Friday, November 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

I saw a stranger yesterday; I put food in the eating place, drink in the drinking place, music in the listening place. In the sacred name of the Holy Trinity, He blessed myself and my house, my cattle and my dear ones; and the lark said in her song: Often, often, often, Goes the Christ in the stranger's guise. Often, often, often, Goes the Christ in the stranger's guise. ~ Celtic Rune
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our home to yours. We wish for all of you a season of peace and love.
The recipe for December is from Helen McCarty, a dear family friend who passed away many, many years ago. Helen used to work for my parents in the family business. Every year she made the most wonderful gingerbread boys. They were absolutely my favorite holiday treat. When I was eighteen I worked alongside her in the office. That Christmas she shared her recipe with me. When she passed away I kept her tradition alive and I’ve been making her recipe ever since. It is always a special day in our home when we make Helen’s gingerbread boys.
Helen McCarty’s Gingerbread Boys ~ Makes approx. 12 boys
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vinegar
6 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
Chocolate chips
Cream the butter. Gradually add the brown sugar. Cream thoroughly. Blend in molasses.
Sift 2 ½ cups flour with the soda, spices, and salt. Stir into molasses mixture. Add vinegar and remaining flour alternately with the buttermilk.
Chill dough for one hour or overnight. On floured surface roll to ¼ inch thickness. Press out as many boys as you can fit. Roll up remaining scraps and press again.
Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 12 minutes.
Let cool slightly and then decorate with chocolate chips. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was "Thank You", that would suffice. Meister Eckhart

November is a quiet month. The summer birds have taken flight to warmer places. The leaves are mostly down, the sun sets earlier, the fire burns warmly, my garden sleeps, and I feel peaceful. November gives us Thanksgiving, one of the best days of the year. It is the perfect holiday, where we gather together in love and friendship with gifts of food and good cheer. Every passing year becomes more precious than the year before. We linger longer, laugh easier, sing louder, and pray more deeply. We give thanks; for our parents, our siblings, our children, our friends, our guests. Happy Thanksgiving.
Paul makes the most incredible Pumpkin Cheesecake ever! I only let him make it once a year because I would be HUGE otherwise. I just can’t resist. Here is his “secret recipe”
Pumpkin Cheesecake
2 cups ground graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup finely chopped pecans
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Melted butter
3 – 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
3 eggs, room temperature
4 oz. white chocolate, melted
Butter a 10” spring form pan. Preheat the oven to 375°.
In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup of brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon with enough melted butter to bind the mixture. Press into the prepared pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of the brown sugar until well combined. Add the pumpkin and spices. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the melted white chocolate. Do not over beat. Pour the filling into the baked crust. Place the pan in a water bath*. Bake in a 375° oven for about 45 minutes until set.
* Set spring form pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped spring form pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into spring form pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of spring form pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer. Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove spring form pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.