The 350 Degree Oven http://www.the350degreeoven.com Adventures in Mika's Kitchen Wed, 17 May 2017 22:23:24 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 Taking a break!http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/05/uncategorized/taking-a-break/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=taking-a-break http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/05/uncategorized/taking-a-break/#comments Wed, 17 May 2017 22:23:24 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8670

Hello Readers!  I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe or how-to… but if you guys haven’t figured it out yet, I’m taking a break!

I started this blog with the intention of posting some recipes now and then, as a step-by-step “how to guide” for people who are learning to cook/bake.  I also wanted to help give more experienced cooks and home bakers an opportunity to learn different cuisines and techniques, and to help cultivate a curiosity about trying new ingredients and techniques.  As our technology progresses, people overall seem busier from day to day, with less time to devote to things like cooking.  I noticed that many young people seem disinterested in learning how to cook/bake… it makes sense… the world is changing and we all have less time to devote to learning these skills (that many perceive to be difficult) and must prioritize other things in our lives.  I wanted to help change this misperception that “cooking is hard” and make it easy for people to learn, at their own pace.

Hopefully the recipes that I have posted over the past few years have helped further this goal.  My website is here, for free, for anyone to read… so please take what you like and leave the rest!  By no means is my way the only way of doing things… and I would encourage everyone to experiment in the kitchen with ingredients and techniques as much as you can.  I’ve learned a lot from trying new things – being excited by seeing a new spice in the market or a new type of cooking tool or utensil… and I hope that I have helped in some small way to cultivate that curiosity in my readers.  Aside from having a kitchen with cabinets overflowing with all sorts of ingredients, pans, and tools (I ran out of space a long time ago!)… my “experiment” has been a happy one, something that brings me great joy.  Yes, I’ve had a lot of failures (exploding dough, batter overflowing onto the oven floor, wasted ingredients, etc.)… but with every failure, I’ve learned something and it has made me better in the end.

To access my recipe index (quickest way to find a specific recipe), click the tab at the top of the page that says “Recipe Categories“, and it will take  you to my index page that lists all the recipes that I have ever posted on this blog.  You can also hover your cursor over the “Recipe Categories” tab, and the individual categories will appear below that you can click on – and then you can scroll through the pictures.  I have tried to divide the recipes into categories that make sense (like a cookbook); cake, quick breads, cookies, types of cuisine, etc.  If you are searching for something specific, you can also enter some key words into the search box (on the right sidebar) which should (hopefully) pull up what you are looking for.  I have 6-7 years worth or recipes that you can access on this website… over 339 blog posts to this date!

Since the beginning of this year, I have decided to take a much needed break.  Part of that is because the two little guys on the top left of this screen are keeping me busy in much of my free time… my little shelter kitties that are the BEST CATS EVER!  The other reason is that while I love cooking and baking… the pressure to pull out the camera and take pictures, measure ingredients exactly, and hurriedly upload and write everything up so I don’t forget the steps of what I did was taking the joy out of my favorite hobby.  Hopefully what I have done so far is enough to give my readers “the basics” of my experience.  This is by no means a “goodbye” letter… I still plan to post some recipes now and then if I do something new and exciting, or make something worthy of sharing.  Thank you for joining me on this journey!

-Mika

>^..^<

 

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Buffalo Chicken Ranch Diphttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/01/appetizers/buffalo-chicken-ranch-dip/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=buffalo-chicken-ranch-dip http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2017/01/appetizers/buffalo-chicken-ranch-dip/#comments Mon, 09 Jan 2017 21:13:24 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8653

Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip

There are many  versions of “Buffalo Chicken” dip… and if you’ve ever had it… it can be quite addicting!  This is my version of that dip… which I like to make with ranch dressing (because I’m not a huge fan of blue cheese).

Because you can use pantry ingredients (including a can of Costco/Kirkland cooked chicken breast)…. this is a great recipe to make in a pinch when you are short on time, or don’t have time to run to the store for ingredients.  You can cook your own chicken breast and shred it if you like – I find the Costco chicken breast tastes pretty good in the dip (and it saves time)… so that’s what I use.

