Sunday, November 15, 2009

From Lowes to a Chocolate Cake

Now how in the world do you go from Lowes  Home Improvement Center to buy paint stain, to a chocolate cake?   It was Eldon's fault I started this cooking challenge.   We were checking out and lo and behold there was a magazine with the most wonderful cake on the cover.   I had to have the magazine  and make the cake.

Getting the ingredients, which I  am known for substituting everything, was an adventure in its self.   I need bittersweet chocolate not more than 61% cacao.   All I could find is 100%, not much difference.  Right?  Did I ever find out, there is a difference, I had to put a million cups of sugar to make that stuff so it wouldn't turn your mouth inside out.    Peppermint schnapps, easy enough.   Went to a store to get it and all they had were giant bottles of it, I didn't want to open a bar, all I needed was 1 tablespoon.   They have what they call the strip here so off we went to find peppermint schnapps---small size.   

It took me all day from about 10 am to 4 pm to make it and I swore  I would never make it again.  That was before we tasted it.   It had three layers of peppermint meringue, two layers of chocolate cake and a wonderful peppermint syrup and then buttercream frosting.   Next time I make it and I do say next time I believe I will make the cake thicker, nothing else Texas size and the meringue thicker and the frosting less .  Gotta keep the peppermint syrup the same, basically simple syrup with some schnapps in it.   Nothing wrong with that in the cooking world. 
What really made my day is when I took some to the neighbors and the little girls saw it and said------Mom it's  Mrs. Graves and she cooked!!!!!   What better response could you ask for.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Attention World---Eldon likes it!!!!!

Today I took a break from painting.  I did a little fall clean up in the front flower beds.  I don't want to rush into it and do all of it before spring comes.  Just a little to tease the neighborhood.   I thought , Annette you need to cook.   I do talk to myself, they say it is ok unless you answer yourself.  Sometimes I do.   So, we had gone to the store yesterday and bought some things for a new dish.  I have everything, right?   Not.   Oh well, I don't ever make a recipe exactly right anyway.   

Today's dish was from the Food  Networks Rachel Ray.  Now she does 30 minute meals, but it took me an hour which is pretty good I thought.   It was Well Dressed Salmon.  Now I was treading lightly anyway, dear hubby of 48 years does not like salmon and not to keen on new dishes.  I was feeling like an adventure so why not?   It was really very easy to make and had a wonderful sauce to put over it with some vegetables you chopped and put with it.   Course I forgot the fresh dill and the seafood seasoning.   I had Cajun seasoning and used it instead and the dill?  Sorry next time little dill.  I also made the Crispy Mashed Potato Cakes and they were easy and good.   So two new things?   My ice was thin here.   Mr. Graves ate is and said  it is good, very good.  He liked the sauce and even the salmon.   It was a winner for sure.   I guess I will make this one again----Thank you Rachel Ray.   

My history of new dishes, unless sweets, is not 100%.   When all the girls lived at home, new dishes were always presented to them.   Sometimes they ate them with grace, sometimes just looked at each other-gagged and went to Dairy Queen or PBJ is always a life saver.    Now Mr. Eldon would chime in with them and help make it more "fun" about the food.  We had this sweet dog, he was German Shepard/Border Collie.  He went to meet us at the Rainbow Bridge years and years ago.    Now today Smokey would be over 35 years old, human years not dog years.  They said he would be alive today if he hadn't eaten my new dishes.    Mr. Eldon does say he has to sacrifice and eat the new dishes now, we have two new dogs and wants them to live a long and healthy life.

This is my latest cooking adventure.  I feel like it was a huge success.   It is getting close to making candy and goodies that aren't good for you but wonderful to cook and eat and give away.   

Thanks for stopping by.  


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Adventures of cooking

     Today I cooked!!!!!!!  The November 2009 Southern Living Magazine is full of yummy things to cook.  So I thought, lets try some of them.   This one was even in the Healthy Living section.  Today it was Cornbread Stuffing with Sweet Potato and Squash  page 114.    Now sweet hubby does not like stuffing.  He say it looks dead and blah.  Well this dish does not.   The time given on the recipe says total time is 1 hour and 57 minutes.  It took me 2 hours and 15 minutes from start to finish and not even with a break for Facebook.   

   It started with oil and minced garlic.   I don't use it enough to keep fresh on hand.  It usually dries up and looks like some wrinkled old prune.  Don't think that is what it is suppose to look like.   So I buy the minced in a jar and it never goes bad.  Did you know that when minced garlic and hot oil meet that it acts like popcorn going wild and crazy in your pan?   Well I didn't and was batteling  it  like a wild woman.  Then I thought, Annette take the pan off of the fire.    

The cutting up of the butternut squash and sweet potatoes was more time consuming than I thought.   Once before I had cut up raw sweet potatoes and they were hard as rocks.   I had the bright idea to put them in the microwave for a few minutes to soften a tad.  Thank goodness I remembered to punch little holes in them or that would have been a realllllllly big mess.  ARG!!!    The rest of the adventure went pretty good, now remember I am a baker not a cook.  Of those of you know there is a big difference between the two.    Cakes, pies and candy are a snap but it is a true adventure to cook .   Now I can make roasts, mexican food and Chicken fried steak.  The basics like that.  Our nieces love my flat enchiladas.    Another point about my cooking wares is to  remember the only real pans I have is when we first got married in 1961-yes that far back and I got most of the pans with S&H Green Stamps.  What a treasure those were.   We won't even go into that adventure with the pans with cooking this dish.   

It was a pretty good dish, and for Cat---even healthy.   The toasted pecans on top added some yummy crunch and the blending of all the flavors were really good. It is colorful also, not dead and blah looking .  I do think maybe a tad more sage or some pepper might have jazzed it up a tad. 

This it it for the Cornbread Stuffing today.  I forgot it was Taco Tuesday at Rosa's so we  just sampled the stuffing and will really eat it tomorrow.  Course our samples were a nice portion.      Remember----never trust a skinny cook.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Allex in the Garden

Allex in the Garden is one painting I did from a photograph of her. I took the photograph and then used my artist license and made a painting of it. She hated this dress and told me to take it back to the store. It was cold and she was not the happiest little girl around. I didn't take the dress back, in fact I still have it in the closet. I wonder if she will share this story and her dress with her little girl in years to come? Enjoy looking at the princess.

Greetings and welcome to my world

Hello and welcome.

This is my first attempt at writing and just general visiting. I just wanted to share any wisdom that I have acquired over the years. I guess you could call it wisdom or just what you learn going down life's path.

I will share some recipes with you, some painting hints , traditional and digital. I am and was a professional photographer for 24 years maybe even some hints on that ever changed subject. Film vs digital, oh what a subject. Sometimes just what the weather is doing here in West Texas.

So welcome to my world and thanks for dropping by.