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Straw-Tira (3)

I’ve seen a few recipes for Strawberry Tiramisu online but went back to my original recipe which my family loves, substituting Amaretto for the Kahlua I normally use and adding fresh strawberries.  This might be our new favorite, certainly during the strawberry season.  It’s very easy to put together, not too sweet and a good make-ahead dessert.

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STRAWBERRY AND AMARETTO TIRAMISU

One package Italian lady fingers (about 12 lady fingers – I use Alessi Biscotti Savoiardi)
¼ to 1/2 cup Amaretto (to pour over lady fingers – they should be evenly moist)
One cup of fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
15 oz. light ricotta cheese
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip)
9 fresh strawberry-halves for garnish

Place the lady fingers in a layer in bottom of 9-inch pan.  Pour Amaretto over the lady fingers.  Arrange sliced strawberries over lady fingers.  Set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat together the cream cheese and ricotta cheese until smooth.  Fold in whipped topping.

Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the top of the lady fingers and strawberries.  Place the strawberry halves over the top of the dessert, creating 9 servings.  Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

To serve, cut dessert into 9 servings, including a fresh strawberry half.  Refrigerate leftovers.

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lauraq (1)
My younger daughter has been a life-long devotee of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books (Little House on the Prairie et al – the TV series, not so much).  She has always wanted to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, MO, and had a chance to make the trip with her sister last month.  Her excellent report on this trip is here.

One of the souvenirs she brought home was a gift for me – a pattern for a wall hanging called Laura in Redwork by Johanna Wilson (Plum Creek Patchwork*).

I like to do simple embroidery and had red-checked gingham on hand, so I made up the original pattern for my daughter.

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I made a label that incorporated a picture of my daughter standing in front of Laura’s house in Mansfield.

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I gave her the quilt on Mother’s Day and she was very happy with it.  It measures 38×38 inches – a big wall hanging or a small lap quilt.  Her dog, Daisy, looks anxious to have it on the couch where she can get cuddly with it.

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I wanted to make a wall hanging for myself but not that big and I didn’t want to work with the same materials again, so I reduced the pattern by 50% and came up with a wall hanging in blue that is 22×22 inches.

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I like both versions very much.  It would be a good pattern for a quilter with a bit of experience rather than a beginner since the instructions aren’t too detailed.

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*Plum Creek Patchwork – 1410 County Highway #5 – Walnut Grove, MN 56180

Rose Cheesck (8)

I first made this cheesecake in 1989 from one of my prized cookbooks, The Cake Bible.  It immediately became the family’s favorite cheesecake, usually served with strawberries or strawberry sauce.

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MY FAVORITE CHEESECAKE WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE

Two 8 oz. pkgs cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tblsp. cornstarch
3 large eggs
3 Tblsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
3 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Pan:  One 8 inch x 2-1/2 inch or higher springform pan, greased and bottom lined with greased parchment or wax paper; outside of pan wrapped with a double layer of heavy-duty foil to prevent seepage.  One 10” cake pan or roasting pan to serve as a water bath.  Pan should not have higher sides than the springform pan or it will slow down baking.

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In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar until very smooth – about 3 minutes.  Beat in the cornstarch.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and beat until incorporated.  Beat in the sour cream just until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Set the pan in the larger pan and surround it with 1” of very hot water.  Bake 45 minutes.  Turn off the oven without opening the door and let the cake cool for one hour.  Remove to a rack and cool to room temperature (about one hour).  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Store one week refrigerated – do not freeze.

Serve slices of cheesecake topped with this wonderful, not-too-sweet Strawberry Sauce.

Rose Cheesck (7)

STRAWBERRY SAUCE

  • Servings: (makes approx. 3-1/2 cups of sauce)
  • Print

½ cup granulated sugar
4-½ tsp. cornstarch
¼ cup orange juice (or 2 Tblsp. each of water and orange juice concentrate)
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium pan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and orange juice.  Add the prepared berries and heat over medium high heat until mixture comes to a boil.  Stirring constantly, boil mixture for another two minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Serve at room temperature or chilled over cheesecake.  If there are leftovers, refrigerate and spoon over ice cream, pound cake, or pudding. 

Rose Cheesck (2)

Easy Creamed Corn

baked

In these months leading up to getting some beautiful fresh corn at the farm market, I’m trying to use up any that I have in the freezer from last summer.  This is an easy side dish using frozen corn.  I grew up on evaporated milk and love it, but if you can’t abide it, substitute half-and-half cream.

