2011 - Our Sunday Cafe
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Easy Toffee!, Recipe rewind because somethings are too good to miss

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Thursday December 24, 2009. 

(I was a ) Big Fat Candy Baby

I have always been too frightened to make candy. The thermometer, the boiling hot, the splashing of the boiling hot, etc etc. A big fat scared candy baby! But I come from a long line of pioneer women, really I do. My grandmother on my father's side migrated to California in the back of a covered wagon in about 1907. My grandmother on my mother's side was born at home by a visiting midwife, in a kitchen warmed by a wood stove, that was used for cooking. A bit different from midwife-assisted births of today.

In looking back there was not much these women were too frightened to do, including making candy. Which during the war, one of them did. It was how they survived financially. The sugar ration was turned into candy for profit, profit that put other food on the table.

But for me, no way. I bought my candy, thank you very much. Until today. I found this post, and thought, what a perfect starting place. Let's make Toffee, shall we?

EasyToffee!
adapted from which name?

1/2 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c large broken walnuts (between 1/4 - 1/2 inch in size)
1/2 c chocolate chips

Butter (or spray with Pam) the bottom and sides of a 8" pan, scatter walnuts over the bottom. Melt butter in large pan over medium heat, add brown sugar. Over medium heat continue to stir while mixture boils for 6-7 minutes.










I found with my stove I had to turn down the setting slightly as the mixture cooked, so it would not get too hot and burn. This is hot, be careful with the spurting, that is why I chose a large flat bottomed pan.


Pour cooked toffee evenly over the walnuts, rotate pan gently for candy to go to the corners. Sprinkle with the chips, let sit one minute, spread chocolate to cover the entire surface.











I think the hardest part of this recipe is waiting for it to cool! When cool, break into pieces.



Since I made this recipe  or a gift, I used a springform pan for easy removal. A quick gift wrap and a bow, and I will be done.











As the hours count down, I hope all is happy and good for you and your loved ones! Thanks so much for your visits here this year, and please come back again!

As always I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!




4

Real Fruit Cake, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Wednesday December 9, 2009.

Real Fruit Cake, made with dry fruit. From Alton Brown.

Real Fruit Cake, made with dried fruits. From Alton Brown. This is the best fruit cake I have ever eaten!
Real Fruit Cake, made with dry fruit.

I love fruit cake, all kinds. It is dense, richly flavored and always a treat. I have wanted to bake an old fashioned fruit cake; with dried fruits, rather than the artificially colored "fruit cake mix" found in the produce section this time of year. I took a quick search on Google and I found this recipe by Alton Brown. Now I don't watch the food network, but the lovely Jess does. I took a moment to read the reviews for this cake, and that was all it took. He calls it Free Range Fruitcake, and invites the cook to have a good time, so that is what I did. This looks like a lot of work, but it is easy to break down if time is short. It goes together very quickly.

The fruit got to hang out with the rum all night. This smelled so good, every time I stirred it!

Free Range Fruitcake
adapted from Alton Brown

1 c diced apricots
1 c diced dates
1 c currents
1 c dried cranberries
1/4 c chopped candied ginger
1 c golden rum

Stir together and let rest overnight covered or heat on stove top or microwave to hydrate. Set aside to cool if using the heat method.


The next day or when cool, combine in a large non reactive pan:
the fruit and rum combination
1 T lemon juice
zest of 2 oranges
1 c coffee
1 c sugar
1 1/4 sticks of butter
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp gr allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp gr nutmeg

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 - 10 minutes. Most of the liquid will be evaporated. Set aside to cool. You may stop and place in the refrigerator if desired, simply bring to room temperature to proceed. To make the batter:


1 3/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well to mix together. 

2 eggs

1 c pecan halves, that have been toasted and broken into pieces

additional rum or brandy for spritzing

Add the flour mixture to the fruits and spices in the pan, stir quickly to incorporate flour mixture into the fruit. Make a well in the mixture, add the eggs. Beat with a wooden spoon to mix well. There should be no streaks of egg or dry flour.  Stir in the broken pecans.



