Lemon in desserts is so refreshing. Sweet, a bit sour, just a hint of lemon, or bold flavor throughout. I jumped at the chance to make a coworker’s recent birthday treat when she suggested something lemon. I chose the Ultimate Lemon Pound Cake. A simple dessert that elegantly highlights the sweet, yet tart side of this delicious fruit.
So, how’s it taste?
I must confess I don’t have the best track record when it comes to baking pound cakes. My past attempts have produced a cake that’s a bit on the dry side. There’s a fine line between pound cake perfection and oops I baked it too long. This venture into lemon territory was no exception. I took the cake out to test it 15 minutes before the end time and it already needed to be out of the oven! Luckily the cake was still pretty tasty, just a wee bit dry. I like my lemon desserts to really pack a punch and showcase the sweet and the tart. This cake does exactly that. The batter has a very light lemon flavor. So much that I worried it would be bland. What makes this dessert come alive is the glaze on the top. It’s sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and there’s a lot of it. It’s brushed onto the cake when it’s warm, so all that sugary tart goodness gets soaked in. It was delicious despite my over baking. The appearance of this cake is quite simple, but I think that makes it unique. You’d never know what a huge bite of lemon you’re about to get with this one!
3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. pure lemon extract
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1. Position rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 300. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together twice.
3. Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1 3/4 cups of the sugar, about 3 tablespoons at a time. Continue beating until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the zest, the lemon extract, and vanilla.
4. Transfer the the batter to the Bundt pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, bring the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons zest, and the lemon juice to a boil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
6. Turn the cake out onto the rack and immediately brush the hot syrup over the hot cake. Let cool to room temperature.
This is a recipe I have been making for years. I can’t remember the first time I made 7-Layer Mexican Dip or where it came from, and I’ve tweaked it here and there along the way. It’s become one of my go-to recipes whenever I need something delicious to bring to a party. I think a lot of people have a version of this dip. I’ve seen it with guacamole as a layer, as well.
So, how’s it taste?
Incredible! I have eaten this dip so much, and I never get tired of it. I used to keep the sour cream layer just sour cream, but several years back a friend of mine made his version by mixing in taco seasoning. Ooo wee! Now it’s how I make my version, too. I’ve used regular and chipotle taco seasoning and both work very well. The chipotle adds a nice smoky flavor. It’s hard to go wrong with refried beans, cool sour cream, and melted cheese. All the layers combine perfectly into a creamy dip that is so good on a crunchy tortilla chip. This dip always gets rave reviews and is simple to put together right before the party. Enjoy!
7-Layer Mexican Dip
a So, How's It Taste? original recipe
1 - 16oz. can refried beans (regular or fat free)
8 oz. sour cream (regular or light)
2 tbsp. taco seasoning (regular or chipotle)
3/4 cup salsa
8oz. (2 cups) shredded cheese (I use colby jack or Mexican four cheese)
1 large tomato, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 - 2.25oz. can sliced black olives
1. Spread beans into a 9x13 pan. In a small bowl, mix taco seasoning and sour cream. Spread mixture over beans.
2. Dollop salsa by spoonfuls over sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with tomatoes, green onions, and black olives.
3. Bake at 350 until the cheese melts. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
As much as I love to bake sweets and eat out in restaurants, I have to find some kind of balance so I can still fit through my front door. I’m always on the lookout for healthier meal options and have as many diet cookbooks as I do sweet treat cookbooks. I’m not opposed to healthy eating, but it’s got to taste good. I was excited about trying this Creamy Shrimp Casserole because it looked super easy to make and the crust lured me in with pistachios.
So, how’s it taste?
Once I got into the details of the recipe (I never read them through until I start to make them), I was nervous it was going to taste awful. The ingredients are so simple, and there’s just not much to it. I used skim milk in my recipe and although it was a thinner consistency, this casserole was really good. The carrots and asparagus make up the bottom of the dish and they were so tender and tasted awesome after cooking in the chicken stock. It also seems like a ton of dill gets added, but it tasted great. My only complaint about this dish is that the crust gets soggy for leftovers. I might bake the servings in separate dishes to avoid that next time.
3/4 cup reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 small bunch asparagus, cut into 2” pieces
1 cup 1% milk (I used skim)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp. cold water
1 lb. medium shrimp, thawed if frozen, peeled & deveined, tails removed
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. snipped fresh dill (or 1 tbsp. dried)
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped (not ground) in a food processor
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp. olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
2. Bring the broth to a boil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and asparagus. Cover and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Transfer to baking dish with a slotted spoon.
3. Add the milk, salt, and pepper to the broth and bring to a boil. Stir the cornstarch mixture and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Reduce heat and add the shrimp, scallions, and dill. Bring to a simmer and pour into baking dish over vegetables.
