The Rescuers

The Rescuers
Ginger Snaps

“R-E-S-C-U-E. Rescue Aid Society. Heads held high, touch the sky. You mean everything to me.” Now that we’ve sang part of the Rescue Aid Society Anthem (and have the rest of it stuck in our heads.) we can now get to business. I will now present The Rescuers. I’ve watched enough cartoons to know that you should never underestimate mice. That goes especially for Miss Bianca and Bernard. Sure they’re small, but with enough faith, they can do things you wouldn’t believe. Traveling from New York to Devil’s Bayou, finding the world’s largest diamond, and taking on the evil Madame Medusa and her pet alligators to save one little orphan girl are all in a day’s work for Rescue Aid Society agents. The pair doesn’t do it all alone, but their help comes from other small animals. Orville the albatross flies them to Devil’s Bayou and Ellie Mae and the other bayou residents charge onto the riverboat to save Penny. Evinrude’s just a dragonfly and he puts his life on the line to help out. Clearly, little ones can do big things.

Even Rufus the Cat plays an important part in finding Penny. Miss Bianca and Bernard meet him at the Morningside Orphanage and he directs their search towards Madame Medusa, the owner of a sleazy pawnshop down the street. (Though he says that they’d be wasting their time going down there.) Rufus tells Miss Bianca and Bernard about the last time he saw Penny before she ran away. Penny was depressed about being passed over on Adoption Day, but Rufus reassured her by saying, “Faith is a bluebird, you see from afar. It’s for real and as sure as the first evening star. You can’t touch it, or buy it, or wrap it up tight, but it’s there just the same, making things turn out right.” Once Penny cheered up she gave Rufus two extra ginger snaps that she took from lunch even though she wasn’t supposed to. Rufus licked them and called them catnip snaps, much to Penny’s delight. Then Rufus’ tale ends with Penny telling Rufus that she loves him and carrying him (rather roughly) off to supper. Seeing all of this breaks my heart and makes me root harder for Miss Bianca and Bernard to succeed in finding and rescuing Penny. And then the stupid hungry side of me ruins the moment and says, “Hey, let’s go make our own Catnip Snaps!”

Recipe makes about 45 cookies.

Ingredients

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 tablespoon molasses

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

In a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg. Add the molasses and corn syrup and mix well. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Drop dough with a 2-teaspoon sized scoop, 2 inches apart, onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies by hand or with the bottom of a glass.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 10-12 minutes for softer cookies or 15 minutes for crispier ones.

Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for a minute before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dig in!

therescuerstherescuers-gingersnaps

Because I made these ginger snaps, I’ve got no problem taking two extra for my cat. (But I’m not really going to share them with her.) We’re close like Rufus and Penny, but she doesn’t talk back when I speak to her. I’ve tried talking to mice too and they don’t answer either. (I thought mice could talk like anybody.) Penny’s just special, not to mention incredibly brave. During her ordeal in Devil’s Bayou she never stops trying her hardest to flee from her captors. I’m beyond glad that Penny finds “someone waiting for her.” And Penny and her new parents aren’t the only ones brought together. Miss Bianca and Bernard are now ready to take on anything and jump right into another mission. That won’t be the last time we see the agents, but I think I’ve left you with enough for now. “Tomorrow is another day.”

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Cratchit Family Christmas Dinner

Another year, another Christmas Carol. There are just so many of them, I couldn’t resist. Last year, when I covered A Christmas Carol, I said it’s my very favorite animated version of the story. Well, so is Mickey’s Christmas Carol. (I have trouble picking favorites.) It was one of my first tastes of A Christmas Carol and, come on, it’s Disney. Everywhere you look, a beloved character shows up to take on a role from this classic. Among them you’ll see Mickey and Co., Mr. Toad, Willie the Giant, and Jiminy Cricket. And let’s not forget about Scrooge McDuck starring as his namesake! Ebenezer Scrooge is a cruel man, but his sense of humor and attitude make it tough to hate him. However, just because I like him doesn’t mean I’m happy with how he treats people like Fred (Donald), the Collectors for the poor (Ratty and Moley), and Isabelle (Daisy). And the poor Cratchits! Bob (Mickey) says he gets paid two shillings and a ha’penny and that’s only because he got a raise for doing Scrooge’s laundry. That’s not nearly enough to support his family. Did you see their Christmas dinner?

