Posts Tagged recipe swap

Recipe Swap: Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

For thirteenth installment of the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap, we’re switching things up!

For the past year, we’ve been remaking recipes from a funny old cookbook (and hymnal!) called All Day Singin’ and Dinner on the Ground. I don’t personally own the book, but I feel a connection to it as I’ve been making (or re-making) recipes from it for a year now. I love how old timey the book is and how utterly simple the recipes are. For most of the recipes, the instructions are a few mere sentences.

As you may recall, last month was the year anniversary of the Recipe Swap. To celebrate, all the recipe swappers were asked to make our own versions of a Maple Syrup Cake. I went with a Butternut Squash Layer Cake with Maple Cream Cheese frosting (and yes, it tasted every bit as good as it sounds). The cake was the perfect way to celebrate the year anniversary of a group I’ve grown so fond of.

However, going forward, we’re going to be making recipes from a new book: The Second Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes From Famous Eating Places.

I’m not what you would call an inflexible person, but some might describe me as stubborn. When I heard that we were going to be using a new cookbook, I was dubious. I’d grown rather fond of our funny little cookbook! I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to All Day Singin and Dinner on the Ground. But, then I realized that introducing a new book to the group only further encourages creativity in the kitchen and will bring a whole new set of interesting recipes to recreate. I’m all for creativity in the kitchen, and so I set aside my hesitations and decided to embrace the new book.

It probably didn’t hurt that the first recipe that Christianna selected from the new book was a recipe for the classic Tollhouse Cookie. I mean, seriously, what’s not to like about the Tollhouse cookie? It is the epitome of classic recipes; it is the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.

I was slightly flustered by the idea of remaking such a classic, so I decided to give the Tollhouse cookie a slight twist. I didn’t want to do anything TOO crazy, as I’m a big fan of the original Tollhouse cookie. I wanted to make something that paid proper homage to the original recipe, and yet updated it at the same time. So, I made one giant whole wheat chocolate chip cookie in a cast iron skillet and sprinkled it with sea salt.

The cookie was rich, chewy, dense, and was the perfect marriage of sweet and salty. The whole wheat flour added density and flavor (and I’d like to pretend that it means this cookie is healthy). At the end of the day, I loved this recipe because it tasted like everything I want out of a chocolate chip cookie. The dark chocolate, whole wheat, and seat salt work so well together. This is the perfect (giant) cookie.

I didn’t attempt to improve on the original Tollhouse cookie as I believe that is an impossible feat. But, I took the spirit of that recipe and I made it my own. I baked it in a cast iron skillet. I sliced off a big old wedge of cookie and ate it warm with vanilla bean ice cream. And I was happy (!).

All that to say: happy recipe swap, y’all. I hope you found as much happiness in your Tollhouse recreations as I did. I certainly had a good time.

“Cast Iron Skillet Cookie”: Whole Wheat Chocolate Skillet Cookie
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, plus more for buttering the pan
1 cup dark brown (or muscovado) sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
6 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, roughly chopped into small pieces (I used lightly salted dark chocolate from Lindt)
High quality sea salt, for finishing

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 10 (or 11″) cast iron skillet, that is at least 2″ deep (this is important! if the skillet isn’t deep enough, it will overflow).

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

In another large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) add the chilled butter and the white and brown. Mix just until the butter and sugars are blended (low speed), about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl along the way. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is combined. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and blend on low speed until the flour is barely combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add most of the chocolate to the batter and mix until the chocolate is just incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape the batter out into the skillet, pressing it into an even layer. Sprinkle any remaining chocolate across the top and sprinkle a bit of high quality sea salt over the top.

Bake the cookie for 35-45 minutes, or until until the dough is a deep golden brown along the edge, and the center has set. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing. Cut into wedges (or squares). Best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Please see below for all the other fantastic contributions to this recipe swap!

Recipe Swap: Brussels Sprout Slaw

Why hello, everyone!

I’m sure that most of you know the drill by this point. Every month, I participate in a Recipe Swap that is organized by the lovely Christianna from Burwell General Store. If my memory serves me correctly, I’ve been participating in this swap since last November – which means it’s almost been a year (!). How time flies when you’re having fun…

And I certainly always have fun with the recipe swap. Last month I managed to turn a recipe for Wild Rabbit with Vegetables into a recipe for a Bloody Mary(with lots of gratuitous pictures of my cute bunny rabbit, of course).

