Tuesday, December 20, 2011

1-2-3 Cheese Cake

Very easy to make. Hardest part is letting it sit for 24 hours after making. Then not eating it all in one sitting (boy, you'd get sick!)

350 Degree Oven
9 to 10 inch spring form pan
I have also used this recipe and made a few small cheesecakes. I got some little spring forms. Sooo cute. People could have their own individual cake)
Cookie tray will go under the pan to catch any spills and helps be get the thing in and out and in and out (the cake goes in and out and in and out)

1. Crust
Graham crackers (honey and / or chocolate)
3/4 cup all crushed up. I use maybe two or three of the packages inside a box

Ground walnuts (if you want)
3/4 cup

Melted unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons or so. Not too much - but enough to stick the crumbs together.

Pat down the graham cracker nut crumbs at the bottom of the pan. Pour melted butter. Try to get it kinda smooth. Have it kinda form a barrier at the edge/seam of the pan all around the sides. Lick fingers.

2. Base
4 packages of 8 ozs of cream cheese blocks (I mix and match Philadelphia Brand and generic or whatever I find)
4 eggs (I think, by default, these are usually large - which is what I normally buy. Not mediums and not extra large)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice (the standard amount - but if you don't want it too lemony use less. if you want it more lemony an extra splash. I have experimented with adding orange extract splash. Couldn't tell at all.)
2  sloppy teaspoons of vanilla (that sloppy spill just adds that much more yumminess)

Cut the cream cheese into chunks that won't jam your Cuisinart. Using the setting that lets you go on and off in "pumps" - start creaming that cream cheese.  After adding the last of the cream cheese let the machine run to get it really broken up and heading towards smooth - it will want to start balling up so you add one egg at a time to get it going toward liquid.  Then add the sugar and let it whirl to get nice and smooth. As it is mixing pour in the lemon and the vanilla and let it continue to get all mixed up.  

I stop the machine and take the whole top off from time to time to scrap down the sides.  After I add the lemon and vanilla, I check to see what got splattered on the inside top and scrap and swirl a bit more.

I pour the base into the spring form (or divide it up into the littler spring forms) and put it in the oven for 50 to 55 minutes.  If I keep checking it, usually 55 minutes - if I am patient, 50 minutes is usually good enough. It will still be a bit jiggley but not too jiggley. I guess error on the side of less jiggley for the first time until you can tell - because, you know, you will be making this over and over again.

While the cake is in the oven - mix together
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

After the 50 to 55 minutes, take the cake out and let it just sit there for about 15 minutes.  It will settle down a bit and probably crack. But who cares?! You will be covering the top with the sourcreaminessgoodnessyummy.

Spread the sour cream mix on the top. Start in the middle and go close to but not exactly touching the edges of the pan.  It is n't the end of the world to get it to the edge - it just looks prettier when you take the sides off the spring form if the sour creamy yumminess hasn't gotten stuck.

Put the whole cake back into the oven for 5 minutes.

Let it cool down.
Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Top with cut up fruit  - I've done strawberries cut different ways. Blueberries and strawberries. I've done thin sliced lemons. I've done nuthin'.

I've topped with fruit and then took the edges of the pan off.
I've taken the edges off and then topped with fruit.

I don't know if it really matters.

The whole cake is pretty dang heavy.
And it gets even better on day 3 if you have any left.

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies (With Suzanne's alternations)

3/4 cup margarine  (Earth Balance Butter Flavored)
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (Dark Brown Sugar)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup soy milk (Almond Milk)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp cloves (Barely any at all – just a hint)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (Barely any at all – just a hint)
3 cups quick cooking or rolled oatmeal (2 cups quick and 1 cup rolled – about)
1 cup dried cranberries (Skipped)

Cream together the margarine and sugars until smooth. Add vanilla and soy milk and mix well.
Add flour, baking soda and spices until well mixed, then stir in oats and cranberries.

Spoon 1 1/2 inch balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet  (Sprinkle the top with just a smidge of Kosher Salt – I was accidentally too heavy handed on some!)
and bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until done.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Marilyn's Carrot Cake

Cake Ingredients

1 ¼ cups corn oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

4 eggs

4 cups grated carrots (about 1-lb bag)

I cup chopped pecans (optional)

1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Use either a 10” tube cake pan or two regular sized baking pans so that you already have two layers. Whisk together corn oil and sugar. Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift half the dry ingredients into the sugar-oil mixture and blend. Alternately sift in the rest of the dry ingredients while adding the eggs, one at a time. Combine well. Add the carrots, raisins, and pecans. Pour into the prepared pan (or pans) and bake for 70 minutes.

Cream cheese frosting

If you are making layers, use this in between.


