Curried Chicken/Cheese Ball

curry/chicken/cheese ball

curried chicken/cheese ball

My mother’s best friend, in our small Rocky Mountain village, became my treasured ally. She and her husband moved to East Glacier Park, when he retired as a screenplay writer.  Talbot Jennings was so famous that a prominent New York City television station featured his movies, such as The King and I, for a whole week, before he died.

This illustrious couple traveled the world during the production of these films; thus, Betsy schooled me in her prodigious cosmopolitan ways.  I thoroughly enjoyed sitting under her tutelage, as she prepared me for the lions at Trafalgar Square and exceeding more, prior to my moving to London.  I believe she was even more excited than I, about my valiant relocation to Tokyo half a decade later.

The voluminous New York Times brought the vast outside world to Betsy every weekend.  She was forever clipping articles to prepare me for my numerous sojourns.

With this same spirit, starting in 1982, she helped me to grow as a historical caterer.  My creative mentor was always sending me gifts, which she ordered from the New York Times.  Ingenious gadgets were among a wide array of superlative food items.  Many of these imaginative tools still grace my kitchen today.

While I was doing my early work in Billings, Montana, I journeyed to my hometown each year, where I catered multiple theme dinners per visit. The eight-hour drive across the wide expanse of the Big Sky Country thrilled my tender soul. How I delighted in approaching the backdrop of my beloved mountains, as I gazed across those colossal open prairies.

Once there, I spent many hours drinking in wisdom at Betsy’s feet.  During one of these relished trips, she offered this  delectable cheese ball to me.  I was enamored with it then and still am today.  Then it was a frequent hors d’oeuvre at my gala catered events;  today it is still my constant contribution to every holiday meal, at which I am a guest.

May you make this blessed appetizer a family tradition as well!

Curried Chicken/Cheese Ball  Yields: 2 ½ cups.  Total prep time: 1 hr/ active prep time: 30 minutes/ inactive prep time: 30 min.  Note: you may make this a day ahead.

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup raw whole almonds, chopped in a food processor  (May use slivered almonds and chop with a sharp knife.)

½ cup unsweetened coconut, finely grated  (Available in bulk, at Winco and other stores.)

2 tbsp mayonnaise  (Best Foods excels all other mayonnaise.)

2-3 tbsp Major Grey’s Mango Chutney  (Choose 3 tbsp if you want a full-bodied sweetness.)

1 tbsp curry powder, or to taste

½ tsp salt  (Real Salt is important; available in health section of local supermarket.)

1 chicken breast or 4 frozen tenderloins  (Natural chicken is best; Trader Joe’s works well for quality and cost.)

1-9 oz box Original Wheat Thins

  1. If you are using frozen tenderloins, thaw in cool water.  Cook chicken in salted boiling water. When center is just faintly pink, after inserting a knife, remove chicken from water and cool in refrigerator.
  2. Chop almonds in a food processor, by repeatedly pressing the pulse button. Pulse until nuts are in small chunks.  Some finely ground almond “dust” will be present; you will use this as well.  There will also be some big chunks; cut them, by hand, with a sharp knife.  Set aside.
  3. Mix all the above ingredients except the chicken.  Note: it works best to insert a regular teaspoon in the narrow jar of Major Grey’s Mango Chutney, when measuring it.  Be sure to use well-rounded teaspoons, as each approximates a tablespoon, for which the recipe calls.
  4. Leave this cream cheese mixture out at room temperature, while waiting for the chicken to cool.  When meat is cool, cut it into small pieces. Mix chicken into cream cheese gently, as not to shred it.
  5. Criss-cross two large pieces of plastic wrap.  Place chicken ball in the center of wrap.  Surround ball with this plastic covering.  Refrigerate on a small plate.
  6. Soften ball at room temperature for two hours before serving, to facilitate the spreading.
  7. Surround with crackers on a decorative serving plate.
  8. This is a winner!

1950’s Pear Pie

Fresh pear pie

Fresh pear pie

My mother gave her children the choice of birthday cakes.  I was hard put to choose between banana cake (recipe in 2016/08/08 post) and fresh pear pie.  My soul still thrills with the beautiful taste of baked pears, rich crumb topping, and the best of pie crusts.

