Friday, January 24, 2014


A note from DivaGlinda:

I don't know where my mother-in-law got this recipe for HENRICI CAKE, but it was a favorite in my husband's family, supposedly passed along from someone connected to Henrici's Restaurant. The original restaurant had been a fixture in downtown Chicago, founded in the mid-1800's. I don't remember that location, but do remember when Henrici's Restaurant was at Oak Brook Center.

My mother-in-law passed the recipe along to me. My husband says that when his mom first made it she used a tube pan - the kind used for angel food cake. But by the time she gave me the recipe everyone had a bundt pan and that's what I used. Here's the recipe as I received it:


Beat together until fluffy:
3/4 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar

Beat in 3 eggs one at a time

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract to 1 cup milk

Sift 3 cups flour with 3 teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt

Add flour to butter/egg mixture in three parts, alternating with milk. (End with flour.)

Heavily butter a tube pan. Line pan with ½ cup chopped nuts mixed with 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Pour batter into pan

Bake at 375°F for 50 minutes

Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert pan onto plate leaving pan loosely on cake or cover until cake is completely cooled.

I've changed this old-fashioned recipe a little over the years - usually I double the vanilla, reduce the sugar to a rounded cup, and I use the crunchier turbinado or demerara sugar instead of white sugar for the nut topping. If the nuts are almonds I use almond extract instead of vanilla.

You can make the cake richer by adding a package of cream cheese to the butter & sugar and really beat it well. For another twist, use a microplane to zest a lime and add the zest to the cream cheese.  

Double the vanilla and throw in some mini chocolate chips.

You can grate in orange rind & add a couple of tablespoons of Southern Comfort for a different flavor.

Add cocoa or melted chocolate to 1/3 of batter and swirl into the white part to make marble cake

Add dark cocoa to batter and make chocolate pound cake… it will need a few more tablespoons of milk. I made the chocolate version last fall as the dessert for my Divas of the Dirt garden project day, covering it in chocolate fudge frosting and adding pecans.

Once upon a time in the midwest, people made doll cakes for girls' birthdays and they also made Bride doll cakes for wedding showers.

Commercial doll-cake molds are available now, but back then a bundt pan and a glass bowl were combined to make a doll with a Scarlet O'Hara silhouette.

The Henrici cake recipe worked well to make the base of this doll cake. First up the ingredients by 1/3 (4 eggs, 1 cup shortening, 4 cups flour, etc.) so you'll have some extra batter. This batter was baked in a small, ovenproof bowl. When inverted on top of the bundt cake, the bowl cake became part of the dress, ready for a half-doll on a pick.


I don't know if anyone still does this - bridal gowns looked more like cakes in those days, but modern brides go strapless & slinky!

[This post was inspired by a twitter conversation with @shytowngirl and @ChuckHenrici about Henrici's Restaurant and the frequently shared recipe.]

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Jean Lafitte's Pirate Stew


When my turn as hostess for the Divas of the Dirt garden day landed on Talk Like A Pirate Day in September 2009, your correspondent-Glinda decided to celebrate it by thinking up this hearty main dish. 

Since this is a Pirate Stew there are no exact amounts for ingredients - it can vary depending on what you have on board ship. 
Feel free to adjust proportions of meat to vegetables to spices so your crew will like it!

Before making the stew I bought fresh Chicken sausages w/Poblanos*, grilled them, let them cool a bit, drained the links and & sliced them into rounds.

Now to the stew!

Sauté together:

Sliced precooked Chicken sausage w/Poblanos
A few cloves of garlic
Chopped red onions
Chopped white onions

Let cook for a while. Climb up to the crow's nest with your spyglass and scan the horizon. When you get back to the galley add in:

Chopped red peppers
Chopped celery
Chopped parsley

Let simmer together while you tend to the rigging or swab the deck

Return and add:

A few squeezes of double-strength, sun-dried tomato paste from a tube
A couple of ounces (or more) of Southern Comfort

Simmer a little longer – go check if anyone is in line to walk the plank. Return.

Start the rice cooking. (Medium grain works well for this dish).

