Saturday, October 14, 2017

Anna Sultana’s Coconut Bread and the Orionid Meteor Shower

One thing I do not like about living in the prairies is the sudden arrival of the seasons, Winter and Summer, with a definitely short amount of time given to Spring and Fall.

Yesterday we were enjoying a comfortable Autumn day - the air was crisp and the leaves were golden.
Today we awoke to find snow covering everything.
Ah… October in the prairies.

One can’t assume there will be a long stretch of time before true winter weather hits.
I’ve already put my garden to bed and started packing away yard ornaments.
Another summer has flown by, and winter is fast approaching.

Last week I got a start on my Christmas baking.
Well, the oven was going with the Thanksgiving pumpkin pies, so I decided to make use of the oven’s heat for a fruitcake, so that it would have plenty of time to age.
I made a White Fruitcake, the one that has a cup of shredded coconut in it. 

After a few grocery shopping trips one comes to a realization - food often is not sold in the amount one needs - the hot dog buns are sold in a bag of eight, while the hot dogs are in a container of ten.
So it goes - one buys more of an item so there’ll be enough.

Coconut is not something I use regularly, like fresh fruit or bread.
If I just toss the leftovers on the shelf I know I’ll just forget about it, and buy another bag next year for another fruitcake.

The safest thing to do is to bake something with coconut in it for a dessert this week.
Something like Coconut Bread.
As Ma would say, Waste not, want not.


If you don’t have buttermilk in the fridge, you can make a substitute for baking very easily. Place in a measuring cup:
1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
Add enough milk to reach the 1 Cup mark.
Let sit 5 minutes (more or less) and use in your recipe.
No, this won’t work as a substitute if someone wants to drink a glass of buttermilk.

here are a few more recipes that can use that leftover coconut:

Haystacks ( a handy recipe - it uses leftover cream cheese)

                        Coconut Bread

Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan

Sift together in a large bowl
3 Cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325º F

Combine in a large mixer bowl
1 Cup butter, softened
3/4 Cup sugar
Beat together until fluffy.

Add, one at a time, beating after each addition
2 eggs 
Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition and mix until blended.
Beat in 
1 Tablespoon lemon extract

Add the flour mixture alternately (3 dry and 2 liquid) with
1 Cup buttermilk
Just combine enough to mix the ingredients. don’t over beat.
Fold in
1 Cup shredded coconut
2/3 Cup finely crushed almonds

Place the mixture in the prepared pan.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
A toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaves should come out clean.
Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.
Remove the bread from the pan and place the bread on a platter.

Slice and serve as is, or with butter and/or jam.

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

October 15 - The occultation of Regulus by the Moon. Before dawn, most of the contiguous U.S. (except the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Northern Plains) and Southeast Canada, and parts of the Maritime Provinces, will be able to see the Moon cover the bright bluish star, Regulus, known as the Heart of the Lion in Leo. See if you’re in the zone of visibility.  

October 16 - Look to the east about an hour before sunrise to spot the tiny crescent Moon above Venus and Mars.

October 19 - New Moon, 3:12 p.m. 

October 21 & 22 - The Orionid Meteor shower peaks ! This shower is the cosmic dust from the most famous comet, Halley’s comet. The meteors appear to emanate from a point near the Orion-Gemini border in Orion’s upraised club, hence the name. This year should be very favourable for viewing as the moon is just past new phase so skies will be dark. View overhead from 1 to 2 a.m. local daylight time until dawn; you may see 20-25 meteors per hour!

October 22 - Look an hour after sunset to spot the crescent Moon, the planet Saturn, and the star Antares low in the southwest horizon.

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