Seven-Minute Icing

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Seven-Minute Icing

Yield: Frosting for two- or three-layer cake with lots of fluff on top

4 egg whites (1/2 cup)

3 cups white sugar

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

pinch of salt

2/3 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla

Whisk together egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and water in the top of a double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler, use a stainless steel bowl placed on top of a saucepan of simmering water.) Before placing egg white mixture over simmering water, use an electric mixer (a hand-held mixer is essential here) beat on high speed 1 – 1 1/2 minutes.

Place over simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bottom of pan with egg white mixture). Beat on high speed for 7 minutes, while water simmers. This will cook the egg whites and thicken the icing.

Remove pan from heat and add vanilla. Beat 2 more minutes on high speed (off the simmering water). This will thicken and cool icing.

Use an 8-inch metal, offset spatula to fill and thickly frost cake. Pile remaining frosting on top of cake.  Yes! All of it!

Fig Preserves

The beginning of my yummy Fig Preserves.
The beginning of my yummy Fig Preserves.

 

This batch is made from whole figs. Beautiful and jewel-like when they cook down and get transparent.
This batch is made from whole figs. Beautiful and jewel-like when they cook down and get transparent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig Preserves

Yield: about 10 cups preserves

8 cups chopped figs

8 cups sugar

½ cup water or fresh lemon juice

half a lemon, thinly sliced

 

  1. Place figs, sugar, water, and lemon slices in a Dutch oven or other large pot and stir to combine. Place over medium heat and cook carefully until mixture begins to simmer, stirring every so often. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring very often, until figs are translucent, and syrup is thick. This will take 2 – 6 hours.* As mixture thickens, be sure to stir and scrape down the sides of the pan often to keep mixture from settling to the bottom and burning.
  2. Fill hot, sterilized jars with boiling figs and syrup to within ½ inch of the top. Wipe sealing edge clean and put on lids and rings. Tighten rings just to “finger tight” or just to snug. Process in boiling water bath for 12 minutes.

 

*I like to cook my fig preserves until they are very thick, up to 6 hours. You might like yours thinner. Sometimes I pick the figs, cut them up, and start the cooking process – maybe an hour or more of cooking. Then if I get busy, I take them off the fire, cover the pot, and just leave it on the counter overnight. The next morning I continue the cooking process, until they are really good and thick.

I also like to make some of my preserves “caramelized.” For this, I simply cook the fig mixture until it is dark and almost gooey. Just be very careful not to burn them – keep the fire very low and stir often.

Fig Preserves, sitting in my kitchen window.
Fig Preserves, sitting in my kitchen window.

Curried Chicken and Rice Salad

CurriedChickenandRiceSalad_aug08Curried Chicken and Rice Salad

Yield: 6 servings

Salad:

3 cups cooked rice, chilled (1 cup rice cooked in 2 cups water)

4 chicken breasts, poached, chilled and diced

1 green bell pepper, slivered

1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped or

1, 2-ounce jar chopped pimentos

3 – 4 green onions, finely sliced

¼  cup minced fresh parsley

¼ cup golden raisins

Curried Dressing:

½ cup red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 large lemon, about ¼ cup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

½ teaspoon pepper or to taste

¾ cup olive oil

1. In a large bowl, toss together cooked rice, chicken, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, green onions, parsley and raisins. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, ginger, sugar, curry powder, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly add olive oil. Pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss well. Serve room temperature or refrigerate until cold.

Bread Pudding

317266582a889ef789257c038c572541c1437a51Bread Pudding

Yield: 6 servings

8 cups stale French bread, broken into small pieces

2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

5 tablespoons butter, melted

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with vegetable oil.

2. Place bread in a large bowl and pour milk over it. Stir several minutes until all bread is soaked. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

3. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake 1 hour or until middle is set and top is golden brown. Serve with Butter Sauce.

Butter Sauce:

1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup cream

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and whisk until all butter is absorbed; remove from heat. Beat egg yolk into cream. Whisk egg yolk mixture into butter mixture, beating until smooth.

2. Heat and stir over low heat until hot. Pour over individual servings of warm bread pudding.

Warm Cherry Tomato Salad

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Warm Cherry Tomato Salad

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Wonderful served warm or cold.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 pints cherry tomatoes, rinsed and stems removed
6 green onions, sliced on an angle, or ½ cup finely chopped onion
2s red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes and green onions; cook until tomato skins begin to burst. Add vinegar, salt, and pepper; stir a few times and remove from heat.
  3. Add parsley and toss to mix well.

Five Cup Fruit Salad

4c391cc83fafcb1d6a3a6e1e9470feac3fada179Five Cup Fruit Salad

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

So easy. Keep this ingredient list in your head so you can grab the items quickly in the grocery store.

 

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup mini marshmallows

1, 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits, drained

1, 8-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup sour cream

  1. In a large bowl, combine coconut, marshmallows, pineapple tidbits, and mandarin oranges. Gently stir in sour cream.
  2. Refrigerate several hours.

Pull Apart Cinnamon Monkey Bread

Pull Apart Cinnamon Monkey Bread
Pull Apart Cinnamon Monkey Bread

Gooey Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

3, 10-ounce cans flaky refrigerated biscuits (such as Hungry Jack)

2 sticks butter

1 ½ cups brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecan

1-Preheat oven to 300º.

2-Remove biscuits from cans and cut into quarters.* In a saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until  butter is melted. Place half the biscuits in the bottom of a tube pan or bundt pan. Top with half the melted butter mixture. Repeat layers.

3-Bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.

*Cutting the biscuits into quarters is easy if you take a third of the roll at a time, lay it on its side and use a serrated knife to slice first in half and then slice each half in half.

One secret of having a very moist and gooey cake is to not over bake. Be sure to take this cake out of the oven after just 45 minutes!