Monday, November 30, 2009

Coconut Milk Cake

Terrence and Bea had Coconut Cakes with Fresh Peony Wreaths for their Summer Wedding.
Coconut Cake can be a beautiful centerpiece for Christmas too . . .
with a snowy Coconut top.
Coconut Cake
  • 2 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter . . .room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 large farm fresh eggs .. room temperature
  1. First of all .. it is important to have all your cake ingredients room temperature.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 º.
  3. Cut out Parchment paper to line the bottom of 2 9 inch round cake pans. Do not grease the sides of your pan. . you want the cake to crawl up the sides. It will release.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients together.
  5. Add the soft butter with your mixer . . one tablespoon at a time and mix until large crumbs form.
  6. Add the milk and the vanilla and scrape the sides of the bowl.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time until mixed in.
  8. Divide the batter between the two pans and bake about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Remove to a rack to cool.
  10. Line the pans with plastic wrap.
  11. Put the cakes back into the pans. . tops up.
  12. Poke the cake with the dull end of a skewer all over.
  • 1 can sweetened condensed low fat milk
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  1. Warm the two milks together slightly. . .you don't want it hot but it mixes together easier if it is warmed a bit.
  2. Slowly pour the milk over the cakes. Use all but 1/2 cup. .I find the whole amount of milk is too much.
  3. Allow to sit at room temperature until the milk is mostly absorbed and then refrigerate until chilled.
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 packages whip it whipping cream stabilizer
  • flaked or fine coconut
  1. Beat the whipping cream and stabilizer (NO SUGAR) until soft peaks form and it holds its shape.
  2. Put the first cake on a cake plate top up. . and then put the second cake on top of it . . top down. This cake needs no filling.
  3. Spread the whipped cream over the cake and sprinkle with Coconut.
  4. Refrigerate until serving time.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bread for the Journey - First Advent

It was one of those frustrating things.
For days I'd been humming a tune. You know how it is sometimes -
the music returns to mind at odd times during the day and you can't put words to it. After concentrating a bit, I remembered snatches of verse and reached for my hymnbook. When I found the words that matched the music, I was compelled to write them down and meditate on them.

As Advent approaches, I've been thinking of that song. It was written by Gerhardt Tersteegen in 1729 and yet the truth of the song still applies today. God is absolutely Holy and all praise and adoration is due Him.

Although God is holy beyond our human understanding, He loved us so much that He humbled Himself and came as a man to die for our sins. During the Advent season I hope you will make this the prayer of your heart and that you too will bow down in awe and reverence before our God and Saviour.

God Himself is with us: Let us now adore Him,

And with awe appear before Him.

God is in His temple- All within keep silence,

Prostrate lie with deepest reverence.

Him alone, God we own, Him, our God and Saviour;

Praise His Name forever.



O thou Fount of Blessing, Purify my spirit;

Trusting only in Thy merit,

Like the holy angels who behold Thy glory,

May I ceaselessly adore Thee,

And in all, great and small, Seek to do most nearly

What Thou lovest dearly.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Golden Mashed Potatoes

I got a variation of this recipe for make-ahead mashed potatoes from my friend Jean some years ago...and I made it many times over the years. It's nice to have the potatoes mashed ahead of time and ready for the table piping hot at dinner time.

Ingredients:

  • 10 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup herbed cream cheese (we like herb and garlic)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • crumbled bacon bits and chopped green onions for topping

Method:

  1. Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender. Drain.
  2. Mash potatoes...adding cream cheese, sour cream, butter, milk, chives and salt & pepper.
  3. Mash until creamy.
  4. Spoon into lightly greased casserole...and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days...discard plastic wrap before baking.
  6. Bake at 350°F for one hour or until heated through.
  7. Sprinkle with bacon bits and green onions.

    Optional topping ~ Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated cheese before baking and omit bacon bits.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Mushroom Stuffed Meatloaf

Here's a meatloaf all gussied up for company.
It has a hint of thyme in it which gives it a wonderful flavour.
I'm afraid I can't give credit to the cook but it is found in the yellow Greendale cookbook.
For the meatloaf;
  • 2 lb. hamburger
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup mushroom or chicken broth

For the Stuffing:

  • 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms or 1 can mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 cups fresh bread cubes
  • 1/4 tsp.thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 tsp. dried parsley

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1Tbsp. dry mustard

Make the stuffing first.