I am so health conscious; thus I have experimented with using sugar alternatives here.  Coconut sugar or sucanat (evaporated cane juice) can not compete with cane sugar in this receipt. Only sugar insures the right texture and flavor in pear pie.

Sugar has been around for the longest time.  China grew cane sugar for many years prior to its first written reference in 325 B.C.; Alexander the Great’s admiral Nearchus wrote of reeds in India that produce “honey” without any bees.

The word sugar began to appear in Indian literature around 300 B.C.:  The Sanskrit word sarkara, meaning gravel or pebble, became the Arabic sukhar, which finally came to be sugar.

The use of Indian sugarcane spread.  It was planted at this time in the moist terrains of the Middle East.  The Arabs then introduced this food to Egypt in 710 A.D.;  Knights of the First Crusade next planted sugar in the Holy Land nearly four centuries later. Knights from the Second Crusade brought this unknown delectable back home to Europe in 1148 A.D., where it became prized over honey.  The use of sugar grew after this.  Thus it became a main stable throughout much of the world.

This popular provision indeed played an important part in the forming of our country.  The British Parliament enforced the Sugar Act of 1764, with the high tax on this sweet in all its colonies.  The New World produced a great amount of sugar; thus this law was a factor in the American Revolution, a little over a decade later.

I am indebted to James Trager  for this exciting history.  I derived it from his book The Food Chronology, 1995, Henry Holt Reference Books.

Wisdom and moderation are needed with this substance.  Today our nation consumes sugar in unhealthy amounts.  Personally I hold fast to the adage of Mary Poppin’s:  “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”  My standard is to substitute more beneficial sweeteners wherever possible.  However, there are times when only cane sugar will do.   My precious pear pie is one of them!

Enjoy this carefree, mess-free recipe.

Pear pie, whipped cream, and freshly ground nutmeg

Pear pie, whipped cream, and freshly ground nutmeg

Pear Pie with Hot Water Pastry Crust

1 ¼ cup unbleached white flour (Bob’s Red Mill is best)

1 1/3  cup whole wheat pastry flour (save 1/3 cup for crumb topping) May grind 2/3 cup soft, white, winter wheat berries for 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour.

1 teaspoon salt (Real Salt is best, available in health section of local supermarket)

2/3 cup oil (grapeseed oil is best, available inexpensively at Trader Joe’s)

1/3 cup boiling water.

1 cup sugar (I prefer organic cane sugar; available in 2 lb packages at Trader’s, but more economical  in 10 lb bags at Costco)

1/3 cup butter, softened

5 large Bartlett pears, ripened (may use Anjou pears as well; but Bartlett is best, must be ripened)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Freshly ground nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Blend unbleached white flour, 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add oil and water. Mix lightly with a fork.
  4. Divide into two balls, one much larger than the other. (You will need to use 3/5’s of dough for this single crust for a 10 inch pie plate. May bake leftover 2/5’s of dough in strips with butter and cinnamon sugar.)  Cover balls with plastic wrap and place on hot stove to keep warm.
  5. Roll out the large ball of dough between two, 14-inch pieces of wax paper. Form a very large, “oblong” circle which reaches to the sides of the paper.
  6. Gently peel off the top piece of wax paper. Turn over, wax paper side up, and place rolled dough over a 10 inch pie plate. Very carefully peel off the second piece of wax paper.
  7. Patch any holes in crust by pressing dough together with fingers. Form rim of crust on edge of pie plate by pressing dough together gently.
  8. Mix remaining 1/3 cup of flour and sugar in same bowl in which you made the pie crust. Blend in butter with a fork, until mealy in texture.
  9. Sprinkle 1/3 of this mixture in bottom of unbaked pie shell.
  10. Fill crust with peeled pear halves. Fill in spaces with smaller pieces.
  11. Evenly spread remaining flour mixture on top of pears.
  12. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 more minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
  13. Cool. Serve with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg. Mouthwatering!

1950’s Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

My siblings and I chose our meals for holidays and birthdays when we were young.  We always picked sweet and sour meatloaf.  How we loved it!

There was never a Christmas Eve that our home didn’t boast of its tantalizing smells.  They arose from the roasting of beef with its contrast of vinegar and brown sugar, mustard and tomato sauce.  The aroma was remarkable.

My memory of festivities back then was that of heightened anxiety for my troubled soul.  Celebrations  made me deeply aware of the void in my being; I suffered greatly from lifelong mental illness.

