Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Swedish Almond Cake

         1 cup vanilla sugar
         1 lemon, zested
         2 eggs
         1/4 tsp salt
         1/2 tsp almond extract
         1 cup flour
         1/2 cup butter, melted
         2 Tbsp sliced almonds
         1 Tbsp coarse sugar (pearl sugar)

     1.  In mixer, blend vanilla sugar with zest from one lemon.
     2.   Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add in salt and almond extract.
     3.  Mix in the flour and melted butter.
     4.   Pour batter into a greased and floured 9 inch cake pan. Sprinkle    coarse sugar and almonds on top.
     5.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, cool several minutes before turning out of pan.

     6.  Enjoy warm or room temperature!
prep time:  15 MINS      cook time:  35 MINS      total time:  50 MINS

My favorite recipe for Swedish meatballs nuzzled in a simple yet creamy brown gravy! Just like IKEA but only better. It’s so good you’ll wanna slurp it through a straw!
         1 small onion, finely chopped
            5 tablespoons butter
            2 slices of bread (torn into small pieces)
            3 tablespoons milk
            1 ¼ pound lean ground beef
            1 large egg
            1 teaspoon salt + ½ teaspoon black pepper
            ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
            ½ teaspoon EACH ground all spice AND garlic powder
            1 tablespoon EACH oil AND worcestershire sauce
            2 tablespoons flour
            1 ¾ cup beef or chicken broth (low sodium if possible)
            ½ cup sour cream
            2 teaspoons mustard
            buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes for serving

1.    In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the onions and allow them to soften and become translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Remove to a medium bowl and allow them to cool.
2.    In a small bowl, pour the milk over the bread and press down with a spoon or your fingers so that the bread soaks up all the milk, let sit 5 minutes.
3.    When the onions have cooled, add the ground beef, bread mixture, an egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and all spice to the bowl and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix the meat as it will result in tough meatballs. Shape into 18-22 meatballs that are about 1- 1 ¼ inch in diameter.
4.    Heat 1 tablespoon of butter along with oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 6-9 minutes, turn every couple of minutes to ensure even browning. Remove to a plate. If you don’t have a skillet large enough to hold all the meatballs, do it in batches, do not overcrowd the pan, you don’t want them to steam.
5.    Add the remaining 3 tbsp of butter to the skillet on medium low heat. Sprinkle the flour in and whisk for 1-2 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Slowly pour the beef broth in while you whisk. Lower the heat, whisk in the sour cream until it dissolves completely.
6.    Add the garlic powder, mustard, and worcestershire sauce and let come to a gentle simmer before lowering the heat. Allow sauce to thicken for 6-10 minutes or until it reaches desired consistency. Add meatballs in when there are 4 minutes remaining. Keep in mind the sauce will thicken as it sits, so if you aren’t serving right away, consider leaving it a little thinner. Serve on top of buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Top with fresh parsley if desired!

NOTES:   I’ve only tested the recipe with sour cream so not sure if greek yogurt can be substituted. But really, it’s Swedish meatballs, go with the sour cream, just this once.

Shelley's Notes:  I used frozen meat balls, and started with step #5.  I also added a dash of nutmeg.  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

2017 Books and Calendar

January 26: Zebra Forest at Jeana R.’s
February 23: A Man Called Ove at Shelley’s
March 23: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes at Rachel’s
April 27: Hidden Figures at Rosalie’s
May 26: In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist at Bonnie’s
June 22: Everything I Never Told You at Gina N.’s
July 27: The Fox Was Ever the Hunter at Tiffanie’s
August 24: The Muralist at Amy’s
September 28: Keturah and Lord Death at Sandy’s
October 26: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared at Kim’s
November 16: H is for Hawk at Collette’s

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Don't Forget!

Rosalie's Suggestions

Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys 
378 pages

A group of teenage refugees meet on the road in the chaotic countryside of East Prussia in winter 1945. The Nazi Reich is collapsing all around them, and they, like hundreds of thousands, are fleeing the wrathful Soviet advance. They are trapped between their German conquerors and their terrifying Russian “liberators.” Their story is told through the voices of Joana, a pretty Lithuanian nurse; Florian, a Prussian with a mysterious letter of passage from a high-ranking Nazi officer; and Emilia, an idealistic but damaged Polish girl in a pink knit cap. Thrown together, struggling to survive, they at first hardly trust one another enough even to exchange names, and so they often just use epithets: “the knight,” “the nurse,” “the Polish girl,” “the wandering boy,” “the shoe poet.” (The last, an old cobbler, gets his name from his philosophy: “The shoes always tell the story.”) Each has secrets — the histories that haunt anyone who has lived through war, flight and deprivation.  (Same author as Between Shades of Gray.)

Hidden Figures: the American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathmaticians Who Helped Win the Space Race
by Margot Lee Shetterley
346 pages
Paperback - Non-Fiction

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of scientific achievement with the intimate stories of five women whose work forever changed the world—and whose lives show how out of one of America’s most painful histories came one of its proudes as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements.  Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II.  Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton Virginia and the world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.  Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts,  these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets and astronauts, into space.

The Daughter of Time 
by Josephine Tey
206 pages
paperback - mystery

The novel's title is taken from an old proverb "Truth is the daughter of time." Alan Grant, Scotland Yard Inspector is feeling bored while confined to bed in hospital with a broken leg. A friend suggests that he should amuse himself by researching a historical mystery. She brings him some pictures of historical characters, aware of Grant's interest in human faces. He becomes intrigued by a portrait of King Richard III. He prides himself on being able to read a person's character from his appearance, and King Richard seems to him a gentle and kind and wise man. Why is everyone so sure that he had his two young nephews killed so he could ascend to the throne?

With the help of a young American researcher working in the British Museum, Grant uses his detective logic to investigates Richard's life and the case of the Princes in the Tower.  Did Richard really do it?  If so, why and how?  If not, who did?