  1. Saute mushrooms and onions in the butter until soft.
  2. Combine with bread cubes, thyme and parsely.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Mix the meatloaf ingredients together. Do not overmix.
  5. Pack 1/2 of the meatloaf mixture into the bottom of a loaf pan.
  6. Top with stuffing.
  7. Pack remaining meatloaf mixture over stuffing.
  8. Mix topping ingredients together and spread over meatloaf.
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let meatloaf sit for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
  10. Slice and serve.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Holiday Fruitcake

This is my favorite fruitcake..one that I have baked every Christmas for many years. My friend Joyce passed this recipe on to me after I raved about how good it was after I tasted it at her house.
Every year when the Christmas season approached I remember how my Mom would ask if I was baking this fruitcake again and could she have some..wish I could still be baking for her!
Slices of this fruitcake are a pretty addition to any tray of goodies..not only does it look good..it is filled with fruits, nuts, coconut..all good things:)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups raisins..I used 1 1/2 cups raisins and 1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups coconut
1/2 cup mixed glace fruit..it comes in small chopped pieces
1 cup glace cherries..I used 1/2 cup green cherries and 1/2 cup glace pineapple..sometimes I use half green and the other half red..your choice of what you like
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts..I used 3/4 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup sliced filberts, again use whatever nuts you like
200g pkg of baking gums..they look like small gumdrops and are in the baking aisle at the grocery store.
1. Mix fruits, coconut, nuts and gumdrops in a large bowl and set aside.
2. In another bowl cream butter and sugar
3. Add eggs, vanilla and almond extract and mix till smooth
4. Combine flour and baking powder and add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and mix until well blended.
5. Pour over the mixture of fruits, nuts, coconut and gumdrops and stir until well combined
6. Divide between 4 small loaf pans (approx 7 x 3 1/2 x 2") double lined with waxed paper.
7. Bake in 3ooº oven for 1 1/2 hrs
8. Take out of the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
I leave the waxed paper on the cakes and freeze them in ziploc freezer bags.
Happy Thanksgiving to our fellow Americans!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Barbequed Pulled Pork

Simple, satisfying and flavorful! I put this recipe together in my crock pot one morning and after work served it to guests. The meat becomes very tender and rich in flavor. Served on a toasted kaiser bun along with a salad or chips and you will get rave reviews. With Christmas just around the corner I like to have a few quick no fuss meals for those busy days. This is a budget friendly meal as well.

Meat:
1 3-4 pound boneless pork roast
If roast has a string around it, cut it off. Place roast into crock pot.

Sauce: (it doesn't get easier than this)
-1 bottle regular flavored BBQ sauce (any brand you like)
-1/2 cup apple juice (I buy juice boxes to have on hand for this)
-1/2 small onion, chopped fine (optional)
-1/4 cup water
Stir together ingredients and pour over roast. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low heat.

Pulling the pork:
Take roast out of crock pot and put onto a cookie sheet. Cut away any fatty pieces you see. Using two forks shred meat into stringy pieces. Skim off any fat on the top of the sauce left in the crock pot, and return meat to the sauce. Stir well to combine with BBQ sauce. The meat will absorb the sauce.
Toast kaiser buns and pile the meat on top. Serve open face or sandwich style. I like to heat extra BBQ sauce to serve on the side. Enjoy with your favorite side salad. Serves 4-6.





Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Peppernuts - Gluten-free


I have been asked by several people for a Gluten-free version of the little round Peppernuts that are a Mennonite traditional favorite.
Erica Buller shared her family recipe with me and I adapted it to be gluten-free.
Peppernuts Ingredients
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening, creamed with brown sugar
1 egg
1/8 cup sour cream - add to sugar mixture
2 tsp. yogurt
add following dry ingredients (mixed well)
1 cup white bean flour (or Sorghum)
1/2 cup Teff flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Combine wet ingredients , then add dry ingredients and mix well.
Using a little Sweet Rice if necessary on counter, divide dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into thumb sized rolls, and cut into 1/2" slices.
Lay cut side down on baking sheet and bake for 20 minut. at 350°
Baking time determines how soft or hard you like them.
They are like dunking doughnuts... dipped in coffee to eat.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Good ole Fashion Hot Cocoa


'Worry looks around,
Sorry looks back,
Faith looks up.'




