Big Flavor for a Small Supper: Ranch Quick Bread

The hotter it gets in the dog days of summer, the less time spent in the kitchen cooking and baking the better.  Yes, I know we live in the modern age of central air, but the excuse of it’s too hot to cook gets me out of many a late summer what’s for dinner dilemma. That’s where this recipe for Ranch Quick Bread comes in.  This easy to mix, quick to fix, and deliciously filling Ranch Quick Bread recipe hits the spot with big flavor for a small supper.

ranch quick bread

Ranch Quick Bread

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 package dry Ranch seasoning mix

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk**

½ stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup cottage cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.

dry-ingredients

Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter in a medium bowl until combined.

** How to Make Homemade Buttermilk:

Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.  Let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes.

eggs-butter-milk

Add the cottage cheese and stir to combine.

wet-ingredients

Pour mixture into the flour mixture.

mixing-dough

Gently fold ingredients together until the flour is incorporated.

quick-ranch-bread-dough

Spoon batter into loaf pan.  Bake 50 minutes until golden brown or until knife inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

bread-doughAllow bread to cool in loaf pan for 10-15 minutes.

ranch-bread

Transfer bread from pan to bread board or wire rack or serving tray. Allow bread to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

sliced-bread

Wrap any leftover bread in waxed paper and store in airtight container.  I added fresh rosemary sprigs to canister for good seasoning measure.

bread-storage

Signs and Sounds: Fall or Autumn Wishfall Thinking

Signs and sounds hinting at an early fall or autumn leads to wishfall thinking.  Concrete proof of fall’s preview peppers the Places In The Home driveway, sidewalk and patio with yellow leaves intermingled among summer’s last holdouts.  As I blog and type “Dancing In The Moonlight” by King Harvest is currently playing on Music Choice.  Now “Night Moves” by Bob Seger is playing.  Two songs played back to back with the lyrics everybody’s dancin’ in the moonlight and with autumn closing in. Changing colors, temps and tastes.  Oh yeah, this is happening.

yellow-fall-leavesWe crazy Louisianians grab hold of the slightest hint of a fall weather preview and hold on for dear life.  Hey, speaking of crazy Louisianians

britney-ellenLouisianians  Ellen DeGeneres and  Britney Spears

Dave and I stood on the front porch for a few minutes Friday night listening to the high school bands playing during the local football Jamboree.  Humidity and mosquitoes crashed our party, making me wish for fall even more.  Hope springs or falls eternal, and I can testify to sure signs of wishfall thinking- shorter days, a changing sun that casts a bright white light through the windows, and wind chimes that play a North wind lullaby.

roux-gumbo

The first gumbo feast of fall is soon to be cooking in the big blue pot.

flour-sifter

Okay.  I couldn’t wait until the official arrival of fall for a gumbo feast.  No respectable Louisiana cook can talk about gumbo and not break out the big blue pot, make some roux, chop up the Cajun trinity, and whip up a pot of chicken and sausage gumbo.  C’est si bon!

gumbo-for-fall1

The hunt is on for Sportsman’s Paradise activities to do.  Fall festivals of pecan, tamale, meat pie, and funktoberfest are on our fall calendar of events.

black-lab

A new to me vintage mixing bowl is ready for fall recipe duty.

vintage-mixing-bowl

A bag of fresh and faux apples and a dash of wishfall thinking leads the inspired charge to create delicious apple themed recipes and diy projects.

guide-to-apples

A Guide to Apples from Williams-Sonoma


1.  Cortland – Crimson in color with a sweet flavor and crisp texture.  Best for:  applesauce and apple butter.

2.  Red Delicious – Softer in texture with a mellow, not-too-sweet flavor. Best for:  apple cider

3.   Braeburn – Reddish-orange with green and yellow streaks and a unique sweet-tart flavor.  Best for:  cooking and baking

4.  Gravenstein  –  A juicy apple with a finely-grained texture and a light yellow or red skin.  Best for:  applesauce and apple cider

5.  Gala  –  Sweet, aromatic and crisp with a light-red color.  Best for: eating raw and applesauce

6.  Fuji  –  Crisp texture and dense flesh with a sugary-sweet flavor.  Best for: eating raw

7.  Pink Lady  –  Crisp in texture and bright pink with a tart-sweet flavor.   Best for:  eating raw

8.  Golden Delicious  –  Very sweet to the taste with a golden yellow color.   Best for:  applesauce and apple butter

9.  Granny Smith  –  Very tart and crisp with a bright green color.  Best for: baking


fall-craft-apple-wreath

Wishfall thinking exhibit A as in a fall diamond in the summer rough.  The seasons they are a-changin’.