Feel free to substitute your favorite ranch dressing and hot sauce.  I love Cholula hot sauce… but most others will work well too.

When I got my crockpot (a long time ago), it came with a freebie… the “little dipper“. The little dipper is a mini-crockpot that works wonderfully to keep hot dips or fondue warm and melty all day.   You can buy the little dipper by itself if you already have a crockpot… but I just noticed that many places online are still offering the free little dipper with crockpot  purchase.

Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip:

Use your favorite hot sauce, ranch dressing, cream cheese, and a can of chicken breast for an easy appetizer!

  • 12.5 oz. can Costco/Kirkland cooked chicken breast
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. hot sauce (I like Cholula)
  • 1/4 c. ranch dressing
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt, pepper to taste

1.  Combine the cream cheese, drained chicken breast (meat only), hot sauce, ranch dressing, and a few grinds of black pepper in a small saucepan over low heat.

2.  Stir, and break up the chunks of cream cheese a little bit to make it easier to melt.

3.  Cook on low until everything is melted together and bubbly.  Turn off the heat.  Stir in the cheddar cheese until melted.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

4.  Serve warm with tortilla chips!  (If you have a dip warmer, keep it in that so that your dip stays warm and melty.)  Enjoy!

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Glühwein (Austrian mulled wine)http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/austrian-german/gluhwein-austrian-mulled-wine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gluhwein-austrian-mulled-wine http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/austrian-german/gluhwein-austrian-mulled-wine/#comments Sun, 25 Dec 2016 02:23:09 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=6455

Austrian Glühwein

Glühwein is a traditional beverage (served hot) during the Christmas holidays in Austria and Germany.  It is typically made with red wine, spices, and sugar… and heated gently to avoid cooking out the alcohol.

This is my father’s recipe for Glühwein.  He’s never written it down, but I’ve been watching him make it every Christmas my whole life… and this year I decided to measure the amounts of ingredients used.  But really – this is a recipe meant to be customized to your liking.  You can make it more strong by using less water, sweeter by using more sugar.

Use inexpensive wine.  Traditionally, red wine is used… but my dad often makes this with pink or rose wine as well.  I’ve also used white wine in the past – so use what you have!  You can also add citrus (orange and lemon slices) – but I’ve grown up drinking it with just spices, so I don’t add citrus.

Glühwein (Austrian mulled wine) 4 servings:

  • 1 bottle (inexpensive) red wine (750mL)
  • 3-4 c. water
  • 1/2 to 1 c. sugar
  • 1-2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1-2 whole star anise

1.  Toast the cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise in the bottom of a large sauce pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  (This helps to release the flavors from the spices).

2.  Pour the bottle of red wine and water into a large sauce pan.

3.  Add the sugar.  (If you aren’t sure how sweet you want your Gluhwein, start with less sugar – you can always add more if needed.  I like mine sweet, so I add the whole 1 c. amount of sugar.)  Over medium heat, allow the sugar to dissolve, stirring occasionally.  (Do not let the mixture boil).

4.  Reduce the heat to low, and keep the temperature just under a simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

5.  Using a wire mesh, scoop out the spices.

6.  Serve the hot glühwein in mugs.  (You can add a shot of rum or brandy for an extra kick if desired!)

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Metallic Dinosaur Christmas Ornaments & Dinosaur Wreathhttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/craft-projects/metallic-dinosaur-christmas-ornaments-dinosaur-wreath/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=metallic-dinosaur-christmas-ornaments-dinosaur-wreath http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/craft-projects/metallic-dinosaur-christmas-ornaments-dinosaur-wreath/#comments Thu, 22 Dec 2016 18:41:00 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=7937

Dinosaur Christmas Ornaments

Ok.  I know this isn’t cooking or food… but instead a little DIY craft project for a change!  Sometimes you need a little “change” from the ordinary… so I decided to make a dinosaur Christmas theme.  I made a bunch of dinosaur ornaments for the Xmas tree, and a dinosaur wreath for the door… out of inexpensive plastic dinosaur toys.  (This also doesn’t have to be done just for Christmas… larger plastic toys can make a nice shelf decoration or funky piece of art!)