Add drained, cooked pinto beans and cut-up, stewed tomatoes and let the stew simmer while the rice cooks. If you go to the treasure room and run your hands through the pearls & jewels, the time will pass quickly.

Serve in bowls with the rice added by the individual pirates.

*Fresh Chicken Sausage with Poblanos is available at local HEB Stores in Central Texas. I don't know how hard it is to find in other areas.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gina's Italian Cream Cake

When the Divas of the Dirt met for Sophia's February 2012 Garden day, Sophia's sister Gina made a delicious Italian Cream Cake.

Thank you, Gina, for sharing the recipe!

1 stick margarine ( I used butter)
½ cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
5 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 small can coconut(angel flake)*
1 cup chopped nuts
5 egg whites stiffly beaten

Cream margarine and shortening.   Add sugar and beat until mixture is smooth.  Add egg yolks and beat well.  Combine flour and soda and add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.  Stir in vanilla.  Add coconut and chopped nuts.  Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.  Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8” cake pans.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

8 oz pkg softened cream cheese
½ stick margarine (butter again)
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Chopped nuts
Beat cream cheese and margarine until smooth.  Add sugar and mix well.  Add vanilla and beat until smooth.  Spread between layers and on top and sides of cake.  Sprinkle top with pecans."

*If you have a bag of Angel Flake coconut instead of a can, it takes about 1 and 1/3 cup of coconut to equal a small can.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Basil & Doubled-Tomato Breakfast Bake

Sugar added her own variations to make this Egg, basil, and 2-Tomato-basil breakfast bread casserole extra special. It was as good as it looks!

1 cup milk & 1/2 cup dry wine
1 day old loaf French bread - cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
4 oz. Prosciutto - thickly sliced

2 cups trimmed spinach leaves - since you want big leaves, bunched spinach works better than bagged
3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup pesto sauce 4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream salt/pepper

The day before:
Mix milk w/ wine, dip bread slices in mixture; gently squeeze as much liquid from bread. Place in bottom (single layer) of 14" oval gratin dish.
Cover w/ 1/2 prosciutto slices. Top w/ spinach leaves after dipping each leaf in the olive oil.
Sprinkle w/ half of cheese, then top w/ layer of tomato slices.
Drizzle w/ half of pesto.
Repeat layers overlapping the bread slices, & ending w/ tomato/pesto layer. Top layer also had about a cup or so of yellow cherry tomatoes, which made it extra-good!

Beat eggs w/ salt & pepper & pour over layers. Cover & refrigerate overnight.
Remove & let stand for a half hour at room temp.
Set oven at 350°F
Drizzle w/ cream & bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Molded Mango Salad

For her September 2011 project day, hostess Sugar served this cool & creamy salad, made in a ring-shaped gelatin mold with a sour cream & honey dressing. Besides the jello mold, you will also need a blender.

Here's how she did it:
Mango Molded Salad
Serves 12 - 15

3 - 3 oz. packages lemon flavored gelatin
3 cups boiling water

1 - 16 oz. can mangoes, drained, reserve juice (I used a 20-oz jar from the refrigerated section in the produce area)
1 cup mango juice - from the canned mangos (if needed, add water to make 1 cup)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup sour cream
1 to 2 Tbsp. honey

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.
In a blender, combine cream cheese, mangoes and mango juice.
Combine gelatin and cream cheese mixture. Stir well.
Pour into a 2 1/2 quart mold & chill.
Serve w/ a dressing made of sour cream, sweetened w/ honey.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Shrimp Pot Pie

(Annie served this corn and shrimp pot pie for her Diva day in 2008 - she thinks it may be an adaptation of a recipe from Martha's show but isn't sure of the date.)

