Last week, Paul and I along with a couple our kids went down to the city (OKC) for dinner and movie night. We chose Kitchen 423 for our supper and they did not disappoint. I ordered Field Bean Soup and the Harvest Market which was made up of three of their signature side dishes. I enjoyed Crispy Cauliflower with Smoked Cheddar Fondue, Roasted Beet Salad, and Roasted Sweet Potato with Bacon, Goat Cheese, and Burnt Honey. All I can say is yum. We finished with Buttermilk Pie. It was so good I made it again at home for a gathering of friends. It is one of the easiest pies you can make. Five minutes to oven. Creamy and sweet, it has a little crust on top that reminds you a little of Crème Brulee. Serve with a little whipped cream for additional goodness.
• 3 eggs
• 1 ½ cup sugar
• ½ cup butter melted and cooled
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 cup of buttermilk
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 tablespoon lemon zest
• Pinch of salt
• 1 9-inch deep-dish pie crust, unbaked
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Melt butter and cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar.
4. Whisk in flour, buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla, lemon zest, ground nutmeg, and salt.
5. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 40-45 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in refrigerator.
Cut my pie into four pieces. I don’t think I could eat eight.
My daughter called today and requested a recipe this morning. “You know, that yummy cake you used to bake when I was little.” This one was a family favorite for sure. It’s from an old cookbook, The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, that still resides on my bookshelf. It is without a cover, well used (especially the page with the applesauce cake), and reminds me of days gone-by. It was fun to pull it out and reminisce a bit.
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Mix oil and sugar well.
2. Add applesauce and remaining ingredients. Beat until smooth.
3. Pour into 8-inch baking pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
This cake is even better the next day so you might want to get started. Yumminess awaits. Enjoy!
“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.” Joseph B. Wirthlin
Baking has erupted in my kitchen. The fragrance of butter and cinnamon announce that feast day is almost upon us and it’s gonna be good.
I love when I am cooking up something yummy for my friends and family. There is a certain satisfaction in it all. In years past, I have baked dozens of cookies to share with my husband’s co-workers. They were not just any cookie. They were one of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted and have become my go-to when a gift of food is called for. I have had people casually mention that Christmas was coming as a reminder they hoped so were the cookies.
Our tradition for many years was to bake and package, then gather my grandkids to make a delivery run. At first, they felt a little awkward greeting people they did not know. But once they received a gracious thank you from the recipients, they began to get the idea of what sharing the holiday cheer was all about. In a small way, they were learning the gift of hospitality and the joys of its actions.
Today, all I need is the smell of the kitchen on days when I bake thumbprint cookies to remind me of those good times. Such great memories surround the making and sharing of food. I hope your celebrations make some great ones to store up and cherish.
Here is that very yummy cookie recipe from Ina Garten. I’m sure they would be happy to join your Christmas feast. Enjoy your holiday!
Jam Thumbprint Cookies
¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature [I use salted.]
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water, for egg wash
I love this time a year. The weather is very fickle. Hot one day, cool the next. Here in So Cal we long for New England color but our trees will not turn until sometime in December. Sweaters and boots come out as we are teased that autumn is finally here. But the very next day, it is summer again with temps into the 100s.
But it is not the weather that makes me long for this time of year, although I do enjoy the cooler days (when we get them). It is the pumpkin. Or maybe I should say, it is the pumpkin spice that I desire. That luscious smell of cinnamon and cloves with a hint of ginger that we identify with being thankful and family celebrations can be found in various forms almost everywhere.
I have to admit the scent of Pumpkin Spice makes me feel cozy. I want to spend time with friends chatting. I want to slow down and enjoy life. It’s crazy how a little whiff of its sweetness can bring on the desire of simplicity, but it does.
This past week, I made our first pumpkin dessert of the season. I stirred up a dump cake and boy-oh-boy, the kitchen, well. . .the whole house for that matter, smelled delicious. I served it to a group of friends who were happy to be in on the yumminess. Needless to say, it was a hit. I hope it had the same effect on them as it did on me, storing up yet another cozy memory of friends, standing around the kitchen eating, and enjoying life.
In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have found myself hosting impromptu gatherings on Sunday afternoon. Good thing the house was somewhat orderly. All that was needed was a quick swipe in the bathroom and a bit of vacuuming to make ready for company. I’m so glad they came. What followed in the form of encouragement and blessing far outweighed the momentary inconvenience of its short notice.
We have long passed the days when people simply stopped by on a Sunday afternoon. I can remember as a child it was a very pleasant happening when someone came to call. There was no special fanfare needed. A pot of coffee was brewed and conversation was enjoyed. It was just simple and easy and extraordinary all at the same time. We found our lives elevated by the presence of guests.
