Showing posts with label Stuffing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stuffing. Show all posts

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Thanksgiving came...and went this year; with less family members, and less friends. Each year it is different than from the year before. Isn't it true, that during the major holidays we lose family and friends to 'death' or they just move away...move on...never to be heard from, again...or for a long time...no connection?... it does make one sad, but 'life does go on' and we have to make the best of it!
We have so much to be thankful for, and count our blessings even if its for our every day lives that we interact with other family members and friends that we see often, or once in-a-while! As far as some of our neighbors...well, in my situation where I live; that is very awkward. I hear the srong gusty winds these days, and the 'roaring ocean'. It is always
 10 or more degrees cooler here, so this week one day, I woke up to what seemed to be freezing temperature, when others further up north, or in other parts of Europe had way below freezing and snow storms...no doubt!

Families in neighborhood communities; they treat each other with respect, and care about one-another! Even with the elderly folks that live alone are invited to holiday gatherings, so they don't have to feel left out. For example; my direct next door neighbor...an elderly retired professor, does not speak to anyone...just keeps to himself. He eats every meal...out! I do worry about him, especially during holidays because he does not even have one friend...always alone! I offered several times to help in any way, but I get rejection...so sad!

...let's get on with the rest of the Thanksgiving 'feast'...and recipe for the Cranberry Upside-Down Cake!

For the Cranberry Upside-Down Cake, I used the recipe from my sweet daughter Lora's blog @

note: if you don't have cake flour, it is important to substitute correctly for all-purpose flour but you have to make adjustment to it!
For the 1 1/4 cup of cake flour used in the recipe: use 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour: remove 2 Tbsp. of flour, before sifting, and then replace it with 2 Tbsp. corn starch and add it to the flour, then sift together.
The basic rule; to substitute all purpose flour for cake flour;
Remove 2 Tbsp. flour per each cup of flour used! (you can omit the cornstarch replacement, but it does make it lighter)
I use a square glass Pyrex pan, sprayed the pan with Pam baking spray, cut out parchment paper to fit the inside of the pan, and sprayed that, as well.
The baking time; 350 degrees F. for 45 min. was absolutely correct temperature.
I used a small baking pan to place the cake pan on it, so when it came out of the oven, I could just flip the cake over on it, or your can flip it over directly on a platter. It was a lot easier this way, and peeling of the parchment paper was very easy. After cooling it down for 10 minutes, I was able to slice it and place the slice on the serving platter.
So, there you have it! The best moist cake...ever! I must confess, I like to trim the edges of cake, and devour it, myself...selfish? you bet! ...not feeling guilty, at all...I do it every time, especially when I make brownies, all edges are trimmed off and if you happen to be close by, I will share the fun and yummy pieces with you, but other than that I will offer the entire cake, and not save any pieces for myself! (my rules for me.)
We share Thanksgiving feast with 20 people w/kids included...everyone pitched in. 2 huge turkeys, and lots, and lots of side dishes...and desserts! Just a few samples of the 'feast'...we all gained at least 5 lbs. each; at least!
Second huge turkey...not stuffed, stuffing on the side.
Can't have Thanksgiving or Christmas without the traditional French's Green Bean Casserole, which I make every year...(photo from last year...here's the recipe) French's Green Bean Casserole

Traditional 'super easy' to make Cranberry Sauce...and old recipe that I've made for years which now my daughter makes each year.  Here's the recipe: Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce

 Lora's Classic Pumpkin Pie...(she made 2 this year)...also with homemade crust...yumm!
Here's the recipe: Classic Pumpkin Pie
Hanukkah candles were lit by Dr. Eric's son, River...a 'true inter-faith' group of people, with different heritage, nationality; Italian, Sicilian, Jewish, Hungarian, Polish, Irish and English, Colombian, and Mexican...( a united nation of different backgrounds)...and various religions...Jewish, Catholic, Christian, and Southern Baptist.
Blessings were recited by Dr, Eric's father, nonno Gil...
Nonno Sal...with his prayer and blessings (he wanted to have this special prayer in case he will not be here with us next year)...sigh!
Here are some of group sitting at the dinner table...Dr. Eric on the front left, (looks like I was the only camera person taking some photos)...others took I-Phone photos for their 'Instagram' ...OK, so I'm old fashioned!