But that was last month! This month, Christianna sent out a doozy of a recipe. She asked us to re-interpret a recipe for Hot Slaw.

This recipe cracks me up. I think that the words “coddled” and “custard” should never be used with cabbage. Ever. I can’t even begin to imagine what this hot slaw tastes like, but it certainly doesn’t sound especially appetizing.

So, my basic goal with this particular swap was to make something that sounded a bit more appetizing than coddled cabbage custard (I dare you to say that five times fast!). I chose to use Brussels sprouts as the base of my slaw because I LOVE Brussels sprouts and I happen to think that they look (and taste) like miniature cabbages.

So, in a sense, I made a miniature cabbage slaw. A miniature cabbage slaw with bacon, blue cheese, pears and hazelnuts. Essentially, I took everything I love and combined them together to make one delicious slaw. This slaw is a great fall dish, as Brussels sprouts and pears are currently in season. The flavors are bold, and yet everything works together so nicely. I was really pleased with how it turned out.

Below is my recipe for the slaw, but please be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post so you can see all the other amazing creations from my fellow swappers.

Adapted from The Family Kitchen

1.5 pounds of Brussels sprouts
4 strips of bacon
1 ripe pear
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 high quality blue cheese (such as Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Quickly blanch Brussels sprouts in the boiling water (3-5 minutes). Remove from boiling water and rinse with cold water (or plunge into an ice bath) to stop cooking. Pat Brussels sprouts dry. Trim ends (‘stems’) off the brussels sprout and slice very thinly by hand.

In a small bowl, mix together dressing ingredients. Toss dressing with Brussels sprouts, and refrigerate for at least an hour (to allow flavors to develop).

Meanwhile, cook strips in a skillet over medium heat. I like my bacon crispy for this salad, so I cook my bacon a little longer than usual. Remove bacon to a plate (lined with paper towels) and set aside until cool. Once cooled, slice (or crumble) bacon into small pieces.

When the Brussels & dressing have sat for an hour, remove from the fridge. Slice the pear thinly and toss with the Brussels sprout mixture. Sprinkle roasted hazelnuts, blue cheese crumbles, and bacon over the top of the slaw. Serve immediately.

Vintage Recipe Redo and Swap Project: This recipe redo/swap idea was brought to life by Christiana of Burwell General Store upon finding a cool vintage hymnal/recipe book at a swap meet in Arizona. She had the vision of bringing those recipes back to life with a twist. We swappers must change at least three things to make it our own and stay true to the intent of the recipe. There is a growing group of international talent wielding their monthly vision in our recipe swap. You can check them out by clicking their links below or via the link for Christianna’s blog above. All recipes will be posted by 6 p.m. PST on Sunday October 2, 2011.

See below (or visit the Recipe Swap page) to see all the other great interpretations of Hot Slaw! Happy swapping, y’all!

Recipe Swap: Strawberry Champagne Jam and Thumbprints

It’s recipe swap time again!

For those of you who are unfamiliar, this recipe swap is the brain child of Christianna at Burwell General Store. Every month, she selects one recipe from a vintage cookbook and sends it out to a group of food bloggers from all over the world. We’re each asked to reinterpret the recipe however we see fit, and then we all post our recreations on the same day.

For this swap, CM picked the old time recipe of Jelly Cake.

As I’ve said before a million (billion) times, I’m not a big sweets person. But, for the life of me, I couldn’t think of a savory application for Jelly Cake. My thoughts drifted to summer berries, jams, preserves, and syrups. CM specifically told us she picked this recipe in hopes that we’d be inspired by summer preserves, and she was spot on. I was THRILLED to have an excuse to make jam!

So when I saw that strawberries were still very much in season here in Oregon, I promptly bought a flat of strawberries from my farmer’s market and invited myself over to my mom’s house for a day of canning. I grew up making jam with my Grandma, and I must admit that my Grandma’s strawberry freezer jam is one of the best things I have ever, ever tasted.

