Cookbook Corner – At My Table

I am thrilled to announce my newest “Cookbook Corner”…

Cover

“At My Table” By: Nigella Lawson

I LOVE anything Nigella Lawson and this book is no exception! It does not release in the United States until April but I go an advanced copy from “Flatiron Books” I could not be anymore excited or appreciative! Shoutout and special thanks to them for making one of my advanced copy dreams come true! I highly recommend you preorder this cookbook!

This cookbook is charmingly written and photographed, as with all of her fabulous previous other cookbooks, and is quickly becoming one of my Nigella favorites! I love Nigella’s way of writing, her use of words that evoke thoughts and food feelings like nobody else and like nobody else ever will. Even if you are not a cook, or a baker, buy this book and read it cover to cover like a novel. You will be glad that you did!

I was so excited to hear, when Nigella first announced this latest book, that she was going to focus on “a celebration of home cooking”! I too am a food writer and recipe developer – as well as a home cook! I have no interest in becoming a chef, or knowing the proper ways to hold a knife or lemon juicer. I do not have anything against chefs, professionals, but that field and way of thinking is just not for me. Props to those who do and props go out for those who know what they love to do and do it well!

Just some of the fabulous recipes that line this book are…

Egg Tortilla Pie, Golden Egg Curry, Chili Cheese Garlic Bread, Parmesan French Toast, Mussels with Pasta and Tomatoes, Meatballs with Orzo, Carrots with Fennel with Harissa, Potato Waffles, Smashed Chickpeas with Garlic Lemon and Chili, Sweet Potato Tacos, Chopped Salad, Red-Hot Roasted Salsa, Salt and Vinegar Potatoes, Coconut Shrimp, Lime and Cilantro Chicken, Roast Duck, Cumberland Gravy, Lamb Shanks, Apple Pork Chops, Roast Top Round with Caramelized Onions, Chocolate Olive Oil Mousse, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Butterscotch Pots, Passionfruit Ice-Cream Cake, Cumin Seed Cake, Chocolate Layer Cake with Coffee Buttercream, Vanilla Layer Cake with Ermine Icing, Scented Citrus Cake, Coconut Snowball Cake, Forgotten Cookies, Dirty Lemon Martini and Grapefruit Margarita. Plus so many more fabulous recipes!

Here are some of my favorites and some of the ones I tried…

Toast

Catalan Toasts (page 37) I LOVED this quick and simple snack of toasted bread, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and sea salt. I think it would also be good with some type of Italian ham, which I will try sooner rather than later. This recipe brought back memories of making something similar in my French class; where you rub tomatoes and garlic on toast. It is delicious and the perfect snack or appetizer. The crunch of the bread with the flavors of the tomato and garlic and paired perfectly with the sprinkle of salt.

Eggs

Deviled Eggs (page 24) I think this may be my favorite ways of making deviled eggs – and I have had my fair share of them believe me! The olive oil really makes all the difference and yes, mine are not the prettiest! I did not have the time, or the patience, for a piping bag that was suggested so I simply skipped that step. Let me tell you though, nobody seemed to mind as these were gobbled up fast! I did not have any chives on hand to sprinkle on top either so I placed a little black pepper on top. Delicious! I really like how Nigella walks you through the steps of boiling eggs too – something that I know from experience not a lot of people know how to do! Her technique works perfectly.

Cake

Warm Blondie Pudding Cake (page 214) I loved this cake and so did my taste testers! The almond flour that Nigella uses is really something that I may experiment with again in the near future. There is a certain taste, a texture, that is welcome here. This cake is delicious served with cold vanilla bean ice cream. Nigella recommends serving with cream and fresh raspberries, which would be equally as delicious as the ice cream! The taste of this cake evokes vanilla and white chocolate tastes and is fabulous!

Brownies

Emergency Brownies (page 233) My favorite recipe in the book! This recipe basically makes 4 (or 2) large brownies! I went out and bought a ton of 7x4x2-inch aluminum foil baking pans because I had a feeling I would be making this recipe a LOT and guess what? I have! It is so quick and easy to throw together and makes one of the best chocolate brownies I think I have ever had! The first few batches I left out the walnuts but lately I have been adding the recommended 1/2 cup and let me say – fabulously delicious! In the cookbook, Nigella also recommends to throw on some ice cream – just right on top – eat out of the container – and guess what? Done! Delicious and perfect for late night cravings. Also perfect for those times when you want to indulge, but carefully.