Scrape batter into prepared bundt pan, bake 325 degrees for 50 minutes. If not completely cooked when tested, return to the oven and bake additional 10 minutes. Let cool, 20 minutes then carefully turn cake out. Let cool, spritz with rum and/or brandy. Check cake every 3 days, if dry, spritz with more brandy. Cake should "rest" 2 weeks before serving.

Real Fruit Cake, made with dried fruits. From Alton Brown. Ready to bake.
Real Fruit Cake, made with dry fruit. Ready to bake.

This smells so good, I think it is going to be a long 2 weeks!

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will use and enjoy. 

And now, it is very easy to sign up for
Our Sunday Cafe posts by email. You will find the form located in the left sidebar, thank you for subscribing!


PS, you may also enjoy our Homemade Household page, it can be found right at the top of the blog!
4

Chocolate Mint Zucchini Bread, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Wednesday August 11, 2010.



I had hoped to get this post out earlier, but after picking berries I thought I should snip off the Dusty Miller flowers. It had flowered so beautifully this year, and with so many blossoms it had fallen over with it's own weight!

As usual, I must have been deep in thought (serious or otherwise!) while I snipped because I mistook one of my own fingers for a stem and took a "snip" out of the end of it - ouch! One compression bandage and a few hours later it is fine. Tender, but fine. So lets make some zucchini bread already.

I found these beautiful zucchini while out blueberry picking at a local organic farm. I knew right away I wanted to make something special with them and decided to make up a special chocolate and zucchini bread that was just a bit different than most. Only 3 zucchini went into this loaf, but I definitely have plans for the rest.


Chocolate Mint Walnut almost sounds like a candy bar, doesn't it? I have noticed a lot of different recipes, for zucchini bread. I have also noticed that these new and exciting offerings are really a loaf style cake. A loaf cake serves up easy, is usually complete on it's own and can be packed easy in a lunch. Sounds great to me, and just in time, isn't school going to start some time soon?

Chocolate Mint Zucchini Bread
recipe by the seat of my pants!
oven 350 degrees

2 c flour
1/2 c dry unsweetened baking cocoa
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda

2 eggs
1 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1/3 c oil 
3/4 c yogurt or buttermilk

2 medium zucchini shredded - about 1 1/2 cups
1/4 c chiffonade mint

1 - 2 c chopped walnuts, use what pleases your family

1/3 - 1/2 c chocolate chips to garnish top of loaf before baking - if desired


Combine dry ingredients in a medium size bowl, use a large spoon or whisk to combine and mix in the dry cocoa completely.


In a large bowl, beat eggs, add remaining ingredients through yogurt, beat well to combine.


Stir dry ingredients into wet along with the zucchini and mint. Fold in chopped walnuts.


Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, if using and bake 45-55 minutes or until done in your oven.

Time to clean up while the loaf is baking. But the good smell coming from the oven is worth it!

Enjoy! As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop by.
I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

This post is shared with:
full plate thursday @ miz helen's country cottage

5

Take Big Bites, by Linda Ellerbee

This is a wonderful book!

More than just a great read, it gives you the opportunity to examine not only the choices made by Ms. Ellerbee but your own as well. We all take risks, we all think from time to time, "did I make the right choice". We all need to look back and see that life was one great adventure.

This book could also have been titled " How I worked very hard and cooked up a great life, full of wonder and memories."

One could assert that these lessons are disguised within the chapters. After each adventure, arranged chronologically through the years, there is a recipe to share or end the story.

This recipe touched my heart.


Oranges for Children
adapted from:
From Chapter Fourteen, set in the year 2002

Step 1:

Buy a bag of oranges.

Step 2:

Give them to children, that don't have oranges.




Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will enjoy and use for yourself and your family. 

You can also sign up for Our Sunday Cafe posts by email, thank you for subscribing!






11

Homemade Bay Leaf Seasoning, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Saturday March 7, 2009.

Homemade Bay Leaf Seasoning



I went to my spice drawer this morning and pulled out the empty Bay Leaf Seasoning jar. I was glad I kept it after my adventure to Penzy's brought me back home void of a new jar of the beloved seasoning blend, because the empty jar held the secret list of ingredients.

