Monday, March 31, 2008

Nothing to be trifled with

This post could be sub headed: "when life gives you lemons, make lemonaid"!

The original plan was to make a quarter sheet cake and decorate it like a sheet of music (you know, lines and notes) with a spray of roses over it.

Alas, when I attempted to take the cake out of the pan, it did THIS!!

ACK!! Well, now, what can one do with a cake that looks like that?

All hope of a smooth finish for piping musical notes onto was dashed. (We could say the air was a "trifle" blue)

This however, was the "fix" -- and an excuse to use a bowl that was a wedding gift that I've used now (maybe) 3 times -- a good thing perhaps!

At any rate, here's how I put this tasty treat together


1 boxed white cake mix
1 large package instant vanilla pudding
1 pint strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 pint blackberries
1 can whipped cream

Prepare cake per package instructions. When it has cooled completely, cut into 1 inch cubes and spread out on cutting board to dry slightly (I let mine stand for about 24 hours)

Mix instant pudding per package directions and chill.

Clean strawberries and cut in quarters. Sprinkle sugar over the berries and allow to combine for at least 4 hours.

To create trifle arrange in deep glass bowl in the following layers:

1/2 of cake cubes
1/2 of pudding
1/2 of strawberries and blackberries

repeat layers second time

top with whipped cream

garnish with a few whole berries if desired

This would also be excellent done with chocolate cake, chocolate pudding and fresh raspberries (leave out the sugar)

If you don't have a trifle bowl, a small glass punch bowl would work well, or these could be done as individual deserts in wine glasses

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Meat Loaf

I've had a request for my favorite meatloaf recipe, so here it is:

½ medium onion, chopped fine (or use green onions or shallots – shallots are my favorite)
1 tsp beef soup base (I use the kind that comes in a jar and must be refrigerated after opening)
1/3 c hot water
2 eggs OR ½ c egg substitute
½ c ketchup
1 ½ c oatmeal

Mix those 6 ingredients together in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes so the oatmeal can absorb the liquid

Add to mixture 2 to 3 pounds of quality ground meat. I have used lamb, pork, veal and venison in combination with beef to make successful meatloaves.

Combine well (use your hands!!), form a loaf and put in pan. I have used a 9x12 cake pan with a rack and an iron skillet as pans from time to time

Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 ½ hours (I like my meatloaf DONE, not pink in the middle, and at about a hour into baking I usually check it by cutting it in half at the thickest part)

I should also add that if you want to take an even less complex approach, get a package of dry onion soup mix to replace the first two ingredients!

This is great hot, makes wonderful sandwiches afterwards. One of my favorite "sandwiches" with it is to roll a strip of meatloaf and a strip of cheese in a flour tortilla and warm it in the microwave --- mmmmmm, yummy!!