Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cherry Polenta Cake


This just-sweet-enough cake is dotted with bright Bing cherries, but that's not the only thing that's unexpected about it. It's also made with polenta, aka cornmeal, which has a subtle crunch, and olive oil, so it has an unbelievably moist texture and lightly fragrant flavor.

Servings: Serves 8

Ingredients
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup polenta or cornmeal
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh Bing cherries, (about 1 pound), pitted and halved
  • Crème fraîche, for serving

 Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 10" round cake pan with nonstick vegetable spray, or lightly coat it with butter or oil.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine eggs and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light in color, about 4 minutes. Add vanilla, olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to egg mixture, along with polenta. Mix until combined.
  4. Pour two thirds of batter into prepared pan, and completely cover it with cherries. Spoon remaining batter over cherries, allowing fruit to peek through in spots. Bake until top and edges are lightly golden and a toothpick (or fork) inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool completely on rack. Cut cake, and serve each slice with a dollop of crème fraîche.


Friday, August 15, 2014

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR WARDROBE


Shop Now, Buy (and Save) Later

To avoid paying too much for seasonal clothing, give yourself a few weeks lead time. With a little planning, you won't pay full price for breezy dresses, sheer tops, strappy sandals or relaxed denim this season. Keep tabs on your most coveted items using online shopping tools. 

Get this season’s hottest trends at www.alphonseunlimited.com

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How To Save Money On Home Improvement


Take a free workshop at your local Home Depot store to learn how to do things like operating a miter saw, staining your deck or building a hanging garden. The home-improvement store offers hands-on classes at its locations in all 50 states. Workshop schedules—including the Do-It-Herself series inspired by popular pins on Pinterest—are posted one to two months before the class and updated on a regular basis. "Customers do not need to bring anything with them unless they have their own tools they'd like to use," says Katherine Ellison, corporate communications specialist at The Home Depot.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer Lemon Cake


Bright and tangy, this cake will appeal to adults and children. Once frosted, it will keep in the refrigerator, loosely wrapped in foil or waxed paper, for up to three days. Although good all year, it seems to be the perfect dessert to celebrate the summer.

 Serves 16

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1⁄4 cup lemon-lime soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Fresh Lemon Frosting
  • 6 oz brick-style cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 
  3. Add eggs, buttermilk, butter, shortening, lemon zest and lemon juice to flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat for 1 minute, until blended. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Add lemon-lime soda and vanilla; beat on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds, until just blended. 
  4. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans, dividing equally. 
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pans, then invert cakes onto rack to cool completely. 
  6. Place one cake layer, flat side up, on a cake plate or platter. Spread 3⁄4 cup of the frosting evenly over bottom layer. Top with the second cake layer, flat side down. Spread the remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. 

FROSTING:

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating on low speed until blended. Scrape down bowl with a spatula. Add lemon zest and lemon juice; beat on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until fluffy. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes or until firm enough to spread.

http://www.amazon.com/Martine-Alphonses-Outdoor-Entertaining-Alphonse/dp/1463776454

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to prevent cuts and blisters


Here, a few ways to protect you from blisters, cuts and other icky injuries--without forgoing style, of course.
Prevent rubbing Before strapping yourself into a new pair of gladiators (same goes for flip-flops), coat your feet with a blister-preventing balm.
Keep your feet in place It’s basic gravity: Sweaty feet slide forward. Keep those suckers where they should be by inserting nonslip pads into your shoes. We also suggest--and bear with us here--using medical tape to secure your pinkie toe to its little-piggy neighbor. This combats the painful smushing commonly associated with peep-toes.

Have spare flats on hand We don’t care how small your purse is; you can fit a pair of roll-up ballet flats in there. Pop ’em on when your stilettos give out.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Quick-and-Easy French Toast


This easy recipe should be your go-to for basic French toast, designed for when you wake up in the morning and have a craving for French toast but haven't planned for it in advance. It uses only staples like bread, milk, and eggs, and pantry items like cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. The key to why it's so delicious and custardy is that the ratio of egg, milk, and sugar strikes the ideal balance—neither too wet and soggy nor too firm and eggy.

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter for the pan, plus more for serving
  • Eight (1/2-inch thick) slices white bread
  • Maple syrup, for serving


DIRECTIONS
  1. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 200°F. If using very fresh, moist bread, arrange slices in a single layer on the rack and cook in oven, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Add milk and whisk to blend.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat, swirling skillet, until foaming subsides, about 5 minutes. Soak 2 slices of bread in egg bath, turning, until saturated. Add soaked bread to skillet and cook, swirling occasionally, until browned on bottom side, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle top side of bread with sugar, flip, and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until browned on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer French toast to the rack in the oven in a single layer to keep warm and repeat with remaining slices of bread and egg bath.
  4. Serve French toast with pats of butter and maple syrup.




Friday, August 8, 2014

Drink of the Week: Gin Gin Mule


Fizz and rickey is essential to have in the summer arsenal because of the drinks' superb cooling powers. This drink is incredibly simple to make.

INGREDIENTS
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces chilled ginger beer
  • garnish: lime wedge and mint sprig


DIRECTIONS
  1. In a cocktail shaker, lightly muddle mint leaves with simple syrup and lime juice.
  2. Add gin and fill with ice; shake gently until chilled (you don't want to smash the mint to smithereens), about 10 seconds. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice, add ginger beer and stir. Garnish with lime wedge or mint sprig, or both.


Amazon