Buttermilk Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache

I meant to post this several days ago, but the cold weather decided to bring along a sore throat, aches, headaches, and stuffiness with it. So four days later, I am just now getting this up.

My grandmothers, henceforth known on this blog as Granny Cade and Grandmother Montague, are excellent cooks and bakers. Many of their recipes have been published in church cookbooks. I recently decided that it would be fun to make all of their recipes that I have access to in said cookbooks.

My first selection was Granny Cade’s buttermilk pound cake. My in-laws gave me a bundt pan for Christmas and I have been itching to use it since then. I added Paula Deen’s chocolate ganache for Paul because he wanted some chocolate mixed in there.

Start by greasing yo’ pan.

 I have been using pan grease for over a year and will absolutely never, ever go back to non-stick sprays. Every single cake I have make with this comes out of the pan almost effortlessly. And I have an issue with sticking cakes.  I have many issues though but thanks to this wonderful product I now have one less.
But enough about my issues. Let’s continue with the baking, shall we?

 Cream shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly on lowest speed after each.

 Dissolve baking soda in warm water.

Add to buttermilk. I get so excited when recipes call for buttermilk because sometimes instead of “making” buttermilk I will actually buy it, which means I get to drink the unused milk. I know, most of you reading this might have to excuse yourself for a second as you lurch, but I just don’t care. I drink the stuff my the gallon, baby.

Add flour and buttermilk to creamed mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.

 Beat well and add either almond or vanilla flavoring. The recipe calls for almond, but I ain’t got none of that so I just used vanilla.

 Ask your helper to smile for the camera and watch as she proceeds to make lots of funny faces.

Pour batter into pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

 Hmmmm…pound cake. I like my pound cake to be slightly crusty on the top, which will soon become the bottom. Let cake sit in pan for about 10 minutes.

Or you can be like be, immediately flip it out because you just can’t wait for a slice. Beware, a lack of patience and gluttony will make your cake crack.

Put your hopefully un-cracked cake to the side and get yo’self a microwave safe bowl to make the ganache.

 Put six 1 ounce squares of semisweet chocolate in your bowl.

 Add some heavy whipping cream.

Microwave on High in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until chocolate is melted and smooth.

 Gradually whisk confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Pour over cake. My heart just stopped for a second.

 Slice you up some. Again, being impatient, I sliced me up a piece as soon as I finished pouring the chocolate on top. The result was a not so attractive slice of cake that tasted so good I could have eaten the entire thing without thinking twice about it. Moral of the story, who cares if the cake is cracked as long as it tastes good.

Here’s the recipe with measurements and all.

Buttermilk Pound Cake – Granny Cade
1/2 c. Crisco
1 stick butter
3 c. sugar
5 eggs
1/3 tsp. baking soda
1 T. warm water
1 c. buttermilk
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. almond or vanilla flavoring

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Flour or spray a bundt pan or a couple of loaf pans.

Cream shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly on low after each. Dissolve soda in the warm water and add to buttermilk. Add flour and buttermilk to creamed mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Beat well and add flavoring. 

Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Top should be golden and crusty.

Chocolate Ganache – Paul Deen
6 (1ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
2 c. confectioners’ sugar

In a medium bowl, combine chocolate and cream. Microwave on High in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Gradually whisk in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Let mixture cool a few minutes until slightly thickened. Drizzle over cake.


Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, aka An Really Great Gift

My mother and father-in-law rock. They rocked before they gave us this totally cool (pun intended) gift for Christmas. But this just upped the rock level somewhat. I was totally stoked about it. 
We broke it out tonight to make sweet cream with chocolate chunk and strawberries ice cream. 
Here we go, folks. Here. We. Go. 

Thanks to Ben and Jerry, we found a sweet cream recipe to be the base. Get yo’ self two eggs and whisk ’em until they are light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Whisk in 3/4 cup of sugar slowly. After all the sugar has been added, whisk well until combined. Add in 2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup milk. Whisk until combined and then pop in the freezer to chill it. Add to ice cream maker, and turn that bad boy on.

Cut about 1 cup of strawberries into quarters. Cut a few extra, pop in mouth.

When ice cream is almost ready, add in berries and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. I forgot to take a picture of this step so just imagine me doing it. Close your eyes…can’t you see me pouring those chips and strawberries into the mixer? I know it’s been the most exciting thing you’ve done today. But alas, all good things must come to an end. So open your eyes and get yourself back to reality.

Or to see the fruit of my labor. This made roughly two quarts and there was zero, zip, zilch left. 
Hope you had a yummy day after Christmas, too,

Roasted Garlic and Tomato Soup Followed by Poor Man Smores

By the title you probably guessed that Paul was not here for supper tonight. I made this a couple of years ago when Paul was yet again not at home for supper. But I decided to jazz it up this time with a bit of…

wait for it…

cream…wonderful, heavy cream.