You can purchase small plastic toys online, from the dollar store, or the toy section of your local target or walmart type store.  This technique should work with any type of plastic toy… you could use zoo animals, cars… whatever!  Medium/large toys work well for Christmas ornaments, the small/mini ones are great for wreaths.

Just be careful because the hot glue gun puts out molten lava like glue… it’s hot and it will really HURT if you get some on your fingers!  Also, make sure you do this in a well ventilated area (outside is best), because the plastic and the spray paint will give off some potentially hazardous vapors.

Dinosaur Christmas Ornaments:

Dinosaur Christmas Wreath

Dinosaur Christmas Wreath:

1.  Insert the screw eye pins into the back of the plastic dinosaurs. (You can find these hooks at a hardware or craft store – I found it easier just to buy online.) At first, I tried to poke a hole into the plastic with a thumbtack, then try to “screw” the hook into the hole.  After taking forever on the first one – and hurting my fingers in the process – I tried a different approach: I lit a tea light candle, then holding the “eye” portion of the screw with small pliers, I held the pin portion into the flame of the candle to heat it up.  After about 10 seconds, the screw was hot enough that I could just quickly push it into the plastic dinosaur (it melts the plastic to allow the screw in, then hardens almost immediately around the screw).  Be careful to do this in a well ventilated area, because there were some funky fumes coming off the melted plastic!  (These were about $13/dozen for 4″ to 7″ dinosaur plastic toys.)

I also inserted hooks into the back of  plastic dinosaur fossil toys (These were about $12/dozen for about 5.5 inch toys):

2.  Once you have inserted the hooks, take your toys outside and set on top of some newspaper or parchment.  (I did this outside on a non-windy day).  Spread the dinosaurs out individually (so that they are not overlapping), then spray with your first coat of spray paint.  Once dry, flip your dinosaurs and coat the other side.  When dry, check to make sure you got all the nooks and crannies, and touch up any unpainted spots if needed.

I used both gold and silver spray paint.  If you aren’t using Krylon Metallic Spray Paint, make sure you go with a brand of spray paint that can be used on plastic.  I purchased the Krylon from a craft store (Michael’s), but you can also buy this type of spray paint online, or from a hardware store.

3. Now you are ready to hang your ornaments!  Here’s what my dinosaur Christmas tree looked like in the daytime:

And at night with the lights on:

4.  Dinosaur Wreath:  Purchase small/mini plastic dinosaur toys.  (These were about $13 for a bag of 96 pieces, approximately 2″ in length – about the same size and quality of little green army men.)  Lay a wreath form on top of some newspaper or parchment.  (If you don’t have a wreath form, you can do what I did and just unravel and bend a metal coat hanger into a ring shape.)  How big should your wreath form be?  Whatever size you choose, just make sure it is slightly smaller than your Evergreen wreath (see the size difference in step 5 below).

Using your hot glue gun, attach the small plastic dinosaurs around the diameter of the wreath form.  (Allow the glue to cool and harden as you go, so that the layers don’t fall apart.)  Eventually you will want to start overlapping the dinosaur layers so that the entire wreath has structure and stays together.

5.  As in Step 2 above, take your cooled and hardened wreath outside and spray paint from various angles in the metallic color you prefer (I liked gold) using the Krylon spray paint.  Once the paint is dry, use wire or small zip ties to secure the plastic wreath on top of a plain evergreen wreath.  Decorate with a nice bow or ribbons, then hang!

6.  Enjoy your dinosaur themed Christmas decor!

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Yeast Breadhttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/breads-quick-breads/pumpkin-cinnamon-swirl-yeast-bread/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pumpkin-cinnamon-swirl-yeast-bread http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/12/breads-quick-breads/pumpkin-cinnamon-swirl-yeast-bread/#comments Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:47:49 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8595

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Yeast Bread

This week I had some leftover pumpkin puree in the refrigerator that I needed to use up before it went bad… so I decided to make a Japanese style pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread.  This is not a cake-like sweet loaf like pumpkin bread…. instead, it’s a yeasty bread that you can slice to make toast or french toast.  It is wonderful in the morning – lightly toasted, slathered with butter!

