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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Construction of a Cake City!

Tis the season! Its time for our local fair! A homeschool family's greatest project event of the year. Every year we make a point of sharing our " talent" with the community, in anticipation of ribbons. This year once again, the fair is graced with several items, but the biggest project this year is the Cityscape made out of cake!
My oldest son enjoys creating decorated cake specatulars as much as I do. This creation was the most detailed one yet... We even had Blueprints! YES Blueprints!! Made literally out of 9 separate cakes cut to different heights. Pictured at left is the "raw" project. The assembling of the buildings each sculpted differently. I was so proud and behaved like a good mother should. I resisted the urge to help!!! Yes we all know that would be a challenge for me. I offered advise of course...hahahaha.
After many hours, (many many many hours) frosting colors and detailed piping ..we were finished! I must say I was impressed! Delivery to the fair was a bit "nerving" but the cake was safely delivered, registered and secured in the display case. Now to wait till tomorrow to see if there are any ribbons!!!
See this ....this is a cake scraping! Leftover pieces of moist cake pieces that filled up tupperware container!! This is a perk of cake making....or is it??? The kids in the house think so! For me it is a huge temptation that beckons cruelly.

Pictured below we have "Captain America" and "Wonder Woman". Both gracing the decorated pumpkin contest. Will they have ribbons??? We shall see...Great Job kids!
(Not pictured ...a pencil drawing of my oldest daughter's was also entered)


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall Food!

Okay so now that the news says the weather is going to be cooler I am in the mood for fall foods!!! The menus seem to be so much easier to plan in the fall... Chili, Potato soup, Veggie soup, chicken pies, pumpkin everything, and APPLE FRITTERS (that is what is pictured here, though I was told the picture doesn't do it justice and it resembles something from a coroners table...hahahahahaha) and Pork steaks! Endless opportunities. Today I had BOTH... Pork steaks and Apple Fritters....YUMMMMM. .
The apple fritters were an afterthought, but since I still have in my possesion a certain deep fat fryer, Hey why not. I was searching for a recipe, for the type of apple fritter you find in Amish Country...like a big bear claw / doughnut type. I found the recipe for something that is almost the same, but even better with my own apple cider glaze. Butter, powdered sugar, Apple Cider....UMMMM . The only thing is they turn out a bit bumpier....hahahahaha. Maybe I should add this to my "options" for sale. (Pumpkin rolls have been a big seller the past two years). Needless to say I will be making these again along with many other apple recipes since in my quest for fall goodies I have a bushel of Macintosh apples headed my way....Apple sauce, apple jack, apple pie and of course more apple fritters!!

My other food inspiration was based on the current sale at our local Harris Teeter...PORK STEAKS!! They are cheap this week! My mother really makes the best pork steaks, they are a two day process but sooooo worth it, However I didn't plan ahead enough to follow her process...But I did come up with a shortcut version of my own... It got rave reviews from the kids and that says ALOT! What did I do??? Well if you really want to know...step 1...Rub meat with seasoning ( I cheated and used a pork blend already mixed from the store)...Step 2 ...dip in half and half and egg, then into breadcrumbs mixed with just a little flour. 3. Let sit for one hour...this keeps the breading from falling off in the next step. 4. Fry till each side is golden brown, but not cooked all the way, Step 5 ...finish off in the oven 350 deg. until registers 165 deg. (about 45 min)... Serve with the classic green bean casserole and sweet potatoes...Comfort FOOD!
Next up Krispy Kreme knock off doughnuts and at my youngest request...fried cheese sticks. Of course I am going to make a couple more rounds of apple fritters and put them in the freezer ! Now time to put my feet up and wait for my guys to get home from auditions at our community theatre ... what ?? Me audition?... I would love too, but I am taking a small season off to play in the kitchen...hahahaha.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Time to make the doughnuts!

Sometimes the urge to create something hits me HARD! This season is doughnuts!!! (2 years ago it was sourdough EVERYTHING...It took a gallon glass jar to hold all my starter) I found a recipe in a recipe club that I am in that sounded like it just had to be made! It was a recipe from 1957 Robin Hood Flour cookbook. The story with it was so sweet, I just had to give the recipe a go. The lady who posted it was the daughter of woman who would do up to 100 dozen a week of these tasty treats for friends and neighbors. They would bring her bags of flour on doughnut making day. OOOO OOO this sounds like something I want to do!!! First thing, acquire a deep fryer, I mean they are awesome in themselves. Exact temps, fryer baskets.... and I knew exactly where to find the best one!! The cadillac of deep fryers! My very dear friend who is as much of a kitchen quest nut as I am owns one of these babies for frying catfish . After promising delightful treats and signing a contract in blood promising her my bowl lift Kitchen aid if I failed to take care of it (hahahahaha...just kidding) I loaded the "sweet" machine into my van and hurried home to begin!
Following the multi step directions, made so much easier with my dough hook ( I had yet to use) I let the dough rise to double and rolled it out. My biscuit cutter worked perfectly for the circle and an old prescription bottle makes great doughnut holes. Let them raise again, 45 minutes (see photo above) and then let the fun begin.

This is the fun part!!! Carefully lifting the raised doughnut into the basket and submerge into the hot oil... Now I know I know...You can't make good doughnuts without lard or solid shortening you say... Well I beg to differ after a little research I discovered Canola oil is another good choice. (Plus if I wanted to use the fryer I had to follow the rules :) ) ...they took such a short time and VIOLA...
GOLDEN BROWN!!! and ready to be dipped while warm in the fresh glaze, full of vanilla and powdered sugar!!!! I had the perfect glazer too, My teenager daughter, who got this part down to a science! She was good at using the flyswatter to swat away the eager fingers that couldn't wait for them to be ready. (BACK OFF GRAMMY...hahahaha)
SEE!!! Aren't they pretty. Now I will admit, they were much better fresh, but this recipe was a little bit "tough". It could be something I did wrong...who knows, but now my quest is not finished until I achieve semi perfection. However tough or not...the three dozen doughnuts disappeared quickly in this zoo and were voted by my seven year old as the best doughnuts ever!! Did my friend who loaned me the equipment get her doughnuts....OOOPS!, Guess I gotta make some more. Next attempt the Krispy Kreme knock off recipe!!! It has HIGH ratings...we shall see!!
Now I had all this oil to use up.... Saturday dinner was healthy?..... fresh french fries and onion rings! (NOW those were AWESOME!!!!) ...still thinking Funnel cakes too...woo hoo!
EmBee