The Cratchit Family’s Christmas dinner consists of one very small bird, some brown stuff, and peas. I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m sure Mrs. Cratchit (Minnie) is a wonderful cook, but that’s supposed to feed a family of five? And it doesn’t help that the Ghost of Christmas Present (Willie) shows up with the food of generosity. After seeing mince pies, turkey, and suckling pig, you know that the Cratchit dinner isn’t going to be a pretty sight. Then Scrooge compares it to a canary! If I didn’t feel for the Cratchits already, I would after seeing Tiny Tim (Morty Fieldmouse) walk in and say, “Oh, my! Look at all the wonderful things to eat.” (My heart!) And then there’s my favorite scene where Bob slices his one little pea. That’ll stay with me forever because of how unbelievably silly/sad it is. Oh, and if that isn’t enough to break your heart, Tiny Tim tries to give his dad his drumstick. (Tiny Tim, you sweet, little angel.) It’s sad when this meal is made for an entire family, but for one person, it’d be quite the little feast.

Just what bird Mrs. Cratchit cooked up, I have no idea, but I’m going to use a Cornish game hen. As for the mysterious brown stuff, I’m guessing it’s stuffing. And the peas, well they’re peas.

Recipe makes Christmas dinner for one.

Ingredients

Cornish Game Hen:

1 Cornish game hen

Butter

Salt

Pepper

Stuffing

½ large onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

½ tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped

2 ounces bread crumbs

1 large egg, beaten

Salt

Pepper

Peas

½ cup peas, fresh or frozen

¾ tablespoon butter, melted

Salt

Pepper

Directions

Cornish Game Hen:

Rinse the Cornish game hen and dry thoroughly. Place on a rack over a pan in the fridge, uncovered, for 1-24 hours, the longer the better.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Rub a liberal amount of butter, up to a tablespoon, on the Cornish game hen, inside and out and under the skin. Then season it, inside and out, with liberal amounts of salt and pepper. Truss the Cornish game hen and place on a small rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. You can also place it on a small rack inside the pan.

Stuffing:

Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Remove from heat and add the sage. Add the breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Add enough egg until the mixture just comes together when pressed. Break up the stuffing into large chunks and place on the pan with the Cornish game hen.

Peas:

If you are using fresh peas, boil them for 2-3 minutes. Drain and dry thoroughly. If you are using frozen, thaw and dry thoroughly. In a bowl, combine peas, butter, salt, and pepper.

Putting It All Together:

Bake the Cornish game hen and stuffing until the thickest part of the thigh reads 160-165 degrees F and the juices run clear, about 1 hour. When you have about 20 minutes left of cooking time, add the peas to the pan. Remove from the oven and loosely tent with foil. Let rest 10 minutes. Untruss the Cornish game hen and serve it up with some stuffing and peas. Enjoy!

Variations:
Everyone seems to have their own way of cooking birds, so do what works best for you and your oven. I didn’t use a brine, but you can if you prefer. Also, you can rub the Cornish game hen with olive oil or nothing at all. And you can easily make more or less of anything.

mickeys-christmas-carolmickeys-christmas-carol-food

I feel so awful. I used the smallest Cornish game hen I could find and it’s still huge compared to Mrs. Cratchit’s “canary.” I couldn’t even eat the whole thing in one sitting. But despite not having a whole lot, the Cratchits are still a pretty happy family because they have each other. And thanks to Scrooge’s change of heart, they can afford to keep it that way. The toys and the turkey aren’t bad either, but it’s being with family and friends that makes it a merry Christmas Day.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I’ll be taking a break for the next two weeks.
Tune in next year for more Cartoon Cravings!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Ginger Cake

I’ve always been kind of a fraidy-cat, but that’s never kept me from grabbing up every spooky story I could get my hands on. I started off with series like Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and quickly moved on to longer and darker books. So I’m one of those people who just can’t wait for Halloween because hair-raising stories are in abundance. It’s also the best time of year to hear my favorite scary tale, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” I don’t remember the first time I heard the story, but Disney made sure I’d never forget it. Washington Irving’s legend of Ichabod Crane is fun and mysterious in its own right, but when sprinkled with Disney magic, it comes to life as a classic that I still watch every year. It’s entertaining, a bit spooky, and narrated by the incomparable, Bing Crosby. (Of course he sings too!) The tunes are so catchy, I just have to hear “Headless Horseman” once and it’s stuck in my head until well into December. This animated Sleepy Hollow may not be the most elaborate interpretation of the legend, but it’s always been my favorite.