The big kids (tweens, and teens)...enjoyed their meal outside on the back patio!
...a little 'nippy' temperature, but the fire pit kept them cozy and warm!


 I am such a proud grandmother of 4...three, which are not shown. They are my greatest blessings and joy, along with their parents...my two children and their spouses! Without family to enjoy...even if you are single or a couple without children or grandchildren...you have to embrace 'life'...family members, and even if you just have one friend...do cherish that friendship!
I saved the 'best for last' our vet, and dear friend... with Lady...an abandoned beautiful Boxer, that he saved, after he was called to check this poor doggie living under a nearby highway bridge...surviving for over one year...full of scars, malnourished, and she almost had to be put down. He was able to befriend her...took her home, nourished her back to health after a couple serious surgeries...(having to deal with putting his own beloved old and sick Boxer; Charlie down)...that's what I call 'fate'...not only did the beautiful Boxer became a family member, but she was given the name 'Lady'...because she was so sweet, appreciative, with such nice 'ladylike' manners. She is with the family for one year now, and she is truly loved and cared for!
Dr. Eric does volunteer work once a week for people that cannot afford 'pet care'!
Isn't she absolutely adorable?...Lady sneaked up to me from under the dinner table, as I was sitting there, and gently rested her cute little head on my lap...looking at me with those sweet adorable and loving eyes! That's what I call a LOVE STORY! My heart simply melted, and it brought tears to my eyes!

So, I think I updated a lot this time...hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving...now it's time to go on a diet; not really a diet...diet...just cut down on extra helpings, and the desserts, until Christmas! xoxo







Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hungarian Nut Roll...and Counting Our Blessings

The holidays are almost over, and the new year will begin, in less than one week. We have so much to be thankful for...but mostly for our life, our freedom, to enjoy our choice of practicing our religion, our ethnic tradition, and respect one-another. This is the time of year when families get together and celebrate the "gift of giving!" It's not about how expensive, or how bright the gift should be...it's about the true meaning of our giving from the heart, and not putting a price on it!

My daughter Lora specifically asked me to make her Kalács (Hungarian Nut Roll) and I just put it off not realizing that it's the traditional value of the holiday season that she still remembers from the time she was little and my aunt making all the wonderful bake goods every Christmas! So, on Christmas Eve...just a few hours before we went to our dear friends for their Southern American/Italian dinner, I, at the last minute literally threw this wonderful quick nut roll together to have it for Christmas day! I rarely make yeast dough, but I made this with the full recipe, and freezing half of the dough! The filling is the same filling, that I used for my Kifli, in my previous post. I just did not have the time to make it the traditional way.

Googled the recipe, for the dough...just did not have the time to figure out the metric system to our American system. Turned out real moist, and everyone loved it. I got the nicest compliment from Lora, telling me that this was the best Christmas gift...better than any other present!

Hungarian Nut Roll
Adapted from Taste of Home

2 packages (1/4 ounce each active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm 2% milk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter softened
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
3 eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour




Filling:
my own recipe

1/2  lb. walnuts
1 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup light raisins (optional)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the sugar, salt, butter, sour cream, eggs, and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.( Dough will be sticky.)
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-9 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.


This is how the dough will look, doubled in size, nice and puffy!






Recipe calls for dividing dough into 4 portions, I divided mine into three. Roll out dough on a floured surface. Roll each into a 12x10 inch rectangle. Spread filling within 1/2 inch of edges. Roll up jelly roll style, starting with the long side; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down on parchment paper lined baking sheet.








Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. This is how it looks after 30 minutes...doubled in size. You can use egg wash with 2 eggs beaten with about 1 Tbsp. water, and with a pastry brush, just paint the tops and sides. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool.


For traditional walnut filling:

4 cups walnuts
1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. brandy
1/3 cup hot milk

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor, ending with the brandy, and hot milk. Spread on the rectangles, and roll up jelly roll fashion, and proceed with the instructions!