Take 8 Roma tomatoes, or whatever kind you have on hand, and about 4 cloves of garlic and throw ’em on a foil lined pan. I’m a terrible foil ripper, as you can tell by the picture. Plastic Wrap, however,  is my worst enemy.
I also threw in some little yellows ones my dad had sent back with me a week or so ago. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a 425 degree oven until the peel on the tomatoes is cracked and they are starting to turn slightly black. Make sure you leave the garlic in the peel, just smoosh it a little bit.

Once the peel on the tomatoes is cracked and has begun to turn, throw them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. FYI – I won this battle with the plastic wrap. Me- 5, Plastic Wrap – 1,597.

 While you are waiting for the tomatoes to “sweat”, peel and finely dice half an onion. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil in a big ole pot and cook the onions until they are nice and translucent. Ignore the redness in my onions. I forgot to do this step before processing the tomatoes. Thus, my onions look as though they are bleeding.

Once the tomatoes are good and sweaty, peel ’em and throw them and the peeled garlic in a food processor. Now, process..until it’s all nice and smooth.

 Pour the pureed tomatoes and garlic, as well as any reserved juices from the bowl the tomatoes sweated in, into the pot with the onions. Add 1 cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil then turn down heat to a simmer. Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 teaspoon of dried basil. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

 Ta-Da! Had I had oyster crackers on hand I would have garnished the soup with some, but alas, I did not. But if you do, then by all means, enjoy those bad boys.

 For dessert I decided to make the kids…and myself…poor man smores. I don’t know why I call them this. My dad made them for us all the time when we were kids and I never heard anybody call them that. Call them what you like, they are delicious.

Grab some saltine crackers, peanut butter and marshmallows. Spread the peanut butter on the cracker and top with a marshmallow. I ran out of peanut butter and had to use Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. I choose for these to be mine. And let me tell you it took the Poor Man Smore to a whole new level of yummy goodness. After they are all assembled, throw into a 350 degree oven until marshmallows are slightly browned or until the level of browness you like on your marshmallows has been achieved.

Warning: Please, for the love of your taste buds, let these suckers cool off before biting into one. Hot peanut butter and marshmallow make a deadly hot combination and you might not be able to taste anything for 2-3 weeks afterwards if you don’t. I speak from experience people. Heed the warning. And enjoy!

Meat Stuffed Shells

For lunch Sunday we had stuffed shells and since it was my own creation and actually tasted good, I thought I would share it.

You can make your own tomato sauce or buy your favorite canned sauce. Making your own is quite easy though. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pot, add finely diced onion and garlic. Allow that to cook for just a couple of minutes on medium heat. Add two 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes. Pour in a couple of tablespoons of red or white wine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 2-4 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it will be. When done cooking, remove from heat, and add 2-4 torn basil leaves.
I made my sauce the night before and stuck it in the fridge until I needed it.

Grab yourself some jumbo shells and boil them in salt water with a little oil until they are not quite al dente. 

When done, use a slotted spoon to put shells on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Make sure you put the oil in the water when cooking the shells or else yours will look like mine…stuck together. Then you must spend time carefully pulling about shells. Don’t be like me.

 While the shells are cooling brown about 3/4lb of hamburger meat, drain off grease and set aside.

Grab two 15oz containers of ricotta cheese and put in a large mixing bowl.

 Add two egg yolks and mix well.

 Then add Parmesan cheese and the hamburger meat. Stir to combine.

Spoon in a little sauce, add a tiny bit of salt and some pepper. Stir it all up. This would be so yummy right now, but it has raw eggs so you’ll have to wait. 

Spoon a little sauce into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan.
Carefully fill shells with cheese mixture.
Continue filling the shells until the dish is filled.

Cover with the rest of the sauce, making sure to cover all the shells. If not, you’ll get crunchy shells and nobody likes a crunchy shell unless it comes from Taco Bell at 10:00pm.

 Top with Parmesan cheese, or you could be like me, who was too lazy to grate more Parmesan, and just grab a bag of shredded Italian cheese blend out of the fridge and use that. Either way, it’ll be yummy.

Bake at 350 degrees until cheese in melted and sauce is bubbly.

Bon Appetit,

Morning lesson in the kitchen

I decided to be ambitious this morning and make a new muffin recipe…apple cinnamon whole wheat muffins to be exact. A change for morning breakfast…something somewhat healthy.

I think I was just on a roll of baking…for there has been a lot of that this week, which I’ll blog about at some point.