 Fall Autumn Wishfall Thinking

There is nothing like a good fall preview or autumn sneak peek to build the anticipation of seasonal things to come.  By all accounts, it’s fall y’all!

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday 11: The Tasteful and The Decadent

This week’s Fetching Friday 11 accentuates both the tasteful and the decadent.

ff-mantleHGTV

Taste, tastes, style and impressive decor accents come together to create  beautiful homes.

ff-Thibaut_Heritage-Houndstooth-dining-chair_s3x4_lgThibaut

ff-fall-dessertsCountry Living Magazine

ff-traditional-BedroomLonny

Chocolate-Pear-Loaf-Cake-via-BHG1Chocolate-Cinnamon Pear Loaf Cake

ff-wallpaper“Zebras” in Safari Brown from Scalamandré as featured in Traditional Home

ff-hot-cocoa-brownie-cakeHot Cocoa Brownie Cake with Pumpkin Marshmallow Frosting

I hope you have a most fetching Friday.

Love your style!

The Southern Dinner Table

The Southern dinner table tells a story.  Gathered in regional reverence, devout worshipers of the dining divine keep time to culinary tradition-nourishing the soul as well as the body.

Taking a meal at the Southern dinner table is a multi-layered celebration weaving through generations, tradition and culture.

A sudden wave of news copy on the popularity, rediscovery, and dare I say it, appreciation of Southern foods, has not only resonated with my taste buds, but my memories of times spent gathered around the Southern dinner table.

honey-biscuits

I surely don’t believe nor make the claim that the South holds the patent on dinner table philosophies, but sitting down to the Southern dinner table is an intended event.

It doesn’t matter if the table is set for cornbread, red beans and rice, or chicken fried anything with all the fixings, eating is far from simply a practice in sustenance.

From Southern farm, garden, market or waterway to the Southern dinner table, the prepping, cooking, baking, frying, boiling or grilling is a culinary event.

the-fondest-memories

Culinary tastes, rituals and traditions of cooking and dining vary from state to state, dining table to dining table across the South, but the core principles of preparing and sharing good food is uncomplicated, simple and basic.

If you cook, bake, fry, roast, barbecue, boil, grill, can, preserve or pickle it, they will come.

Beverly-Hillbillies-vittles

The differences between the ways of my Texas, Tennessee and Louisiana relatives always seemed to warrant a they don’t do it like this in whichever two states you were not breaking bread in.

The shared commonality between the Texas, Tennessee and Louisiana masses boil down to simple dining vocabulary.

Dinner is the meal eaten in the middle of the day.

Supper is the meal eaten in the evening.

belton-tx1

Breaking bread with the Texas family came with rituals and a throwback vibe all its own.

The dining room table was for the adults, and the kitchen table was for the kids.

Soft white bread on a porcelain bread and butter plate was as close to a bread basket as you were gonna get.

My Aunt Sis was as full of sass as she was wit, and lightening quick with an answer and a serving spoon.  This firecracker’s table came equipped with its own GPS system.

Grease.  Preserves.  Salt.

Grease was the answer for everything, a pressed glass compote dish filled with homemade pear preserves never left the center of the table, and salt was not an acquired taste.

It was a required taste.

compote

The ladies of both my Texas and Louisiana family subscribed to the take down the china, fill the crystal to the rim, and put a hint of silver on the situation school of thought.

When questioned why a middle of the week dinner called for a fine lace tablecloth and a china pattern worthy of royalty, Aunt Sis would shoot back with a, “Well, hon, what’s the use of having the stuff if you don’t use it?”

I knew there was wisdom in her words, and they resonate with me to this day each time I open the doors to the china cabinet.

Life is too short not to use the good china, crystal and table linens every day.

You can quote me and Aunt Sis on it.

dinner-bell1stdibs

Does any of this ring a familiar dinner bell with you?

In continuation and reflection of the traditions and tastes of the Southern dinner table, my Tennessee family round the Southern dinner table traditions is the subject of my next post.

Love your style!