But no more!  The powerful word of God completely healed me.  It removed all wreckage from my mind and body, just as it promised to do.

I asked Jesus into my life on December 16, 1994.  But my healing didn’t begin to materialize with clarity until Mother’s Day of 2013.  This marked the start of my attendance at Abundant Life Family Church, where the word is taught in pure simplicity.

Prior to this, I spoke out my revivification every possible chance; I did everything in my power to effect my healing.  This included suddenly taking myself off medication. That misguided effort was a disaster, as it landed me in the psyche ward.

Indeed our good Father honored my heart, which was bent on his truth that promises wholeness.  Surely my life improved by small degrees as I pressed in with my passionate perseverance.  In actuality the stage was set for his complete blessing to come.  My declarations of health and thanksgiving for all the small advancements brought this forth.

However this gift potently began when the Spirit of God led me to my present church at the end of May, 2013.  I became a barnacle to the clear, unshackling truth taught here.  This unswerving reality cut away all pain.

The payoff has astounded me and those watching.  Revolution happened in my being; peaceful, lasting order emerged in my mind at ALFC. What’s more, I learned to take authority when anything tries to disrupt this harmony. Disturbances are stopped in their tracks.

I am indeed set free!  Now I thoroughly enjoy gala affairs.  Moreover everyday is a glorious party.  Heaven is here on earth.

You may access these helpful teachings at alfc.net.

My family still holds fast to our traditional repast of sweet and sour meatloaf.  It is ever-present on holidays and blesses us on my trips home.  I envision this mouth-watering dish when I think of family and food.  It’s an inseparable part of our clan.

It is extremely easy to prepare.  I guarantee you will be wowed by it.

1950's sweet and sour meatloaf

1950’s sweet and sour meatloaf

Sweet and Sour Meatloaf Yields: 4 servings.  Total prep time: 2 hr/ active prep time: 20 min/ cooking time: 1 hr & 50 min.  Note: You may double this for superb sandwiches from leftovers.)

4 medium russet (baker) potatoes, cleaned and wrapped in tin foil

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 1/3 cup tomato sauce

1 lb ground beef  (Must be 15%/85% beef fat; natural is best.)

3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper  (Real Salt is best; available in health section of local supermarket.)

2 tbsp brown sugar, packed down in spoon  (Organic is best, available at Trader Joe’s.)

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar  (Raw is best; most economical at Trader’s.)

2 tbsp yellow mustard  (Frenchies’ or any other yellow mustard is fine.)

1 cup water

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 2 hours before serving.
  2. Place potatoes in oven when hot.  Bake for nearly 2 hours.
  3. In a large bowl, mix egg, bread crumbs, onion, 1/3 cup tomato sauce, salt, and pepper.  Then thoroughly blend the hamburger into the sauce.  It works best to use your hand to do this.
  4. Form a loaf in a 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 3 inch Pyrex baking dish.  Use a 13 x 9 1/2 inch pan if doubling.  Make a deep indentation in the center of the loaf, so it looks like a boat.  This will hold the sauce in meatloaf, so basting isn’t necessary.
  5. Using the same bowl, mix the remaining tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, and water.
  6. Pour the sauce over the meat and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Serve with unwrapped, split baked potatoes, which have lots of sauce poured over them.  SO GOOD!

Williamsburg Orange Cake

Williamsburg Orange Cake

Williamsburg orange cake

The spring and summer of 1973 brimmed with vitality for me; I had taken the quarter off from college “to find myself.”  However, I forgot my mother’s birthday in the midst of my prosperity.  My heart broke when I soon realized my mistake.  To make amends I baked and delivered a glorious cake; I drove it 200 miles across Montana’s Big Sky country, from Missoula to East Glacier Park.  My benevolent mother graciously welcomed both me and the confection!

This beloved parent learned the powerful lesson of forgiveness in her youth; she is always eager and ready to forgive as a result of this.  Mom taught me precious wisdom, which exempts us from much disruption when mistakes are made: immediately we amend all with our Father in heaven; next, we seek compassion from those we have hurt in our wrongdoing; finally, we lavishly forgive others and ourselves. This spells freedom for our emotions and minds!

