Mud Hens and Finches

4317xI was washing the dishes a few days ago when I heard a commotion–some finches were scolding and chirping. What was up? I stepped out onto the porch and found my cat Rocket, looking guilty, and who immediately slunk back into the house.

IMG_4318It was a pair of  male and female purple finches who were making all the noise!

IMG_4321Here is the male . . .

IMG_4322and the female. She is smaller and less colorful, but has her own charms. Actually, she is adorable.

4323xSo that’s my finch story! When I stepped back inside, Rocket was on the kitchen floor, licking his paws and cleaning his face. Birds? What birds?

Mentioning birds brings me right to a wonderful recipe I tried this week for Mud Hen Cake. I have no idea what a mud hen is, but the cookbook featured cooks of Louisiana, so perhaps it’s a southern bird. As it turns out, Mud Hen Cake is a gem–easy and something a little different, though to me, it’s more like a bar cookie than a cake. Either way, it’s deliciously buttery and brown sugar-y.

Mud Hen Cake
Mud Hen Cake

Mud Hen Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white (save the other egg white)
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and one egg white. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together, and sift into the butter mixture. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Add nuts and spread into a greased and floured 13 x 9-inch pan. (I greased my pan, and lined it with parchment paper.) Beat the remaining egg white until stiff, and then stir in the brown sugar. Cover cake with this mixture–it will cover thinly. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden with deep golden brown edges. Cool and cut into squares.

Baking notes: This is straightforward to make, though you might hesitate before adding the brown sugar to the beaten egg white–it will turn into a foamy mixture. Also, the original recipe called for a baking time of 30 minutes, but my cake was done five minutes sooner.

I enjoy this recipe because it takes the usual ingredients–butter, eggs, and sugar–and makes something a little unusual out of them. It’s almost like a delicious little pastry, and would be wonderful with a scoop of ice cream and some strawberries or raspberries  . . . or?

IMG_4370A closeup!

IMG_4338Meanwhile, it’s iris season, and  here is an iris from the garden of my neighbor, Mrs. Ott.

IMG_4339What lovely colors!

4355xAlso, of course, it’s peony season, and they have their own drama.

IMG_4356Another view.

4376xThe dame’s rocket I photographed with the Mud Hen Cake looked so pretty, I took its own picture.

So it’s been a colorful, noisy, bird-filled week! Thanks for stopping by. Hope your week is a good one. Namaste. Fran

One more iris!

IMG_4326

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