Saturday, November 22, 2008
Coffee, Fruitcakes and Refrigerators
It's a cold Saturday morning here in Shreveport today, cloudy and gray. It is also the first day of Thanksgiving vacation - hooray! It's been a hectic week what with the refrigerator replacement saga and keeping up with my students who have been ready for Thanksgiving break ever since Halloween. Not to mention the fact that I've been fighting off a cold for a few days. I believe I might have succeeded on that front (thank goodnes for Zicam).
Nothing is better on a cold, gray Saturday morning that warm pajamas, a warm puppy and a hot cup of coffee. Unless maybe a bowl of cheese grits gets added in the mix (on the stove now!) The whole, I don't have to go anywhere and I don't have to do anything today attitude has consumed me. So here I sit with my Mello Joy Southern Pecan (the best coffee in the world ever), thinking about what I might do today. I might clean some house a little. I might grade a few of the 67 research papers stacked in the living room. I might start making the cornbread for the Thanksgiving day dressing. I might dust off my collection of recipes and start cooking stuff again (been lazy on that front lately.) I might do nothing but watch old movies all day. So many options!
Back to the coffee thing - I was a die-hard Community coffee drinker; I don't have time to make coffee every single day during the work week because I prefer the old fashioned drip coffee pots to the electric brew things. You don't ever get those tasty grounds in your cup with the electric models. Radio host Moon Griffon touted Mello Joy on his program every day and so a few years ago I converted. I've never looked back. I prefer the Southern Pecan variety (which Steve calls frou-frou coffee) but I'll always take the dark roast as well. The coffee isn't available everywhere but it is available online here and you can read the Mello Joy story there also.
The replacement refrigerator came this week on Wednesday. It is cooling MUCH better, my ice cream is not like cement anymore and things are better. Still one problem though. Now the water dispenser has the water pressure that would generously be described as a trickle. The ice-maker is fine. Water pressure - not so much. So, this week I will call a plumber and see if I can get it fixed that way without having to call Sears via India to get it fixed. I know, Sears would fix it for free since it's new, but trust me, I just can't talk to those people anymore. I'll give Giglio another $100 to save me from that. But I'm happy; my beer is cold. Life is good.
I'm looking forward to holiday baking. I've mentioned that we are having our entire family together this year for Christmas for the first time in probably seven or eight years. I love to cook at Christmas anyway so this is a great excuse for me to make all my favorite stuff! My mother passed a fruitcake cookie recipe down to me years ago which I make every single year because I love them. She tells a funny story every year about those cookies. My godmother, Cissy, came by our house one morning; I was a little girl and mom and I were making fruitcake cookies (Izzy's Lizzies). We had them all mixed up and the first pan was in the oven. The house smelled heavenly. Cissy came by in the morning for a cup of coffee and to drop a wreath off for mom (she made these wonderful evergreen wreaths every year.) Mom invited her to come back by later that afternoon for a "bee-ah" (beer, for you Yankees) and a cookie. Sure enough, 5:00, here comes Cissy. She collapsed in laughter when she saw Mom and I STILL in the kitchen baking cookies. Moral of the story: cut that recipe in half!
So I was in Albertson's buying the fruit for my cookies this week. A lady in line behind me noted my candied fruit purchase and told me that hers was "already in the freezer cut up!" She has a friend that does it for her. Good friend! She told me about a "white fruitcake" recipe that she makes every year. She said she makes it at Thanksgiving and then puts it in the refrigerator until Christmas. In that time, she said, her husband "docters it up with everything from apple juice to bourbon." Yes sir - I'm tempted to make one of those this year. Seriously thinking about it. I know, the fruitcake is a much maligned Christmas tradition, but I love them! Homemade ones, that is.
In the spirt of fruitcake, here is my Izzy's Lizzies recipe (already cut in half!)
1 lb. candied cherries
1 lb. candied pineapple
1/2 cup bourbon
3/4 c. brown sugar
3 cups pecans
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 stick butter
1-1/2 Tbsp. milk
1-1/2 cup sifted flour
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add bourbon and milk. Add all dry ingredients, sifted together. Prepare fruit and nuts - cut in small pieces and sprinkle with 1/2 cup flour. Add to batter. Drop into small cookies no larger than a quarter. Bake at 250 for 15 minutes. Run under flame to brown. Sprinkle lightly with bourbou and seal in tins.