Saturday, June 28, 2008

Granny Vick's Cake with Mocha Frosting

This is another of my Granny's recipes. She lived in rural Eastern North Carolina. Our family visited her every 4 years or so as I was growing up in California. We drove across country in a big Plymouth sedan which was an experience in itself. North Carolina was such a different place and culture than I was used to, but I always loved it. I would still enjoy living there. Granny was a great cook, and always made fresh items out of her garden. When we visited, she would make desserts. This was one of our favorites.

2-1/4 cup sifted flour
2-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or crisco shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs to butter mixture and beat well. Combine both dry and creamed ingredients. Add milk and vanilla. Beat all ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Adjust timing for different sizes of pans.


1/3 cup melted butter
1 lb. powdered sugar
3-1/2 Tablespoons cocoa
dash salt
1/3 cup strong hot coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir cocoa into sugar and salt. Add butter and coffee with vanilla. Stir until the right consistency. Spread on cooled cake.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ham & Asparagus Casserole

It's fresh asparagus season in Washington. It is one of the locally grown favorites this time of year. I picked some up at the grocery and they were young, small, and delicate. I decided to create a dish using ham and cheese, of course. This is the recipe I came up with. It was very good, but got a little juicy. It was still delicious and we ate the whole casserole (two people!)

1 bunch of fresh young asparagus
A few scallions, chopped into pieces
1 package of ham slices, or slice your own
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt & pepper

Parboil the trimmed asparagus for 5 minutes. I left mine in long spears, but it was hard to serve. I would cut them into large pieces instead. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Drain the cooked asparagus and arrange in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle scallions over the asparagus.

Lay ham slices over the top. Salt and pepper over the ham. Mix the soup, mayo, mustard, and lemon juice. Spread this mixture over the ham.

Cover with shredded cheese and sprinkle paprika over all. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce

When I was asked to try Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce I was happy to. I love barbeque sauces and condiments of all kinds.

A package came, nicely packed with 2 plastic bottles of Bob's Sauce. I had thawed some chicken in speculation of their arrival. I immediately got online and went to the Country Bob's website. They have a large selection of recipes to try out using their sauces.

The first dish I made was Country Bob's Simmered Chicken Chunks. It is very easy and delicious. You cut chicken into chunks and saute. I sprinkled some dehydrated onions over the chicken while it simmered. After mixing 1/2 cup of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce and 1/4 cup jam ( I used cherry preserves) you pour it over the chicken and simmer while stirring to cover with sauce just 3 or 4 minutes.

I really liked this dish. The sauce is not very sweet at all, so needed the sweetness of the jam. This combination turned into a delicious sauce for the chicken. The All Purpose Sauce reminds me of a combination A-1 sauce, Worcestershire, with a little sweetness in the background.

I haven't tried Country Bob's on french fries yet, but I was thinking about putting it on tater tots. It will be very good on a steak, or even a pork chop. Alot of the recipes on the website require you to add so many ingredients you probably can't taste much of Country Bob's. I think it adds alot to the background flavors of any dish. I added 2 Tablespoons to my last pot of chili, and it turned out to have an intensely flavorful soup.

I can't wait to try some of their other products such as Spicy All Purpose Sauce, Seasoning Salt, and Barbeque Sauce. They are a small company in Illinois who make just a few choice quality products. Take a look at their website and you might want to order some products. They have many specials and combination orders. They do sell retail but Country Bob's items are only available in some states. Their website allows you to search by zip code for the store nearest you. I think I'd really like the Spicy Sauce. Apparantly there are no stores within 100 miles of me that carry Country Bob's. They ship fast so I won't mind ordering the sauce anyway.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thank You, Thank You Very Much

Way back in April Biker Chickz Recipes was awarded the Excellent Blog Award by Julie of Noshtalgia. This means alot to me to be recognized by another Food blogger who has a really top notch blog.

The rules are that you must pass the award on to 10 other of your favorite blogs, on any topic. This is a hard task since I frequent so many blogs and enjoy them all. I've taken a long time to narrow down my favorites, so here they are. I have kept with the Food theme since there are so many good ones. They are not in any particular order.

  1. Last Night's Dinner: An almost daily post with photos of what this family eats. It is always a treat.
  2. Hunt The Recipe: Nothing but delicious looking recipes that you want to try for yourself.
  3. What Did You Eat?: Just a real good food blog with lots of photos and good recipes.
  4. Homesick Texan: Even though I'm not from Texas these recipes are always appealing and I can't wait to try them myself.
  5. Cumin & Coriander: A blog from Canada with simple, healthy, and creative dishes made more appealing by great photography.
  6. Food On The Brain: A lovely blog by a fellow Seattle resident who makes everything look great. She mixes in garden photos which are a treat.
  7. Smitten Kitchen: This is mostly photography that will make you want to reach into the page and touch the food. I also learn alot from this blog.
  8. Closet Cooking: A food blog by a male Canadian. He makes delicious looking dishes with mouthwatering photographs.
  9. Everybody Likes Sandwiches: Another Canadian who blogs about all kinds of good food, not just sandwiches.
  10. White On Rice Couple: A couple who blog about cooking, what's in the garden, and an interesting twist is that they ride a motorcycle together.

All of these blog writers have the most excellent photography I think that is what makes me keep coming back. I hope I have given you some new blogs to try. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Broccoli Salad

I have made this salad many times and taken it to pot-lucks, dinner with friends, and eaten it at home. It is delicious and a little unusual to have sweet, nutty, cheesy, bacony, and broccoli flavors together. It keeps well for a couple of days in the refrigerator, if it lasts that long.

3 to 4 cups small fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
1/2 cup. sunflower seeds
10 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled or
4 Tablespoons of real bacon bits
2/3 cup raisins

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar or
2 packets Splenda sweetener
2 Tablespoons cider or rice vinegar

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over the broccoli mixture, stir well, and chill. Stir just before serving.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chicken Salad in a Pineapple Boat

When I was about 13 years old, I had the opportunity to go along with some family friends to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. It was the one and only time I've been. I had always remembered going to this tropical jungle area. We watched a Tahitian show with fire dancers and there were Toucans and Parrots all around with lots of tropical plants. I ordered a chicken salad for my meal and it came served in a half of a pineapple. I was in heaven. It was the loveliest thing I had ever seen, and something my mother had never served. I have never forgotten about that salad. Recently my husband came home with a whole ripe pineapple and that Disneyland memory was the first thing that came to my mind. I happened to have everything I needed to make a nice chicken salad so here is what I did:

Cut a ripe pineapple in half lengthwise, leaving the beautiful tops attached. Hollow out by cutting out the pineapple in chunks and wedges, leaving the outer shell intact.

Chop 2 cooked boneless chicken breasts into small chunks. (I cooked mine by boiling for 20 minutes on medium heat. I added some of the pineapple juices and ginger to the cooking water.)

Chop about 1-1/2 cups pineapple into small pieces. Add chicken, some mayonnaise, toasted sliced almonds, finely chopped celery, chopped scallions, a handful of crispy chow mein noodles, salt, pepper, parsely, dried mustard, and a little tarragon. Mix well, adjusting mayo and seasonings as needed.

Finely shred some romaine lettuce and make a bed in the bottom of the hollowed pineapple. Spoon the chicken onto the lettuce and mound up in pineapple boat. Sprinkle with paprika.

We each ate one half, which is what I was served at Disneyland. Two could probably share one half easily. Try adding other fruits, nuts, and seasonings.