4. Mix the pistachios and Panko in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Drizzle with the oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the shrimp are opaque and the casserole is bubbly.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to Kris Geist and Elizabeth Cole, the creators behind The Heirloom BLT Stand. This Saturday will be the second year the stand is featured at the annual Tomato Art Fest in East Nashville. I speak from experience when I tell you this is one of the best BLTs I’ve ever eaten, but I’ll let Kris get your mouth watering in his own words. And then we’ll expect to see you chowing down on Saturday!
Photo of The Heirloom BLT courtesy of The Tennessean
Several years ago I set out on a quest to find the ingredients to create the perfect BLT. I found that each ingredient really affects the outcome. Now, don’t get me wrong. Most combinations of bacon, lettuce, and tomato between two slices of bread are going to taste good. But, the perfect BLT needs balance, bright flavors, and an aesthetic appeal.
Let’s start out with the most important component, the tomato. Large heirloom varieties with not a lot of tartness, and a low water level work the best. But it’s always wise to go with what your local farmer is picking that week. Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, and Beefsteak are my favorites. I slice mine at least 3/4” thick.
Speaking of thick, a good thick cut bacon will go a long way towards your perfect BLT. In my opinion, most of the local bacon is over-smoked. I use Wright Brand bacon found in most grocery stores. Wright Brand uses real hickory to smoke their bacon unlike most of their competitors that just use liquid smoke that is sprayed on to the product.
Next, chopped iceberg lettuce provides a much needed crunch in the middle.
My herb mayo is easy to make and good on any sandwich. I’ll leave the Miracle Whip vs. mayo debate for another article, but I use Miracle Whip. Its tangy flavor holds its own against the other strong flavors in the sandwich. Mix one cup of Miracle Whip with about two tablespoons of dijon mustard and a handful of finely chopped herbs.
Finally, the bread that holds it all together is a semolina loaf from a local bakery, Provence. The semolina is crusted with sesame seeds that, when baked, take on an almost bacon-y flavor.
Now that I’ve found my perfect BLT, I want everyone to try it. So once a year I open my Heirloom BLT Stand for business at the Tomato Art Fest in East Nashville. Come early, because once they’re gone, they won’t be back for another year.
Note from So, How’s It Taste?:
If bacon’s not your thing, try the GLT, where homemade guacamole is the perfect vegetarian stand-in. And yes, there’s a GBLT (which is my choice – and it’s phenomenal!) combining the best of both worlds.
Find The Heirloom BLT Stand from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in front of 3 Crow Bar this year. See you there!
When I think of pizza rolls, I think of those tiny fried bites of non-recognizable pizza goo that you find in the freezer section. I’ll admit I’m guilty of buying them, but never again. Not after I made these Pizza Rolls from my fellow foodie Erin, who writes a mouth-watering blog, One Particular Kitchen. Picture how you’d build a homemade cinnamon roll then change that to something savory, cheesy, spicy, and absolutely delicious. You’ve got my new favorite way to eat homemade pizza.
So, how’s it taste?
It’s pure genius to eat pizza rolled up this way, and it’s so good. Crazy good. This is the perfect food for tv watching I might add. The beauty is that it’s like regular pizza in that you can make in any combination you like. I like pineapple, ham, and green olives. Odd I know, but it’s hey it’s my pizza! I turned the volume up and used jalapeno/onion Boar’s Head ham. I also used fresh mozzarella, but I think the pre-shredded kind would have been easier to work with.
Once you get your dough rolled out and topped, simply roll the entire pizza into one big roll. Next, take the dental floss to cut into the individual rolls. Using the dental floss instead of a knife prevents the rolls from being squished. Pretty smart, huh?
What I like best about these rolls, is the additional cheese on the top. Ooey, gooey cheese! I like to dip my rolls in extra pizza sauce, too. Yummy! These were so good I had them for breakfast. But I guess pizza for breakfast is nothing new!
One Particular Kitchen’s icebox dough (or try the dough in the deli section at Publix)
pizza sauce (pick your favorite)
any pizza toppings, chopped (chopped so it’s easier to slice through)
dental floss, unflavored (to cut into rolls)
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out the dough into a rectangle.
2. Top with a thin layer of sauce and sprinkle with your choice of chopped toppings. Then add the cheese.
3. Roll it up! Roll it from the short end if you don’t need many rolls. Rolling from the longer end will produce more rolls.
4. Use the dental floss it to cut the rolls. Slide the floss under the roll, cross the ends over the top like you’re going to tie a knot, then pull them all the way through the dough so the floss is straight again. This slices it clean and keeps your rolls from getting flattened as you slice.