The dough is the same texture-wise as a Japanese “shokupan”.  If you go to the Japanese (or Chinese) Bakery, they have all different kinds of variations of Shokupan (a soft and fluffy Japanese sandwich bread, often made as squared loaves) – red bean, sesame seed, raisin, etc.  My all time favorite is the plain one – “Japanese Milk Bread” which also makes a great cinnamon roll or dinner rolls!

I say this every time – but I LOVE my Zojirushi Bread Machine so much!!!  It has a “basic dough setting” where you just dump the ingredients in, turn it on, and 1 hour 50 minutes later you have a perfectly made dough that is ready to use.  It makes the kneading and rising process so incredibly easy – so much so that I use it to make bread dough, yeast leavened pastry dough, even bao or bun dough all the time!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Yeast Bread:

Pumpkin Shokupan (bread) dough

  • 3/4 c. pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 c. bread flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. tang zhong (recipe below)
  • 3 T. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 T. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast

Tang Zhong:

  • 1/6 c. bread flour (fill a 1/3 c. half way)
  • 1/2 c. water
Cinnamon filling:
  • 1/3 c. dark brown sugar
  • 2 T. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. softened salted butter

1.  Make the tang zhong.  Put the bread flour and water in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk until smooth (no lumps), and cook/stir until swirl marks appear.  Turn off the heat and let the tang zhong cool.  You should have about 1/2 c. tang zhong and will use all of it in the recipe.  (I will often make a double batch if I am planning to make more dough within 2 days – extra tang zhong can be stored in the refrigerator.

2.  Add the pumpkin puree, egg, milk, cooled tang zhong, UNSALTED butter, salt, sugar, and maple syrup to the bottom of your bread machine pan.

3.  Add the bread flour, then create a small depression in the top.  Add the yeast into that small depression.

4.  Set your bread machine to its “basic dough” function to knead and raise the dough.

5.  Meanwhile, mix your brown sugar, cinnamon, and softened SALTED butter in a small bowl to make the cinnamon filling.  Set aside.  (If your butter is too cold, or your brown sugar has become hard – you can microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften.)

6. When your dough is ready, dust lightly with flour (try not to handle too much because the dough will be sticky).  Roll out into a large rectangle.

7.  Spread the cinnamon mixture over the dough.

8.  Roll the dough up into a cylinder.

9.  Squash the cylinder, and place in a 9″ X 5″ non stick loaf pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 335 degrees F.

10.  Use a sharp knife to slash a long line across the top of the dough if desired (this step helps to allow the expansion of your dough while it bakes, but it didn’t make for a pretty loaf top crust… next time I might skip this step).  Brush the top with egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 T. water) if desired, then bake for 30-40 minutes.  (For me this was done closer to the 40 minute mark… I think because of the extra moisture in the cinnamon filling.)

11.  Remove the loaf from the oven, allow to cool 5 minutes.

12.  Remove the loaf from the pan, then allow to cool completely before slicing.  Enjoy!

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Spicy Tangerine Margeritahttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/11/fruit/spicy-tangerine-margerita/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=spicy-tangerine-margerita http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/11/fruit/spicy-tangerine-margerita/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 23:18:54 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8528

Spicy Tangerine Margarita

There’s a restaurant nearby that we go to sometimes that has a wonderful margarita called the “spicy tangerine”.   It has a lovely sweetness, with a mild kick of spice and heat.

