Friday, April 30, 2010

Marble Cookies for May Day

Don't forget to enter my giveaway.  Please press giveaway to be linked to this giveaway on my website or click on the Le Crueset dishes at the top left of my blog.

When we were young living in Wisconsin, our family lived in a row of houses in the country.  On May Day, May 1st, we would bake cookies and place them in homemade construction paper baskets.  We would take these goodies to our neighbor's home and ring the door and hide or run.  Since we were the only kids in the row of houses, I am sure our neighbors knew who brought them.

When I had my own family, I thought I would continue this tradition...but no!  My first child, a son, was born on May 1st.  Since then May 1st has been a busy day here and we have never given out May Baskets...UNTIL THIS YEAR!  My son turns 16 tomorrow, so after 16 years, I have finally decided it is time to do May Baskets for my neighbors.  We won't doorbell ditch; times have changed...  Also check back to see what we delivered to my son at school today for his "Sweet 16!" 

After so many years, I forgot how to make paper baskets.  I turned to the trusty internet to get instructions here.  I didn't make them exactly as indicated.  I cut my paper to 8x8.  You could even make them smaller.  I used scrapbook paper that I had in my supplies.  I used staples, but a good paper glue would probably be better.  When I was young, I think we made woven paper baskets. 

Every week eight sweet girls from my church (age 8 to 11) to do activities We are making these same baskets for a cute Mother's Day gift.  These baskets are so simple and fun and I think they will have fun making them for their mothers.

Marble Cookies
I developed this recipe after trying a recipe that was made from a sugar cookie mix; it didn't turn out well so I made this recipe; that is what I get for using a mix!  You could also call these Yin Yang cookies.  By the way, they are delicious and they store really well.  I love the chocolate and almond flavoring in these cookies.

 Marble Cookie Recipe:
1 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon to add to chocolate dough.
1/3 cup chocolate chips -- I used milk chocolate.
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
Sugar for rolling dough in

Put butter and sugar in medium mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Add egg and almond  extract and beat until incorporated. Then add baking soda and flour little by little. Divide dough in half.  Melt chocolate chips in microwave being very careful that they don't burn.  Cool chocolate and add melted chocolate and cocoa powder to one half of the dough and mix until chocolates are incorporated.  If the chocolate dough doesn't seem stiff enough, add 1 tablespoon of flour.

Take white dough and, using a little less than 2 teaspoons of dough, roll into small balls. Take chocolate dough and so the same.

Roll the white and chocolate dough together and roll into sugar.

Place chocolate/white cookie ball on baking sheet. Press glass on cookie and smash until about 1/4 inch thick.

 Bake in 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes; do not overbake.

This cookie recipe makes about 44 cookies.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Orange Marmalade Cake

Hi everyone!  Please enter my giveaway where you could win one of the following great kitchen gifts:  Napoleon Bee glasses, Le Creuset baking dishes, pizelle maker, ice cream maker, waffle cone maker, or kitchen scale.  Just click on the Le Creuset pans at the top left of my blog to enter or click HERE to enter.

I am posting this with Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the day is "O" for Orange Marmalade Cake.

Jenny Matlock

I am also posting this at Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum where you can link to by clicking here.

I have been waiting to make Orange Marmalade Cake ever since I read the Mitford books.  The recipe did live up to my expectations!  I loved that it had orange juice poked into the cake after baking.  I also loved the whipped cream and sour cream frosting.  It did take awhile to make, but I think it was worth it!

It was made famous, given almost cult-like status, by Esther Bolick one of the characters in the Mitford books by Jan Karon.  She baked it for every occasion, but would never give out the recipe.  Oh, there were rumors each year that she might give out the recipe, but that never occurred!

A man, named George Gaynor, who secretly lived for a time in the loft over the parish, stole some orange marmalade cake that was in the parish fridge.  When he allowed himself to be discovered (during a church service!) he said, "I came to thank you for your hospitality, and to say to whoever made that orange cake--that was the finest cake I ever ate in life."  (From "At Home in Mitford," page 247.)

Father Tim, who was diabetic, went into a nonketotic hyperglycemic coma after eating two slices of her cake.   I will give you the section from the book "At Home in Mitford" (page 390) that describes his temptation with the Orange Marmalade Cake. At the end of the post, you can link directly to Amazon for the book "At Home in Mitford."

"He saw the tea container in the refrigerator door, but the sight of the cake carrier was so compelling that he couldn't take his eyes off it.  Something cold!  The cake would be cold.  And sweet.  Dear G-- he was wrenched with a craving for something sweet, if only one bite. Surely one small bite couldn't hurt.  He took the carrier out gingerly, as if trying to prevent an alarm from going off and announcing his indiscretion to the neighborhood.  His hand shook as he snapped off the top and stood staring at what Esther Bolick had done in an act of innocent generosity.  Then, without thinking about it any further, he cut a large slice, ate it standing over the sink, and went back for another piece."