This is Cocoa the way my mother used to make for us when I was a kid.
Full flavored and rich tasting with out all the additives.
The ingredients couldn't be simpler, and so much more cost effective than the packages.
For 4 servings you need-
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 4 cups of hot milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
Serving for one-
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • a bit of boiling water
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • a drop of vanilla extract if you want, but is just fine without
  1. Stir together the cocoa powder and sugar.
  2. Add the boiling water to dissolve the cocoa and sugar.
  3. Add the hot milk.
  4. Top off the cocoa with your favorite toppings like, marshmallows, whipping cream, or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  5. Sit back relax and enjoy!
A variation to try is to mix it with some hot coffee instead of boiling water to make it a mocha.
Very tasty and comforting indeed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bread for the Journey

Our daughter shared with us how they had told their kids that one day Jesus would return and take us all to heaven. They talked about the wonder of heaven and that it would be forever, meaning we would never have to say goodbye to people we love. The kids really liked that and our grandson eagerly asked, “Has He started running yet?”

At first I thought that it was an odd question to ask. Then I began to see something beautiful. While I imagine Jesus floating down from heaven in majestic power, he was imagining Jesus running! Isn't that what you do, when you see a loved one you haven't seen in a long time?Sometimes I think our adult minds have lost something very special!

"But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." Luke 15:20

Father, I thank you that in the story of the prodigal son you have shown us your father heart. You have shown us how you long for us to turn our hearts toward home . . . so that we can live with you forever.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Easy Tortellini Casserole

Here's a simple casserole...perfect for Sunday lunch or a quick company dinner. It can be served as a meatless dish...or include meat of your choice.

Ingredients:
  • 1 350 gram pkg. Olivieri Cheese Tortellini (or use herb and cheese)
  • 1 each red, green and yellow pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, sliced or chopped
  • 1 jar 700 ml. Classico pasta sauce (spicy red pepper is great)
  • 1 - 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I like to add a little Parmesan as well)
  • 1 pound farmer sausage, sliced diagonally (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to directions.
  2. Stir fry veggies until tender crisp.
  3. Add to cooked, drained pasta...along with pasta sauce.
  4. Stir together and put into casserole dish.
  5. Top with grated cheese.
  6. Cook at 350°F for 30-40...covering until near the end.

*If you are adding sausage, saute and stir in before putting into casserole dish.

Serve with a green salad and enjoy the taste of home-cooked Italian without a whole lot of home-cooking.

*Note ~ The Olivieri pasta is a Canadian product...but use your favorite fresh tortellini. Canadian products are sold by metric measure...metric conversion tables are readily available on-line, although measures aren't too important in this dish.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Barcelona Salad

While on my my last trip to Europe in Spring, we enjoyed trying Mediterranean dishes.
We went to this little quaint restaurant and ordered this avocado/tomato salad. Hm.....
This was delicious. But it was too easy...lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, and fresh basil. I know that I always have those ingredients in my home. But what was in that dressing? That became the discussion of our entire meal....
The next night we went back to that same little restaurant and ordered exactly the same salad.
So I think I have experimented enough with dressings over the past months that I will post this recipe. I know my family has enjoyed this salad with a Mediterranean flare.

Salad Ingredients
  • Your favorite lettuce greens
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Onions
  • Fresh Basil
Mediterranean Salad Dressing ~ Chef Dez Cooking
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup oil packed sundried tomatoes, drained & finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp. liquid honey (I used 4 Tbsp demerara sugar instead)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl, and whisk thoroughly to combine.
  2. I often use my small Braun multi-quick hand blender
  3. Arrange your salad bowls with lettuce greens adding tomatoes, avocados, onions
  4. Pour immediately over your ingredients in salad bowls.
  5. Sprinkle with fresh basil.
Hope you can add this to your favorites. Don't forget to add a loaf of Rustic Italian Bread.
It goes good with any salad. It becomes a whole meal.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Whole Wheat?" Bread - Gluten-Free


Remembering what 'real' bread tastes like, I am always trying to come closer to that aroma and flavour of 'whole wheat' bread.
I think I have come VERY close in this recipe. The smell of it baking is wonderful.
I love the addition of Teff flour in this recipe. Gluten-free flours are very rich in nutrients making this bread a 'meal' in itself. The bean flour is high in protein and the Teff flour is very nutritious, rich in vitamins and minerals... check it out here . Teff is an ancient Ethiopian flour that has just recently become readily available, naturally gluten-free!