This is my homemade version of that drink – use fresh limes & tangerines to make the juice for the best flavor!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Spicy Tangerine Margarita (1 serving):

To segment a tangerine, cut the top and the bottom off. Then set on a cutting board, cut off the peel vertically around the fruit. Then over a bowl, use a knife to cut between the membranes to release the segments.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Patron silver tequila
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz. fresh tangerine juice (about 1/2 to 1 tangerine, depending on size)
  • 1 small red chile pepper

Garnish:

  • Margarita/coarse sea salt
  • dash chili powder
  • dash cayenne pepper

 

1.  Peel and segment the tangerines, squeeze any remaining juice into the bowl.  (Here you can see that I segmented about 10 tangerines, and ended up with quite a bit of juice.)  If you don’t want to bother with segments, just go ahead and squeeze the tangerines to juice them.

2.  Mix a small amount of the margarita salt with a few dashes of the chili powder and cayenne pepper.

3.  Rub the cut surface of a lime along the rim of a glass, then dip into the spicy salt mixture.

4.  Slice the chile pepper.  (I’m using a small red Jalapeno pepper from my garden.)  Use the entire pepper if you want a spicier margarita, use less if you want a milder margarita.

5.  Add the Patron, Grand Marnier, lime juice, simple syrup, cut red chile pepper, and tangerine juice into a cocktail shaker.  (You can also add a few segments of tangerine.)

6.  Use a muddler (or the back of a wooden spoon) to mash and bruise the chile to release the flavor.

7.  Add a little bit of crushed ice, shake until frosted over.

8.  Pour over ice into the prepared glass.  Enjoy!

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Japanese Fried Ricehttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/11/japanese-hawaiian/japanese-fried-rice/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=japanese-fried-rice http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/11/japanese-hawaiian/japanese-fried-rice/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2016 20:36:13 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8510

Japanese Fried Rice

With Thanksgiving coming up, I thought I’d share one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes.  I know, fried rice seems like a weird thing to serve with Thanksgiving… but it’s a family tradition for us!  It all started one year… after my dad spent all day making the Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings, my teenaged brother turned and looked at the spread on the table and remarked, “Where’s the fried rice!???!!!!”  It was a joke… but the idea took hold, and every year after that, fried rice was on the menu!

Whenever someone asks, “What makes this Japanese fried rice?”  (I guess as opposed to Chinese restaurant style fried rice…) my standard joking response has been, “A Japanese person made it!”  In reality, though, there are real differences between Japanese and Chinese style fried rice.  The major difference is the type of rice used.  Chinese fried rice tends to use a longer grain (and “drier”) rice, while Japanese fried rice uses the stickier shorter grained Calrose type rice.   There are other minor differences as well – seasoning with soy sauce and garlic, and the addition of more Japanese style mix-ins like mushrooms and diced spam.

You can vary the ingredients if you like – choose other meats instead of spam if you like, or substitute the mushroom for other vegetables.  I prefer the rice as described below.  And without fail, my brother calls me before every Thanksgiving reminding me not to forget the fried rice!

Japanese Fried Rice (about 4-6 servings):

Use Kikkoman brand soy sauce for best results. You can usually find fried garlic at a Chinese or Vietnamese supermarket.

  • 3 c. calrose rice, uncooked
  • 1 oz. package of dried shiitake mushrooms (or 1 lb. fresh mushrooms)
  • 12 oz. can spam (I use spam lite)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1/3 c. fresh chopped parsley leaves
  • 2-3 T. fried garlic
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 ts. salt

1.  Cook the 3 cups of rice in a rice cooker.  When done, fluff up the rice and allow the rice to sit uncovered to cool down.  (You can also use leftover day old rice.)  I like the Koda Farms brand of calrose rice… Kohuko Rose.

2.  Soak the dried mushrooms in hot tap water until soft (about 15-20 minutes).

3.  Dice the spam into small pieces.

4.  Chop the green onions.  Separate the root end (whiter parts) from the leaf end (greener parts).

5.  Cut the stems off of the soaked and softened shiitake mushrooms, discard the stems.  Dice the shiitake mushrooms caps and set aside.  (You can substitute the dried mushrooms with 1 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms if you can find those, or 1 lb. fresh white mushrooms.  When choosing fresh mushrooms, pick the mushrooms that are firm to the touch – not the spongy ones.)

