Wednesday, October 20, 2021

In Two Days This Blog Will Be Fifteen Years Old

Back in October of 2006, when I started this blog, blogs were a relatively new thing and food focused blogs were probably even newer. It was a heady time because the internet was catching on and still had the feel of youth and the opportunity of being visionary. Not even sure that anyone had figured out analytics, and monetizing was still in the future, so no ads that I can remember. I loved that it was a place where writing, photography, and cooking could come together and that people around the world could potentially see what was posted and post on their own blogs, too. I knew that it was actually a fairly small percentage of that world that had the access to do so, but things could still go viral, even if that meant a smaller number than it does today. I tried many dishes and techniques that I would never have tried and I was inspired countless times by other bloggers. Friendships grew out of blogging, too. Some of my early blogging buddies found careers in photography, food catering, event planning, cookbook making and more through blogging and the skills needed to do it well. My photography improved, along with my Photoshop skills. I was even able to do short fiction once I invented the Land of St. Honore'.

I checked out some of the folks who commented on my early posts and most have stopped blogging, many quite a while ago. I may reach that point one day, but not yet. After all, the movement of folks to the internet now has surged past Blogger to Instagram and Snap Chat, and beyond those to Tik Tok and probably others that I'm too un-cool to even know about.

There are tons of special interest groups that still use blogs and I belong to the Bread Baking Babes, who, obviously, bake bread. I am interested in creative folks, including those who create in ink, in glass, and in various media like acrylic, watercolor and pastels, and in writing. I still find my creative self mostly in the kitchen and in graphic arts and in gardening, but do the occasional watercolor or acrylic piece.

I recently spent time in graphic arts land and as a result sent a cookbook to the printer. This time it won't be for sale, but it's based on the Comfort Food cookbook I did in 2012, with a few additional recipes and lots of family photos. It really is a family cookbook this time. I had such fun creating photo collages of my siblings and their offspring, plus my parents and my own hubby and kids and significant others. In the process I cooked and baked more recipes so that there would be more illustrated recipes. Things like Spicy Bean Bake, Morning Glory Muffins and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, and my Dad's Fresh Tomato Soup brought back good memories. While most of the recipes were in the old book, there are new ones, too.

The year ahead is still a mystery, but I expect to try new dishes and baked goods, to see if I can reset my iPhone camera to get rid of that yellow tinge that seems to be omnipresent, and maybe illustrate some of my posts with ink and watercolor drawings instead of photos...stay tuned and see how it all turns out!

Looking back at the early days, the first post where the photo was remotely OK was one for Saucepan Fruit Bars. Since I've recently been wanting to have some of those with a nice cup of tea, I'm posting that recipe here, slightly updated for the upcoming holiday season. Think of it as a baked anniversary gift to us both. Thanks for hanging in with me all these years if you are an early reader, and thanks for reading this blog now, no matter how long you have been one of my dear readers. So far, with this post, I have done 1,578 posts and have had 1,386,115 views. 

Enjoy the bar cookies. They are cake-like cookies with a tangy sweet-sour lemon glaze and a touch of spice, plus dried fruit which keeps them moist for a few days. They ship well and would be a great holiday gift. Be sure to not overbake them. Check at about 18 minutes and every couple of minutes are looking for a few crumbs sticking to toothpick inserted in the center. In an airtight tin or container, these keep for a while, if you can resist them, and they go really well with a nice hot cup of tea. Cheers!

Here is the original easy one that is mixed in a saucepan, so fewer bowls to wash!

Here is my newer version, still mixed in a pot:

Holiday Saucepan Fruit Bars 

1/2 cup melted butter or margarine (1 stick)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs or equivalent egg substitute
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon each nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves
1/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk (or milk with a 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice stirred in)
1/8 teaspoon orange extract
1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mixed diced candied fruits and/or peels (or fruitcake mixed candied fruits)
1 cup dried currants

Melt butter in saucepan. Add sugars and eggs; beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients and spices. In a small bowl combine the buttermilk, orange extract, lemon extract, vanilla extract, then all that to the pot. Mix well. Stir in the candied fruit and/or peels and the dried currants until well combines.

Spread batter in a greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 20-25 minutes. Test in center with toothpick - you are looking for a few clinging crumbs. Do not overbake.

Brush while hot with Glaze (see below); cool in pan. Cut into 2 x 1-inch bars. Makes about 45 cookies - one or two might go into the baker's mouth.

Glaze: Mix 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted, and 4 teaspoons lemon juice.

1 comment :

  1. Marian4:32 PM

    My favorite cookie since I was a kid! Congratulations on your long and fruitful career in blogging. It has been fun to follow along and find some new recipes and techniques. And I always admire your great photos! Can't wait to see that new book...