After not taking care of his diabetes as he should and eating two pieces of Esther's cake, poor Father Tim went into a coma.  Luckily his cute neighbor found him and was able to call for medical attention.  After this episode with the cake, he had to take his diabetes more seriously.

From what I can gather, people kept on asking Jan Karon, author of the Mitford books, for the Orange Marmalade recipe and she told them there wasn't a recipe.  Then, I believe a recipe was created by a chef.

"Esther's Gift, A Mitford Christmas" was entirely devoted to Esther's decisions on whether she would make the Orange Marmalade cake to take to her friends for Christmas--was it too expensive---was it worth the time? 

Esther's Orange-Marmalade Layer Cake

This recipe was adapted from a recipe given on Jan Karon's page at Penguin Books; as mentioned above, there are several versions of this recipe out there.

Yields: 1 cake, 10 to 12 servings

For the Cake:
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten lightly
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

For the Orange Syrup:
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the Filling:
1 cup orange marmalade

For the Frosting:
3/4 cup well-chilled heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup well-chilled sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment or waxed paper, and butter and flour the paper, shaking out the excess.

2. In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter until combined, add the sugar, a little at a time, and beat the mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternately with 1/2 of the buttermilk until combined well. Add half the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining buttermilk and beat until combined well. Finally, beat in the remaining dry ingredients until mixture is smooth.

4. Evenly divide the batter between the pans, smooth the surface, rap each pan on the counter to expel any air pockets or bubbles, then transfer to the oven.   I found that this was too much batter for 2 (9-inch ) pans so I would advise taking out about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. I baked my cake layers for 48 minutes.  Transfer to racks and cool in the pans for 20 minutes.

To Make the Orange Syrup:

5. Meanwhile, make the orange syrup: In a bowl, stir together the orange juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved. 

6. With a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes at 1/2-inch intervals in the cake layers and spoon the syrup over each layer, allowing the syrup to be completely absorbed before adding the remaining. Make sure that you get the syrup on the outside part of the cake.  Let layers cool completely.

To Make the Filling:

7. In a small saucepan set over moderate heat, heat the marmalade until just melted. Let cool 5 minutes.

To Make the Frosting:

8. In a bowl, with an electric beater beat the heavy cream with the sugar until it forms firm peaks.  By hand, add the sour cream, a little at a time, and whisk until of spreading consistency.  Do not overmix!  I thought you could maybe have more frosting.  Maybe one cup of whipping cream and one cup of sour cream.  Do not use low-fat or no-fat sour cream!

To Assemble the Cake:

9. Arrange one of the layers on a cake plate, carefully peel off the waxed paper, then spread 2/3 of the marmalade over the top, smoothing it into an even layer. Invert the remaining layer onto the top of the first layer, peel off the waxed paper and spoon the remaining marmalade onto the center of it, leaving a 1 1/4-inch border around the edge. Frost the sides and top of the border with the frosting, leaving the marmalade on top of the cake exposed. Or if you prefer, frost the entire cake, adding the marmalade as a garnish on top. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

To view the "At Home in Mitford," book mentioned in this post,  you can click on the link below:

Welcome Spring Tablescape

Welcome to Tablescape Thursday!  I am pleased to be hosting a CSN giveaway. Click on the Le Creuset Image at the top of the left of my blog to enter. Becoming a follower allows you two chances to win Napoleonic Bee Tumblers, a Le Creuset Baking Dish set, a Cuisinart ice cream maker, a Cuisinart kitchen scale, a pizelle maker or a waffle cone maker.  I am a huge fan of Tablescape Thursday and would love for one of you to be the winner!  I think the Bee Glasses would look lovely on one of your tablescapes.

My forsythia still isn't in full bloom yet, so thankfully I have some lovely daffodils to grace this table.  I don't think anything welcomes in spring more than daffodils and the color yellow!  You may have seen these floral dishes before in the first tablescape my daughter Tati did.  This is my first time using them in a tablescape.

Welcome to my springtime tablescape.  I am so glad that you could make it!
A closeup of one of the plates; each plate is unique.

Oops!! You can't see the blooms with this angle!

So here are the blooms!  It is a very sunny, but blustery day!  You can see the blue sky and clouds in the reflection on the table top.

So here is a view of all the placesettings.  I just love the blooms!  I love these quilted placemats with these dishes.  I got them for a song on a Wal-Mart clearance; they were either a quarter or fify cents.

