Iny's Prune Cake

Me, like most other bloggers out there, follow Pioneer Woman. Of course I had to own her cookbook so I bought it. And love it! I posted a link on the right side of the page if you want to check it out.

Anyway, while perusing her book I came across a recipe called Iny's Prune Cake
I think she was Ree's great great grandmother, or something like that, but I was 
betting on this cake being fantastic, and I was right.

It's really moist and full of big flavor. Then to top it off, while it's still warm,
a buttermilk caramel icing is poured over it. Enough said!

First, cook your prunes, drain them and smash them up with a fork. (Sorry about the blurry pic)

Mix together your sugar, vanilla and eggs ( I used duck eggs, aren't they beautiful).

Sift together your dry ingredients.

Combine wet and dry together and add buttermilk mixing just until combined.

Gently stir in the prunes.

Pour into your greased 9x13 baking dish.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. I always start checking on my cakes a couple of minutes early
because my oven tends to cook things a little faster than normal.

Add all the icing ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a slow boil.

Boil 5-7 minutes until icing starts to turn a caramel color.
This shows it just starting to turn but is still way to light.

While the cake is still warm, pour over the caramel icing. I think mine was just  a smidge thin and could have cooked a few minutes more. That would have helped it stay 
on top of the cake a little better. 

Here's what mine looked like when I came back in the kitchen.
Evidently my hubby couldn't resist, or be troubled for a plate, but who can blame him.




1 cup Prunes
1 cup Sugar
3 whole Eggs
1 cup Canola Oil
1-½ cup Flour, Sifted
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Allspice
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 cup Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


1 cup Sugar
½ cups Buttermilk
½ teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon White Corn Syrup
¼ cups Butter
½ teaspoons Vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cover prunes with water. Bring to a boil and cook until soft and mashable, about eight minutes. Remove from heat, drain water, and mash on a plate. Set aside.

Mix together oil, sugar, and eggs. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients, add buttermilk and vanilla and stir gently until just combined. Throw in the mashed prunes and stir gently to combine. DO NOT OVERMIX!

Pour batter into buttered baking dish (9 x 13 or so) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE.
While cake has five minutes remaining, make the icing:

Combine all icing ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a slow boil. Boil without stirring for 5 to 7 minutes, or until icing starts to turn dark. Do NOT allow icing to reach soft ball stage; icing should be caramel in color, but not sticky like caramel. Icing should be easily pourable.

Remove cake from oven and pour on icing immediately.
Allow to rest on the counter. Serve warm.


Cheese Egg Mushroom and Thyme Scramble

The last several weeks one of my ducks has started laying. I have a total of 3 female and 3 males but will be ordering 6 more females this spring.

This is my first 3. Harley (Roens) in the front with Pink and Norman (White Pekin) behind.
We picked them up at the Saline County Fair and just fell in love with them.

So we had to have more. 9 total is what we had until a couple of weeks ago.

We enclosed an open side of our barn out back and made them a really great home. It was actually alot of fun. It was almost finished here.

Once they grew up we ended up with 6 drakes (males) and only 3 females. Let me tell you what, boy oh boy were things getting out of hand. The females would have never survived the attention. Several of the drakes HAD to go. The females appreciated it very much.

Aren't they cute!?! They're all grown up now. 

With 4 duck eggs, some mushrooms and leftover Jarlsberg cheese from the 
Vegetable Tian, I cooked up some awesome tasting eggs.

I sauteed up some onion; added sliced mushrooms with a little salt and pepper, and cooked them 
until they released their liquid and got some color.

In another skillet, I scrambled up the eggs with some
kosher salt and fresh thyme. Normally I would have just added them to my
cast iron pan that I sauteed off the onion and mushrooms in, but sometimes the eggs
end up looking a little too brown for a picture so I used a different one.

While they were still somewhat soft I added in some grated Jarlsberg cheese
and stirred in the mushroom onion mixture.



Vegetable Tian

I was watching Food Network, which I've been known to do quite a bit of, and saw my buddy Ina Garten make this dish.

It looked so easy and so delicious I of course had to try it. And boy, am I sure glad I did. It was everything I thought it would be. I can't wait to try it with fresh vegetables this summer. You could use any combination of veggys you wanted to.

All you do is.....

Oil your baking dish.

Slice your onion (and garlic) and saute in oil.

Cover the bottom of the dish with onion/garlic mixture.

Cut up your vegetables and layer them on top the onion, alternating rows.

Pretty!! Sprinkle on your thyme leaves and throw on the thyme sprigs, then drizzle with olive oil.
Cover with foil and cook until tender.

