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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hummingbird Cake Recipe

The other day I told my daughter " If ever I leave this world ,please do not think you have to hold on to ALL of my cook books". This is a load I would not put on anyone. Our library has a great selection of books to buy. 1.00 for hardback and .50 for paper. I am always walking out with one or two..... Recipes that follow stories are my fav. It is not enough that I eat it I have to read about it too! Where it came from, what events are set around it, is it old..... So I always include a story about what it is I am sharing with people, something they can share when they prepare it. In a way I'm selling it, making sure you know you have to try this recipe. I can sell anything! My friend said "I can sell ketchup to a lady in white gloves". The recipes I write about are worthy to be made, or I wouldn't waste my time. I have plenty of recipes not worth making much less writing about. This is not one of them. People love a story with a recipe. So here goes! My friend told me that while traveling with her family in Savannah GA. They saw a huge wedding cake being brought out from a van. When asked "What kind of cake is that"? The chef replied, a traditional Savannah wedding cake." Hummingbird Cake". That evening while dinning, there it was. They all shared, as it was a huge! They were instantly in love. This was sometime back, before internet was assessable. The recipe was very hard to find. Finally a friend, who had collected recipes for years, had it! What we do know is that the recipe gained widespread popularity after it appeared in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living Magazine. We also know that the recipe was submitted by a Mrs L H Wiggins of Greensboro North Carolina and consists of two layers of cake full of chopped pecans, crushed pineapple, and mashed bananas that are filled and frosted with a delicious cream cheese icing. I love Southern Living recipes, so the fact that it is the most requested recipe EVER! I had to have it. It is moist, nutty, fruity, and even better the next day. No one seems to know it origins; ingredients suggest it is from Jamaica. There are two schools of thought about this cake and why it is named after a hummingbird. One is that it is so sweet hummingbirds are attracted to it, and the other is you hum when you eat it. You tell me. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has.


Hummingbird Cake


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3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking soda
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup chopped pecans 2 cups ripe banana
Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 ounces cream cheese softened
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 pounds confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

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Preheat oven to 350°.
Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together into mixing bowl several times.
Add eggs and oil to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are moistened
Stir in vanilla, pineapple and 1 cup pecans.
Stir in the bananas
Spoon the batter into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes,or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack.
Cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
Combine cream cheese and butter; cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.
Frost the tops layers, stack and then frost sides. Sprinkle top evenly with the 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

Friday, April 23, 2010

Making Butter in a Jar!

You will need;

A quart jar with a tight lid

A handy dish towel

3 cups heavy cream, at room temperature

Pour your cream into the jar and screw on lid tightly. Hold dish cloth around the lid and begin to shake your jar of cream. Shake back and forth and within 20 minutes you’ll start seeing little yellow specks of butter forming. Keep on shaking, and you’ll have a nice size lump of butter in your cream. Drain off buttermilk (the leftover cream from the butter) into a container and put the lump of butter (which will be very soft and pliable) into another container with lid. Place in your refrigerator or somewhere cool so it can harden. It is ready to use at any time, soft or hard. Then with your leftover buttermilk you can make a good ole batch of buttermilk biscuits or cornbread to have with your fresh butter!

We often like to sit on our porch swing or in a rocking chair and read a good book while we’re shaking our butter. I have a friend that told me a story about her parents putting the jar in the trunk of the car. Several “country mile dirt roads" later. Butter! This is a great idea to keep kids busy. My daughter even rolled the jar under her foot while watching a movie. She must get this from my mom, she does this with oranges at Christmas (to really get the juices flowing, same concept as rolling a lemon to juice it up) then she sticks an old fashioned peppermint stick in it for drinking the juice up! We call that a "hard candy Christmas"! That’s a whole other blog. Anyone besides my mom, get a brown sack with oranges, walnuts and hard candy under the tree? When we have our Christmas Hoe Down at our farm, I can’t help myself…..oranges, walnuts and old fashioned peppermint sticks have to be on the venue! I know this has nothing to do with butter , but I love Christmas!