Me, my brother Paul, mother Pat, sister Maureen

me, my brother Paul, mother Pat, sister Maureen-June 2016

That was Mom’s 50th birthday and the first time I made this outstanding Williamsburg orange cake.  I went home to Montana to celebrate her 93rd birthday this past June. We had a repeat of this treasured sweet!

The recipe calls for zesting oranges.  I like to equip my sister’s kitchen with gadgets which I find helpful in cooking.  This year I blessed her with a GoodGrip zester and thus insured my ease in making this cake. GoodGrip is high quality and economical.  A large array of this brand’s useful gadgets is available at our local Winco.  This particular zester is most efficient; it makes a difficult job super easy.

My recipe appears lengthy.  It is actually very simple, for I have included many baker’s tips. Don’t be daunted by looks!

Williamsburg Orange Cake  Yields: 2-9 inch round layers, 3-8 inch rounds, or 2-9 x 5 inch loaves.  Total prep time: 3 hr/  inactive prep time-to freeze cakes for easy frosting: 1 hr/ active prep time: 1 1/2 hr/  baking time: 30 min.

2 1/2 cups flour  (Bob’s Red Mill  organic unbleached white flour is best; better yet grind 1 2/3 cup organic, soft white winter wheat berries to make 2 1/2 cups of flour.)

1 cup raisins, soaked in boiling water  (Organic raisins are available inexpensively at Trader Joe’s.)

1 1/2 cup milk or cream, soured with lemon juice from a squeeze ball

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt  (Real salt is best; available in health section at local supermarket.)

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup Crisco  (Butter may be substituted, but this 1970’s cake calls for the then popular Crisco.)

1 1/2 cup sugar  (May use sucanat, which is evaporated cane juice; if using sugar, organic cane sugar is premium; best buy at Costco; also available at Trader Joe’s in a 2 pound bag.)

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3 oranges  (It is important to use organic, as the zest of regular oranges taste of pesticides.)

1 cup pecan pieces

Spray oil  (Pam coconut oil is best.)

Flour for dusting pans

Williamsburg Orange Frosting  (This is for 2-9 x 5 inch loaf pans or 2-9 inch round layers; 1 1/2 recipes will be needed if making 3-8 inch round layers.)

1/2 cup butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar  (Organic is available at Trader Joe’s.)

1 1/2 tbsp orange zest

3/8 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

10 narrow slices of orange rind, cut lengthwise on surface of orange (see photo).

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If using fresh ground flour, begin grinding now.
  3. Cover raisins with water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, remove from heat, set aside.
  4. Place milk or cream in a large bowl (cream needs to be shallow, as it sits in bowl, with a lot of surface exposed); sour with 8 large squirts of lemon juice from ball; let sit until curdled; measure 1 1/2 cups again before using.
  5. Stir together flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium/large bowl with a fork.
  6. In a large bowl, beat butter and Crisco until light and fluffy, add sugar, beating thoroughly.  Add 1 egg at a time, beating well with each addition.
  7. Mix in vanilla.
  8. Preferably with an electric mixer, add 1/2 the flour mixture to butter mixture, blending until all is incorporated; then, add 1/2 the soured milk, mixing well. Repeat these steps to use all the flour and milk, beat extra well.
  9. Wash and dry oranges.  Zest 2 oranges, set aside.  Save these oranges, two for juice for frosting, and the third unpeeled one for decorative strips.
  10. Drain the raisins, which have been become plump in the hot water. Blend the raisins, l tbsp of zest, and nuts into the cake batter.
  11. Spray pans with oil and dust with flour lightly. (Rinse nozzle on can with hot water, for easy spraying in future.)  Pour batter in the prepared cake pans.
  12. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cake should respond, bounce back, when pressed with your finger.  Do not over bake!
  13. Cool in pan for 5 minutes to facilitate removal; then, freeze cakes on separate paper plates for at least 1 hour; freezing prevents cake from crumbling while frosting.

Frosting  (Make 1 1/2 recipes for 3-8 inch round layers.)

