I came from an Italian heritage of sitting around the table—talking, laughing and arguing—and making each meal at my grandmother's house an event. Dessert was always a meal extender whether it was cannoli for Christmas, fried dough balls dipped in honey for Easter or Sunday dinner chocolate cake. Dessert gave us extra time to sit at the table and enjoy each other's company. My mother followed the tradition. She was a third grade teacher. Often she would bake layer cake or sponge cake in the morning before we caught the school bus! We'd either use it that night or freeze it for dinner with company on the weekend. Just as she served a salad and crunchy bread every night for dinner, she would serve dessert.
I've followed my mother's and grandmother's traditions because I like to cook. When my son was small, we baked and sold fruit breads at craft fairs. I entered cooking contests. He helped me make at least a dozen different kinds of cookies for Christmas to give away. Each meal was topped with something home-made. Now, of course, life and diets have changed. Fruit is often our dessert of choice. But once in a while I bake for us besides company desserts because we need something special to remind us of traditions I'll never forget.
Speaking of desserts...
My sleuth Caprice De Luca also likes to cook (along with home staging, taking in strays and finding them homes, and wearing retro fashion.) In DEADLY DECOR, the second book in the Caprice De Luca Home Staging series, her neighbor encourages her to pick fresh blueberries and this bread is what I and Caprice created. I hope you enjoy it!
CAPRICE'S BLUEBERRY VANILLA PECAN BREAD
(From the Book DEADLY DÉCOR by Karen Rose Smith)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sour cream
4 teaspoons imitation vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (2%)
2 large eggs
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, de-stemmed, washed and well-drained. (I put a paper towel in a bowl and let them roll around on that before adding to batter.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 1/2 x 4 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pans.
Beat all ingredients except nuts and fruit in mixer bowl (scraping bowl often) on mix or blend until batter is smooth...1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in nuts by hand and then fold in blueberries.
Pour even amounts into 2 pans. Bake 60 minutes at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean.
|Karen Rose Smith|
Bio: Award-winning and best-selling author Karen Rose Smith will see her 87th novel published in 2015. Although she has written romance novels for over twenty years, she has now branched into mysteries as well as women's fiction. In addition to writing, she saves time for her four rescue cats, gardening, cooking and photography.
Karen's Blog: http://karenrosesmith.blogspot.com/
Karen's Mystery Website: http://www.karenrosesmithmysteries.com
Karen's Romance Website: http://www.karenrosesmith.com