Friday, April 30, 2010

Applesauce Meringue Cake

Another whole day has escaped from me, and I can't even say I was outside enjoying the sunshine. And I never even got time to decide what I should post. But then, a question of Chan's returned to my slightly addled brain, and I realized that I can tell everyone about Thor's birthday cake, so you can all make your own, and celebrate with Thor on Wednesday!

Applesauce Meringue Cake

2-1/2 cups flour

1-3/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups applesauce (15-oz jar)
4 egg yolks
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
4 egg whites

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Sift together first 9 (dry) ingredients. Add oil & applesauce; mix until moistened. Add egg yolks and beat for 2 minutes; stir in walnuts. Pour into greased & floured 13x9x2 pan. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Cake will not be done.

While the cake bakes, whip the egg whites until stiff, with vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar. After 35 minutes baking, take the cake out and top with meringue. Bake
another 12 to 14 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned. Can be served warm or cold.

Obviously, this cake needs no frosting, which is why Thor gets it for his birthday. It's also incredibly moist, and keeps well for several days. Thor wants you to remember this picture from his 8th birthday, in which he assures you that this cake is delicious, and all of his 2 footed and 4 footed friends will love it!
Ryan takes the SAT as an 8th grader this weekend, and we hope for sunny skies all weekend. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thorsday: A Retrospective, Part 2

Welcome back for another look at life with Thor. A mastiff is an easy guy to get along with. A great game of "Rope", and everyone's happy!
Thor's been on hand for everything, from welcoming guinea pigs into the family to romping in the snow.

Keep your toys at hand, and help your brother by wearing his tool belt, if necessary.
Now, allow Thor to demonstrate how a dog can sit on the sofa without Mom going ballistic.
That is, when he's not outside guarding his smaller friends of both biped and quadruped variety.
Thor supervises game playing...
...and garden building.
And we have to be certain that guinea pig gets his fair share of the veggies.
Birthday celebrations are terrific! And one year we even got him to wear the non-traditional birthday hat!
Santa Claus talks to big dogs, too.
And how could anyone hang a wreath out front without assistance from a mastiff?
Everyone plays "Rope" now and again...
...when we're not all in school.
The love of a dog is the greatest thing anyone can have!
Next Wednesday is Thor's 9th birthday! Applesauce Meringue Cake for all! Happy Thorsday, everyone.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cincinnati Coffee Bread

I found this gem in the bread section of my new Fannie Farmer cookbook. This one was published in 1989, and my old one predates that by a good 30+ years. My comment on the new version is that it still has good common sense recipes, but I have issues with the fact that it includes both English and Metric amounts for each ingredient. I'm a numbers kind of girl, and I found having two sets of numbers for each item to be very distracting. But that's just me.

Anyway, on to the Cincinnati Coffee Bread. I was intrigued by its name. Do they really make it in Cincinnati? I was there for a trade show once, I believe in September of 1988. The Cincinnati, Ohio airport was actually in Kentucky. And at that time, a round trip ticket from Kno
xville cost $125, took 45 minutes there and 25 minutes back. And while I found an Au Bon Pain, I never saw anything like this coffee cake!


1-1/4 cups warm milk

4 cups flour
2 eggs
5 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
3 tsp (1 package) yeast

1/4 cup bread crumbs (originally 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup chopped pecans (my addition)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp melted butter (originally 2 tbsp)

Warm the milk to about 100F (about body temperature) and dissolve the ye
ast in it. Add the other ingredients, and mix in your bread machine, or according to my bread making instructions. Let it rise for 15 minutes, stir to punch down, and Scoop into a greased 13x9 baking pan. Stir together the dry topping ingredients, and add the melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of the coffee cake, let it rise until doubled, and bake at 375F (400F for a metal pan) for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake is browned. Top with a glaze made of confectioner's sugar, milk and vanilla extract, if desired.
Note that my cake is shown in an 8"x8" pan. The original recipe called for this to be baked in a loaf pan of unspecified size. Since it really didn't fit well in the 8" square pan, I don't know what kind of loaf pan would be suitable for this recipe, but I don't sell cookbooks. Fannie Farmer does.

Also, I didn't really understand why I'd want a coffee bread with a bread cru
mb topping, so I added the nuts to give it a little more crunch. I also used extra butter so I'd use an entire stick of butter, instead of having that one little tablespoon left orphaned in my fridge. Trust me, it was better for all concerned that way.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Garden Tuesday: Cold and Windy

It has been raining and cold here since Saturday afternoon. My yard looks lush and verdant.

I'm going to have to cut back my first "crop" of chives, if it's ever not too windy out.
And this regrew from last year. I think it's arugula, but don't quote me on that. For the record, no one in my house liked arugula. It's just too bitter for us.

