Recipe–Rebecca on Ree–Sweet Lime Pickles (Day Two) and Coffee Cream Cake

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Ice cream and pickles.  No I am not pregnant.  That is just what I cooked up on July 21.  Don’t worry, we didn’t eat them together.

We have a peck of pickling peppers to pickle today.  A peck of lime soaked cukes covered in Seran Wrap.  How did people exist before Seran Wrap?

(image from here.)

So before we start you are going to get a class in Kitchen History 101.  Seran Wrap has been around for about 50 years.  It was originally ugly green and had a funny smell.  Ralph Wiley worked for Dow Chemical.  He was a college students whose job was to wash dishes–okay, in a lab we would say, “He scrubbed beakers and test tubes.”  He found he couldn’t clean a beaker, so he called it “eonite”–from an indestructible material in the Comic Strip Little Orphan Anne.  “Eonite” was further researched and used on military aircraft to keep the salt water from damaging the plane and its name was changed to Seran.  After World War II, it began to be used in the food packing industry as its thin film keeps out air and moisture –two things which bacteria love.  From the packing department it moved into homes in the 1950’s (info from here.)

  (funny graph from here.)

If you can’t read the graph it says.  Yellow = Itself.  Blue = The thing I’m trying to wrap.

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Back to pickles–SWEET LIME PICKLES (PG. 280).  Remember yesterday we discussed the chemistry behind why it was important to triple rinse the lime solution off the pickles.  Don’t forget to give your pot a good rinsing as well, if you plan on using it again for the pickles.

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Currently we have cold cucumbers.  To make pickles we need to add 8 cups of vinegar (white), 8 cups of sugar, and . . .

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. . .2 tablespoons of Pickling Spices, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  If you don’t have Pickling Spice in your cupboard, this link give a good mixture.

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I added hot peppers from my garden as I wanted a little more heat.

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Bring this mixture to a boil, then put the cukes turned to pickles in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 hours to cool off and crisp up.

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With several hours before we need to deal with the pickles again, we have time to start a cake.  Actually, I was tired and didn’t want to be on my feet, so my girlies made the cake with some supervision.  COFFEE CREAM CAKE (pg. 252)

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This extremely decadent cake consists of three parts–the coffee flavored cake, the cream cheese filling, and the coffee icing.  Here Scout is mixing up the cake ingredients.

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Eloise is beating up the creamy filling.

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The coffee icing is “the icing on the cake”.  Delicious.  I am Baker has a blog on this PW cake.  Her photos have that vintage kitchen charm.

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Assemble the layers with the creamy, sugary, lovely, filling.

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Drizzle on the coffee icing, and cut yourself a very large piece.  Now you can probably get your cake looking a little more professionally assembled, but we wanted to hurry up and have a piece.

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The peck of pickled peppers were ready to be canned, so we hot packed them and set them in canner to process for 15 to 20 minutes.  We just finished these pickles in February, and they are certainly better than the store-bought kind.  Next year I am doubling the recipe, as I think we will eat that many.

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With the rest of our afternoon free, we experimented with some VBS crafts.  I wanted to try to bleach designs onto the pillow case dresses we made.  I loaded a spray bottle with pure bleach.  I learned the hard way that bleach left in a spray bottle corrodes all the metal parts, so rinse out the spray bottles when you are finished.

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I wanted the kids to be able to add their own names to each of the Pillowcase Dresses (girls) and colored, cotton T-shirts for the boys.  I thought these sticky letters would do the trick, and they worked.  A helper at Camp made up packages of every child’s name the day before the project

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My original plan for the MI Family Camp, was to have a nature walk one day, and press all the leaves and flowers collected.  The second day, we would lay all the pressed nature collections on the Pillowcase Dresses and then spray bleach all around them.  The pressed leaves and flowers would block the bleach, and we would have a silhouette on the pillowcase dresses.  So here is our sample.  We laid out pressed flowers and leaves and sprayed bleach all over the Pillowcase Dress.

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Then we dunked the dress in cold water to quickly rinse out the bleach. (Hello blue toes.)

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Scout rang out our sample and took a look.  The design was too blurred and unclear.  Now this project worked great on the 100% cotton T-shirts, but I think there was enough polyester in the pillowcases, that the design didn’t “grab” immediately.  Here and here are blogs that give step-by step directions.  (Sorry I forgot to take a picture of our failed attempt.)

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For the Pillow Case Dresses, we needed large designs cut out of Contact paper.  Here is the model we took to camp.  All the girls at camp either wore theirs as sundresses, beach cover-ups, or nightgowns.  It was great to see them all over camp in an outfit they had made.

(Note:  I purchased all of my pillow cases at a thrift store, and they “grabbed” the bleach really well–probably because they had been washed so many times.  My sister-in-law, Lily, used new pillowcases, and even though we washed them three times, they didn’t “grab” the bleach as well.  The pillow cases need to be about 90% cotton to work well.)

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Since we have kids from ages 3 – 12, we need crafts that work for several ability levels.  We made up “kits” for the younger ages of pre-cut Contact paper.

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This is the T-shirt sample we took to camp.  The older kids (10 – 12) came up with some great designs.  It was a very messy craft involving spray bleach (no one got it in their eyes), running water (no one started a water fight), and mud as the hose and water buckets turned the dirt into mud.  We couldn’t have done this craft without helpers.  Thankfully, at the MI Family Camp, there were several adult helpers and since it was Camp, a little mud on the kids shoe was nothing new.

So that was our day–pickles, cake, and crafts.

More summer cooking coming up,


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