But, for whatever reason, this time I didn’t set out to make my Grandmother’s jam. I think I was too afraid of messing up her recipe. I was scared it wouldn’t taste like the jam I remember so fondly from my childhood! So, then, I decided put my own spin on my childhood favorite: I made Strawberry Champagne Jam with Thyme.

I wasn’t sure how the alcohol would work with the jam, but I decided to give it a shot. I’d seen a few recipes online (so I knew it was possible), and it just sounded like such a wonderful combination. I worried and fretted as I made the jam, hoping that the champagne wouldn’t keep the jam from setting up properly. I stared at the jars of jam as they cooled, willing them to set up properly. When I opened up a jar the next day, I was pleased to see the jam had set up nicely. I was even more pleased to discover that the jam tasted fantastic. However, I was totally and completely taken aback by the fact that his jam somehow tasted exactly like my Grandma’s strawberry jam. Let it be known that my Grandma does not put champagne or thyme in her jam. I have no idea how my jam ended up tasting so much like hers! There isn’t a lot of thyme or champagne in the jam, so I think these flavors paled in comparison to the natural fruity flavors of the strawberries. Try as I might to make my own version, I still ended up with a jam that was a lot like my Grandmas. I couldn’t be happier!

So, then, what do you do when you have 11 jars of delicious strawberry jam? First, you spread some on a piece of toast and happily devour it. Then, you make another piece of toast and devour that piece as well. Then, you give away a couple of jars to your friends and family.

Then…you make jam thumbprints!

I love thumbprint cookies, and this seemed like the perfect way to feature the jam. In addition, this cookie is such a classic old recipe, and it really seemed to fit well within the realm of jelly cake. The cookies were bright, fun, flavorful, and captured so many of my favorite flavors of summer.

As always, I had a great time participating in the recipe swap. I am thankful to Christianna for giving me the excuse to make my first jam of the summer (there will be many more to come, I hope!). Make sure you stop by the Recipe Swap page at Burwell General store, and be sure to visit all the other fantastic blogs to see what they came up with for the swap!

Strawberry Champagne Jam with Thyme
(Adapted from Recipe Circus)

(Note: The champagne and thyme flavors are very subtle in this jam. Feel free to experiment with the measurements to reach your desired flavor profile. Also, this jam is a bit runny. If you want a firm jam that sets up completely, I would suggest omitting the champagne.)

4-1/2 to 5 cups strawberries
1 pkg. (3 Tablespoons) pectin
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup dry champagne
6 cups sugar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced

In a large pot or stock pot, combine berries, pectin, lemon juice, thyme and champagne. Cook on medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. (Note: the mixture will bubble and foam and will triple in size. If you’re afraid it will boil over, feel free to scrape off some of the foam).

Once boiling, add sugar and stir constantly until mixture comes to a rolling boil again. Boil, while stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately ladle into clean, hot jars.

Invert jars after applying lids and let set for a few hours before processing for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. (The original instructions call for this step, but I was in a hurry so I skipped the inverting part and went straight to the hot water bath).

Strawberry Jam Thumbprints
(Makes 2 dozen cookies)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup ground (toasted) almonds
8 ounces butter (2 sticks), room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
The zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
pinch of salt
2/3 cup strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners.

In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter with sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy (5 mins). In a food processor or blender, grind almonds, thyme and lemon zest together until the almonds mixture is finely ground.

In a separate small bowl, Whisk together flour, ground almonds, and salt. Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Refrigerate dough for 20-30 minutes before shaping.

Using a teaspoon (or your hands), form small balls and place on cookies sheets, evenly spaced apart. Using your thumb, make indentations in the cookies, creating a well for the jam. Fill each cookie well with strawberry jam.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are just barely browned around the edges. Allow to cool on a wire rack. The cookies should be crumbly, buttery (and fabulous)!

Recipe Swap: Mashed Potato Pancakes with Lemon Tarragon Creme Fraiche

Its recipe swap time again!

By this time, many of you know the drill. My friend and fellow food blogger – Christianna at Burwell General Store – created this swap as a way to encourage creativity in the kitchen. Every month, an ever-growing group of foodies from across the globe reinterpret a recipe from a vintage cookbook (and hymnal!) called All Day Singin’ and Cookin on The Ground.

