Monday, 18 August 2014

Temptation

Life is full of temptations, especially for cakers. Every day, we’re lured by things we know aren’t good for us. Like sodium, saturated fat and roast chicken-flavoured potato chips. But as I always say, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” I’m going to have to copyright that before someone steals it.

Last week, I pointed out how cakers can be a little lacklustre when it comes to naming our food. (See The Thing.) On the flip side, we can also be a little over-the-top. Anyone remember The Greatest Chocolate Dessert Ever? Or Sex in a Pan? (Which, between you, me and the fencepost, might not be that far of a stretch for some of us.)

Lady from Crumlin United Church, you call this casserole “Temptation,” and it comes out looking like this? Don’t get me wrong. Temptation was tempting. With all that sour cream, cream cheese and cottage cheese, you’re hitting all the right arteries. But really, is “Temptation” the first thing that comes to mind when you look at this?

No? Then how about Mucky Muck? Gobbledy Gook? Satan's Landscape?

Speaking of Satan's Landscape, September is Reader Month! All month long, I make and eat YOUR caker recipes! (I guess I'm one of those machoist types.) Send your recipe to cakercooking at gmail dot com by August 31 and I’ll do my best to feature it.

1 pound ground beef
2-8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 cup cottage cheese
½ cup chopped green onion
8 oz egg noodles
8 oz cream cheese
¾ c sour cream
2 tbsp chopped green onion

Brown meat and add tomato sauce. Boil noodles. Cream together cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, onion and pepper. Layer in greased casserole:
½ noodles in bottom
All the cream cheese mixture
Other ½ of noodles
Top with meat mixture.
Bake at 350° for ½ to 1 hour.

Source: Favourite Recipes, Crumlin United Church, Thorndale, Ontario

Saturday, 16 August 2014

September is Reader Recipe Month!

It's time for me to throw the caker apron back at you, dear readers. September is Caker Cooking Reader Recipe Month!

All month long, I'll feature caker recipes submitted by you. Fancy yourself a Martha Stewartson type? Does company rave about your Ritz cracker hors d'oeuvres? Think the world should know about your great-aunt's tuna and JELL-O salad? (God help me.)

Send 'er along to cakercooking at gmail dot com by August 31. If I like it (or not) I'll make it, eat it and post it. What could be more rewarding?

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Thing

While cakers are good at many things (latch hooking being one of them), we aren’t good at one very important thing: naming our food. I mean, what’s up, peeps? Haven’t you ever heard of an adjective?

Some of you may remember my Unfortunately Named Caker Recipe Month whereupon we discovered such gems as Corn Ring, Bun Spread and Pink Thing. Had I discovered The Thing back then, I would’ve included it in the line-up.

I’m pretty sure the woman who submitted this recipe for the Owen Sound Y.M.C.A. cookbook back in 1976 made up the recipe. And no doubt she named it herself. But think of all the unnecessary confusion she’s caused since then.

Setting: A church basement. Tables laden with ham salad and salmon salad sandwiches. Bowls of JELL-O glisten. A coffee percolator gurgles.

“Helen, what was the thing you brought to the last luncheon?”
“That’s right.”
“Begya pardon?”
“You mean The Thing.”
“Yes, but what was it called?”
“I already told you, Gladys. The Thing.”
“Helen, I’m not finding this funny.”
“It’s The Thing, Gladys!”
“Helen, have you been sniffing perm solution again?”

Anyways, The Thing is good. It’s like the chocolate cousin of a Hello Dolly, less the maraschino cherries. And if you want to call it The Thing, go right ahead. Just don’t blame me when people start yelling at you.

HEY! September is Reader Recipe Month! Do you have a caker recipe you think should be featured on Caker Cooking? Email it by August 31 to cakercooking at gmail dot com. If I like it (or not) I’ll make it and feature it. Caker fame is just around the corner!

Melt 1 cup brown sugar in ½ cup butter
Add 4 tablespoons cocoa and 1 egg. Stir well.
Remove from stove and add:
½ cup chopped nuts
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Press into greased 8” pan. Mix 1 cup dessicated coconut with ½ can Eagle Brand milk and spread over cake mixture. Ice with a chocolate butter icing and keep in refrigerator. Cut into squares.

