Posts Tagged bookclub
A couple of months ago, the bookclub to which I belong read The Help. It is an excellent book by Kathryn Stockett set in the 1960s about Mississippi maids. It’s told from their perspective and has some wonderful characters which are easily loved, hated and pitied. The month we read this book, it was my turn to host. Now when people are invited into my home, my first goal is to ensure they are comfortable. The second is to make sure they are fed and the third, well, is that they leave happy and eager to come to back.
With those goals in mind, I chose foods that were mentioned in the book. I also asked the ladies coming to the meeting to bring Southern-inspired dishes. It was a great spread of bourbon brownies, pimento cheese on celery sticks, caramel cake and more. To wash it all down, we enjoyed some sweet tea–not flavored with Splenda or any other alternative, as any Southern girl will vouch, real sweet tea is only made with plenty of sugar.
My friend Mel happened to miss this meeting and therefore, missed out on the goods. Sorry for her! She asked me to post the recipe for the caramel cake, which I am more than happy to do. So Theresa and Mel, here’s to you girls! Enjoy!
- 2 sticks butter
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 8 oz. sour cream, full fat
- 2 -2/3 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, and then add sour cream. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Butter and flour three cake pans. Add batter evenly to the three pans and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before icing. See recipe below.
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Add evaporated milk. Cook over medium for two minutes. Add vanilla and remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
I usually dip my knife in water each time I spread this icing as it can be sticky and this makes it easier.
I used two deep, 8-inch cake pans for this recipe. When they came out of the oven, I let them cool and froze one of the cakes. I took the other cake from its pan and sliced it in two, spreading iciing between the layers. It’s nice to have the frozen cake ready when I have unexpected guests or just want something sweet on a day when I don’t feel like baking!
In September some of my girlfriends decided we all needed some grown-up time. This happens occasionally, given the fact that several of us have small children and husbands. That’s how our bookclub, Reading Between the Wines, was born. Seven or eight of us gather each month to discuss the latest read, take turns hosting and eat really tasty food. I have to admit, I think bookclubs are more about the socializing and food than the books themselves…or at least that ‘s the way it is with my friends. And that’s ok. I think we prefer it. Afterall, hospitality is a point of pride for this Southern girl.
We’ve read several good books lately: Cutting for Stone, The Help, Winter’s Bone, etc. I tried to be one of those people who match the menu to the book, but that didn’t last too long. It worked out great for The Help with homemade caramel cake and sweet tea. But sometimes I just get a hankering for something and just have to make it. That’s precisely what happened for this month’s meeting. I wanted some warm, garlicky Spinach-Artichoke dip, so that’s what I made–enough for my husband to snack on watching football and enough to share with the girls. So if you want to share with your girlfriends or husband, heck even if you don’t, give this recipe a try.
- 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
- 1 can artichokes, chopped
- 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 c. Romano cheese
- 16 oz. cream cheese
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pepper, to taste
Add all ingredients to the Crock-Pot and cook over low for 1-2 hours. Serve warm with crackers, tortilla chips or bread pieces.