  1. In a medium/large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, preferably with an electric mixer.
  2. If desired for decorating, cut 10 narrow slices of rind from third orange: use a sharp knife and cut just below rind from top to bottom of orange, gently peel stripes off orange, set aside (see photo for decorated cake).
  3. Squeeze oranges to extract 3/8 cup juice; use extra oranges for eating later.  Set aside.
  4. Beat butter until light and fluffy with an electric hand mixer.
  5. Mix in 2 cups of powdered sugar.
  6. Beat in 1/4 cup of orange juice, 1 1/2 tbsp zest, vanilla, and salt.  Add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, blending well; set aside.  (Save extra orange juice.)
  7. Frost frozen cake layers or loafs.  Only if frosting is too stiff to spread easily, add more orange juice, 1 tbsp at a time.  Optional: decorate with slices of orange rind while frosting is still wet, arranging narrow slices back-to-back on top of cake (see top photo).
  8. If making the loaf cakes, to keep in freezer for unexpected company, be sure to freeze the frosting on cake, before sealing in gallon-size freezer bags.  Keeps well.
  9. Enjoy this delightful cake!

Buzz’ Blue Cheese Dressing

Mom, my siblings, my great nephew, and me at Mom's 93rd birthday

my siblings, mother, great nephew, and me at Mom’s 93rd birthday

My heavenly Father bestowed the best parents in the whole world on me!   Many gifts have been mine through  them: the biggest from my earthly father was his grand heart, while Mom’s was her beautiful faith.

My 93-year old mother always responds to my gratitude for these holy blessings: “Your most treasured present to me was bringing my husband to the Lord.” This took place in a Starbucks two years before Dad passed.

My parents visited me in Portland every October starting in 1986, until age prohibited their travels.  The momentous day of my father’s salvation took place on their last trip here in 2004.  Note: the jubilance of my family’s holy reunion will reverberate throughout heaven one day soon.

My father and I hung out during their blessed visits, while Mom shopped ‘til she dropped.  My beloved papa always did one thing: he stocked my larder to the brim every year.  I hopefully anticipated this godsend long before their arrival, as times were lean back then.

Dad taught me how to make his famous blue cheese dressing during one of our hallowed, shared days.  It has graced my refrigerator ever since; there is nothing like it; even people who don’t like blue cheese love this!

Buzz’s recipe has a history. My parents purchased our family restaurant in 1954. Traveling salesmen often stopped at our business in the little tourist village of East Glacier Park, Montana, which is on Highway 2.  I was just approaching puberty in the early sixties, when one of these self-promoters sold Dad a mammoth cookbook for restaurant owners.  This huge culinary account was about 10 inches thick.  It contained all that was needed to train my father to flawlessly run his eatery, which grew exceedingly in fame over the years.  Thus a lone man’s fervid cold call brought a lifetime’s bounty to me and many others.

I share this magnificent recipe for blue cheese dressing with great joy!

easy juicing of lemons

Buzz’ Blue Cheese Dressing  Yields: about 1¾ quarts.  Total prep time: 30 minutes.

.5-.7 lb. blue cheese, frozen and thawed for easy crumbling  (For quality, do not use precrumbled cheese; Cave Age Blue Cheese from Trader Joe’s is ideal; keep thawed cheese refrigerated until ready to use.)

5 extra large cloves of garlic, or more if smaller, to taste

1/2 medium yellow onion, cut in large chunks

36 ounces Best Foods mayonnaise  (Use 1-30 ounce jar plus 1/5 of another jar.)

2 small lemons, juiced

3/4 tsp salt, or to taste  (Real Salt is best; available in health section of local supermarket.)

3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper, or to taste

1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce, or to taste

1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce, or to taste

  1. Freeze blue cheese ahead of time; thaw in refrigerator before using; this makes crumbling very easy; keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  2. In a dry food processor, puree garlic and onions; stop processor and scrap down sides twice; set aside.
  3. Place mayonnaise in a large bowl.  (Keep empty mayonnaise jar.)  Slowly add onion/garlic mixture to mayonnaise to taste-this should taste REALLY strong as the flavor mellows much after several days.
  4. Roll lemons on counter, pressing down hard with palm of hand; this loosens the juices in the meat.  Juice fruit, straining seeds, and add to mayonnaise mixture.  (Handheld lemon juicers, such as the one in the above photo work really well.  Watch the marketplace to acquire this and a small strainer for bowl.)
  5. Season to taste with salt, pepper, Tabasco, and Worcestershire.
  6. Crumble blue cheese into mayonnaise mixture and stir gently, mixing only until blended.
  7. Adjust seasonings.
  8. Fill a sterilized, quart-size, wide-mouth canning jar with dressing.  Place the rest in the empty mayonnaise jar.
  9. Refrigerate. Keeps well.

