Wednesday, May 30, 2012

End of May

What a amazingly full month May has been! Not only did I finish the first version of the Comfort Food cookbook of old family recipes, but I had it published and took it back to my Mom for Mothers' Day. Once I saw how it turned out I started thinking of ways to improve it. You can see that not only can I not leave recipes the way they were written, I have to tweak the cookbook that I wrote. The good news is that this next version is better in a number of ways, including the addition of more family stories about food. This time I'm going to get 20 copies printed up, so one of them might show up in a give away here and I might also have a few for sale. More on that later.

The month also included the final trim on the animal door so we are now ready to look for our newest dog. The actual selection will have to wait for a couple of weeks since we are blessed with a visit from my older sister and a trip to Monterey is also planned. That's it! Once we are back from Monterey we will find our doggie. More on that later, too.

The garden is looking good. Flowers are blooming, zucchini are coming in, chard leaves get large in just a few days, some of the herbs like cilantro are even going to seed. The tomatoes are getting bigger but cooler weather has slowed them a bit. Should be hot for a couple of days so I expect a growth spurt.

Have been doing some healthier eating. Made the lentil salad from a few years ago, and tonight had some of Next Sister Down's Barley Casserole for dinner. Have made sure to have a salad a day for something like two weeks. I do love salads!

Have not been baking as much. I did make some Cocoa Drops for photos for the cookbook and a Warm Buttermilk Vanilla Cake to use for the strawberry shortcake photo. This might be a good time to post that since strawberries are at their seasonal best.

This is based on a recipe that I found online...AllRecipes I think...but I changed it so much that it would be barely recognizable to the person who created the original. I'd never made a warm milk cake before. It makes a great spongy type cake but moister than the classic need for moistening syrups. The juices from the sliced strawberries soaked into the cake nicely and the finished shortcake kept well, too.Somehow we managed to hide it behind pints of fresh strawberries and they were eaten as is before we finished off the cake. It wasn't due to anything being wrong with the cake...look at all that whipped cream and tell me how it could be...but plain freshly picked local sweet juicy strawberries are even better.

Warm Buttermilk Vanilla Cake
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla on high until thick and lemon-colored, about 4 minutes. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to egg mixture. Beat on low just until combined. Melt butter in a small saucepan until butter melts. Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk. Add to batter; beat thoroughly (the batter will be thin). Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 20-25 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make a Strawberry Shortcake with this cake, slice the cooled cake in half horizontally. Lay the top layer aside. Spread sliced strawberries (hull and slice them in advance if possible so that the juice can be drawn out. Add a little sugar if they are not sweet enough) over the bottom layer.Top with the top layer of cake and frost the top with whipped cream. Garnish with a few fresh strawberries. Serve at once. If there is some left to store, store, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.


  1. I am SO MAKING THIS when I get home.

    OH! I ran across another site you have GOT to get to know - SUCH gorgeous food, such great-looking recipes to incorporate fruits and veg - vegan or not, it's a great resource.

  2. Geemanee! This reads like a whirlwind! No nothing could beat those strawberries! Gorgeous. Even though the cake sounds glorious too.
    Love the sound of the family cookbook. When I did mine ... gracious it's been 20 years now ... I kept revising and revising and revising ... finally said it can't be finished and had it printed. Now, I've started using MacGourmet with the idea I can do it as an ever evolving PDF which I can even copy into iBooks on the iPad!