Source: The New Y Cook Book, Owen Sound, Ontario

Monday, 4 August 2014

Strawberries

For some people, science is all about medical stuff. But for cakers, science is all about food. I mean, where would our people be without scientific breakthroughs like margarine, Rolaids and Propylene Glycol Ether of Methylcellulose?

Sometimes, I think science has spoiled us because fake food always tastes better than the real thing. For example, Tang tastes more orangey than real oranges. And Cool Whip tastes better than real whipped cream. And how about those strawberry marshmallows? You know the ones, with the crispy, sugary outer shell surrounding that soft interior? Way tastier than real strawberries.

While these homemade strawberries aren’t as good as the marshmallow kind, they’re pretty darn delicious. Plus, unlike real strawberries, they have calcium, thanks to sweetened condensed milk. And talk about cute!

Now look, I know not all of you are as artistic as me (Mother credits my small, doll-like hands), but these aren’t that hard to make. The recipe calls for green butter icing for the leaves, but I found another recipe that used green maraschino cherries. And I’m all for helping out those little green guys. Red maraschino cherries have all the fun.

PSST! To show how realistic these strawberries are, I put a real one in the photo. Think you can spot it? There’s a banana marshmallow coming your way if you do.

1 can Eagle Brand milk
2 tablespoons fruit sugar
¾ pound desiccated coconut (see note)
2 packages strawberry JELL-O

Keep out ½ pkg. strawberry JELL-O. Mix other ingredients. Form into strawberry shapes and roll in extra jelly powder. Make leaves of green butter icing and put small piece of green toothpick as stem.

Note: I eyeballed this one because I was afraid of how much ¾ pound of coconut would make. I mean, I like fake strawberries, but the ol’ thong is getting a little tight these days. LOL!!!

Source: From Our…Kitchen…To Yours, Eden United Church, Dundonald, Ontario


Monday, 28 July 2014

Tang Shake and Ants on Logs

When it comes to hosting relatives, cakers have a love/hate relationship. On the one hand, it gives us a chance to show off our electric fireplaces, our ping pong tables that double as buffet tables and polish up the good set of Tupperware. But it can also be stressful. We have to give tours of our town and make it sound interesting. And act like we’re happily married and that our kids are normal. And breathe through our mouths when Uncle Dick emerges from the bathroom after being in there for a half hour.

Thankfully, cakers are a simple breed, so feeding one another isn’t as much of an issue. When it comes to offering a mid-day snack around the above-ground pool, Ants on Logs and Tang Shakes are the perfect way to tide your guests over until the suppertime casserole. The Tang Shake tastes just like a Creamsicle and reminded me of one of my all-time favourite caker recipes, Tang Pie, which was sent to me by Caker Cooking reader, Bob.

Ants on Logs are equally delicious. But a word of caution: They’re complicated to make. You have to cut the celery and then spread on the peanut butter and then delicately lay on your “ants.” Give yourself lots of time and you’ll be fine. Guaranteed those relatives will be raving about the Martha Stewartson in the family for weeks to come.

Tang Shake
1 cup milk
1 heaping tablespoon Tang
1 scoop vanilla ice cream or orange sherbet

Put into blender and blend. Makes one large glassful.

Source: Kitchen Tested Recipes from Milford, Milford United Church












Ants on Logs
Celery sticks with peanut butter spread in centre and raisins on top. (See note) Kids love them.

Note: While this may be the shortest recipe ever posted on Caker Cooking, it's by no means the easiest. Don’t be fooled.

Source: Favourite Recipes, Crumlin United Church

Friday, 25 July 2014

A Caker in Itlee: Special Investigative Report

Recently, I went to Itlee with all my Italian in-laws. Have you ever travelled with 11 Italians? Getting everyone in one place at one time was like trying to lasso Ragu. And the lasso is a piece of over-boiled spaghetti.

