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November 2010

Have you ever made a fruitcake?

The reason to consider it is that we have a wide variety of dried fruits to use these days, instead of just sticky chewy shiny candied ones that once represented the only fruit available to cold climates in winter, along with raisins and currants. My cake will have no shiny green candied cherries or citron, or raisins or currants. Instead I'll use dried apricots, dates, cherries, and maybe cranberries. I gotta go see what's at the store in a little while.

I'm going to make this recipe tonight or in the morning, only I'm using amaretto instead of brandy. I plan to soak the fruit in amaretto and then drain it, using the reserve liquid for the batter. Then I'll brush it every few days with a mixture of bourbon and amaretto. Frankly, I just don't like brandy. Sue me.

There are non-alcoholic versions, of course, but the original reason for the brandy was a) it helps preserve the cake for a long time, especially important in pre-freezer days, and b) it's one of the many festive and valuable ingredients that originally made the cake a special holiday treat. If you want to be non-traditional and make it alcohol-free, I think you should find a new-fashioned dried fruit cake recipe and go for it. But you'd want to make it much closer to the day you plan to eat it.

Stay tuned; I will share a couple photos soon.

Still using up garden peppers: stuffed peppers mid-century-style

And there are still more to pick before I pull up the garden!

Anyway, they're all small now, but they are still good. Many vegetables are quite satisfactory to use before they reach "full size." Some are actually better that way.

So I found this recipe and tweaked it to suit my tastes and what I have here. The one thing I'd do differently is add more oregano, as the recipe called for. I don't know why I didn't go out and pick some; instead, I used an Italian seasoning blend. It was good, but wanted more oregano, as well.

I also doubled the amounts, which was way more than I needed, but I thought I'd cook the rest of it on the stovetop for lunch today.


Because I made part of it into meatloaf, I didn't add water to the pan. And I did the tomatoes differently; I used a cup of freshly chopped tomatoes and then added canned crushed tomatoes to make up my two cups. If you want it a lot firmer, I wouldn't advise that, but I like it to be kind of saucy.