Sunday, May 1, 2016

Kentucky Butter Cake

Cake Friday was back this week and I made a Kentucky Butter Cake.  The Fiance said this might be her favorite cake.
 Recipe:



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • BUTTER SAUCE:
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a large bundt pan and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Add the salt, baking powder, and baking soda, then add the flour and buttermilk, alternating after each addition until a thick batter has formed.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for approx. 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for about 15 minutes.
  4. While cake partially cools, make the butter sauce. In a small saucepan, combine all the butter sauce ingredients. Heat until bubbles just begin to show up around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat. Poke holes all over the surface of the cake and down into the cake, be careful not to puncture all the way through. Pour the butter sauce evenly over the top of the cake and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan, allowing the butter sauce to set.
  5. Once cake has completely cooled, invert onto a wire rack and dust with powdered sugar.




Friday, April 29, 2016

Homemade Rice-A-Roni

To break up the monotony of salads for lunch each day, I made Lebanese meatballs with Greek salad, pita and homemade rice-a-roni the other day.
 I hadn't made rice-a-roni in years and I forgot how much my kids like it.  My husband too!

recipe:

  • 2 oz vermicelli, broken into half inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup long grain rice (not instant)
  • 4 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • dash garlic powder
  • 2 3/4 cup water or chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp butter

In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add broken pasta and rice.  Cook until lightly brown.

Add water and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover.

Cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed.
 So good and so much better than store bought.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Feast for the Kids

The after school program ends next week.  I am trying to make the kids last meals memorable.  Recently, I stopped at a smoke house to stock up on bacon and sausages.They gave me a half ham and a container of their ham salad for free.  I guess they smoked too many hams for Easter.  I decided to make the kids a groaning board of meats and cheeses.
 I also baked them 60 rolls.


 They could make small sandwiches if they wanted to.

 This tray is so big it was tough to get a pic of it.  I filled it up with smoked cheeses, regular cheese and lots of sliced sausages.

 I added lots of assorted nuts too.

I baked the ham in maple syrup and cut it into wedges then added some grapes and strawberries to the tray.  The Summer program starts in July but over 100 kids have signed up for it so other than occasionally making hot dogs, I won't be able to feed the kids until next Fall.  I hate to even think about how they will eat until then. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Caprese Pasta Salad and Focaccia

I made the after school kids this caprese pasta salad for their dinner yesterday.  It was almost 85 degrees here so I wanted to make them something cool and refreshing.  I diced lots of fresh mozzarella, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and fresh basil.  I made a balsamic vinegar dressing and tossed it with bowtie pasta.

 And I made rosemary and sea salt focaccia to go with it. The kids had never heard of focaccia before.

 They sure liked it.

 One of the kids pulled The Blog Tech aside and told him he can never thank him enough for feeding them each day.

 He said that knowing he will get a home cooked meal each day is such a relief to him.  He told The Blog Tech that he used to live on soda and chips from the Dollar Store.  Why can't our government help these kids?  When I think of the money being spent on this election yet there is no money to feed our kids?  It's just not right.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ramp Festival

 Sorry for the blurry pic but The Blog Tech thought it was fun to take "ramp" pics on the way to our first ramp festival of the year.

 This one is held in beautiful West Virginia.  If you've never been to West Virginia, it is simply one of the most beautiful places.

 This is a small festival in a cute little park on top of a small mountain.

 Woodcarvings.

 Ramp candy.  Chocolate covered ramps, ramp flavored hard tack, and ramp mints.  My daughter tried the ramp mints and said they ruined her life.

 Rebel flag territory.

 This was so cute.  Each picnic table had ramps as a centerpiece and a bowl of green peppermints to help with your 'ramp breath' after you've eaten.

 Wooden hand carved ramp plaques.

 Ramp butter.

 Ramp dips, ramp seasoning, ramp vinegar.  all things ramp for sale and taste testing.

 Click for a closer look.

 Fried ramps are very good.

 Ramp hot dogs, ramp salad, ramp potato soup and ramp hashbrowns.

The Blog Tech's fiance really, really likes ramps. 
 On the way home we stopped at a Hungarian smoke house.

 Click to enlarge.

Welcome to Trump country!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Brunch


 On Saturday morning we headed out early to go to a ramp festival.  When we returned, my daughter surprised us by making brunch.

 I was so impressed with these tiered trays she filled with bagel toppings. The top tray held smoked salmon with capers, dill and cream cheese.

 The second tray held thinly sliced red onions, cucumbers and another spread. The bottom had fresh tomatoes and basil and a wonderful tuna salad.

She did such a nice job and it was such a beautiful presentation.  Thank you wonderful daughter!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ramp Carbonara

We are eating ramps in everything while they are on season.  I made ramp carbonara a few days ago and it sure was good.
 The recipe:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 cup chopped pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ramps
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup grated pecornio romano
  • 1/2 medium sized lemon
  • 5 eggs 


 
 First, prep the ramps. Cut the root end off and separate the bulbs from the leaves. Slice the bulbs in half and then chop. For the leaves - stack 5 - 10 leaves on top of each other. Then slice them lengthwise into 1/4 inch ribbons. Repeat with the remaining leaves.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, parmesan cheese,
pecorino and salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a large (big enough to easily handle a pound of cooked spaghetti) skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp. Add the white wine and cook until reduced by half.
 Remove the pancetta and add the ramp bulbs, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes.   Add the ramp leaves and cook until softly wilted.

  Cook your spaghetti 1 minute less than suggested for al dente. (Your pasta will continue to cook in the sauce).

  Drain the cooked pasta (reserving 1/4 cup pasta water) and add the spaghetti to the pan with pancetta and ramps. Toss the pasta in the sauce for 1 minute, allowing each piece to get coated with the sauce. The pan should still be at medium heat.

Pour the egg/cheese mixture into the hot pasta, using a wooden spoon to quickly distribute the mixture. Remove from heat and continue stirring for 1 - 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the eggs are cooked. If the sauce is too thick add a bit of the pasta water. Squeeze the lemon over the sauce and season with salt and pepper if it needs more.


 Ramps rule!