Cheesecake

White Chocolate Cheesecake (page 206) This recipe is a keeper! This cheesecake was very easy to put together and had wonderful flavor! I love white chocolate and I love gingersnaps and the combination of the white chocolate filling and the gingersnap crust was really a flavor to be remembered! This is the perfect recipe to make ahead, chill in the refrigerator and bring out and serve to your entertaining guests.

I am highly recommending this cookbook for those who love Nigella Lawson of course, but to those who are proud “home cooks” and for those who love and appreciate good food, good flavors and simple recipes. This is one of my favorite cookbooks!

To preorder “At My Table”, click here – https://www.nigella.com/books/at-my-table

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. Shout out and special thanks to Flatiron Books and Nigella Lawson for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise 

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Scratch Made Banana Pudding

I have grown to love banana pudding over the years. Growing up I just did not like it because the cookies would get soggy, the texture would glob up and the flavor I liked just was not there. But I have discovered homemade banana pudding to be the best – of course! This one is made in the microwave believe it or not and may turn “questionable” when making it but that is highly desirable with this one. Never make banana pudding from a boxed vanilla pudding mix – always make it this way – from scratch, flavorful and delicious.

Scratch Made Banana Pudding

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 stick (2 oz) unsalted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon white all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Box of vanilla wafers
4 bananas, peeled and sliced

In a large microwave safe bowl combine the whole milk, unsalted butter, beaten eggs, white granulated sugar and white all-purpose flour. Microwave on high for 8 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.

In a 9×13-inch baking pan combine together the vanilla wafer cookies with the sliced bananas. Pour the finished microwaved mixture over the cookies and bananas carefully.

Allow to rest for 15 minutes before eating for a warm treat. For a cool, more traditional treat, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 12 hours before eating. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Enjoy!

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Quick Chocolate and Caramel Fudge and Quick Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge

I love a quick chocolate fudge! You know the kind – made with chocolate chips, a can of sweetened condensed milk and a little butter. Combine all in a large bowl and microwave until melted and smooth. Pour out, allow to cool and enjoy. But what could be better than this? Adding caramel or peanut butter to the mix! How? Do this –

Quick Chocolate and Caramel Fudge

Combine 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips in a large microwave safe bowl and add one can of sweetened condensed milk and 2 tablespoons butter. Place in microwave and microwave on high for 60 seconds. Remove and stir before microwaving another 30 seconds. Stir mixture until combined and smooth and glossy. Pour into a non-stick cooking spray sprayed foil lined 9×9-inch square pan and smooth out the top. Place about 1 cup baking caramels into a microwaveable safe bowl and add a splash of milk. Microwave about 60 seconds and remove and stir until smooth and glossy. Dollop blobs of the melted caramel on top of the fudge and swirl into the fudge using a knife. Place into the refrigerator until firm. Cut and serve. Enjoy!

Quick Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge

Combine 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips in a large microwave safe bowl and add one can of sweetened condensed milk and 2 tablespoons butter. Place in microwave and microwave on high for 60 seconds. Remove and stir before microwaving another 30 seconds. Stir mixture until combined and smooth and glossy. Pour into a non-stick cooking spray sprayed foil lined 9×9-inch square pan and smooth out the top. Place about 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter into a microwaveable safe bowl along with 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar. Microwave about 30 seconds and remove and stir until smooth and glossy. Dollop blobs of the melted peanut butter on top of the fudge and swirl into the fudge using a knife. Place into the refrigerator until firm. Cut and serve. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Brownies with Maple Frosting

I have been on a brownie kick lately and have been experimenting with different flavor combinations. A few days ago I made my orange brownies and topped them with a new orange cream cheese frosting I had developed and everyone loved them! Awhile back I made some pumpkin brownies that people went wild for too and I decided to revisit those with a maple cream cheese frosting. These are fabulous! Save this recipe for your Fall and Thanksgiving tables but go ahead and whip up a batch now since the brownies are only 2 ingredients!

Pumpkin Brownies with Maple Frosting

For the brownies…
1 box yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin

For the frosting…
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 cups confectioner’s sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl beat together the dry cake mix with the pure pumpkin until both are combined together. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool before frosting.

To make the frosting combine the cream cheese with the unsalted butter. Beat in the pure maple syrup followed by the confectioners sugar.

Frost brownies evenly. Cut and serve.

Enjoy!

