Showing posts with label Gourmet De-Lite. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gourmet De-Lite. Show all posts

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Cake the Dog Ate

by Peg Cochran

The Cake the Dog Ate -- that sounds like the title of one of those moody, dark Swedish mysteries, doesn't it?  Actually, it's Banana Coconut Upside Down Cake.  Stick with me and I'll explain about the dog...

This recipe makes two single layer eight inch cakes.  I took one cake to a party we were going to that evening and left the other cake on the kitchen table to take to the picnic we were going to with my daughter for Father's Day.  Instead of all chairs around our kitchen table, we replaced two of them with a two person bench.  The dog, Reg, got up on the bench and ate a good bit of the cake while we were gone.  He also ate all the cat's food and knocked her dish off the bench (where we keep it so he doesn't eat it).  I guess he wanted something "savory" after the sweet!

This cake was really easy to make.  And if you like banana and coconut, it's a winner!


1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
6 bananas sliced 1/4 inch thick (I used 5 1/2 bananas actually)
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two eight-inch round cake pans with cooking spray.

Beat cake mix, eggs, oil, water and sour cream on low until mixed and then beat for an additional two minutes.

Beat ingredients for two minutes

Place banana slices on the bottom of each pan
Melt butter and stir in sugar and lemon juice and heat until sugar is dissolved.  Pour half the mixture over the bananas in each pan.
Sprinkle half the coconut over bananas in each pan
Pour half the batter into each pan and smooth. Bake 35 to 40 minutes let rest 5 minutes then invert onto plate

Before the dog

After the dog

Book #2 in my Lucille series--available for all e-readers

Book #3 in my Gourmet De-Lite series

Learn more by visiting my web site.  I'm also on Facebook and Twitter @pegcochran  Stop by and say hello!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Salad of Tuna and Cannellini Beans

by Peg Cochran

We had one (1) day so far this spring where it was on the warm side (meaning we didn't need to wear gloves and a scarf.)  Yes, that's one day!  I took advantage of it to make this salad which has been a favorite for years and years.  It comes from the 60 Minute Gourmet Cookbook by Craig Claiborne--a compilation of recipes that appeared in a column of the same name in the NY Times.  It's super easy to put together and makes a nice light dinner or a luncheon dish fit for company.  

1 20-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped scallions, onions (or red onions which I've substituted at times)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or as much as appeals to you!)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Splash of lemon juice (optional--something I've added to the recipe)

1/4 olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 7-ounce cans tuna packed in olive oil (best if it's Italian tuna, but   if you're watching your weight, tuna packed in water works just fine!)

Put the beans, scallions or onions, garlic and parsley in a bowl.  Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice if using.  Flake tuna and add to bean mixture.  Pour on dressing and toss well.  Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves.  If you're making it with tuna packed in water, you might want to increase the quantity of dressing.

Mix all your ingredients - my metal bowl is creating a surrealistic effect in this picture!

Mix your dressing

Serve on a bed of lettuce

Bon Appetit!

Have you met Lucille Mazzarella yet?  Check out the two books in my Lucille Series from Beyond the Page Publishing.    Lucille is a middle-aged "Jersey" housewife and Italian mama who believes every problem can be solved over a Sunday dinner of pasta, wine and cannolis!  Except for those dead bodies she keeps tripping over...

You might also enjoy my Gourmet De-Lite Series.  Is it a coincidence that they all revolve around food in some way or another??!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Shepherd's Pie De-Lite

From Peg Cochran

Gigi Fitzgerald from my Gourmet De-Lite series delivers lower calorie meals to her group of clients.  One of the things she makes is shepherd's pie.  We've had some great shepherd's pie recipes here on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, but if you want to try one that won't wreak havoc on your diet, here you go!

1 onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1.25 lbs. ground turkey

1 cup frozen peas

1 small container of fresh mushrooms, sliced 

1/4 cup ketchup

1 14.5-ounce can mushroom gravy (Campbells had only 100 calories for the whole can)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

5 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed with skim or 1/2 percent milk

First off, make your mashed potatoes.  This dish is so flavorful you won't miss having butter in them (I only put butter in the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving!)

Chop the onion and sauté in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft.  Add ground turkey and saute until turkey loses its pink color.

Add frozen peas and mushrooms

Stir in ketchup, gravy and Worcestershire sauce.  Place in a casserole dish--one that you can take straight to the table is great!

Spread mashed potatoes on top.

Cook in a 350 degree oven until bubbling and slightly browned on top--approximately 30 minutes.

Enjoy free of guilt!  This is something the whole family will like.