EASY CREAMED CORN


2 cups frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw)
1-½ cups undiluted evaporated milk
½ tsp. salt
Pinch of white pepper
1-½ Tblsp. granulated sugar
2 Tblsp. butter
2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, combine frozen corn kernels, milk, salt, pepper and sugar.  Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 5 minutes.

In a separate small pan, melt butter, then add flour and whisk for one minute.  Add the butter/flour mixture to the corn mixture and mix well to combine.

Set oven to broil.

Place corn in a casserole dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Broil under heat until browned (keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn).

Serve immediately. 

I served this recently with grilled marinated pork tenderloin, browned new potatoes and steamed broccoli – pineapple upside down cake for dessert.

My younger daughter especially loved the corn.

Happy birthday, Nancy

Happy birthday, Nancy

My older daughter who lives with me will be celebrating her 61st birthday today and I’m preparing her favorite birthday dinner – Mini Beef Wellingtons with mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce.  I thought it might be a good opportunity to re-post a blog from five years ago.  We’re having this exact family dinner today, including the cake.  Everybody enjoys it.

Mini Beef Wellingtons – April 26, 2010

My oldest daughter’s favorite birthday meal is Mini Beef Wellingtons with mashed potatoes, mushroom sauce and asparagus with Hollandaise.  It’s not a difficult meal to prepare, but time-consuming.  I make the pate and mushroom sauce the day before and cook the beef early in the day of the dinner to allow time for it to cool for easier handling.  I used to buy a beef tenderloin but found it easier to simply buy the filet mignons wrapped in bacon that my store handles.

MINI BEEF WELLINGTONS

  • Five 6 oz. portions of filet mignon
  • Sprinkling of salt and pepper
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed (Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 Tblsp. milk

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

Allowing time for the meat to cool well enough to handle, place the filet mignons in a baking pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover and bake @ 300 degrees F for approximately one hour, depending on how  you like your meat (my family likes it well done, especially in this dish).  Allow to cool.  My filet mignon comes wrapped in a slice of bacon.  Remove the bacon.  Cut meat into 18 small portions.

Set oven to 350 degrees F

Cut the 2 sheets of puff pastry into 9 sections each.  Place one section on a floured board and roll thin (like pie crust).  Place one portion of meat in the center of the pastry.  Top with about a teaspoon of Chicken Liver Pate (recipe below), bring up edges of pastry to cover the meat and  seal.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining sections of pastry and beef/pate.  Brush the tops of the pastry with milk and bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes.

Serve hot with Beef Mushroom Sauce (recipe follows).

Makes 18 mini Beef Wellingtons

CHICKEN LIVER PATE

  • 1/4 lb. chicken livers
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 of a hard-boiled egg
  • 1/2 Tblsp. butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Grating of black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dry sherry

Rinse and drain chicken livers and cook in broth over moderately low heat for about 15 minutes until no pink shows in the livers.  Drain and set aside.

Cook bacon for 5-7 minutes until crisp and golden brown.  Remove bacon and in the remaining fat cook onions for about 7 minutes until soft but not brown.

Combine the cooked chicken livers, bacon, onions, egg, butter, salt, pepper and sherry in a mixer or food  processor and blend until fairly smooth.

Refrigerate until ready to use.  Makes about one-half cup of pate.

Adapted from Redbook Cookbook.  First made to use with Beef Wellington in 1989.

BEEF MUSHROOM SAUCE

  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups beef broth, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (depending on saltiness of broth)
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

In a small skillet, saute the mushrooms in butter until they are just beginning to brown.  Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup of beef broth.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, place remaining one cup of beef broth, wine.  When mixture is hot, whisk in the flour/broth mixture.  Bring to a boil and let cook for 2 minutes, whisking.  Stir in mushrooms, salt and pepper.

Makes about 2 cups of sauce to pour over the Wellingtons and/or potatoes.

Asparagus is good with this meal and we like this Mock Hollandaise Sauce.

