Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Farm Chicks' cookbook a treat

I really enjoy looking through a pretty new book, and a new one the library acquired has kept me quite busy in recent days, thumbing through the pages and dreaming of food I could cook or crafts I could make.

The book is "The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen" by Teri Edwards and Serena Thompson, regular contributors to Country Living magazine. The pretty, hardback edition is filled with beautiful photographs, recipes, craft ideas and stories from the pair, founders of the Farm Chicks Antique Show in Spokane, Wash.

The book starts with brief first-person stories by the authors telling about their lives and how their antique show evolved. I enjoyed reading about Serena's childhood spent in a hippie gypsy wagon and Teri's stories of growing up in a large family and raising her own girls with a love of cooking.

By the time I had read their stories, I was eager to see their recipes. Let me just say, I'd love to be invited to stay at either Teri's house or Serena's house and sample some of the their food.

The personal notes and striking photographs make the recipes more appealing. For instance, Serena's children request her cinnamon rolls on their birthday. Teri always made Cheesy Potato Soup for daughter Allie when she visited from college. Elaine's Farm Style Chicken Salad Sandwiches recipe came from friend Elaine who made them for the authors at their first antiques show. In a side note they describe how the sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper and stacked on a huge platter. "We were inspired by her old-fashioned presentation and have enjoyed rediscovering the great wrapping wax paper makes."

Scattered throughout the cookbook are craft ideas as well. One page is devoted to place makers made from items found at a flea market. Another suggests making aprons from old sheets.

I also loved the stories of people the two met as they traveled the area looking for antiques.

In other words, there's more to this book than the recipes. But boy are the recipes enticing.

It was very difficult for me to choose a recipe to try in this cookbook because I want to cook so many. I actually bought the ingredients for two, Cherry Breakfast Swirl and Apple Puff Pancake.

I ended up making Cherry Breakfast Swirl, and I'm glad I did. It's a very simple recipe and doesn't take much time at all to assemble. The end result is a very pretty treat that is great for breakfast or any time! Although it was still delicious the next day, I thought it was best just after it was baked.

Make sure to look for this book the next time you're at the Wilson County Public Library. It would also be a fun one to own.

Cherry Breakfast Swirl
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) softened*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 21-oz. can cherry pie filling
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Prepare the batter: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large jelly-roll pan.

Cream the sugar with the butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts and the eggs. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and beat in the flour and baking powder just until blended.

Bake the cake: Spread two-thirds of the batter in the prepared pan; the batter will look insufficient and will spread very thinly. Scatter spoonsful of the cherry filling over the top and dot with tablespoonsful of the remaining batter. Then, using the back of a spoon, flatten each little mound of batter just a bit.

Sprinkle on the sliced almonds. Bake until the cake is lightly browned, 28 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Store in the pan, covered with plastic wrap, up to 3 days.

Makes 20 servings.

*I used 11/2 sticks of butter with good results. I also used self-rising flour and omitted the baking powder.

"Farm Chicks in the Kitchen"

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