Monday, June 13, 2011


1/2 c sugar
1 T. Water

2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 t. Vanilla extract
1/2 c sugar

3 eggs
3 egg yolks

Oven 350*

I use a cast iron skillet to bake the flan and make the caramelized sugar, but you can brown the sugar in a heavy pan and quickly pour it over the bottom of a heavy baking dish.

Add the sugar and water to a heavy pan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is melted and it starts to turn light brown. * Turn off the heat and either pour it into your baking dish or leave it in the skillet and let it cool while you make the custard. (*I added 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and let them melt once the sugar was dissolved)

In another saucepan, combine the half-and-half, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a bare simmer (warm enough to melt the sugar). Do not boil it!

In a stand up mixer, mix the eggs until they are light yellow (I use the paddle, not whisk).

On slow, gradually drizzle in the simmered milk, 1/2 cup at a time until it has all been added.

Pour the custard over the caramelized sugar and bake for 45-60 minutes (depends on the diameter of the pan). It is done when the edges are bubbly and it is not jiggly when you shake it. It will set up as it cools.

Cool and then chill. Clear the edges with a knife and then quickly and carefully flip it onto a serving platter.

Adapted from the Food Network's Alton Brown's Flandango

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

1 14 oz sliced pineapple in it's own juice (save the juice)
1/2 c. Brown sugar
2 T. Butter
2 T. Reserved pineapple juice from the canned pineapple

I have always used a 13" cast iron for my pineapple upside down cakes. Melt butter, add brown sugar and pineapple juice until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and arrange pineapple slices (I had three left, I ate one and pureed the other two and added them to the cake). I used blueberries instead of cherries in the middle of the pineapple slices.

1/2 c canola oil
1/3 c white sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
3 eggs
2 slices pureed pineapple
1/2 c tapioca starch (bat nang in Asian section of grocery store)
1 c garbanzo bean flour
1 c coconut flour (Bob's Red Mill sells coconut flour, but I grind unsweetened dried coconut in a coffee grinder)
1/2 c. Reserved juice from canned pineapple
1 t baking soda
Pinch of salt

Cream together oil, sugar and eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients alternating wet and dry until well mixed. Spray edges of cast iron with spray oil. Pour the batter slowly over pineapple in cast iron. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, cool 5 minutes, invert on serving platter.

Monday, June 6, 2011

God's Mercy, a story...

I read this in the comments section of a NCR article about the ABC series, "What Would You Do?" I was touched by the story and wanted to save it and share it.

There once was a man who proclaimed he did not believe in God. "God could never love anyone and if he existed, I would insist that he prove it to me", he often proclaimed to friends. "God takes lives all the time and the poor and down-trodden are first on the menu", he would say further. Even though the man was often kind to people all throughout his life, he believed that one should live life to the fullest in every way. He also believed strongly that a woman had every right to an abortion, and if she chose to do so, it was her business only.

One day the man found himself in front of an abortion clinic watching women walk in as protestors were praying and begging the pregnant women not to go in the clinic. A woman who was protesting began talking loudly to a young pregnant woman who was walking into the clinic. This immediately enraged the man and he began yelling at and cursing the woman who was protesting and others began to join in.

The young woman walking into the clinic became scared and upset at both the woman protesting and the man, and immediately turned and ran away from the clinic. This enraged the man and others even more and they escalated their yelling and insults toward the woman protestor. The woman protestor cried and left the scene.

Many, many years later the man was in a serious car accident and was thrown from the car. As he lay dying, many people consoled him as an ambulance rushed to the scene. A young priest who had also been called to the scene began to perform last rites. The man, although in terrible pain and very terrified, gruffly said to the priest, "Don't waste your breath with that prayer, Father, I'm not a Catholic and even if I was, God has never gone out of his way to help me – take a good look".

The priest gently smiled at the man and stopped saying the last rites. After a few seconds, the priest began to softly recite the Divine Chaplet of Mercy. "For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have Mercy on us and the whole world", he recited over and over. The man peacefully passed into darkness.

Suddenly, a great light engulfed the man along with great love. The man was more afraid than ever as he knew he was in the presence of God. He asked what was happening and who it was that he was speaking to. He asked this because he could only see one form but felt there were others in the area as well.

"I am Jesus, Son of the Living God, and you have been born to a new life. We are here to judge your life on earth". Immediately, as in a video, the man began to see his entire life in review. The good and the bad.
Many times when he helped the poor, other times when he freely partook in sins of the flesh. Times when he helped the elderly, and times when he intentionally hurt other people. The life review seemed to stop as quickly as it had started and the man felt ashamed.

Quickly, however, the man recovered, and recalled what he had said to friends during his life. "What chance did I have when my creator never showed any effort to reach out to me with love?" "Why did you not even try a little to help save me from myself?".

The Lord looked lovingly at the man and played back the life scene in front of the abortion clinic. The man was mortified as he watched himself become enraged. He was overcome with resign and asked the Lord what happened to the woman protestor who had left the scene those many years ago.

The Lord responded, "She was called to me a few days later, she had accomplished her mission".

"And what of the woman that decided not to have an abortion that day?", he asked.

"She bore a healthy son and passed to me after childbirth, she had accomplished her mission".

The man looked down and felt very sad. He slowly looked up and softly said to the Lord, "I wish I would have met her son; that I could know what he looks like and see how he turned out in life". But, I never did, and yet you show me these images anyway." Lord, can you not show me one instance in my life where you went out of your way even a little bit to show the extent of your love for me"?

"You met her son at the twilight of your life", said the Lord, "He will be joining us soon – he has accomplished his mission". "Come, let us go to heaven".

The man felt happy, relieved, and curious all at once, and felt compelled to ask Jesus two final questions. "Who was this woman's son and what was his mission?" , asked the man.

"He was a simple priest who believed in God's Mercy, and you were his mission", responded three voices.