Browsing Archives for Kitchen Tragedies

Ground Breaking Summer Recipe

August 24th, 2008

Take some garden fresh cucumbers and some homegrown tomatoes and slice them up.

Sprinkle generously with salt…


Repeat some more.

Save a tomato for the last…
Die happily…
We had a truly fabulous Memorial Day Weekend.  Several different varieties of family members stopped by to watch the rain pour down from the porch.  We cooked out in a thunderstorm, and watched it rain some more.  Finally on Monday afternoon, my mom and I loaded up the kids and drove to Manhattan (Kansas) to see Prince Caspian.  It was wonderful.  
As a kid, I read and re-read and re-read and re-read and re-read all the Narnia books.  Along with Nancy Drew and Madeline L’Engle’s science fiction, the Chronicles were a mainstay for me.  I did not think the first movie was spectacular.  Something about it bugged me.  But the second movie based on the second book more than makes up for it in capturing the true essence of the book which is after all an allegory on the challenge of believing in God which was the thorn in C.S. Lewis’s side.  Wow!  The second film really nailed it. The children’s characters were more developed and they seemed more “real” and the dynamics of the brother and sister relationships made me cry (especially the brothers).  
Anyway great film.  I plan to see it again,I enjoyed it so much.
So when we arrived back at our fake farm, from the movies, I set about to make a cake from scratch.   Because I am such a scratch cake baker!  Actually, my friend Liz who was here for mother’s day and who baked a Victoria Sponge while here, managed to leave here cookbook behind.  I have been eyeing it for several days and decided to give one of the cakes inside a try, The chocolate fudge cake.

And that is how this picture of chaos happened.  After making the cake from scratch, I was far too exhausted to even think about making the accompanying fudge frosting.  So I decided to whip up some whipped cream.  Except I was also grilling some steaks, and chatting with my sister… and shucking some corn… and slicing some watermelon… and fretting over my cakes… and ordering my kids around… and trying to tidy things up a bit and… well… um… 

I whipped the cream too long and it turned into butter.

So I cried for a while.  And then I added some cocoa powder and some powdered sugar and then I thought wait… I want this to be special… I want this to be interesting… I want this to be unique… so I rooted around in the fridge and found….

Some hoity toity mustard for all you mustard snobs out there….

But I did not add it.  Then I had to drain off the whey and it was not looking very good at all.

But finally, it was spreadable.  And yes it tasted like chocolate butter in a not very good chocolate butter way.

So I covered the chocolate butter in strawberries…

And here we have chocolate fudge cake with strawberries and my mom cleaning the kitchen.

Chocolate fudge cake with my dad and the Country Doctor on the porch.

Chocolate fudge cake with pond.

Chocolate fudge cake with urn.

Chocolate fudge cake with kids on trampoline.

Chocolate fudge cake with red barn.

Chocolate fudge cake with April on computer.

My piece of chocolate fudge cake.  It was delicious.  I am going to try another one of those recipes soon!

A Proper English Tea

May 12th, 2008
This is my friend, Liz.  Liz is from England.  She makes really good cakes. 
Liz lines her cake pans with parchment, because that is what the really good cake makers do. 
The really good cake makers also warm up their eggs in the microwave before they crack them into their cake mixes… which by the way DO NOT COME FROM A BOX!
Liz used self rising flour for this particular cake, which is a Victoria Sponge Cake…or you can also call it a Victoria Sandwich.  But it is not a sandwich… this is just English cake lingo.  
Here is Liz dividing her batter into two pans.  
After baking for about twenty five minutes, Liz’s cakes looked like this.  
Next Liz made a butter cream icing, which is comprised of butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.  Liz just wings this recipe.  She has made butter cream icing so many times she actually fell asleep at the mixer.  Ethan was her sous chef.
While making the icing, one of Liz’s sons Miles brought in a frog to show us.

Then Miles spread some raspberry jam on one of the cakes.  
I have no idea what happened to that little frog.
Here is where the sandwich part comes in.  You see the two cakes with the butter cream icing and the raspberry jam “sandwiched” in between.  
Powdered sugar on top.  

While Liz was making her cakes and icing from scratch… I made this very, very, very complicated berry compote to serve alongside the cake.  To make this intensely difficult compote you open three bags of frozen berries.  Then you place the berries in a bowl.  Then you microwave the berries for about two minutes.  Then you mash them up a bit.  Then you wipe the sweat from your brow.  Then you put them on the table.  I hope this recipe doesn’t intimidate you too much.

Here is our Mother’s Day tea.
Here is our cake.

Here is Nicholas the sideways French student that is visiting Liz and her family for two weeks.  

Liz and I took our cake outside to celebrate ourselves as we were clearly the only mothers around.  The smudgy blur across Liz’s face is due to having a camera around eight children while baking, which is why we escaped to the deck in the first place.  Do you think my sunglasses are big enough?  Wait… don’t answer that! 
 Liz’s recipe for Victoria’s Sponge came from a book called Baking Really, Really Complicated Things That are Probably Too Hard for a Person Who Normally Uses a Cake Mix… or something like that.  For a recipe that is similar to Liz’s you can go here, however, I have no idea what a “knob” of butter is.     
Please do not feel badly if you are too intimidated to even try my berry compote recipe.  I recommend baby steps.  Baby steppin‘ frozen fruit.  Baby steppin‘ open frozen fruit bags.  Baby steppin‘ shove frozen fruit in microwave.  
Name that movie!  It is one of my all time favorites.  
Later this week – more on N., the sideways French foreign exchange student who visited our fake farm and  learned the art of American boyhood which involves guns, gasoline, firecrackers, bats, balls and did I say guns yet???  
Au Revoir!  
The Country Doctor’s Wife