6.  Melt the butter over medium low in a large skillet.  I like to use my large Calphalon stainless steel skillet (the higher sides make it easier to toss the rice without losing it over the sides) – but you can also use a large wok.

7.  Increase the heat to medium high, and add the spam and the whiter/root half of the green onions.  Cook until the edges of the spam pieces are starting to caramelize.

8.  Add the mushrooms, toss, and cook until the mushrooms are done.

9.  Add the remaining green onion and the cooled rice.  Pour over the soy sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt.

10.  Use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan and fold the rice over to mix all of the ingredients together while cooking.  Sprinkle the fried garlic over the rice and continue to mix and cook the rice.  (***If you cannot find fried garlic, substitute with 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic [finely chopped], and add to the pan in step 8 above.***)  Taste and add more soy sauce, pepper, salt, and garlic powder if needed.

11.  Turn off the heat, then mix in the fresh chopped parsley.

12.  Serve hot.  (You can make this several hours ahead of time and microwave covered to heat up before serving.)  Enjoy!

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Caramelized Apple & Pumpkin Upside Down Cakehttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/10/cake/caramelized-apple-pumpkin-upside-down-cake/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=caramelized-apple-pumpkin-upside-down-cake http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/10/cake/caramelized-apple-pumpkin-upside-down-cake/#comments Fri, 21 Oct 2016 19:17:38 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8555

Caramelized Apple & Pumpkin Upside Down Cake

So I guess it’s now autumn and we have to say goodbye to summer (although you wouldn’t know it from today’s 91 degree weather)!  With autumn comes some really great things… Pumpkin spice lattes, warm apple pies, spiced cider, Halloween candy… but I would say the fall flavors that I most look forward to are apple and pumpkin.

This is my autumn/fall take on a pineapple upside-down cake… a Caramelized Apple & Pumpkin Upside-down cake.  First you caramelize the apple with butter, brown sugar, and spices in a 10 inch cast iron skillet.  (My favorite is the economical 10″ Lodge cast iron skillet.)  Then, you pour the pumpkin cake batter over the apples and bake until done.  Flip over onto a serving platter, and voila… the perfect warm fall dessert that pairs nicely with vanilla ice cream!

(If you don’t have a 10″ cast iron skillet, you can cook the apples on the stove-top in a frying pan, then transfer to a 9″ round cake pan to finish baking.)

Caramelized Apple & Pumpkin Upside Down Cake:

Use a 10" cast iron skillet to make this cake for best results... it can go stovetop to oven!

Caramelized Apple Topping:

  • 2 apples
  • 1/3 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Pumpkin Cake batter:

  • 1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2/3 c. pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel and slice 2 apples into wedges.

2.  Melt 1/4 c. unsalted butter in a 10″ cast iron skillet over medium heat.  (If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, then cook the apples in a regular skillet or frying pan, then transfer into a 9″ round cake pan before step 7.)

3.  Saute the apples in the melted butter, mix in the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  Continue to cook until the apples are caramelized to your liking (for me about 5-10 minutes).  Turn off the heat, then set aside.

4.  Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a mixing bowl.

5.  Mix the pumpkin puree, vanilla, milk, melted butter, and egg.

6.  Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture, and stir until combined.

7.  Pour the pumpkin cake batter over the caramelized apples in the cast iron pan.  Use a spatula to evenly spread the batter over the top of the apples.  The batter will be a little thick.

8.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes until the cake is done.

9.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate.

10.  Enjoy and serve warm!  (This cake is great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream a la mode!)

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La Paloma (Tequila and Grapefruit Cocktail)http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/10/fruit/la-paloma-tequila-and-grapefruit-cocktail/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=la-paloma-tequila-and-grapefruit-cocktail http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/10/fruit/la-paloma-tequila-and-grapefruit-cocktail/#comments Tue, 11 Oct 2016 22:17:40 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8541

La Paloma (Grapefruit & Tequila Cocktail)

What is “La Paloma“?  This is a Mexican cocktail – commonly prepared by mixing tequila with grapefruit flavored soda.  In other versions, the grapefruit soda can be replaced with fresh grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, and topped with sparkling soda water.

