Thursday, April 28, 2011

Country Peach Cake Cookbook Challenge



This is one of my all time favorite cakes.  Some of you may recall that I like fruit type desserts, pies, cakes, breads etc.  This recipe also happens to be from one of my oldest cookbooks, Lee Bailey's Country Desserts Cakes, Cookies, Ice Creams, Pies, Puddings & More!  I'm going to submit this recipe into Dom's oldest cookbook challenge at Belleau Kitchen .


I made this cake for Easter and it was a huge hit!  The funny thing was, my oldest niece arrived at the same time we did and I asked her to carry it into Pushy Sister #3 house for me while I gathered other things.  Well, little did I know everyone was oohing and arring over her cake!  Yes, the little stinker took full credit for my cake and her younger sister didn't say anything! 


So when I came in with my tarts I asked where my cake was because it needed to be refrigerated, boy did niece #1 get grief for taking the credit for baking my cake!  My family is not shy about letting you know what they think, so it was very funny and niece #1 got a huge kick out of it!


In addition to my cake, our Easter dessert table was HUGE this year.  My nieces, their boyfriends, and #2 nephew got together and had a baking contest on Saturday.  This is the 3rd bake-off the kids have had.  Before this it was cupcakes, then pizza. So, because of some unfair biased judging of the Easter desserts the next bake off will take place next month and the judging will be at my home!  Should be fun!


Cake:
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
5 Tbs plus 1 tsp corn starch
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
6 Tbs margarine, softened
6 Tbs butter, softened
1¼ cup plus 2 Tbs sugar
¾ cup milk
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
9 large egg whites, stiffly beaten

Cream Filling:
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Peaches: (I use canned peaches in their own juice)
5-6 large peaches
Juice of ½ lemon
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract

1. For the cream filling, in a medium bowl, stir together the cream, sugar, and vanilla. Cover /chill, at least 2 hours before whipping.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round pans; line bottoms with wax paper. grease the paper. 

3. Sift together flour, corn starch, salt, and baking powder; set aside. In a large bowl, competely free of any oil, beat the eggwhites until stiff; set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl on medium high speed, cream together sugar, margarine, and butter for about 4 minutes. Add the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with milk and ending with flour. Add vanilla. 

5. Fold in beaten egg whites (don't overmix).

6. Divide the batter in the cake pans; bake on middle rack for 20-25 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

7. Using a large slotted spoon, dip peaches in boiling water for about 10 seconds, then run cold water over them. remove skins and cut each into about a dozen slices. toss slices with lemon juice and and sprinkle liberally with sugar; set aside.

8. Make the Cream Filling; in a mixing bowl, whip the cold ingredients until stiff. Add bourbon, if using. 

9. The sliced peaches will have released some of their juices; pour a third of it over the bottom cake layer, a little at a time to give it a chance to soak in. Place a third of the peach slices on this layer and cover with whipped cream; repeat with the remaining layers. (I use about 3 tablespoons of juice from the canned peaches for each layer.)

Keep refrigerated, loosely covered, until ready to serve.


As Dom says "eat, and of course, enjoy."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Woo Hoo, I Won!!! I Won!!!

Yes, I'm a little excited, it's been a really looooong time since I've won anything besides a centerpiece at a shower, wedding or banquet. I won the VT Lux and BlogHer Sweepstakes Grand Prize!

Ok, before you get to excited, it's NOT $50,000.00 or a trip to Paris or Bermuda, while that would have been great, it's an article of clothing with a value of up to $69.50! Here's what I selected! it's called a Troncho, a cross between a trench coat and a poncho! Believe me, with the weather we've had in New England, this little coat will come in very handy!


A214085 - Water Repellent Troncho by VT Luxe

I'd like to thank  Pat at Mille Fiori Favoriti who posted the BlogHer sweepstakes on her blog.  If you don't follow Pat you should, she is fabulous, and has a fantastic and interesting blog!  Here's her link Mille Fiori Favoriti.