5. Place the rolls in an oiled casserole dish with the pretty sides showing (if you’re making these for a party and want them easier to handle, individually bake them in a muffin tray instead). Sprinkle the top with more cheese.
6. Bake at 350 until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.
Happy Birthday to me! Ok, so not me, but this food blog. I can’t believe it was one year ago today I started writing about food. I look back to that first entry (see Herbed Chicken and Broccoli Quiche) and I remember how exciting it was to have a post on my little blog. I’m glad to report that one year later, I still get that excited about food and about sharing it with you.
What better way to celebrate than with one of my favorites, chocolate of course! This slice of decadent goodness came from Publix. It’s what they like to call Chocolate Overload and I can see how it gets its name! Two big pieces of moist chocolate cake sandwich a rich chocolate ganache filling with walnuts and chocolate chips. On top is a thin layer of chocolate frosting with chocolate chips, walnuts, and chocolate drizzle.
So, how’s it taste?
Yep, you guessed it, pretty awesome! It comes refrigerated, but I recommend letting it warm up to room temperature before you dig in. Torture I know. I sliced off a bite last night because I couldn’t wait and the ganache was too hard at the cooler temperature. So this morning I left the cake out a bit and then dug in! The cake has a light chocolate flavor matched perfectly with the super rich ganache. I love the crunch of the walnut and chocolate chips you get in every bite. It makes an excellent birthday breakfast with a glass of cold milk. That’s right folks, this was breakfast. Would you expect any less from this chocoholic?
Now on to opening the birthday gift and I’ve decided to share it with you! I’ve got a treat for one lucky So, How’s It Taste? reader! Going along with the chocolate theme, I’m giving away a copy of Mmmm…Chocolate. A cute little purple cookbook all about chocolate. Here’s a teaser of some of the recipes inside: Chocolate Chunk Muffins, Chocolate Brownie Cake, Hot Chocolate Souffle, and White Chocolate Truffles. Yum!
To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite way to eat chocolate. Is it cake? A truffle? Ice cream? Or just a bar of it?
For up to three additional entries (please leave a separate comment for any of these you do):
Tweet @SoHowsItTaste is giving away a chocolate cookbook! http://bit.ly/bPv1hW
Email your friends a link to this giveaway and cc me on the email (email@example.com)
One winner will be chosen at random from all eligible comments. U.S. residents only please. Commenting closes at 7:00 a.m. CT on Wednesday, August 11. Entries that do not follow the entry requirements will not be considered. Good luck!
And the winner is…Kaye! Her favorite way to eat chocolate is homemade chocolate sauce over warm vanilla cake. And I agree with her that there isn’t any bad way to eat chocolate!
A HUGE thank you to everyone who participated and helped me celebrate turning one! I think we should all go eat a piece of chocolate right now!
Ah, time for another chocolate post. Which is perfectly fine with me seeing as that means I’ve gotten to eat some fabulous chocolate! I got my first taste of Schakolad Chocolate, located at 443 Cool Springs Blvd. in Franklin, at the Taste of Music City back in June. The nice folks were kind enough to send me an email thanking me for stopping by and to come in for two free chocolate-dipped strawberries. Not much arm twisting had to happen to get me in the door! I decided to drop by with fellow chocolate lover, my mom, and indulge in one of our favorite eats.
So, how’s it taste?
Decadent, scrumptious bites of chocolate bliss. The strawberries didn’t last long enough for a picture. I had mine dipped in dark, mom chose white. The smell in the store was divine, which prompted us to buy more tasty treats. In the picture are four coconut truffles (two in dark, two in milk), a chocolate-dipped mint Oreo, and a white chocolate turtle. Narrowing it down to those selections was pure torture as I wanted one of everything in the store. The truffles were the perfect bite of sweet, chocolatey coconut. I could eat those all day. They had a very natural coconut taste that I really liked. The turtle was even better. Gooey caramel and pecans wrapped in sweet white chocolate. It melted in your mouth. My absolute favorite had to be the mint Oreo. I love anything mint, especially with chocolate. The smooth chocolate covering a full-size, crunchy Oreo was so good! Nice contrast of textures and flavors to satisfy any sweet tooth. Yum!
Have I mentioned how much I love food on the grill? It seems so much more fun to cook when it’s outdoors and you really can’t get that flavor from anywhere else. These Grilled Parmesan Potatoes and Carrots are the perfect sidekick to any meat you serve. I grilled these with Barbecue Cola Chicken and it was a fantastic meal.
So, how’s it taste?
Tender bites of veggies with a touch of saltiness from the seasonings and Parmesan. Not too heavy on the herbs with Italian seasoning mixed in and a hint of chives that are added at the end. It’s a great dish to serve alongside your main event that won’t overpower or hog the spotlight. I also like that once everything is mixed together, you can leave it on the grill while you tend to the rest of your meal. It takes about 45 minutes to cook, leaving you plenty of time for that steak or chicken. Once grilling season is over, these would be great in the oven as well.
