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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Very Berry Cake

I made this cake last weekend after my husband requested a cake with fruit. It is a simple yellow cake recipe with frozen berries added to the batter.

1 yellow cake mix for a large cake (used only 1 cup of sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1-2 cups frozen berries (I used a mixture of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)

1. Mix all the ingredients except berries in a bowl. An electric mixer was useful for this step.
2. Once the batter is smooth, gently stir in the berries until evenly distributed.
3. Pour batter into a cake pan prepared with butter and flour.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes for a bundt pan. Other shaped pans would likely take less time. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Turn cake onto a plate and let cool.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mujadara with Cilantro

Earlier this year, I posted a recipe for an onion, lentil, and rice pilaf. I had stored some in the freezer and pulled it out a couple of weeks ago. Wow! It was still super tasty even after being frozen for several months. I decided to make a fresh batch.

The recipe is slightly altered from the last go around. Specifically, I cut out some of the hands on cooking time and added fresh cilantro to the end product.

6 medium onions, caramelized
1/2 medium onion, fresh
2 cups lentils
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
7 cups water
2 cups brown rice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Olive oil
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Caramelize the onions using the slow cooker. This can be done in advance and the onions can be stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.

2. Slice the fresh onion half into half-moon shapes.

3. Sauté the onion in some olive oil until it softens and turns brown.

4. Add the lentils, pepper, and water to the pot and bring it to a boil.

5. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

6. Add the rice and cumin. Simmer for an additional 45 minutes (brown rice takes longer to cook. White rice would be done in 20 minutes).

7. After the rice is cooked, stir in the caramelized onions and chopped cilantro.

The cilantro adds a freshness to the dish and really complements the cumin flavor.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

I have come across several recipes that call for caramelized onions. After thinking to myself that there must be a easier way than standing over a saute pan for an hour, I did a quick search. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are many websites that highlight caramelizing onions using a slow cooker. I instantly knew I had to try it out.

The process I used is simple:

1. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of the slow cooker.
2. Add onions (can be sliced, quartered, halved, or whole).
3. Drizzle with olive oil on top.
4. Cook on low for 12-15 hours (overnight works well).
You may want to stir once or twice to make sure the onions don't stick.

The result is a pot full of beautiful onions ready to be used in your favorite dish.
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