Monday, 28 April 2014

Q & A with The Caker Queen

I know that some of you may doubt my stories about growing up in a caker household. Did my mom really give us brown well water with Alka Seltzer instead of soda pop? Was she really addicted to Shreddies? Inquiring minds want to know, so I sat down with my mom (a.k.a. The Caker Queen) and asked her some questions. I also got her to share a favourite recipe.

Caker Brian: What is the name of my blog?
Caker Queen: (lengthy pause) Crater.

CB: Is it true you were addicted to Shreddies?
CQ: Yes, I was addicted. When I get on to something, I eat it all the time. I don’t eat Shreddies anymore, though. I eat Cheerios now, along with some of that grain cereal to make everything solid [Don’t ask what she means. Trust me, you don’t want to know. – Ed] Every morning, I have Cheerios with the grain cereal, blueberries, a banana, an orange juice and a coffee. That’s my breakfast everyday.

CB: Is it true that we were so poor growing up that instead of soda pop, you gave us brown well water with Alka Seltzer?
CQ: Oh, Brian. No. God almighty. No. Jeez. Take that off there.

CB: What would you consider your signature dish?
CQ: (sigh) Like a casserole, maybe. Well, the one that you like. That one with macaroni and ground beef, tomato soup and onion. I don’t know what it’s called. [None of her casseroles have actual names. They all begin with “That one with…– Ed]

CB: Is there a recipe you’d like to share with fellow cakers?
CQ: Maybe my stew. Cut some stewing beef in small pieces, put it on the bottom of a casserole, add some carrots, potatoes, onion and celery. Pour over a couple cans of V-8. It takes a long time. 250° for four hours. You can throw in anything you want. Serve it with bread or a salad. V-8 has lots of spices, so you don’t need to add anything else.

I made this as per my mom’s instructions. It tasted pretty good but was kind of watery. When I told her this, we had the following exchange:

“I’m sorry. I forgot to tell you to add that thing.”
“What thing?”
“Oh, dear. What’s it’s called?”
“Corn starch?”
“No, not that.”
“Flour?”
“Not, not flour. Jeez, why can’t I remember it?”
“Plaster of Paris?”
“Tapioca! Sprinkle two or three teaspoons on top.”

Source: The Caker Queen

Monday, 21 April 2014

Bacardi Rum Cake

I don’t know where your parents stored the liquor, but in my house, it was in the cupboard above the stove. I’m assuming they kept it there because they thought it was out of reach. Luckily for me, I worked miracles with a yardstick and a catcher’s mitt.

Check any caker’s liquor cabinet or cupboard and guaranteed you’ll find a bottle of rye, a bottle of rum and, if it’s near Christmas, a bottle of Bailey’s. Sometimes, you’ll find Blue Cura├žao, but only if someone needed to make Blue Lagoon punch for a baby shower.

This delicious Bacardi Rum Cake packs a doozey of boozey – there’s a full cup of rum in this Bundt! If you start telling dirty limericks to your company after finishing a slice, don’t say you weren’t warned.

By the way, while most caker food manages to hit every branch of the ugly tree on its way down, this here Bundt is about the purdiest thing I’ve ever featured. Just look at it! I’ve decided to enter it into the International World Bundt pageant held every year in Monaco. Keep your fingers crossed. Grand prize is a bottle of Kahlua.

Cake:
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 18 ½-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 4-ounce package JELL-O vanilla instant pudding mix
4 eggs
½ cup cold water
½ cup oil
½ cup Bacardi dark rum (See note 1)

Glaze:
¼ lb. butter
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
½ cup Bacardi dark rum

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease and flour 10-inch Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. Mix all cake ingredients together. Pour batter over nuts. Bake 1 hour. Invert on serving plate. Prick top. Drizzle and smooth glaze over top and sides (See note 2). Allow cake to absorb glaze. Repeat until glaze is used up.

For glaze, melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum.

Options: Decorate with whole maraschino cherries and border of sugar frosting or whipped cream. Serve with seedless green grapes dusted with powdered sugar (See note 3).

Note 1: I mistakenly bought Captain Morgan. Must've been the pirate uniform.
Note 2: Put the cake on a wire rack with a plate underneath. That way, you’ll catch all the drippings.
Note 3: Only do this if your name is Martha Stewartson.