1950’s Banana Cake

1950's banana cake

1950’s banana cake

My mother let each child choose his own birthday cake while we were growing up.  My little heart worked overtime each year to decide between banana cake and fresh pear pie.  Both are awe-inspiring!

I spell out the wonders of my mother’s banana cake here. The delectable pie will follow this fall, in a series of recipes extolling my family’s favorite meal since the 1950’s.  You will be pleased until then with this memorable confection.

I grew up in the small tourist village of East Glacier Park, Montana.  It is the east entrance to the spectacular display of Rocky Mountains in Glacier National Park.  I have seen mountain ranges all over the world; none compare with that of my home.

There my young mother was mentored by several “older” women as I was maturing; one was Leone Brown.  She was all of 50 at the time, but she seemed very old to me.  This knowledgeable woman taught Mom much about cooking; she created many beautiful crafts for her as well.  My 93 year old mother still has her handmade Easter eggs, made out of delicate egg shells.

This beloved cake is a fruit of Leone’s bountiful wisdom; I have made it with joy since the early ’70’s.  Believe me: it will knock your socks off!

Banana Cake  Yields: 2-9 inch layer or 2-9 x 5 inch loaf pans.  Total prep time: 2 hr & 20 min/  active prep time: 50 min/  baking time: 30 min/  inactive prep time-for freezing cakes to facilitate easy frosting: 1 hr or longer.

Note:  1 1/2 recipes will be needed for 3-8 inch layers; may make two loaf cakes and freeze them separately on paper plates; after freezing frosted cakes, seal them in gallon size freezer bags, for cutting off frozen slices as needed; dessert is always on hand for unexpected guests!

¼ cup milk  (Soured with few drops of lemon juice from a squeeze ball.)

¾ cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups sugar  (I prefer coconut sugar or sucanat, evaporated cane juice.)

2 large eggs

2 ½ cups flour  (Bob’s Red Mill unbleached flour is best, or 1  2/3 cups organic, soft white winter wheat berries freshly ground to make 2 ½ cups flour.)

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt  (Real Salt is best, available in the health section of local supermarket.)

3 ripe medium bananas  (About 1 ½ cups, mashed.)

1 tsp vanilla

Spray oil  (PAM coconut spray oil is best.)

Flour for dusting the sprayed pans

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sour milk in a medium/large bowl with a few drops of lemon juice.  Set aside.
  3. Cream butter in a large bowl, add sugar, beat until light.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well with each addition.  Set aside.
  4. Shake together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a sealed gallon-size storage bag, or stir all together in a large bowl with a fork.
  5. Add bananas and vanilla to sour milk, mash bananas with a fork, and blend well.  Set aside.
  6. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing well; then, add ½ the banana mixture to this, beating well.  Repeat steps, using remaining flour and bananas.  Beat extra well.
  7. Spray cake pans; dust with flour.
  8. Pour batter in prepared pans.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until cake lightly springs bake when you press with finger.  You may also test with a toothpick, if it has wet dough on it, the cake is not done.  Do not over bake!
  9. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Slide a knife around the edges, gently remove cakes, and cool thoroughly on a wire rack, or better yet freeze these for at least 1 hour to facilitate frosting (this inhibits the crumbling of cake as you frost).

Cream Nut Frosting  (Note: make 1 ½ recipes for a three layer cake.)

2 ½ tbsp flour

½ cup cream  (May use milk, but whipping cream is better.)

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup sugar  (Preferably organic cane sugar, available at Costco, or in a 2 pound bag at Trader Joe’s.)

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar (Trader’s has organic powdered cane sugar.)

1 cup pecan pieces (Cheapest when bought in bulk at local supermarket.)

  1. Blend flour and cream in a small saucepan with a wire whisk.  Cook over medium/low heat, stirring constantly, until a thick paste is formed.  Set aside, cool to room temperature.
  2. Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, add sugar, beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Blend in salt and vanilla.
  4. Add cooled cream paste, beat well.
  5. Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, beating thoroughly.  Add more powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating with each addition until all is incorporated.
  6. Frost the frozen layer or loaf cakes.  Cover top and sides with pecans.  (If freezing cakes for future use, be sure to freeze frosting on cakes before sealing in gallon size freezer bags.)