Chicken Stew by Douglas

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Chicken Stew

This recipe is courtesy of Spane’s father, Douglas. When we were dating, before Spane was born, he came by and offered to fix dinner for us. He went to the store and bought everything he needed, except the spices. He knew I had myriad spices and that I would have just what he wanted.

I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty this was. I thought of it this weekend and made it, but I reduced the amounts for just Spane and I. Spane was hungry, he got three thighs! Actually, with a salad, or other side dishes, this could easily make enough for 12 people, if each person is allocated one chicken thigh.

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Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake


Coconut Pineapple Upside Down CakeRecipes in this Post

My mother used to make this cake, and I loved it. After my mother died when I was 15, I really missed her, and the cake, so I made one, but I added coconut and I used a yellow cake mix in the box. I remember my grandmother was quite impressed at how well it turned out.

I didn’t think about that cake until recently when I was at a Von’s and they had one for sale. I remembered how much I liked it, and bought one so Spane could try it, too. It was delicious, and then I was on a pineapple upside down cake craze!

I fully intended to make my own, but before I could, one was on sale at the local Ralph’s, and I bought it. Oh my goodness, it was AWFUL! The store’s recipe used cornstarch and pineapple FLAVORING which was bitter and tasted like chemicals. I knew I could do a lot better than that.

I had intended on making this cake many times, and would buy maraschino cherries, only to start my mis en place and find that Spane had already eaten the cherries. No cake without cherries, I say. Well, the next time I bought them, I put them way up in the top of the pantry, behind a can of coffee. I also had left over coconut from making the Fantasy Island Bars, so I could make the cake I hadn’t made since I was 15 years old. The only difference was I made my own yellow cake and added crushed pineapple to the batter. It was delicious!

Please understand, if you are going to make this, it is not for those on a diet. This cake is very, very rich, and although is sized at 12, will probably feed quite a bit more.

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1-2-3-4 Sheet Cake

Recipes in this PostSpane in 5th Grade

The picture is of Spane, in the 5th grade. The recipe is for the cake I made for him for his 5th birthday, so I think it’s an appropriate picture. The original cake had a Barney on it, because Barney was Spane’s favorite character. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to put that picture up here. I’m done with Barney and so is Spane.

This cake, however, will never, ever get old. It’s a very simple cake to make, and my goto white cake. It’s a recipe adapted from The Joy of Cooking, which in turn is an adaptation of the original 1-2-3-4 cake, so named because it uses 1 cup each of milk and butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs. If you were illiterate as many pioneering and colonial American women once were, your recipes would have to be very easy because you would not be able to write them down, and you would want to be able to pass them down to your daughters. We will probably never know who actually invented this cake, but I for one, am very glad she did.

This recipe makes a lot of cake. It fits nicely into a large 15 x 10 inch sheet pan, or three nine inch round pans. It’s an excellent recipe for a crowd. As a matter of fact, I used to make two layers of this cake, and put strawberries and cream as topping and filling when I made the birthday cakes for Dean Witter in Beverly Hills. If you double this recipe, it will easily feed 50 people.

If you really want to see what the Barney looks like, I originally put this recipe on Big Oven and my original Barney decorated cake picture is there. When you see it, you’ll understand why I didn’t want it here.

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Nancy’s Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes

Recipes in this Post Nancu's Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes

I have a wonderful friend, Nancy, who makes the best chicken, Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken. Nancy was a Pan Am stewardess, so you know that chicken had to be good. Now, Nancy is a member of Kiwanis. As part of her volunteer work with Kiwanis, she invited my son to help her be Guest Chef at Ascencia. My son was too interested in playing with the other children who had also been invited to help her. I don’t think the kids did much helping, they just did a lot of playing.

She made this moist, crusty chicken that everyone loved. I got to be on the clean up team, but I’m not a forensic chef, so I didn’t know quite how she made it. None of those children made any notes on how she prepared that chicken, either.

Nancy;'s recipe for Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Nancy’s Recipe for Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Well, I saw Nancy a few days ago, and she wrote the recipe down for me. I asked her if it had bread crumbs, and she said no. Well, I decided to change the recipe, just a bit and add Panko bread crumbs. I like Panko bread crumbs because they stay nice and crisp, and they have very little flavor of their own.

My local corner store had some lovely fingerling potatoes at the counter when I was checking out a few days ago, and I picked some up. Potatoes go very well chicken, and these little ones will be done at the same time the chicken will be done. Tonight, when I was washing them, I noticed one of them had grown a few eyes. I put it back in the bag and put it in the dry goods drawer. It will be going out and living in the Apartment Vegetable Garden when its roots get a little longer.

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Mother’s Day Breakfast Brunch

Recipes in this PostMother's Day 2013

Well, the good folks at Ascencia have asked me to make Mother’s Day breakfast – for 40. Of those 40, there are several mothers, and I’m going to make this breakfast special for them. Of course, I have to have the breakfast ready at 6:00am, and that is going to be eye-opening, to say the least.

Update – Thanks to my friend, Shem of Kobelin by Shem for taking great photos of the food. She even made me look good!

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Chinese Feast of Roast Pork, Asian Wings, Asian Coleslaw and Fried Rice

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Golden Dragon Parade 2013

Two weeks ago, I was asked if I would cook for Ascencia again, and I said yes, what day? The date was the same as my birthday, February 16, 2013, and also the same day as the Golden Dragon Parade in downtown Los Angeles. What a perfect thing! Birthday, Parade and Cooking – all in one day!

Since I was going to the parade, I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate the Chinese New Year by making Asian food for the folks at Ascencia. I knew there were two large pork roasts and a mess of chicken wings already in the freezer, and lots of rice. No problem, all I needed was the stuff to make fried rice, and an Asian coleslaw to go with it.

The secret to good fried rice is that the rice has to be a day old. Why? Because freshly cooked rice is already full of moisture and will not absorb the flavored oil in which it is fried. What can you do if you don’t have day old rice, and you’re just going to die if you don’t have fried rice? Well, you can get a package of precooked rice that you would heat up the microwave, and use that instead. It’s not quite the same, but will do in a pinch.

You will find the recipes for the Asian Chicken Wings and Asian Coleslaw in other posts, but I’ll put the Asian Roast Pork and Asian Fried Rice recipes here.

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