Red, red wine… and chocolate!

Okay, so it’s the new year and you’ve talked about a new you… working out more, eating better, and trying to treat people better than how you want to be treated.  What better way to reward yourself and treat those friends you’re being extra nice to than to make one of the best chocolate cake recipes we have come across?

Nothing.

Well, except that you may have to work out just a little bit harder afterwards… BUT we’ll be making little bundts, which is easier to share with a lot more friends.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

There are a few things that bring me that feeling of appreciation in the simple joys in life (related to the kitchen that is).

1.  Using the kitchen aid.  Hello blue!

2.  Using the mini-bundt pan.  Just writing “mini-bundt pan” makes me smile.  Mini-bundt pan.  🙂

3.  Using the leftovers. I hate leftovers, but I also hate wasting the leftovers.  Quite the conundrum.  But when we find ways to make just the right amount for the party at hand or turn the leftovers into something fresh and new.  Well, this is a simple kitchen joy that tickles my fancy.

This, my friends, leads to leftover red wine.  Sometimes Kelson and I cannot polish the bottle off.  Shocking, I know.  Sometimes you just want a glass or two and sometimes you’re left with just a smidget.  A smidget too much to polish off and too much to pour down the sink without feeling a bit wasteful.  So, what can you make with leftover red wine that is absolutely fabulous?

Say hello to an amazing red wine chocolate cake recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.  Please note that as she mentions in the recipe, the red wine does not get baked away… so as much as I truly believe this is one of the best chocolate cake recipes I have ever had, this is probably not the best cake to pass on to the little ones.  Although I’m pretty sure I may have delivered a few bundts to my neighbors with the kid this past Christmas.  Ooops….

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbl unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup firming packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup red wine

 

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup and 1 Tbl all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • powdered sugar

 

*Photographed is double the recipe.  I also opted to make mini chocolate bundts rather than a cake round from the original recipe.

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Bring out the kitchen aid and cream the butter until smooth.  Add the sugars and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add the egg and yolk and beat well.

2.  Add the red wine and then the vanilla.

3.  Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together.

*Do you like my makeshift sifting action?  It’s always nice to use what you have at home for another purpose.  Although Kelson makes a good point that we do enough baking to justify getting a proper flour sifter.

4.  Mix until 3/4 combined and then fold the rest with a spatula.

5.  Spray the bundt pan with oil.  Pam is wonderful for this purpose.  Then spoon the mixture into the pan.  Do not fill it to the top.  You want to give it some room to grow.  Bake them for approximately 15 minutes.  Use the toothpick test.  Stick a toothpick in the middle and make sure it comes out clean.  No need to undercook either, since this cake is quite nice and fudgey.

6.  Put the cooling rack against the bundt pan and flip it over.  Wait about 10 minutes before lifting off the bundt pan and… TA-DAH!  Beautiful and moist chocolate bundts with a lovely touch of red wine.

Dust these lovely little guys with some powdered sugar and you have some very yummy (and very sharable) chocolate cakes!  Enjoy some red wine and chocolate deliciousness!  Totally worth the heavy workout to balance out eating one too many of them.

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Happy New Year! Happy New You! Happy New Stew!

A new day in a new year and a new stew recipe… what more can you want to start off a great new year?

Happy New Year!  Welcome to 2012!

With all new years comes great resolutions.  Resolutions that get us all to try to be better people, work for better things, or promise to go the gym more this year.  This year, we have a few resolutions up our sleeves.  One stands out to share and that’s the resolution to want to cook more delicious meals at home and find great recipes to share.

Beef + Jamie Oliver + Good Beer = Delicious Stew!

We love stew!  I love how the meat breaks down and becomes so tender.  I love the aroma that fills the house.  I love the fact I can whip out the dutch oven.  Nothing warms the soul the same on a cold day, then a really well made stew (and maybe our chilli… and just like the chilli, this stew is AMAZING REHEATED!  Crazy?  I know!).

Making stew sounds simple, right?  Just throw in some tough cuts of meat, tomato sauce, carrots, celery… and boom!  Awesome and delicious stew, right?  Possibly for some, but a bit of a failed attempt for us.

Maybe my grandmother had the magic touch of just throwing things together to make a delicious beef and potato stew.  Maybe one of my best friends secret addition of V8 tomato juice added the missing ingredient to a great beef stew.  One thing is for sure, stews become less intimidating when you have a basic recipe to start from and we have one man to thank for that.  Jamie Oliver.

Oh Jamie Oliver!  I love your goal to change the way people eat and to become more aware of what goes into food.  I love your lovely lisp.  Furthermore, I love your Jamie’s Food Revolution cookbook (thanks big sis and bro for the gift!).  It’s basic.  It’s not intimidating.  And it’s definitely inspired us to cook more.  It pretty much does all the wonderful things a cookbook should.

Thus far, my favorite recipe is the basic stew recipe.  He offers some variations in the cookbook, but we’re focusing on the deliciousness that is a really great beef stew.

Basic Beef Stew

Ingredients

Serves 4-6  (*photographed double the servings)

  • 3 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 pound diced stewing beef
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 carrots
  • half a small box of mushrooms (*altered from the orig. recipe)
  • olive oil
  • 1 TBL all purpose flour
  • 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups brown ale, Guinness or stout (*We used one of our favorite stouty beers for this recipe and I recommend you do the same!  Something strong and good!)


1.  Rough chop the celery, onions, and carrots.

2.  Put the dutch oven on medium heat with some olive oil.

3.  Put all the vegetables and the bay leaves into the pan.

4. Add the meat and flour.

5.  Pour in the booze and canned tomatoes.

6.  Mix it up and season with some salt and pepper.  (Be light handed with the salt!)


7. Bring to a boil and put the lid on.  Simmer slowly for about 3 hours. Remove the lid for the final half hour of simmering and add a splash of water if it looks dry.

8.  Before serving, remove any bay leaves and add salt and pepper to taste.

Play with the recipe.  Add some potatoes or any other goodies that might make it more wonderful for you.  Prep some rice or have it on it’s own and get ready for some delicious eats.  Enjoy!