Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cran Apple Bundt Cake

One of my favorite things to do is use flavored liqueurs in recipes, it cooks the content out and the flavors become that much more intense. When Berentzen sent me a few samples to use, I was surprised when my samples turned out to be full sized bottles and I have been able to create far more recipes than I had originally intended. And I have no complaints here! 

I had a white cake mix hanging around and knew that I wanted to make use of it, once I realized I also had some cranberry juice, the idea came relatively quick. I think at first I assumed this was going to be a fallish cake, as cranberry and apple scream autumn, but it was so light! You can definitely make this year round.

For those of you that do not like using boxed cake mixes( I hear you, I tend to do both; scratch and box) you can most certainly just use this glaze!

1 box white/yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup berentzen apple liqueur

Grease a bundt pan and bake according to directions, all I did was swap the juice/liqueur out for water. I used the amount this [articular cake called for, if your directions call for less than a cup of water, just use the 1/4 apple liqueur/3/4 juice. 

Once cake cools, place on a plate or cake pan and whip up the glaze. 

2 cups powdered sugar
2 oz berentzen apple liqueur
1 oz cranberry juice.

Place powdered sugar in a bowl and slowly add in the liquids, continuously whisking to remove any lumps. You can add more liquid or less, depending upon how thick you want your glaze!

Mine was a little thinner and it went right into the opening of the cake. We decided to make use of it and spooned extra onto our slices;) 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

G2 Gastro Pub: Durham

We had tried to eat here once before and they were on a wait and we had plans that left us unable to bide our time. Last week when we stayed in Durham to see Aziz, we had a little bit of time to spare and we headed straight back here. 

And it was an extremely wise descison. When we got there, they were only slightly busy and we found our waiter to be very knowlegable about everything on the menu and everyone to be extremely attentive. Any moment that our server was tending to another table, other service members were right there to make sure we didn't need anything. Luckily for us we were there on a Tuesday night and they had quite a few drink specials, I chose to take advantage of the $7 martinis and went with the french. Good choice. 

The atmospehre is very modern and funky, yet it still somehow comes off as inciting. They use tablets as your drink menu and the lights behind the bar are constantly changing, but not in an obnoxious way. The menu over the open style kitchen is akin to a movie theater style and lists all the options on a rotating basis. 

For a starter, my husband went with the scotch egg. Their version involves a soft boiled egg, house made garlic and sage sausage made with red pepper and onion, rolled in panko crumbs and deep fried. He had high praise for it and I skipped that and went with their apple and celery root soup, topped with crunchy pancetta. I wanted to love it, and while I liked it a lot, I found it a little too sweet. It was very fall like and I appreciate that, just could have used a little more pepper for my taste. 

For our entrees, we both ordered the G2B burger.  He went with all the works and I kept mine simple with just bacon and cheese. I normally prefer a sauce for my burger, but didn't want to ask for one and the burger was perfectly cooked and juicy enough that I didn't even notice the lack of an added flavor of sauce. It normally comes with an aoli but I am never a fan of those. The real winner of my whole meal was the sweet potato wedges. No questions asked. These are hands down the best version of any sweet potato I have ever thought about having. They were perfectly crunchy on the outside and an almost creamy texture upon your first bite. Plus, they were salted rather than being served with cinnamon. I enjoyed everything I ate, but I would return here for those alone. 

We were too full to even contemplate dessert (this is the problem when you have bread and soup, I never seem to learn this lesson) but the couple next to us ordered a few that looked absolutely decadent and I would love to try them on our next visit. Mainly their sticky toffee pudding. Drooling just picturing it.

If you are in Durham and want to head away from downtown, head here. Some items are a little pricey, but the quality of food and competence of the wait staff more than makes up for it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Weathervane @ A Southern Season

Earlier this week on my other blog, I mentioned that we had stopped by a Southern Season in Chapel Hill this weekend. While there, we grabbed a quick afternoon bite at their restaurant, Weathervane. Having had terrible weather here lately, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day we were graced with and eat on their patio. 

As many times that we have been to a SS, we had never eaten at the restaurant before. I like the set up of their patio. It is huge! I am pretty sure they must host events there as the back had an open setting and a bar area. The patio was split into tables under a pergola on one side and the other side was "cubbies" built into the wall with benches under an umbrella. We chose to sit in one of these and soak up the sunshine. 

The menu looked great and we started off our meal with beverages and I went with sparkling wine and he grabbed a beer. They have lots of local beers on tap! Our first menu item we tried was the deviled eggs. You should know they topped the eggs with bacon. Also known as my lifeline. 

Then we ordered and I got the soup and he grabbed a salad. His salad was huge and so colorful. I don't even eat salad and it made me hungry! My soup was really good. The only gripe I had was that the soup of the day was coined "creamy tomato" and when I got it, the server who put it in front of me called it "tomato basil" soup and if you know know my feelings towards basil. and the fact that I actually finished this soup and enjoyed it (in spite of that pesky herb) tells you how good it was. It was packed full of flavor. 

Then for dessert we went with the butterscotch pot de creme. Oh my word, people. So amazing! And at first glance, we thought it was topped with homemade ice cream. But no, it was actually homemade whip cream complete with vanilla bean! Yum. Pretty much perfect, the only thing that I could possibly say is that certain bites tasted a tiny bit salty. Which I know salt is often used to cut the sweetness, but a few bites were off. However, I would get this dessert again, no questions asked! 

Afterwards we headed into the store to check out what new items they may have on hand. I could spend hours upon hours in this place. There is something for everyone. Coffee, wine, chocolate, cook books, a plethora of cooking supplies and bar items and they now have an ice cream parlor. As if I needed another reason to visit! 

We frequently buy from their catalog. Whether it be Christmas presents, graduation gifts or baskets for new parents, you can find it at Southern Season! Here is the link to their online store and if you are in the triangle, head over to Chapel Hill and check them out. They have also recently opened a Charleston location and are soon coming to one of my other favorite cities, Richmond!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Banana Caramel Pudding

Now, I may be messing with a Southern staple and it may not go over very well in certain circles. However, my circle is one that really hates bananas and the caramel flavor was actually enough that I became quite fond of this simple dessert. And really, you could mix it up to suit your tastes. 

2 boxes banana pudding
2 cups Vanilla coffee creamer
1 cup milk
1 tub cool whip
1/4 cup caramel ice cream sauce
vanilla wafers (enoguh to fill your dish)

make the pudding with the creamer and let set up for about 15 minutes. Then fold in the cool whip. (You can add in a little of the caramel sauce right now, if you so wish) using a spoon, fill the bottom of your dish with a layer of the pudding mixture. Pour 1/2 the caramel sauce over the pudding mixture. (if you chose to use real bananas, you would slice them and add them on top of caramel sauce) then add a layer of  the vanilla wafers and then proceed to layer.

I decided to serve this "icebox style" and so I froze it for a few hours and it melted in your mouth as you devoured it. And I think I actually liked this because I chose to forgo the actual banana step. What can I say, not a banana lover.