I had picked up bay leaves, hoping I could re-create the blend. Using the ingredients list I set about putting together my best guess of what should be in this herb blend. When finished I decided to take the full jar as an omen that the homemade mix will be good.

Come on now, how many times have you made something at home and it was a perfectly fit? The label lists the ingredients in order of weight, and I calculated them to be as follows:


1/2 oz bag of fresh bay leaves
2 T thyme leaves
2 T rosemary leaves
1 T basil leaves
1 T dried onion
1 T oregano
1/2 t ground pepper
2 T garlic salt
1 T plain salt

Place the bay leaves in the grinder and process until ground. Add remaining and process until powdery. It looks like the real thing, smells like the real thing, so I am hoping it will taste like the real thing. I guess it is now time to cook something with it...............................

Here are some ways you will enjoy using this herb blend,

Season potatoes when you make fried potatoes.

Mix into butter to create a compound butter for vegetables.

Use the compound butter to spread on the cut side of a loaf of french bread, sprinkle with cheese and broil.

Add to flour, when dredging meat before pan browning.
 
Vegetable Beef Soup, found here.

I am sure you will come up with your own favorites!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop by,
I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
full plate thursday @ miz helen's country cottage

key words:  Penzy's Bay Leaf Seasoning, homemade herb blends
4

Potato Water Yeast Bread, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Sunday December 28, 2008.


Never Throw out your potato water!

Because it makes the best bread. I just pulled these two from the oven, they look great and smell even better.


We will be having soup, salad and bread for supper.


What I have is a process, there is no hard rules recipe.

When you boil potatoes for mashed potatoes, and drain off
the water, drain it into a small bowl or large glass measure cup;
I usually have approximately 2 cups of potato water (you can add a bit of
water if needed for a full measure).

To the water (after it has cooled) add:

1 T sugar
2 t yeast
1 c flour
Stir and cover with a cloth, let the mixture sit/sour on your counter 24-48 hours. The fermentation process will add wonderful flavor to your finished bread. When you are ready to make bread, empty the potato water mixture into the bread machine pan. Next add

3 c flour
1 1/2 t salt
2 T honey
2 T oil
1 t yeast (You might not need additional yeast, I prefer to bake my finished dough in a standard oven and usually store the dough in the fridge overnight before baking.)

Start the machine using the dough cycle, make sure the mixture has enough flour, if you have made a few loaves before, it is fairly easy to tell that the dough is holding on to itself and kneading properly.

Let the machine run it's full cycle. Punch down and place in the fridge for overnight aging. The next morning (or later) punch down again and shape. You can now let it rise on the counter or return to the fridge and bake it the next day or later that day when you get home from work.

Yum!

This particular batch is flavored with minced dried tomatoes in olive oil (and oil from the jar was used for the needed oil for the bread) diced cheddar cheese (the cheese was kneaded into the dough) and roasted garlic chips (from the spice section at Costco).

You can flavor anyway you want, or leave plain.

If you leave plain, you could also increase the sweetness of the dough by adding 2 T of sugar along with the honey and when your dough is done, roll is out and turn the dough into cinnamon rolls.

This is the fun part about baking, it is different each time, and yet it is the same technique.

Bring on the potatoes!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop by.
I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

key words:  potato water bread, dough cycle, flavored yeast breads
8

Fig and Orange Marmalade, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss!

Orange and Fig Marmalade

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Sunday September 20, 2009


Fig and Orange Marmalade (2 day process)

2 organic oranges
1 c sugar
Chop oranges in a food processor until even and about 1/4 inch, empty out into a bowl, stir in the sugar. Cover and let set over night.

Next day:

31/2-4 c whole figs, washed, drained well, cut in half.

 
Chop figs, again about 1/4 inch.
Combine figs and orange mixture, add 2 c sugar, 1/4 c brown sugar and 1/2 t nutmeg, along with the juice of 1 lemon. Bring to a boil, stir, lower heat to simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes. Remove lid, stir well. Continue to cook on low stirring as needed until mixture thickens and begins to hold it's shape. 45-60 minutes. Prepare jars lids and boiling water bath kettle.

