Tuesday, November 30, 2004

All I need is a Grand Piano ...

As if  8,000 blinking lights on a 14 foot tree wasn't enough, I continued my extravaganza of holiday excess by adding several hundred glass ornaments and ribbon of gold lame.  I may be wrong, but I believe that I have reincarnated Liberace as the Christmas Tree in my living room.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Night Before Christmas

 

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thankful

Tonight I am thankful that I know a man who loves spotted dogs.

He is a rescuer of the old and sick and tossed away dogs and opens his home and his heart to return the love that they need to give.

This day has been a long one and I despaired finding the purpose of this day, then by grace, there he was.

Tonight I am thankful that I know a man who loves spotted dogs.

It is all about the Cheesecake

 

As Promised, Cheesecake Recipe.

Note before you start -- this recipe makes 3 nine inch round cheesecakes.  Cheesecake freezes beautifully.

OH!  And my oven is a convection oven. If you have a conventional oven up the temperatures by 25 degrees!

Crust

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In medium sized bowl combine:

3 Cups all purpose flour

1/2 Cup sugar

1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

1/4 Teaspoon grated lemon peel (from real fresh lemons not the dried stuff in the jar)

Mix well, then add

1 Cup softened butter (real butter, I use salted butter, if you prefer sweet butter, that works fine too.  I have no idea what fake butter or shortening will do to this recipe and I don't want to know, if you try either, please do not tell me.)

Mix again until all ingredients are combined. You should be able to easily form a ball from the dough with your hands.  Divide the dough into three pieces.  Smash the dough into the bottom only of three nine inch spring form or straight sided cake layer pan.  You can get all neat about it and roll the dough out and cut a nice circle then lay that in the bottom of the pan, but you were just smooshing the dough around with your hands to form a ball then divide it in three so you decide if you want to get out a rolling pin.

Bake the crust in your preheated (you did preheat -- right?) oven for 10 minutes.  You don't want the crust to brown, just set, it will finish browning when you bake the cheesecake.

Cheesecake

Remove your pans from the oven, set aside to cool.  Turn the oven temperature up to 350 degrees.

In a very large bowl combine

9 eight ounce packages of softened cream cheese.

3 cups sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1/2 tablespoon vanilla

Mix -Mix - Mix

then add

7 eggs (I use extra large eggs -- but cheesecake is pretty forgiving so if you use large or jumbo it should not make a huge difference.  If you use small eggs, you are on your own.)

3/4 cup 1/2 and 1/2

Mix until well combined.  Pour cheesecake mixture into your prepared pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for around 50 minutes.  Cheesecake is done when only the middle 2 inches of the cake jiggle when you move the pan slightly.  Take the cakes out of the oven to cool. The middle will finish setting while the cake cools.  After the cake has cooled run a spatula around the outside of the cake to loosen it from the side of the pan.  Do not remove the side of the spring form pan at this point.  Cover cake with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to chill at least four hours before serving.  If you are going to freeze the cake, skip the refrigerator and put the plastic wrapped cake right into the freezer.

Raspberry Sauce

2 cups frozen whole raspberries

1 cup sugar

Place the raspberries and the sugar into a heavy saucepan.  Heat over low heat until the berries are thawed and stirring combines the berries and the sugar into a liquid. Increase heat to medium.  Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture reaches the "jell" stage on a candy thermometer.

Chill sauce and serve over slices of cheesecake.

One nine inch cake should be cut into at least 16 slices.

 

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Day before Thanksgiving ...

Three cheesecakes, one each pumpkin, pecan and apple pies, scalloped corn, sweet potato casserole are done!  Bacon for the baked beans is cooking now.  Dressing will be next.  Just an update folks (ok, an excuse to stop cooking and sit down).

10:28 pm - Update:  Beans, raspberry sauce for the cheesecake nut baskets and Gravy are done!  HA!

Frozen Fruit salad -- sigh.  I am the only one around here that will eat it! So no frozen fruit salad.  Also missing from this years extravaganza of the expected -- green bean casserole.  I know, I know, if you live in the middle part of the country mixing canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup and Durkee French Fried onions is practically hard wired in the genetics.  Not doing it this year, bet that no one will notice.

Tomorrow will be a 25 pound turkey, a ham and mashed potatoes.  Oh and burned brown and serve rolls.  I always forget about them and they end up black on the bottom.  Has happened every year since forever. No joke, don't know what it is with me has to be some sort of freakish mental block. 

I know that this was just a list of food.  Promise to post my cheesecake recipe tomorrow.  Because for me, holiday celebrations are all about the cheesecake.

Happy Thanksgiving folks!

 

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Hunting season

God bless and protect from accidents all hunters taking to the woods this time of year, and God help any that dare discharge a weapon on my farm without stopping by the house to tell me that they are out there.

A true story.

Several years ago this hunting season, a group of three fools took to our woods.  Hunting deer or just looking for an excuse to get out of the house and waste ammunition they ended up here.  As a rule that is not a problem, however, this time the fella's girls were here.  The girls had just come inside the house and suddenly BLAM and ping ping ping deer shot is bouncing off the siding.   Oh    Holy   Hell.

It took me seconds to jump into the first pair of shoes that I hit but no time at all to start cursing them, their mothers and their mother's choice of footwear at the top of my lungs.  Then I was OUT THAT DOOR at a dead run to collect a few trophies of my own.  I was beyond livid.  Nosebleed mad and swearing to shock a sailor, I headed towards the fools that dared to discharge a firearm towards a house where children were present.  By the time I turned the corner of the house they were at a dead run too.  Had it not been for a several hundred foot head start I would have caught them.  It is just as well that I didn't because they would have had to shoot me dead to keep me from strangling them.  Instead, swearing like a longshoreman and on a thirty degree day wearing a T-shirt, jeans and a pair of the fella's tennis shoes, I chased them through the woods until they were clear of the property line.  I became something of a local legend, apparently.

Since that day, hunters ALWAYS let us know when the are there. Even if they are following a deer, a member of the group breaks off to stop at the house to let us know that they are on the property.  That is best, I believe. It keeps everyone safe from accidental gunshot wounds and hearing swear words at a volume that should not be possible from a human female.

God bless and keep hunters this season, and remind them that firearms are ineffective against truly angry human females who know all the best swear words and how to use them.