Recipe Ingredients
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 level tbsp instant yeast
whisk together and set aside to proof

Meanwhile, mix in heavy duty mixer

1 tsp of molasses stirred into 3/4 cup warm water (plus 3 tbsps)
1 egg
1 tsp of vinegar
1 tbsp oil

mix dry ingredients in Ziploc bag

1 1/4 cup of white bean flour (I grind my own small white beans-readily available in any grocery store- when the beans are fresh there is only a very faint bean smell to the flour and none in the baked product)
1/2 cup of Teff flour
1/2 cup of Arrowroot Starch (or Tapioca Starch) 
1/4 potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp certo crystals
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking powder

add flour mix to wet ingredients and beat on high for a good 5 minutes or more.

Using a sturdy spatula transfer dough (it will be sticky) into greased med. sized loaf pan.
Wet your spoon or hand and smooth dough evenly in the pan.
Place on stove under panel light , cover , and let rise.
This dough rises quite fast, let it rise until it rounds over the top of the pan..

Bake in 375º oven until browned.... about 50 min. to an hour. Let cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes before removing.
Enjoy!
This bread keeps well, slices well, toasts well and I would think freezes well. I haven't had to freeze any yet! I would slice it before freezing.
(if you cannot buy the flours needed locally, they can be ordered on line )
(note...this recipe has been updated on Dec.3... I've learned that xanthan gum hinders the working of yeast, but pectin crystals do not ... so I have had much greater success with my yesat baking , both in rising and holding its shape since I combine the xanthan gum with pectin crystals )

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kraft Caramel Squares (with Gluten-free option)

This delicious square recipe came to me from my friend, Shelley, many years ago, but it is still a favorite of mine. I have adapted it to be gluten-free so I'll give both the original and the gluten-free recipes.

And yes, you really do have to unwrap 64 Kraft Caramels, but patience is a virtue and ,in this case at least, you are 'richly' rewarded ! smile

(This is a big recipe but it freezes well - or you can cut it in half)

It will make one 18x15 baking sheet , or two 9x13 pans

Original recipe
ingredients
64 Kraft Caramel candy
1 cup Carnation Evaporated milk
2 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup butter (I use 1 cup)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

*******
For Gluten-free - exchange 2 cups flour for
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum

and make sure you use gluten-free oats

**********

Method

(same for both)

1. melt caramels on top of the stove in the 1 cup evaporated milk on low heat.
2. mix flour, oats, soda, salt well
3. using your hands work butter into flour making crumbs.
4. using a little more than half of crumbs press into pans making a thin base
5. bake for 5 min. at 350'
6. pour caramel mixture over the baked base
7. sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over the caramel
8. crumble rest of crumbs over the top
9. bake for another 20 minutes or until golden
10. let set , cut while still warm and let harden in fridge.
11. try to eat just one piece !! smile
**
Note: I prefer to store these in the fridge until serving time - especially with the gluten-free ones, and they are great from freezer to mouth. smile

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Eclair Dessert

We celebrated hubby's birthday with family today and this was his 'birthday cake'. It kind of tasted like a creamy peanut butter cup!
I know there are other versions of this dessert but this is the one I chose to make. A great 'make ahead' dessert.

1 3/4 cup milk..I used skim milk
1 pkg (4 serving size) vanilla instant pudding
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups of whipped cream..you can use cool whip
2 packets of graham wafers (approx 63)
6 squares (1 oz each) of semi-sweet baking chocolate
3 tbsp butter
1) Whisk milk and pudding together until well blended, approx 2 min
2) Add peanut butter and mix well
3) Gently stir in the whipped cream till blended
4) Layer 1/3 of the graham wafers in a 9x13" pan breaking up some of the wafers to fit.
5) Pour half of the pudding mixture on top of the graham wafers
6) Repeat layers and finish with a layer of wafers
7) Microwave chopped up chocolate and butter in a bowl for 1 min, stir and microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir till smooth.
8) Spread immediately over top layer of wafers
8) Refrigerate at least 8 hours. Take out of fridge about 1/2 hour before serving. Store leftovers in fridge.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bread for the Journey

...build yourself up in your most holy faith.
Jude v. 20



Sunday morning is a banquet...
I attend the church service and am fed.