Ladle the marmalade into 6 1/2 pt jars, cap and process for 10 minutes.

This is delicious as marmalade on toast. But shines as a starter served with Gorgonzola cheese on crackers or baguette slices.

this post is shared with:
full plate thursday @ miz helen's country cottage
garden variety wednesday @ ms enplace

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop for a visit.
I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments.
9

Homemade Mustard, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Saturday September 26, 2009. But it is better here.....


That little jar looks innocent, doesn't it? Well it is innocent, it has done nothing wrong, but it also happens to be a quart. Yep, you read it right a QUART. Who makes a quart of homemade mustard? Only someone like me, that has no idea when they first begin, actually how to do it.

So here is the confession, I love mustard. I like to do things myself. So the next step was homemade mustard.

After Honey installed the spice racks, I had lots of mustard seed.

When I put the spice racks together with filled jars of the herbs and spices that I use, that resulted in sandwich bags of herbs that were in the jars from the manufacturer. Most of it went into the garbage. But I did save the mustard seeds. In a moment of frugal glory, I thought, make homemade mustard.

There was about 1 1/2 c of mustard seed. No big deal I thought at the time. I poured them into a plastic container and poured the last of the Marker's Mark whiskey (left from several Christmas' ago) over the top, put the lid on and left them alone. I would shake it up every now and again. When they had taken up the liquid, it was mustard making time. During the resting time, I researched mustard making on the internet. What I learned right away, is that it does not take a lot of mustard seed to make a small jar of mustard. My brain began thinking about that 2 cup container of drunk seeds...........

This morning I dumped the whole mess into the food processor. It sure looks like a lot! Then I began to grind and process. Let me tell you this right now, mustard seeds are hard little things, even when they have partied for a couple of weeks.

Another thing I learned is that the ratio is about 3:1. Three parts liquid to one part mustard. I like my mustard on the sturdy side, thick enough that when I dip a knife into the jar, the mustard will mound a bit onto the knife and not run off like a sauce.

Ultimately here is what is in the quart jar,

1 1/2 c mustard seeds
1/2 c Maker's Mark
2/3 c water
2/3 c cider vinegar
2 t salt
2 T French Thyme
3/4 c honey

Grind, age, enjoy.

From here on out, I will follow a recipe. Well for mustard anyway!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and visit.
I appreciate your time and of course your comments!

This post is shared with:
full plate thursday @ Miz Helen's country cottage

key words:  mustard, homemade, frugal
14

Chocolate Prune Cardamom Cake, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Saturday August 21, 2010. But it is better here!




Last week's oats and prune bread, was delicious. I enjoyed thick slices for breakfast toasted and spread with butter. I would think that most folks place prunes in the quick breads category. Yet prunes are elegant too, now wait, yes they are. Look at what we are making today.......

Chocolate Prune Cardamom Cake
adapted from: Kitchenography
350-degree oven

Steeping step:
3/4 c water
1/4 c sherry
3/4 c prunes

Heat water and sherry to almost boiling, add prunes, cover with a lid, turn off heat.


Leave on stove burner to steep, until lukewarm. When steeping is complete, drain well. (Reserve liquid for another use if desired*) and chop prunes into 1/2 inch dice. Reserve.


Cake:
1 c flour
2 T dry baking cocoa - plus additional cocoa to dust the baking pan
1/2 t cardamom
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder









1/2 c oil
1 t vanilla
1 egg
3/4 c sugar


1 T lemon juice and enough milk to make 1/2 cup total liquid - let sit while assembling ingredients


In a medium size bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk together to combine. In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients, whisk to beat well, the mixture will fall in a ribbon from the whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the egg and sugar mixture, along with 1/2 of the soured milk. Combine well, add remaining milk, whisking to combine. Beat well for 1 - 2 minutes. Batter will look glossy and fall in a ribbon from the whisk. Fold in the steeped prunes.