We are serving Orange Marmalade Cake for dessert; I hope you have saved some room!  This cake boasts a whipped cream and sour cream frosting: I hope you won't pass on dessert!

I wanted to show you a closeup of this wonderful cake!  I am posting the recipe and a bit of the storied history of this recipe for Foodie Friday and Alphabe-Thursday tomorrow. 

I am so sorry that you have to leave.  I have so enjoyed your visit.  Come have one more look at the Tablescape and DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

Tablescape Information
Salad Plates --- Robert's Arts and Crafts
White Dishes -- Gibson
Silver -- Damask Rose pattern by Oneida
Napkins -- Wal-Mart -- Better Homes and Garden Line
Placemats -- Wal-Mart -- Better Homes and Garden Line
Napkin Ring Holders -- Bed Bath and Beyone
Goblets -- Wal-Mart
Acorn -- Gift
Cakestand -- Gift

I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Strawberry Cake and a Great Kitchen Giveaway!

First I have provided information on the Kitchen Giveaway (five great items to choose from) and then I have provided the recipe and directions for the Strawberry Cake!

I am so pleased to be able to offer this great giveaway sponsored by CSN which has over 200 web-based stores.  They have everything from Corner TV Stands to pots and pans.  You will also find beds, toys, and exercise equipment.  If there is something you are shopping for, please click on the link above to see an amazing collection of corner TV stands and racks and much, much more!   I was very impressed with their wide variety of great and convenient corner TV stands.  CSN provides free shipping on many items.  Be sure to pay CSN stores a visit to show your appreciation for this amazing give away. 

From the modest!

To the amazing!

They also have sideboards, buffets, consoles, and cooking racks.

Giveaway Rules:

1.  Must be in continental USA or Canada.  For Canadian entrants, please be aware that there may be international fees that may not be covered by this giveaway.  For Massachusetts entrants, please be aware that sales tax may not be covered by this giveaway.  Void where prohibited by law.

2.  To be eligible for this giveaway, please leave a comment telling me which prize you would choose if you should win.  There will  be one prize awarded from the FIVE choices below.  If your e-mail is not listed in your blog or if you do not have a blog, please leave me your e-mail address in the comment section so that I can contact you should you be the lucky winner!  If I can't access your e-mail, you can't win.

3.  Double your chances of winning by telling me in the comment that you are a follower.  If you would like to become a new follower of  Red Couch Recipes, please add your name to the Google Follower Gadget on the left side of my blog.  You do not have to host a blog to be a follower.

4.  One entry per household.

5.  This giveaway will close on Friday, May 14, 2010 at 10 pm Mountain Standard Time.  The winner will be randomly chosen.  The Talent (a.k.a. my husband) will be in charge of the random drawing. The winner will be announced on my blog on Monday, May 17th 2010.

6.  The prize will be awarded by CSN; I am not compensated for holding this giveaway.  Should CSN be out of a particular item, you must make another choice.  Of course, you can change your mind about which item you would like.

7.  These items were chosen by me.  They are similar things that I have in my kitchen or would like to have.

Good Luck!
Please click on the red links to see the details of the available prizes.

Chef's Choice International Waffle Cone Maker Express
French Home Gourmet LaRochere 12 ounce Tumbler (set of 6) in Napoleonic Bee Motif

Chef's Choice International PizellePro Express Baker

There are other lovely colors too.
Cuisinart Deluxe Digital Kitchen Scale

This contest has been sponsored by CSN.  Please feel free to check out all of their wonderful corner TV stands, baking racks, sideboards and such at their Racks and Stands Store.

Great Corner TV Stand!
Now for a fun and easy springtime cake!

There are no complicated directions for this cake!

Make 2-layer cake of your choice.  An angel food cake or white boxed-mix cake would be fine.  Bake and cool cake layers on wire rack.

Make Strawberry Sauce:
1 pound of strawberries  -- reserve a few to decorate top of cake
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Puree strawberries in blender.  Put strawberry puree in small sauce pan and add sugar and cornstarch.  Heat on medium until just barely boiling.  Take off heat and cool.

Place bottom layer of cake on cakestand and spread strawberry sauce on top.  Place second layer on top of bottom layer and spread strawberry sauce on top.  In the picture below, there is strawberry sauce between the cake layers, but it is not visible.

Whip one pint of whipping cream and add vanilla and sugar to taste.  Spread whipping cream on cake.  You may have leftover whipping cream, depending on how thick you want the whipping cream frosting to be.  Garnish top of cake with fresh strawberries.

Slice cake and garnish with additional sauce and fresh strawberries.


