Well everyone, by the time you read this post, it will be one week and two days since I "made the move." It's still hard to believe I am actually here. I have had a residence in Pennsylvania since 1998. For a brief time in 2001 I was here on a regular basis and even had a tiny cookbook store in beautiful Bellefonte. It was a charming store. My family came up from New York to help me build it. We painted the walls sky blue and lined the streets with white picket fences and fabric houses. As you stolled down the street (which was actually the entrance to the store) the houses were "decorated" with wares for sale. Each home owner, which were actually vendors, had a mailbox in front of their house. Just like a flea market, each home owner came into work each morning to tend their house. There was house selling dolls and one selling hand crafted soap and vintage lace. One wonderful lady sold high quality unusual pet pampering supplies. Her house was just adorable.
At the end of the "road," there was a popcorn machine. Each day when we knew the kids were getting out of school, we fired up that popcorn machine until the aroma trailed down the street. Oh those kids knew, the popcorn was FREE so they didn't need much coaxing at all. It didn't take long for them to just affectionately call me The Popcorn Lady! I answered:) Oh they knew they had to take that popcorn right out the store because there was no looking at cookbooks with messy fingers. Oh yes, the cookbooks. The three walls were built about eight feet high. All the books faced the entrance. You know how when you go to a bookstore or the library and the books are shelved inside, well, I wanted my books to face front and be "pretty." And, they were!
I'm having a GREAT time getting organized. It's a bit harder than I thought because I'm combining two houses into one. I mean really 4 boxes of oatmeal? I had two in New York and two in PA. I smell oatmeal cookies in my future. The furniture is not really a problem. I never bought living room furniture up here but did in Westhampton. So, I just brought that up. It's not in the house yet. I had to leave it in the garage because it won't fit through the door. It's okay in the garage and thank goodness the garage is huge! Four car garage for one tiny Scion. Boy, am I going to have filling that up!!!
And, guess what, I've been cooking too. I've been cooking up a storm. I won't even tell you how much I spent at Giant. The girl packing the bags thought I was stocking up for a snow storm. We were actually expecting a lot of snow but that wasn't why my wagon was full. I wanted new spices, and a well stocked pantry. Things like ketchup, mayo, and such weren't on my list. I already had 3 bottles of ketchup and mayonnaise, and 4 of Worcestershire Sauce all un-opened. You might say, so what your cooking. Haven't you been eating? Well, of course I have but not the way I would normally under normal conditions. Things haven't been normal. They haven't been in my comfy zone for seven years. It got worse when I bought the house three years ago and never got to spend more than a week or two barely. Now, don't get me wrong, I am one very lucky girl. I'm not complaining at all. Knowing I was leaving New York made me have much more appreciation for the place I've lived my entire life. I had the best of the Hamptons and the gentleness of a beautiful Victorian town. Alas, like most of us out there, it was time to get back to realty and basics.
So what have I been cooking out of the ordinary? Well, the other night I baked Sock-It-To-Me-Cake. The general consensus is Sock-It-To-Me-Cake became popular about the same time as the phrase itself. If you remember Laugh-In, there's a very good chance you remember the phrase Sock-It-To-Me.
"Sock it to me!" experienced its greatest exposure on Laugh-In although the phrase had been featured in songs like Aretha Franklin's 1967 "Respect" and Mitch Ryder's 1966 "Sock It To Me, Baby!"
Every once in a while, Duncan Hines darns their boxes with this classic recipe. Yes, this moist sour cream pound cake with pecan streusel filling is made from a boxed cake mix. It became famous in its own right because, it really does taste like it was made from "scratch." (why I have four boxes of cake mix is beyond me, remember, I don't bake, well maybe I do now:) In its usual form, it is a bundt style cake perfect for breakfast, brunch or snack. Its even better the next day warmed up just a tad.
As luck would have it, my Bundt pan was still out in the garage so, I had to improvise. Have I ever told you how bad I am at following recipe directions? I'm a bad girl. For the life of me, I just refuse to follow recipes. I find myself always changing something. This uncontrollable behavior blinds me like a mad scientist when it comes to baking. Let's face it, even I know baking is a science. In this case, I made just a few minor changes. Where the recipe called for 1/4 cup water, I used peach juice. Let me explain. I have these "fruit cups" taking up space in my fridge. I guess they're snacks left by the grandkids. I don't like them. I barely made it through a spoonful when Noah said, "Here Grammy taste." Thank goodness I can do something with Graham Crackers, those were Tabi's favorite snacks and I still have a full box. Since I didn't want to have those plastic filled fruits in the fridge any longer, I decided to use them up in the Sock-It-To-Me-Cake. The recipe called for pecans. Well, let me tell you cracking enough pecans to equal a cup with one of those metal nut crackers you squeeze (or try to squeeze in my case:) is not easy job. It took soooooo long. I also substituted apple sauce for the 1/3 cup of oil. I got into the habit of using applesauce in place of oil a long time ago. It really works GREAT in most cake mixes in place of oil. I wouldn't use it in place of butter though. I didn't have a tube pan or a Bundt pan so I baked it in a 13x9 pan. I made sure I got all of the liquid out of the tiny pieces of what were suppose to be peaches and sprinkled them on top of the batter before baking it. I didn't take many pictures of the cake. At the time, my actions didn't seem that abnormal. I figured I just moved into the house and a temporary baking binge took me by surprise that night. Little did I know:)
|1 pkg. Duncan Hines Butter Recipe cake mix|
1 c. finely chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. sour cream
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
4 large eggs
1 c. confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
|Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 10" tube pan.|
For the filling, combine 2 Tbsp. cake mix, pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon; mix well. Set aside.
