Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cowboy Poetry

I had to share this incredibly beautiful poem, Ruby Mountains, by Jack Walther, a rancher from Nevada. Cowboy poetry is a relatively new discovery for me but it is the genre that contains some of my all-time favorites. This is a great example. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. The photos are all my own.

Calves at Cowhorse Ranch in Ramona, CA

Ruby Mountains by Jack Walther

I am part of this range of waving grass,
Part of the evening breeze, the gentle rains that pass.
I am the horse or range cow that moves out there so free.
Deep down within, they seem a part of me.

I am the snows on the mountain that cause the streams to flow,
Spreading out on the valley, the leaves and branches of a tree,
They are more than a thing of beauty. They are a part of me.

I am the buttercups blooming in the springtime,
The call of the blue grouse on the hill,
The peace and quiet of a summer night
When all the world is still.

I am the sparkling stars on a winter night,
Or a crisp cold morning sun.
I am the gurgling protesting stream,
Beneath the winter ice shall run.

The coyote that howls in the evening or the hoot owl in the wood,
I sense them stir within my soul. Deep down it feels so good.
With this all a part of me, I can never be alone.
I am the richest man on earth, for all this I own.

When this body that you see is stilled,
Stand not by my grave and cry.
When a part of all these things,
I will be renewed and shall never die.

But come out in the fresh spring grass,
See the songbirds up in the tree,
Just relax, spend some time.
It is there I shall forever be.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mother's Birthday Cake

For my Mother's birthday party she requested a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I took the recipe that she usually uses and changed a few ingredients and steps to make it my own.

Upside-down cakes cooked in cast iron skillets originated in the Middle Ages when different types of fruit were used and the whole cake was cooked over a fire. With the invention of canned pineapple in the early 1900's and the aid of an oven, Pineapple Upside Down Cake came into being!

Below is a photo of the finished product, along with my recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Topping:
1-14oz can of pineapple rings
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4C packed brown sugar

Heavy whipping cream

Ingredients for Batter:
1 1/2C all-purpose flour (try to use unbleached if possible)
2tsp ground cardamom
2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4C granulated sugar
2 eggs
2tsp vanilla
1Tbsp coconut rum or dark rum
1/2C unsweetened pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter for topping in a well-seasoned 10in cast iron skillet.
Stir in the brown sugar, over medium heat, for about 4min. Remove from heat.
Arrange pineapple slices on top of sugar mixture, slightly overlapping the pieces.

Mix flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
In a large bowl (using either an electric or hand mixer) beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat until just blended. Beat in pineapple juice and then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended.

Pour the batter evenly over the pineapple topping. Bake the cake in the skillet on the middle rack for about 40 min. After you remove the cake from the over, let it sit about 10 min and then invert a plate over the skillet and, holding the two together firmly, flip the skillet over so the cake is "right-side up."

Whip the heavy cream until firm peaks form and serve it with the cake. Cake is best served warm or at room temperature. Most importantly, eat with loved ones and with a smile on your face! :)