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Chew This! Cindy’s Colossal Cookies

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column featuring my friend Cindy and the recipe for “Cindy’s Colossal Cookies”! Also my “Ask and Answer” features my answer to your questions about my peanut butter brownies! Thank you all for your continuous support and dedication! Enjoy!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 18th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Friends Sharing Recipes…
Blaise Doubman

People always talk about the good and bad aspects of social media, Facebook for example, and really wonder if we have progressed because of this, or perhaps been taken back. I can see the good, as well as the bad, that social media presents, and I can see how some people will never fully understand what social media is capable of. I would like to think that social media is a tool best used in business and marketing development, as well as keeping close contact with family and friends who may live afar. I believe it is also a strong factor in forming friendships and strong bonds that without it, may have never existed. Take my friend Cindy Shelton and I for example. Both of us have lived in Kennard all our lives, yet only on occasion would see each other, wave across the street, then go about our busy lives, not really getting the chance to know one another. About 5 years ago though, that all changed when we became friends on Facebook. One thing led to another and before long we were like long lost friends. I consider Cindy to be one of my best friends today. She is one of the sweetest people I know, one of the most caring, compassionate and giving individuals that I have ever met. Ask anyone that knows her and they will mention her warmth, her smile or her infectious laugh. She is a devoted friend and a true gem of a woman and I have learned so much from her, including being a better and more understanding Christian person. Her husband, Pastor Danny Shelton and their family has become more like family than friends to my family and I and we cherish them so.

It is an ongoing joke that Cindy and the kitchen just do not get along, but let me tell you, I have seen, tasted and heard from many people that she is a good cook, just maybe lacks the confidence. So, imagine my surprise when she presented me with a handwritten recipe for part of my Christmas gift last year! It was a recipe handed down to her from a colleague she used to work with in Shirley, Indiana. The recipe was for “Colossal Cookies” and they sounded delicious! I could not wait to try them and within a week, I did. They were extraordinary! I usually pass out my treats and goodies, one reason being if not I would eat them all, but these cookies could not be shared! I simply had to eat every single last one! Ha! I am sharing this recipe with everyone here today and encouraging you to make these the next time you have a “cookie craving”! I am also naming them after my best friend Cindy and I want to give her a special shout out and thank you for allowing me to do so. Thank you Cindy!

Cindy’s Colossal Cookies

This dough can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Refrigerating the dough turns the baked cookie into a thicker style cookie that is crispy outside and chewy on the inside. This dough also freezes well. Just take the dough and roll into tablespoon size balls and place on a baking sheet. Place into the freezer for one hour, until the dough balls are frozen solid. Pack away the frozen dough balls into freezer safe plastic storage bags and place in freezer. When ready to bake, remove however many you wish and bake in preheated oven!

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 cups chunky peanut butter
6 cups quick cooking oats
12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line several large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the softened unsalted butter, white granulated sugar and light brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Beat in the large eggs, pure vanilla extract and baking soda.

Beat in the peanut butter and combined until all ingredients are well mixed.

Add in the quick cooking oats, followed by the semi-sweet chocolate chips. This will take a little effort and can be done in batches if you wish. Just be sure to have the ingredients mixed well.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of room between each cookie. Bake one baking sheet at a time, in preheated oven, for 12 minutes. Remove and allow the cookies to cool slightly before enjoying.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a few questions concerning the peanut butter brownies I posted to my social media networks a couple of weeks back. People are anxious to know how I made them, so I thought I would share my technique here. Start with your favorite brownie recipe and pour that into a prepared pan. In a bowl combine 1 cup peanut butter with ¼ cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Dollop the peanut butter mixture all over the top of the brownies and then gently swirl together with a knife. Bake as directed.

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FOUR YEARS

FOUR YEARS TODAY I officially launched my website “Blaise the Baker”! Thousands and thousands of followers, hundreds of recipes, so many extraordinary opportunities, my “Chew This!” column, my cookbook “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” and all of your amazing feedback and dedication has made this one awesome journey!!! Through everything – new things, changes, difficult decisions, surveys, taste and recipe testers, and on and on – your dedication and unwavering support and feedback has meant everything to me! Thank you to my friends, my fans, my readers, my followers, my subscribers and my family. Thank you for everything. I am SO EXCITED for so many projects I have open and going at the moment – most I can’t really talk about yet – I think the best is still yet to come and without you – none of this would have been possible.

THANK YOU for everything – I truly love you all!

Blaise

My Cookbook – Refresher

COOKBOOK REMINDER: My cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” is still available to purchase in a variety of ways! I’ve been getting lots of questions / emails about this so I’ll post a refresher –

You can also order my cookbook directly through me by sending $15 total ($12 for the cookbook / $3 shipping and handling) to Blaise Doubman / Box 47 / Kennard, IN 47351. You can also pay online through http://paypal.com Use the email blaisejdx@gmail.com when sending money. You can also send me your mailing address and I’ll send you a copy along with an invoice that would need to be paid 30 days after receiving your order. If ordering 4 or more cookbooks – shipping and handling is FREE!

