Saturday, March 25, 2023

Boozy Birthday

Generally, on my husband's birthday, I make something with chocolate. This year is no exception. It's a time to test out new recipes that I find, and to play around a little with my baking skills. However, I have actually made this particular cake for him before. Sometimes a recipe is just that good

This Irish whiskey and Guinness cake is just that good. I made the cake part a couple of days ago and refrigerated the cake until it was time to make the frosting. It's easier to cut the cake layers when they are cold. The recipe says to serve immediately after frosting but that isn't necessary. I made the frosting and frosted the cake several hours ahead of time and put it back in the fridge. The cream cheese and mascarpone in the frosting firm up in the cold and it holds the cake together well.

When I made this cake the last time I did separate the frosting and make part of it with whiskey and part of it with Bailey's. The whiskey was so strong the kids couldn't eat it. This time, I just made all of the frosting with Bailey's. It was still very strong. My husband licked the frosting bowl and felt dizzy for a while afterward. It is a rich, boozy cake that should definitely be eaten in moderation! The Bailey's flavor for the frosting throughout the layers was, in our opinion, a better choice. 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Round Two

Since I still had more chicken bones in the freezer, I made another batch of stock a couple of days ago. Today I canned it, and now have another nine pints in the pantry. I might make a batch of vegetable stock another day but, for now, I have enough stock to last a while. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023


Happy New Year, a little late!

Yes, there has been a lot of baking - bread, cakes, cookies. I even tried my hand at popovers recently. I made those lovely cupcakes for my mother's birthday and a celebratory cheesecake for the youngerchild's acceptance to college. So yes, plenty of baking, but not much energy to write about it. 

In other news, I found a dairy near where I go riding that sells raw milk and fresh eggs. Sometimes they have cheese and even raw cream, and they also sell meat but I haven't gotten any of that yet. I buy a half-gallon of raw milk every week and it's helped keep my stomach happy. Several of the cows have had calves in the last month. I met two of them, one was only three days old and so very small and cute. I might sometime get enough milk to make cheese or cream to make cultured butter but, for now, just getting enough to drink is fine for me.

Another update is that the farm is not offering a CSA this year, so I won't be going out to the farm weekly over the summer to gather my share and pick from the fields. I have mixed feelings about this but overall I will miss being out there in the fields picking herbs, berries and flowers. Mocha will likely miss all the kale.

Today I canned seven pints of chicken stock I made a couple of days ago (I chilled it to remove the fat, then heated it back up again before canning). I'd run out of all the stock I'd made last year, and it was time to start getting my supply back up. I have more chicken bones in the freezer and will have to make another batch at some point, but at least I've started canning things again. 

Who knows what this season will bring?

Monday, December 26, 2022

Holiday Recap

December is always a busy month and this year was no exception. I've been baking up a storm. Since it wasn't a good canning year, I made a LOT of cookies to give out as gifts. Gingerbread, Linzers, chocolate chip, Nanaimo bars, meringue rochers, damiers, and toffee. I was baking for DAYS. But I was able to bring 4 dozen cookies to my new workplace, drop off cookies for neighbors and friends, and still have plenty left over for the family.

Then it came time for the actual holiday meals. On Christmas Eve we went to visit my parents and cooked lunch for them. I made fettuccine Alfredo and sautéed chicken and shrimp, so that everyone could add their own protein. For dessert we had...cookies!

For Christmas day, the family was greeted with warm cinnamon rolls, fresh out of the oven. I had made the dough the night before and, after its first rise, put it in the fridge. Rolling it out when it was cold was so much easier. I might even make them more often, considering how much easier it was. 

Dinner was chicken or salmon en croute, depending on if one eats fish or not. With curried mashed sweet potatoes on the side, yum! I made puff pastry from scratch, and wrapped each piece of fish or chicken individually. I did pre-cook the chicken because I was worried the puff pastry needed less time to cook than the chicken. They ended up being much larger than I envisioned, and we have plenty of leftovers. For dessert, I made creme brulée!

Now I'm very tired and, other that making bread, I think I'll be taking a break. We have plenty of leftovers to eat.


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Fried Banana Cake

The elderchild and a friend made banana cake the other day and brought some back to us. Faced with a whole loaf of banana cake (slightly lighter than banana bread), we made it into a terrific breakfast! Each slice was fried in butter about 2-3 minutes per side and then topped with maple syrup and whipped cream with cinnamon. Mmm.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Missed It

We missed apple picking season again. 

That's two years in a row. I guess I keep hoping both the kids will be free on the same weekend and, while technically they were, one had Covid so we couldn't exactly go anywhere. I still have some applesauce from last year and when I run out I can just buy a bunch of apples and make more, but the outing was always part of the fun. Maybe next year we can plan that better.

What I have done recently is make a chocolate cream pie, something I have not made before. I followed the King Arthur recipe and it was fabulous. The pie did not last long! Much more successful than that red velvet cake, I might add. 

Today I am making chocolate chip cookies, using a recipe from the NY Times. Lately my toll house cookies have been very...thin. I'm not sure what has been happening but they come out very flat and yet still chewy. Weird. This recipe is fantastic. At least, they look good. We haven't tasted them yet. My new coworkers have been after me to make cookies, since they know I bake. So I'm bringing some in for them. The cool thing about this recipe is that you make the dough and refrigerate it for at least a day. The longer you let it sit, the better it is, apparently. Seems to work. 

Monday, October 3, 2022

Fair in the Rain

We went up to the Fair two days ago, the weather was rainy but not super windy. It was the little bit of Hurricane Ian that reached New England, I guess. Generally, I prefer to be at the Fair in the rain because fewer people go so it doesn't feel as crowded. 

From the canning perspective, I won first place for sauerkraut and for tomato (pizza) sauce, and second place for the mulberry jelly, raspberry jam, and salsa verde. I didn't bake anything for the baking competition, but I did spend Friday baking a cake for the elderchild's birthday. More on that later.

One of the most fun parts for us is seeing the rabbits, and this year we spent some time watching the judging of some larger rabbits. There are these little stalls with wire doors that flip up so the rabbits are put in one side and the judge takes them out the other side and examines them. The rest of the rabbits, though, are all trying to get out of the stalls, and so every so often a rabbit's head pokes up above the stalls and a person has to hurry and push it back down before it jumps out. It's like whack-a-mole, but gently and with rabbits. It was so funny to watch!

After about four hours, we headed home, and I spent the rest of the afternoon frosting the cake I'd made and making chile rellenos for dinner.

Ah, the cake. The elderchild requested a red velvet cake like the one on this season's Great British Bake Off (the technical challenge). I looked up their recipe and, after making a run up to Saugus to get 6" cake pans which I discovered I needed right when I was about to start preparing the ingredients, followed the recipe to the letter. It SANK. I'm not sure why. So I cleaned up, went back out to the store to get more red food coloring and cocoa, and used a different recipe, which worked. And tasted really good, I might add. I did use the frosting from the GBBO recipe, which tasted great, but it was so runny. I had to put a skewer in the cake to keep it upright while I tried to frost it. There was a lot of cursing. 

Ultimately, the cake tasted fantastic, even if it was not as smoothly frosted as the ones on TV. 

Happy Birthday!