Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for May, 2011

Lemon Pudding Cake

Posted by fourclankitchen on May 28, 2011

I love light fruity desserts and citrusy ones are on top of this list.  This lemon pudding cake has it all, it’s a custardy pudding on the bottom and a crusty cake on top.  It has barely any flour and is not too sweet.   It’s also not that hard to make.

Lemon Pudding Cake (from Cook’s Country via A Feast for the Eyes)


1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp. cornstarch

1 1/4 cup sugar (divided)

5 tbs. butter, softened (I used salted)

2 tbs. lemon zest

1/2 cup lemon juice (about 4 large lemons)

1 1/4 cup milk (1 used 2%), room temperature

5 large eggs, separated

confectioner’ sugar for dusting

Boiling water for a bain marie.


1.  Place the oven rack at the lowest position and preheat the oven to 325˚F.

2.  Grease an 8×8″ baking pan.

3.  Beat  1/2 cup sugar, lemon zest and butter  with an electric mixer on medium-high, until the mixture is light and fluffy.

4.  Add the yolks and beat until incorporated.

5. Add the flours and beat on low until incorporated.

6.  Clean your mixer and in a separate bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form- a few minutes.

7.  Add the remaining sugar and beat for another minute.  Fold egg whites (1/3 at a time) into the remaining mixture.  Pour into the prepared cake pan.

8.  Prepare a bain marie/water bath as you would for a custard.  Place the larger pan (water bath) in the oven: a 9×13 does just fine.  Then pour the boiling water into the bath.  Place your cake pan in the center of the water bath so that the water comes about half-way up the cake pan.

9.  Bake for about 60 min until the pudding is browned on top and pulls away from the side, but is still a bit jiggly in the middle.

10.  Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

11. Cool a bit (the original recipe said 1 hour on a wire rack, but my family does not have this kind of patience) and dig in.

Posted in baked, Dessert, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Posted by fourclankitchen on May 16, 2011

My son made these for me for Mother’s day.  We rooted around the blogosphere for a bit, not believing that they were really as simple as everyone made them sound.  But indeed they were.  It doesn’t get better than this in terms of bang for the buck or a taste:effort ratio.  Hopefully, he will impress a girl with them some Valentine’s day and she won’t know any better.  So here goes:


20 large strawberries, washed and thoroughly dried (this is key)

16 oz (2 bars) of good bittersweet dark chocolate (use the best chocolate you can afford or find)

2 tbs. of butter (optional)

You will also need a baking sheet lined with parchment and room in the fridge to stick this sheet in for a few hours.


1. Wash and dry the strawberries as well as you can.  (If they are at all wet, the chocolate will not stick to them).  Place on a paper towel while you finish the remaining time-consuming prep.

2. Break your chocolate into pieces in a medium size microwave proof bowl.  Add two tbs. of butter to the chocolate. We did this because some recipes suggested it and I thought that it would buy us a little more time before the chocolate hardened.  If you work fast enough, you probably dont need the butter.

3. Now microwave the chocolate in 30 sec increments, examining the chocolate after each zap.  It should melt fairly quickly (ours took 1 1/2 minutes).  The chocolate retains its sheen with this method and the issues of tempering chocolate correctly and washing extra dishes do not rear their ugly little heads.

4. Mix your chocolate thoroughly so that it has an even consistency.

5. Working quickly, coat each strawberry by rotating it in the chocolate.  Then hold the strawberry upside down till the chocolate is a bit firmed up.  Then place it, flat side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

6. When all your strawberries are done, place them in the fridge for a couple of hours before eating, so that the chocolate hardens. We saw recipes that used white chocolate or white and dark chocolate.  Bet those would be good as well.  These don’t last that long, so eat up!

Posted in Dessert, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Cochinita Pibil (Yucatan Pork in Achiote Paste)

Posted by fourclankitchen on May 4, 2011

A local interior Mexican restaurant here sells Cochinita Pibil, which I get whenever we take out of town guests for a night in town.  Cochinita Pibil literally means little pig buried and roasted in a pit. This stuff is nectar and ambrosia for flavor junkies like me.  The pork  is marinaded in sour orange juice and ground up Annato seeds, which impart both a red color and a flavor to the meat.  The sour orange juice can be replaced with regular orange juice and lime juice which together tenderize the heck out of a pork shoulder.  It is then slow roasted for several hours till it falls off the bone.  I have previously taken a shot at it that was delicious, but a little Indianized.  But then, I bought Rick Bayless’ new book and went to his website and had me an authentic recipe. This recipe is adapted from his Website (which calls for 12 lbs of pork) to suit a small birthday celebration in my family. 


