Hummingbird Cake

I was recently introduced to this classic southern cake through one of my friends from the Deep South. I was intrigued by the name as my mom keeps a dish of grape jelly on her porch to attract hummingbirds and has regular visitors. The Hummingbird Cake is a very unusual one; it’s made with oil rather than butter, and contains more fruit than flour. The mix doesn’t need beating, is wonderful with a cream cheese frosting, and is flavored with interesting spices and pecans. Contrary to the name, there are no birds in this particular recipe! The giveaway to the Hummingbird Cake’s birthplace, however, is in the key ingredients – bananas and pineapple. It’s thought to have been invented in Jamaica, probably in the late ‘60s, and introduced to society through Southern Living magazine by a Mrs. L.H. Wiggin in 1978.

Since it’s a dessert made for ladies, we thought it would be a crowd pleasing addition to our weekly Harborside Teas. We always offer two choices of dessert, and it was fun to have a whole new recipe and an unusual one at that. It was so popular that we thought it warranted giving away the recipe. A thin slice will do you – this cake is rich!  And oh, so good…

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Hummingbird Cake
SERVINGS
12people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
25 minutes
PREP TIME
15 minutes
READY IN
1 1/2 hrs (with cooling time)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped pecans in another large bowl.
  4. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Evenly divide the batter between the three prepared pans and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Turn cakes onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Cream the cream cheese with an electric mixer.
  2. Add in butter and cream together with cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  3. Add confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
  4. Add in vanilla and cream until well-blended, light and fluffy.

cake-slice copy FullSizeRender_3full-cake copy

Featured

Since the 1970’s, we have prepared hundreds (if not thousands!) of meals here at the Community of Jesus on Cape Cod, and at our mission house, Villa Via Sacra, in Barga, Italy. We believe that food nourishes body, soul, and spirit, and that even the simplest meal, prepared with love, can change your life. At the heart of our call to kitchen and table lie the words of Saint Benedict: “Welcome all as Christ.” This premise has led us on many culinary adventures, which we now gladly share with you!

Calypso Dips

‘Tis the season for gift giving! Here is a fun little cookie called a Calypso dip that we have used for many Bethany retreatants, teas and to include in gift baskets. Much of its appeal comes from its novel shape and unexpected flavors, just a little different from the usual cookie. Give it a try and you might decide to add it to your own collection of Holiday goodies.

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Calypso Dips
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
12-15minutes
PREP TIME
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Blend in dry ingredients.Chill dough for at least 1 hour.Shape into sticks 3”x ½ “ long.Bake in oven 375 ˚ degrees on un-greased cookie sheets, 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Dip one end into frosting then into ¾ cup chopped nuts. Frosting: Melt ½ cup chocolate chips, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 2 Tablespoons water and ½ teaspoon rum flavoring in the top of a double boiler over boiling water.

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Apple Brown Betty

“No matter what their age from the youngest to the oldest” everyone
in the Community of Jesus gathers together for Saturday morning beehive,
a time to busily work on everything that needs doing in the community that week.
Each is assigned a job he or she is capable of doing.

Last Saturday  while I was in the convent yard I heard excited shouts and
squeals of fun and laughter coming from the apple orchard.  Although we
still have not reached peak apple season we have an abundance of
drops each day and we never waste any of them. That day the nursery school
kids were having a contest to see who could gather the most.
The two sisters responsible for child care had cleverly come up with a way
for them to be useful while at the same time learn a lesson in good stewardship
of God’s gifts to us.

Their mission accomplished, the little wagon full of drops were drawn to
the convent kitchen where they were magically transformed into a
favorite old fashioned  dessert that everyone without exception enjoyed
at the coffee hour break…..that is EVERYONE  no matter what their age
from the youngest to the oldest!

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Apple Brown Betty
SERVINGS
4-6
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
45minutes
PREP TIME
20minutes
READY IN
65minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a shallow 8” x 8” baking dish.
  2. Place half the bread cubes in the prepared baking dish. Mix the remaining cubes with 2 tablespoons of melted butter and set aside.
  3. Stir together the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, water, orange juice, orange rind and the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Pour over the bread cubes in the dish and then top with the reserved bread cubes.
  4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes covered with foil at 400 degrees Fahrenheit then uncovered 10 minutes or so until golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Fresh Fruit Lemon Curd Tarts

Years ago, before our Priory Gifts gift shop had come into being, a weekly sale of our arts and crafts took place every Friday out on the front lawn overlooking the Bay. At that time, a suggestion was made that we serve  a plated tea in Bethany dining room. Several of us liked the idea and wanted to give it a try. Out of the butler’s pantry in Bethany kitchen came Mother Cay’s antique silver service, choice china tea cups and lovely fine linens, all of which had been used years before when Bethany, then known as Rock Harbor Manor, was one of Orleans’ foremost Bed and Breakfasts. They had been there all that time, just waiting to once again be put to use.

