Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mom's Sour Cream Pound Cake

One of my favorite desserts that Mom would make for a special occasion was her Sour Cream Pound Cake.  Everyone raved over it.  It's not a hard recipe and one that's worth a try.

According to good ole Wikipedia, a pound cake 
refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. However, the quantity is often changed to suit the size of the cake that is desired.  I'm not really sure if it's a pound of each ingredient, but I do know it's good!!

1/2 cup butter*
1 cup oleo* (that's old school for margarine)
3 cups sugar
8 oz. package of cream cheese*
6 large eggs*
3 cups of cake flour (Swans Down is what I use)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
powered sugar for dusting

*ingredients should be at room temperature 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Cream butter and oleo with a hand mixer until smooth in a very large mixing bowl.  Add sugar and cream well.  Add the cream cheese and blend together.  Alternate adding the eggs and flour, mixing after each addition until thoroughly mixed.  Add vanilla, lemon zest and juice and mix until incorporated.
Pour batter into a pre-greased and floured bundt pan.
Bake for 1.5 hrs at 300 degrees.  Remove from the oven and let the cake rest and cool in the pan.  The cake will deflate some.  
Carefully invert the cake onto a cake platter and sift powdered sugar over the top of the cake.
Can be sliced and served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  Also, you can omit the powdered sugar and make a lemon glaze with powdered sugar and lemon juice.

Pork Tenderloin Casserole

This recipe comes from my Great Aunt Ann McCaskill in Texas.  It's an easy, one-dish recipe, that even the most novice cook can amaze their friends with.

1 Pork Tenderloin
1 box Uncle Ben's Long Grain Wild Rice (discard the season packet)
1 can Golden Mushroom Soup
2 soup cans of hot water
1 package of dry Onion Soup mix
1 medium onion sliced in large rings
1 small jar of sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour the box of rice into the bottom of the prepared casserole dish, spreading in an even layer.  Place the pork on top of the rice.  Mix the soup and two cans of hot water together and pour over the pork and rice.  Layer the onions and mushrooms around the pork.  Sprinkle the dry onion soup mix over the pork.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 1 to 1.5 hours until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees with a meat thermometer.

Server with a green side dish or a salad.

Finished Pork Tenderloin with Wild Rice

Plated with steamed veg, pear salad and rolls!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

Growing up in the south, you quickly learn there are some basic dishes that just scream SOUTHERN COOKING!  One of these dishes is Chicken and Dumplings.  Or as my little sister called them, "Chicklin & Dumplins"!

Chicken & Dumplings were a staple of my Grandma Lewis' menu for a Sunday "after church" dinner.  Although I was a little too young to remember most of the dishes that she cooked, a big pot of chicken and dumplings was one dish she made that I remember most.

We're talking big hunks of juicy chicken (mostly dark meat) and not too thick, not too big, fluffy, light as air dumplings in a rich and creamy broth.

I really think Chicken and Dumplings fall into the Top 10 Southern Recipes one should master!  More about that in a later blog!

The dish turned out great even though I screwed up and used all purpose flour and not self rising.  It's not that hard to do, but it does take a little time to make.  However, the result is WELL worth the time!

Recipe adapted from Best Kept Secrets of the South's Best Cooks by Southern Living Magazine
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

1 (2 1/2 lb) Whole Chicken

2 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 leaves of fresh sage
3 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup shortening
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 cup cold chicken broth

Cover chicken with water, and bring to a boil in a large Dutch oven.  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the next 7 ingredients; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour.  Remove chicken and let cool.  Set aside 1 cup of broth for the dumplings, reserving remaining broth in Dutch oven.  Skim the fat and  remove the herbs from the broth.  Add remaining salt and pepper to the broth and bring it back to a simmer.  Skin, bone and pull chicken apart into small bite-sized pieces and set aside.

In a bowl, cut the shortening and bacon fat into the flour using a fork or a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly and resembles a course meal.  Add the cold chicken broth (milk can be substituted - but the fresh chicken broth brings out the fresh chicken flavor), stirring until dry ingredients are just moistened.  (PLEASE... resist the urge to keep working the dough.  The more you handle the dough, the tougher the dumplings will be!!)  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll out to 1/8-inch thickness; cut into 1-inch pieces.  Transfer dough onto a lightly floured sheet pan.

Bring broth mixture to a rolling boil.  Drop dumplings, a few at a time, into broth, stirring gently.

After adding all the dumplings, return the chicken pieces to the pot.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring often, for 25 minutes.
"The smaller the hen, the better!"  That's what Grandma always said!

Careful to not over work your dough!
Use a pizza cutter to cut your dumplings!
Drop the dumplings, one at a time, into the boiling broth.
"Come and get it!!"

My First Entry

Well, here it is...  my first entry!

I hope you enjoy following my journey of culinary fun.  A few people have asked me to create a journal of what I cook and the recipes that I follow.

So, here it is.

Let me know what you think.