Have Pound Cake, Will Travel!

My dilemma the other day was this: How do I bring a dessert to a big outdoor barbecue… while riding 60 miles on the back of a motorcycle? Not a normal dilemma. People who don’t know me well would say, “You don’t ” or “You can’t.” The rest of you are saying, “How did you do it, Grammy?”

Well, I haven’t done it yet. The party is tomorrow. But I have baked a luscious lemon pound cake and I’m working on the citrus penetrating glaze. When that sets up, I will put on a white glaze to make it all pretty. Then it goes in the freezer. The frozen cake will thaw perfectly in my cake carrier, safely nestled in the tour pack of the motorcycle.

My thinking was a nice solid pound cake would be the least likely dessert to suffer damage on such a trip. As tomorrow will be a very hot day, the freeze-ability of this cake will help it survive the trip. Lastly, the wonderful citrusy flavor will be welcome in the heat. I will let you know how it goes!

But this is a great cake for any Summer party, the bright, refreshing citrus flavors bursting from every bite. So let’s bake a cake!

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream 1 stick softened butter with 1/2 stick shortening til light and fluffy. Add 2C sugar and beat well. Beat in 6 eggs, 1 at a time, blending well after each. Beat in 1t vanilla extract and 1t lemon extract. In a separate bowl, combine 3C flour, 1t baking powder, and 1/2t salt. Add this to the egg mixture in increments, alternating with 1C buttermilk. Beat well after each addition, end with flour.

Pour batter in a greased and floured bundt pan and bake at 350 F for about an hour, til done. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, and turn out of pan onto rack. Cool 10 more minutes.

Poke warm cake all over top with a long skewer. Make a thin citrus glaze with: 1-1/2C powdered sugar, 3T orange juice, 3T lemon juice, 1-1/2t orange zest, and 1-1/2t lemon zest. Whisk together. Gradually spoon glaze over cake, allowing to soak in and set.

Once set, make a thick white glaze using 1C powdered sugar, 2T cream, and 1t vanilla extract. Whisk well and drizzle over cake. Set in freezer for 20 minutes, then cover tightly with plastic. Return to freezer.

Once frozen, this cake is ready to travel on a hot day. If you aren’t traveling, you can just refrigerate it.

Well, I’ve done all these steps but take it traveling. I will be sure to let you know how it goes!

Love, Grammy ❤

Sandwich Bread… In Your Bread Machine!

Good evening! I’m going to apologize in advance because I know a lot of people don’t have a bread machine. I use mine a lot. I make dough in it frequently, which you take out before baking and shape my loaves or rolls, do the second rising, and bake in the oven. Today I just needed to make a quick loaf for sandwiches, so the machine does all the work. Also, the price of bread machines is low right now. So I recommend that be your next kitchen gadget. Mine is a 2lb loaf Sunbeam, and I just love it.

One of the funny things about the bread machine, and the recipes you find for it, is the “recommended order of ingredients.” Each machine is a bit different, but I have always been very careful to follow the order for my machine. My results for fully baked machine loaves had been kind of hit or miss.

Now, I never have a problem changing what ingredients I put in there, but I have never fooled with the order. Until today. I guess it is just my OCD telling me to follow it exactly, but this time I threw caution to the wind and changed the order! Whew!

My machine calls for keeping the yeast separate from any wet ingredients by making a little well in the flour at the top and pouring the yeast packet in there. But many regular bread recipes have you put the warm water, any sugar, and the yeast together first and let it dissolve and foam for about 10 minutes. So I did! Then I added the rest, topping it off with the flour and salt.

It was perfect! Beautifully shaped, risen, and browned, light and perfectly textured, and … oh yes. Dee-damn-lish! I will never follow the recommended order again, at least not for a baked loaf of sandwich bread.

So, let me convince you to jump to Amazon right now and order yourself a Sunbeam Bread Machine!

Pour 1C warm water in the pan. Add 2T granulated sugar and then sprinkle 1 pkg active rapid rise yeast over the surface. Let it dissolve and get all foamy for about 10 minutes. Pour in 1/4C vegetable oil, 3C bread flour, and 1t salt over the yeast. That’s it! Put the pan in the machine, select Basic White Bread, hit start, and Boom! You’re off! In 3 hours, without any more work on your part, you will have a perfect loaf of bread. Great for toast, sandwiches, or to serve up with dinner, and that homemade quality and taste you just can’t get any other way!

I can’t recommend getting a bread machine enough. I’ve owned a few over the years, and the Sunbeam is my favorite. Once your bread and rolls all become homemade, you won’t know how you lived without one. For those of you who have one, well, you know what I mean!

