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Monday, February 27, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

Another of our sweet neighbors had surgery last week.  She is on a very restricted diet for a few weeks, so I made her this simple soup.  It is easy to make, and has a nice, mild flavor.

1 small whole chicken
1 box of chicken stock
3-4 C water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 C carrots, sliced in rounds
1 C celery, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. fresh thyme. minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 C thin egg noodles
Parsley, optional

Put chicken in large pot, add stock and water.  Cook chicken until done, then remove from pot.  Add all remaining ingredients to pot, except noodles.  Simmer for about an hour to allow flavors to marry.  Remove chicken meat from bones, then add to soup.  If the broth is too rich, add water.  Bring to boil, and add noodles, cooking per package instructions for al dente.  Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Additional Information for Old Fashioned Southern Coconut Cake

This recipe for the Queen of Southern cakes has been in my family for more than 100 years. It was always among the many delicious home made dishes on the tables at Thomas/Hodges family reunions. My grandmother  always made it for me on my birthday, and as I will be 75 years old this year, I wanted to share it on my blog. Her mother used to make it for her, and my grandmother would be 130 years old. I thought this recipe was lost forever, but my cousin and her mother still make it, and were kind enough to share it with me. Thank you Billie and littlecousin!
This cake is made with FRESH coconut! To prepare coconut,  punch holes in the three "eyes" on top of nut, drain juice into a bowl.  Using the eyes as the north pole, take a hammer, and hit the nut all around the "equator", it will crack open.  Place nut upside down on a cookie sheet.  Bake in 350* oven for 15 minutes.  Let it cool, and remove from shell, break in pieces with a hammer, and trim off brown skin.  After skin is removed, grate coconut.  It is a lot of work, but worth it.

1 C. butter
2 C. sugar
3 C. all-purpose flour (White Lily or Martha White)
4 eggs (room temp.)
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ C. whole milk

Cream together: butter and eggs, adding eggs 1 at a time. Alternately add flour and milk, starting and ending with flour. Makes 3 layers. Bake at 325* for 20-30 minutes. Do not overcook.

Coconut "Icing" for 3 layers  (more like a thin glaze)
1 ½ C. sugar
½ C. milk
½ stick butter
¾ C. fresh coconut juice (juice is the liquid inside the nut. It becomes milk when mixed with coconut.
2 C fresh grated coconut (approximately)
Reserve remaining coconut juice

Mix all ingredients, except coconut, together in large sauce pan. Bring to boil and cook about 1-2 min. Let cool a bit. Brush layers with reserved juice, then spoon icing on layers, adding fresh grated coconut on each layer. The sides of the cake are not "iced".  Today, this would be called a naked cake. Let cake stand in cold room overnight to soak, wrap in foil paper and refrigerate.  It tastes better when it has chilled a couple of days.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The celery that never ends...

I just had to share this link with y'all from Home in Greece.  I have never thought of trying this.  I love growing my own herbs, so I think this would be a fun thing to do, or a good project for the kiddos:

Monday, February 20, 2012

New Orleans Shrimp Creole

This is a great dish for Mardi Gras...or any other time for that matter!  Most Shrimp Creole you get in restaurants outside of New Orleans is not very flavorful...usually a bit bland.  This dish was adapted to my taste from a Paul Purdhomme recipe, and it is very good!  NOTE: I make the sauce and let it sit for about an hour so spices marry well, then I add the shrimp and finish cooking.  Add a green salad, and a crusty baguette, and you have a great tasting meal!

2# raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
6-8 cups cooked white rice
2 TBS bacon grease
1 ¼ C chicken stock
1 ¼ C onions, finely chopped
1 C celery, finely chopped
¾ C bell pepper, finely chopped
2 TBS butter
1 tsp. garlic, finely minced
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. white pepper
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. black pepper
¾ tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
¾ tsp. dried basil
1 ½ C finely diced canned tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 tsp. sugar

Wash, peel and devein the shrimp; refrigerate until needed. Sauté vegetables in bacon grease until soft; add butter. Add garlic, bay leaf, salt and all peppers; stir well. Then add rest of spices, including Tabasco, and stock. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes to allow seasonings to marry; stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and sugar; simmer for 30 minutes. Add shrimp, stir well. Simmer about 5-10 minutes just until shrimp are plump and pink. To serve, center 1 C cooked white rice on plate, and spoon Shrimp Creole over.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Beignets - French Quarter Doughnuts

Another goodie for Mardi Gras!  When we lived in New Orleans, we used to love to go to Cafe' Du Monde in the Quarter,  or The Morning Call in Fat City for beignets and cafe au lait, and I decided I needed to learn to make them at home.  My neighbor gave me  this recipe, and I have used it since 1974.  The dough should be made the day before and refrigerated overnight.  It makes about five dozen beignets, but the dough will keep about 4-5 days in the fridge.

1 1/2 C warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 C. evaporated milk
7 C flour
1/4 C vegetable oil
Oil for deep frying
Powdered sugar

Put warm water in bowl, add yeast; stir until dissolved.  Add sugar, salt, eggs, and evaporated milk.  Gradually add 4 cups of the flour; beat with wooden spoon until dough is smooth and well blended.  Mix in shortening, then add remaining flour 1/3 cup at a time, beating with spoon until it gets too stiff to stir, then work in rest of flour with your hands.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Roll desired amount of dough out on floured surface to about 1/8" thickness; using a sharp knife, cut into rectangles 2 1/2" by 3 1/2".  Preheat oil in a deep fryer to 360F.  Fry beignets 3 or 4 at a time until they are puffy and golden brown, turning often.  Drain on a platter lined with paper towels, then place the platter, without paper towels, in a 200F oven to keep warm while you cook the rest.  Sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar, and serve hot.  Do not substitute milk for the evaporated milk!  Goes great with cafe' au lait.
Sweets For A Saturday

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Banana Bars

Today I am once again cooking a meal for a neighbor who had surgery this week.  I made dinner for another neighbor just home from the hospital on Wednesday.  I decided to make Ticky's Chicken Soup (on this blog).  It is cold and rainy here today, so I thought the soup would be a good choice.  I wanted to make a dessert, but was pushed for time.  I found this recipe on Mommy Savers.  I happened to have some overripe bananas on hand, as well as the other ingredients, and made this very quickly.  It got good reviews from my hubby and son.  A good way to use overripe fruit, and a good treat for the kiddos in your house!  (I added about a tablespoon extra of milk the thin the batter a bit.)
I am posting this on the following blogs:
Sweets For A Saturday

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

To finish off our Mardi Gras party, I found these cupcakes on Erica's Sweet Tooth.  I just had to share them!  They would be perfect for dessert.  Kids will love the colors...and the taste!  This beautiful photo is from her as well.  Beautiful work, Erica!

1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup buttermilk (instead of water indicated on box)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
Food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Use an electric mixer to beat together all of the ingredients for about 2 minutes on medium to high speed.  Divide the batter equally into thirds and use purple (or mix red and blue to make purple) , green and yellow food coloring to achieve the color you like.  Use a spoon for each color and one spoon to use as your "divider" as your pour the different colors.   Start with one color and pour about 1 spoonful of batter up against one side, using the divider spoon to prevent the batter from spreading too much.  Fill in with the other colors, using the same technique. Don't worry about making these perfect, it actually looks cool when the colors invade each others' thirds and look a little messy.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean
Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanila
1 tsp cinnamon
 Beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy.  Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time until completely mixed.   Add the milk 1 tbsp at a time to achieved desired thickness.  Mix in vanilla and cinnamon until well combined.  Frost cooled cupcakes, and sprinkle with yellow, green, and purple sugars.
I am sharing this with these great blogs!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pan Seared Scallops with Garlic, Olive Oil and Butter

I served these scallops as the first course of our Valentine's dinner last night.  They were delicious, tender, moist and flavorful.