I know that food is a big part of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but I wasn’t prepared to be given so many options. Ichabod is always eating pies, turkeys, cakes, and whatever else is in his reach. How can that scarecrow of a man put so much food away? Ultimately, I chose from the large spread at Baltus Van Tassel’s Halloween Frolic. During his dance with Katrina, Ichabod grabs up a large slice of cake and eats it all in one bite, without missing a beat. My sister and I almost immediately got into a mini debate over the flavor of the cake. Although it could’ve been chocolate or carrot, I gave Irving’s story another run through and read that the Van Tassels had ginger cakes at their party. So I settled on a gingerbread cake that wouldn’t be too far off from cakes served around that time. But what about icing? Back then, many icings were just a mix of water and powdered sugar or beaten egg whites and sugar. I was leaning more toward the egg whites and figured that Seven-Minute Frosting was a descendent of that simple icing and would work just fine. So the cake isn’t historically accurate, but I doubt Ichabod would complain.

Recipe makes one double-layered cake.

Ingredients

Ginger Cake:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 ½ cups molasses

1 cup buttermilk

3 eggs, beaten

4 cups sifted flour

2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground ginger

Pecan or Walnut Halves (Could be either but I had pecans on hand.)

 

Seven-Minute Frosting

1 ½ cups sugar

1/3 cup water

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

Ginger Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

In a stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add molasses, buttermilk, cinnamon, and ginger and mix thoroughly. Mix in the eggs and then 2 cups of flour. Once combined, add the baking soda water. Gradually add the remaining 2 cups of flour and stir until just combined.

Divide cake batter amongst pans. Gently tap or drop pans on the counter to remove air pockets. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when the cakes are tested. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out cakes on a wire rack and cool completely.

Seven-Minute Frosting:

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan or bottom of a double boiler. Combine sugar, water, egg whites, corn syrup, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl or top of the double boiler. Place the bowl over the boiling water. Be careful not to let the bowl touch the water or else the frosting may become grainy. Begin beating the mixture with an electric hand mixer on low speed for a minute. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff and glossy, 5-7 minutes. Remove the frosting from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Beat again for 1 minute.

Putting It All Together:

Trim excess cake so both rounds are level. Spread a layer of the seven-minute frosting on top of one of the cakes. Top with the other cake. Evenly frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining seven-minute frosting. Garnish the cake with pecan or walnut halves. Cut into 5 very large slices (Or more if you don’t have an Ichabod-like appetite.) and serve!

Variations: I watched through The Legend of Sleepy Hollow several times before making the cake and never noticed a color difference between the filling and the outer frosting. (You can bet I was miffed when I found a quality photo of the cake scene.) So feel free to substitute any kind of colored or flavored filling. Also, if you’re not a fan of seven-minute frosting, (Because it can be a pain sometimes.) buttercream and cream cheese frosting both go really well with gingerbread.

sleepy-hollow-ichabod-cakesleepy-hollow-cake-2

No one in my house is as nimble as Ichabod, but I had to test how easily someone could pull off Ichabod’s “cake dancing.” Turns out, it’s a lot harder than it looks. (Injuries were sustained while trying to take a decent photo.) But at least we were rewarded with giant slices of tasty cake. But Ichabod needed the cake more than we did. Not that he knew at the time, but he’d need all the energy he could muster when finding himself face-to-flaming pumpkin face with the Headless Horseman.

 In the end, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow leaves you questioning Ichabod’s fate. I like to side with those who believe he was spirited away by the Headless Horseman. (Sorry Ichabod.) And maybe I’ve watched this cartoon a few too many times, but I almost believe there is a Headless Horseman out there. It doesn’t help when I start comparing him to my cake. That sounds odd, but hear me out. Both the Horseman and my cake started out as ideas put to paper that evolved to the point where they were brought to life by lovers of the legend. If my cake turned out this well, I’d hate to encounter the Headless Horseman. (*Shudders*) Man, I’m getting out of here.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Fun and Fancy Free

Mickey and the Beanstalk
Willie the Giant’s Sandwich

For every handful of Disney movies that I know the ins and outs and a million useless facts about, there’s one that falls into obscurity. It’s unfortunate but it happens. By no means do I love these movies any less. I just don’t get the chance to watch them very often. Fun and Fancy Free is one of those. Yes, it’s a package film, but I still think it’s wonderful. Dinah Shore and Edgar Bergen are fantastic storytellers (I love Charlie McCarthy’s sass.) and I’m a fan of anything that involves Jiminy Cricket. Bongo is a sweet little story and I love Mickey and the Beanstalk to no end.