Friday, April 9, 2010




My husband Gary has been busy ploughing the garden for his beautiful flowers and vegetables. Nine years of working this soil and it is finally perfect for what we grow. The girls (hens) had their hand at it after he was done. We have clay soil so it has been a challenge.As you can see in the back ground a new coat of red pant is being added to the barn. Big job!!! We are now starting the process of becoming certified organic. We have plans for a you- pick-it fig farm, and local organic flowers. Great for summer weddings! We had another great day of weather. It makes me feel compelled to buy seeds, all the time! I love em, can't get enough. If I am not buying seeds or plants, I am looking in seed catalogues. We are growing beets for the first time this year. I bought some red and white striped Seed Saver type. One of my produce customers brought me some brown leafed lettuce from Monticello .Lettuce is one thing that really loves our soil. Last year we did a "Pick Your Own Salad Day" and the kids picked a cucumber, lettuce and a few radishes. They really enjoyed pulling those babies out of the ground. Who doesn’t? It is great fun. Swiss Chard is a new fav. with me, especially the rainbow. Not much can contend with the beauty of the Sun shining thru rainbow Swiss Chard. With strawberry season right around the corner, I have included yet another recipe (like you could ever have enough, right?)Enjoy! This recipe is a no bake cheese cake that is out of this world! You do have to put the crust in oven for 10 min. Great for this time of year. You can serve this cake 4 hrs. after you make it,but it is best if made the day before.This recipe is adapted from the chef Curtis Stone.


No Bake Strawberry Cheese Cake

For the Crust:

1 cup very fine graham cracker crumbs (from 7 1/2 rectangular graham crackers; 4 ounces)

2 tablespoons sugar

5 1/ tablespoons unsalted butter melted

nonstick baking spray

For the Filling:

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup water

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (room temperature)

1 cup cottage cheese (pressed through strainer)

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg yolk

8 ounces fresh strawberries (hulled and thinly sliced)

For the Topping:

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

12 ounces fresh strawberries (hulled and quartered)

2 teaspoons 10- to 20-year aged balsamic vinegar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the graham crackers crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl.

Slowly mix in the melted butter to form a wet sandy texture and until the mixture clumps when squeezed together.

Spray the sides and bottom of a 9-inch-diameter springform cake pan with nonstick baking spray then line with parchment paper.

Press the crumbs onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is pale golden brown about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool the crust completely before filling.

To Prepare the Filling:

Sprinkle the gelatin into a small saucepan. Pour the water over the gelatin and swirl to blend. Let stand until the gelatin softens about 5 minutes.

Blend the cream cheese in a food processor until smooth and creamy scraping down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl occasionally to ensure no lumps remain.

Add the cottage cheese and continue to blend until smooth and creamy.

Add the sweetened condensed milk sugar and egg yolk and blend well. Set aside.

Stir the gelatin mixture over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves about 1½ minutes.

With the food processor running slowly pour the hot melted gelatin mixture through the feed tube and into the cream cheese mixture in a thin stream.

Continue to process to ensure the gelatin is very well blended.

Transfer the cream cheese mixture to a bowl and fold in the strawberries.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust.

Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold and set preferably 1 day.

Carefully peel away the parchment paper from around the sides of the cheesecake
Using the small offset spatula loosen the crust from the bottom of the cake pan and the paper. Using 1 or 2 long wide spatulas remove the cheesecake from pan bottom and transfer the cake to a cake plate. You can use the small spatula or a knife to smooth the sides of the cheesecakes if necessary.

Spoon strawberries on top for garnish.
Cut the cake into wedges and transfer to plates. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the cheesecake and serve.

