It’s as vital as the air I breathe: CAKE. Very early in life, I internalized the message that cake was equivalent to joy, happiness, satisfaction, togetherness. Maybe it was the time my cousin’s Rancher Wife friend rescued me from the terrifying scene of watching Mr. Bird saw down the bull’s horn before it blinded him. My other cousin, Patricia, was there to help Mr. Bird take care of the bull. They left Pete and me (ages 6 and 8) in the farm truck (the “anchor”) and tied the bull to it and began sawing. I began screaming hysterically immediately, so Mrs. Bird came and got me and took me inside to the warm kitchen. She wiped my tears and opened her deep freezer (what a fascinating box of frozen surprises it was!) and pulled out a slice of carefully wrapped homemade coconut cake. We sat in her small but cozy kitchen in the warmth and slowly the cake soothed the trauma of thrashing around in a truck tied to an angry and uncooperative bull with my cousin, Pete! Mrs. Bird taught me that day that I was better suited for the kitchen than the ranch!
So, today, I am sharing with ya’ll one of my favorite Southern Cake recipes, Apple Dapple Cake. The photo does not do it justice – it should be covered in brown sugar-iced fresh pecans, but where was I going to get fresh pecans during an ice storm this weekend? Give yourself and your family a big treat today and grab some delicious apples, peel and dice them and create the world’s most delicious cake. And if it is work you must today, sweeten the evening with my favorite solution to any and all things intolerable: CAKE.
Recipe courtesy of My Momma, Miss Rhetta
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
3 cups tart apples, chopped
3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
Beat eggs and mix with sugar, oil and vanilla.
Combine flour, salt and baking soda and add to egg mixture.
Fold in apples and pecans. Pour into greased and floured tube cake pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
For frosting: Bring brown sugar, butter and milk to a boil. Boil only 2 1/2 minutes. Cool and spread on cake.
Eat it, You’ll Love It, and it will DRIVE AWAY any thoughts of ANGRY BULLS GETTING THEIR HORNS TRIMMED!!!!
This recipe is an adaptation from The Pioneer Woman. The sandwiches are SO delicious and so easy to make, my family has asked for them twice this week! Here ya go:
3 lb chuck roast
1 envelope of Good Season’s Zesty Italian Salad dressing mix
8-oz Giardiniera (Chicago-Style Italian Sandwich Mix)
14.5-oz can of beef consumme
provolone cheese slices
Place chuck roast into the bottom of a 6-quart crock pot then sprinkle with salad dressing mix. Add the Giardiniera and beef broth. Place the lid on the crock pot then cook on low for 8 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork.
Split buns in half then scoop the meat mixture on top and add provolone cheese slices. Serve warm.
Twenty years ago, my husband and I received a beautiful wooden salad bowl with a stand and tongs along with a salad cookbook, “James McNair’s Salads,” as a wedding gift. The stand is long gone but we still use the large bowl and I have memorized the recipe for Caesar Salad with homemade garlic croutons – and serve it on special occasions!
Here’s the recipe from the cookbook and a brief excerpt from the Author’s Introduction:
Since its inception in a Tijuana restaurant, this classic has never gone completely out of favor. Recent years have seen the resurgence of its popularity in America’s trendsetting restaurants.
I prefer to leave the lettuce leaves whole, to be picked up with the fingertips for nibbling. If you would rather use a fork, break the leaves before tossing them with the dressing.
The dressing may be made without the traditional coddled egg; a drizzle of heavy cream will add the richness normally provided by the egg. James McNair
Wash, dry, and chill the lettuce leaves. Prepare the Croutons
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
About 1/2 cup fruity olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
2 tablespoons minced or pressed garlic
4 cups day-old bread, preferably French style, cut into cubes or thin slices. Directions
In a large sauté pan or skillet, melt the butter with the oil over medium-low heat
Add the garlic and bread and toss until the bread pieces are well coated.
Reduce the heat to low (or transfer to a preheated 350º F oven) and cook, stirring and turning frequently, until the bread is golden on all sides, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the bread to paper toweling to drain and cool slightly.
