Monday, March 28, 2011

Spice Cake and a Fryer

No, we didn't have fried spice cake. And yes, I did briefly consider it. The spice cake was practice for Darcy's graduation. I'd never made it before and I didn't think Darcy's party would be the right time to try a brand new (old) recipe. The recipe is another of my great grandma's recipe. Like most of her recipes, it is very simple and has delicate flavors. The first part of the recipe says to boil the sugar, lard (or other shortening), water, cinnamon, cloves and salt. I was a little concerned because I chose to Crisco in place of the lard. The Crisco wasn't melting as fast as I thought it should. But it did eventually melt and the mixture boiled quite nicely. After it boils, you're supposed to let it cool. I left it alone for a good 5 minutes and then transfered it to a different container hoping to speed up the process. I left it alone for other 20 minutes. I was too anxious to wait for it to completely cool so I figured that was good enough. The second half of the recipe is flour, soda, baking soda and eggs. Mix the two components together and bake for 30 minutes and you'll have the most glorious, delicate-tasting spice cake ever. Yes, ever.

I frosted the spice cake with a cream cheese frosting. The frosting contains sour cream, NOT lemon juice like I previously wrote. The frosting is great. It doesn't have an overly sweet taste to it. The cream cheese flavr is definitely present but in a very savory, non-sugary way.

The second part of the title: Steve bought a mini fryer last night.
Now we can make fries and not have grease splattered all over the stove. We also have temperature control and a little fryer basket. We will NOT be picking up applications to McDonald's any time soon, though. Last night we had oven-baked chicken strips and crispy homemade fries. It was delicious.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Graduation Party Cakes

I had mentioned previously that I'm making the cakes for my little sister's graduation party. She wanted marble cake. I gave it my best shot but it is not something I can make. It turns out dry every time I make it. I've tried recipes and cake mixes. It's just something I can't make. I will be making a white cake, yellow cake, chocolate cake and a spice cake for Darcy's graduation. Darcy wasn't too sure about the spice cake but my mom and grandma both voted it in. Grandma will also be making a carrot cake. The frosting will be the fun part. The white cake will have chocolate or white... we haven't decided yet. The yellow cake will have chocolate because that's how my aunt always made it for her kids' birthday parties. (There's 8 of them so I ate it this way a lot. Trust me, it's yummy.) The chocolate cake will have butterfinger frosting! I had made this one for a church function and it was yummy! I made my aunt Patti's white frosting recipe and added crushed butterfingers. It's delicious! The spice cake and carrot cake will have cream cheese frosting. My mom has a great cream cheese frosting recipe. Mom adds lemon juice (I think) to balance the sweetness of the cream cheese. The frosting is still sweet but not so cloyingly sweet. It's delicious but I can't find the recipe so I'll have to get it from Mom. Last weekend I went through my Great Grandma's recipe box to find recipes for the cakes. I already have a recipe for the yellow cake and the chocolate cake (Texas sheet cake... now you're definitely coming to her party, right?). I have recipes for white cake but I always like to try new ones. Grandma had given me a recipe for spice cake when I was at her house last fall. I still haven't tried it! I think I'll make it this weekend.
I talked to a few coworkers and they are willing to be my taste-testers while I practice. Get ready world, I'm baking!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Food Network is my Crack

It's true. Food Network on Saturday mornings is my crack. I love watching their cooking shows. There are a few that I don't care for (Hey Neeleys, get it on before you tape your show... I don't enjoy being part of your foreplay!). I love Guy Fieri (Guy's Big Bite), Anne Burrell (Secrets of a Restaurant Chef), Rachael Ray (30 Minute Meals and Week in a Day), Sunny Anderson (Cooking for Real) and many others.
Guy Fieri is coming to Sioux City in May to do a live cooking show at the Orpheum. I'm so there! Even if I have to go by myself, I'm there. I'm just praying the tickets will not cost an arm and a leg. He's one of my absolute favorites on the Food Network. He's a little goofy but his goofiness adds a nice twist to his cooking show. And his food always looks good. (If I could hire him to be my personal chef, I would.) Steve and I love his show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (Triple D) and even went to one of the dives he reviewed on our honeymoon. The dive was called the Wienery and truth be told, we probably would not have eaten there if it wasn't for Triple D. We were so glad we did! The food was excellent and it was super cheap! We got all of this:
for less than $11. We gave the guy a tip since the food was so cheap. I was smart and took a picture of the menu so we could recreate the hot dogs at home. I do wish we had the Vienna Beef hot dogs like the restaurant does. They were really yummy! If you want to learn more about the Wienery, check out their website at:

One of the other chefs I love on the food network is Anne Burrell of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. She's a little kooky which is always a great thing in my book. Let your weirdo/freak flag fly, people! Today I was watching her show and she was making a stuffed pork loin. This caught my eye. We were supposed to have pork loin last week but it didn't get made. I put it back on our upcoming menu so this episode is perfect timing. The meal was stuffed pork loin, mashed rutabagas and maple cream cheese pots de creme. Wow. The meal sounds delicious (except for the mashed rutabagas). I put down my knitting and watched the show intently. I'm pretty sure I can make the pork loin and the pots de creme. I printed the recipes off Each recipe is listed as intermediate... which I think will be fine. Stay tuned for how the meal turns out!