Sunday, June 13, 2010

June Food Celebrations 13th-19th

Baking; Rarely a Picnic for Me

You may have heard, today is Kitchen Klutzes of America Day. Let me introduce myself. My name is Louise and I am a Kitchen Klutz:) There's simply no denying it. I am what I am, especially when it comes to baking. For instance, take this mini bundt cake pan Marion snatched up for me at a local yard sale. Cool huh?

She got it at the bargain basement price of 50 cents. Let me back up a minute. YOU may take one look at that pan and immediately know that it is a Multi Mini Bundt Pan made right here in the USA by Nordic Ware. As for me, I've had it for about 2 weeks and never even thought to turn the thing over to see right there in plain black what it was and how it measured. Okay, so I stuck it in the dish washer without reading first. I was "this" close to asking "you guys" to help me when it dawned on me to check the other side. Wha La! Right there in plain English; Nordic Ware.

What does one do with a Multi Mini Bundt Pan? Bake Multi Mini Bundts; like this, of course!

Well, maybe not exactly like that. Klutzy me couldn't get them out of that dang pan no matter how I tried. According to the Multi Mini Bundt Nordic Ware site,"your cakes will release quickly and bake evenly every time." Makes six one-cup servings. That's what they think. I barely got two and let me tell you, that's pushing it.

And, to make matters worse, it took me a good hour or so to figure out that the two loners needed to be turned upside down or right side up before they could even appeal to the naked eye. I tell ya, it's a darn good thing they filled the air with their heavenly scent or I might of simply tossed them. (I would have had to wait till Marion was sleeping, she detests waste:)

What could have gone wrong? I give up. I was so excited to find just the right recipe to quench my desire for "my perfect blueberry coffee cake," that it just never occurred to me that perhaps, just maybe, one does not put coffee cake batter in a multi mini bundt pan. Is that it? Or, perhaps, just maybe, I didn't grease the living daylights out of those six minis. Believe me, I did. Every nook, crease and cranny got Criscoed. Don't even try to tell me I should have used that can spray stuff, I simply can't. If anything, I may have over greased but, and I repeat, I did not under grease that pan!!! Not only did I coat those babies in winter lard, I followed the recipe to the T. That's not something I'm usually cable of doing when my imagination gets the best of me. However, on that fateful Klutzy night, I wanted Mini Blueberry Coffee Cakes and I wanted them perfect. You see, I also had something to prove to myself. My son John and his adorable wife, Kyla, surprised me a couple of weeks ago with a late Mother's Day present. A food processor!!! (if you remember, I was in Idaho for Mom's Day:) So, I thought I would master the very best Blueberry Coffee Cake processor style and surprise the kids the next time they came over. I've heard that a food processor makes a mean streusel. Indeed it did. All those chunks of cold butter snuggled between nutmeggy brown sugar. Oh goodness!!! It turned out just as I imagined. Not so for the cakes. So, I offer you this recipe harvested from Cakes; 1001 Classic Recipes from Around the World. Perhaps, someone out there can tell this Mini Blueberry Coffee Cake baking Kitchen Klutze what she did wrong. As for taste, the recipe suggested serving while still warm and boy am I glad I did, they were delicious with a capital Dee! (so were all those crumbles:)

Blueberry Coffee Cake
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut up
2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch Bundt pan. (in my case 6 minis)
Stir together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. (I used my new food processor)
1. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt into a large bowl.
2. Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, until just blended after each addition.
4. with mixer at low speed, gradually beat in dry ingredients alternating with the milk.
5. Stir in the blueberries
6. Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan. sprinkle with half the topping. Spoon the remaining batter over. Sprinkle with remaining topping.
7. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes ut clean. Cool cake in the pan for 30 minutes. (I did 22 minutes for the minis and it seemed to bake up just fine, or not)

June 13th

Kitchen Klutzes of America Day

Christine Terhune Herrick co-author of The National Cook Book (1896) was born on June 13, 1859. The National Cook Book (that's a link to an online copy) was the "Brides Book" of the time. She authored it, and The Consolidated Library of Modern Cooking... (1904) with her mother, *Marion Harland. Christine Terhune Herrick is credited with writing over thirty books on childcare and cooking.