If you want to read more about Gigi and her adventures, Iced to Death comes out on March 4.  Allergic to Death and Steamed to Death are out now.  Steamed to Death is available in large print.  All books contain more light recipes.

Coming March 4 - 4 stars from RT Book Review!

And if you'd like to read about the adventures of middle-aged Jersey Girl Lucille Mazzarella, check out Confession Is Murder, ("laugh out loud funny".) Available now.

Visit my web site or my Facebook page.  Or follow me on Twitter @pegcochran

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Super Bowl Recipe for a Crowd!

Pulled Pork for Super Bowl Sunday!

Having a crowd for a Super Bowl Party tomorrow?  This is a recipe for you!  Cook in the slow cooker during the day, and it's ready for kick-off when the party starts.  Serve with a big bowl of cole slaw and whatever else you like.

No, this is not a pulled pork that you smoke lovingly over a charcoal fire stoked with mesquite, applewood or other fancy wood chips.  But it's easy to pull together, and it cooks while you do other things.  What makes it special is the BBQ sauce.  The recipe for my favorite--from an old James Beard cookbook--follows.

Pulled Pork

1 piece of pork loin or pork shoulder/butt--whatever will fit in your slow cooker and will serve the crowd you're having
1 bottle root beer (diet works, too)
1 large onion, sliced
Hamburger buns, toasted
BBQ sauce (recipe follows)

Place pork in slow cooker along with onion.  Add root beer to almost cover.  

Cook on low for approximately 8 hours.

Remove pork from slow cooker.  Remove fat (it should separate from the meat easily), and shred using two forks.

Drain liquid from slow cooker (reserve in case it's needed).  Return pork to slow cooker with onions and enough BBQ sauce (recipe follows) to coat.  (If the mixture is too thick, you can add some of the reserved liquid.)

Barbecue Sauce

2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup of tomato puree
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup red wine

Saute chopped onions in olive oil until soft.  Add all the rest of the ingredients, except wine, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.  Add wine and simmer for five minutes.

Serve pulled pork over toasted buns with extra BBQ sauce on the side.  

Hope your team wins!  

Note:  This BBQ sauce is not as thick as the bottled stuff.  You can also use a bottle of your favorite sauce, but this sauce is easy and really makes the pulled pork special!

Drop by my web site or visit me on Facebook or at Twitter @pegcochran

Coming March 4!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Palm Beach Brownies

from Peg Cochran

I couldn’t decide which recipe to make for our Christmas week.  There are so many, many goodies we have enjoyed over the years.  I looked through a half dozen of the cookie recipes given to me by my late mother-in-law, flipped through my notebook of saved recipes and then starting going through my cookbooks.  One of them was Maida Heatter’s "Brand New Book of Great Cookies" which had been a present to my late husband who loved to cook and bake as much as I did.  I glanced through the recipes and next to this one for Palm Beach Brownies he had written “Incredible! 12/96.”  I decided okay, this is it.  I remembered these brownies and they really are incredible.  I just hoped they would turn out as well as his had.  I think I’ve come close, and I think he’d be pleased that I chose to make these and share them with family this Christmas. 

The recipe makes 6 1/2 pounds of brownies!  They are very rich so you will want to cut them into bite-size pieces.  They freeze well, and I've put most of the ones I made into the freezer to get out during Christmas week.

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used Bakers brand)
8 ounces unsalted butter
8 ounces walnuts
5 "large" eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon powdered instant espresso (I used Medaglia D'Oro which, if I can find it in my grocery store (ethnic foods aisle), hopefully you can, too.)
3 3/4 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups sifted flour
Two 14- or 15.4-ounce bags York peppermint patties (I could only find 12-ounce bags, and I had enough with a few left over for nibbling on.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Turn a 9 x 11 (or 9 x 13) pan upside down, take a length of aluminum foil and fit it to the bottom of the pan.  Turn the pan right side up and tuck the aluminum foil inside so that the pan is lined.  

Place a piece of butter (additional to that in the recipe) in the pan, put in the oven until it melts, and use a pastry brush to coat the inside of the foil in your  pan.  (Note: do not forget the pan in the oven and burn the butter which I did the first time around.  In order to cool the pan quickly so I could start over, I put it outside in the snow by the front door.  Worked like a charm!)

Place the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or heavy saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Break the walnuts into smaller pieces.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the vanilla and almond extracts, salt, espresso and sugar at high speed for 10 minutes.  On low speed add the chocolate mixture and beat only until mixed.  Add the flour and beat on low speed only until mixed.  Stir in the nuts.

