Thursday, January 31, 2013

HUMMINGBIRD CAKE


During all of my lengthy cooking journey, this is the first
Hummingbird cake I've made. I saw the recipe many times
and was drawn to the rather unusual name for a cake.
But I couldn't see any connection between birds and cake.
Now that I've tasted it perhaps I can link the sweet taste of the
cake to the sweet tasting nectar that hummingbirds love.


An easy cake to make ... no mixer needed ... only two bowls, one
for the wet ingredients and one for the dry.
Bananas, pineapple and pecans are the ingredients
that give the cake it's rich flavor and texture.


On this occasion I frosted the layers with a plain cream cheese
frosting.  For the outside I made ½ batch of
Salted Caramel Frosting which is on yesterday's post.
This is a large-size cake to make for a crowd.
My guests loved it!


HUMMINGBIRD CAKE

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt

Blend dry ingredients in large mixing bowl; set aside.

2 cups finely chopped bananas
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
3 eggs, beaten
1½ tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

Combine bananas, oil, pineapple, eggs and vanilla; stir together until
blended.  Add to dry mixture and stir until mixed.
Fold in nuts.
Divide batter between three round 9-inch parchment-lined
baking pans.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes
or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool.  Fill and frost with Salted Caramel Frosting or
Cream Cheese Frosting.



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SALTED CARAMEL FROSTING




Make someone happy today -- bake a cake!
So says Betty Crocker.
I did that one day and made quite a few people happy.


The frosting I used was a new recipe I adapted from Pintrest
using a home cooked caramel. 
Fluffy and very delicious!

SALTED CARAMEL FROSTING

1 cup butter at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup salted caramel, recipe following

Beat butter and cream cheese until light and creamy.
Add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until combined.
Add 1 cup salted caramel and beat until thoroughly mixed.

SALTED CARAMEL

1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
½ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. salt (sea or kosher)

Combine sugar, water and syrup in large saucepan over medium heat.
Stir with wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved.
Cover saucepan and let cook for 3 minutes.
Remove lid; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
Do not stir but rather swirl liquid around to caramel doesn't burn.
Continue to cook until caramel turns a light amber color.
Remove from heat; let stand 30 seconds.
Pour heavy cream into mixture.  Be careful, mixture will bubble and is very hot.
Stir mixture; add butter, lemon juice and salt stirring until combined.
Allow to cool until thick and lukewarm before using in frosting.
Refrigerate extra and use on ice cream.



Sunday, January 27, 2013

A FOREVER FEAST, JUST THINK


January is quickly coming to a close and this is the first post
I am doing in the new year.
I don't know what lies ahead in the next year or even
in the next day for that matter.
But I do know Who holds my future in His hand and that
all that really matters.


The Chinook winds that blow so freely in southern Alberta have
gifted us with amazing sky lines and sunsets.
I am in awe of the One who makes it all possible.
As I hung my new calender on the wall a sheet of cardboard
fell to the floor. On it was a poem that I knew I wanted to share
because it seemed so perfect for the new year.

Just think,
you're here not by chance,
but by God's choosing.
His hand formed you
and made you
the person you are.
He compares you to no one else-
you are one of a kind.
You lack nothing
that His grace can't give you.
He has allowed you to be here
at this time in history
to fulfill His special purpose
for this generation.
-- Roy Lessin

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

NOODLES





For some time, I have been shopping around for a noodle
machine that would be suitable for making small batches of
homemade noodles for soup.
Last Fall I found several models at Yoder's in
Shipshewana, Indiana.
Which one do I pick?  That is always the question.
I was quite excited at the prospect of owning my
own noodle maker and the one I chose looked perfect.
Unfortunately I had to leave it with my daughter because
it did not fit into my suitcase.



I had two exciting things to look forward to in January.
My daughter was coming and she was bringing my new toy.
I must say I did not immediately rush to make noodles.
Could be I was a tiny bit intimidated.
I looked at the box with the nice picture and wondered if
I could master the technique as easily as it appeared.


The day came when I took it out of the box and read the
instructions.  The first item that caught my attention was
'Never immerse in water!  That was good news!
I think at the back of my mind I was worried about that very thing.
I couldn't imagine the fine blades drying without leaving rust spots.
It was time to give it a try.


I followed the recipe and was happily rewarded with a
lovely small batch of noodles.
It did not take much time at all and I had so much fun ...
all I had to do was crank the handle.


NOODLES

2 large whole eggs
2 cups very refined wheat flour

Place flour on a worktop and make a hole in the middle in which to
place the eggs.  Beat the eggs with a fork and gently mix in the flour from
the sides.   Start mixing the ingredients together until the dough becomes
homogenous.  At this point, start kneading the pasta on a surface sprinkled
with flour using the palm of your hand.
Form a ball and leave to rest in a bowl.
Cover the dough to prevent it from drying.
And now the machine will do the rest!




Tuesday, January 22, 2013

FRENCH BREAD




I am back at long last!
If these pictures and text are not set up quite right,
it's because I am not adept at the new program
I have had to learn to use.
Last year I could just click away and get the photos loaded
and place the text without any problem.
But in this new year nothing worked the same and I had
to get help.
I owe a big thanks to my niece for her guidance.








I baked some lovely French bread which I am excited to share with you.
There is nothing magical about the dough ..
it is a basic white bread dough.


I chose to make two smaller loaves and one large loaf.
When I make two large loaves I usually place them both
on one baking sheet.
Since I made three loaves I needed two baking sheets.

                                               After the dough is rolled out into a rectangle,
it is rolled up tightly beginning at the long end.

I love the shape of French bread and I quite like
making the diagonal slashes with a sharp knife.
It certainly breaks up the monotony of a plain crust.

The master loaf rose higher and higher.
I had to find a cool spot for it while the
small loaves were baking.

What can compare to the aroma and taste of a perfect
loaf of homemade French bread?

FRENCH BREAD

2 pkgs. dry yeast
½ cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in  warm water.

1 cup warm milk
1 cup warm water
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
6 to 6½ cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine milk, water, egg, sugar, salt and butter.
Add yeast and 4 cups of flour; beat until smooth.  Mix in enough remaining
flour to make a dough that is easy to handle.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic.
Place into a lightly oiled bowl; turning once to oil surface.  Cover and let rise
in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.  Punch dough down and let rise
again until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
Divide dough in half and let rest 5 minutes.
Roll each half into rectangle, 14 x 9 inches.  Roll up tightly, beginning at long
side; seal edges and fold under.  Place seam side down on greased or
parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cut several shallow diagonal slashes in top
of each loaf with a sharp knife.  Let rise until light, about 1 hour.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until deep 
golden brown.  Remove from sheet and cool on wire rack.
Yield: 2 loaves