Sunday Somethings

Hello, Sunday.

Well, this short week really screwed with my head. I woke up Wednesday to go to work, forgot it was Wednesday and found myself sort of scrambling all day! Then, I guess knowing it was just a three day week, those three days dragged. Mind games, full force over here.

The weather was beautiful yesterday, so Mom came up and we took to exploring the hood, hitting up the farmer’s market and the famous Zingerman’s Deli. It’s pretty much an Ann Arbor institution and is known all over the midwest, and world, really since Michigan alumni are everywhere. Anyway, despite having to wait in line outside, it certainly lived up to the hype and Mom and I already know what we’re each getting next time we go.

After all, you know I do love a good sandwich.

The internet?  Well, a few days off meant a few days of blissful ignorance. Still, here we have it.

Stop Healthcare Violence. I’ve always taken comfort in knowing that any patients that Mom deals with are sedated (she’s in the OR), but this is scary and real. As a young nurse she once had a patient empty a bed pan on her head. I mean….really.

Instagram food is a sad lie.  As a food blogger and food ‘grammer, I thought this was an interesting read, and no doubt very true for many. However, I did want to let you know, my friends and followers, that everything that you see either on the blog or on Instagram- I eat. That’s why I started all of this to begin with, to eat better food! I may not eat it all AT ONCE, but I can assure you that none of it goes in the garbage after a picture (I mean, who throws out an ice cream cone? Certainly not I). And how do I counterbalance the pound cake and ice cream and french fries? Moderation, sharing and exercise, lots of it. True story.

Florida, still winning.

Do you know the words to the Declaration of Independence?  Thanks to Wee Sing America, I do, but some people got…confused…by NPR’s little Twitter show on Tuesday.

How awesome is this? Go India!  Maybe we can follow suit and plant a few ourselves? Because, yo, climate change (is real).

I can’t stop laughing at Buzz Aldrin.

Is there a way to genetically determine at which sport one would excel? Jury’s still out, it seems. Still, interesting read.

Can men and women just be friends without hoopla or hanky-panky? Many agree, apparently not.  Car rides?  Geesh.

As some who regularly did two workouts a day for years, I can vouch for the fact that exercise does not make you lose weight.

I’ve always loved tigers, and this one is gorgeous.  And apparently, very very rare.

Related:  And finally, I leave you with some comedy wildlife photography.

Have a good week!

Written after picture hanging!

 

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

One of my favorite things to do when I go home is to page through Mom’s old, decrepit recipe box.  I don’t do it more than maybe once a year, but sometime I’ll go home and she’ll need something from it and I’ll find myself looking and old favorites, written hastily on any scratch paper that happened to be around at the time;  receipts, slips of paper, and a few on proper recipe cards.

While thumbing through the archives this weekend, I happened upon our family recipe for brown sugar pound cake, written in my dad’s meticulous handwriting.  Despite being delicious, neither Mom nor I ever make it, but we both knew right then that I’d be our contribution to Monday night’s barbecue.

Baba had such exact and, in my opinion, beautiful penmanship, a quality that men can rarely boast. It was also so distinctive, and I admit that I have a few random cards and papers tucked away just so that I still get to see it every once in a while.  Mom said that he wrote down this particular recipe because it was one of his favorites, and he actually asked my grandmother for the recipe, which makes me sort of smile because I can’t even imagine him doing that. But, there it was, in his hand, and now on our table.

Remember that this is POUND cake, and it lives up to its name. With loads of butter and sugar, this one is the dieter’s reward.  The brown sugar makes it distinct from others that you may have had, adding not only more richness to an already rich cake, but also a beautiful brown color.

Perfect for any doily-ed or paper napkin occasion.  That is to say, any occasion.

Note:

You really do need to beat the butter, sugar and eggs this long.  Really. The goal is to try and lighten this cake up as much as we can, so we need to give it some air. Also, strangely, this cake has a tendency to separate if you don’t beat it enough, so there’s that. But, remember, as with any cake, once you add the flour, only a few more beats to combine. No one wants a tough, overly glutinous cake!

