Jul 31, 2007

Fall? It's Time for Friendship Cake

Buttery Blueberry Pound Cake
"The only way to have a friend is to be one."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

We were invited for lunch with friends. When we arrived with the bag of Friendship Cake starter batter the first question was "How do I make it for my daughter?" The second from the friend from Sumner, Washington was, "How did you know I have been making them all summer? A friend gave me the starter!"

So, the Amish Friendship cake is making the rounds it seems. A couple of weeks ago at Sharon's house, Janice was passing out plastic bags with the starter and the recipe. About 8 days later I had two beautiful cakes resting on my kitchen counter.

We also have home brewed beer in kegs in the basement. My husband is a brewer extraordinaire and we have enjoyed the fruits of his labor for years. In fact when he brews, men from around the neighborhood appear at our garage door asking for lessons or better yet, free samples.

So, you ask, how do these two things tie together? Well, when I showed my husband the cake in a bag, his eyes lit up and he began calculating and planning to make the cake. You can only make so much beer and bake so many cakes but if you do a little of each, you can stay busy and well fed. The recipes that follow were found online when I typed Amish Friendship Cake in the google search line.

1 (16 oz.) can fruit cocktail
1 (16 oz.) can peaches
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 (8 oz.) jar maraschino cherries
2 1/2 c. sugar
Combine fruit cocktail with juice, peaches with juice and 2 1/2 cups sugar in large jar. Stir with wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved, cover. Let stand at room temperature. Stir each day for 10 days. Add pineapple with juice and 2 1/2 cups sugar, mix well.
Stir each day for 10 days. Add cherries (cut in half) with juice and remaining 2 1/2 cups sugar, mix well. Stir each day for 10 days. Store in refrigerator. May store in refrigerator indefinitely. Yields enough for 7 cakes.
1 (2 layer) pkg. white cake mix
1 1/2 c. Friendship Cake Starter
2/3 c. oil
4 eggs
1 c. chopped pecans
Combine cake mix, Friendship Cake Starter, oil and eggs in bowl, mix well. Stir in pecans. Pour into greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Cool in pan few minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Can be baked in 2 loaf pans.

  • The Friendship Cake Starter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup flour

Mix in plastic or glass container with tight lid. Cover, store at
room temperature for 17 days, stirring once a day.

After that, leave undisturbed for 1 day. Stir again daily for 3 days.
Add 1 cup each of sugar,milk,and flour, then stir the next 4 days.
Add another cup of each sugar, milk and flour. Mix well.

Give 1 cup each to 2 friends, use 1 cup to make a cake or use as base
for another batch of starter.

  • The Friendship Cake
1 cup starter
2/3 cup oil
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups chopped (apples,or blueberries, or any kind of fruit)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 cup nuts (optional)

Combine all ingredients until well mixed.

Grease and flour a bundt or loaf pan.  Pour batter into pan and
bake in preheated oven 350 until cake test done 40 to 50 minutes.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and continue cooling.
  • "Amish Friendship Bread"
1 cup starter
2/3 cup oil
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix listed ingredients -- I'd sift the dry ingredients together first,
but the original sheet doesn't say to.

You may top with candied fruit, nuts, or apple slices before baking.
Pour into 2 well greased sugared loaf pans. Bake 40 to 50 minutes at
350 degrees. Cool ten minutes before removing from pan.

*Have lots of fun.  I gave the recipe to The Neighbor and she will be having cake before long.


Jul 29, 2007

When the Book Club Meets...

In our neighborhood there seems to be a sense of calm and sometimes it even seems empty. But when you look a little deeper, you will find we are like an ant hill, busy and out of sight.

The Ladies of Orenco Station Book Club

We didn't always live on Mango Street. Before that we lived on Loomison the third floor and before that we....
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

The Orenco Station book club met last week. It is not earth shaking news but it very interesting. We are a group of woman that gather once a month to discuss a book and how it relates to our own lives or how we find a way to connect with the book that was chosen. Because I am gone for a large part of the year I only get to attend sporadically. But each time I am struck by the diversity of this group and yet the sameness of our experiences.

I am from a lower middle class family and was raised in Eastern Oregon. Others of us were raised in British Columbia, Mississippi, the mid west, the east coast and so it goes. Some of us lived very closely with other cultures and they became a part of our lives. Others lived in cities were cultures were divided out and crossing those lines was not acceptable. But we all share, it seems, the same set of values. And we all love books!!!