6 small red potatoes (about 3/4 lb.), unpeeled, cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups) (I peeled mine just a bit)
1 cup baby-cut carrots
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. peppered seasoned salt
2 tbsp. shredded fresh Parmesan
2 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
1. Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut 18x12-inch sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place potatoes and carrots in center. Drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and cheese. Stir slightly to mix and coat vegetables. Wrap packet securely using double-fold seals, allowing room for heat expansion.
2. When grill is heated, place packet seam side up on gas grill over medium heat or charcoal grill 4 to 6 inches from medium coals. Cook 45 to 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
3. Open packet carefully to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle with chives.
Merridee’s Breadbasketis one of my favorite places to have lunch. It’s located at 110 Fourth Avenue South in Franklin. I have had this chicken salad sandwich, chips, fruit tea, and slice of pie combo so many times, that I really need to branch out and try more of their menu. But I just can’t bring myself to stray from this tray of goodies!
So, how’s it taste?
Fresh, homemade chicken salad just can’t be beat. You get your choice of bread and I chose the Viking. It’s four-grain bread made without eggs or sugar. It includes wheatberries, flaxseed, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds. It’s the perfect texture to accompany the chicken salad. I love chicken salad with all the bells and whistles like grapes, apples, pecans, etc. But this chicken salad is so simple, it’s just perfect. It’s mayo and tiny bits of celery topped off with a crisp piece of lettuce. I absolutely cannot stand celery, but I love Merridee’s chicken salad. All the flavor is in the chicken. I don’t know how they prepare it, but it’s a hit. On this particular visit, it was a tad bit heavy on the mayo, but it’s not normally. I highly suggest ordering their fruit tea with your meal. It’s not too sweet, but flavored so well that you still taste the tea.
The highlight of the meal is the sweet ending of a slice of pie. They’ve got a ton of varieties to choose from, so it makes ordering quite difficult for an indecisive person like me. Key lime, cherry, peach, chess, chocolate, pumpkin. I could go on and on. The one I usually opt for is the pecan. It’s crazy good. It’s got more pecans in it than most pies I’ve had and I love that. The filling isn’t too syrupy sweet and the crust is buttery and flaky. Sometimes I end up eating my pie first before the sandwich! Stop in to Merridee’s soon if you’ve never been. Your mouth will thank you!
Stop the presses! I’ve found the most wonderful caramel dessert known to man. Let me introduce you to Chocolate Toffee Caramel Bars. As far as desserts go, this one sits pretty high on my “oh my gosh I must make this again soon” list. Take a look at that big section of soft, chewy caramel right in the middle of each bar. Oh and did I mention it also has chocolate chips, vanilla chips, and toffee? Yeah, get ready to put on your apron.
So, how’s it taste?
As you can see from my fancy plate, this was part of my 4th of July spread. (And by fancy I mean thank you Dollar Store!) Boy, did I hit the nail on the head with these bars. Delicious barely scratches the surface in describing how good they were. Packed with tons of your sweet treat favorites in the crust and topping, then a ribbon of silky, smooth caramel in the middle. The crunch of the chips and toffee bar pieces in contrast to the gooey caramel was to die for. They look like you spent all day making them, but are a cinch. You do have to unwrap 32 caramels, but if you have an awesome helper like mine (thanks mom!) maybe you won’t have to do that part. The caramels seemed to take forever to melt, but that’s probably because I’m the most impatient person in the world. Good things come to those who wait and these are worth it! Enjoy!
1 (18.25 oz.) package butter recipe yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 (12 oz.) package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup white vanilla chips
3 (1.4 oz.) chocolate-covered toffee candy bars, cut into pieces
1/2 cup butter
32 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs; blend well. Stir in chocolate chips, vanilla chips and candy bar pieces. (Mixture will be thick.) Press half of mixture in bottom of greased pan. Bake at 350°F. for 10 minutes.
2. In medium saucepan, combine butter, caramels, and condensed milk. Cook over medium-low heat until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove partially baked crust from oven. Slowly pour caramel mixture evenly over crust. Crumble remaining cake mix mixture over caramel.
4. Return to oven; bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until top is set and edges are deep golden brown. Cool 20 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen bars. Cool 40 minutes. Refrigerate 1 hour. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.
I am a food lover, living in Nashville, Tennessee. I enjoy cooking, baking, and definitely dining out. My passion for food and cooking started pretty late. I once had to beg my college roommate to make a grilled cheese for me because my cooking skills were that pitiful! ...more