Friday, August 23, 2019

BIRD'S NEST CAKE

I was afraid I might have forgotten how to use the register at the thrift shop, HPC Thrift Shop since it had been 4 weeks since I had last worked. I hadn't been there because of my cataract surgery that I had. I guess it's like riding a bike. I've done it long enough (7 yrs) that it all came back to me. 

Monday afternoon between working on another Blanket of Hope and doing some work on the computer, I made this Bird's Nest Cake to take for the volunteers. I paid a dollar for the cookbook, "Life-Saver" Cookbook, Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers just because I saw two recipes that looked interesting. I didn't want to take any more time from the estate sale looking for other interesting recipes (and I still haven't had time, but I will). I had four bananas that were too ripe for me to eat and since my husband hadn't eaten them (he likes them ripe), the recipe sounded like a good use of the bananas. Except for omitting the optional nuts, I actually followed the recipe this time. (Volunteer Laura doesn't eat nuts in dishes, so I decided to leave them out so she could enjoy a piece - And she did.)

Click here for a printable version of just the recipe.


BIRD'S NEST CAKE

3       cups flour
1        teaspoon soda
2        cups sugar
1        teaspoon cinnamon
1/2     teaspoon salt
1-1/4  cups oil
1        teaspoon vanilla extract
1        cup crushed pineapple(I did drain it)
3        eggs, slightly beaten
1/4     cup applesauce
2        cups thinly sliced bananas
1        cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan. Set aside.

Sift flour, soda, sugar, cinnamon, and salt into large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.

Combine the oil, vanilla, pineapple, eggs, and applesauce in a bowl. Slice the bananas and add them to the bowl making sure all the slices are coated.

Pour fruit mixture in well.
Stir with a spoon until well combined.
Pour into pan.
Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to make sure cake is loose.
Invert pan onto another wire rack and remove pan. Cool completely. May dust with powdered sugar before serving, if you like. (I did but forgot to take a picture as I was hurrying out to the thrift shop.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE or THURSDAY'S SIN

I posted on Monday the difficulty I had trying to make a Coconut Cream Pie on Saturday. It was quite a day, but the end result (with the second attempt) was well worth all of the trouble I had. In case you missed that post you can check it out  here.

In the post I mention a chocolate pie that I also made that was a chocolate lover's delight. It was super easy and just may be my favorite. A couple of the guys said they only wanted to eat the coconut cream pie so that meant I had two pieces left to enjoy later. I had once piece of the coconut cream pie leftover and ate it Sunday. It was Monday before I ate one of the pieces of the chocolate pie. I couldn't believe how different it tasted. It was so much richer and fudgy tasting and reminded me of a piece of chocolate pie I recently ate at a cafe in St. Joseph.

The recipe was contributed by Nancy Brown and originally published in Historic Lexington Cooks; Rockbridge Regional Recipes; Historic Lexington Foundation; Lexington, Virginia. It had been chosen for the 1992 Hometown Collection America's Best Recipes.  Even though I often make some changes in recipes, I really intended to follow this one as it was written. As it was, though, I had to make some changes afterall. The recipe called for 2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate and I had semi-sweet and bittersweet and German Chocolate. I didn't really want to go to the store and picked up my canister of Hershey's Cocoa Special Dark 100% cacao. On the back it gave instructions for substituting it for squares. Three tablespoons + 1 tablespoon shortening or oil equaled a 1-ounce square. I wasn't sure if I should add the shortening since I was melting the squares with butter, and called Friend Janice to ask her opinion. (She gave me such worthwhile advice about what to do with my pie crust for the coconut cream pie had bubbled up as it baked - just mash it down after it cooled and no one would know that it broke up into pieces when they ate the pie. Yeah, right! 😉) Well, she recommended just omitting the shortening, but I had 2 tablespoons of butter, so I just added extra butter. I don't know if my substitution made a difference or not, but I will probably do the same thing the next time I make it. 

Cllick here for a printable version of just the recipe.



CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE or THURSDAY'S SIN

1/2     cup butter (1 stick)
6        tablespoons 100 % cacao - Special Dark + 2 tablespoons butter OR 2  (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
2        large eggs
1-1/4  cups sugar
1/4     cup milk (I use skim milk)
1        teaspoon vanilla extract
1        unbaked 9 - inch pastry shell
1        8 - ounce container of whipped topping


Combine butter and chocolate in top of a double boiler; bring water to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and cook until chocolate and butter melts, stirring occasionally. Set aside.


Combine the eggs, sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and
beat at medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the chocolate mixture and beat well.
(I beat it for several minutes until it was nice and thick.)



Pour chocolate mixture into the pastry shell.


Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F. oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. (I baked mine about 37 minutes.) Let cool completely on wire rack.
Once cooled
spread whipped topping on top.













Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Better the second day. Would recommend making the pie the day before you plan to serve it.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

COCONUT CREAM PIE (FILLING), an AMISH RECIPE

Saturday I sent my friend Janice a text and told her I thought I had been out of the kitchen too long. It was a first in all my years of cooking experience. We were hosting our little dinner group we call The Tasty Bunch. It is made of four couples and we go out to dinner once a month and then return to the "host" home for dessert. This month it was our turn.

We chose a restaurant, Strouds, that we haven't eaten at in a while. They served pan-fried chicken among other things and serve the vegetables family style at the table. They are a little pricey but considering how much food they bring you, it isn't really too bad. They also bring containers for you to take home the vegetables along with entree you can't possible eat all of. And that isn't all...they bring you cinnamon rolls at the end. I asked the waitress if she could bring them in a to-go box because everyone was coming to our house for dessert. When everyone was ready to go home, I fortunately remembered the cinnamon rolls and Friend Carol and I went to the kitchen to divide them out. We had four rolls for each couple. Unbelievable. (and so good)

Well, Saturday morning I wasn't thinking much about what I was going to eat for dinner but I was thinking about the two pies I had decided to make. I decided to make two pies because I didn't think one pie cut in 8 pieces would be very much dessert. As it turned out, it probably was, but anyway this would give everyone a choice just in case they didn't like the pie I was serving. I had chosen a chocolate pie and a coconut cream pie. Those are both my favorites.

I started at 9 o'clock to bake the pie crust for the coconut cream pie since it was supposed to be prebaked. I pricked the bottom and sides of the crust as the box said (Yes, I was taking the easy way out by using bought pie crusts, but you can't beat the Wal-mart brand of refrigerator pie crust that you unroll.), but when it baked it popped up in the middle. I knew it would either be a whop-sided pie or some of the pieces wouldn't have much filling. Disappointed I decided to put it aside and go on and mix up the chocolate pie and bake it. (I'll be sharing that recipe on Wednesday with you. It was delicious!) While it was baking, I decided I would just make another crust for the coconut cream pie, but make sure I had pricked the crust deep with my fork, and baked it as soon as I took the chocolate pie out of the oven. I also cleaned up my mess I had made in the kitchen mixing up the chocolate pie and rested a bit. 

After the second pie crust baked, I started mixing together the coconut cream pie. I am always nervous when I make a recipe where you add egg yolks to a hot mixture but I didn't have any problems. The problem was I had decided to use a double boiler to cook the custard and it was taking forever. The directions didn't say to use a double boiler and said to cook the mixture stirring constantly until it thickened and came to a boil and then cook it 2 more minutes after adding the egg yolks. Using the double boiler method, I was still stirring after 15 minutes. The mixture had thickened but it wasn't boiling. I sent Janice another text (I had been in conversation with her re the pie crusts. She suggested I could just push down on the pie crust after it cooled. She said it would probably break but no one would know it when I served the pie.) telling her I was so tired from stirring the mixture. She said she always just used the pan on the burner but it was risky since it was hard to not scorch it! I decided I would risk it and thought I had done okay until after I added the egg yolks and put it on the burner to cook it the extra 2 minutes. That's when I noticed the little specks of brown. I don't think I need to go on do I?

I dumped it down the kitchen sink and found another similar recipe (ingredients) but with different cooking instructions. (My husband had to also go by the store and get me some more milk and eggs for the second attempt.) This one was working out much better and I was feeling pretty good until I started to separate the eggs. The second egg surprised me by having a double yolk and part of it dropped in the bowl with the egg whites ruining them for making the meringue, but at least I still had the egg whites from the first attempt in the refrigerator. While the pie was cooling, I started to make the meringue. Reading the directions it said to add the remaining sugar to the beaten egg whites. Well, I didn't have any remaining sugar because I had used the whole cup in the custard. (I figured it would just turn out plenty sweet, but it tasted good. Janice's husband Leon told me it was the best coconut cream pie he had ever eaten.) I made the mistake of thinking nothing else could go wrong. I baked the meringue to lightly brown it, took a picture of it,and realized I had forgotten the coconut on top of the meringue. Not to be outdone, I just sprinkled some on top and then stuck it back in the oven to brown a little. By this time (it was around noon) I was beginning to think it was not meant for me to make and serve a coconut cream pie to the group.

The second recipe I used came from my Dutch Country Cooking, Recipes Compiled from Dutch Country Kitchens. It really did make a delicious pie and one I won't be afraid to make again.