Happy Sandwiches!

Love, Grammy ❤

Let’s Talk Appetizers For Company: Crab Hush Puppies!

When I first moved south to North Carolina from Massachusetts, I had a lot of adjusting to do. I remember being offered Hush Puppies in a restaurant. I thought Hush Puppies were shoes… I never heard of the kind you eat.

Flash forward 32 years and I am officially a Southerner who was born in the North! As for Hush Puppies, I used to consider them a delicious excess of calories. But by adding a protein like crabmeat, I don’t feel nearly as guilty! Besides, this recipe makes for an awesome appetizer for your family or for company. A satisfying crunch outside and a tender, moist, flavorful inside make these a hit for any gathering. This recipe makes about five dozen Hush Puppies. That may sound like a lot, but wait til you see how fast they disappear!

Grab a 1 lb container fresh crabmeat by the seafood section of your grocery store. Dump it in a colander and pick it over for any bits of shell.

Now, mix 1C self rising flour with 2C self rising cornmeal mix. Add 1 small bunch scallions, finely sliced. Add 1/2t salt, 1/2t cayenne pepper, 2 eggs, and 1-1/2C beer. Stir til just moistened. Fold in crabmeat.

Let the batter stand while you prepare to fry. You can use a few inches of oil in a large pot or Dutch oven, or a fryer of oil if you have one.

Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into hot oil (about 350 to 375 F) without crowding, and fry about 90 seconds each side. Drain on paper towels. You can line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in a 200 F oven, laying cooked Hush Puppies on it in a single layer to keep warm. I didn’t need this the last time I made these because they were eaten as fast as I could fry them!

For a delicious dipping sauce, pour a couple of jars red pepper jelly into a saucepan and melt it. Pour into small bowls for dipping. It’s not too hot or spicy, but does give these lovely crab balls some zip!

So to all my Northern family and friends, there is so much more to the Hush Puppies than shoes! Try this appetizer at your next gathering! You won’t believe how fast they disappear!

Love, Grammy ❤

A Different Cook-Out Dessert…. Pineapple Upside Down Cake!

We had a small cook-out last night with friends. My red potato salad was a big hit, by the way! I was trying to come up with something different from the usual cook-out desserts like jello, pound cake and fruit, etc., and I thought of Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Served still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream…. yum! Well, it was perfect after the hotdogs, hamburgers, and potato salad with after dinner coffee. Even the kids loved it. Truly a great summer dessert!

Set 12T butter on the counter to soften. Open a can of pineapple rings in juice and drain well, discarding the juice. Lay seven rings on paper towels to drain completely. Take 7 nice plump Maraschino cherries out of a jar, pull stem if present, and set on paper towel with pineapple to drain.

Now…. melt 6T of the butter and pour into a 10 inch cake pan. Sprinkle 1/2C each light and dark brown sugar over butter. Lay pineapple rings in a single layer (6 around, 1 in the center) and set a Maraschino cherry in the center of each ring. Set aside.

Now for the batter: Sift together 1-1/2C flour, 1t baking powder, and 1/2t salt, and set aside. Beat remaining 6T butter with 1-1/2C white sugar until light and fluffy. While it is beating, whisk 4 eggs, 2 additional egg yolks, and 2t vanilla in a separate bowl. Turn mixer down to low and add flour mixture and egg mixture to butter mixture in alternating increments, scraping down sides of bowl to get everything thoroughly combined. Pour and gently spread batter over pineapple and cherries.

Bake in a 325 F oven for 60 – 70 minutes, til a cake tester comes out clean and top is nicely browned. Cool in pan on a rack for ten minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen cake from pan. Turn upside down onto a plate. Boom! A noteworthy dessert to serve with ice cream to your cook-out company! Of course, this remains a delightful dessert for any meal, any time!

Enjoy this wonderful cake, and happy summer cooking!

Love, Grammy ❤

Summertime Cook-Outs: Grammy’s Red Potato Salad!

Here is a recipe I get asked to make all the time. Even people who don’t like potato salad like this one. This is great for your own cook-out, or to bring along to someone else’s. Remember, you must keep such foods cold to prevent spoilage and illness. I usually put the bowl inside a larger bowl full of ice.

Start with a 5lb bag of red potatoes. Wash them and cut them in half, larger ones in quarters. Put them in a large pan and cover by 2 inches with cold water. Add 1t salt. Cover. Bring to the boil on high, then turn down to medium and gently boil 15 or so minutes til soft but not mushy. Drain. Spread potatoes out on a baking sheet to dry and cool completely. Don’t worry if the skins are sloughing some. You are gonna throw it all in the bowl.