Next, take off your sprigs of thyme; add your cheese and cook until brown.
The recipe called for Gruyere cheese but I had Jarlsberg so that's what I used.
It's actually a good substitue for Gruyere.

This wasn't as brown as I wanted because my family was standing in the kitchen
demanding to eat, but, it was done enough to be absolutely delicious. My hubby and I 
pretty much ate the whole thing except for the tiny helping my daughter had. I have to say 
on our behalf, I only made half the recipe, which was a good thing because, I'll admit it, 
I would have eaten more. 

I had cut up more veggys than would fit in my pan, so I just threw them on a baking sheet with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and cooked them with the Tian, which my son wouldn't touch. He did scarf these potatoes though, while I finished off the vegetables.

Definitely will make again.


Good olive oil
2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium round potatoes, unpeeled
3/4 pound zucchini 
1 1/4 pounds medium tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Brush a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with olive oil.

In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Serve warm.


Pot Roast

I made Pot Roast for lunch sunday.

I don't know why I don't make it more often.

Not only does my family love it, but I love it and it is so easy. Another bonus - there is usually always leftovers that I can do with whatever my little heart desires.

This time I desired to use the leftover meat and mashed potatoes to make a really tasty Vegetable Beef Soup, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here's the Pot Roast recipe......

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pot. If it looks like this one you get extra points.

Season your beautiful roast with salt and pepper on both sides, then put it in the pot.

Brown the roast on all sides.

Set aside until later.

These are the vegetables I forgot to tell you to cut up earlier.

Add them to your pot along with some pepper and bay leaves. Cook until you see some color.

Next add the mushrooms.

Once the mushrooms start releasing their juices, with an occasional stir,
it will automatically start your pan deglazing.

Add 1 cup of your broth (or some red wine would be good here)
 and finsh scraping up any leftover yummies on the bottom of the pot.

Nestle your roast that has been patiently waiting into the vegetables.

Add the rest of your broth and enough additional broth,
or stock, or water, or wine, or beer, to cover 3/4 way up the beef.

Cover and cook.


1 3-5 lb chuck roast,
2 tbsp oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium onion, large dice
3-4 carrots, big chunk
1 cup button mushrooms, quartered
2 bay leaves
2-3 thyme sprigs (and rosemary if desired)
2 cups beef broth or stock (or water)

Heat oil over med-high heat in a large heavy bottom pot. Salt and pepper both sides of the roast; brown on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the onion, carrots, bay leaves and garlic, adding more oil if needed. Add some fresh cracked black pepper but wait on the salt if your using broth. Give it a good stir and cook for several minutes until you see some color, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the mushrooms and stir. Once they start releasing their liquid, it will naturally start deglazing the bottom of the pot.

Pour in 1 cup of the broth and scrape up any color left on the bottom. Nestle in the roast and pour in the other cup of broth, adding enough water, or more broth, to come about ¾ the way up the roast. At this point I like to give it a taste adjusting seasoning if needed. Depending on how salty your added liquid was, you may need to add some salt at this point. Add your fresh herbs, sinking them down in the liquid.

Reduce the heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer 3-6 hours depending on the size of your roast. My roast was just over 3 pounds and I cooked it 3 ½  hours.  I always end up cooking mine on the longer end of the scale, but when you think it's close to done just test it with a fork and make sure it’s really tender and pulls apart easily. When it's done, I like to turn off the burner and let the roast rest, still covered, for a few minutes. 

Serve along side some mashed potatoes drizzling the delicious rich broth over all (if desired of course, and boy do I always desire).  


Stuffed Jalapenos

PW was right. I had to try them after I saw them on Pioneer Woman Cooks.

What's not to love. Cream cheese piled into a jalapeno half and surounded by bacon.
Yeah, it's all that.

And...I had to do it. I had to try them on a burger.

It was a turkey burger, so in my mind, that made everything ok. 

The picture doesn't show it, but along with the onion, we put Creamy Chipotle Sauce 
and dill pickle slices on these. Soooo goood!

3 ingredients total. Easy to make. 

Cut your jalapenos in half.

Using a small spoon, scrape out the seeds and the membranes.
Use gloves if your hands are sensitive to the oils and make sure
you don't touch your face or eyes. 

Fill with scrumptious cream cheese.

Wrap in a section of bacon (cut your bacon into thirds) and secure with toothpicks.
I used peppered maple bacon.

Place them on a wire rack placed on top of a baking sheet.
Bake on 375* for 20 minutes or so.