Sunday, April 16, 2017

Wishing you a Happy Easter!!

The Promise of Easter.... 

May joy fill your day
Hope light your path
And the many
blessings of Easter
warm your heart....

Wishing you a Happy Easter!!
Thank you for visiting!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Anna Sultana’s Brunch Cheesecake and the Lyrid Meteor Showers

Easter is almost here!
A time of faith and blessings.
A time of family memory making and traditions.
A time of famished relatives and food expectations.

The dinner menu - turkey, ham, lamb or beef - will take care of the family later in the day.
But you can’t exactly let them starve until then.
Sure… you could pull out a few boxes of cereal, just like any other morning.
But you know they’ll give you ‘THE LOOK’.

Funny the things the kids learn from us.

Okay… you’ve been through enough, what with the Spring cleaning and holiday baking.
You don’t deserve getting ‘THE LOOK’. 
This Brunch Cheesecake is easy to make but looks impressive.
It can be prepared on Saturday and allowed to sit in the refrigerator, ready to wow them on Sunday morning.

Happy Easter!!


Hints:

Don’t have lemon zest?  Add another tablespoon of lemon juice.

Want something with a top crust?
Spread 1/3 of the batter onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
Cover with the cream cheese mixture.
Cover with spoonfuls of the remaining batter.
Bake as you would for the original recipe.

Leftover cheesecake is great as a breakfast or for dessert on Monday.


Feeding a crowd? Here are a few more brunch ideas:









                        Brunch Cheesecake


Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish 

Place in a large mixer bowl
2 packages (250 g or 8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 container (454 g or 1 pound) ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 Tablespoons lemon juice 
Beat at medium speed until blended. 

Combine in a medium bowl
3 large eggs
1 Cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 Cup milk 

Combine in another large bowl
1 Tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1 Cup flour
Stir in the egg mixture and beat until blended.

Heat oven to 350°F

Spread the batter onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
Cover with the cream cheese mixture.
Bake 55 to 60 minutes, or until the centre is set. 
Allow the cake to cool.

Cut into 16 portions and place on plates.
Sprinkle with
confectioners' sugar 
Top with a dollop of sour cream and jam (optional) 

Serve with fresh fruit.


About the sky this week and next, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

April 15 - The waning gibbous Moon is at apogee, its farthest point from Earth. (An easy way to remember: Apogee = Away)

April 16 - In the morning, look to see the waning gibbous Moon just 5 degrees from Saturn. Look to the west at nightfall to see the “Seven Sisters” (known as the Pleiades Star Cluster) hover above Mars.

April 19 - Last quarter Moon, 5:57 p.m. The Moon appears as a half Moon in the sky. One-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing, heading toward the New Moon (invisible) phase.

April 21 - Late Friday night into the early morning hours of Saturday, look for the Lyrid meteor showers. Up to 10 “shooting stars” per hour radiate from a spot near the brilliant bluish star Vega. The waning crescent moon will not rise until after 4 a.m., thus assuring dark skies most of the night. These meteors are the dust left behind by Comet Thatcher, which visited the inner solar system in 1861.

April 26 - New Moon, 8:16 a.m. 

April 27 - The barely visible waxing Moon (3% illuminated) is at perigee, its closest point in its orbit to Earth for the month.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Anna Sultana’s German Chocolate Cake and April’s Full Pink Moon

It’s been a while since I posted a chocolate cake recipe.
I think the last one was about a year ago... 
the recipe for Ma’s Mocha Cake.
The most popular chocolate cake recipe I've ever posted - it’s received over 2,000 visits - was Carmela Soprano’s Baci Cake.
Baci Cake does take quite a bit of work...
but then, don’t most delicious recipes?


Well, it’s definitely time for me to post another chocolate cake recipe. 
And with Easter coming, why not go for a special one.
German Chocolate Cake is like Baci Cake in that it takes a bit of work, and is delicious.

Mrs. Kekelia had given me a slice when I was four years old.
Well, I told Ma about it, Ma asked Mrs. Kekelia for the recipe, Mrs. Kekelia kindly gave her a recipe, and Ma made her usual tweaks.
Don’t ask me which version I found most delicious.

I don’t have Mrs. Kekelia’s recipe, but luckily I have Ma’s recipe.
And now, so do you.

Hints:

To make soured milk place 2 teaspoons vinegar in a measuring cup and add enough milk to make 3/4 Cup soured milk.


                        German Chocolate Cake

For the Cake:

grease and flour 2 8x2 inch round pans
tap out excess flour   
Line bottom of pans with waxed paper.      

Sift together
1 3/4 Cups cake and pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt 

Put in a heatproof bowl
4 ounces sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 Cup water 
Microwave until chocolate is almost melted (about a minute).
Stir until chocolate is completely melted. 
Remove from heat and let cool.

In a mixer bowl, beat at medium speed until foamy
3 large egg whites
Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form when the beaters are lifted.


Place in a large mixer bowl
3/4 Cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 Cups sugar
Cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add, one at a time
3 large egg yolks
Beating after each addition.
Blend in 
3/4 teaspoon vanilla 
the melted chocolate

Preheat oven to 350ยบ           

Making 3 dry and two liquid additions, alternately add 
the flour mixture 
3/4 Cup soured milk
Blending at low speed.
Blend at medium speed for 1 minute.

With a spatula gently fold about a quarter of the egg whites into the mixture.
Repeat 3 times.
Spread batter in prepared pans.
Bake 40 - 50 minutes, until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean.
Remove from oven. Immediately run small spatula around the cakes. 
Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the pans and let them cool completely.


For the Frosting:

Chop
pecans to make 2/3 Cup

In a saucepan combine 
2/3 Cup sugar
2/3 Cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup butter
2 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon vanilla 
Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring, until mixture comes to a full boil.
Stirring constantly, cook about 2 more minutes, until mixture is a caramel colour.
Stir in 
1 Cup flaked coconut
2/3 Cup chopped pecans 
Cool.

Place an upside down layer on a serving platter.
spread half of frosting over the layer.
Top with second layer and cover with the remaining frosting.


Would you like recipes for German bread, cookies or kuchen?
Here are a few of my old favourites, compliments of Mrs. Kekelia:


Mrs. Kekelia's Stollen, German Christmas Bread

Mrs. Kekelia's Zimtsterne, German Christmas Cookie

Mrs. Kekelia's Pfeffernuesse, German Christmas Cookie

Mrs. Kekelia's Anise Springerle, German Christmas Cookie

Apple Kuchen


About the sky this week and next, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

April 2 - Look toward the west after nightfall to see the waxing crescent Moon (40% illuminated) inside the Winter Circle asterism. This formation of stars looks more like a hexagon than a circle, and is made up of seven colorful stars:  Sirius (white), Rigel (blue), Aldebaran (orange), Capella (yellow), Castor (white) & Pollux (orange), and Procyon (yellowish-white).

April 6 - Look to the southeast and dusk to see the Moon less than 2 degrees from the star Regulus. Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion.

April 7 - Jupiter is at opposition, meaning opposite the Sun. It will rise in the east near sunset and will remain in the sky all night long. Around this time it is closest to Earth for the year.

April 11 - April’s Full Pink Moon will be astronomically full at 2:08 a.m. This is the first full Moon of the spring season.   

               A full Moon in April brings frost. If the full Moon rises pale, expect rain.