What about the other days six days of the week?

Pastor Ron won't prepare a banquet for me every day.

I am responsible for feeding myself...
and I need to be reminded of that often.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Onion and Cheese Supper Bread



This is such a quick and easy recipe that goes great with soup, salad, stew or chili.
The recipe has been adapted from different recipes, so many things can be added instead of just onions, like left over bacon or broccoli. Be creative and use what you have. It is good alternative to make when time is short and a hungry family awaits.....
  • 2 cups flour (may use half whole wheat)
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup mayonaise
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter (1)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup old cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp. snipped parsley
  1. Cook onion in 1 tbsp butter.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together and add milk, egg, and mayo.
  3. Take the dough and place into a greased 8 or 9" round pan.
  4. Top with onion, cheese and parsley. ( I added half in the dough and topped it with the other half).
  5. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pasta with Canadian Bacon

I use the term Canadian bacon because that is what it's called in California, where my daughter's mom-in-law, Kathy, lives and where the recipe comes from. Where I live we call it back bacon. This is a tasty meal that can be whipped up in about 15 minutes.

Ingredients: (for 2)


  • 2 cups pasta of choice
  • few Tbsp olive oil
  • 200 grams (approx 1/2 lb) back bacon
  • (you can also use smoked ham)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Parmesan Cheese

Method:
  1. Cook pasta in salted water, according to pkg directions. Do not overcook, drain, but do not rinse.
  2. In large skillet, simmer bacon with 1 Tbsp olive oil, add chopped onions and cook until transparent, then add crushed garlic and tomatoes. Cook on low until pasta is done, stirring to blend flavors.
  3. Add drained pasta.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.
  5. Toss and serve.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Funnel Cakes

I always thought you could only get funnel cakes at fairs. I remember one such place in Wisconsin where we attended a cranberry festival and these funnel cakes were served with an apple and cranberry sauce. Oh my were they ever good! I found this recipe in a magazine I think..the other day when our g'daughter was visiting I decided to make them for dessert. They are quite filling so make sure you eat a light lunch if you want to end the meal with this type of dessert.
Note..these yummy cakes are deep fried so they are not meant to be on the menu too often.

The recipe is very simple..

3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk
3 1/2 cups flour..I found that 3 cups was enough
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
veg oil for frying
Beat the eggs and sugar, add milk and blend well.
Add the dry ingredients and beat until very smooth, the dough should not be too thick.
Heat oil in a pot, make sure there is at least 2" of oil in the pot. I use my wok.
Pour batter, approx 1 cup into a funnel making sure you plug the hole at the same time with your finger, slowly release your finger so the batter can start running into the oil. Move the funnel around crisscrossing to make the design you like.
I didn't have the right size funnel, instead I poured dough into a measuring cup and used that. The shapes all turn out different which makes it a fun dessert to make.
Brown on both sides..remove from oil and place on a pan lined with paper towels.
Cool slightly and sprinkle with icing sugar or cinnamon sugar.
OR: top with a fruit sauce of your choice.
I made some dusted with icing sugar, some with cinnamon sugar and some with this topping.

Cranberry/Apple Topping:
1 apple
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup water
sugar to taste
Cook together until apples are tender and cranberries 'pop'.
Spoon over the funnel cake and enjoy!
This recipe yields 6 depending on the size you make them. Mine were luncheon plate size :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Black Forest Cherry Cake

Today in Canada we observe Remembrance Day. I'm wearing my Red Poppy which has become a symbol here for the fallen soldiers that have given their lives for freedom and peace. On the eleventh day of the eleventh month at eleven o'clock. . ..I'll pause to remember.

Black Forest Cherry Cake

I almost didn't post this recipe since it is so similar to Anneliese's Black Forest Birthday Cake.
I did think though that some may not know how to make Cherry Pie Filling from scratch so I decided to post it. It is nearly like Anneliese's . . .be sure to check her picture . . .it is just so picture perfect. This Cherry Pie Filling is less sweet and has many more cherries than canned. I always have a can of Cherry Pie Filling for days that I'm in a hurry but when time allows, this really tastes wonderful.