 

 

 

Delicacies, Dishes and Desserts: Malted Buttercream Frosting

Good morning, afternoon or evening!  I hope everyone had a lovely Easter. For those of you beginning your spring break week enjoy your well deserved holiday.  For those of us beginning the work week let’s pretend we’re one of the ones beginning our spring break week.  Dave the Builder’s brother sent me a video he filmed while he and his family were having lunch at one of their favorite restaurants last week.  Floridians with their ocean liner afternoons way of life need not rub it in.

ship

My Easter weekend went from cooking, baking and casual entertaining to full blown extravaganza somewhere around late Saturday afternoon. That’s what happens when two family members tell two family members and they tell two family members. Get where I’m going with this?

bhg

Let me tell you something about going into full-on double and triple the recipes, come up with another dessert mode – it’s not exactly my kind of bunny hop. Grabbing the April issue of Better Homes and Gardens and turning to the dog-eared page I somehow knew I would need this holiday, inspiration stared me in the face.

Malted-buttercream-frostingvia

This is the result of that inspiration.

malted-vanilla-cake

Over the summer months I’ll periodically be featuring a summer recipe series, Delicacies, Dishes and Desserts.  This Malted Buttercream frosting recipe kicks it off because it’s a summer is coming share worthy favorite. With summer comes get togethers of the family reunion, 4th of July and dinner on the grounds kind.  Delicacies, dishes and desserts come to the buffet table not only to celebrate, but to comfort and to impress.  This particular frosting, complete with a generous measure of malt shop goodness, has the flavor of summer whipped all over it.  The coconut nest and malted milk eggs topped off the Easter theme, but I topped a second cake I prepared for our neighbors with fresh strawberry and lemon slices.  How’s that for a preview of summer delights to come?  I didn’t get a picture of that cake, but I’m sure it won’t be long before I have a reason to make another one.

Malted Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

2 cup (4 sticks) butter, softened

6 cups powdered sugar

1 cup vanilla-flavored malted milk powder

4 tablespoons evaporated milk or milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

¼  teaspoon salt

Directions

In a very large mixing bowl beat the butter on medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in 6 cups of the powdered sugar and the malted milk powder.  Increase speed to medium and add 4 tablespoons of the milk, the vanilla, and salt.  Beat for 2 minutes or until smooth.  Add enough of the remaining powdered sugar or milk to make a frosting that is spreadable.

Frost top and sides with frosting. Decorate as desired with cotton candy and Easter egg candies just before serving.

recipe via Better Homes and Gardens

Some may be thinking and asking, “six cups powdered sugar?”  The malted milk powder keeps this frosting from being overly sweet.  Into everyone’s life a little sugar will fall, and realizing that fact is why I don’t shy from posting and developing dessert recipes.  From the measurement of an ingredient to the measurement of interior decorating and design, balance is key.

enjoy-hydrangea

 

Strawberry Orange Jam

All things house that make a home can be a less than glamorous gig at times- like when it’s cleaning out the refrigerator day.  On the upside, I did find the pint of strawberries I bought over the weekend and have overlooked thirty times between then and now.

strawberry orange jam

A rediscovered pint of strawberries connected the culinary dots straight to let’s make something very berry recipe development.  An easy Strawberry Orange Jam recipe it is.  In case you didn’t know, strawberries are my jam.

strawberry-jam1

 

Strawberry Orange Jam

Ingredients

1 16 ounce container fresh strawberries

1  small carton frozen strawberries

2 oranges

juice of one large Meyer lemon

2 cups water

1 Tablespoon orange zest

½ teaspoon allspice

3 Tablespoons orange juice

2 ½ cups sugar

2 Tablespoons honey

1  3 ounce box orange jello

Directions

First, zest both oranges and then cut into wedges.  Remove peel and white membrane from fruit and discard. Place peeled oranges wedges and allspice in saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook oranges for approximately 10-15 minutes or until softened. Drain off water.  Meanwhile, slice fresh strawberries in quarters and place strawberries in food processor, pulsing until crushed. Add crushed strawberries to the cooked oranges in saucepan.

strawberry-orange-jam

Add sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, honey, orange zest and frozen strawberries and mix well.  Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and stir in jello. Boil uncovered for 25-30 minutes, stirring often. Remove pan from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Skim off excess foam before carefully spooning mixture into jars.  Place lids on sealing tight for optimum storage freshness.  The mixture will continue to thicken once refrigerated. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.  Enjoy!