Combine remaining dry cake mix, sour cream, oil, sugar, water and eggs in a large mixer bowl. Beat 2 minutes at high speed. Turn 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan; sprinkle with filling. Spoon remaining batter evenly over the filling mixture.
Bake 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for 25 minutes; remove from pan.
For the glaze, blend together confectioners' sugar and milk; drizzle over warm cake. 12-16 servings.
As for the Butterscotch Apple Dumplings, here's the recipe:
|3 cups sifted flour|
4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk (about)
4 medium apples, pared, cored and halved
1/2 cup sugar, mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 to 3/4 firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
Dash of salt
2 cups boiling water
|Measure sifted flour, add baking powder, salt and 3 tablespoons sugar, and sift again. Cut shortening into sifted ingredients until mixture looks like coarse meal. Add milk, mixing until soft dough is formed.|
Knead dough on lightly floured board half a minute. Divide dough in half. Roll each half 1/8 inch thick, forming 10-inch squares. Then cut each into four 5-inch squares.
Place an apple half on each square. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon sugar-spice mixture. Moisten edges of dough and bring corners up over apples, pressing edges together. Place in greased 13x9-inch baking pan with joined edges either on top or underneath the dumplings.
Mix together the brown sugar, butter, salt, and water; bring to boil. Pour over dumplings in pan. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) for 45 to 50 minutes, or until apples are tender. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings. (The brown sugar mixture forms a delicious butterscotch sauce around the dumplings.)
That's what they think! Here are my "Butterscotch Apple Dumplings." As you can see, it's a PIE!!!
Okay, so I substituted 1 cup of oatmeal flour for one of the cups of flour in the recipe. I told you, I have all this oatmeal and I get blind-sided following recipe directions. But, that's the only ingredient I changed. I did put the "batter" in the fridge while I prepared the apples but that's it. I even used "real" shortening; Crisco. I think that's here from Michele too. She's the baker in the family; obviously. When the dumpling dough just wouldn't adhere to those dang apples, (do you think because I doused the apples in lemon juice the dough wouldn't fit?) I got so frustrated, I just stuck the dough onto the bottom of a pie dish. I couldn't use the halved apples, they wouldn't fit so I just sliced them up. Naturally, the filling had settled in quite nicely so it sliced right along with the apples. I tried to line the apples in one layer but there were just too many. (and I only had three apples:) So, I piled them on. I still had a little sugar-spice mixture so I sprinkled it on top before trying to get the rest of the dumpling dough to sit nice. Boy was it sticky. The kids would have LOVED it!!! Now what to do with that "butterscotch sauce?" I began to pour it on top of the huge dumpling that now looked more like a pie, but of course, it just left a sweet puddle dripping over the sides. I figured I would just omit it and perhaps, try to use it as a "dressing." So, I just put the pie like dumpling in the oven to bake. About 20 minutes into the baking, I checked it. It actually wasn't looking so bad. "Let's see," I thought. Well as you can see, that let's see turned into poked holes all over the top. Little by little, I poured the butterscotch liquid into the holes and down the sides about every 10 minutes. Good thing I had a pan underneath. What a sticky gooey mess that thing was to clean!!! Anyway, 50 minutes later it was done. It tasted just fine. I loved the addition of the oatmeal. It may not look like a dumpling but in its suspicious way, it tasted like a dumpling; perhaps even better which I'm sure has to do with my labor intensive coddling while baking. As for the butterscotch sauce, Delicious!!! It sort of caramelized in, out and over; not to sweet and oh so creamy.
FYI: On this day in 1984, Wendy's "Where's the Beef" ad campaign made its debut on television. (talk about catchy phrases:) Want to see the short commercial?
Well, I think I'll make some breakfast now. I'm thinking an enormous omelette with all the leftovers I have in the fridge. Gotta clean it out, I've got cookin' to do. I'll be visiting your blogs later this afternoon. Now, more than ever, I need lots and lots of inspiration. I'll see you back here just in time for National Peach Melba Day on Wednesday. Till then, enjoy!!!Resources
1. Sock-It-to-Me Cake from Scratch
2. Chocolate Sock-It-To-Me-Cake from Duncan Hines