Sunday, May 31, 2015

Guacamole with Grace and Kailey

A weekend favorite we're always dying to bring out again.

Whenever my sister's home from school, there is a huge demand for her to make her famous guacamole, especially on weekends. This stuff goes fast, and if you don't take your spot at the coffee table and swoop in with enthusiasm, you don't get any. It truly is a case of you eat or you don't get any in the Game of Guacamole.

Sorry, that was bad.

Honestly, I didn't used to like guacamole much, but after trying some at a restaurant out of desperation - I was starving and our food was taking forever to arrive - I've become a fan, much to the disappointment of my other family members because that means one more person to compete with for it.

I've been wanting to share this with you guys for months, and Abby and I finally found a time to do it this weekend! Since Grace and Kailey are our Girl of the Year dolls and this really isn't a historical recipe, they're hosting this post, and my sister got to be the hand model you see in most of the pictures.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Samantha's Cucumber Sandwiches

Time consuming, but so worth it!

As much as I enjoy cooking and baking for myself, I do really enjoy trying to cater towards my friends and family's tastes, too. So when my sister said she really wanted to have some cucumber sandwiches, I knew I needed to find a way to make that happen!

Not that it's really too enormous of an undertaking. It's not like she owes me her first born child after throwing these together.

But as it turns out, cucumber sandwiches are a little more fussy and difficult to put together than I naively assumed they would be!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kirsten's Prairie Teacakes

Tiny lemon cakes with a citrus glaze? Yes, please.

As many of my followers know and as many of you likely have guessed even if you haven't checked out my FAQ page, I have been into American Girl since I was pretty small, and Kirsten was my first doll. While I know this is something nostalgia addicts like to claim without really meaning it, I can genuinely point to this toy line and Scholastic's Dear America book series (and their spinoffs) as the reason I'm so interested in history, and American history in particular, which has had its ups and downs. I often joke it's too bad Pleasant Company didn't make science themed dolls and stories, because I was really into biology as a kid, and that... has kind of died off. And might have opened doors to more lucrative professions!

But I really don't have many regrets. I'm proud I got my BA in what I did, and if nothing else, I have a lot of good cocktail party stories, so long as I remember to tone down on some of the more upsetting topics I've become passionate about raising awareness of.

What does all this have to do with cake, Gwen? I'm getting there!

This post today is intended as kind of an homage to my enthusiasm for American Girl, which really kind of is responsible for where I am today, and a throwback to my ninth birthday party, which happened about fifteen years ago this month. Growing up, I was lucky to have a mom who went a little over the top creativity wise for birthday parties, and this recipe is the slightly more complicated version of what she and my grandmother put together for my birthday, with a little help from a book I've talked about here before.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Marie-Grace's Creole Tomato Salad

A tasty, quick to throw together salad featuring the best fruit.

When people ask what my favorite fruit is, I usually don't think to say tomato. Even though it's scientifically a fruit (anything with seeds is a fruit, a fact that shocked a few people I "ruined this" for), it's really hard not to think of the tomato as a vegetable because it's a lot more savory than sweet, and it's not something you'd think to eat for dessert.

But that definitely doesn't change the fact that they are delicious. Whether in sauces, salads, or just eaten by themselves, tomatoes and I have always gotten along.

As it turns out, the people in the good state of Louisiana are also fans of this tasty fruit, and have become well known for producing particularly flavorful tomatoes branded as Creole tomatoes that are so popular, they have their own festivals held in their honor. There's just one problem: the fruit known as a Creole tomato might not even really exist anymore!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Emily's Celebration Trifle

A time consuming, but surprisingly tasty wartime treat!

Happy VE Day, everyone! May 8th, 1945 marks the 70th anniversary of the formal surrender of Nazi Germany, a day celebrated all over the world back in 1945... except maybe in certain parts of the Pacific, where Allied troops were still engaged in deadly combat and would be for the better part of two months. But for civilians and troops in Europe and on other Allied home fronts, today was a day to party, and parties always mean good food.

But for countries that had been at war for the better part of a decade, good food wasn't always easy to find between rationing and shortages. England in particular was a nation without much by way of luxury food items - being an island nation at war with an enemy that had a tight grip on shipping lines for years made shipping in supplies difficult, and shortages didn't improve even after the Battle of the Atlantic had been won and supplies from the US and Canada could come across the ocean. Each person was allowed one egg per week, so deciding how those real eggs would be used became very, very difficult. Even making icing for cake was illegal, as it was considered wasteful!

On VE Day, all those attitudes about stretching your rations and forbidding wasteful food went out the window for people in England. Communities pooled together to bake cake with the previously forbidden icing, make sandwiches and concoct unique sweets like carrots dipped in melted sugar and eaten like a lollipop in one big explosion of fun and excitement, and one of those recipes is what we're going to be looking at today.

This recipe is a war time version of a classic British dessert, which was kind of a hard sell to my family, but ultimately turned out to be a pretty big hit. Our enthusiasm wasn't exactly the same level as it would have been if we were back in 1945, but I don't think it was a stretch for anyone to be able to see how this would have been an incredibly indulgent, satisfying way to celebrate the end of the most devastating conflict in human history.