I’ve been part of the swap from the very beginning, and I never grow tired of the crazy recipes that CM asks us to reinterpret. From Ozarkian Taffy Apples to Company Time Lemon Cake, every swap is completely unique and forces me to think outside of the box. I absolutely love being a part of this group.

For this swap, CM selected a simple recipe for Potato Donuts.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not a big “sweets” person. When I want a snack, I’ll reach for a bag of Kettle chips long before I’ll grab a candy bar. What can I say? I’m a salty gal.

That being said, I knew that my potato donut would morph into something savory. Potatoes are such a versatile ingredient, and I was overwhelmed by the possibilities offered by this recipe swap. I thought about making potato bread. Then, I thought about making potato gnocci (but, wait, I’ve already made that). I toyed with the idea of potato bagels, and then I realized my life is far too hectic at the moment to attempt something as time consuming as bagels.

So, I went with my gut. Literally, I obeyed my stomach. It happened to be dinner time, and I found myself staring at the bag of red potatoes I’d bought for the recipe swap. I’d changed my mind a million times about what to make, but ultimately I let my stomach be the guide. I had a sudden and inexplicable craving for mashed potato pancakes, so I just ran with it.

I’d seen recipes for mashed potato pancakes previously, usually marketed as a way to use up leftover mashed potatoes (which it is a genius idea). Sadly, I didn’t have any leftover mashed potatoes. What I did have was raw red potatoes, which meant I would needed to pre-cook and mash them before I could make potato pancakes. But, by this point, I was really set on the idea of mashed potato pancakes, so I was willing to put in the extra effort.

So, I went through the trouble of boiling and mashing the potatoes. I left the skins on and mashed them with fresh herbs from my garden. Once the potato mixture cooled, I formed them into patties and pan fried them in a cast iron skillet with some brown butter. I served them atop a bed of arugula with a dollop of lemon tarragon creme fraiche.

And holy smokes, they were everything I had hoped they would be. They were crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside. They were hearty, without being heavy. And while I know these “pancakes” are a far cry from a traditional donut, I feel this reinterpretation is completely in line with my palate and style of cooking. Somehow, I turned a potato donut recipe into a seasonal spring dinner! Go figure, I suppose. :)

And, as always, I had a great time. I highly encourage you to visit the Recipe Swap page at Burwell General Store, and take a look at all the other fabulous creations.

Mashed Potato Pancakes with Lemon Tarragon Creme Fraiche

For mashed potatoes (or use leftover mashed potatoes!)
6-8 small red potatoes, washed and cubed (leave skins on)
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons nonfat or lowfat Greek yogurt
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of smoked paprika
2 Tablespoons minced chives
1 Tablespoon minced fresh sage

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add in cubed potatoes. Allow potatoes to simmer until cooked all the way through (test with fork or knife for doneness).

Drain water from potatoes. With a potato masher (or other tool), mash potatoes until they reach a smooth consistency. Stir in yogurt in yogurt and butter, mix until creamy. Add in spices and seasonings. Allow potato mixture to cool.

For the potato pancakes
3 cups mashed potatoes
3 Tablespoons flour
1 egg white
Clarified butter

Using a cast iron skillet or griddle pan, heat clarified butter over medium high heat.

Form patties: mix 2 tablespoons of flour and egg white together with the mashed potatoes. Using your hands, form small mashed potato patties, and dusting each patty with flour on the outside. Pan fry until golden brown and crispy on each side (about 4 minutes per side). Adjust heat if the pancakes are browning too fast.

Lemon Tarragon Creme Fraiche
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1.5 Tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
The zest of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill until use.

Serve potato pancakes warm, atop a bed of arugula. Top with a dollop of lemon tarragon creme fraiche.

Recipe Swap: Boozy Beet & Apple Popsicles

I’m a little late to the Recipe Swap party this month (due to my Foodbuzz 24×24 post that went up on Sunday).

But, better late than never, right?

These last few weeks have gone by in a blur. First off, I was sick for a week and a half and it was rotten. Second, I hosted a giant dinner party that required only a few hours of preparation (and by a few, I mean many, many hours). Not that I’m complaining. Trust me, it was all worth it! But, as you can tell, I’ve had a lot going on.

