Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Deep in The Heart of Texas

Lots of land which looks the same as it looked two hundred years ago, untouched by men, winding roads going up and down the hills, beautiful landscape, charming places and good food - this is what we like about the area which we have visited recently.

This part of land has been touched by men but it looks wild anyway.
One of the old churches we came across during our trip.
Christmas lights...

Roosters rule in Luckenbach :-)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Amish Bread & Bread Making

I have heard about such an attitude: 'I can't make bread at home because I have no bread machine'. If it was true, bread would be a modern invention and people would have not been able to make it in the past. Because they did not have any bread machines. But they did bake bread and wonderful yeast cakes!
The only tool you need to make bread (if you are not disabled) are your hands. And a bowl - to make the process convenient. However, it is also possible to make bread dough on the worktop or a pastry board - with no bread machine of course.

Amish bread - very tasty (quite an easy recipe) - made with no bread machine :)


Friday, December 5, 2014

Excellent Cheesecake - recipe

I made this cheesecake for Thanksgiving. I used only a half of each ingredient (baking time was shorter: 25 min.) that was why it came out a bit flat, as I did not have a smaller cake tin. But the cheesecake was quite tasty, which was confirmed by the fact that it disappeared quite quickly. It is different from most of the cheesecakes - it has no crust base.



Yield: 1.8 kg

Ingredients:
Cream cheese: 1kg (or 4 packages of 8 oz cream cheese)
Eggs: 8
Powdered sugar: 2 cups
Unsalted Butter - softened: 25 dag (or two sticks)
Cream of Wheat: (kasza manna) 2 TBS
Potato flour (or cornstarch):  1 TBS
Baking powder: 2 tsp
Lemon extract: 1/3 tsp
Raisins: 10 dag (2/3 cup) - soak them in hot (but not boiling) water for a while - then drain well on a sieve or strainer

Procedure:
  • Heat oven to 340 F/170 C.
  • Prepare a round baking tin ( mine is 10.5"x3"): grease it lightly and sprinkle with plain bread crumbs, including its sides.
  • Mix the cheese, butter and part of the sugar. 
  • Separate the egg yolks from the whites.  
  • Mix the rest of the sugar with the egg yolks (till the mixture changes its color and becomes whitish. Mix the cream of wheat, potato flour/cornstarch and baking powder in a separate dish. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the cheese/sugar mixture and blend it all well. 
  • Add the lemon extract + the drained raisins - mix it all again (not too long) . 
  • Beat the egg whites (in a big bowl) with a whisker till they turn into a stiff foam. 
  • Add the egg white foam to the rest of the ingredients - mix everything delicately with a spoon (do not use a  blender now!).
  • Pour it all into your cake tin.
  • Bake the cheesecake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The cheesecake should be light brown then (not too dark). Do not over-bake.

Most often this kind of cheesecake tends to 'sit' after taking it out of the oven - it will get flatter - do not worry about it, it's normal. That is why the sides of the tin should be greased and covered with  bread crumbs (see the beginning of the procedure) to let the cake 'sit' evenly.

 Enjoy!

'Excellent Cheesecake'





Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gingerbread Cookies + Holiday Baking & Cooking

'If you have faith as small as a mustard seed...
nothing will be impossible for you.'
Matthew 17:20
Thanksgiving is gone, so now it's time to write a few words about the last week creations.
On Tuesday, quite late this year, I made some gingerbread cookies, not many as I am going to make some other ones too. Anyway, now they are waiting in a box for the day when they are decorated - which will happen before Christmas.

Pierniczki II recipe
Wednesday and Thursday were all about Thanksgiving of course.

Baking:
  • Texas sheet (sheath) cake - I tried the recipe not long ago - tasty cacao & cinnamon cake!
  • Cheesecake (I will post the recipe soon ) - it appeared to be quite popular with the Thanksgiving gathering guests - I was glad! Also because I hadn't made any cheesecake for ages.
    A piece of Texas sheath cake

Cooking (not much but enough too make you busy for a few hours):
Surely Thanksgiving means more than food only but nice food makes any holiday really festive. We enjoyed all our dishes + the ones not mentioned here...
I am not going to write about all the things I am grateful for, it would be quite a list though!