The Ladies' Tea Guild

Monday, August 24, 2009

Recap of birthday chocolate cherry cake and lamb skewers.

Cream cheese-filled raisin bread pudding.
Well, my mom's birthday cooking spree went pretty well, I think, although she ended up grilling the lamb herself instead of teaching me how to work her Y2K propane grill (she bought it during the Y2K sales). The marinated grilled lamb was tasty, and I substituted burgundy wine for the sherry, and added mint, garlic, rosemary, and oregano to the original vintage recipe; I do think it needed more onion, more black pepper, and next time I'll be marinating the meat for at least 48 hours. My mom also made the executive decision to cook the meat at a higher temperature for 15 minutes, rather than follow the recipe, which called for the meat to be barbecued for 30 minutes, at an unspecified low temperature. I thought the meat wasn't as tender as it should be, and next time I make this, I'll also try to par-cook the meat in the marinade first, in the oven, then put it on the skewers and finish it on the grill.

My mom did find her chocolate-cherry cake recipe, and it's one of those easy, yummy "doctored-up" cake mix things: take one dark chocolate cake boxed cake mix, put it in a bowl with 3 eggs and 1 can of cherry pie filling, mix thoroughly, and bake in a 9 by 13 pan. Cover with your favorite chocolate frosting, or melt 6 oz. of chocolate chips with about 1/3 cup of sugar, a little vanilla, a pinch of salt, and enough milk to make it a thick, spreadable consistency when all melted and mixed together. Spread/pour on top of the cake while hot. Really good.

I also ended up making up a recipe for her birthday breakfast since she couldn't find the one she wanted. The recipe she was thinking of was a type of bread pudding made with raisin bread and filled with cream cheese. This is what I did:

Get an 8 inch square baking dish, and butter the inside. Get a loaf of raisin cinnamon swirl bread and line the bottom of the dish with slices of bread (I left the crusts on, but would remove them if I made this again since they were hard to slice through when serving). Get a package of plain, unflavored cream cheese and use the back of a spoon to spread cream cheese on top of the bread in the dish, from edge to edge. Cover the cream cheese layer with another layer of cinnamon raisin bread. In a separate bowl, beat 4 eggs until they're a uniform yellow color and add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 3/4 cup milk. You could add some cinnamon or other spices, too, but I didn't. Blend egg mixture well, then pour over the bread and cream cheese in the dish. I would have sprinkled coarse sugar crystals on top at this point, but I didn't have any. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until the bread is soft, but not soggy, there is no liquid egg on top, and the cream cheese is melted. Again, really yummy. Serve warm for breakfast, or for dessert with whipped cream or ice cream. Or caramel sauce ...

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)