Monday, June 12, 2017

Hurry Scurry Cake


Today's recipe is a 'blast from the past', originating in an old cookbook of my mother's.  It was the cake of my childhood, and still my go-to white cake today. I was considering giving it a new name, but I decided to leave it with its amusing, archaic and somewhat catchy title. This very basic white cake is perfect for topping with ice-cream and fresh fruit in the summertime. Since the local strawberries are in their prime right now, I have been serving up strawberries on hurry scurry cake this past week. This basic cake batter is also great for making upside-down cake, and I will add that variation below.
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Cream butter and sugar. 
  2. Add egg and beat.
  3. Combine dry ingredients; add alternately with milk and vanilla. Blend well.
  4. Turn into a greased 8 inch square pan and bake at 350° F for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Cool. 
  6. Serve topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and fresh fruit topping.
Fresh Strawberry Topping:
Wash and slice strawberries. Place about 1/4 of the strawberries into the blender, adding sugar to taste. Combine the sliced strawberries and the pureed strawberry mixture and spoon over the cake.

Yield: 9 servings


Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2-1/4 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 recipe 'hurry scurry cake' batter

  1. Combine brown sugar and butter. Spread in a greased 9-in. round baking pan. Add the chopped rhubarb. Set aside.
  2. Prepare cake batter. Gently spoon over rhubarb. 
  3. Bake at 350° for about 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. 
  4. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. 
  5. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice-cream if desired.  
  6. Yield: 10-12 servings.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

One Pan Honey Balsamic Chicken Dinner


What could be simpler than cooking the whole meal in one pan?  One parchment lined sheet pan (think easy clean-up!) serves up a delicious dinner of balsamic glazed chicken breasts along with roasted potatoes and green beans.

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, ends snipped *
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  3. In small bowl, whisk olive oil, honey, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, garlic and seasoning.
  4. Place chicken breasts in bowl; add half of the olive oil mixture and toss to coat. 
  5. Layer potatoes on baking sheet; drizzle with remaining olive oil glaze. Place marinated chicken breasts on top.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, and add green beans, stirring to coat with glaze.  Cook for another 10 minutes, or until chicken breasts are cooked through (internal temperature 165 degrees) and potatoes are tender. 
*These beans are on the crispy side. If you prefer your beans more tender, blanch them for several minutes before adding them to the pan.

Serves 4.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lemon Fluff Cheesecake ~ Woolworth's Cheesecake


Light and fluffy and full of lemony goodness, this is the perfect spring dessert.  It is actually a new twist on a very old recipe.  I'll share the recipe with you as we have enjoyed it recently and then I'll tell you the story of its origin...my first-love with cheesecake.

  • 1 (3 ounce) package lemon Jell-O
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 can 12 oz / 354 ml evaporated milk, well chilled (Carnation)
  • 1 1/3 cups graham wafer crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  1. Combine cracker crumbs and cutter.  Press into bottom of a 9" x 13" pan. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Cool until slightly thickened.
  3. Beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice with mixer until smooth and creamy. Add thickened Jello and beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the chilled evaporated milk until it is thick and forms soft peaks. Add cream cheese/Jell-O mixture and beat until combined.
  5. Spread filling over graham wafer crust.
  6. Chill overnight.
  7. Serve with fresh fruit of your choice.
 

Now let me tell you about my introduction to this delightful dessert. Cheesecake was not something that appealed to me when I was a teenager. But after going to our local Woolworth's store with friends and trying the famous lemon dessert in their restaurant, that all changed. It was not your typical cheesecake, but a light and fluffy ice-box dessert. Hubby remembers me dragging him there to sample this dessert as well, and he decided he could learn to like cheesecakes too. Woolworth's stores across North America closed several decades ago and their cheesecake is all but forgotten.  I have a friend who once worked at the Woolworth's restaurant, and gave me a copy of their cheesecake recipe many years ago.  I was recently reminded of that recipe, and thought I would try it...for old times' sake! Woolworth's served it without fruit and sprinkled with additional wafer crumbs. Their famous cheesecake got a 'thumbs up' review from all those around our table. Do any of you have memories of having this dessert at Woolworth's back in the day?  It's throw-back Thursday.  Feel free to share your memories.

 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Citrus Tea Punch


This may just be the perfect punch for your Mother's Day luncheon or tea this weekend.  It is made by adding citrus juices to steeped tea and is quite refreshing and delightful!
 