Perhaps this is a custom that should return—this Sunday afternoon visiting. It’s not hard. There is no need to consult Pinterest to create perfect environment or food offering. A kitchen table with tea and cookies are quite enough for this event that pushes companionship to the forefront. The benefits of such a practice? They can be measured in ah factor of an afternoon made wonderful because friends stopped by.
Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.
Along in the afternoon, my thoughts turn to a cup of tea and a little something sweet. It is certainly a very nice respite for a busy day. While visiting Germany, I found this to be the common practice. Whether we were out and about or happened by a friend’s house (Yes, people actually do that there.), coffee or tea was brewed and a cookie was offered without fail. And it was all enjoyed while sitting and visiting.
In our grab and go culture we miss this simple pleasure of refreshment around some small talk. If we actually took time to sit and enjoy each other’s company, we might find our lives a little less hectic and a little more meaningful. You see, the refreshment does not come from the snack like we think. You’ve seen in the old movies when they ask, “Would you take some refreshment?” Food was certainly was offered but I believe it was far more than that. Refreshment comes not from the eating of treats rather the time spent in sweet fellowship. And time is a key component to making it all work. Friendship is not fast food. It a sit down occasion to be savored.
Life is better shared with friends. It’s just a fact. So take a break from the hectic and find refreshment.
“To be with old friends is very warm and comforting.”
~ Ian Ziering
My daughter gifted me Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks Food: From My Frontier cookbook a few years back. I have used many of the recipes and all of them have been pretty delicious. It is my go-to reference when I want to take something to a potluck or share with a friend. The following is a cookie recipe I used recently for a Bridal Shower. I think they would also be the perfect thing to serve your friends while you sip tea and invest time in each other.
2 Tablespoons Orange, Lemon, And/or Lime Juice (2 Tablespoons Total)
3 cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons Whole Milk
2 Tablespoons Orange, Lemon, And Lime Zest
Juice Of 1/2 Lime
Juice Of 1/2 Lemon
Dash Of Salt
Extra Zest, For Decorating
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar until combined. Add egg yolks and mix until combined (set whites aside for the icing.) Add the zest and the flour and mix until just combined, then add juice and mix until combined.
Scoop out heaping teaspoons of dough, then roll them into balls between your hands. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep on the cookie sheet for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the pan with a spatula and allow to cool completely before icing.
To make the icing, combine 1 egg white with the rest of the icing ingredients. Whisk thoroughly until combined, adding either more powdered sugar or more juice until it reaches a pourable but still thick consistency.
Drizzle the icing across the cookies in several lines, then do it again in the other direction. Sprinkle with extra zest before the icing sets.
*Check out her site for beautiful pictures of the step-by-step instructions.
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I am known for my cakes. If there is a gathering, it can be heard, “Let Patty bring the cake!” In fact when my youngest daughter married a few years back, it was voted that we have a cake bar because no one could decide which cake to offer, so we offered a variety. This just caused a frenzy among friends. Now, what to choose?! “Choose them all,” I say. Life’s too short to pass on the sweet parts.
Isn’t that what cakes represent–the sweet moments of relationship? Be it a wedding, a birthday, or a new baby, cakes seem to be involved. Cake shows up to funeral dinners to comfort and at doorsteps of a sick neighbors to encourage. Cake brings community together, not for the sake of cake, but for the pleasure of doing life side-by-side in good times or bad. That is the icing of life–the sweet fellowship of friends.
This is one of my most requested cake frostings. I first discovered it in Better Homes and Gardens years ago. It is called a Candy Bar Cake. It had a homemade cake to go with it but I quickly ditched it for a boxed mix. The frosting is the star anyway. The original recipe called for chopped candy bars to be sprinkled on the top. On occasion, we still include them but it takes it to an extreme level of richness. I use this recipe on yellow or carrot cake but please do try it on your favorite and let me know how you like it. This is my version. It is slightly different from the original.
Browned Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter
8 ounces cream cheese
2 pounds powered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Melt butter over medium low heat. Continue to cook, keep a close watch, until butter becomes golden in color. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
In mixer, beat cream cheese until creamy.
Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
Pour in melted butter. Beat until smooth.
Continue mixing, adding powered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beating briefly after each addition. Add a little milk to keep frosting at a mixable consistency.
Add vanilla beating until incorporated.
Get in on the cake before you eat it all with a spoon.
Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration,
ends with something sweet, a cake and people remember.
It’s all about the memories.
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