Source: Celebration Cookbook, Canadian Bible Society

Monday, 14 April 2014

Marg's Cuban Lunch

Along with its elegance and refinement, caker cooking is often considered one of the world’s most mysterious cuisines. There are so many unanswered questions. For example, who discovered that soda crackers taste like Skor Bars? Or that Ritz crackers taste like apples? Or that a marshmallow and a Pilsbury crescent roll were good representations of Christ's resurrection?

Sometimes, the mystery rests not in the ingredients, but in the name. I had no idea what a “Cuban Lunch” was, let alone Marg’s connection to it. So I called my friends at Dateline NBC to do a little investigative work. Turns out Cuban Lunch used to be the name of a chocolate bar. As to Marg, Stone Philips told me that her identity remains shrouded in mystery. The people in Outlook, Saskatchewan were tight-lipped. Who is this Marg? And why do I picture her smoking cigars?

Anyways, these are perfect when you’re faced with that that sweet-or-salty dilemma. That’s because they have potato chips and chocolate. Be warned though: butterscotch chips are a little potent. I had an Italian complaining for three days that the house smelled of maple.

1 package butterscotch chips
1 package peanut butter chips
1 package chocolate chips
1 ½ cups crushed ripple potato chips
1 ½ cups nuts

Melt all of the packages of chips together on low heat. Add in the potato chips and nuts. Spoon into small paper cups and cool.


Source: With Hearts That Care and Hands That Serve, Outlook, Saskatchewan

Monday, 7 April 2014

Seven Layer Casserole

Isn’t the world full of stupid kitchen gadgets? There’s the Inside-the-Shell Egg Scrambler, the Rotato, those knives that can cut through a tin can and still slice a tomato. (I, for one, have never enjoyed sliced tin can. Too high in iron.)

Luckily, the rich tapestry of caker cuisine only requires a single kitchen gadget: the can opener. Having said that, sometimes cakers need a little extra help. Take this Seven Layer Casserole, for example. One of those mandolin thingies would’ve made slicing the potatoes and orange sticks (I think they’re called carrots) a whole lot easier. And less dangerous. I’m still not sure what happened to my fingernail.

I don’t know if there’s a specific reason the ingredients go in the order that they do. Personally, I would’ve put the meat on the bottom because after two hours of it sitting on the top, I could’ve used it as a pumice stone. Anyways, it tasted pretty good. In spite of the bright colours.

In a casserole dish put
Layer of carrots, sliced thin
Layer of potatoes, sliced thin
Layer of onions, sliced thin
¼ cup uncooked Minute Rice
Tin of peas, juice as well

Put layer of sausage or hamburger over sliced vegetables. Take tin of tomato soup diluted with water and pour over and cook with cover on for one hour. (See note) Remove cover to brown. Bake slowly for another hour or until done.

Note: The recipe didn’t give a oven temperature, so I cooked it at 325°.

Source: Mixed Blessings, Salem United Church

P.S. Take a good look at this cookbook cover. It looks like something, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one who sees something other than hands.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Clothespin Wishing Well

Today, I’m trading in my apron for a smock. It’s Caker Craft time!

For most of us, spring means one thing: dusting off our Thighmasters and getting back into shape. But it’s also a time for foiled-wrapped eggs, gaucho pants and the enchantment of a moss-covered wishing well in the middle of a dewy meadow.

Here’s a wishing well guaranteed to give you hours of enjoyment. Alls you need are wooden clothespins, a baby food jar, glue and some moss. If you can’t find moss, just scrape some green stuff off old cheese.

Use your wishing well to store change or to house your sea-monkeys. If you’re feeling really creative, paint it with Liquid Paper. Make sure you put a clothespin on your nose before you do. Otherwise, you might start having hallucinations of naked Druids dancing around a Maypole. I’m speaking from experience.

Instructions:

Separate clothes pins. Be careful the metal piece doesn’t coming flying off. This craft is fun, but it’s not worth losing an eye over.

Next, eat a jar of baby food, but not the kind with beef and vegetables. Trust me, it’s disgusting. Clean out the jar unless you want your wishing well to smell like a real wishing well.




Glue the separated clothespins around the jar. Make sure to get the flat edges level so your well isn’t all wobbly.








Glue two sticks on either side to act as your roof posts.









Glue together four sticks. Do it again. Then attach the sides of your roof to the posts.








Now, make a wish and cue the Terence Trent D’Arby.