Some say National Lobster Day is June 13th. Others say National Lobster Day is June 15th. I'm not taking any chances:)

June 14th

*Flag Day Recipes

Harriet Beecher Stowe, or Women of the American Civil War.

I have gathered a posie of other men’s flowers, 
and nothing but the thread that binds them is mine own.
John Bartlett

It's National Strawberry Shortcake Day!!! After fruitlessly whipping heavy cream for the topping, Marion finally convinced me to engulf my "from scratch" Strawberry Shortcake with, heaven forbid, Reddi-Whip she had stashed in the fridge just for the occasion. Another Klutzy mishap...(I managed to bake a fabulous one for Tabi's birthday last year; thank goodness:)

"Klutzy's" Strawberry Shortcake

June 15th

*Ernestine Schumann-Heink, San Diego's most beloved opera singer; and mother of eight, was born today in 1861. She once did an endorsement for Jell-O that I thought I would share with you today. I also did a post about her celebrated life in 2009.

Spill the Salt Day. This Kitchen Klutz is not superstitious about spilling salt. Goodness, Marion would ban me from the kitchen for sure!

June 16th

"On June 16, 1893, R. W. Rueckheim invented Cracker Jack. His hot new product was a concoction of popcorn, peanuts and Molasses. It was first introduced at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago." (source) Today is the perfect day to share this undated booklet with you. Don't you think?

The Celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival is on June 16, 2010.

Zongzi is the traditional food on Dragon Boat Day, a pyramid-shaped (sometimes four-sided with pointed, rounded ends) dumpling made of glutinous rice. The rice dumpling is wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves to give it a special flavor and tied together with string, varied greatly across China. Zongzi in Guangdong is made of sweet-tasting, with pork, walnut, bean and other salty fillings; In Sichuan Province, Zongzi is usually served with a sugar dressing. Most Chinese people still maintain the tradition of eating Zongzi on Duanwu Festival but as to its popularity, Zongzi can be found all the year round in China.

June 16th is also National Fudge Day!

June 17th

According to the CDC calendar, Eat Your Vegetables Day is always celebrated on June 17th.

Ruth Graves Wakefield, inventor of the Toll House Cookie, was born today in 1903. Does that fact make today National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day? Perhaps, Janet @ Dying for Chocolate knows.

George Cormack, co-inventor of Wheaties was also born on June 17, 1870.

...In 1921, a health clinician in Minneapolis, while mixing a batch of bran gruel for his patients, spilled some of the mix on a hot stove where it sizzled into a crisp flake. After tasting the very first Wheaties prototype, he took the idea to the Washburn Crosby Company, where the head miller, George Cormack, took on the task of trying to strengthen the flakes to keep them from turning to dust inside a cereal box. Cormack tested 36 varieties of wheat before he developed the perfect flake. It was introduced in test marketing in Nov 1924. The name Wheaties was chosen by a company wide contest won by Jane Bausman, the wife of the export manager. Numerous other entries included Nutties and Gold Medal Wheat Flakes. (source)

It's National Apple Strudel Day! You choose. There's
Paula Deen's Apple Strudel, or, Apple Strudel Martini (Dean Martin was also born today and, June 19 is Dry Martini Day:)

June 18th

National Cherry Tart Day: Katie's Brandied Cherry Tart @ Good Things Catered and a Cherry Tart Recipe.

For this year's International Picnic Day festivities, I'd like to "kick off" the second annual Picnic Game "in person." I'll be back on Friday, June 18th, International Picnic Day to post the rules and a slight changes. In the mean time, here's the round-up of Picnic Game Recipes from last year in case you're planning on joining us this year.

June 19th

A Self Waiting Table was patented today by a W. L. Lance, of Plymouth, Pennsylvania in 1866. You can see a diagram of it right here. Pretty cool...

Juneteenth and The Red Soda Celebration.

Hey, do you know what Garfield (the cartoon strip character:) likes to munch on? Why, it's Lasagna. June 19, is Garfield's birthday. Here's what wiki has to say.

Garfield was born in the kitchen of Mama Leoni's Italian Restaurant and developed a taste for lasagna the day he was born. This was revealed on a Garfield TV special called Garfield: His Nine Lives. Ever since then, it has always been his favorite food. At birth, Garfield weighed 5lbs, 6oz.

National Dry Martini Day on Saturday. That's a good thing, no?