Click here for a printable version of just the recipe.



COCONUT CREAM PIE (FILLING)

1     cup sugar, divided
1/2  cup flour or 1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2  teaspoon salt
2     cup milk
3     egg yolks
1     cup shredded coconut
1     teaspoon vanilla
3     egg whites
1     9 - inch baked pie crust


Mix 3/4 cup of sugar, flour or cornstarch, and salt together. (I misread the recipe using my "readers" and used the whole cup of sugar.)


Using a double boiler, scald milk. (I speeded up this process by heating the milk in a glass measuring cup for 1-1/2 minutes before pouring it in the double boiler over medium heat and boiling water.)


Slowly add the sugar/flour/salt mixture to the scalded milk stirring constantly.
Continue to stir the mixture over the boiling water until mixture thickens.


Beat the egg yolks one at a time and add about 1 tablespoon of the hot mixture to the yolk to temper the yolk and
then add it to the hot mixture continuing to stir.
Continue until you have the three eggs added.
Continue to cook the hot mixture over the boiling water and stirring constantly for 2 more minutes.


Remove the top boiler from the bottom boiler and add the coconut and
the vanilla.
Stir til well blended.


Pour mixture into cooled pie crust.



Beat egg whites and
then gradually add the 1/4 cup of sugar.
Beat until egg whites are very stiff.
Spoon onto pie filling making sure you cover to the edge of the crust.
Sprinkle some coconut on top of pie and bake in 425 degree oven for a few minutes until toasted.


Cool on wire rack. 











Place in refrigerator when cooled. Cool completely before cutting to serve. 


Monday, August 12, 2019

TENDER PEACH SCONES

I can only stay out of the kitchen for so long. I had my other eye surgery last Tuesday. Wednesday morning I went for my 1-day post op. The doctor said the left eye had healed nicely and the right eye that had the cataract removed the day before was looking good. Unlike with my left eye, I won't go back this coming Wednesday but will wait until September 4. Since it would be three weeks, I wanted to make sure I knew what I could and shouldn't do. The instructions I got after the first surgery was no housework for 1 week, among other things. When I went back after a week, he said still no housework for a week. Well at the end of the second week I was having the second eye done. Once again the instructions I got when I left was "no housework for a week". So I asked the doctor if I was still restricted from housework for a second week. He nodded yes and then looked at my husband and told him "no housework for 6 months". (I really think he was kidding.) I'm willing to restrict myself for another week, but I will go crazy if I have to avoid it for 6 months. I know that sounds crazy since I have never claimed to be a great housekeeper and have said I would rather be doing something else. That doesn't mean that I never did housework though.

Saturday, I woke up and decided it would be okay for me to make some peach scones. We bought six pounds of peaches almost two weeks ago and I planned to peel, slice them, and then freeze the slices. Well, the peaches weren't great even though they looked fabulous. I only needed 1 cup chopped fresh peaches so I hoped I could find that much in the peaches. As it turned out the two peaches I picked out, were good and I gave me the 1 cup of chopped peaches. I got the recipe from King Arthur Flour.

Just in case you were wondering, my husband cleaned up my mess in the kitchen so I actually didn't do any housework. (I have also learned to squat instead of bending over to keep my head above my heart.)

Click here for a printable version of just the recipe.



TENDER PEACH SCONES

2     cups flour
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/3  cup granulated sugar
1/2  teaspoon nutmeg
1     tablespoon baking powder
6     tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2     large eggs
1/3  cup full - fat or low - fat (not nonfat) vanilla yogurt or sour cream (I did use the yogurt)
1/2  teaspoon almond extract
1     teaspoon vanilla extract
1     cup diced peaches (fresh, frozen, or canned) (I did use fresh peaches)
coarse white sparkling sugar (I used regular granulated sugar)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.


I peeled, and chopped my peaches and placed them in a bowl with lemon water to keep them from turning dark while I mixed up the other ingredients. (2 cups cold water with 2 tablespoons lemon juice.)


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and baking powder.
Work in the butter using your fingers, a fork, or a pastry cutter.



In another smaller bowl, beat the eggs, yogurt, and flavorings til smooth.


Add all at once to the dry ingredients and
mix together.
Add the peaches stirring or mixing just until peaches are distributed evenly in the batter.
The dough will be wet and sticky.



Drop the dough by 1/4-cupful or use an ice cream scoop that measures about that much onto the cookie sheet.
(I ending up making 14 scones instead of just 12.)
Sprinkle the scones with the coarse sugar.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are a light golden brown.
Allow to rest on pan on wire rack for a few minutes before
removing to the rack to cool completely.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Store at room temperature, well-wrapped, for several days.