*I spent almost five minutes trying to figure out how to spell the word ambitious before finally holding up a white flag in defeat. I then sent my friend Erin a text asking her how to spell it. In mid-text I thought, “This is stupid. You can’t spell the word to ask her how to spell it.” The text went something like “How do you spell the word ambishous.” I’m pretty sure I could hear her laughing from 8 miles away. Apparently I need to go back to 4th grade. Thank you for sharing in my moment of dimness…back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

After twenty minutes of waiting and smelling the goodness that was baking in my oven, the healthy muffins were ready to be consumed. And consume I did.

Don’t worry…I let the kids and Paul consume some, too.

Paul ate his on the way out the door to go serve hard picking up trash at an apartment complex as part of The Big Serve.

Caleb tore into his, while Lily, seeing one small piece of carrot (I did mention these were “healthy” muffins, right?) freaked out crying, “I said I didn’t want any carrots.” She did not mention this to me, in fact, she asked for a piece of carrot to eat while I was chopping it up. Oh, the ups and downs of being almost 4.

Me? Well, I was chowing down, thinking how good I could feel about eating this healthy muffin because it was made with wheat flour and had carrots in it, when all of a sudden I bit down on something nasty and bitter. It was so revolting I immediately spit the bite of muffin out onto my napkin.

Upon peering into the rest, unchewed, part of the muffin I noticed some sort of white chunk. I didn’t bother guessing, for I still had the nasty, bitter taste in my mouth that was making my stomach take a turn for the not-so-great.

I drank water to no avail. My teeth needed brushing anyway so I decided to give that a whirl. It was at the moment when I picked up the toothpaste that I figured out what the mysterious white chuck had been. We  are currently using Arm and Hammer toothpaste, which has what in it? That’s right….baking soda. What did I bite into that was bitter and nasty in that muffin? BAKING SODA.

Lesson learned….always, I repeat always, sift.

The Food in Asheville

Why do you go on vacation? Is it for relaxation, to see sights, to get away from the business of life? Personally, I go for the food. Okay, not only for the food, but that’s about 85% of the reason I want to go. We had heard the food in Asheville was good, but it was better than good, it was amazing.

After our mile long hike in the Pisgah National Forest we were all ravenously hungry and stopped to eat some Hawg Wild BBQ. I scarfed down my sandwich before I could get a picture of it. Sorry.
The neat thing about this place is that they serve both Eastern and Western BBQ.

While walking downtown, I grew so tired that I thought I was going to fall over in the street so we popped in this quaint coffee shop. I had a latte and Paul got an espresso with the silkiest key lime pie that I have had.
After another 30 minutes or so of walking I was hungry again so we stopped by the Gourmet Chip Company. I had seen it on our last trip and since I have an unhealthy obsession with potato chips I have been wanting to go back to Asheville just to go to this place. They have a myriad of flavors that they make when you order them. There is the Parisan, the Cajun, Southern BBQ, the Napa, the American…and so many more.

 We went with the Italiano (of course). What we received were Kettle Style Potato Chips covered in Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pecorino Romano, Fresh Basil, Balsamic Vinegar and Sea Salt. Scrumptous.

On Wednesday morning we had breakfast where else, at the Bed and Breakfast. It was my first time to have a three course breakfast.

We started with fresh fruit.

For our second course we had egg in a basket. Sorry… I forgot about getting a picture until it was half eaten, and then the picture came out blurry. I blame it on being so consumed with what I was eating that I could not focus on taking a good picture. I tried to eat this delicious culinary delight slowly so the others at the table wouldn’t think I had the manners of hog at meal time. I also ate some of Caleb’s when I thought no one was looking. 


For the last course, we had freshly made crepes. I started with a sugar and cinnamon one, and not wanting all the crepe batter to go to waste, I also had a small nutella one. Paul, being a person of more will power than myself, limited himself to one Crepe Suzette.

For lunch we ate at The Cantina and had the most amazing…tacos…ever. We both had one shrimp and one steak taco. I had hard shells, but Paul had corn tortillas. I think he made the better selection on shells. But hard or soft, these things were incredible. The steak was tender, the shrimp succulent. The veggies were grilled to perfection. And the FLAVOR! Powerful flavor in every bite.

Thanks Asheville for the good times…and the food. Oh, the food. 

Strawberry Pie

Ally, one of my most favorite people on the planet, was here this weekend. She ate lunch with us today so I decided to go all out and make a strawberry pie for her. You know she’s special because I only have two gallons of the sweetest strawberries the world has ever seen in the freezer and they have to last until next year when the strawberry farm decides it is ready to open its gates and let the hordes of strawberry loving residents of Winston in to graze it’s field. That may be the longest sentence ever written.   
Here’s the pie. And you should go out, find the best berries you can, and make it now…I mean it. Stop everything. Share it with others. They will like you more. 

