June 15, 2005

Double Chocolate Pound Cake

Rob's dad gave us a Kitchen Aid for our wedding. It came with a cook book which has a great Chocolate Pound Cake recipe in it. I haven't made this since we were first married because I forgot which book the recipe was in. But I'm clearing out my cookbook shelf and found one page in this book that's covered with stains, a sure sign that it contains a good recipe.

3 cups sifted cake flour (i haven't sifted flour in about... 25 years)
3 cups sugar (wow! i'd forgotten how much sugar it calls for!)
1 cup cocoa
3 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups milk
3 t vanilla
3 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the canter and add softened butter, milk and vanilla. Attach bowl and flat beater (on your Kitchen Aid). Turn to Stir Speed for 1 minute or until mixed. Stop and scrape bowl, turn to Speed 6 and beat 5 minutes. Stop and scrape bowl.

Turn to Stir Speed and add eggs, one at a time, beating 15 seconds after each addition. Add cream and beat 15 seconds. Turn to Speed 4 and beat for 15 seconds.

Pour batter into a greased 10-inch tube pan and bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour 40 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake completely before removing from pan. Do not invert pan.

(I'll add a pic next time I make this.)

Kicked Out of the Adult Day Care Center

My dad was kicked out of one of the city's adult day care centers today -- one that was opened specifically for him.

My dad was diagnosed with Picks Disease about 6 years ago and he's been attending Elderhaus once a week for the past five years. About six months ago the center decided to open up another branch specifically for people like my dad who are still very active, despite their mental decline. (My dad walks anywhere from 2 to 6 hours a day. He particularly likes to walk through parking lots where he can search for coins.)

My mom has been reluctant to take my dad to the new center because the few times she's gone there, the people seemed somewhat upset that my dad was going to be there for the day. And yet when I would pick my dad up from the old center the director would ask me repeatedly why my mom wasn't making use of the new center more often.

But today when my mom went to take my dad to the new center (which she's been trying to use more ever since i got on her case about it -- mostly because the director was getting on my case about it) she was told that dad had been barred from their program because they can't watch him well enough. (They hadn't even had the decency to call in advance and let mom know that dad couldn't come. She'd already made plans for the day and then found out this morning that they wouldn't take him.)

People ask me how my dad is doing and if there's any change in the situation and usually there's not much to report. But within the last year my dad has become much harder to care for and my mom is
definitely in far more need of support now than when we first moved here four years ago to help her out. I may be moving back to San Francisco in a year (so that Rob will no longer have to commute 2000 miles to get to work) and I was counting on my mom using more of the city's services to help her survive.

Now it looks like that will be out of the question.

This picture of my dad was taken a few days ago. My sister has laminated a card and had pinned it on to him. It says, "My name is Les Kool. I have dementia. I like to look for coins in parking lots. If this is
a problem please call" and then it lists her number, my mom's number and my number. People have called the police on him once before because they were creeped out that this older man was wandering around their apartment parking lot and my mom has overheard people in other locations talking about my dad and how he makes them feel uncomfortable. My dad wouldn't hurt a fly. He's just... weird, thanks to Picks disease. This is a man with a PhD in Economics from Temple University. Thankfully he is completely oblivious to all that has happened to him. If he knew, it would break his heart.

June 9, 2005

Hail Storm - June 9th

I could tell that a storm was coming because I could hear the rumble of thunder from aways off. So I brought in bike helmets and toys that had been left outside. If I had known it was going to hail (coming down as hard as bullets) I would have at least brought the potted plants against the house. The rhubarb is completely shredded, two tomato plants are quite unhappy and my purple pepper plant pretty much has no leaves left on it whatsoever.

June 2, 2005

Bread Pudding

Barb recently posted her Bread and Butter Pudding recipe and we've since gone back and forth about whether this is essentially the same as bread pudding or not.

So, in an effort to finally know for myself what, exactly, the difference is, I have made both my version of bread pudding (which is really Betty Crocker's version) and Barb's version of bread and butter pudding.

When I make bread pudding, I usually use leftover bread that I've set out to harden. Today's version included half whole wheat bread rinds (We always called them "keenchicks" in our family. I've always assumed that was Ukrainian, but I don't really know.) and half cinnamon buns (which are white bread rolls with cinnamon chips in them that we get from the local bakery).

To be completely fair, I used the same ratio and types of bread in both recipes.

2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon or nutmeg (i always use cinnamon)
1/4 t. salt
6 cups dry bread cubes (8 slices of bread)
1/2 cup raisins, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat milk and margarine over medium heat until margarine is melted and milk is hot. Mix eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt in 4-quart bowl. Stir in bread cubes and raisins. Stir in milk mixture. Pour into ungreased 1 1/2 quart casserole. Place casserole in pan on oven rack. Pour very hot water into pan until 1 inch deep.

Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean. serve warm and, if desired, with cream. (which i think is a bit over the top if you ask me.)