Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grammy's Buttermilk Biscuits

I got this recipe off the internet and changed it to work for my taste and altitude.

3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup real butter
1¼ cups buttermilk
1 egg beaten

In a large mixing bowl sift the flour with baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut into flour mixture the butter with a pastry blender until well blended. Butter should be cold to start and it should look like very small bits when blended into flour. Add one cup of buttermilk and stir. If the dough is dry add the rest of the buttermilk. Mix until slightly blended. Turn out on lightly floured board or counter top and kneed for about two minutes or until dough is mixed well enough to form large ball. Roll out to about 1 inch thick and cut with round biscuit cutter or with a small juice glass that is greased around the edges. Place on a cookie sheet and brush with pastry brush the tops of the biscuits with beaten egg. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 to 22 minutes. Serve warm.

Corn Chowder

I found this recipe at allrecipes.com and tweeked it. Don said this was the best soup I have made in years!

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 onion, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon cumin
(dash) cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 1/4 cups milk
1½ cups frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
⅓ cup heavy cream
2 cups Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese shredded

1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter and stir in the onion, potato, bay leaf, cumin, parsley, and sage. Saute about 5 minutes, until the onion is tender. Mix in the flour, coating the onion and potato. Pour in the chicken stock and milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly until smooth. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the potato is tender.

2. Mix the corn, chives, and cream into the saucepan, and cook about 5 minutes, until heated through. Remove the bay leaf, and stir in the Cheddar cheese until melted and blended. Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, November 5, 2010

German Chocolate Daisy Birthday Cake

It was fun to have another excuse to make a cake.  I have been practicing a lot and find that I can be quite artistic on simple projects that everyone enjoys. My sister-in -law's birthday is today, November 5.  She loves German Chocolate cake.  I tried making one on a previous cake but I haven't found or tweeked the recipe for high altitude so this one is a Betty Crocker box mix and Betty Crocker Pecan Frosting in the center.  I used my good ol' buttercream frosting that you can find at http://whatscookingamerica.net/.  The fondant recipe is from this site too.  I used Wilton's gum paste but I am searching for a good home made gum paste recipe to try next.  I bought the Wilton set of simple daisy cutters and used it for the flowers and the daisy leaves.

One thing that I discovered while shopping for supplies is that when it is recommended to use a foam to soften the edges of your flowers with a round ball tool I used a thick craft foam pad.  I bought it for .89.  Wiltons or other foams go upwards of $3.oo and that is for a small one.  I am learning what I can make here without the added cost of  "supplies".  I watch videos on how to make flowers.  There are many out there.  As I get better I will add tools that are required for cleaner flowers.  They are expensive and I am learning to do a lot of cutting by hand or drawing a template on card stock and cutting around it with an exacto knife.  I smooth the edges if they are slightly jagged with a lightly greased finger.  You can't get it to wet or it gets sticky. 

I had a lot of fun decorating this cake. I learned how to make simple daisies.  I want to do better centers. These are kind of kindergarten, but they are cute. I just love looking on line for video classes.  These people have figured out how to make beautiful life like flowers and are willing to share their knowledge.  So take advantage of that.  Where I live there are no classes so I have having to self teach.  It's also a fun thing to do with my grandsons. 
I used wire with a loop or hook on the end so that it "grabs" onto the fondant and then when it dries it's easier to add petals.  I also use as glue a small amount of white fondant disolved in about three Tablespoons of water.  It makes a "glue" that holds pretty strong and dries faster than plain water.  Saves on buying the "flower glue" that can be expensive too.  I'd rather save my money for cutters and luster or pear dusts.  I have ordered my first set of luster dust and will be trying that next week.  I'm really excited to be "painting" flowers.  I also ordered a leaf set with veiners to make my leaves look more realistic.  We'll post the next experiment as soon as I get it done.