Tag Archives: Food

On the fifth day of Christmas…

2016christmascookies01…well, all right, most people get their cookie baking done before Christmas Day. But even those of us who almost never bake cookies tend to make a few, at least, at this time of year.

Merry Third Day of Christmas

Have a piece of nut cake!

2016nutcake

(Back during the Great Depression, my Grandma Heisey baked this as a Christmas treat for her six children, her husband, herself, and a varying number of hired hands. It’s still good.)

Cake of Catastrophe

I keep making promises and getting myself into these situations that end in one kind of catastrophe or another. Last weekend, I had promised to provide a cake. After all, I had a recipe for glazed lemon bundt cake that sounded appealing. And I have a bundt pan – a bit more elaborate than the standard ones, but how could I have resisted buying a pan that looks (sort of) like a rose in full bloom?

CakeOfCatastrophePanThe cake wasn’t that hard – it’s basically a half-pound pound cake, with a bit of baking soda and some buttermilk and some lemon juice and grated rind added. And while it baked, I mixed up the glaze – butter and confectioner’s sugar and more lemon juice. Everything was going smoothly.

At first. The recipe tells you to let the cake cool just ten minutes, then turn it out of the pan so you can pour glaze over the hot cake and let it sink in. Only the cake refused to leave the pan. I tried cautiously running a knife around the edges to loosen it. No good. I shook the pan good and hard. The cake didn’t budge. I banged the upside-down pan on the counter a few times and whacked it with the palm of my hand while shaking it some more.

CakeOfCatastropheTopNope. It wasn’t moving. Total failure. Catastrophe, in fact. Finally I admitted defeat and spooned glaze over what was supposed to be the bottom of the cake. I was too tired to try something nice and foolproof, like brownies, so I just didn’t show up with a cake at all. Instead, we had some of it for dessert last night. Now that it’s cold, the slices come out of the pan nicely. Well, almost. Except for the parts that stick.

CakeOfCatastropheTopPartlyEatenIt does taste good. So maybe it wasn’t a complete catastrophe after all.

 

Halloween Hand of Horror

Well, you never know what’s going to happen when you click on Internet links. Again, today’s post isn’t what I had planned – I got waylaid by another irresistible oddity. Meatloaf, this time.

No, really. Strange meatloaf. Four years ago, Megan over at “not martha” came up with the ultimate Hallowe’en dinner, and I more-or-less copied her genius last night.

HalloweenHandOfHorrorYou start with your usual meatloaf mixture…probably non-carnivores could use their favorite veggieburger mix, though that seems kind of off – this dish is all about looking gruesome. Megan packed her meatloaf into a special mold, but I just shaped mine in the pan to look like a big clutching hand.

There are two details that really make this concoction work. First, the fingernails. I took half the outer layer of a large onion (well, really a quarter of the layer – I had used about half of the onion earlier for this’n’that). Cut the onion layer into five segments and trim them into fingernail-like chunks, then put them on the meatloaf. Don’t worry, they’ll stay put.

About halfway through the baking, I checked on the hand and realized that Megan was right – a catsup glaze really adds to the effect, so I spread some on. (She also topped her meatloaf with sliced cheese; I didn’t.)

HalloweenMeatloafOfHorrorCookedAnd here, in all its gory glory, is The Hand. Not something I’d make any other time of year, but last night it was a huge hit with my husband and son.

 

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Wordless Wednesday

GreenTomato20130612

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Bunch of Lunch

The last several days…

(This week’s photo challenge is “Lunch“.)

Beautiful soup

I am not a soup lover. Pretty often, I’d rather go hungry. But there was something about the squash soup recipe – well, more nearly a concept than a recipe – Gilly Gee posted recently that caught my interest. And when today turned out raw and wet, and unexpectedly snowy in the morning, it seemed like a good time to try making soup.

SoupPeppersSquashSo I cut up some butternut squash

SoupCarrotOnionand some carrot and red onion

and poked holes in a few red peppers (because once in a while vegetables really DO explode in the oven. A baked potato blew up and spattered itself all over the inside of my stove years ago, and ever since I’ve been careful to stick a knife into potatoes or yams or peppers before they go into the oven.)

Just seeing the bright colors of all those goodies is enough to make you feel warm.

Then I roasted them all until they were nice and soft and slightly browned – Gilly says you don’t absolutely need to bother, but it does improve the taste. I peeled the squash and peppers and cooked them all together till they were nice and soft, and more or less pureed them in my little food processor – “more or less” because I prefer things to have a bit of texture…or to be kind of lumpy, as most people would probably say.