Ingredients:

  • 6 individual tea bags (we prefer Earl Grey)
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 cups Sprite (or other citrus flavoured  carbonated beverage)
  • Crushed or cubed ice
  • Orange and lemon slices

Directions:

  1. Steep tea bags in boiling water for 15 minutes. Discard bags. 
  2. Stir sugar into tea until dissolved. Cool.
  3. Add orange juice and lemon juice; mix well. Refrigerate until chilled. 
  4. Add Sprite just before serving. 
  5. Serve over ice. Garnish with orange and lemon slices.
  Yield: 3 quarts. 
 
 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Salted Caramel Budino


It was in spring a few years back, that eight of us gals from MGCC met up at the tulip fields of La Conner Washington. Once we were done trekking through the fields, we all went to Seeds Bistro for lunch. Though we had no intention of having dessert, the server talked us into sharing their specialty dessert that day...a salted caramel budino. One dessert.  Eight spoons.  We all had a taste.  I wrote down the name, one I had never heard of before.  Budino is the Italian word for custard or pudding.  Here is my attempt at replicating the 'sweet ending' we had in La Conner that day. 

Cookie Crust:
  • 1 cup finely ground chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Mix crumbs, butter and salt in small bowl.  Reserve two tablespoons of mixture for garnish. Press remaining cookie mixture into the bottom of  six to eight small dessert cups or Mason jars.

Budino:
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 large egg plus two egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. In large, heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, maple syrup and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and whisk in the half-and-half and whipping cream. Stir until smooth.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk the eggs and cornstarch until smooth.  Add to the brown sugar mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Return to medium heat and continue to whisk until mixture thickens and is the consistency of pudding (about three minutes). 
  3. Divide among six to eight prepared dessert dishes.  
  4. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  5. Spoon one or two tablespoons of caramel sauce (recipe below) over each budino. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.

Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Combine brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, whisking gently...until mixture begins to thicken.
  3. Add vanilla and cook for another minute.
  4. Cool to room temperature. (It can be made in advance and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before using or heat in microwave at 5 second intervals. Add a wee bit of cream if it is too thick.)
* Do not put the caramel sauce on until ready to serve, as it soaks into the custard.



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Icelandic Donuts ~ Kleinur

I always enjoy sampling the traditional foods when visiting another country.  We were recently in Iceland and made sure we tried their Kleinur...a slightly sweet deep-fried bread which is rather like a twisted donut.  They are available in every bakery or coffee shop in the country.  I decided to give this Icelandic treat a taste-test in my own kitchen and I will share my version, which is quite similar to my Rollkuchen recipe. It is the addition of the aromatic spices (cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon) that sets them apart.

  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg (or use 1 1/2 teaspoons total of your favorite)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  1. Combine 4 cups flour with sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk and sour cream. 
  3. Add liquids to flour mixture and stir to incorporate.
  4. Continue to add flour until a soft (but not sticky) dough is formed.
  5. Divide dough into two balls and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Roll each piece out thin on a floured surface. Cut long strips about 2 inches wide and then cut diagonally across to for diamond-shaped pieces, using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel. Cut a small slit in the centre of each piece, and gently pull one end through the slit to make a twist in the donut. 
  7. Deep fry in hot oil until golden on one side.  Flip and fry on the other side until golden.
  8. Serve 'hot off the grill' dusted in confectioner's sugar, or leave them plain and dip in sugar while eating. 
Someone 'near and dear' who was born in Iceland, recommended that we try Kleiner.  One of these days I'll have her sample my version and see if they pass the test.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Mediterranean Orange Salad


This has become a favorite pre-dinner salad over here recently.  Oranges are at their finest at this time of the year.  When paired with chopped dates, pomegranate seeds, red onions, feta cheese, almonds and salad greens they make the best salad!  The orange vinaigrette dressing adds the perfect touch.

Salad:

  • 4 cups mixed salad greens 
  • 2 navel oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup slivered pitted dates 
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Line serving platter (or individual salad dishes) with mixed greens.  
  2. Arrange orange slices and onion on top of greens.  
  3. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, dates, almonds and feta cheese.  
  4. Whisk vinaigrette and drizzle over salad . 
Vinaigrette Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Combine all dressing ingredients in small bowl and whisk until smooth or process with hand-held blender.


Serves 4.