8- 10 large dry* scallops
salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS butter
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
Minced parsley, optional

Instructions:Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste over the scallops (both sides). Heat olive oil in a cast iron frying pan, over high heat. When oil and butter are hot, place the scallops in the pan with at least one or two inches between them.  Baste scallops with butter and oil during cooking. After about two and one half minutes, flip the scallops, add garlic, and cook for another two and a half minutes, continuing to baste them.  Scallops should now be brown on both sides. Remove scallops, and set on warm serving dishes.  Spoon pan juices over scallops, and sprinkle with minced parsley, if desired.  Serve immediately.
* Dry scallops have not been injected with any additives, and should be labled as such.  
I am posting this on these great blogs:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Luscious Strawberry Cake

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and I will be making a lovely dinner  for my sweetheart of a hubby!  I don't like to go out for dinner on holidays, so he will take me out to the restaurant of my choice later this week.  I saw this recipe and enticing photo on http://southernhospitalityblog.com, and decided I would make this for dessert.  The photo is so pretty that I would love to hang it on my wall!  I have made a Bundt cake with a strawberry glaze for years using a recipe just like this, but this icing looks so much more gooey and delicious than the glaze!  Unfortunately, hubby is on a diet, and I am diabetic, so I won't be making this today...I will definitely make it later for us though! :)   I have made this for twice in the last month for neighbors, and one for my grandson's birthday,  It has an amazing flavor, and gets rave reviews.  I wanted to share it with my blog friends, because it looks and tastes soooo good, and is not very complicated to make.

Strawberry Cake
1 box white cake mix
3 TBS plain flour
1 3oz. box strawberry Jell-o
1/2 C water
3/4 C oil
1 C frozen strawberries thawed and chopped
4 eggs
Combine first 4 ingredients; add oil, then eggs one at a time, beating well after adding each one.  Add berries and beat about 2 minutes.  Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan, and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter, softened
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2- 1 C frozen strawberries and syrup, thawed and pureed.
1 box powdered sugar  (sift to remove lumps)

Mix first 2 ingredients well.  Mix in powdered sugar, add strawberry puree a little at a time, until desired consistency to frost.  If too thick, add more strawberry, if too thin, more powdered sugar.  If desired, add several berries and juice on top of each slice right before serving.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Orange Sherbet Macaroon Dessert

This is what I served for dessert.  It is very unusual, so easy to make...and good after a heavy meal... like the one we had last night.


  • 14 oz. shredded coconut
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 large oranges
  • Orange sherbet
  • Coconut macaroons ( homemade, or store bought is fine)
  • Whipped Cream (in aerosol can)
  • Maraschino cherries (garnish)
  • Mint leaves (garnish)

Combine coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in  large bowl, mix well. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed with electric mixer until they form medium peaks.  Gently fold egg whites into the coconut mixture.
Drop tablespoons of the batter on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake at 325 for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool.
Slice oranges in half, forming bowls.  Scrape out pulp.  Soften about half quart of sherbet in bowl, and add 6 crumbled macaroons and mix well.  Freeze until ready to serve.  Add spritz of whipped cream, cherry and a sprig of mint, and serve immediately.


Our brother, sister and niece visited this weekend.  We had a great time!  When Dodd's get together, there is always going to be food involved, so we spent a good portion of the weekend around the table.  Last night I made Spaghetti with Meatballs and Italian Sausage (recipe on this blog).  For an appetizer, I made an Antipasto platter.  The meats, cheeses, and veggies I used were a great combination.