However, in midst of all of this I found the time to whip up a little something for this month’s Recipe Swap. I’ve been at this for awhile now, so I won’t explain the whole thing, but if you’d like a history of the swap, head over to Burwell General Store for more info and descriptions of all the lovely bloggers involved.

This month, CM from Burwell General Store choose a doozy of a recipe for us to re-interpret: Ozarkian Taffy Apples. I’m not a huge sweets fan, so it took me awhile to get excited about the recipe. My initial thought was to transform it into a savory recipe…something along the lines of a pork skewer with an apple glaze. But, after my Cheese, Wine, and Swine dinner party, I was just a little bit porked out. I was in the mood for something light and refreshing. So, I turned to the sun for inspiration.

Why? Because the sun is finally shining in Portland. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Portland is magical, magical place when the sun shines. I promise, it is like no other place on earth. Sadly, the sun doesn’t show her face much from November to March. But, all of the sudden is back, giving us glimpses of her radiant face and promising all the beauty that summer brings. I’ve allowed myself to begin dreaming of ice cream, backyard BBQs, heirloom tomatoes, and all that the summer has to offer. I can’t wait!

It is precisely this type of summery daydreaming that led me to my great recipe swap idea: apple popsicles! Refreshing, delicious, and vaguely reminiscent of the original candy-apple-on-a-stick recipe. Since I couldn’t be content to make a regular old apple popsicle, I decided to take them up a notch and attempt a boozy apple popsicle.

The internet let me know that boozy popsicles were within the realm of possibility (as I was dubious about alcohol and freezing), and so the matter was settled. I would use apple juice as the base for the popsicle along with beet vodka (which was leftover from the 24×24 party). I also threw in a little ginger simple syrup for kicks. This whole thing was one big experiment, and I’m pleased to report that it all worked out marvelously. The trick to boozy popsicles is simple: you just can’t use much alcohol. The ratio should be roughly 3 parts juice to 1 part alcohol.

For those who are wary of alcohol in their popsicles, I will mention that the alcohol taste is hardly noticeable (which makes sense as there isn’t a lot of alcohol in the recipe). And, of course, it would be very easy to substitute beet juice for the beet vodka in order to make non-alcoholic popsicles.

I am including beet apple popsicle recipe, as well as instructions for making beet infused vodka and ginger simple syrup. I do hope you enjoy (and that summery days are in store for us soon)!

Beet, Ginger & Apple (Boozy) Popsicles:
(Note: I didn’t have much freezer space so I didn’t make very many popsicles! This recipe could easily be doubled, tripled, etc, to make more!)

1.5 cups organic unsweetened apple juice
1.5 Tablespoons ginger simple syrup (recipe below)
3 Tablespoons beet (or other) vodka
Dixie cups (I used teeny tiny little 3 oz cups) or popsicle molds

Combine all 3 ingredients together in a small pitcher (or something you can easily pour from). Pour into popsicle molds or small dixie cups. Using cardboard or tape, affix a popsicle stick to hang in the center of the cup, so that it is partially submerged in the liquid and not touching the bottom of the cup. I found that cardboard works best (but tape will work just fine.)

Note: Please feel free to adjust this recipe to your liking! Next time, I think I might grate a little fresh ginger or orange peel into the mix. I started simple as I wanted to see how well they turned out. I was very pleased and I will be making many more popsicles in the near future. :)

Beet Infused Vodka:
1 bottle mid-quality vodka (nothing too nice): Monopolowa, Stoli, Svedka, etc.
3-4 raw beets, peeled & cubed.

In a large jar, combine beet cubes & vodka. Allow to soak for 3-4 days in a cool room, away from sunlight. When ready, strain out the beets and discard (unless you have an idea as to how to use vodka soaked beets. I couldn’t think of anything to do with them!). Store away from sunlight. Vodka will be ready to use and will keep for months. (I store mine in the freezer to keep cold).
Note: I’ll post the recipe for The Babuska cocktail later this week, so you have another way to use your beet vodka!

Ginger simple syrup:
1 small knob of ginger, peeled & cut into small cubes
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup water

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over med-low heat and bring to a gentle boil (or until sugar dissolves). Add in cubed ginger and stir to combine. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, until the syrup has a fragrant ginger smell/taste. Strain out ginger bits and allow syrup to cool. Store in a sealed container. Will keep for up to a week.

