter; cut in with fork or pastry cutter until coarse meal forms. Gradually blend in enough ice water to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Form dough into 2 balls; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; chill 2 hours or overnight. (I threw mine in the freezer for 15 minutes and it worked fine.)

Why do onions make you cry?!

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If you’re a smarty pants and want more info, check out this site.

And, for all you onion enthusiasts out there, don’t forget to visit the National Onion Association website. (I know, I was really excited they have a website dedicated to onions. Amazing!)

Video: Apple Dumplings

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First video on Location! (Very fancy….)

Ingredients:

  • Pie crust for double crust (or two pre-made 9″ crusts)
  • 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Make your crust, or roll out pre-made crust. (I’ll post a video on making pie crust soon, so if you don’t know how, feel free to buy pre-made. It’s not the best, but it makes for a stupidly simple preparation.)
  4. Cut crust into 6 squares, or cut so that each piece can wrap around your apples.
  5. Peel and core your apples. (If you don’t have an apple corer you can cut the apples in half to make it easier to core. Like it shows in the video, it may split if you do that, but it will still be amazing!)
  6. Put a piece of butter in, then some of the brown sugar and spices. More butter and some more brown sugar. Sprinkle some cinnamon and brown sugar on the outside of the apple (but inside the crust, duh.)
  7. Wet your fingertips and bring one corner of pastry to the top. Repeat with all the corners and smoosh it together until it’s totally covered. (You may need to pinch the top together a bit to make sure it sticks.)
  8. Place apples in greased glass baking dish and set aside.
  9. In a small saucepan, combine water, white sugar, vanilla extract and rest of butter. (About 1/2 the stick.) Place over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved. Carefully pour over dumplings.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Place each apple dumpling in a dessert bowl, and spoon some sauce over the top. Don’t forget vanilla ice cream, it’s the best!

So for real, this is such an easy recipe!! It’s pretty heavy and rich, so I’d recommend serving with a lighter dinner. That being said, it’s one of my favorite desserts for summer. I’ve had two boys propose to me after eating this, so be careful who you make it for. :)

xoxo,

Mel

Video: Chicken and Dumplings

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Ingredients:

Chicken:
  • 3 Chicken Breasts with bone and skin
  • 4 cups low salt chicken broth
  • 4 celery stalks, rough chop (don’t throw any part of it away)
  • 2 mediums onions, rough chop (don’t throw any part of it away)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
Dumplings:
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 oz heavy cream or whole milk

Directions:

  1. In large stock pot over medium high heat, add first 9 ingredients (everything but butter and flour.) Bring to a boil, lower to a mild simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove meat and set aside and strain all liquid into a bowl, set aside.
  3. Reserve carrots in bowl and throw away all remaining ingredients (celery, onions peppercorns and bay leaf).
  4. Let chicken cool slightly and remove all meat from bones. Throw bones and skin away.
  5. Now make the dumplings!!: Mix all dumpling ingredients just till moist and set aside.
  6. Put pot on medium heat to melt butter, add flour and stir nonstop for 2-4 minutes until it’s a light brown color.
  7. Slowly stir in broth, then add chicken and carrots, bring to a light boil.
  8. Spoon dumplings over chicken and cook covered for 10-12 minutes. (Dumplings will be really wet.)
  9. Remove lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until cooked through.

So first off, this video is chopped all to hell! I couldn’t make the 10 minute limit so I had to cut out a bunch of stuff. I’m sorry about that. If something doesn’t make sense, just send me a quick email and I’ll get right back to you. Also, although it looks like a lot of ingredients and directions, please don’t be intimidated. It is really one of the easier things I have posted on here. It’s been suggested to me that for the new cook I leave some info out sometimes, so I’m trying to make sure I put every step on here.

I hope you liked the video and recipe. Thanks for watching!

xoxo,

Mel

Video: Butter Chickpea Curry

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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed and cooked
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces, steamed
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (regular sized can)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup cream (or milk)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained.

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat; simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Steam or microwave cauliflower until it’s cooked but still firm. Drain and set aside.(You can cook the potatoes and cauliflower ahead of time, just throw them in the fridge up to one day.)
  3. Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
  4. Stir in curry powder, garam masala, ginger, cumin, and salt. Cook for at least 2 minutes, stirring the whole time. (Don’t worry that it’s a weird pasty mess, it will be fine once the liquid is added. Promise.)
  5. Pour in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, cream, and chickpeas. Stir in potatoes. Simmer at least 5 minutes, up to 30 minutes

This dish can be served right away, but it’s also delicious when it’s had some time to sit and let the flavors come together. If you let it cool then reheat it don’t forget to add a little water, as the curry can thicken up quite a lot. You want the curry to be like a heavy gravy, not lumpy and grainy.

Hopefully you saw in the video how totally easy this is. It’s a great dish, and even though it’s vegetarian I still feel like a hedonist when I eat it.

As always, enjoy and let me know what you think.

xoxo,

Melanie

Video: Triple Decker Grilled Cheese

Topic: Videos

Here’s a video on how to make my world famous triple-decker grilled cheese. This is a fool proof way to make friends and attract a hottie. (Swear to God, it worked for me!)

Video: French Toast

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Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 9 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 3/4-inch-thick slices French bread

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees (to keep cooked french toast warm.)
  2. Wisk all ingredients together (except bread of course) in large bowl.
  3. Soak both sides of bread in wet ingredients until fully saturated.
  4. Heat large skillet to medium/medium high heat, coat skillet with butter. (Butter should sizzle but not smoke.)
  5. Place bread in skillet and cook until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Flip over and cook 3-5 minutes more. (May take more or less time depending on oven and skillet. Keep an eye on it!)
  6. Once french toast is done, place in oven to keep warm. Make sure to put more butter on the skillet before cooking the next batch.

This recipe is really easy, and produces great French Toast!  Don’t forget that it’s very sweet. Preserves or even fresh fruit would be a great topping if you can’t handle too much sweetness. Let me know what you think!

xoxo,

Melanie

Video: How to Dredge Meat

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Ingredients

  • Beef for stew (that what it’s called on the package, it’s easy to find at any supermarket)
  • Flour (All purpose is fine)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cayenne powder
  • Garlic

Here’s a quick video on how to dredge meat. I know, it sounds weird but it’s really simple. When you dredge meat you coat the meat (in this video it’s beef for stew) with flour and some seasoning. Then you put it in a pan with some oil and brown the meat. This is done because it creates a nice “crust” on the meat, it increases the flavor and most importantly it helps thicken your stew. Check it out, and let me know if you have any questions.

xoxo,

Melanie

Video: Quick, delicious pasta sauce

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Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 32oz. cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (triple the amount if fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you want heat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
  • bay Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of black pepper (more to taste)

Directions:

  1. Saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat till tender and somewhat translucent
  2. Add basil, pepper flakes, oregano, marjoram, bay leaf (and any other seasonings you may want into saucepan and stir for 2 minutes
  3. Add both cans of tomatoes (including juice), salt, sugar and pepper and bring to a boil
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so.
  • This recipe was soooo easy! What I like so much about it is how versatile it is. If you’re a new cook, just follow the recipe and it will turn out great. If you’re a little more comfortable in the kitchen, trying adding some things. Red wine, vodka, cheese, meat, different seasonings, there’s really no limit.
  • Also, don’t forget that this is a great recipe to double. It doesn’t increase your cooking time, and pasta sauce freezes great! I like to put it in zip-lock sandwich bags, freeze it, and then when I’m in the mood for a simple meal I can pull one out and defrost it real quick.