16 November 2011

novel nosh - The Help

When my roomie moved in a couple months ago we both started reading the same book.  Why I own two copies of The Help I'll never really know.  But it worked out perfectly because it meant, ready for it?  Book Club!!!  So we set a date, got to reading, told all our girlies about it, and planned our first group meeting.  I finished the book long enough before the meeting that I forgot all the little details that are necessary to recall in order to discuss the book.  I really enjoyed it, but immediately started reading two more books and got a bunch of details mixed up.  Roomie still has 100 pages left to finish but she's totally digging on the story so we can kind of chat about it.  And our only galpal to come through for Book Club Chapter 1 didn't even buy the book and never got around to watching the movie.  Book Club fail.

But we got together despite our literary slacker-ness to share a Help themed nosh and cocktail like proper Southern gals... well, me and Birdy are total Yanks but Isabelle's from ATL.  Our conversation may not have been based on the book, but our menu certainly was - Stuffed Mushrooms (those might not be Southern but we can pretend) & mini Sweet Potato Pie bites from Trader Joes, Southern Champagne Cocktails, and my own version of Minny's Famous Caramel Cake.  We decided against any chocolate pie and if you've read the book, you'll totally get it.  The conversation was girly and bubbly and wonderful so all in all, our Book Club wasn't a total failure.  Plus we were able to narrow down our options for Book Club Chapter 2 which you're all totally invited to join!  But before I let you in on the details, how about I give you a little glimpse into the Junior League cookbook and share a recipe or two?  Yeah, I thought y'all would like that.

thanks to Trader Joes for the tasty treats

Minny's Famous Caramel Cake
I actually found this recipe on Kathryn Stockett's website.  I guess bragging about how delicious an imaginary cake is brought in an awful lot of requests for a recipe.  And wouldn't you know that the recipe she gives is from a cookbook put out by the Junior League of Memphis in 1952.  Amazeballs!  Unfortunately, it was just the recipe for the caramel icing so I just slathered it between a couple layers of basic yellow cake.  Basic yellow cake with bourbon vanilla because bourbon is deep South like the gals in the book.
yellow cake
2 c cake flour (not the self-rising kind)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 unsalted butter, room temp
1 c sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp bourbon vanilla
3/4 milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease two 8" cake pans.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
2. On a low speed, add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar.  Add the vanilla and mix well.  Alternately add the milk and flour mix until the mix is creamy and smooth.  Split the batter between the two pans.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely before icing.  Ice with the Never Fail Creamy Caramel Icing from the Junior League of Memphis that Ms. Stockett so graciously provides the recipe to.  I was left with a lot of extra caramel but once it all soaks into the cake, you might want to put a few extra scoops on for good measure.  Really, you can never have too much caramel!
Southern Champagne Cocktail
1 oz chilled Southern Comfort
4 oz chilled champagne or sparkling wine
dash of Angostura bitters
orange twist
Pour SoCo and bitters into a glass, topping with champagne.  Rim the lip of the glass with the orange peel and garnish with a twist.

So yeah, we got a little tipsy and had a ladies night instead of chatting about a book.  It didn't matter though because we had a great night!  We've narrowed down our Chapter 2 reads to two books - F Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned or Baby Let's Play House: Elvis and the Women Who Loved Him by Alanna Nash.  I'll let y'all know the second we make our final decision so everyone can run out to the library and grab a copy.  Join our book club!  Tasty treats, sassy ladies and novel noshes - you know you want in!

at least we looked bookish.

1 comment:

  1. I saw that you commented on Cup of Jo's giveaway for the necklace...I am doing a similar one & I think you would love it! Come check it out...