Sounds wierd but the clash between the strawberries and the balsamic vinegar is wonderful.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sun Shinny Day! Daffodil Cake Recipe

We have been so blessed with great weather over Spring break! The kids have really enjoyed themselves this week. The produce season starts soon and my kids know first hand how much work is ahead!Life is good and we are enjoying all that God has blessed us with! To celebrate today (My Birthday) I thought with all this beautiful sun shinny weather. I would share a recipe for a delicious Daffodil Cake. This orange-scented spring cake displays a light and airy texture and features a sweet-tart cream cheese glaze. For a presentation that wows! Alternating the yellow and white batter this cake really is stunning .Garnish the cake plate with beautiful daffodils, or edible pansies! Enjoy!

Cake
1 1/2 cup(s) sugar
1 cup(s) cake flour, (not self-rising)
6 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon(s) orange juice, fresh squeezed
2 teaspoon(s) orange zest, grated
1/2 teaspoon(s) orange extract
12 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
Glaze
4 ounce(s) cream cheese
2 tablespoon(s) orange juice, fresh squeezed
2 teaspoon(s) (additional) fresh orange juice
3/4 teaspoon(s) grated orange zest
3 1/4 cup(s) confectioners' sugar, sifted
Strips of orange peel, julienned, for garnish
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Directions
Cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of the sugar with cake flour; sift onto a piece of waxed paper.
In a bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar 3 minutes. Beat in orange juice, zest, and extract.
Thoroughly clean beaters. In a large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites, lemon juice, and salt until foamy and beginning to hold their shape. Increase speed to medium-high; beat in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until soft, glossy peaks form. Quickly beat in vanilla. Sift one third of flour mixture over beaten whites; gently fold in with a large rubber spatula, just until blended. Repeat 2 more times with the remaining flour mixture. Gently scrape half the batter into another large bowl. Gently fold in egg yolk mixture, just until blended.
Using a large spoon, alternately spoon batters into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom; swirl batters slightly with a thin knife.
Bake 40 minutes, or until cake is firm in center when gently pressed. Immediately invert center tube of pan onto the neck of a bottle; cool completely. To loosen, run a knife around sides of pan and tube. Invert cake to unmold onto a serving plate.
Glaze: In a bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of the orange juice, orange zest, and 1/2 cup of the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in the remaining 2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, half at a time. Add more orange juice as needed to make a thick glaze. Beat until smooth. Spread glaze over cake. Let stand until set; garnish with orange peel or flowers!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Srawberies and Rhubarb



Soon strawberries and Rhubarb will be center stage! I can’t wait until I taste the first local strawberry. Failing a backyard bed or pick- your-own farm, try to find local strawberries! In season these babies are best when eaten right out of the patch sweet and still warm from the sun. Strawberry varieties grown for mass production and transportation, fail in comparison to local berries. Make sure when you visit a farm, market or pick your own. To buy berries that are scarlet, shiny, plump and fragrant. Store the berries in the fridge in well ventilated baskets so they can breathe. Wash them just before eating and remove the hull and stems AFTER you wash them. Remember a fresh local berry is worth the wait. Eating and cooking seasonal is close to our hearts here at our farm. My husband and I have always taken our children out strawberry picking. And although we own a produce market, things haven’t changed. We still pick berries together and make jam. Remember the intensity and scent is what makes a fresh berry remain unsurpassed. The aroma of strawberries and spring onions as I make my daily pickup is incredible! It lets me know, Spring has Sprung!

Strawberries are a natural complement to Rhubarb, which come into season at the same time. Coming from stores Rhubarb has been stripped of its leaves, which are toxic, containing oxalic acid. Never eat the leaves! Rhubarb season here in Va. Is April-May. Refrigerate them as soon as possible. To cook cut the stalks across into ½ “ -1 “ pieces. You can stew or bake them with plenty of sugar as they are tart. Hot house varieties are sweeter compared to home grown, so adjust sugar accordingly. Rhubarb cooks quickly, so cook it no longer than necessary. Stringing it is not necessary but some prefer . It is a natural laxative. Some call a spring tonic. I love strawberry rhubarb pie and jam. Recently I discovered how good a rhubarb sauce goes with pork or lamb. The tartness offsets the meats richness, much like apples and pork. (Yum) And the best part is Rhubarb is a perennial,coming back year after year!