Recipe Swap: Chocolate Spice ‘Depression’ Cake

So, I’ve been involved in this recipe swap for awhile now. For those of you who may not know, Christianna at Burwell General Store created this swap a few months back, in order to encourage creativity in the kitchen. Back then, it was just the two of us, but it quickly grew into a large group of foodies from all over the world.

I love the swap for so many reasons: but mostly, I love seeing how one recipe blossoms into so many tasty things (from so many talented people!). Every month, CM emails us a recipe from a darling old cookbook/hymnal – All Day Singin and Dinner on the Ground – and we re-interpret the recipe however we see fit.

For this swap, CM asked us to create our own versions of “Wacky Cake” (Original recipe pictured below).

When I first saw this recipe, I panicked. First off, I’m not much of a baker. Secondly, this cake is made with VINEGAR. Vinegar?! I was stumped. I’d never heard of using vinegar in a cake! I just didn’t see how it could possibly be good. I had no idea what to do.

So, I did the only thing I could do: googled the heck out of “cake made with vinegar”. Thanks to Google, I found out a lot of interesting things about cakes made with vinegar. Namely, I found out that Wacky Cake is an old wartime recipe (it can also be called Depression Cake – a name which I personally prefer). It was originally created out of necessity, when butter, eggs, sugar and other common ingredients were rationed and hard to get. (If you want to know a little bit more about the history of this ‘wacky’ cake, listen to this great NPR piece about one family’s history with this particular cake.)

All that to say, after a little bit of research I was completely inspired by this cake. I loved the idea of a cake being borne out of hardship. It is a true testament to perseverance and ingenuity. When you don’t have eggs or butter – by golly, use vinegar.

In order to keep with the spirit of the original recipe, I decided to limit myself to ingredients that I had on hand. To be honest, I happened to have some pretty stellar ingredients lying around: one blood orange, local raw wildflower honey, and Scharffen Berger cocoa powder. But, the rest of the ingredients were quite simple.

I must say, I was totally surprised at how great this cake turned out. The vinegar worked wonders! The cake was amazingly light and fluffy, yet moist with just the right amount of density. The dark chocolate cocoa powder and fresh ginger gave the cake a flavor somewhat akin to a traditional gingerbread. It wasn’t terribly sweet (which I love) and it paired so nicely with the honey orange compote. Did I mention that it’s vegan?!

Please do check out all the other amazing creations from my fellow recipe swappers. You can find them all on CM’s Recipe swap page!

Chocolate Spice ‘Depression Cake’ with Honey Blood Orange Compote
(Cake recipe adapted from The Perfect Pantry)

1.5 cups white flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown or muscovado sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Using a spoon, create an indent (or ‘hole’) in the dry ingredients. Pour remaining ingredients (in the following order) into the indent: vinegar, oil, water. Mix well.

Pour mixture into a greased 8×8 cake pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

For the compote:
1 blood orange
1 Tablespoon good quality honey
Dash of nutmeg

Peel and cut blood orange into segments or supremes. Gently mix orange segments with honey and nutmeg. Serve with chocolate spice cake. Enjoy!

Recipe Swap: Pork & Apple Pot Pie with Rosemary Gruyere Biscuits

It’s recipe swap time again!

For those of you who are unfamiliar, I am part of a group of bloggers that reinterprets recipes from an old cookbook called “All Day Singin’ and Dinner on the Ground”. CM at Burwell General Store started the recipe swap this past December, and for the very first swap it was just Christianna and I, making our best persimmon creations. And here we are, just a few swaps later (this is our 4th recipe swap), the group has grown to 13 members! If you’d like to see a full story of how the swap began, a full list of recipe swap participants, as well each participant’s recipe swap creation please visit CM’s dedicated Recipe Swap Page (It’ll be worth it, I promise. SO MANY AMAZING BLOGS!).

For this particular recipe swap, Christianna asked us to recreated “Grandma’s Chicken Pie with Drop Biscuits“. I was really excited when I heard that she had picked this recipe, as the last couple of recipes we’ve reinterpreted were originally sweet dishes. I was ready to take on a savory challenge. I’m a sucker for a good pot pie, and with all the wretched weather we’ve had lately, this dish sounded like the answer to all of my winter woes.