Sweetly Summervia

Southern Living, the holy grail of southern recipes goodness, has done it again. This Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake screams spring, summer and strawberry goodness.  My maternal grandmother could rock a strawberry cake like no tomorrow.  I would love to be able to turn back the hands of time and be standing next to her in her kitchen right now whipping up this cake.

strawberry-lemonade-layer-cake-lvia

Creole Cream Cheese Crêpes with Strawberry Compote.  Need I say c’est si bon?  This recipe from Louisiana Cookin’ is on my recipe card radar.

StrawberryCrepesLouisiana Cookin’

It’s one of those lazy afternoons spring is so well known to host.  I went with it and kicked off my shoes, turned up the music and proceeded to jam.  I popped over to our next door neighbor’s with a spring share of strawberry orange jam. She’s my Meyer lemon connection and official taste tester, and she gave my latest creation an enthusiastic thumbs up.  I returned home to this sight.

kitty cat

That about sums up this spring afternoon.  Hope you enjoy yours!

Love your style!

Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes Recipe And Family Traditions

A revered old fashioned Southern tea cakes recipe and family traditions leads the topic of conversation this afternoon in the Places In The Home kitchen.

tradition

noun
tra·di·tion \trə-ˈdi-shən\
a :  an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)

 

b :  a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable

2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction

 

3:  cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions

 

4:  characteristic manner, method, or style <in the best liberal tradition>

 

Places In The Home defines tradition as decor memories, recipes, and/or generational practices from your past bringing about complete and utter joy deemed repeat worthy.

tea-cup

via

I find it fascinating to read the traditions of fellow internet friends from far and near.  I’ll never forget walking into my first cousin’s home for the first time after he was a married father of two (you know, as adults).  I no more stepped into the house and made eye contact with him when he shouted out to me with pointed hand and question, “Hey, does Santa Claus leave the gifts under the tree wrapped or unwrapped?”

christmas-gifts-under-tree  Pinterest

Ah.  The great wrapped vs. unwrapped debate.  His wife comes from a long line of Santa Claus wraps.  In our family, Christmas Eve was for wrapped gift exchanging, and Christmas morning was reserved for the unwrapped Santa Claus extravaganza.  It seems silly, the great debate over wrapped or unwrapped Santa Claus, but who am I to argue with tradition?

santa-delivering-gifts

“Down I Go”

The only heat this summer I remotely can handle is that of the oven.  It’s too hot to be outside if you don’t have to be, but when you have to be it zaps the life out of ya!  The summertime tradition passed down in our family is a simple piece of advice- cook early, stay cool late.  I do make an exception at any time of day for old fashioned Southern tea cakes.

This old fashioned Southern tea cakes recipe and family traditions favorite has been handed down through the years, and it means the world to me on many levels.  I like what a tea cake signifies.  A simple, classic and unpretentious taste of home.  I like to think that’s how I roll.  Speaking of rolling- these tasty babies require a roll out. I swear the goodness is in the roll.  Here is the aged, index card recipe from which I have baked many a tea cake.

Old Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes

Ingredients

3 1/4  cups all purpose flour; sifted

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2  tsp. salt

1/2  cup butter or shortening

1 cup sugar

1 unbeaten egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup thick sour cream or buttermilk

Directions:

Sift flour once before measuring.  Combine flour, soda, and salt together. In separate bowl, cream together butter or shortening, sugar, egg, vanilla, and  nutmeg.   Mix on high speed for two(2) minutes.  Add sour cream or milk  and mix until blended.  Next, add dry sifted flour mixture to wet ingredients and hand stir until all ingredients are blended together and reach the consistency of biscuit dough.

If a softer tea cake is desired, add 1 teaspoon baking powder to dry ingredients.

 tea cakes recipe and family traditions

Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough on lightly floured board to 1/4″ thickness. Cut out in round shapes with cookie cutter or good old dependable jelly glass.  Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.   Makes 2½ dozen tea cakes.

tea-cakes

I’m thinking iced tea and a Tea Cake is what’s for dinner tonight.  I know it is not the ideal dinner, and the calorie count is probably not the desired way to keep the figure slim and trim, but the kitchen will be cool and the old fashioned Southern tea cakes recipe and family traditions memory will warm the heart.

enjoy