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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 03/20/12

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

COFFEE CAKE POUND CAKE!

   Combine two loves--coffee cake and pound cake--for a memorable dessert that'd delicious any time of day. Bake the cake for your next brunch gathering and secure your spot in history as the World's Best Hostess.



Coffee Cake Pound Cake


Ingredients

  • PECAN STREUSEL
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • POUND CAKE BATTER
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preparation

  1. 1. Prepare Pecan Streusel: Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in 3/4 cup pecans.
  2. 2. Prepare Pound Cake Batter: Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 1 cup pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
  3. 3. Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
  4. 4. Stir together flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
  5. 5. Pour half of batter into a greased and floured 10-inch (12-cup) tube pan. Stir together toasted pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon; sprinkle over batter. Spoon remaining batter over pecan mixture; sprinkle with Pecan Streusel.
  6. 6. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 20 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

10 GREAT FOOD COMBINATIONS OF ALL TIME!

   Here are ten combinations of foods that seem to be a match made in heaven.   These food combinations are not in any order, they can all be easily interchanged. Feel free to add your own favorites to the comments.



10. Eggs and Bacon
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   Nothing starts the day off better than a couple of eggs and fatty bacon. The protein of the eggs and the grease of the bacon form a great mixture that powers you through the day. It should also be mentioned that bacon generally is great combined with all kinds of other foods as well.



9. Butter and Popcorn
Butter



   Popcorn was originally discovered by the Native Americans. Popcorn became increasingly popular during the Great Depression because it was relatively cheap, it’s use was especially popular in movie theaters. Now when you go to the movies the spell of popcorn almost seems irresistible, despite its now horrendously expensive price. Butter and popcorn was bound to be a match made in heaven, after all, what is better than fresh corn smeared with butter?




8. Pizza and Beer
Pizza-And-Beer



    Let’s all face it, what is better than a nice pepperoni pizza and an ice cold beer? The hot grease of the pizza is nicely washed down by the refreshing beer. And to further enhance an already great evening, when dining on this lovely combination, throw in a movie, some buttered popcorn, and make a night of it! Just watch out for the calories – as delicious as this mix is, it was clearly designed by Satan himself to get us all to hell faster.




7. Salt and Pepper
2124Salt And Pepper



   The combination of salt and pepper dates back to seventeenth century French cuisine, as it was thought that pepper was the only spice which did not overpower the natural taste of the food. All foods can be better with a little bit of salt and pepper. On their own both pepper and salt can be used in savory and sweet cooking – and in combination they can convert something bland into something wonderful. Every chef worth his weight will use these two together on almost everything he cooks.




6. Burger and Fries
Burger-Lounge-Burger-And-Fries



   Although french fries may date back to the 1600s-1700s, their popularity sky-rocketed when they began to be sold worldwide through fast food chains, especially McDonald’s. Most fast food chains quickly paired the fries with burgers, creating one delicious meal. Did you know that it was American Soldiers who coined the term “French Fries”, when they tasted them for the first time in Belgium during World War I? In most other English speaking parts of the world they are referred to simply as “chips” and French Fries is considered an Americanism.



5. Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti & Meatballs



   Some claim the combination began in the early 20th century, where Italian immigrants were making them in New York City. However, others claim that the pairing dates back to Old World Italy. Regardless of the origin, the two compliment each other and make for a great, filling meal – and an especially good one for the poor college student.




4. Cheese and Crackers
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   The classic combination of cheese and crackers became increasingly popular with the development of the Ritz cracker in 1934, by Nobisco. The combo serves as a great snack, especially for small get togethers. Unlike most of the other entries on this list, this is a food combination loved by both rich and poor – whether you put cheap old cheese on store-bought crackers or the finest truffle laced mature brie on handmade crackers – the combination is simple, tasty, and unbeatable for parties.




3. Tortilla Chips and Salsa
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   Although the combination of chips and salsa is typically considered to be Mexican food, the combo really boomed when tortilla chips began being mass produced in Los Angeles. Now the combination serves as one of the most popular appetizers and snacks. This is also a combination that can be as unique as it’s maker – as long as your salsa contains tomatoes, you can add virtually anything else and it will still taste great with tortilla chips.



2. Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy



One of the ultimate combinations, the gravy moistens the potatoes and adds the little extra flavor to create the perfect combination. Letting the gravy poor all over the potatoes, seemingly completes the mashed potatoes. This is obviously such a popular combination that it is a signature dish of Kentucky Fried Chicken.




1. Oreos and Milk
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   The Oreo was created in February 1912 by Nabisco in New York City. Oreos immediate popularity resulted in it being the best selling cookie of the 20th century. It has since been dubbed “Milk’s Favorite Cookie”. The milk seems to be the perfect match to the chocolate of the oreo, making the duo one of the best. But, despite the popularity of the oreo and milk combination, milk and any type of cookie is great!



THE SPANISH SEMANA SANTA TRADITION!





    While Semana Santa is a national tradition throughout Spain, the "Andalucians" arguably "feel" the week more than other regions of Spain. Throughout 7 days, Andalucia is surrounded by a spiritual halo. Semana Santa is a tradition which is repeated year after year, a time when the devout and curious joint together to participated in the procession and converge on the streets and squares which take on the ambiance and mystique of an open air temple.





    The skill and expertise behind the parades rest with the religious fraternities and brotherhoods. They have the responsibility of maintaining the statues as well as coordinating the penitents and musicians. Sometimes up to two thousand members of a brotherhood take part, some carry candles, rods or banners depending on their level of seniority. The most senior is the president who carries a golden rod.




    The "costaleros" who carry the weight on the floats and their sculptured representations of the biblical scene are directed by the overseer or head of the group who ensures that the float is carried with maximum seriousness, grace and tradition. To be able to survive the long hours and distance carrying the heavy "thrones" the costaleros have a cushion, known as the costal, which prevents the direct contact of the wood rubbing against the skin. The thrones are followed by "nazarenos" dressed in tunics, hoods and masks and women dressed in traditional costume.




    The high point of the procession is when the float exits and enters the respective church. This is the moment when art and religion seem merged into one. A sculpture of images created by superb craftsmen. The best floats date back to the 16th and 17th centuries and can still be seen today.
    The entire scene is alive with color and sound, thanks to the polychromatic variety of tunics, hoods, ensigns and banners. Emotions are stirred by the slow rhythmic beating of the drums and processional marches, the swaying paces of the bearers and the poignant wailing of the "saeta" which is a sacred song similar to the flamenco and sung through the Holy Week processions.





    Even if you are not religious, it is difficult not to be moved, the atomsphere is so vital and poignant. For some it is a fun filled fiesta time, for others a week of ritual and reflection. Without a doubt, Holy Week in Andalucia is a tradition that is an integral part of the culture and appropriatly reflects the spirit of the people.
    Year after year, each and every village proudly enjoys the berauty and mystery of "Semana Santa", although there are variances and some towns for instance, will preserve certain traditions more than others. The villages and hamlets generally hold their parades on Thursdays and Fridays, while the large capital cities have week long celebrations and attract thousands of people from far and wide.
    Irrespective of size, each float represents the pride and enthusiasm of every Andaluz who will spend the entire night, from dusk until dawn, accompanying them in solemn reverence to his or her religion.