The speed with which attendance at these teas grew astonished us all. In no time the dining room was filled, overflowed into the living room, then to the sun-parlor, and from there out on to the patio and sometimes on to the lawn as well. I just learned that this Friday’s tea is already full. Our marvelous Fresh Fruit Lemon Curd Tarts are on the menu for dessert. These glorious tarts are not only a perfect finale for a scrumptious three course tea, but great summer dessert for any meal. The wide variety of fresh fruits that are now available make it an absolute joy to prepare.

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Fresh Fruit Lemon Curd Tarts
SERVINGS
201.5 inch cookies
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
1.5 inch cookies
COOK TIME
1 3/4hr.
PREP TIME
15mins.
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

Preparation
  1. Separate one egg at a time into a small bowl, letting the white fall into the bowl and discarding the yolk. If there’s any trace of yolk in the white, discard the white and start over. If it’s yolk-free, transfer to a clean medium mixing bowl.
  2. Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs.
  3. Add cream of tartar to the whites and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
  4. Slowly add sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar has been added.
  5. Continue beating until the whites are stiff and glossy.
  6. Add vanilla and beat for 30 seconds more.
  7. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Place a small amount of the meringue under each corner of the paper to secure it to the pan.
  10. Fill a 1-quart sealable plastic bag (or pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip) with the meringue.
  11. Seal the bag almost completely, leaving a small opening for air to escape from the top as you squeeze.
  12. Snip off one corner of the bag with scissors, making a 3/4-inch-wide opening.
  13. Fold the top of the bag over a few times, then gently push the meringue down to the snipped corner.
  14. Working with the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet, pipe the meringue into 2-inch-diameter tarts, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart.
  15. Bake the tarts until dry and crisp throughout, about 1 1/2 hours.
  16. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the tarts cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
Filling
  1. Mix equal parts of lemon curd and whipped cream.
  2. Top with whipped cream and arrange fruit on top.

Tip: To get the most volume from beaten egg whites, it's best to start with whites at room temperature. Submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for about 5 minutes before using.

Tip: To get the most volume from beaten egg whites, it's best to start with whites at room temperature. Submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for about 5 minutes before using.

The Ultimate Fish Taco with a Twist

For some time now, our theater group, Elements Theater Company, has been doing their theater productions with a dinner added prior to the show.  Traditionally, this has been a plated meal tying in with themes from the play.  This summer, the show was unique – Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads.  This award-winning series of solo pieces is considered a classic of contemporary drama, universally hailed for its combination of razor-sharp wit and deeply felt humanity.  The menu for this production conjured up images of an upscale Cape Cod pub food feel with a classy fish taco.  I started searching for recipes, and the one I hit on was just the right one.  The result was a colorful “box” dinner with the best fish taco I have ever tasted.  Filled with crunchy cabbage, spicy mayonnaise, sweet and sassy mango salsa and a light and crispy panko- crusted cod – this is party food at its best – all served up in a glossy black box.  Accompaniments included sweet potato fries, fresh corn and bacon salad and a homemade coleslaw.  I’d recommend this for any summer gathering.

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The Ultimate Fish Taco with a Twist
SERVINGS
8-10
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20min
PREP TIME
45min
READY IN
1hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Prepare the mango-radish salsa. Remove the peel and pith from the limes and cut between the membranes to remove the segments. Put these "supremes" into a bowl and squeeze over the juice from the membranes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Season and refrigerate until ready to use. You can also place all of the ingredients into a food processor and puree for a smoother salsa.
  2. Prepare the pink chile mayonnaise. Put the chipotles in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, adobo sauce and lemon juice and continue to process until the mixture is consistent and creamy. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Prepare the fish. Cut the pieces of fish into 1-ounce strips or to your liking. Set up a breading station of flour, lightly beaten eggs with water, and seasoned panko bread crumbs. Season all with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces of fish in flour, egg then bread crumbs. Once all the fish is breaded, deep-fry in small batches in (375 degrees F) oil. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Place tortillas on a damp towel on a single layer on a cookie sheet, cover with another damp towel and place in a warm oven until ready to use.
  5. To serve, set up the tacos "family-style". Start with your warmed flour tortillas, assemble the fish in a pile on a plate; the pink chile mayonnaise in a bowl; and mango-radish salsa in another. Set a pile of shredded cabbage, cilantro leaves (opt) and lime wedges next to the fish. Have fun building your own tacos.

recipe adapted from Tyler Florence