My favorite Disney cartoons are the ones starring Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. I love this one especially so because it’s a fairy tale. Seeing those three as starving peasants eating paper thin bean sandwiches is so hilariously heartbreaking. If you think that’s over the top, wait till you see Willie the Giant. He’s a childish oaf who can transform into anything and kidnaps the magic harp so she can sing him to sleep. He’s really not a bad guy, just selfish and stupid. (He loves pink bunnies and can’t say “pistachio.”) That’s why I can’t help but like him. Mickey, on the other hand, isn’t too fond of Willie. It doesn’t help when you accidentally find yourself in the middle of someone’s sandwich. Hey, that’s why Willie isn’t too keen on Mickey either. Food isn’t very appetizing after someone sneezes in it. That’s too bad. That sandwich looked tasty until it was blown in half. (Even though I wouldn’t recommend leg bones in my sandwich, but giants like bones, right?) And Willie has interesting tastes anyway, considering his love of chocolate pot roast.

I don’t know if the poultry is chicken or turkey, but both would work well. I just happened to choose turkey. (It comes down to taste preference and how much meat you want in your sandwich.) And I assumed the little white things that look like Donald’s butt are pearl onions. I’m not sure if they’re cooked or not, but I prefer not eating whole, raw onions. Okay. This sandwich is quite the tall order, but I’ve got the magic wordies. (You know, the recipe.)

Recipe makes 1 sandwich, but can easily be adapted to make multiple.

Ingredients

2 Slices White Sandwich Bread

1 leaf Lettuce

1 slice Swiss Cheese

Pepper

 

Roasted Turkey Leg:

1 leg per sandwich

Seasoning Per Leg

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/8 teaspoon ground mustard

Pinch of Sugar

2 tablespoons butter

 

Glazed Pearl Onions:

1 cup pearl onions, fresh or frozen

1 cup water

2 teaspoons butter

3/4 teaspoon sugar

Pinch of Salt

 

Directions

Roasted Turkey Leg:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Rinse turkey legs and pat dry. Place the legs on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with butter. Add seasonings. Cook, uncovered, until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F, turning halfway. This may take up to 2-2 1/2 hours, depending on your oven, but start checking for doneness after an hour. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Glazed Pearl Onions:

If using fresh pearl onions, cut the ends off each onion and score the larger side with an “X.” Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Carefully add the pearl onions and boil until the peel becomes soft, 1 1/2-2 minutes. Drain the onions and rinse with cold water. Once the onions are cool to the touch, you can easily peel them by hand.

If using frozen pearl onions, thaw and pat dry.

Melt butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, sugar, and salt. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and the liquid has evaporated, 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Putting It All Together:

Place down a slice of bread. Add a lettuce leaf and a slice of Swiss cheese. Top with the turkey leg and add some pearl onions. (If going in Willie’s order. I prefer to sandwich my onions between the lettuce and cheese so they don’t fall out.) Top with the second slice of bread. Sprinkle in a little bit of pepper. If your sandwich doesn’t sneeze, it’s ready to eat!

fun&fancy willieFunFancy Sandwich

I would love to see how Willie eats this, because it’s easier said than done. I took a few bites then gave up and pulled the meat off the leg like a normal person before finishing the sandwich. It’s still fun though. Kind of reminds me of a certain song that I can’t seem to get out of my head. “What a great big gorgeous, sumptuous, thumping, bumptious, hum-galumptious, simply scrumptious. My, what a happy day.” (Hope you enjoy the earworm as much as the sandwich!)

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Lady and the Tramp

Tony’s Spaghetti Especiale

For the longest time, Lady and the Tramp was my favorite movie. There are so many good things about the film, but I really loved it because of the title characters, especially Lady. I loved the Tramp, but I completely adored Lady. I grew so attached to her, that I needed my own Cocker Spaniel. I got her and I guess what I named her? Princess Candy Cane. (Yeah, I have no idea what was going on in that pea brain of mine.) Princess wasn’t a thing like Lady, but I wasn’t at all like Jim Dear and Darling. I get the whole baby thing, but my dogs are my babies. At least they aren’t nearly as bad as Aunt Sarah. (Is it wrong that I wish bad things on her?) Okay, enough with the silly humans. I watch this movie for the doggies.

