Sunday, May 10, 2009

Perfect Angel Biscuits

My perfect angel, on a beautiful spring day, in a sweater set hand knit by her grandmother. Fortunately she wasn't old enough to know that I was still learning to cook. The were times when our dinner was quite literally not edible. It is funny now, but back then we were hungry and did not have the money to spare for a meal out! This is a recipe that requires ingredients usually on hand.

Recipe: Angel Biscuits

1 cake compressed yeast, or 1 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons lukewarm water (warmer for dry yeast)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup butter
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400º F. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender. Add the buttermilk and yeast mixture and stir until soft dough forms. Turn unto a floured board and knead a minute or two. (No rising is required.) Roll out to desired thickness (about 1/2-inch) and cut into rounds. Brush with melted butter and bake on a baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Apple Cobbler

If I could have wheat, this is one of the first recipes I would make. It is warm and homey and delicious. I used it as a coffee cake, but it is a dessert. Our garden is starting to bloom in profusion.

Recipe: Apple Cobbler

5 cups thinly (not paper-thin) sliced, peeled tart apples, such as Cortland, Granny Smith, Jonathan or Rome Beauty
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander or cinnamon
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
Heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325º F. Spread the sliced apples in a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the apples with 1/2 cup nuts, 1/4 cup sugar and the spice. 

In a medium bowl stir together the flour , 1/2 cup sugar and baking powder. In a small bowl, combine the egg, evaporated milk and melted butter. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients until smooth and pour evenly over the apples. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick or table knife inserted in center of cobbler comes out clean. Serve the cobbler warm, topped with lightly whipped cream (or, without).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Homemade Pound Cake

This is a recipe I requested from a friend in the early 1980's. It is still a great pound cake, the perfect foundation for fresh berries!

Recipe: Homemade Pound Cake

1-1/2 cups butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3-1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Do not preheat oven. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one (do not be tempted into dumping them all in at once). Add the flour and salt alternately with the milk and blend well. Gently fold in the lemon juice. Pour batter into a greased and floured tube pan (plain or decorative) and place in cold oven. Bake 1 hour and 45 minutes at 325º F. Do not open oven during baking. When done, cool cake in pan a few minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once inverted, I turn my cake right-side up.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cheese Cake with Sour Cream Topping

This cheese cake makes it mark with a surprise topping.

I feel so provincial today. I actually looked provincial up in the dictionary before using it - that is just how provincial I am! "We're going to buy edible flowers at the Farmers' Market this morning, then out to friends for tea this afternoon, and then maybe we can do a video chat tonight," - a message from my daughter on my cell phone. I have eaten edible flowers, but I have never been for "tea."

Recipe: Cheese Cake with Sour Cream Topping

1-2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons melted butter

Mix the crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter in a medium bowl; press the mixture in the bottom and 3/4 inches up the side of a greased 9- or 9-1/2-inch spring form pan.

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
4 well beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy; mix in the eggs and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the pan lined with graham cracker crumbs and bake in preheated 350º F. oven for 50 minutes.

1 pint sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Stir together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla and spread carefully over the baked cheese cake. Bake at 500º F. for 5 minutes or less. Cool on wire rack; remove side of pan and refrigerate to chill before serving.