8 oz soft unsalted butter

8 oz soft cream cheese

1 1-pound box of powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Cream the butter well. Add the cream cheese and beat until blended. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. If too soft to spread, chill a bit. Refrigerate if not using immediately, but bring to a spreadable temp before using.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yaki Onigiri - Grilled Rice Cake -

Use 1 cup of hot (or warm) cooked Japanese short grain rice per serving. Add the rice to a small bowl (like a cereal bowl) just big enough to hold it. Jiggle the bowl, moving it in a flat, circular motion, like the motion of a hula hoop, until the rice forms into a ball on its own—a neat kitchen trick Tadashi's mom taught him. This motion packs the rice so it holds together when it grills.

Wet your hands and place the ball of rice between your cupped palms. Now squeeze, flip, and turn the rice ball several times to form it into a triangular shape. This motion takes a little practice, but after a few yaki onigiri, you'll get the hang of it. Make sure not to compact the rice too tight; you want it to just stick together.

Grill yaki onigiri over medium heat. If the fire's too hot, the rice will burn. We like to place the yaki onigiri along the cooler edges of a grill while other foods cook in the hotter center. Watch the rice carefully while it grills; perfect yaki onigiri need constant attention.

Reprinted from The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat from the Splendid Table site: http://www.publicradio.org/columns/splendid-table/recipes/yaki_onigiri.html

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Rain Storm

It is humid and it is hot. No. It is really humid and it is really hot. The lightening is high up in the sky. It is the time of day – that twilight time – that makes it hard to tell if it is a darkening stormy sky or just night falling. But then the breeze comes – a hot breeze that smells like rain. It does. It smells like rain. Smell can tell you lots – is the ocean nearby? Is there something dead in the refrigerator that should have been thrown away two days ago? This the heavy smell of rain.

The dash board reads 93 degrees at 8:30 pm. That just isn’t right for July. Maybe August dog days but this is over the top for July.

I get out of the car and it is wall of thick air. Immediately sweat forms but it is hard to tell since the air is so humid there is no difference between my skin and the air. The breeze is changing. It is more gusts and a faint… what is that?... a coolness?

Unloading the groceries, just a few bag and still the sweat is dripping into my eyes and a drop even falls off my nose. I step into the air-conditioned house and immediately sweat even more. The cold air seems to tell my skin that it is okay to let it pour – it will absorb it into the drier cool air. But I just feel wet and sticky.

The high flashes in the sky are becoming brighter and the wind is picking up a steady whoosh with gusts that are much stronger. And big drops begin to pelt the car windshield. Big black dots drop on the back yard slate. The leaves blow and drop as the wind and rain bounce them here and there.

Quickly fixing a super: rinsed Boston lettuce leaves, chop off some dark meat of the freshly purchased rotisserie chicken, some thinly sliced Vidalia onion, a quarter of an avocado. Salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, drizzle of olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice. And to the porch I go.

The rain is pouring but not down. It is blowing hard against the side of the house. Rain sprays with wind gusts into my face. I rethink the position my chair so my salad isn’t moistened by the spray and I can stay relatively dry yet see the sky.

The tops of the trees are dancing now. The sky flashes with strong bright lightning. No clear lightning bolts and I can easily count to 10 before hearing a rumble of thunder. Gusts make the weather station on top of the garage spin madly then settle down to a twirl - then a blur then a twirl. The lower branches of the trees sway and the tops dip and dive. The rolling thunder comes between 4 and 7 in my counting and the rain is coming whipping this way and that. The rushing sounds fill everywhere. You hear nothing else but the leaves rustling and shuttering and the branches reaching and dancing and the rain pelting the roof of the porch, the car, the windows. The smell is wet and heavy. The cat has fled to the basement.

Flash and boom are only a count of 1 away as the far trees show their flexibility to an extreme. The tops whipping about. The leaves look almost turned inside out if that were possible. Echo sounds of thunder make it harder to tell where it originated. That way? Or This way? Flash of light and I count. But then another flash then a rumble then rumble and the echo. Was that the rumble from the first lightening? Where is the thunder from that second flash?

I’m not driving. I’m not peering intently through a windshield that is being beaten by the windshield wipers set to the highest speed still doing no good. I’m not seeking an underpass to hide with other cars caught on the interstate. I’m not worried about the motorcyclist that I’ve seen so many times enjoying the summer.

I’m not carrying groceries in from the car dodging rain drops trying not to step in puddles or have the bag give way under the weight and wetness. I’m not walking to the metro under a mini umbrella that is easy to carry but useless in a rain storm. Or even a larger umbrella that can be walking stick on clear days and just turns inside out against gust of winds half the strength of this rain.

I’m not waiting on an airplane pulled off the side of the tarmac waiting for the signal that all is clear. Listening to the rain against the little plastic windows, squeezed in the middle seat, thumbing through the skyways mall magazine that has been thumbed by too many people that the pages seem to have thinned and gotten a bit oily.