One of our group will write a review for the book so I won't talk about it today. But I did want to share the reaction of our group. One lady tagged all the things she loved about the book.

It was a rainbow of a book when she finished. Another couldn't relate at all. So, as with anything we do, we all understand that because we love something, everyone else is not required to love it too.

We are currently out of books so will meet next month to replenish our list. Barnes and Noble must love groups like ours. Powell's is my choice personally because they have a great selection of used books. But wherever the books come from, they are always a challenge and worthy of our attention. But most of all they are relevant!!! I really love that.

Jul 21, 2007

Wandering in Portland, Oregon

Hawthorne District, Portland, Oregon

Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
-Dave Barry

The Neighbor loves exploring. She and her husband spend a lot of time traveling and love the adventure. She will have to admit though, that Portland has some of the best little neighborhoods in the world.

I followed her advise yesterday when my daughter and I had lunch in the Hawthorne District on the east side of the river. Believe it or not, I had never been there. We love brew pubs. I love shopping. How could we have missed this place?

After a sandwich at the Baghdad Theater, we moved west on the street to a little shop called EIGHT WOMEN. This little shop has a wonderful collection of hand made baby clothes designed by the owner as well as mothers comfort items...night gowns, etc. When I asked the owner why "Eight Women" she said it was a joke...she actually did the work of eight @##&*%^ women. I think we can all relate. The Portland Guide web site had this to say:
The Boulevard is lined with locally-owned coffee shops, antique stores, cafes, and trendy clothing shops, many with a bohemian flavor reminiscent of the 70's. Popular restaurants on Hawthorne include Cup and Saucer Café which serves up vegetarian and organic fare, and The Daily Grind, a natural foods store with an amazing bakery. Ink and Bread, a bistro with and northwest-influenced food and wonderfully rich desserts is also known for its ample Sunday Yiddish brunches.

Then Friday evening my family gathered over on N. Russell off of
N. Interstate Avenue in the Lloyd District at a little restaurant named Mint and 820. This little place is one of the businesses that Dine503 features. You can buy $40 worth of dining for $25. You are allowed two of these per table and you much buy two entrees per coupon.

The food was sensational, the service was wonderful and, even though we stayed at our table from before 6 pm until almost 9 pm, we never felt rushed. I recommend it highly. Just don't be in a rush for drinks!!!! The bar is very, very popular and sometimes it take a few minutes for the drinks to appear. (Go to a fast food restaurant if you are in a hurry!)

Across the street is a wonderful little wine shop called McGinn's Russell Street Wine Merchants. The owner carries a wonderful collections of wines and has an island in the middle of the room with good wines for around $10 and many for a lot less. I bought 6 bottles and will share with The Neighbor soon. She has such great ideas and I am grateful!

In this same neighborhood you will find a McMenamins pub and hotel, The Gasthaus Pub run by Widmer Brewing Company.

So, while we all love being at home, a trip out once in a while reveals a wonderful new face to the metropolitan area we live in. Go for a drive. Look around. Just do it!!!

Jul 19, 2007

An email came to the Orenco Opinions yesterday. The sender was excited about the idea of sharing and including items. She said:
Can photos be included by bloggers such as myself? I have lots from my garden and may have a need to share some. I am feeling bereft at the moment in regards to my garden. Our house is next on the chopping block and my garden will take a major hit (we have the faux stucco). As soon as the rain stops I have to go out and dig stuff up and move it somewhere where it will be safe. I have lots of pots with no place to go. The watering system must be dismantled. I was so looking forward to enjoying my patio and garden all summer. But the wrecking ball comes on Monday.
First of all YES you can include photos by emailing the website email address: orencoopinions@gmail.com. The photos will be then posted with any comments you want to include. If you find something you really like; a book, a shopping destination, an event or even a recipe please send it to the address. The Neighbor is so hoping the blog will be an ongoing success. We should all help her out.

We are all going through the 'construction blues' this summer and the town houses are being hit right now. Brownstones were on the block early this spring and still are. The condos, however, are another story all together. We are feeling frustrated and a little afraid that we will not have enough money to do the repairs necessary! Hopefully, it will all work out.

Comments are welcome and can be posted by clicking 'comment' at the bottom of the post. You can post anonymously by clicking that button on the comment pop up page.

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