One day while making jam, it just would not jell. So I changed my labels and made Zina’s Strawberry Topper. It is great topped on anything…pancakes, waffles, yogurt, cake… It quickly became one of my better sellers. Then my husband bought me an ice-cream maker! Zina’s topper became my year round supply of strawberry ice-cream, any time you want it! It has less sugar than strawberry jam (hence the reason it didn’t jell) I use this recipe for all seasonal berries blueberries ,raspberries, blackberries… Here is the recipe for Zina’s Strawberry Topper and ice cream. Enjoy!

Strawberry Ice-cream

This ice cream is delicious adding fresh local strawberries or Zina’s Strawberry Topper: Recipe as follows.

1 ½ pint of Zina’s Strawberry topper

½ cold milk

2 ¾ cup of heavy cream

11/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl combine the milk and sugar, mix with mixer until sugar is dissolved. About two min. Stir in heavy cream, vanilla, and strawberry topper. Pour mixture into the freezer bowl, turn on maker and let it mix for 25 min. If more berries are wanted add during last 5 min. Enjoy!

Zina’s Strawberry Topper

Use the best local strawberries you can find. Can be used as a jam, but runnier than your traditional jam. You can substitute any berry in season.

6 cups of fresh berries

Juice of 1 lemon

4 cups of sugar

Combine the berries and lemon in a heavy pot. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until juice runs from berries and they float. Add sugar, stir until dissolved, bring liquids to a boil. Cook until the topping reaches setting point.220 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15 min. stirring as it boils to avoid scorching. Skim off foam, adding a tsp. of butter will help this, spoon clean ½ pint jars. Hot water bathe for 10 min. Store in cool, dry cupboard.

Makes about 6 half-pint jars

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

This coffee cake has a nice balance between the sweet of the topping and the tart of the fruit. Great with coffee for a real morning treat!

1 1/4 c. of milk

1 T. vinegar

2 1/4 c flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp.salt

8 T. butter (1 stick at room temp.)

1 1/4 c. brown sugar

1 large egg

2 c. of rhubarb 1/2 " thick

Topping:

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. old fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Bake 350

Butter and flour 9x13 pan. Tapping out excess flour.Combine the milk and vinegar and let stand until curdles (5 min). Mix the flour baking soda ,salt together. Cream the butter,brown sugar together in med. bowl until fluffy about 3 min. Beat in the egg. Combine flour mixture ,sour milk, and creamed butter and sugar. Do not over mix! Mix just until ingredients are moist. Fold in rhubarb, spread in pan. Mix topping : Brown sugar, oats, and butter. Spread evenly over batter, mash down a bit with the back of a spoon. Bake until a tooth pick comes out clean.35 min. Cool in the pan on a rack.Enjoy!



Easy Balsamic Strawberry Jam Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups of chopped strawberries

1 cup of sugar

2 Tbl. of balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Cook strawberries, sugar, and balsamic vinegar in a medium pan on med heat for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. I usually eye-ball the thickness of the sauce to determine when it is done. When the jam mixture has reduced to the consistency of thick honey or 220 degrees F. remove from heat and allow to cool. Enjoy!

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I was raised in Hampton , Va. Had a very happy childhood, lots of good memories. I am married with 6 beautiful children and 4 grand kids. I own my home of 9 years and love living a life on a farm. Eveyrthing about it! I keep bees and really enjoy it.Our farm stand is supplied by 30 or more local farms. We are a small family run business, striving to protect local food cultures and promote sustainable local farming. I love canning and offer classes: jam making, pickles, relishes, jelly ...I love to cook and would say I am quite good at it. Never any complaints.I collect cookbooks and am writting my second one now. I love to blog and make soap and beauty products. Candle making is something I enjoy to do ,and is a way for me to use my bees wax.