Wash and finely slice 1 bunch celery and 2 bunches scallions. Put all that in a large bowl. Cube your cooked, cooled potatoes and add them all to the bowl, even stray bits of potato and skin. Use a large rubber spatula to gently combine everything.

In a 2 cup measure, put 1-1/2C mayonnaise, 1t black pepper, and 2-3t celery salt. This is to your taste. My husband likes the full 3 teaspoons. Mix it well. Pour over the potato mixture in the bowl and thoroughly fold in the dressing. Taste it and adjust mayo and seasoning to taste. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours so it is good and cold, and the flavors blended.

My boys like it decorated with hard boiled egg wedges. My Dad liked it decorated with thin rings sliced from bell peppers. Whatever you like.

That’s it! And I’m telling you, I get asked to make it All. The. Time. But that’s fine because it’s easy to do and a sure crowd pleaser. Try some of Grammy’s Red Potato Salad at your next summer gathering. Nothing says “I love you” like the homemade stuff does!

Happy Summer Cook-Outs!

Love, Grammy ❤

Red, White, and Blue 4th of July Dessert!

It is very important to have a special dessert for your 4th of July celebration. The 4th does not just mean the freedom of the colonies. It means the freedom we enjoy every day, and remembering how high the cost for our freedom is. Whenever you see a member of the Armed Services, thank them for their service. I say it now to any who may be reading my humble little blog: Thank you.

That said, this is one important dessert. No ready made stuff. No fake whipped cream. Just good old fashioned, honest fine ingredients to commemorate this occasion.

We are going to make a red, white, and blue trifle. A simple, delicious dessert everyone will enjoy. You don’t need a special dish… if you have a trifle bowl, great! If not, a clear glass salad bowl works too.

First we are going to bake a pound cake. Pound cake got it’s name from the recipe… a pound of each main ingredient. We are a bit more precise today. About 2 hours before making the pound cake, set out 2 sticks of butter and 4 eggs to come to room temperature. Then, into a medium bowl sift 1-1/2C flour, 1t baking powder, and 1/2t salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter til light and fluffy. Add 1C sugar and beat well. Add eggs 1 at a time and beat well after each. Beat in 2t vanilla extract. In alternating increments and beating well after each, add in the dry ingredients and 1/4C fresh lemon juice.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9″ loaf pan with cooking spray and line bottom with parchment paper and spray again. Pour batter into pan and bake 65 to 75 minutes. Center will be raised and only a few crumbs come out on cake tester. Set on wire rack to cool 10 – 15 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife and turn out onto rack. Peel off parchment paper and allow to cool completely.

To get your fruit ready, wash, hull and slice 4 pints strawberries. Add 1/4C sugar and stir to coat. Wash and pick over 2 pints blueberries. Cover both bowls and put in the fridge.

Now the totally cooled pound cake can be cut with a sharp knife into 1 inch cubes. Cover and set aside.

When you are just about ready to serve it, pour 2C very cold heavy whipping cream into a bowl. Add 1/4C sugar (confectioners or granulated) and 1t vanilla. Beat on medium high speed til peaks form and it holds it’s shape.

Grab your glass bowl and cover the bottom with cake cubes. Spread on a layer of whipped cream, followed by strawberries, blueberries, and more whipped cream. Repeat layers starting with cake cubes again. Keep repeating layers until you run out of room, or run out of stuff! Serve immediately!

I included this recipe kind of early because stores run out of strawberries and blueberries this time of year. Popular as they are in patriotic desserts! You can buy frozen, or just get yours fresh a few days early.

Get your red, white, and blue on! And if you enjoy your freedoms, thank a service person or veteran.

Love, Grammy ❤

Update On Father’s Day Versatile Chicken!

Ok my friends! Followed the same recipe as before, but for the step of adding the sauce. I used Costco’s Pineapple Habanero Sauce generously brushed on the chicken pieces before that 5 or so minutes under the broiler until the surface of the chicken is nicely browned and the edges are beginning to char a bit. I put the chicken on a platter, the rice in a bowl, and the green beans in another bowl. I had also made a loaf of Italian bread earlier and it was ready to go.

This was honestly one of the best meals ever, and nothing was left but a few grains of rice! My son Joe & I made chocolate chip cookies this afternoon, so that was the perfect dessert with our coffee.

Even I use the convenience of a ready made sauce sometimes, with, as in this case, excellent results. The chicken was perfect, as were the rice and green beans.

So, enjoy this wonderful, comforting dinner. So easy! So delicious! Your family and treasured guests will enjoy every last bite!

Love, Grammy ❤