Lady is so sweet and innocent. And I love how caring all the dogs are, even when the humans aren’t. The Tramp can’t resist lending a helping paw by sharing his experience with Lady and later rescuing her. Sure, he was first interested because he’s got a weakness for pretty girls, but it doesn’t take him long to fall under the spell of true love. You can kind of blame that on Tony’s. Had the Tramp shared a meal with Lady at any one of his other stops, it wouldn’t have been nearly as romantic. (Imagine them sharing a big piece of corned beef.) But, Tony pulls out all the stops for “Butch” and we get the mega iconic “Bella Notte” spaghetti sequence. We’ve got the singing, and the spaghetti kiss, and the Tramp giving Lady the last meatball! It’s too much! I can’t take it! Plus, that plate of spaghetti looks so good! I know. Way to ruin the romantic moment by focusing more on the food, but I’ve thought it since the very first time I watched the movie. It’s about time I make a plate of my own.

Recipe makes 6-8 servings.

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds spaghetti noodles

Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups beef broth

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

½ cup onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pepper

2 teaspoons oregano

2 teaspoons parsley

2 teaspoons basil

2 teaspoons sugar

 

Meatballs:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork

4 slices white bread

½ cup milk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon parsley

1 teaspoon oregano

¼ cup onion, finely chopped

1 ½ cloves garlic, minced

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions

Sauce:

Add the oil to a large skillet or medium pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the beef stock and crushed tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, sugar, oregano, parsley, and basil. Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste.

Meatballs:

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.

Tear the slices of bread into pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour milk over the bread and allow it to soak the bread through. Add the salt, pepper, basil, parsley, oregano, Parmesan, and eggs. Add the cooled onions and garlic and mix thoroughly. Add the meat and mix until just combined. Scoop out meat mixture the size of two tablespoons and place on a baking sheet. Form meatballs into rounds and chill for an hour to help the balls maintain their shapes while cooking.

Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat the meatballs in flour and give them a quick browning on all sides, about 5 minutes. Finish cooking the meatballs in the sauce for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Any meatballs that can’t fit in the pot will just need an additional 5-10 minutes in the skillet.

Spaghetti Noodles:

Bring a large pot full of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles have cooked through, 8 minutes. Drain.

Putting It All Together:

Lightly toss the hot noodles in the sauce. Place the noodles and meatballs on a plate. Enjoy!

ladyandthetramp (2)LadyTrampSpag

Who would’ve thought that, along with the rest of the world, I would fall in love with a couple of dogs eating a plate of spaghetti? It’s not a pretty sight in my house, but that’s Disney Magic for you. Thanks to a little bit of my own magic, I can enjoy Tony’s Spaghetti Especiale whenever I want, bella notte or not.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

The AristoCats

Crème de la crème à la Edgar with Crackers

I’ve always been an animal lover, so The AristoCats really struck a chord with me. I wanted to be just like Madame and use my fabulous wealth to start a foundation to support all the strays I could, like her home for all the alley cats of Paris. That fabulous wealth part isn’t looking too good, but I’ve been taking care of strays for many years just fine without it. I’ve mostly brought in cats because there were always a lot around my house, but we became known as the family to bring any animals to if they needed help. However, none of the animals we’ve taken care of possess any kind of musical ability like Scat Cat and his gang. I did have my own Thomas O’Malley show up on my doorstep though. (He was a big, orange, alley cat. What else would I have named him?)

Although I adore my cats, they don’t eat like Duchess and the Kittens. My kitties are pretty content with cat chow and the occasional can of tuna. They’re actually kind of snobbish when it comes to “people food,” so they might turn their noses up at something like Crème de la crème à la Edgar. Well, I won’t. It always looked delicious to me. And then Roquefort brings over that yummy-looking cracker and dunks it. Yep, I definitely need to try it. Since I don’t have a butler, I guess it’s up to me to make some.

Recipe makes 4-5 servings and about 75 crackers.

Ingredients

Crème de la crème à la Edgar:

4 cups heavy cream or milk or a combination of the two. I like 3 cups milk and 1 cup cream.

