Gooey Caramel Apple Cake & Beef Barley Soup for this Fall Evening's Supper

Gooey Caramel Apple Cake
Beef Barley Soup
Yesterday was a blurr, I was puny.  It had started with a scratchy throat that rallied into a big fat case of the crud!!  Hurt all over, head congested and just didn't want to leave the solitude of my blanket as I curled up in the big recliner.  Thus my day!

Today is better.  I am dressed and up and at 'em as my Mother would say.  I have on the stove the starts of a comforting and easy meal of Beef Barley Soup and a fresh apple cake recipe I have adapted from,  My version I am calling Gooey Caramel Apple Cake.  I want to add that there is something that is very healing in barley.  Unfortunately I am unable to recall just what it is but in my current condition I think it a good plan to get some going!

Ingredients for Gooey Caramel Apple Cake:

4 cups loosely packed  shredded peeled and cored cooking apples
2 large eggs
1 1/2 C.sugar
1/2 C. oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter or spray with cooking spray a 9" x 13" baking dish and set aside.

Mix the apples, oil, eggs, and sugar together in a large bowl, then set aside.

Stir together in another bowl:

2 C. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon (I prefer Vietnamese Cinnamon.)
1/2 t. nutmeg (Freshly grated is the best, about 1/2 of a medium nutmeg.)

Add the dry ingredients to the apple mixture and stir well until everything is moistened and combined.  Pour and spread evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake for 40 minutes and test the center of the cake for doneness.  Should be moist but not runny.   Remove from the oven and cool.

Ingredients for Caramel Sauce:

1 C. butter
1 C. evaporated milk or cream
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. sugar
1 T. pure vanilla Extract.

Cook all of these ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat until melted and thickened.  Pour over the cake.

To serve:   Place  the apple cake portion as the base in an attractive dish.  Top with ice cream of your liking.  Vanilla or Butter Pecan, or Praline all sound wonderful to me!  Yield 9-12 servings.

Beef and Barley Soup Ingredients:

2 pounds of cubed stewing meat
1-2 ham hocks or soup bones
10 C. water
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper

Combine all of the above ingredients in a large soup kettle and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.  Simmer for 2-3 hours until the beef is tender.  Skim the broth if needed.

1/2 C. barley
1 diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 stalks of celery sliced
2-3 carrots sliced
4 turnips peeled and diced, optional
pinch of red pepper flakes
3-4 bullion cubes of granulated beef stock as needed to fortify the flavor of the stock, optional

Stir the above ingredients into the beef and stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the barley is cooked, about 30 minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  At this time you may also wish to fortify the stock with bullion.

Serve pipping hot.  Yield 6-8 servings.

Note:  I would not hesitate to place all of these ingredients in a slow cooker and leave for the day.  It would be fine.  I would set the temperature on low for all day.  I would never set it on high and leave the house.

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