Monday 29 July 2013

Dream Loaf

My relationship with JELL-O is like a lot of other relationships in my life: complicated.

On the one hand, JELL-O and cakers go together like Shields and Yarnell, Captain and Tenille, Leonardo DiCaprio and [insert model name]. But whenever I attempt to make something with JELL-O, it never really works out. (See Ribbon Salad, a.k.a. Rainbow Barf, as an example.)

This Dream Loaf sounded so simple. Start with JELL-O, add some Dream Whip, toss in some cookie crumbs and repeat. I could see it in my head, all those beautiful alternating layers, glistening in the sunlight and Mother laughing and laughing as I spoon fed her bite after wobbly bite.

But then it came out looking like this. All gobbledy-gooky. The “dream” died even before it had a chance to live. Having said that, it still tasted good. Just too bad it looked like the Titanic shipwreck. (It does look a little like that, doesn't it? I can't be the only one who sees it.)

Anyway, JELL-O, I'm not certain about our future. Maybe one of us needs to firm up. And maybe one of us just needs to walk away.

P.S. There's still time to enter the Top 5 Caker Fashions contest! Details here.

1 package Dream Whip
JELL-O (any flavour)
Chocolate wafer biscuits

Prepare JELL-O and refrigerate until slightly firm. Set aside ¼ of the JELL-O. Prepare Dream Whip according to package instructions. Combine ¼ JELL-O and Dream Whip together. Crumble chocolate wafer biscuits. In loaf pan, place layer of JELL-O, layer of Dream Whip and JELL-O mixture, layer of crumble wafer biscuits. Continue doing layers, ending with Dream Whip and JELL-O mixture and a few crumbled biscuits on top. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Slice to serve.

A great finish to any meal!

Source: What’s In the Oven?

Yes, I used the unicorn book again. Serves me right.

Friday 26 July 2013

Top Five Caker Fashions

Sadly, man clogs didn't make the list. But they're still  hot.

Cakers can’t live by food alone. We also need clothing to wear to the buffet. Well, most of us do, anyway. So I asked Mrs. Hunter, creator of the fashion blog, Style Forage, to come up with her five essential caker closet must-haves. If you’re missing any of these, time to turn in the can opener and cancel your subscription to Reader's Digest.

Think we missed something? Tell us and you could WIN a prize! Details after the list.

1) An all-season cardigan
Mrs. Hunter says: Humidity be damned. Buttoned-up over a coordinating blouse, an unseasonably warm knit is best accessorized with a brooch and worn atop matching slacks.

Caker Brian says: I like wearing nothing underneath my cardigans. It’s cooler and makes me feel like I’m living on the edge. But watch where you’re sticking that brooch or you’ll have a nipple 911

2) Lee Press-On Nails
Mrs. Hunter: Who has time to sit in a salon when you can just press these puppies on and go? The precariousness of the faux talons – known to pop off with a simple scratch of the nose – might give some insight into why cakers cook the way they do. "Emptying" the contents of an envelope is a lot easier on the Press-ons than chopping.

Caker Brian: True story. My mom wore Lee Press-On nails to my sister’s bridal shower. When she went to the bathroom, half her nails fell into the toilet when she pulled up her pantyhose. Don’t tell her I told you that.

3) Slacks (not to be confused with pants)
Mrs. Hunter: The typically cheap poly blend means that they’re affordable enough to buy in an army of solid colours and the elasticized waistband easily accommodates sodium bloat from too much Ranch House Casserole.

Caker Brian: Remember, folks: slacks have no fly. I once stood at a urinal for a good 10 minutes before realizing that. I still don’t think security believed me.

4) Spice-coloured nylons
Mrs. Hunter: Don’t settle for nude when you can have that just-came-out-of-a-week-in-the-sun-sans-sunscreen look. Why do cakers love the orangey-red hue? Maybe it camouflages blemishes on aged legs more effectively, or maybe it’s the way the terracotta tone really makes those white pumps pop.

Caker Brian: I found these pantyhose at the Goodwill. The original price tag was 99 cents. Goodwill was selling them for 99 cents. Something seemed crooked about that. I got some strange looks from the cashier, too. She probably prefers taupe.

5) White pumps
Mrs. Hunter: Rounding out our list is a brilliant pair of go-with-everything, white pumps. Not to be confused with the white pumps that actually are en vogue among the fashion set this season, featuring sharp lines, geometric heels and ankle cuffs, cakers like to seal the deal with a moderate heel, rounded toe, and scuffs where sneaker whitener hasn’t quite done the trick.

Caker Brian: You just can’t beat the timelessness of an open-toed pump. Especially when worn with tight jeans and a hangover. Oh, and don’t sniff sneaker whitener. It causes you to repeat things. Oh, and don’t sniff sneaker whitener.

Think we missed an essential caker fashion? Tell us what it is – and why it should be included on this list. Mrs. Hunter will pick what she thinks is the best comment and the winner will receive a copy of Grace: A Memoir, courtesy of the good folks at Random House of Canada. Grace Coddington is the creative director at Vogue. So she knows all about (non-caker) fashion. Named one of the best books of the year by Financial Times.

Only one post person and people can pick the same thing. Just make sure your reasons are better. Deadline for posts is Tuesday, July 30 at midnight. Good luck!

Update: Submissions are now closed. The winning entry will be announced in the next post, going up Tuesday, August 6!

Monday 22 July 2013

Banana Pudding

I always go a little squirrely for mushy food, especially when it's mushy biscuits saturated in pudding, Cool Whip or Kahlua. So when a work colleague brought in a dish his wife had made with pudding and vanilla wafers, I had no other choice but to steal it out of the fridge, blame it on the cleaning staff and get the recipe for myself.

