Monday, August 21, 2017

Barbara's Sour Cream Pound Cake

This recipe is titled "Sour Cream Pound Cake," but the truth is that it may not match up what you think of as a pound cake. The ingredient ratios are different than a standard pound cake, or the iconic 1234 Cake (the most popular recipe on this blog). The texture of the finished cake is lighter, as well. Like a classic pound cake, though, it's good the first day it's baked, and is good the next day, too. It is a nice bite on its own, with the slight tang of sour cream, but is also a great base for your favorite fruit, fruit compote, or ice cream. Or, smear a slice with soft butter and run it under the broiler to toast, to eat plan or with a topping -- no complaints either way.

It's called "Barbara's Sour Cream Pound Cake" because it was my mother's recipe. I don't know the origin -- whether she got it out of a magazine or newspaper or product package or from a friend. I just know that at some point in my early childhood it showed up, and became a staple.

Monday, March 13, 2017

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

This is one of those convenience-food recipes that I found on some package 100 years ago, probably on the cream cheese box. I don't remember the published name, but remember that I didn't like think it was descriptive, so at some point I renamed it.

Make no mistake, it's not like a cooked cheesecake, but has a sturdier texture than your typical pie.

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

16 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1/3 cup sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip
1 chocolate crumb pie crust

With an electric mixer, blend together softened cream cheese, chocolate, and sugar.  Gently stir in Cool Whip.  Spoon into crust.  Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.  Serve with additional Cool Whip if desired.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Nevertheless, She Persisted

If you've kept up with the whirlwind of news lately, you may have heard the phrase "Nevertheless, she persisted." If not, a quick visit with Mr. Google will catch you up. The situation has resonated with so many people, and the phrase, meant as a rebuke, is a gift to those of us who are fighting to stay in the game rather than giving up. Aimed at a woman, the scolding resonates especially with women who have been told time and again to be quiet when speaking our truth.

I was inspired to pair this phrase with an enduring symbol of American liberty, who just happens to be female. The result is a few pieces in a Zazzle store, offered to those who want to display it with pride as a sign of solidarity and resistance.

I plan on adding to the store, depending on demand. Feel free to post requests -- different styles, colors, non-clothing items, etc. -- in the Comments. I hope to use my creativity beyond this one concept, though, so stay tuned for more!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Eulogy II

Today we said farewell to my brother Paul. I elected to give a short eulogy as part of the service.

As everyone here probably knows, Paul was a smart-ass.

All of us Ferrells are to one degree or another, though, so it’s not a unique trait in the family. 

When we were kids, there was a well-known singer named Kate Smith. For the younger folks in the audience, she was our grandparent’s age, and had risen to fame in the ‘30s. In our lifetime she was mostly known for a rafter-shaking version of “God Bless America,” and she appeared on TV semi-frequently to sing it.

Paul hated her; hated her singing that song. It just got under his skin. Naturally that dislike was fodder for teasing by the rest of the family. “Oh look, Kate Smith’s on Mike Douglas today” or some such was sure to get a rise.

I hadn’t thought of that in decades, but as we were pondering music for the service and the video, the thought crossed my mind to include Kate’s “God Bless America” as one final family in-joke.

Don’t worry, the urge passed.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Got Tomatoes? Make ... Jam!

The idea of making tomato jam may seem odd at first, but tomatoes are, after all, a fruit. They have a lot of natural sugar and pectin; add the right spices and you have a sweet-spicy condiment that's terrific on sandwiches, with cheese and crackers (including goat cheese or cream cheese), and even on toast for a savory/sweet switch-up with your usual strawberry.

If you are looking for something to do with your summer glut of summer tomatoes, this is a good choice. Every time I make it I give away several jars and it's always a hit.

More than a few years ago, I picked up this recipe from Mark Bittman's old The New York Times column, and there was even one of the entertaining videos he did periodically.

Bittman does not call for peeling the tomatoes, but I do; the skins don't really break down and I don't care for those chewy bits in my jam. Some people would go so far as to seed the tomatoes, but the seeds don't bother me. Besides, it's been shown that a lot of the strongest flavor components come from the "jelly" around the seeds, and if you remove the seeds, you'll wind up removing a lot of the jelly. So, seeds in; skin out.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Little Octopus: An East Nashville Restaurant That Raises the Bar

I was lucky enough to be able to try the new Little Octopus restaurant in East Nashville during their soft opening for lunch last Saturday. While I keep my ear to the ground about restaurants, this one hadn't blipped my radar very strongly. I was aware of the backstory -- Nashville food entrepreneur Sarah Gavigan was moving her popular Otaku ramen enterprise to The Gulch, and the POP Nashville space that had housed Otaku was to be home to a new restaurant. Other than that, I knew nothing.

The only picture I took, because I wasn't planning on blogging

That is ... Until my Twitter blew up one night last week, with local chefs praising the meal they were currently eating at Little Octopus. The next day, my blogger compatriots started chiming in, and ... I had to go. It turns out that after the chefs' night, the soft opening was open to the public. Frequent dining companion Melissa and I quickly made plans to go.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Empanadas

I stumbled across a recipe for butternut squash "hand pies" a while back, and with a few tweaks it turned out to be nice choice for a potluck this past weekend. Contributing a dish to the annual Nashville Food Blogger party is a bit nerve-wracking, given that our group includes food and food writing professionals as well as extremely talented amateurs. I was very pleased with how they turned out.

I detest the term "hand pie" so I call them empanadas, given the Latin American-inspired flavors. The combination of butternut squash, goat cheese, and the seasonings work well together. The crowning glory of the empanadas is the crust; this is a standard all-butter pie crust, which I discussed in this previous post.

The directions here are for creating mini empanadas; the perfect size to provide a few bites as a snack or appetizer. You can, of course, make a larger size for a more substantial treat.