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  1. Tuesday, August 15

    Week 551 Weekly Menu

    Hello! We are finally done traveling and home. Phew! This week is a quiet week (the only one of the summer) and we do have a meal plan pulled together for the most part. Just taking it easy. Also, Nate went to the store with me so our menu is a little more meat-heavy than normal, which kind of makes me laugh for some reason.

    Week 551 Weekly Menu from @janemaynard including FREE printable PDF of the meal plan and ingredients list!

    MONDAY:
    Sausage, peppers & onions
    – Green beans and broccoli

    TUESDAY:
    Chili

    WEDNESDAY:
    Bolognese and Pasta
    – Salad

    THURSDAY:
    Steak
    Asian-style green beans

    FRIDAY:
    – Leftovers

    SATURDAY:
    – Eat out night

    SUNDAY:
    – TBD…we have family arriving for a visit that evening, so I’ll probably have a soup or something waiting for them!

    Click here or on the image above for a free printable PDF of this week’s meal plan and ingredients list.

    Thanks to all of you who have been diligently planning menus and sharing them all summer! As usual, please share your own dinner plans for the week in the comments below!b


  2. Tuesday, August 8

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite

    Each year for my birthday Nate buys me a cake called the Viking from Extraordinary Desserts in San Diego. I’m pretty sure this cake was the actual ambrosia of the gods on Mt. Olympus. IT IS SO GOOD. Also, I will never make this cake in its entirety. I have the Extraordinary Desserts cookbook (now out of print) and the cake requires SIX(!!!!!) separate recipes in order to make the entire thing. Yeah, not gonna happen. I am perfectly happy waiting for September to roll around each year in order to indulge in the goodness that is the Viking.

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite from @janemaynard

    That said, for Nate’s birthday I wanted to make something decadent and delicious. I decided to cut down the original Viking recipe and just use three of the elements, rather than all six. The final product was awesome. Nate couldn’t believe how much his birthday cake tasted like the Viking, so we named it the Viking Lite. While the Viking Lite is a bit of a labor of love it is totally worth it…and much less a labor than the original recipe!

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite from @janemaynard

    The Viking Lite is made up of layers of chocolate sour cream cake and semisweet ganache, then coated in crushed chocolate praline. When I made the cake I only put the praline on the outside of the cake but we decided a layer of the praline inside the cake would have made it even better. I had leftover praline so we would just sprinkle it on each of our slices. Also, I recommend splurging for high-quality chocolate, like Guittard brand (they make baking chocolate and cocoa powder). Good-quality chocolate really will make a difference in your final product.

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite from @janemaynard

    Chocolate Ganache Praline Cake, a.k.a. The Viking Lite
     
    Based on the original Viking cake created by Karen Krasne of Extraordinary Desserts. Her cookbook is now out of print. I am sharing only the parts I used of the original Viking recipe below, along with my notes and modifications.
    Author:
    Serves: 1 8- or 9-inch cake
    Ingredients
    • GANACHE:
    • 24 ounces (4 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • CHOCOLATE ALMOND PRALINE:
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • ¼ cup whole milk
    • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, cubed (I used salted so that there was a bit of salt flavor in the praline)
    • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 1 cup slivered almonds
    • CHOCOLATE SOUR CREAM CAKE:
    • ⅓ cup unsalted butter (I used salted because the recipe doesn't call for salt and I like a bit of salt flavor), room temperature and cut into ¼" cubes, plus ~2 teaspoons at room temperature for greasing the pans
    • 3 ounces (1/2 cup) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1½ cups granulated sugar
    • ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
    • 1 cup water
    Instructions
    1. GANACHE:
    2. Put the chocolate chips in a medium, heatproof mixing bowl.
    3. Bring the cream to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir slowly and gently in a circular motion until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is fully combined. Set ganache aside for later. You will want the ganache to be thickened and at a spreading consistency when it's time to assemble the cake. I put mine in the fridge, covering the bowl with plastic wrap, and checked it every half hour or so, stirring it each time.
    4. PRALINE:
    5. Generously coat a baking sheet with oil or line with a silicone baking mat (I highly recommend using a Silpat or similar mat if you have one).
    6. Toast almonds on another baking sheet in a 350ºF oven for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
    7. Bring milk, butter, corn syrup and sugar to a boil in a medium, heavy saucepan. Insert a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 310ºF, about 7-8 minutes (I think it took a little longer than that for me). The mixture should be thick and have started to lightly color. Remove the pot from the heat and set the thermometer aside.
    8. Add the cocoa powder and mix well with a whisk. (I added the cocoa powder through a fine mesh sieve, shaking it into the pot to avoid large lumps from forming.)
    9. Stir in the toasted almonds.
    10. Using a rubber spatula, carefully spread the hot mixture onto your oiled or Silpat-lined baking sheet, making sure the mixture is spread into an even layer. Set aside to cool.
    11. Once praline is completely cool and hardened, either blast it in a blender or food processor or place in a ziploc bag and hammer with a meat pounder on a wood cutting board, breaking the praline up into small bits.
    12. CAKE:
    13. Preheat oven to 275º F. Grease bottom and sides of two 8-inch or two 9-inch round cake pans with butter. Place a parchment round the size of the bottom of the pan in each cake pan, butter the top of the parchment, then lightly flour the pans. Set aside.
    14. Place chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl. Bring a pot of water to a simmer, place bowl on top of the pot (do not let bowl touch water surface), and melt chocolate, stirring occasionally.
    15. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
    16. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture is very thick and light in color, about 7 minutes.
    17. Add the cubed butter and then the sour cream, mixing until full incorporated after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
    18. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
    19. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed, just until fully incorporated, being careful not to over mix.
    20. Bring water to a boil then add to the batter. Mix on low to medium speed until full combined and smooth. Batter will be much thinner after the addition of the water.
    21. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, dividing evenly. Place pans in the center of the oven and bake until cake springs back slightly when pressed in the center and a cake tester comes out clean. Bake time could be up to 60 minutes, but start checking around 40 minutes for doneness.
    22. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pans sitting on a cooling rack. Once completely cooled, run a thin knife around the edges and invert pans, carefully knocking the bottom of the pan if cake doesn't fall out immediately. Cakes can rest on the cooling rack until you are ready to place them on the cake platter. Remove parchment from bottom of cakes. If you are not immediately assembling the cake, wrap the cakes individually tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate, but cake can also remain wrapped at room temperature for up to 2 days.
    23. ASSEMBLY:
    24. Place one of the cakes on your serving platter. Place pieces of waxed or parchment paper under the edge of the cake all around. This will prevent icing from getting on your serving platter as you decorate the cake.
    25. Coat top of the first layer of cake with a nice thick layer of ganache.
    26. Optional (but recommended!): Add a layer of the chocolate almond praline layer on top of the ganache.
    27. Add the second cake layer. Spread a ganache layer on top, then frost the sides of the cake with the ganache. Once you have finished icing the sides with ganache, using your hands press the praline pieces on the sides of the cake all the way around to coat the sides of the cake. Carefully remove wax/parchment paper, using a knife to hold the frosting in place as you pull out the paper in spots where it gets stuck.
    28. If you did not put a layer of praline inside the cake, reserve the extra praline and sprinkle on each cut slice when serving.