1 1/4 tablespoons achiote seeds (I found these at Whole Foods)
1 tsp  dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1  tsp black pepper corns
1/2  teaspoons cumin seeds
1/4  teaspoon whole cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon powder preferably freshly ground
6-7  large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

3 tbs.  fresh lime juice

3 tbs.  orange juice
2 lbs. bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt) roast

2 large onions, thinly sliced.

A few banana leaves or foil (optional, if you use a slow cooker or Dutch oven)

You will also need:  Tortillas, rice, pickled onions and salsa as accompaniments.


1. Achiote paste or marinade:

According to Bayless, you can buy achiote paste (he recommends the Yucateco brand, Amazon has it).  The reason he recommends you buy it is because the annato seeds are hard to grind up.  But if you have a powerful coffee grinder, this is not a problem.  So here goes.

1. Grind together the achiote seeds, oregano,the black pepper,  cumin, cloves and cinnamon, till the mixture forms a fairly fine powder (this takes a little patience, but make sure you do it so that your marinade is not gritty).

2. In a blender, combine the ground mixture with salt, the garlic,   lime juice and orange juice.  Blend until smooth.  You should have a smooth marinade.  The blender makes a finer paste than the food processor, so it is preferred here.

2. Marinade the pork:

In a large bowl, combine the  meat and marinade, turning the meat to coat it evenly.  Bayless recommends you marinade for several hours or overnight.  But, I skipped this step because I was planning on using the slow cooker.

3.   Cook the pork:

1.  Use the reserved marinade to coat the onions.  Place half the sliced onions at the bottom of the cooker, add the pork and then add the remaining onions. I cooked this on for 6 hours without banana leaves or foil. The resulting meat qualified for all the usual appellations (tender, succulent, falling off the bone, flavorful-did I forget any adjectives?)

2. Lift the pork out of the cooker.  It is likely to fall apart into pieces as you do it.  Place it on a plate and shred it (with forks or your hands)  as you would pulled pork.

3. Strain the onions out of the pan juices and mix in with the meat.

4. Pour off the pan juices into a small sauce pan and reduce to half the volume. Mix this into the meat as well.

5. Garnish with pickled onions and cilantro and serve with a salsa of your choice and tortillas or Spanish rice.

If you dont have a slow cooker, you could do this in a Dutch oven in the oven (Bayless recommends 3 hours at 325˚F).  Or you could do the meat on a grill as follows (instructions verbatim from Bayless, I did not try this): Heat a gas grill to medium-high.  Cut 3 sections of banana leaf, each about 1 foot longer than the length of a large roasting pan. Line the bottom and sides of the roasting pan with the leaves, overlapping them generously and letting them hang over the edges of the pan.  Lay the onions and meat in the pan, drizzle with all the marinade.  Fold in the banana leaf edges over the meat. Cut 3 more sections of banana leaf slightly longer than the pan.  Lay them over the top of the meat, again generously overlapping; tuck them in around the sides.When the grill is ready, either turn the burner(s) in the center to medium-low or bank the coals of the grill for indirect cooking.  Grill until the meat is thoroughly tender (work a fork in near the bone—the meat should easily come free), usually about 4 hours. If your grill has a thermometer, aim to keep the temperature between 300 degrees and 350 degrees.

Pickled  onions.  (This is different from Bayless’ recipe, but I usually have these on hand, so I used these).  This recipe is really in that cross-over place between Indian and Mexican food and is a standard Indian condiment).  I don’t have a formal recipe, but here is what I do.

1 large onion, sliced thin (sweet white or red)

A couple serrano peppers, sliced thin cross-wise (optional)

1/2 inch ginger cut into thin sticks

Enough white vinegar to submerge the above ingredients

Salt to taste.

Mix all of the ingredient together.  The flavors are best if you wait a couple of days before you need this.  If using immediately, leave out on the counter for a couple hours before serving.  Otherwise, store in the fridge.

Posted in Main Dishes, Meat, Mexican | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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