Speaking of over-boiled spaghetti, we all know that Italian-Canadians don't exactly hold caker culture in the highest regard. After all, they were the ones who called us “cakers” in the first place. But what about Italy Italians? I put on my Rafaella Carra wig and went undercover. You may be surprised by what I found.






THE EVIDENCE:

Lookie here! Kraft cheese slices. Although the name is a little too close to “toilet” for me.










Why don’t we have McDonald’s mayonnaise in Canada? And where was the McMiracle Whip?










Italians love fish sticks. Although they spelled “captian” wrong. LOL!











Chocolate Corn Flakes. I briefly considered moving to Italy just for these.

This is Italian ketchup. Why is the tomato mascot is wearing a toque and gloves? Does he think he’s Canadian?






From here on out, I’m putting chocolate chips on my JELL-O, too.













Proudly being served by Italian great aunts this very minute.









I wish Hotel Bologna was in Canada. Heck, I’d even settle for Hotel Mock Chicken.








We were served these hors d’ouevres on a bar patio. Uh, that’s white bread, ketchup and a hot dog slice. Hmm. Wonder what those Italian-Canadians would say.

I REST MY CASE, FOLKS.











A few other observations:

Water is pretty expensive in Italy, but there are fountains in the bathrooms. Drinking next to the toilet was a little weird. But it wasn’t the first time I’ve done it.







Some people have a very specific idea of hell. This is mine.









Which explains why most of the cars look like this.









You know that expression about pulling your hair out? Italians really mean it.













This sign was above a playground. I wish I had a baby cottage when I was growing up. Instead, my mom used to stick me inside a cardboard box. Anyway, I hope this sign made sense to the Italian-speaking people because it sure didn’t make sense to the English-speaking people.





Italian pigeons look just like Canadian pigeons.















Everyone made a big deal about this tower, but hello? It’s crooked.

















I got pretty excited when I saw this. “WHERE'S THE CHURCH?!?” I screamed. Turns out that “bazar” means store.












All in all, Italy was a great place for cakers of all shapes and sizes. Just make sure that when you cross the street, point, say a prayer and run because it could be the last thing you do.

Ci vediamo la prossima settimana con una nuova ricetta Caker!


Monday, 21 July 2014

Pork n' Beans Bread

I don’t know what kind of pills they’re taking, but today’s senior cakers are nothing like the generation before them. Long gone are the needlepoint, ugly shoes and blue rinse. These days, elderly folks are hang gliding, purchasing prophylactics and wearing hot pants. (Trust me on the hot pants. There’s an old man in my hood who wears them and brother’s got gams.)

Awhile back, my mom took me to the mall food court where her posse hangs out. There was a square dance going on – and you should’ve seen these seniors cutting a rug! I even noticed a pair getting frisky in the corner. My mom said they were just sharing a piece of Freedent, but I have my doubts.

This week’s recipe was given to me by my mom’s friend Mia, who, at 96, is still going strong. (The preservatives in caker food mean we’re always the last ones standing.) Mia says Pork n’ Beans Bread is a family favourite and while I admit that the idea of eating pureed pork was troublesome, I’m happy to report that it’s moist (thanks, cup of oil!) and delicious. Like a soft spice cake. Only better. Because it’s got fibre. And, uh, pork.

Speaking of fibre, there ain’t none in Italy. Which explains my pinched expression during my recent visit there. Come back Friday for my “Caker in Itlee” investigative report. Let’s just say the Ragu’s about to hit the fan.

Thanks, Mia! See you on the dance floor.

15-ounce can pork and beans
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3 cups flour

Spray two 9”x 5”x 3” loaf pans with Pam. Don’t drain pork and beans. Put in a food processor or blender and process them until they’re pureed smooth with no lumps. Place beaten eggs in large bowl. Stir in pureed pork and beans and mix well. Add vegetable oil and vanilla. Mix well. Add sugar, then mix in baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir. Stir in chopped nuts. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Spoon half of batter in one loaf pan and other half in second loaf pan. Bake at 350° for about 1 hour.

Source: Caker Mia