Serves 6
this recipe is for individual servings made in heat proof bowls or ramekins, one 8 inch square baking dish can also be used (that's what I did) think I also doubled recipe

3 tabls unsalted butter
3 leeks, white part only, chopped
1 clove garlic minced
2 bay leaves
1/8 teas nutmeg
1/8 teas cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon all purpose flour, more for work surface
6 ears corn (about 6 cups kernels)
1 teas fresh thyme leaves
1 1/4 cups canned chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream (think I used fat free 1/2 & 1/2)
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined ( I used frozen pre-cooked)
salt and pepper
Cornmeal biscuit dough (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 450. Heat butter in large saucepan over med heat. Add leeks and garlic, cook stirring till translucent about 4 mins. Add bay leaves, nutmeg, cayenne, and flour. Cook stirring for 1 min. Add corn and thyme cook another minute. Stir in cream and stock. Cook till liquid is thickened and reduced by 2/3rds, 7-8 mins. Add shrimp, cook till pink. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves. season with salt and pepper.
On floured work surface roll out dough to 11 by 14 rectangle. Cut circles using bowl as guide. spoon corn mixture into bowls and place dough over each bowl. place bowls on baking sheet and bake till crust is golden brown and cooked through about 12 mins. serve

cornmeal biscuit dough
makes enough for 6 3 1/2 inch ramekins or one 8 inch square dish

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 teas baking powder
3/4 teas baking soda
3/4 teas salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk, plus more for brushing dough

In bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder and soda, salt and sugar.
Using your fingers or pastry cutter, cut butter into flour mixture. Using wooden spoon, stir in buttermilk until the dough holds together. Use immediately.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Quiche Lorraine, Glinda's version


This is an adaptation of a recipe from the 1965 edition of the Fanny Farmer Cookbook. I wanted it to be reasonably authentic, but recently read that you can substitute yogurt for cream and wanted to try it. The quiche still tastes extremely rich, but there's less butterfat and the yogurt gives it a thick tanginess.

The pie shell is also an adaptation from that Fanny Farmer cookbook, used since I was a newlywed. In the interests of accuracy, most brands of ingredients I used are included.

The recipe is supposed to make enough for two 8" pie shells, but it might be a little skimpy to make a high edge. Because I was also making a 10" Deep Dish Key Lime Pie, I doubled the recipe and it was perfect for 2 quiches and the pie, with a little dough left over.

My mom taught me to divide any extra pie dough into walnut-sized blobs, roll the pieces in cinnamon & sugar then bake right away. She used these pastry nibbles as bribes, hoping to keep us kids from eating the edges off the pie before my dad got home from work.

Pie Crust

2 cups unbleached King Arthur all purpose flour
pinch of baking powder
pinch of nutmeg
Use a fork to lightly mix dry ingredients in bowl.

1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)

Use a fork to whip & emulsify oil and milk. Pour it over flour mixture and blend with the fork until flour almost disappears. Make two balls. Roll out between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Line 8" pan, using your favorite crimping technique for a raised edge. Prick dough all over with fork. Pre-bake about 12 minutes at 375°F. You can do this ahead of time - wrap well and freeze if holding more than a few hours.

Fanny Farmer said to cook bacon, set aside to drain before crumbling into the pie shell, pour most of the fat out of the pan and then cook chopped onion in the remaining bacon fat. But I hate to cook bacon! So I bought Target's house brand of precooked bacon, threw it in the microwave and skipped the onion. It took most of a package, nuked & crumbled, to cover the bottom of the quiche shell.

I shredded HEB (local store brand) Swiss cheese and mixed it with Brown Cow fat free yogurt and Davidson's pasteurized eggs, added a few cranks of sea salt, a few grinds of pepper and a little more nutmeg and poured it over the bacon.

Filling for one Quiche:

Most of a 2.1 ounce package Market Pantry/Target Brand precooked bacon, microwaved, crumbled into bottom of pie shell

1/2 pound/8 ounces HEB Swiss Cheese, coarsely grated
16 ounces (1/2 of a big carton) Brown Cow Fat Free Yogurt
3 lightly beaten Davidson's eggs
Sea salt and pepper at your discretion
Shake of nutmeg

The quiche baked at 350°F for somewhere between 35 and 50 minutes - the Divas were arriving so I'm not sure! I used a thin stainless steel spatula blade to test - the quiche was done when the blade came out clean. You probably have your own favorite technique.

Let it cool for a little while before cutting to get neat wedges. I made 2 quiches - leftover slices were delicious cold, too!