Raspberry Coffee Cake and Our Movie Star Friend

One of our friends brought us a huge bowl of fresh raspberries the other day.  I was full of gratitude.  I hadn’t baked in a while, the house was running on empty where sweets were concerned, and I had been trying to decide what to make for the last couple of days.  The raspberries made my decision simple; a fresh, sour cream based, raspberry coffee cake was in order. 

Now I have to tell you a little secret about the friend that delivered the berries to us.  He’s a bit of a movie star.  When I first met him I had no clue.  He didn’t immediately look familiar to me until he told me he was the “hot dog guy” in the movie Sleepers.  Suddenly, I was putting two and two together.

For some reason, I  never enjoyed the movie Sleepers.  It  was disturbing, focusing on physical and sexual abuse of young boys sentenced to a Juvenile Home in Upstate New York, by the guards that supervised them.  There were only two things I could particularly remember about the movie at the time George told us he starred in it.   One, was that Kevin Bacon played one of the most sinister characters of his career in that movie, and the other was the scene involving the boys prank with the hot dog vendor and his cart. It wasn’t the big names ( Brad Pitt, Robert Di Niro, Minnie Driver, Dustin Hoffman) that left me with a lasting impression of this movie – it was George Georgiadis’ appearance that did.  

George also appeared in other a few other movies and television shows before leaving his acting career to move to the Finger Lakes Region of New York, where he now runs his own construction business, and grows fresh raspberries (Thank God!).  If you want to see the best scene of the movie – starring none other than George, click on the link “hot dog guy” above. 

Okay, enough about movie stars.  Onto the star of this post.  Raspberry Coffee Cake…..

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Cake Recipe:

1/2 c. margarine, softened

2 eggs, room temperature

1 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. sour cream

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. prepared cinnamon & sugar

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 3/4 c. fresh raspberries

Topping Recipe: 

1/2 c. quick cook oatmeal

1/2 tsp. prepared cinnamon & sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream all ingredients except flour and raspberries in a large bowl.  Once creamy, add flour.  Fold in berries.  In a separate bowl mix oats and cinnamon and sugar mixture – set aside.

Pour batter into a greased 7″x9″ baking pan.  Sprinkle topping on batter.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted in center.  Cool before cutting.  Makes about 12 pieces of cake.




Summer Berry Cheesecake Tart

Yesterday we celebrated Memorial Day by feasting on hubbies famous pulled pork, and what I call his 10 pound potato salad.  He really does make the best pulled pork and potato salad.  His salad has everything but the kitchen sink in it – seriously.    My contribution to the meal was dessert.  I wanted something fresh and summery.   I found a recipe for a berry cheesecake tart from Kraft Foods Food & Family. I tweaked the recipe and tried to lighten it up a bit by using light cream cheese. It’s best to make this a few hours before serving.  I didn’t take a really good picture because the weather was too hot, and people were waiting.  Maybe next time.

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Graham Cracker Crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 1/4 c. crushed graham crackers

3 TBSP. margarine, melted

3 TBSP. granulated sugar

Add all the ingredients into a large bowl; mix well. Press into a 7” tart pan. Bake for about 7 – 8 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Tart Filling

1 package of light cream cheese, softened

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1 c. light cool whip

1/2 c. apricot jam, or jelly

Fresh blueberries

Fresh strawberries, sliced

Place cream cheese and granulated sugar into a large bowl; mix until smooth and creamy. Fold in cool whip. Spread into prepared pie crust. Top generously with fresh blueberries and sliced strawberries. Evenly cover berries with apricot jam, or jelly. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Other tidbits…

Last week the article I wrote for the local publication called Tastes of Wine Country hit the news stands. It’s a great feeling to see your work in hard print. I’m just waiting for a call from Food and Wine magazine now – just kidding…

We found a great deli called the Brooklyn Pickle in Syracuse, NY. This place serves up the best deli sandwiches I’ve found in the area. Big and fresh should be their motto. Do you have a favorite deli in your area?

This weekend I watched the movie Hereafter .  I thought it was a good movie.  It kept me interested.  Lately, I’ve had a hard time giving my complete attention to movies.  This wasn’t one of those.  Of course, Clint Eastwood directed it –  why wouldn’t it be good? Have you watched any recent movies you would suggest?

I’ve just got around to  reading The Lincoln Lawyer written by Michael Connelly.  I’m about a quarter of the way through the book and look forward to the next time I can open it to read some more.   This is a fictional story but it accurately depicts what some of the criminal justice system is like.  There is now a movie out based on the book.  I haven’t seen it yet. Did you read the book, or see the movie?  Which did you like better?

And finally, I got an ice cream maker.  I made my first batch tonight.  I followed a recipe that came with the maker.  Bearing the fact that it’s over ninety degrees out today, the ice cream seemed a bit soupy.  I’ve put it in the freezer to harden up.  I stuck with a simple vanilla flavor and it tasted out of this world.  I used 1 cup of skim milk instead of the whole milk it called for.  I suppose that could have made a difference.  Do any of you ice cream making fools out there have any helpful tips?  I’d love to hear them.  More to come on this adventure…..

Here’s to hoping everyone has a great week!