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Crackers:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into chunks, plus 4 tablespoons melted

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/3 cup milk, plus more, if needed

 

Directions

Crème de la crème à la Edgar:

In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream/milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar and salt dissolve and the cream/milk mixture starts steaming. Don’t let it boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Divide into bowls or cups. Enjoy!

Crackers:

In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add vegetable oil and pulse. Add milk and pulse until dough starts coming together. You should now be able to press the dough together with your hands. If it’s too dry, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, and pulse again. Form dough into a disk and cover in plastic wrap. Let dough chill until firm, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of plastic wrap, roll the dough out to a thickness somewhere between 1/16 and 1/8-inch. Cut out rounds with a small cookie cutter and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once you’ve used up all of your dough, use a toothpick or skewer to poke four holes into each cracker. Bake for about 10 minutes or until crackers are lightly browned. To ensure both sides get a good browning, flip the crackers over halfway through baking. Remove the crackers from the oven and brush with melted butter. Move the crackers to a wire rack and cool completely. Now they’re ready for snacking!

aristocatsAristocats Creme

I just realized I’m kind of the butler in this family. I’m always cooking, or cleaning, or waiting on someone. Too bad. I always thought I was a lady, like Marie. (I don’t start fights, but I can finish them.) Maybe that’s why I’m so tired. Or it could just be this rich cup of Crème de la crème à la Edgar I’ve been sipping. I know for sure that I didn’t put any sleeping tablets in it, but I am on my third cup of the stuff. And don’t ask me how many crackers I’ve dunked in it. I lost count. Somewhere around 5…6…7…8…ZZZZ.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

The Reluctant Dragon


Upside-Down Cake

When I was little, I loved so many cartoon characters so much that I truly believed they were real. I wanted them to be real and I shied away from anything that could prove otherwise. I find that really silly because the characters are real (They just exist a little differently than I do.) and I love them twice as much now that I know how much work was done to bring them to life. If I had seen The Reluctant Dragon when I was younger, then I would’ve come to realize that years ago. It’s fun and (Dare I say it.) educational watching Robert Benchley lead the viewers on a tour of Walt Disney Studios, and taking them through each part of the animation process from drawing, score and voice acting, foley, cameras, ink-and-paint, maquette-making, storyboarding, and ultimately animating. (Whew! That’s a lot.)

The cartoon that this movie all boils down to is The Reluctant Dragon. The Dragon would rather recite poetry than fight and is so peace loving, he has trouble breathing fire. (The Boy has to call him a Punk Poet to make him angry enough to do it.) He invites The Boy and Sir Giles, the Dragon Killer, to his picnic full of cakes and muffins and tea and jam sandwiches. Sir Giles, also being a lover of verse, is most interested in the Dragon’s poetic abilities and they recite poetry. My favorite poem in the short (And one of my favorite ever.) is “To an upside-down cake.” The entire thing is about how an upside down cake has problems because its top is on its bottom and its bottom is on its top. It’s truly beautiful. And “Radish so red” by Sir Giles is also lovely, but I’m more into cake.

Upside-down cakes can be just about any flavor, but I like pineapple the best. The Dragon doesn’t have any fruit on his cake, so it’s okay to just leave off the pineapple slices. I baked my cakes in 6-ounce ramekins, but jumbo muffin tins work too. (It’s just stickier getting the cakes out.)

Recipe makes 8 mini upside-down cakes.

Ingredients

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar

3 large eggs

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 ¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons pineapple juice (Optional)

8 pineapple slices (Optional)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Divide the butter amongst the ramekins, so each one has 1 tablespoon. Add two tablespoons of brown sugar to each one and mix. Place a pineapple slice in each ramekin.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Then whisk in the sugar. Add the oil, milk, vanilla, and pineapple juice and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined. Divide the batter amongst the ramekins and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the outside of the cakes to loosen them. Invert each ramekin onto a plate. Once the little cakes are free, they’re ready to serve!

reluctantdragonReluctant Dragon Cake

A sweet, little upside-down cake may have cares and woes about its top and bottom being mixed up, but it should be more worried about me. You know, The Dragon and all the people get a happy ending, but I’m not so sure about that upside-down cake. Just like how I’m not so sure about Robert Benchley’s ending. He did get to meet Walt Disney, though. And I know that the animation process has changed a ton since The Reluctant Dragon, but it’s not any less magical getting an idea out of someone’s head and putting it on a large screen for the whole world to see.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!