Brown Sugar Pound Cake
Serves 24
Rich brown sugar pound cake
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  2. 3 cups light brown sugar
  3. 5 jumbo eggs
  4. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 1 cup whole milk
  9. Berries and whipped cream, to serve
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Butter and sugar a tube pan, preferably one with a removable bottom.
  3. In a stand mixer, add the butter and the sugar. Beat on high speed for 7 minutes, stopping every now and again to scrape down the sides until the mixture is light colored and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Once all the eggs have been added, beat an additional 4-5 minutes until all is well incorporated. Add the vanilla, salt and baking powder. Mix well.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour and milk, alternating, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
  5. Spread the batter evenly around the tube pan. Bake 1:15-1:30, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan about 30 minutes and then, if your pan allows, gently remove the sides of the pan and let cool completely.
  6. Serve with berries and whipped cream, along side a cup of tea.
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/

Written after finishing a book and cleaning the kitchen.

Burmese Iced Tea

I hope you all of you stateside enjoyed your long weekend that wasn’t really a long weekend, I, too, had to work on Monday, but I think I made up for it sufficiently my other three days and I’ve got the tan to prove it. Tennis, food, HGTV and pound cake filled my days and there wasn’t much time without at least one of the above.  Especially pound cake (more on that later this week).

Michigan summer weather really seems to do it right. After years in the stifling southern heat, I’m happy to have lived in a region, first Chicago and now here, where we can count on a handful of very uncomfortable days, but for the most part rely on days where a sundress and a light sweater, sunglasses for good measure and open-toed shoes will serve you well. 

The best accessory for that will be a cold beverage. I’ve mentioned a few times how tea time is an occasion religiously followed in our household, but sometimes even we can’t handle the heat. And today, a solution for those too hot days.

The Burmese do like their tea and also give it due regard. I learned this from my Baba, who taught me how to properly make a cup of tea to be just the right color, just the right sweetness. Just the right way.

I converted that knowledge in brewing this concoction, borrowing a bit of guidance .  Otherwise, the proportions are my own, and the addition of evaporated milk is a MUST.** Otherwise, this is just the tea version of Thai iced coffee.  

Ingredients are layered and lazily swirled to distribute the flavor throughout, giving it a proper mix and therefore a proper flavor.

Mom can attest, it’ll also give you a much needed jump to get you through the rest of the day.

Whether that is a work day or a vacation day is up to you.

Burmese Iced Tea
Serves 2
Iced tea with sweetened condensed and evaporated milk
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Prep Time
2 hr
Prep Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 strong British breakfast tea bags
  2. 2 cups boiling water
  3. 2 TB sweetened condensed milk
  4. 4 TB evaporated milk
  5. ice cubes
  6. 2 straws, to serve
Instructions
  1. Brew the tea bags with the water, allowing them to steep about 5 minutes and get nice and strong. Remove the tea bags and chill in the refrigerator until cold.
  2. To the bottom of two tall glasses, add 1 TB of sweetened condensed milk to each. Add 2 TB of evaporated milk to follow. Fill each glass with ice cubes, and pour chilled tea until the glass is full.
  3. Add the straws, and slowly stir to combine. Enjoy!
Adapted from http://www.limeandcilantro.com/2016/05/sweeten-your-routine-tea-time-with-this.html
Adapted from http://www.limeandcilantro.com/2016/05/sweeten-your-routine-tea-time-with-this.html
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/
**Baba drank his tea with sugar, two teaspoons and evaporated milk. If you’ve never tried it in your regular cuppa, you must because it will give it just the right something, and you may never use regular milk again.

Sunday Somethings

Hello, Sunday.

Well, we’re at the halfway point for summer. How are you doing on your bucket list? Did you have one? I did not, but I think I’ve done an okay job of taking advantage of June. July and August, here I come.

Crawley and I traveled over the river and through the golf course to grandma’s house (Mom, to me) and he’s had a rough go of it. He does not love it here, and I feel bad every time we come. Still, he’s a baby and he needs to get use to the big boys that rule the roost around here. He does get better every time, but yesterday, we had a bit of a rough day.

Enough about me and the emotions of my cat.  Let’s get down to it! Some of these are holdovers from last week, but I found them amusing nonetheless.

Turns out, I’m an Xennial.  So were you, if you were born between 1977-1983.  Grape and I have talked about this, how we are in sort of a unique position of being old enough to experience college without Facebook, but young enough to embrace the iPhone to its fullest extent.  We also remember The Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, which means that, IMO, we are the luckiest of them all.

Harry Potter came out 20 years ago this week and the internet was awash with fun quizzes. Here’s Time Magazine’s, which I trust the most because…science.  As expected, I’m a Gryffindor.  #GryffinROAR.  

