Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake

May 19, 2013 Comments off

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake 2

I can never figure out where time disappears to. It’s today, and then I blink, and it’s days, or weeks, or months later. So here I am, months later, not being able to figure out how I let so much time go by, without posting anything here. I’m not going to go into the reasons. I am just going to start posting some of what I have written and not posted, as well as write posts that have been swirling around in my head. Frightening isn’t it?!

So here is what is coming first. An intensely lemony, buttery, creamy, fabulous cake. It really does need all of those adjectives. I should mention, that I do not really care for cake. If I am going to have something for dessert, or make a dessert, a cake would be the last thing I would think of making. I have never really liked cake. Cake is layers of sponge-y stuff separated by awfully sweet icky frosting, both without much flavor. Sugar, sugar, and more sugar. I never wanted the piece of cake that was passed my way at a birthday party. Why didn’t someone just pass me a cookie? (I won’t digress by mentioning how selective I am about my cookies.) I won’t try to rank the wonderfulness of a strawberry rhubarb crisp, a lemoncello panna cotta, or a biscotti.   Each has its strong points. I have never been one to pick a favorite of mostly anything. There are too many things that are good.

When we got together with other Leite’s Culinaria recipe testers in Charleston, S.C., Jenni Fields, a lovely person and excellent pastry chef, made one of her amazing pound cakes for us.  It was one of the only times that I can remember, saying yes to the offer of a piece of cake. Something whispered in my ear, to give it a try. And so I did. Good decision. It was quite delicious. I came home with visions in my head, of making that cake at some point soon. Jenni talks on her site about how versatile the recipe is. You can make adjustments for what suits your fancy. Have I ever mentioned how much I love all things lemon? If I haven’t, it’s about time that I did. I love lemon. I love it in so many shapes and forms, sweet and savory, that I wouldn’t/couldn’t even begin to list them. What I love even more, is when Meyer lemons are available, and living in California, they are available quite often. So there I was with a bowl of Meyer lemons. I wrote to Jenni asking her about changing her recipe to a Meyer Lemon Pound Cake. She so graciously wrote back to me, and sent me this link. Not only does it give you the recipe for a lemon pound cake, it also tells you about her excellent Van Halen Pound Cake, and, as a bonus, has a link to a great tutorial on the creaming method for a pound cake. Do yourself a favor, and watch the video. Then do yourself another favor, and make the lemon pound cake. I had enough batter to fill a bundt pan that is a bit smaller than most, as well as a Pyrex ramekin. Being smaller, the ramekin, of course, came out of the oven earlier than the cake did. About 5 minutes after that, I inverted it onto a plate, and within a few more minutes, the knife that I used to cut just the tiniest wedge of cake, (for purely experimental and educational purposes only, of course), well, that knife kept cutting the miniature cake, and then it somehow found it’s way into our mouths, and before the cake in the bundt pan was done, the little cake was done. As in gone. As in, we had eaten the whole thing. This really is one delicious cake!

Categories: Desserts, Lemon, Memories Tags: , ,

Brisket ala Yack

December 30, 2012 Comments off

My dad developed an interest in cooking after recovering from cancer. He could no longer work, so his doctor suggested that he take up a hobby. For some reason, he developed an interest in Chinese cooking. Now this was a man who never really seemed to care what was on the table for dinner. All of a sudden he was roasting pieces of marinated pork, and hanging them from paper clips in the oven. The pieces would develop a wonderful flavor and texture on all sides. He would try to perfect his own version of fried rice, and serve it with his own take on Asian glazed pork ribs. Every now and then he would throw in a dish from another heritage. One of them I have been thinking about quite a bit. Brisket. My dad came up with a recipe that I have always referred to as “Brisket ala Yack” (Yack was my maiden name.) It was something that he developed over a period of time. Everyone loved it. So much so, that when an organization my parents volunteered for (Deborah Heart Hospital) had a special dinner once a year to thank their volunteers, they asked my dad make his brisket for them. The recipe can be scaled up or down very easily. It freezes beautifully. In fact I seem to remember thinking that it was even better after it had been frozen. And, as you probably know by now, I love having wonderful dishes in the freezer, so that comfort food is just a short defrost and reheat away..

Here is my dad’s recipe, written down by me while watching him make it, many years ago. Please note the “very precise measurements”. They are essential to the success of the dish.

Brisket ala Yack.

My dad used a large, vintage, blue speckled roasting pan. If you don’t have one, use a dutch oven or a casserole dish that has a lid and can go into the oven.

