Monday, October 19, 2009

Ah, the plot thickens...!

Well, when I got home the other night, the empty pie tin was at my door with the envelope and a note stating "dee-liscious" along with $10.00 for the next installment of flowers! (Out here in Oklahoma, we can grow pansies all year).

In talking with my neighbors, I find that Bill will often beg for treats. One day he showed up at Darlene's door with a grocery bag filled with all the ingredients for fudge! But he also shares the goodies and that adds to the fun of the game.

I also found out he is not retired, not really, and is a geologist not an archeologist. When anyone does any drilling for oil (as they have been doing around Oklahoma City recently), a geologist must be onsite and thus Bill is called to duty. And he loves to watch the stock market. So, now I know he loves flowers, is still working, watches the stock market, enjoys his neighbors as much as they enjoy him, and he has an insatiable sweet tooth!

He left a note on my door last night asking if I wanted to go to a health lecture tomorrow night, but since I am leaving for Canada in the morning, I asked for a rain check on the educational night out. Tonight, the envelope is back with a note telling about some family history in the NY-Ontario area. so, I returned the note with my Ontario/NY history and promised him cookies when I got back.

But, back to the fudge; here is a recipe I used to make frequently years ago. The banana adds a little taste twist that is nice.

Banana/Chocolate Fudge

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 medium ripe banana, mashed well (1/3 cup)
3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbs light corn syrup
3 Tbs butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

Combine the chocolate, sugars, banana, milk, salt and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugars are dissolved. (If sugar crystals form on the side of the pan, dip a pastry brush in water and wipe them off. Otherwise the fudge will become grainy, but don't let the water drip into the fudge).

Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches the soft ball stage or 236 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Remove from heat and add the butter but don't stir. Cook to lukewarm (110 degrees).

When lukewarm, add the vanilla and beat until the candy loses its gloss and starts to thicken. Pour quickly into a buttered 8" loaf pan. Sprinkle the nuts on top and press in gently. Cut when completely cooled.

Brother-in-law Art looked at me funny when he first bit into the fudge all those years ago. He was trying to analyze the taste and couldn't identify the banana! To him, fudge was suppose to simply be chocolate with nuts! But he ended up liking it once he solved the tastebud mystery.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The power of smells from the kitchen...

I put some vincas in the urns outside my apartment entrance this spring. First, they really didn't get enough sun and became long and leggy instead of thick and full. But the other residents were enjoying them so I kept them going. They met with various traumas throughout the summer and were broken several times. Finally last week, I looked at these yellowed, leggy plants with a couple of flowers on the ends of them and empty spaces where more stems used to be and decided enough was enough and ugly was ugly.

Monday I came home from work and there was a note on my door from one of my elderly neighbors who expressed sorrow at the demise of the flowers. In the note was a $20 bill and the comment to please try again! I went to the store and bought some mums. I put the change in an envelope and taped it to his door.

Tonight I came home from work and another note was taped to my door. On the back of the envelope was the question, "Can you bake pies??" and inside was a recipe for German Chocolate Pie! It so happened that I had all the ingredients, so I made a pie tonight and will leave it in a tin at his door when I leave for work tomorrow. I have only met this man once since I moved here in April but the hallway is decorated with his art and the neighbors think the world of him. He is a retired archeologist who can't seem to really retire. And now I know he likes flowers and pies!

Is this fun, or what?!

And I have a feeling he has sniffed at the smells coming from my apartment as I have cooked and baked!

Here is his recipe:

German Chocolate Pie

1 cup sugar
2 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. cocoa
2 Tbs. hot water
1 large egg
7 oz. evaporated milk
3/4 cup coconut
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

8" unbaked pie shell

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk; pour into prepared crust and bake in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven. Don't overbake or the pie will crack on top. Allow to cool before cutting.

I haven't tasted this, but it looks wonderful and smells delicious!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Have you ever made a puffy omelet? I used to make them for breakfast a lot of years ago. I had a small cast iron skillet that was perfect. Janna has the skillet now, but any small skillet that can go under a broiler will work. Separate your eggs; beat the yolks until light yellow, add salt and pepper to taste and set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold in the egg yolk mixture. Pour into the lightly greased skillet and put over low heat. Check occasionally by lifting the edge slightly to see if the egg is cooking. When the edge is lightly browned, put the skillet under the broiler (not too close to the top element) and broil until lightly browned. Remove from oven, turn out onto plate and serve with strawberry jam. Yum! The size skillet you use depends on how many eggs you are using.

I love eggs for breakfast. During the week it's a boiled egg every morning and I never get tired of them. On the weekends, I scramble eggs, usually adding grated parmesan or cheddar and sometimes spreading a little strawberry jam on top. If you are gourmet-ish, use blue cheese or whatever is your favorite. I love Irish cheeses and out here in Tulsa I find them at Reasor's.

Dense whole grain breads toasted with cinnamon and sugar is like sending your taste buds on a trip to heaven! Home made muffins can't be beat. These fatty, sugary things they call muffins these days are loaded with lead and are more like cupcakes than muffins. And a good scone works for breakfast just as well as for afternoon tea. One of my favorite scones is whole wheat with dried fruit and is served with cinnamon honey butter.

Hungry yet?

Put on the coffee or fill up the tea kettle and have breakfast!