Italian salami
Hot Italian sausage
Provolone cheese
Vermont extra sharp cheddar
Red grape tomatoes
Yellow grape tomatoes
Marinated artichoke hearts
Feta Stuffed olives
Calamata olives
Homemade roasted red peppers
Clean peppers and cut into 4-5 pieces, lengthwise.  Place on cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, and place under over broiler.  Cook until skin blackens, taking care not to let pepper flesh burn.  Remove from oven, cool. then remove skins.  I put them in a covered container, and pour a little Italian Dressing over them (I use Good Seasons).  Put in fridge for a few hours or overnight.
Line large platter with lettuce, and arrange all ingredients for a pretty presentation...serve.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lemon Cupcakes with Graham Cracker Crust and Blackberry Butter-cream Frosting

My sweet hubby loves blackberries, and I love lemon desserts...these cupcakes are a match made in heaven, just like us! :)

Graham cracker crust recipe:
1 1/2 cups graham crackers
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
Pulse graham crackers in food processor into fine crumbs. Add butter and sugar and pulse until combined.  Place about 2 tsp. of graham cracker mixture into the bottom of cupcake paper lined cupcake tins. Use your fingers or a pastry tamper to press mixture firmly together.  Bake for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Lemon cupcakes:
3 cups cake flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup half & half
1/2 cup low-fat milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 large egg whites
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup and set aside.  Place butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer. Cream together for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and egg whites one at a time, beating to fully combine before adding the next one. Add in the flour mixture and milk in five alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just to incorporate before adding the next addition.
Fill cupcake papers about 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cupcakes should be just starting to turn golden on top and a tester inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks.
Blackberry buttercream recipe:
1/2 stick salted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup half & half
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3-4 cups confectioner’s sugar, plus more as needed to reach desired consistency
1/4 cup blackberry puree, plus more to taste
1/2 cup blackberry puree for filling
(About 18 oz. fresh blackberries, for puree, filling and decoration)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add half & half, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar. Puree blackberries in a food processor and strain out the seeds. Pour 1/4 cup puree into buttercream and mix, you can add more puree to taste. If the puree thins the frosting too much, add more confectioner’s sugar.  To assemble the cupcakes: Cut a small core out of the center of each cupcake. Fill with a spoonful of fresh blackberry puree. (you can also use blackberry jam). Fill a piping bag with the butter-cream and pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake.
Adapted from Caroline's Sweet Cooking with her photo.

Mix it up Monday
Tea Time Tuesday
Table Top Tuesday
Tea Party Tuesday

Sweets For A Saturday

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Here is another good dip for Super Bowl Sunday.  It is a quick and easy thing to add if you need just one more dish. It is good with wheat thins...but my favorite way to serve it is with small pieces of toast made with white bread.

1# bacon, fried and broken in pieces
1 bag of shredded lettuce
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 C mayonnaise
1 C sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Bread, toasted

Mix mayo and sour cream.  Spread lettuce on platter, layer tomato and then bacon.  Spread mayo mixture over top.  Serve with toast cut into small pieces.  Garnish with chopped tomatoes and bacon.

Fun with Blog Friends!

I started this blog to save and share recipes...and especially to preserve and pass down old family favorites to my grandchildren and nieces.  My nieces and nephews call me Auntie Pattycakes...hence the blog title.

I have enjoyed doing this, but I have made a new discovery, and another reason to love blogging...making new friends.  I  have just learned how much fun it is to share comments and ideas with people who love cooking as much as I do.

Yesterday, I met my long time and dear friend Kitty, of Kitty's Cozy Kitchen, and a new friend, Helen, of Miz Helen's Country Cottage for a lovely lunch.  We all connected immediately.  What a fun way to spend the afternoon...with good food and friends.  Both of these ladies are very special.  I have connected with many super people through blogging, and I look forward to making more friends!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Halibut with Tomato, Garlic, Capers, Olives and White Wine Sauce

I made this for dinner tonight, and it was excellent.  I served it with Herb Parmesan Red Potatoes roasted with butter, and a nice green salad.  My hubby was a happy man!  The recipe was posted on Lana's Cooking, but I adapted it to my taste.
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 2 TBS minced onion
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/3 cup stuffed green olives, cut in half
  • 2 TBS capers
  • 1/2 C dry white wine
  • 2 Halibut fillets
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes.  Add the olive oil, garlic and tomatoes. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.  Add the green olives, capers,  and wine.  Reduce the heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes.  While the sauce is cooking, season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the fillets to the skillet, spooning some of the sauce over the fish.  Cover and cook until the fish is flaky and cooked through.