Pour half the mixture in the prepared pan--it will be a thin layer.  Unwrap the mints and place a layer on top of the batter.  You may need to cut some to fit along the sides.  The entire pan should be covered with the mints.  (Hint:  you can eat about six or seven of the mints and still have enough left for the brownies  Good to know if you have a hubby who loves candy!)

Pour the remaining chocolate batter over the mints (the layer will be thin) and smooth.  

Bake for 35 minutes reversing the pan from front to back during baking to insure even baking.  The cake will have a firm crust on top, but a toothpick inserted in the middle will come out wet and covered with chocolate.  The brownies are nevertheless done--do not bake any longer.  

Let the pan stand until brownies are cool.  Cover with a cookie sheet and invert.  Remove pan and foil lining and invert again so they are right side up.  

Refrigerate (or freeze) until firm (or they will be too gooey to cut).  Cut into quarters, cut each quarter in half then into four long bars.  These are very rich and you do not want big pieces.  You may want to cut them even smaller if you are serving them along with other cookies.  They freeze well and can be served very cold or at room temperature.

Merry Christmas!  I hope you and yours will enjoy these!

Obviously the character in my Gourmet De-Lite series, Gigi Fitzgerald, would counsel you against eating too many of these.  But they are so good that a small portion is very satisfying, and, after all, it's Christmas!

I'd love to add you to my mailing list--sign up can be found on my web site.  I also enjoy chatting with readers on Facebook or Twitter (@pegcochran).

The third book in my Gourmet De-Lite series, Iced to Death, comes out in March.  Lots of fun things ahead for Gigi!

Melt butter and sugar in double boiler

Mold aluminum foil to inverted pan

Turn pan right side up and line with molded foil

Unwrap peppermint patties and eat a few!

Good brand of instant espresso

Butter and chocolate melted and stirred until smooth

Pan cooling in the snow after I burned the butter!

Remove foil from brownies

Cut off burnt or crusty edges...or not

Don't forget to leave some out for Santa!

Includes delicious recipes!
Coming March 2014!

Available now for all e-book platforms

Sunday, November 24, 2013

#Thanksgiving Pumpkin Roll

From Peg Cochran

A jelly roll cake is always impressive but is actually easier than you think!  This version makes  a wonderful alternative to pumpkin pie and would also be delicious at Christmas.  Once you master the jelly roll, you can vary the cake and the filling with ease.  Don't worry if the cake cracks or isn't perfect--the filling will pull it together and the powdered sugar will cover any mistakes.  Besides, it's so delicious, your guests will be too busy eating it to worry about the appearance.


3 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 teaspoon salt

Pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Powdered sugar

Beat egg yolks for five minutes, gradually incorporating pumpkin and sugar.  Sift together dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture.

Line a jelly roll pan (10 x 15) with parchment paper.  I find it "sticks" better if you spray the pan with PAM even though that means you'll have to wash it.  I also spray the parchment paper with PAM which I guess makes me a "belt AND suspenders" type of person.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan.  It will be thin compared to a cake. That's how it's supposed to be.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes but check after about 12 minutes.  You don't want it to be too dry or it won't roll.  It should be "spongy."  

Sift powdered sugar all over a clean linen dish towel.  The sugar will prevent the cake from sticking.  Invert the cake onto the prepared dish towel (sometimes it helps to have a second pair of hands for this.)  Peel off parchment paper, sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar and roll cake up into the towel (the towel will roll inside the cake.)  Let cool.


1 cup powdered sugar
1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened 
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the above until light and fluffy--approximately 5 minutes.

Carefully unroll the cake and spread with filling.  Roll back up (starting at the same end you rolled it up the first time.)  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  For a neat look, cut off very ends of cake since they may be uneven.  (Enjoy the end pieces and look forward to the rest!) 

We were having a terrible storm while I was making this--the lights flickered several times.  Fortunately I have a gas oven so even if we lost power, I was confident I would be able to finish the cake! 

Use a strainer to sprinkle powdered sugar on towel

Pumpkin mixture

Dry ingredients

Batter spread in pan - it will be a thin layer

Cake inverted onto towel

Cake rolled in towel

Filling for cake ready to be mixed

Cake spread with filling

Cake rolled around filling and covered with powdered sugar

Just waiting for Thanksgiving dinner!

Wishing you and yours a most joyous Thanksgiving Day!

Me with the real life Reg at Dog Day in the Park

My Gourmet De-Lite mystery out now!

Come chat with me on Facebook
or Twitter @PegCochran
or visit my
web site

Iced to Death coming March 2014!

Available now in all e-formats!