  • 1 Duncan Hines Swiss Chocolate Cake Mix or . .make this homemade dark chocolate cake
  • 1 package instant chocolate pudding (2 cups milk size)
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 recipe cherry pie filling
  • shaved chocolate for garnish
  1. Make the cake according to directions. . .bake in two 9 inch pans.
  2. Make the pudding according to directions and refrigerate until the cake layers have cooled.
  3. Make one recipe Cherry Pie Filling and allow to come to room temperature.
  4. Whip the cream and the vanilla pudding mix together and refrigerate until assembly.

Cherry Pie Filling

  • 3 cups frozen or fresh pitted Montmorency Pie Cherries (now. . finding them may prove to be the biggest problem. I had a supplier and they stopped selling them and now I will be planting my own tree. These cherries have a beautiful color and flavour. I find the easiest way to pit cherries is with the tip of a potato peeler.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. Put the frozen or fresh cherries in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat on high for one minute. . stir and repeat until the cherries begin to release juice.
  2. Add the combined cornstarch and sugar.
  3. Stir well. Heat on high until it is thickend, the juices have cleared and it is bubbling.
  4. Stir well every few minutes.

Assembling the cake

  1. Cut both the cake layers in half. Put the first layer on a cake plate.
  2. Spread half the pudding on the first layer.
  3. Add the next layer of cake.
  4. Put half the Cherry Pie Filling on this layer.
  5. Add the third layer of cake. . and top with the second half of pudding.
  6. Add the last layer of cake.
  7. Spread the whipping cream all over the cake. . .reserving 1 cup or so to pipe around the edge.
  8. Put the Cherry Pie Filling in the center.
  9. Chill until ready to serve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cheese Straws - Gluten Free

I got this recipe years and years ago from a co-worker, and I adapted the recipe to be gluten-free. (For the original recipe just substitute all the flours with 1 cup wheat flour and leave out the xanthan gum)
These cheese straws are really delicious -- good served alone as a snack or with a salad or soup.
With wheat flour the dough is much easier to twist into staws, but do the best you can with the gluten-free dough, it handles quite well.



Ingredients
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup grated cheese
1 tsp worchestershire sauce in 3 Tbsp water
Method
1. Combine flour , salt and cheese in a bowl
2. cut in butter
3 add cold water - more if necessary to make easily handled dough\
4. Roll into a thin sheet (using sweet rice flour on rolling surface)
5. cut into 5"x1/2" strips and twist each strip.
6. put on pan and chill in refrigerator for 1/2 hour or more.
7. Bake at 450' about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
These are very good... no one would guess they are gluten-free!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oven Mushroom Rice


I am not sure to whom I can credit the recipe too, but it is a nice change from just a simple rice.
You can stick it in the oven and forget it while you are busy preparing the rest of the meal, or cook it stove top, either way works. You don't want this to be a dry rice, it is nice and moist.
(I apologize for the poor photo quality, the steam, steamed up the camera and I didn't notice, until now, sorry.)

  • 1 cup of brown rice (or white)
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp. sage
  • 1/4 tsp. basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (I add about 2 cups because we don't like a dry rice)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 can of mushroom with the liquid
  • fresh parsley (I didn't have any this time)
  • Or if you prefer fresh mushrooms, just cook them with the onion and add another 1/2 cup water or broth
  1. Saute the onion (and fresh mushrooms if using) in the butter, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  2. Put in a greased casserole dish for 45 minutes in a 350 oven.
  3. Or just make it on the stove top in the pot and simmer for 45 minutes. Do not let pot get too dry, add liquid as necessary.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bread for the Journey


I’ve been reading Max Lucado’s “Every Day Deserves a Chance” and I got to the a Chapter called “Peace for anxious Days.” The big question is, “How can I experience peace when I have so much to be anxious about?”
And if there’s not a fire burning in my personal life at the moment, the daily news reports will remind me that there’s plenty to be concerned about!
Worry tells us that things are going crazy and wonders if anyone is in control. But when we look at history we see that people have always had hardships. The Hebrews in the wilderness had no idea where their next meal would come from . . . and then God rained down bread, just enough for each day. God seems to have a way of teaching us of our dependability on Him. Jesus went as far as to reminded us of how He even cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field.
Montaingne said, “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.”
Corrie ten Boom commented, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows: it empties today of its strength.”
Lord, Help me to keep learning not to worry about anything, but to pray about everything, telling you my needs. And may the peace that passes all understanding guard my heart and mind today in Christ Jesus. (adapted from Philippians 4:6,7)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Caesar Chicken Pizza

I clipped this little Kraft advertisement recipe from a magazine years ago. It's a very nice change from the usual tomato based pizza!