8

For dessert, a big frosted cake from our favorite Cincinnati bakery,Servatii’s.

fabric

In 2008, I made a nice hooded jacket out of some really cute Scottie fabric and ever since then I have been shuffling around a small bag of scraps, hoping to find the perfect project for them.  Since I reached my goal for 2014 of using up every small scrap I had other than special fabric like this, I’m a little ruthless in wanting to avoid saving any more small bags of scraps.  I decided to go ahead and use this material in one of my favorite ways – to make panels that can be used as backings for wall hangings and small quilts, backings for cushions, linings for tote bags and other small projects, etc.

The first step is to take all the crumpled pieces of fabric out of the bag and press them.  Then begin cutting them into pieces that will be formed into blocks.  I like to make 5-inch blocks partly because they are easy to work with and partly because my ruler is 5 inches wide and makes measuring/cutting easy.  So, first I cut any 5 inch blocks I can get out of the fabric.

Then, I cut strips 5 inches or more longer x 1-½ inches wide.

The rest of the fabric is cut into blocks, strips or rectangles at least 1-½ inches and on up to 5 inches.

The fabric pieces are placed in stacks – 5-inch squares, strips or pieces that are 5 inches wide, pieces that are various widths and shapes, and strips.

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I start first with the various pieces and strip-sew them to one of the strips, using ¼ inch seams.

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This sewn strip is cut apart …

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…pressed….

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…and trimmed.

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Then, these joined pieces are sewn onto another strip, cut, pressed and trimmed until all of the pieces have been joined to something.  These joined pieces are sewn to other pieces to form a 5 inch block.

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Any 5-inch wide pieces are to sewn together or to other joined pieces to form 5-inch blocks.  If I run short of fabric, I keep a supply of white or neutral colored strips on hand to finish off blocks.

When all of the fabric has been used, the blocks are sewn together in panels.  If I know the measurement for a particular project, I sew the blocks to form that size panel.  If I’m sewing for storage, I like panels that are two blocks across and three blocks down.  This happens to work well for the projects I make.  The panels can be joined or cut as needed.

The Scottie fabric gave me enough to make one panel that is 22-½ inches long x 9-½ inches wide.

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I try to use this process whenever I finish up a project.  Any piece over 5 inches is saved but all of the other bits and pieces are sewn into something that can be used later.  It’s actually rather relaxing to do some mindless sewing like this after completing a project and at the same time, make good use of pretty scraps rather than dealing with them 7 years from now.

 

Lillian and the Sunbeam mixer - 1952

Lillian and the Sunbeam mixer – 1952

In 1952, I was working at Procter & Gamble’s corporate offices in downtown Cincinnati.  I was a secretary in the Radio/TV Advertising Department and worked for the two department heads plus three young members of the staff.  On May 31, 1952, early in the morning of the day I was to be married, a special delivery letter arrived.  It contained a cute page made up by my co-worker, Bert Berman, had the signatures of the rest of the men in the department  and  informed me that I was going to be receiving a SUNBEAM ELECTRIC MIXER.

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I was completely surprised since Mr. Smith and Mr. Craig had already sent beautiful sterling silver pieces, but there was nothing I wanted more than an electric mixer.  The manual/cookbook that came with the mixer was my baking bible for the next ten years at least.  It’s in tatters now with the cover and a couple of pages missing.

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I made a lot of good food with that Sunbeam and manual.  This is a picture of my older daughter and son, waiting for me to start mixing his first birthday cake in 1957.
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One of the family’s favorites was an easy recipe for brownies.  I named them my “Best Brownies”, copied from my recipe binder below.

BEST BROWNIES



¾ cup sifted flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup shortening or margarine (started using Imperial margarine in 1989)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, unbeaten
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups chopped nuts

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar.
Add shortening, vanilla and eggs.

Beat one minute, then add the cocoa and nuts.
Beat ½ minute longer.  

Pour into greased 8×8 pan.  Bake @ 350 for 30-35 minutes.  Cut while still warm. 


Old 1950s recipe from original Sunbeam mixer cookbook.  Have made a thousand times.

Sunbeambk (2)
Saying that I have baked these brownies 1,000 times over the past 60 plus years isn’t too much of an exaggeration.  I made up a batch today just for old time’s sake.
BestBr

My Sunbeam  mixer lasted 30 years until 1982.  By that time, I was doing a lot of bread baking and wanted a very strong unit along with dough hooks.  I chose a Kitchen Aid mixer which is still working beautifully 33 years later.  It has served me well, but has never given me the surprise and thrill of that first old Sunbeam.

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