Related:  The 20 most memorable moments, as told by fans.  Yup, yup.

Wedding trends for 2017:  Flower Man? This was cuter than you’d think.

Train people! Do you ever fall asleep on your commute and end up always waking up just in time? Here are the reasons why you never miss your stop.

Do you stare at something every day and still not know what it looks like?  We all do, but this one made me cry laughing.

I don’t even know what to say about this. Heartbreaking.  Do you how many people have been saved by experimental treatments?

Food as medicine?  Here are some specifics.

Um, hello fake news!

John McEnroe v. Serena Williams. Hmm, who do you think will win THAT blow out match?

Canada, Happy 150.  Let’s get together soon, k?

And finally, the end of small talk?  I’m actually intrigued if in this time where shallow relationships rather than close friends if more often the rule than the exception.  Can we do it?

That’s it! Enjoy your holidays, all!

 

Nanaimo Bars

Canada, this one’s for you.

Tomorrow, ICYDK, is Canada Day! And, being half Canadian myself, I like to commemorate the day with a little themed treat (see this Maple Walnut Dip and this Bacon Infused Caramel Coffee Sauce). This year, Nanaimo bars, which I always forget how to pronounce.

For some background, Nanaimo Bars hail from the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia.  There’s all sorts of speculation about the who/what/when about how these bars came about, but the first printing came from Nanaimo, and thus the name stuck. 

What are they?  Bars, three layers, containing good things like chocolate, graham crackers, coconut, nuts…all with a creamy middle layer.

These are no bake, which is cool for these hot times, but I will say that I was less than thrilled about making them simply because of the unusual ingredient contained in the center layer: custard powder.

Now, I LOVE custard.  So, so much, and to use something that I love so much not in its truest form was a bit maddening to me.  But, I wanted to stay true to the original recipe as best I could, and thus used a powder.

Actually, I lied.  I used a suggested substitution of instant vanilla pudding mix because the custard powder came in a HUGE container and I needed a mere tablespoon. Knowing that I’d likely never use that much custard powder, I didn’t find it was worth the investment. Anyhoo, if you like the idea of custard powder, I found it at my regular neighborhood grocer, so knock yourself out. Otherwise, instant vanilla pudding is the way to go.

These bars came together pretty quickly and while at first bite I wasn’t in love, I realized after I took a second, third and fourth bite, that I obviously thought they were swell. While different from the delicious magic cookie bars of all of my childhood, there is still a place for these Nanaimo bars at the table.

Nanaimo Bars
Serves 12
No-bake bars layered with chocolate, nuts and a creamy custard filling
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Total Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr
For the crust
  1. 4 TB unsalted butter, melted
  2. 2 TB brown sugar
  3. 3 TB unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process cocoa preferred
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  6. 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  7. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1 cups graham cracker crumbs (made from about 6 whole crackers)
For the filling
  1. 4 TB unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1/8 teaspoon salt (omit if you use salted butter)
  3. 1 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 TB custard powder or instant vanilla pudding mix
  6. 2 TB heavy cream
For the icing
  1. 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  2. 2 TB unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment. Set aside.
  2. To make the crust: Place all of the crust dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, and mix until all the ingredients are combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Stream the hot butter into the egg slowly, whisking constantly to cook the egg (like you would a hollandaise sauce). Mix into the dry ingredients, and make sure all are adequately wet.
  4. Press the mixture into the prepared pan. While you prepare the middle layer, set it in the fridge to cool.
  5. To make the filling: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, 1 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla, beating until smooth.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the pudding mix with the cream, stirring until thick and smooth.
  7. Add the pudding mix to the butter/sugar mixture, stirring to combine. You'll feel the need to add more liquid- DON'T! Using an electric mixer, all will come together to be quite smooth.
  8. Add the remaining sugar, and beat until the filling is smooth. Spread it over the cooled crust, cover, and refrigerate until chilled.
  9. Finally, make the icing: Combine the chocolate and butter in a saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Heat until the chocolate is just melted and stir until smooth. Be careful not to burn the chocolate!
  10. Spread the frosting onto the bars. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
  11. Cut into small bars or rectangles to serve. The bars will be very stiff when cold, but will soften quickly at room temperature.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/

Written after eating said Nanaimo Bar.

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