Folks, let me tell you: Banana Pudding can cause your wallet some serious damage. The reason? After you’re done eating the whole thing, you’ll need to get out the Sears catalogue and order some bigger slacks. Like one of my other caker faves, Pineapple Cream Cake, this dish needs to ferment for two to three days to get everything all squishy-like. Just make sure you put it in the fridge as fruit flies can be pesky little buggers.

Mrs. Hunter, the person I got this recipe from, writes a fashion blog called Style Forage. Being a fashion-forward guy myself (my summer mission is to bring back man clogs), I asked her if she’d help me come up with the top five caker fashions. I’ll post that on Friday, along with a trĂ©s chic reader contest!

Until then, keep eating.

1 6 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups cold water
Small box (3.4 oz) of instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups heavy whipping cream (see note)
One box of nilla wafers
4 bananas, sliced

Beat sweetened condensed milk and water in a bowl for about a minute. Add the pudding mix and continue beating for two more minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, up to overnight. In a large bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks have formed, then gently fold into chilled pudding mixture until fully combined. In large bowl or dish, layer wafers, bananas, pudding, layers, bananas, pudding.

Note: Just use a container of Cool Whip.

Source: Stylish Mrs. Hunter

Monday 15 July 2013

Daiquiri Pah

Good lord, what kind of sick individual came up with the spelling for daiquiri? I don’t even want to say how long it took me to get it right. Personally, I think dackeree is a much more practical way to spell it.

This cool and refreshing Daiquiri Pah is like the sibling of the equally delicious Tang Pah. However, because of the alcohol content, this pah should only be eaten after the kids go to bed. In other words, it’s “adults only,” just like those VHS rental places with the frosted windows. And, like Tang Pah, it’s better frozen. (It was a little goopy in its refrigerated state.)

A word of caution: this pah is strong! There’s a ½ cup of rum in it. In fact, it’s so potent, I blanked out after my second piece and woke up the next morning, dangling from a construction crane, wearing a cowboy hat and a pair of pantyhose – neither of which, surprisingly, were mine. Scary how that happened. Again.

But I suppose that’s to be expected when you bake from a cookbook with a unicorn on the cover.

Graham cracker pie crust
1 8 ozs. pckg. cream cheese
1 14 ozs. can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
1 6 ozs. can frozen limeade or lemonade
½ cup rum
1 5 ozs. container pre-whipped whipping cream (35% - Cool Whip is good) (See note)
Green food colouring (few drops – your choice)

Combine all ingredients except the pie crust in a blender. Blend well and pour into the pie shell. Limes may be placed around the top of the pie. Refrigerate for 6 hours and then serve.
What a coooool dessert!

Note: About half of a large Cool Whip container.

Source: What’s in the Oven?

Please, god. Don't let it be a unicorn.

Monday 8 July 2013

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

When I’m thumbing through a cookbook, it’s pretty easy for me to separate the caker recipes from the non-caker ones. The telltale signs are instructions like, “pour contents of envelope,” or “assemble all ingredients,” or “cover and bake until Oprah’s over.” But sometimes, a recipe can leave me on the fencepost.

Cheese balls are popular among cakers, mainly because they combine our love of cheese and ball-shaped food. And while Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball looked tasty, I wasn’t sure it was caker enough. Then I came across this ingredient:

Simulated chocolate chips

And that sealed the deal. Why would cakers eat real chocolate when we could eat pieces of brown wax instead? Of course, you could use real chocolate chips, but don’t admit this to other cakers. It’ll get awkward and you'll hear comments like, “Well, someone won the lottery,” or “Girls, look who's gone all Martha Stewartson on us.”

1 package cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¾ cup miniature simulated chocolate chips
Graham crackers

Blend cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Add sugars; beat just until combined. Combine the chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Place cream cheese mixture on a long piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a big ball. Serve with graham crackers.

Note: I rolled my ball in the remaining chocolate chips to maximize the simulation taste.

Source: Our Family Favourites, Stirling Primary/Junior School

Yes, this is the second week in a row I've used this cookbook, but it's a goldmine. Plus, that cover is a work of art.

Monday 1 July 2013

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

Now that summer is here, you’ll find me alongside my aboveground pool, wearing my sarong and water wings (along with a good spritz of Raid) and entertaining mother my countless caker friends on any given night of the week.

I like entertaining poolside because everyone knows you’re not supposed to swim on a full stomach. That means I can get away with feeding my guests as little as possible and feel good that I’m saving them from a potential drowning.

This week, I’m featuring not one but TWO pizza hors d'oeuvres recipes, because who doesn’t like small round things? Especially when there are Ritz crackers involved. And ketchup. These little gems are best hot, so try to get them out to your guests before the cheese has time to congeal. And remember: only one per person. Lives are depending on it.

Little Pizza
Ritz crackers
Pizza sauce or tomato paste
Sliced pepperoni
Mozzarella cheese

Spread Ritz crackers with sauce, place a square of cheese on each. Add pepperoni, mushrooms and slice of olive. Place on cookie sheet and heat in 350° oven until cheese melts. Serve hot.

Source: Country Favourites Cookbook, Mitchell’s Corners Home and School Association

Tortilla Pizza
1 whole wheat tortilla
Grated cheese
Chili powder

Spread ketchup on tortilla. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Sprinkle with chili powder. Microwave for about 1 minute or till cheese is melted. Roll up or cut into pizza slices.

Source: Our Family Favourites, Stirling Primary/Junior School