I’ve made a few different pot pies over the years, and they never fail me. Pot pie is always delicious. Always! So with my reinterpretation of “Grandma’s pot pie”, I wanted to stay true to the spirit of the original recipe. I wanted the flavors to be simple and classic. I wanted the dish to be warm, hearty, and comforting. After gazing at various recipes online and searching my own brain for inspiration I finally settled on this: Pork and Apple Mini Pot Pies with Rosemary Gruyere Biscuits.

Here’s the thing with this dish: it sounds fancy and complicated, but it really isn’t. The ingredient list is simple and made up of mostly pantry staples. The flavors are classic and familiar (Nich actually said that it “tasted like Thanksgiving”). Quite frankly, the only thing you need for this recipe is a bit of time and planning. This is the perfect lazy Sunday dish, as you can pop it in the oven and let the pork slowly braise while you accomplish other things (or laze on the couch and watch a No Reservations marathon. It happens.)

As always, I had a great time participating in the recipe swap. Yet again, I was forced to be creative and think outside of the box…and I loved the results! I loved the biscuit topping so much, that I’ve already made the biscuits again on their own (they can be slightly modified with more flour to be rolled out and cut into traditional biscuits). I’m quite sure this pot pie will find a place in our winter meal rotation.

Please do scroll down to see my recipe and tips on making this delicious dish. And check out the gorgeous dishes my fellow swappers created!

The recipe swap currently includes: CM @ Burwell General Store, Boulder Locavore, The Tomato Tart, Chef Dennis @ More than a Mountful, Spicy Living, The Unexpected Harvest, The Adventuresome Kitchen, The Cake Dutchess, Good Food Week, Fat and Happy, The Herbed Kitchen, and Cindy @ Tyro Tidbits

Mini Pork & Apple Pot Pies with Rosemary Gruyere Biscuit Topping
(Pork filling adapted from Bitchin Camero)

For the pork & apple filling
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 lbs of pork shoulder, divided into 6 equal pieces
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper
2 yellow onions, diced
2 cups chicken stock
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp. fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
Dash of cayenne pepper

For biscuit topping
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 stick (8 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup finely grated gruyere cheese
2 teaspoons of finely chopped rosemary
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk


Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

First, trim any excess fat from the pork shoulder pieces. Sprinkle all sides of the pork with salt and pepper.

Using a dutch oven (or other oven-proof pot), heat olive oil over medium heat (on the stovetop). Once the oil is hot, add in the pork (if the pan is too crowded you may have to cook in batches). Brown the pork shoulder pieces until nicely browned on each side (a few minutes per side). Remove the pork to a plate.

Add the diced onions to the pot and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in rosemary and thyme, stir, and cook for one minute more. Place the pork shoulder pieces back in the pot and add the stock, bay leaf, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Once the stock comes to a rapid simmer, transfer pot to preheated oven. Cook for 1 – 2 hours, turning pieces occasionally, or until the pork is fork-tender. (My pork took 2+ hours to reach desired tenderness)

Once the pork is fork-tender, remove from pot and transfer to a plate. Using 2 forks, pull the meat apart into large chunks. Once the pork is “pulled” to your liking, add the apples and a bit more fresh thyme to the pot and cook on the stovetop over medium high heat. (Meanwhile: turn your oven heat up to 350) Allow this mixture to simmer until most of the cooking liquid has reduced (about 10 minutes). Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. *Note: be careful not to overcook the apples, as you will bake these mini pot pies in the oven and the apples will continue to soften. For now, just cook until the apples are starting to become tender.

Scoop the contents of pot into individual ramekins (I had enough for 4 sizeable ramekins with a little meat leftover for snacking).

Now, to make the biscuit topping.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Blend in the chilled butter cubes with a pastry cutter, 2 knives, or your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal (I always find that using my fingers works best). Add in cheese and rosemary, mix to combine. Then, add in the buttermilk and stir until just combined.

Drop a large dollop of the biscuit mixture on top of each ramekin, and spread to make sure the pork mixture is covered by the biscuit dough. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown. When the biscuits are done, remove from oven and allow pot pies to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Warning: they will be VERY hot!