I'm so excited, maybe I'll buy a lottery ticket! But which one?

Next Drawing: 4/26/11 
Estimated Jackpot:$29 Million 
($18.2 Million Est. Cash Option) 

Next Drawing: 4/27/11 
Estimated Jackpot:$20 Million 
($10.2 Million Est. Cash Option) 

Next Drawing: 4/27/11 
Estimated Jackpot:$1,600,000 

Next Drawing: 4/25/11 
Estimated Jackpot:$1,450,000 

Monday 4/25/11 
Next Drawing: 4/26/11 
Evening:2-1-0-8 
Next Drawing: 4/25/11 

Next Drawing: 4/26/11 
Estimated Jackpot:$100,000 

 What do you think?



Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easterversary!


How lucky are we to celebrate 18 wonderful years of marriage and Easter Sunday on the same day this year.  Easter has always been a special day for us, we became engaged on Easter Sunday in 1992.  Now, I had an a feeling about our engagement, but I wasn't quite sure when . . . so my fiancé now husband set up a surprise Easter egg hunt using colored plastic eggs - you know those eggs.  Inside each egg was a clue to the next egg, there was a lot of laughing, and just before I found the last egg, which I couldn't reach, he proposed!

I was attracted to my husband by his smile.  He has the nicest smile in the world!  My husband is kind, extremely smart, thoughtful, and my best friend.  He gave me the encouragement and confidence to achieve my dreams.  We have fun, and he makes me laugh every day!  Happy 18th Anniversary to my best friend!  XOXO!


She's here cried the priest! 
Sacred Heart Church.


The ceremony, a few of my friends have been married here.


My nieces and nephew, see how they've grown, 
check out their photo on my side bar.

Happy Easter Everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Home-style Easter decorations



I didn't make this, but it's my favorite Dedham pottery bunny!


Here are a bunch of eggs, can you guess which ones I 
painted, which ones I bought and which one is real?


I made and painted these cute little lambs about 
20 years ago.  Duke love to look at them!


This is a really cute lamp that I made many years ago, it's one of my favorite Easter decorations.  The light is inside the handle.


These were the bunnies on top of our wedding rehearsal dinner cake!


This little girl is from my bridal shower, 18 years ago!


Duke with his friends, he likes to bark at the male bunny!


My centerpiece on the kitchen table.


My favorite painting, resting on the mantle. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Potato Gratin for Easter

Potato Gratin
This is one dish that will be gracing my Easter table!  I love a cheesy potato dish with my Easter ham, and because russets have a lower moisture and higher starch content than most other potatoes, they are ideal for baking and are excellent in gratins. I use a mandolin to ensure uniformly sliced potatoes, the key to making a perfect, tender gratin! If you don't have one don't worry, just slice your potatoes thin.  
Easter dinner will be in New Hampshire at Pushy Sister #3's home.  My three brothers and their families will be joining us too - should be fun!  Pushy Sister #2 & Pushy Sister #4 will be at their in-laws!  They'll be joining us for dessert!
This is one of four recipes that I'll be making.  I'm also making an asparagus tart for an appetizer, apple raisin relish, and a country peach cake! Oh yes, there will be wine! LOL!!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut
      crosswise into 1/16-inch-thick slices
  • 4 oz. Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter a shallow 2-quart ceramic baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the cream, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg and whisk until just blended. Add the potatoes and toss gently until evenly mixed. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Using your fingertips, spread the potatoes in an even layer, pressing them lightly so they absorb the liquid. Sprinkle the cheese and then the parsley evenly over the top.

Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden, the gratin is bubbling and the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 8 to 10.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Patriot's Day



Besides the running of the Boston Marathon, and a traditional home game at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox, Patriot's Day is an important day in American History.

Commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. It is observed in Massachusetts and Maine (once part of Massachusetts). Observances and re-enactments of these first battles of the American Revolution occur annually at Lexington Green in Lexington, Massachusetts, (around 6:00 am) and The Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts,


North Bridge, Concord MA.


(around 9:00 am). In the morning, a mounted re-enactor with state police escort retraces Paul Revere's ride, calling out warnings the whole way.


Below is a famous poem that most of had to learn to recite in grammar school!  Some of us had to recite it from memory!

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere 

by 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;=
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mary's Super Delicious Deviled Eggs & a Joke


This evening we are having a birthday party for my mom, she'll be 76! After the year she's had we are thrilled to celebrate this birthday with her. Along with my three pushy sisters, my three brothers our spouses or insignificant others, nieces, nephews, boyfriends, girlfriends and great grand-son it should be a fun time, provided my pushy sisters behave themselves! LOL!!


We've been asked to provide appetizers, salad and wine and my younger sister will prepare the meal. Someone else has been delegated to bring the cake.

I'll be making deviled eggs, they are a huge family favorite, I'm told that no one makes a deviled egg as good as me . . . personally I think they think it's a lot of work, it's not, and I actually enjoy making them. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family does!


Mary's Super Delicious Deviled Eggs





Ingredients
12 Eggs
1/4+ cup Hellmanns mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup relish
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce (I use Franks)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Paprika

Directions

1.  Cook and peel the eggs while warm, slice in half and scoop out the yolks.
 
2.  Set the white egg half's on a paper towel to absorb any extra moisture.

3.  Put the yolks in a separate bowl and mash, I use a pastry cutter to mash the yolks.

4.  Add the mayo, mustards, relish, hot sauce, salt and pepper mix.

5. Refrigerate mix for 15 minutes.

6.  Add all the mixture to a plastic bag, cut off the tip and squeeze out and fill the white egg half's, sprinkle with paprika and E-N-J-O-Y!

Joke


Q.   Why was the farmer arrested?  (see answer below)


Keep going, the answer is there . . . 




A.  He was caught beating an egg!  LOL!!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Multi-Berry Pie



I have been wanting to make this multi-berry pie for a week, and I've finally got around to it.  I added blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries.  Some of the berries had been from my garden, some I purchased and froze, some I bought last summer (60 pounds of wild Maine blueberries) and froze and some I bought this weekend at the market.


For the filling I used 1 cup of raspberries, 2 cups of blueberries, 1 1/2 cups strawberries, 1 1/2 cups blackberries.  I topped it with 1/2 cup of sugar*, and then sprinkled 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of flour and 2 pats of butter cut up and placed around the top.
  
If you look close you can see the big bunny on the pie to celebrate Spring!  I love to decorate the tops of my pies to give them a little character.  Would you like a slice?


My husband loves his dessert and now I'm enjoying them as well - too much though!  LOL!  I didn't grow up having dessert each evening, but my husband did.  I think the difference was he was his mothers only child, and I am one of seven!  Therefore, my mom would have been baking a cake every day to feed nine people dessert after making dinner for us each evening! 

The pie came out of the oven at 10:20 last evening! I have to tell you, my home smelled fantastic!

I used Ina's perfect pie crust recipe (sorry nana) which was really easy to make in the food processor, and super easy to roll out.  The recipe is below.

Ingredients

12 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter*
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
6 -8 tablespoons ice water (about 1/2 cup)



Directions

1 Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture.
2 Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix.
3 Add the butter and shortening.
4 Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas.
5 With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.
6 Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball.
7 Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
8 Cut the dough in half.
9 Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the board.
10 Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan.
11 Repeat with the top crust.
12 **Ina Garten prefers to use Crisco shortening, that has been stored in the refrigerator.
13 ***Cook time does not include 30 minute refrigeration time.


Serve with ice cream or whipped cream!

My substitution notes


* I did not use sugar in an effort to reduce calories. It's really tart, but I enjoy a tart pie.
**I used Smart Balance butter sticks to reduce fat and calories.