My Flicker Pics

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sometimes We Need to Be Reminded

Sometimes we (maybe more me than you) need to be reminded that while we are deciding what color Kitchen Aid to buy or which spice or which of our many gadgets to use in our well stocked kitchens...sometimes, it is just good to reflect on how much the Lord has blessed our nation and give thanks.

Here are pictures of a Philippine kitchen and appliances.  How can one take a peek and not be touched? 




Old kitchen


New, improved kitchen...


I think I have no words other than to say how humbled I am to have been blessed by the God of Heaven to be able to touch, use and appreciate the enormous gifts of my God.  I could have been born anywhere, but here I am in truly the "Land of Plenty"!  Not any better than anyone else, but enjoying much in the way of "things"( that will one day fade) and the Spirit (which will never end).   May you have that same assurance that no matter where you live or in what condition...you have been given the gift of eternal life.  

Do Carrots Really Cancel Calories?

Wouldn't that be nice?  A vegetable, so rich in good nutrients, that could cancel out all the "bad" things.... now that's my kind of cake.  I've been looking at different carrot cake recipes lately and decided to start with one nearest to my own.  Check out http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/grandma-hiers-carrot-cake-recipe/index.html   I declare to you I looked for a printed recipe and only found the video...so if you need more visual, just know that there is a video....somewhere. 

Six-inch pans still make pretty cakes and keep temptations down....leaving one layer extra for the freezer and company :)

 Just couldn't wait until completely cool, so we had warm cake to share :)  Alright, I'll confess, we had one slice for lunch and the rest for supper....but hey, remember this is only a 6 inch cake.  And I "shared" with my husband, and of course with you.
Her (Grandma Heirs) recipe was very similar to mine.  But I'm seeing other ones with less oil, using yogurt or buttermilk instead.  Think I'll try them, but not today.  Give me a couple of weeks and we'll see.  And if YOU try the others, let me know how they taste.  And just for the record, I used Canola...so the answer to the question? ........... What question?  Again, special treats, not steady diets.  Worried about healthy?  Get out that mixer, try new ideas and let us all know...share, ok?

Note to self:  Try substituting applesauce for oil in batter and use low fat cream cheese in icing....or maybe 1/2 oil for the same amount of applesauce in batter...just an idea to try.  I have substituted before in other recipes with success.  If I become brave, I'll let you know.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Experience...a GREAT Teacher!

My daughter (the baker)

and I (the Mom)....disclaimer:  do not try this at home...(but it's not my kitchen and I'm short)...I hear ya, I hear ya. Guilty as charged.   In case you didn't catch it, my height adjuster is not an approved safe practice... 
and our helper (sister # 1)...

 were privileged to prepare desserts for two meals a day this week for  students and staff at one of THE most unique schools. Check out their site:  Gospel Singers of America.  Our intent?  To help the school while we gain experience converting our recipes to larger quantities...say, like for 125 hungry students and staff.  Now to most of you that probably isn't a whole lot.  But can I say we learned some valuable information? 

Here are my pictures of the food....


(looking hard?)





(a bit blank, huh?)

You see we spent so much time ciphering, measuring, weighing and okay...baking/cooking that I forgot to take pictures of the food.  I know....silly me.  But I can tell you the menu, right?  Cream cheese pound cake, fresh apple/pear cobbler, vanilla cake with Swiss meringue strawberry buttercream, Granny's chocolate pie-indiv. servings with homemade piecrust rounds, my cake doughnuts, chocolate chip cookies, butter-sugar cookies, chocolate sugar cookies, blueberry cobbler, mixed berry cobbler, pecan kisses, fresh peach cobbler,  lemon-filled cupcakes with creme cheese frosting, caramel pound cake,  chocolate pound cake, dreamy banana pudding and ice-cream cone cupcakes.  Now, can you visualize?   There's still some time to get some pictures of week two and three...maybe...but I'm not there now.  So I must end this post with a promise to try to get some pictures.  Really...I will try!

Most of the students and teachers appear to enjoy our "playing" <cough> (serious face) no, our educational learning experience...or our self guided culinary school of sorts.  And I am grateful that we could be even a small blessing to the school in the area of butter and sugar.  Giving them energy to focus on music theory, piano, guitar, voice, composing and directing. 

I will leave you with a future musician-in-training (singing in the kitchen): 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

May I say it's been a FULL weekend and I didn't want Father's Day to come and go without wishing all the Fathers a Happy Father's Day. So this is for all you fathers who have been fathers indeed!

I made my first cookie template!  Got the idea from one of my favorite blogs!  It was indeed a hurried job, but my husband-Dad enjoyed them and that's what counts!  One for my dear husband-dad and one for my son-in-law-dad....and two for.....just because.  I do not recommend baking and icing more than one layer in one day, but as you can see----it can be done, just look at the love and not the detail :)

Now


One last picture to show you that even though you plan well, things don't always turn out

Don't laugh!