I am posting this with Blessed With Grace's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.
I am also posting this with Beauty and Bedlams's Tasty Tuesday.
I am also posting this with All the Small Stuff's Tuesdays at the Table.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blackberry Barbecue Sauce

This recipe is a winner for grilling season!  This makes a great sauce for pork or chicken.  I love the flavors of blackberry, fresh ginger, and freshly ground pepper all melded together.  This recipe comes from my sister Jackie.  She has put together an amazing cookbook, with pictures, and distributed it to many of her family and friends.  Her cookbook is highly sought after; this recipe comes from her cookbook.

Mix the following in a blender:
1 cup ketchup
1 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons powdered ginger
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
4 teaspoons freshly ground pepper -- Do not use ground pepper in a can.
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup frozen or fresh blackberries

Mix all ingredients in blender; pour sauce in a sauce pan and heat until warm throughout.  Season grilling meat with a dry seasoning such as Montreal Steak seasoning.  Place meat on hot grill and baste with blackberry sauce.  When done on one side, turn over and baste on other side.  Grill until done.  Serve meat with extra sauce on the side.  We like to use this sauce on pork loin chops. 

Should your pepper mill be broken (mine is), you can grind up peppercorns somewhat successfully in your blender.

I am posting this with the Utah Hive Food Bloggers.
I am also posting that at Designs by Gollum Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nedra's Noritake

This is a blog entry about my mother Nedra and her Noritake china that she acquired when she was a young married woman.  The above picture is of my mother and her best friend and cousin Ella.  Ella is on the left and my mother Nedra is on the right in the fur collar.

My mother's name is Nedra.  She was born in Southern Utah in 1925 in the little town of Tropic, Utah.  She died in 1990.  Tropic is very near Bryce Canyon National Park.  In fact, there are some trails that you can take to get to Bryce Canyon from Tropic.  I note that she was from Utah because there are many unusual names, like Nedra, originating in Utah.  As a side note, my mother once dated a boy named Arden which coincidentally is Nedra spelled backwards; she did not marry him.  My mother talked about Side Hill Galoots and Wim Wams that used to roam near Bryce Canyon -- fictional animals they talked about.  Imagine having an amazing National Park in your backyard! 

A shot of Bryce Canyon National Park at sunrise.

When my mother's brother was stationed overseas for military service, my mother had her brother buy her a set of Noritake China.  After World War II, sales of china dishware from Japan helped their economy recover from the ravages of war.  Many servicemen stationed overseas brought china back to their loved ones.

The marking on the backside of Nedra's Noritake.

My mother's Noritake pattern is LaSalle.  It was produced in Japan from 1950 to 1955.  On her china marking you can see an M in the middle of the laurel wreath.  Until I looked closer, I always thought that the letter was an N for Noritake.  In 1953 the Noritake company changed the letter enrobed by the laurel wreath from M to N.  The letter M stood for the Morimura brothers who started the Noritake Company.  So because there is an M on her marking, her china was made  in 1950, 1951, or 1952. 

I do not believe my mother was able to pick out her china.  When I was younger I did not appreciate this set of china.  After both my parents died and we were dividing their possessions, I almost didn't take the china.  I am so glad I did because I have grown to love this china.  The flowers and leaves are what I would call taupe-colored.  I don't know, maybe there are light brown?  

To me this china has a slightly Asian feeling and I went with a slightly Asian theme for this tablescape.  I loved how using placemats and bamboo napkin holders created a more modern feeling for this tablesetting.

I began with these placemats I found at Wal-Mart.

I then added the dinner plate.  I love the large floral design on the plate.

I added a salad plate.

I added a fruit bowl.

I liked these taupe colored napkins with the bamboo napkin holders.

I wanted a closeup of the tea cup.  I love the gold handle and the flowers inside the cup.  We don't drink coffee or tea, but I added it because I think the cup is very pretty.

So here is a full view of the tablesetting.  I brought some candlesticks in and some mini decorative luggage that I think enhance the tablesetting.  I also feature the picture of my mother and her cousin Ella.

Here is a side angle view.  I used my sterling, the Damask Rose pattern by Oneida.  I wonder how this tablesetting would look with gold silverware to coordinate with the gold rim on the china.  My mother used to have a single set of gold silverware that she would put out at the birthday person's placesetting.

My mother's china set includes a lovely covered vegetable bowl, a footed gravy boat, two serving platters, and an oval serving dish.  It also includes bread plates and soup bowls.  I will feature some of these on a later tablesetting.

Thanks for dropping by and visiting Nedra's Noritake!

I am posting this with Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the week is "N".  Click on the link below to find other fun and thoughtful entries.

Jenny Matlock

I am also posting this with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.  Come join the party and view amazing tablescapes!