Ingredients:
pre-baked pizza crust
Creamy Caesar dressing
grated Parmesan cheese
drained, chopped frozen spinach
bacon bits
cooked chicken breast, cubed
Four Cheese Italiano, shredded
dried basil
red peper flakes (optional)
Method:
  1. Thaw 1 pkg of chopped frozen spinach under cold running water.
  2. Spread pizza crust with a thin layer of dressing. (If I buy pizza shells, I get the Pizza Parlor Multigrain, handstretched ones at Safeway. Two in a pkg. Very good!)
  3. Sprinkle lightly with grated Parmesan cheese
  4. Spread with chunks of spinach. (I used 1 pkg for 2 med sized pizzas)
  5. Sprinkle generously with real bacon bits and cooked chicken
  6. Top with four Cheese Italiano (or mozzarella)
  7. Finish off with a sprinkle of dried basil and red pepper flakes, if desired
  8. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 15 min or until cheese is melted.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Roasted Tomatoes



I saw Ina prepare these tomatoes on the Food Channel Network and thought they looked real good.

Ina Garten's Roasted Tomatoes
  • 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
  • 4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

No Knead Crusty Italian Bread


I have just learned this new bread making process and then I checked to see if it had been posted and yes, Lovella had posted it way back. So we chatted about it, and decided that I would post it again, changing it up, but also encouraging some of you to try making some bread. Some of you are thinking, "Bread? Not Me!" You too, can make this simple recipe. It only requires a bit of planning ahead, like 24 hours.
One thing that I learned cooking with Chef Dez, is that we will be making food the rest of our lives...so how do we learn to enjoy this process rather than dreading it...So that's what I've been working with this fall...Trying something new! It's inspirational and tasty. He also taught us that if things flop, call it Rustic! I love that term. I've developed a few Rustic Recipes.

Crusty Italian Bread
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups room temperature water, plus 2 Tbsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh herbs, oregano, thyme, rosemary, tarragon.
Method
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add your water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours preferably about 18 at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. (I used almost 2 cups water.)
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.
  3. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour. Fold towel ends together and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready , dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 2.5 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Coon on a rack.
Add a few fresh herbs, and the dough should look shaggy.
Cover with plastic and let sit for 12-18 hours. (Step 1)

Flour tea towel generously. Step 3

Fold tea towel up and let rise for 2 more hours.

Slide your hand under the dough and dump into hot cast iron pot.
Step 4

Yes, it looks like a flop...Shake it slightly.
Smile...The best is yet to come.

Set the pot with lid into the oven and follow instructions used for Step 4.

This is what it looks like when you take the lid off after 30 minutes.
Now, let it brown for another 20 minutes at a high heat.

When it's finished, cut it in half.
If it has holes, congratulate yourself on making
Famous Rustic Italian Bread!

I have to admit, I did have to experiment abit...
Once you have mastered this art, it will be on your favorite list. Simple, easy and tasty.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Old Fashioned Chocolate Molasses Cookies

I had been looking for a recipe that my mother in law used to make..a chocolate and a molasses cookie all in one. And find it I did..written on a small piece of paper. My mom did the same..recipes were jotted down on whatever piece of paper was handy. Often it was written on the back of a used envelope...everything got recycled! Now I wish that I had all those pieces of paper in my recipe collection.

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp cocoa
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Cream shortening, sugar and molasses together.
Add egg and vanilla.
Sift flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda together.
Stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk until well mixed.
At this point you can make drop cookies by dropping rounded teaspoonfuls of the dough on a baking pan lined with parchment paper or add enough flour to make a dough that can be rolled, then cut with a cooky cutter.
Bake at 375º for 10 to 12 min.
Frost with a plain vanilla icing.

