Top Comfort Food Recipes
Unfortunately, a small accident left my left hand injured and slightly incapacitated. Fortunately, it is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. My index finger required stitches and it must remain immobile in a splint until the stitches are removed. In the end I should have full use of my hand without any issues other than an unsightly scar. Since I can’t chop or clean, one of the perks of my injury, I thought I would look back through my archives for inspiration. For today’s topic I choose comfort food. Maybe because it is so darn cold I seek the comfort of a hot stew, or steamy bowl of soup. Whatever the reason, I am really in the mood to cook and eat warm comfort food.
One of the first things I plan on cooking when I get the full use of my hands is a beef stew. Winter months call for beef stew. It is a time when I do not mind spending extra hours inside cooking a slow meal. These types of diners fill me with a great sense of satisfaction. I don’t mind the extra time because the process becomes a choreographed dance between, procedure, technique and instinct. When it is all done I feel like I accomplished something special and can’t wait to share the results. Whenever I taste the deep and rich stew flavors, I just melt into the braised masterpiece. Stews and chili’s have humble origins but they taste decadent to me.
Also included in this post is my very first recipe I posted on my blog, Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken. Roast chicken in one of my favorite foods. I updated some of the photos and changed the recipe card to my current recipe plugin so I hope everything is in working order.
Additionally, I included a few links to vegetarian/vegan comfort food entrées. It is my desire that my blog offers a variety of information and recipes for all diet preference. Everyone is always welcome at my table.
Comfort Food Entrées
Roast Lemon and Herb Chicken my very first recipe post on Lemon Thyme and Ginger
For Vegetarian Comfort Food Selections
Roasted Vegetable Coconut Curry
Kabocha Coconut Curry Soup If you cannot find Kabocha squash, any winter squash will work, especially butternut or pumpkin or both.
Toasted Farro with Mushrooms and Rosemary – Add a hearty green like Swiss chard, kale or spinach and chick peas or any white bean for a complete vegetarian/vegan main course.
What’s for Dessert?
Spiced Fig Yogurt Panna Cotta – If you cannot find fresh figs, substitute them with pears, quince
Chocolate Stout Cake This chocolate cake with white chocolate cream frosting and stout glaze is too good to only eat once a year around St Patrick’s Day.
Looking for more inspiration? Type an ingredient you wish to cook with in the search box. You will find it in the right side bar. For mobile devices, the search box is usually at the bottom of the home page.
Some Food Blogs I Enjoy
David Lebovitz A former pastry chef at Chez Panisse, and is now living in Paris writing books and developing recipes. He has well tested recipes with stories about living in Paris.
Dr Deb Pots: Deborah is a Hudson Valley, psychiatrist, potter and food blogger. Her posts are infrequent, but I like her positive attitude, beautiful pottery, and very healthy meals on her website.
Vanilla and Bean Traci writes a food blog offering vegan and vegetarian recipes and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
The Lemon Apron Jennifer is a Canadian food blogger with beautiful photographs and recipes
Cloudy Kitchen Erin writes an amazing blog for baking with beautiful photographs. She is originally from New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Food 52, everything and anything you want to know about food and cooking. It has an extensive community as well as an online store to buy kitchen wares. New York City based.
If you make any of my recipes post a picture on Instagram and tag me @lemonthymeandginger, or share on my Facebook page. I look forward to hearing form you.
© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.
Taste of Ireland: Chocolate Stout Cake
There is no occasion too ordinary that does not deserve recognition and celebration. For any reason, be it a birthday, anniversary, honor your national heritage, a promotion, or simply because the whole family is together, a celebratory acknowledgement is welcome and cake is the perfect finale.
If you are partial to chocolate cake, then chocolate stout cake is a terrific stand in. This is a very moist cake with deep dark chocolate flavor. Guinness Stout enriches the chocolate without any boozy aftertaste. Adding the Guinness to the cake makes a moist cake with deep malty and dark chocolate flavor. The extra bonuses are, it is simple to make, baked in one pan, and does not require fancy cake decorating skills. Chocolate Stout Cake is perfect in its simplicity as well as flavor.
I believe chocolate stout cake would taste delicious by itself without frosting, or just simply topped with whipped cream. Yet, it is nice to give cake more pizzazz and a creamy rich frosting will compliment the dark chocolate. Also, adding white frosting creates a cake that resembles a pint of stout. Many recipes frost chocolate stout cake with dark chocolate ganache, or cream cheese frosting. Fortunately, I discovered one made with white chocolate and cream cheese frosting and that sealed the deal for me. Normally, cream cheese frosting does not excite me, but add some white chocolate to it, I just knew it would be spectacular.