Use immediately, or cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
4 medium-sized heads romaine lettuce, tough outer leaves discarded, separated into about 48 leaves
4 cups Croutons, made with plenty of garlic
CAESAR DRESSING INGREDIENTS
6 flat anchovy fillets, drained and minced
1 tablespoon minced or pressed garlic
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1 cup fruity olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
About 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
About 1/4 teaspoon salt
About 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, preferably parmigiano-reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper for serving
Just before serving the salad, prepare the dressing.
Bring a small post of water to a rapid boil over high heat. Place the eggs, one at a time, on a spoon, lower them into the boiling water, and boil for 1 minute. Transfer the eggs to cold water to cool. Break the eggs, separating the yolks into a small bowl; discard the whites.
Add the anchovy fillets, garlic, mustard oil and about half of the lemon juice to the yolks and whisk to blend.
Whisk in the remaining lemon juice, or more to taste, and salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl, combine the whole lettuce leaves, about half of the croutons, and half of the cheese.
Add the dressing to taste and toss well.
Arrange the salad on a serving platter or individual plates.
Sprinkle the remaining croutons and cheese and serve immediately.
Pass a pepper mill at the table.
Serves 10 to 12 as a salad course, or 6 to 8 as a light main course
Alas, my favorite time of year has arrived: bone-chilling winter is upon us, time for me to get yummy soups going on my stove. This is a particularly favorite recipe that I keep coming back to, so I wanted to share it with you – It takes only about 20 minutes to prepare and then you are feasting (hopefully by a cozy fire) on heart-and-soul-warming goodness. Enjoy!
Southwestern Chicken & Rice Soup Low-Fat and My Way
48 ounces fat free chicken broth
1/3 cup onions, chopped
1/3 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup green bell peppers, chopped
1/2 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon cumin
12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped (*I purchase a baked chicken and de-skin and shred)
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup whole kernel corn, frozen
1 (4 1/2 ounce) can green chilies, chopped, undrained
salt and pepper to taste
Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in rice and cumin.
Return to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes until rice is tender.
Stir in chicken and next 3 ingredients into rice mixture.
There are many days when I just need “a little cheering up.” And…..I will often head to the kitchen and start a very messy baking project as my antidote. In her infinite wisdom, my Mom made sure I had my own little “kitchen” in a closet playroom growing up along with my very own Easy Bake Oven. I am sure we ordered and re-ordered those cake batter packets hundreds of times, but the preoccupation with my Easy Bake kept me out of Mom’s way in the real kitchen!!!
Mom was not much of a gardener, either, though we lived on 3 acres surrounded by beautiful farmland. So, I took it upon myself to begin my education in plant life by purchasing an Encyclopedia of Gardening through some mail-order offer. I remember sending in my money and thanking the Publisher for helping me to enjoy “gardening through the mail”!
All this to say, a little something sweet baking in the kitchen and something pretty and green in a pot usually go a long way towards cheering me up whenever I feel down. And I am “feeling” the back-to-school furor and dread that many parents do this time of year. A new beginning marks an ending too soon forgotten – and a day closer to our babies leaving the nest. I have many friends who dropped their beautiful children off at college this weekend for the first time – the day they never thought would happen arrived. And so, in the spirit of “cheering everyone up,” I offer this post with a new yummy lemon recipe to enjoy.
In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon juice, extracts and lemon peel. Add flour; beat until just moistened.
Fill 2-dozen greased miniature muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Dip tops of cakes into glaze; place on waxed paper to dry.
Tonight at Casa Tamburini, we are indulging in an old favorite: Aunt Christine’s Spinach Cabrini!!!! The recipe originates from the Junior League of Denver, Colorado, cookbook: “Creme de Colorado.” Aunt Christine has brought this sumptuous dish to many family gatherings and it is always a BIG HIT in the comfort food department!!!! Bon Appetit!
Making pasta at our house is always fun – for 20 years, my husband, Michael, has been my “Official Al Dente” judge- here’s the recipe:
9 oz spaghetti, broken into pieces, cooked al dente and drained
1/2 cup butter, melted
20 oz. frozen spinach, cooked and drained
4 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup diced onion
1 dash dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Place in a 9×13″ casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.