 First take 4 cups of strawberries, 1/3 cup of all purpose flour, 1 1/4 cups of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and mix together.

 The original recipe immediately puts it all in the pie crust. I let it sit for a few hours to let all the juices of the berries come out so that a thick syrup coats everything. After about 1 1/2 hours this is what you have. It is so good I could eat it at this stage.

 You need two pie crusts. I use The Pioneer Woman’s pie crust. I have a love/hate relationship with pie crust. I know that I could make it easy on myself and just buy a roll of Pillsbury from the store but I refuse to let pie crust conquer me. It only took two tries instead of the usual three to get the pie crust to roll out, not stick to the counter and make its way to the pie plate without breaking to a zillion pieces. I say that’s progress.

 Pour in all that wonderful strawberry goodness and dot with butter. Please pay not attention to the really awful looking pie crust.

 Put the top crust on. Disgard all the leftover pieces of crust before you take a picture of it. Bake at 425 for 45-45 minutes or until crust is golden.

 Let it sit for a while. Piping hot strawberry pie will burn your mouth shut. Please heed the warning.

 I happened to have heavy whipping cream in the fridge so I mixed it with some sugar and spooned that goodness on top of the pie. We also put some cream in our coffee and it was oh-so-good.

Buon Appetite!

Sunday Lunch Bunch

Sunday lunch is a traditional at my parents’ house. My mom worked very hard to make it so. Sometimes there were just the six of us. Sometimes there were so many people we had to pull out card tables. I still don’t understand how my mom managed it all. But after all those years of flouring chicken, frying green tomatoes, cooked cornbread, and baking cobblers, she passed on something to me that I hold dear. It is more than eating good food. It is a couple of hours sitting at a table with people you love and who love you in return.

I hold this traditional very dear, so much so that I have tried to replicate it with my own family. It started with just the four of us…or three at the time. Then is involved another family and we’d switch hosting from week to week. Then our friend Ally started coming over. Shortly later she began bringing her boyfriend, Stephen, who later began bringing his roommate, Nick. They have become staples at our table on Sunday and during the week. 
They bring laughter and entertainment and joy in the door with them. And when they can’t be here, it is felt.

Who knew a simple meal on Sunday could bring five people so close together?

From Back to Front: Nick, Ally, Stephen

Passed Down With Love

This is a story of love, fun…and dough.
It begins many, many years ago as my mother, red-headed and freckle faced, stood in her grandmother’s kitchen kneading biscuit dough in a dough bowl that had been carved out from a log and sanded down to a smooth surface, her hands, small and smooth, working alongside her grandmother’s hands, wrinkled and worn with age. She learned how to bake without measuring. She learned how to be patient as she wanted for the biscuits to bake. She felt her grandmother’s love in a small kitchen over a hot oven.
Fast forward about 25 years later to a cozy kitchen in rural Mississippi and you will see me, a blonde haired little girl, who purposefully woke up early to beat my siblings to the kitchen so I could be the one to help make breakfast that morning, and my mother, tall, slender, and still red-headed. Racing to and fro in the kitchen, I eagerly help gather ingredients for the biscuits.
My mother measures out the flour and hands me the measuring cup to dump the flour into a bowl. Next comes the shortening. Mother explains, “We don’t want too much shortening – it will make your biscuits crumbly,” as we scoop it out of the blue Crisco can. After cutting the shortening into the flour, we pour in the milk and stir it all together. Next, came my favorite part, kneading and cutting out the biscuits. I sprinkle flour on the red topped laminate table and mother scraped the dough out of the bowl and we would begin to knead until the dough was a smooth, round ball. We’d pat out the dough with our hands and begin cutting out the biscuits with a mason jar ring, making the perfect sized biscuit. On to the large flat cast iron pan they would go and into the oven. For 20 minutes the house would fill with the smell of raw dough turning into flaky, light, slightly golden brown biscuits.Standing in a flour dusted kitchen with doughy fingers my mother taught me so much more than how to make a delicious biscuit.
She taught me love, tenderness, patience. She taught me to spend time with my children, sharing with them simple things that in later years will mean so much. She taught me to see the beauty and joy in sharing those simple things.
Fast forward 20 years later to a different, but still cozy, kitchen in Winston-Salem, NC and you will see me and a curly red-headed two year girl standing over a bowl of dough, the same way her grandmother and I did. Look closely and you’ll see love being kneaded into those biscuits…look closer and you’ll see a little girl’s bright blue eyes shining with delight and glee as she steals biscuit dough to eat!