Baking with stout is not a novel idea. According to Anne Byrn in her book American Cake, people across the globe have baked with ale, porters and cider for ages. Centuries ago people used to make their own ale or cider. This common ingredient was often included in baked goods to keep cakes moist and add extra flavor. During that time, cakes were cooked inside a cast iron pot with a lid and placed directly on top the hot embers of the home fire. These were not like the delicate cakes that we now know and love, but hearty ones with preserved and fermented ingredients.
Traditional Irish Stout Cake is more like a spice cake with raisins and citrus. The origin of this type of cake could date back several hundred years. I am not sure when chocolate stout cake became popular in Ireland, or the US, yet I believe it was an inevitable pairing. Chocolate and stout are perfect mates.
My recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake is a combination of three recipes. From my research, I discovered Chocolate Stout Cake is not for the faint at heart. One recipe I found uses a pound of butter for one cake. That is more like a pound cake with all that butter. I was hoping for something not so heavy, and kept searching for a “lighter” version. Nigella Lawson’s recipe from the New York Times came through. Her recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake uses only 10 tablespoons of butter, and another bonus includes 1 cup of Guinness. The other recipes I found used a half cup of stout. This was an easy decision to make, less butter… more stout. I believe that is a fair trade.
I was thrilled when I discovered Donal Skehan’s recipe for White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. His Chocolate Guinness Cake recipe is like the other ones I researched, but his idea of adding white chocolate to the cream cheese frosting is brilliant. The past few times I made frosting with white chocolate has been nothing but extraordinary.
Additionally, I discovered a recipe for stout simple syrup from Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith. I added chili powder to the syrup then drizzled it over the frosting. I thought the stout syrup would resemble the amber stout making its way up through the white foam in a pint. Honestly, I could drizzle this stuff on anything. Right now, I am wondering how it would work in whipped cream, ice cream, or espresso martinis.
More food ideas for Saint Patrick’s Day: how about a cheese and beer tasting with Irish cheese or Crispy Potato Skins
I am sure there are many potential adaptations for my pieced together cake. Most recipes for Stout cake select Guinness as the stout of choice. Fortunately, there are so many stouts to choose from, why not have some fun with it? I may try a stout from a local microbrewery the next time I make Chocolate Stout Cake.
Chocolate Stout Cake is a perfect cake to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Yet, it is too delicious to serve only once a year. I know I will want to make it for any time good cheer is on the menu.
Chocolate Stout Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chocolate Stout Cake
- 1 cup / 8oz / 250ml Guinness Stout or your favorite stout
- 10 Tbs / 5oz / 132g of unsalted butter plus more for greasing the pan
- 3/4 cup / 2 ½ oz / 70g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups / 1 lb / 450g sugar
- 2 cups / 10oz / 291g all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup / 6oz / 200ml sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tb vanilla extract
White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
- 7 oz / 200g good quality white chocolate 30% cocoa butter
- 4 oz / 125g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1- 225 g package cream cheese
- 1½ cups / 225g confectioners sugar
Stout Syrup (optional)
- 1 cup / 225g granulated sugar
- 1-12 oz / 355 ml bottle Guinness Stout
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 inch / 23cm springform pan. Add a parchment paper liner to the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan add the butter and stout. Turn the heat to medium low and stir occasionally until the butter has melted. Once the butter is melted, remove from the heat and add the sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk together until well combined. Let cool for 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl add the flour and baking soda and whisk together to get the baking soda evenly mixed through. Make a well in the flour and add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture, the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Mix together until thoroughly combined.
Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 45 min - 1 hr, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and cool the cake in the pan.
Stout Syrup (optional)
If using make the stout syrup while the cake is baking.
Pour the stout and sugar in a medium saucepan and turn the heat up to medium high. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat then simmer the liquid until it becomes thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes or more. Let the syrup cool before using.
White chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. As soon as it is melted remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
In a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or large mixing bowl with a hand held mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and light. This will take awhile. Periodically stop beating and scrape down the sides of the bowl so it mixes evenly.
Add the cooled white chocolate to the cream cheese and butter, and mix together at medium speed.
Sift the confectioners sugar, then gradually add it into the white chocolate and cream cheese. Mix on low speed between each addition of confectioners sugar. Once all the confectioners sugar is added, beat the frosting until smooth.
Putting it all together
Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Release the latch from the springform pan and lift the rim away from the cake. Loosen the bottom of the cake from the pan with an icing spatula or knife, then remove the bottom of the pan. Holding the cake upside down, carefully peel off the parchment paper. Place the cake on a serving plate.
Spread the frosting across the top of the cake. The cake will look like a pint of stout with the dark bottom and the white cloudy top.
(optional) Drizzle the stout syrup randomly across the top of the frosting on the cake. Swirl a knife through the stout syrup drizzle to create a random pattern.
Serve and enjoy. The cake tastes best at room temperature and eaten the day it is made.
© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.