SoupA little more cooking to get the puree nice and hot again, and it was really very good for supper (even though I forgot the ginger; I’ll have to put some in the leftovers tomorrow). Thanks, Gilly!

The clock is ticking…

…only fourteen and a half hours left of 2012. Sorry, fourteen and a quarter.

All right, let’s try for realistic plans for 2013. One thing I’ve finally learned over the past year (and about time, too) is that there’s a limited number of minutes in a day to get things done, and a limited amount of mental and emotional and physical energy to use for doing them. So it seems like a good idea to tackle only one large new goal at a time.

The two things that have to continue are writing and providing support for my mom. I’ll certainly continue with the weekly 100-word challenges – they’re fun, they’re good practice, and I enjoy seeing what other people come up with based on the same prompts. I’ll go on blogging regularly. And, above all, I’ll keep chipping away at the boulder of book-length fiction, trying to sculpt it into finished work of my own.

What should I tuck into the corners of the day around that central core? Probably the thing I want to do least: clean the horrible house, because the inconvenience and irritation of living in this mess is getting to me. And what that needs to start with is getting rid of lots and lots and lots of stuff – we own too many things to organize them all.

Once the mess is under control, I can free up time for regular exercise, something I’ve neglected lately. And make sure I’m eating good food, not junk. Will I lose weight? Probably not, but I’ll be healthier.

And, since at least one New Year’s resolution should focus on something you want to do, I’m going to finally make time for knitting experiments – trying out odd stitches and construction methods that I’ve read about here and there. Blog posts, yes, there will be blog posts. With pictures.

(And also, I’ll go on looking forward to posts from the many varied bloggers I follow. Some of you have become online friends, and all of you brighten my day. Thank you so much!)

Red and Green: Christmas….Peppers?

We had frost a day or two ago, so it’s time to put the garden to bed for the winter. But even after this strangely prolonged warm weather, I was surprised by what was waiting for me:

Dec15PeppersWaitingTen days before Christmas, the pepper plants have wilted, but they’re still ready to pick.

Dec15BowlOfPeppersThis is a pretty large bowl, and I filled it to overflowing. Way too much for us to use up before they start to spoil, so a lot of these are destined for the town food bank.

186 Cookbooks: Pretty enough to eat

I bought Wackycakes and Kookycookies by Gerhard Jenne for the picture on the cover as much as for any rational reason. But is it a cookbook, or an art book complicated by recipes? Time to see if anything in it is edible.

I needed a cookie recipe, and Wackycakes offers several – I went with “Two-tone Cookies” because I had the ingredients on hand. (They’re pretty basic – flour, sugar, butter, egg, plus vanilla for the white dough and cocoa for the chocolate dough.)

Jenne includes instructions for a variety of designs, but I settled for the Spirals. (The picture above, from the book, shows an assortment of his patterns.)

First, you mix up the two doughs and chill them thoroughly.

Next, put each lump of dough between two sheets of wax paper. Roll the dough into a sheet about an eighth of an inch thick (around 3 mm, if you speak metric), and as neatly rectangular as you can manage.

Stick the sheet of dough back in the refrigerator again and leave it to chill for at least an hour, until it’s nice and stiff.

Take the top piece of wax paper off each sheet of dough and put the two dough sheets together. Remove the wax paper from the top piece of dough. Now you find out how well you matched the two doughs while rolling them out. In this case, I rolled the chocolate much thinner than the vanilla. Bah. Anyway, trim the edges so you have a rectangular double sheet of dough.*

Carefully roll the two sheets into a log. They’re likely to try to break while you roll them. Patch and coax them together as needed. (You could also let the dough warm up a bit so it’s more flexible. The trouble is, when it’s warm it will want to stick to the wax paper. Pick your frustration.)

Annd – wrap the log in the remaining piece of wax paper and chill it some more! Then cut it into slices – about an eighth of an inch or a little thicker is good (3-4 mm) – and bake in a medium oven for about twelve minutes. Let the cookies sit for a minute or two before you try to take them off the pan.

Is it worth the bother? Well, you get lots of pretty, pleasant tasting rich (and fragile) cookies, kind of like shortbread. I won’t make them often, but the results are worth the trouble for special occasions. And I’ll try one of the cake recipes next, maybe for my birthday.

* And what about all those dough scraps? The easiest thing to do with them is jumble them together into another log and slice them up as marble cookies.