Another cake tomorrow, this one purporting to be from Cincinnati!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Old Fashioned Cream Cake

A week or 2 ago, I came across this page in one of my 1950s vintage cookbooks. What it says is "C as in Cake....and in chocolate, coconut, cheese and cherry. A child's delight, and adult's dream, a dieter's secret vice. If a wife makes a good cake, she's a good wife; if a mother makes a good cake, she's a great mother. Little else is needed."
Well, if that's true, this super-simple, flavorful cake will make everyone even more certain you're a good wife or great mother. It came from the New York Times Heritage Cookbook I just bought. (What? You thought I wouldn't start cooking from it immediately?) The recipe claims to be from Massachusetts, although my dearly beloved says neither his Gram
my nor his mother ever made anything like it. As for me, I wonder what's not to love about a cake with only 5 ingredients!


4 eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups self rising flour

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400F. Beat the eggs and sugar until light, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour and cream alternately. Beat until smooth, then turn into a 9" tube or Bundt pan. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 300F without opening the door, and bake another 30 minutes. Frost with Vanilla cream frosting (1/3 cup cream, whipped somewhat, 1 pound confectioner's sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract beaten until smooth).

If you don't have self rising flour (and I never do), use 1-3/4 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, and 2-1/2 tsp baking powder instead. It works wonderfully.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Another Book Sale

If books were addictive, I'd have long since OD'd. Of course, having no cable TV in my house until 1997, then banning any use of TV by anyone under 19 except between 6PM Friday and 6PM Sunday, and banning all sorts of video games has made my children highly literate. I'm no idiot; I know they play video games at friends' houses, but just because the rest of the world jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge doesn't mean I have to follow suit.

Anyway, it was off to my cute little local remember this one...
Where my boys got about 10 books each, and I bought...
for which I have no space on my counter.

But now I have new inspirational material. And just maybe I need to clean out cookbooks I don't love, and let someone else benefit from them.

Now, off to play in the garden with the boys (translation: supervise while they labor, because I don't bend that well any more), and do a little sewing. Dinner tonight at Perkins as a reward to both boys for getting all A's on their latest set of Calvert School tests. Any Calvert Mom will tell you that's no easy feat, and I am proud!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ham Dinner

Thor is happy that so many of you enjoyed his baby and teenage pictures. As I flipped through photo albums, I was struck over and over by the fact that he's always laying around wherever his people are, just enjoying the company - and sometimes chasing them (see the picture of him chasing Dan on the sled for proof).

It was cold, rainy and thundering on Wednesday night. The next street over lost their power for a while, so I took inspiration from the traditional "New England Boiled Dinner" of corned beef and cabbage. This was done quickly, and, best of all, at least from my perspective, it was not terribly salty.

2 to 3 pound ham quarter

Red potatoes - 1 to 2 per person plus 2 for the pot (or the dog)
1 carrot per person, quartered lengthwise and cut in segments
1 large onion, cut in eighths

1 tbsp salt

Put the ham in the pot with the onion and salt, and barely cover with water. Start cooking according to package directions. When the ham is 30 minutes from done, add the potatoes and carrots, and cook until done. Remove the ham from the pan, skim out the carrots, and drain the potatoes. Put 1/2 stick butter on the carrots, and add butter and parsley to the potatoes to make Heart Attack Potatoes. I added steamed spinach to this, because all of my meals contain something green (I tell my children it's required under State Statute #2). I passed a honey mustard sauce for the ham. Thor got his potatoes and some carrots along with ham, and everyone was happy!

Book sale this weekend. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thorsday: A Retrospective

This is Thor's surprise for all of you. Sorry, it's not cake and ice cream, because we couldn't figure out how to stuff it through your monitors.

In about 2 weeks, on May 5, Thor will turn 9. Those of us who love Mastiffs will tell you this is nearly unheard of. To celebrate, Thor thought you'd all like a look back at his life with us.

These first two pictures were emailed to us from the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm the week before he came home with us.
He didn't sit on the furniture for long.
At 13 weeks old, he's a pretty big boy already.
And of course we celebrated his first birthday in style. It's the only time he ever wore the traditional, paper cone type hat.
Thor joined cookie baking, 4th of July celebrations, and daily life.

He saw people off to school, helped supervise new drivers, and played fireman when necessary.

Thor turned 2. He celebrated Easters, even when he got no chocolate bunnies (which was every Easter).

Thor looked dignified on his third birthday. Other times, he just looked goofy.

He romped in the snow with the best of them, pouncing on Dan when the sledding got too rambunctious.
Halloweens and Christmases came and went.

Thor's been involved in it all.

This was puppyhood through age 4-1/2. Next week, the Thor retrospective continues. I hope you all enjoyed this journey back in time with Thor.