Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bavarian Zwetschgendatschi – German Plum Sheet Cake (Tart) Recipe

That's a mouthful of a recipe name, isn't it? "TCH-VENCHKEN-DATCHI" is as close as I can get to teaching non-Bavarians how to say that word. German Plum tart is probably a lot easier to remember.

My Bavarian Mutti made this dessert for as long as I can remember.  This dessert is as traditional to Bavarians as apple pie is to Americans.  To keep things authentic, I wait until August-- when I call my local produce store and ask "do you have Italian prunes in stock"?  I hold my breath-- and I feel a sense of joy when the answer is "yes".  

Italian plum/prunes have a very short season-- pretty much between August and September.  Last year, I waited too long, and there were none to be found.   

This year, I got really lucky!  Craig and I drove 90 minutes to Los Altos Hills to visit my Bavarian cousin.  Her Italian plum tree was full of ripe fruit-- ready for the picking!  (The pink ribbons is an effort to keep her  neighborhood squirrels from stealing her fruit.)

She generously filled a big bag full of those precious fall fruits, so I could go home and make my own Zwetschgendatschi.

These two "cousins" (left and right of me) are 100% authentic Bavarians and haven't lost their spunk being 95 and 80, respectively! They are very active ladies, with a hilarious zest for life.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Jamaican-Style Jerk Chicken and Citrus Mashed Plantains

Summertime is when my cast-iron Dutch Oven is lovingly tucked away into my kitchen cupboard, until the summer temps start to drop. That's when our Weber grill has it's winter cover removed, is given a gentle wash up and is made ready to prepare grilled recipes.  Heaven!

We own a gas grill, and it has its own merits. It's perfect for when you want to grill a quick burger or chicken kebabs. However, when it comes to flavor-- to us, nothing beats the flavor of charcoal and/or wood chips.

Wait.  I take that back--just a little. The very best barbecue, in our opinion, is with a fire pit and real wood. But, that's for the reaaaaaaaaaaally serious pit-masters. So, we have been working on learning ways to work with charcoal and wood chips to make our faves--like brisket, and baby back ribs, to name a few.

I've never had Jerk Chicken, and I have been missing out!  Jerk Spice originates from Jamaica. Meat is marinaded with a blend of spices-- always including allspice, and habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers.  I like a leeeetle bit of spice and heat to my food, but I'm pretty wimpy when it comes to turning up the scoville range of peppers. So, with this recipe, I used jalapeño peppers.  There are plenty of other goodies that I tossed into the blender-- cinnamon, cumin, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger.... maybe not exactly a 100% authentic version you'd find on Jamaica-- but it is absolutely delicious! 

My Vitamix whirred all the ingredients into a thick, brownish marinade.  I bought three organic chickens and asked my butcher to quarter them-- which he gladly did.  After placing the chicken into a large gallon-sized zip-loc bag, I poured the marinade over it and gently mixed it all up-- then placed it in the refrigerator overnight.  I let the chicken come to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before starting to grill.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Well, hello! Are you surprised to see that I'm still blogging? I know, I know, I've been very silent for the last-- let's see-- six weeks! Yikes! That's a record for me! I'm halfway through my five-week summer break, and I am making the best of it-- and I am loving it!

We'll be traveling to Bavaria, Austria and Switzerland in October. So, this summer, we're working on giving out master bedroom a facelift. My husband still works, but I'm spending my free time doing some much needed deep cleaning and de-cluttering.  It's almost finished, but it's been very time-consuming. Also, I haven't been working on savory recipes as much. Instead,  I've been using Blue Apron to ship ingredients and recipes to make sure that Craig and I are eating healthy and delicious meals.  I'll talk more about Blue Apron, at a later time.  I will say that having three meals, a week, that are quick, flavorful and easy to make has been a blessing.

For the last few years, the Salinas Valley has been dedicating a lot more acreage to growing these beautiful Driscoll berries.  There was an irresistible sale, so I snatched two pints with all kinds of ideas on how to make them. At first, I thought I'd bake and update new photos for this Raspberry Lemon Shortbread Tart.   But, then, I remembered that it has been a while since I've baked this super easy Raspberry Buttermilk Cake-- only I used our home grown Olallieberries.

I don't know why, but that particular blog post has disappeared! Strange! This cake is so simple to make, that I decided it was time to create a new post and share it with all of you.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake

My husband was just saying that the official first day of summer is just a month away.  Boy, howdy, I am so looking forward to it!  I'm counting the days, and so looking forward to having my beloved summer break.  I'll have five weeks to enjoy my "practice retirement" without an alarm clock. Essentially, I can do anything I want, and that's exactly what I hope to do.  I have so many recipes to make, and dozens more that I've photographed and simply not had time to edit and upload to share on my blog.  My blog... oh, how I miss not having the time to give it the overdue attention that it deserves.  I hope that many of my internet friends, subscribers and followers haven't entirely given up on me!

I am still very passionate about cooking and baking. My husband says he rarely gets the same thing twice, and he so appreciates all the different recipes I continue to make. My son has moved back from Texas (insert happy mom face, here) -- and while he doesn't live with us any longer, he still comes to visit and eat mom's home cooking. My heart is full, and they are the main reason that I am always trying out new recipes. It's my love language, for sure.

It's no secret that I have a wicked sweet tooth, as does my husband and son.  My husband is a pie lover. Me? Cake. Definitely cake One of my very favorite classic cakes is a homemade Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  I don't make it very often, but when I do-- I love the way the pineapple slices become caramelized from the brown sugar and butter mixture.  Maraschino cherries are another guilty pleasure. They're just a pretty color, and have a slight flavor of almond (another one of my favorite flavors.)  Red Dye 40 doesn't scare me, because I don't eat these every single day.  Besides, let's face it-- cake isn't a health food. It's just a sugary dessert that makes my taste buds very happy.

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