Promise?

Okay, take a peek...

I told you not to laugh!

Adventure  ...er....mishap?  I woke up at dawn to go outside to pick fresh blueberries.  Came inside and hurried to get muffins in the oven....only to discover I used an old and obviously not so reliable recipe.  Or maybe it was just me.  But the recipe is in the garbage and we've had a laugh or two over our "special moring muffins".  So, when things go awry reflect the true Father of all Fathers and have a little humor.  God does, how do I know?  He created the funny bone! At any rate it's 11:15 and I want to say:

Happy Father's Day!
phew!  I made it!!!!










Saturday, June 18, 2011

Eat a Flower Lately?

You know, one day the gardens will be all brown and dry and I will be back to butter and sugar confections, but I have just tried the most amazing thing....Stuffed Zuchini Blossoms!

I won't keep you long but here are the pictures for this afternoon's adventure...

One freshly harvested squash/zuchini blossom...well from yesterday morning....

kept fresh via Ziploc and fridge....

Remove stamin/pistol...Is that the correct spelling?  Anyway, did you know the squash family has a female and a male blossom?  Peeking inside is kinda weird, so if that is too much for ya, just notice which ones have the fruit....zuchini and you have the "Mommy" bloom.  You can guess from my picture. Not hard really.  Anyway biology lesson over.

After looking at several recipes
I decided to trust my pantry


Ricotta (not even a brand name-shame, shame), egg, garlic, fresh herbs (basil, parsley and oregano for me) and Paremesan.  I know, I know you're going to see "the jar".  That's ok, it's what I had.
All these ingredients made the filling to be piped in AFTER all the stamens and pistols were removed (kinda tricky, but no problem).

Now for the batter.  Plain flour, Club Soda (I'm all into the discount stuff today), a little salt and pepper.  Whisk in the soda for a light batter. (like thin pancake batter)  Let sit a spell.

Use any means to gently put the filling inside...I used a piping bag and # 1M tip.





Fry in hot oil (part olive oil) until golden.  These really were golden.  Really!
See!

Outside light and crispy, inside was a bit of heaven.
Please click here for "scent-a-net" 
Would'nt that be a great app?

Well two people and one empty plate
equals
one yummy mid-afternoon snack.
(sometimes I just can't time things right)


If you give this a whirl....let me know what you think :)

PS....I made some cookie dough to make a Father's Day Cookie......Does that count?
I'm looking at the dough now



Friday, June 17, 2011

Mock Apple Rings

Red pickles are so pretty!



These are the mock apple rings that I have extended the prep time for.  No, no butter this evening but there is a lot of sugar involved.

and

some unnecessary time.  You would do all this differently.  You would set aside the morning to clean the cucumbers,

Cut them in half to scoop out the seeds.




peel



and slice them





 And You would put them in their lime water way before noon. 

Did you know that this water does not smell pleasant?  And do NOT use an aluminum pan!!!  The pickle police will come to your door!

I just trust the warnings.  Plastic for me.

Well, I guess I must admit my preocupation with anything but putting up these pickles and tell you the rest

After 24 or so <cough> hours, take the cukes out carefully and rinse well.  Put them in a pot with alum and red food coloring.  Simmer for 2 hours.  It could have been done before lunch <cough, cough>

NO PICS
I figure I have flooded you with enough already


Then drian the cukes again.  Meanwhile, mix vinegar and sugar together to make a syrup.  Add cinnamon candies



and pour over cukes/pickles to be.


 

Bring to a boil and pour in clean jars with whole cloves in the bottom and seal. 




 You would have been done YESTERDAY at 1 PM.  But I had to take the road less traveled.  However, it seems that the results have been the same.


Red Mock Apple Ring pickles for any "red" holiday.....Christmas, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July or "Today is Red Day".  They are crisp, sweet and with a little bite from the cinnamon and cloves.  Delish!  And pretty. 

Actual recipe:

4 lbs. overgrown cucumbers
1 c. pickling lime

Wash, core, peel and slice cucumbers.  Mix lime and enough water to cover.  Place cucumber in lime water for 24 hours.

Drain and rinse thoroughly.

1 1/2 teas. red food color
1/2 c. vinegar
1 teas. alum

Place cucumbers in vinegar solution, add water to just cover and simmer for 2 hours on low heat.

Drain and discard water.

Make syrup of
1 c. vinegar
5 c. sugar
2 pkg cinnamon candies

Put all in a pot (NOT ALUMINUM) and bring to a boil.

Place pickles in prepared jars and add hot syrup.  Put rings and lids on and allow jars to cool and seal.

Enjoy your Mock Apple Rings!