My cookbook is available for purchase in a retail setting in the following shops –

“The Book Nook” in New Castle, Indiana. Located at 1325 G. Ave. Call ahead for hours – 765-521-2188

“Carousel Flowers and Gifts” in Shirley, Indiana. Located at 205 Main Street. Call ahead for hours – 765-738-1500

“Glen Oaks Health Campus” in New Castle, Indiana. Located at 601 W. CR 200 S. Visit Room 112 and buy your copy from my Grandma Deloris. She loves seeing everyone and selling them for me. She’s a good business woman! Ha! Stop in and chat awhile and taste test some of my fresh goodies while you’re there.

“Warm Glow Candle Outlet” in Centerville, Indiana. Located at 2131 North Centerville Road. Regular hours are daily 9am-7pm. Come and find me in their “Artisans and Java” storefront area.

“Temptations” in New Castle, Indiana. Temptations is located at 535 N Memorial Drive and open Monday through Friday 11-2.

All copies available to purchase outside of my personal address are already pre-autographed with my signature as well as Grandma Barbra’s and Grandma Deloris’. Copies can be personalized by request.

Message me, text me, call me, email me for any further questions. Thank you all again for the dedication and support!

Blaise

What kind of recipes are inside my cookbook?

Take a look below –

Chew This! Chocolate Banana Bread Bars

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY to check out my newest “CHEW THIS!” column and recipe for my “Chocolate Banana Bread Bars”! They are deliciously simple, effortlessly easy and unbelievably scrumptious! My taste testers went wild for these – and I think you will too! Enjoy!

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 4th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A New Take on Banana Bread…
Blaise Doubman

I love banana bread and I have experimented with countless recipes over the years. There has been banana bread with nuts, without nuts, with sour cream, with extra butter, melted butter, softened butter, a combination of butter and vegetable shortening, brown butter banana bread, banana bread with raisins and even a banana bread made with a yellow cake mix. If you think that is a lot, consider the fifty other versions I have tried but did not want to mention in fear of readership boredom and lack of room. Seriously though banana bread, to me, always needed something extra. No, not cinnamon and no, not extra bananas, that only makes the finished loaf tough in the end, I have tried it! I have always thought it was missing… chocolate!

Chocolate! Yes, chocolate. I am a registered chocoholic and proud of it. Anything and everything, to me, is better with chocolate and this recipe is no exception! It took a few rounds in the kitchen with this recipe before it was perfect but the finished result was well worth the extra time and extra work. My taste testers, shout out to Tiffany at Glen Oaks, loved this so much that they encouraged me to bring it again – that next day! Ha! The bread is baked in an untraditional way, in a 9×13-inch baking pan, but does so because you cut this bread into bars! The combination of the moist flavorful banana bread with the chocolate version is pure and utter heaven for banana and chocolate lovers! I highly recommend you stir up a batch of these!

Chocolate Banana Bread Bars

These really stretch when it comes to cutting serving sizes, so cut the bars small and serve for a large gathering! If you want to freeze the leftover bars, do so by wrapping tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil before placing into a freezer safe zipper bag. Once frozen, bring to room temperature over night to gently thaw before eating.

1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 large bananas, peeled and mashed
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with a non-stick spray containing flour.

Beat together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. Add in the prepared bananas, large egg and pure vanilla extract. Beat well.

Finally, fold in the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Measure out a little less than 2 cups of this mixture and drop by large spoonful’s erratically around the inside of the prepared pan.

Add the unsweetened cocoa powder to the remainder of the batter in the bowl and beat well.

Place the now chocolate banana batter in spoonful’s around the batter that has already been placed in the pan. Do not worry about being neat with this. You will see why in a minute.

Now, with the back of a spoon, carefully spread out all of the dollops so that they gently form together and come together into one large even batter service. Next, take a knife and gently swirl the batter together making a marble effect on the top.

Place in preheated oven for exactly 25 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool slightly before cutting, serving and enjoying.

Ask and Answer: I heard from so many of you with my previous column of my chocolate mayonnaise cake and I love and appreciate your feedback! To answer a few of your questions, yes you can use water instead of the coffee, yes you can make the cake in 2 9-inch circle cake pans, the baking time will not change and you may frost the cake with whatever frosting you desire, or simply sprinkle over some powdered sugar and serve alongside a bowl of fruit. I loved hearing your memories of growing up with a cake very similar to mine in your household.

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