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Fall is in the Air

After what seems like a very long time, the weather in our neck of the woods has finally caught up with the weather I was enjoying when I was in Minnesota a couple months ago.  Of course, that could change in a heartbeat tomorrow and be in the 80s without so much as an apology.  I’ve got a pot of vegetable beef soup chuckling away on the stove – my mother-in-law was nearly (you should pardon the expression) orgasmic that I was going to come home this afternoon and cook up some soup and bring some back for their dinner tonight.

So, back to Minnesota – AND the cabin – you know, my favorite place in the whole world! I took a quick trip to Moorhead in September for the 150th anniversary of the establishment of my great grandparent’s homestead, which is now designated as a Living History Farm with a Foundation led by an amazing board of directors with a vision for the restoration and preservation of the farm and buildings.  Of course, while there I had to spend a few days at the cabin with my sister, nephew and wife, and one of my cousins.

One of the best things about my family is that while we are in the midst of consuming one meal, we are planning the next one, and this trip was no different. With the cool, crisp lake air all around us, appetites were ever on alert and my sister, who is a wonderful cook, did not fail our tummies.

In addition to the cabin, I have a huge weakness for raspberries…and, well, duh…if you’ve been following my blog, I’m sure you’ve discovered that I am a sucker for anything raspberry!  On my last morning at the cabin, my sister made an amazing breakfast of a stacked pancake, scrambled eggs, wild rice-based sausage, and an incredible cantaloupe that my nephew brought with them from South Dakota.

Now, the pancakes were absolutely amazing and made with some incredible local flour.  They were a cross between the very best crepe you’ve ever put in your mouth and the lightest, fluffiest buttermilk pancake in the world.  She made a lovely sauce from fresh, organic raspberries and spooned it over each pancake that she kept hot in the oven as she made a stack about 7 pancakes high. Then she topped the whole thing off with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.  OMG!  this was northern lake country eating at its very best!

I’ve never made raspberry sauce (but have probably consumed my weight in it over the years) and I found a recipe for it in Farm Recipes & Food Secrets from the Norske Nook cookbook that was written by Helen Myhre with Mona Vold and published in 2002 by The University of Wisconsin Press. It has recipes for everything from Almond Frosting to Zucchini Bread.

So, if you are interested in making a great breakfast for a cold morning, you might want to think Raspberry Stacked Pancakes and use this recipe from the Norske Nook for your sauce:  While this recipe will make a quart of sauce, you might want to cut it in half for your pancake morning, or make a quart and use for a topping on Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream!  Wash 1 quart of raspberries and set aside.  In a heavy two-quart sauce pan, bring to a boil 2 cups of sugar and 1 quart of water.  Add the berries and cook for about 5 minutes.  Set aside and spoon over each pancake as you add it to the stack.

I had always depended on my Aunt Doris to have plenty of this sauce to feed me when I was growing up, but now that I know how easy it is to make, I might have to start making it myself!


A Good Pounding!

ben wheeler

By Gini Rainey

Good grief, that’s exactly what I deserve.  I have been so over-whelmed with life in the past few months – okay, this year – that I have neglected to do what I love doing – writing!  So, apparently it took an email to our editor/publisher to get me off high center.  She forwarded this email to me on June 24th and it comes from an editor named Jess Miller who just happens to be associated with  Jen Reviews is the authority on everything food, fitness and home and has been featured in some mind-blowing (my mind, anyway!) publications such as Forbes, Fast Company, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Greatist, Reader’s Digest, MindBodyGreen, Livestrong, Bustle, Lifehacker, Wikihow, and oh my goodness, many many more. 

Jess email says “I was doing research on pound cake recipes and just finished reading your wonderful blog post: In that article, I noticed that you cited a solid post that I’ve read in the past:  We just published a delicious cranberry pound cake with orange glaze recipe complete with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions. It is completely free and you can find it here:  If you like the recipe we’d be humbled if you cited us in your article.” 

The gauntlet was thrown and I tried it.  I baked it last night and it is yummy.  Of course, knowing me, you know I have to pull in a cookbook of some sort, and for those of you out there who don’t know where the name “Pound Cake” comes from, I pulled out my earliest reference that I have, which is a replica of “American Cookery” written by Amelia Simmons in 1796. It’s really interesting to leaf through this book and try to read some of the recipes.  It is actually a photocopy of the original and along with various spots and stains, the letter “f” is used in place of the letter “s.”  Originally, a pound cake called for one pound of sugar, one pound of butter, one pound of flour, one pound or ten eggs, one gill of rose water and spices to your taste. (Hence pound cake!) We are told to watch it well (remember – wood burning stoves/ovens back then) It will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes. 

