Friday, February 27, 2015

Going Wacky for National Kahlúa Day!

This is going to be a quick post. Well, fast for me anyway:) You see, here’s the deal. I didn’t want to miss Kahlúa Day no how no way. However, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to bake to celebrate. Wacky Cake or Pudding Cake. So, I baked them both! (I also baked a “mean” bread pudding for Marion but today is about Kahlúa and me!!! (and you too:)

It seems, the planets aligned in favor of them both and I just went with it. Have you ever heard of Wacky Cake? I just happen to have a recipe that looks like it has been around for a while. What I adore about this recipe, is, it comes with a note. Look.

I don’t know who Alice was but she sure knew what she was talking about. Yummy! The best thing about this cake, in my humble opinion, is the fact that it contains no eggs or butter! That may just be the reason why it is known by so many other names. I’ve seen similar recipes called Depression Cake, Wonder Cake, Crazy Cake and Marion calls it Dump Cake! (she doesn’t like anything with the word depression in it) Can you tell which is which?

If you read the directions carefully, you’ll notice that you are required to make 3 holes or indentations in the dry mix right in the pan that you will be baking it in. In one hole you put the vanilla, in the next hole vinegar and in the last hole melted shortening. I used walnut oil but you could use melted butter or oil if you like. After you’ve done that, with a fork you mix everything up until smooth and “throw” it in the oven. Easy peasy!

I played with the recipe a bit though. First of all, I doubled it. I also used red wine vinegar because I knew instead of water I was going to be using a combination of Cherry juice, coffee and of course Kahlúa! (Marion has been having a bout with the gout the past couple of days and although she loves to eat the cherries, she refuses to drink the cherry juice anymore. I usually buy Trader Joe’s Dark Morello Cherries in light syrup. That’s part of what I used to equal the two cups of liquid for the recipe plus coffee and Kahlúa) I don’t mind saying they worked exceptionally well together:)

The lighter cake with the silky pudding on top is the pudding cake. The other one wacky:) My intention was to bake them both in the same pan and see what happened. I will be baking these two babies again AND, I will be baking them in layers. If you’ve ever heard of pudding cakes, you know that when they bake up, they have a smooth silky pudding like layer at the bottom of the pan when they are done. All they need is a sprinkling of powdered sugar and you are in chocolate heaven or in this case cherry Kahlúa chocolate heaven:)

I figure if I were to “whip” up the Wacky Cake in the pan first, and then the ingredients for the Pudding Cake and quickly spread it on top and then pour the liquid combination once again of cherry juice, coffee and Kahlúa over the entire thing, it should work! Yes, I doubled the Brownie Pudding Cake recipe also. You may know it as Fudge Brownie Pudding Cake because oh my word is it fudgie and scrumptious! You think it will work? I’m willing to give it a try. First, I’ll have to demolish the two cakes I baked first. Anyone willing to help???

According to the editors of America’s Best Lost Recipes, Wacky Cake is a by product of both world wars. Although, I haven’t seen similar recipes in any war time cookbooks on my shelves, I do have a cookbook about dining during the depression, that includes a recipe for Skillet Cake that also requires the three indentations and the adding of vinegar and melted butter and water being poured over the whole thing.

Are you wondering what the science is behind the Wacky Cake recipe? I know I was. I mean after all, there isn’t any leavening per se. Once again the editors explain that “this cake depends on the last minute reaction of vinegar and baking soda. The three holes ensure that the dry ingredients remain dry until the last possible second. The “lift” is provided by the baking soda and vinegar reaction is fleeting and the recipes odd mixing method ensures that the batter gets into the oven quickly.” Here’s their recipe.

Thank you all for your Meatball links! Just wait until you see the Meatball Day poster/graphic!!! It’s all finished and ready to be clicked! I’m doing the last minute touches on the calendar for March and it will be posted on Sunday which of course is March 1st. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to post the meatballs right away or wait until Meatball Day. We’ll see. Not to worry, there is pleanty to celebrate in March!!! Enjoy Kahlúa Day! I’ll “see” you Sunday!!! Louise

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Frozen Margarita! It’s Cold Outside!