Slice a few onions and place them in the bottom of the roasting pan. Add slices of carrot and celery. Pierce the brisket with a fork and lay it on top of the vegetables in the pan. Sprinkle the contents of a package of Lipton French Onion Soup Mix over the meat. This was when my dad would add a can of sliced mushrooms. (The thought of that makes me shudder.) At the time, canned mushrooms made it into a number of dishes. (Shudder once more.) Dad would then add a can of beef broth, followed by 5 or 6 squirts of soy sauce, a sprinkling of Worchestershire Sauce, a few glugs of ketchup, some Kitchen Bouquet, and a generous pouring of hearty red wine. He would then place chunks of potatoes around the meat, cover the pan tightly with foil, and then put the top onto the pan. Into a 350° oven it went, for 2 – 2 ½ hours. At that point, Dad would start testing the meat for tenderness. When a fork went in easily, out of the pan came the brisket. After cooling for a just a bit, my dad would slice the brisket, and then put the slices back into the pan, reassembling them stacked against each other. That’s when he would taste the sauce, and adjust the seasonings to his liking, by adding more of any of the ingredients. At times my dad would add some Bovril, a beef extract, to the pan if it needed some richness. Covered once again, it would go back into the oven for another hour, or so. (My dad never fully explained “or so”. It’s one of the things you just know.)

The flavors of this dish were always big and bold. None of the ingredients really stood out on their own. It was the way that they mingled together and combined to make the sauce so much better than just the sum of its parts. The potatoes take on a mahogany hue, and when you cover them with the sauce, veggies, and meat, be sure and smush them with your fork so that the potatoes have that great flavor throughout, not just on the outside.

I did forget one very important part. This needs to be eaten with a spoon. You don’t want any of that goodness to go through the tines of the fork and be lost. A spoon is definitely the way to go.

Through my dad, this dish brought comfort to many people. I realize that I need to continue that tradition. I hope that you may try it and make it your own.

Discovering Swiss Orange Chip Ice Cream

August 20, 2012 2 comments

Early on in our relationship, S. had been telling me about this wonderful ice cream from Swensen’s, a local ice cream shop. Swiss Orange Chip. Didn’t really sound terribly enticing, but what’s in a name? We went to said ice cream shop, and S. ordered two Swiss Orange Chip cones. It did not look like a really dark chocolate, which disappointed me, but I tried to keep an open mind. An open mind, and then an open mouth, and then “Oh, yes.”  It was really wonderful.  Swensen’s is not close to here, so we did not have the ice cream often. It became a destination special treat. While surfing around the net one day, I happened to Google “Swiss Orange Chip Ice Cream”. I stumbled across a site where in 2009, someone named Cindy Ruth had been talking about having fond memories of, and really missing, the Swiss Orange Chip Ice Cream she used to get at a Swensen’s in Missouri. You can read about her duplicating the recipe on her blog, Baked Alaska. (see link below) I saved the recipe, thinking that perhaps I would have the chance to make it someday. That someday came when I borrowed a friend’s ice cream maker, and we made Cindy Ruth’s version of Swiss Orange Chip Ice Cream. She had really nailed that recipe. All  we could say, was “WOW”.  We found ourselves saying “WOW” every time either of us put a spoonful of that ice cream into our mouth. We were eating Swensen’s Swiss Orange Chip, and we did not have to drive across town to get it. Do your mouth a favor, and make this ice cream. See if you find that it has the “WOW” factor. We sure do.

Categories: Ice Cream, Memories Tags: ,

There’s always room for more.

August 13, 2012 2 comments

The first time I made dinner for the wonderful person who is now my husband, I made a big pot of what we affectionately call “Back East” spaghetti sauce. We had talked about the spaghetti sauces that we knew from our youth, which seemed to be area specific. It was your basic Italian tomato sauce with meatballs and sausages. No need to decide between sweet and hot Italian sausage. Of course I used both. Liking the flavor that pork imparts to the sauce, I seared some country-style ribs in a pan, and threw them in also. Well, you really can’t, (or it might just be that I can’t), make just a few meatballs, or brown up just a couple of sausages, or pork ribs. Soon, the meats were filling up the pot of tomato sauce that I had made. I needed to put half of them into a second pot. Of course that meant that I had to start chopping more onions and garlic to make more tomato sauce to cover all of the meat in both pots. By the time that S. came over, I had three huge pots on the stove, two containing all of the meats in tomato sauce, as well as a huge pot of water, waiting for the pasta to be added. S. came in, looked at the stove, went directly into the living room, and looked out of the window. I asked him what he was doing. He answered, “Looking for the fleet.”

And that is how I tend to cook quite often. One thing it does, is assure us of great leftovers, some of which we vacuum seal and freeze. It’s wonderful to have a great meal on a night when there is no time to cook it. Or, if you are ever hungry and in the neighborhood, just stop by, ’cause there’s always room for more.

Categories: Memories Tags:
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