According to many sources, the first published recipe for La Paloma was in a pamphlet, “Popular Cocktails of the Rio Grande“, by Evan Harrison.  Other sources give credit for the creation of this cocktail to Don Javier Delgado Corona, owner of “La Capilla” bar in Tequila, Mexico.  Who really knows for sure where it came from… but it is good!  The grapefruit pairs nicely with the tequila, and the bubbly soda makes this drink particularly refreshing!

Speaking of soda water, I’ve recently become a fan of “La Croix” brand flavored sparkling water.  Both my local supermarket and Target started to carry La Croix… it’s zero calories, and the flavors make wonderful mixers for cocktails.  For the Paloma cocktail, the La Croix “Pamplemousse” (thats French for “grapefruit”) is perfect!

Last month, my dad gave me a GIANT bag of yellow grapefruit from his friend’s backyard tree… and I shoved that bag into the garage refrigerator and completely forgot about it.  Yesterday, I was grabbing some stuff out of the garage refrigerator and saw the bag… still good!  So I peeled and segmented the entire bag, and ended up with a pretty large bowl of fresh grapefruit segments and juice.  Mixing the fresh grapefruit juice with lime, Patron, agave, and the Pamplemousse La Croix… perfect and refreshing!

**Please use FRESH lime juice and FRESH grapefruit juice… the bottled stuff just won’t be as good!***

La Paloma (1 serving):

I peeled and segmented a giant grocery bag of yellow grapefruit... the fresh juice was perfect for making Palomas!

  • 1 1/2 oz. Patron silver tequila
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. agave syrup/nectar
  • 1 1/2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice (about 1/4 to 1/2 grapefruit, depending on size)
  • grapefruit flavored sparkling water (Pamplemousse La Croix)
Garnish:
  • Margarita salt
  • Lime or Grapefruit segments/slices

 

1.  Peel and segment your fresh grapefruit over a bowl.  (Conversely, you can just squeeze fresh grapefruit to release the juice.)

2.  Add the tequila, lime juice, agave syrup, and grapefruit juice into a cocktail shaker.

3.  Add some crushed ice to the shaker, then shake until the outside is frosted over.

4.  Pour over ice into a salt-rimmed glass.  (Rub the cut surface of a lime over the rim of the glass, then dip the glass into coarse margarita salt.)

5.  Top with grapefruit flavored sparkling water.

6.  Garnish with a lime wheel and/or grapefruit segments.

 

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Triple chocolate chip cookieshttp://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/10/cookies-bars/triple-chocolate-chip-cookies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=triple-chocolate-chip-cookies http://www.the350degreeoven.com/2016/10/cookies-bars/triple-chocolate-chip-cookies/#comments Sat, 01 Oct 2016 19:55:07 +0000 Mika http://www.the350degreeoven.com/?p=8434

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lately, I’ve been making a bunch of chocolate chip cookie variations.  The latest, are my triple chocolate chip cookies.  It’s “triple chocolate” because it has dark cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and milk chocolate chips.  If you don’t have (or want to buy) two different kinds of chocolate chips, you can just use all one kind of chocolate chips and make these into “double chocolate” chip cookies!

For this recipe, I like using Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder – I like the color it gives to the cookies, and the slightly sharper flavor.  If you can’t find the special dark cocoa powder, it’s fine to substitute with regular unsweetened cocoa powder.

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies (approx. 24 cookies):

Use Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c. Hershey’s special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in the microwave (about 1-2 minutes on 50% power.)

2.  Mix the cocoa powder, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract into the melted butter.

3.  Stir in the egg.

4.  Stir in the flour.

5.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

 

6.  Scoop the dough onto a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet, 12 cookies per sheet.  Flatten gently.

7.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, one sheet at a time.  Cool on the pan 5 minutes before removing to a rack or counter-top to cool.  Enjoy!

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