I’m on my porch. The cat is in the basement waiting for the sounds to stop; for the intense rain smell to past. My salad is gone and the wind is dying down. The weather station is slowing to a constant spin. The tops of the trees sway, almost gently with a gusty breezy sounds. The rain has slowed. All the sounds have mellowed to where I can now hear the rain running down the gutters.

Rain splashes some but eases up. The cat has come to check to see if all is better. The lower branches of the far trees no longer move. The tops just dance. The leaves wave goodbye. A gust of wind travels from the neighbors to me to beyond. Dripping of the gutters is steady but is not longer running water down to the drive and out to the street.

It becomes silent except for the dripping.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What I use to do...

Our club is going to have a meeting and we have to let everyone know when and where. The phone tree is the best way to get the word out. Three officers of the club divide the membership list into thirds and go home.

After a quick snack of Charlie's Chips Potato Chips (I like to dip them in a bit of ketchup) and a Tab, I pull out my third of the list and begin.

The phone is on the wall in the kitchen but the curly handset cord reaches to the kitchen table. I dial Francie's house first and sit down at the table to play with the chips in the ketchup trying not to have my mouth full when the phone gets answered.

"Smith residence."
"Hi Mrs. Smith. This is Suzanne. Can I talk to Francie?"
"Sure. Just a sec." And I hear the hand set bang down and Mrs. Smith yelling in the distance: "FraaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnCIEeeeeeeeeeeeee. Phone. It is Suzanne. Be quick because I need the phone."

"Hi Suzanne."
"Hi Francie. Hey, we are going to meet at Wendy's house next Thursday at 7. Think you can make it?"
"Sure. Who do you want me to call?"
"Great! Can you call Janet, Betsy, Linda and Lisa?"
"Sure. I'll ask mom if we can bring something. Probably cokes."
"That would be a great help. Talk to you later."
"Okay. Talk to you later."

So we use to have one phone in the house that was tethered to the wall. You couldn't walk around the house chit chatting. And you didn't call someone personal phone, but the phone that rang at the house for the entire house hold. This is now sometimes referred to as a "land line".

There was no texting. Nor instant messaging to tell people what is going on. No evites or Facebook event. The phone tree was the best way to make sure everyone got a message and you got to share the burden on reaching an entire group by passing the calling along.

You actually DIALed the phone with a round disc that you used. Holes around the dial for each number and you rotated it and let go - waiting for the dial to spring back before the next number. I loved dialing. I thought it was really neat how some people used a pencil so their nails didn't get chipped. But I really never did that. I liked just pulling the dial around and letting go. It was great when there were zeros! They took the longest to pull and wait for the return. The sound is still in my ear memory.

Where I grew up "coke" was the same as "kleenex" or "q-tip". The brand was the name of the soda no matter what the real drink was. "You want a coke?" "Sure. I'll take a Sprite." or "You have any coke?" "Yes, Root Beer, Coke, and Kick". Kick was in a green bottle with a mule kicking his back legs in the air.

What was really fun was the delivery of potato chips to the house. Yes, potato chips in a cool tin can was brought to the house by a Charlies' Chip delivery guy. I'm sure others roll their eyes a bit when they hear the older folk talk about milk and eggs being delivered. And those returning to the freshness of having milk and eggs delivered now. But I haven't seen a resurgence of the potato chip man.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chocolate Cake in a mug - Microwave!

2 tablespoon of Self-raising flour
2 tablespoon of castor sugar
1 tablespoon of dark cocoa
1 tablespoon of instant coffee
1 egg
1 table spoon of milk
1 table spoon of sunflower oil
If you want to, you can add chocolate chips.

You can replace self-rising flour: regular flour with some baking powder. 3 tsp. of baking powder for every 8 oz. of regular flour. Recommended in this case, considering that 2 tbsp. = 1 oz., you're going to need 2 tbsp. of regular flour and 3/8 tsp. of baking powder.

For castor sugar, you can use regular granulated sugar and run it through the food processor or try confectionery sugar.

For sunflower oil could substitute canola oil (not sure about olive oil) more of the "flavorless" oils.

Prepare the cake in a mug :

1. Get a mug, wide but not too tall.
2. Put the self-rising flour (or regular flour and baking powder), sugar, cocoa and coffee powder into the mug and mix it thoroughly. Fork better than a spoon.
3. Add the eggs in and mix it all together with a fork.
4. Add in oil and milk and mix it all very well.
5. Add in some chocolate chips. (I replaced this with a regular, plain chocolate bar and it worked pretty much the same way.)
6. Place in the microwave on full power for 2½ minutes.
7. Leave to cool for one minute or you'll burn the roof of your mouth.

Adapted from Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6165944