Prepare an 8-inch spring form pan, and dust with additional cocoa.

Tap out an excess cocoa powder. Pour in the cake batter.


Bake 30 minutes or until tests done in your oven. Let cool in the pan 15 minutes. Run a spatula or thin knife around edge of cake to make sure it is free from the pan. Leave in the spring form pan to cool completely.


Carefully run a spatula around the edge of the cooled cake, this will help when you are ready to remove the ring, after glazing.


Glaze:
2 T butter
2T milk
1/2 c chopped semi-sweet chocolate (real chocolate chips work great)
1/2 c powder sugar

Heat butter, milk and chocolate until hot and chocolate begins to melt. Whisk until smooth, whisk in powder sugar, whisking until smooth. Return to burner on low and whisk until shiny. Pour over cake, and carefully rotate cake to "spread" to edges of the pan. Let cool.


 Run a thin knife around the edge of the glaze to separate from the pan. Set spring form pan on serving plate, carefully remove outer ring from around the cake.


Perfect as is, or serve with a whipped cream crown or vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will enjoy and use for yourself and your family. 

You can also sign up for Our Sunday Cafe posts by email, thank you for subscribing!



This post will be shared with:
full plate thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage


11

"Roasted" Bananas Banana Bread, Recipe rewind, because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Wednesday November 4, 2009. But it is better here......


My travels to the blogs of the world, have reveled a new take on banana bread. Banana bread is not new of course, banana bread is a routine offering on any blog. It seems every home has bananas that become banana bread worthy or ripe to the point that banana bread is the only option. I routinely have bananas that must be used, and have actually share that here. Through the years, I have worked the same recipe and changed it somewhat as whim dictates or ingredients were available and sometimes not available. Those favorite recipes are the best. You are completely at ease to change, modify and recreate.

When I first spotted the Roasted banana and Browned Butter bread on foodgawker, I took the side road to the blog and noticed the bananas were oven roasted in their skins. When it was time for me to bake, I did just that. These bananas were roasted at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. The house smelled wonderful, just like baking banana bread. I was happy, thinking that I had roasted banana in those skins ready to bake with.

When the bananas cooled enough to be handled, I snipped off the ends and let the bananas slide out into this keeper dish. Disappointment was immediate. The skins had roasted, the banana had not. The pan of roasted bananas makes a good photo opportunity, but you do not get roasted bananas.

Here is my banana bread recipe. It is slightly adapted from the banana bread recipe in The Wooden Spoon Bread Book, by Marilyn M Moore. This recipe has been made in my kitchen, many many times. You can tell, because the page has dried spots that have wrinkled into little hills and valleys, plus it has writing where I have reworked the ingredients to my liking.


The first step was to pan roast the bananas, I started by substituting butter for the oil. I let it melt and added the bananas.


The bananas browned gently while the butter turned a golden brown. It is simple, let one side brown, turn gently, brown and repeat until all sides are a deep golden brown. There is a lot of moisture in bananas, to brown will take a fair amount of time, the butter also browns in the process. 

"Roasted" banana bread

3 ripe bananas
1/2 c butter

2 eggs
1 t vanilla
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c milk + 2 T if needed

1 c whole wheat flour ( I prefer White Whole Wheat flour)
1 c unbleached all purpose flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda

1/2 c walnut pieces

Melt the butter in a large skillet, add sliced (or chunks) bananas. Saute until the bananas are soft and a deep golden brown. Remove pan from heat source and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Set aside. 

In a medium size bowl, add eggs and sugar. Beat well, add vanilla, the 1/2 c milk and banana mixture (use a silicone scraper to get all the banana goodness from the pan). Beat well.

Combine wet and dry ingredients. If the mixture seems too stiff, add the additional 2 T of milk to make it moist and easy to work with. Turn dough into prepared pan, top with walnut pieces.

Bake 350 degrees, 45 minutes or until tests done in your oven. Let cool in pan 15 minutes, turn out and let cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your time and your comments. 

key words:  roasted, bananas, quick bread
11
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