The recipe referred to by Jess is a bit different and perhaps produces a much lighter version than the 1796 version.  What you will need to do to make Jess’s recipe is to begin with a 350° pre-heated oven and a lightly greased and floured 12×4 inch loaf pan.  Then in a bowl, whisk together 1 ¾ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.  In another bowl, cream 9 ounces of softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon orange zest until light and fluffy.  Then slowly add in 4 eggs plus 2 yolks (at room temp), followed by 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar. Then alternating between the flour mixture and ¼ cup room temp milk, gradually add to the sugar/egg mixture.  Lightly dredge in flour 1 ¼ cups of washed and dried fresh cranberries (because fresh cranberries aren’t on the market at this time, I substituted rehydrated dried cranberries and I think they did well) and gently fold into the mixture.  Pour into the pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  For the glaze, combine 2 cups of powdered sugar with 2 ½ tablespoons of fresh orange juice, and using a small spoon, drizzle over the completely cooled cake. 

This is one yummy cake – the unexpected tartness is a wonderful compliment to the buttery richness of the cake and would serve you well at a winter holiday meal – or even right now in the middle of the hot Texas summer along with a bowl of home-made ice cream! 

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Smith’s Bar-B-Que Opens in Jacksonville


Smith’s Bar-B-Que had a great Ribbon Cutting on Friday, April 5. Smith’s Bar-B-Que is owned and operated by Gary Smith and has been in business for 11 years. They started in the Exxon parking lot but has now found a home at the Travis Towers parking lot at 558 S. Ragsdale. They serve ribs, brisket, sausage, pulled pork and their famous stuffed baked potato. You can also add beans, potato salad and peach cobbler. They also offer catering with no event being too big or too small. Gary Smith is a culinary school graduate, food service manager and the 1st to obtain his vendors permit from the City of Jacksonville. Hours are Friday and Saturday 11 am until…..

They are at 558 S. Ragsdale in Jacksonville, Texas and can be reached at 903.944.0036.

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Artists in the Kitchen

stretford tyler tx

By Gini Rainey

I have many passions in my life, mostly leaning toward my right brain, but after working for over 25 years as a business manager/owner, my left brain seems to have shoved a lot of those passions to the side, but trust me – they’re still there!  So, when I come across a cookbook that has wonderful recipes that are paired up with amazing works of art from the National Gallery of Art, you can be sure this is one book I had to have. 

With notable chefs such as Julia Child, Jeremiah Tower and Alice Waters creating dishes and menus to compliment the art of Matisse, Pissaro, and Gauguin, to name a few, you can only imagine what a lovely and creative book this must be. 

While using paintings of the obvious subjects, such as Vollon’s Mound of Butter and Jean Simeon Chardin’s Still Life with Game for inspiration, I think the recipes that truly intrigue me are from the chefs who viewed such paintings as Raoul Dufy’s The Basket and Mary Cassatt’s Afternoon Tea Party, let their imaginations run wild and came up with what might have been in the basket or what Cassatt might served at her Tea Party. 

Pablo Picasso’s Le Gourmet was the inspiration for Nancy Silverton’s Butterscotch Sauce that would make a delicious topping for a bread pudding or a dish of Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla ice cream. To make the sauce, combine 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup, and 2 ½ tablespoons Scotch whisky in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the mixture just begins to smoke and turns an amber color.  Meanwhile, place 1 ¼ cup heavy (whipping) cream in another large saucepan, split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape its seeds into the and then add the pod.  Add 1 cup of butter and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and set aside until needed.

When the sugar mixture reaches the proper color, immediately stop its cooking by whisking in the cream mixture in small amounts, waiting a few seconds between additions to prevent it from boiling over.  Once all the cream mixture is incorporated, simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.  Whisk in ½ cup of butter until combined.  The sauce will keep for several weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  To reheat, place the sauce in a bowl over simmering water.  If desired, add some toasted pecans or add a dash of sea salt to taste, and wow, you have got something really yummy going on there. 



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