Last week my aunt from Florida came to visit. I don’t know how many stops she had planned on her trip, but one of them was to visit my parents … I suspected she would go see mom, but I didn’t really know until it was my turn to see my aunt.
My daughter and I drove down to meet my aunt and her artist friend for dinner. It was then that my aunt told us she had been to my parents’ place and my dad had made this green tomato cake for dessert … what?!? … my dad made a green tomato cake?! What the … ?
I thought it sounded really odd, and then when we went to see my parents this weekend, dad mentioned his green tomato cake. Mom said that it was more like a bar than a cake and Dad said the recipe he used just had too much green tomato in it. I could see the wheels turning in his head … I asked him to tell me about this green tomato cake … and he had already figured out how to make it better. I looked him in the eye and said “let’s make a cake!” … and so my dad and I set to work making a green tomato cake.
We started with our favorite carrot cake recipe, which is from The Jack Daniel’s Cookbook, but by the time we finished, I don’t think you’d even recognize the original recipe. Nonetheless, my dad was totally right (he usually is) … the cake turned out absolutely amazing. Both dad and I had two pieces of it for dessert after brunch (I NEVER have two pieces of cake …) and then later, on my way home, I brought some to my friend and had another piece of cake with her. Three pieces of cake in one day. This is totally a record for me. I’m not a cake person (unless it’s like some kind of of amazing decadent chocolate cake), and this cake isn’t even chocolate! … but it is SO worth it. The tart green tomatoes taste so much better than carrots in this (kinda pretty awesomely healthy) moist and flavorful cake.
The green tomatoes came from mom and dad’s garden. They fell off the vines while Mom was trimming the tomato plants. There was a whole bucket full of them. Their tomato plants are just thick with fruit … there will be LOADS of tomatoes this year. Only a few are ripe yet; the rest are yet to come.
My very favorite part of the day? I got to cook with my dad. The big bonus was that it turned out to be something totally jaw-dropping awesome.
Whiskey Green Tomato Cake
Highly Adapted from The Jack Daniels Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup whiskey
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup applesauce
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups chopped green tomatoes (about 2 large green tomatoes)
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 oz. light cream cheese, softened
- 4 oz. powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon whiskey
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the raisins in a cup with the 1/4 cup of whiskey to plump them up.
- In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients, then make a well in the center and add in the wet ingredients. Whisk up the eggs and other wet ingredients together, then stir to incorporate them into the batter. Add the raisins & whiskey, green tomatoes and walnuts and stir just until everything is mixed up well.
- Pour the cake batter into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- While the cake is cooling, make the frosting by mixing the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and whiskey until smooth. Let the cake cool, then frost it with the Heavenly Frosting.
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The magic of this bread is it has these teeny tiny little speckles of pepperoni and an underlying hint of cheesiness to it, but the flavors are very subtle, so you have this soft savory bread with just a hint of this extra flavor and (if you don’t tell them ahead of time) people can’t quite identify what it is. It’s a perfect bread for that grilled cheese sandwich … or an egg in a hole … or toasted alongside your favorite soup or pasta dish or a big cheesy omelet. You can use it to make cheesy garlic toast or even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
The bread machine does pretty much all of the work here, so it’s a cinch to make too.
Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread
Adapted from Food.com. (If you don’t have a bread machine, consult the original recipe for instructions. )
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cup sliced and finely chopped pepperoni (in about 1/4 inch pieces … the bread machine will “cut” it into speckles for you)
- ½ cup finely grated Romano cheese
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 envelope (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ¼ cups water
- Toss all the ingredients in a bread machine and set it on the dough cycle. You can bake it in the bread machine if you want, but I like the shape of the loaf better when it’s baked in a loaf pan.
- When the dough is done, take it out and shape it into an oval shape. Set it in a standard bread pan that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Bake at 375 for about 35 – 40 minutes or until the top is a deep golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when you tap it.
- Remove the bread from the pan, spray it with cooking spray (softens the crust and makes it all pretty and shiny) and place the bread on a rack to rest for 5 to 10 minutes (if you can stand to wait that long). That’s the hardest part … the waiting … when your house is full of that delicious fresh bread aroma and your mouth is watering …
My kids absolutely love going to the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), but sometimes I just don’t feel like I have an extra $30 to spend on pancakes for the three of us. So one morning when they were begging me to take them to IHOP, I suggested we make try making their beloved buttermilk pancakes at home.
I found this recipe on food.com, altered it up a bit to my liking, and we have been happily making these light, fluffy buttermilk pancakes ever since … oh, sometimes we still go to IHOP just for the fun of it, but quite often we have our own little pancake festival at home. My daughter just ate five of them. Now I don’t make them quite as big as IHOP does, but five of these pancakes is quite a big breakfast!
IHOP-style Buttermilk Pancakes
They really do taste like IHOP pancakes, only healthier for you and so much easier on the pocketbook.
Makes about 8 – 10 light, fluffy pancakes
Adapted from this recipe on Food.com
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1-2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the egg slightly, then stir in the buttermilk, butter, and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients and stir well until the batter is smooth.
- In a large flat pan with a cover, spray the pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat till warmed.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and pour about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake, leaving space between the cakes for the batter to expand. (These pancakes will puff up quite a bit, so I cover them and cook them on a lower heat in order to get them to cook all the way through.)
- Cover the pan for a minute or two, then check the brown-ness of the underside of the cakes.
- When they are golden brown, carefully flip the cakes (making sure you cut them apart first if they have “grown” together while cooking), cover the pan again, and cook until the other half is golden brown.
- If you don’t have hungry pancake eaters circling you by now, set the cooked pancakes on a warmed plate and cover with a towel to keep them warm while you finish cooking the rest of the cakes.
- Serve warm with your favorite syrup.