You knew it was coming. How could you not, after all, it is on the calendar for February in the sidebar. Today is Margarita Day! However, if you’re feeling anything like me these days, a Margarita may not be the first thing that comes to mind when craving a belly warmer. Babies, it’s cold outside!!!

First mixed in bars along the California-Mexico border in the 1940s, the margarita—tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur—became a standard beverage in Mexican American restaurants. Frozen Margaritas, blended with ice, became popular in the 1950s along with other tropical drinks made with rum and tequila. By the 1970s, the margarita had surpassed the martini as the most popular American cocktail. Frozen Margarita @ National Museum Of American History
Did you know? The World’s First Frozen Margarita Machine was invented in Dallas Texas by Mariano Martinez on May 11, 1971! I don’t want to tell you the whole story. Suffice to say it “almost” involved a Slurpee Machine which we all know was invented in Dallas in the 60s.
…Frozen Margaritas have been around since the invention of the blender in the 1930s but bartenders were often overwhelmed when demand was high, and the blenders produced margaritas of varying quality and consistency. “Improved consistency, overall better product and ease of use due to the frozen margarita machine, made the drink so popular that it brought bars in Tex-Mex restaurants front and center,” said Martinez. “People came to Mariano’s for that frozen margarita out of the machine.” Martinez incidentally developed his machine at the forefront of the Tex-Mex food movement. Tex-Mex is now an American favorite and margaritas are a standard together with salsa and tortilla chips. Martinez continued serving his famous margaritas for the next 34 years, eventually retiring the original machine in favor of the new mass-produced machines. National Museum of American History Acquires Frozen Margarita Machine, September 27, 2005
Are you nice and chilly now? Sorry about that but I just couldn’t help myself. I had to give you a sip of history about the Frozen Margarita. Not to worry though. I won’t be sharing any frozen margarita recipes with you today. That just wouldn’t be fair. Instead, I’ve got a little booklet I’d like you to see.
La Margarita recipe booklet ©1966
It doesn’t look like much does it? Recipes? What kind of recipes you might be wondering. Well, in my research I may have stumbled upon the history of frozen margaritas but not very much about Cafe La Margarita apparently the place where this booklet came from.
La Margarita recipe booklet ©1966
At first glance, one might assume it’s some sort of menu from said Cafe. But, once you open it up, you are taken away not to a Mexican restaurant but to a beautifully illustrated booklet of Mexican cocktails and dishes.
Mexican Cocktail Recipes
The little I could find out about Cafe La Margarita was gleaned from back issues of The Chicago Tribune which makes sense considering the “swingin” Cafe La Margarita Mexican Restaurant was located on Wabash Ave. in Chicago. I did happen across a few collectible postcards from said restaurant but they were on eBay and really didn’t reveal very much about the restaurant. Perhaps, someone will happen upon this post and offer a bit more information. In the mean time, not only do I want to share those cocktail recipes above, I found another recipe which I though was rather intriguing from the same booklet; Envueltos De Aguacate or Avocado Wrap-around.
Avocado Wrap-Around | Envueltos De Aguacate

From Barry Popik, I learned Envueltos is Spanish for enveloped or wrapped and that they have been described as fried tacos. His site actually has a timeline of Envueltos usage in the English language if you’re curious:)

Although I’ve been on an Avocado a day kick these days, I’m not quite ready to envelope one at the moment. That is not to say I may not try it one day. Heck, it has to be a whole lot healthier than Bacon-Wrapped Avocado Wedges! They do sound good though, don’t they? These Aguacates Rellenos De Camaron or Avocados Stuffed with Shrimp do also!

Aguacates Rellenos De Camaron | Avocados Stuffed with Shrimp

Meat-A-Ball Update

A huge Meat-A-Ball hug to all of you that sent me your meatball links. Just as I thought, we have quite an array of yummy looking recipes. What? You missed the call for Meat-A-Balls??? Uh oh, better check out this post, time is running out.

FYI: I didn’t forget George Washington’s Birthday today. I did a rather in depth post about his favorite Salt Cod Dinner a while back. It’s a pretty popular post this time of year:) Remember, tomorrow is not only National Dog Biscuit Day, it’s also the Tootsie Roll’s Birthday!