Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy Birthday--and an Easy Recipe

 I came home to the scent of chocolate cake.  Sweet Teen said she was disappointed because she wanted it to be a surprise.  It was a surprise, just not timed the way she would have preferred. I suggested that it would be really, really hard to surprise someone when the house is filled with lovely chocolate cake smells.
The really fantastic thing about this cake, aside from it's great flavor and texture, is that it's a "scratch cake"--a devil's food cake from the Betty Crocker cookbook, made with no adjustments for our high altitude, and it came out beautifully perfect.  I'm thinking it must have something to do with the fact that it was baked in a DeMarle pan. The cake was gorgeous as it came from the pan, but Sweet Teen also made chocolate cream cheese icing, from scratch, of course.

She mentioned later that she had had no idea what "shortening" was--so she looked it up on the internet.

We should probably do more cooking together, but with my long intense days, I'm often not good company after work--just way toooooooo exhausted and need time to unwind from the assaults.

She also made one of our favorite blustery day--or cold day, or both kinds of days--winter casseroles.
Yep, we dug right in.  This is a very hearty casserole, great for a few meals in the cold of winter.

Sweet Teen's Sausage Potato Dinner
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Sprinkle a couple of ounces of grated sharp cheddar cheese in the bottom of a DeMarle pan (Sweet Teen used the Sunflower Mold) or a casserole pan.
With kitchen shears, cut a link of turkey kielbasa (or a similar sausage) into slices about 1/8 inch thick. Scatter a few slices around the bottom of the pan.
Add alternating layers of potato cubes (or frozen hash browns), a couple of ounces of grated sharp cheddar, and potatoes.  (We do use frozen potatoes because our time is so limited.) End with another sprinkle of grated sharp cheddar.
Add enough milk to 1 cup of sour cream to make it "liquidy enough to penetrate the layers.
From the looks of this one, Sweet Teen sprinkled a mixture of Herbs de Provence over the top.  (I usually stir them into the milk/sour cream mixture--but I'm not sure it makes much difference which way they are added.)
Bake for about 1 hour.

We often scatter frozen peas or frozen sliced carrots throughout this dish too.

Since this makes a good sized casserole and since it is so rich, we have a simple salad with it and usually get several lunches from the leftovers.

She made the cake in DeMarle's fluted square mold.  Cakes (and almost anything else) come out of these molds looking as if you worked some magic glazed finish on them--I think she frosted this one so she could write her message to me.

One of the nicest things was that since she cooked, I did the dishes, and since she used the DeMarle pans, it took somewhere between ten and thirty seconds to wash each pan.

A few years ago, I recognized that although most people think I cook because I love to cook, the real reason I cook is to nourish people I love.  The other day Sweet Teen and I both commented that although we enjoy the food [and enjoy it a lot more knowing cleaning up with DeMarle will be so fast], we both cook because we love someone we're cooking for.

A blessing: so far the family and friends who have reported in have reported that they escaped harm from the tornadoes that have besieged so many in Mid-America and the South.  Our prayers go out to those who've lost property or loved-ones, and we thank those who immediately pitched in to help with clean up.


DragonPoodle said...

yummy. hold the leftovers, I'll be right over....

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Happy Birthday!

Pokey said...

Happy Birthday, Dora, being pampered by the girl who loves you lots! Hope it's the beginning of a good year. Oh, and the food looks YuM!

MQuilter said...

Happy Birthday! Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

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