Vanilla Icing:
2 cups icing (powdered) sugar
1 1/2 to 2 tbsp softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 to 4 tbsp milk
Combine and stir till smooth and well blended. If necessary add more icing sugar or milk for spreading consistency.

Approx 2 doz..but then my cookies were rather on the large size..just like I remember them:)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cheddar Cheese Casserole Bread

I found this recipe in a Robin Hood booklet. The cheesy aroma of this bread is surpassed only by its taste! This recipe makes one 1 quart casserole, but it can be doubled using 2 casseroles. It can be made in bread pans, but it really looks nice when it is baked in the round or oval.

-1/2 tsp sugar -1/2 cup warm water
-1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
-1/2 cup milk, warmed
-1 tbsp butter
-1 egg, beaten
-2 cups flour
-1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-1/2 tbsp salt
Dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir well. stir in warm milk, butter and beaten egg.
Combine 1 cup flour, cheese and salt. Stir well to blend. Add flour cheese mixture to wet ingredients and beat with electric mixer for 5 minutes. Add remaining flour, beating well with wooden spoon. Dough will be very sticky and pasty.
Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled (about 45 minutes). Stir down and turn into well greased 1 quart casserole. Let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes).
Bake at 375º for 30-40 minutes. Remove from casserole immediately and cool on wire rack.



Monday, November 2, 2009

Pepper Steak







This recipe has been a frequent request these last 26 years. Modifications and a little tweak here and there....and voila, you get this. It is definitely company fare and the recipe is always requested, So here you go...enjoy. The photo does not do it justice.

  • 2 lbs of round steak or sirloin
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger powder
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne (or more if you like it hot)
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 3 large peppers (green, red, and yellow for color)
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Extra Water
  1. Cut meat into thin 1/4" strips, against the grain, this makes it more tender then if you cut it with the grain.
  2. In a bowl combine next seven ingredients and marinade for one hour.
  3. Drain meat and reserve marinade.
  4. Add enough water to the marinade to make 2 cups.
  5. Dissolve the cornstarch in the marinade.
  6. In a wok or large skillet on high with the oil stir fry all the veggies, remove into a bowl when the colors are bright and veggies are still crunchy, this takes about 4 minutes, you will add this back when the meat is done.
  7. Stir fry meat, in batches til brown. Combine all the browned meat in the wok or large skillet.
  8. Add marinade that has had the extra water added.
  9. Reduce heat to low and cover and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sauce is thick and the raw cornstarch taste is gone.
  10. Add the stir fried veggies, heat through.
  11. Goes well with rice.
This is so delicious, just make sure you make enough, serves about 8 hungry people.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

bread for the journey


On Friday my daily devotional made me stop and think . . ."what kind of friend am I . . really?"
The verse for the day was
Proverbs 17:17
A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born in adversity.



The title of the devotional was BE A STANDER.

Bill Crowder. . the author said that a friend who is a stander will stay close in times of trouble.
A friend who bolts at the first sign of trouble isn't really much of a friend.
I thought then of how blessed I am for there have been many friends who have stood beside me when trouble has come.


People have been good friends to us. I often think of the ones who stood by us when my husband faced cancer over 25 years ago. I also think of friends who came and showed us how to farm 15 years ago when we had no clue. The friends who stood shoulder to shoulder with us when we put our parents to rest will be forever remembered.

My dear friend Kathy once said. . .that her parents taught her by example.
She told me that when they knew someone was in trouble. . .her parents would always say. . .
"we'll be right there".
I saw her example in my own life . ..and I see her example in others lives as well.
When I see her live her friendship out like that. . .
I want to be that kind of a friend.


When my friends face difficult times.
Will I be a STANDER beside them. . .
or will I bolt?



Even though I desire to be the kind of friend that the Bible talks about. .
the reality is that I am human and fail my friends more often than I should.
There is no friend like Jesus. .
He bears all our griefs . ..He never leaves us ...
and like the hymn says. .
we can carry everything to Him in prayer.

Dear Lord, help me to be the kind of friend who doesn't run when my friends are in need. Give me the courage to stand by them, the wisdom to know what to say. Give me a tender heart to forgive when necessary and the sensitivity to ask for forgiveness when I hurt my friend.
Amen.

All for now . . with love. . .