Pickles and Cake

Hi!  There are times in my life that I really wish I would pay more attention. Armed with my Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime...finally...and with help from my wonderful husband, the cucumbers were placed carefully into the lime water to soak. We can talk about that process when they make it into the jars!  But not today.  That was now two days ago. Directions:  soak 24 hours.   Okay, but I'm cleaning and doing "stuff".  So, last night around 11 PM  the alum water came to simmer for 2 hours.  I know, I'm a glutton for punishment.  But what does lime do after 24 hours?  I didn't want to find out.  So, as I said, drain, rinse and on the stove.

Now, what does one do as one waits ( it is 11:30 PM)  for two huge pots to simmer for TWO whole HOURS?  Do the math...pillow after 2:30 AM....

I know! 

This!!!!



And as a plus, we are having guests over tomorrow.  Even better to share!



Vanilla box mix with my homemade swiss meringue buttercream and strawberries. Mmmm!  You don't have to make everything from scratch.

There are so many recipes out there for swiss meringue buttercream SMB.  Find one that you can follow... like my fav: 


"1...2...3 Buttercream"
Love this video, she makes it SoOo easy!

For the strawberry puree, just put a handfull of washed, sliced berries in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar to taste and when they begin to make their own syrup throw in a blender and pulse a few times until you have a puree.  If you have lots of syrup, just hold back some of the liquid.  When the SMB is finished, drizzle the puree in the bowl and mix until you have the desired strawberriness.  Could that be a new word?  Frost the cake and enjoy!   We did!!!



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Heat in the Kitchen

I have read all my cooking life about the pitfalls of trusting oven temps and have completely and utterly ignored every single warning. So, just because I finally got curious (baking for 40-ish years now), I bought one of those oven thermometers and what do you know...



What is that childhood saying?  Liar, liar, pants on fire...

All those people on TV, in cookbooks and those cooking blogs really know what they are talking about....Don't be so trusting (unless the Lord is speaking).  So invest in at least the el cheapo oven thermometers from Wal-Mart, like the one seen here.  It may make a huge difference.  Baking is really chemistry in disguise, ya know :)  Can't believe I've been deceived all these years....

I Stand Corrected

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think someone would have a link to a PEACH Cake Roll.....but here it is.  http://www.michiganpeach.org/recipes/PeachCakeRoll.htm

Go ahead and check it out.  The recipe is very similar to the one I used.  The main difference is that I separated my eggs and folded in beaten egg whites at the end.  Slightly different recipe, but similar results from what I can see. 

Now for a picture of MY cake: 

oops, next slice maybe...we ate ours and didn't even pause for a picture :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Great Jelly Roll Adventure

Let me start be saying that you can only appreciate this post fully if you read my previous post Taste...Looks....Who wins? And while this says "jelly roll" my final "roll" would be more accurately named The Great Peach Roll Adventure.  But then if you Googled "peach roll" I imagine the results would look like this:








Blank!      Never-the-less, can I say this turned out (2nd time  3rd time around) to be just the most delicious piece of low fat (high sugar) dessert ever...without the filling...okay, so it's a regular dessert. See~



I did forget to trim the ends off this time before I rolled, but I can do that before I serve and it'll be a "baker's treat"....
but how did I get here?

Remember the disaster a couple of days ago?

You aren't staring...are you?  Maybe you're thinking, I wonder how she got that big long crack there?  And how did she get that crust so, uh...dark?
Well, it did taste good.  Only my friends and family could appreciate.
SoOoOo...


Today, armed with a new recipe from Paula Deen http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/old-south-jelly-roll-cake-recipe/index.html  after some Scripture reading (I didn't really pray for the cake....really) I uncovered everything I had measured out last night and whirl, whirl, wisk, stir, pour and into the oven at 350 degrees.  Proud of myself.  Got the towel ready because it said 8 - 10 minutes.  And I wanted everything ready...





After much (short) anticipation...
and then...
Most of the cake was not done after 8 mins...10.....12...you get the picture.  When I took it out it was golden and beaufiful, why it was radiating.  BUT the middle was RAW, hence the garbage pic.

AT this point I was looking here...

to determine how many ways you can use crumbled cake.  I am not a wasteful person by nature.  Maybe I can cheat and make a jelly peach roll with a mix....


AND THEN I RE-READ THE DIRECTIONS

400 degrees..wh?  400...again  400 degrees...

ok.


Jelly roll cakes take very little ingredients.  But aparantly someone forgot to say NOT FOR THE BEGINNER.  That would have been a nice warning label.


So 4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 teas. baking powder
1/4 teas. salt
1 TBS vanilla
confectioners sugar
(see Paula Deen's link for details)

That's all you need...oh, and parchment paper with no stick spray...oh and a jelly roll pan (but I used a glass dish and it still worked)

And THEN:






I was a weeee bit impatient and could have waited a few more minutes, but no one will miss that little piece. You won't tell will you?



 
One last word...I've been a little gabby today, haven't I?
The filling today was left over peach cream filling added to an 8oz block of softened cream cheese.  (And then I sprinkled with a small container of drained snack peaches)

All rolled up to cool and yes, always give Thanks to God for He IS worthy!



Sigh....done :)