     

     


  3. Monday, August 7

    Week 550 Weekly Menu

    Hello from beautiful New Hampshire! We are visiting my in-laws, who recently purchased a circa 1770s farmhouse with a perfect view of Mt. Monadnock. Owen informed us on arriving that he is sad this is just vacation because we don’t get to stay here all the time. I have to agree with Owen, this home is a little slice of heaven on earth.

    maynard mt monadnock view web copyright jane maynard

    This week we are for sure having pasta with the bolognese recipe I have shared on the blog, Grammy’s orange chicken as well as dinner at Kimball Farm one night. Beyond that we don’t know what we’re eating, but that seems like some pretty good planning for being in vacation mode. 😉

    As usual, please share your weekly menu plans in the comments! And have a great week!


  4. Tuesday, August 1

    Happy Summer! Albion Fit Swim Giveaway!

    I am currently sitting in a beach house in Woods Hole, MA on Cape Cod. The weather is perfect and we are hitting the beach every single day this week. Basically, I don’t ever want to go back to real life.

    Albion Fit Mid-Summer Swim Giveaway on This Week for Dinner (@janemaynard)

    This year I have a new swimsuit, thanks to Albion Fit, and I have been loving it on our East Coast vacation. I am loving the suit this summer. LOVING. It’s comfortable, I love the fabric, and people keep asking where I got it. (Click here for a link to the suit. You can also get my suit in black, but I don’t know why you would because the Antigua pattern is awesome.)

    The founders of Albion are dear friends of ours and Liz and I thought it would be fun to do a swim giveaway for a little mid-summer fun! So let’s get right down to it! Who doesn’t want a cute new suit in the summertime?

    HERE’S HOW TO ENTER! Simply comment on this post telling us your favorite Albion swimsuit! One randomly-selected commenter will win an Albion swimsuit of their choice!

    BONUS INSTAGRAM ENTRY! You can also enter the giveaway on Instagram! Simply click here and leave a comment on my Instagram post about this giveaway with the name of your favorite Albion swimsuit AND tag a friend in that comment.

    All comments, both here on the blog and on Instagram, must be posted by Midnight PT on Saturday August 5, 2017.

    Good luck and happy swimming!

    The winner of this giveaway was Mary Beth, who commented, “These are beautiful suits! I am loving the Grace off the shoulder one-piece!” Congratulations! And thank you to all who entered!

     


  5. Week 549 Menu…Cape Cod!

    It’s Tuesday. I said I’d have the menu post up on Sunday. And that did not happen because I”ve been too busy with staring at views like this….

    Falmouth, MA sunset July 31, 2017 @janemaynard

    I am, apparently, in serious vacation mode. But my goal this week is to finally share my Viking Lite chocolate cake recipe with you, no matter how much sunset gazing is happening.

    As usual, if you have a menu to share, please do so in the comments! Have a great week!